DAWN VOLUME EIGHT SELECTION

 

 

1

 

CONTROVERSY

 

 

By JAMES STALKER, D.D.

 

 

It is no good sign of the times that controversy should be looked down upon.  In the records of the life of Jesus we have pages upon pages of controversy.  It may have been far from the work in which He delighted most to be engaged; but He had to undertake it all through His life, and especially towards the close.  The most eminent of His servants in every age have had to do the same.  St. Paul may not have been indisposed by nature to throw himself into controversy; but St. John had to enter into it with equal earnestness.  It is scarcely possible to mention a representative man in any section of the Christian Church in any age who has been able altogether to avoid it.

 

 

The spirit of the true controversialist is the joyful and certain sense of possessing the truth, and the conviction of its value to all men, which makes error hateful and inspires the determination to sweep it away.  It was as the King of Truth (John 18: 37) that Christ carried on controversy, and He was borne along by the generous passion to cut His fellowmen out from their imprisonment in the labyrinth of error.  Excessive aversion to controversy may be an indication that a Church has no keen sense of possessing truth which is of any great worth, and that it has lost appreciation for the infinite difference in value between truth and error.

 

 

There are differences, indeed, in the present feeling of the public mind to different kinds of controversy.  One of the tasks of controversy is to combat error outside of the Church.  Christianity is incessantly assailed by forms of unbelief which arise one after another and have their day.  At one time it is Deism which requires to be refuted, at another Pantheism, another Materialism.  To defend the temple of Christian truth from such assailants is popular enough and meets with perhaps even excessive rewards.  When it is of the right quality, however, its value cannot be over-estimated; and the present moment it requires the very highest talent, the apologetic problems of our century have not yet been solved.

 

 

It is controversy within the Church which excites alarm and aversion.  Yet the controversy which our Lord waged was inside the Church; and so has that been carried on by the most eminent of His followers.  It would, indeed, be well if the sound of controversial weapons were never heard in the temple of peace; but only on condition that it is also a temple of truth.

 

 

In the time of Christ the Church was the stronghold of error; and not once or twice since then it has been the same.  Jesus had to assail nearly the whole ecclesiastical system of His time and a large body of the Church’s doctrines.  To do so must, to a thoughtful mind, in any circumstances be an extremely painful task; for the faith reposed in their spiritual guides by the mass of men who have little leisure or ability to think out vast subjects to the bottom, is one of the most sacred pillars of the edifice of human life, and nothing can be more criminal than wantonly to shake it.  But it sometimes needs to be shaken, and Jesus did so.

 

 

Of course the opposite case may easily occur; the Church may have the truth, and the innovator may be in error.  Then the true place of the Christian controversialist is on the side of the Church against him who is trying to mislead her.  This also is a delicate task, requiring the utmost Christian wisdom and sometimes likely to be repaid with little thanks; for, while he who defends the Church against error coming from THE OUTSIDE is loaded with honours as a saviour of the faith, he who attempts to preserve her from more menacing danger WITHIN may be dismissed with the odious and withering title of heresy-hunter.

 

 

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DECAYING FAITH.

 

 

Dr. Betts, professor of Religious Education at the (American) Northwestern Methodist University, published the findings of a questionnaire sent out last year [1930] to 700 ministers, a cross section of the twenty leading denominations.  Thirteen per cent. declared that God was not omnipotent; one-third denied that God or Christ ever performed a miracle; forty-five per cent. refused to believe in the inspiration of the Bible.  Only one-fifth of the Congregational, three-fifths of the Methodist, and three-fourths of the Baptist clergy now believe that Jesus is the Saviour of mankind.  Less than two-thirds believe in the resurrection, and only fifty-seven per cent. still believe in heaven and hell.

 

 

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2

 

BASELESS FABRICS

 

 

It seems certain, if we are to judge by the portentous silence around us, that the real horror of the betrayal of the Truth in the Churches has not yet even begun to be understood.  It is through no wish for controversy that we print these extracts.  The matter is infinitely too grave.  We print them because ‘Christians’ who are Christians need to be stabbed wide awake.  For it is not the wild men in theology that are the portent, since such have flaunted infidelity in the Church of all ages, but their silent authorization in the official organizations of to-day and their growing support by immense sections of a bewildered membership.  All whom we quote from hold high rank in the Churches.  A thousand times more true to-day than when it was uttered is the remark Professor Huxley once made to Bishop Ellicott in the Athenaeum:- “Christianity is a solid-looking bit of furniture riddled through and through with white ants  The world hears once more the tolling-bell of a passing Faith, but at the same moment, and in the same sound, the thunder of His chariot in the hills.  For these men are doing the last thing they think or wish - bringing Christ.  “When the Son of man comethHe Himself asks, “shall He find the faith on the earth?” (Luke 18: 8).

 

 

THE BIRTH AND THE RISING

 

 

It is common to hear men and women profess that their faith as Christians stands or falls with the literal truth of two dogmas in the Creeds - the Virgin Birth of Christ and the physical Resurrection.  Very well.  Let such a one suppose that as a special favour he is permitted to have the witness of his own eyes to the two miracles on which the truth of the whole Christian revelation, as he declares, depends.  Let him suppose that he is privileged to assist at the accouchement of the Virgin Mary in the stable at Bethlehem, and to satisfy himself by ocular demonstration that her physical condition was not that of other married women.  And then let him suppose, that he has been admitted to Joseph’s garden in small hours of Easter morning.  He has no right to spare himself embarrassing or undignified accessories.  Let him suppose that he has watched the Saviour clambering out of His grave, and then putting on the clothes which the angels brought with them; for we know that the grave-clothes remained in the tomb.  I mean no irreverence.  I am only trying to picture the scene as it must have looked to an eye-witness.  Would our friend, after seeing these two miracles with his own eyes, fall on his knees and say, “Thank God, my last doubts are now set at rest.  I now know for certain that Jesus of Nazareth is very God of very God, of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made”?* - DEAN INGE.

 

* Thus the foremost Deanery in Christendom not only openly denies the two basic revelations of the Faith, but denies them with contemptuous derision.  Remembering that what gives ‘fundamentalists’ their name is solely the upholding of the Incarnation, Virgin Birth, Atonement, Resurrection, Ascension and Advent, Dean Inge’s words (Evening News. June 17, 1930) are unutterably solemn:- “To-day we laugh at Fundamentalists.  Fifty or sixty years ago however, all Churchmen were Fundamentalists.  But for the work done by Liberyal Churchmanship, no one could be in the Church of England to-day unless he were a dunce, a liar, or a bigot

 

 

THE HOLY TRINITY

 

 

On Sunday morning the new Vice-Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford,* Professor Micklem, announced that he desired to speak upon the Doctrine of the Trinity - which lent itself neither to rhetoric nor to poetry.  If taken absolutely literally it is unintelligible, but taken symbolically and poetically it stands as a symbol of the truest and deepest elements in Christian thought.  Mr. Micklem believed in the divinity of Christ, not as a literal fact like a scientific or even historical fact.  His divinity represents a fact of the spiritual life.  If you deny the divinity of Jesus, what you assert is that He was a very good man - but that is not what the Christian man means.  He believes in a Jesus after the spirit. - The Christian World, June 4, 1931.

 

* The flower of the Congregational ministry are trained at Mansfield College.

 

 

THE GODHEAD OF OUR LORD

 

 

Incarnation does not mean that God has come down like an actor on to the stage, “veiled in flesh”; so to represent it is to deny the whole moral worth of Jesus.  Jesus is God expressed in the only perfect symbol under which man can apprehend God, the symbol of a perfect human personality.  Jesus is a man living in full and unbroken union with God and expressing by the whole quality of His life and person His oneness with the Father.  What does this mean? It means at least these two things, Jesus as the unique revelation of God, as God expressed in the highest terms that we can know is our norm of worship.  Alike for what He is and for what He has done and does He claims our utter adoration.  Let there be no mistake here.  When I say that Jesus is God for us, I mean that He is God in the highest sense in which mankind can use the term; I mean what St. Paul means when he calls Him “the image” of the invisible God; I mean that He reveals God more perfectly than the starry heavens or than any truth or beauty or goodness that we can find elsewhere; that here in Him, in His historic life on earth and in His continued life as risen and present Lord, is my “Lord and God  But it means also and not less necessarily that He differs from us not in kind but in degree, as the perfect round from the broken arcs; that He illuminates and guarantees our highest experiences and aspirations; and that to live in Christ is a literal and practicable deification (the word has Athanasius’ sanction), an extension of the Incarnation, the embodying by us of the very Godhead.* - CANON C. E. RAVEN.

 

* The Church of England Newspaper. June 26, 1931.  It is astounding to learn that this statement on our Lord’s nature was made (at the Cromer Convention) on the official platform of what calls itself the Anglican Evangelical Group Movement.  It ought to open at least some eyes that Canon Raven’s words met with no faintest protest.  Ideal man is measured up to the level of Deity, and then Jesus, being ideal, is pronounced Divine: the virgin birth, the resurrection, the ascension are accidentals in thought which are myths in fact.  We are neat an open abandonment of the Faith of Christ.  A gnostic counterfeit is accepted in place of the Christian Faith, and later the counterfeit itself is abandoned.

 

 

THE CREEDS

 

 

To have at almost every service of the Church to profess belief in the Virgin-Birth of our Lord, His physical resurrection on the third day, His descent into Hell, His future celestial return to judge the quick and the dead, who will then rise from their graves, does cause the modern ordinand profound difficulty, and not seldom leads him to abandon altogether the thought of Holy Orders, to the great loss both of the Church and himself.  It will be said that this crude literalism in interpreting the Creeds, although the primitive and medieval way of affirming them, is not required of the modern man.  Many Bishops admit this, yet it is popularly understood that the clergy in affirming the Creeds to-day do affirm them literally.  Many fail to recognize the devastating effect of Biblical criticism and modern scientific thinking on the traditional formulation of the Christian Faith. Much that our modem world values in the Christian Faith is not stressed in our traditional creeds, and much that it does not value is stressed in them.  I plead for the authorization of a simple practical creed for optional use; and I know from experience, that there are many Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics who will support my plea.* - H. D. A. MAJOR, D.D., Ripon Hall, Oxford.

 

* The Times, May 5, 1931.

