Sivut kuvina

may account for. There are simple souls that exhibit this ; but, generally, it is otherwise.

"The prerogative of our Christian faith," says one, and his words are good and seasonable, " the secret of its strength is this—that all which it has and all which it offers, is laid up in a person,. This is what has made it strong, while so much else has proved so weak. It has not merely deliverance, but a Deliverer; not redemption only, but a Bodeenier as well. This is what makes it fit for wayfaring men. This is what makes it sunlight, and all else, when compared with it, as moonlight; fair it may be, but cold and ineffectual; while here the life and the light are one. And O how great the difference between submitting ourselves to a complex of rules, and casting ourselves upon a beating heart, between accepting a system, and cleaving to a person. Our blessedness, and let us not miss it, is this—that our treasures are treasured, in a person who is not for one generation, a present Teacher and a living Lord, and then for all succeeding generations a past and a dead one, but who is present and living for all."

Yes indeed—and this ever present and living One, in the Gospels, is constantly Himself either seen or heard. He is the Teacher or the Doer on every occasion; and the Evangelists have little or nothing left for them in the way of explanation or comment. And this gives to their narratives simplicity and palpable truthfulness, a truthfulness that may be felt.

But further; in His relationships to the world which was around him, we see Him at once a Conqueror, a sufferer and a Benefactor. What moral glories shine in such an assemblage! He overcame the world, refusing all its attractions; He suffered from it, bearing witness against its whole course ; He blest it, dispensing the fruit of His grace and power incessantly. Its temptations only made Him a Conqueror—its pollutions and enmities a Sufferer—its miseries only a Benefactor! What a combination!

(To be continued, D.V.)


New-born babes require milk. As with the natural, so with the spiritual. Accordingly, after Peter has spoken of the new birth, in the opening chapter of his 1st Epistle, we find him exhorting believers, in the commencement of the second chapter, thus—

"As new born babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby."

Yes, babes are fed with milk, that they may grow. They are, however, not always to be fed on milk. Alas! the majority of Christians little understand this; they suffer themselves to remain in the hands of nurses, many of whom can feed with nothing else than baby-diet. From time to time, however, there arises in many, if not in all, a craving for something stronger, on which to feed that new life which the Lord Jesus Christ has given them. Yet they persistently cling to the nurses of their babyhood, who hare nothing but milk-food to offer

them. But God has given his people the entire Bible, and has put this declaration upon it—

"All Scripture is t^iven by inspiration of God, and it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. iii., 16, 17.)

See how beautifully consistent is the wording of Scripture! To the man of God is given the whole of the sacred writings, that he may be perfect, throughly furnished [furnished through and through) unto all good works. This cannot bo said to a babe, nor to one just beginning to walk. We must not, therefore, expect a babe in Christ to be able to understand or receive all truth at once. Many of the most glorious revelations of the Word of God are too strong for infant Christians; they cannot receive them. Numbers of aged believers, who have known the Lord Jesus Christ from afar for many years, are shocked if we tell them they are called to have fellowship with God—the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. They havo not yet realised that their sins are forgiven, and that they are "accepted in the Beloved." In vain we repeat to many of the Lord's bloodbought ones—

"This we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we [believers] which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [or go before] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descond from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of Gcd: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we [believers] which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [the dead in Christ] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. ir. 16-18.)

"We (believers) shall not all sleep, but we [believers] shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," &c. (1 Cor. xv. 51, 62.

How many children of God treat this as a theoretical doctrine, in which they have no vital interest —one which they may receive or reject at will, notwithstanding that it is said, "Comfort one another with these words"! How is this? Such Christians have either made but little progress in their new life, or they are "carnal, and walk as men." In any case, they have got no further than the milk-food of "the word"; that is to say, they have only received the simplest truths of Christianity. This is not according to the mind of God; on the contrary, it is most dishonouring to Him, for these His children are neglecting the rich provisions of His grace. "Go on to perfection," should be the watchword for every Christian. We may never be satisfied if we are not making progress. To this end, the Lord has given us All His words. He has also given tho Holy Ghost the Comforter, to lead us into All truth. How touchingly the Apostle wrote in the Epistle to the Hebrews, concerning these standstill Christians. He desired to unfold to believers the precious offices of the risen Jesus, that they might know how actively the Blessed One is engaged even now for His people. This, we are told, is strongly manifested in His character and work as our great High Priest. The Apostle says, Jesus is—

"Called „." God, an high priest after the order of Of whom we have many things to say, and. hard to be uttered, seeing ys are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God : and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk [i.e. first principles] is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat be longs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles (the first principles before spoken of] of The doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection." (Heb. v. 10-14, and vL 1.)

