THE VANGUARD REPRINTS
Introduction to the Vanguard Reprints
by Roel Velema
Morrieson Panton (1870-1955), the author of the Vanguard Reprints, ministered
at Surrey Chapel,
He succeeded Robert Govett (1813-1901) in that pulpit. Panton was the founder and editor of Dawn magazine, a strong voice for deep Scriptural and prophetical truth from 1924 until his death in 1955. He was known as The Prince of Prophecy.
Panton was born in
(as he was affectionately known), came to
DMP wrote numerous tracts and books, including Rapture and The Judgment Seat of Christ.
In later years, because of his health, he preached only once a month at Surrey Chapel, eventually retiring in 1941.
Mrs. Margaret Barber (1866-1930), a British missionary in
This indicates that the Vanguard Reprints have been written during the first part of Pantons ministry and probably before or soon after he started to edit the Dawn Magazine in 1924.
We should also be aware that the Vanguard Reprints are often outdated, due to the time they were written. Nevertheless, the need was felt to make these 109 concise rich Bible studies called the Vanguard Reprints completely available again, just as they were published almost a century ago. In fact the Vanguard Reprints contain 108 articles. Article no. 109 on The Revelation was included in the original copy of the Vanguard Reprints, but not labelled as such. Nevertheless it has been added.
The old English text has been retained. Only some minor typographical corrections have been made.
Roel Velema Hattem, The Netherlands, July 2005 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.xs4all.nl/~rjvelema
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Appendix: List of subjects of the Vanguard Reprints:
1 Seven Steps to Glory
55 Did Christ Rise as a Spirit?
2 Son or Lord - Which?
56 Excommunication and Exclusion
3 The End of the Age
4 The Angel in the Fire
Our Crown in Jeopardy
6 The Fall of Man and the Love of God
7 The Lamb of God
61 The Miracles of Christ
8 The Disciples Use of Money
62 Seducing Spirits
Readiness for Rapture
11 The Cross and the Kingdom
65 Expiation by Blood
12 Miraculous Gifts
66 The Church and the Kingdom
13 The Bread of God
67 Pauls Autobiography
14 Burial to the Law
Why I believe the Whole Bible
69 The Ascension
16 Works Tested by Fire
70 The Sabbath and the Lords Day
17 The Place of the Dead
71 Probation after Death
18 Facts Every Man Ought to Know
72 Civil War
73 Laying Hands in the Sacrifice
20 A Board in the Tabernacle
74 Under Law to Christ
21 Exclusion from the Kingdom
75 False Christs
The Glories of
76 The Two Justifications
23 The Trial of Jesus
77 The City and the Salt
24 A Sacrificial Priesthood
25 The Higher Criticism
79 Counsel for Young Workers
26 Adam and Christ
80 Gethsemane and
27 The Judgment Seat of Christ
28 The New Birth
82 The Ethics of Atonement
29 Baptism and the Lords Supper
30 An Empty Tomb
84 The Servant of Jehovah
31 A Dying World
85 The Two Overcomings
32 An Unknown God
86 Witnesses to Christ
33 Ten Pounds
34 The Indestructible Jew
88 The Use of Firearms
35 Living Letters
89 The Sinless Christ
90 The Prophecy on Olivet
37 The Blood and the Soul
91 To Each His Work
38 The Prize of the Kingdom
92 The Seed and the Soil
39 Jehovah our Righteousness
94 The Image of the Invisible God
95 One Shall be Left
42 The Great Escape
96 Strangers and Pilgrims
43 A Cancelled Bond
97 The Creator Christ
44 The Blood and the Leaven
98 The Last Watch
45 The Vision of God
99 Latent Romanism
46 The Kingdom
100 Garning the Wheat
47 The Theology of Heaven
101 Lo, I am Come
48 Burial to Sin
102 The Coming Gnosticism
49 Heirs Wanted
50 An Urgent Danger
51 Man and his Destiny
52 The Parousia of Christ
106 Our Prize
53 The Greatness of Jesus
107 A Change of Dress
54 Social Reform
108 My Debt
109 The Revelation
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THE VANGUARD REPRINTS
Seven Steps to Glory
Which way do the steps to Glory slope? Downward. Every step in the life of our Lord was a step downward. Let us trace them.
first was a MENTAL RENUNCIATION. Being originally in the form of God, [He] counted it not a thing to be grasped - a treasure
impossible to be renounced - to be on an equality with
God (Phil. 2: 6). Christ was once in
the full Form of God. I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His
train filled the temple. ... And one
[seraph] cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts (Isa.
6: 1). Who is this? These things said Isaiah, because
he saw [Christs] glory; and he spake of Him (John
12: 41). All
Christs second step downward was into resignation of the Glory. He EMPTIED HIMSELF. He resigned, not the Godhead, but equality with the Godhead: He divested Himself of the garments of Deity: He put from Him the blazing splendours, and the consuming fires, of the Throne. He might have come as Jehovah to Sinai. There were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud; and all the people that were in the camp trembled, ... because the Lord descended upon it in fire (Ex. 19: 16). But our Lord came otherwise. Matt. 12: 19. A touch from Sinai was death: a touch from Christ was life: for He had laid aside the terrors, but not the powers, of the Godhead. For your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might become rich (2 Cor. 8: 9).
Christs third step downward was into creation. He took the form of A SERVANT. He might have merely disrobed: He might have appeared as God did to Manoah. Wherefore askest thou after my name, seeing it is wonderful? ... When the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame ... And Manoah said, We have seen God (Jud. 13: 18). But Christ came as a creature. Behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch (Zech. 3: 8). The Root of David is Davids Maker: the Branch is a created Servant. Isa. 11: 1, 10; Rev. 22: 16.
Christs fourth step downward was into humanity. He was made IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN. He might have come - a servant indeed, a creature - yet as one of the Princes in the Throne-room of Deity. So Gabriel came. An angel of the Lord [stood] on the right side of the altar of incense, ... and said, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God (Luke 1: 19). But the Word became flesh. John 1: 14; Gal. 4: 4. Only the shoulders of the God-man could bear the sins of the world: the Infinite entered the finite infinitely to atone. Heb. 10: 4-7. The Pharisees said: Thou, being a man, makest thyself God: the reverse was the truth, - Thou, being God, makest thyself a man. Heb. 2: 16-17; 1 Tim. 2: 5, 6.
Christs fifth step downward was into human renunciation. Found in fashion as a man, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF. He might have come as Solomon. So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon (1 Kings 10: 23). The sceptre of Alexander, the ingots of Solomon, the legions of Caesar, the bays of Shakespeare, the sword of Napoleon: - the devil showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. ... Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan (Matt. 4: 8). Born in a borrowed manger, and buried in a borrowed tomb, the Maker of the worlds had not where to lay His head.
Christs sixth step downward was into death. He became obedient even unto DEATH. He might have been rapt as Enoch. Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him: for before his translation he hath had witness borne to him that he had been well-pleasing unto God (Heb. 11: 5). So had Christ. John 8: 29; Prov. 12: 28. But He chose to die: He chose not the chariot and horses of fire. I lay down My life for the sheep. ... No one taketh it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself (John. 10: 15, 18). The Hireling flees: the Good Shepherd dies. The good pleasure of God saved Enoch: the supreme pleasure of the Father slew the Son. Rom. 8: 32. For apart from shedding of blood there is no remission (Heb. 9: 22).
seventh step downward was into crucifixion. Yea, the
death of THE CROSS. He might have died as Moses. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the
Behold the seven steps! The consequence? Wherefore also - for glory is measured by renunciation - God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name.
Brother, mark the tremendous command. Downward is to be our every step which is to lead upward to Glory. Matt. 10: 25. Luke 14: 10, 11, 33. HAVE THIS MIND IN YOU, WHICH WAS ALSO IN CHRIST JESUS.
Son or Lord - Which?
What think ye of the Christ? Whose Son is He? Our Lord states a problem by presenting an enigma. The son of David, the Pharisees answered (Matt. 22: 42). How then, Jesus replied, doth David in the Spirit call Him Lord? ... If David calleth Him Lord, how is He is son? Certain facts acutely intensify the problem.
(1) Without doubt Messiah was to be of Davids seed. There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots: ... unto Him shall the nations seek (Isa. 11: 1). 2 Sam. 7: 13. I will raise unto David a righteous Branch: ... and this is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord our righteousness (Jer. 23: 5). Luke 1: 32, 69. The Rabbis, no less than the Scriptures, agreed, with one consent, that Christ was to be of Davids seed: so also the multitudes. Matt. 12: 23.
(2) David called the Christ his Lord when moved by the Holy Ghost. David himself said [it] in the Holy Spirit (Mark 12: 36). 2 Sam. 23: 2. It was neither error, nor falsehood, nor exaggeration, nor self-deception: David called Christ his Lord by the infallible impulse of the Holy Ghost. 1 Cor. 12: 3.