 

 

It may even be questioned whether the Westminster Confession now contains the convictions by which men can patiently and joyfully live, and, if need be, steadfastly die.  The shadow of external authority, magical rite, and legal transaction still rested upon it.  Revelation was infallible information; justification was legal acquittal; regeneration was miraculous change; and election an official transaction.  They had been retreating inch by inch from that old ground, and soon they would not be able to hold a foot of it. - JOHN OMAN, D.D., Moderator’s address, Presbyterian Church of England.*

 

 

*The Times, June 25 and July 1, 1931.  Bishop Headlam, than whom there are few more influential Bishops in the Anglican Communion, thus supports Dr. Major (Times June 27, 193l):- “The Thirty-nine Articles make many theological statements with which an educated person at the present day is quite out of sympathy - such statements, for example, as ‘The Resurrection of Christ with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature’; the statement that Works done before Justification have the nature of sin; in fact, the whole of the series of Articles 9 - 17.  According to Lord Brentford, we have to extract our fundamental platform from a document on which no reliance can really be placed at all

 

 

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A Church to-day which has abandoned the Bible is a rudderless derelict on a shoreless ocean, caught in the last storms.  The Churches themselves are breeding spiritual anarchists, and earth is losing its salt and the world its light.  Even secular eyes see the crisis.  “In a single word says the Scots Observer, “the situation of our time is bankruptcy.  In every sphere of life men, as never before, are at their wits’ end.  And the worst is yet to be.  In every sphere of life it is midnight, and out of that midnight a cry of multitudes, and the world has nothing to set before them.  The experiences through which the world is passing now have in them the possibility of the greatest revival that has yet been known, or the sternest revolution.  From the crisis of these days there must come something desperate, or something divine

 

 

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3

 

SOME DAY AND IT MAY BE THIS

 

 

Some day will be the last

For the toiling and the trying,

For the weeping, and the dying -

In a moment all is past!

Some day, such as this,

In a moment the skies sunder!

In a moment caught up yonder!

Oh, the rapture and the wonder -

We are with the Lord in bliss

 

 

Some day will be the last

For the Church’s long affliction,

Striving for earth’s benediction,

Mourning for her Lord’s rejection -

In a moment all is past!

Some day, such a day as this,

Suddenly, the Lord descending,

Victory His steps attending,

Suddenly the conflict ending -

Share we His triumphant bliss!

 

 

Some day will be the last!

Keep us, Lord, from idly throwing

Hours away, so quickly going;

Let us use each moment, knowing

Sunset shadows lengthen fast.

Some day - and it may be this,

In a moment work is ended;

No more marr’d, and no more mended;

Past the time for work intended -

Wheels and whir of labour cease!

 

 

- ELIZABETH PADFIELD.

 

 

 

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4

 

READINESS FOR RAPTURE

 

 

By D. M. PANTON.

 

 

The undated Advent is the perpetual lodestar for the Church’s undying preparation, a preparation never ceasing, never finished, short of the event.  “Every one that hath this hope purifieth himself, even as He is pure” (1 John 3: 3).  As Dr. R. A. Torrey says:- “The imminent return of our Lord is the great Bible argument for a pure, unselfish, devoted, unworldly, active life of service.  In much of our modern preaching we urge people to live holily and work diligently because death is swiftly coming, but that is never the Bible argument. The Bible argument always is, Christ is coming.  Be ready when He comes.  This leads inevitably to the question, ‘What constitutes readiness for the coming Christ  Answer: Separation from the world’s indulgence the flesh, from the world’s immersion in the affairs of this life, and intense daily earnestness in prayer is the first part of preparation for the Lord’s return

 

 

Readiness, therefore, does not consist in conversion alone.  So our Saviour says:- “Pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21: 36).  God has not revealed the date of the Advent, in order that we may always be watchful; nor has He revealed the standard of holiness for rapture, in order that we may be always pressing on to perfection.  What then is required?

 

 

1. - THE GIRT LOIN: “Let your loins be girded about” (Luke 22: 35).  Flowing Oriental garments, if loosed, check work, and impede flight.  “Thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand: and ye shall eat it in haste it is the Lord’s passover.  For I will go through Egyp and will smite” (Exod. 12: 11).  A pilgrim people, on the eve of the last judgments, must be instant in service, and unimpeded for flight: the world will become our coffin unless it becomes our enemy. Heb. 3: 17.  “The time is shortened, that henceforth both those that have wives be as though they had none; and those that weep, as though they wept not; and those that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and those that buy, as though they possessed not; and those that use the world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world is passing away” (1 Cor. 7: 29).  They who stand on the brink of the last flight must stand with tightened robe and shod feet (1 Pet. 1: 13).

 

 

2. - THE BURNING LAMP: “Let your lamps be burning  Lamps are kept burning at night only; and all night, unless we sleep.  “Now it is high time for you to awake out o sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed.  The night is far spent, and the day is at hand” (Rom. 13: 11).  “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord” (Prov. 20: 27); every disciple is [or should be] a lit lamp; and right through the moral midnight Christ expects a burning flame.  Of John He said:- “He was the lamp holding the Light, “that burneth and shineth” (John 5: 35): “from evening to morning before the Lord” the lamp is “to burn continually” (Exod. 27: 20).  Burning without shining - zeal without knowledge; shining without burning - light without love: God demands both: burning with heat to God, shining with light to men. Matt. 5: 16.

 

 

3 - THE FIXED GAZE: “Be ye yourselves like unto men looking for their lord  Christ said:- “It is expedient that I go away”; He never said, It is expedient that I stay away: He commands conscious acceptance of the truth of the Second Coming.  A visionary is one who sees visions that have no correspondence with reality: the looking disciple beholds the march of God’s purposes from eternity to eternity, crystallizing into fact as they precipitate into time, so that every prophetic word is an inevitable fact. “Watch, for ye know not the hour”: “Pray, that ye may be accounted worthy”: perpetual watchfulness; perpetual prayer - these are the mind and heart that come from God.  So “blessed are those servants  Not, blessed are all servants; but, “blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watchingHeb. 9: 28; Tit. 2: 13; 2 Tim. 4: 8; Rev. 3: 10.  The carnal disciple forfeits the beatitude. Matt. 24: 48-51; Luke 21: 34; Rev. 3: 3.  The deeper the midnight, the more urgent the vigil.  The first watch has yesterday’s wakefulness in it; the fourth watch has to-morrow’s wakefulness in it: but, “if He shall come in the second watch, and if in the third, and find them so, blessed are those servants  Christ returns not so early as impatience desires, nor so late as carelessness assumes.  The unknown hour of the burglary compels that the householder sit up all night, watching, in Rutherford’s words, as men who have no to-morrow.

 

 

The fruit of the vigil is such as to make the loss of a thousand worlds as dust in the balance.  “He cometh” - inquisition, approval, promotion; “He maketh them sit down” - rest, glory, enthronement; “HE SERVES THEM” - the King of kings girding Himself once again with a towel, at the side of His watchful child.  This is a verse beyond all human comment.  Then build all life upon this fact, for to build on aught else is faithlessness to Him, and folly for eternity.

 

 

4. - THE PREPARED LIFE: incessant readiness.  “Be ye also ready: for in an hour that ye think not the Son of Man cometh Death can be sudden, but it nearly always throws out warning symptoms: there will be no warning symptoms here (1 Thess. 5: 2).  Sudden as an avalanche, swift as the lightning, irrevocable as death - one flash, and the watchful will be gone, and the last judgments will be here.  (Matt. 24: 40-42; 1 Cor. 15: 52).  One fact is supreme. Christ might have returned at any moment these eighteen hundred [now after two days – according to our calendar - two thousand]* years: He may return at any moment now.  Much unfulfilled prophecy remains before He comes with His saints, but none before He comes for them.  Therefore “become” - so the Greek – “ye also ready  One known sin un-dropt, one known command un-obeyed, one known truth unbelieved, one part of the life knowingly un-yielded, and the perfection of our readiness stands in jeopardy. [Christian] Unbeliever, the last shadows are falling across the world, and therefore across your life; yet you are still utterly unready.  But “there is time” - as Napoleon said, on the news of a great defeat – “to win a victory before the sun goes down  Your coming judge is your present Saviour: “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED*

 

[* NOTE. That is, “saved” from having to “endure unto the end”.  Some will be “accounted worthy to escape” - via selective rapture - the Great Tribulation at the ‘end’ of this evil age; and the unwatchful and disobedient amongst the regenerate will not!]

 

 

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5

 

MARANATHA

 

 

Hark, what a sound, and too divine for hearing,

Stirs on the earth and trembles in the air!

Is it the thunder of the Lord’s appearing;

Is it the music of His people’s prayer?

Surely He cometh, and a thousand voices

Shout to the saints, and to the deaf and dumb

Surely He cometh, and the earth rejoices*-

Glad in His coming who hath sworn “I come.”

 

[* Rom. 8: 19-21.]

 

 

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6

 

THE TEMPLE OF EZEKIEL

 

 

By J. G. WILES, L.R.I.B.A.

 

 

Ezekiel’s temple differs, in some respects, from any of the now historic Jewish temples, it has, as yet, never been erected, and I believe it to be the Divinely given pattern (Ezek. 43: 10, 11) for the “House of prayer for all nations” in the restored kingdom of Israel in the Millennial age, just as God gave the pattern to David for the temple in the former days of the Kingdom.

 

 

Now as to your queries.*

 

* Mr. Wiles’ remarks are based on questions put to him on his very beautiful diagram of Ezekiel’s Temple which appeared in the DAWN, vol. vii., p. 462. - Ed. [D.M.P.]

 

 

Question 1.  “Should not the Holy Chambers north and south of the Separate place be 50 and not 100 cubits long? (42:  2-8)

 

 

Answer.  I think both 50 and 100, as shown on the plan.  The 50 cubits mentioned in 42: 2 refer to the breadth of the place of these chambers.

 

 

The Holy Chambers next to the “Separate place” (or, “before the templeverse 8) were 100 cubits long, while those next the “Outer Court” were so long (verse 7).

 

 

These chambers were in 3 storeys, diminishing in size upward, and between them was a passage 10 cubits in width at ground level, and 100 cubits long.

 

 

The number of chambers is not specified, but you will see I show 10 on a floor, that is 30 in all on the north side and, of course, the same number on the south side.

 

 

Question 2.  “How was the walk in 42: 1 accomplished?” etc.

 

 

Answer.  The prophet and the angelic Surveyor, leaving the temple proper, went forth into the outer Court, presumably by the North gate of the inner Court, and came ultimately into the Holy Chambers, perhaps via some ante-chamber.  There is scope here for modification of my plan, perhaps, for the only “chamber” accessible from the outer Court, and also leading (through other apartments) to the Holy Chambers shown on the plan, is that one situated in the internal angle of the cloisters of the outer Court, on the west side, where the axial line passes through from the “building towards the west  This may of course not be the best or correct solution.

