Simple Testimony: Volume 20

Table of Contents

1. Bible Dialogs.: Faith
2. A Plea for Work Among the Young.
3. The New Year.
4. “Follow Thou Me.”
5. Answers to Correspondents.: Women Preaching; Christ as Man and God; Acts 15:29,1 Cor. 10:25; Matt. 13:44; The Shout and the Trumpet Call
6. Bible Dialogs.: Conversion
7. The Cleansing of the Soul.
8. Who Should Evangelize?
9. Answers to Correspondents.: John 1:18; Deut. 23:3; 1 Tim. 3:16
10. Bible Dialogs.: Repentance
11. Propitiation and Substitution;
12. Memories of Bethany.
13. Answers to Correspondents.: Medical Aid; 1 John 3:15; Paradise; Careless Individuals; John 3:5; Acts 15:29; 2 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 2:20 & Eph. 3:12
14. Bible Dialogs;: Justification
15. On Reading Fiction.
16. Andrew and Philip.
17. Home.
18. The True Ground of Faith.
19. A Hint on Usefulness.
20. Answers to Correspondents.: Different Styles; Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit; Saved?; Politics; New Birth; Judas; Died for Me
21. Bible Dialogs.: Peace with God
22. Fervent Prayer.
23. Simple Christianity.
24. Silent Messengers.
25. Prayer and Prayer-Meetings.
26. Answers to Correspondents.: The Holy Spirit; The Lord's Prayer; State After Death?; ECC 3:19-41; 1CO 11:6; Together, not Individual; 1CO 9:27
27. Bible Dialogs.: The Forgiveness of Sins
28. Moral Suitability.
29. We Would See Jesus
30. Thoughts for the Times.
31. Answers to Correspondents.: Rom. 5:1; God's Foreknowledge; The Smoking Furnace; Washing Other's Feet; 2 Cor. 5:2-3; The Rock; The Blood;
32. Bible Dialogs.: Sanctification
33. On the Work of the Holy Spirit.
34. Delivered and Delivering.
35. Answers to Correspondents.: "Our"; "The Flesh"; Prayer; What We Read
36. Bible Dialogs.: Meetness for Heaven
37. Is Your Eye on the "Ribband of Blue"?
38. The Approaching Event.
39. Thoughts for Young Converts.
40. Answers to Correspondents.: Forgiveness; Mortality of Body/Soul?; "Hell"; Chronological Accuracy; MAT 12:24-28; Sing
41. Bible Dialogs.: Backsliding
42. “Man Goeth Forth Unto His Work.”
43. Full Assurance of Hope.
44. The Beauty of the Lord.
45. Encouraging!
46. The All-Sufficiency of Christ.
47. Answers to Correspondents.: Our Responsibility; Vanquishing Sin
48. Bible Dialogs.: The Inspiration of the Bible
49. On Serving Christ.
50. Abiding in Christ.
51. Spiritual Growth.
52. Keep Close to Him.
53. Answers to Correspondents.: Feelings; ROM 6:23; "A Sin Unto Death"
54. Bible Dialogs.: Prayer
55. Comfort for the Tried.
56. The Holy Spirit's Presence.
57. Worth Thinking About.
58. Answers to Correspondents.: "Soul" and "Spirit"; Jesus - God and Man; Not Literal Water; Ransom for All; Hades
59. Bible Dialogs.: The Second Coming of the Lord
60. “Being Let Go.”
61. Three Parallel Lines
62. Gleanings.
63. Answers to Correspondents.: Frivolity About the Blood; Selling Clothing for the Lord

Bible Dialogs.: Faith

Subject: FAITH.
Questions by O. Lambert; Answers by H. P. Barker.
THE subject we have chosen for our first dialog is one of prime importance, for faith is the great principle upon which God bestows His blessing.
When the question, "What must I do to be saved?" rang from the agonized lips of the prison warder at Philippi, the inspired answer did not bid him pray, or strive, or make vows, or anything of that sort. He was told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Nothing that he could do could secure God's salvation. The doing had all been done by Christ. All that is left for the sinner is the appropriation of the results of His mighty work by simple faith.
What Is "Faith"?
Faith is a thing which people exercise in hundred ways every day of their lives. When that lady entered the tent just now, and sat down on that chair, it was an act of faith. She trusted the chair, and committed herself to it. When I removed my hat and hung it upon yonder hook, that again was an act of faith. I trusted the hook, and depended upon it to hold my hat. The faith of which the Bible speaks is just as simple as that. Christ is its object, and to have faith in Him is to rely on Him, or want upon Him for that which our souls need. The same thing is expressed in other ways in Scripture: "Look," "Come," "Take," "Receive"—all these mean very much the same as "Trust" or "Believe.”
If, from your heart, you can say—
“Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee,”
you are one that has faith in Him.
Can a man believe of his own accord?
When the Lord Jesus told the man with the withered hand to stretch it forth, the man, did not ask, "How can I?" He might have said, "Lord, I have not been able to move this arm for years. It is paralyzed and helpless. I cannot be expected to raise it." But he simply did as he was bidden. From this we learn that when God commands He gives power to obey.
Now it is His commandment that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ (see 1 John 3:23) Left to ourselves, it is not likely that we should desire to trust in Him. Our hearts, are naturally so depraved and hard that there is no room for Christ there. But God has His ways of producing what He seeks, and it is not for us to reason as to our ability or inability to believe, but to remember that we are commanded to do it. The best thing is to be simple about it. We can trust one another without question. It ought not to be more difficult to trust the Savior.
Why Is It Said That Faith Is the "Gift of God"?
It means, I think, that not only does blessing come to us freely from God, but that the means of appropriating that blessing is provided by Him, Suppose that a friend comes to you and says, I have placed a large sum of money to your account at the Colonial Bank. Here is a checkbook for you. When you wish to draw any money, fill in a check and present it, and you will get what you want.
Your friend thus makes a twofold provision for you. First, he provides a sum of money for you to draw upon. Secondly, he furnishes you with the means to draw upon that amount. But it would be useless for you to say, "Very well, then, all I have to do is to fold my arms and wait till the money comes to me." You would forever remain without the money if you were to act in that way.
You would have to use diligence in availing yourself of the means provided. You would have to fill in and sign the checks, and present them at the bank for payment.
Now faith is like the check-book. It is the gift of God, and is the means by which you may freely avail yourself of all the blessing which Christ has won for sinners by His work upon the cross. The effect of it should be to exercise you, and make you diligent in applying for the offered blessing.
Will Believing That I Am Saved, Save Me?
No more than a pauper would become a millionaire by believing that he is one! We sometimes hear it said, "All you have to do is to believe that you are saved, and you are saved." One might as well go to the bedside of a man down with typhoid fever and say, "All that you have to do is to believe that you are quite well, and you are quite well." It is worse than useless for a man to believe that he is saved, until he really is saved through faith in Christ.
What Must a Man Believe in Order to Be Saved?
I would rather say, "Whom must a man believe?" for it is not a fact, but a Person, that is set forth as the object of faith. In 2 Timothy.
1:12 the apostle says "I know whom I have believed.”
In order to be saved, we are not told to believe about the Lord Jesus Christ, but to believe on Him; that is, to trust in Him.
A lady once came to a friend of mine after an earnest gospel preaching and said, "Will you please point me to some text in the 'Bible which I am to believe in order to be saved?" The preacher; replied, "Madam, you may believe any text, or all the texts in the Bible, and yet not be saved. Believing the Bible never yet saved a soul.”
"Well," said the lady, "if I believe that Christ died for sinners, will that save me?”
“No, madam," was the reply, "for that would only be the belief of a fact. A very blessed fact, I grant you, but still only a' fact, and believing a fact, however true, never yet saved a soul.”
"I suppose," said the lady, "that you mean that I must make it a more personal matter, and believe that Jesus died for me.”
"Madam," replied my friend,” it is an unspeakably precious fact that Jesus died for you. He died for the ungodly, and therefore for you. But that is only a fact, and let me repeat that believing a fact never yet saved a soul.
"Christ is a living Savior, mighty, through the work that He has accomplished, to save. Trust Him to save you. He is willing; He is able; rely on Him.”
I could not put the matter more simply than my friend did in his conversation with the lady. It is a living, loving Savior in glory that we are bidden to trust.
Is Faith the Only Condition of Salvation?
I hardly like to speak even of faith as a "condition of salvation." When Queen Elizabeth was about to pardon one of her nobles who had offended against the laws of the realm, she wished to make certain conditions.
“Your Majesty," said the offending courtier, "grace that hath conditions is no grace at all.”
The Queen saw the truth of this, withdrew the conditions, and freely set the nobleman at liberty.
To speak to the Queen as he did, he must have trusted her. He had faith in her clemency and grace, but this was not a condition of his pardon.
Now God's grace is as free and unconditional as was Queen Elizabeth's. It has no conditions. If faith is the principle on which God blesses, it is in order "that it might be by grace" (Rom. 4:16).
This is important, I am sure, for many people regard faith as something that they have to take to God as the price of their salvation, just as they would take a fee to their doctor. Faith is the simple appropriation of what God freely offers But, probably, Mr. Lambert, in asking this question, has in his mind something that always goes hand-in-hand with true faith, and that is repentance. These two are twin sisters. When one really turns to the Lord in faith, one always turns away from self with loathing, and that is what I understand by repentance. I am rather skeptical as to the so-called "faith" of people who have never been before God in self-judgment about their sins.
How May I Know Whether My Faith Is of the Right Kind or Not?
The great point is, does it rest upon the right object? If so, though it may be weak and small, yet it is faith of the right kind. For instance, suppose that I am sick with influenza. I may have great faith in a certain medicine to cure me. Repeated doses, however, produce no result, and I come to the conclusion that my confidence, great though it was, was misplaced, because the medicine in which I trusted had no efficacy. On the other hand, a remedy of proved value is recommended to me. I have little faith in it, however, and can hardly be persuaded to try it. But when at 'length I begin to take it, I find myself much benefited. My faith in it was small, but it was the right kind of faith, because the medicine I took was efficacious.
In like manner, one may have strong faith in prayer, or in happy experiences, or in dreams, but such faith is faith of the wrong kind. One's faith in Christ may be very small, but if it is indeed faith in Him alone, it is faith of the right kind.
How May One Get to Have Strong Faith?
If a person is untrustworthy, the better one knows him the less one confides in him; but if a person is trustworthy, one's confidence increases as one gets to know him better. The more we learn of the Lord Jesus, the deeper-our personal acquaintance with Him goes; the more we explore the heights and depths of the grace of God, the stronger our faith in Him becomes. Every fresh lesson learned of Him strengthens our faith.
Suppose a Man's Faith Is Always Weak,
Will He yet Be Saved?
It goes without saying that it is good to be like Abraham, who was "strong in faith, giving glory to God." it has been truly said, however, that while strong faith brings heaven to us, weak faith (so long as it is faith in Christ alone) will bring us to heaven.
I was once traveling by train in England to the city of Birmingham. Two ladies were in the same compartment. One was evidently accustomed to traveling, and, having ascertained that she was in the right train, sat quietly in her corner, reading a book till she arrived at Birmingham.
The other was an elderly lady, whose great concern seemed to be that, after all, she might not reach her destination. At nearly every station at which we stopped she put her head out of the window, and inquired of some railway official whether she was in the right train. All their assurances seemed powerless to set her mind at ease.
Let me ask you a question. Which of those two ladies do you think got to Birmingham first?
Both, of course, got there at precisely the same moment. Their arrival did not depend on the amount of their faith, or the lady with the doubts and misgivings would have been left far behind. Their arrival depended on the fact of their both being in the train that was bound for Birmingham.
In the same way two persons may have committed themselves to Christ, and taken His precious blood as the only hope of their souls. One is filled with holy boldness and calm assurance, the other is the victim of torturing doubts. But there is no better likelihood of the one reaching heaven than the other! Both are sure to get there, because the One in whom they have trusted has pledged His word never to let any of His sheep perish.
Suppose a Man Tries His Best to Believe What More Can He Do?
For anyone to talk about "trying to believe" shows that he is entirely mistaken as to the nature of faith. If you came to me and said, "I live at No. 10, in such-and-such a street,” and I were to say, "Well, I will try to believe you," how would you feel? You would draw yourself up, and with an indignant tone you would say, "What? Try to believe me? Do you think, then, that I would tell you a lie?" Your indignation would be natural. Yet people talk of "trying" to believe in Christ! Is He, then, of such doubtful trustworthiness? Is He not rather the one Person in the universe whom we should find it the easiest to trust?
Do not let us get occupied with our faith. Like everything else about us, it is disappointing, and no amount of "trying" will improve it. Let us look right away from self to Christ. We cannot trust ourselves, but, thank God, we can fully trust Him.
Is There Not Such a Thing As "Believing in Vain"?
Indeed there is, and the apostle Paul speaks of it in his first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter xv. But this is only another way of expressing what we have already spoken of, namely, faith in an unworthy object. The apostle was showing the Corinthians that the resurrection of Christ has proved Him to be an Object worthy of our fullest trust. If He had not risen it would have proved that the load of our sins was too great for Him to bear. Faith in Him would in that case have been in vain. But He is risen from the dead, proving thus that His work of atonement is complete. He sits in heaven a mighty Savior. None who trust in Him will trust in vain.
Must Not Faith Go Hand-in-Hand With Works?
Faith without works is dead, but it is faith that saves, not faith and works. The works come in as the evidence of the reality of the faith, and very important they are. I am suspicious of the man who tells me that he believes in Christ and yet is not "zealous of good works.”
If you see smoke coming out of a chimney you know there is a fire inside. You cannot see the fire, but the smoke is evidence of its existence. But it is the fire, not the fire and smoke, that gives warmth. Faith is like the fire; works are like the smoke. They do go hand-in-hand, but not in securing salvation. No works that we could do could add to the value of the work done by Christ on our behalf. Faith rests upon His work, and shows itself in works which are done by the saved ones out of gratitude to Him.
“By grace are ye saved through faith," we read. "Not of works, lest any man should boast." But in the very next verse we are told that we are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Eph. 3:8-10).
Here our first dialog ends. May each and all know what it is to lay hold of Christ by faith for salvation, and for all the blessings that God's grace has stored in Him for us.

A Plea for Work Among the Young.

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel
to every creature."-Mark 16:15.
THE above text is amply sufficient to cover the title of this paper. The need of the rising generation presses heavily on the writer's spirit, and it is his earnest prayer that God may use this appeal to stir up many hearts to take an active interest in: work among the young.
It would be difficult to understand why any should be indifferent in this particular did we not remember that our hearts are the same as those of the disciples of old, who rebuked those who sought to bring "little children" to Jesus that He might lay His blessed hands on them and pray. The Lord had to rebuke the rebukers. May we never be rebuked because we are not in the spirit of our Master!
“Lift up Your Eyes, and Look on the Fields.”
The children of thirty years ago are the parents of to day. A new generation is at our doors. Masses of children, rapidly approaching manhood, have yet to be evangelized. Evangelists long for virgin soil. Here it is, lying at their very feet. In every city and town, in every village and hamlet, there is an audience ready to their hand. "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." Look till your heart is stirred and you are driven to your knees before God about it.
The State of Christendom.
Three evils are rapidly overspreading the land and eating out the heart of all spiritual life—indifference, ritualism, and rationalism. A few years ago, in this country at least, the Scriptures were reverenced, and men trembled under the power of the Word. To-day the great majority never or rarely darken the door of a building where the gospel is preached.
Take your stand on the outskirts of any large city on a Sunday morning in summer. See the stream of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, who are evidently "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." And if, saddened at the sight, you turn to many of the churches and chapels, it is only to be made the more sorrowful. In them the other two evils are too plainly evident. On many a so-called Protestant church door might be written, "This way to Rome." With such the children are held in high esteem, for their hope lies with the rising generation. Only a few weeks ago the writer ventured to invite some young men and lads to a gospel preaching. They turned upon him with, scorn, insult, abuse, and venom.
On inquiry he learned, to his grief, that they formed the choir of a very ritualistic church close by. Their spirit resembled that of the Dark Ages.
On the other hand, religious infidelity, under the name of "Higher Criticism," has taken possession of many a pulpit. Once infidelity was outside the churches; now, alas I it is inside as well. Scarcely one fundamental doctrine of Christianity but is assailed. The inspiration of Scripture is denied, the atonement flouted, the person of Christ attacked, the supernatural refused, and creation, miracles, and even the. resurrection, all explained as natural phenomena!
In this atmosphere the rising generation is being reared. Shall nothing be done to reach them? Shall nothing be done to gain their ears? Do not let us hide ourselves behind generalities or distort the sovereignty of our God and make it a stalking-horse for our indolence. Let us be up and doing. Let each ask, What can I do to forward this blessed work?
Scripture puts children and childlike simplicity in a most blessed place. We cannot forbear quoting one passage in full, ample enough, surely, to ' engage our prayerful interest in the young.
“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And. 'Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matt. 18:1-6.)
How unlike are God's thoughts and ways to ours! We should have chosen great persons for great communications. God reveals them to "babes," and out of the mouths of "babes and sucklings He has perfected praise." Children, little children, babes, sucklings—what a list Scripture presents!
Bible Testimony to God's Working Among the Young.
Joseph evidently was blessed by God before he was seventeen years old, for when he was sold into Egypt at that age he had enough spiritual decision to withstand temptations of no ordinary kind; and at the comparatively young age of thirty stood Second only to Pharaoh. And Samuel is described as "the child Samuel" when the Lord made Himself known to him. David was "but a youth" when he met the giant, and even then could recount how that the Lord had delivered him from the paw of the lion and the bear when as a lad he kept his father's sheep in the wilderness. Jeroboam's child was taken away because of all his father's house he was the only one in whom was found any good thing-toward the Lord God of Israel. “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign... And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or the left. "Paul could write to Timothy," that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Personal Testimony.
More are saved at: seven than at seventy. The overwhelming consensus of testimony is that the vast majority of those whom God blesses are blessed when young. Very few are reached over forty; very many under fourteen. Aged sinners are saved to show what God can do, but He-claims the young. Ask a hundred Christians when they were converted, and it will but confirm this testimony. Only last night at tea the writer tested this. Ten Christians were seated round the table. Seven out of the ten testified that they had been brought to God when under twenty. The writer himself was saved at eleven.
John Wesley was the subject of God's dealing in a very manifest way when a little boy learning his alphabet. Whitefield, the prince of open-air preachers, was reached when a lad in his mother's public-house—the "Blue Bell"—at Gloucester.
C. H. Spurgeon was but a raw youth when, one wintry morning in a dissenting chapel in Colchester, the Lord reached him. Examples might easily be multiplied, but enough has been cited to show what an encouraging field the evangelizing of the young presents.
"Who Will Go for Us?”
The grateful, cleansed prophet, Isaiah, on hearing this voice of the Lord, cried, "Here am I; send me." Oh that many of the Lord's people would as earnestly cry, "Send me"! It is no use going unless we are sent. We shall be failures if we essay to do that for which God has not fitted us. But we can all do something. ALL CAN PRAY. "I exhort," wrote Paul to Timothy, "that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men"; and the expression "all men" embraces all mankind, and therefore the young. If you pray, you sympathize. If you sympathize, you will show it in deeds, not alone in words. You will, at any rate, encourage the work. May I ask you, Have the young a special place in your prayers and sympathy?
One great mistake is to think that anyone can work among the young. We say, "Oh! he's a children's man," as if that meant something childish in the man. Let us seek to have a due sense of the importance of this Christ like work. When Elisha raised the Shunammite's son, we read, "he stretched himself upon the child." We should have thought that to put a living man's mouth on a dead child's mouth, a living man's eyes on a dead child's eyes, a living man's hands on a dead child's hands would require contraction rather than stretching. Believe me, if anyone imagines that the work is anything but of prime importance, he makes a great mistake. Indeed, many an acceptable preacher quite fails to get the interest and attention of the children. We appeal not to great minds and gifts, but to great simplicity, great faith, great tact, the love that hopeth all things, endureth all things, that suffereth long, and is kind. What need of inexhaustible patience, that first mark of an apostle, in such a work!
Ways and Means.
Some may be called to address from the public platform large audiences, others may be able to gather but half a dozen children into their drawing-room or kitchen, as the case may be. My first and greatest desire is for your prayers, then act in faith; and do not go beyond your faith, but pray do not lag behind it.
In the winter months in big cities how easily a band of earnest young Christians can gather the children into a suitable hall, and by means of clear, earnest, simple preaching, illustrated by the blackboard it may be, secure the attention of the children, and gain a hearing for the gospel. The Scriptures abound in incident and illustration, and with eyes, ears, and hearts open we may likewise glean incidents from everyday life, and illustrations from sea, land, and sky.
Then in summer what opportunities there are for open-air or tent services in the villages and country places! On foot or by bicycle, distant spots may be visited, and the whole country-side for a radius of many miles worked. Did not our blessed Lord visit the villages? One day a mountain was His pulpit, another day a fishing-boat. Oh, if our hearts were more like His, how simply we should avail ourselves of opportunities I Then, again, how happily and healthily a summer holiday may be spent at some seaside place where children abound, and opportunities occur leading to great results, if only used aright. And what shall we say of dark Roman Catholic and heathen lands? What need! What openings for faith, courage, and tact! Much that we have already stated applies with tenfold force here. May God light candles in many a dark corner of the earth!
An Appeal for Work Among All Classes of Children.
"To the poor the gospel is preached," is as applicable to work among the young as among their elders. The children of the slums are more accessible than the children of the upper classes. The rich hedge themselves round with artificial barriers. Therefore there is need to ask that all classes of children shall be remembered.
One helpful principle is this-whilst all should remember the multitudes and the poor, we should seek to reach the children in the class to which we ourselves belong. Some Christians have position in this world. In Scripture we have not only the simple fishermen of Galilee, but Paul, the university graduate; Zenas, the lawyer; Luke, the beloved physician; Cornelius, the converted army officer; the most excellent Theophilus; those of Cæsar’s household; the elect lady and her children. What an opportunity lies within the grasp of those who are in good positions in this life that are denied their poorer brethren! How pleasant and natural it would be for such to gather the children of their neighborhood into their drawing-rooms, and thus seek an entrance for the gospel into circles naturally difficult of access. When the heart is filled with love for Christ and for souls, what blessed opportunities are ours! May we not miss them! Missed, they are beyond recall. Truly, "now is the accepted time.”
“Lord,... What Shall This Man Do?”
Peter, impetuous, warm-hearted, and blundering, asked the Lord this question concerning John. The blessed Lord answered by saying; "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me." In effect-but how delicately and gently it was done!-He said, "Mind your own business, and don't interfere with another servant." Most important advice, and well worthy of our consideration. So, please, let it be clearly understood that the writer of this paper desires only to put principles and suggestions before his readers, not to dictate to them what to do. He would fain stir up himself and others, especially his younger brethren, to fresh and deeper exercise as to this important field of service.
Concluding Considerations.
The facility of work among the young is alike its charm and danger. Older folks are under the bias of mature years, their minds made up on important questions, and less open to conviction. With the children this is not so. Sectarian partisanship has not yet gained a hold upon their minds and prejudices. They are ready to hear anybody and believe anything. For one adult ready to listen to the gospel, you can find ten children. Their minds are open to impressions and their memories receptive of the most lasting memories life is capable of.
This is the charm of work among the young. But in the very charm what danger besets the worker! He may be inclined to forget that, whilst all this is helpful on our side of things, on God's side it is as much a miracle of grace and power to convert a child as to reach a grown-up person. The work in their souls is as important and sacred. Then let us be careful not to take advantage of their plastic and receptive minds. Let us be careful not to push them beyond their faith or exercise, nor to lightly heal wounds of God's own, making till by the Spirit He applies the healing balm and ointment. Work among the young is a very blessed, gracious privilege, but it demands much prayer, seriousness, and dependence, as well as brightness, tact, patience, and love.
"Also I heard the voice, of the Lord, saying; Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I;, send me.”
A. J. P.

The New Year.

THUS far the Lord hath led. Another year
Has proved His love, His goodness, and His power,
His hand has guided through the year gone by,
And daily need has met the full supply
Of daily grace. Now in His grace press on,
With steadfast patience, for the victor's crown;
Looking to Jesus, living but to prove
That He who loves with everlasting love
Has claimed the willing service of your heart,
Until you see Him, never more to part.
N. T.

“Follow Thou Me.”

If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23)., He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me (MATT. 10:38).
Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:27).
If any man serve Me, let him follow Me (John 12:26).
HOW little some of us know of this, and yet if our hearts are truly attached to Christ, surely we should not draw back or shrink from the path He sets before us. It means gain, undoubtedly, in that which is abiding and eternal, if it means loss here. It means nearness to Him who has led the way, the conscious support of His hand in the difficulties that we are sure to meet with; and though we naturally shrink from trouble and fear the future, yet if we have proved in any measure what it is to have His company in the trial, we would not have been without it.
To him who realizes what the death of the Lord Jesus Christ means, not only for his sins, but to deliver from this present evil world, this world becomes the "valley of the shadow of death," the deep, dark shadow of His death lying upon all that the world is and can offer to attract our hearts; yet he can joyfully exclaim, "I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
The cross means death—I do not mean the death of the body, but to all that in which will works in it—and we cannot go in for it in our own strength; on the contrary, it implies that we have none. All we can do is to put our hand in His in simple childlike trust, looking to Him where He is in resurrection glory, walking, in the light of that scene, our life hid in Him, the other side of death; but as to life down here, reckoning ourselves to be dead, all that we are gone under God's judgment, too incurably bad for Him to do anything with. The more we know Him, surely the more we can trust His love as to our circumstances, as to everything. We sometimes fear the consequences of following Him wholly, but may we not trust His loving heart to do the very best for us, and have confidence that He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able to bear? He is worthy of our whole heart's affections.
Oh, let us not give Him a second place; let Him be first and all. We are His, left here to be for Him. May we not dishonor Him and grieve His heart by our coldness and half-heartedness and worldliness, but may we seek to walk worthy of Him to whom we belong, who loves us so perfectly and would draw us with those bands of love, that we might follow Him wholly. W.

Answers to Correspondents.: Women Preaching; Christ as Man and God; Acts 15:29,1 Cor. 10:25; Matt. 13:44; The Shout and the Trumpet Call

A. B. C.—No one can deny that the preaching of Christian women has been the means of the conversion of very many. But that is no valid reason for regarding it as a divine institution. If women preach in public, and God blesses their labors, we are not obliged to conclude that it is a part of His original design, when the whole trend of Scripture leads to an opposite conclusion. Can He not allow a breach of His order to provoke to becoming zeal the spirit of sluggish men? We believe that to be a solution of the whole matter. Speaking for ourselves alone, we would not dare hinder the preaching of any lady used of God in saving blessing to souls, though, as a man, we might feel it a very humiliating thing. We are sure that if Christian men were more faithful and devoted, they would be His instruments for public testimony and not women. These, indeed, might labor with equal devotedness in spheres for which they are admirably fitted both by nature and grace. They might, like the daughters of Philip the Evangelist, possess a very high order of gift which assuredly is not to be buried in the earth. They might labor in the gospel as Euodias and Syntyche did with Paul. And much more they might do without leaving the place they are designed to fill. But Scripture, as we read it, does not allow us to go further, though we gladly concede that in the wisdom of God women might be stirred up to preach in order to shame the slothfulness of men and to provoke them—if they have any conscience at all—to a work that is legitimately their own.
J. B.—We must guard with jealous care the glory of the Person of the Savior, and tremble lest on so high a subject we utter a word not in accordance with the truth. That He who died for our sins upon the cross was man is most certain, or how could He die at all? That He was infinitely more, even the Maker and Upholder of all things, is equally true, or what would be the value of His death? But we should, hardly be satisfied to say that He died as man, still less that He died as God, for neither statement would, in our judgment, be the whole truth. He who did die to make atonement for our sins was in Himself both. In incarnation "the Word became flesh," as John 1:14 tells us, and "God was manifest in the flesh," as it says in 1 Tim. 3:16. Thus in one divine and holy Person there is the union of the two. But this is a profound mystery—a mystery we do not pretend to unravel, and in the presence of which the soul taught of God can only adore.
HELPED.—Acts 15:29; 1 Cor. 10:25.—We see no difficulty in reconciling these, passages. The former simply enjoins abstinence from meats offered to idols, and the latter bids us eat, asking no questions. If it was known that they had been so offered, the believer was not to partake of them, for the sake of others' consciences, though knowing for himself that the idol was nothing. But if he did not know, he was not to ask questions; let him eat and be thankful. As to Matt. 25, we might not be able to distinguish the wise from the foolish virgins at a glance. God alone can look beneath the surface. But "by their fruits ye shall know them"; and if a man be indwelt by the Spirit of God, we may surely expect to see some evidence of it in his life. Coming now to John 12:25, it means that to love life here, to live only in the present, to have no eye fixed on unseen an eternal things, to make getting on in the world our one object, that is, in reality, to lose one's life. It is misspent and has failed altogether in the purpose for which it was given. To pursue an opposite course is to keep one's life though the world may think it lost. Luke 10:16 had special reference to the Lord's sent ones of that day, though in principle applying now. Certainly ale Lord's servants may depend on their Master to meet their few earthly wants. Finally, we believe Mark 16:16 holds good still. We have answered your queries with more than our usual brevity owing to their number. In future, kindly let us have one or two at a time, so that, if needs be, we may deal with them more fully.
INQUIRER. —Scripture is much more exact than many suppose. It never confounds purchase with redemption—a thing theologians of differing schools constantly do. The field was bought for the sake of the treasure that was in it (Matt. 13:44). Wicked men deny the Sovereign Lord that bought them (2 Peter 2:1). Redemption is another thing, and so far as men are concerned, the term can only be applied to the believer. He alone is redeemed. And redemption is viewed in various aspects. There is redemption by blood, as Israel on the night of the Passover. There is redemption by power, as Israel when they had crossed the Red Sea and the mighty waters had swallowed up their ancient foes; and there is moral redemption, as in Titus 2:14, "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity." Who, with any reverence for Scripture, ever dreams of applying all this to everybody in the wide world? Purchase is world-wide, redemption embraces only the saved. So with the great truths of propitiation and substitution. "Jesus Christ the righteous" is not only the propitiation for our sins, but also for the whole world (1 John 2:2). In virtue of this propitiatory sacrifice the door of blessing is thrown open for all to enter in. It is the' widest aspect of the death of the Lord Jesus. But in substitution the thought is narrower, and only embraces those who have faith in Him. Let us not blot out these distinctions by the use of vague and general terms, but rather use diligence to hold them inviolate. By so doing our own soul and those of others will be established and blessed.
T. J. M.—We have no reason to believe that when the Lord returns with assembling shout, with arch, angel's voice and with trump of God, to raise the sleeping saints, to change the living ones, and to take both to be forever with Him, the world at large will be cognizant of it. The shout and voice and trumpet-call will be for those who are Christ's and for no other. And all shall take place "in a moment, in the -twinkling of an eye." The onus of proof rests with those, who affirm that the world will hear. We know of no scripture that says anything of the sort.

Bible Dialogs.: Conversion

Questions by C. a. Miller; Answers by H. P. Barker.
EVERY householder in this city claims the right to say who shall cross his threshold and who not. Now the right that we claim for ourselves we must surely allow to the Lord Jesus Christ. In Matt. 18:3 He distinctly tells us that some shall not enter His kingdom. Unless a man is converted it is useless for him to expect it. We read: "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
This shows the immense importance of conversion. We do well to devote an evening to this subject. Apart from conversion, there can be no blessing; no lasting joy, no heaven for anyone.
Will You Please Explain What Is Meant by Conversion?
We cannot do better than turn to Scripture for an answer. Look first at 1 Cor. 6 After mentioning many awful vices prevalent amongst the heathen, the apostle says, in verse 11: "Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified." That is a lovely definition of conversion. Turn now to Eph. 2:13: "Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far of are made nigh by the blood of Christ." That is how the apostle puts it to the believers at Ephesus. Then look at 1 Peter 2:25: "Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." All these passages show very clearly what conversion is, but I do not know any that puts it more beautifully than another verse in that same chapter in Peter, verse 9: "Called... out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
These scriptures make it very plain that conversion is a vital and radical change affecting the soul—a transference from darkness, danger, and distance to light, salvation, and nearness to God.
The other evening I had occasion to go into my bedroom to change my coat. It was dark, but knowing where my other coat hung, the change was easily effected without a light. An outward change was thus brought about. I had laid aside an old coat for a better one, but all the time I remained in the dark! A similar thing often takes place in the history of men. They become religiously impressed, they forsake their evil companions, sinful habits are dropped, and efforts are made to live a better life. Instead of frequenting the rum-shop they attend a place of worship, and become sober and respectable citizens. All this and much more is true of them, yet all the while they remain in darkness.
No heavenly light, revealing a Savior full of love and power, dawns upon their souls. An outward change, desirable in every way, has taken place, but their souls have not been brought from danger to safety and from darkness to light. We cannot be too emphatic in saying that such reformation is not conversion. Turning over a new leaf is not the same thing as being made nigh to God by the blood of Christ.
Some people seem to think that if they have had remarkable dreams or exhilarating experiences and religious feelings, it amounts to conversion. But conversion is a far deeper reality than anything of this kind; it is nothing short of a passing from death unto life (John 5:24).
Do Those Who Have Been Baptized and Never
Committed Any Gross Sin Need to Be Converted?
There is no sin that is not gross sin in God's sight. Men are accustomed to regard some sins as heinous and some as trivial, but every sin is abhorrent to God. The slightest sin as effectually bars heaven's gate against the one who commits it as the sin of murder, and it calls as loudly for atonement by the blood of Christ.
But it is not only because of what we have done that conversion is such a necessity, but because of what we are. And in this respect there is no difference; all are sinners, all must plead guilty, all are exposed to judgment. Scripture declares most decidedly that "there is no difference." The baptized, educated, refined, amiable, religiously-inclined lady must be converted if she wishes to go to heaven, just as truly as the swearer, the drunkard, and the thief.
Can We Be Converted Just When We Please?
God never gives a sinner the choice of times; His time is always the present. "Now is the day of salvation," and "to-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." If a man puts the matter off, he does so at his own most terrible risk. He may never have another chance. I do not say he will not, for God's longsuffering is great, and His grace lingers over many; but it would be safer to play with the forked lightning than to trifle with His mercy or the pleadings of His Spirit.
How Long Does It Take to Get Converted?
Last Friday evening we read a note from a young friend here, who says that in less than a minute she received the blessing which, as a guilty sinner, she sought. Her tale could be echoed by many. How long did it take the dying thief to get converted? How long for the bitter persecutor on the Damascus road to
be stricken down and the cry of "Lord!" to be wrung from his lips? How long was it before the leather- hearted, gospel-hating jailer at Philippi, when awakened by the earthquake, got an answer to his question— "What must I do to be saved?”
No doubt there are usually many exercises of soul that accompany, conversion, and these may be spread over weeks or years. But I believe there is a definite moment when the exercises reach their climax, when the soul puts its confidence, once for all, in the Savior and His precious blood, and is pardoned and cleansed. It is not a long process; it is the act of a moment:
If Any Converted Person Falls Into Sin, Does He
Need to Be Converted Over Again?
That is a question asked, in one form or another, by thousands. I venture to say, however, that the question would never occur-if we really understood that when a sinner is converted: he is also justified from all things, becomes a child of God, and by the gift of the Spirit is made a member of Christ's body. If all this needs to be repeated whenever a believer falls into sin, then it needs to be repeated twenty times a day in the case of many! But one passage of. Scripture will put such a notion to flight, We read, "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever" (Eccl. 3:14). When a soul is saved, it is God that saves it, and "it shall be forever." When a sinner is justified through faith in Christ, "it is God that justifieth," and "it shall be forever.”
No earthly parent can sever the relationship that exists between himself and his child. So is it with the heavenly and eternal relationship formed between God and the believing soul. If one of His children falls into sin, He may chastise him and subject him to various kinds of discipline; but disown him? Never! Such a one needs to be restored to communion and to the right path, but he cannot be converted over, again.
In saying this I do not forget Luke 22:32. Peter was a truly converted man ever since that memorable scene when he owned himself a sinful, man, yet clung to the Savior's feet, if not before. But he grievously fell, and denied his Lord with curses. The Lord, however, tells him that He has prayed for him, and even before his fall looks on to his restoration. "When thou art converted," He says, "strengthen thy brethren." It would be better translated, "When thou art restored," for it refers not to the conversion of a godless sinner, but the restoration of a backsliding saint.
Let me give you an illustration which I borrow from a friend. A man enlists as a soldier. After a time he grows weary of a soldier's life, and, seizing an opportunity, he runs away. He is now a deserter, and lives in constant fear of detection. By-and-by he resolves to return to the army. His regiment has been ordered to the front, and he would like to rejoin it. How is he to get into its ranks again? He cannot re-enlist as if he had never worn the King's uniform: not as a recruit, but as a deserter, he must return. His proper course is to report himself to his colonel, and submit to any penalties that the latter may see fit to impose.
So with an erring child of God. He is a deserter from the ranks, and lie cannot enlist as a recruit. As a wanderer he must return, not to seek acquittal by a judge, but pardon from a Father. Let such remember that God's restoring grace is as great as His saving grace. If the guilty sinner is welcomed, so the wandering child will be; but it is as a child he must return, needing not conversion, but restoration, and he will assuredly obtain it through the advocacy of Christ.
Is Conversion All That Is Needed to Make One a Christian?
If it were, there would have been no need for Jesus to come down from heaven and die upon the cross. That mighty work was necessary before anyone could become a Christian. But perhaps Mr. Miller is thinking of a notion that is current in certain quarters that no one can properly call himself a Christian until, at the end of life's journey, he prepares to pass from earth to heaven. Ask one who believes thus, "Are you a Christian?" and the reply will be, "I am trying to be one.”
Now, no amount of trying has ever made anyone a Christian. A man does not become a soldier by trying, to behave like one, but by enlisting. The moment he enlists he is as much a soldier of the King as the commander-in-chief. The one has never set foot upon a battlefield, and the other may be the veteran of a hundred fights, but both are soldiers of the King.
What Are the Marks of a Converted Person?
There were four marks most noticeable in the converts at Thessalonica. You will find them in
1 Thess. 1:9, 10.
(1) They had turned to God. This is the first mark of a converted person. Instead of fearing God, he is at peace with God; instead of hiding from Him, he says, "Thou art my hiding-place"; instead of regarding God as a stern taskmaster or severe judge, he knows Him as his loving Father.
(2) They had turned from idols. Others amongst us, besides coolies and Chinamen, have had idols. Anything that is allowed to usurp God's place in the soul is an idol; anything of self that one bases a hope of future bliss upon is an idol. Are you hoping for God's favor because of your moral living, or your praying, or your vows? Then these things are your idols. They stand between you and God's blessing. A mark of a converted person is that he has flung to the winds all that he previously built his hopes upon—his own efforts and resolutions, everything that stood between him and God.
They were now serving the living and true God. An unconverted man serves self and Satan; a converted man seeks to serve God in all the details of his life. Everything under his control becomes converted, too, as it were. If he is a draper, he is careful to give thirty-six inches to the yard; if a milk-seller, he sees to it that his milk is milk, and not milk and water. Everything about him bears witness that be is now a servant of God.
They were waiting for God's Son from heaven. Popularity, fame, success, wealth, are not objects of ambition to the really converted man. He knows Jesus as his Deliverer from wrath to come, and his hopes are fixed upon that bright world where God's Son is the Center of all. He looks for Him, and his dearest wish will be gratified when he finds himself in His presence forever. Oh that these four marks might be more visible in each of us!
Can Every Converted Person Tell for Certain the
Exact Date of His Conversion?
A great many can. They can put their fingers upon a certain day in the almanac and say, "That is my spiritual birthday." But all cannot do that, and I don't think any should be troubled on that account. If you are sure that you are converted, that you have been brought out of the shadowland of sin into the sunshine of grace and liberty, it is enough. There is no need to be anxious because you cannot tell the precise moment of your conversion.
Is Conversion Always Accompanied by Deep Sorrow for Sin?
I am exceedingly doubtful of any conversion in which there is not a measure of self-judgment and sorrow for sin. It is no pleasing sight to see a person "receive the word with joy," as did those of whom we read in Luke 8:13. The next thing recorded of them is that they "have no root," only believe "for a while," and soon "fall away." I have seen people profess conversion and immediately get down on their knees and pray for their friends, for the preachers of the gospel, for the soldiers in South Africa, for those exposed to danger by sea, for the Jews, and I know not what else. They seem to have no sense of the seriousness of their sins, which needed such a sacrifice as that of Christ to atone for them. There is no deep plowing up of their consciences, no distress over their hardness of heart. For my own part I love to see tears of contrition on the cheeks of a repentant sinner, and to hear the heart-broken cries of the prodigal as he turns' to the Father. I think God values it too.
“God loves to hear the contrite cry,
He loves to see the tearful eye,
To read the spirit's deep-felt sigh.”
But it is a true saying that "still waters run-deep:" Often those who feel most are the slowest to give expression to their feelings. But one looks that there should be some indication of a broken and contrite state of soul, and some realization of the seriousness and awfulness of sin.
Why Do We See so Few Conversions Nowadays,
Compared With What We Read of in Bygone Times?
It may be traced to more causes than one. Perhaps it is due in no small measure to the fact that in many quarters conversion is no longer looked upon as a necessity. Sermons are delivered without mentioning it in any way. People are exhorted to "follow Christ" and "walk in His steps" without being told that in order to do so they must begin by being converted.
No doubt another cause is the lamentable coldness and indifference among us evangelical Christians, who do believe in the necessity of conversion.
When David wandered from the Lord, he ceased to have any influence for good over others. In Psa. 51 we see him penitent. Listen to his words: "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit: then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; AND SINNERS SHALL BE CONVERTED UNTO THEE." While David's heart was cold there was a dearth of conversions.
The restoration of his joy would be the means of blessing to others besides himself. Sinners would be converted. Brethren, we should not have to mourn over the fewness of conversions if only any hearts were warmer and more responsive to God's mighty love.
If a Man Says: "I Want to Be Converted, but I Don't
Know How to Set About It," How Would You Advise Him?
I should turn him to Acts 3:19. "Repent, and be converted." I should urge him, in true repentance, to turn to the Savior. I should also read Acts 16:31 to him: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." A repentant sinner, who truly believes in Jesus and trusts Him for salvation, is converted. He has turned to the Lord from his sins.
Our dialog is ended. It is now my turn to ask a question, and I want everyone here to answer it honestly, as in the presence of God.
Are YOU Converted?
My ardent desire is that you should seek a personal interview with the Savior. Acknowledge your guilt. Make no excuses. Keep nothing back. Then put your trust in Him. He will save you and bless you. Then you will be able to say, "Thank God, I am converted.”