(3) The Lordship spoken of by David involves the Godhead. For the Psalm continues: The Lord at thy right hand - Davids Lord just named, elevated to the throne of Deity - shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations (Ps. 110: 5). Davids Lord is the worlds final Judge: He is God. Rom. 2: 16.
Here then is the enigma. If the Christ is from eternity God, how can He be Davids Son: if He is born of David, how can He be the eternal God? The silence of the Pharisees is extraordinarily significant.
Three answers only were possible, and unbelief is confounded by all.
Since David called Messiah Lord, Messiah could not be his Son. This reply is the overthrow of the Word of
God, and therefore of God. Messiah was to be born in the city of
(2) Since Messiah was Davids Son, He could not be Davids Lord. Then why did David call Him Lord? Nay more: why did the Spirit of God move David to call him, Lord? He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar: if Christ is refused as Davids Lord, we charge sin to the Holy Ghost.
(3) Since Messiah was both Son and Lord of David, He must be both man and God. This would at once have established the Messiah-ship of Jesus. Luke 2: 11. Davids God and Davids Child: For unto us a child is born, and His name shall be called ... the Mighty God (Isa. 9: 6). Then why do ye not believe Him? Every mouth is stopped that all unbelief may be brought in guilty before God: it was the silence of the confounded intellect, but the unconverted heart.
Pharisees had been dead for a score of years.
is the Root. Before Jesse was, He is:
long after Jesse is dead, He is born. Born of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the son of God with power ... by the resurrection [out] of the dead (
All silence before the enigma is a guilty silence. What think ye of the Christ? God said to God: Sit Thou on My right hand, enthrone Thyself: you have never said that to Christ. GOD HAS. David called Him Lord; will you? The Holy Spirit in David calls Him Lord; do you? The man after Gods own heart said, My Lord; the woman at, the tomb said, My Lord; the apostle wrestling with doubt said, My Lord; the worn apostle of the Gentiles said, My Lord; the millions of the sanctified have said, My Lord. If your lips are locked, they may be locked in the silence of the lost. Jesus was born, as man, that He might obtain what now He dispenses, as God: He became partaker of the human that we might become partakers of the Divine. The Son of God became the Son of man, that the sons of men might become the sons of God. When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son - the eternal God - born of a woman- the human Christ - THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE ADOPTION OF SONS - (Gal. 4: 4).
The End of the Age
How will this present evil Age end? Not by the crash of revolution, says Mr. F. B. Meyer, but by the spiral staircase of evolution, shall the world pass to perfect order and beauty. The coral island of the golden age is by this time not very far from emerging above the surface of the stormy waters. Or, as Mr. R. J. Campbell puts it: I wish we could reach the Christian ideal of destroying the Church by enabling the whole world to become a Church. What saith the Scripture? For we have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as UNTO A LAMP shining in a dark place, until the day dawn (2 Pet. 1: 19).
Our Lord decides once and for ever. The field is the world; ... the harvest is the end of the age: LET BOTH [wheat and tares] GROW TOGETHER UNTIL THE HARVEST (Matt. 13: 30, 38). This is the overthrow of Mr. Meyer.
(1) For the world in Harvest will be a piebald world: yellow grain and blackish darnel, in blotches of sharply contrasted colour: not a globe rolled into light. The moment of the advent will be the discovery of earths dense darkness. Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples (Isa. 60: 2). Luke 18: 8.
(2) By the spiral staircase of evolution: - this supposes all tares to evolve at last into wheat. But the silent growth of wheat and tares evolves fruit, not an interchange of nature: the poisonous darnel ripens for fire; the wheat ripens for the barn. Dan. 12: 10. Bind [the tares] in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn Rev. 14: 14-20.
(3) Not by the crash of revolution: that is, by no outside force, but by inside goodness, the world is to be saved. But the Son of man, seated on the clouds, lets fall a rapid succession of reaping angels, sweeping earth as with a mighty scythe: not evolution, but revolution, wielded by perfect holiness, controlled by perfect justice, and informed with perfect discrimination, will alone dislodge iniquity from its empire of the world. For the upright shall dwell in the earth, and they that deal treacherously shall be rooted out of it (Prov. 2: 21). Matt. 15: 13.
To extinguish the lamp of prophecy is to plunge the Church into darkness. It is a cruel wrong to the world, for it lulls the tares into expecting salvation without a miraculous change of nature (Matt. 12: 33): it paralyzes missionary effort, by proclaiming Gods Fatherhood to be universal, when Christ here reveals that our only hope is a change of fatherhood: it corrupts church life by the frantic methods it induces to convert tares into wheat in excess of Gods election of grace: at last it endangers belief by making the Apocalyptic judgments so startling a disillusionment as to rock all faith to its foundations. For all who extinguish Gods lamp the path is involved in the most dangerous darkness. Solemn are the lessons of the TARES.
(1) Between the wheat and the darnel, says Jerome, so long as it is in the blade, and is not come into ear, there is a great resemblance, and it is either impossible, or very difficult, to discriminate between the one and the other. All attempt (as by the Inquisition) to uproot the tares is forbidden: - lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. No less than Divine omniscience is needed for the eternal severance of human souls. 2 Tim. 2: 19. 1 Cor. 4: 5.
(2) God will at last unmask all hypocrisy, and expose its perfect iniquity. When the grain is headed out says Dr. Thompson, a child cannot mistake tares for wheat: the day will arrive when sepulchres will be no longer whited. (The Parable probably bears especially upon the destiny of nominal and real disciples in Christendom.) Rom. 2: 16.
(3) Punishment will be graded. Bind [the tares] in bundles: the wicked are filed off in companies, each in his own order. Matt. 10: 15. Rom. 2: 5. But all suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. Rev. 21: 8.
Exquisite are the lessons of the WHEAT.
(1) No forest tree, deep-rooted in earth, but a fragile annual, for ever passing in successive harvests; - the Churchs garner is a better world. Heb. 13: 14.
(2) Wheat dies downward, as it ripens upward; the stalk and roots are dead, as the grain is ripe: so the soul that dies to earth is the soul that ripens to the Throne of God. It is the sanctity of the relaxing grasp.
(3) A ripe wheat-field is a field of bowed heads: the heavier our load of grace, the lowlier will be our faces. Jas. 4: 5, 6.
(4) Sun after sun smites burning into the grain, and turns it to sweetness: trial, for Gods child, is the burning of His Fathers sunshine. 1 Pet. 4: 12-14.
(5) Wheat ripens by absorbing light: to abide in our Light is to bear much fruit: abiding means ripening.
(6) Wheat is cut in its order of maturity: the rapture of Firstfruits is prior to the rapture of Harvest. Rev. 14: 4, 15. Unripe wheat remains for the violent heats of the Tribulation. Luke 21: 36. Rev. 3: 3.
(7) The Husband-man delays till the crop ripens: when the fruit is ripe, immediately he putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come (Mark 4: 29). The Kingdom waits for the holiness of the sons of the Kingdom.
The Angel in the Fire
every high hill in the Old Testament a telescope is planted: from every ancient
mount of God we catch sight of
is the Angel of the Lord? A Divine Person.*
The angel of the Lord appeared unto [Moses] in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; ...
[and] said, I am the God
of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God
of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid
to look upon God (Ex. 3: 2, 6). So when Jacob had wrestled with the Angel, he
found he had prevailed with God. So here: - Then
Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord, [and said], We shall surely die, because
we have seen God (Jud. 13: 21). Still we ask, with Manoah, What is thy name? Who is the Divine Being that revealed
God to the Patriarchs; the Angel of the Covenant, the Angel of the Presence,
the Jehovah-Angel, the Man that wrestled, the Man that was the Lord? An apostle answers. No man hath seen God
at any time; the only-begotten SON, which
is in the bosom of the Father. He hath declared Him (John
1: 18). Here also the Angel hints
His identity. Wherefore askest thou after my name,
seeing it is Wonderful? Name with God are not so much names, as
realities: Wonderful is a title of Christ linked especially with the wonder of
wonders, the Incarnation. Unto us a child is born, ... and
His name shall be called Wonderful (Isa. 9:
6). Nor is the Atonement less a
Angel [in the fire] did wondrously:
already our Lords thoughts and affections circle around the place that is
* See Gen. 48: 16; Ex. 23: 20; Jud 2: 1. But in Hag. 1: 13 it is applied to a prophet, and in Mal. 2: 7 to a priest.
The action now begins. Manoah offers the Angel meat and drink: the Angel bids him make of the kid a burnt-offering. The disciples said to Jesus, Rabbi, eat; but He answered; My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to accomplish His work (John 4: 34): sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body - as an incarnate burnt-offering - didst Thou prepare for Me; ... then said I, Lo, I am come to do Thy will (Heb. 3. 5). Then the Angel stept into the fire. Christ replaced all burnt-offerings: He is the Angel in the Fire.