 

 

Question 2a.  “Are the fine parallel lines just north of No. 7XX (see ref. in side chambers N. side) steps, or the passage which he walked

 

 

Answer.  These lines indicate steps down from the inner Court to the Separate place.  No steps are mentioned in the text, but I inserted them for the following reason:- Chapter 41: 8 reads, “the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of 6 great cubits  These foundations appear to be a sort of platform six cubits in height (on which the Temple stood), measured from the paving of the Separate place.  Now the Septuagint says there were 10 steps up from the inner Court to the Porch of the “House”; that means, the floor of the side chambers (assuming it to be on a level with the floor of the House) was 3. 25 cubits above the inner Court. This leaves 2. 75 cubits to make up the height of the said platform, or “foundations,” which means that the Separate place was so much below the inner Court, and would require 8 steps down, bringing, in fact, the paving of the Separate place to the same level as the outer Court.

 

 

NOTE. - The Cubit.  My letter in the DAWN states that the “great” cubit, according to Newton, was 25 inches, while on my plan, a note says, it equals about 22 inches, which I believe to be the more nearly correct to Ezekiel’s cubit.  The ordinary cubit is generally taken to be equal to 18 inches: Ezek. 40: 5, the angel’s measuring reed is said to be “six cubits long, by the cubit and an hand-breadth” - a hand-breadth being about four inches which makes the “great” cubit to measure what I have stated, namely about one foot, nine and a half inches.  Actually, I have assumed it to be one foot nine and a half inches which, in the above calculation for the “foundations,” give me steps of 7 inch rise, or, to be exact, 7. 16, which even then is rather high for a “public” building.

 

 

Question 3. “Utter Court  I consider this to be the innermost Court, marked on his map “Separate Place.” This view I hold because of its different Hebrew word to “Outer Court,” and suggest that verse “He is able to save to the uttermost  “It was the utter extreme of their walk towards God,” etc.

 

 

Answer.  I am sorry to emphatically differ from your view, and also your reasons for it.  In the first place the same Hebrew words are used exactly for “utter Court” and “outward Court  The Hebrew is (fem.):‑ Chatzer chitzonah and occurs in the following passages: 40: 17 and 20, where it is translated “Outward Court,” and 40: 31 and 37; 42: 1, 3, 8, 9 and 14, where it is rendered “Utter Court  Also in Ezekiel 10: 5 just the same Hebrew words are translated “Outer Court,” and in Esther 6:  4, “Outward Court” – “Now Haman was come into the ‘Outward Court’ of the King’s house  The root (mas.) is: - chutz; meaning “without

 

 

Again, the “Separate place” can hardly be said to be “the utter extremity of their walk towards God,” for they had both gone into the Temple itself, even into the Most Holy place, and measured it.  This surely agrees better with Hebrews 10: 19, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness (liberty) to enter into the holiest  To my mind, while uttermost means completely or evermore, it also suggests a salvation reaching afar off; the position of the “Separate place” does not symbolize this.

 

 

The Separate place, as its name implies, surely emphasizes the peculiar sanctity of the House and probably would seldom, if ever, be officially used in the worship ceremonies.

 

 

I cannot think that the words so constantly employed to designate the outer Court would, just in one instance, be used to describe what is, in its relation to other Courts, distinctly an inner one, for the terms “inner” and “outer” are descriptive of the Courts as related one to the other, and not relative to the Holy House, or any other building within the precincts.

 

 

Question 3a.  “The problem of Chapter 46: 19 and 20 and 22 to 24.  I consider that those boiling places are in the corners of the Separate place (on diagram) which is possible if the Holy Chambers are 50 instead of 100 cubits,” etc.

 

 

Anawer.  There are 6 boiling places referred to in the above-named passages.  Two mentioned in verses 19 and 20 - and four mentioned in 21 to 24.  The first two were for boiling the trespass offering and sin offering, and were so placed (westward of the Holy Chambers) that access to them was possible without going into the outer Court “to sanctify the people” (Verse 20).  You will see I have placed these two boiling places next the outside wall on the west.  So far as the text goes they might be anywhere between that wall and the Holy Chambers - the student has his own choice here.

 

 

As to the other four boiling places (situated in small corner courts), these were for the boiling of the “sacrifice of the people” (Verse 24).  The very fact of the restriction as to sanctifying the people, in the case of the first two boiling places, seems to do away with your objection as to the position in which I have placed these four Courts, no such restriction being hinted at, i.e. “the parading of dead sacrifices through the outer Court  The sacrifices boiled in these four Courts are for the people, and I do not think there will be any fear of the nature you suggest, in the temple services of the Millennial age.  Further - even if, as you think they ought to be, the Holy Chambers were 50 cubits instead of 100 where shown, there still would not be room to put these four boiling Courts in the corners of the “Separate place,” without seriously upsetting the symmetry of the pillar and cloisters in the outer Court, for they measure 40 X 30 cubits internal dimensions, undoubtedly.  Also, if they were so placed, the priests would have to pass through them to reach the boiling places of the trespass and sin offerings, but placed as they are on my plan, they are not only following the text, but are much better distributed for their purpose, and no great “problem” arises.

 

 

Though not mentioned in the text, I have taken the liberty of showing a private passage all round the outer Court, between the external wall, and the 30 Chambers (40: 17).  If needful this could easily be made to communicate with the inner Court, so that access thereto could be had from any one of the boiling Courts. Architecturally the position and projection I have given to these 4 Courts, not only serve to emphasize the angles of the whole structure, but seem better to suit the expression “Courts joined” (or “joined on”) 46: 22, than if they occupied internal angles of the Separate place.

 

 

I hope you will appreciate my reasons for differing from you in this matter.  It is wonderful how the canons of architectural design have been observed in this Temple of Ezekiel’s vision, which helps to confirm my opinion that it is the pattern for an actual future building.

 

 

Question 4.  “May I ask in 42: 1 what ‘the chamber’ is and also ‘the building’

 

 

Answer.  The wording of this verse is difficult. “The chamber may imply some such ante-chamber as mentioned in my answer to Q. 2, or it may infer one of the Holy Chambers, and that this chamber was facing the “Separate place” on the northern side of “the Building,” i.e. the Holy House.  There would also, of course, be a similar arrangement on the southern side, but it was on the north side that Ezekiel and the angel walked. The Septuagint reads: “And he brought me into the inner Court eastwards, opposite the northern gate, and he brought me in, and behold five chambers, near the Vacant space (separate place) and near the northern partition  Though this is not very enlightening, it supports my contention that the Separate place is not to be regarded as an “Utter Court

 

 

Before closing, I would like to say that the details shown on my plan within the walls of the “Building towards the West” are purely conjectural, as no particulars are given in the text, the only things specified being the length, 90 cubits, the breadth, 70 cubits, and the thickness of the surrounding wall, 5 cubits; neither is its purpose stated.  I suppose it would be devoted to store rooms, for material required in the upkeep and services (fuel, etc.) of the whole sanctuary, possibly also for sanitary accommodation, workshops, etc.

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

7

 

UNASHAMED

 

 

Watch for Him and be always ready that you may not be ashamed at His advent.  Should a Christian go into worldly assemblies and amusements?  Would he not be ashamed should His Lord come and find him among the enemies of the Cross?  I dare not go where I should be ashamed to be found should my Lord come on a sudden.  Should a Christian man ever be in a passion?  Suppose his Lord should there and then come; would he not be ashamed at His coming?  One here says of an offender, “I will never forgive her; she shall never darken my door again  Would you not be ashamed if the Lord Jesus came and found you unforgiving?  Oh, that we may abide in Him, and never be in such a state that His coming would be unwelcome to us!  I called to see one of our friends and she was whitening the front steps of the house.  She apologized; but I assured her that I should like my Lord to come and find me, just as I found her, doing my daily work with all my heart.  We are never in better trim for seeing our Master than when we are faithfully doing His work.  There is no need for a pious smartening up; he that abides in Christ always wears garments of glory and beauty; he may go in with His Lord into the wedding* whenever the midnight cry is heard.

 

[* See Rev. 19: 8.]

 

 

- C. H. SPURGEON.

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

8

 

CHRIST IN OUR PLACE

 

 

By D. M. PANTON, B.A.

 

 

Did the Lord Jesus die on our behalf, or in our place? did He die for us, or instead of us?  Sincere minds, puzzled by the rarity with which the New Testament states it (e.g., …, Matt. 20: 28) directly, have doubted a substitutionary Atonement, and have overlooked a solution of the problem extraordinarily decisive.  God has silently and deliberately embodied, in one of the most gigantic illustrations of history, staged on the only holy centre of the world, a meaning of sacrifice which requires no words, and is unanswerable for ever; the hugest object-lesson in history; an argument in stone; a demonstration by God Himself, extending over sixteen centuries, of the exact meaning of Calvary.  The Temple is the only parable of pardon God gave to the world for four thousand years, and for now two thousand years He has given no other.  No other fundamental doctrine has so massive a forecast, and no parallel is more perfect.  The Temple is stamped with the Divine. Seven times it is stated to have been made from a pattern in Heaven; it was inaugurated with miracle-descending lightnings; it embraced within its orbit all the Prophets whom God sent under the Law; and the Lord Jesus purged it, endorsed its sacrifices, and described it as His Father’s House.*

 

* Thirty-seven chapters, or as much as one of the larger books of the Bible, are given solely to a description of the Tabernacle and Temple.

 

 

THE TEMPLE

 

 

So now we enter the Temple courts.  Morning and evening for sixteen hundred years, by the command of God Himself, slain animals were offered on these altars, in a parable never omitted and never ceasing.  At the consecration of the Temple sheep and oxen were offered “that could not be told nor numbered for multitude the peace offering alone embracing 22,000 oxen, and 120,000 sheep (1 Kings 8: 5, 63).  So long as the Temple stood, it was a vast cemetery of death - death immense, horrible, unceasing; an enormous shambles: for the blood sprinkled everywhere in the Temple - “I may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood” (Heb. 9: 22) – was the blood of dead animals.  Its horrible repulsiveness its loathsomeness, is part of the revelation. Blood, though it is the basis of life, is not meant to be seen: if it is seen, there has been violence, and the horror of death.  Death and bloodshed are abhorrent to God; but so is sin; and the two are one.  Sin and death were born together and are a moral unit.  “Death passed unto all men, for that all sinned” (Rom. 5: 12).  So the Law was one vast system of blood-symbols.  On every article of the Temple was stamped the truth that man’s sole hope of life was through another’s death.  What God means by sacrifice, and therefore by Calvary, is embodied - we had almost said, without a word – silently, convincingly, unanswerably in the Temple shambles of sixteen hundred years.