The Cleansing of the Soul.

“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."—1 John 1:7.
AT ANY of us have often heard this grand text read with particular stress laid on the last syllable of cleanseth. We can almost hear, even now, our would-be spiritual guide inviting us in earnest, reverent tones to observe the form of the verb. It is not in the past tense, says he, or it would be haft cleansed, nor is it in the future. Cleanseth, is the word, he adds, placing the weight of his voice once more on the final syllable—a continuous present, you see! The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. Then he goes on to tell us that daily, hourly, we need to be cleansed, that every fresh sin calls us to return and find fresh cleansing in that fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. And in speaking thus the dear man only voices what is commonly believed by the larger part of evangelical Christendom.
But is that the meaning of the passage? Scarcely. Indeed, we go further, and say that it cannot be. If there are any grounds for urging that "cleanseth" is a continuous present, which we beg leave to doubt, then the doctrine deduced is decidedly not the doctrine of the text, unless repeatedly and continuously mean the same thing. But do they? Suppose I say, For the last twenty-four hours it has rained repeatedly, is that equivalent to my saying, It has rained continuously the last twenty-four hours? I trove not. Unless, then, we are prepared to say the blood of Jesus Christ is cleansing the believer continually without any intermission at all, there is no force whatever in speaking of cleanseth as a continuous present.
Is it anywhere stated in Scripture that there is even a repeated application of the blood of Christ to the believing soul? On the contrary, the very opposite is elaborately taught in Heb. 10 "The worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins." Now those words "once" and "no more" are not ours. Under the law there was no real cleansing; the utmost it could do by its most solemn sacrifices was to give temporary relief. Had there been perfect cleansing the conscience would have been set at rest forever and the sacrifices would have ceased. Shall the blood of Christ do no more for the believer than the blood of bulls and goats did for the Jew?
Shall it only give temporary relief? Is the conscience of the Christian all his life long to be like the conscience of an Israelite, repeatedly burdened with a sense of guilt, and repeatedly relieved by repeated applications of the blood of Jesus Christ? If any affirm this, what, then, we ask, is Meant by "no more conscience of Sins"? What the meaning of "perfected forever" of Heb. 10:14?
Does some reader say, "But if, alas! fall into some sin, is not my conscience to take cognizance of it.? Is there no upbraiding voice? Is there nothing to make me feel that my sin has sealed up the fountain of my spiritual joy? How, then, is my conscience to be quieted, how the upbraiding voice silenced, and the stream of spiritual joy made to flow afresh, save by a return to the blood shed on Calvary for me? I know no other way.”
To this we answer, Are you not confounding the question of guilt with that of communion with God.? Are you not confounding judicial cleansing with moral cleansing, which latter is not by the blood at all, though the blood be the basis of everything? Can the soul be judicially cleansed more than once? We think not. It is here the blood of Jesus has its place. By it the claims of the Eternal Throne have been met once for all, and the ground laid, broad and deep, for the display of God's glory as the One who is just and the justifier of ungodly men (Rom. 4:5). Do I believe in Jesus? Do I believe on Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead? Then am I justified from all things; none can condemn, none lay aught to my charge. This is what we mean by judicial, cleansing. Does every single sin of the believer sweep all this 'away? Does it place him once More among the criminals? Does it oblige him to seek deliverance from such a state exactly as he did when the light of God first broke in upon his, soul? Who dares to say so save he who has yet to learn what the gospel is, and what has been done for the believer by the dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus Christ?
"Moral cleansing is not to be confounded with all that. It is evident to a thoughtful mind that judicial cleansing does not fully meet the sinner's case. Something more is needed, and, thank God, there is something more. For out of the pierced side of Christ came forth blood and water." This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water' and blood" (1 John 5:6)—the blood to cleanse judicially, the water to cleanse morally. Both the water and blood alike tell of death—the death of Him who was our substitute, who stood in our room and stead. But the blood speaks of death in one connection, the water in another. Let me explain.
In my unconverted clays I was a sinner in my guilt, needing judicial cleansing if I would escape the judgment of God. This I find in the blood of Christ. I was also a sinner by nature, with a carnal mind, which is enmity against God and which never can be subject to Him (Rom. 8:7). I need to be born again, I need cleansing from that which in me is indeed sin and only sin. Here the water comes in, not the blood—the death of Christ, not as atoning for my sins and guilt, but as that in which "sin in the flesh" was condemned (Rom. 8:2), "our old man" crucified (Rom. 6:6); yea, further, in which I, as a sinner, came to my end forever—for God and for the faith of my soul—never more to be revived (Rom. 6:8). And not only so, but to me is given a new-life with its own proper, holy nature—a new moral being with instincts, tastes, and desires which are wholly after God (Eph. 4:24; 2 Cor. 5:17). Thus I am "clean every whit," and though in me "the flesh" still is, yet lain privileged to say of it, "It is no more I." There is another "I" now; even Christ who lives in me, as Paul puts it in Gal. 2:20. This is cleansing indeed, cleansing by the death of Christ, and by the communication of that which is entirely new, but it is a cleansing of which the water speaks rather than the blood. It is inward and moral, not judicial; and it is once for all.
But what about our sins after conversion, when all this is true of us? Do we return to the blood and seek a fresh application of it as needing to be again judicially cleansed? Certainly not. It is now a question of suspended communion, not of judicial cleansing. If we have become defiled, we need "the water of separation" of Num. 19, the basin and towel of John 13 But the basin was filled with water, not blood. Now the water is a symbol of the Word brought home to our conscience by the faithful service of the Lord Jesus to "His own" whom He loves to the end, and by the power of the Holy Spirit leading us to confession of our sins and self-judgment in the holy presence of God, remembering what it cost Christ to put those sins away. And "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The sins confessed and abhorred are forgiven which, as" guilt, have already-been put out of God's sight, and the soul is cleansed from the moral distance and reserve resulting from the defilement contracted by the way.
If it be objected that in a preceding paragraph we have spoken of moral cleansing as effected once for all and here of a repetition of it, we reply, Both are true. For in John 13:10 the Lord says, "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit." Now that word "washed" signifies the bathing of the whole person, while "wash" refers to the cleansing of the feet, as distinct from the former: That is once for all. This is needed all along the road till we reach the heavenly land and the 'dust of the wilderness way defile our feet no more.
What, then, is the meaning of 1 John 1:7? It must be interpreted in connection with its immediate context. "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Of old, in relation to Israel, God dwelt in the thick darkness, and clouds and darkness were round about Him (2 Chron. 6:1; Psa. 97:2). "The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest." Now it is, and we are encouraged to draw near. But how can I walk in the light as God is in the light, without inward trembling, without rottenness entering into my bones, without crying in dismay, "Woe is me, for I am undone"? Impossible, save for this gracious word, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." It -washes away to the last trace everything unsuited to the glory of God. Whiter than snow the believer is in virtue of the blood. He now walks in the light, as God is in the light. He may walk with ungainly gait, but that is where he walks. He may have to own, alas! how little he walks according to the light, but it is in the light that he walks, with a conscience purified once for all by the blood of Christ. That is how we understand the verse.
If we have failed to make our meaning plain, let the reader write to the Editor, who will, through the correspondence columns, do his best to set the subject forth in a clearer light.

Who Should Evangelize?

IS the Church evangelistic?
I do not mean, is she "Evangelical," as opposed to such terms as "High" or "Broad," but is she essentially, and in each of her members, a witness to the gospel?
Is the service of the gospel one of her primary privileges, not to say responsibilities?
By the "Church" I do not mean the clergy, nor do I allude to any part or section of the professing body, but rather the whole company of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ extant on earth, at any given time, between the coming of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost and the moment when, at His second coming, all such, dead or living, shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and to be forever with Him—in a word, the body of Christ.
Nor do I mean that each saint is an evangelist, for that is, as we know, as distinct a gift of Christ as that of apostle, prophet, pastor, or teacher.
Each is not an apostle, nor a prophet, nor a pastor, nor a teacher. Such gifts have been given. We have the writings of the apostles, whilst the pastor, teacher, and evangelist, remain to us to-day. Christ does not forget the need of His-dear people, nor is that of the world neglected either. Grace flows towards it as ever.
Nay, but is the testimony of the Church evangelistic? The question is momentous.
It may be said, and truly, that she is the vessel of praise and worship; that she is the pillar and ground of the truth; and that, as Christ's to-day, she, receiving nourishment from the Head, makes increase unto the edifying of herself in love. All this, and more, may be true, but the question is not as to her relation to God or to Christ, nor of the members one to another—relations most important in themselves—but of her responsibility in the exercise of active grace toward the world.
Granted that the Church, as such, does not preach, because to do so is clearly a personal service, and demands a special gift from on high, is there yet to be no active evangelistic testimony on the part of the saints because there should happen to be no such gift on the spot? Must every lip be silent, every hand folded, and every foot at rest in such a case? Never Do we, then, advocate men running unsent? Nay, nor that either, though it was said by one of old, "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets"—a sentiment which would appear to suggest that there is little danger of a glut of applicants for that office! The Lord of the harvest never yet found too large a supply of laborers. We need not, therefore, fear that contingency. The opposite is, and, alas!, always has been, the trouble—plenty of work and few workmen, fields white to harvest and a deplorable scarcity of reapers. This to our shame'.
Then, apart from the above specific gift, who is qualified for the active spread of the gospel? Nay, whose is the privilege? Nay, further, whose is the responsibility? If Christ has most graciously lit your candle, He certainly means that you should let it shine. If you place it under a bushel, or under a bed, you do so at your peril. He gives you the immense honor of being a light-bearer in a sin-darkened world; and, depend upon it, the gospel is a very large part of the flame, and of the heat too.
Thus we read in John 7:38, "He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." How suggestive! How refreshing! What a superabundance of blessing is supposed! What an inward supply has the believer, through the power of the indwelling Spirit, to meet the need of a thirsty world! All true, but from whom flow these rivers of living water? The gifted evangelist That may be so; but "he that believeth on Me," said the blessed Lord; was to be the reservoir of this wondrous supply.
It may be said that the passage applies only to individuals, and does not refer to the Church. Quite true, but neither does it refer to gift, saving indeed to that of the Spirit, and common therefore to all who believe in the now ascended Lord. It is our common privilege. It is the way whereby the God of grace causes rivers of blessing to flow universally. The Church, in all her several members, enjoys this great honor.
Were blessing confined to gift, how limited it would be!
What a cheer, and stimulus is this to the ungifted crowds who nevertheless believe in the Son of God! Take all the encouragement you can from it; and, weak though your faith may be you have the Spirit, so that, even from you, these living waters may flow. If they do not flow from those who believe in the Son of God, they will flow from no one. There is our solemn responsibility. We cannot throw this on the shoulders of others, nor relegate our own duty (for such at least it is) to those more gifted for the work of public speaking. They have their part as well.
Trace the devoted company who were scattered abroad on the persecution of Stephen, a fair sample indeed of the Church at large in her true testimony. We read in Acts 8:4 that they "went everywhere preaching" (more correctly "evangelizing") "the word"; and again, in Acts 11:19, 20, they "traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them... spake unto the Grecians, preaching" ("evangelizing") "the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord Was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord." Now, can we suppose that they were all specially gifted evangelists? Impossible No marvel, then, that when Barnabas came and had seen the grace of God he was glad. Nothing gladdens like grace.
What was the end of this scattered company we know not. Perhaps the fires of martyrdom were their lot; but, noble band! they evangelized as they went, and caused on all sides rivers of living water to flow. Their work will stand the fire of the coming day. What a picture and an example to us today! Alas that any of us should decline the honor, and faithlessly let it fall into worthier hands!
In closing it may be well to point out that the very last injunction of a public nature given by the apostle Paul was that Timothy should "do the work of an evangelist" (2 Tim. 4:5). Just ere dropping his pen forever, and laying down his life for the sake of Christ and the Church, this devoted servant of the 'Lord and faithful minister of the Church charged his son in the faith, with his parting breath, and in view of all the incoming ruin that should befall the Church, to mind the work of the gospel. It was no question of gift, but of heart for Christ's interests. Such a heart takes personal and unwearied part in the active work of an evangelist. T. W. S.

Answers to Correspondents.: John 1:18; Deut. 23:3; 1 Tim. 3:16

R. P. B.—John 1:18.—We know what is meant when people speak of the blessed Lord as having left the Father's bosom and come down to earth. They simply mean that; moved by infinite compassion, He laid aside His glory and became a man that He might redeem us and make us His own forever. And this, blessed be His name, is true. But, strictly speaking, He never left the Father's bosom, and Scripture is so very exact. "The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father"-not was, but is. And these words were spoken by the Lord when here on earth. It is a term expressive of the deepest, tenderest affection and of the closest and most sacred intimacy. Surely the only begotten Son never left that bosom, never ceased to be the object of the Father's love. If any say, But He was the forsaken One on the cross. True, but not of the Father. Forsaken of God He was, but of the Father—never. Indeed, His devoted obedience even unto death furnished, so to speak, fresh reasons for the Father's love (see John 10:17).
Luke 17:37 must be read in relation to its preceding context. A day shall come when in discriminating judgment one shall be seized and the other left, whether in the field, the bed, or behind the mill. Just as the eagles scent the prey from afar and swoop down on the corrupting carcass, so the judgment of God will assuredly overtake those whose sins make them worthy of it.
Psa. 51:16 and Mic. 6:6 show that what is external and material, however great' and costly, is but of little worth if it stand alone. God looks for moral reality. A broken and a contrite heart in one who had sinned as David had is immeasurably more acceptable to Him than any sacrifice money could buy. So to walk humbly with God, to be just and love mercy, is greater in His sight than thousands of rams or ten thousands of rivers of oil. What is the worth of these to Him to whom the wealth of the universe belongs? Nevertheless, under the Mosaic economy the stated sacrifices referred to in Heb. 9 and 10. had to be offered. They served to press the sins of the people on their consciences, made them remember that without shedding of blood there is no remission, and pointed forward to the great Sacrifice by which the solemn question of sin was to be forever settled. There is no disagreement, much less contradiction, between these varied scriptures. They do but view things on different sides.
E. M.—Deut. 23:3.—In the strict letter of it this passage clearly excludes a Moabite from the congregation of the Lord forever. How then, you ask, came Ruth the Moabitess to be admitted? It is true the law gave her no title, but grace can bring in where law shuts out. Had the Lord God of Israel no room under His wings for one who would fain shelter there, and who, though a stranger, loved His land and people? Whatever law might say in the way of righteous government, was it able to erect barriers beyond which the grace of God should never pass? Impossible. This was the very point in the Lord's address in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4). Naaman the Syrian and the widow of Sarepta both witnessed that grace was greater than law. So also the woman of Canaan in Matt. 15, and Ruth in an earlier day. Is not this the solution of the seeming difficulty?
CONSTANT READER.—We have read the little book you kindly sent for our perusal. There are true things in it, but these only make its serious error all the more dangerous. The deadly doctrine of annihilation is what the writer of it is anxious to blaze abroad. It is a poisonous pill gilded over with gospel statements, a killing drug administered in a spoonful of honey. Such are the depths of Satan. The demands on our space this month will not admit of our dealing with it; but you will find the doctrine convincingly refuted in a pamphlet entitled Brief Scriptural Evidence of the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment for Plain People, to be had for one penny from our publisher or ordered through any local bookseller. Yes, we fear even a Christian might fall into such a snare of the evil one and become the dishonored instrument of propagating anti-Christian theories.
S. E. L.—If every means have been taken to convert the offending brother from the error of his ways and no hope remains of his restoration, it might then be necessary to announce that he is no longer regarded as being in fellowship. Having gone out, you close the door. Until then we hardly see how his place could be denied him should he wish to take it.
A LEARNER.—1 Tim. 3:16.—Observe the apostle is speaking of the mystery of piety, that lovely thing which should be exhibited in the life of every Christian. But this is seen in its every beauteous trait in Christ alone. In Him God has been manifested in flesh, has been justified in the Spirit, has been seen of angels. You ask what these latter terms mean. Is it not that the whole pathway of the Lord here, as the anointed man, was marked by the power of the Holy Spirit? (See Heb. 9:14.) If spoken against, traduced, reviled, and judged by man unfit to live, the Spirit justified Him, vindicated His cause as Jehovah's righteous Servant—this vindication extending even to His resurrection, as Rom. 1:4 seems to imply. Seen of angels, not alone of men. They ministered to Him in His temptation in the wilderness, strengthened Him in His agony in Gethsemane, and were witnesses of His resurrection and ascension. In Him, then, the mystery of piety unfolds itself. It is in that light we view the passage.
ONE OF THE LORD'S LITTLE ONES.—Your basket of poetic "fragments" reached us in due course. Sweet in thought, they lack that literary excellence which would justify us in giving them a place in our pages. The fact is, hymn-writing is not so easy a matter as many are apt to think. "Hundreds of so-called hymns fill up our collections of congregational psalmody which are really not hymns at all. They are very sound, very scriptural, very proper, very correct, very tolerably rhymed; but they are not real, live, genuine hymns. There is no life about them. At best they are tame, pointless, weak, and milk-and-watery. In many cases, if. Written out straight, without respect of lines, they would make excellent prose. But poetry they are not." This opinion we are very much dined to endorse.

Bible Dialogs.: Repentance

Questions by P. Brown; Answers by H. P. Barker.
SOMETIMES in seeking a correct definition the force of a thing is lost. I fear it is so, very often, with Repentance.
I remember hearing a preacher of the gospel mention a visit which he paid to a certain man.
“I have only one message for you," he said, "and it is that you must repent.”
"And, pray, what is repentance?" asked the man.
“Well," replied the preacher, "when you think of your guilty life, and the necessity of your meeting God by-and-by, if you don't know what repentance is, I can't tell you!”
Still, I will try to make its meaning clear. Briefly, the word signifies a change of mind, but it is a change of mind that affects a man's moral being to its deepest depths. It is a change of mind that causes him to turn from his sins with loathing, and to hate himself for having committed them. A repentant sinner thus takes side with God against himself.
Suppose a Man Has Not Committed Any Very Dreadful
Sin, Is There the Same Necessity for Repentance in His Case?
Before we speak of what would be necessary for such a man, produce him! The fact is that all sin is dreadful in, God's sight, and there is not an individual living who has not sinned. Hence the need for repentance is universal. God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).
I suppose you could hardly find a man freer ' from the grosser excesses of sin than Job was. God Himself bare record that there was "none like him in the earth," and that he was "a perfect and an upright man" (i.e. in his outward conduct), "one that feareth God and escheweth evil.”
If any man could be supposed not to need repentance, surely Job was that man. He could truthfully say of himself: "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor" (Job 29:14-16).
Dear, noble, kind-hearted, charitable man Did he need to repent? Let him answer for himself. While speaking of his outward life and character he could rightly claim pre-eminence in goodness, but when he refers to his state and condition before God, listen to his words: "Behold, I am vile. Mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and REPENT in dust and ashes" (Job 40:4; 42:5, 6).
We Sometimes Hear of "Death-Bed Repentance."
What Is Meant by That?
There are those who live all their life careless and Christless. If the importance of their soul's welfare is pressed upon them, they say they will consider the matter "some day," and thus they put it off again and again, and go on with their sins and their pleasures. At last, when they find themselves upon the brink of the grave, they become alarmed and begin to cry to God for mercy, and make a profession of faith in Christ. That, I suppose, is what is called a "death-bed repentance.”
But death-bed repentances are very unsatisfactory things. I am far from denying that a man, even at the eleventh hour of life, if he really turns to the Savior and puts his trust in His precious blood, will find mercy. The grace of God is infinite, and I have no doubt many will be in heaven who were saved upon a dying bed.
But in many cases persons who thought that they were dying, and professed to be repentant, have recovered. With renewed health came a renewed love of sin. Their impressions wore off, their alarm vanished, and their so-called repentance proved to be unreal, the mere result of terror at the thought of death.
It is easy to see that the folly of putting off repentance to one's dying hour is great indeed. Even if permitted to have a death-bed (which is by no means certain), can it be the best time to think of one's soul when the body is racked with pain and the mind enfeebled by continued suffering?
Besides, does it not seem a very mean thing to devote all one's best years to the service of sin and self, and then when strength is failing and life ebbing away to turn to God because one can no longer pursue one's own way?
What Is the Difference Between Repentance and Remorse?
In remorse there is no real loathing of sin. A man may be full of remorse for what he has done without having much sorrow for the sin itself. In such a case the soul turns in upon itself in bitterness. There is no turning to God in self-judgment.
Judas was full of remorse for his sordid treachery when he beheld its awful results. But there was no true repentance, no real turning away from sin and self to God. In the bitterness of his soul he went and hanged himself.
The truly repentant soul is affected by the love and goodness of God. It does not plunge into the darkness of despair, but feels that, in spite of its terrible sin and depravity, it must cling to Christ. Like Peter in Luke 5, the sinner who is truly repentant feels that he is unworthy to be noticed by the Savior, and cries, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord," and yet at the same time casts himself at Jesus' feet.
How May One Know When One Has Repented Enough?
I strongly suspect that anyone asking that question is making a savior of repentance.
He thinks perhaps that the sincerity of his repentance will induce God to be gracious to him. Now it cannot be too much emphasized that when God blesses a sinner it is not on account of the depth of his repentance or the strength of his faith, but because of the atoning work of Christ on the cross.
Repentance is never as deep as it should be; but if a repentant sinner turns from self to Christ, then his repentance has taken the right direction. He need not further be occupied with it, but will find peace and blessing in putting his confidence in Christ, and resting upon His finished work for salvation.
If God Is Not Willing That Any Should Perish, but
That All Should Come to Repentance, Why Does
He Allow Men to Die Without Repenting?
God never forces His blessings upon men, or treats them as if they were mere machines. It is the "longing soul" that He satisfies. The gospel offer of salvation is made to all, and all are commanded to repent. But if a man willfully closes his ears to the call of grace, and turns his back upon God's mercy, he has no one to blame but himself, if he miserably perishes in his sins. All that divine love could give has been freely given for him; all that divine righteousness claimed has been freely offered; all that was necessary to be done has been fully accomplished. What more can a man expect?
What Would You Look for in a Man Who Says That He Has Repented?
I should expect him to "bring forth fruits worthy of repentance." It is useless for anyone to say that he repents of his sins while he continues in them. A man that is genuinely repentant not only confesses his sins, but forsakes them (Prov. 28:13).
Amongst other signs of true repentance we shall observe a willingness to make restitution to anyone who has been wronged.
We see this in the case of Onesimus. He had wronged his master, Philemon, by running away. After his conversion he seeks to make compensation, as far as he can, by going straight back to his master. In Zacchaeus we have another instance of this. When the Lord Jesus responded so graciously to his desire to see Him, and brought salvation to his house, Zacchaeus said, "If I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold" (Luke 19:8). That is a case of bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance.
Is there anyone that you have wronged? Anyone whom you defrauded long years ago by a bit of sharp practice that has never been discovered from that day to this? Anyone you have wronged with your tongue, whose character you have damaged by slander and gossip? Is there such a person? Don't tell me that you are repentant, then, unless you are willing to do what you can to make amends.
A lady who was converted at one of our tent meetings had been employed, in her younger days, in a draper's store. She had bought a new hat, and needed some ribbon to trim it. Not having the necessary money, she was tempted to take a yard from her employer's shop. No one was the wiser; the ribbon was never missed.
When that lady was converted the circumstance recurred to her mind. Taking her pen, she wrote to the forewoman of the shop somewhat like this:—“DEAR —,While an assistant at Mr.—'s, I am sorry to say that I stole a yard of pink ribbon of the value of—. I am now a Christian, by the grace of God, so I enclose the amount in stamps, and beg that you will accept this expression of my sincere regret.”
That is the sort of thing we expect to see when anyone professes repentance.
If a Man Says, "I Should Like to Repent, but I Feel That
My Heart Is so Hard, and I Don't Grieve Over My Sins
As Much As I Should," How Would You Help Him?
I should tell him that I was very glad to hear that he felt the hardness of his heart so much, and that he was so grieved because he didn't grieve as much as he should. How often it is that we find people in a state like that, sorry because they are not more sorry, grieving because they don't grieve more! But what lies at the bottom of all that is self-occupation. Now, never yet has a sinner been turned away from the Savior because his feelings were not deep enough about his sins. Nor has a sinner ever been received and saved because his heart was sufficiently melted and his grief sincere.
If there is anyone troubled because his heart is so hard, I would say to him, "The hardness of your heart is another reason why you should go to Jesus at once. He can soften it." If the man protests that his grief over his sins is not deep enough, I should say, “All the more reason why you should lose no time in turning to the Savior. Trust in Him, think of His dying love upon the tree, and if that does not cause you to grieve over your sins, no brooding over your own condition ever will.”
When the Jailer at Philippi Asked,
"What Must I Do to Be Saved?"
Why Did Not Paul and Silas Say
Anything to Him About Repenting?
Because it was as a repentant sinner that he asked the question. Note the change that had been wrought in him during the course of a few short hours. From a brutal, hard-hearted man he had been transformed into an anxious inquirer for salvation. What had made the difference? Terror, no doubt. But there was another influence at work, which seems to have touched his heart and produced a measure of repentance. What influence was that? The goodness of God.
When, in desperation, that jailer was about to take his own life a loud voice fell upon his ear-"Do thyself no harm." That voice revealed to him the fact that there was someone who cared for him. The care and interest which Paul and Silas showed for their cruel keeper was the echo of the interest and love of God Himself. It was a revelation of God's goodness to the man's soul, and it broke him clown and wrung from his lips the cry of a repentant sinner, "What must I do to be saved?" Repentance was there; all that was needed now was that he should be pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ as the One whom he might trust for salvation.
If a Man Dies Unrepentant, Will There Be Any
Chance of His Repentance After Death?
It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance (Rom. 2:4). When a man dies in his sins he passes forever out of the sphere where God's goodness is active. There may be remorse in the regions of the lost, but no repentance. On the contrary, the weeping and the wailing is accompanied by "gnashing of teeth," which is a very different thing from repentance. There is nothing in hell to change a man's heart. Scripture is clear that "now is the day of salvation." It is in this life that our eternal destinies must be fixed.
In Luke 16 the rich man in hell is represented as desiring that his brethren should be warned. He says, "If one went unto them from the dead, they will repent." But he never says such a thing as "I will repent." The lost in hell realize that the day for their repentance is gone forever.
You Say It Is the Goodness of God That Leads Men to Repentance.
but Are Not Men Ever Induced to Repent by Fear?
I have no doubt that the fear of coming judgment has been the means of awakening many.
Some of the most richly blessed servants of God have seen hundreds turn to Him as they shook their audience over hell. Different men are affected in different ways. Some can be gently drawn, others need to be driven. With some the "still small voice" carries most weight, others are more moved by the peal of thunder and the crash of the tempest. Some hearts are melted under the sweet story of God's love; some are broken under the awful warnings of death and judgment. The Lord's servants have to deal with men differently, and they must ever keep near to their Master, that they may know how to speak. But God's goodness is seen as much in the messages of warning as in the messages of grace. It is His mercy that warns. So in that way it always remains true that the goodness of God leads to repentance.
What Is Meant by the Scripture in 2 Cor. 7, Which Says
That "Godly Sorrow Worketh Repentance to Salvation"?
The repentance and salvation spoken of there are the repentance and salvation of Christians. The believers at Corinth had grievously erred, and the apostle Paul had written a letter of faithful remonstrance. This letter (the First Epistle to the Corinthians) had produced the desired effect. Godly sorrow had taken the place of shameless glorying in evil, and this sorrow for their sin had wrought repentance in that it had led the Corinthian believers to turn from their evil course and clear themselves from the wrong that they had countenanced. Thus repenting, they were saved from going further down the hill of declension. In this way "repentance to salvation" was wrought by their godly sorrow. It shows that when a believer sins, his repentance should be as real and as practical as one expects a sinner's repentance to be at the first. It is a good thing to be so anxious to be clear of sin, and to be kept from grieving the Holy Spirit, that it can be said of us, as of the Corinthians: "Ye sorrowed after a godly sort. What carefulness it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (2 Cor. 7:11).

Propitiation and Substitution;

Or, the Two Goats of Lev. 16
PROPITIATION is a word which is used in Scripture, and carries therefore a very distinct meaning. Substitution, though not actually used, is clearly taught, both in type and antitype, from the day when "Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain," to that when "Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God," and when "God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"; or again, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." This is plain. There was the transference of our guilt to Him when He "bare our sins in His own body on the tree," and when He not only died, but was "made a curse for us." The truth of what is called substitution is most clearly established. It is the manward aspect of the cross of our blessed Lord. "He was delivered for our offenses." Propitiation, on the other hand, presents the God-ward aspect. Its meaning is very, Simple—to appease.
This was necessary. The throne and majesty of God had been defied and insulted by sin. Vindication and appeasement were necessary.
His displeasure was provoked against the sinner. Divine holiness, in its detestation of sin, must be shown. Judgment became imperative, and without that judgment being met there could be no blessing. "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission." Hence the absolute need of propitiation.
But notice that God Himself meets the need. Our sin never changed Him. His nature is ever love, but it necessitated a change in His attitude. It forced Him to act as Judge.
We must distinguish between His nature and His throne. It is the latter that calls for propitiation. One familiar passage in John 3 covers all of this: "The Son of Man must be lifted up." There we have the requirement of the throne.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." Here the nature displays itself in giving Him who alone could meet that infinite requirement.
The Son of God was given, gave Himself, died and was raised, and "when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
The result is that propitiation has been effected. God glorified in the complete vindication of the throne, sin atoned for, good news of salvation announced over the world, and the present forgiveness and blessing of all who believe confirmed by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. God's righteousness is manifested and the believer declared righteous too, as the blessed consequence.
“The two goats," writes another, are but one Christ, but there is the double aspect of His sacrifice—Godward and bearing our sins.... He is the propitiation for the whole world. All has been done that is needed. His blood is available for the vilest. "Hence the gospel to the world says," Whosoever will, let him come. "In this aspect we may say Christ died for all, gave Himself a ransom for all, an adequate and available Sacrifice for whoever would come—" tasted death for every man.”
But when I come to bearing sins the language is uniformly different. He "bare our sins," He bare "the sins of many." "All" is carefully abstained from.
If we look at the difference of Arminian and Calvinistic preaching we shall see the bearing of this at once. The Arminiaus take up Christ's dying for all, and generally they connect the bearing of sins with it, and all is confusion as to the efficacy and effectualness of Christ bearing our sins, for they deny any special work for His people. They say, "If God loved all, He cannot love some particularly," and an uncertain salvation is the result, and man often exalted. Thus the scapegoat is practically set aside.
The Calvinist holds Christ bearing the sins of His people, so that they are effectually saved, but he sees nothing else. He will say, "If Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, there can be no real love for anything else." Thus he denies Christ dying for all and the distinctive character of propitiation and the blood on the mercy-seat. He sees nothing but substitution.
“The truth is, Christ is said to love the Church, never the world. That is a love of special relationship. God is never said to love the Church, but the world. This is divine goodness; what is in the nature of God (not His purpose) and His glory is the real end of all.”
Iri the type of the two goats of Lev. 16 this useful distinction is placed before us. That on which the Lord's lot fell met the claims of the throne—its blood was sprinkled before and on the mercy-seat. That which was led into the wilderness carried away the sins of the people; they were transferred to him.
So in the antitype Christ is "set forth a propitiation [a mercy-seat] through faith in His blood"(Rom. 3:25), and" was delivered for our offenses” (Rom. 4:24), thus presenting, in His death, the double aspect of propitiation and substitution.
He is set forth world-wide as the former. The believer alone is entitled to claim Him as the latter—as the actual Bearer of his offenses.
J. W. S.

Memories of Bethany.

“He led them out as far as to Bethany."—Luke 24:50.
BETHANY is not, so far as we know, once referred to in the Old Testament. It is not linked up, therefore, in any special way with the history of Israel, like Bethel or Bethlehem. All the interest that attaches to it is derived solely from associations connected with the life of the Lord Jesus. His name and Bethany are inseparably entwined and encircled with the most hallowed memories. It was there He often found a home; it was there He appears always to have been welcome. It was the abode of "Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus." Here He resorted when He would not pass the night in Jerusalem. It was here they made Him a supper just before His betrayal and crucifixion.
All this helps us to understand why He led His disciples out as far as to Bethany. He leads them to the place where He was made much of. It had no other recommendation. No special vision, no famous battle, no remarkable deliverance cast a halo of glory around it. It was enough that hearts beat there in which He was enshrined. To such a place, ere He went up to heaven, Jesus led His disciples.
Has this incident no special lesson for us? Does it not seem to say that what the Lord specially prized were hearts that valued Him? Can anything else atone for the lack of this? Can fine speaking, intellectual discourses, ornate services, priestly pretensions, claims to infallibility, and what not, or even, correct scriptural form, make up for absence of love to Him?
The first event connected with Bethany is Martha receiving. Jesus into her house (Luke 10:38). Just previously (see Luke 9) He had been refused hospitality in a village of the Samaritans. How very sweet, therefore, must the hospitality afforded by the home at Bethany have been to Him. Thus Bethany is first of all distinctly connected with offering Christ a welcome to our innermost circle. And it is surprising how much Christianity is always connected with the home. If we are not right there we cannot be right anywhere. That is, if Christ has not His rightful place at our hearth He certainly has not in our heart.
Next, we find Mary sitting at Jesus' feet and hearing His word. It is the attitude of one who has learned how Christ has served her, as set forth in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Martha was occupied with service to Him. Both are right. But His service to us must be learned first, otherwise we shall never know the true rest which sitting at His feet so perfectly expresses. It was there Mary learned to know the One who had served her.
Do we know anything of Bethany? Have we welcomed Christ into the home and found our place at His feet? Have we reached that spot? Are we sitting at His feet learning all that He has been to us in death, what He is to us in life, and ever will be? "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.”
It was from Bethany that Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Thus Bethany becomes associated with Christ's glory as Son of David. It was also associated with His glory as Son of God. Referring to Lazarus, Jesus said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Are we at Bethany? Are these glories constantly before our eyes?.
This was the place, too, that afforded the Lord a temporary haven from the storm that was gathering at Jerusalem: "And now the eventide was come He went unto Bethany with the twelve.”
It was to the same place the Lord came six days before the last Passover. There they made Him a supper. The scene at supper is depicted by at least three of the evangelists, but to John we are indebted for the fullest particulars. The picture is altogether lovely, the prominent feature about it being that Christ is made much of. "There they made HIM a supper." "She hath wrought a good work upon ME." This, as we have said, is characteristic of Bethany; and this, we believe, is the reason why the Lord led His disciples there. Are we there? Have we the same spirit? The PERSON was everything to their hearts. The miracle lately performed at Bethany had assured them that He was indeed the Son of God. It is everything to know Him. And the three parts taken by Martha, Mary, and Lazarus all flow from that knowledge. Martha serves, but as knowing the One she serves. She would not say now, "dost Thou not care?" Had He not raised her brother, and given back to her one as dear as her own life? Lazarus sits at the table with Him, for he knew the Lord in a way no one else did—One whose voice had reached him in the silence and distance of death. He well knew the response that voice awakens, and he enjoys as a consequence the fullest communion. And Mary—she proves how well she knew Him, and also how well she knew what the occasion demanded. Her whole course tells how she had been impressed with Christ's glory and greatness. She sat at His feet to hear His word; she fell down at His feet when He came to raise her brother; now she is permitted to anoint His feet. It is this fine sensibility that so often seems lacking in us.
“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.
This is Bethany. Need we be astonished that Jesus led His own back to it, where there was a heart that would cheerfully bestow upon Him the very best she had, and that fully recognized His glory by the act of wiping His feet with her hair? "The house was filled with the odor of the ointment." Do we keep it filled? Alas! have we not often filled it with strife and bitterness and jealousy, and with anything but the fragrance of Christ Himself?
There were some—they exist still—who could not appreciate such attention to Christ. They call it waste, or venture to declare there are other objects more worthy. But such is not the mind of Bethany, nor is it the mind of the One who loved its society. "Let her alone," said Jesus: "the poor always ye have with you; but ME ye have not always." How much does that one word "Me" mean to us?
“He led them out as far as to Bethany." "He led them out." He did not conduct them to the temple, and leave them within the only divinely recognized shrine on earth. He did not forever re-consecrate that sacred building—as perhaps one might have thought He would—by taking His stand upon the pinnacle and ascending to heaven from thence. No! He led them out from all such surroundings and associations. He had been with them in Jerusalem. But by His own act He now sets all that order aside, all that appeals to mere sight and sense, and leads them away to, what was of infinitely more worth, and incomparably more precious to Him-the associations of Bethany. What are these? The knowledge and appreciation of Himself. Alas that so many should have made the return journey and have settled once more at Jerusalem! It will be said, But is not this just what the apostles themselves did? They did as to the place. But we are not speaking of a mere place, but of the tone of it. The tone of Jerusalem, as far as Christ was concerned, was either indifference or deadly hostility; that of Bethany the truest loyalty, devotedness, and love. To which place are we attached? We may be at Jerusalem without being necessarily hostile. Christendom has reared its solemn temples and ordained its priesthood in imitation of Jerusalem; but it is mainly—though done in the name of Christ—a proof of its ignorance of Him and for its own glorification. Bethany had nothing of this sort of thing to show, but it had something far greater. It was the scene of the glory of the only-begotten Son when He raised the dead; it was where His love was known, for "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus"; it was where His sympathy had been fully displayed. "Jesus wept"—and considering who He was, more wonderful than His power were His tears—and it was where they made Him a supper, and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.
“He led them out as far as to Bethany"—His last journey. Again we ask, Has it no significance for us? There is no record that the Lord was seen by any but His own after His resurrection, and therefore presumably no one saw Him on this occasion, or the group that followed Him; and yet, even at this distance of time, it is possible to join that company—at least in heart. Can we hold back? Surely not, when we know who it is that leads. He is the Son of God, the King of glory, the Lord of all, the crucified and risen One. Behind Him the dark grave, the scene of crucifixion, the frowns and scoffs of priests and populace; before Him glory, and the Father's throne, and the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, and already the light of that supernal glory reflected on His brow. And that little band—were they afraid to follow? They had been once, but now all was changed. His mission and death and even His departure so near at hand were all explained, and they followed Him without hesitation or reluctance.
This was no mere excursion, but of momentous import, and to convey a lesson to every succeeding generation of believers. At what hour it occurred we know not. Whether the morning light was fringing the hilltops or the evening shades were hastening on, we are not told. At all events, it was the last day on earth for Christ until His return. And His last act was to lead them out—out from all they valued most, but into all He valued most. "When He putteth forth His own sheep He goeth before them." And how far did He lead them? He led them out as far as to Bethany. Is it not the character of things associated with that place we want to-day? May we not easily test ourselves by what occurred there, and find out whether or not we are in it?
Finally, it is the place of truest blessing. They did not go there to get blessing; they went because He led them. But we cannot be in His company without being blessed. "And He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them." He left them there at Bethany—the place connected with His glory and the affections of His people. It is to Bethany He will return. "His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives." "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so conic in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." What have we to do in the meantime but remain in spirit at Bethany?
Is there a Bethany to-day? Yes, to those who know and value the Son of God. This was the secret of all we find there; and though everything else' may have failed, He abides the same forever. "God is faithful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son." R. E.