The altar was a bare, natural rock, unchiseled of man. Ex.
20: 25. No tool but Gods shaped
the mound of
(2) The Angel stept on to the rock, and then into the fire. An altar is that which presents to God the sin bearing sacrifice: its fire is the answering wrath revealed from God against all unrighteousness. The altar goes up: the fire comes down: the substitute perishes between. Christ stept on to the altar, bearing sin: He stept into the fire, suffering wrath.
(3) The Angel caused a wonder to take place (Lange). What was the wonder? That He survived the fire. The sacrifice was wrapt in fire: so was Christ. The sacrifice was consumed in the fire: so was not Christ. Solitary among all sacrifices, He rose out of death whither no fire can follow. Why? Because, as fire feeds on fuel, so wrath consumes sin; but here was a Lamb, without spot, without blemish, THE LAMB OF GOD.
The Angel remained unknown until the sacrifice had been offered. Thou must offer it
unto the Lord. For Manoah knew not that he was the angel of the Lord
John 1: 10.
Not until He had passed through the fire was Jesus declared to be the Son of God with power ... by the resurrection of the dead (
falls upon Manoah. God has been in the
Fire. All the
multitudes, ... when they beheld the things that
were done, returned smiting their breasts
(Luke 23: 48): His murderers, realising whom
they had crucified, cry, Brethren, what shall we do? (Acts
2: 37). To see God is, for a
sinner, to die: to have slain, with all mankind, the Son of God is to die
eternally. But the sacrifice removes the
terror. If the
Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not have
received a burnt-offering. The
climax of human sin is also the climax of Divine love. The Angel of the Lord - here is an infinite
Sacrifice: the Angel steps on to the altar - here is a Bearer of guilt: the
Angel enters the fire - here is an absorption of wrath: the Angel ascends out
of the flame - behold Gods reception of a perfect atonement. Heb. 9: 12. God would never have made
What still remains? Our choice between the Angel and the Fire. Gods wrath must rest on sin: if in the Angel, we are out of the fire; out of the Angel, we must abide in the fire, Rev. 21: 8.
Will you ask God to place you at once in Christ? Rom. 8: 1. By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb. 10: 10).
Our Crown in Jeopardy
The inspired record exists to prove the parallel: God so wrought, that we might know His character; He so wrote, that we might know it for ever. Moreover the parallel points specifically to the acts of judgment. They were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things - the repeated overthrows - were our examples. The judgments are embedded in the Word as in rock for ever, that the Wilderness should become the kindergarten of the Church. To deny the parallel is to overthrow inspiration: to ignore the parallel is to silence the Scripture: to admit the parallel is to disclose a momentous peril to the believer in Christ.
apostle lays down, in figure, the ample bedrock of our own spiritual
fathers were all under the cloud - redeemed by the blood of the Lamb -
and all passed through the sea - separated
from a godless world - and were all baptised unto
Moses in the cloud and in the sea - a people buried to sin - and did all eat the same spiritual meat - at the
Lords Table - and did all drink the same spiritual
drink - the Spirit from the smitten Lord - for
they drank of a spiritual rock; that followed them: and the rock was Christ. Standing in grace could hardly be stated, in
so few words, more exhaustively: if privilege could render immune,
sharp dilemma impales us on its one horn or on the other. Overthrown
Know ye not that they which run in a race all run, but one receiveth THE
PRIZE? Even so run, that ye may attain.
For* I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, how that
our fathers, so privileged, were overthrown. God never put us under the Blood to withdraw
us from its blessed efficacy (
* See R.V. and Critical Editions
the command abides: Matt. 6: 33. Take heed - never presume: God
is faithful - never despair. Every escape out of temptation is a
straight path into the coming Glory. God is faithful, who will not
suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it. God offers prizes in order that we may win
them: His heart yearns for our entry into the Kingdom. Walk worthily of God,
who is calling you into His own kingdom and glory
(1 Thess. 2: 12). The entrance lies in the worthy walk. Matt. 7: 21.
If our hearts linger in
NOW THESE THINGS HAPPENED UNTO THEM BY WAY OF EXAMPLE; AND THEY WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION, UPON WHOM THE ENDS OF THE AGES ARE COME.
The Fall of Man and the Love of God
Out of two attributes dominant in the character of the Most High flow all the dealings of God with man: -Justice and Mercy. Mercy is first in the field. How so? Creation was a sovereign act of the love of God. Called out of nothingness, in which he had no claim on God to be created, into a sphere where every sense found a world for its enjoyment, and every desire had God for its satisfaction, CREATION was an act of pure and undiluted grace. Grace spoke Gods first word to man - And God blessed them (Gen. 1: 22). Justice stept almost as promptly into the field. A law is enacted, - Thou shalt not eat of it; a penalty is attached, - In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. What does this mean? Mercy says, - I have given you life: Justice says, - Keep it holy. Mercy says, - I have made you upright: Justice says, - Keep yourself as upright as you were made. Mark one fact of supreme importance. The command implies that man can fall. God cannot fall (Jas. 1: 17): any one not God, can, and, of necessity, may: on no other condition could God make worlds at all. Unchangeableness, like eternity or infinity, belongs to God alone, an attribute which He can no more transmit to the creature than eternity or infinity; and liability to change necessarily involves liability to fall. I may fall, because I am not God. So Love said, - I have given you life: Righteousness said, - Keep it holy.
Now arises the first dreadful check to the love of God: - the FALL. Eccl. 7: 29. The Tempter came: they listened: they fell. God never decreed their fall: He never even decreed to permit it: He simply left them alone. God made man upright: man had no claim on God to keep him upright. His liability to fall arose from his being a creature; his actual fall was his own choice. Instantly the penalty of the law flashed down like the blade of a guillotine. Guilt, is imputed (Rom. 5: 12): the stock is ruined (Ps. 51: 5): sin becomes the law of my members (Rom. 7: 14, 23). The deadly virus of sin enters the one blood of which God has made all nations. One star alone rose on the tragic gloom. Probably by the Fall alone could the creature learn that Jehovah alone changes not: by no means less awful could he read the impassable gulf between himself and the dreadful perfections of his Maker.
Mercy now re-enters the field. What claim has man, fallen, on God? None whatever. Innocent, he had no claim on God to uphold: a rebel, far less has he any claim to be restored. Sovereign Mercy now alone can save. REDEMPTION must deliver from the outside, for a stone bounding down a hillside can be saved by no inherent force: yet also from the inside, for man must be justified as man, or not at all. Behold the Incarnation! I Cor. xv. 21, 47.
the Incarnation cannot save. Justice
cries, - Hold! Mercy, you
are free to grant favours only where Justice is not outraged: I said, If thou eatest thereof, thou
shalt surely die: plunge not the bosom of God
into a suicidal war of fratricidal attributes. Mercy replies: - That has been in my heart
from the first. Therefore behold a lamb for a man - Abel: a lamb for a family -
Noah; a lamb for a household -
A last check to the love of God now confronts us more dreadful even than the fall. What is it? Left alone not one human soul would ever have accepted the Gospel of Christ. A bowl that has a twist in it will always swerve with its bias: cast it a million times, and a million times it will swerve: so a fallen nature carries in it a perpetually evil will. We may love Christ if we will: left to ourselves we never will. Once again steps in tireless, patient, infinite Grace. Creation - pure mercy; Redemption - pure mercy; both are now made effectual for good by the amazing mercy of ELECTION. Eph. 1: 3-5. The truth lodge the whole glory in God. Election is the love of God removing the scales from our eyes, to behold the precipice at our feet, and to leap back, with trembling joy, into the Arms that save. Election inclines the will to will to be saved: when mans will (Rev. 22: 17) coincides with Gods will (1 Tim. 2: 4), salvation is instantaneous. Yet Justice has not left the field. The non-elect are hurrying themselves to death with all their might; they harden themselves; they love sin with their whole soul: Justice merely lets them alone. Christs death can save all the world if they believe: it will save all those ordained to eternal life. Acts. 13: 48. The names of the elect are in the Lambs Book of Life; but this offers no obstacle to the salvation of anyone else: not he that is elected not, but he that believeth not, is condemned. Mark 16: 16. God never decreed the death of him that dieth (Ezek. 18: 32; 1 Tim. 2: 4; 2 Pet. 3: 9): neither did He see aught in me which deserved anything but death. God says again and again that nothing in us prompted Him to choose us. Rom. 9: 11. The reasons of that choice lie in a region human foot has never travelled.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! (Rom. 11: 33).
The Lamb of God
1. - LAMB OF THE PASSOVER HAD TO
BE TAKEN UP ON THE TENTH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH. In the tenth day of the [first] month they shall take to them every man a lamb (Ex. 12: 3).
