Young Christian: Volume 37, 1947

Table of Contents

1. Quietness and Confidence
2. The 1946 Version of Haman, the Jew's Enemy
3. Extract: "If Any Man Serve Me, Let Him Follow Me"
4. Our Pathway
5. Preaching the Gospel
6. Extract: The Word of God
7. The Epistle to the Ephesians: Ephesians 6:10-24
8. Extract: Present Consciousness and Enjoyment
9. Power in Ministry
10. Extract: Go Forth
11. Extract: Dwelling Places
12. Wisdom's Children
13. Correspondence: "Touch Me Not"?
14. Dorcas: or, Garment-Making for the Poor
15. The Glorious Fifteenth of Luke
16. Extract: To Know Him Better
17. The Epistle to the Ephesians: Ephesians 6:10-24, Continued
18. Extract: Satan's Aim
19. A Striking Contrast Between a Father and a Son
20. Providence Is Not Faith
21. The Teaching of the Parable of the Talents
22. A Letter to a Young Christian
23. Extract: The Flesh
24. Extract: Faith
25. Correspondence: Pearls Before Swine?
26. Correspondence: Saying Nothing About Being Healed
27. Exposition of the Book of Jonah: Chapter 1
28. Extract: Indifference to Evil in the Church
29. Be Much in Prayer
30. Two Aspects of the Death of Christ
31. Why Did God Permit Sin to Enter the World?
32. The Serpent's Lie
33. Forgiveness on a Righteous Basis
34. Extract: The Essence of Christianity
35. Precious Truth From an Old Letter
36. Extract: Our Role in the World
37. Correspondence: When Sealed with the Holy Spirit?
38. Correspondence: Cherish a Foolish Thought?
39. The Editor's Column
40. Special Notice to Our Readers!
41. Exposition of the Book of Jonah: Chapter 2
42. Extract: When Left to Ourselves
43. Contentment
44. Do We Recognize God in the Circumstances of Daily Life?
45. Divine Comments on Four Men of Faith
46. Editor's Note
47. Exposition of the Book of Jonah: Chapter 3
48. Can You Answer These Questions?
49. Extract
50. The Word of God
51. Extract: God Can Use It
52. The Urgency of Grace as Seen in Luke 14
53. A Welcome for the Worst
54. A Word of Exhortation
55. The Lord's Request
56. Extract: Your Life Will Show It
57. The More We Eat, the More We Want
58. Extract: Separation From and To God
59. Substance of a Letter on the Theory of Evolution
60. Answers to the Questions on Page 459
61. The Editor's Column
62. Exposition of the Book of Jonah: Chapter 4
63. Can You Answer These Questions?
64. Extract: Looking for Comfort
65. The Attractions of Christ
66. The First Thing in the Day
67. The Manifestation of "the Life"
68. A Fruitful Bough by a Well
69. The Activity of Divine Love
70. Extract: The Only Perfection
71. Extract: To Become More Like Christ
72. Jacob's Well Was There
73. Malachi 3:16-17 - Jude 20-23
74. Answers to the Questions on Page 487
75. The Editor's Column
76. What Is, and How Did Man Acquire Conscience? Part 1
77. Can You Answer These Questions?
78. Extract: The Path of Sin
79. The Saviour and the Shepherds
80. Extract: Judged First
81. "Jesus … Having Loved His Own … He Loved Them Unto the End"
82. Extract: The Price
83. Answers to Questions on Page 512
84. The Editor's Column
85. What Is, and How Did Man Acquire Conscience? Part 2
86. Can You Answer These Questions?
87. Extract: Waiting on the Lord
88. Brethren Alienated!
89. Devotedness of Women
90. Extract: Focusing on Circumstances
91. "Abide in Me"
92. "Jacob Have I Loved," and "Jacob Was Left Alone"
93. "I Will Give You Rest … and Ye Shall Find Rest"
94. Answers to the Questions on Page 540
95. Extract
96. The Editor's Column
97. A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible
98. Can You Answer These Questions?
99. What Did Paul Call "Light Affliction"?
100. Jesus, the Saviour
101. Them That Dwell in Heaven, Versus Them That Dwell on Earth
102. Contrast Between Man's Feast and God's Feast
103. Answers to the Questions on Page 567
104. Extract: The Divine Way
105. The Editor's Column
106. A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible (Continued)
107. Can You Answer These Questions?
108. Extract: Relationship with God
109. Great God of Wonders
110. The Path of Wisdom
111. The Character and Meaning of the Lord's Supper
112. The Bruised Reed and the Smoking Flax
113. Extract: A Barrier to Communion
114. The Happy Place of Being Inquirers
115. The Pleasures of Sin
116. Satisfied
117. A Difference, but No Cause for Envy
118. Extract: Two Hearts
119. Moses - A Type of Christ
120. Extract: A Day of Lawlessness
121. Are We Content to Be Instruments, Not Doers?
122. Answers to the Questions on Page 593
123. The Editor's Column
124. The Words of a Great Preacher
125. Can You Answer These Questions?
126. The Path of Suffering on the Way to the Kingdom
127. A Brief Unfolding of the Twenty-Second Psalm
128. A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible
129. Extract
130. Answers to the Questions on Page 621
131. The Editor's Column
132. How Israel "Corrupted Themselves"
133. Can You Answer These Questions?
134. The Character of the World and Its Friendship
135. Extract: Private Communion
136. Noah's Ark
137. A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible
138. Grace and Righteousness Seen in the Reception of the Prodigal
139. The Glory of God Displayed in the Gospel
140. The Institution of Animal Sacrifice
141. Answers to the Questions on Page 648
142. The Editor's Column

Quietness and Confidence

Isaiah 30:15
From the year’s beginning,
And for every day,
Love and tender mercies
Prove our help and stay.
Standing on the threshold
Of another year,
Counting on His promise
We have naught to fear.
Looking back we praise Him,
Who has kept our feet
On the homeward journey—
Soon our Lord to meet.
And the coming future
Will be bright indeed,
As to heaven’s glory
Daily He doth lead.
‘Midst the world’s corruption,
In a scene of woe,
Saviour, what a comfort
Thy dear love to know!

The 1946 Version of Haman, the Jew's Enemy

On Oct. 15, 1946 Julius Streicher and nine others were hanged at Nuremberg, after having been condemned by the International Military Tribunal. Particular attention is directed to this man who generally was mentioned as the “Jew Baiter.” He was one man, more than any other, who persecuted the Jews of Europe in the past years and instigated the murder and starvation of thousands and thousands of them.
It is more than 2500 years since God, acting according to His righteous government, turned His earthly people, the Jews, over to the Gentiles for chastisement. The sentence of “Lo-Ammi” (meaning, “not My people”) pronounced by Hosea the prophet, still hangs over that people. But Gentiles who were only too ready to wreak their own vengeance on the Jews have not been wanting from that day to this. It is true that God has allowed much suffering and many troubles to come to that erring nation, and has allowed the Gentiles to be the instruments in His hand for this purpose; nevertheless, He still has His eye on them and is taking careful note of the actions of the Gentiles against His people.
In Isaiah 10 the Assyrian is spoken of as “the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation.” That Gentile power was to be used “against a hypocritical nation  ... to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.” But the Assyrian did not act as though he were merely the instrument in the hand of God to punish His guilty people, for we read:
“Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.  ... Wherefore it shall come to pass, that, when the Lord hath performed His whole work upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.  ... Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith?  ... as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up.” Isaiah 10:5-19.
As the Assyrian was punished for his malice toward the Jews, so will God yet punish those nations that persecute His people who are suffering under His hand for their sins. The time has not yet come for the Lord to come forth in power and glory, and punish the Gentile nations, and exalt Israel. The Jews still have many hard trials and much suffering ahead of them before they, as a nation, will be made the head of the nations and not the tail. God has, as it were, withdrawn from the earth and is not actively intervening on behalf of His earthly people. Nevertheless, He is still over-ruling in a providential way.
The book of Esther stands alone among all the books of the Bible in that it shows the very condition of God’s disowned people while He over-rules in a providential manner. His name is not once mentioned in the book of Esther. That fact has caused many to think that it is of small value or that it is not rightly a part of the Holy Scriptures, but the absence of His name is only in keeping with the character of the book. The Jews there, were out of their own land and under the power of the Gentiles. The great Persian Empire was at its zenith in the days of Esther, and the Jews were only a small minority within its borders.
A great enemy of the Jews within the Persian Empire made plans for their extermination. This man, Haman, was the prime minister with much more than ordinary power. He was a descendant of Agag of the royal family of the Amalekites—the avowed enemies of the Jews from the days when God was leading them through the wilderness to the land of Canaan. At that time God said that He would “have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Exodus 17:16. But in the days of the book of Esther the Amalekite was next to the throne of the kingdom, empowered with the king’s seal to issue irrevocable laws.
Haman took special dislike and hatred to a Jew named Mordecai who, acting according to God’s edict toward Amalek, would not bow down to him.
“Wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai. In the first month, that is, the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from, day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar.”
After the twelfth month was decided upon, by a lottery system, as the month for the slaughter of the Jews, Haman asked the king for the needed authority which was immediately granted. Then letters commanding the destruction of “all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month” were dispatched by posts (it is said that the Persians started the postal system) to every province in the empire.
But where was God in all this? His name is not mentioned, but the history here shows His secret providential workings. Through a certain act of displeasure of the queen to the mighty king, she was displaced; and God, over-ruling, saw to it that a Jewish maiden was elevated to be the queen. All seemed to be just ordinary circumstances, but God was ordering every movement from behind the scenes. He caused the king to lose a night’s sleep and then to ask for records of the kingdom to be read before him, that the king might learn of Mordecai’s faithfulness and so desire to honor him. Haman also was allowed to proceed farther and even to build a great gallows in his own yard for the purpose of hanging Mordecai thereon. But all the while things were shaping up to bring down evil upon the head of the man who plotted the Jews slaughter. God was not in all their thoughts. Read the book of Esther and see God’s overruling hand.
Finally the time came when Queen Esther told the king of her nationality and begged for her life and the lives of her people. The king became furious at the thought of anyone seeking to destroy the queen, and before long he issued the order to hang Haman on the very gallows that was built for Mordecai. Thus we see divine retribution in the case of Haman, and God’s deliverance so that all the Jews were not murdered. It was true that
“He that toucheth you (the Jewish people) toucheth the apple of his eye.” Zechariah 2:8. For one to lay his hand to the Jews is to bring damage to himself.
Instead of the slaughter of the Jews, a new law was decreed giving the Jews the right to stand for their lives and “to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would destroy them.” Thus God, acting providentially, cared for the Jews and turned the hatred of their enemies on their own heads.
As a conclusion to their happy deliverance, the Jews celebrated a feast which they named “Purim” from the word “pur” —or “lot.” They also decided that the days of “Purim” should be “remembered and kept throughout every generation.” This feast is still kept each year by the Jews.
Now to return to 1946 and the hanging of Julius Streicher. This man will go down in history as one of the worst enemies the Jews ever had. And while God has allowed intense suffering to come to that people who cried “away with Him” when their Messiah was presented to them, He nevertheless does take knowledge of those that vent their wrath and hatred against the people that “are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.” And it is striking that this man was ordered hanged by the Military Tribunal. A number of others were hanged at the same time who were more or less guilty of the same atrocities, but Julius Streicher stands out alone. He was the only one of those executed that made trouble to the executioners; he had to be pushed across the floor to the gallows. But yet the most remarkable thing connected with hanging this enemy of the Jews, on a gallows as was Haman, was what came from Streicher’s own lips. Just before his execution he turned to the witnesses and shouted: “Purimfest, 1946.” He connected his own hanging with Haman’s, and the Jews’ triumphal celebration of “Purimfest” or “Feast of Purim.” Although the Jews are suffering for their sins under the government of God, woe to any who would persecute them or augment their sufferings.
May all Christians remember their own heavenly calling and consider that we poor Gentiles have been brought into rich blessing through the fall of the Jews; but let us not boast against the Jews, nor have anything to do with anti-Jewish propaganda. While they suffer they are still “beloved for the fathers’ sakes,” and will someday come back into blessing from God—a richer blessing than they have ever yet known.

Extract: "If Any Man Serve Me, Let Him Follow Me"

“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me”; that recalls a line I read many years ago, “It is harder to live a Christian than to die a martyr.”

Our Pathway

1 Peter 3
One cannot help being struck in reading the Epistles of Peter with this thought, that he is always contemplating difficulties in the road of the saint, and suggesting how to get along, so as to glorify God in the very midst of them.
This remark applies very specially to this chapter. He begins with the wives, and supposes that many may have unconverted husbands. (The case supposes women saved after marriage, with husbands still unsaved, but it does not contemplate Christian women marrying unsaved men in disobedience to the Word of God.—Ed.) Subjection was that which the Lord had laid on the wife; but this thought might arise in her heart, Am I to obey a husband who is unconverted? Never mind, the Lord says, you be in subjection. Then the difficulty might come, What if he asked me to do anything that would lead to the dishonor of God? The answer is simple. It never can be the path of a Christian to dishonor Christ.
(Verses 1, 2.) “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” There might come in even the very point that the wife sees, the privilege of the Table of the Lord, and the husband forbids her going. What is she to do? I believe her path is clear; it is not a command of the Lord, but a privilege, and therefore if the husband forbids, it is the duty of the wife to be subject, till God clears the way, which, in His own time, He will do. The principle is subjection, and that God owns, and we can never traverse the Word of the Lord without distinct retributive judgment following, sooner or later, from the Lord. How much better is it quietly to wait on the Lord for Him to remove the difficulty, than for her to take the bit in her teeth and say, “It is a privilege, and I mean to have it at all costs.”
What is the thought the Lord holds out to the wife? That the husband may be won by her life, her “chaste conversation coupled with fear.” It is a wonderful thing to get a soul converted to God by a life. I can conceive no testimony higher to any saint, than that the quiet walk of subjection to God has been the means of showing Christ to a soul. Many a careless husband has, thank God, been converted through the silent godly testimony of a woman, who always did the right thing, because always think of pleasing God. The fear is the danger of overstepping one word of the Lord’s—the fear of misrepresenting Him.
(Verses 3, 4.) “Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” There is a beautiful allusion to the fashions, because there is nothing so changeable as fashion, but, the Apostle says, you are to have an ornament that is ever the same. Oh to be the possessor of that, which in the sight of God is of great price, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit! It is not shown in what the world around notices; it can only be seen and understood by those who are thrown in contact with the wearer.
It is a beautiful thing to be able even to dress to please the Lord, because the body belongs to Him. Spirit, soul, and body are all His, and we are always to be living to God, having the eye on God, walking before Him.
(Verse 7.) “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” The wife was to give to the husband subjection, and the husband was to give to the wife honor; he was to be the one who should cherish and care for her, as the one given him of God. “That your prayers be not hindered.” There must be some special reason for the Apostle speaking of this. Take care, he says, that you so dwell, that your prayers be not hindered. You are heirs together of the grace of life; that is, you possess the life that springs from Christ, and you are heirs together of the grace that flows from Christ—now be watchful lest anything come in to hinder your prayers.
Depend upon it, the secret of power does not depend on the public prayer meeting, but on cultivating the spirit of prayer, and this applies when there are but two together. It is a beautiful broad principle in Scripture, and nothing so tends to real fellowship as bowing the knee together.

Preaching the Gospel

If the Lord calls a man to preach the gospel, there will be a natural ability for it. Then the Lord will stir in his heart by the Holy Spirit a real love for souls, which is the best gift of the evangelist. Then he ought to stir up and exercise his gift according to his ability, for the blessing of souls and the glory of God. May we remember that we are responsible for these two things: the gift graciously bestowed, and the ability in which the gift is to be exercised.
When the Lord comes to reckon with His servants, it will not be enough to say, “I was never educated for, nor appointed to the ministry.” It will be a question of whether I waited on the Lord to be used for Him according to what He fitted me for, or whether I hid, and failed to exercise what He gave me.
In that coming day when the Lord reckons with His servants, rewards will be given according to faithfulness, not necessarily according to outward success. It is for each one of us to be faithful with whatever has been entrusted to us. If we regard what we have, either in ability and gift, or in temporal things, as belonging to the Lord and entrusted to us to use for Him, then we shall be better stewards and seek to be found faithful.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” Matthew 24:45.
“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.  ... His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:19-23.

Extract: The Word of God

When the Word of God reaches the heart, it proves itself. I do not need to judge it; it judges me (See Heb. 4:12-13).

The Epistle to the Ephesians: Ephesians 6:10-24

Chapter 6, verses 10-24 (cont’d)
Ephesians 6:10-24
“Stand therefore, having girt about your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and shod your feet with the preparation of the glad tidings of peace; besides all these having taken the shield of faith with which ye will be able to quench all the inflamed (or burning) darts of the wicked one. Have (or receive) also the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word; praying at all seasons, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching unto this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; and for me in order that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the glad tidings, for which I am an ambassador bound with a chain, that I may be bold in it as I ought to speak.” Verses 14-20 (JND).
Prepared for the approach of our watchful and powerful enemy, Satan, the Christian will be, if he is always clad in all of the armor of which we read in these verses. The items are not many, only seven in all, but every one must be constantly in place and practically in use, if Satan is to be rendered powerless at every one of his attacks.
Of first importance, it is easily seen as we look over this passage, is the “standing,” as a vigilant soldier on the alert against a cunning enemy; together with this is the necessary “having girt about your loins with truth.” Note, that it is “having girt”; something done by applying the truth of God to our souls in God’s presence; there can be no waiting until after Satan has really appeared. The loins, you will see, are viewed here as the seat of strength; what is meant then is the power of God’s truth realized in keeping the soul; thus the believer cleaves to the Lord with full purpose of heart, self being searched and judged by the truth. How can this be, do you ask? It comes, young Christian, from diligence in the prayerful reading of the Word of God. Mark this. Just as we must have food for our bodies, so must there be the provision of spiritual food, food of the right sort, for the soul. Don’t neglect it.
The second piece of armor for the Christian in view of the present evil day is “the breastplate of righteousness,” which must be constantly in place, just as our “loins” are to be always “girded.” The breastplate of righteousness is not the same as the righteousness of God which is spoken of in Romans 3:21-22 as upon all that believe; as also 2 Corinthians 5:21; that was a need before God. This “breastplate of righteousness” we need in order to meet Satan’s attacks; and to what does it refer in the Christian’s ability to meet him? Undoubtedly it means a conscience clear of anything with which to reproach itself. We must not allow a bad conscience, but go at once to God when, through sin, communion has been broken. See 1 John 1:9. We need practical righteousness as our breastplate.
We quote again from one now with the Lord: “We go forward boldly when we have a good conscience. But it is when we are walking with God, for the love of God, for the love of righteousness itself, that we have this breastplate on, and thus we are fearless when called to go forward and face the enemy. We gain a good conscience before God by the blood of the Lamb. By walking with God we maintain it before men, and for communion with God, in order to have strength and spiritual understanding, and to have them increasingly.”
The third item in this armor or panoply of God, is “having shod your feet with the preparation of the glad tidings of peace.” Another writer offers this brief comment: “This, again, is evidently a matter of practical power and enjoyment, the effect of maintaining a good conscience, as the latter can only be where all is held and guarded by the truth. Then the soul goes on in peace. ‘The fruit of righteousness,’ as another apostle says, ‘is sown in peace of them that make peace.’ Where there is laxity, the conscience gets bad, and the result is trouble, and making trouble; where truth governs, the conscience is kept bright, and, happy ourselves, we shed happiness around us.”
To be continued, D. V.

Extract: Present Consciousness and Enjoyment

It is not by any effort of memory, but by the power of communion in the Holy Ghost, that we can have the present consciousness and enjoyment of those things “which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

Power in Ministry

The true secret of all ministry is spiritual power. It is not man’s genius, or man’s intellect, or man’s energy, but simply the power of the Spirit of God.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6.
It is well for all ministers to bear this ever in mind. It will sustain the heart and give constant freshness to their ministry. A ministry which flows from abiding dependence upon the Holy Ghost can never become barren. If a man is drawing upon his own resources, he will soon run dry. It matters not what his powers may be, or how extensive his reading, or how vast his stores of information—if the Holy Ghost be not the spring and power of his ministry, it must, sooner or later, lose its freshness and its effectiveness.
How important therefore that all who minister, whether in the gospel or in the church of God, should lean continually and exclusively on the power of the Holy Ghost! He knows what souls need, and He can supply it. But He must be trusted and used. It will not do to lean partly on self and partly on the Spirit of God. If there be aught of self-confidence, it will soon be made apparent. We must really get at the bottom of all that belongs to self, if we are to be the vessels of the Holy Ghost.
It is not—need we say it?—that there should not be holy diligence and earnestness in the study of God’s Word, and in the study too, of the exercises, the trials, the conflicts, and the varied difficulties of souls. Quite the reverse. We feel persuaded that the more absolutely we lean, in self-emptiness, upon the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, the more diligently and earnestly we shall study both the Book and the soul. It would be a fatal mistake for a man to use professed dependence upon the Spirit as a plea for neglecting prayerful study and meditation. “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” 1 Timothy 4:15.
But, after all, let it ever be remembered that the Holy Ghost is the ever living, never failing spring of ministry. It is He alone that can bring forth in divine freshness and fullness, the treasures of God’s Word, and apply them, in heavenly power, to the soul’s present need.
It is not a question of bringing forth new truth, but simply of unfolding the Word itself, and bringing it to bear upon the moral and spiritual condition of the people of God. This is true ministry. A man may speak a hundred times on the same portion of Scripture, to the same people, and, on each occasion, he may minister Christ, in spiritual freshness, to their souls. And, on the other hand, a man may rack his brain to find out new subjects, and new modes of handling old themes, and, all the while, there may not be one atom of Christ or of spiritual power in his ministry.
All this holds good in reference to the evangelist, as well as to the teacher or pastor. A man may be called to preach the gospel in the same place for years, and he may, at times, feel burdened by the thought of having to address the same audience, on the same theme, week after week, month after month, year after year. He may feel at a loss for something new, something fresh, some variety. He may wish to get away into some new sphere, where the subjects which are familiar to him will be new to the people. It will greatly help such to remember that the one grand theme of the evangelist is Christ. The power to handle that theme is the Holy Ghost; and the one to whom that theme is to be unfolded is the poor lost sinner.
Now, Christ is ever new; the power of the Spirit is ever fresh; the soul’s condition and destiny ever intensely interesting. Furthermore, it is well for the evangelist to bear in mind, on every fresh occasion of rising to preach, that those to whom he preaches are really ignorant of the gospel, and hence he should preach as though it were the very first time his audience had ever heard the message, and the first time he had ever delivered it. For, be it remembered, the preaching of the gospel, in the divine acceptation of the phrase, is not a barren statement of mere evangelical doctrine—a certain form of words enunciated over and over again in wearisome routine. Far from it. To preach the gospel is really to unfold the heart of God, the person and work of Christ; and all this by the present energy of the Holy Ghost, from the exhaustless treasury of holy Scripture.

Extract: Go Forth

Jonathan loved David with all his heart, but he did not follow him outside the court circle; so it is with some in the present day. They love Christ, but they will not “go forth unto Him without the camp bearing His reproach.” But Jonathan, refusing David’s fellowship, fell with Saul on the mountains of Gilboa!

Extract: Dwelling Places

Precious thought! Jesus says “In My Father’s house are many mansions” or abiding places. But until He takes us there to fill them, He comes down here and makes the believer’s heart His dwelling place. So we may say that here on this earth there are many mansions or abiding places for the Father and the Son. Wondrous truth that He should condescend to make our hearts His dwelling place, His mansion, His abode! What manner of persons ought we to be!

Wisdom's Children

“Wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:35; Matt. 11:19) our Lord Jesus Christ tells us. All the children of Wisdom, from the days of Abel down to the present moment, have been marked by this great family trait. There is not so much as a single exception. All God’s children—all the sons of Wisdom have always exhibited, in some degree, this moral feature—they have justified God.
Let the reader consider this. It may be he finds it hard to understand what is meant by justifying God; but a passage or two of holy Scripture will, we trust, make it quite plain. We read in Luke 7 that
All the people that heard Him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” Luke 7:29-30.
Here we have the two generations brought, as it were, face to face. The publicans justified God and condemned themselves. The Pharisees justified themselves and judged God. The former submitted to the baptism of John—the baptism of repentance. The latter refused that baptism—refused to repent—refused to humble and to judge themselves.
Here we have the two great classes into which the whole human family has been divided, from the days of Abel and Cain down to the present day; and, here too, we have the simplest possible test by which to try our “pedigree.”
Have we taken the place of self-condemnation? Have we bowed in true repentance toward God? This is to justify God. The two things go together—yea, they are one and the same. The man who condemns himself justifies God; and the man who justifies God condemns himself. On the other hand, the man who justifies himself judges God; and the man who judges God justifies himself.
Thus it stands in every case. And be it observed, that the very moment we take the ground of repentance and self-judgment, God takes the ground of a justifier. God always justifies those who condemn themselves. All His children justify Him, and He justifies all His children. The moment David said, “I have sinned against the Lord,” the answer was, “The Lord hath put away thy sin.” Divine forgiveness follows, with the most intense rapidity, human confession.
Hence it follows that nothing can be more foolish than for anyone to justify himself, inasmuch as God must be justified in His sayings, and overcome when He is judged (Comp. Psa. 51:4; Rom. 3:4.) God must have the upper hand in the end, and then all self-justification shall be seen in its true light.
The wisest thing therefore is to condemn ourselves. This is what all the children of Wisdom do. Nothing is more characteristic of the true members of Wisdom’s family, than the habit and spirit of self-judgment. Whereas, on the other hand, nothing so marks all those who are not of this family, as a spirit of self-vindication.
All these things are worthy of our most earnest attention. Nature will blame anything and everything, anyone and everyone but itself. But where grace is at work, there is ever a readiness to judge self, and take the lowly place. This is the true secret of blessing and peace. All God’s children have stood on this blessed ground, exhibited this lovely moral trait, and reached this grand result. We cannot find so much as a single exception in the entire history of Wisdom’s happy family; and we may safely say, that if the reader has been led, in truth and reality, to own himself lost—to condemn himself—to take the place of true repentance—then is he, in very deed, one of the children of Wisdom.

Correspondence: "Touch Me Not"?

Question: Why was Mary told by the Lord “Touch Me not,” in John 20, while the women “held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him,” in Matthew 28:9?
Answer: In John 20 Mary illustrates the present relation of the church with Christ. We do not know Him after the flesh. We are linked with Him, not as the Messiah on earth, but as a heavenly Christ. Thomas, on the other hand, represents the Jew who must see in order to believe. In Matthew 28, which, as you know, presents our Lord in His Jewish relations we find the women holding Him by the feet, teaching us in the most blessed manner, that He will yet resume His links with Israel, according to the promises made to the fathers. We must remember that the church forms no part of the ways of God with Israel and the earth.

Dorcas: or, Garment-Making for the Poor

It is to be remarked in the first place that the activity of Dorcas was not confined to clothing the naked. “This woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” Acts 9:36. Her good works were therefore good works—such as God had before prepared that she should walk in them (Eph. 2:10), and such on this account, as could only have been produced in the energy of the Spirit of God.
It is profitable to remind ourselves of what is really good works; for while we have been taught the danger of restless activity and occupation with service, and have been led to admire and desire to possess, the good part which Mary chose (Luke 10:42), we would also remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou also affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”
Philanthropic efforts of many kinds are often dignified with the title of “good works,” and are thus calculated to deceive many a simple soul; but good works, those that are such before God, can only flow from the power of the Holy Ghost, and therefore in accordance with His mind and will. They can thus be wrought only by believers as actuated by divine power, and in subjection to the Word of God. “The coats and garments which Dorcas made” were of this class by an infallible verdict.
Dorcas was a giver, because God, who had brought her to Himself was a Giver. Knowing therefore that she was not her own, and that whatever she possessed she held only as a steward for Him to whom she belonged, she placed both herself and her substance at His disposal and served with both according to His will.
The history of Dorcas affords distinct guidance for sisters as to the occupation of their leisure time in their homes, or at least for such as have the means to purchase materials, and capacity to use the needle or sewing machine. It is to be noted very especially that if Dorcas spent any of her time in fancy-work (and we by no means contend that she had not the liberty to do so), the results of her labor in such a direction are not mentioned. This will surely be significant to every spiritual mind. It is “the coats and the garments” only that find a place in the Word of God, teaching at least this much, that it is labors of this kind that command the Lord’s approbation. This is plain from the fact that Dorcas was raised to life again. Her loss was so keenly felt by the disciples that they sent for Peter “desiring that he would not delay to come to them.”
The Apostle went, and was permitted to restore her to life; and “when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.” Thus the Lord interposed at the cry of His people, and comforted their hearts.
All our service must be drawn forth by the constraining love of Christ, for it is possible to bestow all our goods to feed the poor and yet be without divine charity (1 Cor. 13) and hence without any promptings of the heart of Christ. Christ therefore must be the motive. Christ must be the object and Christ must be expressed in all our service.

The Glorious Fifteenth of Luke

In this chapter the grace and love of God are shown out, first in seeking, and then in reception. In the first two parables we have the seeking; in the third, the reception by the father. One great principle runs through all of them; it is the joy of God to seek and receive the sinner. He is acting upon His own character. No doubt it is joy to the sinner to be received, but it is the joy of God to receive him: “It is meet that we should make merry and be glad” not merely meet that the child should be received.
Thou art seeking souls, Lord Jesus,
Up and down this world of sin,
Waiting in Thy grace and pity
That Thy word may enter in:
Stoutest hearts have long resisted;
But when nothing else can move,
See another and another
Melting down beneath Thy love!
Ho! thou wanderer in the country
Where “a mighty famine” reigns,
What shall ease the inward craving
When thy soul of “want” complains?
Is one faint desire now turning
To thy Father’s house so fair -
Longing, though but as a servant,
For the peace and plenty there?
Ah! thou knowest not that Father,
How He yearns His lost to greet;
See, from far He marks thy coming,
Runs His weary one to meet.
“I have sinned” —thy lips must utter—
The confession meet and true—
But He waits not for the story
Of the wanderings which He knew.
‘Tis when seated at His table,
Dressed in tokens of His grace,
That thy shame will yet be deepened
In remembering all thy ways.
But the Father’s love shall triumph,
For His heart hath had its way;
And the joy which there beginneth
Never more shall pass away.

Extract: To Know Him Better

The simpler we are, the more like children, who learn their lesson rather than discuss it  ... the more surely shall we find Him, and reach Him, and know Him.

The Epistle to the Ephesians: Ephesians 6:10-24, Continued

Chapter 6, verses 10-24 (cont’d)
Ephesians 6:10-24
Fourth in the list is (verse 16) the shield of faith which protects the believer from the fiery darts of the wicked one. How varied are the attacks of Satan! He would weaken the Christian’s confidence in God, filling him with doubt and distrust in place of that quiet trust which marks faith.
Notice the divine order in which the various pieces of “armor” are mentioned. The girdling of the loins is first, speaking of the very needful good foundation of the applied knowledge of the Word of God; and next is the breastplate of righteousness, telling of a good conscience. With these, faith is in exercise; through it God is known, and becomes better known. Faith then, when active, is a shield against which all the inflamed or burning darts of our enemy may strike in vain; “the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Fifth is the definition of the believer’s armor is the helmet of salvation. This is the last piece of defense, crowning the rest; we are to “have” it or “receive” it, for it is God’s gift to every saved sinner. Refer to 1 Thessalonians 5:8, where the helmet is the “hope of salvation,” joined there with the breastplate of faith and love (forming the “these three” of 1 Cor. 13:13). Salvation in both these passages refers to the whole person, spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23-24); and the helmet received speaks of the consciousness of the wearer of the full deliverance God has wrought for believers in Christ.
Sixth in order is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. This is the only weapon, if such you would call it; the only instrument of offensive energy, as it has been called, included in the “armor” for war against the adversary. This is, according to divine wisdom, placed at the end, not at the beginning of the list of “armor”. The believer must, for intelligent use of the “sword,” be well established in what has been set forth in what has gone before. Then, too, the weapon must have the character of the “sword of the Spirit.” Handled according to His direction, it is a powerful instrument against every adversary.
Verses 18 to 20 set before us the seventh and last of the instrumentalities for war a hidden spring of power without which, as another has said, nothing avails— “the expression of weakness, strange to say, but of weakness in dependence on God.”
Thus the words read: “praying at all seasons, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching unto this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; and for me in order that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the glad tidings, for which I am an ambassador (bound) with a chain, that I may be bold in it as I ought to speak.” JND.
Let us note with care what is here said of prayer, and practice it,— “at all seasons, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching unto this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” It has been said with truth that there is nothing the enemy of our souls more dreads, than the heartfelt prayers of the saints. “Prayer and supplication in the Spirit” is not true of all our prayers, but should we not seek much to pray according to His mind and leading?
After asking for prayer for himself, that utterance might be given him to make known with boldness the mystery of the glad tidings—he an ambassador bound with a chain at Rome—the Apostle makes known that he was sending Tychicus, “the beloved brother and faithful minister (or servant) in the Lord” to Ephesus to let the saints there know what concerned him, and to encourage their hearts.
And thus the epistle ends, with a message of “peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; Grace with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption.” JND.