Answers to Correspondents.: Medical Aid; 1 John 3:15; Paradise; Careless Individuals; John 3:5; Acts 15:29; 2 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 2:20 & Eph. 3:12

A. J. P.—We believe it to be both right and proper to call in medical aid in times of sickness, just as one would seek surgical aid in case of a broken limb or battered skull. Not to do so is, in our judgment, a grave fault, particularly if another is the sufferer and not ourselves. At the same time, we should fully recognize God's hand as above that of the physician. It was to king Asa's dishonor—saint though he was—that in sickness he sought not the Lord, but, leaving Him out of his confidence, leaned wholly on medical men. This is recorded for our admonition in 2 Chron. 16:12.
Referring to your question as to the giving of the Holy Spirit, Scripture is clear that the laying on even of apostolic hands was not necessary to the reception of that great gift. It was sometimes accompanied by the laying on of hands—of a simple, private Christian, such an Ananias in Acts 9:17, or of apostles, as in Acts 8:17, but not without special reason. In the instance that interests us most there was nothing of the kind. We allude to Cornelius, his kinsmen and near friends (Acts 10:44). These received the Holy Spirit apart from any imposition of hands at all. And that was the common way, as Gal. 3:2 clearly shows. For any Christian to profess to give the Holy Spirit to another by the laying on of his hands now would be in our eyes an empty act, and under certain circumstances an impious one.
W. T.—1 John 3:15.-It cannot be said that this passage forbids prayer for a murderer or excludes him from all hope of forgiveness. The Lord Jesus prayed for His murderers, and Stephen, animated by the spirit of his Master, did the same. The blood of Jesus Christ is able to wash away even the stain of so terrible a crime, if the one who committed it turns to God in real repentance and fixes his faith on the Savior of the very chiefest of sinners.
T. T. J.—Luke 23:43.—The word "paradise" simply means a garden of delights, and is used to denote the character of the place to which the penitent thief went in company with the Lord—a place of unspeakable blessedness. But the words "with Me" indicate the point, of chief interest, and where Christ is will be surely heaven to the one who knows and loves Him. In speaking of "the intermediate state" we must be careful of our words and lend no countenance to the degrading idea of a purgatory which shall do for men what it is pretended that the blood of Jesus fails to do. Washed in that cleansing fount, the believer is whiter than snow, and made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col. 1:12). To speak of a purgatory which shall do more for us than that is to degrade the atoning work of Christ to a very low level. But if in speaking of "the intermediate state" it is simply meant that the believer who is now with Christ has not yet reached the condition that will be ultimately his, then it is quite right. For assuredly it is in the resurrection state that we shall reach the goal of all our hopes. When we are like Christ, in soul and body perfect, our happiness will be complete. Meanwhile, if a believer dies, he is with Christ, and if Christ be in heaven, so is he—waiting there, as we here, for the fulfillment of that great event described in 1 Thess. 4:16-18.
HALFWAY TREE.—We have submitted your question to a beloved brother who has given more thought to such subjects than ourselves, and here is his reply: “The Bible is absolutely silent as to what will take place outside of the prophetic earth—at least in respect of the Western Hemisphere. On the east Russia and her mingled peoples, come into view in Ezek. 38, 39, and possibly China (Sinim) in Isa. 49:12. But, as far as I know, there is no mention whatever of America or the adjacent islands. Many conjectures have been made, bin, they are conjectures, and as such the fruit of man's mind. It is therefore, I judge, the part of divine wisdom to say, in answer to any question of this kind, that we know nothing.”
H. M.—It is impossible to lay down a definite rule as to how individuals should be dealt with in seeking to arouse them from a careless state. May we not learn much in observing the way our Lord Himself dealt with different persons? To Nicodemus He said, "You must be born again"—confronting him at once with that great fact. In speaking to the woman of Samaria He adopted other tactics, winning her confidence, answering her questions as to worship before He reached her conscience and revealed Himself to her. With the sinner taken "in the very act" His way again differed, for lie spake to her accusers rather than to her, though no doubt the light pierced the moral gloom that enshrouded her heart, afterward made glad with those gracious heavenly words, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11). Other instances will occur to you, and which show that wisdom is needed if we would deal with individual cases in a way that God can bless. No rigid rule, then, can be fixed. But coming more closely to your question, we do not find in Scripture that men are called upon to give up their sin—in other words, to start on the path of holiness—before receiving Christ. The gospel comes to men where they are, and if that gospel be received it not only saves the soul, but leads into paths of holiness and devotedness to Christ. If you set before a hungry man a substantial meal, he will readily throw away the moldy crust he was about to eat on your doorstep. And yet there, may be those who so cling to some besetting sin that no spiritual blessing will reach them till they give it up. Cases differ, and this should make us feel the need of heavenly guidance in dealing with individual cases.
F. S. L.—John 3:5.—There is no allusion whatever to baptism here. The reference undoubtedly is to Ezek. 36:25-27-a passage which "a master of Israel" should have known, seeing that it glowingly describes what will take place in the day of Israel's blessing. "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean... and I will put My spirit within you"; in other words, they will be born of water and of the Spirit. It is difficult to imagine anyone supposing in Ezekiel or John 3 that literal water is intended. It is a symbol signifying "the Word of God," which, by the power of the Spirit, instrumentally effects the new birth (see 1 Peter 1:23). It is thus that we are born again. Moreover, baptism is never the sign of the communication of life, but always of death. Nor is it a fact that in baptism we are made children of God. How we do become His children is distinctly stated in John 1:12, 13, to which you will do well to turn. Baptism has its place, and is not to be ignored, but to insist on it as essential to salvation is serious error. Certainly the penitent malefactor was never baptized, nor have we any grounds for believing that even the apostles themselves, excepting Paul, were ever the subjects of Christian baptism.
INQUIRER.—Acts 15:29.-It is a great thing not to sin against your conscience, and if this verse affects you as to "blood and things strangled," by all means listen to your conscience and eat nothing that comes under that category. As to your second question, we believe Mark 16:15 is still in full force. Happy would it be if those parting words of our Savior and Lord were ever ringing in our ears, ever spurring us on to increased activity in making known the blessed gospel to every creature who has not yet heard and received it.
W. M.—2 Cor. 5:7.—We hardly think this passage has any bearing on the subject about which you write. "We walk by faith, not by sight"—that is, the unseen and eternal things on which the apostle fixed his earnest gaze were not yet disclosed to sight, but he walked in the faith of them. So with us. Presently faith shall give place to sight and hope to glad fruition. But this has nothing to say to life and furniture- insurance. As to the latter, everyone must act according to his own light and measure of faith. No one can be a rule to another, and if any attempt to walk in the path of some whose light and faith differ from their own, they are sure to come to grief.
A. M.—Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:12.—It is a mistake to suppose that the faith referred to in these verses is the personal faith of Christ Himself. Is it not rather that faith which has Him as its object according to the connections in which He is presented in each passage I Faith in Heb. 11 is much the same—the subject of that instructive and inspiring chapter being the life of faith which saints in all ages have had to live. As to Eph. 5:30, it is doubtful if the closing words are really part of the inspired text. If omitted, the verse ends with the word "body"; if retained, it is an evident allusion to Gen. 2:23. Finally, "members" is restricted to the term "body," and has no relation to the remainder of the verse. "We are members of His body [we are of His flesh and of His bones].”

Bible Dialogs;: Justification

Questions by S. W. Royes; Answers by H. P. Barker.
THE subject about to engage us is of great importance. We may trust in the Lord Jesus as our Savior, and derive a certain amount of comfort from thinking of His precious blood and its power to cleanse from all sin. But until the soul knows what it is to be justified, there can be no solid peace.
As for those who are not believers, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the matter in their case. For justification lies at the very threshold of all true blessing. None can enter heaven save those who are justified from their guilt. Let me therefore bespeak the earnest attention of all to the questions asked and the replies given.
What Sort of People Are They Whom God Justifies?
I have no doubt that many would say, "Good people," or "People who do their best." But we would discard human opinions, and turn to God's Word for light. The apostle Paul speaks of God under a very sweet title in Rom. 4:5: "Hint that justifieth the ungodly." The ungodly, then, are the people whom God is prepared to justify.
An illustration of this is found in the case of two men who went up to the temple to pray.
One was religious, and his religion greatly affected his life and conduct. It kept him from many an act of extortion, injustice, and immorality. Eight times in every month he observed a rigid fast. He regularly tithed his income, and devoted large sums to the service of God.
The other did not belong to the religious class. A sinner indeed he was, and he made no secret of it. Even as he ventured into the temple he felt his unfitness to be there, and standing afar off, he hung down his head in evident shame.
Which of These Two Men, Think You, Was More Likely to Be Justified?
The Lord Jesus, speaking of the latter, the irreligious, ungodly sinner, says, "I tell you, this man went down to his house JUSTIFIED rather than the other" (Luke 18:14).
Yes, it is the guilty, the sinful, and the vile whom God justifies when they acknowledge their condition and turn to Him. Those who imagine themselves to be "just persons, which need no repentance," remain unjustified and unblessed.
What Is the Difference Between Justification and Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the removal of the penalty of our sins; justification is the removal of the very charge of guilt that once lay at our door.
We shall understand the difference better if we pay an imaginary visit to a court of justice. Two prisoners are being tried for theft. The first ' has many witnesses to prove that he was miles away ' when the offense was committed. His innocence is completely established. In acquitting him the judge says, "The prisoner leaves the court without a stain upon his character." In other words, being innocent, he is justified.
Not so the other. But there are extenuating circumstances. He is young; it is his first offense, and others seem to have drawn him into the act against his better judgment. The judge addresses a few serious words of warning to the prisoner and discharges him. No penalty is inflicted, and he leaves the court a free man. In a word, he is forgiven. But, though forgiven, he is not cleared of the charge.
Now that illustration will help us to see the difference between justification and forgiveness. But we must remember that amongst men only the innocent can be justified and the guilty forgiven. Solomon realized this when praying at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8). In verse 32 he prays: "Hear Thou in heaven, and do, and judge Thy servants, condemning the wicked,... and justifying the righteous." Then in verse 34 he prays again: "Hear Thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of Thy people Israel." Mark that! Justification for the righteous and forgiveness for those who sin.
But the glory of the gospel Is that it shows how God can do what is impossible amongst men.
He can justify the ungodly, and that when there are no extenuating circumstances. He can take a vile, depraved sinner, and not only forgive him, but clear him of every charge so completely that the challenge may be rung out and be forever unanswerable: "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth" (Rom. 8:33).
If It Is God That Justifies, Why Is It Said
That We Are Justified by Faith?
Faith is simply the principle upon which God justifies. If God declares Himself ready to justify ungodly sinners, it stands to reason that He must state the principle upon which He will do it, and the principle must be one that makes it clear to all that it is of grace from first to last. This is why it is "by faith," or why, in the words of Rom. 3:26, God is the justifier of "him which believeth in Jesus.”
It is thus "faith," and not works, or vows, or prayers, that is counted for righteousness, but it is God who counts it as such. It is His act altogether.
We Read That Christ "Was Raised Again for Our Justification."
What Has the Resurrection of Christ to Do With Our Being Justified?
Everything! It is the hinge on which the whole matter hangs. Suppose that I were convicted of some offense and sentenced to pay a fine of twenty pounds. Utterly unable to find the money, imprisonment stares me in the face. A friend, however, steps forward and undertakes to pay the fine for me. But until the Money is forthcoming, either my friend or myself must be detained. My friend, having taken upon himself my liability, remains until a messenger can arrive from the bank with the twenty pounds, and I am allowed to go out.
Anxiously I pace up and down in front of the court-house. Presently the messenger arrives from the bank and enters the building. In a few minutes my friend himself joins me. At once my anxiety is over. The fact of his reappearance proves that every claim of the court has been met. I am now a free man indeed, because my substitute is free.
It is hardly necessary to point out the application of this little parable. You and I are the offenders, subject to the judgment of God. Christ has offered Himself as our Substitute, and upon the cross He met the claims of justice on our behalf. He paid the fine for us. Was His payment sufficient? Did God accept it as a full discharge of all our liabilities? Before He died He cried, "It is finished." He gave His all, His life, His blood; but was it enough?
Out from the grave He came on the morning of the third day. The question was answered.
It was enough. The One who had taken our sins upon Him was free! Then we are free also!
Thus the resurrection of Christ lies at the basis of our justification. Of course, when I say "our," I mean believers'. "He was raised again for our justification.”
In Rom. 3:28 It Says That "a Man Is Justified by Faith
Without the Deeds of the Law." How Do You Reconcile
That With James 2:24, Where We Read That "by Works
a Man Is Justified, and Not by Faith Only"?
The two passages do not need reconciling. Sometimes people imagine that they have discovered contradictory statements in Scripture, but the flaw is in their own brains, not in the Word of God.
In the present case the difficulty disappears when it is seen that in Romans it is justification before God that is spoken of, while in James the subject is justification before, men. The two things are placed in contrast in Rom. 4, and in verse 2 emphasis is laid upon the fact that justification by works is "not before God.”
God takes note of the believer's faith, and reckons it to him for righteousness. But faith is invisible to the eyes of men. If they challenge us as to our ground for professing to be pardoned and saved, children of God and heirs with Christ, we cannot simply reply, "We have faith." We must justify ourselves for the place that we take otherwise than by words. Zophar once asked, "Should a man full of talk be justified?" (Job 11:2) No, indeed. Not good talkers, but good walkers are justified in the sight of their fellowmen. Not by lip, but by life; not by words, but by works, can we carry conviction to others that we are what we say we are.
With this side of the truth James deals. Paul, too, in some of his epistles, notably that to Titus, lays much weight upon the importance of good works, not as an auxiliary means to our justification before God, but as a testimony to men, and for the sake of "adorning the doctrine of God our Savior.”
Let no one, however, begin to talk about good works before he is sure that he is justified from all things, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We Read of Being "Justified by Grace" (Rom. 3:24), "Justified
by Faith" (Rom. 3:28, and "Justified by His Blood" (Rom. 5:9).
Are We to Conclude That a Man Needs to Be Justified Three Times?
By no means. The three expressions convey different thoughts, but they all refer to the same act. The grace of God is the source of our every blessing; the blood of Christ is the channel by means of which it reaches us, while faith is simply the appropriation of it all to ourselves.
Let me illustrate what I mean. This city is supplied with water from the river that comes flowing down from the mountains yonder. There is an abundant supply there for the whole place. Pipes are laid, leading to the houses of the people, and when anyone wants water, all he has to do is to turn on the tap.
The river, containing an inexhaustible supply of water, is like grace. God's grace is the spring and source of all blessing. In this sense we are "justified by His grace.”
The pipes are the means by which the water is brought to our doors, just as the blood of Christ is the means by which God's grace is made available for sinners. We are thus "justified by His blood.”
And what is "Justified by faith"? Faith is coming with the empty vessel and turning on the tap. It is the appropriation to one's self of the blessing which originates in the grace of God, and is made possible for us by the blood of Jesus.
Bildad the Shuhite Asked: "How Can Man Be Justified
With God?" How Would You Answer That Question?
The first thing is to cease justifying one's self. “Ye are they which justify yourselves,' said the Lord Jesus to the Pharisees, and as long as a man does that God will not justify him. When we cease, trying to justify ourselves, we justify God in His judgment upon us because of sin. "The publicans justified God," we read, and this was the very opposite of what the Pharisees did. Condemning one's self and justifying God thus go hand in hand. We take sides with God against ourselves, and acknowledge the truth of His verdict upon us as guilty, vile, hell-deserving sinners. That is the first step.
Besides this, we have to look right away from ourselves to Christ. To believe in Jesus is to be justified from all things (Rom. 3:26; Acts 13:39). When we learn what His death has accomplished for us, and how His resurrection clears us from every charge, we understand what it is to be justified, and "peace with God" is the blessed result (Rom. 5
Christians, Alas! Are Sometimes Very Inconsistent in Their Walk.
Do Such Christians Continue to Be Justified People?
If none were justified but those in whose conduct there are no flaws, you would have to search a long time before you could discover a justified man.
But let us see how the Christians at Corinth were spoken of. Their conduct was far from perfect. They had laid themselves open to rebuke upon matters connected with the first principles of morality. Nevertheless, in the most unqualified way, the apostle Paul could say of them, "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified" (1 Cor. 6:11). Notice that these words are addressed to them immediately after a scathing rebuke for their contentiousness. True, they were reminded that they were washed, sanctified, and justified in order that they might flee the, things from which they had been washed. But they are not told, in view of their sin, that they had to be washed again, sanctified again, and justified again. Their justification is spoken of as a thing that was completed once for all, and that fact is the basis upon which an appeal for a consistent, godly walk can be framed.
How May Anyone Know for Certain That He Is Justified?
A scripture that we have already referred to supplies a full and clear answer. Turn to Acts 13:39, and you will read these words, "By Him" (that is Jesus) "all that believe are justified from all things." I don't think any words of mine could make it plainer than that.
Do not regard these words merely as a saying of Paul's. They are God's words, recorded in God's Book for the blessing of our souls. Now WHAT is it that God says in this verse? That all who believe ARE JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS.
OF WHOM is it said that they are justified from all things? Of ALL THAT BELIEVE.
In view of this wonderfully clear and simple statement, clothed as it is with all the authority of God Himself, let me ask everyone here a question: Are you justified from all things? If you stand within the circle of "all that believe," you can truly say, "Thank God, I am." And if anyone should ask you how you know it, you can reply, "God says that 'all that believe' are justified. I am one of those of whom He speaks, a believer in Jesus, so I am justified.”
How Happy When One Is Simple and Childlike Enough to Take
God at His Word How Can God, Who Is of Purer Eyes Than to
Behold Iniquity, Be Righteous in Justifying an Ungodly Sinner?
That is a problem indeed! But, thank God, the solution is to be found in the cross of Christ. The demands of justice were fully satisfied by His blood, and the way opened for God to justify and bless ungodly sinners without compromising His character as a God of holiness and truth.
God's object, from the world's foundation, was the blessing of man, and this object has been attained, not by minimizing in the least degree His judgment against sin, but by One being provided who was able to bear that judgment, in all its severity, and exhaust it.
No one, in view of Calvary, can say that sin is a light matter in God's sight. He has made it clear to the universe that He has 'an infinite abhorrence of evil, and that He does not, and cannot, bless men apart from the claims of justice being satisfied. The blessing that He offers is offered righteously. The work of Christ has glorified God in such a way that He is just, as well as gracious, in justifying the ungodly sinner who believes in Jesus.
For How Long Is a Believer Justified?
For as long as Christ is on the throne of Gott. The believer's justification will last until Christ goes back to the cross of Calvary and undoes the work which He did there. And when will that be? Never! That work remains in all its abiding efficacy. The One who performed it has been raised from the grave and seated at God's right hand. As long as He is there, and as _long as His work retains its efficacy, for so long will the weakest believer in Him be "justified from all things." No change in us, no failure in our conduct, no coldness bf heart, no feelings of despondency can either displace Him from the throne or diminish the value of His work. Then, thank God, they cannot impair our justification. Notwithstanding our failures and our shortcomings, we are as clear of our sins before the eye of God as Christ is.

On Reading Fiction.

I FEEL pressed to write you a word expressing my thankfulness that you have taken up the subject in your November number— "What should I read?"—a subject which should be well weighed by those who desire to answer to the prayer of the apostle, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." I have for a long time been impressed with the deep importance of this. In a family which I once knew bright and happy in the Lord, but where evil and consequent sorrow came in, the first symptom I perceived of spiritual decline was light literature lying about the rooms. The difficult times mentioned in Timothy are on us, and the Word of God is what alone will shed its light on our path. I have been much struck with Phil. 4:8. It takes up the subject of what my thoughts should be upon, and the first word is, "Whatsoever things are true." This entirely strikes at the root of all fiction—even though, as it is now, a little of the gospel is thrown into it. The enemy has clothed the fiction with a religious garb, and made it cheap too. Still it is fiction, and the essence of fiction is that it is unreal and untrue. A young Christian would shrink from reading what is impure or thinking over it; but both are forbidden in this verse, and the injunction that my thoughts are to be on what is true comes first. I draw attention to this as the verse is so often misquoted.
As a rule, the commandments, and ordinances of the Old Testament were of a negative character, "Thou shalt not," but in Deut. 6:6 I find an exception: "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Constant occupation with the law of God was enjoined on the children of Israel, so that there might be no room for anything foreign to it. And shall there be a lower standard for us whose calling is heavenly? God forbid it should he so.
May the Lord stir up the hearts of the saints both young and old, that the following verse may be a deep reality with them: "Whom have I in heaven but Thee.? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee." If that were true of us, then every thought would be brought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ, and there would be an entire farewell to all light reading, so absorbed should we be with Him on whom our desire is set.
I am, dear brother,
Yours affectionately in the Lord,

Andrew and Philip.

IT is a blessed thing to know that the Lord Jesus Christ has settled the question of our sins so that we can say without a doubt, "We have peace with God." But it is quite another matter to make His acquaintance personally. We may receive the blessing of forgiveness through Him, and be very little changed; but if we make the acquaintance of the Blesser, our whole life will be transformed service will become both happy and natural, and it will be successful in the truest sense of the word.
I want to illustrate the great difference that heart-acquaintance with Christ makes by what is recorded of Andrew and Philip in the Gospel of John. They are, with one exception, always spoken of together in that gospel. The first mention of them is in the opening chapter. Andrew was with John the Baptist when he stood and looked upon Jesus as He walked. He heard John's words, "Behold the Lamb of God." He had been with John and learned blessed things from him, but now the One of whom John spake was there, and he was attracted by Him and followed on, drawn by the magnetism of His person.
The Lord turned, and seeing him and his companion following, said, "What seek ye?" They replied, "Master, where dwellest Thou?" Ah we quite understand the meaning of their inquiry.
It was as though they said, "No place will satisfy us but where Thou art; we cannot do without Thee.” Would not this give pleasure to the heart of the Lord Jesus? Indeed it would. So He replied," Come and see." Oh, the heartiness of the welcome!
Evidently they believed that in the place where He dwelt there would be room for them, or they would never have dared to ask the question. It has often been pointed out that the Lord's dwelling-place is in the bosom of the Father (v. 18), the circle of the Father's love. That is not my point just now. And the Lord Himself will not be satisfied until we are in heart with Him in His own dwelling-place. So we need not draw back, for we, too, shall find a wonderful welcome in the place where He dwells. Oh, how He 'loves us!
What I want to point out is that Andrew gained the company of the Lord and abode with Him that day. What wonderful things he must have learned! His heart had been looking out and yearning for the One whom God had promised through the prophets to send; and now He had come, and Andrew had found Him. He had been welcomed to His home; he had found Him to be full of grace and truth, and his heart was satisfied. Happy Andrew! May we get where he got!
Now with Philip things were different. He was not attracted to the Lord in the same way, for we find the Lord had to command him to follow Him; nor do we read that he reached the place that Andrew did. But beyond doubt he must have been blessed through coming into contact with the Lord in any way.
We find these two men go forth to bring others to the One whom they had found. It must ever be so when real blessing is received. Its course is outward and onward to others, and if, in your heart, there is no desire to see others blest, we greatly doubt as to whether you have got the blessing yourself. One thing is absolutely certain—you are not enjoying it.
Andrew first sought out his brother Simon, saying to him, "We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus." What a lovely sentence that is—"He brought him to Jesus"! He brought him to the One who had satisfied his own heart, the One in whom is all love, all grace, all tenderness, and all power. In short, he brought him to One whom all sinners need, and the One who is sufficient for all.
See what follows. "Jesus beheld him." With what love He must have looked upon him! Those words—"Jesus beheld him"—speak volumes to us. Then He said, "Thou art Simon, the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas," which means "a stone." Thus we learn that Simon had heard and believed the testimony of Andrew. And now the Lord tells him that, having believed, he was to become one of the bright stones in God's spiritual house, which Christ, in His omnipotence, was to build.
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." If you compare this testimony with Andrew's, you will at once see the difference. Nor was it so eminently successful, for we find that Nathanael straightway began to cavil, saying, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" And it was not until Philip said, "Come and see. Prove Him for yourself before you judge," that Nathanael was drawn to Jesus.
We pause here for a moment, for it is possible that some unconverted soul will read this paper. You have long doubted the power and grace of Jesus. You have imagined that He cannot benefit you at all, because you do not see much brightness or joy in Christians around you. To you we would say, as Philip said to Nathanael, "Come and see. Prove Him for yourself; you shall find Him to be brighter and better than the best thing on earth." But even Nathanael takes higher ground than Philip in his testimony, for when he came, and had to do with the Lord Himself, he exclaims, "Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." Here, then, we see a distinct difference, at the very outset, between Andrew and Philip.
Now the next time we read of them is in John 6 Gathered round the Lord and His disciples were five thousand famishing people, and His heart was moved with compassion towards them, and He intended to feed them. But, first of all, He speaks to Philip to prove him, saying, "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" Philip's reply proves that he thought such a thing impossible. "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little," he said. He had no thought of the power of his Master.
Andrew standing by hears the question and the answer, and he says, "There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves and two small fishes." Apart from faith, to mention so small a supply in the presence of such vast need was absurd in the extreme. But Andrew had some knowledge of the Lord's power, or he never would have mentioned the small supply that the lad had, even though he spoiled it somewhat by saying, "But what are they among so many?" We know the result. The Lord took that small supply of which Andrew spoke, and made it sufficient to meet the need of every person in that vast multitude.
They are brought together again in chapter 12. Certain Greeks had come up to the feast to worship. These, came to Philip, saying, "Sir, we would See Jesus." Philip seems to be somewhat in a dilemma. But he goes and tells Andrew his difficulty. Andrew had no difficulty at all; for we read that at once he and Philip go and tell Jesus. We gather that Andrew had some idea of the overflowing grace that was in Christ Jesus, which could and would reach outside and beyond the bounds of the Jewish nation and take in the Greeks.
The whole secret comes out with regard to Philip in chapter 14. There Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip" This was the secret. Philip had received blessing from the Lord, and he was one of those, of whom it is said, "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." But he had never really known the Lord Jesus as the One who came from the Father, bringing of the fullness and wealth of heaven down to those who were brought to Him. His attractiveness as in chapter 1, His power as in chapter 6., His grace as in chapter 12., had not really been comprehended by him.
Oh that we may be like Andrew, attracted to the Lord by the beauty that we see in Him! May He become so indispensable to us that we cannot do without Him.
But if He is indispensable to us, He is also all sufficient. We have no need to turn to any other source of supply. If this is the case with us, like Andrew, we shall always be found bringing something or someone to Jesus. With him it was first the sinner—then the smallness of his own supply in the presence of a vast need—then as the servant of the Lord who knew how to act in an emergency. All alike were brought to Jesus by Andrew, because he first had proved how wonderfully Jesus could meet and answer every question in his soul. "Go, and do thou likewise." J. T. M.


JOHN 17:14; PHIL. 1:23.
“NOT of this world," we long for heaven,
Through hostile scenes as here we roam;
Way worn and footsore, tempest-driven,
Thy loved ones cry, "Lord, take us home!”

Home from this wilderness of sorrow,
Home from this Christless waste below;
Home to that glad eternal morrow,
Home to Thyself we fain would go.

Where Thou, the radiant Sun and Center,
Shalt reign in glory ever, there
We would in full fruition enter,
Lord Jesus, Thine own joy to share.

Then shall our days be no more dreary,
Then shall no cloud Thy beauty hide;
Then with Thyself these hearts, unweary,
Shall be forever satisfied.
J. W. MCC.

The True Ground of Faith.

FAITH is the reception of a divine testimony by the soul, so that God Himself is believed; and, further, it is founded on His testimony alone. Man may be the instrument of leading me into the truth, as a sign-post shows me the way, but it is God whom I believe, not man. We have believed Satan when we were enjoying God's blessings; now God calls upon us to believe Himself. Herein is the real return of the soul to God. If I believe because "the Church" has put its authority or its sanction on that which I believe, I am just simply saying that I do not believe God. Now the Bible is the Word of God. God has given a testimony carrying His authority with it, which testimony I am bound to believe; otherwise I despise God's testimony. To believe because man says it, or because "the Church" says it, is to make God a liar, for when I had only what God said, I did not believe Him. It is well to look this distinctly and definitely in the face. There are two things: First, that which I believe—the fullness, riches, and perfection of Christ; secondly, the ground on which I believe it. Now as to the latter, if a person were to tell me something, in order really to believe that person's testimony I must receive what he has said because he said it. If I cannot believe God, why is it? J. N. D.

A Hint on Usefulness.

A KIND correspondent, valuing the truth set forth in Simple Testimony, writes to suggest that each reader should send a copy to two or three Christian friends every month for a year. They might then, so he thinks, become so interested in its contents as to subscribe for it themselves and introduce it to others in their turn. Just when this suggestion reached us we came across the following remarks bearing on this special branch of Christian service:—
“As our days are few, our means limited, our obligations great, and our responsibilities solemn, we should seize every opportunity of doing good to our fellow-men. Much is now done; but much more may be done. We ought to take advantage of every circumstance that offers for the circulation of the truth of God. The present is a reading age. The generality of people will read a tract, but they will not sit down to peruse a folio. The present postal arrangements furnish an opportunity which ought not to be lost. I have found it a means of usefulness, and can recommend it to all my brethren and sisters in Christ.
“Let our motto be, 'Circulate, circulate, circulate.' Follow every tract with prayer, and the God who heareth prayer will send you an answer of peace. The way is clear, the path is plain, the means are provided, and difficulties there are none. Reader, will you adopt this mode of doing good? Will you begin to-day? Supply yourself with materials. Remember you are accountable for every talent you possess. If you cannot speak for Christ in company, if you cannot visit the sick for Christ, if you have not property to devote to the cause of Christ—you can enclose a tract in your letter for Christ. Forget not that the Lord is now noticing your thought upon this subject. He will register the conclusion you come to, and how you act in future on this point; you may not before have thought of it. It may never have been presented to your mind; but it is NOW brought before you. Wrap not up this one talent in a napkin, hide not your Lord's, money in the earth, but lay it out for His glory and the spread of His truth. What is laid out for God in time will be found to be laid up for the Christian in eternity.”

Answers to Correspondents.: Different Styles; Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit; Saved?; Politics; New Birth; Judas; Died for Me

J. I. K.—The different styles of the writers of the books of the Bible is a fact that does not militate in the smallest degree against the doctrine of verbal inspiration. That doctrine in no way obliges us to view Moses, Isaiah, Paul, and John as mere mental machines who, when writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were placed beyond the range of feelings, emotions, and sentiments peculiar to themselves. Nothing of the sort is claimed. On the contrary, it is frankly conceded that each wrote according to his own manner. Hence we have the glowing imagery of Isaiah and the simple plain style of John. But the vital point is this: Were those men, when writing the Holy Scriptures, so under the control of the Holy Spirit as to be safeguarded from error? We believe they were. Did they set down just what the Holy Spirit would have them communicate, neither more nor less? We believe they did. Could the same be said of Shakespeare or Milton, or even of those spiritually minded men to whom we are indebted for the choicest hymns we sing? Assuredly not. There is a great gulf lying between the best of human writings and the Holy Scriptures given by inspiration of God. And it is intended that there should be, so that the latter might have their unique and proper place and possess an authority exclusively their own.
A COUNTRY READER.—Mark 3:29.—There is surely forgiveness with God for any and every sin if the guilty one turns to Him in sincere repentance and rests simply and wholly on the Lord Jesus Christ. Of that there can be no doubt. But blasphemy against the Holy Spirit betrays a condition of heart only reached after a long and hardening process, and leaves no hope of repentance and faith. It is not that the atoning sacrifice of Christ could not reach to such a depth of sin, or that the grace of God is outdistanced by it, but rather that a sin so great was a sure sign of hopeless apostasy from which there was no recovery and therefore no forgiveness.
TROUBLED.—If you are in doubt as to whether you are one of the Lord's saved ones or not, it is easy to understand your repeated seasons of spiritual distress. But you will not find deliverance in the endeavor to determine whether your conversion to God was true or false. The Corinthians were called upon to examine themselves and to see whether they were in the faith, but it was not to discover whether they were saved or not, but whether Christ had ever spoken in Paul. They must acknowledge that He had, or else deny the fact of their own conversion (2 Cor. 13). But in your case the important question is, Do you trust Christ now? Do you receive that gospel which proclaims forgiveness of sins to everyone who believes in Him? No doubt you can answer that query easily enough. Your letter shows much self-occupation, in which there is no profit. It is a miserable piece of business at best, but when we see ourselves as we really are in the sight of God, it is then we loathe ourselves and are only too glad to turn our eyes to 'Christ, in whom we are accepted and complete.
"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" ( 2 Cor. 5:21). Assured of that, and never doubting it more, we are then free to be engaged with the love, glories, and interests of Christ, whose blood gives rest to the conscience, and who Himself becomes the object of the heart's desire and delight. In that lies the secret of happiness for the Christian. There is no other.
C. K.—We never knew a Christian man who became engrossed in municipal or political affairs without his suffering serious spiritual damage. The intelligent and devoted Christian, while gladly rendering unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and following the example of his Lord and Master, who went about doing good, remembers that he belongs to a commonwealth which is in the heavens, and from whence also he expects the Savior (Phil. 3:20). And if his energy seeks a sphere for its exercise, he knows where to find one that will yield richer results than the political arena. As to the universal brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God, while it is true that all of us spring from the loins of our father Adam, yet the sharpest distinction is drawn in Scripture between the children of light and the children of darkness. In a broad sense all men are God's offspring, as in Acts 17:29, yet His saints are entitled to call Him "Father" as none other can. To blot out these distinctions or to enfeeble them is evil work.
A LEARNER.—"The new birth" and "being born again" are simply different terms to express the same work of God in the soul, without which none can see or enter into His kingdom. Every converted person is born again and has received divine or spiritual life. But the gift of the Holy Spirit is another thing. We must distinguish between the operation of the Spirit in the new birth and His indwelling. With the latter comes the experience of life in a larger, broader sense. The blood of Jesus Christ spoken of in 1 John 1:7 is that which judicially cleanses from all sin, fits the believer for the holy presence of God, and gives him liberty to draw near according to Heb. 10:19.
A BELIEVER.—John 6:70.—Judas was one of the twelve chosen to be with the Lord Jesus and sent forth to preach. But this choice and service is not to be considered as an equivalent to salvation and the gift of eternal life. A man may preach with the tongues of men and of angels and yet be nothing. Why Judas was called we know not, unless John 13:18 gives the answer. Possibly it does.
A. T. D.—We cannot recall any scripture which exhorts the individual sinner to believe that Christ died for him. That He died for the ungodly, for sinners, for the unjust, for us, is all most true. These are sound, scriptural terms. Moreover, the believer may justly adopt the language of the apostle Paul and say, "The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." But forgiveness of sins is hardly dependent on the unforgiven one being able to say, "Christ died for me," though the believer can say so. At least, that is not exactly how it is put in Scripture, so far as we see. The momentous question is, What has God found in the sacrifice of Christ? What is it to Him? Has it so met the requirements of His throne in reference to the sins of sinful men that He can justly show them His saving mercy Doubtless it has. Hence in the activity of His love He sends out His gospel to all nations of the earth, and in that gospel we find such gracious words as these, "Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." This leaves no room for the anxious inquiry, "Did Christ die for me?" Such a question need never be asked. His death, on its Godward side, brings full and everlasting forgiveness to everyone that believeth. Do I believe in Him who, having died for the ungodly, is now alive again and in the glory of God? Is He the One on whom my faith is founded? If so, my sins are forgiven. I am justified from all things and saved. Acts 10:43; 13:39, 16:31 are passages which place the matter beyond dispute, and the comfort of all this flows into my soul as it receives the Word in simple, childlike faith.

Bible Dialogs.: Peace with God

Questions by W. E. Powell; Answers by H. P. Barker.
IT is the happy privilege of every true believer in Christ to enjoy peace with God. Not that every believer does enjoy it; but it is possible for each one of us to have solid, settled peace with God as to our sins. Is not the thought of it enough to make every heart burn with ardent desire to possess and enjoy this great blessing? May the Lord help us in our consideration of the subject.
We Sometimes Hear of "True Peace" and
"False Peace." What Do These Terms Mean?
It is to be feared that a large number of people in this city are spending their lives in false peace, that is, a peace which is born of indifference. They dwell in a fool's paradise, and pass on heedless of their souls and ignorant of their awful danger. Lulled to sleep by the devil's opiates, they dream their days away, absorbed with their business, their duties, their pleasures, their friends, their cares, and their sins.
True peace, divine peace, peace with God is a very different thing. It is the result, not of ignorance or indifference, but of knowing that one is beyond the reach of danger. The one who has peace with God has faced his own condition in God's presence. He has seen the enormity of his sins, and owned himself a guilty, hell-deserving rebel. He has believed the glad tidings which tell of Christ dying for sinners, and being raised from the dead for their justification.
If you ask him where his sins are, he can reply, "They are gone. They were all laid upon Christ, and He made expiation for them by His blood. To-day He is in glory. The One who had my sins on Him has them on Him no longer. He is free from the load He bore at Calvary, and because He is free, I am free also!”
Are you able to speak like that? It is the language of one who has true peace.
Is It Possible to Have Peace With Regard
to Some Things and Not As to Others?
I believe it is. I was visiting a poor man the other day who, through an accident, had lost his situation. He was in great poverty, and hardly knew where the next meal was to come from. But his confidence in God's goodness was unshaken. "I do not worry," said he, "I leave my troubles to God. He will bring me through." The man could in that way rest in peace as to his cares and his needs.
A little further conversation, however, revealed the fact that he was not at peace with regard to his sins and his state before God. While acknowledging God's goodness, he mourned over his own lack of goodness, and sometimes feared that he would never get to heaven. He did not understand that his acceptance with God depended not on the state of his heart, important as that is in its place, but upon the work which Christ did. Hence he was a stranger to real peace with God. As to his troubles and cares, he could be calm and peaceful, looking to God to keep him; but as to his sins and his state before God, he was full of unrest.
This man's case is by no means uncommon. There are many who can pass through the storms of life in peace, with a sense of God's goodness in their hearts, who have never yet learned the secret of peace with God, through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Is "Peace With God" the Same
As Assurance of Salvation?
Hardly. The fact is, there is not very much said in the Bible as to "assurance of salvation," for the very simple reason that in the days of the apostles, when the gospel was preached in its unadulterated simplicity, those who received it, and believed in Christ, were saved and, as a matter of course, knew it. But in our days a very different state of things exists. Owing to the distorted way in which the gospel is often presented, mixed with law and Jewish principles, thousands are found who in a measure trust in Christ and build all their hopes upon His precious blood, but who cannot speak with certainty of their salvation. Hence the need nowadays of pressing assurance, and of showing how it comes, through simply taking God at His word. Take, for example, that well-known verse Acts 13:39, "By Him all that believe are justified from all things." What an efficient weapon such a scripture is for putting doubts and fears to flight!
But peace with God goes further than keeping doubts and fears at bay by the help of some precious passage of Scripture. It is the result of knowing what has been accomplished through Christ's death and resurrection for the believer.
Through that work all our sins have been put away; we have been justified from every charge. In other words, the disturbing element has been removed, and peace with God is the blessed consequence.
Let me make my meaning clear. Some months ago I was living in a house surrounded by pastures in which a large number of cattle were kept. The path from the house to the neighboring village led through these pastures. There was no other way of getting there.
One afternoon I was walking to the village with a lady who was very much afraid of cows.
When she saw that our path led right through a herd of these animals she became extremely nervous, and wished to turn back. I did my best to reassure her. I told her that I had passed that way numbers of times, and had never observed any signs of ferocity in the cows; that they were perfectly harmless, and would be more likely to run away from her than run after her. At length my friend gained confidence and proceeded on her way, not at first without some misgivings, but with increasing boldness. She believed my word when I assured her that there was no danger, and banished her fears when she found that there really was no cause for alarm. In this way she got assurance.
On returning from the village, later in the evening, we found that all the cows had been driven into another section of the estate. Not a hoof or a horn remained.
My companion's face broke into a smile as she exclaimed, "Why, the cows are all gone!”
"Yes," I replied, "but you would not be afraid to pass near them again, would you?”
"No," said the lady; "I know they would not hurt me and that my fears are foolish and groundless, but I am glad that they are gone, for all that.”
Now I think this illustrates the difference between assurance of salvation and peace. Emboldened and assured by God's own Word, we may proceed on our way knowing that fears are foolish and groundless. But when we see that all that we feared is gone, that our sins have been put away, the judgment that was due to us endured, the claims of divine justice fully satisfied-then it is that we have peace indeed. The source of our fear has been removed. And this is just what the work of Christ has accomplished for us.
Why are not all believers in the enjoyment of peace with God?
Multitudes lack settled peace because they are unbelieving believers. When the Lord Jesus joined the two wanderers on the road to Emmaus, He found them, true disciples though they were, full of unbelief. "O fools," He said to them, "and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”
Many to-day are in just the same condition.
They trust in the Lord Jesus as their Savior, and build all their hopes of future bliss upon His precious blood, but they are slow to believe what the gospel assures them is the result of His death and resurrection. They do not see that as a consequence of His work all their sins have been eternally put away, and that they are righteously cleared by God Himself from every charge.
Most of us are familiar with the story of David's conquest of Goliath. An Israelite, seeing the fearless youth advance towards the haughty giant, might exclaim, "I trust in that young man. I know him to be a man of God, and I have every confidence that by his means God will give deliverance to Israel this day.”
The man who speaks thus is manifestly a believer in David. He builds his hopes of deliverance upon his ability to overcome Goliath.
But by-and-by, when shouts of triumph rend the air, and David returns to the camp with the giant's head in his hands, that selfsame man is sitting in his tent with an anxious look upon his face. Why does he not share in the joy, and help to swell the song of gratitude? Because he does not know the significance of those shouts. He does not realize that the giant is slain. The moment he comprehends, not only that David is a trustworthy deliverer, but that he has actually accomplished the work of deliverance, and that the foe is gone, peace and joy will be his.
It is thus that many are kept from the enjoyment of peace. They have faith in Christ as a trustworthy Deliverer, but do not comprehend the full result of the work that He has accomplished. Perhaps it has never been set before them. As soon as it dawns upon them peace will be the blessed result.
Self-occupation is another cause of unrest. Worldly-mindedness, too, is a great hindrance to the enjoyment of peace.
Is it ever too late for a sinner to begin to make his peace with God?
In every case too late-nineteen centuries too late. In fact, it is an utter impossibility for a sinner to set matters right between himself and God. Nor need he despair on that account, for Christ has done the necessary work, and peace is to be obtained, not by the sinner doing anything, but by his enjoying the results of Christ's work.
Christ has made peace, once for all, by the blood of His dross (Col. 1:20). He has laid the broad foundations of our blessing. We have neither part nor lot in the doing of the work.
To get "peace with God," then, let the sinner cease from trying to make it, and let him, through faith in Christ, appropriate the results of His death and resurrection. It is never too late, while life remains, for that.
We Read in Psa. 119:165: "Great Peace Have They
Which Love Thy Law." What Does That Mean?
It is not exactly "peace with God" that is referred to there. The "law" in this passage is a much wider thing than the Ten Commandments.
It was the revelation of God's ways (so far as He saw fit to make them known in those days), and indicated the way of wisdom, righteousness, and peace for man. Those whose hearts were influenced by it enjoyed the blessing inseparable from the knowledge of God and His ways, however partial that knowledge necessarily was.
In our day, the starlight of Old Testament times has given place to the glorious sunlight of the full revelation of God. God has made Himself known, and has given His Holy Spirit to lead our hearts along the line of His revelation.
If we are subject to that blessed Holy Spirit, and allow Him to direct our hearts into what God has revealed for our blessing, great peace will assuredly be our portion, just as it was the portion of the saints, in David's day, who loved the things of God.
And therefore we read, in Rom. 8:6, that "the minding of the Spirit is life and PEACE" (see margin).
But such peace must not be confounded with the peace of Rom. 5:1, which is the result of our being justified. It is a peace which is the opposite of that morbid state of self-dissatisfaction which is often the fruit of brooding over our own coldness and sinfulness.
What does "peace with God" depend upon?
If you will turn to Rom. 4:25, and connect it with the first verse of the following chapter, you will have an answer in the very words of Scripture. "Jesus our Lord," we read, "was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Peace with God immediately flows from the fact of our being justified, and that depends, as we were seeing on the last occasion, upon the death and resurrection of Christ. In this way the claims of divine justice have all been met, and peace is ours in consequence.
What Is the Difference Between "Peace With God"
and the "Peace of God," of Which We Read in Phil. 4:7?
“Peace with God" has reference' to our sins and our state of guilt before Him, and is the result of what He makes known to us.
The "peace of God" has reference to the circumstances of life, circumstances of difficultly and trial, and is the result of our making known to Him our requests:
Care is a thing that grinds the brightness out, of many a Christian's life. Peace with God, as to, his sins, he has; but in order to pass through this world of trial and sorrow, he needs to cultivate the habit of taking everything to GOD in prayer. The result will be that his heart and mind shall be kept in peace. God's own peace, which passeth all Understanding, shall reign within. He will accept every circumstance as order by the One that makes all things work together for our good, and instead of worrying and murmuring he will be kept in calm confidence and peace. That is what the passage in Phil. 4. means.
What Did the Lord Jesus Mean by Saying That He
Left His Peace With His Disciples in John 14:27?
The thought is very much akin to that of which we have just spoken. But the trials and troubles of life are common to all—the unconverted as well as the children of God, though only the latter have the "peace of God" to keep their hearts in the midst of them.
But there are certain things which only Christians have to contend with, such as persecution for Christ's sake and the suffering of loss through faithfulness to Him. These things, the result of Christ's rejection here and absence from us, were foreseen by Him, and He warned "His own," whom He was leaving behind, that they must expect to be opposed, reviled, persecuted, and evil spoken of. But in the midst of all that they should suffer for His name's sake, they should taste the sweetness of heavenly peace, His own peace. If earth was to be a place of rejection and sorrow for them, a place in the "many mansions" above would be prepared for them. If He was leaving them a legacy of suffering, a precious legacy of peace accompanied it. It was a peace that the world could never give, and a peace that the world could never take away.
We have spoken of four different kinds of peace.
Peace with God, as to our sins and guilty state, the result of our being justified on account of Christ's death and resurrection (Rom. 5:1).
2. Peace inwardly, in contrast to morbid self-disappointment, the result of the "minding of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:6). It is a peace that depends not so much upon our faith in Christ as upon our daily occupation with Christ, through the Holy Ghost.,
3. The peace of God, which keeps the hearts and minds of those who cast their cares upon Him amid the ordinary burdens and perplexities or life (Phil. 4:7).
4. The peace of Christ, the precious portion of those who are left here to represent Him in His absence, and who often have to bear reproach and persecution for His name's sake.