In that month Jesus was crucified; and John tells us the day on which He
- THE LAMB WAS TO BE BROUGHT ON THE DAY
THAT IT WAS TETHERED. Every householder was to take a lamb, by purchase, if not already possessed. 2 Kings 12: 16. Mark 11: 15. As soon as the supper at
3. - THE LAMB WAS TO BE KEPT
TETHERED FOR FOUR DAYS WITHIN REACH OF THE PLACE OF SLAUGHTER. Ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same
month (Ex. 12: 6). From the tenth to
the fourteenth Judas kept watch over the bought Lamb, with a view to its
sacrifice: they weighed unto him thirty pieces of
from that time he sought opportunity to deliver Him unto them. Each day
(which seems to have included a Sabbath) was spent in
4. - THE LAMB MUST BE OF SPECIAL BIRTH, CHARACTER, AND BEHAVIOR. (1) It must be a firstborn (Ex. 13: 2): Jesus could not have been the Lamb did we not read - she brought forth her firstborn son (Luke 2: 7). (2) It must be without any evil-favoredness (Deut. 17: 1); your lamb shall be without blemish (Ex. 12: 5): so Pilate pronounced, I find no fault in Him at all (John 18: 38); and Caiaphas, the priestly examiner of lambs, pronounced the witnesses against him false. Matt. 26: 60. 1 Pet. 1: 19. (3) The prophets foretold Messiah as standing on His death-day as a dumb lamb (Isa. 53: 7): and He gave him no answer, not even to one word (Matt. 27: 14).
- THE LAMB MUST BE KILLED ON A SPECIFIC
DATE. They killed -
not ate - the passover on the fourteenth day of the
first month (2 Chron. 35: 1): the whole congregation of
- NO BONE OF THE LAMB MIGHT BE BROKEN. Neither shall ye break a bone thereof (Ex. 12: 46). The Samaritans, whose sacrifices
to-day are living survivals of Jewish ritual, pierce each lamb by a wooden
spit, with a cross-bar near the extremity; that is, they transfix the lamb with
a cross, they crucify it.
7. - THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB ALONE COULD GUARD THE HOUSEHOLD FROM THE ANGEL OF DEATH. Ex. 12: 23. Blood on the overarching lintels - for none can mount to Heaven save through blood: blood on the right post, blood on the left post - for none can pass into salvation except through blood: but no blood on the threshold - for woe be to the soul that treads under foot the blood of the Son of God. Heb. 10: 29. Will you pass through and under Gods blood-stained archway now? Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Rom. 5: 9).
The Disciples Use of Money
A STEWARD is one who handles another persons goods, and such is every Christian: all money in our hands is a TRUST FUND. Why? Because the silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts (Hag. 2: 8). The expenditure of the fund will be examined by the Lord of the steward. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and maketh a reckoning with them (Matt. 25: 19): so then each one of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14: 12). Therefore trade ye herewith till I come (Luke 19: 13).
Two sharply defined characteristics stand out in the STEWARD our Lord pictures (Luke 16: 1-13): a wise foresight, and a deliberate unscrupulousness. As a child of this evil generation, he defrauds his master, and so is called by Christ a steward of unrighteousness: but - and on this the whole parable turns - his foresight is so wise as to be our example forever. Here is the parallel. He is a steward: so am I. For his evil generation he acts with great wisdom: for my holy generation I must be no less wise. He fears poverty in old age: I am to fear poverty in eternity. His stewardship was drawing rapidly to a close: so is mine. The wealth slipping from his grasp had to be used immediately: so must mine. He strains every nerve to mould the future through the present: so ought I. Wise foresight that uses money with a view to the future his lord commends: so will mine. Yet - this is the startling summary of our Lord - so few, so rare, so solitary are the Christians who are thus wise that our Lord has practically to condemn us all. The sons of this age are wiser than the sons of the light.
One great purpose of this life is to form friendships for the next: Christ tells us how to do it. I say unto you, Make to yourselves FRIENDS by means of the mammon of unrighteousness [the wealth of a fallen world]; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles. Do righteously what the Steward did unrighteously: by bringing joy into the sorrowing face now prepare for yourself a royal welcome then. A small gift can purchase an eternal gratitude. So money is wisely invested only when it is spent on others: for what we keep we lose, and what we give we retain: and investment for eternity can be made only by expenditure in time. Nor does this apply to the wealthy only. He that is faithful in a very little- the poorest disciple - is faithful also in much. Mark 12: 43, 44. It is according as a man hath, not according as he hath not (2 Cor. 8: 12): for every disciple, his handling of what he has daily reveals to God what he is; and day by day it decides his eternal investments. All needs are thus met: - Gods requirement of His own (1 Chron. 29: 14); the distress of the needy (1 John 3: 17); and the development of unselfishness (Acts 20: 35) by perhaps the most searching test to which character can be put. Who but God could have conceived so daring, so unearthly, so divine a method of investment? Prov. 11: 24. Luke 6: 38. The Christian steers by a star invisible from earth.
Our Lords next point is of vast importance. Character so tested in time is the ground of Gods promotion to wealth in eternity. If therefore ye have been unfaithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the TRUE RICHES? Not God: for He says, - It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (I Cor. iv. 2). Christ assumes that the true riches lie in the eternal tabernacles. John 14: 2. Matt. 6: 20. Riches in this ye are a phantom wealth, a ghost of possession, in which one of two things always happens, - either it flees from us, or we flee from it. Ps. 39: 6. Prov. 23: 5. 1 John 2: 17. Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. ... But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be? (Luke 12: 20). Riches in the age to come are unsoiled, uncorrupting, unforfeited; the true riches, the mammon of righteousness. Here is revealed the true value of money. He who is faithful in a cottage will be faithful in a palace; he who is righteous in a field will be righteous in a province: God is shaping, and training, and, above all, searching for hands that can be trusted with the true riches. In whom does He find them? In the faithful stewards of to-day. Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things: enter thou into the
joy of thy lord (Matt. 25: 21).
A lovely point remains. Faithful stewardship on earth culminates in personal ownership in heaven. And if ye have not been faithful in that which is anothers, who will give you that which is YOUR OWN? Riches in heaven are not a stewardship, but a possession; an irrevocable gift, and therefore of incomparable value. We amass in heaven by expending on earth: we grasp the true riches by a wise expenditure of the false. Who stands security? God Himself. He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord, and his good deed will He pay him again (Prov. 19: 17). What percentage is promised? Ten thousand. Every one that hath left houses, ... or lands, for My names sake, shall receive a hundred-fold(Matt. 19: 29), - i.e., of the capital so invested. What is the stewardship? We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (1 Tim. 6: 7), - a stewardship sharply defined by cradle and grave.
What is the ownership? Sell that ye have, and give alms; make for yourselves purses which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not (Luke 12: 33), the eternal wealth, our own. Solemn is our Lords summary. Two master-methods of handling money exist in the world to-day, and two only, - hoarding for self, and spending for God: two tempers so irreconcilable, that their simultaneous adoption is impossible. No servant can serve two masters. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON.
The heart of all sacerdotalism is THE MASS. If there be a priesthood, there must be a sacrifice. Heb. 8: 3. The body and blood of Christ, says the Creed of the Council of Trent, together with His soul and divinity, are daily sacrificed on the altar by priests. Or, as Dr. Moberly of Oxford puts it, the church in her eucharistic worship on earth is identified with Christs sacrificial self-oblation to the Father. Here is the keystone on which rests the entire arch of sacerdotalism: if it be removed, the archway falls in ruins. What saith God?
Why (1) did he offer many? Because no sacrifice under the Law covered every sin. The fivefold offerings (Heb. x. 8); sacrifices for the priests, sacrifices for the people (Heb. 7: 27); a lamb for a man, or a lamb for the nation: - every sacrifice was partial and limited. But this Priests offering covers all sin. He, when He had offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down. 1 John 2: 2.
Why (2) did the priest offer often? Because no sacrifice under the Law atoned for ever. This years lamb was no atonement for last years sin: much less could any sacrifice atone forward. But He, when He had offered one sacrifice ... for ever, sat down.
(3) did the priest offer the same
sacrifices? Because no sacrifice
under the Law cured the sin. Heb. x. 1-4.
The same sins, repeated, called for the same sacrifices: the which can never take away sins. But He was
manifested to take away sins (1 John 3: 5),
both removing their guilt, and breaking their power: for
by one offering He hath perfected for ever - the removal of the guilt -
them who are being sanctified (Alford) - the breaking of the
power. Christs blood cures, as well as
atones. Thus the Levitical sacrifices
were numerous, because partial; frequent, because temporary; and repeated,
because ineffectual; whereas
3. - THE SACRIFICE AVAILS BECAUSE IT IS
ENDED. Now, where remission [of sins] is,
there is no more offering for sin. Why?
