LETTER FOUR to J. T. Molesworth, Esq..






Dear Brother,


We are agreed - are we not?  That eternal life is one thing, and the millennial kingdom is another?  May not, then, these two distinct benefits be by God set on two different, or even opposite footings?


Eternal life is God’s gift of grace to all his elect.  Thereon we are one in sentiment.


But is not an entrance into the millennial kingdom made to turn upon our obedience?  Is it not proposed as the prize set before those justified by God’s grace?  So it seems to me.  Allow me, then, to offer to your notice some of the evidence of Scripture which to me appears abundantly to prove it.


The present day is the day of grace, "the day of salvation, the accepted time:" 2 Cor. 6: 2.  God’s ambassadors are in the world, themselves reconciled to God, and seeking to lead others to be reconciled to God.


But the coming day is "the day of justice," or as we usually render it, "the day of judgment."  Believers are to be judged in that day.  Judgment will Jesus "send forth unto victory," after His time of patience with the bruised reed and smoking flax is past: Matt. 12: 20.  Men are to give account of their words in that day, being by them either justified or condemned: ver. 36, 37.  We shall need boldness in that day: 1 John 4: 17.  "In that day" the work of each is to be tried: 1 Cor. 3: 13; Rom. 2: 16.  The Lord shall then give the crown of righteousness to Paul: 2 Tim. 4: 7, 8; 1: 12. The day effects all believers: Phil. 1: 10; 2 Cor. 1: 14; Phil. 2: 16.


The general principle on which the judgment of that time will be conducted is, "According to the works" of each.  "All the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works:" Rev. 2: 23.  "I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man (each) according as his work shall be:" 22: 12.  "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he reward every man (each) according to his works:" Matt. 16: 27.  See also 2 Cor. 5: 10; Rom. 2: 16; 1 Cor. 3: 8, 13.


While then in the day of salvation we are justified by faith, and its issue is eternal life; in the coming day of justice we shall need to be justified by works.  And this is the sister truth which James in his epistle testifies.  He is a witness concerning the kingdom, (Jas.2: 5) and treads in the steps of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount.  He argues, in the second chapter of his epistle, that in that day, and in order to admission into the kingdom, the possession of faith without the exhibition of works will not profit.  He cites the case of Abraham.  He was justified by works at the close of his life, and then came forth the oath of God ratifying all His promises.


"By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed [which is Christ] shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed [which is Christ] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: BECAUSE THOU HAST OBEYED MY VOICE:" Gen. 22: 16-18.  But lest it should be imagined that Paul and James were at variance, he adds, That these good works sprang from Abraham, as already justified by faith.  God expects to justify the justified by faith.


This is the word whenever the [millennial] kingdom is in question.  "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance;"  "Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire:" Matt. 3: 8, 10; 5: 20; 7: 21.  "When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just:" Luke 14: 13, 14.


Good works are to be done, and not for the eye of men; else there is no reward from the Father: Matt. 6: 1-18.  Paul connects good works with looking for the blessed hope of the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, "who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works :" Titus 2: 14; 3: 1, 8, 14.  We were new created, in order to produce them: Eph. 2: 10.


For, observe, Jesus will demand excellence in order to accounting any worthy to enter the [millennial] kingdom.  The question arose concerning the resurrection of the righteous.  "And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world (age) marry and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, (age) and the resurrection from (among) the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels, and are children of God, being children of the resurrection:" Luke 20: 34-36.  Watch ye therefore, and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, [i.e., things which are to occur during the Great Tribulation] and to stand (be set) before the Son of man:" 21: 36.  To the Thessalonians Paul says, that their sufferings for Christ’s sake were a clear indication of God’s righteous judgment, “that YE MAY BE ACCOUNTED WORTHY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, for which ye also (even) suffer."  "Wherefore we pray always for you [‘The church of the Thessalonians.’] that God would count you worthy of the calling:" 2 Thess. 1: 5, 11.  And Jesus singles out some believers in the Church of Sardis, and says, "Thou hast a few names (even) in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white : for they are worthy :" Rev. iii, 4.