Now, that which is spoken of here is not Christian walk (though that necessarily follows), but we are urged forward in the acquisition of divine knowledge, that we may grow! The Hebrew converts had not been slack in the activities of Christian life. The Apostle says to them,—

"God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye showed towards his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister;"

and again in the 10th chapter of the same epistle he says—

"Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated (enlightened, converted,) ye endured a great fight of afflictions ; partly whilst ye were made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and enduring substance" (ver. 32-34.)

These dear saints had borne persecution, had endured a great fight of afflictions, were faithful, were cheerful givers to the needy ones of the flock of Christ; yet respecting divine knowledge and growth" they had gone back to babyhood; and, instead of becoming teachers of others, had need to be taught again the first principles of Christ. Alas! for the many Babes of the present day, in comparison "of whom, these Hebrews were as giants! The baby condition of so many Christians is mainly attributable to bad nursing—teaching, it should be. While the Lord's people are content with mere pulpit preaching, instead of accepting the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit of God, they must continue mere starveling babes, instead of becoming strong in the Lord.

But there is another aspect of soul spoken of in Scripture, in which only the Milk of "the Word" can be taken; that is, where the believer clings to the things appertaining to the carnal nature—willing to walk in the old Adam life, instead of in the life of Christ. Alas! what hindrance is presented to the work of the Holy Ghost by carnally minded Christians!

"I, brethren, could not speak unto you (says the Apostle to such] as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are yo able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men P For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of A polios; are yo not carnal?"

May this question search many hearts! There cannot be true spiritual progress where the old carnal

nature is not treated as a dead thing, and modified accordingly. "Consider yourselves dead." That is the remedy for strife and division—dead with Christ, and alive with Him in a new order of being, the prominent characteristics of which are love and peace.

PRAYER AND PRAYER MEETINGS. Christians are enjoined to "pray without ceasing." Happy would it be, if believers generally realised their unspeakable privilege by filling up every vacant moment down here with prayer. Not necessarily spoken prayer. It is often far better for the desires of the soul to pass up to God, untrammelled by words, as it is written—

"The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought ; but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Rom. viii. 26.)

What follower of the Lord Jesus does not know something of these groanings? Blessed are they who get much aid from the Holy Ghost in that way. And He is ever willing thus to help our infirmities. If dear, "blood-bought" saints would only get more deeply earnest for the spiritual welfare of one another, their groaning prayers would be much increased, and the name of Jesus more fully glorified. Look at the Saviour's words—

"Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." (John xvi. 24.)

Might not many Chistians apply this sentence to themselves almost literally? Their asking is almost nothing. But if we would pray, to the end " that our joy may be full," our asking must be much on behalf of others;—for the obtaining of those things we desire for self will never fill us with joy. Let us pray for, and obtain, blessing for others, and our joy will full. Of course, there is much presentation of names at the throne of grace. (We are • speaking still of private prayer.) No doubt all believers call over, in prayer, the list of their relatives, and thoso that are dear to them; perhaps they do so night and morning. Thanks be to God, the God of all grace, for every effort thus truly made. But, alas! how often does this practice sink into a mere formality—a mere naming of names! Shall we be wrong in hinting that, with some Christians, it is an irksome task? But to the true believer, it need not be so. If the love of God, "shed abroad in our hearts," is suffered to produce its proper fruit, there will be earnest, craving desires for the spiritual welfare of many who are known to us—known to us continually, in varied circumstances of difficulty, danger, and suffering. Look after such, watch them, care for them; and then you will surely pray for them. Bring some new names continually into your prayers; and open your hearts to God about them, as really wanting and expecting the good you ask for them. We conclude this part of our subject with the following scriptures; (may they be much used for blessing.)—

"Rejoice evermore."

"Pray without ceasing." (That is, Ever be in the spirit of prayer.)

"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." "Quench not the Spirit. (1 Thess. v. 16—19.)

Respecting Pbayer Meetings.—We believe that, even when Christians gather together for prayer, the most blessed exercises of soul, the most powerful appeals to God, and the most accopted of Him, are silent aspirations and inward groanings, produced by the Holy Spirit. Yet outspoken prayer on such occasions is to be looked for. In 1 Cor. xiv. 15 we read—

*' I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the understanding also."