Because God never demands a victim twice. One offering having been made for all sin,
all sin-offering ceases: the world-penalty has been borne by a world-sacrifice:
God is satisfied with the work of the seated Priest: there is no more sacrifice
for sins. Christ
also, having been once for all offered to bear
the sins of many (Heb. 9: 28), through His own blood entered in once for all (Heb. 9: 12): so that we
have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for
all (Heb. 10: 10): and He therefore
needeth not daily ... to
offer up sacrifices: ... for this He did once
for all, when He offered up Himself (Heb. 7: 27).
To repeat Christs sacrifice is to charge it with failure: to renounce
the forgiveness of sins: to offer what none but He can offer without daring
impiety (Heb. 9: 14): and to subject Him
daily (which is impossible) to the agonies of
4. - THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS IS BLOOD MORE COSTLY THAN A THOUSAND WORLDS. Then think not lightly of forgiveness. Accept it. The Priest is seated - therefore the work is done: He is seated with God - therefore you may be as satisfied as God: He has offered for the sins of the whole world - therefore for yours: He has offered for every sin - therefore for your worst: He has offered it for ever - therefore it is an everlasting pardon: He has offered it as Gods cure for sin - therefore it alone can cure your sin: He has offered it once for all - therefore eternity holds no second salvation. Accept it.
THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN (1 John 1: 7).
Readiness for Rapture
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 is required?
1. - THE GIRT LOIN: Let your loins be girded
about (Luke 12: 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 Lords passover. For I will go through
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 of 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 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 (Ex. 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 FIXT 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 Gods
purposes from eternity to eternity, crystallising 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 watching. Heb. 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 yesterdays wakefulness in it; the fourth watch has
to-morrows 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
later than the early church thought - not in the first watch; but earlier than
the last churches will dream - not in the fourth watch: 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
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. Does Christ speak the truth? He does. Does He always speak the truth? He does. Then is this an absolute fact? It is. Then build all life upon this fact, for to build on aught else is faithlessness to Him, and folly for eternity, Every man is worth just so much as the things about which he busies himself. The girt loin - incessant service: the burning lamp - incessant holiness: the fixt gaze - incessant vigil: finally,
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 years: He may return at any moment now. Much unfulfilled prophecy remains before He comes with His saints: none, before He comes for them. Therefore become - so the Greek - ye also ready. One known sin undropt, one known command unobeyed, one known truth unbelieved, one part of the life knowingly unyielded, and we stand in jeopardy. Unbeliever, the last shadows are falling across the world, and therefore across your life: yet you are still not ready. 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.
The Cross and the Kingdom
a mountain Moses received the Decalogue: upon a mountain Elijah confounded
Baals prophets: upon a mountain Jesus, with Moses and Elijah, reveals
Himself. The mountains are the
beacon-lights God kindles down the ages.
But all culminate in
There be some of them that stand here, which shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the
The Kingdom will be on [this] EARTH. The Transfiguration was an earthly scene: no angels appear throughout: Elijah is type of rapt saints, Moses of risen saints, and the disciples of nations in the flesh: and even after the handing over of the kingdom to God (1 Cor. 15: 24), mankind is planted afresh upon a new earth. Rev. xxi. 1. On the eve of the Advent the Elder-angels in heaven cry: - Thou didst purchase unto God with Thy blood men of every tribe; ... and they reign upon the earth (Rev. 5: 9). Matt. 5: 5. For the gates of Hades - as our Lord has just said - prevail not to imprison buried Moses: rapt Elijah returns to earth, as do the armies of heaven with Christ. Rev. 19: 14. Jude 14. The City in the heavens, overhanging earth, will be the metropolis from which the Millennial rulers will reign. Rev. 19: 7; 21: 2.
from the redeemed of all ages are in the Kingdom: all who are ACCOUNTED WORTHY to attain to that age, and
the resurrection from [among] the dead (Luke 20: 35).
From the patriarchs and prophets - as Elijah: from the Law - as Moses:
from the Church - as Peter, John, and James, the only three disciples whom
Jesus re-named. To him that overcometh, to him will I give ... a white
stone, and upon the stone a new name written
(Rev. 2: 17). The Kingdom is the reward of the holy (Eph. 5: 3-6),
the sufferer (Matt. 5: 10), the
obedient (Matt. 7: 21), the martyr (Matt.
10: 39). Thou hast a few names in
Yet the bed-rock beneath the Kingdom is the CROSS. It is the absorbing theme of the Glory. Eph. 2: 7. The going out of the Camp, to atone; the going out of life, laid down; the going out of the tomb, left empty; the going out of a world, redeemed: no plant will ever bloom in our Paradise, no note will ever thrill in our songs, no jewel will ever gleam in our crown, that is not the fruit of the exodus of Jesus. For good works are but the foam on a wave which started at the cross. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure (Phil. 2: 12). 1 Cor. 15: 10. Gal. 2: 20. So we seek the Kingdom on our knees. And as He was praying, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment became white and dazzling. So pray! Watch ye therefore, and 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).
Behold the Man! Jesus was found alone? God had appeared visibly to Moses: He had responded with lightnings to Elijah: but the servants disappear in the revealing of the Son. This is My SON, My chosen: hear ye Him. The moon of the Law and the stars of the Prophets die out of the sky in the glory of the dawn: the cross itself takes its value only from the Person who was on it. Moses tarried with God till, saturated with glory from without, his face shone: Jesus, not in face only, but even in raiment, blazed forth at will with the glory of the Godhead, from within. A heathen ruler, on his deathbed, ordered his servants to make a large cross, and place it in his bedchamber. Now, he said, lay me on it: and as he thus lay dying, looking by faith to the blood of Christ, he cried, - It lifts me! it lifts me! Jesus saves me! Beneath all redemption, and all glory, lies the cross.
1. - Is it not a fact that miraculous orders were inherent in the church as it left the hands of God? God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues(1 Cor 12: 28). He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Eph. 4: 11). 1 Tim. 1: 18. Acts 8: 18.
2. - Is it not a fact that gifts of miracle spring essentially out of justification by faith? This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? ... He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Gal. 3: 2). These signs shall follow them that believe: in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16: 17). John 7: 38, 39.
3. - Is it not a fact that Gods gifts, which are never revoked, deepen holiness, enlarge knowledge, and constitute the true wealth of the church? The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance(Rom. xi. 29). I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established(Rom. i. 11). He that speaketh in a tongue edifieth himself (1 Cor. 14: 4). Ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things; and ye need not that any one teach you (1 John 2: 20, 27). John 16: 13. 1 Cor. 2: 15. 1 Cor. 14: 3. In everything ye were enriched in Him, in all utterance and all knowledge; so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1: 5).
4. - Is it not a fact that miraculous gifts, lapsing with the fall of the church into worldliness and justification by works, nevertheless God still bids us seek? Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father (John 14: 12). I would have you all speak with tongues: but desire earnestly the greater gifts: follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy: desire earnestly to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues (1 Cor. 14: 5; 12: 31; 14: 1, 39). For to you is the promise [of the gift of the Holy Ghost], and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him (Acts 2: 39).
5. - Is it not a fact that the divine tests imply the possibility of either spirit manifesting itself at any moment, while ensuring the perfect safety of all tested intercourse? Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: every spirit which confesseth not Jesus is not of God (1 John 4: 1). Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God - i.e., no inspired man - saith, Jesus is anathema; and no man- i.e., inspired - can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12: 3). Matt. 7: 15-20. Gal. 1: 8. 2 John 7. Quench not the Spirit; despise not prophesyings; prove all things; hold fast that which is good; abstain from every form of evil (1 Thess. 5: 19). Rev. 2: 2.
6. - Is it not a fact that miraculous evangelising powers were never more needed than at the present moment amongst the increased masses of mankind? Christ wrought through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Holy Ghost (Rom. 15: 18). God also hearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will (Heb. 2: 4). They went forth everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed (Mark 16: 20). And now, Lord, ... grant unto Thy servants to speak Thy word with all boldness, while Thou stretchest forth Thy hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Thy holy Servant Jesus (Acts 4: 29).
7. - Is it not a fact that prophecy indicates the restored activity of inspiration and miracle in the neighbourhood of the second advent? And the gospel must first be preached unto all the nations. And when they lead you to judgment, ... whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost(Mark xiii. 10). And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy (Acts 2: 17, 20). Behold, the husbandman [God: John 15: 1] waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and the latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand (Jas. 5: 7).
The Bread of God
I am the living bread which came down out of heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever (John 6: 51).