 

 

SUBSTITUTION

 

 

But the Temple is much more than that: it is a kinder-garten, not of death, but of life; a parable, not of Hell, but      of Heaven: so in one word all the gigantic parable stands forth - SUBSTITUTION.  For the death-doomed sinner who brought the sacrifice left the Temple alive.  He left death in the Temple.  A man that was to be forgiven had to produce a death that was capital punishment for his sin; and the blood poured forth - the best of all proof that the death- penalty had been inflicted - was accepted as his capital punishment.  Therefore vegetable offerings were never accepted as atonement for sin; and no living animal was ever offered to God.* “The soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it [the blood] to you upon the altar to make atonement   by reason of the soul” that is in it: “I have given it to you upon the altar to make a covering for YOUR souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the soul [that is in it]” (Lev. 17: 10).  It was soul for soul.  No man ever died in the Temple, solely because he brought another’s death in his hand.  The offerer and the sacrifice exchanged places, death falling on the innocent and sparing the guilty: the knife was death, and the fire was Hell, and both fell on the animal in the place of the man.  “He shall lay his hand upon [the sacrifice], and it shall be ACCEPTED FOR HIM” (Lev. 1: 4).

 

* The Scape Goat is not given to God, but, figuring the unredeemed lost, is dismissed (Lev. 16: 10) to Azazel (Satan): “depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil” (Matt. 25: 41). See DAWN, vol.5., p. 495.

 

 

CHRIST

 

 

But now we confront a fact of enormous challenge.  If man entered God’s presence only when covered by sacrifice, how is it that not a single sacrifice has been offered for two thousand years, and the sole site of sacrifice, where alone sacrifice can be offered, is occupied by a Mohammedan Mosque?  There is no solution to any problem except in the Christian revelation, and its answer here is life itself.  The Lard Jesus Himself answers.  “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body didst thou prepare for me: He taketh away the first” - animal bodies on the altar - “that he may establish the second” (Heb. 10: 5, 9) - the one Body on Calvary.  Brute nature can never be a substitute for human crime.  No angel, any more than an animal, could take man’s punishment, or die in man’s place: the Law is prosecuting men, not animals: so a Man, and a Man only, supersedes, and can alone supersede, all sacrifices for ever.  God’s Court, no more than a human law-court, could sentence an angel or an animal for infringing human laws which they have never broken, and by which they were never bound.  Therefore the whole vast sacrificial system of the Temple, never meant to save but only to picture, is swept into oblivion, and the Son of God, become the Son of Man, steps into the enormous breach.  He Himself says explicitly that He came into the world to function in place of the Temple sacrifices: the parable is gone, the reality is come.

 

 

THE BODY

 

 

So now the secret of our problem lies bare.  The Body replaces the ‘bodies’ to serve exactly the same purpose - substitution.  Therefore ponder carefully the Body and its preparation.  Our Lord’s words - uttered before He had assumed human nature, before He was born, and uttered as one of the Godhead speaking in the counsels of God (Heb. 10: 5) - reveal the very kernel of all atonement.  “Sacrifice and offering” - animal carcases - “thou wouldest not” - “but a body” - a real human body - “didst thou prepare for me” - the pre-existent Christ.  The body of the animal sacrifice had to be immaculate, without a blemish.  So here the Lord’s body is immaculately born, sinless, perfectly and positively human, summing in itself a complete humanity; therefore a body which could suffer exposure, exhaustion laceration, the death-rattle; a body which was a displacement of all animal bodies, and a substitution for all human bodies; a body which God prepared, and which the Lord accepted, deliberately to supersede all other conceivable bodies in sacrifice.  But the critical value of the body was that it could be broken in death, with the inevitable haemorrhage: because a body, fractured, involves an outpoured soul, since the soul is in the blood.  “Thou shalt make his soul,” we read of our Lord, “an offering for sinfor “He poured out His soul” - in the blood that gushed from the soldier’s spear - “unto death” (Isa. 53: 10, 12); and He himself says,- “This is my blood which is poured out for you” (Luke 22: 20).  Without blood-effusion there is no remission, for there is no proof of death; and this explains the enormous emphasis the Holy Spirit lays on the Blood of Christ as the element of salvation.  Body and soul have been offered: the substitution is complete.  The Old Testament said,- “The Lord hath laid [made to meet] on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53: 6): the New Testament says exactly the same thing,- “who bare our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2: 24).* This Body, therefore, virgin-born, was a preparation, as no other body has been or could be, for incarnate Deity and spotless Sacrifice.

 

* Very suggestive is Dr. A. R. Kuldell’s translation of Is. 53: 5: “He was bored through on account of our transgressions.  He was crushed on account of our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and through his wounds we have healing

 

 

INCARNATION

 

 

So we now reach the supreme moral reason of the Incarnation.  The perfection of the Sacrifice, the vast substructure of the Substitution, the under-girding, the under-pinning, of the sin-load, perfectly and completely depends on the Person who bore the load, and is expressed in an utterance so divine as to be fully comprehensible only by Deity.  “In whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead BODILY” (Col. 2: 9): that is, Infinity underlay universal sin, and could alone bear it, or expiate it: “the propitiation, not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2: 2).  For a parable so vast as the Temple’s sixteen centuries of sacrifice, the truth it foreshadows must be vaster still.  And so it is.  He only could be a substitute for all humanity who is more than all humanity gathered into one.  The body was prepared*: the back was made for a world’s sin, the shoulders were shaped for a world’s load; the sacrifice was born for the altar: underneath the all-but-infinitude of human sin lay the absolute Infinitude of the Body in which dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  Multiply my sins by two thousand millions of mankind, and multiply that enormous mass of living sin by the one to two hundred generations since Adam, and every one of us exclaims with Nell Conway, a New York girl delivered from the vilest sin, as with streaming eyes she cried out before vast New York audiences, - “It was no common blood that saved Nell Conway  The Holy Ghost has said:- “The Church of God, which he purchased with His OWN BLOOD” (Acts 20: 28).

 

* The body ‘prepared’ was not Mary’s, but Christ’s, who alone of mankind has had an immaculate conception.

 

 

CALVARY

 

 

So, then, “we have an altar” (Heb. 13: 10).  Calvary is the real altar, of which all earlier altars - no altar has been recognized by God since - were shadowy, but studied, forecasts:- a mound of earth and stone, to picture a hillock; stones which no tool had touched (Ex. 20: 25), to stand for the natural rocks of Golgotha; wood laid on the altar - the cross, recumbent on the hillock, awaiting the Saviour; the sacrifice bound to the altar (Ps. 118: 27) - the nailed Saviour, on the prone cross, ere it was jerked up into its socket; and the four blooded horns of the altar - the dripping brows and oozing palms and feet:- it is the Lord, as He “tasted death FOR EVERY MAN” (Heb. 2: 9).  So the great forerunner, than whom has been none greater born of woman, the organ-voice of God chosen to proclaim Messiah, sums Him up in one word:- “Behold the LAMB of God” - the epitome of all lambs upon all altars - “which taketh away” - by His own blood-effusion once for all - “the sin of the world” - the iniquity of the entire race: “THE LAMB THAT HATH BEEN SLAIN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD” (Rev. 13: 8).

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

9

 

PHASES OF CRUCIFIXION

 

 

By W. P. CLARK

 

 

In the Epistle to the Galatians five phases of crucifixion occur.  The first in order of date is found in chapter 3. verse 1:- “Jesus Christ openly set forth crucified  The most amazing spectacle the world has ever witnessed! The incarnate Son of God hanging on a gibbet for the sins of a lost world!  “When I survey the wondrous Cross on which the Prince of Glory died, I count my richest gain but loss and pour contempt on all my pride

 

 

The second phase occurs in the preceding chapter, verse 20:- “Crucified with Christ  The [regenerate] believer is judicially reckoned so, and the resultant effect is a life of faith in the One “Who loved me and gave Himself for me  Wondrous love.  “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin” (Rom. 6: 6).

 

 

This is God’s side of our crucifixion: our side of it (the third phase) is set out in chapter 5. verse 24:- “They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof”: it is self-crucifixion.  The ‘lusts’ of the flesh are enumerated in the preceding verses, 19-21, the deadly result of the practice of which excludes from the [millennial] Kingdom of God.  What the ‘affections’ of the flesh are is more difficult of definition.  May we say, anything and all things which, though possibly right in themselves, hinder us in the race set before us, and may, therefore, forfeit to us the Prize.

 

 

Two illustrations in real life may be helpful.  An old gentleman of over 70 years of age, completely blind, whose pipe was his solace in hours of loneliness, deliberately put it away after years of use, because, as he said, he found it hindered him in prayer.  The second illustration is that of two girls who were the champion players of lawn tennis in the Island of Jamaica, and who threw up the game in public because they felt it was too much ‘of the world  One of them is now a missionary in Africa.

 

 

A full surrender, a presentation of our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God is enjoined on the Christian believer; but crucifixion must precede surrender.  The Holy Spirit cannot fall on un-crucified flesh.  In the cleansing from leprosy - God’s own type of sin, in the Book of Leviticus - the oil - a type of the Holy Spirit - might only be placed on those parts of the leper’s body on which the blood had first been put.  A missionary in India tells of having procured some doves which he put in a well-constructed dove-cot; but neither grain nor any gentle compulsion would induce them to enter.  Taking down the cot he discovered the cause - a deadly cobra lay coiled within.  May it not be that the Holy Spirit, who descended as a dove from heaven, and abode upon the Lord Jesus, is unable in much measure to enter into our hearts and lives because the snakes within have not been cast out - the lusts and affections of the flesh have not been crucified?  It is essential too that the attitude of crucifixion and surrender be maintained - to imitate the example of the Apostle Paul and “die daily” - not to rest on past experiences, however valuable, but to renew that surrender and crucifixion day by day; as in the old tabernacle services the priests were enjoined to burn wood on the altar every morning and to “lay the burnt offering in order upon it” (Lev. 6: 12).

 

 

The fourth and fifth phases of Crucifixion are - “crucified unto the world and “the world crucified” to the believer; and they form part of the concluding portion of the Epistle, chapter 6. verse 14.  By the world, of course, is meant the aims, principles, spirit and society of the world, and our crucifixion thereto, “not from any pharisaic conceit of our moral superiority, but for our safety and usefulness and for the honour of God  It has been somewhat humorously said that the world is the Devil external; the flesh the Devil internal; and the Devil himself, the Devil infernal.  Certain it is that the world, the flesh and the Devil will combine to drag us down, and trail our Christian profession in the dust if given way to.  Many Christians profess to go into the world to win worldlings to Christ, but do they ever succeed in doing so?  It is easier far, as in the physical realm, to be dragged down than to lift others up in any such attempt.  The Greek in the text implies not only that the world has been crucified, but remains a crucified thing.  “Henceforth, we are dead each to the other” (Lightfoot).  “Let self be crucified and slain, and buried deep, and all in vain may efforts be to rise again

 

 

“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast

Save in the Cross of Christ my God;

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to his Blood

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

10

 

An Expositor of Extraordinary Fidelity

and Extraordinary Insight

 

 

THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT EXPOUNDED

 

By R. Govett, M.A.