This need of praying with the understanding should ever be borne in mind by those who tako the place of mouthpieces at prayer-meetings. It is a solemn office—that of speaking to God for his people! If those who string sentences of words together, on many occasions, could only get one glimpse of the God whom they are supposed to address, how quickly would they become silent! May we, in all «arnestness, simplicity, and love, offer advice in two words to Christians who lead in prayer? The words are these—Be Bkief! Hear what our Lord says about it:

"When ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for they think they shall be heard for their Much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what ye have need of before ye ask Him." (Matt. vi. 7, 8.)

The Lord Jesus then gave a prayer—as a model of brevity. In that respect it is a model for every man. It consists of 65 words only. Yet it comprises all the petitions a true-hearted Jew need desire to present to God in that day. But Christians have a more comprehensive range of subjects of prayer now. They are furnished with the whole word of God to teach them right desires, and they havo the Holy Ghost in them, to help their infirmities. They cannot plead with God in a form of words, nor in a formal prayer. They must, if thyy would prevail, deal with Him in spirit and in truth. Moreover, attached to all true Christian prayer there must bo tho precious name of Jesus Christ. Still, the above-mentioned prayer must over be a model for brevity and force.

Dear brethren, leaders in prayer—Suffer the word of exhortation. When you feel really led to pray, consider the perfections of our God; give utterance only to tno earnest desires of your soul, and in few words; then sit down again. Oh, how grievous it is to those who sit by, to find leaders who undortako to offer prayer, merely cudgeling their memory for words with which to satisfy their own vanity! How must such performances appear in tho sight of Him who reads the thoughts of the heart!

TO COREESPONDENTS. M. H. D.—Your long but interesting paper on Baptism deserves a much fuller notice than our limited spaco permits us to give. You consider water-baptism essential to salvation. One reason you urge in support of that position is, that none, in the early days, were deemed believers, who were not members of the Church, and none were members of the Church who wore not baptized with water. We quite agree that Scripture warrants us in arriving at these

latter eonclasions. But they by no moans proves waterbaptism to be essential to salvation. Water does not unite us into one body. The baptism of tho Holy Ghost doe* that. Water-baptism only buries that which is deemed dead, viz., the Adam nature of the believer; or, to take the other scripture explanation of its meaning, it, in figure, washes away sins (Acts xxii. l*i), though we are plainly taught elsewhere that it is the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, which rea'fy cleanses tho believer from all sin (1 John i. 7). Acts x. shows there is living union of members to The oue lwdy, before water baptism. This is fully confirmed by Kph i. 12-13. Then, we would ask you to consider the case of the thief on the cross. How could he be saved if Water-baptism were needful to salvation? And this brings us to tho practical bearing of the question. Only a few days ago the writer was called to the side of a dying woman. One could not preach in such a case, " Believe and be baptized." The scripture given me to read on this occasion was Rom. x. 9; "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." A sister in the Lord, who helped to nurse the dying one, considers she afterwards confessed with her lips, though the writer could not obtain a clear testimony. God only knows whether there was belief in the heart—but if so, she is certainly saved. We are glad to find you urge confession, and all other requirements of scripture. Truth, as given in the word of God, has many aspects—and faithfulness requires that we should take heed to them all. But when salvation is in question, John iii. 14-15 clearly shows the essentials—namely, on God's side, that His only begotten Son should die and be raised again — on our aide, that we believe in Him.

T. C.—In the case you mention—that of dear brethren in the Lord absenting themselves frequently from your meeting place, on the Lord's day—there is "no remedy but prayer and brotherly love. We have no command from the Master to meet on that day, although we have abundant evidence of His approval of Christians so doing. Acts xx. 7 is certainly written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost for our guidance ; but there is no word to bind us as to a set observance. We shall be happy to hear from you again, if you have other thoughts on the subject. Meantime, dear brother, pray for the wandering ones; seek them out as often as you can, and by the constraints of love endeavour to bring them back to faithfulness to the Lord, according to Heb. x. 25. This is true pastoral work. It needs much grace and patience—patience to wait, for the approval of our labours, until we shall stand beforo the judgment-seat of Christ. Our God is, however, equal to all our needs.

E. H. W-,WooLwicn.—We feel grieved at tho cruel treatment you spoak of as having been received by those you mention, from "the exclusive Brethren." May dear Christiana see the Lord's mind as to what true fellowship means ; and come out from a Confederacy which, though it contains a great number of most estimable servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet, as a corporate body, has much dishonoured his name. Accept our sincere Christian sympathy and love. We should be glad to know where you and the few tried ones now meet.