1. - See the preparation of the Bread. Bread passes through three processes before it can be eaten. (1) Bread corn is bruised (Isa. 28: 28), or ground, or crushed into flour - an emblem of the deepest suffering. Peter said to the Lord, Spare Thyself; the Lord said to Peter, Deny thyself: and none but God has ever known the sore and wounded spirit carried by the Son of God. Reproach, He says, has broken My heart (Ps. 69: 20). The Bread of Life was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities (Isa. 53: 5). (2) The flour must pass under the fire. Man could crush Him, and did: only God could inflict on Him the fires of divine wrath, and He did. Jesus, as the Lamb, became identified with the loathsome iniquities of mankind: what a horrible thing to God! What a horror to Christ! My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou answerest not(Ps. 22: 1). The fire of the judgment-furnace drove its heat through and through the Bread of Life. (3) The loaf must be broken before it is eaten. Had our Lord stopped at a bruised life, or come down, alive, from a wrath-carrying cross, we could not have been saved. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood - so severed in judicial death ye have no life: that is, I must die that you may live; I must take the place of your forfeited life. Not, I have become flesh for the life of the world; but, The bread which I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world: and this is My body, which is broken for you, bruised in life, burnt in suffering, broken in death.
2. - See an ingredient absent from this Bread. No meal offering ... shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, as an offering made by fire unto the Lord (Lev. 2: 11). Behold the sinlessness of Jesus. Leaven is ferment, or corruption, the least crumb of which, dropt into the dough, permeates the loaf: the least sin, so contagious is it, so all-devouring, would have made of Christ, Bread of death. He who knew no sin (2 Cor. 5: 21); He who did no sin (1 Pet. 2: 22); He who was without sin (Heb. 4: 15); in whom is no sin(1 John 3: 5); - He whom the Father sanctified - as consecrated Bread - and sent into the world - as Bread of God - was holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners (Heb. 7: 26).
- See the qualities of the Bread. (1) It
is Bread from heaven,
4. - See the distribution of the Bread. How much did our Lord charge for the bread which He made for the five thousand? Gods Bread is free, because (1) It is made for the hunger. As Christ created the barley for a hungry crowd, so God has sent Christ as bread for a starving world. It giveth life unto the world: My flesh for the life of the world: if Christ, with five loaves, could satisfy five thousand, He could feed five million; He is sent as food for a world God wants to save. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. (2) It exceeds the hunger. Not sufficient, says Philip: Twelve baskets full over, is Christs reply. The more we consume, the more remains: a world may feed, and yet the Bread is for ever in a blessed surplus. (3) It satisfies the hunger. As all heat of the sun, all the moisture of the shower, all the fruitfulness of the field, met, as it were, in the hands of Christ, and the barley multiplied: so this Bread, taken into the soul, grows and expands and multiplies, until every desire in the soul that God planted, God satisfies. I am the Bread of Life; he that cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.
5. - Only one thing remains: the Bread must be eaten, or there can be no life. Except ye eat, ... ye have no life. Christ is life, and if He is outside us, life is outside us. No corpse eats: if we are not feeding on Christ it is because we are dead: and so long as we dont eat, we remain dead. The richest nutriment in the world is starvation diet so long as it is outside our mouths. No man can eat for me, nor can I eat for another man. What do we do with food? We look at it, we see it is not poison, we observe how others flourish on it, we desire it; we put it to our mouth, we eat it, we digest it, so that it becomes bone of our bone, blood of our blood: consequently we are alive. So it is with Christ. Unless we eat of Him, we cannot be saved. What is the eating? He that BELIEVETH hath eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. HE THAT COMETH TO ME SHALL NOT HUNGER, AND HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME SHALL NEVER THIRST.
Burial to Law
A Jew might object against a Christian: LAW is Jehovahs mind as to what a man ought to do; man was created to do that Law; that is, the soul of man and the law of God are wedded together for ever: therefore your desertion of the law of Moses for the worship of Christ is spiritual adultery. It is an objection forcible and profound.
Paul, in reply, first aggravates the difficulty. For he asserts that the failure of a marriage does not dissolve the union. Wrath in the husband, revolt in the wife, utter incompatibility of temper in both, - nothing can dissolve what God united: Are ye ignorant, brethren, how that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth? (Rom. 7: 1). What God says man should be, he must be; what God says he should do, he must do: there is no option. Now the marriage is a failure. The wife is in constant revolt: the soul is in chronic DISOBEDIENCE. What did the Law: itself say for such cases? The husband could divorce the wife, or obtain sentence against her in the courts for unfaithfulness; but under no circumstances could a wife free herself from the law of her husband, Rom. 7: 2. She is bound for life. So all the Law, being a holy law, can do is to prosecute the Soul, being a sinning soul, in the courts of God: and the issue of the trial is known. The soul that sinneth it shall die: the wages of sin is death: the wife is doomed.
So only God can solve the problem: how does He solve it? He shuts us up to one startling, yet obvious, conclusion. Without the souls death there can be no life: the only escape out of marriage is through death. If the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband: ... if the husband die, she is free from the law. So the Christian begins to answer: - You charge me with spiritual adultery; but the wife of whom you are speaking is dead. For observe a change in the apostles figure: he does not say, the Law dies; he says, the soul dies. Wherefore, my brethren, ye - the wife - were MADE DEAD - put to death - to the law. The Law remains in all its dread obligations and power: how else should God judge the world? but as earthly law runs no longer against a corpse, - as no officer of the Crown can deliver a writ on a dead body - so the soul dies to law: out of death to law arises life to God.
this point the Gospel reveals its exquisite message. Ye were put to death
through the body of Christ. Ye -
through Christs body: Law slew you in the person of Christ. Law, in capital punishment, takes effect on
the body of the criminal: CHRISTS BODY came between me and the
mortal blow of the Law. Faith makes one
with Christ. 1 Cor. 6: 17. Law slew Him - Law slew me: Law was done with
Him in His death - Law was done with me in His death: Christ is divorced from
law - I am divorced from law, absolutely and forever. Christ is the end of
the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth (
So vital is this truth that God has enshrined it in a rite of perpetual obligation. Here is a watery trench, a grave, into which a man who is to be baptised steps down. What of his spirit? It died with Christ upon the cross. Gal. 2: 20. But what of his body? It must be put to death also. He must be buried alive: he must go down into death: so actual is the picture that, if kept under the water, he would die. The Law does not so keep him under only because it kept Christ under until He died. Are ye ignorant that all we who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? We were buried therefore with Him through BAPTISM into death (Rom. 6: 3). Baptism is our ritual answer to the circumcised Jew. It shows the Christian not guilty of adultery against the Law: for the Law loses its last grip of the man in the water: it has no power over a buried man: baptism is a funeral rite over one dead to law. So all who are in living union with Christ are commanded to proclaim, by this startling rite of God, their release, their discharge, their divorce from the Law. Repent ye, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2: 38); for by Him every one that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13: 39).
Salvation closes, however, not in a funeral, but in a RE-MARRIAGE. Gal. 2: 19. Ye were made dead to the law, ... that ye should be joined to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead. Death to law takes place on faith: burial to law takes place in the ritual grave, - thenceforth to walk together in newness of life (Rom. 6: 4). Col. 2: 12. I espoused you to one husband - re-marriage with a divorced husband Law itself forbids (Deut. 24: 3, 4) - that 1 might present you as a pure virgin to Christ(2 Cor. 11: 2): not being without law to God, but under law to Christ (I Cor. 9: 21). Earth knows no union so close, so tender, so miraculous: this mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church (Eph. 5: 32) Without it we cannot be saved. The flesh is under law, yet antagonistic to law, and is at last slain by law. To lay hold of law - that is, morality, good works, inherent goodness - for salvation, is to grasp a live electric wire, to clutch a naked blade, to leap into; a burning caldron. But to lay hold of Christ is to die to law, and to be lifted into union with the Son of God. For I through law died unto law, that I might live unto God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and yet no longer I, but CHRIST; LIVETH IN ME (Gal. 2: 19).
Why I Believe the Whole Bible
O FOOLISH men, and slow of heart to believe in ALL that the prophets have spoken (Luke 24: 25). Here is a startling fact. Infidels charge Christians with folly for believing so much of the Bible: Christ charges Christians with folly for believing so little. O fools and slow of heart to believe all. It is no light matter to be called a fool by the Son of God. It is easier to insinuate a doubt than to create a faith; it is easier to abandon the Bible than to obey it; it is easier to ruin a soul than to save one. Infidels are doing the easy work: Christ is doing the hard.
Christ, risen from the dead, does not rebuke the disciples for not believing the women, nor even for not believing the angels, but for not believing the PROPHETS. It is probable that not a book of the Bible has been written except by a prophet. Moses was a prophet (and tradition says he was the author of Job); the historical books were written by seers, or prophets (2 Chron. 9: 29); David and Solomon were prophets; Isaiah to Malachi are one block of prophets; and none but apostles - still higher than prophets - wrote the New Testament, except Mark and Luke. Prophecy, the function of a prophet, is, as a rule, foretelling, but is always inspired utterance. One passage is decisive. No prophecy ever came by the will of man: it is no mental resolve of a human brain: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1: 21). God said to Moses, - Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet (Ex. 7: 1), i.e., thy mouthpiece: so the Word of the Lord came by the mouth of Jeremiah (2 Chron. 36: 21). Thou testifiedst against them by Thy Spirit through Thy prophets (Neh. 9: 30). The prophets were thus flutes through which God blew the music of His words; scripture, therefore, is the crystallised breath of the Holy Ghost, and the Bible a telephone down the ages, at the other end of which is the Voice of God.