Extract: Satan's Aim

If Satan can get a Christian to give an unchristian testimony to the world, he is satisfied. If he can dim the heavenly testimony for Christ here, his object is gained. Christ was God’s testimony here. We ought to be so now; and what Satan is striving at now is to dim it.

A Striking Contrast Between a Father and a Son

God has given us a history of the lives of two men, both kings of Judah, which stand out in sharp contrast. These two men were father and son, and each reigned in the last days of the kingdom of Judah. The glory of the kingdom had faded from what it was in those bright days during the reign of King Solomon. Failure had come in among the people and also in their kings. Idolatry had been introduced and the nation had departed from God but He was not unmindful of His failing people, so that we read:
“And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy.” 2 Chronicles 36:15-16.
The picture was indeed dark and dreary for the kingdom of Judah; the ten tribes who had set up their own kingdom had already been carried away by the Assyrians.
Their earlier captivity was the result of the judgment of God for their iniquity, and now the shadow of judgment was hanging over the kingdom that young King Josiah was anointed to reign over. He was but eight years old when his father died and he was placed on the throne. This was indeed a young and tender age at which to begin to reign, and especially so when one considers the character of the day—evil abounding on every hand and the judgment of God about to break over the guilty nation.
This boy-king had also a bad background; his father and his grandfather had been very wicked kings. His grandfather, Manasseh, had been one of the worst. Therefore it is very comforting to find that Josiah reversed the trend, for of him we read:
“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 to the left.” 2 Kings 22:2.
Next we read that in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, when he was twenty-six years old, he became much interested in the house of the Lord that had fallen into a state of disrepair through neglect and abuse while idolatry flourished. He gave orders to have this building repaired. Now in the process of cleaning and repairing the house of the Lord, a book was found. As we might expect, this “book of the law” had been forgotten and lost during the years of wickedness, but now it came to light when the things of the Lord were sought. The Word of God was the very thing that was needed by this youthful and pious king. The long-lost book was soon to be read before him.
“And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.” Verse 10. Now carefully note the effect of the Word of God on Josiah.
“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.” Verse 11.
The solemn pronouncements that judgment would come if they turned away from their God and went after other gods had been written many years before. These warnings were “sharper than any two-edged sword” on the heart of Josiah and he rent his clothes. The Word of God had a powerful effect on his soul. How good it is when the Word of God is respected and feared! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It is indeed sad when His words are treated lightly and have little power over us. This was not so with King Josiah; he was one of whom it could be said,
“But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word.” Isaiah 66:2.
The king then sent messengers to Hulda the prophetess to inquire through her from God concerning the words that had been read before him. God sent this answer:
“Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: because they have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore My wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah  ... thus shall ye say to him  ... because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place  ... and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.” 2 Kings 22:16-20.
Thus we see that the road to blessing is through repentance before God. The men of Nineveh proved this to be true and so have thousands from that day to this, but His Word must be believed and feared. If God has spoken, I am to listen diligently to what He has said. Josiah proved that
“There is forgiveness with Thee that Thou mayest be feared.  ... For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.” Psalm 130:4,7.
Sad, sad indeed is the contrast with this godly king’s son, Jehoiakim. He was living in a day still closer to the judgment than Josiah his father. He did not, however, fear the Lord as his father did, nor walk in the same steps; but God, still patient and gracious, sent a special warning to Jehoiakim through His servant Jeremiah. The prophet had Baruch write out in a book all the warnings from God and sent him to read the book to the people. After a time the book, or scroll, reached the guilty king and it was read before him as the “book of the law” had been read before his father some years before. But there was “no fear of God before his eyes,” for we read,
“And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll; but he would not hear them.” Jeremiah 36:23-25.
Thereupon the Lord sent a further word to him, that the judgment would surely come and that his dead body would be cast out to the heat in the day and the frost at night. Poor vain man! None ever hardened himself against God and prospered. Refusing to hear the Word of God read, or even burning it, would not for one moment hold back the avalanche of judgment; in fact, such action will only hasten the inevitable. Sad, sad it is to see a young man of godly parentage pursue such a willful course to certain destruction. And yet it is not uncommon today to see children of Christian parents deliberately and willfully turn their backs on their fathers’ God. Surely this history furnished us by God should be a solemn warning to all such.

Providence Is Not Faith

Providence is often alleged as a reason for not walking by faith. Never was there a more remarkable Providence than that which placed Moses in the court of Pharaoh; and it gained its object. It would not have done so if Moses had not abandoned the position into which that Providence had brought him. But it was faith and not Providence as a rule and motive, which produced the effect for which Providence had preserved and prepared him. Providence (thanks be to God!) governs circumstances; faith governs the heart and the conduct.

The Teaching of the Parable of the Talents

Read Matthew 25:14-30
In this parable we have the responsibility of Christ’s servants. It is not, as in the parable of the Ten Virgins, a question of profession or possession, but a present responsibility to the Lord during His absence, and His future dealing with the servants according to their having been faithful or unfaithful. It therefore most solemnly instructs us that, when the Lord returns, He will inquire into the practical conduct of those who have taken a place of service during His absence. This instruction is presented to us in a very homely, simple way, but is full of serious and searching questions for the heart and conscience.
It is important to notice that the servants do not all receive the same number of talents. “Unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one.” Verse 15. There was in the distribution of the talents regard as to the fitness, natural fitness, of the vessel to whom the talents were entrusted. He gave to every man “according to his several ability.” This shows, not only the perfect wisdom of the distribution, but also assures us that the Lord never gives talents to people who have not the ability to use them.
It is remarkable too, that the persons, who faithfully used the talents, not only gained by trading, but the talents actually increased in number; the servant got “other talents.” Nor should it be overlooked that it was not the person who had several talents committed to his trust that so grievously failed, but the servant that had only “one talent.” How few seem to consider what responsibility there is connected with the profession of the Lord’s service! The Lord has been absent now for a long time. The longsuffering of the Lord has been very great; the door of salvation by grace has long been wide open; but longsuffering must have an end, the door must be shut and the Lord must judge those who have professed to be His servants. “After a long time, the Lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.” Verse 19.
The judgment of the faithful servants is simple enough, and nothing could be happier. They knew the Master’s loving heart; they proved His succor; they experienced His blessing. The joy of the Lord was their strength; His love constrained them; His worthiness enabled them to spend their talents in His service with alacrity and delight. They were conscious too, of vast increase gained by trading. Thus the more they sowed, the more they reaped; the more they gave, the more to them was given. They therefore see their Master’s face with joy, and render their account with confidence and cheerfulness.
“So he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, Thou deliveredst unto me five talents; behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.” The Lord commends and honors him. “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Verses 20-21.
We find the same confidence and joyous confession to the lord of the one who had used the two talents faithfully, and the same proportionate increase by its use. He has also precisely the same commendation from his lord:
“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Verse 23.
This is very blessed, and shows that the Lord does not expect from us what He has not given us power to perform. While He loves a cheerful giver, “it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what a man hath not.” The great instruction seems to be that the Lord expects us to use faithfully for Him during His absence what He has intrusted us with, and at His coming He will reward us accordingly.
The account of the servant who had but “one talent” reads to us the most solemn and serious lessons. The chief feature in his history is that, though professing the Lord’s service, he had a bad opinion of Christ Himself. This is fatal. He believed not the record that God gave of His Son; he saw nothing attractive in Him. He received not the grace and truth that came by Him. He perceived not the inimitable beauty and worth of Jesus. He knew not “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9. This was the root of all his unfaithful conduct. How could he be faithful to One of whom he had such thoughts?
“He that had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed.” Verse 24.
With such thoughts of our adorable Lord, how could there be confidence? How could the heart be melted and sweetly drawn into willing, happy devotedness to such an austere man? No marvel, then, that the further confession of his heart, uncovered as it was in the presence of Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire, should be, “I was afraid, and went and hid Thy talent in the earth: lo, there Thou hast that is thine.” Verse 25.
Not a word of faith, or love, or true knowledge of Christ in the whole confession! He might have had a splendid gift, but the vessel was unclean, unreconciled, unwashed, untaught by the Spirit of God as to his own guilt, and his need of the infinite suitability and perfectness of the atoning work of the Son of God; his heart was not right with God; there was no right motive in action in his soul. Hence the Lord pronounces him to be “wicked,” “slothful,” and “unprofitable.” He convicts him from his own lips, and shows his utter inconsistence with his own principles:
“Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put My money to the exchangers, and then at My coming I should have received Mine own with usury.” Verses 26-27.
There is a point that must not be overlooked in the Lord’s judgment of this wicked servant. It is this: the Lord permits men here to bear His name, and to be called His servants by others who manifestly know Him not; but it cannot be so in eternity. Everything now covered up is then to be thoroughly unmasked; men will be consigned to punishment as they really are. There will be no professors of the name of Christ in hell fire. If the “one talent” be but the bearing of the name and truth of Christ, he must be entirely stripped of every shred of it, and go to the pit of everlasting torment as a wicked man; for such he really is.
“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Verses 28-30.
Can anything more solemnly admonish us to attach the deepest seriousness and reverence to the Lord’s service, or more simply instruct us as to the grace of the Lord Jesus, and personal acquaintance with and enjoyment of Him “who once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God,” as the spring of all faithful service to Christ? Does it not also show how careful we should be not to urge any to the profession of the Lord’s service who are not truly reconciled to God by the peace-making, peace-speaking power of the blood of the cross?

A Letter to a Young Christian

The following is a copy of a letter written to a young sister in Christ who, for a considerable length of time, had absented herself from the meetings and from remembering the Lord with His gathered ones. It is now published with the wish and prayer that it may be used of God for the blessing of some who may not have given serious thought to the Lord’s desire in this precious privilege accorded to us and what is due to Him in the response of our hearts to His undying love.
Dear —:
You may be surprised to receive a letter from me after so long a time but my silence until now has not been through choice nor because we have been unmindful of you for we have frequently spoken together of you since you ceased to come to the meetings. I have been aware of brother —’s correspondence with you and trusted that it would have the effect of awakening a desire in your heart to again be remembering the Lord with us.
We have been deeply sorry for your long absence from among us and for your apparent decision to give up your place among us as one gathered unto the name of the Lord Jesus and our sorrow on account of this is not only because we miss you from being with us but most of all because it deprives our blessed Lord Jesus of that joy of having one of His own, who has known and enjoyed the privilege, continue in that privilege of responding to His desire, to His dying request, “This do in remembrance of me.” I wonder if you have thought of it from the standpoint of grieving the Lord Jesus to see, as it were, your place empty at His feast of remembrance on the Lord’s day? Let us keep in mind that this is, for Him, and surely it is for us too, a very special occasion and He observes with concern and sorrow, the empty place of each one who is not there. Even King Saul when he sat at his table during the feast of the “new moon” observed that David’s seat was empty not only the first day but also the second, at which time he made inquiry as to it. See 1 Samuel 20, verses 5 and 24 to 27. How much more then is the Lord Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us, concerned over the empty place of each one who fails to respond to His precious desire and blessed provision when he or she knows that it is their place.
But perhaps you have not thought of it from this standpoint. It may be you have overlooked the Lord’s tender love and His concern in the matter and have considered that it was only a personal matter to you. Can it be that you have considered only your own—shall I say selfish reasons in this solemn and important matter? To do so without having considered the Lord’s part and His desire is, or would be indeed sad, but how much more so and how solemn, if after having carefully considered what is due to Him from these poor hearts of ours, one should deliberately turn away from Him and choose a course of self-will!
Please be assured, dear sister, that I am not charging you with having done this for I am not informed as to your reasons for having pursued the course you have taken. But I feel the responsibility of plainly putting before you, things connected with this precious privilege that is given to us, that you may not have thought of before.  ... In your case you have not been put away, but have voluntarily left the place, and so far as I know, without having stated your reasons for doing so. Let me assure you, dear —, it is our earnest wish and prayer that you should weigh these matters most carefully before the Lord and that there may be awakened in your heart an earnest and longing desire to be again in your rightful place, seeking to gratify the heart of the Lord in remembering Him in His death in the partaking of His supper.
The time has come, however, when in our responsibility to maintain godly order in the house of God, we shall be obliged to announce openly in the assembly, that you have left your place among us and are no longer to be considered as in fellowship with us unless we hear from you that you have reviewed your course and are desirous of being restored in your soul before the Lord, and restored to your place and privilege in remembering Him. We do trust it will be the latter alternative and not the former.
Please let me hear from you soon and believe me, sincerely and faithfully your brother in Christ,

Extract: The Flesh

God can never use our flesh, but Satan always can; there is the difference.

Extract: Faith

Faith does not reason; it acts from its own point of view, and leaves the result to God.

Correspondence: Pearls Before Swine?

Question: In what way can the Christian throw his pearls before swine, or give the holy things to dogs?
Answer: Matthew 7:6. By arguing and discussing the precious things of God with unconverted men, or pressing truth, precious in itself, on those who are not exercised about it. We need to bear a testimony in this world to those around, but it is to be in the spirit of meekness, and with prayer that we may minister the right word. 2 Timothy 2:23-26.

Correspondence: Saying Nothing About Being Healed

Question: Was it disobedience on the part of the healed ones in the gospels in not heeding the Lord’s charge to say nothing about their being healed? Why is it mentioned in one gospel and not in another?
Answer: The Lord had always a reason for telling anyone not to speak about what had been done. Sometimes it was because He was rejected. Other times, because as a Servant, He was hiding Himself. This is especially true in Mark’s gospel. You should specify what instances you desire light about.
Those who were healed and told it did disobey, but acted out of the fullness of their gratitude, and failed to enter into His purpose at the moment.

Exposition of the Book of Jonah: Chapter 1

The book of the prophet Jonah stands alone. Its peculiarity is that it does not contain a single prophecy. There is the message to Nineveh—if that can be termed a prophecy—but beyond this there is no record of what Jonah was used to communicate. That he did fulfill his office is plain from a solitary statement in 2 Kings. There we read that Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel, “restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher.” 2 Kings 14:25.
Nothing else has been preserved; when we examine the book we discover that its instruction lies in Jonah’s personal history, or rather in his conduct, when commissioned by Jehovah to go and cry against Nineveh, because its wickedness had come up before Him. The book therefore has, we might say, a parabolical character—Jonah, both in his unfaithfulness and when under judgment because of it, being taken up and used for typical instruction. It is this feature which has made the book in all ages so full of interest in its various applications.
The facts are very simple and familiar. Sent of the Lord to preach against Nineveh, Jonah fled, and going down to Joppa, and finding a ship about to sail for Tarshish, he paid his fare, and embarked “to go with them unto Tarshish, from the presence of the Lord.” Such was the vain thought of the prophet, as it is often the foolish thought still even of many of the children of God. The Lord sent out a storm upon the sea so that the ship was nearly wrecked. Brought face to face with death, the sailors in their terror cried every man to his god, and attempted by throwing overboard their cargo to lighten the ship. All this time Jonah, on whose account this “mighty tempest” had arisen, with strange insensibility, was lying fast asleep. The captain aroused him to a sense of their danger by the solemn words, “What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.”
The crew then proceeded to cast lots, having a kind of instinct—awakened no doubt by divine power—that the storm was occasioned by some sinner among their number. God was behind the scene, and, directing the lot, it fell upon Jonah. They then demanded of him the cause of the evil that had fallen upon them, his occupation, whence he came, his country and his people. Jonah told them all the truth, and even that he had fled from the presence of the Lord. They were smitten with fear when they heard that God was dealing with them on account of the prophet, and they asked what was to be done. Jonah at once replied that the only way of safety for them was to cast him overboard. With real kindliness of heart they were unwilling to do this, and labored hard to bring the vessel to land. But it could not be; and thus, after they had prayed that they might not incur the guilt of innocent blood, they took Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea. The effect was instantaneous; the sea ceased from her raging, and they, impressed by what they had seen, feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. More than this, the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Such is the outline of the first chapter, and we have now to inquire as to its meaning.
1. In the first place, Jonah is a type of the Jewish nation in one particular character. Nineveh, there is little doubt, is a symbol of the world, or, as another has said, the haughty glory of the world, which recognizes nothing but its own importance—the world, the open enemy of God’s people simply by its pride. As such it was subject to the just judgment of a holy God. Israel, on the other hand, was God’s candlestick on the earth, responsible therefore to bear witness to and for Him, who by His grace had called them, and, separating them from the other nations of the earth, made them His people, and dwelt in their midst between the cherubim. We read thus in Isaiah:
“Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this?  ... let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no saviour.” Isaiah 43:8-11.
Such was the divinely-given position of Israel in the midst of the world; and inasmuch as the God they knew, and with whom as Jehovah they were brought into relationship, was a righteous God, “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity,” their mission was to cry against Nineveh (the world), because its wickedness had come up before the Lord.
How then was their mission fulfilled? The conduct of Jonah supplies the answer. He rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. This is, in one word, the history of Israel as God’s messenger. They were quite willing to be exalted by their privileges above the surrounding nations. In this way, indeed, their pride was fostered; but it was quite another thing to accept the responsibility of their position. Nothing is more sad than to trace their history in this respect, from the time they were redeemed out of Egypt to the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. The light which they possessed was used only for self-exaltation and self-righteousness, until at length they compelled God—if we may so speak—to depart from them. Not only did they flee from the presence of the Lord rather than fulfill their mission toward the world, but they also sunk down lower morally than the nations against whom they were called to testify (See for example, Jer. 32:28-35; Ezek. 8, 9; 16:44-49). The Lord said, indeed, through Jeremiah,
“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. And though they say, The Lord liveth; surely they swear falsely.” Jeremiah 5:1-2.
Jonah therefore in escaping to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, is but a true picture of Israel fleeing from God rather than to proclaim His message to the world. And we may see, perhaps, in the ship sailing from Joppa, offering the prophet a ready method of flight, the way of Israel’s moral degradation. The ship was the means of trade with the Gentiles, and hence it was through commerce that they acquired familiarity, became conformed in their habits and ways, with the nations of the world, and so lost their power of testimony. Israel thus, like the prophet, with their back toward the Lord instead of the face, and refusing the admonitions of His grace and longsuffering, fell under the chastenings and judgments of His hand. This is represented in our chapter by the statement that the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. But the guilty nation was so insensible that, though the onlookers, the mariners, were afraid, and cried every man to his god in awe before the terrible nature of the storm, they lay, as it were, fast asleep, undisturbed by the roar of the tempest which threatened their destruction.
We need not, however, enter into the details of this strikingly typical narrative, so plainly does it set forth God’s dealings with His ancient people on the ground of their responsibility as His light-bearers in the world. Two other points, however, should be mentioned. The unfaithfulness of Israel involves the Gentiles also in the judgments of God. Instead of being the means of light and blessing, they become the occasion of judgment. But, secondly, after the wrath of a holy God has been visited upon His people, the cause of it learned, and the tempest stilled, the Gentiles turn to the Lord, and acknowledge His power and glory. “The men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.” So will it be after the Lord’s appearing.
“Therefore, wait ye upon Me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent.” Zephaniah 3:8-9.
2. The second application of this history is to the servant. Jonah as a prophet was a servant of the Lord, and one, as pointed out, charged with a special mission to the world. His message befitting the dispensation was one of judgment, not of grace or mercy. But he fled, not from the opposition of those to whom he was sent, but from Him from whom he had received his mission. Many a servant, forgetting the source of his strength, as well as the secret of his safety, has been unable to face the power of the enemy in his own stronghold; but Jonah sought to hide himself in the world from the One who had called him to be His servant. Elijah fled from Jezebel, but Jonah, let it be repeated, fled from the Lord. In this he is surely a perfect contrast with our blessed Lord as the faithful witness. He was able to say,
“I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained My lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid Thy righteousness within My heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.” Psalm 40:8-10.
Jonah, on the other hand, fled rather than tell forth the message of his God, and indeed the responsibility of testimony is always the greatest test. In the case of the blessed Lord Himself, it was His testimony that evoked the bitter hatred of the world. (John 7:7.) It was under this test that Jonah failed, and perhaps on another ground. The possession of truth, if not communicated, always produces self-exaltation and Pharisaic pride, and where these things are nourished in the heart, there will always be indifference concerning, if not contempt for, the welfare of others. Jonah was a Jew, and God Himself had fenced him off from the world, but that was no reason why Jonah’s heart should be without pity for the world. But so it was, and now his real state appears in open disobedience to his Lord.
It is important to note also the amount of self-deception which a soul in an unhappy condition can practice on itself. Jonah confessed to the mariners that he feared the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, who had made the sea and the dry land, and yet he thought to hide himself from His eyes. But if the servant under temptation tries to forget God, God does not forget His servant, nor can He indeed permit him to disregard His authority. Hence He pursues him with His storm; He commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, surely not for the destruction of His servant, but to awaken him to a sense of his position and peril. Yea, the Lord loved His servants too well to suffer them to continue in rebellion. But while He is active in pursuit of Jonah, Jonah is asleep in the midst of the signs of His presence and power.
Who will not recall, by way of contrast, the storm on another sea, during which He who had made the sea lay asleep on a pillow! In the former case the storm is only appeased by the casting forth of Jonah in the sea; in the latter the Lord, awakened by the importunities of His disciples, manifested His glory and demonstrated His power by rebuking the wind, and commanding the sea to be still.
God’s way with Jonah in this chapter illustrates a very important principle. When Israel failed to sanctify His name, God declared that He would sanctify His own name. (See Ezek. 36:16-23.) So also with His servants. If they do not glorify Him in the testimony committed to them, He will glorify Himself in them through the chastenings of His hand. Thus in this chapter Jonah proved himself to be an unfaithful servant, one that could not vindicate the name of his Lord before a haughty, wicked world. God then came in and made bare His arm in dealing with Jonah, and by the very judgment which He executed He got Himself praise from the hearts of the heathen. This is a very important principle, and should teach us that, if we are honored to be servants, we are in no wise necessary for the accomplishment of the purposes of God. Understanding this will keep us very humble, while it will call forth praise from our hearts for the precious privilege of being in any way associated with His divine counsels.
In conclusion it might be profitable to make a twofold inquiry. First, in how far the history of Israel, as shown in this narrative, shadows forth that of the church in her candlestick position. Alas! the full answer to this question is recorded in the message to the seven churches. (Rev. 2 and 3.) Secondly, we might ask whether we, as the Lord’s servants, are found more faithful than Jonah, whether many of us are not buried, like him, in profound slumber, while even the sounds of coming judgment are already to be heard. May the Lord Himself awaken us to the truth of our condition, that we may no longer remain insensible to the imminent peril of a godless world.
E. D.

Extract: Indifference to Evil in the Church

To be indifferent to the presence of evil in the church, is to be guilty of high treason against God; it is taking advantage of His love to deny His holiness, despising and dishonoring Him before all. God acts in love in the church; but He acts with holiness and for the maintenance of holiness; otherwise it would not be the love of God which acted; it would not be seeking the prosperity of souls.

Be Much in Prayer

Ephesians 6:18-20
Be MUCH IN PRAYER in this dark hour,
For great are Satan’s wiles;
Far worse than persecuting power
Are his seductive smiles.
And error comes in such disguise,
Smooth-tongued and circumspect,
That none but truth-enlightened eyes
The monster can detect.
And fair profession; hand-in-hand
With evil, stalks abroad,
But to deceive. Oh! who can stand
Save those who TRUST IN GOD?
BE MUCH IN PRAYER, ‘mid all thy joys,
So shall their depths increase;
For lack of watchfulness alloys
The very sweetest peace.
What power to stand is gained by saints
Who love to “WATCH AND PRAY,”
And who escape the desert taints
In this defiling day!
BE MUCH IN PRAYER for laboring ones,
Who in the Master’s name,
And with the Master’s message, run,
His mercy to proclaim.
The harvest great, the workmen few,
And naught of time to spare;
Iniquity increases, too;
REMEMBER THIS in prayer.

Two Aspects of the Death of Christ

Christian reader, let us never forget that when we look at the death of Christ we see two things; namely, the death of a victim and the death of a martyr—a victim for sin, a martyr for righteousness—a victim under the hand of God, a martyr under the hand of man. He suffered for sin that we might never suffer. Blessed be His name for evermore! But then, His martyr sufferings for righteousness under the hand of man, these we may know.
“For unto you it is given, in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Philippians 1:29.
It is a positive gift to be allowed to suffer for Christ. Do we esteem it so?

Why Did God Permit Sin to Enter the World?

This question is often asked by the skeptic, and frequently found without reply in the mind even of the believer in Christ. How immensely important to possess clearly an answer to this stupendous question; one that will leave the infidel without excuse, and at the same time, settle firmly in divine truth the minds of those who believe.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12.
The first part of this important verse confines the entrance of sin to this world; and the second limits the passing of the consequent sentence of death on man; without noticing either the possible entrance of sin into other spheres or death passing upon other than the human family.
Let us now turn to Genesis, chapters one and two, where we have the account of the creation of man.
“And Elohim saith, We will make man (Adam) in our image, after our likeness, and they shall have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every reptile that is creeping on the earth. ... So Elohim created the man (Adam) in His own image, in the image of Elohim created He him; male and female, created He them.” (Translation by G. V. W.)
There are two distinct words used here by God, very different in their signification; they are image and likeness. How accurately this usage is maintained throughout the Word of God, is amongst the wonders of its perfections. The word image is sometimes, in human language, used to signify the likeness in one for another; as one would say, “such an one is the very image of his father” —meaning that he is an exact likeness; but this is not the way it is used in general, in the Scripture. There it is used, rather in speaking of that which represents another, without having any reference to its being like or unlike, in features, or otherwise, to the person represented. We read of Christ being the “image of the invisible God,” (Col. 1:15) and man being “the image and glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 11:7. In these and other scriptures the word image is used as fully representing another, as the image of Jupiter, of Caesar, and so on. Now likeness is different from this. Its meaning is simple and readily understood as describing a person being like another, that is, having the same traits of character and features.
The man was created then in both these ways. He was set as the great center of an immense system, fully to represent God, as His image. The dominion of the vast system was his. All created things were under him. All intelligences, his wife included, were to look up to him as God’s representative in that sphere. God alone was over him, all else being subject to man. But he was also in the likeness of God. He was pure as his Creator made him; he was “very good”: he was sinless too, absolutely without evil. He was from God, to be for God, and thus like Him, and fit, therefore, to be His image, to represent Him, and to be the center to which all should look up; he had also an intelligent will and his choice was free.
But, why did God leave moral evil a possibility? Or, why did He permit the entrance of sin? Could He not have created a being which could not fall? One who could only do what was good and right?
The answer is plain. Because, if He would create a glorious creature—man, after His OWN image, and in HIS likeness, free to choose either good or evil, and not a creature governed by a mere chain of instinct, as the birds and beasts around him—He must leave the entrance to him of evil, a possibility, though not a necessity. If man, as God created him, could not choose evil, then he had no choice at all; and he would be no more virtuous in doing good, than the mere animal which follows the instincts of its nature. And because in such a case, he MUST do good, he would be no more virtuous in doing so than they.
Either God must refrain—we write the words with reverence—from creating such a being, of this high and glorious order of existence, with a free choice and will, or He must leave the question of evil a possibility to him. Alas, for the result! of which a fallen race speaks with such terrible reality. He chose the evil and refused the good; and the moment he exercised this choice, he became a sinner. Man, created in the image of God, fell from that pinnacle of eminence, never to be restored to it again (except as God’s plans and counsels will be fulfilled in Christ—the second man, the last Adam). Fallen Adam begets a son in his own likeness, after HIS image (Gen. 5:3), while unfallen Adam had been created “in the likeness of God.” Genesis 5:1.
Observe in all this, there was no thought of man being holy; nor could it have been said of him, as afterwards of the “new man” that he of God was “created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24. God is holy—absolutely so. But holiness is relative, inasmuch as it supposes evil to exist, and implies absolute separation from it. This could not be said of man, as God created him. He was pure, and perfectly good, but evil was not for him in existence, until he chose evil, when presented in the form of a temptation, and thus he threw aside the authority and will of God, who had given it to him.
Everything in the sinner now depends on his will, in having to do with God; his salvation and all, depend upon the surrender of his will to Him.
“Ye will not come unto Me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40. And “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.
Now Christ is said to be the “image of the invisible God,” (Col. 1:15) and the “image of God” Himself. 2 Corinthians 4:4. This is because he fully represents God; but He is never said to be in His “likeness,” simply because He is God Himself, therefore not merely like Him. But it is said that He came in the “likeness of sinful flesh,” and rightly so, because He was not sinful flesh at all. See Romans 8:3.
He too, had His own perfect will; and while tested to the uttermost in life and in death, it was always His will to do the Father’s will.
“My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34.
This obedience and subjection found its perfection fully in death. He “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:8. Mark, He was not subject to death, as the first man, through his sin. With the first man it was the penalty of disobedience. But it was there that the perfection of Christ’s surrender of a perfect will in obedience, shone out most fully. Or rather, may we not say? the perfect blending of a perfect will in Him with that of God, in obedience unto death itself.
F. G. P.
-Extracted from “A Chosen Vessel”

The Serpent's Lie

The very first effort of the serpent, when, in the garden of Eden, he assailed the creature, was to shake his confidence in the kindness and love of God, and thus produce discontent with the place in which God had set him. Man’s fall was the result—the immediate result of his doubting the love of God. Man’s recovery must flow from his belief of that love; and it is the Son of God Himself who says,
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Forgiveness on a Righteous Basis

I much question if the bare idea of forgiveness of transgression, apart from the solid groundwork on which it rests, namely, the infinite atonement of Christ— “forgiveness in His name” —would ever satisfy the conscience. The groveling thought of escape is, indeed, the careless thought of the unbelieving mass without one just thought, either of the character of God, or of the evil of sin. But if such a manner of forgiveness were possible, it would leave the recipient of it in that state of uneasiness which a man feels who finds himself in the presence of one whom he had injured, yet who had forgiven him. He would be under the conscious sense of degradation. Such a condition would be the very opposite of being “blessed.” (Psa. 32:1.) It is the mode of the forgiveness, bringing the person forgiven to stand at ease in the presence of God, declared to be just, while He is the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, which constitutes the blessedness. The atonement of Christ is indeed the remedy, the only remedy, the divine remedy for the forgiveness of transgression; but it is more, it is the great medium of the display of the moral glory of God. “Angels look into these things” and learn the glory of their God by means of His dealing with sinners.

Extract: The Essence of Christianity

The great truth and essence of Christianity is that it takes the heart out of this world, and fixes it on Christ. It makes us live by Christ, on Christ, and to Christ.

Precious Truth From an Old Letter

Oh! there is preciousness in Jesus, that if we saw it fully, would put our eyes out for discerning glory in external things! We should be unable to distinguish the great from the small, the bright from the dark. The remaining rays of Christ’s glory lingering on the eyeballs would extinguish the light of other things so that they would become to us a general confusion. Do you feel what I mean? that if Christ were apprehended, we would cease to know what the world calls little or great. The pursuit of an empire, or of a butterfly, would be to us alike little.
How great a thing it is to have really felt that all the world has, is what a child of God may part from, and yet be richer without. No other principle can in so many ways free the soul for the Lord. Had I known a thousand worlds instead of the portions I have, the Lord enables me to feel assured that I would give them for that cause, the glory and excellency of which He has enabled me to see. Oh! may I be as willing to crucify myself in every other way; may every unsanctified temper, and every unheavenly desire be laid as a victim at the foot of the cross, and Christ’s will alone be mine.
I do not regret any of the trials I have had. Pilgrims must expect trials on a long journey. We cannot expect either good roads or good weather all the way; but the Lord Jesus has sanctified it all, foul and fair, and made all work together for our good. Whatever purposes are in your heart, let them be high and heavenly ones for Christ and His kingdom. The world and all its glories will soon pass away, but that kingdom shall endure. Keep close to the simplicity of Christ; nothing will keep us from extravagancies but walking with Him. He always moved so seriously to the object He had in hand—the fulfillment of His Father’s will.
I have learned much of the powerlessness of man to direct his own ways when in difficulty and perplexity. I know no resource, nor do I desire any, except to throw off my trials upon God, leaving it with Him to bring light out of darkness, and awaiting His time to do it. It is not that our Father has pleasure in our being in straits and difficulties that He thus permits them to try us, but He knows that our real life is hid with Christ in Himself. Whatever makes us feel this connection with Jesus necessary to our comfort, constraining us to more close intercourse with Him, and making the hope of final deliverance and rest more precious, is clearly to the happiness of our spiritual life, however mortifying it may be to the natural man.

Extract: Our Role in the World

Though there is darkness in the world, we ought to be light in it.

Correspondence: When Sealed with the Holy Spirit?

Question: When is a believer sealed with the Holy Spirit?
Answer: Ephesians 1:13 teaches us that the sealing of the Spirit is consequent upon believing in Christ.
“In whom also, after that ye believed (or, “having believed”), ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”
Scripture distinguishes between quickening and sealing. The Holy Spirit quickened us when we were dead in sins (Eph. 2:5). He sealed us when, through grace, we believed on the Son of God. The Spirit is the seal which God puts upon those who believe in His Son, as dead, risen, and glorified. The interval between the quickening and the sealing may be moments, months, or years; but there is an interval. We believe that a quickened soul will be a sealed one, for God does not leave His work undone.
How often do you see people in a low, legal, doubting state, going about to establish their own righteousness, full of fears and questionings. They are in Romans 7. They do not know accomplished redemption. They are not delivered. They are quickened, but not sealed. Persons in this state know nothing about the one body. They are virtually in the condition of Old Testament saints. There are many in Christendom in this condition.