Fervent Prayer.

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."—James 5:16.
“AN arrow, if it be drawn up but a little way, goes not far, but if it be pulled up to the head, flies swiftly and pierces deep. Thus, prayer if it be only dribbled forth from cold and careless lips, falls at our feet. It is the strength of ejaculation and strong desire which sends it to heaven and makes it pierce the clouds. It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they are; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be; nor' the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor even the divinity of our prayers, how good the doctrine may be; but it is the fervency of spirit that availeth much. Cold prayers are a sacrifice without fire. "BISHOP HALL.

Simple Christianity.

HE who seeks to maintain the gospel in its native purity, disentangled from such treacherous additions as legalism and mysticism, renders it a service of incalculable value, and the soul that accepts it, in its divine simplicity, and rests by faith on its solid foundations, is not only wise but peaceful. He has "the full assurance of faith." It is in the gospel that we have the full revelation of God. It is there that we learn of His love to man, of the gift of His Son, whose atoning death and glorious resurrection have settled the whole question of sin, of the coming of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Him, and of the consequent place in God's perfect favor of all who believe. The entrance into the enjoyment of this favor is by faith and only faith, whatever may be the deep exercises of conscience experienced ere the precious result is known. But this necessarily puts man, as fallen and guilty, wholly aside, and repudiates, as less than worthless, all he is or has, all he does or feels. Grace can have no supplement.
The lifeboat is not assisted by aught in the sinking vessel. And so "salvation is of the Lord." But it is just here that the pride of the human heart displays itself. It offers a helping hand, either by works of merit or else by feelings and inward evidences. The one is legalism, the other mysticism, and both are fatal adjuncts to the saving grace of God. Each must be absolutely refused. The gospel was early assailed by these two enemies. In the Epistle to the Galatians the former is combated and set aside, in that to the Colossians the spirit of the latter is condemned.
In Galatians we read: "Not I, but Christ" (2:20); and in Colossians: "Christ is everything and in all" (3:11). No room is left in either for aught of man. If in the "new man" Christ is all, and the "new man" is the direct creation of. God, what place can be found for one particle of the "old man"? None whatever; and hence all that springs from any other source than Christ, and that in the energy of the Spirit, is utterly valueless. Good works, warm feelings, or fine sentiments which flow not from Him alone are sinful.
We live in days of rapid change. Waves of thought and opinion roll quickly over us. Some half-century ago legalism largely dominated the religious mind; to-day mysticism is making enormous strides. By a clear gospel, diligently proclaimed, the mist and misgivings of legalism were scattered, and, on every hand, believers in the Lord Jesus 'leaped into liberty and peace with. God. There was the knowledge of salvation as brought to us by the grace of God, and, on the part of thankful multitudes, a devoted obedience to the lessons it teaches. There was separation of heart and life to Christ, and a true endeavor to carry out the will of God personally, relatively, and ecclesiastically.
All this was very happy, and suggestive of Philadelphian testimony, and of an evident work of the Spirit which will endure, in measure at least, until the word is fulfilled which says: "I come quickly." But, concurrently, a danger now threatens. There is a large rebound from the liberty of grace to a modified form of mysticism, the baneful effects of which will surely become evident. But what is mysticism?
“In its technical service mysticism deals exclusively with the subjective as contradistinguished from the objective... it looks to the moral instincts of the heart for light and evidence in arriving at conceptions of God and truth, salvation and final blessedness, and substitutes the inward illumination of the human spirit for the outward illumination of the Spirit of God.”
Quoting from another:—
"Mysticism, while boasting much of its feelings, never gets beyond desire, while simple Christianity, giving the knowledge of salvation, puts us into full possession of the love of God. I know that He loves Christ: that love has saved me. In peace I contemplate this love, and I adore it in Christ. I dwell in Him and He in me.”
A valuable extract indeed, and one which places a high premium on what is called "Simple Christianity" as that which, giving the knowledge of salvation, leads to the highest heights of spiritual joy, "I dwell in Him and He in me.”
Notice, "Mysticism never gets beyond desire" Weigh that fact. There may be degrees of mysticism, as there are degrees of light and dark, but mysticism only reaches desire. Yet desire leaves the heart empty and uncertain. It is not the fountain that springs up to everlasting life. It is not peace, nor joy, nor energy, nor the Spirit of God. Mysticism builds on internal evidences, and rears a faulty superstructure.
Simple Christianity, while producing inward evidences, rests on revelation made good in the heart and conscience by the Holy Ghost, fills the soul with joy, and fits it to reproduce the life of Christ here below.
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels" indeed, but the treasure is Christ—a heavenly Christ—for reflection and expression from out of these earthen vessels.'
May we know better the meaning of that profound word—"the simplicity that is in Christ"—and live in the freshness and beauty of "simple Christianity." J. W. S.

Silent Messengers.

(Hints on tract distribution.)
TRACTS have been called "silent messengers. Yet they speak, and speak eloquently too.
Moreover, their voice is heard where human lips are not allowed to witness. Tracts enter the
palace and the hovel; they come before the eyes of royalty as well as before those of poverty; they are read by the healthy and also by the dying. If taunted, refused, torn up, cast, in the mud, they murmur not nor are they discouraged.
Many of the Lord's servants have no gift in oral ministry and little ability or opportunities for public service, but almost all can employ this powerful and far-reaching factor for good or bad.
'We say good or bad because the devil always counterfeits God's methods and means. Hence it is important to see that what we give away is sound in doctrine. Bad tracts increase proportionately with good ones. Therefore it is well that simple and earnest workers should buy tracts bearing the name of a publisher on whom they can rely, and which are written by known and approved brethren in whom they have confidence as sound in the faith.
The soul-winner should also aim at suitability. The tract given should be adapted to the age, circumstances, and condition of the receiver. Some people need an awakening word; others require a peace-speaking and establishing gospel; others are heart-broken, and crave for the healing oil, the gladdening wine, and the gracious hand of the good Samaritan. All this needs discrimination and divine guidance, and keeps one in constant dependence on God.
Be much in prayer. A brother once told me that he felt he needed a thousand times more grace and wisdom in giving away tracts than in preaching the gospel. He knew from experience how varied characters are, how manifold the ways, in which people oppose the truth, what difficult questions they often raise, and how rude and hostile the behavior of some.
Watch for opportunities. Cultivate and acquire this Christ like habit, and you will be surprised at how many opportunities you will get (Gal. 6:10). Yet be judicious. Do not thrust a tract into hands which are busily engaged, or put a tract between the eyes and paper of one reading in a railway carriage. Display tact and patience. Always 'be courteous. Offer your little gift with a smile and a pleasant word. Should it be refused, do not be downhearted. Think of your Lord and Master, and how many rebuffs He met with. Never be drawn into a wrangling discussion. Always maintain the ground that the gospel you have is beyond dispute. Paul "reasoned out the Scriptures," but never about them.
Be bold and courageous. Personal witness needs spiritual stamina and resolution. It often requires more moral pluck to deal individually with a soul than to preach to a big crowd. How much Paul speaks to Timothy about courage and of not being ashamed of the gospel! "God hath not given to us the spirit of cowardice," says he, and we do well to examine our spirit in the light of his words. Yet, withal, see that love is the constraining motive in your work. When I was a young fellow I often walked for miles, because I knew if I rode my conscience would give me no rest unless I gave round books and tracts to my fellow-passengers. Thus free, loving, and happy service for Christ was degraded into wretched bondage. By-and-by I discovered "a more excellent way" (1 Cor. 13). Work and testimony should be the outflow of love. Effort is always a sign of weakness or of something worse. Nothing is acceptable to Christ but what is prompted by affection (Rev. 2:1-7). True service is done to Him as well as for Him. Let us, then, sit at His feet 'and then go forth and serve Him in all the buoyancy and freshness of personal attachment and devotion.
Beloved fellow-workers, what a varied and an immense sphere of usefulness we have! The world is our parish—the highways and hedges, the market-place, the racecourse, the public house—anywhere, everywhere God leads us and sustains us. We may not be able to do much, but let us do something. A nice and easy line of service is to send regularly, month by month, a gospel magazine to an unconverted friend or relative. How many have been reached and won in this way!
If we are followers of Christ, shall we not be continually seeking to save? Let His path when here give the answer, and let it be borne in mind that though now in heaven, yet He still works with His workers on earth (see Mark 16:19, 20). Let us weigh well this great fact and ask, "Is He working with me?" Perhaps it may help us to give a correct reply if, in the matter of tract distribution, we individually propound to ourselves some further questions:—
How much time do I spend on it?
How much strength do I spend on it?
How much money do I spend on it?
How much thought do I spend on it?
How much prayer do I spend on it?
Let us tot up the amount and put it over against "the riches of His grace" and "the riches of His glory," and then strike the balance and tell the result to God.
“Give me a faithful heart, likeness to Thee,
That each departing day henceforth may see
Some work of love begun,
Some deed of kindness done,
Some wanderer sought and won,
Something for Thee.”
S. J. B. C.

Prayer and Prayer-Meetings.

READING in Mr. Darby's Synopsis the other day, we found in the following passage so much that expressed our own thoughts about some public prayer, that we venture affectionately to draw the attention of our readers to it.
“Apart from this... our prayers (or praying well) form what is sometimes called a gift of prayer, than which nothing is more often sorrowful (a fluent rehearsal of known truths and principles, instead of communion and the expression of our wants and desires in the unction of the Spirit).”
What is prayer? Is it not the earnest petition of the needy to One who can meet the need? Should it not be definite, simple, and on such a subject that all present can be in communion with the utterer of the petition? Yet how often, alas! do we find the time that should be devoted to prayer spent on long statements of doctrine, or in the stringing together of various passages of Holy Scripture, all most true and blessed for exhortation, but which have no part in earnest believing prayer. Sometimes, too, reference is made in prayer to some subject unknown to many present, and which can only arouse curiosity and hinder the prayers of others. May not this be avoided by any who have a special subject for prayer laid upon their hearts stating it before engaging in supplication? Then again, are not many prayers a great deal too long, read in the light of Eccl. 5:1, 2, Matt. 23:14, and parallel passages?
And without being formalists, we would affectionately suggest that some reverence in attitude is commendable in brothers supposed to be engaged in prayer.
Hands in pockets, legs crossed one over the other, lounging on seats, surely such postures are not commendable and may prove stumblingblocks, especially to the children of God's people. A good old-fashioned hymn about prayer has two lines which have often been a comfort to us, viz:—
“And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.”
We have heard that in ‘bygone years brothers in Christ who had been led out to make CHRIST their one center for worship and communion were distinguished by two outward and visible signs—well-thumbed Bibles and well-worn knees of their trousers. Are those conspicuous signs amongst us now? May our readers kindly accept these few hints as to prayers and prayer-meetings for loving consideration. S. S.

Answers to Correspondents.: The Holy Spirit; The Lord's Prayer; State After Death?; ECC 3:19-41; 1CO 11:6; Together, not Individual; 1CO 9:27

H. M.—We published last year three papers on the Holy Spirit which were thought of sufficient interest to justify their reissue in a separate form. Under the title of The Comforter they can be now had, either of our publisher or through any bookseller, for two pence. There the subject of the filling of the Spirit is discussed at greater length than would be possible here. The baptism of the Holy Spirit took place at Pentecost, and by it all believers are united in the membership of the One Body, according to 1 Cor. 12:13. We know of no second baptism of the Spirit. In the book sent for our perusal the difference between being born of the Spirit and the subsequent reception of the Spirit by the believing one is clearly defined. The two things are distinct. But the filling of the Spirit does not involve a further reception of the same great Gift, nor does it appear in the instances reported in Acts that this filling was in answer to prayer for that specific object. We understand the filling of the Spirit to mean that the Holy Spirit so takes possession of us that He becomes the spring or source of our thoughts, desires, and aims. This should be the wish of every believer, and assuredly it would be fulfilled in him if everything contrary to the Spirit were laid aside. No doubt when the Lord calls to special service He gives fitness for it, and at times there may be an extraordinary endowment of spiritual power. See an article on "The Sealing and Filling of the Spirit" in our January issue of 1901.
H. A. L.—The more we examine what is commonly called "The Lord's Prayer" the more we are struck with its simplicity, its beauty, and its exceeding breadth. But we doubt whether it was ever intended to be used as a form. "Praying in the Holy Ghost"—a phrase found in Jude's epistle, verse 20—seems rather to run counter to any set form, and so does Rom. 8:26. Besides, the position of believers has been greatly changed by the death, resurrection, and ascension to glory of the Lord Jesus, and this necessarily affects their prayers if intelligently offered. In this connection we shall find help in looking at the prayers of the apostle. Paul in Phil. 1:9, 10; Col. 1:9, 11; Eph. 1:16; 3:14-21, and elsewhere. These undoubtedly are not intended to be used as forms, but they show the desires awakened in the apostle's heart by the Holy Spirit and what is fitting to pray for now, both for ourselves and others.
As to Matt. 13:44-50, the parables of the treasure and the pearl both exemplify the great grace of the Lord Jesus towards His redeemed. They are the "treasure hid in a field," they are the “pearl of great price.” To secure this treasure, to make Himself possessor of this pearl, He gave up all that He had. "Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). "Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it" (Eph. 5:25). This was grace indeed. The parable of the "net that was cast into the sea" shows the outward result of the gospel net being cast into the surging sea of humanity. It gathers of every kind. As with the virgins of Matt. 25 (five were wise and five foolish), so here—all the fish were not good. But there will be a separation. The good fish are gathered into vessels, the rest cast away. There may be a partial present application of this parable—the gathering the good into vessels—but about this we do not dogmatize.
HONEST INQUIRER.—If we understand your letter aright, it 'simply comes to this: Is the state after death, both for just and unjust, a state of unconsciousness Is the soul asleep? The question is answered in Luke 16. The rich man in hades and the poor man in Abraham's bosom were very far from being asleep. Do you object that these are only pictures? Be it so; but they are the Lord's pictures, and intended to teach us something. Certainly they do not teach that the dead are fast asleep, but just the contrary.
The Lord said to the dying thief, "To-day shalt thou be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Did that mean that he should go fast asleep and know nothing? Paul thought it far better to depart and be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). Did that mean that the better thing was to go fast asleep and know nothing? In another passage he speaks of being absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). Does that mean he should be fast asleep and not know whether he was with the Lord or not? Can any honest inquirer suppose that we are to be mocked with such interpretations? If you care to pursue the subject further, we commend to your study two papers by Mr. J. N. Darby—The State of the Soul after Death and The Immortality of the Soul—in which the whole question is exhaustively examined. To those papers we are indebted for our brief answer to your inquiry. They can be had of our publisher.
H. J. W.—Ecclesiastes 3:19-41.—This passage has been seized upon by materialists, and is constantly put forth as the stronghold of their doctrine. They endeavor to prove from it that man and beast both have spirit, and that the spirit of both is one and the same. "Man hath no pre-eminence above a beast," and when the breath leaves them they but lie down in the dust, being alike but dust—nothing more.
Has, then, man NO pre-eminence above a beast? Has he not mind, conscience, responsibility, moral qualities? Can these be predicated of the beasts that perish? "But," you will say, “these are the very words of Scripture.” Yes, but many things are recorded in the Scriptures which are not intended to be received as true. They are recorded for our admonition. Lies of the evil one, false conclusions drawn from certain circumstances, rash sayings, lying predictions of prophets who were no prophets, all these are a part of Scripture, and the record of them has been given by inspiration of God and is profitable for us. But God does not place the seal of divine truth on the falsehoods of either men or devils. Now in the passage before us Solomon tells us what he once "said in his heart" (v. 18). It is not divine revelation, but human doubt-the questioning of man's mind when speculating upon the mystery of existence. "Who knoweth?" says he. It is the language of one who had "given his heart to search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven" (chap. 1:13), and who had "said in his heart" (chap, 2:1), " Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, "and who had" sought in his heart to give himself to wine" and "to lay hold on folly, that he might see what was that good for the sons of men, that they should do under heaven all the days of their life" (v. 3). Mirth! wine! folly! These are not the pursuits of a Spirit-taught man. In no such paths does the Spirit of God lead. No wonder that the grave into which all go was to him at that time an impenetrable mystery. Men die as the beast dies; they go to the dust alike, and as to what is beyond no human knowledge can penetrate it. Such is the conclusion to which human wisdom comes. But, and note it well, this is the uncertainty of mere human knowledge. The Spirit of God could not doubt or question. It is by the Spirit, surely, that we are given this history of human searching after wisdom and after good, so that we might know that by human searching he could attain neither the one nor the other. Listen to Solomon's own explanation of this as he comes out into the light: "As thou KNOWEST NOT what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou KNOWEST NOT the works of God who maketh all" (chap. 11:5). But he has something to say now about his former thoughts, for he says, finally and conclusively, that the spirit of a man does not go downward to the earth. "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: but the spirit shall return to God who gave it" (chap. 12:7).
Our limited space will not allow of more. This and kindred subjects are closely considered in Facts and Theories as to a Future State, from which many of our remarks have been drawn,
E. H. W.—1 Cor. 11:6.—These instructions concerning the covering of the head were probably called for by the custom of those days according to which women inspired by demons had their hair flowing out in a wild, loose way. We hardly suppose the apostle is directing this sign of subjection to be worn always and everywhere. It is a question of what is comely and modest, and where there is a sound mind, both nature and grace will teach what is suitable. The spirit of the whole passage is much more important than rigid conformity to the mere letter. We fear the little answer to prayer of which you speak is to be attributed to something more serious than the omission of this sign.
H.—When we are gathered together to wait upon God, either for prayer or with some other object in view, it is assuredly no time either for turning over the leaves of the hymn-book or reading to ourselves a chapter out of the Bible. Each heart should be engaged with the One in whose presence we sit, and on whom we profess to wait. Where this distracting habit prevails, it may indicate the need of instruction; if not, we fear it betrays a listless, uninterested state, out of which it will be a mercy to be aroused. The realized presence of the Lord is a great corrective.
SEEKER.—1 Cor. 9:27.—This passage betrays no fear on Paul's part of his ultimate salvation. Scores of other passages forbid its being read in that light. A man might preach to others and be castaway. Judas was such a one. But no man can have faith in Christ, receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and yet perish everlastingly. Get Fallen from Grace—to be had of our publisher, price two pence—where this very passage and others of a kindred nature are examined. It will help you.

Bible Dialogs.: The Forgiveness of Sins

Questions by E. D. Kinkead; Answers by H. P. Barker.
IN order to introduce the subject I will read a verse of Scripture: "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). This passage shows very clearly that there were some who could say, and who were encouraged by the apostle Paul to say, "We have the forgiveness of our sins.”
No doubt a good many are accustomed to repeat, Sunday after Sunday, the words, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins." By the grace of God some of us can go further and say, "I believe in the forgiveness of my own sins." Can you say that? If not, I beg your earnest attention to the matter we are about to consider.
Must a Sinner Lay All His Sins Upon Jesus Before He Can Be Forgiven?
Not one of us could remember all our sins. As we scan the coast-line of our past lives no doubt there are some sins that stand out like promontories, the memory of which will abide with us to our last hour on earth. But multitudes of our sins, little sins as men would style them, have been forgotten. Yet each one of them calls for expiation, each one must be answered for. Christ's work is sufficient to answer for them all, but if, before we could get the benefit of that work, we had to bring our sins and lay them upon Jesus, we should be in a sorry plight indeed. The thought of the forgotten sins would be forever haunting us. "What shall we do about them?" would be the question that would rob us of our peace.
But there is another reason why we could never lay all our sins upon Jesus, and that is because Jesus is in glory to-day. Do you think He can take sins upon Him where He is? Naught that defileth shall ever enter there. How, then, can a sinner cast his polluting sins upon Jesus, the exalted and glory crowned Lord? Impossible!
The time for sin-bearing was when He was upon the cross. And mark this: If your sins were not laid upon Jesus then, they never will be. Now it is certain that you could not have laid your sins upon Him at Calvary. You had no existence then. The truth is, that God laid the sins of all who believe upon Jesus. "The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.”
What Must a Sinner Do to Show That He Is Worthy to Be Forgiven?
A sinner could never do anything to show himself worthy of forgiveness. The ground on which God forgives sinners is not their Worthiness, or anything that they can do or be. It is altogether for Christ's sake, and on account of what He has done. You will see this very clearly stated in Eph. 4:32: "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." So also in 1 John 2:12: "Your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.”
Suppose that a poor man is presented with a check by some kindly disposed person, and told to present it for payment at the Colonial Bank. As he wends his way in that direction he begins to have certain misgivings as to whether he will receive the money or not. His clothes are so threadbare, his poverty so evident, his name so unknown! Summoning up courage, however, he steps up to the counter and hands in the check. The clerk takes it and looks at—what? The man's ragged appearance? No, he looks at the name on the check. It is that of one of the bank's best customers. Because of that name the clerk hands the money without a question to the bearer.
So with the sinner when he approaches God through the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not take the sinner's worthiness or unworthiness into account. It makes no difference whether the applicant for blessing bear a good character for honesty and respectability, or whether he be known as a depraved outcast. He may have his name inscribed upon the membership roll of a fashionable church, or it may be written upon the conviction list of the police court. God does not make any difference in His treatment of the returning sinner because of things of that sort. What He looks at is the name which the sinner brings as his only plea. If that name be the precious name of Jesus, there is no blessing too great for God to bestow upon the one who seeks it. He will instantly forgive the sins of a lifetime for the sake of that name.
When a Sinner Trusts in Christ, Are All His Sins Forgiven, or Only His Past Sins?
I suppose it is only natural for people to divide their sins into past, present, and future, but it is certain that God does not so divide them. He sees our life, from its earliest moment to our last hour on earth, spread out before Him. Our sins, too—those forgotten long ago and those not yet committed—He sees as one whole, a series of black deeds, and words, and thoughts.
More: He not only sees our sins thus, as one whole, but He saw them thus nineteen centuries ago. All our sins were future then, but God saw them all, and laid them upon Christ. If there is a single sin that you have ever committed, or may yet commit, which was not laid upon Christ, that sin must remain forever unatoned for, and there can be no heaven for you. Thank God, the believer has reason to know that every sin of his life was borne by his Savior at Calvary, and that as a necessary consequence every sin of his life, from cradle to coffin, was blotted out when he trusted in Christ. As a child of God he may sin, and will need forgiveness as such from his Father. But never again will he have to approach God as one who needs forgiveness as a guilty criminal under the sentence of eternal doom.
Is It Right for Anyone to Pray for the Forgiveness of His Sins?
I understand your question to be, not was it ever right, but is it right now for anyone to pray for forgiveness?
Someone has said that Scripture is as eloquent in what it omits as in what it reveals. We certainly must number amongst its omissions any direction to pray for forgiveness since Christ's work of atonement was accomplished. We find many references which show that the forgiveness of sins was enjoyed as a known thing by the early Christians, and that provision was made in the case of Christians who sinned, but we search in vain for any exhortation to pray for this great blessing.
How can we pray for a thing that we already have? Would not such a prayer be the prayer of unbelief? If we as Christians sin, forgiveness is assured to us if we confess our sins; not if we pray for forgiveness. There is a great difference between confessing our sins and praying for forgiveness, and of this we shall have more to say presently.
With regard to unsaved sinners the case is, of course, different. But even such are never told to pray for forgiveness. God is revealed as the One who offers it to all freely through Christ (Acts 13:38), and sinners are exhorted to receive it.
In saying that none are bidden to pray for forgiveness, I do not forget that the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray "Forgive us our trespasses"; but that was before the work of atonement was accomplished. Those to whom that prayer was taught were not in the position into which we, who live since that mighty work was done, have been brought. Though privileged to be the companions of the Lord Jesus on earth, they were in the position of Old Testament believers until He died, and rose again, and the Holy Ghost came down to take up His abode here. Since that time, none are taught to pray in the way that was right and proper before.
Do We Need to Be Forgiven More Than Once?
By "we" I suppose you mean believers. Yes, we do need forgiveness, as often as we sin. We have already seen that the forgiveness of sins which accompanies salvation (see Luke 1:77) is received once for all. It is a blessing which is always ours. But if we, the children of God, sin, our communion with Him is interrupted, and forgiveness, leading to the restoration of that communion, is needed. And God, our Father, is so ready to grant that forgiveness! If we are exhorted to forgive an offending brother until seventy times seven, we may be sure that He will never tire of forgiving us unto seventy thousand times seven.
Will Not the Fact of God Being so Ready to Forgive Encourage Carelessness As to Sin?
Rightly understood, it should have the very opposite effect. A verse in Psa. 130 supplies an answer to this question: "There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared." Mark those words: "that Thou mayest be feared." The forgiving grace with which the contrite confession of the erring one is always met, produces in the soul of the forgiven one such a sense of God's goodness, and withal such a sense of the seriousness of sin, that he fears again to grieve such a loving, patient, gracious One. Such fear is not the fear that hath torment. It is a godly, wholesome fear of sin. No doubt a fear of punishment often acts as a restraint upon men. But how much better when a fear of sin is produced! And this is the result of the forgiving grace of our God. It makes one delight to walk in His fear and seek to please Him in word and work.
What Should Christians Do When They Sin?
That question can be answered in the very words of Scripture: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Notice, it does not say, "If we ask for forgiveness." It is easy to say, "O God, pray forgive me for Jesus' sake," but to confess one's sin is a far deeper thing. It means that we are to pour out the story of our sin in God's ear; to say, "O my God and Father, I have dishonored Thee by telling a lie," or, "O my God and Father, I have given way to my wicked temper again." Whatever the particular sin may be, we have to confess it in true self-judgment. Following upon this we receive God's free forgiveness.
And here let me give a word of counsel to my dear young fellow-believers. Keep short accounts with God. Do not leave the sins of the day to be included in a general confession at night, but as soon as ever you find yourself overtaken with a fault, confess it. If you are in a place where you cannot get alone and kneel down, just lift up your heart and say silently, "Father, I have sinned; I have done such and such a thing." Forgiveness is the assured result.
What Does Our Forgiveness, As Children of God, Depend Upon?
Upon the advocacy of the Lord Jesus. Of course, His atoning work upon the cross is the basis of all our blessing, and is the ground upon which our eternal forgiveness is secured. But He who died there is alive again. No longer as the Sin-bearer, but as the Advocate for His people, He lives in glory.
This is what we learn from 1 John 2:1: "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
As soon as a believer sins he becomes an object of special concern to his blessed Advocate. As a result he is led to judge himself for his sin, and go to his Father in humble confession. As a further result forgiveness is granted, and he is cleansed from all unrighteousness.
How full of gratitude should we be for the services of our Advocate! He is as much for us in glory to-day as He was when suffering as our Substitute at Calvary, and He maintains us in all the abiding efficacy of His wondrous work of atonement. In Him, there is ever present to the eye of the Father a ground upon which He can forgive us, and when we confess our sins He is faithful and just towards Christ in forgiving them.
Is the "Cleansing From All Unrighteousness"
the Same As the Forgiveness of Our Sins?
I think it is a further thing. A child is told by his father not to go out and play in the yard. In spite of the prohibition he does go out, and falls down in the mud, covering himself and his clothes with dirt. That child now stands in need of two things. He needs forgiveness because he is disobedient, and he needs cleansing because he is dirty.
If he is truly sorry for his disobedience, and confesses it, his father forgives him at once. But the cleansing process takes longer. It needs the application of soap and water.
Now, it is just the same with the believer. When he sins he is not only disobedient, but defiled. On confession he is at once forgiven, but before his communion with God can be fully restored he must be cleansed from the defilement he has contracted. This, too, is a result of the advocacy of Christ.
How Is This Cleansing Brought About?
I think we may gather from Psa. 119:9 what the means are which God uses.
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word." The Word of God is that which has cleansing power for the believer. Bear in mind that we are not now speaking of that cleansing which, as guilty sinners, we get when we come to Christ. At that time we were cleansed in a very different way, even by the precious blood of Christ. But as believers we need the continuous washing, not of blood, but of "water by the Word" (Eph. 5:26).
Some precious portion of God's Word is applied in power to the soul, and once again we can look up With joy into the face of our Father. It is not that we doubted Him; we knew all the while that He is our Father, and that in confessing our sin we had received His forgiveness. But, still, there was an uneasy feeling—a feeling of distance. The application of the Word removes that, and communion is fully restored.
How is it that so many of God's dear people live without the assurance of their being forgiven forever?
I suppose it is because they do not see that all their sins were laid upon Jesus, and that God is too righteous ever to charge them with the sins with which He charged their Substitute. And they do not in simple faith rest upon such precious statements of God's Word as those that we have already mentioned, such as "God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you.”
It seems to be ingrained into the minds of many that their forgiveness is in some way connected with their worthiness, and finding themselves full of unworthiness, they hesitate to rank themselves with the forgiven and saved. To all such the blessed words of Jesus are full of import: "Thy sins are forgiven... thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace" (Luke 7:48, 50).
If Jesus died for all, and bore the sins of all, must it not follow that all must be forgiven and saved?
In saying that Jesus "died for all," we are using the very words of the Bible (see 2 Cor. 5:15). But if we say He bore the sins of all, we are 'overstepping the bounds of Scripture.
It is a blessed truth that Jesus died for all. He died to open the way to heaven for "whosoever will." His death has provided a platform from which God may righteously call to all men in grace, and offer salvation to all.
But we cannot say to just everyone we meet, "Christ bore your sins upon the cross." Those whose sins Christ bore will never have to bear them themselves. But many will have to bear their own sins forever in hell.
The truth is that while Christ made propitiation for all, He was only the Substitute of those who believe. We can say that He "bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24).
It is indeed a necessary result of Christ's having borne our sins that we are forgiven and saved, but this applies only to those who believe.
May God grant that all here may believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and receive the remission of their sins

Moral Suitability.

I WAS much struck lately by hearing a brother in the Lord express in his prayer the desire that we might all realize the necessity of moral suitability if we are to be anything for God in this world through which we are so quickly passing.
The words seemed to me to eminently and concisely describe what God requires of us, and what, through the energy of the Holy Spirit, is by no means an impossibility.
In one sense, of course, we are all judicially and morally suitable to God. We are "accepted in the Beloved." The blood of Jesus has brought us nigh, and the alien of the far country has been transformed into the child of a loving and gracious Father. But, experimentally, do we not work out our own salvation, God working in us? And, alas! how often have we proved that it is quite possible for us to fail, and sadly so!
Moral suitability is not limited to outward evidences. To the eyes of our brethren and the outside world we may be paragons of excellence, yet the heart may not be right with God, for there are many private dealings and controversies between God and the soul of which no one else is cognizant. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.
If, therefore, our hearts are going on with anything which the Spirit of God has taught us is not according to His mind, we surely cannot dare to hope that we shall be used in the Lord's service.
To be in a condition of moral suitability, as I take it, means to be in a state of complete obedience and submission to God, leaning hard on Him as the only source of strength, and desiring to know and follow His will in full separation from all that is disobedient or dishonoring to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Clean hands and a pure heart" (Psa. 24) are His gift and His requirement.
We can have no liberty or happiness in service if there is a consciousness of anything wrong within, for the Holy Spirit is grieved—our own hearts are sad, everything is awry, and there can be no peace until we have the, whole thing out with God in downright contrite confession, seeking His grace to be delivered from all that would hinder our soul's progress.
Victory, therefore, is embodied in the idea of moral suitability, and conflict is embodied in the idea of victory.
I cannot be a victor if I have not overcome some opposing force, and the opposing force cannot be overcome without a conflict; and here, where the trend of circumstances is so dead against the furtherance of spiritual life, the overcomer has his daily wrestling. Oh, how blessed is even the smallest taste of victory!
What joy it brings!
How the things of time and sense lose their charm when we enjoy the victory over them all which our good God is only longing to give us! "The joy of the Lord is our strength." God would not require moral suitability from us if He did not supply the power to carry it out. "All His commands are enabling’s.”
Nor is it His intention that our moral suitability should be a dry, legal, unattractive thing, or that His people should be correct icicles, very good and yet very chilly; but He would have us filled with His love, warm-hearted and earnest in His service, and "prepared unto every good work.”
What fields there are around us—fields of yellow waving corn ripe unto the harvest! And the laborers, oh, how few!
And our poor hearts so cold and dead, our hands hanging so helplessly down, and our feeble knees so sadly in need of strength!
There is so much for us to do.
Lord, make us morally suitable to do it!
J. W. MCC.

We Would See Jesus

“WE would see Jesus." All our heart's deep yearning
Is gathered up in this.
For this we wait, while dimly here discerning
His wondrous loveliness.

“We would see Jesus." Broken cisterns failing
Our thirst to satisfy;
All earthly sources proving unavailing
True gladness to supply.

“We would see Jesus." Here is naught but sorrow
And weariness and pain;
But, when we see Thee on the blissful morrow,
Our hearts shall sing again

For very gladness. All the pathway ended,
In which we've learned to prove
The grace and patience of the One ascended
To God's right hand above.

Then we shall praise the way the Lord has brought us
The weary desert through,
Shall see the, wondrous lessons He has taught us
Unfolded to our view.

Our eyes shall then behold in heavenly glory
The One for us who died.
Then, when His love unfolds redemption's story,
We shall be satisfied.
N. T.

Thoughts for the Times.

WE live in strange and perilous times. Many worthy men, I am aware, see no danger. They are unwilling to see what they do not like to see, or to believe what it is unpleasant to believe. I cannot agree with them. I think it unwise to shut our eyes to facts, and to cry "Peace" when there is no peace. Let me explain what I mean.
1. We are in danger from the growing disposition to ignore the sufficiency and supremacy of the written Word of God.
Years ago the only question asked about faith and duty was, What saith the Scripture? About the meaning of particular texts men often disagreed, but few men ever disputed the paramount authority of the Bible.
A change has come over the minds of many in late years. The whole subject of inspiration is surrounded with doubts by the inroads of "scientific criticism." Parts of the Bible are declared to be of no authority. Some tell us that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses, and the facts related in Genesis never took place at all. Others tell us that David only wrote one Psalm in the one hundred and fifty—if any at all. In short, the whole Book is stripped of much of its value and made a mass of uncertainty.
It is vain to shut our eyes, to the fact that a general miasma of unbelief seems to fill the air in this day. A great northern divine once told the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, “Agnosticism and Materialism have become the fashion. The great reviews and magazines are full of it. Young misses fresh from school, and who are not sound on the multiplication table, will lisp to you that they are not sound in the faith. Young boys will tell you that they go in for Agnosticism, a word of which they hardly know the meaning, and which they would find it hard to spell.”
And what is the source of all this mischief? I believe it is the result of the constant attacks made by learned critics on the inspiration of the Old Testament, producing a general feeling of skepticism about the New among that large class of people who know nothing of any criticism, but are glad of some excuse for doubting the truth of the whole Bible. The consequence is a general "shakiness" in men's minds about Bible religion altogether.
Against this danger I desire to raise a warning voice. Give up the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and you give up the only thing which will provide any of us with peace and hope at the last. Wretched indeed is that man who lies on a dying bed, and does not repose his soul on plain texts of God's written Word. The Church without an inspired Bible is a lighthouse without, a lantern, and a soldier without arms. Stand fast, I entreat you, on the authority of the whole Bible After all, let no man's heart fail, when he reads strange and painful statements made by learned Hebraists about the inspiration of the Old Testament, and feels puzzled and unable to answer them. Let him rest assured that there are many equally learned Hebraists who entirely deny the validity of modern scientific criticism, and stand firmly in the old paths. It is my own conviction that the Ark is safe, though the oxen may seem to shake it. I entreat you to cling to the old doctrine of complete inspiration of the whole Bible. Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid.
I grant that an age of skepticism must needs be an age of trial to Bible-loving Christians. But I charge you to cultivate faith and patience. Doubt not that truth will prevail. The Scripture has survived many an attack, and will survive many more.
2. We are in danger from the 'increasing dislike of all positive and distinct statements of doctrine.
This dislike is a fact, I am bold to say, which wants realizing and recognizing. It does not receive the attention it deserves. Whether we like to hear it or not, I declare my conviction that it is a sore disease, which is eating like a canker. It is a pestilence walking in darkness, which threatens to infect a large proportion of the rising generation.
The evidences of this dislike of positive doctrine are so abundant that the only difficulty lies in selection. Unless we are men who having eyes see not and having ears hear not, we may see them on every side.
The consequences of this widespread dislike of positive and distinct doctrine are very serious. Whether we like to allow it or not, it is an epidemic which is just now doing great harm, and especially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a "jelly-fish" Christianity; that is, a Christianity without bone or muscle or power. A jelly-fish, as everyone knows who has been much by the seaside, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little delicate transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation. Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, "No distinct tenets, no positive doctrine." We have hundreds of jelly-fish preachers, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions; they are so afraid of "extreme views" that they have no views at all. We have thousands of jelly-fish sermons preached every year—sermons without an edge or a point, or a corner, smooth as billiard-balls, awakening no sinner and edifying no saint. We have legions of jelly-fish young men annually turned out from our Universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion, and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth. They are sure and positive about nothing. And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of jelly-fish worshippers—respectable people—who have no distinct and definite views about anything religious. They cannot discern things that differ any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors. They think everybody is right and nobody wrong, everything is true and nothing is false, all sermons are good and none are bad. They are "tossed to and fro like children, by every wind of doctrine"; often carried away by any new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to "render a reason of the hope that is in them." All this, and much more, of which I cannot now speak particularly, is the result of the unhappy dread of "doctrine" which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many in these latter days.
Let me once more express my earnest hope that no scorn of the world; no ridicule of smart writers, no sneers of liberal critics, no secret desire to please and conciliate will tempt us for one moment to leave the old paths and drop the old practice of enunciating clear, distinct, well-defined doctrine in all our utterances and teachings. Let us beware of being vague and foggy and hazy in our statements. Let us be specially particular about such points as original sin, the inspiration and authority of Scripture, the finished work of Christ, the complete atonement made by His death, the priestly office which He exercises at the right hand of God, the inward work of the Holy Ghost on hearts, the absolute necessity of repentance and conversion, the resurrection of our bodies, the coming judgment of quick and dead, the reality and eternity of future punishment. On all these points let our testimony be, not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen; and let the tone of our witness be plain, ringing, and unmistakable. "If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (1 Cor. 14:8). If we handle such subjects in a timid, faltering, half-hearted way, as if we were handling hot iron, and had not made up our minds "what` is truth," it is vain to expect people who hear us to believe anything at all. It was distinct doctrine in the apostolic ages which emptied the heathen temples and shook Greece and Rome. It was distinct doctrine which awoke Christendom from its slumbers at the time of the Reformation. It was distinct doctrine which, in the days of Whitefield, Wesley, Venn, and Romaine, revived and blew up our dying Christianity into a burning flame. It is distinct doctrine at this moment which reaches the lapsed masses and gives power to every successful mission, whether at home or abroad. It is doctrine—doctrine, clear, ringing doctrine—which, like the rams' horns at Jericho, casts down the opposition of the devil and sin. Let us beware of a vague, boneless theology. Let, us go on clinging to doctrine, whatever some may please to say.
Never, never let us compromise and give up one jot or tittle of the Word of God. By this the victories of Christianity have always been won; by telling men of Christ's incarnation, vicarious death and sacrifice, His glorious resurrection and ascension to glory; by showing them Christ's substitution on the cross, and His precious blood; by teaching them justification by faith, and bidding them believe on a crucified and risen Savior; by preaching ruin by sin, redemption by Christ, regeneration by the Spirit; by lifting up the Brazen Serpent; by telling men to look and live—to believe, repent, be converted, and live thoroughly holy lives. This—this is the only teaching which for eighteen centuries God has honored with success, and is honoring at the present day both at home and abroad.