 

 

“The Church of all ages has instinctively felt that in the Sermon on the Mount is embodied, once for all, the practical teaching of our Lord; and the tendency in a section of modern evangelicals to shelve it, or even to disown it altogether as non-Christian, is a much more serious error that most people dream.  For not only is it bound upon the Church of all ages by the Lord Himself, as being the largest consecutive section that has reached us of the ‘all things that I commanded You’ (Matt. 28: 20), which (He says) the baptized disciples out of all nations are to be taught until the end of the Age; but the Sermon embodies that [disciple’s]* ‘righteousness’ higher than the Legal without which our Lord states explicitly and with a double negative (Matt, 5: 20), no disciple will enter the coming Kingdom.  And the unique implication with which it closes is priceless.  The Lord states that when all storms throng together to the attack, as they will in the Great Tribulation so close at hand, the solitary ‘house’ that stands - the sole structure of discipleship that will weather the storm - is the wise life that has built itself on obedience to ‘these sayings of Mine.’

 

[* Matt. 5: 1, 2.]

 

In Robert Govett we have an expositor of extraordinary fidelity and as extraordinary insight, whose own everyday life was no faint transcript of the Sermon.  In this new edition, Messrs. Thynne have made a most excellent reproduction

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

11

 

DEVOTIONAL AND PROPHETICAL

 

 

1

 

LEPROUS ALL OVER

 

 

“He began to be sore amazed” (Mark 14: 33).  To be ‘made sin’ amazed our Lord; it absolutely overwhelmed Him, cast Him into an agony; it loaded Him and sickened Him, and slew Him down to death and hell.  A terror at sin and a horror: a terror and a horror at Himself - to absolute stupefaction - took possession of our Lord’s soul when He was made sin.

 

 

The only thing anywhere at all like His amazement and heaviness is the amazement and the heaviness, and exceeding sorrow and utter anguish, of God’s saints; when in their life of highest holiness and most heavenly service, they, at the same time, both see and feel that they are still ‘made of sin as Andrewes has it.  Their utter stupefaction of soul as they see all hell opening and pouring up its bottomless wickedness all over their soul - that is to taste something of what is behind of the ‘amazement’ of Christ.

 

 

Take away all its terrible wages; take away its sure and full discovery and exposure; take away its dreadful remorse; take away both the first and second death; take away the day of judgment and the fire that is not quenched - all which is the mere froth of the cup - take away all that and leave pure sin; leave pure, essential, unadulterated sin - what the apostle so masterfully calls ‘the sinfulness of sin  Conceive that if you have the imagination.  Look at that if your eyes been sufficiently anointed. Taste that if your tongue is sufficiently tender and strong.  Carry about that, continually, in a broken, prayerful, holy heart - and you, of all men, are within a stone’s cast of Christ in the garden; you are too near, indeed, for mortal man to endure it long.  If you remain long there, you will need an angel from heaven to you.

 

 

- ALEXANDER WHYTE, D.D.

 

 

2

 

I HAVE CREATED HIM FOR MY GLORY

(Isa. 43: 7)

 

 

Dai Yoosef has lost both arms and legs, yet he is one of the happiest men you can meet in a day’s walk.  I went to see him in hospital after his second arm had been amputated, and he was all smiles and full of joy; and not a word of murmur or complaint.  I had taken him a flower, and for the moment I forgot he could not hold it.  He looked up and laughing heartily said: “Sorry, Bishop, but I’ll have to trouble you to put it in my button hole for me

 

 

When I sympathized with him about the loss of his arm he smiled and said: “Surely God needed such a one as me to show what He can do with a man who has neither arms nor legs, but who has learnt to praise Him for all His goodness and His love  I had come to sympathize with him, but he sent me away rejoicing.

 

 

He had been an important servant in the house of a rich Persian gentleman, and had a little property of his own. Then he got some disease of the arteries, and one by one his limbs had to be amputated.  About the time his first leg was taken off he had a dream in which he saw the Lord Jesus, Who told him to take His hand and stand up, and He would make him well.  He never forgot this dream, and later, when his second leg was amputated, he definitely took the Lord Jesus as his Saviour, and was baptized.

 

 

- BISHOP LINTON.

 

 

3

 

Dost thou consider that thou art too small,

Too weak or feeble thus to serve at all?

0 limit not His power, His wondrous grace,

Whose wisdom infinite did’st choose thy place.

He takes the weak things to confound the wise,

The feeble things, the things which men despise,

With which to do His most effective deeds –

With which to satisfy men’s deepest needs.

 

 

Then let Him take thee, as He only can -

To show some aspect of His love to man,

Which not another in His universe

(Composed of all the saints, with lives diverse)

Is qualified to show, as thou can’st show;

And through thy circumstance lead men to know

Some glint of glory, grace, or love Divine

Which He could never show except thro’ thine!

 

 

-  ANNA MCCLURE.

 

 

4

 

PRAYER

 

 

Hast thou within a care so deep

It chases from thine eyelids sleep?

To thy Redeemer take that care,

And change anxiety to prayer.

 

 

Hast thou a hope with which thy heart

Would almost feel it death to part?

Entreat thy God that hope to crown,

Or give thee strength to lay it down.

 

 

Hast thou a friend whose image dear

May prove an idol worshipp’d here?

Implore the Lord that naught may be

A shadow between heaven and thee.

 

 

Whate’er the care which breaks thy rest,

Whate’er the wish that swells thy breast,

Spread before God that wish, that care,

And change anxiety to prayer.

 

 

5

 

IF

 

 

If you can hear God’s call, when those about you

Are urging other calls and claims on you;

If you can trust your Lord when others doubt you,

Certain that He will guide in all you do;

If you can keep your purpose with clear vision,

Bear lack of sympathy, yet sympathize

With those who fail to understand your mission,

Glimpsing His world-task through your Master’s eyes:

 

 

If you can work in harmony with others

Yet never lose your own distinctive aim,

Mindful that ever among Christian brothers

Methods and plans are often not the same;

If you can see your cherish’d plans defeated

And tactfully and bravely hold your peace,

Nor be embitter’d when unfairly treated

Praying that love and good-will may increase:

 

 

If you can trust to native Christian brethren

The church you’ve built in lands across the sea,

Seeing in them, as in your own growing children,

Pledge of the martyrs that are yet to be;

If you can lead these eager weak beginners

By methods indirect - your life, your prayer,

For failures and mistakes not judge as sinners,

But make their growth in grace your earnest care:

 

 

If you can share the humblest folk your virtue;

If noble souls are richer for your touch;

If neither slights nor adoration hurt you,

‘If all men count with you, but none too much’;

If you can fill your most discouraged minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of constancy:-

Yours is the task, with all the challenge in it,

Yours is the vision: - HERE AM I, SEND ME.*

 

 

- EVELYN H. WALMSLEY.

 

 

6

 

A GOLDEN PROMISE

 

 

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the Power that worketh in us (Eph. 3: 20).

 

 

Unto Him.  He is the One.  He is the One that has wisdom.  He is the One that has power.  He is the One that is able.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  He is able to do.  Here is activity, accomplishment, executive, performance.  He is able to do above what we ask.  Let us ask more.  We limit Him by our poor petition.  He is able to do above what we think.  I can think great things.  He surpasses our thought.  He rises beyond our imagination.  Not simply a little above some things that we ask or think, but above all things, - above all that we ask or think. 

 

 

The power is present.  It is in us.  It is Himself and His [Holy] Spirit dwelling in us.  It is infinite and limitless because He is divine.  It is power adapted to our human needs, for He is human as well as divine.  It is supernatural power because is His resurrection power.  The same power that raised Him from the dead and elevated Him to God’s right hand.

 

 

This promise is a wonderful faith creator and increaser, because when our faith says nothing can be done, it says He can do something.  When our faith says He will do but little, this promise says He will do more than that.  When our faith says He will do much, this promise says He will do more than much.  When our faith grows and says, I can now believe for the more, this promise says much more.  When our faith enlarges to believe for the “much more,” this promise says “exceeding abundantly  When our faith is strengthened to say “exceeding abundantly”, this promise says “more than you ask or even think  Faith rises to believe for the seeming impossible* -  and lo, the mighty, supernatural achievements of our God.

 

[* NOTE. See 2 Pet. 1: 10, 11, A.V,.  Is the abundant “entrance,” - “into the everlasting kingdom” - not something well worth our asking God for?  For only by His grace, forgiveness and the strength can we “do” ‘the seemingly impossible’ fore-mentioned “things;” and “give diligence to make our calling and election sure”?]

 

 

‑ C. H. P.

 

 

7

 

A FULFILMENT

 

 

A lady called on Dr. Boardman, of London, with a confession of tragic failure.  The good Doctor took his Bible and read the promise:- “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us  And he asked her if she really believed that God was able to do this for her and she said, “Yes  “Well said the Doctor, “go home and wait upon God in believing prayer until He makes good the promise to you, and gives you such a manifestation of His blessing and power that you will not only be satisfied, but overwhelmed, and have to say that it is exceedingly abundantly above all that you have either asked or thought She went away, and returned a few weeks later with a new expression in her face.  The Doctor recognised her, and she tried to speak, but the words failed her and she could only weep.  At length she was able to control her feelings sufficiently to say:- “I have no words, no language to express what God has done for me.  It is simply exceeding abundantly above all that I asked or thought

 

 

8

 

READINESS FOR THE ADVENT

 

 

It is a cardinal principle of exposition that God’s mind is deduced not from one or two passages, but from a consensus of His utterances on the subject under review.  This is too often overlooked in the problem (ever more urgent as the years bring the event nearer) of rapture.  Mr. C. S. Utting well says in the Christian (April 2, 1931):- ‘The ground upon which many refuse the clearest teaching on the subject is 1 Thess. 4: 15-18 and 1 Cor. 15.  But how is truth to be arrived at by building on two Scriptures and ignoring twenty others?  A system which makes the Word of God contradict itself is unsound.  1 Thess. 4: 15-18 is a precious and beautiful miniature, showing the Lord’s dealing with the living and dead saints at His parousia: it was given to the Thessalonians, and applies to all Christians who are like what these were at the time the miniature was given.  The question of transactions at the Bema in the case of those who, like thousands of believers to-day, neither ‘serve’ nor ‘wait,’ is not brought in.