But, with all these suggestions of difficulties in the way, or of excellence to be demanded of all who enter, there is yet a call by God that we seek to enter this kingdom of glory.  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness :" Matt. 6: 33.  "Ye heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you love your enemies ... That ye may be (come) the children of your Father which is in heaven. For if ye love them which love you what reward have you?" 5: 43-46.  "Let us labour to enter into that rest, lest any fall after the same example of unbelief:" (disobedience) Heb. 4: 11.  Also Matt. 6: 1-18; 7: 1, 2, 13, 14; 16: 24-27; Luke 16: 8-14; 2 Pet. 1: 10, 11; Matt. 19: 10 - 12.


Paul several times compares the believer to a racer, seeking a crown at the Grecian games.  "Know ye not th at they which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize. So run, that ye may obtain.  Now every one that wrestleth is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown : but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means after having acted the herald to others, I myself should become rejected:" (Greek.) 1 Cor. 9: 24-27.  The most diligent in exercises of training in that day might still lose the prize, because one by nature fleeter of foot had entered the lists. But so it would not be in the future award of Christ.  The prize was sure to all who observe the laws of the games.


Notice here, that wherever the prize is spoken of, it is viewed in connection with the danger of the loss of the kingdom.  Paul was herald of the kingdom, and taught others to pursue after it.  Sad were it then, if he should be refused an entrance.  But he persevered nobly, and at the close of his career, in his last Epistle he says - "I have fought the good fight : I have finished the course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day ; and not to me only, but unto all them also that have loved his appearing:" 2 Tim. 4: 7, 8.


The kingdom is set before [regenerate] believers as the prize at which they are to aim.  Paul, giving up his own righteousness for that of Christ, desired to have "fellowship" with Christ in "His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, If by any means I may attain unto the [select] resurrection from [among] the dead. (Greek.)  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching toward those things which are before, I press toward the mark [goal] for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus:" Phil. 3: 10-14.


The force of the above passage is clearly this - Jesus laid hold on Paul on purpose that He might attain [i.e., ‘to gain by effort’.] the glory of [after] the first, or select resurrection.  To obtain this he counted nothing in the way of trial too great, he desired martyrdom itself, that by means of it he might reach so great a reward.  Even he, Apostle as he was, great in action, great in endurance for Christ’s sake, by no means felt assurance of the certainty of his entering the [coming] kingdom.  Others indeed [may have] said to him - ‘O Paul, you are sure of it!  If but three enter you must be one!  Who is there comparable to yourself in the surrenders you have made, the diligence you have shown, the sufferings you have experienced?’  But their thoughts about him did not make him fall back and rest on the laurels won; he would not seek repose till the campaign was over, and the victory achieved.  He was a prudent and an ardent racer pressing on toward the goal; and to such a one it is no matter how far he has gone till he has touched the goal, and the prize is secure.  The two parts of this passage confirm one another.  The first resurrection or entrance into the kingdom of God is the prize set before the partakers of the heavenly calling. ‘But was not this pursuit, this prize within the reach of the great alone of the church of Christ? No!  It is the prize of the heavenly calling, set before all believers.  And lest any should imagine that not all were to seek it, the Holy Ghost adds, "Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect be thus minded."


Permit me to use an illustration, in the hope of discovering more clearly the force of this passage.  There is at Cambridge an honour called the Senior Wranglership, the highest that can be conferred on a student by the University.  It is awarded to the one, who shall best answer the difficult mathematical papers handed to him for solution.  Many compete for this distinction, as the prize of their labour.  Judges sit to decide equitably on the performances of the students.  Suppose now that we have the testimony of one of the tutors of the colleges at Cambridge about this honour.  It runs thus - ‘The obtaining of the wranglership, and much more of the Senior’s place, demands great natural mathematical abilities, and constant and severe application.  Many who begin eagerly, are led astray by the love of pleasure; some fall ill, and are unable to proceed; and many become discouraged, as they discern fully the height to be attained.  I have now under my care a young man who came well prepared to college, possessed of fine abilities, and an unremitting student.  Many consider him sure of the prize.  But he refuses to relax an iota of the study required.’


Would any one after that affirm, that every under-graduate of Cambridge was certain of a Wranglership by virtue of his matriculation?  I have but put together in this illustration a few of the points testified by Scripture concerning the entrance into the kingdom.  How then can any suppose, that every believer shall enjoy the distinction of entering the kingdom?  If Paul may be trusted, a great deal more than the faith that justifies is demanded.