Answers to Correspondents.: Rom. 5:1; God's Foreknowledge; The Smoking Furnace; Washing Other's Feet; 2 Cor. 5:2-3; The Rock; The Blood;

W. C. O.—Rom. 5:1.—Many thanks for your kind and brotherly letter. Yes, peace with God does indeed rest on something outside ourselves. It is founded on the fact that Jesus was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. But though the foundation has thus been laid, we only come into the enjoyment of peace and thus "have" it when we receive the truth unfolded in the preceding part of the epistle. To know, deep down in our souls, that we are guilty sinners before God and subject to His just judgment, fills us with dismay. But when we understand that the very One at whose bar we stand convicted has concerned Himself about our sins, that our sins have furnished the occasion for the display of His love, when we see that the Lord Jesus has borne the load of our guilt and put it away forever, when we behold Him risen—the whole question of our sins having been settled once for all—it is then that we have peace toward God. This great blessing is the inalienable right and privilege of all believers, but we think it is going too far to say that every believer has it. Thank God, the atoning work of Jesus has re' moved from God's sight the believer's every sin, and he stands in His unclouded favor. But though this be so, how many sincere souls—through defective teaching—have misgivings as to whether they are quite right after all! Safe in Christ and accepted in the Beloved they surely are, little as they may be assured of it, but peace towards God is the very thing they need. Oh that all such would look away from themselves, and see in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus that which silences every fear and puts to flight every doubt!
S. H.—The doctrine of God's foreknowledge does not weaken in the least degree the responsibility of men nor bind them to a particular line of conduct. A discerning parent may warn his sons that a certain course will inevitably lead to dishonor, beggary, and ruin. His foreknowledge and admonitory words make them the more responsible, and if they heed them not it only aggravates their guilt and folly. Neither was the doctrine of predestination ever designed to make men lie down and go to sleep in the lethal chamber of fatalism. But our first business is not with such subjects at all, and, if wise, we shall leave them alone till other and more pressing matters are attended to. The most abject fatalist cannot deny that the gospel knocks at his door, unless he contends that "every creature," "whosoever," "all" are terms which have no possible reference to him. Should he acknowledge this, and yet plead that "faith is the gift of God," we assent most gladly, and call upon him on that account to be of good cheer, for what is there that God will not give to the one who seeks it of Him i Everyone who asks receives, and all who seek find. Alas! with most objectors the difficulty lies in the will, not in the want of power.
As to modern discoveries proving the Bible untrustworthy, we should advise those who say so to profit by past experience, and be a trifle less loud in their assertions. We are constantly being favored with fresh theories based on fresh discoveries. But their deceptive career is very short, and there is hardly time to greet the new-corner and examine his credentials before we are called upon to show him to the door and to receive the next. The credulity of skeptical young men is amazing, there is no end to it, and were the subject not so serious, we should find it hard not to laugh at them for their childish gullibility. As it is, we pity them with all our heart, and exhort them to be no longer children in understanding.
L. W. P.—We regret to say that the subject of your note is hardly suitable for discussion in these columns. It is too controversial. Many whom we greatly esteem hold different views about the matter, and all we can say here is, Let everyone search the Scriptures for himself as to it and act accordingly.
H. J. F.—Gen. 15:17; Ex. 3:1.—The smoking furnace is a symbol of the trial to which the seed of Abraham would be subjected when they sojourned as "a stranger in a land that is not theirs." It pointed on to Egypt and the 400 years spent in "the iron furnace," out of which the Lord brought them by the hand of Moses (see Dent. Iv. 20). The burning bush, which burned and was not consumed, speaks of the weakness of the people in the midst of whom God dwells, for our God is a consuming fire. But whatever the siftings and searching and judicial dealings of God, whether with Israel of old or with His people now, He maintains them, keeps them, and always seeks their good. The fire burns in the midst of the bush, but the bush is not consumed. Blessed be God!
E. C.—John 13:11.—We hardly think the washing of one another's' feet which the Lord enjoins is to be confined to mere temporal service, however lowly, for any of "His own." Embracing that, it surely goes much further. Has it not some spiritual significance, and does it not point to our being the means of spiritual cleansing and comfort to others in our intercourse with them? We may not know at the time that we are thus washing the feet of another, but this is what would be taking place if our hearts were constantly under the influence of the love of Christ. Some word falling from our lips would powerfully affect another for his good, and this would answer, in its way, to the feet-washing of John 13
B. R. W.—2 Cor. 5:2, 3.—The apostle is speaking of his body as a tabernacle or tent in which he dwelt. But, exposed to violent persecution for Christ's sake, it might at any hour be destroyed. What then? He had a sure abode, eternal in the heavens. But in its present condition the tabernacle house is connected with this groaning creation—groaning because of sin and its effects; and we groan, too, earnestly desiring to have the last tie dissolved by receiving—if we fall asleep—our resurrection body, or if alive by mortality being swallowed up of life. The third verse is a solemn word for the conscience of the easy-going Corinthians. Clothed they were with flesh and blood, but how did they stand in the sight of God? Would they be found naked—any of them—and destitute of that "white raiment" which a professor may think he has while having it not? Compare Rev. 3:18. It was a word, by the way, to which they and all of us might well give ear.
L.—Matt. 16:18.—The rock on which Christ would build His Church is the confession of Himself as "the Christ, the Son of the living God." It is built on the truth of His Person and glory. Son of the living God, whom death could not conquer and hold. It was as such that Paul preached Him from the first (Acts 9:20), and to him was given to unfold in his ministry the truth about the Church with a fullness found nowhere else in the Sacred Word.
G. M.—We should be sorry to think that "the glorious doctrine of the blood," as it has been called, is dropping out of the gospel preaching of to-day. In some circles no doubt it is, but we trust not among those, to 'whom you specially refer. Nothing can possibly be more important than £o give to "Tan PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST" the place Scripture assigns to it. All along the ages, from Eden to Calvary, by type and symbol, the great truth has been proclaimed that "without shedding of blood there is no remission." Through the blood we have forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28); by the blood we are justified (Rom. 5:9); by the blood we are redeemed (1 Peter 1:18); by the blood, we are cleansed from all sin (1 John 1:7); by the blood we have boldness to enter the holiest; by the blood we are made nigh to God (Eph. 2:13). It is by the blood that God is just and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus (Rom. 3:25, 26). The redeemed sing about the blood in glory (Rev. 5:9); the white-robed multitude of Rev. 7 who came out of the great tribulation washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The Bible, from cover to cover, is vocal with the praises of the blood. We believe the preaching that is most blessed is the preaching that gives great prominence to the blood. God forbid, then, that it should be relegated to a subordinate place. It must stand foremost in all true gospel testimony as being the imperishable basis on which every blessing rests. For an answer to your second question see our reply to L. W. P.

Bible Dialogs.: Sanctification

Questions by E. C. Mais; Answers by H. P. Barker.
THE importance of the subject we are about to consider may be gathered from the fact that so much is said about it in the Bible.
Sometimes men divide the truths of divine revelation into "essentials" and "non-essentials." By these terms they mean truths that are essential to salvation and those that are not. But this is a very selfish way of looking at things. Surely the fact that God has made a communication to us regarding any subject shows that He considers the matter as essential to His own glory and to our blessing. We really cannot afford to be indifferent to any divine truth, whether or not we see its immediate bearing upon ourselves. Certainly sanctification is a subject that we cannot neglect without being great losers.
What Is It to Be Sanctified?
The meaning of the word is, to be separated or set apart for a purpose. There is a verse in Psa. 4 which conveys the thought: "The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself”
It is important that we should bear this in mind, for many look on sanctification as a process of betterment by which people are gradually made holier, and fitted to dwell in heaven.
An examination of the passages of Scripture which speak of the subject will show the falsity of this idea. For 'example, in Deut. 15:19 we find that young bullocks and sheep were sanctified. This certainly cannot mean that they were improved and made holier; it simply means that they were set apart for a purpose.
In Isa. 66:17 wicked men are said to have sanctified themselves to do evil. That is, they set themselves apart for the accomplishment of their 'wicked purpose.
In John 17:19 the Lord Jesus says: "For their sakes I sanctify Myself." It cannot possibly be that He needed to be improved and made holier, for He was ever perfect and spotlessly
holy.' But for the sake of "His own" He was about to separate Himself from earth, and the things into the midst of which He had come, and was going back to heaven. He would thus set Himself apart, to serve His people as their Advocate and Intercessor.
These passages clearly show the true meaning of sanctification.
Who Are the People Who Are Sanctified?
It is clear from the. New Testament that all true believers in Christ are sanctified. With the forgiveness of sins goes "inheritance among them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:18).
Writing to the believers at Corinth, the apostle says: "Ye are washed ... . ye are sanctified" (1 Cor. 6:11).
The word "saint" simply means a sanctified person; and this was the usual name by which all God's people in those early days were known. They were called "disciples," "brethren," "Christians," "friends," "believers," but the name most commonly used was "saints." And this name was not applied merely to certain holy and devoted men, but to all true Christians.
Nowadays the word has well-nigh dropped out of use, and if we happen to speak of having been to see some of the "saints," we are stared at as if we had been holding intercourse with the spirits of the dead! The truth is, that poor bedridden Elizabeth B—, in the next street, is as much a saint as St. Peter himself; and old Thomas J—, who breaks stones by the roadside, has as much claim to the title as St. Paul the apostle.
Peter and Paul were not saints because of their zeal, and holiness, and devotion. They were saints because they were cleansed from their sins by Christ's precious blood, and that is what has made every true believer a saint, or a "sanctified person.”
Are even those believers who are full of imperfections entitled to regard themselves as sanctified?
If only those who had got rid of their imperfections were sanctified, we should have to search a long time before we found them. Even the best amongst us is full of imperfection, and those who live in' closest communion with God feel their own imperfections most.
But sanctification does not depend upon what we are in ourselves: Every Christian has what Scripture calls "the flesh" in him; and "the flesh," whether in a saint or an unconverted sinner, is hopelessly, irremediably bad. It is evident, then, that what constitutes our sanctification is not an improvement of "the flesh.”
In 1 Cor. 1:2 we see that it is in Christ Jesus that we are sanctified, not in ourselves. And in verse 30 of the same chapter we are told that Christ Jesus (not a holier or more perfect state) "is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification.”
Let me here explain that as Christians we must learn to think of ourselves in two entirely different ways. First as we actually are here in this world, with "the flesh" still in us, with temptations and trials around, and our bodies still bearing Adam's likeness. As such, our history will end when we leave this world. Secondly as we are in Christ, standing in all the value of His finished work, and set before God to enjoy His favor, without a spot, or blemish, or imperfection. The latter is what we shall actually be when in heaven, but God sees us thus already in Christ, and faith reckons as He reckons.
As men in "the flesh," children of Adam, God cannot derive pleasure from us. He has declared that man after that order will not do for Him. His purposes of grace and blessing must be secured in Another, even in Christ, and as newly created after Christ's order, God can have pleasure in us. Hence it is that our sanctification (or being set apart for God's pleasure) must be in Christ. No imperfections in us can possibly affect our position in Him, nor touch what we have in Him.
It may not be easy for souls to grasp this point all at once. But it is so important that I have dwelt upon it, and I ask for it the careful consideration of all present.
When Is a Believer Sanctified?
Scripture speaks of our sanctification in connection with more than one period of time.
Before the world was, in the mind and purpose of God.
At the cross, when Jesus died, nineteen centuries ago.
When, through the Holy Spirit, the gospel is brought home to us in power, and we receive it.
Let me use a homely illustration to show how this can be.
One Monday morning a lady is doing some shopping at one of the large stores in Harbor Street. While making her purchases a very pretty hat catches her eye. She thinks "What a charming hat!" and is disappointed not to find enough money in her purse to buy it there and then. But she makes a mental note of that hat, and determines to secure it at the earliest opportunity.
On Tuesday the lady is again at the store. She asks for the hat, pays for it, and becomes its owner. It is now her hat, to do with it as she pleases. "Lay it on one side," she says, "and I will send for it to-morrow.”
On Wednesday the lady sends her servant. The maid enters the store, states her errand, mentions her mistress's name, and returns with the bag containing the hat.
Now let me ask you, When did the lady sanctify, or set apart, that hat for her own use?
On Monday, so far as her mind and purpose went; on Tuesday, in securing it by the payment of the price; on Wednesday, by sending her servant for it, by which means the hat was actually taken from the store to the lady's house.
Now this illustration will at least serve to make it clear when we were sanctified or set apart by God for His own purposes.
First of all long ago in the past eternity, God predestinated us to be His sons. He said as it were, "They shall be Mine for My heart to delight in and My hand to bless." So in purpose God set us apart, or sanctified us, before the world began (see Rom. 8:29, 30; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13).
Then, when Jesus died, the price of our redemption was paid. Every obstacle which sin had raised to our being God's for all eternity was removed, and the way opened for the accomplishment of His gracious purpose. We were thus set apart by the payment of the heavy price by which He bought us and made us His (see 1 Cor. 6:20). So that besides being sanctified by God's purpose and will, "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10).
Lastly, when, through the operation of the. Holy Spirit, our hearts are opened to receive the gospel, we are actually and personally brought to Him. We are separated from our sins; we are no longer a part of this world that is hurrying on to judgment. We are effectually set apart for God. This aspect of our sanctification is referred to in 2 Thess. 2:13: "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you by our gospel.”
Is There No Such Thing As a Process of Sanctification
Going on From Day to Day in the Believer's Life?
Indeed there is. We have not yet touched upon this practical side of the subject, because I wanted everyone to be quite clear as to our being sanctified once for all by the purpose of God, the work of Christ, and the operation of the Holy Spirit.
But the practical aspect of sanctification is also of immense importance. In 1 Thess. 5:23 the apostle prays that the God of peace may wholly sanctify the believers to whom he writes. What does lie mean?
Let us revert once more to the illustration of the lady and her hat. After she has bought it, and the servant has fetched it, is that the end of its history? By no means. Now that it has actually become the lady's property, it is from day to day set apart for her own use; that is, she wears it. No one else uses it. It is set apart for the sole use of its possessor.
Now God having purposed our blessing, and Christ having died to secure it, and the Holy Spirit having wrought in us effectually so that we have been brought to God-is that the end of the matter? Not at all. The Holy Spirit continues His work in us, detaching us more and more from the things of this world, separating us from the lusts of the flesh, the evil ways in which once we walked, in this way promoting our practical sanctification.
This is not brought to pass, mark, by the sinful nature within us being gradually rooted out, or the flesh improved, but by our being led into the blessed secret of liberty from the galling yoke of sin, victory over the power of evil within, and joy in the Holy Ghost. As our hearts get more and more attached to Christ, we turn with increased loathing from all that is of self, and the result is that in our walk and ways we are "holiness to the Lord," truly separated unto Him.
What Is It That God Uses to Promote Our Practical Sanctification?
He may, and doubtless does, work by means of many things. The application of the truth to our souls is one of the most effectual means. When the Lord Jesus was praying for us, in John 17, He said: "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is, truth.”
I trust all those who have so lately been converted will become diligent students of God's Book. If you don't feed on the sincere milk of the Word, your souls will starve. As you read, God will bless it to you, and it will have a separating or sanctifying effect upon you. As you become more familiar with its wonderful truths, you will the better discern what is of God and what is of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Many things in which you now see no harm will be exposed to you by the truth which you will learn, and in that way you will be separated from them. You will learn that your Lord and Savior has no place on earth. He is rejected here, and has been driven away from the world. Tell me, won't the thought of that separate you, heart and soul, from the scene where He was refused?
Another thin which God uses is the wrath and persecution of wicked men. We have an instance of this in John 9 The blind man had been healed by Jesus, and had boldly confessed His name. This was too much for the Jewish leaders. It was intolerable that a man should stand up for the One whom they hated. So after reviling the man who confessed Him, they cast him out.
Do you not think that their action would have a very powerful effect upon that man, detaching his heart from the system of things in the midst of which he had been brought up, and entwining his affections around Christ? I am sure that his excommunication by the religious leaders of his day greatly helped towards his sanctification.
`Blessed are ye," said the Lord Jesus, "when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake" (Luke 6:22).
Why Is It Necessary for Us to Be Sanctified?
In order that we might be practically suited for God's purpose, and meet for the Master's use. See what is said in 2 Tim. 2:21 about the vessel that is “sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”
Does not that strike a chord of desire within your heart, dear fellow-believer? Do you not ardently wish to be a vessel meet for the Master's use? You may be one, but in order that you may be suited for His use, you must be practically separated from all that is not of Him, your heart weaned from the world, your soul emancipated from the bondage of sin and the flesh. In a word, you must be set apart, by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit in you, for Christ.
You Were Speaking Just Now About the Means
God Uses for Our Practical Sanctification.
Is Not Affliction One of These?
Yes, God has to discipline us and pass us through tribulation, but it is always for our good, that what is of God in us may be developed, and that we may be increasingly suited for God's pleasure.
The word "tribulation" comes to us from the Latin tribulum, which was a kind of triple flail with which the Romans used to thresh wheat. The tribulum separated the husk from the wheat, and that is what tribulation does for us. There is a great deal of "husk" about us which needs to be got rid of. Hence God's discipline of His children. He purges us that we may bring forth more fruit.
Is Not the Hope of the Lord's Coming Another Means of Practical Sanctification?
Yes. We read that "` every man that hath, this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:3).
It is easy to see how this is so. If we are expecting the Lord's return at any moment we shall be careful about what we do and say. We shall not wish Him to come and find us reading doubtful books, or keeping bad company, or sitting in places of worldly amusement, or saying anything we would not like Him to hear. The thought of His coming, if kept before our minds, and cherished as a hope in our hearts, is bound to have a marked effect upon us, purifying us from what is not of Him, and sanctifying, or separating, us more and more to Himself.
Does the Word "Sanctify" in Every Case Mean "Separate"?
I do not say that the two words can always be used interchangeably, but generally speaking they can. Certainly the usual meaning of the word as employed in Scripture is "set apart" for some divine purpose.
But we are too apt to confine our thoughts of the matter to what we are sanctified FROM. It is a happy thing to understand somewhat of what we are sanctified For.

On the Work of the Holy Spirit.

BELOVED BROTHER,—I do not think anything is of more importance for young Christians to see than the fact that the Holy Spirit did not come in the way of promise and blessing in connection with the race of Adam. Many were baptized by John in Jordan, but on none of them did the Holy Spirit come. Jesus alone was sealed and anointed by the Spirit. He was as a Man "that Holy Thing" (Luke 1:35), and even the unclean spirits had to own Him as the Holy One of God. Everything in Him was holiness, and so in perfect accord with the Holy Spirit. No doubt the Spirit was the power in which Jesus spoke and acted, but it was the Holy One of God in manhood here who spoke the words of God, and did the works of God in the power of the Holy Ghost. Of old the Holy Spirit acted through men, but never till Jesus, the Son of God, was here was there a man who in nature and character could answer to the power of the Spirit. In
Jesus, the Spirit, with which as a blessed Man He was sealed, could act in man as a vessel of His power, because all was in harmony with that power.
With what mere child of Adam could the Holy Spirit ever be in accord? It is a bitter discovery to make, "that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." There cannot be any accord between sinful flesh and the Holy Spirit. In the very nature of things they are opposed (Gal. 5:17), and yet the young believer often thinks that the power and influence of the Spirit could modify, or in some way produce different motions in his evil nature.
Now God has undertaken for us what is impossible for us. In the cross of Christ He has condemned the sinful nature—"sin in the flesh"; it is not altered, but utterly condemned, and now in Christ risen out of the death and condemnation we have not only sinless man before God—He was always that—but One who was "made sin" and is in righteousness before Him. Believing in Jesus, we leave, in the faith of our souls, the ground of man in the flesh, for Christ the Righteous One, who is in God's presence, having obtained an eternal redemption.
It is in connection with Christ that we receive the gift of the Spirit—He is, indeed, the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God, but in us He takes the character of the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of the life that is in Christ Jesus. He becomes the power in us of what Christ is, and of what He has done. In Him (Christ) our sinful flesh has been condemned. The Spirit could not occupy Himself with our flesh then; He occupies us with Christ and what there is in Him, and thus brings us to the condemnation of that which has been condemned in the cross.
If we take the case of the woman of Samaria, we see very plainly that the Spirit is not mere power in a person, but a life-power in connection with Christ. In her were springs of evil—no springs of good were there, or could be, they were in the blessed Man who sat beside her, they could not spring up in her apart from Him. He must give the living water to her if living water was to spring up. He could give it because (as in chapter 3.) He was the One who would bring to an end in His cross the sinful flesh in which the springs of evil are.
But all this is not without exercise. Jacob prevailed through having his flesh crippled. It is not necessary that we should pass through Jacob's way of learning there is no good in our flesh, but in some way or other we have to be taught its wretched sinful character, and its utter condemnation in the cross. Root and branch it le opposed to God; how, then, can the Spirit of God do anything with it but condemn it? But blessed be God, the Spirit of God is given to us on another ground. He is given to us as the Spirit of Christ, and we must not in our minds separate Christ from the work of the Spirit.
What is portrayed for us in the history of Sychar's well is this—the life in us is the life of the flesh, which has sin in it working out in some form. Chapter 3 shows us its utter condemnation in the cross. Life must come to us through the cross, but the life is in Christ Jesus, and the Spirit is the Spirit of the life that is in Him. People often think that He will help the life of their flesh. No: the sentence of the cross is on that; living water is really the life in Christ Jesus springing up in us by His Spirit; thus our affections are engaged with One that becomes everything to us—the living springs that are in Hint are in us by His Spirit; but though they are in us, they do not cease to be of Hint. The Spirit is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Thus the believer is taught to abide in Christ.
There is one more point of experience often dwelt upon, but has to be repeated for souls as they come into it-Deliverance is not a state of soul, though it becomes known in the experience of the soul. Deliverance is in Christ, not in the believer: hence the great point for the soul is to know the Deliverer, the One in whom the deliverance has been effected and subsists—our Lord Jesus Christ. The question in the end of Rom. 7 is not—How shall I get deliverance? but Who will deliver me? It is the question of having a Deliverer. This takes the soul away from itself, and its sinfulness and helplessness, to Another; and the way of deliverance is by its being under the controlling power of the Deliverer, exercised by His Spirit as the power of His life in us.
Jun, 1903. T. H. R.

Delivered and Delivering.

EVERY reader of the New Testament, if enlightened by the Holy Spirit, will easily understand that if we have been delivered from the power of sin and the snares of the world ourselves, we should now seek to be the means of the deliverance of others. No argument should be needed to convince us of the truth of this.
From the beginning the devil has maligned the character of God. The Bible, it is true, is an open book in the land, but, nevertheless, there are multitudes still hoodwinked by his lies and travesties of the truth. They are kept in darkness, they know not the love of God. They do not understand that His heart is full of gracious feelings towards them, they do not believe that He is offering a wonderful salvation to meet their deepest need—they are held in bondage, blind to all that is real and true and eternal.
It is our high and holy privilege, as well as our great responsibility, to show forth the praises of God and to make known His true character, so that the eyes of men may be opened, and that they may be turned from the devil's lies to the glorious truth of the gospel of the grace of God.
We appeal in this paper especially to young men who have professed the name of Christ. Where do you stand with regard to this matter?
You are interested, we doubt not, in a general way in the spreading abroad of the fame of Christ and in the emancipation of souls from the power of darkness, but how far is it your happy lot to be used of God yourself in the deliverance and refreshment of others? Do you know what it is to visit a weary and tried saint, and by some simple ministry of Christ to chase away the gloom and bring fervent words of thanksgiving to the lips of the tried one? Or has it been your happy lot to sit down by the side of an anxious and repentant sinner, and by the help and grace of God to lead such a one to the feet of the Savior? If so, you know what it is to have the music of heaven vibrating through every chord of your heart, and the whole of your spiritual being filled with joy unspeakable. But if you have not as yet tasted the blessedness of being thus used of God, why not? There is a cause: may God give you to discover it. Do not say: "We are not all called to preach," for that is not our point here. We have the wondrous promise from the lips of the blessed Lord that out of the one who drinks of Him shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). This is as much for you as for the most gifted evangelist—it is for "ANY MAN." Oh that we might be greatly stirred up to desire to be found in this happy condition!
We believe the one great essential to all true devotedness and service is to yield ourselves to the Lord. In 2 Cor. 8:5, Paul could write of some who "FIRST GAVE THEIR OWN SELVES TO THE LORD." It is not first work, or first pray, or first learn. No, you may know all about the doctrine of deliverance and yet be a poor slave to your own selfishness, and utterly useless to others. Nor is it great knowledge that is the lack, for it is painfully evident, on every hand, that knowledge even of the things of God puffs up and can go on hand in hand with little power and great barrenness. We thank God for all the light He has graciously given to us, but we shall be altogether unprofited if we do not FIRST give ourselves to the Lord. "YIELD YOURSELVES UNTO GOD" (Rom. 6:13) stands, as it were, at the very threshold of the chapters which enlighten us as to the way of deliverance.
And, surely, herein lie the failure and the weakness—we have been afraid of such words as yield, surrender, consecrate. Not so much, we fear, because we might possibly make a wrong use of them, but because we have been afraid to take the great step which the words involved. But can there be any true Christian experience or power apart from this step? We trow not.
Yes, if we really surrender ourselves to the Lord it will mean, in all probability, some sacrifice-some idol long cherished by our selfish hearts will have to be thrown down-and more than all, it will mean the giving up of self-and this is the greatest of all tests. We are often ready to give our time, our money, our ability, but are we prepared now to do as did the Macedonian saints, "FIRST GIVE OUR OWN SELVES TO THE LORD"? Oh! let us not shirk this matter, but let us bring our dearest treasures, ourselves, with all our hopes and aspirations and ambitions, to the cross of Calvary; let us contemplate the measureless sorrow of the One who hung upon that cross, and then say with Paul of old: "He loved ME, and gave Himself for ME" (Gal. 2:20). Let us shut ourselves up more often with the One whose love is too vast to comprehend, and we shall soon begin to discover how great is the recompense if we give up anything for Him. How often have we sung—
“Just as I am,—Thy love I own
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come!”
May we say this not in word only. May our hearts go with it in deed and in truth.
But there is another side to this matter. You belong to the Lord Jesus, you are His by right of purchase, and the price He has paid is His own precious blood. You BELONG TO HIM ABSOLUTELY, EVERYWHERE, AND Forever. This is an indisputable fact, and while it must make you feel, on the one hand, your solemn responsibility, yet on the other, it will bring vividly to your mind the quenchless, all-conquering love of the Son of God which led Him to brave the storm of judgment, to endure even the cross of Calvary for your sake.
Oh, seek grace to yield to Him that which is His perfect right-even yourself; then as a vessel meet for His service He will be able to lay hold of you and use you as He will.
Now let us obey the command of our Lord and Master, and lift up our eyes upon the fields.
Are they not even now ready for the sickle?
Oh! think of the multitudes in this land and others without the knowledge of God, and passing onward and downward to destruction! They are sinners, ungodly, rebellious, but such were some of us, and for them the Savior died as well as for us. Can we think of them without being moved to compassion? Is God indifferent to the destiny of His creatures? Nay! He willeth not the death of any. In olden days He rebuked His servant Jonah for his hardness of heart when the blessing of men was concerned, and in that rebuke we read how truly "gracious" and "merciful" and of "great kindness" is He.
In due time He gave His only begotten Son that men might not perish. To-day He is sending far and wide the precious gospel, and lengthening out the day of grace, that sinners might even at the closing of the day turn and repent. We have it also from the lips of Jesus, that, in the presence of the angels, God rejoices over one repentant sinner. Yea, truly the blessing of men is very near to the heart of our God. Nor can we have a single doubt as to His feelings in this matter. If then we are near to Him, His compassion will fill our hearts, and we shall seek by life and lip to win them from the ways of death to Jesus Christ our Lord.
There is such a thing as living evangelical lives as well as delivering evangelical addresses—lives in which the power of the gospel is seen, because subject to Christ, and through which the music of the gospel is heard, because walking in the Spirit. It was our privilege the other day to meet a dear Christian in the railway train. He told us that twenty-one years previous he was, without exception, the worst sinner in Stockton-on-Tees—a drunken, blaspheming skeptic; but God laid His hand upon him in a Salvation Army meeting, and he turned to the Lord Jesus Christ.
He was a mechanic, and in the shop where he worked were six other infidels. They first scoffed, and often afterward tried to draw him into argument. But his one reply was: “I will not argue with you, for you can beat me at that; but you know what I was, and you see what I am now. If you want to argue, argue with the power that saved and keeps me.” That power was the power of the grace of God. They saw it, and their mouths were closed; and ere long he had the joy of grasping the hand of each of his fellow-workmen as fellow-Christians! This man illustrates what we mean by being evangelical in our lives. May we be greatly exercised in this matter, at the same time not indifferent as to the proclamation of the Lord. How greatly laborers are needed, men with devoted hearts and fervent souls, prepared to make sacrifices and to suffer hardships for the Lord's sake and the gospel's! It is God's way to take up those who are faithful in their own circle and thrust them out into a wider field. The Lord alone can thrust out laborers—this is His prerogative; ours it is to earnestly desire to be taken up by Him (1 Cor. 12:31).
You may speak of your weakness, and the more you feel it the better, but remember God takes the weak things to confound the mighty. The jawbone of an ass was a weak and useless thing in itself, but wielded by the strong hand of Samson it laid a thousand Philistines in the dust. It is the Lord's grace, the power of God, the work of the Spirit; and these may be manifested in us, and through us, if we are yielded to the Lord.
The other day we read a story which interested us greatly. A young lad of fifteen was visiting his mother in the city of Boston, U.S.A. At the time God was working greatly in the gospel in that city. Many souls were blessed, and amongst them this young lad. Presently the day came for him to return to his work on the farm in the country. He was sad at the thought of leaving the meetings, but knew that the Savior whom he had found could keep him even if he stood alone; and so he sought grace to be true to Him.
The day after his return he was chopping wood on the wood-pile, and round him gathered his companions. He at once related to them what he had found in Boston. They were interested, and some of them said they would like to be saved. He asked them to come round to the shed when work was over; and twelve came. "Now," he said, "the preacher in Boston always sang first, so we will sing hymns." That finished, he said, "The next thing is to pray," and he began to pour out his heart in pleadings for the salvation of his companions. His tears were mingled with his prayers, and not his only, for his companions began to weep and pray with him. This continued many nights, and the blessing spread until no less than three hundred souls in that district had turned to Christ! Oh! it is not eloquent preaching, fine points, and great correctness in words„ but simplicity and devotedness., a heart yielded to Christ, and a preparedness to be used of Him This year may be our last on earth. Long before its close the shout of the Lord may have called us from our service and failure into the joy of His home. Oh, with this before us and the cross behind us, with His love about us and over us and in us, may we be for Himself and Himself alone. May we know His increasing love, His blessed likeness be shining through us, His service our joy, and be ever ready to say to Him, our Lord, our Savior, our Master, "Here am I: send me." J. T. M.

Answers to Correspondents.: "Our"; "The Flesh"; Prayer; What We Read

L.—1 John 1:3-7.—The "our" of this verse is said to be apostolic, and we believe it is. But does this exclude us from the fellowship of which the apostle speaks? On the contrary, what the apostles hid seen and heard is now declared unto us, that we might enjoy with them fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, and thus have fullness of joy. "For what can we have more than the Father and the Son? What more perfect happiness than community of thoughts, feelings, joys, and communion with the Father and the Son, all our joy being derived from themselves? And if it seems difficult to believe, let us remember that, in truth, it cannot be otherwise; for in the life of Christ the Holy Ghost is the source of my thoughts, feelings, communion, and He cannot give thoughts different from those of the Father and the Son. They must be in their nature the same.”
"Fellowship one with another" in verse 7 refers entirely to those whose walk is in the light—that is, to all believers. For carefully remark that the point here is not how, but where do we walk? Either in the light or in darkness, surely. In former days we walked in darkness, but now it is in the light that we walk. Alas! our practical life is not always according to the light; but that is another thing. As those, then, whom grace has brought into the light, we have fellowship one with another.
In regard to your third question, speaking carefully, we should hardly like to say the Lord Jesus "became" the Son of God when born into this world, though if another said it, we would not make him an offender for a word, or be so lacking in charity as to suspect evil where no evil was intended. "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" is what the angel said to Mary. As born here, He was, to be known as such. Of course, He was ever "the Son," before Incarnation and after it, and in John 5 the Lord speaks of Himself both as "the Son" and "Son of God" (see also Heb. 1:8). But in treating of the Person of the Son, let us not forget what is written in Matt. 11:27—a word which should never be out of mind, no, not for a moment, when so holy and profound a subject is before us.
As to the difference between "standing" and "state," by the former is meant what we are when viewed as in the place and relationship into which we have been brought through grace, and in which there is no change or decay. By the latter, the everyday state of the believer's heart, which is so variable, and dependent on his walk and his communion with God. It is of great moment to distinguish these two things.
M. L.—It is a very great mercy that your conscience plagued you for sailing so near that seductive whirlpool of sin in which so many have been caught and hopelessly wrecked. "The flesh" is in us all, and its works are manifest. Gal. 5:19-21 tells us what these are, and we are capable of doing any of them if not walking in the Spirit. Be then on your guard against the first movements of "the flesh," and remember that the divine way of keeping it in check is not by human effort. "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Such is the simple but sure secret of victory over it. Now the Spirit must not be looked upon as mere power, like steam to the engine, or wind to the sails of the ship. There is power, of course, but the way of the Spirit's power is in the heart being engaged with Christ, who, in ways beyond number, is revealed in the Scriptures in His endless beauties and glories—the Center of a new system in which all the glory of God is displayed in infinite variety. Into those heavenly pastures the Holy Spirit would lead the heart that yields itself to Him. It is thus that we sow to the Spirit, and of the Spirit reap—daily, hourly—life everlasting. May our God give you to know this way of peace and love. Write whenever disposed. It will give us great pleasure to hear from you.
J. D. L.—Your word of "entreaty" can hardly be inserted in our pages. It is too incisive, and its points are sharper than needles. As a rule, we believe in going straight to the mark and saying what we have to say as plainly as possible. But there are occasions when it is advisable to go a longer way round. When Nathan was sent to David to arouse the slumbering conscience of the king to the baseness and enormity of his sin, he spake in a parable first of all, and afterward in thundering accents, saying, "Thou art the man!" It is wise sometimes to speak in parables. But we heartily go with you in deprecating "long, sentimental prayers and exhortations with numerous repetitions, which weary the listeners and are anything but helpful." We share, too, in your grief over a brother who prays definitely for something to which we can all heartily add Amen! and then goes wandering off into a labyrinth of generalities where our thoughts refuse to follow. All true!—all true I and much to be deplored. The remarkable thing is that the good brother who suffers most from this infirmity will read these lines and join with you in loudly bewailing such wearisome habits without suspecting that he himself is the guilty party. Then we need a Nathan to cry aloud in his ear, "Thou art the man!" But where shall he be found?
A. M. B.—We thank you for your letter on the importance of care as to what we should read. Many young Christians, and perhaps older ones too, devour much of the trashy literature of the day to the injury of themselves, both spiritually and intellectually. There is but little of the fear of God before their eyes in doing this, for if some spiritually minded friend were to enter their room while thus engaged, the book or novelette would be hurriedly thrust under a pillow or hid in some corner out of sight. This shows that they care more for the esteem of a fellow-creature than for the conscious approval of Him who sees and knows everything. The cure is found in communion with God, in the enjoyment of His presence, in the prayerful reading of His Word, in the ceasing to grieve the indwelling Spirit who is patiently waiting to lead the willing heart into the growing knowledge of Christ. Thus new and endless vistas of delight would open to the soul, and the reading of frothy and pernicious books would drop off like leaves when summer wanes.

Bible Dialogs.: Meetness for Heaven

Questions by O. Lambert and Others; Answers by H. P. Barker.
Our subject is "Meetness for heaven." A wonderful thing it is, that people like you and me, full of failures and shortcomings, can be made meet for heaven, even while living here on earth. But this is what the grace of God is able to do for us.
In Rev. 21:27 We Read That Nothing That Defiles Can Enter the
Holy City. How, Then, Can We Be Made Fit to Dwell There?
The efficacy of the precious blood of Christ is so great that it can completely remove the defilement. It can cleanse away the sins of a lifetime in a moment, and wash the sinner white as snow.
If anyone felt that his sins were as black as hell itself, and more in number than the grains of sand upon the sea-shore, we could still point him to the blood that cleanses from all sin, that makes the guilty, defiled sinner white, and pure, and fit for God's bright glory-home.
Do Taking the Sacrament, Doing Penance, and Attending Strictly
to All Religious Duties Help Anyone to Become Fit for Heaven?
If such things as these can in any way help to fit our souls for the skies, it is strange beyond measure that the Bible does not tell us so! On the contrary, we find that "works," though they have their place in connection with the Christian's life on earth, have no place whatever in connection with his salvation, or in fitting him for the skies. Salvation is distinctly said to be ".NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:9); and if God has saved His people, it is "NOT BY WORKS of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy" (Titus 3:5).
There are many, however, who would energetically disown and denounce the doctrine of salvation by works, who yet cherish the idea that it depends upon themselves in some way or other to fit their souls for heaven. So they sing—
“A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save, and fit it for the sky.”
It is true that the Lord has committed a charge to His people, but that charge is certainly not to save their souls and fit them for the sky. His finished work is the only thing that can do that. Nothing can possibly add to the value of what Christ has done for us, or make more perfect that spotless robe of righteousness with which the grace of God has arrayed us.
Is Being Made Fit for Heaven the Same As Having a Title to Go There?
Hardly. I might receive an invitation to attend a levee at King's House from His Excellency the Governor himself. That would give me a clear title to go there. But as I stand here I am not fit to attend a brilliant function like that. I am not suitably clad. I should need a complete change of attire before my fitness for the Governor's company would be recognized. On the other hand, my dress might be in every respect suitable, but that would not give me a title to go. In the one case I should have a title, but no fitness. In the other I should be fit, but have no title. Now, through the grace of God both a title to heaven and a perfect fitness for that holy place are provided for all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. His precious blood makes us as perfectly fit for heaven as our sins had made us fit for hell.
But our meetness does not consist merely in the fact of our sins being washed away. Christ Himself is the measure of our meetness. We are so linked up with Him that God sees us in Him, decked with all His comeliness, and meet for the presence of God even as He is meet. Our title, too, though based upon the precious blood of Christ, lies in the fact that He Himself has entered heaven for us. We have a right to be there because He, our Substitute, our Savior, and our exalted Head, is there.
Suppose It Were Possible for a Sinner to Be Taken to
Heaven in His Sins, What Would Be the Result?
I suppose that such a one would feel utterly miserable. With a nature wholly unsuited to God's presence, and without any fitness for a place of light and holiness, it would be unbearable to him. His cry would be, "Let me get away from this place!”
I heard once of a betting-man on his way to some horse-races who, by mistake, went on board the wrong steamer. He found himself amongst a lot of Christians bound for a conference. In the saloon, on deck, everywhere, hymns were being sung, and conversations going on, of which the things of Christ were the topic. The man felt completely out of place, and his discomfiture ended in his offering the captain a good round sum of money to be put down at the nearest landing-place.
People talk easily enough about going to heaven when they die, but they forget that unless they have been made fit for the place, and have received a nature that can enjoy the things of God, they would be as miserable in heaven as that betting-man was amongst the Christians on the steamer. If an hour in their company was unbearable, what would an eternity in the very presence of God be to an unregenerate sinner?
Where in the Bible Do We Read of Being Made Fit for Heaven?
In Col. 1:12-14. Let me read the passage: " Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us net to be Partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power, of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
Ought We to Pray to God to Make Us Meet to Be
Partakers of the Heavenly Inheritance?
If you will glance at the chapter from which we have just read, you will see that from the ninth verse to the eleventh we read of various things which as Christians we can PRAY for. We should earnestly pray, for instance, that we might be filled with the knowledge of God's will, and walk worthy of the Lord, and be fruitful in every good work, and so on. But, verses twelve to fourteen mention things that we can GIVE THANKS for. Now, we pray for things we want, but we give thanks for what we have already received. You will note that meetness for the inheritance above is one of the things we are to give thanks for, and not one of the things we are to pray for. That is very clear from verse twelve. It is something which, by the grace of God, is ours already.
We were speaking the other evening of that golden little word "hath." How many have been enabled to bid farewell to all their doubts by seeing that "hath" implies present possession The same word is used here with reference to our meetness for heaven: "Giving thanks unto the Father, which HATH made us meet." Oh, let us give thanks indeed to Him for this great gift!
Who Are the "Us" Referred to in That Passage?
The fourth verse of the chapter will answer that question: "Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus." They were people who had come to Christ and believed in Him as their Savior. The apostle does not refer to unbelievers or mere professors. They are not made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. This great blessing is the portion only of those who have trusted in Christ.
Are Not Believers Left on Earth for the Purpose of Being
Made More and More Fit for Heaven by the Grace of God
and the Influence of the Holy Spirit?
One might answer that question by asking another: Can anything wrought in our souls, or, produced in our lives by God's grace and the Holy Spirit, add to the value of the precious blood of Christ? Surely not.
God has most assuredly left us on earth for a purpose, but that purpose is not that we might be made more meet for heaven.
I am aware that sonic good people cherish the thought that Christians are gradually ripening for the skies, just as an orange, under the influence of the sun's rays, becomes sweet and mellow, and fit to be plucked and eaten. Whatever other aspect of a Christian's blessing that orange may illustrate, it certainly does not show how he is made fit for heaven.
Why, if from the day of your conversion to the day when you bid farewell to earth, you could live a life of holy zeal and devotedness in the Master's service; if by continual prayer and the study of His Word you became a giant in spiritual knowledge, you would be no more meet for heaven at your last moment than when, as a poor sinner, you first trusted in Christ. Growth there would be, in many respects—in knowledge, in experience, in devotedness, in zeal; but there would and could be no growth in meetness ess for heaven.
Is There Not a Place Where Souls Are Sent,
After Death, to Be Finally Fitted for Heaven?
Such a place exists only in the imagination of men's minds. The Bible is not only silent as to there being such a place, but its testimony is dead against it.
I know that a good many present with us this evening have been accustomed to hear of what is called purgatory, and the same thing has been mooted in rationalistic quarters under the name of "Æonian fire." But will anybody tell me that any sufferings through which I might pass can accomplish what the sufferings through which my Savior passed for me could not? Would my sufferings be more efficacious to fit my soul for heaven than His sufferings were? Impossible!
Oh no; thanks be unto God, my Savior has won for me by His finished work, not a place in purgatory, but in the Father's house. His work is all that is needed to fit the believing sinner for that place, and we are only waiting till He comes to enter the place He has made us fit for. If called to die, it will not be to undergo a further process of purification by purgatorial fire, but "to be with Christ; which is far better" (Phil. 1:23). To depart and to be with Christ is a very different thing from departing to be in purgatory, is it not?
There Were Some Christians at Corinth Who Were Not
Going on in the Right Way, and in Consequence Many
Fell Asleep. What About Them?
Their case in no way invalidates the truth we are insisting on. The apostle Paul himself said to those same Christians: "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." The place that they were not fit for was Corinth. Instead of living for God's glory, and being bright and shining witnesses for Christ, their discreditable conduct was bringing reproach upon His name and making Christianity a byword among the heathen. It was for this reason that God intervened and removed them from the earth by death.
There is all the difference in the world between being "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light," and being "meet for the Master's use" (2 Tim. 2:21). Many are fit for glory who are very far from being fit vessels for the Master to use here on earth. So God has to chasten them, and discipline them, and sometimes to take them away from earth altogether.
Is the Case of Those Corinthian Believers
an Instance of the "Sin Unto Death"?
Yes, I think so. If God has made Himself known to us in grace, we must not conclude that He ceases to be a wise and just Governor. He cannot allow sin to go on amongst His people unchecked. But even though the sin be of such a nature that God sees necessary to check it by the removal of the one who sins, yet that one, if a believer in Jesus, is removed to heaven.
We will suppose that a father, as he sits in his house, hears his son's voice mingling with the voices of some bad, rough lads in the street. He is shocked to hear the language that comes from his own boy's lips. Opening the window, he calls: "George, come here!" George turns round, and his father continues: "I have seen how you have been misconducting yourself. I cannot trust you out there any longer. Come in at once!”
Thus he calls the boy away from the street, where he was bringing discredit upon his father's name; but where does he call the boy to? He calls him home.
That is what God has sometimes to do with His children. Their sin is a sin unto death. God removes them from earth (the place they are not fit for) to heaven (the place that, through the blood of Jesus, they are fit for).
Is There Any Other Instance in the Bible Illustrating the Same Principle?
Yes, the case of Moses. A wonderful servant of God he was, but he sinned in disobeying God's directions on one occasion, and failed to maintain God's honor in the eyes of the people. For this God said to him: "Get thee up into this mountain Abarim... and die in the mount whither thou goest up" (Deut. 32:49, 50). Moses was not allowed to lead God's people into the promised land. His service was given to Joshua, and God called him away from earth.
If anyone asks, "But how do you know that after his failure Moses went to heaven?" I reply, "Because when the Lord Jesus was transfigured upon the mount, Moses was one of His companions who appeared in glory with Him" (Luke 9:30, 31).
Moses' fitness for heaven did not depend on his faithfulness, or he never would have got there. Hg continuance as God's chosen servant on earth did depend upon his faithfulness, and because he failed he was called away. So with us. If unfaithful, we are not "meet for the Master's use," and God will have to deal with us as He sees fit. But our meetness for glory depends upon something the value of which no failure on our part can ever diminish, THE PRECIOUS FLOOD OF CHRIST.
In saying that, are you not setting forth very dangerous doctrine?
It is enough for me that it is the doctrine of Scripture. But after all, do its practical effects strike you as so very bad? Are those who are assured that Christ's precious blood is all that is needed to make them fit for heaven such very careless and dreadful people? As a matter of fact, it is the other way round, and in real life full confidence in the power of Christ's blood to cleanse, and the assurance that through it we are made fit for glory, are found to go, hand in hand with a godly walk and a concern for God's glory on earth.
Does not the case of the dying thief illustrate how a sinner is made fit for heaven without any works on his part?
It does indeed. Poor man! with his hands made fast to the cross, what manner of work could he do? He could only turn to the Lord in all his vileness and helplessness. This he did, and was blessed at once with the promise "To-day shalt thou be with Me in paradise." It matters little what men say or think as to what or where "paradise" was. The point is that he was there and then made fit for the company of Christ, and had the assurance of being with Him.
Why Did Christ Institute the Sacrament If, As You
Say, It Does Not Help to Make Us Fit for Heaven?
I am not in any way implying that the Lord's Supper, or the sacrament, as you call it, is unimportant. I take it myself, when possible, every Sunday. But in doing so I have not the remotest thought of being made more fit for heaven thereby. If you wish to know why the Lord Jesus instituted the Supper, you have only to turn to the Scriptures for the reason. It is stated distinctly enough. See Luke 22:19. He Himself said: "This do in remembrance of Me." That is a very different thing from saying, "This do in order to be made more fit for heaven.”
The truth is, that the bread and wine are given to us that we might be constantly reminded of our absent Lord, in His death. He desires that we should not forget Him, as the butler forgot Joseph, and instituted the Supper as a simple means of remembrance. There is no hint anywhere in the Bible of its being a "means of grace," or of its having any virtue in it for helping to make us meet for heaven. Only those who know that they are saved, and made fit for heaven through Christ's precious blood, can rightly take the Supper, for they only are able to remember Him as His own loved ones, who owe all their blessing to His death.