Correspondence: Cherish a Foolish Thought?

Question: Is it wrong to cherish a foolish thought?
Answer: To “cherish a foolish thought” is most assuredly grieving to that Holy Spirit whereby we are sealed. But if we judge the foolish thought it does not disturb our communion. There is a vast difference between treating evil thoughts as intruders, and providing them with furnished lodgings.

The Editor's Column

One is appalled to hear of the increase in using the Word of God as a basis for entertainment and commercial purposes. Programs are devised to amuse the masses and at the same time to appeal to the religious senses in men. The Word of God was never intended to be used for plays and entertainment. If God will not hold the man guiltless that takes His name in vain, what will He do to those who make light of His Written Word? Has He not said that He has magnified His Word above all His name? (Psa. 138:2.)
These things cannot be done without adding color and attractions to appeal to the natural senses and emotions of men. But, hearken! What does God say about adding to His Word?— “Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar,” and “if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life.” (Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19.)
Jews, Catholics and Protestants may be found who will unite in saying that such use of the Bible is a fine work, but their approval only shows how shockingly low the moral state is that the Word of God is so little revered and honored. The Bible is not just another book—it is the Word of the living God.
Fellow Christian, beware! and lend not your ears or sanction in any way to such mockery. Men who do these things may be sincere as men go, But are they not guilty of mixing the holy with the unholy as was done by Belshazzar the night he was killed? He mixed the vessels of the house of God with the vessels of his gods, and combined all to the pleasing of his natural heart; and did not the handwriting on the wall pronounce his doom? Cannot men read the handwriting today? (Dan. 5.)

Special Notice to Our Readers!

All business matters concerning this publication will be carried on as usual by the Bible Truth Depot, 1112 N. Taylor Ave, St. Louis 13, Mo., although the business has passed to new owners and is under new management. There is also a new editor and a statement of policy from him is herewith given.
It is with some measure of fear and trembling that the editorship of the “Young Christian” is undertaken, for we realize that it is only as guided by the Lord that the food in season can be supplied. In these days when error is on every hand, it is very important that the truth presented in these pages should be kept pure; correctness of truth, however, is not enough; truth to be seasonable, must be that which the Spirit of God would have to go forth at the particular moment.
We purpose to bring before our readers some articles and extracts taken from the ministry of men of God in the past; these will be presented largely in the form in which they were written, with any changes indicated. There will also be some present-day ministry, including articles that deal with current trends, subjects, heresies, and problems; all of which we trust will be handled in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, and strengthening to the saints.
For the benefit of young Christians, we expect to present some gospel truths, not so much as gospel stories for the unsaved, but that which will be used to establish those young in the faith. It is very desirable that they should not stop at the threshold of the knowledge of sins forgiven, but go on into a deeper knowledge and enjoyment of their blessings in and through Christ.
One change that is being made is the giving of the initials of the writers or speakers where these are known. This will enable our readers to keep informed on the general source of the ministry. We shall also keep a file of articles used so that anyone who is interested, may address a card to the “editor” and obtain information as to which particular book or article any article was taken from. The request for information should contain the title given to the article in the “Young Christian” and also the month and year of publication. In asking for information regarding “extracts” please give the first few words of the “extract.”
We desire that our God may be pleased to continue to use this publication for His own glory and for the blessing of His own. We would greatly value the prayers of the saints in these exercises.
May the truth presented through this periodical be used to call to our remembrance the precious things we have known, so that editor and readers alike may be encouraged to more whole-hearted devotedness to Christ, and thus be found holding fast and occupying until He comes.

Exposition of the Book of Jonah: Chapter 2

The last verse of chapter 1 tells us that the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and that Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. It is in this fact that we find the key of the interpretation of chapter 2; for our Lord expressly connects this circumstance with His own death. He says, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matt. 12:40. And it is exceedingly interesting to trace the way in which Jonah, under the judgment of God, becomes a type of Christ in His rejection and death.
We have seen in our consideration of chapter 1 That the prophet was a type of the Jewish nation—the remnant who always take the place of the nation before God. Unfaithful in their mission to the world, God rejected them as His vessel of testimony, and caused His waves and billows to pass over them; and it is in this position, we see them, as personified by Jonah at the commencement of chapter 2. Now, it was into this very place that Christ in grace, in His unquenchable love for His people, descended. He was rejected, not by God surely—far be the thought—but by “His own,” to whom He came.
Their iniquity, however, black as it was, did but accomplish the counsels of God, and became, at the same time, the occasion for the display of the depths of the heart of Christ. In the same night in which He was betrayed He took bread and gave thanks; and of the cup He said, “This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28. He thus suffered Himself to be led as a lamb to the slaughter, and voluntarily went down under all the judgment of God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. All God’s waves and billows therefore passed also over His head. They had passed over (or rather, viewed prophetically, will pass over) the remnant because of their sins; they went over the head of Christ because in grace He took the place of the people before God, died for that nation, so that God might afterward righteously, on the ground of the atonement, fulfill all His counsels of grace toward His ancient people.
It is in this way that Jonah in the belly of the whale becomes a figure of Christ in the grave. He thus uses expressions, as led of the Spirit of God, which have a far wider application than to his own circumstances. Look, for example, at Psalm 42. This psalm is the commencement of the second book, in which the remnant are viewed as cast out of Jerusalem, while the city is given up to wickedness. They have fallen, therefore, under the judgments of God, and they use, in respect of this, the very words found in Jonah— “All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” Psalm 42:7. But the full significance of this statement is only seen when considered in connection with the place our Lord took, when He identified Himself, not only with His people, but also with their sins, when He bore them in His own body on the tree.
We may now trace further the way of God with Jonah, as also with the remnant, as set forth in the language here employed. The chapter commences with the significant statement, “Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly.” His face is now in the right direction. He had turned his back upon Jehovah; but now, under the stroke of the divine rod, he is not only arrested, but his eyes are drawn upward to Him from whom he had attempted to flee. Blessed effect of chastisement when the soul owns its dependence, and humbles itself under the mighty hand of God. “Is any among you afflicted,” says James, “let him pray.” Yes, just as a song of praise is the channel of the soul’s joy, prayer is the vehicle of its sorrow. Thus Jonah tells us, “I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell (margin, the grave) cried I, and Thou heardest my voice.” And then the prophet recounts the whole process which had been wrought out in him, and by which his soul had been restored. (vss. 2-7.) It will be profitable to mark for our own instruction its several steps.
First he owns the hand of the Lord. “Thou,” he says, “hadst cast me into the deep.” There was no entanglement in second causes, as is so often the case with ourselves, and by which we lose all the blessing of the Lord’s dealings with us. Jonah at this moment thought neither upon the storm nor upon the sailors. It was the Lord who had cast him into the deep. So with our Lord, in a more blessed and more perfect manner, when suffering upon the cross. “Thou,” He said, “hast brought Me into the dust of death.” Psalm 22:15. And what rest of soul it gives to take everything that befalls us, as it is our privilege to do, from the hand of the Lord Himself! It stills every murmur, opens the ear to the divine voice, and puts the soul into the condition for profiting by the discipline through which it may be passing.
Moreover, Jonah confesses that the Lord’s hand was upon him for judgment. All the figures he employs—the seas, the floods, billows and waves—though literally true in his case, explain this; for they are all the symbols everywhere in the Scripture of God’s judicial wrath. The effect was, that he felt he was cast out of God’s sight, and his soul fainted within him. (vss. 4, 7.) In other words, like Paul, though in another manner, he had the sentence of death in himself. He was brought to a sense of his utter nothingness before God, and all the more because it was on account of his own sin. From a rebel fleeing from the divine Presence, he is changed into a penitent, having no plea of justification for what he had done, but taking the place of having nothing and deserving nothing but the judgment from which he was suffering. And this, the only true place for the soul, whether of a sinner, or of a backslidden saint, and the only place where God can meet the soul, on the ground of accomplished atonement, with forgiveness and restoring grace.
Let us, then, now see in what way the Lord responds to the cry of the prophet. Jonah says, “I cried  ... and Thou heardest my voice.” Again, “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thy holy temple.” verses 2, 7. What could more strikingly illustrate the grace of God, or display the tenderness of His heart! The object of His dealings accomplished, He immediately answers the cry of His servant.
In the folly of our unbelief how often are we tempted to think that He cannot forgive us after our sinful and rebellious wanderings. But His grace never fails; nay, He waits upon His people, His ear ever being open to their cry; for His attitude toward us does not depend upon what we are, but solely upon what He is in Himself. Satan would always fain deceive us now as he deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, and hence the importance of learning the character and the ways of God from His own Word, and from the revelation He has made of Himself in Christ Jesus. Many examples of His readiness to hear His people’s cry, spite of their conduct, might easily be collected from the Scripture. Psalm 107 is a collection of such; see also Hosea 14; and especially the Lord’s message to Peter on the morning of His resurrection. (Mark 16:7.)
These words of the prophet, “I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and He heard me,” should therefore sink deep into our hearts. They are a blessed encouragement to timid, and beyond all, to backslidden souls, teaching as they do that God waits for nothing, if we have wandered, but our return to Him. We have a sheet anchor whose hold no storm can loosen when we have learned the simple truth that God never changes His attitude toward us, that His love is always the same—the same when we have fallen into sin as when we are walking in the enjoyment of the light of His countenance. And it is just because of His unchanging love that He deals with us in chastening and affliction. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” It was on this same principle that He acted with Jonah, and the issue was that the prophet could declare, “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast Thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.” verse 6.
Thus restored, the prophet now can testify of the folly of sin. “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” And surely this witness is true. Will not all our hearts, indeed, set their seal to it? For whenever we have been beguiled by the lying vanities of the flesh, of the world, or the devil, have we not proved the truth of the prophet’s instruction? Ah! yes, there is a way that seemeth right unto a man (when under the power of these allurements) but the end thereof are the ways of death. Mercy is never found in the path of sin. Under the influence of this truth, wrought out by practical experience in Jonah’s soul, he cries, “But I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that I have vowed.” He thus recognizes the source of his preservation and blessing, and renders his thanksgiving and praise.
He then proceeds a step further. “Salvation is of the Lord.” And, together with these words, we are told that “the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” This is undoubtedly a remarkable foreshadowing of the truth of deliverance. All the exercises of Jonah’s soul lead him up to this beautiful conclusion— “Salvation is of the Lord;” and immediately he is set free. So with the soul in Romans 7: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God” (is the answer) “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And the deliverance is reached and enjoyed. Blessed conclusion, again we say, whether for the sinner or the troubled saint— “Salvation is of the Lord.” It brings peace into the soul; it stills all doubts and questionings; it puts an end to self-occupation, and it turns the eye upward to the only source of blessing and deliverance. The knowledge of this truth is essential to the whole of the Christian life, and brings ineffable rest to the soul when weary with its burdens and conflicts. “Salvation is of the Lord.” Then we have only, like the king of Israel, to say, “Neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee;” and we shall find, as he did, that the Lord will come in with His delivering mercy beyond our utmost thought and expectation.
The prophetic application of Jonah’s deliverance to the Jewish remnant in the future is easily perceived. We have already called attention to the identity of the expressions used by the prophet with those found in Psalm 42. And the Lord’s way with them will be precisely the same as that found here. Bringing in upon them all His waves and billows, He will, by thus exercising their souls, reach their consciences, produce in them the sense of their guilt and utter helplessness, and turning their eyes up to Himself, evoke from their hearts cries and supplications for succor and deliverance. Then, as in the case of Jonah, the Lord, who had been waiting with yearning compassion upon His people, will instantly answer their cry and appear for their salvation. Thereon they will cry, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9.
E. D.

Extract: When Left to Ourselves

It is surprising what a man can believe when he is left to himself, without being kept by God, when the power of the enemy is there. We talk of common sense, of reason (very precious they are) but history tells us that God alone gives them or preserves them to us.


“I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:2.
Have I learned, in whatsoever
State, to be content?
Have I learned this blessed lesson,
By my Master sent—
And with joyous acquiescence
Do I greet His will,
Even when my own is thwarted,
And my hands lie still?
Surely it is best and sweetest,
Thus to have Him choose,
Even though some work I’ve taken,
By this choice I lose.
Folded hands need not be idle,—
Fold them, but in prayer,
Other souls may toil far better
For God’s answer there.
They who reap receive their wages,
Those who work, their crown,
Those who PRAY, throughout the ages
Bring blest answers down;
In “whatever state” abiding
Till the Master call,
They at eventide will find Him
Glorified in all.

Do We Recognize God in the Circumstances of Daily Life?

It is worthwhile, in our reading of the Scriptures, to observe the presence and working of God in the ordinary affairs of everyday life. For instance, in Genesis 37, Joseph is seen on his way to visit his brethren in obedience to his father’s command, but is unable to find them. It is said:
“A certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field.”
It so happened that the “certain man” had heard Joseph’s brethren say they were going to Dothan, and thus he was able to direct Joseph on his way. Now, what believer would dare to say that the finding and directing of Joseph as here recorded happened by chance, and that God had nothing to do with the “certain man” finding him in that field?
Great events often spring from seemingly small and unexpected causes, and from what seem to us trivial and common-place things. When we “know as we are known” and understand fully the working of God in the lives of those who trust Him, we shall be filled with wonder to know how constantly He was present, though often unknown to ourselves, and how much and how continually we were indebted to Him. There is great truth in the words of the poet:
“He everywhere hath sway
And all things serve His might.”
When David was pursuing the Amalekites who had smitten Ziklag, an Egyptian, apparently dead, was found in the field. (1 Sam. 30:11.) This man, after being restored, was able to give David the information he needed to enable him to overtake the Amalekites and recover all they had taken away. God used this weak and apparently impossible instrument to promote the victory of David by giving him directions.
We do well to ponder these simple narratives and observe the ways of God’s working in everyday life. For it is blind unbelief to limit the presence of God to that which is called miraculous and supernatural, and not to see and trust Him in the things which we call commonplace and ordinary.
It is a matter of divine revelation that God commanded the ravens to bring Elijah bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening. Yet God was not more truly present in providing for His servant then, and there, in the time of famine, than He is in commanding the needful provision here and now, it may be in a time of plenty, and by means of very ordinary circumstances.
We cannot read of the needs of God’s people in Scripture, if our eyes have been opened to see, without reading of the way in which God supplied them. Sometimes those needs were very apparent and were even allowed occasionally to become urgent before they were met. But God in giving a record of the trials of His saints does not leave us without an account of their deliverances. Thus the generations of His children that follow are able to say, as they study the record:
“Our fathers trusted in Thee: they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them.” Psalm 22:4.
The word salvation in Scripture does not always mean the salvation of the soul, nor yet being clothed with a resurrection body, though, thank God, these sure mercies are presented to us therein. But the Word of God is rich in its faithful record of various kinds of temporal deliverances, and not a few of these are celebrated in thankful songs of praise.
Further, these deliverances are by no means written for the sake of those for whom those deliverances were wrought, but for all those who in time to come should read or be instructed by these divinely inspired records, and thereby encouraged to put their trust in God. For God is not retired to the heavens, having left the world to itself, or His people to themselves in the days in which we live. It must strike an unbeliever as somewhat singular to hear a Christian singing heartily about the salvation of his soul, and yet soon afterward to discern in his anxious, careworn appearance, and perhaps in his speech too, a lack of confidence in God about the living present. It is not according to Scripture that such matters as God’s care for the soul, and God’s present care for the body, should be divorced in that way.
“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.” Romans 8:32.
“Who giveth (not “gave”) us richly all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17.
God is present with His children for many purposes; but not only so, for the Apostle was able to tell heathen men—applying the words both to heathen and Christian—
“Though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:27-28.
Take an illustration of the way in which God is near His people to protect them:
“There came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth (that is, the rock of divisions or escape). And David went up from thence.” 1 Samuel 23:27-29.
Saul was pressing David very close. It seemed as if Saul had captured his long pursued quarry on this occasion—
“Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them.”
But suddenly a messenger appeared saying to Saul, “Haste thee, and come.” Saul was called away, and thus one of the spots of David’s greatest danger became henceforth a monumental place of divine deliverance, for in all this the believer sees God’s intervention in David’s escape. Are there not places in our own experience over which we, too, might write as truly as these Hebrews did, the long and difficult word:
God was no more David’s deliverer than He is the deliverer, in these days, of those who put their trust in Him. Let us not forget the words of our Lord Jesus Christ— “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
Again, God is present with His people to provide for them. We read of the disciples of Jesus on one occasion that
“They reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, He said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up.” Matthew 16:7-9.
Jesus had wrought two miracles in both of which He had shown how fully competent He was to satisfy the hungry with bread in places where there was none. Did He not expect these disciples to learn from these miracles that He was all-sufficient for every emergency? He is the Creator. He asks us to trust Him when we have no bread, and not to be overcome by difficulties like the one we read of here, which His disciples were unable to master. It is His will that we should “understand” and “remember” (and may divine grace accomplish this in us!) that while man thinks he can prepare a table in a land of plenty, God can prepare a “Table in the Wilderness.”
If we have what seems like needs unmet, or difficulties unremoved, it is certainly not because God is unable to deal with these if He chooses. The Lord on this occasion said to the disciples, “O ye of little faith,” and He says to us today:
“Be  ... content with such things as ye have: for Himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5-6. R.V.
But God is working for His people oftentimes, not only to provide for them, to protect them, to save them out of danger, but also to prevent them from entering into danger, or temptation, and from falling into sin. Oh, may we be more ready to observe His wise direction in our daily circumstances; to see His faithful care, to heed the little warnings when we deviate from the path of His guidance, and to bless Him for all!
One time David seemed under a cloud, and after many deliverances said in his heart,
“I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more.” 1 Samuel 27:1.
As a consequence of this step, taken in unbelief, David is seen in the next chapter in company with the Philistines as they went to fight against Israel. He was in danger of actually fighting against his own nation, the people whom he defended when he slew Goliath. Had such a thing been allowed to happen, what remorse would have been his portion afterward! But his ever-faithful God kept him from such a calamity. And only God could extricate him in this extremity. It happened that the lords of the Philistines objected to David’s presence on the battlefield against Israel. Could David have wished for anything better? Deliverance came at the last moment, but what a deliverance it was! When God acts He is never behind the time. He delivered David, not because David was worthy, but because of His own sovereign grace. But where there is wilfulness and lack of integrity of heart toward God, He may allow us to go farther and even to reap some of the fruit of our ways. But in whatever way our God may work, be it ever remembered, He loves us and is faithful.
“How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
Whose love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end!”

Divine Comments on Four Men of Faith

In the case of Abel, Enoch, and Noah, the Scripture tells that the first obtained God’s witness that he was righteous, that the second had the witness on earth that he pleased God, and that the third became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. But in their daily lives in the world no sign appeared that it was worth anyone’s while to be righteous or to please God.
Abel was cut off by the hand of a murderer, unavenged. Enoch disappeared mysteriously and was not found. Noah disappeared, probably amid the mockery of the world of his day, into an ark which he had prepared in obedience to God. God shut him in, and that was the last the world saw of him. The importance of pleasing God or of being righteous appears from the fact that God selected the facts concerning these three men, out of the many centuries that passed between the fall in the Garden of Eden and the flood, for His divine comments.
Later in Genesis, two chapters (10 and 11) are allotted to the history of the world, then twenty-four chapters are devoted to recording the history of an unknown, insignificant man (Abraham), while Nimrod, the mighty hunter, is busy founding empires, and Asshur goes out and builds Nineveh, the “great city.” (Gen. 10:11.) The world was being settled, populated, and divided too by the judgment of God. But of all these things, so interesting to the scientists and antiquarians of our day, the Scripture speaks little. God’s heart was with the solitary man who obeyed Him, and who became the object of these wonderful ways of God.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11:8.
God’s comment about the world of Abraham’s time shows that it was much like the world of today:
“And this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” Genesis 11:6.
So we can understand something of what it must have meant to God to find in such a world a man, who, when he was called, obeyed. The Scripture expresses the simplicity of his obedience in a striking way:
“They went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” Genesis 12:5.
“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles;” that is, “tents.” Hebrews 11:9.
Nimrod founded an empire while Abraham dwelt in tents. Asshur built the “great city” (Jonah 1:2), while the steps of Abraham’s path toward the city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God, might be traced by the frail heaps of stones that marked the spots where had taken place the intercourse of a man of faith with God. God is not the God of Nimrod, but He is not ashamed to be called the God of Abraham. (Heb. 11:16.)

Editor's Note

Releasing the power of the atom is one of the greatest marvels of science. Men have unlocked power far beyond their ability to control. This is truly the scientific age—the age of wonders. On every hand are evidences of the ingenuity of men so much so that science is almost worshipped as a new god—not that these things have brought men closer to the true God, nor caused them to feel their own littleness and dependence of the God in whose hand their breath is. On the contrary, they have tended to take men generally farther away from God onto paths of conceit and independence, if they have not been used to actually discredit God and make man supreme. And the real purpose of this greatest scientific development was to kill and to destroy—surely “their feet are swift to shed blood.”
One is reminded of the magicians of Egypt in the days of Moses who did great and wonderful things by the power of magic, behind which Satan was. The effect of their wonders was to blind the minds of Pharoah and his men to the fact that God had been speaking to them and that they had to do with Him.
While the magicians did some things that the present men-of-marvels might not be able to do, they never dreamed of the thousands of things that science has developed. There is one point in common between them, however, and that is, there is one certain place beyond which neither can pass. Both alike come to an abrupt stop when it comes to producing life; neither the men of that day nor this, can make a single little louse. They might breed them today and so make a plague, or when ready, use some scientific method to exterminate them and stop the plague; but man never has and never will create life. Only God can give life and (alas, too often forgotten today) only He can sustain it. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” Isaiah 2:22.

Exposition of the Book of Jonah: Chapter 3

The moment Jonah was delivered the word of the Lord came unto him “the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee”; for if the Lord pursued His servant with His storm and tempest, and cast him into the deep, in the midst of the seas, it was for restoration as well as correction, and to put the prophet into a right condition of soul to be the vessel of the divine will. Accordingly he did not now attempt to flee, but he arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. It is always so in the Lord’s dealings with His people. If we turn back from the path which He marks out for us, we surely must encounter the chastenings of His hand, and the object of His dealings is never accomplished until we are brought face to face again with the path from which we declined, and are made willing, by grace surely, to enter upon it. It is on the principle enunciated by the psalmist— “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy word.”
This teaching lies on the surface; but the typical import of this chapter has, we apprehend, the deeper significance. Jonah is, in figure, a risen man; for he says, “Out of the belly of hell” (or the grave) “cried I.” Jehovah had brought death in upon him; and together with this, it must be borne in mind, as shown in the last paper, he is identified with the remnant. This has therefore a double symbolical meaning. Israel, in the person of Jonah, is set aside, on account of their unfaithfulness, as the vessel of testimony. Judging according to man the light is quenched; all hope for the world has forever disappeared. When all God’s waves and billows were rolling over the heads of those whom He had chosen as His witnesses on the earth, where was the possibility of any further testimony in the world? We might ask with the psalmist, “Wilt Thou show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise Thee? Selah. Shall Thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave? or Thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall Thy wonders be known in the dark and Thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” Psalm 88:10-12.
The answer to these questions is only found in the death and resurrection of Christ. All hope, as founded upon man’s responsibility, was indeed gone; but God in His grace and mercy sent His beloved Son, and when He came He identified Himself with His people, went down in His compassion into the very place where they lay dead in trespasses and sins, Himself died, undertaking the whole of their responsibility, that He might glorify God in the very scene and place where they had dishonored Him, As He Himself said,
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man” (the rejected one) “be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
But it was not possible that He should be holden of death, not possible, whether we consider the glory of God, or the rights of His own person; and hence He rose on the third day as the first-begotten of the dead, and it is of Him as the risen One that Jonah becomes a figure. As the risen One, He is (though He was ever that) the faithful and true witness; and Israel being now set aside, He can, in the fulfillment of the purposes of God, bear testimony to the Gentiles, and the issue shows, in figure, that the casting away of the Jew is the reconciliation of the world. (Rom. 11.) The two things are in the chapter—the historical fact of Jonah’s mission, and that of which this mission is an emblem.
Jonah, now obedient, goes to Nineveh; but before his preaching is described the Spirit of God pauses to call attention to the magnitude of the city. It was a city great before God, of three days’ journey. Such was the result of the activity of man in his alienation from God, priding himself upon the greatness, the pomp, and magnificence of his works which tempt him to say with Nebuchadnezzar, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” And, intoxicated with his own pride, he cares not, even if he remembers, that the judgment of God has been pronounced upon all his works. It was this judgment of which Jonah was the herald, proclaiming in the face of the “haughty glory” of the world, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
The character of the message demands our attention. It is one of pure judgment, unaccompanied by any offer of mercy whatever, even though the people should repent. This may seem strange; but it must be remembered that Jonah’s preaching had reference only to God’s government upon the earth. As a rule indeed the prophets generally were not concerned with eternity; that is, the judgments threatened, and the blessings promised on condition of obedience or repentance, were confined to this world. The subject of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be made manifest, was not within the scope of their ministry. Connected as they were with the kingdom, they spoke only of God’s ways, claims, righteousness, and government as displayed in this scene.
Looked at in a typical way, the message of Jonah has another significance. The number forty has a distinct meaning in the Word of God, as may be seen in the forty years’ wandering of Israel in the desert, the temptation of our Lord during forty days in the wilderness, and so on. It indicates the period of full probation. Thus understood in this passage, and bearing in mind that Nineveh sets forth the world—the world, especially in the aspect of its exaltation through its own pride against God, we have simply the annunciation of the fact, that after the world has been fully tested, tested in every variety of way, it will be destroyed. It is the cross of Christ that gives us the culmination of God’s test of the world; and hence our Lord said, “Now is the judgment of this world.” Judgment irreversible was passed upon it in the death of Christ; for thereby God demonstrated openly, before all, the character, the hopelessness of evil, of the world, inasmuch as it accepted the leadership of Satan in crucifying God’s beloved Son. True it was that God withheld the execution of the judgment; for in the death of Christ was laid the foundation on which God could righteously offer salvation to that same world in its guilty and lost condition, and accomplish His own counsels of grace in redemption. But the judgment has not been recalled, could not be consistently with the glory of God. It has only been suspended, because the Lord “is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” “But,” Peter goes on to say, “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:9-10. Yes, it remains true— “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
The effect of the preaching was wonderful. We read, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” It began with the king, who “arose from his throne” on hearing the word, “and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.” Moreover, in conjunction with his nobles, he issued a decree that neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, should taste anything; they were not to feed nor to drink water. In a word, a universal fast was proclaimed. All were to be covered with sackcloth, to cry mightily unto God, and to turn from the evil of their ways, in the hope that God would turn away from His fierce anger, that they might not perish. Verses 5-9. The reader will remark that they believed God. In chapter 1 The sailors cried to Jehovah, because there it was the glory of Jehovah in His relation to the Jew that had been manifested in His judgments. Here it is the world in relation to God as such, and this will explain the difference; and being in this chapter on the ground of creatorial relationships, the cattle are also mentioned; for the whole creation (and this includes them) shall one day be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. (Rom. 8.)
Our Lord refers in a striking way, to the repentance of Nineveh— “The men of Nineveh,” He says, “shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” Matthew 12:41. It was proof indeed of the hardness of the hearts of those to whom the Lord came preaching repentance because the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matt. 4:17), that they were insensible to His appeals, even though His appeals were enforced by the miracles which He wrought in their midst. The Ninevites were heathen; the Jews were God’s chosen people, and He who came to His own was their own Messiah, Jehovah indeed the Saviour; but they turned a deaf ear to His entreating cries (Matt. 23:37). What clearer demonstration could there have been of the utter depravity of their hearts? And are “the men of this generation” any better? Combined with the ministry of reconciliation which is still carried on (2 Cor. 5) in the tender mercy of God, the proclamation is still made— “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown”; and who heeds it? A few here and there, through grace; but the mass, the world, is as insensible today as it was in the days of our Lord. And further, suppose that some divinely sent messenger were to stand today in the midst of London with the message of Jonah, what would be his reception? It is not too much to say that he would be regarded either as a fool or a madman. Oh, that it were better understood that the bestowment of light and privileges do but bring an increase of responsibility and of condemnation, when the light is refused, and the privileges are despised! Beautiful spectacle this of the repentance of Nineveh, and no mean foreshadowing of the time when the Gentiles shall serve the Lord with one consent!
The chapter concludes with the action of God consequent upon Nineveh’s repentance— “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not.” We see again what is in the heart of God toward men—that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; and hence, that if He proclaim judgment it is with the object of turning them from their evil way. The people of Nineveh did not know what He would do. They only said, “Who can tell if God will turn and repent?” And God responded to this feeble faith, as He ever does, and spared them from destruction. It is but a human mode of speech, it need scarcely be added, when it says that He repented. His aim was to produce repentance on the part of Nineveh; and this having been done, He could, consistently with His ways in government, show His compassion and forgiveness. What abundant encouragement for the sinner is found in this record.
“He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” But then, blessed be His name, there is also written, “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [judgment]; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24.
E. D.

Can You Answer These Questions?

You may check your answers with those given on Page 474.
1. What finally became of the “serpent of brass” that Moses made?
2. What did the Israelites do to it?


It is of all importance that our inner life should be kept up to the height of our outward activity, else we are near some spiritual fall.

The Word of God

How difficult it is to bring home to the heart and conscience all that we find in the Word of God. The mind may see it all, but there is still nothing done till God is brought to the soul and the soul takes notice of itself in the sight of God.
Where it speaks in Hebrews of the Word being “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” it passes from the Word of God to God Himself, adding, “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” It is what God speaks, it is Himself who speaks. When the power of the Spirit works, and the Word is mixed with faith in those who hear it, they are before God, all things naked and opened, they have to do with Him.
It is this one looks for! there is plenty of taking up of the things of God by the mind, but conscience is not affected. I then lose the only thing that is real, and it is only real when the Word of God judges us. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, states that when they received the Word of God, which they heard of him, they received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually works in those who believe: the Word takes effect. God is addressing Himself to and occupying Himself with us, and I am affected by the Word as God speaking to me; it is then mixed with faith. Nothing is done till it reaches us thus. We cannot be in God’s presence without being subject to God. The Lord said,
“He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” John 12:48.
The same Word that is spoken now will judge us then. It is a matter of faith now, and when it is a real work of God this same Word reveals us as in God’s presence: it is that which has the power of God’s judgment upon us: it is God dealing with my soul. So in the preaching, reading, exhortation, if the Word brings God to the heart there is reality. The question for our souls is whether we have received it; has this Word been applied to your conscience in this day of grace? The Word of God abides forever—
“My Word shall not pass away.”
The same Word will judge us in the last day if we reject it now: we shall be obliged to receive it then if we slight it now, for,
“As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11.
“God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19.
He that does not believe the record makes God a liar, and where the power of the Holy Ghost is in the Word there is the resisting of the Holy Ghost.
J. N. D.

Extract: God Can Use It

The hand of God can do the business of God, though it have but a sling and a stone, or the jaw-bone of an ass, or lamps and pitchers; and the Spirit of God can do the business of God with souls, though He use but a word, or a look, or a groan.
J. G. B.

The Urgency of Grace as Seen in Luke 14

Grace is characteristic of the Gospel of Luke, and a very striking illustration of its urgency is found in the parable of the great supper. When the supper is prepared, it is simply said that its provider “bade” or “invited” many; and hence, when the servant goes forth, his message to those that are bidden is only, “Come.” After, however, these had all refused the invitation they had received, “the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor.” Then lastly, when it was reported that “yet there is room,” the servant was commissioned to “go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
This gradation in the nature of the message— “come,” “bring in,” and “compel them to come in” —is most instructive.
A word or two will explain. Adopting the usually-received interpretation, which we fully endorse—that the first invitation is to the Jewish nation as such; the second, to the remnant, consequent upon the rejection of Christ by “His own;” and the third, to the Gentiles—we learn that the activity of the heart of God was only intensified by the wickedness of man. It was in grace surely, though in fulfillment of promise, that Christ was presented to the Jew; and it might have been thought that, when that grace was slighted and condemned, God would have retreated, so to speak, from man altogether, into the circle of His own blessedness. But it was not so; for His heart yearned to bless the objects of His counsels of love and redemption, and therefore He, by the power of the Spirit through the preaching of the gospel at Pentecost in Jerusalem, “brought in” the poor of the flock. Nor did this satisfy the extent of His desires; for from that day to this, and from this day till the coming of the Lord, He has been working, and will work, to “compel” poor sinners to come in, and He will not rest until His house is filled—until there is not an empty place left.
It might be a profitable question for many of us, whether we are in the power of this compelling urgency of grace in dealing with those who are not saved. For it should never be forgotten, that every believer is intended to be the expression of the heart of God to the world. Another question might be put; that is, Whether the feeble results of the preaching of the gospel in many places may not be traced to a want of apprehension of the nature of the grace that is now going forth toward sinners. This once understood, there would be no expectation from earnestness or appeals, or from anything whatever, save from the power of the Spirit of God. He alone can compel sinners to come in.
E. D.