Communications Rkckivep—E. C, T. T., W. O., II. T., Lewisham, (we were unable to accept your kind invitation); W. C. NoarJraan, MnuAon, W. G. W. Also numerous pamphlets, some of which we hope to review.

Published for the Proprietor, by
Job Coudwcll, 335, Strand, London, WC.
Arthur Hall, 25, Paternoster-row, Loudon, EC.
Smart & Allen, a, Londonhouse-yard, Paternoster Row.
Ocorge Gallie, 0i>, Buchanan street, Glasgow.

Printed by John Evans, 335a, Strand, London, WC.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


Beloved,— Are yon getting an increased knowledge of Jesus? To " Know Him, and the power of his resurrection," is the sum of christian knowledge. It is one thing to know about Christ Jesus. But to have a personal, experimental knowledge of Him by faith, is the amazing privilege we are called to, while waiting down here for the day of his manifestation in glory. ^Nothing less than constant communion will satisfy "Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." Neither can anything short of that, answer to the cravings of our New Nature. Let us then listen to All His words, with the earnest intentiveness of Mary. Like her, let us sit at the feet of Jesus to hear his word. Hers was the attitude which manifested a spirit of meekness and lowliness. When I hear tho gracious words which proceeded out of the Lord's mouth, I like to think,—He has spoken those words for Me. I get from my gracious Saviour, not only Life, but also wisdom and knowledge. Ho indeed supplies all my wants. Yes, he is my Friend and Counsellor. None on earth can give me such counsel as I get from Jesus.

Beloved: Is he your Counsellor? Do you appropriate his gentle warnings? Do you take up practically his wise teaching? If so, you are truly making progress in tho knowledge of Him. You know of the peace that passoth understanding. You know, in measure, what it is to "joy in God through Jesus Glirist our Lord." Go on, dear brother, dear sister, to learn of Him, in meekness and lowliness.

To each of ns the Master has said—

"Take my yoko upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my hurden is light."

Yes, the yoke of Jesus is easy, and his burden is light. Indeed it is. I know it. But only in the spirit of meekness can we find it so. No yoko more galling To Pride, than the yoke of Jesus. May every child of God, in these closing days of the age, with lowly hearts rejoice to sit under the teaching of our Saviour, Jesus; bearing the yoke he has made easy, and his burden, which he declares is light.

In all this, our Lord has fellowship with us; and in accepting his teaching practically, (i.e. doing the things he says,) wo have fellowship with Him. And this leads to another phase of communion. In the intervals of labour, hour by hour, my Thoughts speak to Jesus, my risen Saviour and Lord. I have no wish to hide anything from Him. Many an unholy

thought from time to time, springs up within me, many an incidental sin overtakes me. But as soon as I detect the wrong, I judge it, according to the mind of the Lord. Then I can think Of Him, and To Him again, uninterruptedly. Of course, my estimate of sin is far below God's judgmont about it. But I Hate sin, and all taint of it. May the day soon dawn when every trace of it shall be clean gone for ever.

Beloved,—Never be afraid to judge your sin. Be bold to look it full in the face, as an enemy which has wounded you, but against which the Lord has, in grace, provided a perfect remedy.

"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, [i.e. in forgetfulness of him] we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as ho is in tho light [i.e. in the abiding consciousness of tho presenco of God], we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son clcanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, wo deceivo ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If wo confess our sins, ho is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John, i. 6—9.)

Hero I find perfect deliverance.

"The Lord is my Shepherd He restoreth my soul."

I learn, afresh, the perfect efficacy of tho blood of Jesus Christ. I realise again, that forgiveness is (amazing truth !) a manifestation of God's FaithfulNess and Justice, because my Saviour atoned for my sin. I see how my iniquities and transgressions have been dealt with, in the person of my adored ltedeemer—and I loathe all that is of the Serpent, more than ever. I think of Calvary, I remember those hours of unspeakable anguish, when Jesus "boreiny sins in his own body on the tree."

O Lord! what Theo tormented

Was our sins' heavy load;
We had tho debt augmented,

Which thou didst pay in blood.

I see God's hatred of sin declared, in that most awful judgment, accepted, In My Stead, by the good and gentle Jesus. I seek more and more to look at evil only in the light of the Cross. Brought to that tribunal (however specious it might be, if judged elsowhere,) it is a detestable and detested thing—I am ready to condemn it, utterly, though in my own body.