Is Your Eye on the "Ribband of Blue"?

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and, do them. 15:38, 39.
THIS is a most interesting and instructive scripture, full of significance for us. Not that we are called to dress in a peculiar garb, or to wear fringes or ribbands. Christianity is spiritual, and deals with the inward work of God in the soul, producing practical and visible effects in the character, life, and ways of God's saints. And where it is not the case, that man's religion is vain. But if we need no "ribband of blue" round our garment to-day, yet surely the life of every Christian should be colored by that which it denotes. As another has aptly put it, "The heavenly principle must enter into the minutest details of life, even in those that are nearest to the earth, if we wish to escape the serious evils which bring down the judgment of God.”
Blue, as has often been remarked, is the heavenly color, and Christians are heavenly even as Christ is heavenly (1 Cor. 15:48). They should live a heavenly life on earth—a life according to the, holiness of God, separate from all that is worldly and all that is not according to His mind. The Ephesian epistle sets before us our position in the heavenlies in Christ now (Eph. 1, 2.), and the Philippian epistle the practical walk of heavenly saints on earth. (Alas! how far we come short!) From beginning to end of the epistle to the Philippians there is no mention of Satan or sin; "the flesh" is only brought forward that we may have no confidence in it (Phil. 3:3,4), while joy and rejoicing in the Lord, with suffering here, are presented as our appointed portion till He come.
As the Israelite looked upon the blue ribband round the border of his garment, he would remember his position of favor among God's people and his responsibility to obey all the Lord's commandments; and his eye and his heart would be kept from many snares. But where there was forgetfulness of Jehovah's institutions he was exposed to the enemy's wiles, and fell a prey to his own lusts.
So is it to-day. The "stranger" has been brought into blessing and highest heavenly privilege. We who were afar off, poor sinners of the Gentiles, who believe the blessed gospel of God, are found in His assembly. The border between the Christian and the world should be distinctly seen by every eye, and it is so where there is true spirituality. What a testimony the Church of God would have been if the precept of the "ribband of blue" had been hid in every Christian's heart! Alas! we, like Israel, have allowed our hearts and eyes to go after other things. To use a figure, the color of the ribband has almost entirely faded away. The Church and the world have shaken hands, and the Church has fallen, more or less, to the world's level. Blessed is it indeed when saints wake up to their high calling and responsibility, and when the heavenly color is manifest in whole-hearted obedience to the revealed will of God.
The Lord has brought us out of this Egypt world, and we are passing through a moral waste where all is defiling on account of the presence of sin. Our only safeguard is to carry the deep significance of the "ribband of blue" in our hearts. So we shall be preserved day by day, and walk well-pleasing to our God. What can be more lovely in His sight than an assembly of His saints characterized by heavenly-mindedness?
In our Lord's day the scribes and Pharisees had made broad their phylacteries and enlarged the borders of their garments. They had not forgotten the "ribband of blue," but had misused it. They enlarged their borders that the eyes of other men might behold them, but their own hearts were far from the true meaning of the ribband. They were self-occupied, loud in words, and busy in works, but their words were vain and their works were to be seen of men! Alas! how many to-day follow in their steps!
But there was One who had a border to His garment whose eye and heart never wandered. The Son of God walked as man on earth, a heavenly stranger. The border of blue was ever a perfect line of demarcation between Him and a sinful world. "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:9). He remembered to do all the commandments of God.
And how blessed to see the healing virtue of Him, whose "ribband of blue" never faded, in this ruined world! A poor woman sinking rapidly into the grave, who had spent all her living in view of a remedy, came behind Him and touched the border of His garment, and immediately she was made whole (Luke 8:44). One touch was enough. And so it is also to-day for the healing of any sin-sick soul who believes on Him.
May the Lord in His grace give each reader of these lines to learn the deep significance of the "ribband of blue." We belong not to this world. Heaven, where Christ is, is our home. We are but passing through a world steeped in sin, and there is no preservation from its corruption and defilement unless our eyes and hearts are governed! so to speak, wholly and solely by the ribband. Is your eye fixed upon it?
E. H. C.

The Approaching Event.

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
1 Thess. 4:16-18.
THIS event may take place at any moment. Millions will then respond to the Lord's "descending shout, to the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. Saints from every part of the globe will be "caught up" to meet the Lord. The redeemed from Adam down will be raised from among the dead and joyfully ascend to meet the Lover and Redeemer of their souls.
Not, indeed, with bodies of weakness and mortality, but with bodies conformed to His body of glory. Thus they will be "caught up" to meet the Lord, and, as the fruit of His own death upon the cross, will be presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24).
What an event! What a moment to wait for! What bliss untold to long for! What a Savior to watch for! "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour" (Matt. 25:13).
Could any event be more important or be pregnant with such stupendous consequences? Could anything be more calculated to keep the heart awake than the immediate prospect of the Lord's return? "If I go away, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3). It is ours to joyously respond, saying, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).
The child of God is to live in the light and expectation of this glorious event. He is to regulate his affairs in view of it. Nor is it a 'mere doctrine with him, but something that enters into his very life, both at home and abroad, in the meeting and in the workshop. He may come today is a blessed fact which cheers him as he rises in the morning; and as he commends himself to His care and keeping for the night, he remembers with gladness that He may come before the morning. The sons of toil and those languishing on beds of sickness are comforted by His promise to come' quickly. In the meantime He is with them, comforting their hearts, and saying, "It is I, Myself; be not afraid.”
As we sit down at the Lord's table we look backward and forward—backward to His death, forward to His coming. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's 'death till He come" (1 Cor. 11:26). If we remember His death, it is the expression of His infinite love; and if we look forward to His coming again for us, we, as it were, hear Him say, "I shall not be satisfied until I have you with and like Me where I am.”
He delights to present Himself in a way that will sustain our affections and lead the heart to respond to His own desires. In Rev. 22:16 He says, "I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star." Not only is He the Author of David's greatness and, according to the flesh, coining of his line, but also "the bright and morning Star." He is such to His waiting Church, Himself the consummation of all her hopes and expectations. To Israel He will appear as the Sun of righteousness, arising with healing in His wings, to introduce the millennial day of peace and glory, when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14; Isa. 2:1-5).
But Christ as the morning Star is the bright hope of the Church. Hence it says, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come" (Rev. 22:17). At His coming we shall be translated to heaven, where we belong. When Israel is blest, and the nations, the earth, purified by the judgments of the Lord, will be the sphere of their blessing. Creation itself, too, will realize the beneficent rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. Delivered from the bondage of corruption, it will be brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Rom. 8:22). Thus, for this poor earth, which has groaned under man's misrule for so many centuries, there is a bright and blessed day coming when He whose right it is shall reign (Isa. 11:1-9).
But if the coming of the Lord is a blessed event for the saints of God, it will be a sorrowful. one for those who have never accepted Christ, or having once professed to receive Him, have given it all up!
Let anyone read 2 Thess. 2:7-12, and he will see what will befall multitudes in these Christian lands left behind at the coming of the Lord. They did not "receive the love of the truth," so they shall "believe a lie"; they would not "be saved," so they must be "damned." They would not have the Christ of God, so they will bow before the "son of perdition," and follow the "lawless one," who will meet his judgment at the appearing of the Lord from heaven with all His saints.
Oh, how this should awaken in the hearts of the true children of God greater affection for the Lord and devotion to His interests here The Church—the people of God—is the center of His interests. Its state is a matter of great moment with Him. He would have His saints separate from the world and devoted to Him, each filling his relationships in this life for His glory and expecting His return.
For the child of God, then, the Lord is coming. The world may be ignorant of this, and the professing Church asleep, but for the people of God there can be no event of greater importance.

Thoughts for Young Converts.

"FOLLOW thou Me" (John 21:22). This is our Lord's clear call. Take these three words, pray over them, and let them control your life. Follow CHRIST. He will never disappoint or misunderstand you. Your fellow-Christians may, so do not copy them. They are only worth copying in so far as they copy Christ. But to copy them is as foolish as the schoolboy who, instead of always copying the head-line itself, copies the copy in his exercise book. Then follow Christ. How much for God's glory and your blessing lies wrapped up in those three simple yet far-reaching words!
"Give attendance to reading" (1 Tim. 4:13). The Christian is a man of one book. The Bible contains for him the whole revealed mind of God, and "is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." There is nothing so enervating as the reading of silly religious novels and the neglect of the Scriptures. Young believer, read your Bible. Read it regularly, prayerfully, systematically. You may read many books written by servants of Christ to great profit, but above all go to the fountain head of knowledge and truth—the Word of God. It is a shame to find how ignorant many Christians are of the one book, which has brought them news of salvation, and by which they may grow in the knowledge of God Himself.
"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). Dependence becomes the Christian. In it lies his safety. The strongest Christian is the one who clings most. Turn everything into prayer. Make it the habit of your soul. "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep" [literally, garrison] "your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6, 7). Have your stated times for prayer; but at all times and in all places, and under all circumstances, let your heart turn to the Lord for help, support, guidance. A Christian Who reads and does not pray becomes merely intellectual in the things of God; the Christian who prays and does not read is fervent but unintelligent as to God's mind; but the Christian who reads in the spirit of prayer will grow in the true knowledge of God.
"To every man his work," (Mark 13:34). I solemnly believe that idleness is a blight that rests on many to-day. Dear young Christian, if you were only converted yesterday, find something to do for Christ. Only let your work spring from real communion, and let the joy of the Lord be your strength. Do the first simple thing that comes -to your hand, and wait not for a grand beginning. You may not be called to preach to crowds, but you can read the Scriptures to an aged dying pilgrim, or put a tract into the hand of a passer-by. All truly great works have been growths. All honored servants of Christ have begun' simply and humbly. Do not dream of great things, but do little ones in a humble spirit. That will be a great beginning.
"Meditate upon these things" (1 Tim. 4:15). If laziness is a blight, over-activity is equally to be deplored. Beware of a restless state in which you cannot be content unless doing, doing, DOING. See that you get not so occupied with your own work as to have no sympathy for other people's, and no time to care for your own soul. Whilst looking after the vineyards of others, take care that your own is not covered with weeds. Find time, like Mary, to sit at the Master's feet and hear His words, and may you ever go out from His presence in the enjoyment of His love and with the assurance that you are sent. If the Lord shall say, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for -Us?" how happy will be your response, "Here am I; send me," and how joyful will be your service! The day of reward draws near. The Lord is coming quickly. Soon the day of need will be over; but, oh! how privileged we are to serve such a Master, who does not send His servants at their own charges! A. J. P.

Answers to Correspondents.: Forgiveness; Mortality of Body/Soul?; "Hell"; Chronological Accuracy; MAT 12:24-28; Sing

C. R.-Luke 23:34; Heb. 10:17; Matt. 6:14,15; Psa. 34:6.—In praying for the forgiveness of His foes, the Lord had in view the great crime they were then committing. It was national forgiveness, in that the nation of Israel were guilty of His blood, and of course in the main limited to them. We might have supposed that in killing the Heir and casting Him out of the vineyard, judgment would have instantly overtaken them. But the intercession of the Lord Jesus prevailed, though when the Holy Spirit came and bore witness to the once crucified but then risen and glorified Savior, they aggravated their sin in resisting and rejecting His testimony according to Stephen's word in Acts 7:51, till at last wrath came upon them to the uttermost (1 Thess. 2:16). We speak of the nation as such, not of individuals.
The difference between the second and third passages is this. Heb. 10:17 treats of that which is eternal and individual. The believer's sins shall be remembered no more. This is based on the one sacrifice for sins offered once for all. There can be no repetition of that sacrifice, and there can be no reopening of any charge of guilt against the one who has fled to Christ for refuge. All is settled; we are "perfected forever." Matt. 6:14, 15 deals not with what is eternal, but with that which is conditional and governmental. Assuredly the eternal forgiveness of a poor sinner is not dependent on any good quality in him. But in the holy government of God our Father, it is measured out to us, His, children, as we mete it out to others. If we cherish an ungracious, unforgiving spirit, our petitions will not be heard, and we shall have to be corrected and chastened until willing to forgive as we have been forgiven. To confound eternal with governmental forgiveness is a serious mistake, against which we should sedulously guard ourselves. Finally, we had looked at Psa. 34:6 as prophetically true of the Lard Jesus in His earthly pathway-an example and gracious encouragement to others. We sincerely regret that your inquiries, received in April, should have remained so long unanswered. It was quite an oversight.
F.—We entirely agree with you in saying that "mortality" has reference to the body only, not to the soul. But if the latter is not mortal, what is it then? A thousand voices would reply, "Immortal to be sure," meaning that the soul never dies. And surely it is so. To this meaning you consent, though objecting to the word "immortal" being applied to the soul. But does it not then become a mere haggle over words? You subscribe to the doctrine while dissenting from the term employed to define it! Well, if a better can be found, let it by all means be used. We shall not quarrel with your terms so long as the substance and reality be maintained.
A. J. P.—It is important to remember that two words in the original tongue are translated in our English Bible "Hell." These are Hades and Gehenna. Concerning the latter we may say in the words of another, "It is a place into which God's judgment casts the unrepentant and rebellious wicked, where their worm does-not die, and the fire is not quenched. That human figures of fire and worms are used may be; but the force is plain enough—it is the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, where God casts in judgment those that are righteously rejected, a judicial punishment for which there is no relief, of which there is no cessation.”
As to little children who have not reached the age of responsibility at the time of the Lord's return, we presume they will have their place among those "caught up... to meet the Lord in the air." For "it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish" (Matt. 18:14). Others of riper age who have never had the gospel presented to them, and therefore never rejected it, may have the opportunity of sharing in the blessing in store for men after the Church is gone. Now 2 Thess. 2:11 enlightens us as to what will befall those who have heard of Christ and rejected Him; but we must not suppose that with the translation of the Church the door of salvation will be closed to all of Adam's race. If so, how should' Israel be restored and blessed, and the Gentile nations, too, the "sheep" of Matt. 25:33?
A LEARNER.—Gen. 15:13; Ex. 12:40; Gal. 3:17.-There are no grounds, so far as we know, for doubting the chronological accuracy of either of these passages. Patient examination and study of the text will show that the difficulties are only on the surface. In reading Gen. 15:13, let the clauses be well noted: [1.] "Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, [2.] and shall serve them; [3.] and they shall afflict them four hundred years"-the four hundred years embracing the whole, beginning with the birth of Isaac and ending with the exodus from Egypt. As to Ex. 12:40, we should not confound the sojourning of the children of Israel with their dwelling in Egypt. They sojourned in Canaan, as Ex. 6:4, Heb. 11:9, tell us, and they dwelt in Egypt the whole period of four hundred and thirty years, covering both and more. For the term "children of Israel" denoted the whole family of which Abraham was the root. They were so styled to distinguish them from the descendants of Esau, who also sprang from the same original stock. Thus the four hundred and thirty years date from the call of Abram and his sojourn in the land in which he was a stranger, on to the birth of the seed and their deliverance from the Egyptian yoke. So we view it.
J. H.—Matt. 12:24-28.—The argument here seems so simple as to require but little comment. If the Lord Jesus, as some scrupled not to say, cast out demons by Satan's power, then Satan's kingdom could not stand. Every house, or city, or kingdom—no matter whose divided against itself, sounds the signal of its own downfall. Was Satan likely to follow such suicidal policy? Moreover, by whom did the nation's own children cast them out? If any claimed this power, from whence did they derive it? Was it from the devil? As to sectarian divisions, they are indeed a source of weakness and our common shame. But that which is eternal and of God's own planting is deeper than what divides, and there is a bond which unites all true believers which no differences can ever break.
J. D. S.—Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:18; James 5:13.—There is no doubt that the verb "sing" in these passages was originally applied to playing the harp, as it is repeatedly used of David, Deborah, and others. But such is not its exclusive use even in the Old Testament. It sometimes denotes the singing of the words, apart from any mention of the instrument. Thus in Psa. 30:12, "that my glory may sing praise unto Thee, and not be silent." This verb is used in the Septuagint Greek version, and we know from comparing Psa. 16:9 with Acts 2:26, that "glory" means "tongue." Hence in Psa. 30 the word does not refer to instrumental but to vocal music.
Leaving this line of argument, a moment's thought should convince the ordinary English reader that in your passages instrumental music is hardly in the mind of the inspired writers. Singing in the assembly with the spirit and understanding, as in 1 Cor. 14, is in contrast with the unworthy and foolish use of "a tongue" which nobody could understand. In Eph. 5:19 we find the same word translated "making melody" in your heart. This scarcely supposes instrumental music, does it? Nor would any sober-minded person contend that it was needed to fulfill the exhortation of James 5:13. Speaking for ourselves, we should shrink from having recourse to musical instruments even in Sunday-schools and Evangelistic meetings, believing that no instrument can equal the human voice in uttering God's praises, especially when the heart is fervently engaged.

Bible Dialogs.: Backsliding

Questions by P. Brown; Answers by H. P. Barker.
IT is a very solemn subject that is to engage our attention on this occasion. I believe that most, if not all, Christians know what it is to backslide. I do not mean that they have fallen into open sin. One may conduct himself in the most exemplary manner, and yet all the while be a "backslider in heart." Many of us, I am sure, have to mourn over times when we have consciously slidden back from communion with God, and when our souls have been chilled and beclouded. Let us pray, therefore, that God will help us in our consideration of the subject.
What Is the Cause of Backsliding?
In order to answer this question, I must point out that backsliders are of two kinds. There are those who have never got beyond a mere profession of Christianity. Brought under religious influences, they have taken the place of believers in Christ, and in all sincerity imagine that they are on the way to heaven. But there has been no divinely wrought conviction of sin in their souls; their consciences have never been plowed up by the power of God's Word; to true repentance and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ they are entire strangers. In spite of their profession they are what they always were, unregenerate sinners. Sooner or later, perhaps, the religious life upon which they have entered becomes irksome to them. They feel that they cannot live up to the profession that they have made. Old tastes and desires reassert themselves, and little by little they slide back into their former manner of life and are looked upon, by those who once believed them to be real Christians, as backsliders. Like the sow of which we read in 2 Peter 2:22, their washing did not go deeper than the surface; outwardly reformed, they had never been transformed into Christ's sheep, and their turning again to the mire of sin is only what might be expected.
The other class consists of those who have been genuinely converted. As hell-deserving but repentant sinners, they have put their whole soul's trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning work. Their sins are forgiven and they are Christ's forever.
Alas that we should have to say it, but it is only too true, that even such may backslide, and grow cold in heart, and fall into sin.
Many causes may contribute to bring about the declension of a Christian. Perhaps one of the most frequent is self-confidence. We are so prone to forget that we cannot get on for a single hour unless we lean upon the strong arm of Christ for support. We are sometimes foolish enough to fancy that the wonderful blessings we have received are enough to keep us going on without constant dependence on the Blesser. We shall do well to remember what happened in the case of Jacob. On that memorable night by the ford Jabbok he was wonderfully blessed. God changed his name, and most significantly it is added, "the sun rose upon him." But the very next thing we read of Jacob is that "he halted upon his thigh." Darkness had given place to sunshine, doubt and misgiving had been replaced by confidence, the blessing of God had been freely bestowed, but Jacob was left as weak and helpless in himself after it all as he had been before. He still needed to lean for support upon something outside himself. And long years afterward the same necessity existed (Heb. 11:12).
The same thing is true, in a spiritual way, of every child of God. Constant and hourly dependence is the only way to be kept from backsliding, and this will be so to our last moment on earth. To forget this and to trust in any way to our own power of continuance is to ensure failure and defeat.
If One Who Is Truly a Child of God Backslides,
Does He Need to Be Saved Over Again?
I might answer this question by asking another: If a boy were to run away from home, does he need to, be made his father's son over again? No, indeed; he may need chastisement, and when repentant he will need forgiveness and restoration to his place in the home circle, but the bond of relationship between him and his father is one which no misdeeds on his part can sever.
Now the bond that is formed between the believer and God is an everlasting bond. It is God Himself who has formed it, and "whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever" (Eccl. 3:14). God has saved him, and made him His own dear child. He has sealed him with His Spirit, and assured him that he shall never perish. Moreover, he has become a member of Christ's body, and an object of the special love and care of Christ Himself. Can all that be compromised, and God's work undone, and a sheep plucked from the Shepherd's hand? To a thoughtful mind, and one who comprehends what is implied in a soul being saved, to ask such questions is to answer them.
Is There Not Such a Thing As Being Blotted Out of the Book of Life?
You refer, I suppose, to what is said in Rev. 3:5. But we must remember that in the city of Sardis there were some who had, as it were, written their own names in the record of the living ones. They had a name to live, as verse 1 tells us, but in reality they were dead. Now if God writes anyone's name in the book of life, it is because, that one is truly alive, having been quickened by God Himself. And if God writes a name in that book, He will never blot it out. But if anyone takes the place of being a living one, without ever having "passed from death unto life," it is as if he had inscribed his own name where it has no right to be, upon the pages of the book of life. And all such names God will assuredly blot out. But they are the names, not of backsliding saints, but of false and lifeless professors.
Did Not the Apostle Paul Fear That After All
He Might Possibly Become a Castaway?
If he did, he must have doubted the truth of what he himself constantly taught! But Scripture says no such thing as your question supposes. The passage that is in your mind is 1 Cor. 9:27, which, you will observe, does not mention such a thing as becoming a castaway, though the possibility of being a professor, and even a preacher, and yet after all being nothing but a poor unconverted castaway, is clearly recognized.
But for an explanation of this and similar passages which appear to teach the possibility of a true believer being ultimately lost I must refer you to a helpful little book called "Fallen from Grace; or, Castaway," where the matter is gone into more exhaustively than time will permit us to do on this occasion. The book will cost you only two pence, and can be had of the publisher of "Simple Testimony.”
Why does God permit His children to backslide? We cannot speak of our backslidings as being by God's permission. It is true, of course, that He has power to keep us from backsliding, but it is not His way to treat us as mere inanimate machines. He has made all His stores of grace and power available for us, so that if we wander and stray, we have no one to blame for it but ourselves. And God uses, our failures and falls to impress upon us the lesson that we are slow to learn-that of our own utter weakness and incompetence.
But in Order that we may be preserved from stumbling and erring, God has given us a living Savior in heaven to be our great and mighty Intercessor. He knows our weakness and our need, and He lives to meet it with His grace and power.
We have also the Holy Ghost dwelling within us to be our Guide and Comforter, to make the things of God real to us, and to' control us on behalf of Christ.
Then, too, we have the priceless treasure of God's Word to act upon the conscience and point out the way of truth.
With such resources as these there is no excuse for backsliding. It is only when we neglect the wonderful provision than God has made, and try to walk in our own might, that we are overtaken with spiritual disaster.
If a Christian Sins, Is He in Every
Case to Be Considered a Backslider?
Hardly; for in that case who amongst us would not be a backslider? We must distinguish between the one who persists in sin and the one who is "overtaken in a fault," though even the latter needs restoration (Gal. 6:1).
If you watch a column of smoke you will often see it driven to and fro by the passing gusts of wind. Yet its main direction is upward, in spite of everything. So with the Christian. He is liable to be influenced by passing things, and through lack of watchfulness to be overtaken in a fault. But if his main direction is upward, and if he continues in that course, mourning his failures and pressing on in spite of all, he is not to be regarded in the same light as one who goes on for days, or weeks, or months without getting into God's presence in self-judgment and confessing his sin and seeking grace to enable him to turn from it.
What Do You Mean by a
"Backslider in Heart"?
The term is a scriptural one, as you will see if you turn to Prov. 14:14. We have an example of what is meant in the case of the saints at Ephesus. They were what many would doubtless have regarded as a model company. Their zealous labors, their faithfulness in repudiating false teachers, their endurance for Christ's sake, were well known. Nevertheless, He who reads the heart had something against them: they had left their first love (see Rev. 2:2-4). Outwardly they were all that could be desired, but their love to Christ had ceased to burn with its former brightness, the ardor of their first affection for Himself had cooled; they were backsliders in heart.
How many of us have to confess that the same thing is true of us! And how evident it is, from the case of these Ephesian believers that activity and zeal in the Lord's service, even when coupled with uncompromising fidelity to true doctrine, are no remedy for a departure from "first love.”
How Can a Backsliding Child of God Be Restored?
If thorough restoration is sought, there must be a thorough going to the bottom of one's sin and declension in the presence of God. No mere expression of sorrow and prayer for forgiveness will suffice. There must be real self-judgment, and a retracing of one's steps to the point of departure.
I remember that once, while sitting in my lodging a little mouse came out of its hole and began to gambol about in the room. Some motion of my foot, however, soon startled it, and away it ran, and vanished into its hole. A few minutes afterward it reappeared, this time coming from a hole on the opposite side of the room.
Let every backsliding Christian mark this. You cannot do as that mouse did! It ran into one hole and came out at another, but that is impossible for you. You have got into some dark hole, away from the light of your Savior's presence, away from the joy of communion with God. And if you are to be restored you will have to come out at the same hole as that into which you went.
What I mean is that you will have to retrace, in God's presence, that piece of your soul's history that lies between the moment of your departure and the present time. With the Lord's help you can do this; and to confess the first wrong step, and judge yourself for having taken it, is a great point gained.
Bear in mind, all the while, that the blessed Lord looks upon you with eyes of unchanging love. All your sinful wanderings have not produced the smallest diminution of His faithful love for you. Think of this. Turn the thought over in your mind, "He loves me, notwithstanding all," and with the thought of that true, strong, tender, eternal love, carry your confession into the presence of God. "Take with you words, and turn to the Lord," and He will heal your back sliding and fill your heart with joy once more.
But be sure you offer no excuses for your declension. When the German Emperor despatched a contingent of soldiers to aid in quelling the Boxer insurrection in China, he bade them remember that their foes were cruel and merciless. "Give them no quarter whatever," he said.
Your greatest foe is yourself, and in turning to the Lord you' will do well to follow the advice given by the Geri-nail Emperor to his soldiers, and give yourself no quarter whatever.
In confessing your sin thus, you may rest assured that you are forgiven. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." You may not, and probably will not, experience any sudden relief, or any immediate dispersion of the clouds, but forgiven you most certainly are the moment you pour out the sad story of your sin in your Father's ear.
Then, through the advocacy of Christ, restoration ensues. He will bring His word to bear upon you; He will speak to your heart in a way that will melt you, and deepen within you the sense of His love and faithfulness and your own folly and unworthiness. Then, distrusting your own wisdom and strength, you will seek to go on in the power of His grace.
When a Backslider Turns Thus to the Lord, Is His Restoration Immediate?
Not usually, I believe, though his forgiveness is instantaneous the moment confession is made. But restoration is a further thing than forgiveness, and is not brought about so speedily. The returning wanderer is made to feel that his sin is no slight matter, and that the privilege of communion with God is not a thing that can be cast aside and then resumed at pleasure.
In saying this, I have in my mind a passage in Hos. 5:15, and 6:1, 2, which, though primarily referring to Israel, states the principle that I am seeking to explain.
The Lord withdraws Himself in chapter 5:15. "I will go and return to My place," says He, "till they acknowledge their offense, and seek My face." The effect of this is that the people exhort one another. "Come," they say, "and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up." A period of time is thus anticipated between the turning of their souls to the Lord and the revival and raising up that will come from Him. This period of time allows of the soul passing through exercise, and of its reality being tested. But if its attitude of true contrition and self-judgment is maintained, the restoration is as certain as the forgiveness; and we may be sure that God will not keep one waiting a longer time than is sufficient for the needful lessons to be learned.
Restoration, let me add, does not usually come in the shape of a sudden burst of ecstasy, or anything of that kind; but is brought to pass by our having our thoughts diverted from ourselves to Christ. The Holy Spirit directs our hearts to His love, and in being engaged with Himself, the blessedness we longed for is ours once more.

“Man Goeth Forth Unto His Work.”

Psa. 104:23.
THIS is the special dignity put upon man—he “goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening." It is a dignity which belongs to God. And this psalm bears witness to that fact in a very striking way. It sets before us, first of all, God's work in varied and beautiful connections, the psalmist, exclaiming at length, "O Lord, how manifold are Thy works in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches. "And then, having spoken of God's work, he says," Man goeth forth unto his work.”
That man has his daily task—"his work"—distinguishes him from all other creatures above and below him. Angels are ministering spirits; the waters obey His decree; the young lions roar after their prey and seek their meat from God, but man, man alone, as made in the image mid. likeness of God, "goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening.”
Now this puts supreme value upon work. It is the order of the universe, and man's chief duty. This argument finds its strongest support in the fact that God worked. The very opening page of revelation reveals Him thus employed. Such is man's place in the universe. He is a worker. The very first direction Adam received was, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
We may learn from this that to be unemployed is one of the very worst things that can befall a man. Someone has well said if we would be happy it is of the first importance to find our proper work. Most of the wrecks in life are caused either by having no work, or insufficient work, or uncongenial work; and the spirit of than is never so cheerful as when it finds that satisfying labor for which it is fitted. Find this by all means if you would be happy. Everyone has his own proper work. You may not have found it; it may not be the work you are doing now; but work there is for everyone. "Man goeth forth unto his work." Yes, you have your own particular work to do, as though there was no one else in the wide world to do it.
This gives immense dignity to life. How dignified is the description in the psalm before us—"the beasts of the forest creep forth," but "man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening"! In this way, as we have shown, he imitates God. Can there be anything higher? Did not our Lord Himself, as Man, go forth unto His work and to His labor until the evening? God gave Him a work to do, and on the cross He could say, "It is finished.”
Now while this principle is of universal application, we wish to bring it to bear especially upon the subject of Christian work. If God wrought in creation and thus set man an example He intended him to follow (perhaps we may never have thought of the six days' work in this light), He has also wrought in saving power through our Lord Jesus Christ, and He intends every believer to follow this example likewise. We speak only of the principle. The Lord Jesus Christ before He left this world said to His disciples, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father" (John 14:12). If we pass on to the Acts, we read, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching, the word." Here we find that believers, without being apostles (for the apostles, we are distinctly told, were left at Jerusalem) or having received any human ordination, went everywhere preaching the word. They had, something better than human ordination—they had divine communication. They were taught of God. Human learning is all very well in addition to this, but without this it is sometimes worse than useless.
This striking incident is mentioned not because every Christian is necessarily a public teacher or preacher, but because in a general way it conveys the idea that there is something for all to do. If this idea could be revived, it would be of untold blessing to the Church and the world. The prevailing notion is that nearly all preaching and Christian work, both at home and abroad, is to be done by a select few. The fatal consequence of this is that an immense wealth of talent lies wholly unused. The fact is, painful as it may sound, there are thousands upon thousands of believers in our land who will not let the Holy Ghost use them. They never preach a sermon; they never visit the sick; they never give away a tract; they never testify for the Master; or they do these things so seldom as not to be worth taking into account. In hundreds of churches, chapels, of meeting rooms everything is left in the hands of one man, or only a few. There are thousands of Christians who do nothing.
It would be impossible to estimate the annual spiritual loss thus sustained. Forgive us for looking at the matter from such a business point of view, but it is the best way of bringing this glaring defect forcibly under our attention. If people in this country acted on the same principle in business affairs, if the few worked and the many were idle, England's prosperity would decline immediately. But this is just what has been and is taking place in the Church. No wonder such a small impression is made upon the world!
If things were as they should be, many a Christian would probably go abroad carrying his business with him and preaching the gospel at the same time. If he had to settle in a place, it would be where the gospel is needed. He would not go abroad simply to get rich, but with the idea—while earning enough to keep himself—to spread the truth. It is not assumed that everyone could do this, but the opportunity is open to thousands who do not now avail themselves of it. How can we expect to impress others with the importance of Christianity when we ourselves are so careless of it? Take another branch of service—tract distribution. This again is in the hands of the few. And yet it is a kind of service that is within the reach of all. A little courage, a little politeness, abundance of prayer, and the thing is done. It requires no gift. And yet it is service that yields very great encouragement, and was never more needed than at the present day. In the face of the degrading literature that is gaining an ever-increasing circulation, and ruining hundreds of lives, and of the spread of Romanizing influence, something of an opposite character is sorely needed.
“Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening." What work is it to which you go forth?
We do not mean merely manual or mental labor—we mean work as a Christian. If you are converted you have some work to do for God over and above your secular employment. If every believer realized this the effect would be astonishing. There would be a regiment where now there is only one man, and a whole army in place of a few scattered individuals.
It, will not always be easy, doubtless. The highest work is never easily done. It will require labor. This our text implies. "Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening." "To his labor." Without this our work will never be well done. But where it is labor to do the work God has given us, and for which we are fitted, that labor becomes ever more sweet and easy.
We are reminded, too, that there is to be a limit to our labor. "Man goeth forth... until the evening." Here we see divine consideration for our weakness. God would never put more upon us than we can bear; and we do well to remember this gracious provision, and fall in with the divine plan. Here, again, God Himself becomes our example. Did He work for six days to teach man the nobility as well as the necessity of work? He also at the same time introduced evening and morning as marking the periods of labor and repose. We cannot afford to act differently. Generous souls there are who wear themselves out; always spending, and seldom recouping. This fact should make each one careful to do his part. If all were doing this, there would not be the necessity for the few to overstrain themselves. It is because this is not the case that we see men and women, conscious of the appalling need, taxing themselves to the utmost, and going down in their prime. "Until the evening." This may be taken in three ways: (1) We must put a limit to each day's work, and have regular periods of repose. This is necessary in order to gather strength for the next day, and gain the needed preparation. And the Lord's people may greatly help by seeing that the worker gets sufficient quiet without interruption. (2) There is the evening of life. Man has to go forth until the evening. Blessed are they who have labored on until they find their powers decline, and one service after another has to be given up, and the calm, still evening closes life's busy day—a day filled with good works. (3) And beyond all that there is the evening of death—"The night cometh, when no man can work." How it behooves us to do all we can now! The last day of our going forth to our work is marked either by the Lord's return, or that moment when the physical powers will fail. Till then let us fill our appointed task, and let us learn what a noble position man has been given, distinct both from angels above him and the beasts beneath him. "Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening.”

Full Assurance of Hope.

“AND now, Lord, what wait I for?" asks David; but he tarries not for the reply. His own heart gives it—" My hope is in Thee," he instinctively and instantly cries.
What a hope! Is it ours? If so, shall we consider it in all its deep significance and its gracious bearings as revealed by the light of Christian doctrine? It is—
A blessed hope (Titus 2)—a crystal without a flaw, a rose without a thorn, a prospect without a cloud, a joy without a limit, a day without a night. "Blessed is the man whose hope is in the Lord" (Psa. 146). Blessed indeed. How can he be otherwise with such a hope?
A comforting hope (1 Thess. 4). It dries the tear of grief, smooths the pillow of pain, binds up the bereaved and broken heart, and brings sunshine into the darkened chamber, directing the heavy-eyed and desolate mourner from the gloomy bier to the Father's house of song and light. "Caught up together to meet the Lord." Sweet hope, whispering of reunion and of no separation.
3. A saving hope (Rom. 8:24). Now we are saved as to our souls (Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 1:18; 15:2), but then our bodies will be saved (Rom. 13:11; Phil. 3:21)—saved, absolutely saved we shall be from self and sin, and the world and Satan, suffering and death. Oh, wonderful salvation! "Lord, haste the day." So we sing and so we feel.
4. A confident hope (Heb. 10:35-37). "Cast it not away," says the apostle. "It hath great recompense of reward." It is "an anchor both sure and steadfast" (Heb. 6:19)—no fiction, no star-gazer's dream, no cunningly devised fable, but divine certainty sealed and attested to by God Himself.
A living hope (1 Peter 1:3). It is embodied in a person—"our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our hope" (1 Tim. 1:1). Every promise must find its fulfillment in Him. We wait not for an event, nor are we occupied unduly with "the signs of the times," though "times and seasons" have their interest to the instructed saint. Our hope is a living One—the living Lord.
6. A heavenly hope (Eph. 1:18). Heavenly because it is "laid up for us in heaven" (Col. 1:5). The earthly "Deliverer comes out of Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Rom. 11), but ours comes "from heaven" (Phil. 3:20). We, are a heavenly people, and our hearts are where our treasure is (Luke 12:34). Normally, we breathe and thrive in an altitude of bliss, and our lives reflect the heavenly color of the bright scene to which we belong.
7. A purifying hope. It forms us, morally, and makes us like the heavenly One (1 John 3:3). How testing! How practical! How conscience-searching! The hope of His return must govern us unless we "hold the truth in unrighteousness." How solemn! This hope is not a bit of sentiment to toy with, or to keep in lavender. Actions must accentuate words.
8. An intelligent hope (1 Peter 3:15). We can "give a reason" for it. The study of it enlarges the soul's capacity to seize the purposes of God and His counsels as to Israel, the Church, and the world. "Divest the Bible of it, and the book becomes for the most part a mass of random and disintegrated chapters—a tangled thread of mysteries. Christ's second advent is the key to prophecy and the lamp which illuminates the page of past and future recondite history.
9. A stimulating hope. 1 Cor. 15 (last part) is not a funeral sermon suited only for the graveyard, but a quickening discourse for living saints, to rouse them to the activity of devoted life and service. "Your labor is not in vain in the Lord" is the pivot or climax of Paul's great defense of the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead which some in Corinth disputed.
10. A glorious hope (Rom. 5:2; Col. 1:5). There is but one advent or coming of the Lord, but it has two stages-first to the air (1 Thess. 4) and then to the earth (Zech. 14; Rev. 19). The believer's hope embraces both. Christ will go on "expecting till His enemies be made His footstool"(Heb. 10:13), and every loyal heart will share that hope. "His rest shall be glorious" (Isa. 11), and His rest shall be ours.
A patient hope (1 Thess. 1). We are now "in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." Think of the inimitable patience of "the God of patience" and also of "the patience of Christ" (2 Thess. 3, margin). Thus, whilst breathing with ever-increasing longing the bridal cry, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," let us cultivate at the same time "the patience of hope." What a touching expression! Ponder it well.
A loving hope (John 14). Its home is not in the head nor in the conscience, though both these are affected by it; but it is cradled in the heart-created and animated as it is by love to Christ. Someone has said, "A wife may not be able to keep her husband's ledger, but she can wait with loving heart for his home-coming." How true! We may know but little, but if we love the Lord we can wait for Him. When affection sleeps, the hope of His coming wanes; but when affection revives, it burns again and glistens, and charms with heavenly light and beauty. A revival of hope is produced by a revival of love. May the Lord bring about such a revival in the hearts of all His dear people!
"Our hearts take up Thy Church's Patmos cry,
Yearning for Thee and home;’
Come, Lord,' we sigh, and clear
Thy lips reply, Behold, I quickly come.'”
S. J. B. C.

The Beauty of the Lord.