A Welcome for the Worst

If I could boast a life that knew no equal
‘Mong all the multitudes of fallen men,
Judgment at last would be the solemn sequel,
The best must perish if not born again.
Could I e’en reach ambition’s highest summit,
And tower above the rest of Adam’s race,
Measured by God’s all-righteous line and plummet,
Down with the lowest I must take my place.
But had I sunk so low that angels wonder
Why one so vile should still be left to sin,
Coming through Christ my chains are snapped asunder,
The worst of wanderers God welcomes in.
Yea, could my crimes be worse than all before me,
More deeply dyed my soul than Calvary’s thief,
Calvary’s blest Lamb would still in grace receive me,
And change to endless joy my hopeless grief.

A Word of Exhortation

“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover, I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” 2 Peter 1:12-15.
The Lord has taught us much and many blessed truths, and when they were fresh and new, what power they had upon our souls! They filled our thoughts; we spake often one to another about them. Now, I am thinking that one great reason why we have become so weak, and there is so much failure, is just this, that what we have known we have not kept “always in remembrance.” Had the church not forgotten what it did know, surely she would not have failed as she has. Did we individually walk as always in remembrance of what we learn from the Lord by His Word, I am sure we should find ourselves gaining strength, and increasing, too, in knowledge of Him.

The Lord's Request

Thy parting word, Lord Jesus -
“This do, remember Me,”
To those whom sorrow gathered
That night so close to Thee;
By grace our hearts do listen
To hear its echo still,
It strikes a chord within us,
And praise our hearts doth fill.
Thy parting word, Lord Jesus,
Has touched the deepest spring,
And wakes anew affections
Our waiting hearts within;
Thy parting word, when sorrow
Around Thy footsteps pressed,
When Satan, death, and judgment
Their fears to Thee addressed.
Thy parting word, Lord Jesus,
Ere judgment on Thee broke,
Ere on Thy holy Person
Came down that righteous stroke;
The wrath of God before Thee,
Whilst foes did gather round,
There too Thy “friend” betrayed Thee,
And darkness did abound.
Thy parting word, Lord Jesus,
Before Thou didst endure
The being of God forsaken,
Our blessing to secure;
Oh, grace beyond expression!
Which sought that we should be,
All through Thy time of absence,
In death remembering Thee.
Thy parting word, Lord Jesus,
We treasure in our heart,
And from the love which spoke it
We never more can part:
Soon, Lord, Thou wilt receive us
Unto Thyself on high,
Till then we Thee remember,
Who for our sins didst die.
G. W. F.

Extract: Your Life Will Show It

Your answer to the question, “What think ye of Christ?” will be found in your everyday history. G. C.

The More We Eat, the More We Want

With our natural appetite, the more we eat, the less we want. It is quite different with our spiritual appetite—the less we eat, the less we want; and the more we eat, the more we want.
You find that the less you read Scripture, the less appetite you have for it. The thing to do is, go on and control the mind. Perhaps I say, I am tired of reading. Alright, I say, you be quiet, I am going to read a little longer, and in that way help comes, and the desire or appetite for Scripture comes.
The mass of God’s people today are defenseless; they are not sufficiently acquainted with Scripture; it is not used rightly—not in its connection. They are like the Israelites in the days of Saul: “there was neither sword nor spear,” nor any means to sharpen anything except a coulter. (See 1 Sam. 13:19-22.) They were defenseless in the presence of their enemies; they had no weapons at all to meet them, consequently they were helpless under the Philistine’s power. This is an immense truth for these days.
Habitual reading of the Scriptures would bring about “that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Colossians 1:9. What is the use of talking about being led of the Spirit if you do not read the Word! If you are led by the Spirit, you will read the Word. If He has His way there is the craving for the Word of God as a little child craves milk from the breast. That is all the spiritual appetite has to feed upon in this world.
Thoughts from W. P.

Extract: Separation From and To God

By nature we know separation from God, but in Christ we know separation to Him.
J. G. B.

Substance of a Letter on the Theory of Evolution

You need not apologize for writing, for the subject is of such importance, and I myself having passed through a conflict of doubt and agony of soul on these very points, it makes one anxious to help any who are passing through the like. I was assailed with fierce doubts during the course of my scientific studies.
The young naturally look with reverence upon their college professors, but as one grows older one perceives that there is no class of men more self-confident than so-called scientists, and hence none more untrustworthy as guides on such matters.
The Christian of course takes his stand upon the Word of God. He has learned to trust that Word, not because of its scientific instruction, but because it has a power over heart and conscience that no other book has. The Bible was not intended to be a scientific handbook, nevertheless being inspired of God, it is and must be perfectly accurate wherever it may touch on such matters—and this, given time for a fuller acquaintance with the facts of science and a clearer understanding of the Scriptures, is invariably found to be the case.
I myself never had much difficulty on the subject of evolution, other things troubled my mind more. For, after all, evolution is but a theory; perhaps I should say only a hypothesis, invented by man to account for certain things that he finds in the world around.
It has often been said that the facts of science are one thing, the conclusions which scientific men have based on these facts are quite another.
The facts nobody can deny. “Scalpel and microscope,” to use your friend’s words, may elicit the facts of science. Man attempts to account for these facts by theories of his own invention, forgetting that after all he is only finite, and not only finite, but fallen; his intellectual powers are as much fallen as are his moral faculties.
But the Word of God accounts for these facts too, yet in a very different way from man’s theory of evolution. Here there is an antagonism. Your scientists tell you that they are so convinced of the truth of their theory of evolution, that they are content to give up the Bible!
This is the crux of the whole matter. A man who thus argues proves two things; first, his own overweening confidence in himself, and second, that he has never felt the beauty and power of the Scriptures.
Man has a conscience which no scientific theories and research can silence—he has deep soul needs which the “scalpel and microscope” will never satisfy.
Give up the Bible! The noblest intellects have pored over its pages with love and reverence, and with adoration of its divine Author.
But does it not contain scientific mistakes? Is not Genesis 1 and 2 full of them? So says the superficial devotee of science. But in fact no chapters bear more conclusive evidence of divine inspiration than these. Written at a time when science was unknown, they treat briefly and yet exhaustively the whole subject of the origin of the universe. During the ages of the past, man has invented and been obliged to abandon theories. Scripture has spoken once, and has never had to alter, correct, or modify. And none of the facts of science can be shown to militate against the account of creation there given.
Why does man seek to get rid of creation and to substitute evolution? Because if there is such a thing as creation, then there must be a Creator; that is, there must be a God, and man does not like to believe in God, for his conscience makes him feel that he is not fit for His presence.
If people would read and study their Bibles more, they would find out moral beauties that would bow their souls in adoration.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7.
A. H. B.

Answers to the Questions on Page 459

On Page 459
1. Over 700 years after Moses made the “serpent of brass” at the commandment of the Lord, Hezekiah, the king, broke it in pieces and called it “Nehushtan,” or merely a piece of brass. (Num. 21; 2 Kings 18.)
2. He broke it in pieces because the children of Israel were burning incense to it; that is, they had made it an object of worship. God never intended that it should be worshipped. This only shows what the human heart will do. The “serpent of brass” had been ordered by God so that the serpent-bitten Israelites could look at it and be healed. The Lord Jesus referred to it, when speaking to Nicodemus in John 3, as a type of His own being lifted up (on the cross), that those who believe in Him might have eternal life.
And is not Christendom guilty of the same sin? Have they not exalted the cross almost to the point of worship? What was the cross apart from Him who died on it? It was He who gave it its value. It was His work on the cross, not the wooden cross itself, that saves the soul. May we remember Him who died on it, and never be guilty of exalting it.
The cross was what the world gave to the Lord Jesus; and yet, today the cross as an emblem has become popular in a world that still does not want Him. When Paul spoke of glorying in the cross (Gal. 6:14) he was thinking of what the world awarded His Saviour, and to Paul it meant the end of the world; the world henceforth was as something despised or crucified to him, and he was as something despised by the world, for he was on the side of the One to whom they gave a cross.

The Editor's Column

Every week brings new reports of violence in Palestine. The Jewish underground are continually committing acts of violence in an effort to embarrass the British government, and so force it to change its policy toward the Jews in the Holy Land. It is hard to tell just what the outcome will be; it may flare into a large-scale civil war, or it may attain a very limited measure of results. There is one thing certain, however, and that is, the Jews will never by their own power or any other method secure the city of Jerusalem. They have long sought that city, and if it were not for the knowledge of God’s Word we might well wonder why they never attained their goal. They have had plenty of money so that they could have purchased the land outright; some of them have been in highly influential places of government, with great financial backing, where they might have gained military support for their cause; and yet the “city of their fathers’ sepulchres” is in the hands of “aliens.”
The words of the Lord Jesus— “They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24.)—have been and are being fulfilled. The King sent forth His armies and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city (Matt. 22:7) because of their guilt in casting the Son out of His inheritance, and then rejecting the testimony of His grace through the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.
“The times of the Gentiles” —the period of Jewish subjugation to the Gentiles—will run on until the Lord Jesus returns from heaven with His saints to execute judgment on His enemies; until then, Jerusalem is doomed to remain under Gentile control. Through all the years since the city was destroyed by the Romans it has been pawn of Gentile powers, passing from the hands of one to another. Britain may give up her control of Palestine, but the Jews will not get Jerusalem until they say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The Irgun Zvai Leumi terrorists cannot bring about what God has decreed shall not be.

Exposition of the Book of Jonah: Chapter 4

The instruction of chapter 4 is derived, as in chapter 1, from the conduct of the prophet. At the close of chapter 3 we have the grace of God displayed in sparing the people of Nineveh on their repentance—the revelation, in fact, of God’s heart. In the first verse of this chapter we have in contrast with this the unfolding of the heart of Jonah. As we read elsewhere, God has no pleasure in the death of the sinner; but on this very account Jonah was displeased exceedingly and very angry. Not only was he out of communion with, but he was in positive antagonism to, the mind of God. Like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal, he was angry because those who had no claim upon God had found mercy. By this he only showed that he could not enter into the thought of grace. And how often it is so with ourselves. Spite of the fact that we ourselves have been the objects of mercy, and that, apart from the sovereign grace of God, we could have no standing before Him, we, in the folly of our natural thoughts and feelings, desire that others should be dealt with on the ground of justice. How strikingly this was exemplified in the apostolic days may be seen in the conflicts of Paul. Even Peter was afraid to maintain the truth of grace (Gal. 2); and hence the Apostle Paul, as guided by the Holy Spirit, not only withstood Peter to the face, but has also elaborately shown, both in the Epistle to the Galatians, and in that to the Romans (chapters 9-11), that the Jew, equally with the Gentile, was utterly without claim upon God; that had God dealt with Israel on the ground of justice, they, equally with the Gentiles, could not have escaped His judgment. But now, He had concluded all, both Jews and Gentiles, in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. No; the natural man can never understand the grace of God.
But we may go a little deeper, and inquire into the special grounds of Jonah’s anger. We read:
“And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray Thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish; for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech Thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.” verses 2-3.
That is, he was afraid lest God might show mercy to Nineveh, and, himself desiring judgment and destruction, he was unwilling to be the bearer of the divine message. What narrowness and hardness of heart! we might say. But there is more than this. There is in this foolish prayer the very essence of self and self-importance. To proclaim the message of judgment to godless Nineveh, Jonah was quite willing—if he were but sure that it would be executed—for that would exalt Jonah both in his own eyes, and in the eyes of all who believed in the truth of his mission. Even James and John said to the Lord, “Wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them; even as Elias did?” But the Lord turned, and rebuked them; for God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Jonah was of the same spirit with these disciples, only he went further, and opposed the manifestation of mercy. For if, on the one hand, the annunciation of unsparing judgment exalted the preacher, the exhibition of grace set aside the messenger and exalted God. Jonah thought only of himself, and the horrid selfishness of his heart hides from him the God of grace, faithful to His love for His helpless creatures. And we may add that he was entirely without excuse. He says, “For I knew that Thou art a gracious God,” and yet he was angry—not satisfied with the character of the God he knew!
So great indeed was his disappointment and anger that he requests that he might die. Sad state of soul! For what led him to desire this? The fact that God had spared Nineveh, and, together with this, his chagrin that he and his preaching had apparently been set aside! So petty and narrow is the human heart when occupied with its own things—with its own importance, pride and reputation. The case of Elijah, which, from its seeming similarity, every reader will recall, is very different. In his doubt and despondency he imagined that his work had been entirely in vain. In answer to the Lord’s question, “What doest thou here, Elijah? and he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life to take it away.” 1 Kings 19:9-10. For the moment he had lost confidence in God, as he saw the power of the enemy on every hand. Doubtless he was also disappointed that the Lord did not intervene in judgment to vindicate the honor of His name. But this was quite a different thing from Jonah’s desire. He thought neither of the Lord’s honor, nor of poor guilty Nineveh; only, we repeat, of his own reputation as a prophet. Nothing, indeed, could be more humiliating than his state of mind.
On the other hand, could anything surpass the tender gentleness of the Lord with His wayward servant? For the moment, He contents Himself with a single word: “Doest thou well to be angry?” or, as in the margin, “Art thou greatly angry?” That is all. Like a mother with a petulant child, who knows that it is useless to reason with him when his temper is being displayed, and therefore pays no attention to his foolish requests, but waits until the passion has subsided, so the Lord dealt with Jonah. Ah, how often have we also in our folly ventured, in the spirit of Jonah, to arraign the ways of our God, and to prefer our foolish petitions, which, if they had been granted, would have entailed sorrow upon us for the rest of our lives! But the Lord loved us better than we loved even ourselves.
Jonah did not reply to the Lord’s tender remonstrance: he was too angry for that. And he “went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.” Poor man! he was evidently hoping still that the Lord would destroy Nineveh, spite of its repentance; so little did he understand the heart of the One who had sent him on his mission. But God had done for the present with Nineveh. He had “repented of the evil that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not.” That, therefore, was irrevocable; and He could not, consistently with His holy name, gratify the evil desires of Jonah. Hence His attention, in His love and grace, was now directed to His servant—to correct and instruct, as well as to explain and justify His own ways. We thus read: “And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.” verse 6.
It is exceedingly touching to see God thus watching over and caring for His willful servant, and the pains He takes to convince him of the unreasonableness of his anger. Why did the prophet now rejoice with great joy? (See margin.) Because of the relief he experienced from the shadow of the gourd. As his anger, so was his joy entirely selfish. Accordingly, “God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.” Wholly absorbed in the circle of self, he is wretched and miserable; now because the gourd which had been a comfort to him had been destroyed, and perhaps also because of his bodily suffering. It was to this point that God had been leading him, and He once more intervened, and said to Jonah, “Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.” He had been angry because Nineveh was not overthrown, and now he is angry because the gourd had been destroyed; angry in both cases because of the influence both the one and the other had upon himself, so wretched was his poor contracted heart. It was on the latter point that the Lord took him up, saying, “Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night; and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” verses 10-11.
In this manner was Jonah convicted by the words of his own mouth; and God was justified, yea, abundantly justified, by the pity which Jonah had felt for the gourd to which he was bound by no ties of relationship, and which he only valued because of its usefulness to himself. Thus, as always, God overcame when He was judged. (See Rom. 3:4.) There were two things which the prophet (and, may we not add, many Christians also?) had not yet learned.
First, that God’s tender mercy is over all His works. (Psa. 145:9.) How beautifully this is shown by the words, “and also much cattle”! This tender mercy will be displayed by-and-by, when Christ shall take His rightful power, and reign over the earth; but the heart of God is ever the same, and He has proved it in that He “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”; in the fact that Christ tasted death for everything (Heb. 2), as well as in the lengthening out of the day of grace in His long-suffering, because He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3); and, finally, in His purpose to reconcile all things unto Himself, through the death of Christ, whether things in earth or things in heaven (Col. 1). But to enter into this we must lose sight of self, and selfish aims, and be filled with divine thoughts and divine affections.
The second thing Jonah had not learned was, that God was “good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Him.” Psalm 86:5. It was this same lesson that Peter had to teach the Jews on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:21); that Paul had to press earnestly upon the Hebrew believers of his day (Rom. 10:11-13); and it is this same truth that many of us, while owning it by the lip, need to hold in greater power at the present moment. If grace is sovereign, as it surely is, on this very account it is unrestricted, and flows out in blessing wheresoever God wills. Oh! how often, in folly similar to Jonah’s, do we narrow the heart of God; but in the issue He will show that He has been above and beyond all our thoughts. And, in the meanwhile, let it instruct and comfort our hearts to remember that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
It was no small honor, it may be said in conclusion, for Jonah to be taken up, even in his disobedience, self-will and anger, and to be thus made a vessel for the exhibition of the mind and heart of God. This also was of grace, and therefore to God is all the praise.
E. D.

Can You Answer These Questions?

(You may check your answers with those given on pages 502 and 503.)
1. Who wrote the ninetieth Psalm?
2. Do we know who all the writers of the Psalms were?
3. How do we know the names of the writers of any of the Psalms?

Extract: Looking for Comfort

The Apostle Paul could say, “God who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” 2 Corinthians 7:6. Paul was looking to God for comfort, and God sent Titus to comfort him. Had Paul been looking to Titus, he would have been disappointed.
C. H. M.

The Attractions of Christ

When first I heard of Jesus’ name,
I then for refuge only came;
I heard that He for sinners died,
And from His heart and wounded side
Had shed the water and the blood,
To wash and make me fit for God.
I’ve found Him meet my every need,
That He a Saviour is indeed;
Each rising want has been supplied,
Whene’er to Him I have applied;
He is of grace the treasury,
All fullness dwells in Him for me.
Since then, I have such glories viewed
In Him, who has my surety stood;
Such beauties, human and divine,
In all His words and actions shine;
That now I sing with rapturous heart
“Thou altogether lovely art.”
Yet all He is, He is for me,
So meek in all His majesty;
So tender in almightiness;
So sympathizing in distress;
So liberal—all He has He gave;
Yea, e’en Himself, my soul to save.
It is not fear that makes me flee,
Saviour of sinners, now to Thee;
Thy excellences me constrain
To seek Thee as my greatest gain—
Thy presence my eternal home:
Come, blessed Lord, O quickly come!
J G. D.

The First Thing in the Day

Our first pursuits in the morning generally indicate where our hearts are. The children of Israel had to gather their daily food before sunrise, or they would be too late; and if the believer can rise from his bed, and go about the business of this life before he has looked up to the Lord, and turned to the Scriptures which testify of Him for renewal of the inward man, it is more than probable that his heart has got away from God. Nothing can possibly make up for a lack of food, for “Christ is all”; and those who really live upon Him can say,
Nothing but Christ, as on we tread,
The Gift unpriced—God’s living Bread;
With staff in hand, and feet well shod,
Nothing but Christ—the Christ of God

The Manifestation of "the Life"

We are told that “the whole world lieth in wickedness,” or “the wicked one” JND (1 John 5:19); and that we “walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all [Jews as well as Gentiles] had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh  ... and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2:2-3. What a solemn statement as to the condition of man in the world! The whole world lying in the wicked one! Children of disobedience, energized by the prince of this world! By nature the children of wrath! How terrible, and how absolutely hopeless the condition!
Yet this is the condition of the “first man” as described by the Spirit of God, and that too, after four thousand years of testing, with every appliance for his recovery. But there was no recovery for the first man. The ruin was complete and irretrievable. He had fallen under the power of Satan, and his life was blighted and utterly corrupted by sin. Without law, he was lawless; under law, a transgressor; in the presence of grace, in God come down to earth, revealed in the Son, he was a God hater. Such was the terrible condition of man, in whom the fountain of life was corrupted and ruined.
Blessed be God, another life has been manifested in the very scene where the first was destroyed, a life that subsisted in the Son with the Father from all eternity, and was manifested in Him down here on earth before the eyes of men. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” This was a new beginning for man in grace, and the revelation of a new life for man, a life that was before all worlds, and before all creatures, and a life that Satan could not touch, nor sin corrupt. This new beginning is life revealed in the Person of the eternal Son in manhood down here, and so the Apostle says, in his first epistle, “That which was from the beginning.” It is not the same as “In the beginning” in John’s Gospel, where the eternity of the Word is the subject. “In the beginning was the Word.” The Word existed in the beginning, did not begin to exist then, but existed, and, moreover, spoke into existence everything that began to exist.
In the Epistle of John, “the beginning” is the beginning of the manifestation of eternal life on earth, in the Person of God’s Son become man. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among men here below, and through the veil of flesh His glory shone out before their eyes. They saw Him as an only begotten with a Father, and the fullness of grace and truth was there for man. What a wonderful beginning! He was the “Word of life.” “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” “Light” and “life,” “grace and truth,” shone out in Him amid “the darkness” of this world. It was a wonderful display! It was God Himself come down into all the misery and wretchedness of man—God manifested in the flesh. All that God is in light and love, truth and holiness, righteousness and grace, shone out. “The life was manifested,” and in this life there was the display of all that God could be in eternal blessing, for His lost and guilty creatures. The life was manifested in the Person of the eternal Son become man, and dwelling among men, the light of life shone out amid the darkness, and shone for every man, not for Jews only, but for Gentiles as well. It was the brightness of heaven itself let down into the darkness here, and shining for all, just as the sun, the mighty orb of the day, shines for the whole world.
I repeat, it was in the Person of the Son; and when men saw Him, they saw the life. Faith saw the life and rejoiced in its light. The apostles were attracted to its glory, shining out in Him, and became the witnesses to others of that wondrous life. In every word He spoke, in every movement, in every act, they saw the life shining out in its divine nature and character. They heard it, they saw it, they gazed on it, they handled it with their hands. The Apostle who wrote this epistle, could say, “The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” 1 John 1:2.
Yes, they saw the life, and followed its pathway of light through this dark world. They witnessed its patient ministry of love and mercy, in ten thousand ways relieving from the misery and wretchedness sin had brought in. Then, last of all, and greatest of all, they saw it meeting man’s utmost need in that terrible cross, where all that God is in majesty and lowliness, shone out in the judgment of sin; and all that He is in love and grace shone out in righteous blessing for man. The resurrection witnessed eternal victory over sin and over all the power of Satan.
The clouds of darkness were now broken; God had come out, and the clear light was now shining out in all the glory of grace, witnessing unhindered and unlimited blessing for man. The apostles saw, believed, and possessed. They were made partakers of the life, and brought into fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. The revelation of this life was a revelation of blessing, to them and all who receive their word, bringing into a fellowship which lifts the soul above the circumstances of misery and sorrow through which we pass in this world. They saw the life, displayed, and not only were quickened with it, but also drank in its spirit and character, as they beheld its outgoings in the blessed Son of God. Partakers of the divine nature, they were also filled with common thoughts, desires, delights, and joys with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ: and this is an established and known relationship, of which Christ is the measure and character. Who can estimate the blessedness of this?
And now the Apostle says, “That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” verse 3. The apostles saw, and have borne witness; we have believed, and enter into fellowship with them. What more could we ask on this side of the glory, than to be brought into a fellowship like this? How unspeakably great the blessing!  ... Surely this is enough to satisfy and fill the soul. It is by faith we enter into it now; but it is what we shall have in glory. ... We are not there yet; but it is all unfolded to us, and faith drinks it in, and the heart and affections are moulded by it, and find their home there.
A. H. R.

A Fruitful Bough by a Well

Joseph is a well-known type of Christ; but it is not every reader of the Bible who delights to trace out the application and fulfillment of the type. Take, for example, John 4:6. Why is it mentioned, “now Jacob’s well was there”? Surely to arrest our attention in some special way; and in Genesis 49:22 we discover the secret. “Joseph,” we read, “is a fruitful bough even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.” In this wearied Man, therefore, who sat by the well of Sychar, we see the true Joseph; and even while we gaze upon Him we behold His branches running over the wall of Judaism, and reaching, with their goodly fruit, this poor woman of Samaria. And if not actually, yet morally (for this characterizes this gospel), the archers had sorely grieved Him, and shot at Him, and hated Him; but His bow abode in strength (Gen. 49:23-24), as is shown by the deliverance He wrought that day for this poor captive of Satan.
E. D.

The Activity of Divine Love

“Jesus of Nazareth  ... who went about doing good.” Acts 10:38.
There is nothing negative about this verse; it does not say, “who did no harm.” There was One who, in His pathway through this world of misery and need, was actively engaged in doing good. His love was unwearied and in spite of rebuffs and even hatred, He “went about doing good.” The ungrateful response of those to whom He came is told in the words of the Psalm:
“For My love they are My adversaries.  ... They have rewarded Me evil for good, and hatred for My love.” Psalms 109:4-5.
Still that blessed One went steadily forward “doing good,” and at last we read of Him weeping over (not the fact that He was rejected, but) those of that guilty city because of the terrible judgments that were soon to fall on them (Luke 19:41-44).
May we, His redeemed ones, who are left in this same world a little longer be better transcripts of the One to whom we belong—that One who “went about doing good.” The needs are great and the “night is far spent.” A few verses from the epistles may remind us of our opportunities and privileges:
“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.  ... For we ourselves also were sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived.  ... But according to His mercy He saved us.” Titus 3:1-5.
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10.
We must not, however, disregard any direct word or any principle of Scripture in doing good. Here we need to keep a balance and remember that we must “strive lawfully.” Our enemy is very subtle and would entangle us with associations and unequal yokes in our seeking to do good. But, fellow Christian, if we are really seeking to “redeem the time,” (it is fast going) and look to Him for His guidance, we shall find abundant opportunities. Then, shall we not as “royal priests” dispense royal bounty, and “show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”? 1 Peter 2:9.
P. W.

Extract: The Only Perfection

The only perfection put before the Christian is conformity to Christ in glory. I have got Christ in glory as my life, and I am never satisfied until I am in that glory. The only perfection presented to the Christian is a glorified Christ in heaven, and you will be conformed to that when the time comes, but now, meanwhile, I must be as much like Him as I can.
J. N. D.

Extract: To Become More Like Christ

It is by occupation with Christ in glory that we become more like Him now: “We all  ... beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.”

Jacob's Well Was There

Sweet was the hour, O Lord, to Thee
At Sychar’s lonely well,
When a poor outcast heard Thee there
Thy great salvation tell.
Thither she came; but, oh! her heart,
All filled with earthly care,
Dreamed not of Thee, nor thought to find
The hope of Israel there.
Lord! ‘twas Thy power unseen that drew
The stray one to that place,
In solitude to learn from Thee
The secrets of Thy grace.
There Jacob’s erring daughter found
Those streams unknown before,
The water-brooks of life, that make
The weary thirst no more.
And, Lord, to us, as vile as she,
Thy gracious lips have told
That mystery of love revealed
At Jacob’s well of old.
In spirit, Lord, we’ve sat with Thee
Beside the springing well
Of life and peace, and heard Thee there
Its healing virtues tell.
Dead to the world, we dream no more
Of earthly pleasures now;
Our deep, divine, unfailing spring
Of grace and glory Thou!
No hope of rest in aught beside,
No beauty, Lord, we see;
And, like Samaria’s daughter, seek,
And find our all in Thee.

Malachi 3:16-17 - Jude 20-23

Malachi 3:16-17 refers primarily to the godly remnant in Israel, at the close of the old dispensation. All was ruin and apostasy around them; but they feared the Lord, thought upon His name, and spoke often one to another. They did not attempt to set up anything, or reconstruct a fallen system; they owned the ruin, feared the Lord, and communed one with another.
Jude 20-23, gives us a Christian remnant in the midst of the ruin of professing Christianity. You will find it interesting and instructive to mark the points of similarity and of contrast in these two passages of Scripture.

Answers to the Questions on Page 487

The ninetieth Psalm was written by “Moses the man of God.” There is a mistaken idea that David wrote all the Psalms; he did write many of them, Asaph wrote some, a few were written by others, and the writers of many are unknown.
We know the names of many of the writers from the headings of the Psalms. These headings are a part of Scripture and frequently contain information regarding the circumstances of the writer; for instance, the heading of the third Psalm is, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.” (These headings should not be confused with a little information men have put in above the Psalms; such as, “The security of God’s protection” which is found above the heading of the third Psalm in some Bibles.) By noticing the headings we often see something of the exercises of the soul of the writer, at the time.
We must bear in mind, however, that the Psalms have been given to us by the Spirit of God and are much more than just the recordings of personal exercises; they breathe the spirit of prophecy. They begin with the rejection of Christ in the second Psalm and go on to the joyous praises to Jehovah on the establishment of the future kingdom on earth.
Some Psalms are the prophetic utterances of Christ; others are the expressions that will come from the persecuted faithful remnant of the Jews in a future day; and sometimes Christ identifies Himself with the remnant in their feelings. While David wrote the twenty-second Psalm he never had any experience that could cause him to utter those words, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” These words were prophetic of the very words used by Christ on the cross.
While we do not find Christian experience in the Psalms (often there is the cry for vengeance which will come from the Jewish remnant, but which would be out of place for a Christian) they do express a beautiful faith and confidence in God that has been the cheer of God’s people in many generations. The government of God on the earth is also a theme in them.

The Editor's Column

Will people who reject God’s present message of grace, and are left behind when the Lord comes, have another chance to be saved? Will they be eligible to hear and receive a gospel announcing the coming of the King? Many prominent Christians in orthodox and fundamental circles say, “Yes.” But what does the Word of God say? Surely nothing else has any authority.
In Matthew 25 we have the parable of the ten virgins. These ten represent the whole profession of Christianity; that is, they picture the true Christians as the “wise” virgins and the mere professors as the “foolish.” When the bridegroom came the wise went in to the marriage and the foolish were left on the outside. The door was then shut, and the foolish did not have another chance. They picture to us thousands around us who claim to be Christians, but who are without Christ. Such worthless profession will be shut out—lost.
In 2 Thessalonians 2 we have a class—those who “receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” They are those who will have heard the “gospel of the grace of God” but did not receive it. Is there any chance for them after the door is shut? Read the whole chapter; notice how God is going to send such triflers-with-His-mercy a lie to believe. Since they would not have the truth when it was preached to them, they will hear such a convincing lie they will believe it, and be damned. It is most solemn for any to reject or neglect God’s proffered mercy, and it is very serious to teach error that tends to blind the minds of those that believe not, or to give them a false hope.
At present the Spirit of God is here striving with men: then He will be gone with the church, and, instead of His strivings, the terrible powers of darkness will be let loose to deceive men. If men despise God’s mercy under such favorable conditions, how can they expect to believe then? The deception is going to be so strong that if it were possible it would deceive the very elect Jews. (Matt. 24:24.) God will keep them, or they too would be deceived, for the deception will come with great signs and lying wonders.

