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that which has been and will be the earthly copy of this divine and heavenly original, the earthly Jerusalem, such thoughts of grace and of glory. The source-descending out of heaven, FROM GOD. To crown all, there are the words, “ Having the glory of God.” Yes, it will be the fulfilment to the uttermost and beyond everything that either faith or hope can now conceive, of the words, " heirs of God "_" called to His kingdom and glory
-"called to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus.' The One seen sitting on the throne in chap. iv. was to look like
a jasper and a sardine stone. Of the city it is here said, “ Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear as crystal.” Conformed thus to the glory of God, and become the vessel for its display, the city has no temple, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. It has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. The happy nations of the spared inhabitants of the millennial earth, walk in the light of it. The rays of the Divine glory, softened and qualified by the medium through which
jasper walls of the golden city, give light to the nations of the earth, fulfilling thus the ancient prophecy to Jerusalem below, “ Arise, shine: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” The gates of the city are not shut at all by day, and there is no night there. The glory and honour of the nations are brought into it; but anything that defileth or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, can have no entrance within its holy precincts. A pure river of water of life issuing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, flows through the midst of the street. On either side of the river there is the tree of life, its fruit furnishing immortal food to the immortal inhabitants, while the leaves of the tree minister healing to the nations below. There is no more curse; but the throne of God and of the
are in the city; and His servants serve Him. see His face, and bear His name on their foreheads,
reign throughout one uninterrupted, cloudless, eternal day. Bright, blessed, glorious vision of our eternal
Lamb They and
home! May its brightness light up the whole path by which we are hastening onwards to it; and may it endear to our hearts the hope of Him who announces Himself to us as the bright and morning star, whose presence, while it introduces us to all this blessedness, is itself the highest and chief element of which all this blessedness consists.
FRAGMENTS. We all have characters: Christ had none : every single faculty in Him was a perfect model, demonstrating God in everything. We may find a display of character in Paul
. He repented of having written an inspired epistle. God took care to use him, but he had the sympathies and failings of a fallen man. Hence the need of a “thorn in the flesh.”
Perhaps the highest character of spiritual guidance, is not such as “do not go into Bithynia,” but by communion with the intelligence of God (see Phil. i. 9; Col. i. 9). Much of the guidance of the Divine life is like this :- If a person has been much in communion with God in prayer, previously, he would often be able to decide upon a matter instantly, by a sort of spiritual intelligence; whereas, if this had not been the case, he might be greatly at a loss, and have to pray much about it before he got light upon his path.
A person walking with God, and self dead, would be positively guided—but motives often bias us unconsciously.
GRACE THE POWER OF UNITY AND OF
GATHERING. BELOVED BROTHER,- I have had the desire on my mind to make a few remarks on a point I believe to have importance at the present moment; and in doing so, I carry
my mind a tract to which circumstances drew attention, and practically review it. And I do so the rather, because I think I read a paper some time back in the “ Present Testimony," which, if my memory serves me, placed the subject on a ground which I did not think quite just: that is, it saw only one side of the matter, as it seemed to me. I am not going to comment on it, as I apprehend you can edify your readers better by other means.
What I think important to be understood, is, that the active power that gathers is always grace-love. Separation from evil may be called for. In particular states of the Church, when evil is come in, it may characterize very much the path of the saints. It may be, that, through many acting under the same convictions at the same time, this may form a nucleus. But this in itself, is never a gathering power. Holiness may attract when a soul is in movement of itself. But power to gather, is in grace, in love working; if you please, faith working by love. Look at all the history of the Church of God in all ages, and
you will find this to be the case. Gathering is the formative power of unity, where it does not exist. I take for granted here that Christ is owned as the centre. If evil exist, it may gather out of that evil, but the gathering power is love. The paper which I would pass under review is a tract, which, from circumstances is not unknown. Separation from evil, God's principle of unity." I trust I should have grace to acknowledge error where I thought there was such, and I am sure I owe it to the Lord to do so; but my
VOL. V, - PT. II.
object here is somewhat larger. That tract refers to the state of the Church of God at large, and not any particular members of it; but as one part of truth corrects an evil, so another, by its operation on the soul, may enlarge the sphere and strengthen the energy of good. There are two great principles in God's nature, owned of all saints-holiness and love. One is, 1 may be bold to say, the necessity of His nature, imperative in virtue of that nature on all that approach Him; the other, its energy. One characterises; the other is, and is the spring of activity of, His nature. God is Holy-He is not loving, but-love. He is it in the essential fountain of His being; we make Him a judge by sin, for He is holy, and has authority; but He is love and none has made Him such. If there be love any where else, it is of God, for God is love. This is the blessed active energy of His being. In the exercise of this, He gathers to Himself, for the eternal blessedness of those who are gathered. Its display in Christ, and Christ Himself, being the great power and centre of it. His counsels as to this are the glory of His grace-His applying them to sinners, and the means He employs for it, the riches of His
grace. And in the ages to come, He will shew how exceeding great these were in His kindness to us, in Christ Jesus. Allow me, in passing, before entering on the examination of the point, which is now directly my object, to say a word on the sweet passage I have referred to, because it opens out God's full thoughts in bringing into the unity of which that epistle speaks. We are brought in Christ, and God Himself is the centre of the blessing, and in two characters—His nature and His relationship: He both as related to Christ Himself, viewed as man before Him, though the beloved Son. The verses I refer to, are Eph. i. 3—7. He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As the Lord, when ascending up on high, said, “I go to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Only that here he
goes on to their unity in Christ. There Christ speaks of them as brethren. In this double character, then, in which God stands to Christ Himself, He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings—none left out—in heavenly places, the best and highest sphere of blessing, where He dwells; not merely sent down to earth, but we taken ourselves up there, and in the best and highest way-in Christ Jesus,
save His Divine title to sit on the Father's throne. Wonderful portion! sweet and blessed grace, which becomes simple to us in the measure in which we are accustomed to dwell in the perfect goodness of God, to whom it is natural to be all that He is: who could be no other.
In verse 4, we have “ The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” according to the glory of the Divine nature, introducing into His own presence, in Christ, that which shall be the reflex of itself, according to its eternal purpose. For the Church in the thoughts of God (and, I may add, in its life in the Word) is before the world in which it is displayed. Here, it is His nature. We are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love. God is holy, God is love, and in His ways, when He acts, blameless.
Then there is relationship in Christ, and His is that of Son. Hence in Him we are predestinated to the adoption of children to God himself
, according to His good pleasure, the delight and goodness of His will. This is relationship. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as God. This is the glory of His grace; His own thoughts and purposes, to the praise of which
He has shewn us grace in the beloved. But in fact he finds us sinners. He has to put sinners in this place. What a thought! Here His grace shines out in another way
In this same blessed one-Christ the Son -we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins-what we need, in order to enter into the place where we shall be to the praise of the glory of His grace: and this is according to the riches of His grace; for God is displayed in the glory of His grace, and need is met by the riches of grace.
Thus we are before God. What follows in the chapter is the inheritance which belongs to us through this same grace--what is under us. Into this I do not enter; only remarking, as I have elsewhere, that the