“When we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him."—Isa. Eli. 2.
BLINDED by the god of this world, the Sun might shine in all its splendor, we saw it not, nor cared. We turned everyone to his own way, and wandered on in the darkness until God, in His wonderful grace, let a little ray of light in, and opened the blind eyes to show us where we were going, and the awful danger we were in. And then the light did more, it showed us what we were; nothing but a hideous ruin, nothing for God, nothing but evil, incurably bad. We might have been overwhelmed and in despair at such a sight, but the light revealed yet more, it showed us Jesus—it shone in His face, and now to us, who once saw no beauty in Him, "He is the chiefest among ten thousand... yea, He is altogether lovely." Then may we have that purpose of heart expressed in these words:— "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after... to behold the beauty of the Lord.”
(Psa. 27:4.)
Whatever is our object in life, that will characterize us, it will color our thoughts, our words, and our ways. If this is then our object, the one thing we set before us, "to behold the beauty of the Lord," will it not be reflected in us in some small measure?
“Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.”
(Psa. 90:17.)
Just in so much as we are occupied with Christ where He is, "beholding the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18). The result will be that others will see it, just as the children of Israel saw the reflection of the partial glory in the face of Moses.
“Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I put upon thee, saith the Lord God.”
(Ezek. 16:14.)
We are left here on earth to show forth the virtues of Him who hath called us (1 Peter 2:9). But how can this be so if we are absorbed with a hundred and one things in which Christ has no place? Oh, may we be occupied with the One who alone can fill and satisfy our hearts, for His own sake; His beauty filling our gaze; the result will come out in us, though we shall not be thinking of that. And then, more wonderful still, God's eye will rest on that which is well pleasing to Him in us.
“So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty.”
(Psa. 45:11.)
Nothing but what is of Christ in us can be acceptable to God. We are in Christ before Him "accepted in the Beloved." And now His desire, expressed by the apostle Paul, is to see "Christ formed in us." Do we want to be here for God? Do we earnestly desire that He should find pleasure in us? Let us remember that nothing but Christ will do. God has found perfect satisfaction in His well-beloved Son, and is going to fill heaven with nothing but what is perfectly like Him. He has predestinated us to be conformed to His image; then may we seek to be more so even now. Gazing more and more upon His beauty, while it ever increases in our sight, we shall find all other sights eclipsed, fading into their worthless, temporal insignificance, while our longing desire will be for the moment when at last we shall see Him face to face, and be with Him and like Him forever.
“Oh, fix our earnest gaze
So wholly, Lord, on Thee,
That with Thy beauty occupied
We elsewhere none may see!"


AMONGST the many thousands of tracts distributed by the evangelists of the Open-air Mission at Doncaster Races was one which in a strange and providential manner found its way down the grating of a coal-cellar. It was thrown there probably by the careless hand of one who had himself despised the message which it brought. The cellar belonged to a refreshment-house, and the daughter of the proprietress, going there for coal, found the tract. It was entitled The Sacrifice of Love, by John T. Mawson, and in it the gospel is beautifully illustrated by an incident in Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. She read it, and the story of God's grace went to the heart of the young woman, producing an overwhelming conviction of sin bordering on despair. Her anxious mother eventually sent for the doctor, who, singular to say, was not only a Christian, but a member of the Open-air Mission. On his arrival the girl exclaimed in accents of despair, "Oh, those words, those words!" pointing to the tract which she had read. The doctor soon found out that her case was one of soul-distress. He pointed out to her the way of salvation, and with God's blessing it became the means of dispelling the darkness of her despair and enabling her to rejoice in the Savior's forgiving love. How true it is that
“God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform"!
This incident is full of encouragement to tract distributers. Go on, dear servants of the best of Masters, and spread abroad the glad tidings of redeeming love. Your labor, is not in vain. Many shall be the sheaves gathered into His garners through these silent messengers that tell Of One who is mighty to save.

The All-Sufficiency of Christ.

IT should be the common delight of all His saints to trace the Lord Jesus in all His goings. For where are we to have our eternal joys but in Him and with Him? What is suited to our delights if Jesus and His ways be not? What is there in any object to awaken joy that we do not find in Him? What are those affections and sympathies which either command or soothe our hearts that are not known in Him? Is love needed to make us happy? If so, was ever love like His? If beauty can engage the sense, is it not seen to perfection in Jesus? If the treasures of the mind delight us in another, if richness and variety fill and refresh us, have we not all this in its fullness in the communicated mind of Christ? Indeed, we should challenge our 'hearts to find their joys in Him. For we are to know Him so forever. And learning the perfections and beauties of His blessed Word is one of the many helps which we have whereby to advance in our souls this joy in the Lord.
J. G. B.

Answers to Correspondents.: Our Responsibility; Vanquishing Sin

L.—Our responsibility as men is never connected in the Scriptures with our having been born into the world fallen children of fallen parents, or a person might retort that it was his misfortune and not his fault that he was so born. But we are responsible for our deeds, and it is for these that men will have to render an account, for so 2 Cor. 5:10, Rom. 14:10-12, Rev. 20:12, Eccl. 12:14, and many other passages plainly teach. We are also responsible to believe the gospel, to fear God, to obey His command, to repent and to receive as Savior and Lord the One whom God so graciously sets forth in His holy Word. Nor will it do to plead as an excuse for sin and unbelief that we inherit an evil nature which obliges us to do wrong. Such a plea is of no avail. It is an old device which the Lord indignantly rebuked in Jeremiah's day: "Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery... and burn incense unto Baal, and come and stand before Me... and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?" (chap. 7: 9). It only aggravates our sin to say so. The truth is, the will is all wrong. Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). Oh that they would hearken to the living God, who is speaking from heaven to them with every desire for their eternal blessing. In receiving the Savior they would receive strength to turn from their evil ways, and the light of another world would dawn upon them of which Christ, risen from the dead, is the Sun and Center. Then their sophistries and excuses would vanish as mist before the clear shining of the day.
C. S. L.—The sin that assails and so often overcomes you can only be vanquished in the power that flows from Christ. It is well that you hate it and well that its indulgence causes you bitter anguish afterward. Such falls show the evil of "the flesh" and how unable you are in your own strength to war against it successfully. But we often give to "the flesh" an occasion of attack through our not walking in the Spirit. Clear enough we may be on the doctrine of deliverance from the power of sin, but practical deliverance is found alone in Christ. Read attentively our paper on "Backsliding" in the present issue, and write to us again.

Bible Dialogs.: The Inspiration of the Bible

Questions by W. E. Powell; Answers by H. P. Barker.
IN our previous dialogs we have spoken of 1 many wonderful things that are found in the Bible. On this occasion we are to speak of the Bible itself, and the claim that it has upon our obedience. I trust that as a result our reverence for God's holy Book may be increased, and a desire for a deeper acquaintance with its teachings may be implanted in our hearts.
What Makes the Bible Different From Every Other Book?
The Bible comes to us with a claim that no other book in the world, worthy of serious attention, makes. I need not refer to the Koran, nor to the sacred books of the Hindus and other Oriental nations, nor to the vapourings of Mormons and Swedenborgians. Inspiration may be claimed for them by their adherents, but no one here would be disposed to attach any weight to such a pretension.
Setting aside these products of fanaticism and paganism, if we compare the Bible with other good and useful books, we find that it stands upon immeasurably higher ground than even the best of them. Books written by devoted men of God are helpful and profitable to read, and their writers may have had the assistance of the Holy Spirit as they penned their words. But, for all that, the words of such books are the words of their writers, not the very words of God. With the Bible it is different. Its words are divinely given. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16). That is, the Bible was written, not through good and holy thoughts being suggested by God's Spirit to the writers (such as may happen nowadays), but by the very words being divinely inspired so as to preclude the possibility of mistake or imperfection. The Holy Scriptures, as given at first, are like their Divine Author—perfect. This is the truth for which, by the grace of God, I desire to stand.
How Can You Prove That the Bible Is Inspired?
The Christian who knows and loves his Bible will find in its wonderful excellencies, and in the way it speaks to his heart and affects his conscience, a sufficient proof of its divine origin.
If you stood in the street yonder to-morrow at midday, you would need no man to prove to you that the sun shone. You would feel its warmth, and that would suffice for you. Nor, if you received a sharp cut from a razor, would you need further proof that its edge was keen. In like manner, when one's heart is warmed through reading this blessed Book, as only divine love can warm it; and when the conscience is affected, as only the voice of divine authority can affect it—one has proof of the inspiration of Scripture.
External evidences are poor things to rest one's faith upon. Yet in the case of the Bible they are by no means lacking.
The marvelous and detailed fulfillment of its prophecies; the perfect harmony between its various parts, indicted as they were under varying circumstances and at different epochs; the utter failure of its critics to substantiate their charges of imperfection; the impossibility of the human mind, trained and cultured though it be, to fathom and exhaust its teachings—all these, and many other facts, testify to the divine authorship of the Bible.
How Does the Divine Inspiration of the Bible Accord
With the Fact That Its Various Parts Were Written by Men?
Men were used to inscribe the words, and for this purpose writers were selected whose character, position, or history suited them in a special way to communicate the revelation given to them. But the words by means of which they made their respective communications were just as truly the words of God Himself as if His own finger had penned them.
Let me illustrate what I mean. When Moses was summoned to the mountain-top he received the law, engraved upon two tables of stone, "written with the finger of God" (Ex. 31:18). Without employing any human instrument whatever, God Himself had written the words. "And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables" (Ex. 32:16).
But when Moses came down from the mount and found the people shouting and dancing in honor of a calf of gold, in a fit of righteous anger he shattered the divinely given tablets into fragments.
Upon this, Moses was again called to the mountain-summit that the tablets might be renewed. But in this case Moses was to prepare the materials (Ex. 34:1), and though God again undertook to write His words upon them, it was with the hand of Moses He would write them. "The Lord said unto Moses, WRITE THOU these words" (v. 27). Yet, though the hand of Moses, on this occasion, penned the words, they were just as truly the words of God Himself as when His own finger had written them; so Moses could say, "These are the words which the Lord hath commanded" (Ex. 35:1).
This will help us to understand how words, written upon humanly manufactured materials, by the fingers of men, may yet be the very sayings of God. Such are the words of the Bible.
If you will turn to Acts 1:16, you will see that the words of Scripture are thus described. The apostle Peter, quoting from the Old Testament, calls the quotation a scripture "which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spake." So also, in Acts 28:25, Paul exclaims, "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet.”
Some People Claim to Have Found Contradictions and
Mistakes in the Bible. What Do You Say to That?
It is generally easy to prove that the mistakes exist in the minds of the critics, and not in the Bible. Take, for instance, the alleged discrepancy between the teaching of Paul and that of James on the subject of justification. The one says we are justified by faith, the other that we are justified by works. But on examination we find that the justification of which Paul speaks is justification in the sight of God; whereas James treats of justification before men, a totally different thing. Thus the accusation of error recoils upon the critic's head, and he is found guilty of superficiality and lack of discernment.
Take another example. In Matthew's Gospel the so-called "Sermon on the Mount" is said to be delivered upon a mountain, where the Lord Jesus sat and taught His disciples. "But," says the critic, "in Luke's Gospel this same sermon is said to have been delivered while our Lord stood, and that, too, not on a mountain, but in the plain" (Luke 6:17). And this instance is brought forward as a conclusive proof of one gospel writer contradicting another!
I should have thought that it is a conclusive proof of nothing but the blindness of the would-be Bible critic. For even supposing that the sermon recorded by Matthew and that given by Luke were exactly the same, word for word (which they are far from being), it does not follow that there is any contradiction between the two accounts. Wherever the Lord went, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, He had the same message to proclaim, and would very probably enunciate the same truths, in the same or similar terms, in different localities. What' is there to prevent our believing that on one occasion the Lord uttered the words in Matthew seated upon a mountain-side, and upon another occasion the words in Luke standing in the plain? This appears to have been the case.
So far from it being an instance of imperfection in the Bible, it is another example of its wonderful and detailed perfection. For in Matthew the Lord is presented as the long-looked-for Messiah of the Jews, the Shiloh to whom the gathering of the people was to be. The great burden of His message as thus presented was "Come unto Me." How suitable therefore is the picture which Matthew draws of the Lord seated upon the mountain, and His followers gathered around Him!
But in Luke He is presented as the Son of Man, come down in heavenly grace to meet the need of sinful men. The burden of the gospel message in Luke is not so much "Come unto Me," as "I have come to you." "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost." Hence His descent to the plain to utter the sermon is the incident selected for portrayal by the pen of Luke, in beautiful harmony with the purport of his gospel.
So much for the critics.
A microscopist, or chemist, however skilful, can never satisfy his hunger by the dissection or analysis of the plate of food that is before him. Nor shall we, if we sit in the critic's chair, thrive by our "study of God's Word. In a humble, childlike spirit we should feed on what God has given for the nourishment of our souls, and leave faultfinding to those who wish to remain lean and famished all their days.
Are There Not Many Things in the Bible Very
Hard for Young Christians to Understand?
Yes, undoubtedly; but, on the other hand, there is much that the simplest believer can understand and upon which he can feed. There is a story told of an old lady who likened the reading of the Bible to eating a plate of fish. "When I come to a bone," she said, “I am not troubled because I can't digest it. I just lay it on one side, and go on eating that part of the fish which I can manage. And when I read the Word of God, if I come across anything that is beyond my poor comprehension, I do not worry over it, I just leave it till such time as the Lord may please to give me better understanding, and, meanwhile, I turn my attention to the abundance of precious truth which is simple enough for me to understand, and I get many a good meal for my soul from it.”
That old story was wise, and I should advise all young Christians to read their Bibles on the same principle. What they find difficult to understand they may leave for future consideration, or they may seek the help of some spiritually minded Christian who is more advanced in the things of God than themselves.
Is There Not a Danger of Young Christians Wrongly Interpreting
the Bible, and Thus Doing Themselves Spiritual Damage?
There is not only a danger, but a certainty, of our wrongly interpreting Scripture if we trust to our own understanding in the study of it. There is only one Person on earth that can rightly interpret to our souls the blessed teachings of God's Word. I refer to the Holy Ghost. But He is here, amongst other reasons, for the express purpose of illuminating our souls with the knowledge of the truth. It was He who, in the first instance, indicted the words of the Bible, and He can make their meaning plain to us. He is the Divine Interpreter of the Divine Book.
Thank God, we are not left to private judgment for the interpretation of Scripture, nor are we dependent upon the decisions of learned doctors, or the pronouncements of any self-constituted human authority, papal or otherwise. We have the Holy Ghost Himself to be our Teacher and Guide. He who reads his Bible in simple and earnest dependence upon His teaching will not be disappointed. He will be kept from many an error, and be fed with the finest of wheat.
If a Young Christian Were to Say, "I Would Like
to Study My Bible, but I Don't Know How to
Begin," How Would You Advise Him?
That is a rather difficult question to answer, for so much depends upon the degree of familiarity which one has with the Scriptures.
One might begin by studying the wonderful parables given to us in Luke's Gospel, which set forth in so striking a manner the grace of God. Such parables, I mean, as the prodigal son, the great supper, and the good Samaritan.
Then, too, one might search the Scriptures to find what they say as to any particular subject that may be exercising one's mind.
But I would particularly recommend all young Christians to read over for themselves the For Lions of Scripture that come before us in our public meetings, those from which the gospel is set forth, or which may be chosen as the subject of a Bible-reading or an address. Such portions are often selected with special reference to the spiritual needs of young believers, and should be studied in private after being considered at the meetings.
What Is the Difference Between the Roman
Catholic and the Protestant Bibles?
The translation commonly used by English-speaking Roman Catholics does not differ very materially from the Authorized Version in general use amongst Protestants. In some respects the Protestant version excels, in other respects the Roman Catholic version is to be commended.
But the Roman Catholics include within the covers of their Bible the books commonly known as "The Apocrypha." These books were never received as canonical by the Jews; they do not. afford the internal evidences of divine inspiration as do the books of "the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets"; they are never quoted either by the Lord Himself' or the apostles: so that we have very good reasons for not regarding them as divinely given, however authentic as histories some of them may be.
Another point is that the Roman Catholic versions are never issued without "notes" at the foot of each page. Needless to say, these notes are human productions, and far from being merely explanatory. They often distort the plain meaning of the text so as to make it teach what is most manifestly contrary to its real import.
But apart from the inclusion of the Apocryphal books and the addition of these baneful "notes," there is little to choose in point of excellence between the two versions.
Why Is the Bible Divided Into
the Old and New Testaments?
The Old Testament contains an account of God's dealings with men while they were on probation. A large part of it is devoted to the story of the Jews, who represent man under the most favorable circumstances, tried and found wanting. From the New Testament we learn how, after man's utter failure and ruin had been demonstrated, God intervened in grace, sending His Son into the world to be its Savior, and through His death and resurrection securing blessing for man upon an entirely new ground.
The Old Testament is thus introductory to the New, and the New is the complement of the Old.
Are There Any Non-Essentials in the Bible?
It seems hardly likely that God would have gone to the trouble of making a revelation to us of things which we may regard with indifference. We too often resemble the old astronomers who regarded the earth as the center of the universe, and reasoned accordingly. We are apt to regard ourselves as the central figure of God's wonderful plan, and to reckon anything of which we do not see the immediate bearing upon our own blessing to be a "non-essential." But this is a grievously selfish way of looking at the matter. The fact is that it is Christ who is the central object of all God's purposes and plans, and what is revealed is in view of His glory. We may not see how any particular truth affects us, but if it is in any way connected with the glory of Christ, can any loyal heart call it a "non-essential"?
We may be sure, then, that everything in the Bible is essential—essential to Christ's glory and the completeness of God's revelation, and if we attempt to dispense with any part of it we shall be losers in consequence.
Would You Advise an Unconverted Man to Read the Bible?
Certainly, for its words are words of life. I do not mean by this that a man can be saved through Bible-reading. One may read through the Bible and be able to repeat chapter after chapter of it by heart, and yet remain unsaved.
But numberless instances are on record of souls to whom the voice of God has come in quickening power through the page of Scripture. Some passage is brought home to the conscience by the Holy Spirit, and is thus the means of awakening and blessing. Even infidels, studying the Bible with a view to finding fault with it, have been aroused and led to Christ through what they have found therein; heathens, in localities where the living voice of the preacher has never been heard, have obtained copies of God's Word, and found life and blessing in Christ through its means.
Are You in Favor of Teaching the Bible to Children?
Most decidedly. Christian parents neglect a most important duty if they do not endeavor to store the minds of their little ones with the truths of God's Word. It is true that for those truths to be effectual there must be a work of the Holy Spirit in the soul; but if the mind is stored with Scripture while young, there is material that the Holy Spirit can use at any subsequent time. How many there are who, during mature life, have had some passage of Scripture which they learned in the days of their childhood brought powerfully before their souls in such a way that conversion has been the result So that even if we have to wait many days, or years, for the seed to spring up, it is well to sow it in the minds of our children. We may be sure that if we do riot instill into their minds the teachings of God's Book, Satan will be ready enough to take advantage and plant his evil thoughts there. By all means, then, teach your children, and let them be taught, the truths of God's holy Word.

On Serving Christ.

From a Father's Letter to His Son.
“I AM glad you desire to do something for the Lord, and shall be still more pleased when you actually set about it. Time flies; and the opportunity for doing good flies with it. However diligent you may be in the future, you can only do the work of 1903 in 1903; and if you leave it undone now, it will be undone to all eternity. The diligent attention which you give to business, the careful purity of your daily life, and your concern to do common things in a right spirit, are all real service for the Lord. The hours in which your earthly calling is industriously followed for Christ's sake are really hours of work for Jesus; but still, this cannot satisfy you, or, at least, I hope it cannot. As redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, you feel that you belong to Him, and you long to show your love to Him by actions directly meant to extend His kingdom and gather in sinners whom He loves to bless. When once such efforts are commenced, they become easier, and a kind of hunger to do more seizes upon the heart. It is not toil, but pleasure; and if God blesses what we do, it rises from being a common pleasure to become a sacred delight. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." It is not for me to suggest what form your service shall take, that must be left to yourself; and half the pleasure of it will lie in the exercise of a sacred ingenuity in discovering the work for which you are best adapted.
“I was very thankful to read that you rejoiced in prayer; may it be always so, and yet more and more, for nothing gives us such strength, or affords us such guidance. The Lord bless you there, and all must be well.”

Abiding in Christ.

IT is of such immense importance to abide in Christ that I wish all would take it into account and make it a matter of great concern. The attention is very much taken up with other subjects, and people very often give but the fag end of their time to divine things. I think you want to give the best of your time. It is a great thing to sit at Christ's feet. People take long journeys to winter abroad with the idea of keeping in perpetual sunshine. You will not have to do that. It is only the wealthy who can go to these winter resorts; but you can get yourself morally into sunshine, in the light of divine mercy, without any expense at all. It is as open to the poor as to the rich, and the benefit of it is immense. I have little doubt that if people were happier morally, they would suffer less physically. It is a great thing to keep ourselves in the love of God. If you do you will be in the sunshine. Christ is the Sun of righteousness, the rights of mercy shine out in Him.

Spiritual Growth.

NOTHING tries the heart of a true servant of Christ more than to see young saints making no spiritual progress. It is delightful to find them getting a good start, and not less so to behold them growing and becoming strong men in Christ. To see them stunted and dwarfed is a vexation too deep for words. The true evangelist loves to hear of his converts flourishing. He must feel it deeply when it is not the case.
If there is no growth, take care that there be not decline. Sometimes declension sets in before we are aware of it. Of Ephraim of old it was said, "Gray hairs are here and there upon him, and he knoweth it not.”
To be declining without being conscious of it is the worst state of all. It is like a man in business who is nearing a state of bankruptcy and yet knows not how he stands. He is afraid to take stock or look into his books. Who would not cry out against such a foolish course?
There are three things necessary to spiritual growth. First, proper nourishment. Second, healthy exercise. Third, a pure atmosphere.
Now we all know that what would nourish and sustain a man would in all probability ruin a babe. On the other hand, what would strengthen and help the growth of a babe would not enable a man to do a hard day's work.
Babes in Christ must have the milk of the gospel and be well established before they are prepared to enter into the deep things of God. From our own personal knowledge many are far from being established in the simple truth of what it is to be "in Christ," where there is no condemnation. Their joy greatly fluctuates, and as for settled peace and solid rest of heart in God's presence, they are for the most part strangers to it.
Those who love and care for souls should, in our judgment, pay heed to the sort of food they place before others. Meat in due season is the thing. Paul said to the Corinthians, who were but babes having need of milk, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them which are perfect," which means full-grown in contrast to babes. The same thing is seen in the blessed Lord, when He said to His disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear then' now." Divine wisdom is most considerate, and is shown by meeting souls where they are. The Lord Himself, and Paul, who was filled with his Master's spirit, are examples of it.
Even the same sort of food does not always suit those who might not be exactly termed babes. We sat at the table of a friend who was ordered to live principally on unleavened bread, while he himself had to dish out to others what was much more palatable. In this way he was kept in good health.
Likewise, if we are to be maintained in the enjoyment of spiritual health, we must often refrain from what might be most tempting. Books, for instance, of a kind in which there might not be much harm. Great care and wise discrimination are needed here. Many a young saint has been ensnared in this direction. His soul in consequence has been starved. As the result he has become "as weak as other men" and been led into grave peril.
So we earnestly say, Beware!
An unexercised saint is one 'who has gone to sleep. Sleep is not death, but it denotes spiritual stupor. Such was the state of Peter before he denied his Lord and Master. He had been fast asleep when his Master was in an agony. This did not show that he did not love his Master, but that his love was not active. "Simon, Couldst not thou watch with Me one hour?" How deeply touching this appeal! Had Peter been divinely exercised, it must have pierced his soul like a sword.
Watching is the very reverse. The watcher is wide awake. All his spiritual faculties are in exercise. This is most needful, because the enemy of our souls is always on the alert to entrap us in a snare of some kind. Often we are taken unawares because we are not watching unto prayer.
We lose much that we may never regain by not being exercised and ready to respond to the Lord when He speaks to us. Like the bride in Sol. 5 "I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" What indifference this denotes! He had knocked, saying, "Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled; for My head is filled with dew, and My locks with the drops of the night.”
She was the loser. To her cost she found that His love was so jealous as not to brook indifference. She was made to feel her apathy. He does not like His love slighted. It is not that the Lord's love ever changes toward His own, but He may see fit to change His manner so as to produce exercise of heart and lead them to judge all that would hinder His being everything to them.
Sometimes He has to allow us to pass through affliction and deep sorrow of some kind when He sees that nothing else will do. Afflicted saints are generally the brightest. We shall never know how much we have been helped in our Christian course by things that naturally we dislike until we retrace our several histories in the light of His blessed presence in glory.
The Lord save us from being unexercised, and from soul-declension above all things!
If we seek to live habitually in the pure atmosphere of God's love, it will have a most healthful and bracing effect upon our souls. Everything about it is invigorating. The enjoyment of God's presence lifts our souls above all that is in the world. "Thy favor is better than life." That is, the enjoyment of God's love is better than the greatest earthly blessing. "Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee." And no wonder, for he finds all his resource in God and is strengthened and made happy. "In Thy presence is fullness of joy." Fullness of joy is perfect satisfaction, and so we are saved from desiring what is unsatisfying. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple." He delights to make Himself known to the seeking soul. He never disappoints any whose desire is real. "He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with good things.”
The atmosphere of love is found in the company of the saints. If we love God and delight in His presence we shall love those who are born of Him. If we love them we shall choose their companionship in preference to the most agreeable worldly society. All this gives us strength and promotes growth according to God.
If we found saints who had not much desire for the company and fellowship of God's people, we should certainly say it was a bad sign. If they preferred the society of those who, however pleasant and refined, were of the world, we should have no hesitation in saying that there must be inward declension.
It is often said that people are known by the company they keep. There is much truth in it. The truly earnest, godly soul will always cultivate the acquaintance of those more spiritual than himself. Let us, then, seek to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
P. W.

Keep Close to Him.

A Word for the Sin Tempted.
AN important point as to sin—whether in its character of self-will or of uncleanness—is to get an estimate of it in the soul, not merely as it may affect myself, but according to God's holy judgment of it in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. I may feel humiliated and ashamed at the working of evil in me, and hate myself for allowing it, or feel defiled by the indulgence of the flesh, and hide the bitterness in my soul while I struggle against it; but all that is more or less my estimate of it. Blessed be God, in the cross of Christ I see God's estimate of it, and in our path down here we need to have our consciences exercised continually by that which took place on the cross.
If I think of heaven and a place there, then I read, "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14). The precious blood of Jesus on the mercy-seat is the witness before God of how completely God has been glorified about the whole question of sin and sins in that one offering of the body of Jesus, so that the believer can have a place within the veil. But actually we are down here with sin in us. If I look up to heaven, I see that no question of sin is before God. The blood of Jesus is the witness that God has been glorified about it, and I can be in peace before Him; but down here, in the daily walk through this world—ah, that is another thing Now we may look at the holiest of all, where the mercy-seat was, as a figure of "heaven itself," and the court, where the brazen altar and the laver were, as being connected with our walk down here; a holy, separate place, but not heaven. Let us look at the altar and the laver as bearing upon our conduct down here. The great feature of the altar was that "the fire shall ever be burning upon the altar, it shall never go out" (Lev. 6:13). It was consequently the place where good and evil were tested by the fire of God's holy discriminating judgment; the blood of the victim was sprinkled upon it, the man who brought it thus owned that God's judgment of sin was right—"the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Blood alone made atonement for the soul; the man who came to the altar had thus God's estimate of his sinful condition. Secondly, in burning of the sacrifice there was God's estimate of the good in Christ—evil in us, good in Christ, for in Him all was a sweet savor to God. "In Him is no sin.”
Now there is not a victim still upon the altar; good and evil have been settled forever in the cross. But we need to have the judgment of the altar maintained in our consciences continually; "our old man has been crucified with Christ... that henceforth we should not serve sin." God has taken fully into account what the evil is which is in us; and as those believing in Jesus and knowing the grace of God, He would keep our souls in the abiding sense of His holy judgment of our sins and of the appreciation He has of the offering of Jesus. It is a great thing to have our consciences quick and lively in the sense of the teaching of the cross, instead of being constantly waging war with our sinful flesh and finding ourselves overcome by it.
Secondly, there was in the court the brazen laver, typifying the action of the Word of God upon our conduct and ways. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word." It is not now the word of the law, but the Word which tells me of God's love and of the grace of Christ. It is by the Word of God that we get our minds imbued with the grace of God, and thus preserved from their natural tendency to entertain evil. The Lord prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy Word is truth." It is the way of keeping out vain and foolish and sinful thoughts by feeding on God's Word, and having the heart established with grace.
Let me add that He who died now lives—our Savior and Lord. He has not only brought salvation by His work, but He is our Savior, able to save completely those who come to God by Him. He has rights over us, and His power and hand are for us. Abide in Him, keep close to Him. The uncleanness of the leper flew before the touch of the blessed Lord. His presence detected Satan and cast him out.
“O Savior, teach me to abide
Close sheltered by Thy wounded side;
Each hour receiving grace on grace,
Until I see Thee face to face.”
It is well never to parley with evil desires. Treat sin its sin, and as judged in the cross of Christ. We have liberty to turn away from it and to depart from it without taking up the question. Christ has done this in His cross, because we were utterly incompetent for it. "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." So Israel did figuratively; they left Egypt and the way of evil behind, as those redeemed to God.
T. H. R.

Answers to Correspondents.: Feelings; ROM 6:23; "A Sin Unto Death"

S. S. P. V. R.—The writer of the paper "On Reading Fiction," in our issue of April last, lives some sixteen thousand miles away, so we are not able to send him your kindly criticism if it is to receive an immediate reply. It can hardly be supposed that his quotation, "Whatsoever things are true" (Phil. 4:8), was intended to suggest that our reading should be confined to bare facts stated in cold and naked terms and stripped of every adornment of poetry and fancy. Our contributor would scarcely forget that in the sacred Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks in allegories. He tells us of the trees which went forth to anoint a king over them (Judg. 9:8), and of the vine wasted by the boar and devoured by the wild beasts of the field (Psa. 80). Moreover, there are the parables of our Lord. All these, however, are pictorial representations of things which are true. Assuredly there was no intention on the part of the writer you criticize to exclude from our reading things cast in similar molds so long as they are also true. But no one can gauge the damage done by novels, which pour from the press, which are neither true, nor noble, nor just, nor pure, nor lovely, nor of good report, though they be eagerly devoured even by many who call themselves Christians. No good conies of such reading, nothing but harm; and its baneful effects are seen in the spiritual wreckage which everywhere lines the shores of life. Against this sore and spreading evil we raise our earnest protest.
You are not particularly happy in your choice of Mr. Sheldon's book, "In His steps; or, What would Jesus do?" as an illustration of the admirable way fiction may be used in the furtherance of truth. That book, in our judgment, cannot be classed with" whatsoever things are true." The basis of all holiness of life is the new birth and redemption by the blood of Christ, concerning which this book is silent. Ignoring these fundamental truths, it would lead us to suppose that it is competent for everyone to walk "in His steps." But how can an unsaved one, who has never received Christ as his Savior, follow the footsteps of Him who did no sin and in whose mouth no guile was ever found? Besides, Mr. Sheldon places certain of his characters in positions which no reverent mind could ever conceive the Lord Jesus to be in. That the disciples of Christ should follow His steps, "who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not," is most true (1 Peter 2:23). And the question, "What would Jesus do?" is admirable when we find ourselves in circumstances where such a question might be justly asked. But this is not always the case. I need not say that the will of God should be the Christian's guide in all things, but we do not believe the will of God would ever place His people in situations where Mr. Sheldon in his book supposes some of them to be.
H. S.—We would counsel you to turn your thoughts away from yourself, and to rest simply and entirely on Christ alone. Do not be always looking within and scanning your own experience, but let there be a sincere reliance on the Savior's finished and atoning work. Remember that our feelings are an unreliable guide; they change so often, and are as unstable as the waves of the sea. But the Word of the Lord, by which we are assured of forgiveness and eternal salvation, is as firm as a rock. Let your faith rest on that great foundation. And do not be afraid or ashamed to confess Jesus as your Lord. Count on Him to give you courage to confess His name among men. A secret disciple is never a happy one. When your assurance is assailed look up to your present Savior and turn to some sweet passages of Scripture such as John 10, 27-30 and John 13:1, and quietly read them. His words are spirit and life, and you will find them so. May the Lord richly bless you and keep you as a little child close to His side.
A REDEEMED SINNER.—Rom. 6:23.—This verse seems to us very plain and needing but little comment. The wages of sin is—DEATH; but the gift of God is—ETERNAL LIFE. Mark the contrasts. Gift is opposed to wages, and eternal life to death. But guard yourself from supposing that death refers only to the body, and that eternal life means nothing more than endless existence. Death is a term having a moral force. The condition of all men by nature is one of death in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). If a man be "alienated from the life of God" (Eph. 4:18), what can he be but spiritually dead, though physically very much alive? To that state of death the blessed contrast is eternal life, and it is the gift of God. Who they are that receive it the third chapter of John plainly shows. And it is theirs now, as it will be theirs in its completeness by-and-by. If, then, men are full of physical life and energy now, though destitute of eternal life, why should it be thought that without eternal life they cannot exist hereafter It is confounding things that differ. As to your other query, we should not look to the Old Testament for much teaching on the subject, seeing that life and incorruptibility (for so 2 Tim. 1:10 should read) have been brought to light through the gospel. "Brought to light," remark, not brought into being. How perfect and accurate Scripture is!
S. B. AND A. R.—Without wishing to lessen the solemnity of "a sin unto death," we cannot view it as a sin entailing everlasting punishment, as you do. Nor do we look upon it as identical with blasphemy against the Holy Ghost in Mark 3:29. That it cannot have the meaning you attach to it in 1 Cor. 11:30 is plain from the context. Bear in mind that the marginal reading of "damnation" is "judgment," and this is certainly the right word. The one who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment unto himself. But if a Christian by such unworthy conduct brings upon himself the judgment of the Lord, he is thus chastened that he "should not be condemned with the world." This is precisely what verse 32 says, and so it sweeps away your contention entirely. But you will say, "If a believer is thus taken away, he goes to be with Christ; how then can that be chastening?" We answer by referring to the nameless prophet who, after prophesying against Jeroboam's idolatrous altar, sinned, on his way home, "a sin unto death" (1 Kings 13). Such a mission as he had fulfilled, we may be sure of it, was entrusted to no ordinary hands, and it is but natural to suppose that glorious opportunities of future service were in store for him had he not come to such an untimely end. Will it be no loss to him, think you, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall assign to each his place in His kingdom, that his 'life so abruptly closed through his disobedience? And if it be so in his case, why not in others? In this light "a sin unto death" is a serious matter, though it may not involve eternal condemnation.

Bible Dialogs.: Prayer

Subject: "PRAYER.”
Questions by S. W. Royes; Answers by H. P. Barker.
Is there any special reason why you have chosen the subject of "Prayer" to immediately follow our dialog on the Holy Scriptures?
YES. In the spiritual life of the believer the two things—the Word of God and prayer—must go hand in hand, or shipwreck will be the result. In Luke 10:39 we find Mary sitting at Jesus' feet, hearing His word. She is corn-mended for the good part she chose, and we learn from her case how right it is that we should desire to know the Lord's word. But immediately following upon this an incident is recorded from which we learn the importance of prayer; and we see from the close conjunction in which the two scenes are placed on the sacred page how intimately connected the two things—the Word of God and prayer— are.
In order to keep a fire burning, a constant supply of both fuel and air is necessary. Deprived of either, the fire would die away. In the same way; two things are needed if the fire of joy and communion is to be kept burning bright in the believer's soul a constant application of the Word to his heart, and the constant exercise of prayer.
To Whom Should Prayer Be Addressed?
To God, and to Him alone. Nowhere in Scripture do we find a trace of any such thing as prayer being addressed to the Virgin Mary or the saints. It seems rather late in the day to have to press this, and fight the battle of the Reformation upon this point again. Yet, alas i the practice of invoking the dead is becoming prevalent in circles which were once avowedly Protestant. God is thus robbed of the honor which belongs to Him alone; creatures are exalted at the expense of the Creator; dead men and women are adored and invoked instead of the living God.
Of course, in speaking of God as the only One to whom our prayers should be addressed, I do not for a moment mean that we must not pray to the Lord Jesus. He is God, equally with the Father, and equal honor belongs to Him (John 5:23). We find Stephen praying to the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit. Paul, too, prayed to Him concerning his thorn in the flesh.
We cannot define, in any cut-and-dried way, the occasions when prayer should be addressed to the Father and when to the Son. Generally speaking, we turn to God our Father with reference to our needs as His children here on earth; we turn to the Lord Jesus in connection with His service in which He graciously permits us to engage.
It only remains to be said that the Holy Ghost, the third Person of the blessed Trinity, is never presented as the object of either prayer or praise. He is on earth, dwelling within us, to incite, not to receive, our prayers and praises.
Has God Promised Always to Give Us What We Ask for?
He is too wise a Ruler and too loving a Father for that. What earthly parent would undertake: to grant every thoughtless request that his child might prefer? There are many precious promises, gleaming upon the page of Scripture, which, fissure the believer that his prayers, under certain conditions, will be heard. But whether God, in His love and wisdom, sees fit to grant any particular request or not, there is one thing upon which we may always count. Turn to Phil. 4:6, 7, and you will see what I mean. God pledges His word that in every case His own peace shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Infinite love may deny us the thing which we ask for, but this boon, the keeping of our hearts in the serene atmosphere of God's own peace, will never be refused to the one who brings his requests to Him.
What Conditions Are There That Ensure Prayer Being Answered?
We will turn to the Scriptures and see. Look first at Psa. 66:18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." If we would have our prayers answered we must be right with God in secret. Our private life must tally with our public profession. Sin concealed, like a serpent in the bosom, takes all vitality from prayer. A bad conscience is a certain barrier in the way of our petitions being granted. God will not pour His blessings into unclean vessels. So the first condition for prevailing prayer is a good conscience.
Now read James 4:3. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." From this we learn that those who ask anything of God for a selfish reason will assuredly be disappointed. God will not be a party to self-gratification. The prayers recorded in Scripture, to which such wonderful answers were given, were prayers on behalf of others, or prayers that had God's glory in view in connection with those who uttered them. A second condition, then, is a pure motive.
Then see James 1:6, 7. "Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord." Unwavering confidence is necessary, then, if we would have our prayers answered. To doubt is to dishonor God, and to deal a death-blow at our own petitions.
Look now at 1 John 3:22. "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." Obedience on our part is another condition. We are not left in ignorance as to what things are pleasing to the Lord. But it is not enough to know them. We must do them if we desire to receive of Him the things we ask.
Once again, turn to John 16:23. "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you." Here is a fifth condition. If prayer is in Christ's name it will be answered. What is it to pray in His name? It certainly does not mean to pray about any and everything that we please, and then wind up by saying, "All this we ask in the name and for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ." It means that what we ask for must be something to which the name of Christ can truly be attached, something which He would ask for were He in our circumstances. This calls for spiritual discernment, which can only be acquired in nearness to the Lord. So asking for anything in His name implies that we are in close communion with Him.
Since God Knows All Our Needs, Why
Should We Pray to Him About Them?
It surely is enough to know that God would have us pray. Scores of scriptures might be cited to show that prayer is acceptable to God.
Nobody imagines that we pray in order to inform God of what He does not know. Nor do we pray in order to secure His interest or His love. The saint who prays intelligently realizes that he is speaking to One who knows his every need far better than he does himself, whose interest in all that concerns His people is unbounded, and whose love could not possibly be greater than it is. The object of prayer is that dependence upon God might be expressed, and that our souls might be brought into touch with Him about what we pray for; that in waiting upon Him we might learn His mind; that utterance might be afforded for desires which the Holy Ghost has wrought within us, and that when the answer comes we might be conscious that it is indeed from God that it comes.
Should We Pray for a Thing More Than Once?
No definite rule can be laid down with regard to such a matter. In some cases we are made to feel that our petition, for some wise reason, will not be granted, and that we are not at liberty to continue asking. Instances of this may be rare, but most assuredly they occur. Moses, when he prayed that he might be allowed to enter Canaan, was forbidden to repeat the request (Deut. 3:26).
On the other hand, sometimes when asking the Lord for a special thing, an overwhelming sense that one is heard, and that the petition is granted, comes upon one, and one feels that to ask again would be presumptuous.
But these are exceptional cases, and generally speaking, the Lord would have us go on praying for a thing that is upon our hearts. He often keeps us waiting for months, and even for years, before giving an answer, in order to test the reality of our desire and to prove our faith. He would have us importunate about what we seek of Him, and thus show that we are really in earnest. This is the lesson conveyed to us in the parable of the traveler who applied to his friend for bread at midnight (Luke 11). He was heard because of his importunity. Another parable-that of the injured widow (Luke 18)-enforces the same truth, that men ought not to faint or grow weary in prayer.
It is not that God is a hard and unwilling Giver, but that importunity is a test of earnestness and faith.
Is It Desirable to Have Stated Times for Private Prayer?
Most certainly it is for the great majority of Christians. Anything that is left for odd moments is often neglected altogether, and I am persuaded that the lack of having regular times is the reason why there is so little prayer amongst us. The saints of old had stated times. "Evening, and morning, and at noon," said David, " will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice " (Psa. 55:17).
Daniel, too, cultivated the same habit, and nothing could prevent him from kneeling down in his chamber three times a day and praying and giving thanks before his God (Dan. 6:10). Alas! what trivial things we permit to rob us of our time for prayer!
Call the practice "legal" if you will, but I wish there were much more of such legality abroad! I earnestly commend to every young believer the habit of reserving a certain time every day for private intercourse with God.: Early in the morning is the best of times, and immediately before retiring at night.
But besides having regular times for prayer, of which nothing should be allowed to deprive us, we should seek always to be in a prayerful, dependent spirit, ready at a moment's notice to turn to the Lord about any difficulty, or in any emergency. We have a charming instance of this in Nehemiah. He was the king's cup-bearer, and while in the performance of his duty he was suddenly asked a question by his royal master which. he felt utterly unable to answer without reference to the Lord. Divine guidance was urgently needed, but the king's question must have an immediate reply. The immediate reply was forthcoming, but in the hardly perceptible interval between the asking and the answering, Nehemiah was able to turn to the Lord in prayer. "I prayed to the God of heaven, and I said unto the king" (Neh. 2:4, 5). Would that we were always near enough to the Lord to be able to consult Him and seek wisdom and guidance at His hands as readily as Nehemiah did!
Would You Recommend Any Special Form of Prayer?
I would not. The Holy Ghost is here to form our thoughts and desires on the lines of God's will, and He lays upon our hearts the right subjects for prayer, and enables us to present them before the Lord. We are thus exhorted to pray "with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit," and to pray "in the Holy Ghost" (Eph. 6:18; Jude 20).
It is true that, left to ourselves, "we know not what we should pray for as we ought," but in the Holy Spirit we have the best of teachers, and we may safely leave it to Him to control and direct us in our prayers.
Do You Believe in Long Prayers?
Yes, so long as they are uttered in private and really come from the heart. We cannot be too much or too long upon our knees in secret. The Lord Jesus on one occasion continued a whole night in prayer; but the mere fact of a man continuing long in prayer does not secure him‘ hearing. No one is heard for his much speaking.
Reality and deep reverence should mark us in addressing, God.
But I presume your question has reference to public prayers. If you will look up the prayers recorded in the Bible you will find that the longest of them—that uttered by Solomon at the dedication of the temple took less than ten minutes, however slowly and reverently pronounced. It has been well said that when one really wants anything very few words will suffice to convey his request. It is when one has nothing in particular to ask for that the prayer takes twenty or five-and-twenty minutes.
The Lord Jesus Was Omnipotent, and Was the
Creator of All Things. Why, Then, Was There Any
Need for Him to Pray?
It is true that the Lord Jesus was what you say. He was "over all, God blessed forever." But He came to earth to tread the pathway of a dependent Man, and everything that God looked for in a man was found to perfection in Him. Obedience, truth, righteousness, confidence, dependence-all these were seen in Christ. And it was as a Man, in the lowly pathway into which His grace had brought Him, that we find Him again and again in prayer. In all this He has left us a bright example. May we follow faithfully in His steps!