What Is, and How Did Man Acquire Conscience? Part 1

Conscience is a great difficulty with infidels. It is practically the weak point in their armor. Protect themselves with reasonings as they may, yet they cannot shield their conscience.
It would be, doubtless, a convenient thing for modern infidelity, if it could show that conscience—instead of being a witness to evil present, and good lost—is a part of the system of human development; but the history of the conscience, from an evolutionist point of view, remains yet to be written, and we may safely assert, that the evolutionist will find such “history” difficult writing.
The beasts which perish possess consciousness of various kinds in common with man, but the beasts which perish possess not that which makes mortals quake. Man alone, of the creatures upon this earth, has a conscience. However, as some beasts possess a power through which they acquire the knowledge that some of their actions will receive the reward of their master’s favor, and others punishment, from his hand, and because some beasts can be instructed in obedience by their masters, there are not wanting some men to assert that, consequently, a moral link exists between such consciousness in the beast and the conscience of a man!
By the aid of a stick a cow can be educated into refusing to pluck the green leaves over the fence which her tongue longs after. The memory of the beating she has more than once received for interfering with her master’s wishes, teaches her to forego her inclinations. But memory is not conscience. A parrot soon learns to fear the word stick, learns to associate the sound of the word with a beating, and so will leave off screaming when stick is said. The parrot is unquestionably wiser than the cow, but the intelligence of the creature is not conscience. Yet we are invited to accept this kind of consciousness as a link in the chain of evolution, the end of which in ourselves is conscience.
It is remarkable how infidelity degrades man as a creature, while puffing up his pride. Yet, while asserting that the human race is but the outcome of former shapes, things, and being—that man is but a link in the long chain of unknowable beginning—that man is but a brute developed, a creature evolved out of atoms and apes, the infidel pauses, and inquires, “How did man become possessed of a conscience?”
Conscience is; it cannot be shelved. I am, and my conscience exists in me. And to him who is conscious of his sinful being, it is a terrible reality. Besides doing daily battle within the breasts of men, against their very wills, conscience spoils the pleasures of sin, renders the prosperous wicked man miserable, scares the sceptic, ruins the fine theories of no future, and forces men, against their judgment and their feelings, to confess their crimes, and to yield themselves to justice and to death.
We do not deny that man may harden himself, till, despite his conscience, he becomes like the beasts, and shuns evil only because of its consequences, or, worse, till his conscience, seared as with a hot iron, is so dulled to every righteous influence, that his fellow men drive him from their midst as too brutish for their society.
How came man by this inward force, this mighty power within his breast, called conscience? Or, first, what is conscience?
Clearly it is not the will, for conscience frequently pushes its way in opposition to the will. Neither is it reason, for while a man’s reason will demonstrate to him that a given course of action will work him injury, yet his conscience will impel him forward to do the right thing, even to the wronging of himself. It is not a conclusion arrived at in the mind upon weighing over the right and wrong of a question. Conscience is the moral sense of right and wrong which is innate to man. It is as much a part of his present being as his reason or his will. We may describe conscience as the eye of man’s moral being, or liken it to a voice within his breast commanding him concerning right and wrong.
Conscience is not a faculty in man, enabling him to know abstractedly what is right and wrong, but, given the law of right and wrong, conscience appeals to man according to the precepts of the law he knows. Conscience needs instructing; it does not instruct; and according as the conscience is faithfully instructed, so will its utterances be more or less just. In proportion as this eye is tutored will be the truthfulness of its perceptions.
Men say, we will act according to the dictates of our consciences. But conscience is no standard of right. The conscience of a heathen does not address him as that of a man knowing the letter of God’s Word. The conscience of a Christian, instructed in the spirit of his Father’s will, speaks very differently from that of him who knows merely the letter of the Scriptures. And among true Christians there is a vast difference in fineness and sensibility of conscience. Conscience is very like a window, which lets in much or little light, if clean or dirty. Some labor to keep the window clean, others are slovenly, and their whole body is not full of light. Some Christians exercise themselves to keep the window clean, others are exercised because it is dirty.
Now, as the measure of light increases, so does man’s responsibility. Having heard what is right, we are bound to obey, and conscience will speak upon the question. The heathen have the book of nature before their eyes. “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.” Romans 1:20. And more, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” Romans 2:14-15.
The nominal Christian has heard of the character of God, he has heard of God’s holiness and righteousness, his conscience bears witness, and condemns him. God has revealed a standard in His Word, and man’s conscience tells him how utterly evil he is. Where the Word of God has been heard, we cannot dissociate God from conscience. Our moral instinct, our sense of right and wrong, bear witness to the unseen God; within us there is that which knows together with God.
How came man by this voice within him? Where all was right, the voice warning of wrong was silent. It could not testify to right if no wrong existed. If man were not a sinner, he would not fear the holy God. God made man upright, and set him in a scene of good, where evil was not, and in those days man had not learned it. Had, then, man before the fall a conscience?
We do not say that he had not a conscience in the sense that he was not perfect. Conscience in itself is a good thing, but it was got in a bad way. Before the fall, man’s conscience was like the wings of the insect within the chrysalis, for man had not then broken out into that condition when he should be as gods. Innocence is not perfection, any more than ignorance is maturity. The lack of knowledge of evil is a lovely thing, and thus to us is childhood’s simplicity so sweet; but vastly different is the state of innocence from that “new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24.
To be Continued

Can You Answer These Questions?

(You may check your answers with those given on pages 530 and 531.)
1. What man, in the New Testament, was called “eloquent”?
2. What man, in the Old Testament, pleaded that he was not eloquent?

Extract: The Path of Sin

The slippery path of sin is often trodden with accelerated steps, because the first sin tends to weaken in the soul the authority and power of that which alone can prevent our committing still greater sins—that is, the Word of God, as well as the consciousness of His presence, which imparts to the Word all its practical power over us.

The Saviour and the Shepherds

Read Luke 2:1-22; Matthew 27:45-66; 28:1-10
These three scriptures, taken together, give us the birth, the death, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Ponder it one moment—the birth of the Son of God, the death of the Son of God, the resurrection of the Son of God.
Why this birth, this death, this resurrection? Because nothing could save you or me but this. Nothing! There was no possibility of man being redeemed and brought to God—saved, and delivered from eternal judgment—but by the wondrous means which these scriptures unfold.
I do not wonder that heaven goes into a perfect ecstasy the moment it is promulgated that man can be saved. And how can he be saved? Only by the coming down of the Saviour! And surely, dear reader, if God has been loving enough to provide a Saviour, What does He expect from the sinner? That the sinner shall have wisdom enough to avail himself of the Saviour God has provided. It is the grandest news that ever fell on mortal ears—a Saviour for ruined sinners!
Let the shepherds of Bethlehem show the way to the Saviour. They are the best illustration of good gospel listeners that I know. They are men who hear the gospel, receive it, embrace it, enjoy it, act upon it, tell their neighbors all about it, and then go home with hearts brimming over with praise and worship to God because of it!
Luke 2 opens with the birth of the Saviour.
Did you ever notice that God only tells the story of creation once, and in few words; but twice He tells, with every particular, the wondrous tale of the birth of His Son; and four times over the Holy Ghost records the death of the Saviour, and His resurrection.
Why is this so? Because it is of very little matter if you know about creation or not; but it is of great matter if you know about Him who is the Creator.
The death and resurrection of the Son of God is what alone avails to bring the sinner to God. On the actual knowledge of Him who was born, and Him who died, hangs the eternal salvation of your precious soul and mine.
It is important to see what comes out in the commencement of the chapter, for we live in infidel times. The Roman Emperor, in his pride and folly, wants to know how many subjects he reigns over, and not only so, but their nationality, and also their city; and so Joseph and his espoused wife Mary go up to Bethlehem, their native city, to be enrolled.
The pride of the Roman Emperor was the means God used for the fulfillment of the scripture, that the King of Israel, God’s Messiah, should be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2.) See the manner of His birth: Joseph and Mary come up, and there is no room for them in the inn. “Oh,” you say, “that was a coincidence.” Ah, do you think so? Supposing Joseph had been a rich man, do you think there would have been room for him? I think so! But the world never did like the poor, and the Lord loved them intensely.
They generally make room for the rich in the hotels. The Lord comes as the poor man, though He comes into the world His own hands had made, content to be reputed the son of a carpenter.
He took His place down here at the outset as a poor man; God came into the world in this gracious way to win man’s heart. In grace He came, content to be cradled in one man’s manger, and buried in another man’s tomb.
Do you still say it was a coincidence that there was no room in the inn? Then I ask you—Is it a coincidence that there is no room for Christ in the heart of every unconverted man? There is room for friends; room for folly, for vanity; room for pleasure, but no room for Him!
Though there was no room for Christ in man’s world, He sends out the message that there is room for man in His world; that is, heaven! “Yet there is room.” Luke 14:22.
Look at these shepherds; they are at their business, and the Lord sends an angel to preach the gospel to them. Here is a message from heaven for sinners on earth; God visits them with a message for eternity. There are two lovely points in the way the message comes; not only it comes right down to the men where they were (God, as it were, interrupting them in their business to show them there is something better than their business, even the salvation of their souls), but there is more than this: they are sensible of the presence of God with the message— “the glory of the Lord shone round about them.” I covet that! The holy, solemn, searching sense of the presence of God Himself with the gospel message. God is there, God is dealing with those shepherds, and they are sore afraid, and rightly so; they are properly solemnized before God, and I maintain this is the first effect of the gospel; the sinner begins to feel he is in the presence of God, and that he is unfit for that presence.
But you will find, the moment the right kind of fear is produced in the soul, God comes in to remove the fear. The mark of the unregenerate man is this, “no fear of God before his eyes.” He sports with God’s grace, risking His terrible judgment. The first thing a soul knows when God is dealing with him is fear and trembling. A man sees the glory of God, and his own unfitness for it. Romans 3 gives us the unconverted man unfit for the glory of God; Romans 5 gives us the believer rejoicing in view of that glory, because he knows he is fit for it. The jailor of Philippi wakes up when the glory of the Lord comes in, and he cries out, “What must I do to be saved?” —he sees his own unfitness for that glory.
Repentance is the soul judging itself before God—owning it is, what God says it is, a totally lost sinner. It was to save the lost that Jesus came. When once I discover I am lost, I am glad to look outside myself for a deliverer, a Saviour. It is a beautiful thing to see a soul going down, and owning itself lost, and really anxious. Are you anxious, my friend? I have two distinct words from the Lord for anxious souls, “Fear not.”
“Fear not,” says the angel, “I have for you tonight the very news you need. I bring you tonight tidings which will produce great joy.” The first effect is fear in the presence of God, and then, when the tidings God has to tell fall on the heart, What comes next? Great joy! And oh, I have better tidings for burdened sinners than the angel had for the shepherds. He could tell of a Saviour born; I can tell of the death and resurrection of that Saviour, of the work that has been done whereby the sinner’s redemption is completed, Satan’s power destroyed, death and hell vanquished, and lost man saved!
“To you is born a Saviour.” Now, a Saviour is for the lost! not those who are going to be lost, but who are lost already. God never would have sent a Saviour if man had not been lost, for He is not a helper, but a Saviour. There is one thing Christ absolutely refuses to do—to help a sinner; His saints He helps. The Lord will save a sinner; He will not help him. Help is for a man who can do something. Christ comes down to the sinner when he is dead in his sins, utterly helpless, dies Himself for the sinner’s sins, and saves him.
A Saviour for man—and how does He save? By Himself undergoing the judgment due to man’s sin. He saves by bearing the punishment instead of me, by dying in my place. In bitter derision they cry, as He hangs upon that cross, “Himself He cannot save.” Is it “cannot”? No! no! no! Himself He will not save, that He may save you and me; because if He save Himself, He cannot save man, but He chooses to save man.
On the cross He meets the claims of God, He does that which can eternally redeem you, and then He expires. He dies as no other man ever died. Not in weakness, but in strength; He cries with a loud voice, and gives up His spirit to God. And then the grave receives Him, But does it hold Him? No, it cannot; He comes forth again conqueror over it, risen from the dead, and by His resurrection proving that the sinner’s Substitute is free.
An angel comes down again at His resurrection, as at His birth. He rolls away the stone. To let Jesus out? Far be the thought! It is to let us look in and see an empty tomb—to see that He who died is dead no longer, that He is risen.
Why is it there is such profound silence here? Angels praise at His birth, but at His resurrection there is no praise. The angels seem to stand back now and say, “It is for you to sing; He did not die for us, He died for you.”
He died, He rose, and now He is on the throne of God. What are you going to do, now you have heard of Him? Mark what the shepherds did, “And it came to pass as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” The moment they heard the tidings they said, “Let us go and see!”
Where can you see the Saviour now? In Bethlehem? No! Upon the cross? No! In the grave? No! In Galilee? No! Where, then? Up in the glory at the right hand of God.
“And they came with haste.” They lose no time; they are not even exhorted to come; they are so earnest to come, they need no exhortation. They are splendid gospel listeners. They came and found. It is what always happens. They who seek find! Oh, cannot you picture that scene! Bowed down before Jesus, the Babe in the manger!
They have heard, believed, sought, found, accepted, praised, and worshipped God, and now they make known abroad the good news: We have sought and found the Saviour, a Babe in Bethlehem, but our Saviour!
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
They were anxious sinners; are calmed by the words “Fear not;” they hear about the Saviour, they seek Him, they find Him, they worship Him, and they return, praising God for all they have heard and seen.

Extract: Judged First

The nearer a man is to God, the more solemnly and speedily will he be judged for any evil. This need not afford any encouragement to the worldling, for, as the Apostle says,
“If judgment first begin at us, what shall the end be of those that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 1 Peter 4:17-18.
If God judges His people, what shall become of the poor worldling? This is a startling inquiry.
C. H. M.

"Jesus … Having Loved His Own … He Loved Them Unto the End"

These precious words are found in John 13:1. Most of us know that “to the end” there means on and on, through every day. That is, He has loved and loves us with a love that nothing can stop; nothing can make Him cease to love us. We are loved with a love that will never cease to love us!
It is a little remarkable too, right in that connection, we find a passage in Hebrews 13 which says, “Let brotherly love continue.” What does that mean? Just exactly what it says: that it is to continue—to never cease. Our brethren cannot act worse toward us, nor we toward them, than the disciples did toward the Lord. “This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12. This means that we are to love our brethren in the same way—the same manner—on and on—through and through— in spite of everything.
The way in which this love has to manifest itself, of course, has to do with the way in which others conduct themselves. We find John lying on the Saviour’s breast, and we find Peter denying Him with oaths and cursing. He loved them both with the same love, but that love had to manifest itself according to the ways of each. I speak of the principle now. Of John it is written: “He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto Him, Lord, who is it?” John 13:25. Here is intercourse—communion.
What about Peter’s denying Him with oaths and cursing? Is there communion there? Oh, no. The cock crows and he remembers the words that Jesus spake unto him, and their eyes meet. That is, Peter’s eye catches the Lord’s eye, and the Lord’s eye catches Peter’s. What is the result? The poor failing one went out and wept bitterly. The Lord’s love to Peter was not one whit less when he was denying Him than at any other time.
I was thinking a little of Martha’s service to the Lord; it had become a burden. (Luke 10:40-42.) When service to the Lord becomes a burden it loses its worth in His sight. And when does it become a burden? When love to Himself is not the spring, so we hear the dear soul saying, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.” She wants help. Her service has become a burden because He is not known as He should be, though in a sense He is the object of service; nevertheless it is a burden.
Then there is that wonderful servant of God, Elijah. It is very interesting to note when we first meet him and when we leave him. He comes before us first directly from the presence of the Lord. Out of a hidden place he comes forth to speak; no one ever heard of him before, according to the record given in Scripture. He comes before us in this way: “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1. A passage from the New Testament (James 5:17) tells us he had been in communion with God about it. It was his love to the Lord’s people, and his love to the Lord, that led him to say in substance, “Lord, if nothing else will bring the people to their senses—to a sense of their sin—withhold the rain.” It was a hard thing to ask, yet it was love that led to it. He got the answer.
Elijah goes on, and after a while we find him leaving this world, and oh what a departure! He is carried to heaven in a chariot of fire. Next we see him, not going to heaven, but in the glory itself, and there with the Lord and with Moses. (Matt. 17:3.) But what preceded his going to heaven that way? He was a man overcome with evil. What! you say, a man that went to heaven in a chariot of fire, and was seen on the mount of glory, and in the glory with the Lord and Moses, was overcome of evil? Yes, he was, and there is nothing more easy than for a godly heart to be overcome of evil if there is not the continuance of love. You say, How was he overcome of evil? What do we find him doing? Making intercession against Israel! (Rom. 11:2.) “Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” Then he asked to die. He was overcome of evil in that way.
We are told to not be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21.) That love with which we are loved, and the love with which we are to love, is the love of Christ—it never can be over come of evil. Do we not feel the danger of being overcome with evil, being cast down, when we see evil coming in like a flood?
Now in John 13 it says, “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” Then what did He do? He laid aside His garments, poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He had girded Himself. Instead of being all carried away with the thought that “now I am going to leave the world and depart to the Father,” He was thinking of them. He says, as it were, I know I will be up there, but I will not be happy without their fellowship and communion, and without My services I cannot have it, so I will just suit Myself to their need; I will take a position—an attitude—toward them that will maintain them in fellowship with Me while absent from them, until they need not that kind of service any more. His is a love that never for a moment forgets its object. Oh what a humbling, blessed truth! how we feel more and more our utter unworthiness of it! Nothing humbles like grace—like love. That is the love we are loved with.
After He had rendered them that service—a type of the service in which He is now engaged in order to sustain us in communion with Himself which, so to speak, His love cannot do without—He sat down. All this took place in that upper chamber.
This is the only place that I remember that the Lord calls the attention of the disciples to the fact that He is their Lord and Master. “Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye ought also to wash one another’s feet.” verses 12-14. Never had He said this before. Then He says, “If ye know these things” —what?— “happy are ye?” No it does not say that. There is a little word of two letters in there that is important: “If ye know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them.” Do what? Wash one another’s feet.
Now we all know, if we know what communion with Christ is, that there is no such thing as going on with Him without His doing for us what He did for His disciples. It is utterly impossible for us to restore our souls. “He restoreth my soul.” We are dependent on Him for the restoration of the soul as well as for its salvation. We cannot get on without this service—we cannot get on without the Lord. There is another thing, brethren: we cannot get on with one another without knowing how to do it with one another.
He says distinctly, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” And how often have we felt the communion broken—a cloud between. How is it going to be removed? There is just one way, and that is to put the feet into His hands. That is all. We will never get the cloud removed in any other way. “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” Just so, unless there is this service one to another, there is no going on with one another. Think of the love that we are loved with: the love of Christ.
What the heart feels the need of is personal communion with Christ. What He looks for and values above everything else is personal devotedness to Himself; and no amount of service can ever compensate, can ever make up to Him, for communion with Himself. If there is devotedness, there will be communion; if there is communion, there will be service.
Thoughts from W.P.

Extract: The Price

It will cost something to follow the Lord Jesus; it will cost much more not to do so.

Answers to Questions on Page 512

Apollos was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures.” Acts 18:24. He is the only man spoken of as “eloquent” in the whole Word of God. This man had been converted, was well-read in the Scriptures, and had a fervent spirit. He labored diligently according to the light he had, but he needed to be better instructed in the way of God. He received this instruction at Ephesus and then went to Corinth where he labored after the Apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul speaks of himself as having planted the seed, and of Apollos as watering it, but only God gave the increase—made it grow.
Moses pleaded with God that he was not eloquent when God told him to go to Pharoah. Forty years before this, Moses started out in his natural strength to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage. When his own courage failed, he fled. Then after forty years God calls him to go to “bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt.” Now he was reluctant to go and used his lack of eloquence as a reason for not going. God reproved him for this, saying, “Who hath made man’s mouth?  ... have not I the Lord?” (See Ex. 2:11-22; 4:10-16.)
Thus we see that while Apollos had great ability to convince people with his words, only God could make his labor fruitful. Apart from God’s blessing, the greatest human oratory is worthless in the things of God. Mere human persuasiveness cannot do the work of God. He may use an eloquent man, but it is He Himself who works. The converse is also true; God may use a man who lacks eloquence, but again it is God who works. He can give the word of wisdom, or He may bless a very faltering word. May we neither disparage gift, nor think of it more highly than we ought.

The Editor's Column

It is harvest time again and there are lessons to be learned from observing the harvest. Last year I had the opportunity of viewing vast rolling hills covered with ripening wheat. In that section the harvest time had almost come. Some of the fields appeared to be ready to harvest, but in most of them there were some green spots. Some places were fully ripe, but harvesting had to be delayed until the whole was ready. I wondered why all the fields were not ready at the same time and what caused the decided green spots here and there. Then it was observed that the green spots were in the valleys where they had more moisture; this evidently delayed the ripening process, and so delayed the whole harvest.
One was reminded of those verses in Revelation 14 where the Lord is shown returning as the Son of Man to execute judgment on the earth. An angel calls for Him to thrust in His sickle and reap, “for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe,” or “dried.” It is more than just “ripe”; it is fully “dried” then. At that time there will be no green spots which hold back harvesting. The last days are here and the world is ripening for judgment. There are still a few green spots where God is feared, but these are fast drying up. There are some places where they may have had a little more moisture—the Word of God having effect on God-fearing souls—which God sees, but surely He sees the green spots fast fading out. Very soon the Lord shall come into the air and call His redeemed ones to meet Him there, leaving the world to ripen faster and faster. Judgment is His strange work and He waits in utmost long-suffering until the earth’s wickedness has become fully ripe.
In the days of Abraham God said that He would dispossess the Amorites but not yet, for their iniquity was not full. In time it was full and judgment came. In the days of Lot He came down to see the wickedness of Sodom. Evidently that place was ripe for judgment for He had only to send angels to drag Lot, his wife, and two daughters out before the fire fell. He could not find ten righteous persons there. May we discern the time in which we live and seek to rescue souls from the coming judgment; but remember, Lot’s testimony to others was ruined by his walk with the wicked world.

What Is, and How Did Man Acquire Conscience? Part 2

In the creation, as at first, man lacked the knowledge of evil, and his state was beautiful, and he was happy. At present man has lost that simplicity; he is mature. He knows evil; he is acquainted with the contrast between right and wrong; but he is a fallen creature, he loves the evil, and cannot do the good. When we say fallen, we mean fallen from God, and from that condition in which God set him. Man gained knowledge by his fall. “The Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” Genesis 3:22. The knowledge is unquestionable, but, together with the knowledge, there is a nature contrary to God, which loves iniquity. What kind of development shall this be called?
To the Christian it is said, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Not innocence regained, nor a return to the first state, but righteousness and true holiness. For man has acquired the knowledge of good and evil. Never to lose that knowledge, but in Christ he is no longer under the power of evil. And in the future the believer will possess the knowledge of good and evil, yet without a desire after the evil, and rejoicing in the good. That will be perfection. Even in this scene of sin, and having the flesh in him, the man in Christ is shown the path of perfect bliss below.
How came man by his conscience? By disobedience. He stole his knowledge, and thus his eyes were opened. Disobedience was the key wherewith the door into the world was unlocked. Paradise was not the world, but the garden of earth; but when man’s eyes were opened to the fatal knowledge of evil, he feared and fled from God; and so the world began, and so it develops. Man’s knowledge condemned him, and condemns him still. The one step over the boundary-line set him where the darkness reigns.
Adam, made upright by God, and never having an idea of evil till he disobeyed, not acquainted as are we with sin from childhood, must have had a conscience of exceeding sensitiveness. Man now is used to evil, is well versed in sin, he learns it alas! from his childhood. It comes naturally to him without education, for he is born in sin, and shapen in iniquity. It is as he is instructed in right, and taught of God, that he becomes sensitive to wrong. There is a vast moral difference between those first hours in the world, when conscience awoke in man, and these last days, when it is a subject for infidel analysis.
But there is one thing respecting the sensitive and refined conscience which is self-evident—conscience is not strength. If it be a light within, showing to man the right path, it is a light to feet which are paralyzed— “How to perform  ... I find not.” Conscience makes men “cowards,” and miserable. To be sure, a man may pride himself upon a clear conscience, and we do not deny that many men not “in Christ” possess consciences so high class and refined, that they put many Christians to shame. They would not do willfully an evil thing for any consideration. But this must not be mistaken for new life in Christ. Surely, if Adam, as he was just after his fall, could see the world as it now is, he would be astonished at its low order of conscience; and it is astonishing that even infidels can really believe the doctrine of the evolution of conscience, and credit the theory that man’s conscience is today nearer perfection than it was six thousand years ago.
Now when the Spirit of God works within a man, He begins with the conscience. True, some are apparently moved through their emotions, others through their minds; but man is gained for God through the conscience. In little children the affections do usually seem to be first reached, but in them the knowledge of good and evil is comparatively slight, and it is invariably the case with the child, that with the growth in grace there is increased sensitiveness as to the evil of sin. If a man’s emotions or mind only be reached, there is no solid foundation within him. The deeper the conscience-work, the firmer will the building stand. Man’s departure from God was by disobedience, his first hidings from God were because of the fears of his conscience; and God begins with man where man left Him. Man’s way of return to God is by obeying the gospel, and his first laying bare of himself is the cry wrought in him by the pangs of his conscience— “I have sinned.”
It is a horrible deceit of infidelity, which bids us believe that the cry, “I have sinned,” is my development as a creature! It is the responsible creature now coming to his senses, awaking to the sense of what he has done in the sight of God. Quite true, I ought to be good, and to love God and to hate sin, but alas! I have sinned.
Now that kind of gospel preaching which lets the conscience alone, or only deals softly with it, will produce only unreal or weakly converts. There is no going on for an hour with God unless the conscience be right with Him. And this is very true of the Christian, as of the unconverted. The latter may become a nominal Christian, and be apparently all that is required, but until the Spirit of God applies the living and powerful word to the conscience, and lays all bare, a man is no nearer to God than Adam was when he was hiding from God. And with the Christian; unless his conscience be right before God, he cannot have communion with God. He has life in Christ, but so long as his conscience is not right with God, he is like a man asleep, or a ship ashore.
Conscience is the sense of right and wrong, and for those who have heard of God, this sense in relation to God. Christian consciousness is the sensibility to right and wrong. As the sense of the thing itself increases within us, so does our sensibility to it grow. Some heathens do not possess any consciousness that it is wrong to steal—they try not to be found out, but a monkey will learn to hide what he purloins. Now hiding the treasure lest it should be taken away, or lest punishment should ensue, is totally different from the moral consciousness that to steal is an evil thing. The Lord Jesus tells us that to look and long is like doing the very sin itself, and it is written of the effect produced by the law upon the quickened soul. “I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
As the believer grows in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord, he becomes more acute in his consciousness. He mourns over the sins of the soul. It is not punishment that he fears, but he grieves that he has done wrong against his God. It was this acute consciousness which made the Apostle exercise himself day and night in keeping a clear conscience before God and man. With too many there is such sloth of spirit—resulting from so little communion—that there is remarkably little exercise in keeping the conscience clear. The blood of Christ has purged our consciences. We know good and evil, but do not fear God, for we know that the blood of His Son has satisfied the righteousness of God. We do not ever fear a man who has nothing against us, and we do not fear God since He is entirely for us. He gave His Son for us, who shed His blood for us. Our consciences, instructed by the Spirit of God concerning the death of Christ, know together with God, that God has not one thing whatever against us.
Such clearness of conscience in the presence of our holy and gracious God surely leads to increased consciousness of every kind of evil thing. The window of the Christian’s soul is unshuttered: he wishes the light to shine in, and his earnest desire is to keep every speck and spot from off the glass of that window; therein doth he exercise himself. H. F. W.

Can You Answer These Questions?

You may check your answers with those given on pages 558 and 559.
1. What king of Judah was prophetically named over 300 years before he was born?
2. What was prophesied that he would do?
3. What Persian king was mentioned by name many years before he was born?
4. What was he to do?

Extract: Waiting on the Lord

It is better to wait on the Lord than run before Him; and we are never the worse off that He should take the first step. Our happy place is always confidence in His love.
W. K.

Brethren Alienated!

The whip and the scourge may be righteous, but there is no winning the heart of man with these. Nor is it righteousness which reigns among the saints of God, but grace, through righteousness, unto eternal life. Alas! how many sins that might have been washed away (John 13) have been retained! How many brethren alienated for all time, that might have been won back to God and to us, because we have hammered at the conscience merely, with the heart ungained—with the heart, I may say, almost unsought! We have not overcome evil, because we have not overcome it with good. We have taken readily the judge’s chair, and have got back judgment; but the Master’s lowly work we have little done.
But how little yet do we understand that mere righteous dealing—absolute righteousness, as it may be—will not work the restoration of souls; that judgment, however temperate, and however true, will not touch, and soften, and subdue hearts to receive instruction, that, by the very facts of the case, are shown not to be in their true place before God. Man is not all conscience; and conscience reached, with the heart away, will do what it did with the first sinner among men—drive him out among the trees of the garden, to escape the unwelcome voice.
J. N. D.

Devotedness of Women

The woman who anointed the Lord (Matt. 26) was not informed of the circumstances about to happen, nor was she a prophetess. But the approach of that hour of darkness was felt by one whose heart was fixed on Jesus.  ... But the perfectness of Jesus, which drew out the enmity, drew out the affection in her; and she (so to speak) reflected the perfectness in the affection; and as that perfectness was put in action and drawn to light by the enmity, so was her affection. Thus Christ’s heart could not but meet it. Jesus, by reason of this enmity, was still more the object that occupied a heart which, doubtless led of God, instinctively apprehended what was going on  ...
But yet a few words more on the woman who anointed Him. The effect of having the heart fixed in affection on Jesus is shown in her in a striking manner. Occupied with Him, she is sensible of His situation. She feels what affects Him; and this causes her affection to act in accordance with the special devotedness which that situation inspires. As hatred against Him rose up to murderous intent, the spirit of devotedness to Him grows in answer to it in her. Consequently, with the tact of devotedness, she does precisely that which was suited to His situation. The poor woman was not intelligently aware of this; yet she did the thing that was meet. Her value for the Person of Jesus, so infinitely precious to her, made her quick-sighted with respect to that which was passing in His mind. In her eyes Christ was invested with all the interest of His circumstances; and she lavishes upon Him that which expressed her affection. Fruit of this sentiment, her action met the circumstances; and although it was but the instinct of her heart, Jesus gives it all the value which His perfect intelligence could attribute to it, embracing at once the sentiments of her heart and the coming events.
But this testimony of affection and devotedness to Christ brings out the selfishness, the want of heart, of the others. They blame the poor woman. Sad proof (to say nothing of Judas) how little the knowledge of that which concerns Jesus necessarily awakens suitable affection in our hearts!  ... But the narrative goes on. Some poor women—to whom devotedness often gives, on God’s part, more courage than to men in their more responsible and busy position were standing near the cross, beholding what was done to Him they loved. (Matt. 27:55-56.)
The part that women take in all this history is very instructive, especially to them. The activity of public service, that which may be called “work,” belongs naturally to men (all that appertains to what is generally termed ministry), although women share a very precious activity in private. But there is another side of Christian life which is particularly theirs; and that is personal and loving devotedness to Christ. It is a woman who anointed the Lord while the disciples murmured; women, who were at the cross, when all except John had forsaken Him; women, who came to the sepulcher, and who were sent to announce the truth to the apostles who had gone after all to their own home; women, who ministered to the Lord’s need. And indeed this goes further. Devotedness in service is perhaps the part of man; but the instinct of affection, that which enters more intimately into Christ’s position, and is thus more intimately in connection with His sentiments, in closer communion with the sufferings of His heart—this is the part of woman: assuredly a happy part. The activity of service for Christ puts man a little out of this position, at least if the Christian is not watchful. Everything has however its place. I speak of that which is characteristic; for there are women who have served much, and men who have felt much. Note also here, what I believe I have remarked, that this clinging of heart to Jesus is the position where the communications of true knowledge are received. The first full gospel is announced to the poor woman that was a sinner who washed His feet, the embalming for His death to Mary, our highest position to Mary Magdalene, the communion Peter desired to John who was in His bosom. And here the women have a large share.
J. N. D.

Extract: Focusing on Circumstances

Man looks not beyond the circumstances which surround him. To tarry in circumstances is unbelief; affliction springs not out of the dust. Satan is behind the circumstances to set us on; but, behind all that, God is there to break our wills.

"Abide in Me"

John 15:4
Christian, wouldst thou fruitful be?
Jesus says, “Abide in Me”;
From Him all thy fruit is found—
May it to God’s praise abound.
Christian, wouldst thou happy be?
Jesus says, “Abide in Me”;
He is thine exceeding joy,
Bliss divine without alloy.
Christian, wouldst thou holy be?
Jesus says, “Abide in Me”;
Sanctified in Him thou art 
Sanctify Him in your heart.
Christian, this thy motto be,
Jesus says, “Abide in Me”;
Grace and strength from Him receive,
As a branch in Jesus live.
Soon shalt thou thy Master see,
Hear Him say, “Abide with Me,
In My Father’s house above,
In the bosom of His love.”
J G. D.