Paul knew that it was the "vehement who would enter the kingdom by force:" Matt. 11: 12.  It is the prize which Jesus sets before the eyes of the victors of the churches.  "He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken in pieces, even as I received of my Father:" Rev. 2: 26, 27; Psa. 2.; Rev. 12: 5; 19: 15; 20: 4-6.  "To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me on my throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne:" Rev. 3: 21.


At the seventh trump the kingdom over earth becomes the kingdom of God and of His Christ.  Then the elders on high rejoice in God’s resumption of the power which for a while He had delegated to the Gentile empires.  And they say that that is the season for bestowing the promised reward on saints and prophets, and the fearers of the name of God: Rev. 11: 15-18.


The same truth appears from the Sermon on the Mount: indeed the kingdom is its basis throughout.  But look a moment at the Beatitudes with which it opens.  Blessed the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs,’ ‘Blessed those persecuted of old, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.’ ‘Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you ... For great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you:" Matt. 5: 1-12.  The kingdom then is God’s reward to the persecuted, both of the Old Testament and of the New.


Yes!  God who made us know that the desire of distinction, of prizes and rewards, is one innate in man.  As stimulated by hopes of the present world ‘tis an evil desire.  But as the spur of faith that rests on God’s promise, ‘tis good.  We cannot be too ambitious of the glory that comes from God.


To this feeling the [Holy] Spirit of God oft appeals.  Even Jesus felt its force.  "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame:" Heb. 12: 2.  Of Jesus himself it is said, "Thou lovedst righteousness, and hatedst iniquity, THEREFORE (O) God, thy God anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows:" Heb. 1: 9.  Jesus is to have companions in this anointing, though far pre-eminent among them, and they are to resemble Him in the ground of their reward before God - the love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity. ‘Follow the steps of Jesus,’ says Paul to the Philippians, ‘humble yourselves as He did, who stooped from the throne of Deity to be made a man,’  "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. WHEREFORE God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:" before which the angels of heaven, the men of earth, and the spirits of the departed, are one day to bow: Phil. 2: 5-11.  Thus this extract from the Philippians confirms the previous one.  Paul desired to be one of the servants to whom the returned monarch shall say, "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."


Yes, the Son of God would quicken by the hope of "wages" or "reward" the diligence of His workmen. "Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest.  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both sower and reaper may rejoice together:" John 4: 35, 36. (Greek.)


The Saviour was announcing to His apostles the connection of what they saw in the awakening among the Samaritans, with the ancient work of Moses and the prophets.  Apostles would be but as the reapers entering into the labours of Moses and the prophets.  For it was the testimony of Moses believed by the woman at the well, which had caused the earnest interest then visible among the Samatitans.  He adds, that God destined a reward to them when the great work was complete, for He had provided a season in which, after the great harvest-home, both sowers and reapers are to rejoice together.  What is that?  "Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God:" Luke 13: 28.  For "each shall receive his own reward according to his own labour:" 1 Cor. 3: 8.  "For if I do this thing willingly I have a reward:" 9: 17. And against any slackening of diligence, John quickens us in these words - "Look to yourselves, that we lose not the things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward:" 2 John 8.  Or as the Saviour says to the chief minister of Philadelphia, "I come quickly; hold fast that thou hast, that none take thy crown:" Rev. 3: 11; 1 Pet. 5: 4.


While then the gift of God conferred on His elect is certain to faith, reward and the prize is uncertain.  It is to be sought with diligence, the danger of loss is to affect us in the way of caution, the desire of glory is to nerve us to exertion.  Eight-and-thirty "Ifs" are addressed to believers in the New Testament.*  Now while many insist on the freeness and unconditionality of many of the promises, let us not overlook the truth that there are many promises suspended on conditions.


[* The writer of this has published a small tract containing them, which may be had on application to him.]


Many will not listen to this truth: to them there is nothing but grace.  But God has His true hearted ones, and to them I make appeal.


Observe then a startling truth. In the Hebrews, Paul [or whoever the inspired writer of the Epistle was] compares the brethren of the heavenly calling with Israel, the men of the earthly calling.  Now on what ground does he set us on relation to them? Does he say - ‘They indeed were set under justice, to be recompensed according to their works; but you [Christians] stand on grace alone, to be dealt with on the footing of the works of Christ only?’  Nay! The very reverse!  After having set forth the vast superiority of the Son who speaks to us from heaven, above the angels who were the givers of the law, he presses us with our far greater responsibility to listen to and obey the word of Christ, for if the word spoken by angels became ratified, and every sin of ignorance, and every wilful act of disobedience was visited with corresponding penalty, how shall we who have fled for refuge "escape, if we neglect so great salvation:" Heb. 2.