Our Lord thus makes Himself responsible for all that the Prophets have spoken. He never accommodates the scriptures to unbelief: He commands unbelief to accommodate itself to the scriptures. This is a challenge of the gravest import, because no mouth uttered sayings so hard as the mouth of the Son of God. Who so presents His DEITY as to say that all men are to honour the Son even as they honour the Father? John 5: 23.
affirms and underscores the Atonement - the eating of the broken Body, and the
drinking of the shed Blood - as that without which there is no life? John 6: 53.
Who states verbal inspiration as drastically as it can be stated - to
the jot, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and the tittle, the tiny
turns of a stroke by which one letter differs from another? Matt. 5: 18.
Who gathers up the most startling miracles of the Old Testament - the
Flood (Matt. 24: 39),
The awful question underlying all others is this, - not, Are these doctrines true? - but, Is Christ true? Those mighty shoulders have taken upon themselves the burden of the whole Word of God: now, as ever, all faith and all doubt rage around one lonely Form. I believe the whole Bible because I believe Christ. Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that Thou art the Holy One of God (John 6: 68).
I also believe the WHOLE BIBLE because (1) no hard saying of Christ is half so hard as the mystery of a world without Christ; and all the hard sayings of Christ put together are not so hard as the creed which accepts some and rejects others. Partial faith creates greater difficulties for itself than faith ever has to meet. (2) A revelation from God which is not deeper than my comprehension is to me no revelation at all. A Book which comes out of eternity must have the depths of eternity in it. Isa. 55: 8, 9. (3) Half the doubts in the heart spring from sin in the life; and the very truth which is doubted is the truth which would cure the sin. John 15: 3. A disciples grace is measured by his acceptance of the truths that hit him: therefore accept the whole Bible: it is a wounding that heals. (4) The whole scripture is necessary to feed my soul. Matt 4: 4. As silkworms fed on different leaves produce silks of varied colours - vine leaves producing a bright red, and lettuce an emerald green - so the souls life is lovely according to the fulness of its Scripture diet. (5) Scripture difficulties are a test of faith. O fools and slow of heart - not, to reconcile, nor, to understand but, - to believe. For all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17).
Works Tested by Fire
1. - A FOUNDATION: Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ or, that Jesus is the Christ. I Cor. 3: 11. God laid the foundation in fact: every wise master-builder lays it in doctrine. Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone of sure foundation(Isa. 28: 16). Every regenerate soul is planted upon that Rock as upon adamant. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God (1 John 5: 1). Jesus Christ - the personal Rock; Jesus is the Christ - the doctrinal rock; upon this foundation rests all revelation, all regeneration, and all the millions of the saved. Matt. 16: 18.
2. - A WARNING: But let each [disciple] take heed how he buildeth thereon. Works emerge into Gods sight only after the foundation of faith is laid: works before faith are sins to be repented of. Heb. 6: 1. But implies one foundation, but many superstructures: take heed implies that grave consequences attach to how a disciple builds after conversion. Slowly, surely, imperceptibly a house of works - and, for the Christian teacher, a house of doctrine - is rising round each disciples life: costly granite and marble, silver columns, and cornices of gold; or else wooden doorways, hay mixed with mud for the walls, and straw thatching for the roof. The supreme fact is this: one set of materials stands fire, the other feeds fire; and, since the fire is coming, let each take heed how he buildeth thereon. Tit. 3: 8.
3. - A CHOICE: If any buildeth on the foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble. Every disciple has absolute control over the materials with which he builds: he selects which he chooses. Contending motives sway the choice: popularity, social prestige, wealth, pleasure; love to Christ, fidelity, a sense of truth, the fear of God. What is the precious stonework? Material that matches the foundation. There are a thousand voices in the world to-day: to the wise man there is but One. Heaven and earth shall pass away [in fire: 2 Pet. 3: 7], but My words shall not pass away (Matt. 24: 35): that is, the divine Word will survive the judgment fires. Every thought, every word, every act is to be built out of the quarries of Scripture. 2 Cor. 10: 5; Matt. 28: 20; Matt. 4: 4. No higher level is possible to a Christian teacher than to frame a not altogether inadequate setting for the jewels of revelation; no higher level is possible to a Christian disciple than to translate into life the mind of God as revealed in the Word of God: the one transmits the Book into the soul, the other translates the Book into the life. Gal. 6: 4.
4. - AN EXPOSURE: Each [disciples] work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire. The believers life is a palimpsest, the invisible lines of which steal forth into sight as it nears Gods fires. The foundation is not tested; it is, as Isaiah says, already a tried Stone: it is the superstructure which the fire searches. No believer will be put on trial for his standing, but for his walk; not for his faith, but for his works; not for his life, but for his living; not for his foundation, but for his superstructure. For we [disciples] must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done (2 Cor. 5: 10); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (Rom. 2: 16). Rom. 14: 12.
5. - A TEST: The fire itself shall prove each [disciples] work of what sort it is. The kind of material is infallibly revealed by the fire: it is searched through and through by the eyes of Christ. Rev. 1: 14. Mal. 3: 2. The fire does not cleanse, it tries: and, if trying the inflammable, it destroys: Christ does not purge our works, but searches them judicially. These things saith the Son of God, who hath His eyes like a flame - here is the fire I know thy works - the fire plays into the heart of the material; and thy love and faith and ministry and patience - the fire tests the quality, and finds gold; and that thy last works are more than the first - the fire tests the quantity, and finds much fine gold. Rev. 2: 19. The fire proves.
6. - A REWARD: If any [disciples] work shall abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. Salvation stands upon the foundation, reward rests upon the superstructure. If the work shall abide - reward: reward is utterly conditional on works. Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to render to each [disciple] according as his work is (Rev. 22: 12): and each shall receive his own reward according to his own labour (1 Cor. 2: 8). Eph 6: 8.
7. - A LOSS: If any [disciples] work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet as through fire. Himself saved - for no [redeemed] soul can ever be swept off the foundation of Christ: his work burned - for a discipleship may end in piteous conflagration. As fire-balls descend upon a laboriously-constructed dwelling, and the inmate within, overwhelmed by a sudden burst of flame, escapes for his life through a blazing corridor of fire - he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire. THEREFORE LET EACH [DISCIPLE] PROVE HIS OWN WORK NOW (Gal. 6: 4). O could I always live for eternity, preach for eternity, pray for eternity, and speak for eternity! I want to see only God. - Whitfield.
The Place of the Dead
No dead soul stands in the presence of God in heaven. The Type, first of all, forbids it. Aaron shall bring the blood within the veil, ... and make atonement for the holy place. ... And there shall be NO MAN in the tent of meeting when he goeth in to make atonement, until he come out (Lev. 16: 17).
is exactly the high priestly work on which our Lord is now engaged. Through His own
blood [He] entered in once for all into the holy
place, ... [to cleanse] the heavenly things with
better sacrifices, that is, His own (Heb.
9: 12, 23). So long as our High
Priest tarries within the
Law of God also forbids it. To touch a
corpse, or even a grave, was to be unclean.
Whosoever in the open field toucheth ...
a dead body, or a bone
of a man, or a grave, shall be UNCLEAN
seven days (Num. 19: 16). Nor was it a corpse only which defiled: a far
deeper defilement sprang from contact with a departed spirit. There shall not be found with thee ... a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer - i.e., one who holds
intercourse with the dead for whosoever doeth these
things is an abomination unto the Lord (Deut.
18: 11). Death, in all its parts,
is Legal uncleanness: it is the visible Curse of God, the holy, resting on man,
the sinner; it is the foul rotting of the leprosy of sin. None such can stand in the
One crucial example is given that the dead are still unascended. David had said: - Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, neither wilt Thou give Thy Holy One to see corruption. David, says the apostle, could not have spoken this of his own soul. Why not? Because, Peter says, this Jesus did God raise up; whereas David is NOT ASCENDED into the heavens (Acts 2: 34), and therefore he could not have spoken it of himself. This assumes that no disembodied human spirit [soul] is ascended to God. For if not David, who is? He died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. Death is an unclothing (2 Cor. 5: 4): Gods kings and priests may not appear before Him unclothed. Ex. 28: 42, 43. No man hath ascended into heaven (John 3: 13).