"Jacob Have I Loved," and "Jacob Was Left Alone"

Genesis 32:24-32
In tracing the history of Jacob, and in contemplating his natural character, we are again and again reminded of the grace expressed in those words, “Jacob have I loved.” The question why God should love such a one, can only receive for an answer the boundless and sovereign grace of Him who sets His love upon objects possessing nothing within them; and who calls things that be not, as though they were; “that no flesh should glory in His presence.” Jacob’s natural character was most unamiable; his name indeed was at once the effusion of what he was, “a supplanter.” He commenced his course in the development of this, his disposition; and until thoroughly crushed, as in these verses, he pursued a course of the merest bargain-making.
On leaving his father’s house Jacob makes a bargain with God. “If God,” says he, “will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.” Genesis 28:20-22. Here we find him making a bargain with God Himself, the full evidence of what his real character was. Then again, mark him during the period of his sojourn with Laban; see there what plans, what deep-laid schemes to promote his own ends. How plainly it is seen that self was the grand object before his mind, in all that he put his hand to. So it is in the course of this thirty-second chapter. He is deeply engaged in plans to turn away the dreaded wrath of his more manly, though badly treated, brother Esau.
But there was one circumstance with regard to Jacob in this chapter which deserves attention. He is seen laboring under the painful effects of a bad conscience, with regard to his brother; he knew that he had acted toward him in a way calculated to call out his anger and revenge, and he is therefore ill at ease at the prospect of meeting him. But God had a controversy with Jacob. He had to lead him through a course of education that was to teach him that “all flesh is grass.” Jacob thought only of appeasing Esau by a present. True, he turns aside in this chapter to offer up confession, and prays yet, notwithstanding it is manifest that his heart was engaged about his own arrangements for appeasing Esau, more than anything else. But God was looking at him in all this, and preparing a salutary course of discipline for him, in order to teach him what was in his heart. For this purpose was Jacob left alone. All his company, arranged according to his own plan, had passed on, and he himself was awaiting this much-dreaded interview with Esau.
There is peculiar force in the words, “Jacob was left alone.” Thus is it with all who have been trained in the school of God; they have been brought in the stillness and solitude of the divine presence, there to view themselves and their ways where alone they can be rightly viewed. Had Jacob continued amid the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the oxen, he could not by any means have enjoyed the same calm and sober view of himself and his past course as he was led to in the secret of the presence of God. “Jacob was left alone.” Oh there is no part of a man’s history so important as when he is thus led into the solitude of the divine presence! It is there he understands things which were before dark and inexplicable. There he can judge of men and things in their proper light; there too he can judge of self, and see its proper nothingness and vileness.
In Psalm 73 we find a soul looking abroad upon the world and reasoning upon what he saw there—reasoning to such an extent that he was almost tempted to say it was vain to serve the Lord at all.
In Psalm 77 we find a soul looking inward, and reasoning upon what he saw within—reasoning to such an extent as to question the continuance of God’s grace. What was the remedy in both cases? “The sanctuary.” I went into the sanctuary of God; and then understood. So it was with Jacob; his “sanctuary” was the lonely spot where God wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. The careful reader will find in this passage, when taken as it stands, affords no foundation for the popular idea, namely, that it furnishes an instance of Jacob’s power in prayer. That no such idea is set forth will at once appear from the expression, “There wrestled a man with him”; it is not said that he wrestled with the man, which would give an entirely different aspect to the scene. I believe that, so far from its proving Jacob’s power in prayer, it rather proves the tenacity with which he grasped the flesh and the things thereof. So firmly indeed did he hold fast his “confidence in the flesh,” that all night long the struggle continued. “The supplanter” held out, nor did he yield until the very seat of his strength was touched, and he was made to feel indeed that “all flesh is grass.” Such is the obvious teaching of this very important scripture. Instead of Jacob’s patience and perseverance in prayer, we have God’s patience in dealing with one who needed to have his “old man” crushed to the very dust ere God could make anything of him.
This momentous scene gives us the grand turning-point in the life of this extraordinary man. We are here reminded of Saul’s conversion: Jacob, with the hollow of his thigh touched, like Saul, prostrate in the dust between Jerusalem and Damascus. We observe on the one hand the broken fragments of “a supplanter,” and the elements of God’s mighty “prince”; on the other hand the fragments of a persecutor and injurious one, and the elements of God’s mighty Apostle. And we may ask, what means the expression, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me”? What but the utterance of one that had made the wondrous discovery that he was “without strength”? Jacob was let into the secret of human weakness, and therefore felt that it must be a divine struggle or nothing. He thinks no more of his goodly plans and arrangements, his presents to appease “my lord Esau.” No; he stands withered and trembling before the One who had humbled him, and cries, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.” Surely this is the gate of heaven! Jacob had, as it were, arrived at the end of flesh; it is no longer “me,” but “Thee.” He clings to Christ as the poor shipwrecked mariner clings to the rock. All self-confidence is gone, all expectations from self and the world blasted, every chain of self-devised security dissolved like a morning cloud before the beams of the sun. All his bargains availed him nothing at all. How miserable must everything that even he did have seemed to him; yes, even his offer to give a tenth to God, when thus laid in the dust of self-abasement and conscious weakness!
The mighty Wrestler says, “Let Me go, for the day breaketh.” What a striking expression, “Let Me go.” He was determined to make manifest the condition of Jacob’s soul. If Jacob had without delay let go his grasp, he would have proved that his heart was still wrapped up in his worldly plans and schemes; but on the contrary, when he cries out, “I will not let Thee go,” he declares that God alone was the spring of all his soul’s joy and strength; He in effect says, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee”; or with the twelve in the sixth chapter of John, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”
“I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.” Such will ever be the happy effect of a thorough acquaintance with our own hearts. Jacob now gets his name changed; he must not be any longer known as “the supplanter,” but as “a prince,” having power with God through the very knowledge of his weakness; for “when I am weak, then am I strong.” We are never so strong as when we feel ourselves weak, even as “water spilt upon the ground, that cannot be gathered up again;” and, on the contrary, we are never so weak as when we fancy ourselves strong. Peter never displayed more lamentable weakness than when he fancied he had uncommon strength: had he felt somewhat of Jacob’s happy condition when his sinew shrank, he would have thought, acted, and spoken differently.
We should not turn from this passage without at least seeing distinctly what it was that gave Jacob “power with God and with man”; it was the full consciousness of his own nothingness. Who that hearkens for a moment to those precious words, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me,” and beholds the humbled patriarch clinging closely to the One who had broken him down, can fail to see that Jacob’s “power” consisted in his “weakness”? There is nothing here of Jacob’s power in prayer. No; all we see is, first, Jacob’s strength in the flesh, and God weakening him; then, his weakness in the flesh, and God strengthening him. This is indeed the great moral of the scene. Jacob was satisfied to go “halting” on his journey, seeing he had learned the secret of true strength. He was able to move along, using the words afterward uttered by the Apostle Paul: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Yes, “my infirmities” on the one hand, and “the power of Christ” on the other, will be found to constitute the sum total of the life of a Christian.
C. H. M.

"I Will Give You Rest … and Ye Shall Find Rest"

In Matthew 11, the perverseness of the generation that had rejected John the Baptist’s testimony, and that of the Son of Man come in grace and associating Himself in grace with the Jews, opens the door to the testimony of the glory of the Son of God, and to the revelation of the Father by Him in sovereign grace—a grace that could make Him known as efficaciously to a poor Gentile as to a Jew. It was no longer a question of responsibility to receive, but of sovereign grace that imparted to whomsoever it would.
Jesus knew man, the world, the generation which had enjoyed the greatest advantages of all that were in the world. There was no place for the foot to rest on in the miry slough of that which had departed from God. In the midst of a world of evil Jesus remained the sole revealer of the Father, the source of all good. Whom does He call? What does He bestow on those who come? Only source of blessing and revealer of the Father, He calls all those who are weary and heavy laden. Perhaps they did not know the spring of all misery, namely, separation from God, sin. He knew, and He alone could heal them. If it was the sense of sin which burdened them, so much the better. Every way the world no longer satisfied their hearts; they were miserable, and therefore the objects of the heart of Jesus. Moreover, He would give them rest; He does not here explain by what means; He simply announces the fact. The love of the Father, which in grace, in the person of the Son, sought out the wretched, would bestow rest (not merely alleviation or sympathy, but rest) on every one that came to Jesus. It was the perfect revelation of the Father’s name to the heart of those that needed it; and that by the Son—peace, peace with God. They had but to come to Christ: He undertook all and gave rest.
But there is a second element in rest. There is more than peace through the knowledge of the Father in Jesus. And more than that is needed; for, even when the soul is perfectly at peace with God, this world presents many causes of trouble to the heart. In these cases it is a question of submission or of self-will. Christ, in the consciousness of His rejection, in the deep, sorrow caused by the unbelief of the cities in which He had wrought so many miracles, had just manifested the most entire submission to His Father, and had found therein perfect rest to His soul. To this He calls all that heard Him, all that felt the need of rest to their own souls. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me,” that is to say, the yoke of entire submission to His Father’s will, learning of Him how to meet the troubles of life; for He was “meek and lowly in heart,” content to be in the lowest place at the will of His God. In fact nothing can overthrow one who is there. It is the place of perfect rest to the heart. “And ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Answers to the Questions on Page 540

Josiah was the king of Judah. In the days of Jeroboam (shortly after the death of Solomon) a prophet of God was sent from Judah to Bethel to prophesy against Jeroboam’s idolatrous altar. He cried against the altar, “a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places  ... and men’s bones shall be burned upon thee.” 1 Kings 13:2. About 320 years later Josiah was born. He was only eight years old when he began to reign, and he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. When he was twelve years old he began to purge Judah of the high places and images. “And he burnt the bones of the priests upon the altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali.” 2 Chronicles 34:1-7. Thus was the prophecy fulfilled.
Cyrus, king of Persia, was mentioned by name in the prophecy of Isaiah. “That saith of Cyrus, He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundations shall be laid. ... I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” Isaiah 44:28-45:3. Jerusalem and the Temple had not been destroyed in the days of Isaiah the prophet, although he speaks of Cyrus ordering the rebuilding of them. The prophecy was given approximately 150 years before Cyrus was born.
In the last verse of 2 Chronicles “Cyrus king of Persia” says, “the Lord God of heaven  ... hath charged me to build Him an house in Jerusalem.” Then in the first chapter of Ezra is given the account of Cyrus’s actions in direct fulfillment of prophecy.


The Lord Jesus came down to associate with the poorest and feeblest on earth. He is now gone on high to associate with Himself there those who were once, possibly, the worst on earth, now with Himself above, cleansed, of course (need we say it?) cleansed by water and blood.

The Editor's Column

The investigation into the Palestinian problem which is now under way by the United Nations Investigating Committee is the nineteenth investigation in 29 years. None before has ever accomplished any permanent good and this one is not likely to produce any satisfactory solution either. The differences between the parties contending for control of “the promised land” are irreconcilable. The Jews (although out of it because of God’s governmental dealings) naturally look at it as their land, and demand the lifting of restrictions on immigration so that the 200,000 displaced Jews in Europe can come in. They also want an independent government of their own, or at least one controlled by themselves. The Arabs on the other hand demand that Jewish immigration (even the very limited amount called “legal”) be stopped and that they retain the two-to-one majority they now enjoy. They likewise want a separate government for Palestine, but demand Arab control. Thus the old struggle between Ishmael and Isaac goes on.
Great Britain would gladly make Palestine a real homeland for the Jews, but this can only be done by sheer weight of military might against the most stubborn opposition of the Arabs. This would alienate all the Arabs of the surrounding countries and endanger British interests. Therefore any country that undertakes to settle the affairs of Palestine will bring down the wrath of either the one or the other of the parties involved, or perhaps even of both.
The Jews are still suffering for having cast the “Heir” out of His inheritance, and for that fateful word, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” The international Jewish problem has without doubt been an underlying cause of much trouble in the world, and it is increasingly evident that man cannot solve it—God will not permit it. Much of the trouble ahead for the world will focus in and around Palestine.

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible

In this book we have all the great principles of God’s relationship with man, without bringing in redemption which makes a people for God and a dwelling-place for God in man. You never, save in chapter 2:3, get the word holiness in Genesis; and you never have God dwelling with men.
Creation is first treated of; then innocence, lordship, and marriage, the figure of union with Christ. Next we have the fall, man’s sin against God, and then in Cain, man’s sin against his brother. There is, at the same time, a witness of certain righteous persons, Abel in sacrifice, Enoch in life, and Noah in testimony of approaching judgment. You then get the complete corruption of the whole system, and the deluge.
Having had in Enoch a figure of the church, we get in Noah deliverance through judgment, and then the new world begins, God entering into covenant with it, and government introduced to prevent violence; but the governor fails, and God’s plans as to the races of men are brought out. We find God making nations, in consequence of man’s attempt to remain united, so as to be independent. In the midst of these nations we have, in Nimrod, imperial power, individual and despotic, connected with Babel, the place of man’s wickedness. In point of fact, the division of mankind into nations comes by judgment.
Shem’s family having been owned on the earth—the Lord God of Shem, national existence is recognized as the principle of the constitution of the earth, God’s arrangement. He now begins an entirely new thing. He calls out from that which He has constituted an individual to be the head of a blest race, whether fleshly or spiritual. Whatever individual saints there had thus far been, there had been no counterpart of Adam as the head of a race. This Abraham was. Election, calling, and promise are connected with this; consequently you have Abraham, a stranger and pilgrim, with nothing but his tent and his altar. He fails, like everybody, but God judges the world—Pharaoh’s house—for him. We then get the distinction between a heavenly-minded and an earthly-minded man; the world having power over the earthly-minded (Lot), and the heavenly one (Abraham) having power over the world. In connection with this we have in Melchizedek the future priest upon his throne, and that as linked with God’s supremacy over heaven and earth. Abraham’s separation from the world having been evinced, Jehovah presents Himself to Abraham as his shield and reward. We then first get the earthly inheritance and people, that is, in promise. Abraham looks for the promise in a fleshly way, and that is all rejected. We have then the promise to Abraham of being the father of many nations, God revealing Himself as God Almighty. We have also His covenant, as thus revealed, with Abraham, and the principle of separation to God by circumcision. Chapter 18 gives the promise of the heir, and the judgment of the world (Sodom), and the connection with God, about it, of the heavenly people (Abraham) by intercession; while in chapter 19 we have the connection with the judgment of the earthly people (Lot), saved as by fire through the tribulation. What follows this, chapter 20, is the absolute appropriation of the wife, whether Jerusalem or the heavenly bride, as the spouse of the Lord. The old covenant (Hagar) is cast out, and, the heir (Isaac) being come, he takes the land. (Chapter 21.) Chapter 22 begins another series of things. The promised heir being offered up, and the promise confirmed to the seed, Sarah dies. (Chapter 23.) This is the passing away of the old association with God on the earth; and in chapter 24 Eliezer (in figure the Holy Ghost, or His work on earth) is sent to take a wife for Isaac (Christ), who is heir of all things, and Isaac can in nowise return to Mesopotamia. Christ, in taking the church, cannot come down to earth; whereas, the moment we get Jacob, we get the head of the twelve tribes, who goes to Mesopotamia for Rachel and Leah, typical of Israel and the Gentiles. Jacob is the elect, but not the heavenly people; he goes back to Canaan, gets the promises, with all sorts of exercises, as Israel will, but, if he does, he must give up old Israel (Rachel) to get Benjamin, the son of his right hand.
In the brief notice of Esau’s offering we find the world in vigor and energy before God’s people are; and then commences another history, that of Joseph, affording a distinct development of Christ connected with Israel, rejected by Israel, and sold to the Gentiles. He comes thus to be the head, having the throne, and governing all Egypt. He has done with Israel, receives a Gentile wife, and calls his children by names typical of Christ’s rejection and blessing outside Israel when rejected; but he receives back his brethren in the glory. This part closes with two distinct testimonies, the will of Joseph about his bones, and Jacob’s prophecy that they will all be back in the land and the promises to Israel be fulfilled.
In this book we find God visiting His people; redemption, and the establishment of relationships with His people, whether it be by the testing of law, or the arrangements of grace, by which He could bear with them, with the distinct purpose of dwelling in them, and, moreover, of making them dwell in a place He had prepared for them. All this is connected with four immense principles—redemption, bringing to God, God’s dwelling among them, and consequently holiness. Priesthood is established to maintain the relationship with God when the people cannot be in immediate relation. Connected with all this you have, besides, the judgment of the world, and the final deliverance of the earthly people. With Moses, the man of grace, you have Zipporah, who represents the church, but the children are witnesses of Christ’s abiding connection with Israel.
From the Red Sea to Sinai we find the whole picture of God’s dealings in grace in Christ by the Spirit on to the Millennium itself.
In chapter 19 the people put themselves under law, and get law instead of worship founded on deliverance and grace.
gives us God in the tabernacle, as in the midst of His people, ordering all things that suit their relationship to Him. The feasts represent Him as in the midst of the people, a circle round Himself.
treats of the journey through the wilderness, with insight into the inheritance (for us heavenly), and a full prospect of all God’s ways in bringing them in, and of Christ Himself as the One who is to reign. Reference is made in this last remark to Pisgah, and to Balaam’s prophecy.
A recapitulation of all God’s ways and dealings with Israel, as motives to insist on obedience, and to put the people on moral grounds in direct relationship with Himself. The three great feasts (ch. 16) have this character. The testing character of the law is stated, and at the same time the purpose of God in blessing in spite of failure under the law is revealed; closing with the prophetic blessing of Israel, in respect to their then present condition.
J. N. D.
(To be continued)

Can You Answer These Questions?

You may check your answers with those given on pages 586 and 587.
1. In what book in the Bible is the name of God not once mentioned?
2. What is the reason for this?

What Did Paul Call "Light Affliction"?

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.
Some modern prophets exhort us to look at “the bright side of things,” so that we may be able to pass comfortably and happily over life’s journey. But if they mean things visible, we may lawfully inquire, “Which is the bright side?” And if they mean things invisible, it is all bright there. In the one case, there is nothing but darkness; in the other, there is no darkness at all. If anyone imagines that he can look at the bright side of things that are seen, he is simply under a miserable delusion. There is not so much as a single ray of true light throughout the wide range of this present evil world, of which Satan is the god and prince. How could there be light in a scene from which the Son of God has been cast out? Impossible. To talk of the bright side of things in a region of sin and death, where Satan reigns, and Christ is rejected, is to offer a flat contradiction to the plainest teaching of Holy Scripture.
But we hardly think it needful to press this point just now. Thank God, those who are taught by His Spirit are not in much danger of being drawn aside by any popular delusion as to human progress, or the improvement of the world. With all who have learned to make the cross of Christ the one standard by which to measure men and things—self and the world, this question is definitively, because divinely, settled.
It is very evident that the blessed Apostle knew nothing about the bright side of things. He does not say, “While we look not at the dark side of things.” Nothing of the kind. He did not look at them at all. He kept his eye steadily fixed on the unseen things. He lived amid those eternal realities of which the living God is the Source, Christ the Center, and simple faith the power of realization. And herein lay the grand secret of what he tells us in the profound and exquisite passage which stands at the head of this paper. It was this that enabled him to regard a long life of unparalleled toil and suffering as “light affliction” and “but for a moment.” Nor this only; it enabled him to see and own that the light and temporary affliction worked for him “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” How striking the contrast between the light and momentary affliction and the weight of glory!
If the reader would form some idea of what the Apostle calls “light affliction,” let him turn for a moment to 2 Corinthians 11, where, to speak after the manner of men, he is reluctantly obliged to allude to his labors and sufferings in order to bring the poor foolish Corinthians to a right sense of things. “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.” And this was “light affliction”! “Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep.” And all this was “light affliction”! “In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren.” And all this was “light affliction”! “In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” And all this was “light affliction”!
Truly, such a record as this may well make us blush to think, much less to speak, of our little trials and difficulties and sorrows and sufferings. And yet the Apostle could not only count them all light, but momentary. But how was this? Was he a stoic? Was he insensible or indifferent? No; he felt it all—could not but feel it. It is the most egregious folly for anyone to say we ought not to feel things. They might just as well tell us we ought not to have a head on our shoulders, a heart in our bosom, or a system of nerves. We may rest assured our Apostle was not one of the visionary school who talk in this way. He was alive to everything, but above it. He felt all, but felt it with God. He was perfectly conscious of the circumstances, but thoroughly superior to them.
But we repeat the question, How was this? What made all that long life of unexampled suffering, toil and conflict to be regarded as light and momentary! Here is the soul-stirring reply: “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.”
Thus it was with Paul, and thus it must be with us. It is this which alone can preserve the balance of the soul while passing through the trials and difficulties, sorrows and conflicts of this present time. If it were not for this, we could never get on. Were we to look at the things which are seen, we should be crushed in spirit and paralyzed in action. To be insensible is impossible; to be indifferent is contemptible; to be superior is the precious privilege of every Christian. As an old pilgrim, who had reached the advanced age of 103, said in reply to a friend, who had made some allusion to all the trials and difficulties of such a very long life, “Yes, yes, there have been trials and difficulties, but I never meddled with them!
Thus it was with Stephen in that splendid scene at the close of Acts 7. He looked not at the things which were seen. He looked steadfastly up into heaven, and what he saw there rendered him superior to his surroundings; and not only superior to them, but a reflector of Christ in them. Thus it must ever be. It is not a miserable selfishness occupied with trials and trying to escape them, but faith occupied with the Man in the glory, and reflecting the beams of His moral glory upon the scene around.
C. H. M.

Jesus, the Saviour

“Oh! Jesus is my Saviour,
‘The Mighty God,’ His name!
To seek and save the lost and vile,
As Son of Man He came.
In all His great atoning work,
The will of God is done;
And God delights, in righteousness,
To bless me by His Son.
“He is the risen Saviour,
Alive for evermore;
He loves to ease the burdened heart
Of each whose sins He bore.
Believe—and God’s salvation sure
Is free to every one;
In manifested righteousness,
He honors thus His Son.”

Them That Dwell in Heaven, Versus Them That Dwell on Earth

Let us look briefly at the expression, “they that dwell on the earth,” which so frequently occurs in the book of Revelation. Is it to be understood as applied universally, or within certain geographical limits, or as expressing the moral condition of a class?
The following are the passages in the book of Revelation in which the expression occurs:
1. “... to try them that dwell upon the earth.” 3:10.
2. “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” 6:10.
3. “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth  ... ” 8:13.
4. “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them,  ... because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” 11:10.
5. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you  ... ” 12:12.
6. “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.  ... And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb  ... ” 13:6-8.
7. “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.  ... And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast,  ... ” 13:12-14.
8. “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth.” 14:6.
9. “... and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” 17:2.
10. “... and they that dwelt on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,  ... ” 17:8.
In reading these passages there is a great deal to intimate that they do express the moral condition of a class. In the original, the participle is invariably used, whether our translators have rendered it “them that dwell on,” or “inhabiters of” the earth. This of itself is presumptive evidence that the expression has reference to quality; that is, that there is a certain class of persons largely introduced into the scene of the Revelation characterized as “dwellers on the earth.” This presumption is greatly strengthened by the dwellers on earth being found in contrast with another class also mentioned in the book of Revelation, “dwellers in heaven” (or literally, “tabernaclers in heaven”). “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (literally, “tabernacle in heaven”). Revelation 13:6. Then follows in verse 8, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” We have indeed in this passage heaven and earth locally contrasted; but is there not a moral contrast between the two classes also—heaven giving its impress to those who tabernacle there, and earth its impress to the dwellers thereon?
But this is not a point to be settled philologically, which is rarely satisfactory to the spiritual mind. It will often be found at fault; whereas dependence on the Holy Ghost, as a present guide into all truth, will furnish the internal evidence for a solid and sound interpretation.
The expression “inhabiters of the earth” cannot well be regarded as universal, because we find the expression “people, kindreds, tongues, and nations,” and in close connection, yet not synonymous with it. “And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” Revelation 11:9-10. (See also 13:6-8; 14:6-7.)
Is the expression to be strictly limited geographically? For that there is a special local sphere, in which the closing scene of the book of Revelation is laid, is apparent to many. Moreover, that by “the earth,” in Revelation, is meant what we regard as the civilized world—that special geographical sphere into which the light has come, and at least externally remained, however it really may have become darkness—is readily conceded. But in allowing all this, the several passages in the book of Revelation where the expression “them that dwell on the earth” occurs will be found easily to bear a moral meaning, namely, a class who, with all the outward profession of the light, acknowledging even the truth of the testimony in the Word of God, both to the present grace of the gospel and to the coming judgment on the world, nevertheless have their interests exclusively on the earth. There may be an actual crisis, as undoubtedly there will be, when this will be clearly manifested; yet, as a principle, it is one of the deepest practical importance to recognize the light in which “dwellers on the earth” are regarded by God.
The two great subjects of the testimony of the Holy Ghost are the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. When these two connected truths are received into the soul by the teaching of the Spirit, they necessarily sever it from the absorbing power of earthly interests. Take the cross, for example. “They are the enemies of the cross of Christ  ... who mind earthly things.” Philippians 3:18-19. On the other hand take the resurrection. “If ye then be risen with Christ  ... set your affections” (the same as mind in the former quotation) “on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2.
The great moral of the gospel, if I may so speak, is heaven as a present enjoyable reality, as the home of our affections, the center of our interests. This is indeed a wondrous truth; but how little do we know the power of it in our souls! The characteristic of our present calling is, that it is “heavenly.” We are addressed as “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.” Our true tabernacle is in heaven; our only Priest is in heaven. The Epistle to the Hebrews sets forth the heavenly worship, which faith alone can recognize in direct contrast with earthly worship, which the senses could recognize. The priest of the Jews was a visible person, the sacrifices tangible objects, the Temple a material structure, all beautiful and orderly, and suitable to the system with which God Himself had connected them; but to faith they are mere shadows of glorious and abiding realities. The heart of man naturally lingers about the shadows; and the full-blown evil of the Judaizing tendency, with which the Apostle dealt so sternly, is now become habitual to the thoughts of Christians, and has helped to form the characteristic of “dwellers on the earth.” Judaism has been taken as the pattern of what men call Christianity; and thus Christianity itself is regarded as a mere improvement or refinement of Judaism, instead of being regarded, as the Apostle regards it, as its direct contrast. The new piece has been added to the old garment and the rent is become worse. The new wine has been put into old bottles, and all its raciness is gone. (See Matt. 9.)
But to turn again to our calling. We are exhorted to walk worthy of the calling wherewith we have been called. (Eph. 4:1.) This implies the knowledge of our “calling.” It is a “high calling.” The word rendered high is the same as that rendered above in Colossians 3, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” This explains its meaning; we are called of God from beneath to above, from earth to heaven. We are locally and bodily on this earth and in this world, yet we belong not to either; even as the Lord Himself said of us when here: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Hence also the pilgrim and stranger character of the saint; heaven is his home, though actually he is away from it; and, oh, that we as ardently desired to be with Christ where He is, as He desires to have us with Him! So entirely is heaven regarded as our home, that the Apostle, in speaking of those whom God by His grace had quickened, affirms them to be raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. (Eph. 2:6.) God has done this for us, however feeble our apprehension may be of its blessedness. The only place, as it were, in which we can now sit down and take a calm survey of all around us, is heaven. “Our conversation,” rather, our citizenship, “is in heaven”; and this is stated in a passage in contrast with minding earthly things. (Phil. 3.)
It is from heaven too that we “look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.” “Dwellers upon the earth” can only regard Christ as coming in the character of a judge. It must necessarily be so, because the coming of the Lord Jesus to the earth is invariably represented in Scripture as coming in judgment, in order to introduce righteousness and blessing into the earth. The popular thought of Christ’s coming is in judgment. This indeed is a truth, and a most important one; but it quite overlooks, and, as it were, overleaps the great truth of Christ’s coming with respect to His elect church, which will not be in judgment, but in deliverance. He comes not to the earth, but He meets the church in the air. He comes to receive the church unto Himself, that where He is, His elect church may be also. We then, as “heavenly,” wait for the Saviour (not the Judge) from heaven. We then “wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” If by faith we take our place as tabernacling in heaven, such a distinctive hope appears to us as suitable as it is blessed. But if, declining from our high calling, we settle on the earth, then Christ’s coming can only be the expectation of dreaded judgment; for the great event of Christ’s coming must necessarily take its character from the point from which we look at it, from heaven or from earth. The day of the Lord, so often mentioned in the Old Testament, is invariably connected with the thought of judgment on the earth.
The consideration of the peculiarity of our calling and the distinctiveness of our hope will very naturally lead us to consider the expression, “those that dwell on the earth,” as characteristic. Moralists, philanthropists, and politicians, all recognize something valuable in Christianity, and use it as helpful to their own ends; and thus has Christianity been dragged down from its lofty eminence, till almost all that is distinctive is lost amid so many elements which are foreign. The long-continued attempt to apply Christianity to the world merely as an aid to its civilization has led to the loss of even the theory of the church. And if things progress in this line, I can readily believe that nothing will be so offensive to “dwellers on the earth” as the assertion of the peculiar privileges and special hope of the church.

Contrast Between Man's Feast and God's Feast

Enough is as good as a feast,” says the world, and as to that which perishes with the using, it is true in its way. Yet even here the world convicts itself; for it acknowledges that by enough every man means something more than he has; so that practically he never reaches his “enough,” and how much less the feast? This only makes good the conclusion of the preacher, “the eyes of man are never satisfied.” Proverbs 27:20. And again, Ecclesiastes 12:8, “Vanity of vanities,  ... all is vanity.” The human heart is too large for any terrestrial thing to fill it!
But all is different when we come to the things that “God has prepared.” I begin with God’s feast; I find “all things are ready,” and I prove that “all things are of God,” as He says, “My dinner; My oxen and My fatlings” —all is of Him; I have come to a marriage feast; it is the initial thing in “the creation of God.” We read in Luke 15 that as soon as they entered the house, “they began to be merry”; and since that joy met no reverse, we may conclude it is without a break and without a bound; assuredly then that newborn joy ought to go on characterizing all who know that they are within that festive scene, and as truly now as by-and-by in the glory, though then, of course, circumstantially and manifestly.
“He spread the banquet, made me eat,
Bid all my fears remove;
Yea, o’er my guilty, rebel head,
He placed His banner—Love!”
Is it not a seasonable inquiry, whether as vessels—emptied of care and every ill, and filled as He who has formed us for Himself, loves to fill us—we do in any adequate way experience and express the blessedness which we are not only aware of being ours, but are familiar with as such? I may know even to familiarity what God has given me, but I have never known it in power and consequently have never truly made it mine, much less can I be the expression of it, if I do not practically and positively enjoy it, and, as it were, jubilantly, it being the habitual delight of my soul.

Answers to the Questions on Page 567

In the book of Esther the name of God in any form is not mentioned. This fact has led many to come to the hasty conclusion that the book is not inspired and should not form a part of the Word of God. Such reasoning only betrays a sad lack of understanding of the teaching of this book and of God’s ways with His ancient people. The absence of any mention of God is beautifully in line with God’s ways with His earthly people under those particular circumstances, and is but another mark of divine design in the Holy Scriptures.
First we must see the position of the book in regard to time. It evidently comes in between the sixth and seventh chapters of the book of Ezra. It is almost 100 years after Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews taken captive. That places it some years after a remnant returned to Jerusalem under the favor and blessing of Cyrus, king of Persia. Both Ezra and Nehemiah tell us of the Jews that returned to their own land, although still under the dominion of Gentile powers. Esther on the other hand shows us those who did not return and remained scattered throughout the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire; these had not the zeal and interest to return to their own land. The sentence of “Lo-ammi” (meaning “not My people” —see Hos. 1:9) was (and is) still resting on them; and while God had disowned them He nevertheless was moving behind the scenes all through the book of Esther. Though unseen and unrecognized, He was still providentially caring for them. Thus the reason for the omission of any mention of God is obvious; the Jews were disowned by Him, and they did not seek His face; but they were watched over and when it was His time He did intervene, but not openly.

Extract: The Divine Way

Man may draw out a theory of Christian doctrine; but the divine way is, not to teach a theory, but to grapple with the conscience, and to make man sensible of his wretched condition as in the presence of God, and that nothing short of God’s own provision of Christ can meet his necessity.

The Editor's Column

The statesmen of the world are learning in the school of experience that they cannot deal satisfactorily with Russia. Every attempt to work out an amicable settlement or understanding with this vast power eventually comes to naught. It has become increasingly apparent that the Russian leaders will say or do anything that suits their own ends regardless of truth, honesty, or their own pledged word to the contrary. They are potentially the world’s greatest single power and are driving forward as opportunists waiting to seize on every world event that they can turn to their account.
The child of God who reads and understands his Bible need not have any doubt about Russia’s character or final doom. He does not, as the statesmen, wait to see that there is treachery in all their dealings. Not much is said about Russia in Scripture, but Isaiah 33 describes their actions and Ezekiel 38 and 39 foretell their doom.
Russia is not mentioned by name in Isaiah 33, but the position of the chapter, as well as its contents, make it clear that it is Russia—the last great enemy of the Jews. After the prophet described the failure of the Jews’ agreement with the Roman Empire to protect them (chapters 28, 29), and their judgment, he then spoke of the doom of the Assyrian (ch. 30). Then in chapter 32 he speaks of the King who shall reign in righteousness—the Messiah. Also in chapter 33 Jehovah is spoken of as having filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. So everything points to the enemy in chapter 33 as being Russia—the enemy that will attack after the Jews are in the land. And this is Russia’s character: “Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee.” So here in these words, written about 2650 years ago, the dealings of Russia are described. Can any confidence be placed in people who are set to practice treachery? How little the wise men of this world know of what is in store for this world! One is reminded of the wise men of Egypt of a former day and God’s comment on them: “Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharoah is become brutish.” Isaiah 19:11.

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible (Continued)

The establishment of the people in the land by divine leading and power, according to promise, but through conflict, in which the faithfulness of the people’s walk with God is tested.
The career of Joshua begins with crossing the Jordan in the power of resurrection, and has its place of power for conflict in Gilgal—circumcision—death to the flesh.
They eat of the corn of the land before they have any conflict.
While Joshua is a book of victorious power, Judges is the book of failure in faithfulness, so that power is lost: only that God intervenes in mercy, from time to time, to deliver and revive. Gilgal is exchanged for Bochim. Gilgal, the denial of the flesh, though seemingly of little importance, was the place of power; Bochim was the place of tears, but the angel of God was there.
The intervention of the Lord in grace to bring in the promised seed, and the restoration of Israel, but in the way of grace, on a new footing. On a famine in the land, Naomi, who represents Israel, goes away, and loses everything. Ruth comes back with her, and Boaz (strength) raises up the inheritance. It was old Israel, in some sense: the child was born to Naomi, but on the principle of grace, for Ruth had no title to promise.
1 Samuel
The judicial priesthood connection is here broken. Both judge and priest go to Eli. The ark is taken—a total breach. Power, and the link of connection, are lost. Then God comes in, in His own sovereign way, by a prophet, as He had before brought them out of Egypt. (All on the ground of man’s responsibility was gone; but sending a prophet was sovereign mercy.) Before He brings in strength (the king), He brings in prophecy—a notable thing this. Before Christ returns in power, it is the testimony of the Spirit and Word, by which a connection is maintained between God and His people. From Eli to David on the throne this is a general principle—faith and power, not succession.
But flesh required the governmental order, and gets what it wants; but it breaks down before the power of the enemy. Then even believers who cling to it fall with it (Jonathan). If governmental order be established without Christ, they cannot like Christ to come and set it aside. The one in whom hope is must be content to be as a partridge on the mountains.
Saul was raised up to put down the Philistines; Jonathan did subdue them, but never Saul who was destroyed by them. Jonathan was a believer associated with the outward order. The place of faith was with David. It is the place of the power of faith without the king.
2 Samuel
Saul falls on the mountains of Gilboa. Then we get the royalty of David, in active power, not in the reign of peace, with the promise of maintaining his house in whatever way they conducted themselves. God would chasten them if disobedient, but not take His mercy from them. Then we get David’s personal failure when he is king. There is another element—the ark and the temple come in question; the relationship with God is re-established first by faith, not according to order, but by spiritual power according to grace, all being by that spiritual power according to grace. The ark was on Mount Zion, and there they were singing, “His mercy endureth for ever”: while at Gibeon was the high place, where Solomon went. There the tabernacle was, but not the ark. Solomon is not seen at Mount Zion till his return from Gibeon, where God answered him. Consequent on God’s interfering in deliverance and redemption, the place of ordered worship is set up, connected with earth—the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. It was after judgment, slaying the people and sacrifice. God loves Jerusalem, and so stays His hand in judgment, and shows by prophecy the path of reconciliation by sacrifice.
J. N. D.
(To be continued)

Can You Answer These Questions?