 

 

Again the magnificent passage of 1 Cor. 15: 20-58 deals with those who win the ‘Kingdom of heaven,’ the glories of reigning with Christ (vers. 24, 25); and by no means with those ‘scarcely saved’ (1 Pet. 4: 17-19). What chance of a right verdict is there in a court where three-quarters of the evidence is suppressed?  The Gospels, Epistles, and the Apocalypse give overwhelming evidence that the Lord, the judge, will not only give to some to share His very throne (Rev. 3: 21), but also will dismiss with shame, for the time, others who on earth ceased to ‘abide’ in Him (1 John 2: 28).  Peter warns us to give diligence that we may be found before Him ‘in peace’ (2 Pet. 3: 14).”

 

 

9

 

TRIUMPHANT THROUGH TRIAL

 

 

Katar Singh, a Tibetan, was sentenced, by the Lama of Tshingham, to death by torture for professing his faith in Christ.  Sewn up in a heavy wet yak skin, he was exposed to the heat of the sun.  The slow process of contraction of this death trap is the most awful means of torture ever devised by human cruelty.  At the close of the day the dying man asked to be allowed to write a parting message.  It was as follows:‑

 

 

I give to Him, Who gave to me my life, my all, His all to be,

My debt to Him how can I pay, though I may live to endless day?

I ask not one, but thousand lives for Him and His own sacrifice;

Oh will I then not gladly die for Jesus’ sake, and ask not why?

 

 

Well might we paraphrase the thirteenth verse of the second chapter of the Revelation, and say, “Katar Singh, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwelleth This testimony, uttered in a moment of direst agony, did not go unfruitful, for one of the highest officials in the Lama’s palace was gripped by the martyr’s cry and confessed Christ that same night.

 

 

10

 

THE TRIBULATION

 

 

It is curious how a fatal flaw in an argument - often an extremely simple flaw - can be completely overlooked.  Prophetical interpreters who maintain that all [regenerate] believers must of necessity pass through the Great Tribulation stress - as they must - that our Lord’s promise (Rev. 3: 10) to keep the Philadelphian Angel ‘out of the hour of trial’ means that he would be kept ‘through’ the hour - in a moral exemption, or else in a physical preservation through the storm, or both.  But Christ’s statement is absolute, not hypothetical: “I will keep thee from the hour”; not, I will keep thee from the hour, if it should come in thy lifetime: thus the Lord could not have meant ‘through’ as the Angel is dead, and by no means whatsoever can he ever pass through the Tribulation.  Nor is the promise either a passage through or an exemption from the Tribulation, but from its hour: that is, the Lord is pledged that when the Hour strikes, dead or alive the Angel will not be there.  That he is exempt proves that not all [regenerate] believers enter the Tribulation: that he is exempted individually, solely on the ground of a ‘kept word,’ proves that not all believers escape.  The death of the Angel is the death of the gloss put upon the text.

 

 

11

 

THE KINGDOM

 

 

The revolution in the outlook of the Churches stands out vividly when we compare their present attempt to build the Kingdom of God on the quaking morass of modern society with their earlier waiting for the King.  The Modernist admits it.  “The very programme of Christianity says Dr. E. F. Scott, “as it is often understood in our day, is to establish the Kingdom of God on earth by the concerted effort of all good men  To Jesus this conception would have been meaningless, and even repellent.  The Kingdom, as He knew it, was God’s, and men could no more establish it than they could make the sun rise in Heaven.  Very different was the testimony of the whole Baptist body in 1660, Bunyan’s being among the signatures:- “We believe that Christ at His second coming will take to himself His Kingdom, when He will be the alone visible, supreme Lord and King of the whole earth

 

 

12

 

ADVENT

 

 

It is wonderful how the [Holy] Spirit’s very words are used with perfect unconsciousness by those who are thus fulfilling Scripture.  The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, summoning to prayer, said:- “Let us pray for the Disarmament Conference on which issues so momentous of the PEACE and SECURITY of all nations depend Immediately the prophecy crashes like a thunderbolt:- “When they are saying Peace and safety, THEN sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape.”

 

 

13

 

IN A MOMENT

 

 

Quite suddenly - it may be at the turning of a lane,

Where I stand to watch a skylark soar from out the swelling grain.

That the trump of God shall thrill me, with its call so loud and clear,

And I’m call’d away to meet Him, Whom of all I hold most dear:

 

 

Quite suddenly - it may be in His house I bend the knee,

When the kingly Voice, long hoped for, comes at last to summon me,

And the fellowship of earth-life that has seemed so passing sweet

Proves nothing but the shadow of our meeting round His feet:

 

 

Quite suddenly - it may be as I tread the busy street,

Strong to endure life’s stress and strain, its every call to meet,

That through the roar of traffic, a trumpet, silvery clear,

Shall stir my startled senses and proclaim His coming near:

 

 

Quite suddenly - it may be as I lie in dreamless sleep,

God’s gift to many a sorrowing heart, with no more tears to weep -

That a call shall break my slumber and a Voice sound in my ear:-

Rise up, my love, and come away, behold the Bridegroom’s here!

 

 

14

 

NATIONALISM

 

 

A worldwide revival of nationalism, our Saviour implies, will indicate an imminent Advent.  “Behold the fig tree [Israel, Luke 13: 6], and all the trees [the nations, Judges 9: 8]; when they now shoot forth, ye see it” – a revival of nationalism so marked as to be obvious – “and know of your own selves that the summer is NOW NIGH” (Luke 21: 29).  “There is no country in Europe or Asia Sir Samuel Hoare informs the House of Commons, “in which we do not see nationalism working with unprecedented strength  “Nationalism,” says Dr. Parkes Cadman “is rampant throughout Europe, and the patriotic temper is resurgent everywhere:” “inflaming like a fever as the Manchester Guardian puts it, “the mood of every people

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

12

 

PARDON ON CONFESSION

 

 

By D. M. PANTON, B.A.

 

 

Scripture exhausts language and figure in assuring us of the perfection of pardon a man receives when he is converted to Christ.  It is an obliteration of the past so complete that it is wiped out even from the mind of God.  “Their sins and their iniquities will I REMEMBER NO MORE” (Heb. 10: 17).  For the sin has disappeared like a melting cloud dissipated by the hand of God Himself.  “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins” (Isa. 44: 22).  The geographical illustration is wonderful.  “As far as the east is from the west” - a distance which is never compassed, because it for ever recedes - “so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103: 12).  Pardon means that all penal consequences of a sin vanish, and its moral stain is removed from the conscience: so that the illustration from nature is exquisitely beautiful - pardon produces a whiteness which out-bleaches anything in nature.  “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1: 18).  In distance, pardoned sin is the east never overtaking the west; in substance, it is a cloud melting out; in colour, it is scarlet changed to the whiteness of snow; and in memory, it is total oblivion.

 

 

SIN AFTER CONVERSION

 

 

But probably in the whole history of the Church of God no believer has ever claimed that, after having been made snow-white, he has kept so; so we are precipitated at once upon a new problem which the Apostle John says must be squarely faced.  “If we” - we [regenerate] believers, including the Apostles themselves – “say that we” - any of us, or all of us - “have [present tense: now] NO SIN” - that, as pardoned souls, we are totally finished with sin, and have no sin-problem at all - “we deceive ourselves,* and the truth [on this point] is not in us” (1 John 1: 8): that is, saving truth is in us, but the truth concerning a [regenerate] believer’s sin is not.  And the Apostle stresses the fact by repeating it in another aspect.  “If we say that we have not sinned” - that we have committed no transgression since conversion; that indwelling sin has never broken into open corruption - “we make him a liar, and his word” - the oft-repeated Scriptures describing a [regenerate] believer’s sins - “is not in us  For “in many things the Apostle James (3: 2) sums it up, including himself, “we ALL stumble”: not in a few things, but in many; and not some of us, but all of us.  “What about that secret drug habit Dr. Charles Inwood asked at Keswick, “that has not got far enough hold of you yet to show itself to other people?  Or (shall I say?) what about that illicit immoral relation that you sustain?  Some one will be shocked when I say that.  ‘Surely you do not suggest here,’ you say, ‘that people guilty of sins like that come to Keswick?’  They do.  Some on this platform, like myself, know it.  Sins are being confessed here of such a character that I would not have believed them credible if anybody had told me  As the richest commentator on the First Epistle of John (Dr. Hardy) has said:- “There is no sin so small which a convert doth not abhor, and yet there is scarce any sin so great which he may not commit

 

* “The believer who denies that he has sin in him deceives himself: it is hardly possible that he could deceive any one else, and he most surely cannot deceive God” (W. S. Hottel).  The Apostle has just dealt with this inherited and inherent defilement.  “If” - for this pardon also is conditional – “we walk in the light” - not only are in it, but walk in it, so that we are without conscious, known sin – “as he is in the light, we” - God and our souls – “have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us” - habitually cleanses, keeps clean - “from all sin” (1 John 1: 7): that is, indwelling sin, so long as there is a walk with God, is covered by the Blood.  For the intervention of the Blood for believers’ sins. see DAWN, vol. v., P. 495.  The contrast between ‘our sins’ and ‘the sins of the whole world’ (2: 2) proves beyond all doubt that the ‘we,’ throughout the context, is confined to [regenerate] believers, ‘my little children’ whom the Apostle is addressing throughout.  The ‘we’ in the first four verses of chapter 1, is even confined to the Apostles.

 

 

PARDON ON CONFESSION

 

 

Now as it is not only conceivable but natural to suppose that God, having forgiven so completely, might well regard all subsequent sin - sin against light, and after a gift of pardon so amazing - as unforgivable, we would turn trembling - were we not so over-familiar with the mercy of the Most High - to the tremendous revelation which is the crux of the sin-problem in the child of God.  Here it is.  “If we confess” - in confession we do two things we condemn our sins, and we renounce them - “our sins”* - not our general sinfulness, but the specific, concrete sins we have committed, naming them to God - “he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins” - the actual offences confessed: no more, no less, and no other - “and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” - namely, all the uncleanness of the sins confessed.  Here is a threefold disclosure of a practical importance incalculable:- (1) a [regenerate] believer’s sins are not ranked by God as among the pardoned sins of his unregenerate life;** (2) our sins as [regenerate] believers, if confessed, are forgiven at once and for ever; and (3) if our sins as [regenerate] believers are not confessed, they are not forgiven, but must appear (if we die in them) before the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Here then is perfect comfort for the penitent child of God.  To ‘forgive’ is to remit the penalty; to ‘cleanse’ is to remove the stain: and God (says the Apostle) is faithful and righteous - not compassionate and merciful - to do this double act - faithful, because He has said He would; and righteous, because the penalty, having been exhaustively paid, has been sincerely applied.  Mercy provided the ransom, but it is justice which accepts it.  It was after murder and adultery - defined as such by God Himself (2 Sam. 12: 9) - committed by one of the most conspicuous and beloved of God’s saints, that his broken heart said, and said by inspiration:- “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be WHITER THAN SNOW” (Ps. 51: 7).***

 

* For an unbeliever to confess the sins of a lifetime, the hideous spectres of a largely forgotten past, would be so mentally impossible as to make pardon depend on what no man could do: his saying cry is simply- “God be merciful to me a sinner

 

** God cannot grant a future pardon, or forgive, at conversion, sins that may he committed decades later: e.g., if I commit a theft six months hence, God cannot forgive it now; for pardon is possible only after a sin has been committed.