He says not - ‘Israel was placed on a covenant of works by their own deservings to enter the land, but you will obtain the kingdom by faith in Christ.’  He says rather, ‘Beware lest the threat of the 95th Psalm be fulfilled in you.  The time of probation, the days of the wilderness are still running on.  Provoke not God, as did Israel of old, lest you be dealt with by Him as Israel was.  Be disobedient as they were, and you will be shut out of the kingdom, as they were excluded from the land:Heb. 3 & 4.


He draws a picture of the standing of Israel at Sinai under the old covenant, and compares our far superior standing as called by Christ Jesus; but how does he wind up the appeal?  Says he - ‘See then! You rest on grace, as they of old were set under works?’ Nay, but - "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.  For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven :" Heb. 12: 18.*  But, what Christian does turn away from Christ?’  Multitudes, brother!  Not finally, or totally; for grace comes in.  But countless numbers partially.  Many find Jesus’ words too strong and severe, and while they receive Him as their Saviour, they take Moses as their guide, and beg to be excused following Jesus’ commands.


[* So strongly does the Epistle to the Hebrews press against those who cry out for grace alone, that a brother has lately put forth a book to prove it was written to the unconverted only, and not to the believer!  Wonderful it is, in the face of such passages as Heb. 3: 6; 6: 9, 18, 19; 10: 39; 12: 1, 25; 13: 18.  There is in it no call to repent and believe in the blood.  There are calls in the Epistle to continue in the path begun.  Besides, the author is obliged to mistranslate.]


Numbers uncounted prefer justice as their principle in dealing with their fellows, instead of mercy, which the Saviour enjoins on them.  What then can be the issue to them in the day of justice?  Jesus assures us, that those who use justice now, will find its sword plied against them in the day to come: Matt. 7: 1, 2; Luke 6: 36-38.  On such footing, how can any enter the reward of glory?  Impossible!  They must forfeit an entrance.  "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy," and mercy will be much needed in that day.  As saith Paul of Onesiphoris, who had shown him much kindness, "The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day:" 2 Tim. 1: 16-18.


Let me make a parting appeal to FACTS and to FIGURES.


1. What then means the history of Jesus’ first miracle of resurrection?  The ruler Jairus begs the Saviour to come and heal his dying daughter.  But so great is the press, and Jesus is, besides, detained by the woman who touched his garment’s fringe, that a message of unbelief comes to the ruler of the synagogue - ‘Thy daughter is dead: she is beyond the Teacher’s aid.’  Jesus confronts Jairus’ broken faith - death was not beyond His power.  But the multitude shall not enter the house of death: not even all the disciples: Peter, James, and John alone are allowed to go in.  He tests then the inmates: have they any faith in Him as raiser of the dead?  ‘The girl is not dead, but asleep only.’  At once their unbelief bursts out in its torrent of scorn.  They are thrust out of the house therefore.  Only Peter, James, and John may go into the room of death, with Himself, and the father and mother.  Here, when we reckon in the damsel herself, we have the mystic seven.  Jesus takes her by the hand - "Talitha koumi!" "Damsel, arise!" "And straightway the damsel arose and walked:" Mark 5. He adds His command, his strict command, that the thing is to be kept a secret.


2. What means the Transfiguration?  Peter confesses Jesus as the Son of the living God, and to him the Saviour gives the power to exclude from, or to admit into, the millennial kingdom.  But Peter dislikes the idea of the Saviour’s suffering, and that unto death.  His unbelief is reproved severely by Jesus, who takes occasion thence to teach all His disciples, that they, too, will have to tread the same path of rejection and suffering.  But what then?  The kingdom of glory shall more than repay for any endurance now.  Also, to confirm their faith, a picture of the kingdom in its power and brightness should be exhibited to the eyes of some then present, ere they died.  Then came the selection of three only of the apostles.  Peter, James, and John alone saw the vision of the Redeemer, and of His attendants, Moses and Elijah, as they spake together in the glory. Moreover, as they descend, the Master bids them keep the thing secret.  Does this fact teach that all the disciples will enter the kingdom?  Was it a fair picture of the coming kingdom?  Then it instructs us, that not all disciples will have part in it.