Thus I come back to communion with my risen Saviour. In my spirit (often without words) I tell Him how I long to be more true, moro like himself. Whilo I wait to bo Transformed into his likeness, I seek to be Conformed to his mind. I strive to cherish hitj words, and do—whatsoever He has 9aid. How much failure there is, in my walk and conversation, the Lord knoweth. B , blessed be his name, lie has givon me right desires, and I do seek to follow aftor Him.

Beloved,—most probably you do not know me in the flesh, and therefore I need not fear to shew you my heart (boasting could profit me nothing), in giving you a glimpse of my experience of fellowship with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. My only desire is, that you may bo encouraged. May wo in these days of much confession of failure, maintain an earnest protest against the exaltation of such general confession into a virtue. Oh, lot your walk and mine, bo in tlio light of the abiding presence of (rod. Let us be content with nothing less than all-daylong communion with Jesus, our Saviour and Lord. May we, in meekness and patience, know experimentally, more fully than we have yet known, that the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, is with us, to lead us into all truth—and that "the Father himself loveth


Yours ever, in the Lord,

The Editor.




"Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest theso things'{' (verse 18.)

The Lord Jesus had just executed a judgment which was in itself a sign of power and righteousness. He had demonstrated that he would not tolerato profanity and thievery in the House of God. The descendants of Israel, both priests and people, were so degenerate, that they had turned the Temple of God into "a place of merchandize," "a den of thieves." But at length one had appeared in their midst who was jealous for God, and who feared not man. They were astonished to find themselves in the presence of fmch au one—and they ought, in consequence to have searclied the Scriptures to see whether their promised Messiah was to act and speak as Jesus did. Alas, thoy dopended upon their own discernment instead of the word of God. Tliey felt the power of Jesus, and were conscious that his ways wore far above them. But their hearts were at enmity against the Lord—so they cavilled at the authority thoy began to fear, and demanded of him a sign.

"Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in threo days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days f But he spake of the temple of his body." (verse 19—21.)

The Lord gave them a sign—but the faithful alone would understand it. He could destroy and raise again, by the word of his power, that temple which had taken the Jows forty-six years in building. But

the mighty work of raising up the temple of his body, 'after laying it in death, wae a sign which proved that [ ho is very God.

"When therefore he Whs ris. n from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they tittered 'the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said." (ver. 2i.)

It is important that we believe the Scripture, and

the word which Jesus lias said. Most true, that,

after ho had suffered, "God raised him from the

dead," that He was "raised up by tho glory of the

| Father." But Scripture also abundantly testifies,

'that he roxc from the dead. "I have power," said

Jesus, "to lay down my life, and I have power to take

it again," He who is the life, permitted his enemies

to destroy the temple of his body. But on tho third

day, Jesus, tho Son of God, arose, in his own strength

j and majesty, from death, for "it was not possible

that he should be holden of it." "In three days I will

raise it [his body] up."

"Now when he was in Jerusalem at tho passover, in tho feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which ho did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto thorn, because he knew all men, and neoded not that any should testify of man: for ho knew what was in man." (v. 23 —25.

Hero were many accessories to help belief. The place, the feast of the passover, the presence of Jesus, and tho miracles which he wrought. Therefore many believed in his name. It is a name to believe in. "Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins."

But though many believed in his name, He could not trust them; and he did not want testimony that man is not trustworthy. He knew it. What withering comments are these, with which the chapter closes. Jesus did not commit himself to them—He knew all—He knew what was in man. Man cannot be trusted. Jesus did, afterwards, commit himself, in measure, to the twelve—and with what result'?. One sold him for thirty pieces of silver, and the rest, when the hour of trial como, forsook him and fled.

True, there was restoration for all but the traitor. And, in the power of the Holy Ghost given, there has been true testimony borne in tho world, of the risen Jesus, the Saviour of Sinners. But looking at the body of Christ, the Church, as it is seen on earth, all Christians may well fool humbled, on reading tho conclusion of tho Second Chapter of John's Gospel.

Little Children, Keei' Yovuselves Ikom Idols.—This exhortation is still as needful as ever. Alas! how many dear children of God will serve God in their own manner, and bow down to the likeness of Truth which has been set up, and rejoice, liko the Israelites, in the work of their own hands. Officialism now, as then, in the person of Aaron, was mid is seen to be culpably weak. Presently the Lord will come down from the Mount, the golden calf of Christendom »ill bo burnt, ground to powder, and strawed upon the waters of truth, and all will freely admit that whatever was not faith

« EdellinenJatka »