Comfort for the Tried.

MANY of the Lord's dear people, like those of old, are "weary because of the way." The wilderness is a trying place. It was so for Israel. Even Paul speaks of being "pressed out of measure above strength." "Without were fightings, within were fears." At such times we are apt to get disconsolate and perhaps to despair.
Every heart knows its own sorrow. There are thorns in every pathway. God is too faithful to allow it to be otherwise in a world where Christ has been rejected. Now some are more ready to speak about their peculiar trials than others, but when hidden they are none the less deep and real.
It will help to comfort and sustain the soul if we remember that the blessed Lord has trod the path of sorrow and suffering here. This has fitted Him to sympathize with and to succor -His poor tried people in their wilderness circumstances.
No one ever knew disappointment, grief, or sorrow to such an extent as He. No one was ever so misunderstood, maligned, and hated. Yet He ever went on serving God and man.
For all the hatred He returned nothing but love. For us this is most difficult. Even on the cross His moral triumph was complete when, amidst the deepest suffering from a nation that He served so unweariedly, He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
What was it that sustained the blessed Lord and enabled Him to endure betrayal, denial, desertion, malice, envy, hatred, and scorn of every kind? How can we account for such a life, the like of which was never lived, and the moral superiority of which has even confounded infidels?
Was it not that He had a secret well-spring of joy in the Father's love? He was entirely alone so far as this world was concerned, "yet not alone," as He tells us. The Father's love He knew in a peculiar way, and this was everything to Him. He lived by, or "on account of the Father." This was His support under all circumstances. By this He was enabled to endure, not only what was wrong against Himself, but to show patience, meekness, and love to those who wronged Him.
Will it not be so with us in the measure in which our souls are sustained and nourished by the sense of His love to us? If we drink daily and deeply into that love, shall we not express in some little measure His virtues?
We all know we ought to be more like 'Christ. Are We not, often humbled because we feel we are not so like Him as we should be? We get impatient, and worry and fret over trifles perhaps. We groan over it in private, and the more we do so the better. But that will not give us power. Power is only derived from being in His company and learning of Himself. As our souls take in His love, we respond to it. The response is shown in a life devoted to Him.
This is what lifts the soul above difficulties, and enables us to comfort others instead of looking to be comforted ourselves. Think of His love 'to us being only measured by the Father's love to Him. There is no circumstance in our daily pathway, however trying, that His love does not enter into. He has not only told us He loves us, but He has proved it by going into death for us, that He might not only remove the judgment that rested upon us, but that He might have us as His own companions forever. Think of love so deep and strong that it could not rest without us.
Has that love changed now that He has gone above? Never. His eye is always upon us, and whatever He may allow us to pass through in the way of discipline or trial, He has nothing but our highest good and richest blessing in view.
Though He loves us perfectly, there is a great deal about us that is not suited to Him. This is why we are put through discipline. It is at this point that souls often get perplexed, and the danger of misunderstanding comes in. But we may be sure that if He calls us to pass through what is unpleasant to the flesh, His object is to remove from us what hinders our being like Him. There is no other reason. This only proves how strong and true His love is. The constant tendency of our hearts is to give place to other things, and His love cannot brook a rival.
If we do not enjoy His love as a present reality, it is, nevertheless, the same as ever. His love is like Himself. He is the unchanging One; therefore His love knows no change. Through all our stumbling, failing course, He has borne with us. Praise His blessed name; there is none like Him. If His love is not filling our hearts we either have not grasped its greatness, or are allowing something that is inconsistent and which His love cannot tolerate.
"As My Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." Obedience is the proof of our love, and involves the setting aside of the will of the flesh in us. Subjection to His holy, blessed will is the true secret of the Christian's power and blessing. Thus we abide in His love. When self-will is working all goes wrong, and we lose our enjoyment of that love, and spiritual power declines. Disobedience grieves the Spirit, who is most jealous to have us entirely for Christ. Hence His love, which is perfect, has to be shown in the way of chastening and discipline, that there may be breaking down and ultimate recovery.
Perchance some backsliding one is reading this paper, whose memory recalls the happy time when first the love of Christ was tasted in all its power and sweetness. You went on for a time in the joy and brightness of it. You thought yourself the happiest person on earth. And no wonder When first the love of Christ is tasted it makes our cup run over. It is really the beginning of heaven to us. Heaven will be the full and uninterrupted enjoyment of divine love. That will give us eternal satisfaction and delight.
Let me entreat you, dear soul, not to despair. The love that said in such yearning, tender, pleading tones, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?" is the same—yes, the very same towards you. The love that was tried by Peter's denial and remained unchanged toward Peter, is just the same to the most erring one. "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.”
Return to Him at once. Confess all your backslidings and your sins openly and honestly to Him. He will not close the door of His loving heart upon you. He will forgive you as freely as when you first came to Him. Your joy will be restored and your peace will flow like a river. You shall sing for very joy as in the days of your youth.
“And when thou art converted [restored], strengthen thy brethren." He may, perhaps, yet use you as He did Peter to help those who are in danger of backsliding, or who have backslidden like yourself. P. W.

The Holy Spirit's Presence.

IT is of the utmost moment to all the people of God to ascertain whether the Holy Ghost has returned to heaven since Pentecost, and has to be sent again on every fresh occasion of blessing, or whether He remained, and still remains, on earth with us, since that great event.
More than eighteen hundred years ago a small company of the disciples of Jesus were accustomed to meet in an upper chamber for prayer and supplication, in expectation of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1). They were feeble and fearful (John 20:19, 20), and quite unenlightened as to the counsels of God respecting the calling of the Gentiles and the Church. They still had, for the most part, Jewish views and feelings (Acts 1:6), with prejudices which nothing but the action and direct authority of the Spirit of God afterward sufficed to overcome (Acts 10:45-47; 11:1518). Besides this, they had no power to preach or declare the word of God, and were specially directed by the Lord Himself to wait until this was conferred on them by the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:4-8).
This state of things continued until the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which is thus described: “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them" (Acts 2).
Thus was fulfilled the promise of Christ, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever" (John 14:16).
His presence changed the aspect of everything. Courage and confidence succeeded to fear, and weakness was exchanged for power and boldness in public testimony for Christ. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance. Besides which, the Church is now first spoken of as an existent body that could be added to (Acts 2:47), the unity and love which characterized its members becoming conspicuous to all, whilst the living agency of the divine Spirit of Truth was seen in their continuing steadfast in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and prayers-four all-important things' (Acts 2:44-47).
The conversions which took place under the ministry of the word by the apostle Peter were many. On one day three thousand were brought in (Acts 2:41), and on another five thousand (Acts 4:4). But these conversions were not the out, pouring of the Spirit. They were the blessed effects of the Holy Spirit's presence making itself felt upon the hearts of sinners. These things ought not to be confused.
In Acts 4 an attempt is made by the leading authorities of the Jewish nation to put a stop to this work of God. The apostles are threatened and commanded not to speak any more in the name of Jesus. This leads to prayer—prayer to God to carry on His work, to convert, to save, and bless. It seems like the first great prayer-meeting of which we have any account after the descent of the Holy Ghost. But for what do they ask? Not that the Holy Ghost may come, or be sent, for they know Him to be there with them. They ask that boldness may be given them to speak the word of God in face of all opposition, and that the name of Jesus may be magnified by the display of its power among men. The answer came at once. "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." With great power the apostles gave testimony of the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus; great grace rests on all, with unity of heart and mind, and multitudes, both of men and women, were added to the Lord (Acts 5:14). From this we may gather what our prayer should be, whether for ourselves or for sinners around us.
If the Holy Ghost had returned to heaven, then should we indeed have to pray that He might be sent again. But to what a condition of weakness and desolation would the Church be reduced! How could she then bear testimony to the world? How uphold the name of Christ, or the truth of God on earth? Blessed be God, the Holy Ghost is not gone back to heaven. He still dwells in the Church, and in every believer. As long as the Church remains on earth, so long will the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, be her companion and support and guide. He is given to lead her into all truth, and to take of the things of Christ, and show them to her, and so to glorify Christ in the hearts of those that are His.
How, then, it may be asked, are the times of revival that have occurred at, different periods in the history of the Church to be accounted for?
To this the reply may be readily given, that not only the existence of the Church itself, but all the blessing that has come to the Church since Pentecost—all its guidance through difficulties and dangers, and its support against the power of Satan—all spiritual ministry for the edification of the saints-all the spread of the gospel, and the maintenance of the truth of God on earth—all the testimony borne to the efficacy of the blood of Christ-all the revivals that have ever occurred—all the conversions which have ever taken place, whether few or many, whether suddenly or more gradually,—all is due to the great fact of the presence of the Holy Ghost here on earth. Just as a reservoir in a town supplies all its different parts with water, so does the Spirit of God here present maintain all the functions of spiritual life in the people of God, and afford an abundant supply of their necessities, and the wants of sinners, where there is dependence and the prayer of faith, to draw it out.
Surely it ought to encourage us to know that we have this divine and blessed Person here with us as an abiding source of strength and consolation. He cannot fail in His care for the Church, and He has but to put forth His power and the work is done. And it may well stimulate our souls to look to God, that as He has done so much for us in giving us this divine and almighty Comforter, so His power may be displayed for our blessing and the awakening of sinners.
It will be evident to everyone how strengthening to faith and encouraging to prayer, and every other effort for the conversion of sinners, the sense of the abiding presence of the Comforter must be. How weakening, as well as erroneous, is the supposition that the Holy Ghost has gone back to heaven, and has to be brought down again by prayer, whenever any fresh and extended blessing is desired. Nor can it be denied that the petitions which are constantly heard, for the Holy Spirit to "come" or "descend," are utterly inconsistent with the thought of His being here, and show that those who utter them are unconscious of His presence, or they certainly would not ask for it. The same might be said for the most part of the frequent use of the word "outpouring" of the Spirit, inasmuch as it is generally used to express all that took place at Pentecost, which was far more than the conversion of sinners, though that, as we have seen, accompanied it.
From these things also we may believe, that when Christians are assembled like the disciples of old (Acts 4) to seek for blessing from God, and the extension of the work of God around them—in the name of Christ and in dependence on the Spirit of God—His presence will be there to preside among them, and to guide them in their prayers, and show them what to do. And if His presence is looked for as a sovereign and divine Person, it will lead us to leave things in His hands, to order and direct for the common profit, and for the glory of God (1 Cor. 12:11).

Worth Thinking About.

With 1903 drawing so rapidly to a close, there is one branch of service to which I would like to call the attention of your readers.
It is only very lately that my own eyes have been opened to its special value and usefulness.
In the month of July a friend of mine proposed that we should visit some of the villages of Westmorland with sheet-almanacs. Another friend pooh-poohed the idea, saying that the almanacs would be stale so late in the year. Undeterred by adverse criticism, my friend completed his plans, and off we went, I feeling very curious as to how the people would take to almanacs that had half run their course.
I confess, to my surprise and gratification, the people took them eagerly, and with evident pleasure, and in many cases immediately hung them on their walls.
On reflection, whilst always being a strong advocate of tract distributing, and still so, I could not help being struck with certain great advantages the sheet-almanac has over the tract or...gospel book. For instance, the tract or book is given. The reading of it may occupy ten minutes; it may be read a second or third time, or read by more than one in the house, but in the vast majority of cases it would probably be placed in a drawer or cupboard, and there lie for a time out of sight and memory.
On the other hand, the sheet-almanac is placed on the kitchen or sitting-room wall, and there it looks the family in the face for a whole year, and catches, by its size, the eye of every visitor. I heard just lately of several members of a family being converted by means of one almanac.
I am sure the almanacs are prepared with great care and prayerfulness, and their plain, arresting texts prove most suitable agents in the hands of a God of abounding mercy for bringing-blessing to souls.
With the advent of 1904 new almanacs will be procurable, and it would well repay me the trouble of writing this appeal if it stirs some of the Lord's people to take up more distinctly this blessed and fruitful branch of service.
I would like your Christian readers to cast their mind's eye over their immediate district.
They know the names of towns and villages of which you and I have never even heard. What a happy thing it would be for them, during 1904, if the Lord tarry so long, to reflect that in every cottage or home there was hung up the printed gospel, catching the eye of all in the house every day of the year! And not only would they have the joy of seeing the people taking the almanac: with pleasure, but they could make them a special subject of prayer throughout the year. I commend this idea to the prayer and practical interest of 'the Lord's people: The last days of December are peculiarly fitted for this service. People are in the mood for that sort of thing, and then when this happy piece of Christian work is finished, there remains a whole year for the distribution of the cheaper and more easily carried tract and gospel book.
May the great Lord of the harvest impress our hearts with these immense but lessening privileges, and give us real courage and zeal to do what we can to forward the work of the gospel.
The year 1904 may be the last that the Lord may leave us here. Whether or not, may we so enter upon it that it may be the happiest and most fruitful. A. J. P.
AM I longing to do impossible great things for Christ, yet at the same time omitting the possible -small things that daily come to my hand? "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much.”
You have only one life to live. If you had four or five lives, two or three of them might be spent in carelessness. But you have but one only. Every action of that one life gives coloring to your eternity. How important, then, that you spend that life so as to please the Savior, who has done everything for you!

Answers to Correspondents.: "Soul" and "Spirit"; Jesus - God and Man; Not Literal Water; Ransom for All; Hades

C. R.—1 Thess. 5:23.—In ordinary language the two words "soul" and "spirit" are used for one another yet Scripture clearly distinguishes between them, though they are not to be separated. It teaches that the soul is the seat of the affections, passions, and appetites, whether good or bad, and that the spirit is identified with the mind, the higher part of man, and in which he stands in relation to God.
J.—It is important to remember that when the Lord Jesus was here on earth there was in Him the perfect presentation of God to man, and also the perfect presentation in Him of man to God. For though in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, He was true man. In Him, in His words and ways, and gracious, tender dealings with sinful men, we see the revelation of God—of the Father—so that if I would know God, I look at Jesus. Gazing adoringly at Him, I recall the words of John 1:18, "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, Ile hath declared Him." Nor do I forget His own words in John 14:9, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." God manifest in manhood here on earth—heard, seen, contemplated, handled, as it is said in 1 John 1:1. And if we go on to His death upon the cross, there the love of God, His holiness, and His just dealings with sin, are all displayed in a way that subdues and wins the heart. Let us now look at the other side. Let us think of Jesus as One who took a servant's form, and who, through the Eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God. All that man should be Godward, Jesus was. Obedient, dependent, finding His meat in doing the will of Him who sent Him, and in finishing His work. In Him every moral trait shone in unclouded beauty. If humanity everywhere was a wilderness of stones, Jesus was a garden of delight, where no thorn or thistle ever grew. Was a life like that nothing to God? Surely we know that if there was not 'a heart on earth who could appreciate all that Jesus was in His life below, there was in heaven One, even His God and Father, who could and did.
We are not quite sure that these brief remarks meet the case you have in view. If not, kindly write again, and you will doubtless endeavor to state your point so clearly that we shall have less difficulty in seizing it.
R. A. M.—John 3:5.—We entirely agree with you in believing that the water of which our Lord here speaks is not literal water, such as we use every day of our life. No sane person would contend that water—pure and simple-is meant in John 4:14 and 7:38. Why, then, should it have this meaning in John 3:57 There can be no doubt that the Lord refers to Ezek. 36:24-38, a passage which deals with the restoration and future blessing of Israel, now scattered over the face of the earth. They shall be the subjects of the new birth, they shall be "born of water and of the Spirit." But no one, we suppose, would be so foolish as to think that when the Lord God shall sprinkle "clean water" upon them and cleanse them from their idols and all their uncleannesses, He will use actual water drawn from river, spring, or brook. No; a person is not born again by being baptized with water. He is born of the Spirit, and instrumentally by the Word of God, of which water is a figure. Your vicar evidently believes in "baptismal regeneration," and holds that a new life is imparted to an infant when baptized. But we note his confession that this may be lost if the baptized one should not lead a good life. Now let us suppose that for years he does not lead a good life, but a very bad one, so that all he gained by his baptism is lost. Is there any hope for him in after days? "Yes," perhaps your vicar would say, "if he sincerely repents and turns from his wicked ways." And, we presume, in that case he would be born again for the second time. But how has this come to pass? Not by baptism, for your vicar would not baptize a person twice over. Clearly, then, he is born again on this occasion without baptism at all! And so the whole theory falls to the ground.
We can easily understand the answer you receive when speaking to some about the new birth. They were born again when christened, so they say, and there is an end of the matter. And the Book of Common Prayer supports them in saying so. But it is of the greatest importance to remember that if the Prayer Book were packed with good things from cover to cover, it is not the Word of God, and therefore offers no basis for faith. "What saith the Scripture?" must ever be our earnest inquiry. And no doctrine is to be received, however hoary with age, that cannot be found, clear and distinct, in those sacred oracles. To the law and to the testimony every question must be referred, and from its decision there can be no appeal.
R. H.—1 Tim. 2:6.—We accept these words in their simplest and fullest sense, namely, that Christ gave Himself a ransom for all. In agreement with this we read elsewhere that "He is the Propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:2). The ransom, the propitiation, is not to be narrowed down to a particular nation, such as the Jews, or to a special class drawn out of many nations—it is broad enough for all. His blood is available for any sinner, no matter who he may be. Hence we can carry the gospel to every creature under heaven. But carefully remark that we are not now speaking of the substitutionary aspect of Christ's sacrifice—His bearing of "our sins." This side is only predicated of believers. If the vilest come to God through Him, who is the Propitiation, they may then go further and see Him as the One who has borne all their sins, so that not one of them can be named again. As to your other question, there is much in what you say, but it is too controversial for discussion within the limits of our correspondence columns.
F. T.—In a recent answer to a correspondent we pointed out that there are two words in Greek, both of which are translated hell in our Authorized Version of the Scriptures—Hades and Gehenna—the latter signifying the place of eternal punishment. You ask about the former. It means "the unseen or invisible world of spirits, upon which, till the coming of Christ, darkness and obscurity rested. In hades' there may be joy as well as torment. The rich man and Lazarus were both in hades. In hell there is only torment." Hades never means the grave.

Bible Dialogs.: The Second Coming of the Lord

Questions by S. W. Royes; Answers by H. P. Barker.
IT is well to remind one another that what the Bible presents to us is not theories or opinions, but facts. And if anyone were to say to me, "What are the principal facts connected with Christianity?" I should reply that three of the most astounding facts are these:—
The throne of Deity is occupied by a MAN.
God the Holy Ghost is a Resident upon this planet.
The Lord, Jesus Christ has a peculiar treasure in the world, and is about to come personally to transfer that treasure from earth to heaven.
It is with the last of these three that we are concerned on this occasion. It is a fact that Jesus is coming again, as truly a fact as that He has already been here for thirty-three years, and died upon the cross.
Before Mr. Royes commences his questions, I will ask you to open your Bibles and read three striking passages, in which the second coming of the Lord is spoken of as a fact, first by an apostle, then by an angel, and thirdly by the Lord Himself.
First turn to 1 Thess. 4:15-17.
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto THE COMING OF THE LORD shall not prevent [or" go before "] them which are asleep.
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Now look at Acts 1:11, where we have angelic testimony to the same truth:—
“This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
The third passage I ask you to read is John 14:3, where the Lord Himself, while yet on earth, distinctly promises to return for the purpose of receiving His people to His Father's house.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
These three passages suffice to show that the truth of the Lord's second coming is an integral part of Christian doctrine. But, remember, it is not a mere doctrine, it is a fact; and as a fact we shall consider it.
When You Speak of the Lord's Coming, Do You Refer to Death?
Indeed I do not. Nobody who carefully reads the three passages I have pointed out could fall into the mistake of confounding the two things. When a believer dies, does the Lord descend with a shout? Does He come in like manner as they saw Him go? Are the sleeping saints called from their graves and summoned to meet the Lord in the air? Nothing of the kind takes place.
Let me try to show you, by a simple illustration, what death is for the Christian.
A gentleman enters one of the country railway stations and asks for a first-class ticket to Kingston. The train not being due for twenty minutes, he walks into the comfortable first-class waiting-room and sits down. While there, another man enters the station. To judge by his appearance, he is a working man, and not very well off in this world's goods. He, too, is bound for Kingston, and asks for a third-class ticket. He, like the first comer, has to wait for the train, but he may not use the first-class waiting-room. He must be content with the uncomfortable, drafty, crowded third-class room.
But mark this, the man in the first-class room and the man in the third-class room are both waiting for the same train.
In the same way there are two classes of believers bound for glory, and waiting for the Lord's coming to take them there. There are those of us who are still alive, waiting in this dreary, uncomfortable third-class waiting-room of a world, surrounded by trials, subject to temptations, and beset with sin. Others there are who have, as it were, passed into the first class waiting room. They rest in a scene of unclouded peace, with neither sin, nor care, nor sorrow to mar their happiness. They are "with Christ," but their bodies are in the grave. They have not yet entered into the fullness of resurrection life. They are still waiting—waiting for the very same thing that we are waiting for, namely, the coming of the Lord.
Death, therefore, for the Christian, far from being the fulfillment of his hope, is merely the servant that ushers him into the first-class waiting-room, where he will be "absent from the body, present with the Lord" until the day when Jesus comes.
Does Not the Christian Often Experience the Coming of Christ to His Heart?
Yes, undoubtedly; but that is not what we are talking about just now.
I remember speaking to an old lady about the Lord's coming. As I spoke, her face lit up with joy, and laying her hand upon her heart she exclaimed, "Oh, He often comes to me! Hardly a day passes without His coming.”
The dear old lady was right. Jesus does come to His people's hearts in a spiritual way. But that is a very different thing from the coming of which we have read together.
If you will turn to John 14 you will see the two things. Read verse 23: "If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him.”
Contrast this with what we have already read in verse 3 of the same chapter. Verse 23 speaks of a spiritual coming of Christ and the Father to us; verse 3 speaks of the future, personal, actual coming of Christ for us. The one is what we may enjoy daily; the other is what we yet hope for.
Will the End of the World Take Place When the Lord Comes?
No, indeed. Scripture is full of promises and prophecies which show that the world is to be the scene of wonderful blessing under the rule of Christ for a thousand years. Men shall beat their swords into plowshares and live in-harmony. Restored Israel shall be the center from which blessing will radiate to the uttermost parts of the earth (Isa. 2:3). Even the animal creation will share the joy of that age-the lion shall lie down with the lamb. Satan shall be bound, and righteousness shall reign. All this takes place after the Lord comes, so the end of the world will be at least a thousand years subsequent. The Lord's coming is the preliminary to a long course of events. He is about to take possession of the kingdoms of earth, and reign with His saints and assume His rights in the place where He has been rejected. But before He comes forth for that purpose, He comes to take possession of that which is already His—His own peculiar treasure, His pearl of great price—His blood-bought Church.
With it the Lord will return as the rightful Heir to subdue the earth and reign in peace and justice, so that there will be a long period of time between His coming and the end of the world.
What Will Happen When Jesus Comes?
If you will carefully read those verses in 1 Thessalonians over again, and compare them with 1 Cor. 15:51, 52, you will find a very clear answer to that question. The living saints will be changed, the sleeping ones will be raised, and together they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Those who are not Christ's, whether dead or living, will be left behind.
You know what a magnet is, do you not? Suppose that upon this table I had a mixture of steel filings and chaff. I bring the magnet nearer and nearer to the table. What happens?
Suddenly all the steel filings fly up and stick to the magnet. And what of the chaff? It is left upon the table unmoved.
That is just what will happen when the Lord comes. He has, indeed, been a magnet to these hearts of ours, charming and attracting them. When He comes, those with whom He has a link—the steel filings, the true believers—will by His power be gathered up to Him in the air. And what of those who know Him not-the chaff? They will for the time be left alone, but their career will soon be over: "He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (Matt. 3:12).
Will There Be No Chance of Salvation for Those Who Are Left Behind?
For those who have heard the gospel and refused it there will be none. They will be judicially blinded and hardened. Let Scripture speak as to this. Read the solemn words of 2 Thess. 2:10-12: "They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
The door of mercy, now open so wide, will then be irrevocably closed. "When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity" (Luke 13:25-27).
These awfully solemn words answer your question clearly and decisively. No, there will be no salvation for those who refuse it now.
Will You Make the Distinction Clearer Between the
Lord's Coming for His People and His Subsequent
Coming With Them?
A friend of mine was once taking me for a stroll around Newcastle-on-Tine. "Do you see that hill yonder?" he asked, pointing to a considerable eminence on the further side of the river.
“Yes," I replied. "Is there anything noticeable about it?”
“It is called Sheriff's Hill," he said, "and the reason is this. When the circuit judges come from Durham to hold the assizes at Newcastle, the sheriffs of the city go out as far as that hill to meet them. Having met them there, they accompany the judges back to the city to open the assizes.”
Now this will, perhaps, help in making clear the distinction between the Lord's coming for His people and His subsequent coming with them. You get both referred to in Scripture. First, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself." That is His coming for us. Then, in Jude 14, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment." He is coming to hold the assizes, as it were, to visit the ungodly with His displeasure and "thoroughly purge His floor." In this He will be accompanied by His saints, as the judges in coming from Durham to Newcastle are accompanied by the sheriffs of the latter place. But in order that this may be so, His people will be summoned from earth to meet Him in the air. Then they will return with Him when He comes forth in conquering might. See Rev. 19:11-14. It is this latter event that is referred to again and again in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it is often spoken of as His appearing, or His manifestation in glory, as contrasted with His more secret coming for His people, or "rapture," as it is sometimes called.
What Will Happen Between the Lord's Coming for
His Church and His Appearing in Power?
It would take me a very long while to give even an outline of the course of events indicated in the prophetic scriptures as happening in that period. We cannot even refer to the passages that speak of them. But I may briefly say that a careful study of Scripture would lead us to believe that as soon as the Church is taken to heaven, wickedness will increase in the world with rapid strides, and will culminate in the "man of sin," who, under the direct influence of Satan, will head a most fearful apostasy. God will meanwhile be working in and through some of His ancient people, the Jews, gathering them again to the land of their fathers, and preparing them, amid unheard-of sufferings, to be channels of blessing to the whole world. At the same time remarkable developments will take place in the political sphere. The Roman Empire, revived in the form of ten confederate kingdoms, will support its head, the "beast," who is in close alliance with the "antichrist," or "man of sin." Corrupt Christendom will at first be the governing influence, but infidelity will gain the ascendency, and the apostate church, spewed out of Christ's mouth, will fall a miserable prey to the powers of the world, whose favors she has sought so long.
Then after many heavy strokes from God's rod have fallen upon the earth, suddenly Christ will appear, with His saints, bringing swift destruction to the wicked one (antichrist) and his associates. But in order to trace out all these points in Scripture, a careful study of the whole' scope of prophecy is necessary, which is quite beyond the limits of our present subject.
Can Any Date Be Fixed for the Coming of the Lord?
We are told in Mark 13:35 to watch, because the hour of His coming is unknown. How could anyone watch for the Lord to come, if it were known that He would not come until a certain time? The exhortation to watch implies upon the face of it uncertainty as to the time.
I am well aware that many attempts have been made to fix dates for the Lord's return. The only result of such attempts is to bring discredit upon "that blessed hope," and cause it to be associated in people's minds with folly and fanaticism.
Much confusion has arisen through people failing to see that the present time is an interval in the line of God's dealings with men. When Christ was slain by the Jews, God suspended His dealings with them as a nation. From that day onward He has been occupied in saving by His grace those who compose the Church. When the Church is complete, the Lord will come and remove her from earth. Then God will take up the thread, so to speak, which He has dropped; and then the history of His earthly people will recommence and dates and times and seasons will again have a place. But no dates are connected with the present interval. At any moment we may hear the home-call. How sweet for those who are ready! Dear fellow-believer, think of it! Another moment, and you may hear the voice of the Beloved of your soul! Another moment, and you may feel the embrace of those everlasting arms! Another moment, and you may be at home —your home because it is His home; and you are His and He is yours!
Have We Anything Besides Watching to Do in View of the Lord's Coming?
Yes. We have to go out to meet Him (Matt. 25:6). Out from everything that we should not like Him to find us mixed up with; out from slothful ease; out from sinful habits; out from unholy associations.
Then we are told to occupy till He comes (Luke 19:13). We are to be engaged in looking after His interests during His absence, intent on serving Him.
If you read the New Testament you will be surprised to find how often the thought of the Lord's return is brought in a practical way, to enforce various admonitions. To cherish this blessed hope and to live in daily expectation of the Lord's return is to be a very practical Christian. "Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:3).
May it be ours, dear fellow-Christians, not only to "live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world," but to look for "that blessed hope" and also for what will follow, "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:12, 13).

“Being Let Go.”

"And being let go, they went to their own company.”
Acts 4:23.
THIS simple statement presents a beautiful example of the instincts and tendencies of the divine nature. We always find that when a man is released from some special engagement—set free from some special demand upon him—in a word, when he is "let go," he will, most probably, seek the company of those most congenial to his tastes. When parade is over, the soldiers betake themselves to their various associates and pursuits. When a school breaks up, the pupils do the same. When the warehouse or counting-house is closed, the young men betake themselves, some to the religious assembly, some to the reading-room, some, alas! to the tavern, the theater, or the gambling-house. "Being let go," they are almost sure to go "to their own company." It is when a man is fully at leisure that you see what his bent and tendency really are. Two men may stand behind the same counter from eight in the morning till six in the evening; but mark them when the clock strikes six! Observe them when "let go"! One makes his way to the taproom, and the other to some place of worship or religious instruction. "Being let go," they soon find out "their own company.”
Reader, how do you act when "let go"? What company do you seek? Do you betake yourself to those who, like the assembly in Acts 4, occupy themselves in holy worship, prayer, and praise? Or do you own as your companions the giddy and the thoughtless, the profane and the immoral, the scoffer and the skeptic? Oh! search and see. Just ask yourself, when next you take your seat in the midst of your own company, "Would I, at this moment, like to hear the voice of the archangel and the trump of God?" Are you washed from your sins in the blood of Jesus? Are you saved? Are you at peace with God? Let me beseech you to make close, personal work of it this very hour. Do not trifle with your soul and with a boundless eternity. God is in earnest—Christ is in earnest, the Holy Spirit is in earnest—Satan is in earnest—and will you trifle? "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). May the Holy Spirit lead you now to believe in the love of God, and learn fully, and without a shadow of a doubt, upon the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Then you will seek the "company" of the redeemed on earth; and when "let go" from every weight and hindrance down here, you will join "your own company" in the mansions above. C. H. M.

Three Parallel Lines

THERE are three of them. They are as follows:—
1st. The line of fact—God's facts. In the cross of Christ certain things have become accomplished facts before God.
2nd. The line of experience. Every Christian has an experience, good, bad, or indifferent. It is a secret thing, hid from the eyes of his fellows, but very real to the individual himself.
3rd. The line of behavior. This is more or less public—scanned by the eyes of all.
In an ideal Christian life these three lines are exactly parallel. In every life the third runs approximately parallel to the second, that is, our behavior is largely controlled by our experience. We write in our public behavior the secret history of our experience within.
It may be that every Christian who reads these lines is prepared to confess that our life and witness for Christ is not what it should be. We want it more in accordance with God's facts—the Cross and its results—more controlled by the Spirit, more fragrant of Christ. How shall this be produced?
It will never be produced by self-occupation, though many Christians think so, and spend weary months and years in the vain effort to work themselves into a more satisfactory state. You will not succeed in drawing a line parallel to another by concentrating all your attention upon the line you propose to draw. No I Fix your eye upon the line which serves as guide, adjust your rule in accordance with that, and the thing is done. To make progress we must maintain the divine order. Our behavior is regulated by our experience, and our experience should be regulated by the knowledge of divinely accomplished facts.
The sixth, seventh, and eighth chapters of the epistle to the Romans are largely occupied with both experience and behavior, and yet the line of fact runs through each of them like a golden thread.
Permit us now to inquire after your spiritual health. How are you getting on? and do you find the joy in your Christianity that you were led to expect when you first trusted the Lord? Perhaps not. It may be, like many others, you have defeat and not victory, gloom and not gladness. But you may take comfort from the fact that in Rom. 7 an individual testifies concerning himself, and you could hardly sink lower than he. His experience was wretchedness itself; he sums it up thus: "I am carnal, sold under sin" (v. 14). His behavior was, as it is to be expected, no better: "The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (v. 19).
What helped this wretched man? Why, just that which will help you—the knowledge of divinely accomplished facts. In each of these chapters there is one verse which states a fact. These facts are in no way dependent upon us. Be our experiences what they may, their truth stands unchanged. They are as follows:—
“Our old man is crucified with Him" (6:6).
"Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ" (7:4).
“God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh"
(8: 3).
In one thing these verses coincide, viz. they all refer to what God accomplished for Himself at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then and there our old man was crucified; we were made dead to the law, and sin in the flesh was condemned.
Make your reckoning with these facts. If our old man—the apostle personifies all that we were as children of Adam—was crucified with Christ, then God has clone with it, and there is no reason why you should mope over its delinquencies any longer. If we had been made dead to the law, then you need not lash yourself with legal scorpions every time you fail, but rather judge yourself in the light of God's grace. If sin in the flesh has been condemned, then it is evident that God has in the Cross gone down to the root of things, and executed His judgment upon sin, the root of the mischief; so why not now spend your moments considering the great love which His death expressed, rather than the sin which His death condemned?
Do not run away with the idea that the mere knowledge of these facts, valuable as that is, will of itself do anything. No; unless your knowledge of them leads to this—that you give up all hope of more satisfactory experience or behavior in yourself, and fix your eye upon Christ by the Spirit's power, it will avail you nothing. As you are prepared to allow the blessed Spirit of God to fill your heart with the excellence and glory of Christ, the scene will change, and both experience and behavior will be elevated to an altogether different level.
An electric tram aptly illustrates this. It runs by the aid of three parallel lines, two beneath and one charged with electricity above. Everything depends upon its being, by means of its long arm, kept in contact with the live wire above. You see one upon a dark night. How swiftly it runs! How brightly it shines! Lo! it vanishes. What has happened? The contact is broken, and when contact is broken its motive power is gone and its lights go out. So long, and only so long, as the blessed Spirit of God keeps us in contact with the line of divine facts, shall we run our heavenly race and brightly shine for Christ.
In conclusion, notice that all the three lines appear in these chapters in Romans. If through grace we are kept in touch with God's facts, we shall taste the blessedness of the experience thus described:—
“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (8: 2).
We shall breathe the air of the liberty of an enjoyed Christ, and as for our behavior, we shall act in keeping with this injunction:—
"Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (6:13). F. B. H.


Concentration of purpose.—This is indeed the great lack among the people of God. How much of our lives is spent, not in positive evil, but frittered away and lost in countless petty diversions which spoil effectually the positivity of their testimony for God! How few can say, with the apostle, "This one thing I do"! We are on the road—not at least intentionally off it—but we stop to chase butterflies among the flowers, and make no serious progress. How Satan must wonder when he sees us turn away from the "kingdoms of the world and the glory of them," when realized as his temptation, and yet yield ourselves, with scarce a thought, to endless trifles, lighter than the thistle-down, which the child spends all his strength for, and we laugh at him. Concentration of purpose is what, most of all, the devil dreads for us as Christians.
God's love and care.—Our God always loves us, always cares for us, never allows us to pass through any dark cloud of sorrow, unless He knows the cloud to be better for us than the sunshine.
Communion with God.—Communion with God is a real thing, in which He pours into the soul, in a greater or less degree, the deep joy of His presence—of that favor and perfect love in which He communicates with the soul, revealing Himself—and gives by His presence the happiness of a relationship in which no breach is suspected nor thought of, in which the soul lives.
A system that abides.—"Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world" shows that we belong in the counsels of God to a system set up by Him in Christ before the world existed, which is not of this world when it does exist, and exists after the fashion of this world has passed away.
Perfect peace.—Phil. 4 Is God ever troubled by the little things that trouble us? Do they shake His throne 1 I go and carry it all to Him, and I find Him all quiet about it. It is all settled. He knows quite well what He is going to do. I have laid the burden on the throne that never shakes, with the perfect certainty that God takes an interest in me, and the peace He is in keeps my heart, and I can thank Him even before the trouble has passed. He does not give us to see before us, for then the heart would not be exercised.
God our resource.—He has said, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." The day may be one of trial, a hot day; the way weary, not a green thing there on which the eye can rest; the land, "a dry and thirsty one, where no water is," not a single spring, to the new man, from the ground, but at the same time there is the rain from heaven; nothing can intercept that. God, who commands the heavens, can make the valley of Baca a well and the rain also to fill the pools. "All our fresh springs are in God.”
Pursuit of holiness.—The practical maintenance of holiness is the true effort of a heart that grace has mastered. But yet—as with the prisoner who struggles to his window and wipes out every stain, making it shine again, with a zeal no sense of duty could arouse, his thought is only of the sunlight he is yearning for, so it is with the soul that is alive to God. All true life leads to Him, and holiness is eagerly pursued, only to be forgotten in the enjoyment of its end and aim. Hence the exhortation of the word: "Follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
Doing God's will.—If I have no motive but my Father's will, how astonishingly it simplifies every-dung. If you never thought of doing a thing, except because it was God's positive will that you should do it, how many things of your life would at once disappear, not in a constant struggle against one thing and another, but in the quiet consciousness that the grace of God has provided for everything, that you do not take a step but what His love has provided for.

Answers to Correspondents.: Frivolity About the Blood; Selling Clothing for the Lord

G. H. S.—We unite with you in deploring the irreverent and unscriptural statements concerning "the precious blood of Christ," which are found in some modern evangelistic hymns. This serious blot—to say nothing of the light and jaunty way in which they treat this sacred subject—makes them, in our eyes, unfit either for public or private use. They are a degradation and travesty of the gospel. They foster the false idea that in some vague way—no one exactly knows how—the blood of Jesus is ever flowing, and that saint and sinner may continually resort to it for cleansing and for victory over sin. Such assuredly is not the teaching of Holy Scripture.
“The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot," has indeed been shed once for all. We mean that His life—"for the life of the flesh is in the blood"—has been laid down sacrificially to make atonement for sin. It was the price of our redemption. This was at Calvary. There is no blood flowing now. Christ having offered one Sacrifice for sins, has forever sat down on the right hand of God. His service on that line is finished, and there remains no more offering for sin. All is done.
Now let it be clearly understood that the sacrifice of Christ was Godward; it was a propitiation for sins. For what is sin but lawlessness, and what is lawlessness but rebellion against God and His throne? Hence the need of propitiation. This Christ has made, and the door is now open for any sinner to return. Nothing bars the way, and infinite Love pleads with him to come back. If he believes the gospel, if he confesses his sins to God in true repentance, he is freely forgiven, and the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary avails to free him from all his offenses, and shelters him from judgment justly deserved. If it be replied, "Yes, that is correct, all his past sins are blotted out; but if it be true that we daily sin, will he not need daily cleansing by the blood?" No, his sins as guilt are remitted—every one of them—and they will be remembered no more. To use the striking language of Heb. 10:14, the believer is "perfected forever." "But what about his daily sins? Is he to treat sin lightly?" God forbid I Nor will the Holy Spirit allow him to do so. Daily sins, however, is not the question in Heb. 10, nor past sins either. I 'ke out both words. It is sins, without days, weeks, months, or years.
He has d one sacrifice for sins. Such is the statement. Let it stand as it stands without any addition of yesterday, to-day, or to-morrow. Christ has died for our sins—sins in their totality, from childhood to gray hairs—and in dying for them He has put them away, and they shall be remembered no more. The whole question is settled and set at rest forever. To
corn corn g ' nd again to the sacrifice of Christ as we di ' t is to follow the footsteps of the Israelite, s repeated offering for sin, and to place the nce of a Christian on a level with that of a j'e ' of old. What a slight on the one offering of Christ and of the testimony of the Holy Spirit in Heb. 10!
“But what about his daily sins? Is he to treat sin lightly?" says someone, returning to the question asked a moment ago. We repeat our answer, "God forbid! Nor will the Holy Spirit allow him to do so." Answering to the advocacy of Christ on high, He will deal with his conscience, act the part of a Reprover, show him that sin in a Christian is more serious than sin in one who is not, and lead him to a confession of his wrong-doing, that he may be forgiven as a child and be practically cleansed in daily life from all unrighteousness. But that is a very different thing from what took place at the first. Then it was judicial cleansing from guilt, never to be repeated; now it is moral cleansing and restoration to communion with God. As to victory over sin, the sure way for that is found in walking in the Spirit, as we are taught in Gal. 5:16 think the Holy Spirit is given His rightful houghts of Christians? Do they see that MEI ".$ e to empower them to lead a life that is to ory and praise of God, and not a life defaced by continual failure and sin? We fear not.
A. J. P—M.—If a few Christian women make articles of clothing and sell them, intending to devote the proceeds to the work of the Lord, nothing can be said against it. It is purely a business transaction, and they are at liberty to use what 4-4?, in any way they please. But that is a t
thing from a bazaar organized with the e of raising funds for religious purposes, and to everybody is invited and urged to buy. We de' 'It believe in seeking the world's help to further God's work. But if I knit a pair of socks and sell them, saying nothing about the object I have in view, surely I may give the money to aid some godly purpose, even if4the buyer of the socks has no fear of God before his eyes.