You may check your answers with those given on pages 614 and 615.
1. How many cities were destroyed by fire and brimstone at the time Lot, his wife, and two daughters were rescued by angels?
2. What were the names of the cities? and where in Scripture do you find them?
3. Was there any city spared that was to have been destroyed?

Extract: Relationship with God

If a servant’s intercourse with God does not surmount his testimony to men, he will break down and fail; he must renew his strength.

Great God of Wonders

Great God of wonders! all Thy ways
Are wondrous, matchless, and divine;
But the blest triumphs of Thy grace—
Most marvelous!—unrivall’d shine.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Crimes of such horror to forgive,
Such guilty, daring worms to spare;
This is Thy grand prerogative,
And none can in that honor share.
Pardon, O God! is only Thine;
Mercy and grace are all divine.
In wonder lost, with trembling joy
We hail the pardon of our God;
Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
A pardon traced in Jesus’ blood.
To pardon thus is Thine alone;
Mercy and grace are both Thine own.
Soon shall this strange, this wondrous grace,
This perfect miracle of love,
Fill the wide earth, while sweeter praise
Sounds its own note in heaven above.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich, so free?

The Path of Wisdom

There is nothing so unreasonable in the world as the walk set before us in the Word—nothing which so exposes us to the hatred of its prince. If, then, God be not with us, there is nothing so foolish, so mad; if He be with us, nothing so wise. If we have not the strength of His presence, we dare not take heed to His Word; and, in that case, we must beware of going out to war. But having the courage, which the almighty power of God inspired by His promise, we may lay hold of the good and precious Word of our God: its severest precepts are only wisdom to detect the flesh, and instruction how to mortify it, so that it may neither blind nor shackle us.
The most difficult path, that which leads to the sharpest conflict, is but the road to victory and repose, causing us to increase in the knowledge of God. It is the road in which we are in communion with God, with Him who is the source of all joy; it is the earnest and the foretaste of eternal and infinite happiness.
J. N. D.

The Character and Meaning of the Lord's Supper

What is the character of the Lord’s Supper? and what is the meaning of it? Both these questions are answered by the Lord Himself. His action tells us of the one, and His words teach us about the other. “He gave thanks.” Then the service is eucharistic indeed; for that is all that we are told that He did before He broke the bread and gave it to His disciples. And a second time He gave thanks before He handed to them the cup of which they were to drink. That He gave thanks before He handed them the cup both Luke and Paul imply; but Matthew and Mark expressly state it. Agreeing in this they agree also in stating that He blessed before He broke the bread, whereas Luke and Paul affirm He gave thanks. The difference is not great, and admits probably of this explanation, that while the two latter give the character of His utterance, the others express the form in which it came forth.
A eucharistic service then is that of the breaking of bread. He gave thanks, but in what terms we know not. Matthew, who must have heard it, is silent upon it; neither Mark, nor Luke, nor Paul have supplied the omission. It must have been a wonderful thanksgiving when the Lord gave thanks to God for the results of His atoning death, so soon to be an accomplished fact. Who on earth could enter into them as He could? Who knew like Him what the judgment of God was? Who could then understand but Himself what are the joys of the Father’s love, and the Father’s house? Full and perfect then must that thanksgiving have been, yet not a syllable of it has been preserved in God’s book. And rightly so; for since the Spirit of God is to direct our worship, the words of the Lord on that occasion have been carefully kept from us; and nowhere have we even the thanksgiving utterances of an apostle when breaking bread at the Lord’s table. Had it been otherwise, Would not such have been used as a form? and no service at the Lord’s table would have been thought complete without them. But then dependence on the Holy Spirit’s guidance would have been really surrendered. Wisely, therefore, have the terms of the Lord’s thanksgiving been omitted from the account of His institution of the supper.
Are we on this account placed at a disadvantage? No; for we know what the character of the service is to be, and we know too, from the Lord’s action, how perfect in His eyes is His atoning work; for as He gave thanks, and that only, at the institution of the supper, we are taught that nothing needed to be, nothing could be, added to the value of His sacrificial work, and that nothing more would be wanted, than what He was about to do, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. No word have we here of prayer. What room could there be to ask anything in the contemplation of accomplished atonement? Prayer may come in after the breaking of bread has taken place, as those gathered together think of saints unable to be present, or of souls still unsaved, or of anything else in connection with the Lord’s work or God’s purposes; but prayer in the place of thanksgiving when gathered to break bread is assuredly not in harmony with the Lord’s ways at His table; for the work is a perfect work, a finished work, as Scripture affirms (Heb. 10:14-18), and the Lord’s own action of giving thanks abundantly confirms.
C. E. S.

The Bruised Reed and the Smoking Flax

“A bruised reed shall He not break, and
smoking flax shall He not quench, till He
send forth judgment unto victory. And in
His name shall the Gentiles trust.”
Matthew 12:20-21.
I call attention to the above passage, believing that however well the commonly received interpretation of it may comport with the true idea of the grace of the Lord, it is a false interpretation, both as to the persons it refers to, and also to their condition.
The popular thought is that the bruised reed is a figure of a person broken and contrite in heart, and that the smoking flax is a soul in which the fire of divine life is newly kindled, or at least one in which grace is operating, though as yet but feebly and dimly; and that the Lord will not break the one, nor quench the other. This fails as an interpretation, because the Lord is to do both when the proper time arrives—the words are “till He send forth judgment unto victory.” But will He ever break the broken heart? No, He was sent to bind it up (Isa. 61:1). Will He ever quench the operations of His own grace? We need not answer the question.
The reed is used in Scripture as an emblem of weakness, and in several places for a nation: “The Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and He shall root up Israel out of this good land,” 1 Kings 14:15; “Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt,” 2 Kings 18:21; “And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the Lord, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.” Ezekiel 29:6. A reed was, moreover, put into the right hand of the blessed One in derision of His claim to sway the scepter of the kingdom.
But neither the “bruised reed” nor the “smoking flax” do I look upon as expressing a good or desirable condition which the Lord was to cherish, but a bad condition which He must certainly judge, though not until a certain time.
The bruised reed expresses, I believe, the external condition of the Jewish nation, as under the Gentile yoke, but not yet given up to the unrestrained will of their enemies under the full weight of the judgment of God. This is the condition they were in when the Lord was upon earth, and they should have felt and owned it.
The smoking flax is an emblem of the internal or moral condition of the Jews, full of that envy and hatred to the Lord which betrays itself so early and so constantly, which led to His crucifixion, and which is still leading onward to the reception of the antichrist, under whose hand as the instrument of God, the bruised reed will be emphatically broken, and the smoking flax quenched; that is, the Lord will visit His judgment upon the full-blown enmity of His people. But in the midst of judgment He will remember mercy, for He shall save them from utter destruction, making them willing in the day of His power, and leading them to say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” So the judgment shall end in victory, “and in His name shall the Gentiles trust.”
In Isaiah 7:4 Rezin and the son of Remaliah are called, because of their “fierce anger,” “smoking firebrands.” Then in verse 8 it is said that “in threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.” These passages are suggestive of the view here taken. In Luke 12:49-50 the Lord said, “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” There were many tokens of this kindling of their hatred toward Him, and Matthew quotes from Isaiah 42— “He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets” —as illustrative of His charging them to not make Him known. This is in connection with His withdrawing Himself from them when He knew that the “Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him.” (All this in the very chapter 12 of Matthew from which our subject is taken.) Here was a tuft of the smoking flax; but the time of its judgment and quenching had not yet come. It must smolder and increase till it should compass His death—that baptism by which the floodgates of divine love should be opened, and He who was the expression of that love being glorified, should be the unfettered Dispenser of eternal life to as many as the Father has given to Him.

Extract: A Barrier to Communion

We should ask our hearts to see if there is any one hard thought that we have against a brother; for in that, communion is checked.

The Happy Place of Being Inquirers

It is both a happy and a safe place to be an inquirer. Happy, because it keeps the soul in direct intercourse with the Lord, for we must inquire in His temple; safe, because His Word will be regarded as that which is to search and guide us, rather than as a subject for the speculation of our minds. But we are naturally prone to be impatient of the place of inquirers, and readily fall in with a theory which, though it may embody great features of truth, hinders the direct application of the truth to our conscience and affections.
While we are thus impatient of inquiring in the temple in the attitude of worshippers, we are no less impatient of inquiring among ourselves. Self-confidence will lead a few to dogmatize, while, to save the trouble of thinking and judging for themselves, the many will follow on in the wake of dogmatic teaching. The result is opposing theories, and then all the help which one might afford another is lost. When Christians, with the single desire of ascertaining the mind of God, have inquired one of another, as in His presence, concerning the meaning of Scripture, how many a crude thought has been shaped, how many a precious thought has been disentangled, while some imaginative mind has perhaps been checked in carrying out a particular truth beyond its limit; and thus have hearts been “knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding”; all have been edified, all have been comforted.

The Pleasures of Sin

The pleasures of sin must be short, because life cannot be long, and they both end together. Indeed, many times the pleasure of sin dies before the man dies: sinners live to bury their joy in this world. The worm breeds in their conscience before it breeds in their flesh by death. But be sure the pleasure of sin never survives this world.
W. G.
Moses chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” Hebrews 11:25.


The following lines were written by and found under the pillow of a dear girl after she had departed to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, who was very precious to her.
“I Shall Be Satisfied”
Psalms 17:15
I shall be satisfied,
But not while here below,
Where every earthly cup of bliss
Is wisely mixed with woe.
When this frail form shall be
Forever laid aside,
And in His likeness I awake,
I shall be satisfied.
“He Shall Be Satisfied”
Isaiah 53:11
He shall be satisfied,
When all He died to win,
By loving-kindness gently drawn,
Are safely gathered in.
When in the glory bright
He views His glorious bride,
Sees of the travail of His soul,
He shall be satisfied.

A Difference, but No Cause for Envy

“Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.” Romans 16:12.
See what lovely discrimination is here! Why does he not class all three together? The reason is plain, because two had only labored, while the third had labored much. Each one gets his or her place, according to what they were, and according to what they had done. Nor would Tryphena and Tryphosa have had any cause of envy and jealousy against Persis because she was characterized as “beloved” while they were not, or because the word much was added to her labors and withheld from theirs. Ah! no; envy and jealousy are the pernicious fruit of a miserable self-occupation. They can find no part in a heart wholly devoted to Christ and His glorious interests.
C. H. M.

Extract: Two Hearts

You cannot have two hearts—a heart for the world, and a heart for Christ.
J. N. D.

Moses - A Type of Christ

When Moses came as Israel’s friend,
His brethren cast him out:
When Jesus came unto His own,
His own received Him not.
“Who made thee ruler and a judge?”
To Moses was their word;
“We will not have this man to rule,”
They said to Christ their Lord.
Rejected Moses went away,
Thus treated with disgrace;
So Christ the Lord has likewise gone,
And left the Jewish race.
But Moses then took care of sheep,
Within a stranger’s land;
So now poor Gentile wandering sheep
Are kept in Jesus’ hand.
As Moses married far away,
Cast off by Israel’s pride;
So Jesus sought poor Gentiles out,
And took them for His bride.
But all this time poor Israel lay
Beneath the tyrant’s frown;
So still Jerusalem lies waste,
And still is trodden down.
At length their cry came up to God,
He saw them sigh and weep;
And so again when Israel cries,
The Lord will wake from sleep.
This Moses, whom they once refused,
Was sent in their distress;
So Jesus, whom they crucified,
Again will come to bless.

Extract: A Day of Lawlessness

This is a day of lawlessness in thought as well as in act. People give the free rein to their imaginations and foolish reasonings (which seems to be the meaning of the word inventions in Eccl. 7:29), and to this our attention should be directed, not in the way of answering them by counter-reasonings, but by seeking to reach the heart’s affections and the conscience as to what is due to God and to Christ.

Are We Content to Be Instruments, Not Doers?

If we may be permitted to speak for others, I fear we are in danger of aiming at being doers, instead of being content to be merely instruments. We are apt to forget that there is but the One great and glorious Doer. The works that are done upon the earth, God is the Doer of them. This is a weighty truth to keep ever in remembrance. God is the Doer; we are but instruments. If we become doers, we shall be sure to do mischief, and play into the hands of the enemy instead of being to the glory and praise of the one great Worker. Moreover, we shall fall into the snare of the devil, and do serious damage to our own souls and to the cause of Christ.
The only place of true moral security is to be at the blessed Master’s feet, as instruments, ready for His work, whatever that work may be—vessels meet for His use, whatever that use may be. If we, in the mere energy of nature, and the restless activity of an unbroken will, rush hither and thither, as wonderful doers and active workers, the consequences may prove disastrous in the extreme.
We live in a day specially marked by the actings of self-will, and that, too, in connection with the Lord’s work. Hence the need of lowliness of spirit, brokenness of will, and holy subduedness on the part of all the Lord’s beloved servants. Our retirement from the principles and the spirit of the scene around us cannot be too profound; and the only way to secure this retirement is to abide at the Master’s feet, in absolute subjection to His holy authority in all things. There we are safe and happy; there, too, we shall ever be in an attitude of heart, and in a condition of soul, to be taken up, and used as instruments in the Master’s work, and to His praise.
It lies not within the range of human language to set forth the reality and blessedness of being in the presence of God, in true self-emptiness and dependence. There is, on all hands, such danger of using even the service of Christ as a pedestal on which to display ourselves. This is terrible. Who would ever think, as he gazes upon some exquisite piece of workmanship, of praising the tools by which it was made? So, if the Lord deigns to use us in His service, what folly, yes, what sin, in us to be occupied with ourselves, as though we had accomplished anything! It is marvelous grace, most surely, that can stoop to take up such poor things as we are and use us in that blessed work which our God is carrying on, whether in gathering or feeding the flock of Christ; but the work is His, not ours; we are instruments, not doers. When a gardener waters his drooping plants, and causes them to emit their fragrance, Who thinks of praising the watering pot? And yet the watering pot has its place. Truly so; but it is a watering pot, not a gardener; an instrument, not a doer.
This is the true secret of all our joy of heart, all our fruitfulness in service, and all our safety from the wiles of the enemy. Let us keep close to the side of our ever-gracious Lord, safe, and satisfied. Then we shall always be ready to carry His messages, and do His will. We shall be His feet, to run to the bedside of some afflicted member of His body, and give him a cup of consolation. We shall be His mouth, to speak a word in season to some weary one. We shall be His hands, to supply the need of some of His beloved poor. In a word, we shall be His instruments, ready for His work; and when the work is done, instead of thinking of the work, or the way we have done it, we shall find our place at His feet, in homage and adoration, “lost in wonder, love, and praise,” at the sovereign grace that deigns to take up such as we, and confer upon us the privilege of being His instruments in His blessed work.
I remember, many years ago, being asked by a minister, “Did you come here to organize a body?” “I organize a body!” I replied. “God forbid! It would be a sorry body I should organize. I should be sure to gather a lot of rubbish, to be scattered by the first storm. No, no; thank God, it is none of my business to organize a body. Do you not know that God the Holy Spirit came down to this earth, on the day of Pentecost, to form the body of Christ? —That is the only body, and that the only organization which I recognize.”
And so in all beside; in every sphere of work, in every department of ministry, God is the Doer. Blessed fact! Did we all but abide in the sense of it, and live in the power of it, what a different tale we should have to tell! What a different state of things we should witness! What different results we should reach! But, alas! we rush about in bustling self-importance; we get occupied with ourselves and our work, our gift, and our ministry. Thus the Holy Spirit is grieved and hindered, Christ is dishonored, and God cannot own the work; no, rather He has to take the instruments aside, and, by His faithful and wise discipline, correct their errors, and teach them that they are but instruments. What marvelous grace on His part, to occupy Himself with our failures and errors, in order to deliver us from them, and fit us for His holy service! Oh, the ineffable blessedness of having to do with our God, of being in His hands for everything! Who would not praise Him, and trust Him, and love Him, and serve Him? “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
“Let our feebleness recline
On that eternal love of Thine,
And human thoughts forget;
Childlike attend what Thou wilt say,
Go forth, and serve Thee while ‘tis day,
Nor leave the sweet retreat.”
C. H. M.

Answers to the Questions on Page 593

In Genesis 19 where we find the account of the destruction by fire and the rescue of Lot, only two cities are mentioned as being destroyed—Sodom and Gomorrah. We learn from Deuteronomy 29:23 however, that there were four cities destroyed; they were Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. These cities were notorious for their moral corruption and wickedness and, after much forbearance and long-suffering, God destroyed them with fire from heaven. We learn from Abraham’s intercession in Genesis 18 that there were not ten righteous persons there, even with Lot and his family as residents.
In Luke 18 we learn that the moral characteristics of the world that was destroyed by the flood in Noah’s day, and of the cities destroyed by fire in Lot’s day, will be again developed “in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” When the Lord comes back with His saints to execute judgment on the world it will have fully ripened for judgment. We see corruption and violence increasing in the world now and we know that these will get worse and worse. How needful it is that the child of God should “keep himself unspotted from the world”!
One city that was marked out for the fire in Lot’s day was spared—Zoar, meaning “little.” Lot interceded for it because he wished to live in it. He did not want to go to the mountain as he was instructed to do. Abraham had enjoyed sweet communion with God in a high place overlooking the cities of the plain; to such an elevation Lot was afraid to go. Poor man! And yet he pictures many a saint of God who has gotten into the world and away from God. His soul becomes barren and in a time of trouble he even fears a place where another enjoyed communion with God. Lot even then clung to some little part of that defiled world, only to find it did not satisfy, for “he feared to dwell in Zoar.” Surely Lot’s history stands out as a beacon to warn us against the dangers of drifting into the world.

The Editor's Column

The world today is like a smoldering fire which frequently breaks out into flame in spots. If it is not Egypt, it is Palestine, or India, or Germany, or Poland, or Indonesia, where the flame is. The statesmen and political leaders stand about trying to stamp out each little blaze fearing a more general conflagration. Most men want peace, but not so that they may live “quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty,” but that they may live for themselves and forget God. They would like peace while the “Prince of Peace” is despised and rejected, but they shall not have peace. Many place their hopes in the United Nations; others count on certain alliances to offset Russia’s greatness and her nefarious schemes. Nevertheless, the world is rolling along to certain and decreed judgment.
Are we not reminded of a verse in Jeremiah 8?— “The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” What real wisdom have the wisest men of the world today? They have rejected the Word of the Lord! and can they be wise? A simple child of God with an understanding of his Bible and in dependence upon God could give real counsel to the counselors.
“O that they were wise, that they understood this”: “I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Deut. 32:29; Isa. 46:9-10.) God’s purposes concerning this world will be fulfilled and men’s shall come to nothing. There are two verses in Psalm 33 which put men’s counsel and God’s together, but in sharpest contrast.
“The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: He maketh the devices of the people of none effect.” vs. 10.
“The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.” vs. 11.

The Words of a Great Preacher

Many years ago there was a very remarkable preacher, that drew thousands and thousands to hear him. He was a true man of God. We may say he was the most remarkable preacher on earth, and he drew the greatest multitudes after him—far greater than any other man. The whole country came to hear him. It would, if such a thing occurred now, be considered a great revival. To all appearances great numbers repented. Indeed, it seemed to be a great work but there was little effect from these most popular preachings.
But, so far as we know, there was little or no real lasting effect from these most popular preachings. No one really followed Christ.
Soon after this we are told, and it is true such changes do occur, this very same preacher, though in the open air, had a congregation of two. He preached on this occasion a very different sermon—all he said was contained in five words. The effect was marvelous. Both became decided for Christ there and then. They both became most useful servants of Christ; devoted followers of Christ. A work began that day, the like of which had never been seen before on earth, and which has continued until this day; though, we should say, that after three or four years, it became deeper, and even far more blessed.
Do you ask the name of this preacher sent of God? His name was John the Baptist. You may have read the account many times, and like myself, have never noticed the different effect produced, until a brother at a distance called my attention to the contrast. You may read a minute account of the great revival preaching in Matthew 3; and no doubt God used this in preparing the way. And often, the preacher can see no immediate fruit that satisfies his longing heart; he may not see one soul manifestly brought to Christ, and yet the ground may be preparing for the seed. Is it not remarkable how many may be baptized, and not one be brought to follow Christ? How many now may be baptized, and yet be lost forever?
Let us, however, turn to the short sermon to two, and mark its effects. (John 1:35 to end of chapter.) “Again the next day after, John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” What a living text! The preacher’s eyes were upon Jesus, “looking upon Jesus,” not looking upon the crowd. What he looked at was his text; his subject was the living Person of Jesus, and Jesus as the Lamb of God! And he said, Behold Him, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Yes, God’s lamb; hitherto man had brought his lamb. Five words! Without this, tons of volumes of theology are worthless. What words to Jewish ears who had seen in the law, that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Here was the Son of God; and He was the Lamb of God. Behold Him. The two heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. How simple, yet this is the power of God. Has any message come to your heart yet, and turned you from everything else to follow Jesus?
Jesus saw them, and He sees you at this moment. And Jesus said unto them, and He says unto you, “What seek ye?” Do you hear Him? You profess to be a Christian. What seek ye? What is your object? They said, “Master, where dwellest Thou?” “He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day.” Will you come and see? Will you abide with Him? We are near the end; soon He will appear. Now, if Jesus is nothing to you, you will say, No, I will stay where I am. I see no good in giving everything up to follow Jesus. What is Jesus to you? Is He everything, or is He nothing?
“Come and see.” And if you see where He dwells, abide with Him. You must be with Jesus or with Satan, the god of this world. First abide with Him, and then become a preacher. So did one of them, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He became a preacher to the first person he met. He did not wait until he could get a room, or begin to preach in a room, a chapel, or a hall. “He first findeth his own brother Simon.” “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona.” Yes, it was the very future Apostle Peter brought to Jesus by this little sermon-preaching of Andrew. Oh, if every true follower of Jesus, the Lamb of God, would just go out and seek a brother Simon! Now mark the preaching of Andrew. He says, “We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” This was true, but we should say much more— “We have found the Saviour.” Nay, He has found us. Ah, this kind of preaching would have far more effect than all the learned eloquence in the world.
C. S.

Can You Answer These Questions?

You may check your answers with those given on pages 641, 642 and 643.
1. Whom did Ruth the Moabitess marry after she came into the land of Israel with Naomi?
2. Who then became her mother-in-law?
3. What was the name of Ruth’s son? grandson? royal great-grandson?

The Path of Suffering on the Way to the Kingdom

“If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17
Our way to the kingdom lies through suffering, affliction and tribulation; but, thank God, we can by faith say, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” And further, we know that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Finally, “we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” It is a high honor and a real privilege to be allowed to drink of our blessed Master’s cup, and to be baptized with His baptism—to travel in blest companionship with Him along the road which leads directly to the glorious inheritance. The Heir and the joint-heirs reach that inheritance by the pathway of suffering.
But let it be remembered that the suffering of which the joint-heirs participate has no penal element in it. It is not suffering from the hand of infinite justice, because of sin; all that was fully met on the cross, when the divine victim bowed His sacred head beneath the stroke. “Christ also hath once suffered for sins,” and that “once” was on the tree, and nowhere else. He never suffered for sins before, and He never can suffer for sins again. “Once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” “Christ was once offered.”
There are two ways in which to view a suffering Christ—first, as bruised of Jehovah; second, as rejected of men. In the former He stood alone; in the latter, we have the honor of being associated with Him. In the former, I say, He stood alone, for who could have stood with Him? He bore the wrath of God alone; He traveled in solitude down into “a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown,” and there He settled forever the question of our sins. With this we had nothing to do, though to this we are eternally indebted for everything. He fought the fight and gained the victory alone, but He divides the spoils with us. He was in solitude in the “horrible pit” and “miry clay”; but directly He planted His foot on the everlasting “rock” of resurrection, He associates us with Him. He uttered the cry alone; He sings the “new song” in company. (Psa. 40:2-3.)
Now the question is, Shall we refuse to suffer from the hand of man with Him who suffered from the hand of God for us? That it is, in a certain sense, a question, is evident, from the Spirit’s constant use of the word if, in connection with it. “If so be that we suffer with Him.” “If we suffer, we shall also reign.” There is no such question as to sonship. We do not reach the high dignity of sons through suffering, but through the quickening power of the Holy Ghost, founded on the accomplished work of Christ, according to God’s eternal counsel. This can never be touched. We do not reach the family through suffering. The Apostle does not say, That ye may be counted worthy of the family of God for which ye also suffer. They were in the family already; but they were bound for the kingdom, and their road to that kingdom lay through suffering; and not only so, but the measure of suffering for the kingdom would be according to their devotedness and conformity to the King. The more like we are to Him, the more we shall suffer with Him; and the deeper our fellowship with Him in the suffering, the deeper will be our fellowship in the glory. There is a difference between the house of the Father and the kingdom of the Son: in the former, it will be a question of capacity; in the latter, a question of assigned position. All my children may be around my table, but their enjoyment of my company and conversation will entirely depend on their capacity. One may be seated on my knee, in the full enjoyment of his relationship as a child, yet perfectly unable to comprehend a word I say; another may exhibit uncommon intelligence in conversation, yet not be a whit happier in his relationship than the infant on my knee. But when it becomes a question of service for me, or public identification with me, it is evidently quite another thing. This is but a feeble illustration of the idea of capacity in the Father’s house, and assigned position in the kingdom of the Son.
But let it be remembered that our suffering with Christ is not a yoke of bondage, but a matter of privilege; not an iron rule, but a gracious gift; not constrained servitude, but voluntary devotedness. “Unto you it is given, in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Philippians 1:29. Moreover, there can be little doubt but that the real secret of suffering for Christ is to have the heart’s affections centered in Him. The more I love Jesus, the closer I shall walk with Him, and the closer I walk with Him, the more faithfully I shall imitate Him, and the more faithfully I imitate Him, the more I shall suffer with Him. Thus it all flows from love to Christ; and then it is a fundamental truth that “we love Him because He first loved us.” In this, as in everything else, let us beware of a legal spirit; for it must not be imagined that a man with the yoke of legality round his neck is suffering for Christ; alas! it is much to be feared that such a one does not know Christ, does not know the blessedness of sonship, has not yet been established in grace, is rather seeking to reach the family by works of law than to reach the kingdom by the path of suffering.
On the other hand, let us see that we are not shrinking from our Master’s cup and baptism. Let us not profess to enjoy the benefits which His cross secures, while we refuse the rejection which that cross involves. We may rest assured that the road to the kingdom is not enlightened by the sunshine of this world’s favor, nor strewed with the roses of its prosperity. If a Christian is advancing in the world, he has much reason to apprehend that he is not walking in company with Christ. “If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be.” What was the goal of Christ’s earthly career? Was it an elevated, influential position in this world? By no means. What then? He found His place on the cross, between two condemned malefactors. But, it will be said, God was in this. True; yet man was in it likewise; and this latter truth is what must inevitably secure our rejection by the world, if only we keep in company with Christ. The companionship of Christ, which lets me into heaven, casts me out of earth; and to talk of the former, while I am ignorant of the latter, proves there is something wrong. If Christ were on earth now, What would His path be? Whither would it tend? Where would it terminate? Would we like to walk with Him? Let us answer those inquiries under the edge of the Word, and under the eye of the Almighty; and may the Holy Ghost make us faithful to an absent, a rejected, a crucified Master. The man who walks in the Spirit will be filled with Christ; and, being filled with Him, he will not be occupied with suffering, but with Him for whom he suffers. If the eye is fixed on Christ, the suffering will be as nothing in comparison with the present joy and future glory.
C. H. M.

A Brief Unfolding of the Twenty-Second Psalm

The cry in this psalm is preeminently the cry of one forsaken of God. (“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”) In this the psalm stands alone. Not, indeed, that we do not find other sufferings of our Lord in this psalm, but that which gives it its distinctness from all other psalms is this cry of abandonment. It is a cry to God, and that, as the psalm says, both when He was not heard, and when He was. Other psalms speak of Him as the perfect Man, the One who ever trusted in God; the sixteenth Psalm is specially His language as the trusting One; other psalms speak of His sufferings from His enemies, and what He endured at the hand of man; but in Psalm 22 it is not His enemies that are before us, though they are mentioned afterward, but it is Himself, His cry to God Himself.
It is that solemn moment with which nothing can be compared, when upon the cross He took up the whole question of sin before God; and good and evil were brought to an issue in the only Person that could solve the riddle.
It was atonement. Not that this alone appears in the psalm, but it is its first and deepest thought and truth. Indeed, the psalm shows that there was no sorrow that He knew not—no shame from which He was saved, nothing of wickedness on man’s part lacking—surrounded by dogs and ravening lions, nay, man more cruel than all, baser than all, man alone guilty, though led on by a mightier rebel than himself. All this we find, but more wondrous and beyond all else, God was there, and there as the judge of sin. God was then forsaking Jesus because of sin. It is this with which the psalm opens. It is this verse which the Lord Jesus Himself singles out from the psalm, when He cries under God’s abandonment upon the cross. God has given these words to us as the utterance of His own beloved One, when, in accomplishing that work which we need for eternity, He was made sin for us.
The Lord Jesus was not meeting Satan at the cross. He had met Satan after His baptism and had conquered him. He had acted upon this victory everywhere in His ministry. He, having bound the strong man in the wilderness, afterward spoiled his goods as He went about doing good. The Lord Jesus had also in Gethsemane, after His ministry was closed, passed through the conflict with Satan as the power of darkness. On the cross (in the three hours of darkness) it is neither Satan nor man. It is sin before God, and He who knew no sin, glorifying God as God about sin in death.
This was no question with His Father. He was ever the beloved Son in whom the Father was always well pleased, and never more so than on the cross. But sin is against God, and it is this He has taken up, and He goes through it before God in death. Our hearts delight in it, and rest in it. When God touches the question of sin, atonement is made. Atonement has two parts. It is expiation before God, and substitution for our sins. The latter is not the subject of our psalm. We find it in other psalms. Both are figured in the ritual for the day of atonement in Leviticus 16. There was Jehovah’s lot, and Israel’s lot—the blood of the sin-offering carried in where God was, and the actual transgressions of the congregation confessed by Aaron on the head of the scape goat. The former is taken up in this psalm. It is the grand and most important part of atonement, where all is important. It is Jehovah’s lot—the expiation of sin before God. God is seen here in all the forms of His moral being, dealing with sin in the Person of One who is able to take it up, and go through it all perfectly. Herein is the infinite grace of God—One who, when forsaken of God, had therein reached the very highest point in glorifying God. This is the meaning of the words, “Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns.” Did the glory of His Person shelter Him from suffering? Not so. It was that which enabled Him to endure it, and to feel it all as none other could. The Lord felt everything perfectly. If there had been the smallest insensibility it had not been perfection. In the cross sin was disposed of righteously, and forever, not by power, but by suffering. The Lord went through it all and was heard. “Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns.” The answer was in resurrection. We find it in the next verse: “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren.”
Death, and death alone, disposes of sin, so that the sinner, receiving the testimony to this perfect work of Christ, might be put absolutely without sin, as to his conscience, in the presence of God. Thus the work of Christ brings the soul to God—not only to the Father, but to God. Thus it is not merely love which is displayed, but in the cross we have also a foundation of righteousness. God is fully revealed as God. The atonement was not wrought before the Father as such. It was not as Father that God dealt with sin in the Person of Christ. It was the Father’s delight in doing the work, but the work was before God, the work was about sin, and the result of the work is that the righteousness of God is declared. God having thus dealt with sin in atonement is the only firm footing for the soul; without this, all truth, and especially heavenly truth, will only elate the soul, or leave it a prey to Satan’s delusions.
In the cross, the Lord Jesus, as Son of Man, glorified God, when made sin. All through His life He glorified His Father. Even at twelve years of age we hear Him say, “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” At His baptism we see how the Father cares for His glory— “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Not “hear ye Him” yet, for the time for this had not come, but He was always the beloved Son, in whom the Father was well pleased. And herein we see the evil of the teaching which speaks of the Lord as the sin-bearer in His life. If it could have been, He would not have been before the Father as the One in whom He was ever well pleased. Had He been always bearing sin, He had always been forsaken of God, and to say this is a virtual denial of the personal glory of the Son of God.
But now that He has passed through the unparalleled hour, when made sin, He was forsaken of God, and having died, He enters in resurrection into the blessedness of His own relationship, and declares it as that into which He now can bring all His people; it is now, “Go tell My brethren, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father, to My God, and your God.” It is not “our Father” now; that would be beneath His glory. It is His own relationship as man, and into this He brings, by His own work, those for whom He has wrought redemption; and more, it is the place He then took on high. It is into this blessed relationship and access to the Father the Lord now brings His people, and not only so, but He Himself is in their midst, leading their praise. “In the midst of the congregation will I sing praise unto Thee.” This is the characteristic praise of the church of God, and it is the more remarkable to find it here, as the psalms do not bring out the church’s portion, but Israel’s. It is the worship of those, whom the Lord brings into His own relationship to God His Father. It is the worship of those who stand consciously in the full results of His atonement, and are brought into the same nearness to God as He is in, when He says, ‘I ascend unto My Father and your Father, to My God and your God,’ and He is in their midst leading the worship. It is the worship of saints and not of poor sinners as such worshipping. This is peculiarly the worship and position of saints now. There will never be anything like it again. The day is coming when the earth’s groans shall cease; when heaven and earth shall be filled with praise; but there never will be a day such as this. It will not be worship in the holiest then, or the name of the Father on the lips of those who worship. This psalm proves it. It is “Thy name” declared “to My brethren” in verse 22. In the next verse the Lord calls on those “who fear Jehovah” to praise Him. This verse brings us on to Jewish ground. It is not the Lord leading the praises in the church, but calling on those who fear Jehovah, and the seed of Israel, to praise Jehovah, and not Father, is the title now. The call to praise is upon the ground of the same work. “For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from Him, but when He cried unto Him, He heard.” verse 24. The praise is founded upon the work of the cross, when He cried, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” and was heard; and now the public answer is given, in the Father having raised Him from the dead. It is the call of praise on the ground of atonement. This is very distinctly marked in the twenty-fifth verse. Then it is the Messiah’s praise in the great congregation. But it is not now in the midst of the church, as in verse 22. We have the two positions in John 20. On the first day of the week when the Lord appears in their midst, and besides saluting them with peace, breathes on them and says, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost”; and on the eighth day when Thomas owns Him with the confession, “My Lord and my God,” and where we have no breathing on them, and no mention of the Holy Ghost. Thomas confesses Him according to the Jewish faith, but there is not, in this second scene, anything that speaks of association with Christ. It is not the blessedness now of union, nor even of association; but the Lord paying His vows in the great congregation, as the Head of Israel, and they are gathered as a people round the Lord their God. Then we find the meek. “The meek shall eat and be satisfied.” They shall now enter into earthly blessing. It is the accomplishment of the promise: “The meek shall inherit the earth.” Then the blessing flows out, and “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.” To apply this now is only to deceive; it is a baseless fable now. Then it will extend to all the kingdoms of the nations.
“For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and He is the governor among the nations.”
The more we examine these verses, the more we see we are upon prophetic and earthly, not Christian, ground. We have each in its place. Verse 22 is Christian ground. In verse 23 we have Israel. Verse 24 speaks of the atonement as the ground of all the blessing of the psalm from now unto the millennial day. But now it is a little flock, and not a great congregation; whatever departs from this is inconsistent with the cross. In the time of future glory it will be the great congregation, and all the ends of the world, and all the kindreds of the nations—they will praise Jehovah.