 

*** It is very comforting to know that for a [regenerate] believer’s forgotten sins, which therefore it is impossible to confess, there is another method of pardon:- “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6: 37).

 

 

EXPIATION FOR POST-CONVERSION SIN

 

 

The Apostle further unfolds the exact provision made for restoring our original whiteness, in a Scripture rare and priceless because it explicitly states that Calvary atones for sins after conversion as well as for sins before conversion.  “If any [of us] sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is” - not was, but is at this moment for to-day’s sin in His own people - “the propitiation for OUR sins  It is not the repentance, or the confession, or the amendment that procures pardon, but the propitiation.  And a legal term - an ‘advocate counsel for the defence - is used, because what our Lord does is a legal act, and He has been legally appointed by God for the office; and in the Courts above He points to something Church-wide, world-wide, as the judicial ground on which a righteous God can pardon all abandoned sin, in anybody. He does not plead our ignorance, for we may not have been ignorant; nor our insufficient grace, for our grace may not have been insufficient; nor the fury of the temptation, for we are never tempted beyond our power: He pleads something utterly dissociated from ourselves - the inexhaustible Sacrifice, that never grows old, and never grows less; which covers all sin, and therefore any sin.

 

 

UNCONFESSED SIN

 

 

A consequence no less tremendous, however, must also be faced.  It is exceedingly solemn that when we claim pardon on confession, by that very act we acknowledge that without the confession the sin must appear before God without the pardon.  Too often the awful assumption is made that the blood of Calvary covers sin unconfessed and un-renounced.  For God to pardon unabandoned sin would mean that He sanctions it; that He saves us in spite of morality; that He indulges His compassion at the expense of His holiness; that pardon is a purely formal thing that leaves the pardoned soul in sin; and that the Saviour came not to save His people from their sins, but in their sins.  There was no sacrifice under the Law for unconfessed sin.  Solomon sums it up:- “He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper; but whoso CONFESSETH and FORSAKETH them shall obtain mercy” (Prov. 28: 13).  So it is written of ourselves:- “if we sin wilfully” - that is, without confession and without cessation – “after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins” - that is, for post-conversion offences - “BUT A CERTAIN FEARFUL EXPECTATION OF JUDGMENT” (Heb. 10: 26).* The Lord’s propitiation covers every sin; but if sin be persevered in, it is effective for no sin: in the one sense, Christ died for all; in the other sense, He died for none: there is (for example) no appeal to the Atonement in Hell [i.e., ‘Hades’].

 

* Does any one really suppose (what much prophetic theology tacitly assumes) that the impenitent backslider, the gross carnal [regenerate] believer - and such exist in tens of thousands, some of whom are perfectly known to all of us - between the earth he leaves and the Parousia he enters, or [in Hades] between the deathbed and the breaking tomb, undergoes a magical change whereby he is ‘presented faultless,’ and the [wilful, unconfessed and unabandoned] sins in which he lived and died are simply declared non-existent?  Theologians need to he very careful how they make Christ a minister of sin.

 

 

A CONCRETE EXAMPLE

 

 

To make a believer’s pardon on confession finally convincing the [Holy] Spirit has put on record a perfect instance with every point proved.  For (1) the Lord Jesus sets His seal on Peter’s regeneration:- “Blessed art thou, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it [the saving vision of Christ] unto thee, but my Father” (Matt. 16: 17).  (2) For three years Peter was not only a miracle-gifted Apostle, but the right hand Christ.  (3) His sin was deliberate, public, shameless; was one of the most terrible of all possible sins, apostasy - “I know not this man of whom ye speak” (Mark 14: 71); and it was sin consciously and deliberately repeated three times.* (4) His repentance was so deep that his are the only tears described in the New Testament as bitter weeping; and the Lord’s gentle triple question “Lovest thou me is the tender absolution for a triple denial. (5) So complete the pardon that he is given, after the sin, one of the two supreme apostleships - the Apostleship of the Circumcision (Gal. 2: 8).  (6) His ultimate courage - the very point in which he once sinned - is proved by his deliberate resolve, (according to tradition) to be crucified head downwards.  And (7) so complete is his final victory, after sin so gross, he alone - except Paul (2 Tim. 4: 8) - has had it revealed him, in his sunset, that he would be “a partaker of the [millennial] glory that shall be revealed” (1 Pet. 5: 1). Every one of these points (except the joint disclosure to Paul) is unique; and the Apostle’s experience covers every point we need to know, by concrete facts which cannot be questioned or denied, and on a stage as conspicuous as could be, of God’s perfect pardon for a [regenerate] believer’s abandoned sin.

 

* No reply could be more conclusive to those who, to escape God’s solemn threats to the [regenerate] believer, advance the trite but unscriptural plea that necessarily the offender could never have been born again.  The Lord purposely analyzes His apostle as (1) ‘Peter,’ a splinter: the true Rock; and ‘Bar-Jonah,’ a son of the Dove, a sample of the regenerate of all time against whom the Gates of Hades shall not prevail.

 

 

SIN NOT

 

 

Yet while we thus rejoice at our present pardon, over confessed sin, only less than at our past perfect absolution, it is striking that the Apostle ends on another note altogether.  “My little children, these things write I unto you” - not, that ye may be forgiven, but - “that ye may NOT SIN  Powerful reasons dissuade us from sin.  It is a far higher achievement to be sinless than to be pardoned; it is possible to misuse this truth so as to excuse incessant falling and repenting; all the years spent in the Prodigal’s Land, even though forgiven, are a blank where there might have been a harvest; it is easier to contract a sinful habit than to break it; and the sins we fall asleep in, we shall wake in.  Therefore with full passion of heart let us turn “unto him that is able to KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).*

 

* If the sin has been public, public confession is right; if private, the confession is to the God alone who saw it.  Secret sins can be such that they ought never to he confessed in public.  The Scriptures are far more emphatic and plain-spoken on the sins of [regenerate] believers than we are.  It names sins of doctrine (Gal. 5: 4), sins of ritual (1 Cor. 11: :22), church sins (3 John 10.), dispensational sins (Matt. 5: 34), sins of temper* (Eph. 4: 26), sins of the mouth (Jas. 3: 9), sins of worldliness (Rev. 3: 17), sectarian sins (Titus 3: 11), sins of unbelief (Rom. 14: 23), trade sins and immoralities (1 Cor. 5: 11), sins of pride (Jas. 2: 9), sins of neglect (Jas. 4: 17), sins even against Christ (1 Cor. 8: 12), and sins which we are to confess one to another (Jas. 5: 16, R.V.).  “To say that they [believers’ sins] are to be recognized as sins, and yet that no acknowledgment is to be made, and no forgiveness sought for them, is a statement so monstrous as to carry its own refutation” (B. W. Newton).  It is obvious that sins we die in can only he dealt with beyond death, at that Judgment Seat which handles a believer’s actions “whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5: 10).

 

 

-------

TEMPER

 

 

“No other form of vice, not worldliness, nor avarice [greed], nor lust, nor drunkenness does more to make life utterly intolerable than bad temper.  For embittering existence, for breaking up friendships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom off children, the sin of anger stands alone

 

‑ G. D. ROSENTHAL.

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

13

 

OPPORTUNITY

 

 

By D. M. PANTON, B.A.

 

 

In the private journal of a lady in New York these words were found after her death:- “I expect to pass through this world but once.  Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now. Let me not neglect or defer it, for I shall not pass this way again  Our Lord Himself saw the limits of our opportunity with great clearness.  We “must work while it is day” (John 9: 4).  Even the Eternal Christ had only a day in which to work; the very healing of the blind man hastened the night: yet the day was enough; within that little limit was wrought out the salvation of the universe.  Our ‘day’ is a section purposely cut out of eternity for us, and it defines the limits in which all our work can be done; a day, short as it is, always equals the business of the day.  But there must be intense concentration.  “How desperate the case of those we are sent to save, and how short the time in which to save them (Spurgeon).  It is a ‘must’ charged with infinite power:- a Divine commission; a desperate need; a priceless service; a lessening band; a hastening night – “We MUST

 

 

For our Lord lifts the limit sharply on the horizon.  “The night cometh, when no man can work  The Saviour’s own activity was never strained, but it was always full; and when the disciples wondered, He explained that He had so much to do and so little time in which to do it; for (He said) night comes, when work is over.  Jesus thus confirms Solomon’s word:- “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: for Were is NO WORK, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in Sheol, whither thou goest” (Eccl. 9: 10). There are insects that are born, mature, breed, and die, all within twenty-four hours.  So

 

Our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

 

 

As the light was fading on the evening before the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon, pointing towards the setting sun, said:- “What would I not give for Joshua’s power, to hold back that sun for two hours  The old naturalists used to say that no swallows fly so fast as the Norwegian, because their summer is so short.

 

 

So the burning heart of it all lies in the fact for all of us that the Lord reveals.  “The night is coming  Canon Knox Little says:- “By waning power, by failing health, by weakening memory, you find in some way or other that the finger of God is touching you.  The world may not see it; friends may not read it; those who are dear to you may not tell it; but you know it - the witness, whatever it is, is come.  It speaks to you in the silence of the night.  It wakens with you when you waken in the morning; it travels with you as a settled consciousness, when you are going about the world; it is the whisper of that unrelenting law of unchanging changefulness – ‘the night is coming.’”

