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N. XXV.

OBEDIENCE.

THE

presence of God, in blessing, supposes obedience to exist in those to whom He is present. For the presence of God gives a light that makes all that is in it manifest, and the impotency of evil rebellion in His presence must render those that are disobedient miserable. In the light which at once claims all for God, themselves manifestly in rebellion and independence of the God (whose claim is known, is felt to be just and right), there must be a sense of collision, unsuccessful but strong-willed collision, and thereby misery. Obedience is supposed when God is supposed to be present in blessing. It must be so, for otherwise He would not be God; nor the creature, however high it be, a creature still. But more than this. For the blessing which a God of mercy and compassion found for sinners supposed a perfect obedience: a perfect obedience on the part of the Lord Jesus Christ-such an obedience as there was no room for ere sin entered; and perfect obedience on the part of the receiver of the blessing, even the poor sinner. The obedience in neither of these cases is, or could consist in the same details as man in Eden ought to have observed, but while differing, necessarily differing, in the thing enjoined, it is in both cases perfect obedience.

Man in Eden ought not to have touched a certain tree. He cast off obedience and did eat of it. The Son of God became obedient unto death, the death of the cross, when He bore our sins in His own body on the tree—the just one for the many unjust. We poor sinners have to submit to the righteousness of faith; and if any is found before God not having Christ for righteousness eternal condemnation will be the fruit of this disobedience on the part of the sinner. There is no

question, whatsoever, of whether the lost sinner can get blessing in any way save that of perfect obedience; He cannot. He must either have Christ, and Christ alone, for foundation, or be lost; be lost, not merely because of Adam's transgression or his own walking in sins, but also because being a sinner he is not obedient to the faith. God is glorying Himself in proclaiming the praises and excellencies of what Christ has done for sinners, and the sinner will none of it.

But further, obedience to God and to Christ is necessarily the introduction of the soul into a new conditionthe spirit of obedience. The conflict in man against the gospel has more causes than one.

The claims of God; a man's moral state and habit; the way that grace, as being light, discovers these things: the humbling, pride-staining character of

grace;

the fact that it, while it supposes obedience on the part of the receiver, supposes obedience in a way so different from that which nature in Eden suggested, “ I partake of God's goodness while I do not disobey," was then the thought, whereas now it is, “I partake of free grace if I receive God's promise of mercy through the work of atonement offered by the Lord Jesus." All these things, and many others, a enter into the causes of hostility to grace. Dire necessity is the sense which breaks down many a heart.

6. What can I do to be saved ?” and there is a ready answer of grace even to this bitter selfishness; “Believe in the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved." But whether the heart is broken down consciously, or whether (found of those that seek Him not), the light enters, as it did with Paul,—the soul that has the light of life and grace as it is, is at once in a new state.

a To name one in conscience. Man on earth has murdered the Prince of Life. I know I am partaker of the guilt, for I have the same heart as those that did it. When brought into the presence of that blessed One, conscience will clamour against us --that we did it—and, unless prevented, it would drown the voice and hinder our hearing of the testimony of there being forgiveness in the blood of Him whom we murdered, but whom God has raised.

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God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of the Lord Jesus. But the revelation of this to the soul puts it not only into a new position; it was darkness, it is in lightit was in nature, it is in grace—it was in death under Satan, it is in life under Christ; but also puts it into a new condition or state. For life, life in and from a risen Christ, is not merely a position, it is a new conditiona new state of being. And there are habits, and ways, and sympathies (joys and sorrows, and communion too), a character and hopes—a life natural to this new condition—this new state of being.

To the Editor of the Present Testimony.

DEAR BROTHER,- It has only just now been my privilege to look over the 17th part of Present Testimony, and with reference to No. 23 of that part, I venture to offer the following observations:- In the book of Revelations, which has been my study and delight for many years, I remarked the difficulty which occurs at the close of the book. But I have also found the difficulty entirely removed by placing ten verses in parenthesis-i.e., from the seventh of the twentieth chapter to the first of the twenty-first inclusive, I have long since marked these verses in my book as a “post-millennial parenthesis.”—I believe the remaining part of the twenty-first and the whole of the twenty-second chapters to be purely millennial.—I had still some little difficulty respecting the fifth verse of the twenty-first chapter, which appears at first sight out of place, but nothing can be out of place in God's word, and I now see it quite otherwise, this verse (5), as I judge, contains prophecy-not action,—a proclamation made, it may be at the close of the coming age when symptoms of the falling away or final apostasy may “exhibit themselves," and then the promise, seventh verse,

Whosoever overcometh,” comes in course suitably to the faithful of the earthly family. This is not a repetition of a similar promise to the seven churches; for here it would appear still more out of place, nor can it be understood as addressed to those who have passed into the new heavens or new earth: for what can there be to overcome there where "dwelleth righteousness;(2 Peter iii. 13)? That the future action (ver. 5) is spoken of in the present tense involves no difficulty, for very many passages shew that such is the style of the Spirit in the prophets; and in the second Psalm the future action is even spoken of in the past tense, “I have set,” sixth verse. I

may not be rightly dividing the word, but I am looking to the Lord for more light, and in the meantime that the saints may be daily living more in the power of

Waiting and longing first of all for Jesus, the “Son from heaven," is my humble desire.

I am truly yours in the Lord, J. M.

future things.

To the Editor of the Present Testimony. DEAR SIR.—At the request of a friend I have been led to examine the Greek version of Ps. cx. ver. 3. I have since pursued a similar investigation in several other languages, the result you may like to notice.

I would, however, remark in the first place, that whereas our authorised English version presents the most accurate rendering of the Hebrew in this passage (as in many other cases), it is capable of very great improvement by a mere change of punctuation, i.e. by placing a colon or full stop at "holiness,” and no stop afterwards till the end of the verse. And this will be seen to approach very near to the sense of the prayer-book version, which is as follows:-"In the day of thy power

shall the people offer Thee freewill offerings with an holy worship, the dew of Thy birth is of the womb of the morning.” The next is Luther's, " Upon Thy victory shall Thy people willingly offer to Thee in holy and glorious apparel

. Thy children shall be born to Thee as the dew from the morning." The French in Ostervald's edition,

Thy people shall be a willing people in the day when Thou shalt collect Thine army with sacred pomp, Thy posterity shall be as the dew which is produced from the womb of the morning.” “In the three following versions, viz., the Septuagint, Syriac, and old Latin (probably the Vulgate), it will be seen the variations are chiefly caused by the ambiguity of the two words yoy, which, without points, may be read “with Thee" instead of

Thy people," and 775, which also without points and with the insertion of before the last syllable means “I begat thee" instead of “thy youth.” Thus Sept. “With Thee is dominion in the day of Thy power, in the splendour of Thy saints, I begat Thee from the womb before the morning star.” Syriac, “ With Thee there shall be glory in the day of power, in the beauties of holiness." From the womb, from the East (or of old), I begat thee a male child. The word rendered "male child" answers to the Hebrew 5 (tal), dew. The English reader will recognise the sound in Talitha kumi, Damsel, arise. The Latin is a close version of the Septuagint. It may be added, that if the punctuation of the Syriac is to be regarded, which, however, is very doubtful, that version favours the stop placed as in our English Bibles, i.e., a colon at “morning.”

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