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible

1 and 2 Kings
Here we have the reign of Solomon, the establishment of Israel in peace, and the building of the Temple, the figure of the great Son of David. This fails, looked at historically, in Rehoboam; and then the book of Kings is the history, not of Judah, but of Israel, with sufficient notices of Judah to carry on the history. You get the intervention of God by prophets in Elijah and Elisha, in mercy, in the midst of Israel, who had left the Temple, one being a testimony to Israel on the ground of their responsibility, the other in resurrection-power.
First and Second Kings continue the history in Judah till the captivity, and then Lo-ammi was written on the nation. There are, of course, many details—various characters of faith, and so on, as Hezekiah of faith, Josiah of obedience, Jehoshaphat of piety, but never through association with the world for success.
1 and 2 Chronicles
give us the history of the family of David—ending, of course, like the former, with the Babylonish captivity.
1 Chronicles is David himself. At the close, David has the pattern of everything by the Spirit, and leaves it to Solomon to execute.
2 Chronicles is David’s posterity.
Chronicles are more connected with the establishment of the kingdom on earth, Kings more figurative of what is heavenly.
In the Temple in Chronicles there is a veil (2 Chron. 3:14), in Kings not. The veil will not be rent for Israel in the Millennium.
The re-establishment of the Temple and divine service according to the law, while waiting for the Messiah. But then there is no ark, no Urim, or others. It was an empty Temple.
The re-establishment of the civil society and state under the Gentiles.
The providential care of Israel when God is hidden from them, while Lo-ammi is written on them. He takes care of them while He is hidden from them and does not own them. God’s name is never mentioned. The Gentile queen fails to show her beauty, and the Jewish bride supersedes her.
The possibility of the relationship of a man with God, in the great conflict referring to good and evil between God and the power of darkness; and that connected with the discipline of saints, in contrast with the alleged present righteous government of the world by God; the necessity of a Mediator being intimated, not unfolded; the power of Satan over the world made known, and his character as accuser of the brethren pointed out. God is seen as the originator of all (not of the accusations themselves, I need hardly say, but of the whole process) for the purpose of blessing His people; the whole being without any dispensational reference, while the conscience is thoroughly searched in those He blesses. You get in Elihu the wisdom of God in His Word (Christ really), and then you have the power of God (also Christ) in God answering out of the whirlwind. The book may be regarded as typical of Israel, inasmuch as it is in Israel that these ways of God are shown.
The Spirit of Christ working and developing itself in the remnant of Israel in the latter day; only therewith showing the personal part He has taken, whether to lay the ground for them, or to exercise sympathy with them; continuing on up to the border of the Millennium, but not entering into it except prophetically. They are divided into five books.
The wisdom of God showing its path to man, in contrast with the corruption and violence in man. The first eight chapters give us the principle, showing Christ as wisdom; the remainder enter into details. It is to man in a remarkable way. A man of the world escapes by knowing the crookedness of the world: this book enables a man to escape without knowing it—wise in that which is good, simple concerning evil.
is the result of the research after happiness under the sun: adding, that man’s wisdom, as man, is God’s law.


It is practically important to remark that worldliness or any allowance of what is not of God, by a godly man, gives the weight of his godliness to the evil he allows.
J. N. D.

Answers to the Questions on Page 621

Ruth the Moabitess came to the land of Israel with Naomi, and shortly after, was united in marriage to Boaz, the “mighty man of wealth.”
The mention of Boaz brings before us another case of grace to Gentiles besides that of Ruth, whom he married. His mother also was a Gentile, in fact, of one of the doomed races of Canaan, and of that city Jericho, which was destroyed. She was none other than Rahab who expressed her faith in the God of Israel when she hid the messengers Joshua sent. See Joshua 2 and 6. Her faith is also spoken of in Hebrews 11, and the works that her faith wrought, in the Epistle of James. When Ruth the Moabitess married Boaz, Rahab the Canaanite became her mother-in-law.
Both Gentile women are mentioned in Matthew 1:5. While Rahab is spelled “Rachab” there, in some translations, there is no question about it being the same person. In the original Greek of the New Testament there is the article before the name making it clear it is the Rahab of the Old Testament. The difference in spelling is caused by the lack of “H” in the Greek language.
Both cases of Gentile women magnify the grace of God that reached out to poor Gentiles even in the day of special blessing for Israelites. And while the Jews boasted of their blessings and would have shut out Gentiles, their own genealogy proved that some had been brought in. And in the genealogy of our Lord, their Messiah, in Matthew 1, the names of four women have been introduced which the zealous Jews would have excluded. The Jews would have mentioned such honorable Jewish women as Sarah and Rebecca, but those that were mentioned magnify the grace of God.
Here we see how at times Gentiles came into the royal line through whom the Messiah came. Boaz was only half Jewish and then he married a Moabitess. Their son Obed was three quarters Gentile.
And in the case of Ruth, the Moabitess, grace is even more pronounced when one considers the word given in Deuteronomy 23:3: a “Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation.” But grace brought Ruth in—her son was Obed; her grandson Jesse, and her great-grandson David, who sat on the throne of Israel.

The Editor's Column

Now that the United Nations Investigating Committee has completed their eleven-week, 11,000 mile tour, and made their recommendations, we probably should notice their suggested partitioning of Palestine. Their plan is to cut up Palestine into six parts and give three to the Arabs and three to the Jews—the Jews receiving by far the larger and better portion of the whole. There is, however, one notable exception to the division of the land between the two contending parties—Jerusalem and Bethlehem would not be given to either Jews or Arabs but be held as a United Nations trusteeship. Here again we are reminded of the words of our Lord: “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:24. While this report is only a suggestion and may or may not be put into effect, one thing is sure—Jerusalem is going to remain in the hands of the Gentile powers until the Lord comes back to reign and the “times of the Gentiles” come to an end, as when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands strikes the image upon its feet and all of the image is broken to pieces. See Daniel 2. The image represents Gentile dominion from the time that the Jews were turned over to them by God in His governmental dealings, until Christ comes back to reign and smashes the Gentile powers.
The Arabs are making threats of bloodshed and violence if the Jews are given the recommended portion of the land. They plan to resist by force any allotment to the Jews. It seems likely that it will only be by armed might that the Jews will be placed back in their own land. We do know that before the Lord comes to reign many Jews will be placed back in that land, and will be under the protection of the revived Roman Empire. Perhaps Balaam’s Prophecy— “And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber,” Numbers 24:24—refers to ships from a Roman Empire power forcibly pushing back the Jews’ enemies and giving the Jews a place in Palestine. “The coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

How Israel "Corrupted Themselves"

In meditating upon the ordinances of the Mosaic ritual, one thing in particular strikes the mind; that is, the remarkably jealous way in which God fenced Himself round from the approach of man, as such. It is salutary for the soul to ponder this. We are in great danger of admitting into our minds an element of unholy familiarity when thinking of God, which the devil may use in a very pernicious way and to a very evil end.
It is a fundamental principle of truth, that in proportion as God is exalted and reverenced in our thoughts, will our walk through life be shaped in accordance with what He loves and enjoins; in other words, there is a strong moral link between our estimate of God and our moral conduct. If our thoughts of God are low, low will be our standard of Christian walk; if high, the result will be accordingly. Thus, when Israel, at the foot of Mount Horeb, “changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass,” the Lord’s words were, “Thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.” Exodus 32:7. Mark those words, “corrupted themselves.” They could not do otherwise, when they let down their thoughts of the dignity and majesty of God so low as to imagine, for a moment, that He was “like an ox that eateth grass.”
Similar is the teaching of Romans 1. There the Apostle shows us that the reason of all the abominations of the Gentile nations must be sought for in the fact that “when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God”; thus they too “corrupted themselves.” This is a principle possessing vast practical influence. If we attempt to lower God, we must necessarily lower ourselves; and herein we are furnished with a key by which to interpret all religion. There is an inseparable link between the character of the god of any religion and the character of the votaries thereof, and Jehovah was constantly reminding His people of the fact, that their conduct was to be the consequence of what He was. “I am the Lord thy God, that brought thee up out of the land of Egypt; therefore,” “be ye holy, for I am holy.” And exactly similar is the Spirit’s word to us: “He that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.”
This principle, I conceive, carries us far above all merely systematic views of truth; it is not at all a question of mere doctrine. No; it brings us at once into the deep recesses of the soul, there to ponder, as beneath the piercing, jealous eye of the Thrice Holy One, the estimate which we, as individuals, are daily and hourly forming of Him. I feel that we cannot with impunity refuse to give our minds seriously to this important point of truth; it will be found to contain much of the secret of our low walk and lamentable deadness. God is not exalted in our thoughts; He has not the supreme place in our affections; self, the world, our family, our daily employments, have, as regards the most of us, thrust down our gracious God from the throne of our affections, and robbed the One who died to save us of the blood-purchased homage of our hearts. This being the case, Can we expect to flourish? Ah! no; the farmer who gives his time and thoughts to something else during the springtime, shall look in vain for a golden harvest.
C. H. M.

Can You Answer These Questions?

You may check your answers with those given on pages 670 and 671.
1. What is the Pentateuch?
2. Who wrote it?
3. What is the Decalogue?

The Character of the World and Its Friendship

“The friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Powerful testimony! which judges the walk and searches the heart. The world’s true character has now been manifested, because it has rejected and crucified the Son of God. Man had been already tried without law, and under law; but after he had shown himself to be wholly evil without law, and had broken the law when he had received it, then God Himself came in grace; He became man in order to bring the love of God home to the heart of man, having taken his nature. It was the final test of man’s heart. He came not to impute sin to them, but to reconcile the world to Himself. But the world would not receive Him; and it has shown that it is under the power of Satan and of darkness. It has seen and hated both Him and His Father.
The world is ever the same world: Satan is its prince, and all that is in it, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world. The heart of man, the flesh, has since the fall been always enmity against God. It is often thought and said, that since the death of Christ, Satan is no longer the prince of this world; but it was precisely then that he declared himself as its prince, leading on all men, whether Jews or Gentiles, to crucify the Saviour. And although men now bear the name of Christ, the opposition of the world to His authority remains the same.
Only observe and see if the name of Christ is not dishonored. Man may indeed be taught to honor it; but it is none the less true that where he finds his enjoyment, where his will is free, he shuts out Christ, lest He should come in and spoil his pleasures. If left alone he does not think of Him, he does not like to be spoken to of the Saviour; he sees no beauty in Him that he should desire Him. Man likes to do his own will, and he does not want the Lord to come and oppose it; he prefers vanity and pleasures.
We have the true history of the world and its practical principles in Cain. He had slain his brother, and was cast out of the presence of God, despairing of grace, and refusing to humble himself. By the judgment of God he was made a vagabond on the earth; but such a condition did not suit him. He settled down where God had made him a vagabond, and he called the city after the name of his son, to perpetuate the greatness of his family. That his city should be deprived of all the delights of life would have been unbearable; therefore he multiplied riches for his son. Then another member of the family invented instruments of music; another was the instructor of artificers in brass and iron. The world being cast out from God, sought to make its position pleasant without God, to content itself at a distance from Him. By the coming of Christ, the state of man’s heart was manifested, not only as seeking the pleasures of the flesh, but as being enmity against God. However great His goodness, it would not be disturbed in the enjoyment of the pleasures of the world, nor submit itself to the authority of another; it would have the world for itself, fighting to obtain it, and snatching it from the hands of those who possessed it. Now, it is evident that the friendship of this world is enmity with God. As far as in them lay, they cast God out of the world, and drove Him away. Man desires to be great in this world; we know that the world has crucified the Son of God, that it saw no beauty in the One in whom God finds all His delight.
J. N. D.

Extract: Private Communion

Private communion with God must be kept up, else we shall be fruitless as servants, and defeated as men of war. It is vain for us to bustle about, and run hither and thither in what we call service, or indulge in vapid words about Christian armor and Christian warfare. If we are not keeping our priestly garments unspotted, and if we are not keeping ourselves free from all that would excite nature, we shall assuredly break down.
C. H. M.

Noah's Ark

The ark, the ark, and it alone,
Was safety in the flood;
So Jesus, and no other name,
Saves sinners by His blood.
And if the ark of gopher wood
Proved mercy from above;
How much more the work of Christ
Proclaims that “God is Love.”
All in the ark were very safe,
For God had shut them in;
So all Christ’s sheep are in His hand,
And none can pluck from Him.
Would Noah doubt God’s faithful Word,
By fearing he might die?
So now, to doubt Christ’s precious blood,
Would be to make God lie.
And if dependence could be placed
Upon an ark of wood,
How confidently may we rest
In Christ the mighty God.

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible

Canticles (the Song of Solomon)
The relationship of the affections of the heart of the spouse with Christ. This, on the ground of the special form of the relationship, is to be realized properly in Israel, though capable of an application, abstractedly, to the church and to the individual. (What Canticles treats of is not relationship, but desires, faith, getting the joy of the relationship with occasional glimpses, but not established known relationship. The place of the church, though the marriage is not come, is that of being in the relationship. Israel will not have this.)
There is a kind of progress observable. 1. “My beloved is mine” —this is the lowest point. 2. “I am my beloved’s” —the consciousness of belonging to Him. 3. “I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me.”
We have had thus, subsequent to the history, the moral development of the heart of man, and of the Spirit of God working in various ways in his heart: specially in Ecclesiastes, the heart of man making itself a center, and trying to feed itself; in Canticles, the heart getting out of itself into the heart of Christ.
The Prophets
In these, (except Jonah, and, in a certain sense, Daniel) we find the action of the Spirit of God in the midst of His people, to maintain the authority and character of their original calling, testify against their departure from it, and reveal Messiah as establishing them in blessing on a new footing—sustaining thus the faith of the godly during the departure of the mass, and denouncing judgment on those who persevere in unfaithfulness.
Here you have the whole framework of God’s dealings with Judah, Israel coming in, by the bye, with the judgment of surrounding nations, and especially of Babylon, looking at Israel as the center, bringing out the Assyrian as the great latter-day enemy. Immanuel as the hope of Israel, and the securer of the land, although rejected when coming as a testimony, being Himself Jehovah—a sanctuary—but a stone of stumbling to the disobedient. We get, in addition, the details of the inroads of the Assyrian, and his judgment in the last days; and, included in the development of all this, we have the blessedness of Israel as re-established. This is the first part—chapters 1-35.
In the historical chapters (36-39) we get two great principles—resurrection and deliverance from the Assyrians. It is a risen Christ who effects deliverance, which makes it so important. The captivity in Babylon is here intimated. This latter lays the ground for what follows.
In the last part you have God’s controversy with Israel, first on the footing of idolatry, and second, because of the rejection of Christ. In this Israel is first looked at as a servant; and in chapter 49 the place of servant is transferred to Christ, and, He being rejected, the remnant in the last days take the place of servant. All through this, though Israel be the object of favor, you get a definite contrast between the wicked and the righteous, and hence the separation of the remnant, and judgment of the wicked—the declaration that there can be no peace to the wicked, whether Israel or others. (End of chapters 48, 57.)
In the part that refers specially to the rejection of Christ we get the revelation of the call of the Gentiles, the judgment of the people, the coming of Jehovah, and the full blessing of the remnant of Israel at Jerusalem.
We have here the present dealing of God with rebellious Judah, making them Lo-ammi by the captivity in Babylon; next, from chapter 30, the revelation of the infallible love of Jehovah to Israel (Judah and Ephraim) and the certainty of their establishment under David, according to the order of God, in Jerusalem, Jehovah being their righteousness; then, after the history of Zedekiah, and the details of what brought in the captivity, and what passed in Palestine after it, we have the judgment of all the nations and Babylon itself.
In Lamentations we get the sympathy and entering in of the Spirit of Christ into the sorrows of Israel, especially of the remnant; hence the hope of restoration.
J. N. D. (Continued)

Grace and Righteousness Seen in the Reception of the Prodigal

God could not have us in His presence with sin upon us—could not suffer a single speck or stain of sin. The father could not have the prodigal at his table with the rags of the far country upon him. He could go forth to meet him in those rags, he could fall upon his neck and kiss him in those rags—it was the worthy and beautiful characteristic of his grace so to do; but then to seat him at his table in the rags would never do.
The grace that brought the father out to the prodigal, reigns through the righteousness which brought the prodigal in to the father. It would not have been grace had the father waited for the son to deck himself in robes of his own providing, it would not have been righteous to bring him in in his rags; but both grace and righteousness shone forth in all their respective brightness and beauty when the father went out and fell on the prodigal’s neck, but yet did not give him a seat at the table until he was clad and decked in a manner suited to that elevated and happy position.
C. H. M.

The Glory of God Displayed in the Gospel

There will be a scene of glories when the Kingdom comes. We commonly speak of “glory” as if it stood in that connection only. But this is wrong. Glory then will be displayed, it is true; glory will then be in the circumstances of the scene. But a much more wonderful form of glory is known already—and that is, in the gospel. There God Himself is displayed; a more wondrous object than all circumstances. The glory of the gospel is moral, I grant, not material or circumstantial. But it is glory of the profoundest character. There, again I say, God Himself is displayed. The just God and yet the Saviour is seen there. Righteousness and peace shine there in each other’s company—a result which none but God Himself, and in the way of the cross, could ever have reached.
The gospel calls on sinners to breathe the atmosphere, as I may say, of salvation, to have communion with God in love, and to maintain it in liberty and assurance—and there is a glory in such thoughts and truths as these which indeed excelleth.
Satan interfered or meddled with the work of God, and ruined it in its creature-condition. God at once interfered or meddled with Satan’s work, and eternally overthrew it, bringing meat out of the eater, and sweetness out of the strong.
J. G. B.

The Institution of Animal Sacrifice

The institution of sacrifice is not shrouded in mystery. It is true that there is only one book which furnishes us with authentic information about it, and there is only one historian who has given us any account of what took place on that occasion. But that book is the Bible—God’s inspired Word; and the historian is Moses, a prophet mighty in words and in deeds (Acts 7:22). No eye-witness then, as men would speak of one, has transmitted any record of it; yet it is from one who was present that we learn anything about it. He to whom acceptable sacrifice was that day offered has caused the history of it to be related, and has furnished us in His grace with the suited instruction which flows from it.
As long then as the Bible remains extant upon earth, so long will that history be preserved among men. Forever and ever we know will the remembrance of that sacrifice abide before God. It was late however in the world’s history, and toward the close of that period during which a written revelation was being provided, that the full teaching about Abel’s offering was set forth in God’s Book. The Lord caused Moses to write the history as a bystander might have narrated it. God, by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, has placed on record the secret history connected with it, but only when that secret history could be made available for the instruction of mankind. For Israel under law the history of Abel’s sacrifice would be instructive; for saints who are called to walk by faith, the principle upon which righteous Abel acted, it is of all importance for them to know.
Before the fall, and until after the flood, animal food was not given to man. The life of the animal was not therefore to be taken to nourish man’s bodily frame. Whence then came the thought of animal sacrifice? Adam and Eve, in the garden just after the fall, learning that they were naked, sewed fig leaves together to make themselves aprons, or girdles—a vain attempt at covering their nakedness, as they quickly discovered, for the girdle of fig leaves was found to be insufficient the moment that they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Naked they both were, that was too true; but the attempt to cover their nakedness with the fig leaves was an admitted failure. The attempt however proved two things: first, that they had no idea of procuring a covering by killing any animal; and second, that man’s own thought of that which is sufficient to cover his nakedness falls short of what is needed, as well as of God’s gracious provision on his behalf. The guilty pair formed girdles of fig leaves; the Lord God made coats of skin, and clothed them. A coat is more than a girdle, and it clothed them; but the coats were of skin. The life of an animal which was not needed for their bodily sustainment had to be taken that the nakedness of the transgressors should be covered; but this thought was wholly of God.
Again, when Cain and Abel approached the Lord with an offering, they each came with a present or gift (minghah) as an acknowledgment of whose creatures they were, but without, it would seem, the offering being called forth by anything wrong that they had done. Cain, we believe from the order of the narrative, approached first, and brought of the fruit of the ground. Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock and their fat. Each brought of that which they had an offering unto the Lord. Wherein then consisted the difference between the sacrifices of the brothers? What made the one acceptable and the other not? The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us, as it recounts, that “by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” It was not then from mere intuition on his part, nor from convenience either, that his selection of a sacrifice proceeded. He offered of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat by faith, understanding in some way, unrevealed to us, that such would be acceptable to God. For creatures born in sin can only approach a holy God on the ground of the death of the sacrifice.
From that day this truth has never been allowed to die out. But such a truth was foreign to man’s thoughts till God disclosed it; for just as Adam and Eve resorted to the fig leaves, so Cain sought to approach God with the fruits of the ground. Adam and Eve learned the inutility of the girdles; Cain was taught the impossibility of one born in sin approaching God with acceptance through offerings of the fruits of the ground. The voice of the Lord God made Adam and Eve conscious of their mistake. The Lord, looking on Abel’s sacrifice with acceptance, demonstrated to Cain the insufficiency of the ground on which he was attempting to stand before God. In both cases the teaching that was lacking came from God. Cain might have said that he had done his best, and that his fruit had cost him a great deal of labor; but all that weighed nothing in the balance, for the simple question to be answered was not what he would bring, but what would be acceptable to God. For this the mind of God had to be made known; and henceforth it was patent that death was needful, if the offering and the offerer were to be accepted before the throne.
This then made known, was taken up by man after the flood in his ignorance and dread of God’s wrath, and sadly perverted; for, not content with bringing animals in sacrifice to God, the heathen, and Israel too in their apostasy, resorted to human sacrifices to appease an offended deity. How the devil, if he cannot hide from a man a truth, will endeavor to pervert it, that, while appearing to do right, man may in reality do wrong! For man is blind indeed, and a ready prey to the devil, unless subject to divine teaching.
That life must be surrendered on man’s behalf is a cardinal doctrine of Scripture; and that no life, but that of one who is man, will really avail before God, is also plainly taught us in the Word (Heb. 9:22), and this was God’s purpose before the foundation of the world; but that God would accept on behalf of a sinner the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul, would be either a denial of the fall and of the sinfulness of man, or of the holiness of the Being whom man thus attempted to propitiate. Thus, whether we think of the need of death in sacrifice, or of the One by whose death all was accomplished for those who believe on Him, this is clear, that man of his own thoughts, or as led of the enemy, would never have understood what God could accept on behalf of the sinner; for, apart from divine teaching, man knows not the depth of his need, nor the holy nature of his God; and nothing more is wanted to demonstrate this than to leave man to act in such a manner after the counsel of his own will. Adam and Eve, and Cain, and men after the flood, are solemn witnesses to the truth of this allegation; but Scripture, which tells us of this, instructs us as to all that is needful for the vilest and the lost to have a perfect and everlasting standing before God; and the earliest teaching about it is provided in the history of the two brothers, Cain and Abel. So early in the world’s history was the question raised, and when raised, settled forever by the Lord Himself—How shall one born in sin be accepted before Him?
Adam and Eve were transgressors who had thereby fallen from innocence. As such they must always stand out apart from their descendants. Cain and Abel were the two earliest born in sin—the condition in which we all were by nature. Hence God’s ways with them, and the ground on which He could accept them, is full of instruction for us. Cain brought what he thought would do. Abel offered what he understood would be acceptable to God. By faith he did it. And the Lord, we read, settled the question speedily, simply, properly, and that forever. Speedily, for it was settled at once; simply, for “the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect”; properly, for it is the prerogative of God to determine as He will, on what grounds He can allow a fallen creature such as man is, to be at home forever before Him. This was made clear to both the brothers. Abel understood it; Cain was fully aware of it, and his countenance fell. Both learned it from God, and we are to learn it from God likewise. The action of God determined the question for them; the Word of God settles the matter for us. But as they, so we, are taught it by God, and from the principles then established God has never departed, nor ever will; and three important ones are established for us by the history of Abel’s sacrifice.
First. —It is God’s prerogative to declare on what terms He will accept one ruined by the fall. And He does that, never allowing a creature to act in this matter after the counsel of its own will. For what creature that has sinned has a just estimate of God’s character, and a due understanding of His holiness? For all this we are cast upon revelation. So to approach Him acceptably we need divine instruction.
Second. —If death is required ere we can stand in acceptance before Him, we are thereby indebted to another, and are proved to be helpless as regards ourselves; for it is a cardinal and self-evident truth, that no one can die to make atonement for himself, and no one by his own death can deal effectively with the question of his sinful nature. Needing then the death of the sacrifice, all our toil, all our efforts to establish by life-service a standing before God, must, like Cain’s, be labor in vain. We shall be going on a wrong line, and one which can never by any circuitous course, however long, lead us to God. Hence we need that which God tells us He has provided, and has also accepted—the death of His own Son on behalf of those who shall believe on Him. Truth about His person, establishing His fitness to be the sinner’s substitute, is brought out in succeeding revelations, which we need not here anticipate. The deep necessity of death is the point this history of Cain and Abel illustrates. Christ has died, and has also been raised from the dead—a token that God has accepted Him as the substitute and sin-offering in all its fullness, and that nothing is wanted to make His atonement of full avail before God (Heb. 9:14). The importance of this truth is immense, and is especially needful in these days to be remembered, when sacrifice on the altar has ceased, as far as we are concerned, forever; for the principle, that death must come in on behalf of the sinner, has not been altered, nor ever will. Nay, it has been established on more solid ground than ever since the death of the Son of God has been set forth in the Word, and the danger to man if he rejects that truth stands out more distinctly than ever. “No man,” says the Lord, “cometh unto the Father but by Me.” John 14:6. Through the veil, that is to say His flesh, a new and living way, we have boldness to enter the holiest by His blood. (Heb. 10:19-20.)
Third. —The offerer, as we learned from Abel’s sacrifice, is associated inseparably with the offering. “The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.” Genesis 4:4-5. Abel was not accepted apart from the firstlings of his flock; and, as we learn from Hebrews 11:4, the bringing of his offering testified that he was righteous. The value of the offering was known only to God, and Abel stood before Him accepted according to all its value in His eyes. And Cain could see, and did see, that an accepted sacrifice had been that day presented to God. How close to the accepted worshipper was Cain! yet how far off was he spiritually from God! He knew his brother was accepted, as the Lord looked to his offering, but that acceptance availed not for him. The fact of a sacrifice having been accepted avails nothing for anyone who is not identified with it. Identified with it, as Abel was, the knowledge of its acceptance is of great importance. Hence the question becomes an individual one. Since God has accepted the sacrifice of His Son (proved to us by raising Him from the dead, and the sending of the Holy Ghost to teach us about it), is each one standing before God on the ground of that sacrifice, Or is he not? If the former, each one is accepted according to all its value; if the latter, though, like Cain, such a one may know of its acceptance, he has no part in the benefits which result from it.
From this short history connected with these two brothers, who by birth after the flesh stood originally on precisely the same ground, these different principles are clearly to be deduced. But early as they were established, how many have still need to learn about them! Blessed is that man for whom this history has not been written in vain.
C. E. S.

Answers to the Questions on Page 648

The first five books of the Old Testament are generally known as the Pentateuch, although the Jews call them the “Torah.”
The word is from the Greek, and means “five books.”
It was written by Moses. Critics and “would-be” wise men have sought to deny the authorship of Moses. We might add at this point that while Moses was the penman, he wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. It is divinely given, although Moses was the instrument used to write it. There is abundant evidence that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, and we could refer to many scriptures in the New Testament where Moses’s name is directly connected with it. The Lord Jesus Himself so speaks:
“Have ye not read in the book of Moses?” Mark 12:26.
“If they hear not Moses and the prophets.” Luke 16:31.
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets.” Luke 24:7.
“Moses  ... wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings.” John 5:46-47. See also 2 Corinthians 3:15, which is a standing proof of the truth of Scripture. The Jews zealously guard the “Torah” and it is read regularly in their synagogues; yet, while it speaks of the Lord Jesus, the “veil is upon their heart” and they fail to see Him in it.
The word Decalogue is of Greek origin, and means “ten words,” or the ten commandments. How blessed to know more than the Decalogue! “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17.

The Editor's Column

Russia, through a devious course, has brought many countries under her control. Today she stands menacingly facing the west, not on her own frontier, but far to the west of it. One by one the Baltic states fell under her power; Poland, Eastern Germany, Czecho-Slovakia, and most of the Balkan countries have also been engulfed. Her appetite is insatiable and her word worthless. The question now is, “What’s next in Russian expansion?” The parts of Europe that have not been overrun by her may well shudder at the increasing threat to their safety. It has been estimated that she could race through the rest of continental Europe within 48 hours. Yet, with all these signs pointing in one direction, it does not appear that she will advance much farther to the west. Most of that portion of Western Europe that is left is destined, according to Scripture, for the revived Roman Empire. Russia’s sphere lies to the east and north. One of her allies (or satellites) mentioned in Ezekiel 38— “the house of Togarmah” —is spoken of as “from the uttermost north” (JND). Everything points to her being contained in Eastern Europe, and to the north.
While there are minorities in this and other countries that favor the Russian communistic ideology there is a growing disposition to resist Russian expansion. She can only go as far as God will allow, and He may use the crystalizing opposition of other countries to tie her down where she is in Europe.
There does not seem to be any indication from prophecy that Russia and the western powers will actually come into conflict. (We might, however, add one word of caution to this statement: prophecy deals with the closing events of this age and we should not be too dogmatic as to what may take place in the intervening time.)
There is another fact which indicates that Russia will not sweep all Europe, in that, where she goes religion must inevitably be restrained if not eliminated. Russia is basically atheistic; the Roman Empire will at first be largely dominated by the Roman church; hence it must be preserved in Western Europe.