What says the resurrection of Dorcas?  She was a disciple "full of good works and almsdeeds."  She was sick, and died. The widows (or deaconesses) of the church at Joppa bathed her body, and laid it out in an upper room.  They send for Peter : "And all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was with them."  He prays alone, he gives her his hand, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ She arose.  He presents her to the saints and widows, alive.  The story spread, and many believed in the Lord: Acts 9: 36-42.  Does not this give a hint of those for whom the first resurrection is prepared?  Twice her good works and almsdeeds come into notice.  And the issue of the resurrection is the faith of many; a further result which will come to pass when the adoption, that is, the redemption of the body, shall have arrived.


Shall we look at some actions which may be justly regarded as typical?


Take heed, says the apostle, "lest there be any fornicator or profane person, who for a single meal (Greek) sold his birthright. For we know how that afterward, when he would have (wished to) inherited the blessing. He was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears:" Heb. 12: 17.  What means this?  Says it not very distinctly, that Christians may sell spiritual privileges for worldly benefits?   That this profane bargain will at length hold good in the great day of reward of works, to the exclusion of the offender from the [millennial] kingdom, great as will be his dismay and sorrow at the loss of the blessing.  That all his tearful cries and pleadings will be in vain, mirrored as the result is in the history of Esau.  He was a son of Isaac, the favourite son, and yet his father would not repent of the sentence which he had uttered!  How much less shall God yield to such an offending son!  Will any say, ‘But no Christian is guilty in that way!’  O brother, you may know little of Christians - yes, I mean converted men - to say so.*  Have you never heard of missionaries becoming ministers of the world?  Of preachers giving up the gospel for a newspaper, and so on.  Is not Israel’s history full of such lessons?


[* In the Broadmead Records there is the history of a Gospel minister, who gave up the ministry to pursue the study of music.  He became bandmaster to Charles the Second.]


God would redeem His people out of Egypt.  How does He effect it?  By the blood of a lamb sprinkled on the door-posts.  That done, the destroying angel was not permitted to enter the house of the ransomed.  Around were groans and death.  But the blood prevailed, not only to deliver from the Destroyer of the firstborn, but also to set them free from Egypt.  Now on this our brethren are careful to insist: and it is well.  But is that all?  Is there not another lesson closely intertwined with it, which is oft forgot?  Do the teachers of ‘grace alone’ utter the challenge - ‘What shall touch the redeemed by blood?  Pharaoh cannot detain them; no dog may wag his tongue against them.  What evil can assail them?’ - The feast of the passover shall tell us.  While none from the outside of the house may enter to injure, mischief may befall from within.  "For whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel."  Even so there is an answering danger which besets the redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  It is possible to eat of the old leaven.  And the consequence is depicted for us in the 1st of Corinthians.  The incestuous one was an eater of the old leaven; and in order that the Church might be a new unleavened lump, they [were instructed to] put our this offending brother.  The next chapter tells us that the eater of leaven is to be excluded also from the kingdom of God: 1 Cor. 6: 9-11.


Thrice does the Holy Spirit draw our attention to the general history of Israel in the wilderness as typical of the Church of Christ in the world.  They greatly resembled us in their circumstances, by God’s express design, in order to bring home to us the lessons of their history.  They were led out of Egypt by blood; they passed through the Red Sea, an act answering to our rite of baptism upon faith; they ate the manna from on high, and drank the water from the smitten rock; and we celebrate the Supper of a pierced Lord with bread and wine.


"Yet," says Paul, "with the majority God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness."  He then enumerates some of their sins, which drew down upon them a being excluded from the land.  Now of these sins the Corinthian Christians were guilty: and the Holy Ghost assures us generally that the Israelites in the wilderness are types of us! Our brethren sometimes seize upon the bold word of Moses, "Not a hoof shall be left behind!"  Yes, brother, that was spoken of exit out of Egypt by grace!  But how many entered the land?  That is the question for us! 1 Cor. 10; Heb. 3. 4.; Jude.  The entrance is for the doers of the Father’s will.