 

 

So one golden maxim irradiates our horizon.  “While we have the opportunity, let US DO GOOD” (Gal. 6: 10).  Should we not be very much more tender and more habitually kind in speech and action if we only realized the brevity of our opportunity?  “For this I say, brethren, the time is shortened” (1 Cor. 7: 29).  A well-known Christian figure in Norwich said to a friend inside the chapel, where a meeting had been held - “I am good for another ten years yet”; and as he crossed the threshold, he fell dead.  Could anything be more unutterably sad than this - that as a husband once placed a flower carefully and tenderly in the dead hand of his wife, a bystander said:- “That is the first flower he ever gave her”?  Could anything be more unutterably pathetic?  It was Carlyle’s heart-broken cry over his dead wife, after the sad years of estrangement – “Oh, that I could see her again for five minutes, to tell her that I loved her through it all

 

 

A little girl approached the lifeless form of her grandfather, and taking his hand in hers she said:- “Dear grandpa, you know I was always good to you while you were alive  What a world it is worth to be able to say that!  Perhaps few of us, looking back on all we have done and said to loved ones, would not say that the past does not bear thinking about; or would not say, “I should be so glad if I had never said that word, not have taken that line of action, and never done what I did

 

 

A wife was offered a kiss of reconciliation by her husband at the cottage door, ere he departed for business, after a domestic misunderstanding, and she refused it.  At mid-day he was brought home dead.  “0 God,” cried the heart-broken woman, “if I had only spoken to him as I should have done  Let the law of kindness be upon our hearts and upon our tongues before it is too late.  We are accustomed to heap the flowers upon the bier. Mary did not wait till the Saviour was dead before she broke the oil upon His feet.

 

 

On the fortieth year of his ministry Mr. Cuff preached in Shoreditch Tabernacle from the text on which he had preached his opening sermon forty years before; and there were but five of the old faces in that vast congregation, only five who heard both sermons.

 

 

Oh, friends, I pray to-night

Keep not your kisses for my dead cold brow,

The way is lonely, let me feel them now.

Think gently of me; I am travel-worn,

My faltering feet are pierced with many a thorn.

Forgive, 0 hearts estranged, forgive, I plead;

When dreamless rest is mine, I shall not need

The tenderness for which I long to-night.

 

 

Our opportunity is at least as magnificent as it ever was if we have run steadily, our influence is greater, our opportunities are more numerous, our circle is wider than it ever was; and it is possible for all of us to begin seeking the highest and the best.  God is as strong as ever; Christ is as fresh as ever; the Holy Ghost is as full of love and the power to impart love as ever He was.

 

 

After the last speech Mr. Gladstone ever made in the House of Commons, when the House had emptied, another Member saw the old man go and stand alone behind the Speaker’s Chair, and, shading his failing vision as he looked out over the arena of all his battles, he knew that he looked out upon it for the last time: then the old man quietly slipped out of the House for ever.  It was the last look.  Some year it must be so with us.  As we stand to-day shading our eyes and looking out over the misty unknown, and remembering that there must come a year when we are looking out for the last time; backward also over the life:- how it makes us feel the pilgrim spirit, and desire to use wisely the little time in the old home - the old church - the old business; for to-day, for aught we know, we may be taking the last look.  “While we have the opportunity, let us do good”; a whole harvest may gathered in the closing weeks: “unto all men” - unto all who come within the circle of our touch.

 

 

There are moments quickly passing,

Opportunities which rise

Nevermore to cross our pathway

As we journey to the skies;

Opportunities, God-given,

With these precious moments flow,

Oh if we are watching, waiting,

We shall seize them as they go.

 

 

There are moments quickly passing,

Soon our little day is done

Soon beyond the far horizon

Fast will fade the setting sun:

Let us use these golden moments

Which the Lord to us doth give,

Till at length with Him in Heaven

We the life of lives shall live.

 

 

-------

 

 

“Reader, if you have been made to drink of the bitter chalice of pain, mental or bodily, think of it not only as an initiation into the fellowship of Him in Whose hands is still the print of the nails, but as a summons from Him to you to do what He did - yea, to be His instrument - in binding up the broken-hearted, giving deliverance to the captives of sin and fear: opening the eyes of the morally blind and a door of hope to the helpless in the fortress of despair.  Do not miss or reject it through resentment, self-pity, or mournful retrospect.  For suffering can make us very selfish; if we are not the better for it we shall almost certainly be the worse, farther from God instead of nearer to Him.  But if we take it in a right spirit, humble, contrite, un-murmuring, neither regarding it as good in itself nor as unbelievably evil, but as used of God as a means of blessing to come, we shall come forth from its embrace possessed of a new charisma, endued with a new power, filled with a tenderer love, a diviner compassion for the miseries of mankind, bearers of the water of life to a thirsty world

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

14

 

THOUGHTS

 

 

BY W. P. CLARK

 

 

The old adage “Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves may well be transposed so as, to read, “Take care of the thoughts, and the actions and words will take care of themselves  Few realize the importance of the thoughts.  “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts and the catalogue of awful sins which follow - in our Lord’s words - are but the outcome of the thoughts.  There can be no deed that is not preceded by a thought.  “These - the thoughts - defile the man  Solomon truly says:- “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he  What God saw in man before He sent the Flood was that “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually and it “grieved Him at His heart

 

 

In the Sermon on the Mount Christ gives the true estimate, and the real meaning of evil thoughts.  “Whoso is angry with his brother without cause is in danger of the judgment” - that judgment which the Law pronounced on the murderer.  No act, only a thought! and again, “Whoso looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart  No act, only a thought! and yet those thoughts, He says, mean murder and adultery, as if the very acts had been committed.  So the Apostle James traces the transition of a thought to its ultimate end, as he writes:- “When lust (evil thoughts) hath conceived it bringeth. forth sin, and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death  A man may be outwardly moral, and in heart and thoughts a moral leper!

 

 

Some thoughts are with deliberate desire and intent to sin, if opportunity offers, but even if there be no real intent to commit the sin, the foul, impure, angry, envious, proud, uncharitable, unkind thought constitutes real sin.  Well may we examine ourselves and see wherein we sin in thought!  In the words of Dr. F. B. Meyer:- “Away from the realm of sense there lies a world of illusion, the atmosphere of which is brilliant but deadly, its scenery is bewitching but corrupting, the inhabitants wicked spirits, some of whom are robed in exquisite costumes veiling their deformity, whilst others are at no pains to hide their loathsomeness.  Thither imagination can at will transport us.  Like a swift boat it can convey to those mystic shores, and disembarking, we can take part in unseemly revels, whilst our face is buried in our hands in the attitude of prayer, or our outward presence is sharing the amenities of the home circle.  No heart can be kept pure unless the fancy is kept strictly under control.  It must not be permitted to bear us away into the world of unholy and sensuous dreams or introduce into the temple of the soul any picture which would taint or defile  Well may the Psalmist exclaim, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting  May God send the searchlight of His Holy Spirit into our hearts and reveal to each one of us the hidden thoughts of those hearts, and Oh! never let us forget, “He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do

 

 

Search all my thoughts, the secret springs,

The motives that control,

The chambers where polluted things

Hold, empire o’er the soul.

Search till Thy fiery Glance has cast

Its holy light through all,

And I, by grace, am brought at last

Before Thy face to fall.

 

 

And if our thoughts (the secret springs, the motives that control) are laid bare and we see ourselves as He sees us, we shall, with Job of old, “abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes  What then shall we do to rid us of this awful burden?  It is useless chopping off the heads of weeds, they will only spring again, we must get at the roots and dig them out.  We can’t, as an old writer has said, help the birds flying over our heads, but we can at least prevent them roosting in our hair!  It is useless beginning at the outside, we must begin at the inside and cure that.  Purity of heart will ensure purity of life and conduct.  “Cleanse that which is within the cup and platteras our Lord said to the Pharisees, “that the outside may be clean also  Let us seek first His forgiveness, and put these sinful thoughts under the precious Blood, and begin again to run the race with diligence.  Let us, in the words of the Church of England prayer book, ask Him “to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, that we may worthily magnify His holy Name Let us, above all else, choose this purity of heart and be prepared to surrender everything and count no sacrifice too great to attain it.

 

 

And how shall we avoid in the future our thoughts from running riot again, and leading us afresh into sin?  Is it possible to control these thoughts and keep them pure? To quote again Dr. Meyer:-  “To know sin only to abhor it, to keep so strong a hold on appetite that, like some spirited horse it shall only fulfil its legitimate purpose, to be always blameless and harmless, to ever wear the white flower of a blameless life, to allow no lewd visitant to cross the threshold of the soul, to permit no foul picture to remain for a moment on the lens of the inner eve?  Yes, it is the great gift of the Gospel to teach men that such purity of heart is possible - possible for those whose habits of evil thinking and living have been most debased, possible for those who have striven in vain to keep the marble palace of the inner life from being defiled by the tides of ink which sweep through the world.  Purity of heart is not a dream.  The Lord Jesus is prepared to do for the inner life what he did for the leprous flesh

 

 

“God (says Peter) who knows the heart cleanses it by Faith  But how does Faith cleanse the heart?  Again, Dr. Meyer’s words are appropriate.  He says:- “Faith brings the soul to the cross and applies the precious blood that cleanseth from all sin.  She has the marvellous power of handing over to Christ every suggestion of the Evil One.  Whilst the fiery dart is flaming through the air, and before it reaches the soul, Faith catches it upon her shield.  When the sooty hand is reached out to pluck her white flower, Faith suddenly interposes the protective covering of the purity of Christ, and appropriates the purity of Christ Well may we covet and pray for such faith, and exercise it at every moment of temptation.  “Above all, taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one  Let our prayer be that of David.- “Cleanse thou me from secret faults, keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me”; and we have the triumphant New Testament answer:- “Sin shall not have dominion over you sin not only of word and deed, but also of thought.

 

 

Many have found the words in Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians (chap. 10: 5) of wonderful help.  “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh (thank God for that, or we should be utterly undone), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations (thoughts) and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”; or, as Dr. Scofield has it in the margin, “leading captive every thought”; and as the evil thought assails us we may cry out to the One Who stands ever ready to help:- “O Lord, lead this thought captive to Thy obedience A very solemn thought presents itself to our mind, namely that, even if we pride ourselves on our separation from the world, our devotion to God’s service, and our uprightness and honesty of character, yet our thoughts may outweigh and over-balance all these and at last cost us very dear, even possibly to the loss of entrance into Christ’s Kingdom in the next Age, even as one act of rebellion and

“speaking unadvisedly with his lips” forfeited to Moses his entry into Canaan, notwithstanding his forty years’ faithfulness in the wilderness.  Says the Psalmist again:- “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord and who shall stand in His holy place  The answer is “He that hath clean hands and a pure heart  The pure in heart - and only they - shall see God.  Only they can stand in the presence of those eyes that are too pure to look upon sin.  The thoughts of our hearts may obscure our vision of God in this life, and it may cost us a sight of Him through the Millennial Age.  “Finally brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honourable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise think on these things”; that is, fill your thoughts with these things to the exclusion of other, undesirable thoughts, such as are not true, honourable, just, which are impure, unlovely, not of good report, of no virtue and of no praise; and so bring forth in our lives the things which are true, honourable, just, pure, and lovely, for let it be repeated and emphasized that purity of heart and thought will ensure purity of life and conduct. “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (R.V.).

 

 

 

THE END