In answer to this, brethren who refuse the doctrine now presented oft reply - ‘Ah! But Israel were a fleshly, unrenewed people, and we are the sons of God!’  But, brother, see you not, that if your plea be correct, Paul could not have been inspired to press upon us this lesson as the one which Israel’s history was to teach?  He ought to have insisted on the oppositeness of our standing to theirs, and have taught us, not only to disregard what befell them, but have comforted us by the assurance that the result to all Christians would be the opposite to their overthrow in the desert!


God brought them to the borders of the land, and bid them enter.  Twelve spies are sent, and proofs in words and in fruits are given of the excellency of the country of God’s choice.  But fear seizes them.  ‘The giants! The giants!  The fenced cities!  The fenced cities!  We shall all perish!  Let us turn again into Egypt!’  Is there nothing like this now?  What became of those of old? "Their carcases fell in the wilderness."


Miriam and Aaron, and Moses are cut off for offences.  Only Caleb and Joshua enter!*


[*i.e., of the accountable generation.]


David is the Lord’s anointed, but disregarded by the people of Israel, pursued unto death by Saul the rejected king.  But Jonathan, Saul’s son, loves David as his own soul, and finds him out in the wood, when his father vainly seeks him.  Jonathan introduces us to his hopes for the future.  ‘David would be the chief in the kingdom, and himself second to him.’  But God did not ratify this hope.  He took part secretly with David, openly with Saul.  When Saul is cut off, he also is cut off in battle, as belonging to Israel.  He enters not the kingdom of the Lord’s Anointed.  Has this no voice to many secret disciples of the Lord Jesus?*


 [*Or for those who know, but refuse to disclose kingdom truths to other Christians.]


It is the time of awful famine in Samaria, but the Lord by His prophet Elisha foretells plenty the next day.  "Thus saith the Lord, To-morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria." To a lord, a favourite of the king of Israel, this seemed incredible.  His reply was one of unbelief.  "Behold, if the Lord would make widows in heaven might this thing be?"  Then came the sentence upon his unbelief - "Behold thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not eat thereof:"  "And so it fell out unto him; for the people" - laden with their heavy supplies of flour and of all provisions – “trode upon him in the gate, and he died”:2 Kings 7. Is there nothing now among believers in the way of unbelief of the prophecy answering to this?  If there be the offence, then shall there not be also a penalty?  Beholding the advent of the glory, but not partaking it?


Methinks, that my pleas may well end here, though I have not exhausted the treasures of proof which the Word of God contains on this point.  Is it not worthy of renewed search on your part, whether these things are so?  If you are right, I shall enter the kingdom in spite of this error.  But if I am right, how will it go with you in that day as resisting the truth, and teaching others to set aside the clear testimonies of the Word of God?


I am reproached now with making the way into glory so narrow.  I know that the messenger and his message will be identified, and I am content.  But if my views are true, what thanks shall I not receive from all who have taken heed to God’s warnings? Who have seen that Jesus has made the gate and the way into the kingdom very strict, very narrow, and have been spurred to seek an entrance into the glory with all diligence?


Your views are popular now, but what if they be unfounded in God’s word? Will you not be overwhelmed in the great day by reproaches from those who took your word for it, that as believers they could not fail to enter the kingdom? I had rather be reproached now than then!


With a word of appeal I close. I address myself not to you alone, but to every believer who reads these pages.


Brother - are you, or are you not, seeking the kingdom of God?


If it is yours already by faith, it were unbelief to seek it.  I suppose then that you do not.  But if you do not, you are opposing Christ’s and the Spirit’s commands that you do.


"Seek first the kingdom of God:" Matt. 6: 33.


But many now toss aside the Sermon on the Mount. ‘That is Jewish!  They have ceased to be "disciples of the Lord:" Acts 9: 1; John 13: 35; 15: 8.  But even so they do not escape.  Paul in the Hebrews calls all partakers of "the heavenly calling" to seek it as the seventh-day rest that remains for God’s people: Heb. 3. & 4.  And if they cast overboard that also as ‘Jewish,’ we offer them Paul’s uncertainty about his partaking in the first resurrection, his diligent pursuit of this object as the prize set before him, and of his call of this object as the prize set before him, and his call on all who are perfect to seek it as he did: Phil. 3.


But if you set yourself to seek to enter in, in the spirit of Paul, you will soon learn to accept the truth here stated.


May the [Holy] Spirit of God guide us into all His truth!


Believe me,