Affirmative revelation also establishes the truth. THE RESURRECTION of the body is a fact absolutely cardinal to the Christian faith. If the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised: and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins (1 Cor. 15: 16): - Atonement has never been made, Death still reigns, the Curse clings to the dead or ever. But Christ is risen: and if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwelleth in you (Rom. 8: 11). John 5: 28. For a naked spirit, [i.e a disembodied soul] judicially disembodied, to enter the presence of God on high would be to approach Him in the shrouds of the Curse.
[* NOTE. The spirit which returns to God at the time of Death, is His animating spirit (Luke 8: 55, R.V.)]
THE BODY has [not
redeemed [Rom. 8: 23]. Glorified human spirits are unknown to the
Word of God: glorified human persons - body, soul, and spirit - are to be the
perfect fruit of redemption. How long, O Lord, holy and true? (Rev. vi.
10), cry the naked souls
under the Altar, waiting to be clothed upon: so ourselves
also ... groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to
wit, the redemption of our body (Rom. 8: 23); for we wait
for a Saviour ... who shall fashion the body of
our humiliation, that it be conformed to the
body of His glory (Phil. 3: 21). Earth is one vast field sown with the dead:
out of it, like the rising Lord, will soon burst the waving harvests of
resurrection. I Cor. 15: 20-26. This cannot be until our High Priest issues
* The actual locality of Sheol, or Hades, is indicated by such scriptures as these: - Matt. 12: 40; Num 16: 30, 33; 1 Sam. 28: 13, 14; Job 26: 5, 6; Amos 9: 2; Eph. 4: 9; and Ps. 63: 9. So scripture speaks of descending into it (Prov. 1: 12; Isa. 5: 14; Ezek. 31: 15, 16), and of rising up out of it (I Sam. 2: 6; Ps. 30: 3; Prov. 15: 24; Rom. 10: 7).
Facts Every Man Ought to Know
- ALL men have got to meet God as a
Judge. God now
commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because
He hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world (Acts 17: 30): for all the
world [shall] be brought under the judgment of
God (Rom. 3: 19). This judgment will be conducted by strict
process of law, based on the acts of every soul, acts recorded with unerring
precision in the books of God. I saw the dead, the great and
the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened; ... and
the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their
works (Rev. 20: 12). Nor can any man avoid this judgment. Reckonest thou this,
O man, ... that thou
shall escape the judgment of God (
- The Judge will adjudicate exactly according to the evidence. It is impossible for a just judge to clear a
guilty man, or to condemn a man who has obeyed the law. He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the righteous, both
of them alike are an abomination to the Lord (Prov.
17: 15). Of this abomination God,
of all judges, will not be guilty: and He says so. The
Lord [is] a God ... that will by no means clear the guilty (Ex. 34: 7): He will not
at all acquit the wicked (Nah. 1: 3). He is a Judge of absolute righteousness. Shall not the Judge
of all the earth do right(Gen. 18: 25):
for He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth (Ps. 96: 13): at the
revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who
will render unto every man according to His works (
3. - A man must be able to present to the Judge a perfect righteousness. Not the hearers of a law are accounted righteous before God, but the doers of a law shall be justified (Rom. 2: 13). What does this mean? That it is not enough to be forgiven for having broken the Law: if I am to be saved. I must be proved to have kept it: the soul must be proved, not only innocent, but righteous. Cursed is every one which continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them (Gal. 3: 10). The only righteousness which any judge - much more the Righteous Judge - can accept is a complete, flawless, life-long obedience to the whole Law: less than this involves the Curse of a broken Law. One sin snaps the chain, one disobedience shatters the vase that holds eternal life. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all (Jas. 2: 10). Law can justify only those who have kept it in its entirety.
- No man has such a righteousness to present.
With the Searcher of all hearts as Judge, my conscience as accuser, my
life as evidence, and the secrets of my heart as witnesses, what is the finding
of the just Judge? All under sin; as it is written, There is
none righteous, no not one (
5. - A perfect righteousness has been provided. What is it? The righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1: 1). Christ obeyed the whole Law. Matt. 5: 17. John 8: 29. His righteousness is the righteousness of a Man: it is a righteousness according to Law: it is the righteousness whereby alone the Laws prisoner is justified. A man is not justified by works of law, except through faith in Jesus Christ; ... because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. 2: 16). Here is a paradox. A man is not justified by works of law, except: He is, and he is not: what does it mean? This. I am not justified by works of law wrought by myself: I am justified by works of law wrought by Christ. What I did not do, He did: what I was not, He was: and if in Christ, I am found - not guilty, but, in Him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Phil. 3: 9). In Christ, His righteousness is mine: for through the obedience of the One shall the many be made righteous(Rom. 5: 19), unto whom God reckoneth righteousness apart from works (Rom. 4: 6).
- This perfect righteousness may become any mans. The
righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus [is] unto all (Rom. 3: 22). To refuse it is to be lost: even as
7. - This righteousness becomes any mans simply on faith. Christ wove; I wear: Christ obeyed; I believe: Christ gives; I take. The righteousness which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God [as a gift] upon [the shoulders of] faith (Phil. 3: 9): the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe (Rom. 3: 22). Christ wove the flawless robe: He bore it up from the wardrobe of His grave (John. 16: 10): He clothes me in it the moment I believe: - the Law is vindicated, the Judge is satisfied, the angels rejoice, and one more soul passes into everlasting life. Isa. 61: 10. Rom. 3: 26, 31.
decade appears to be, for
the awakening has come. Eleven years ago
the peril that this implies. The Great
Wall is now all too narrow to restrain her overflowing millions. Two-and-a-half
millions have poured into
is it less wonderful how the winds of God are sweeping over the plains of
decade appears to be
THEY THAT BE WISE SHALL SHINE AS THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE FIRMAMENT; AND THEY THAT TURN MANY TO RIGHTEOUSNESS AS THE STARS FOR EVER AND EVER (Dan. 12: 3).
A Board in the Tabernacle
1. - THE BOARD. Ex. 26: 15-30. Cut from shittim or acacia, a tree which grew in the desert, a cheap and common timber, each board was worth about half-a-crown. It is a figure of our common humanity. The sinless human nature our Lord took, is so described. He grew up as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground - the shittim is a wilderness tree - He hath no form nor comeliness (Isa. 53: 2). Half-a-crown is all our worth: the extraordinary value of a human soul lies in the value God puts upon it, not in its intrinsic worth. The tree is felled: its root in earth is absolutely severed: no longer flourishing as a bay tree, it lies a prostrate log, passive in the hands of the Carpenter of Nazareth, until planed and grooved and shaped into a board for the House of God.
2. - ITS STANDING. In the wilderness it was felled; in the wilderness it now stands for God: where a soul is saved, there it must shine. But now founded on what? The trees roots are replaced by silver sockets, cast from the ransom-money. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half-shekel - a silver coin - to make atonement for your souls (Ex. 30: 15). The whole Tabernacle stood upon the atonement-money, and the whole of the atonement-money was used for supporting the structure. For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3: 11).
I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand;
Not een where glory dwelleth
In Emmanuels land.
The souls worth, 2s. 6d.; each socket, £250: what God founds the saved soul on is of vastly greater value than the soul itself: who gave Himself a ransom (1 Tim. 2: 6). 1 Pet. 1: 18. Matt. 20: 28.
3. - ITS SOCKETS. Two sockets under one board: why? Because Christ had to do a double work for my soul. His life obeyed the law in perfect righteousness; His death satisfied the law in perfect atonement: so in Him I have obeyed all the Law required, and have satisfied all the Law demanded.
Upon a life I did not live,
Upon a death I did not die;
Anothers life, Anothers death,
I stake my whole eternity.
4. - ITS COVERING. Overlay the boards with gold. I rest upon Christ, but I also dwell in Christ: my standing is on what He did, but my life is in Him: my resting-place is of silver, but my dwelling-place is gold. All grains and knots and stains in the wood are now invisible: the dead board is lost in the life and glory of Another. Isa. 61: 10. In Christ: - that is an address which will always find a saint. Rom. 16: 7. Gal. 1: 22. (The baptised disciple has put on Christ in spirit, soul, and body: Gal. 3: 27.) The soul, half-a-crown; the sockets, £500; the gold plating, £250: salvation is six thousand times the value of the thing saved, or £36,000 for the forty-eight boards. Gods salvation is more costly than we shall ever know.
5. - ITS ERECTION. The Board is
not erected in the wilderness by itself: its loneliness - hateful, hating one another
(Tit. 3: 3) - belonged to the old life of
the Tree. A board is sawn and planed and
shaped for building; so that many boards, dovetailed, compacted, and mutually
supporting, may form a house. So in
Christ ye also are builded together for a habitation
of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2: 22): for we are a sanctuary of God; even as God said, I will dwell in them
(2 Cor. 6: 16). Forty-eight boards: - four, the number of
earth, twelve, the number of perfection: the perfection of earthly worship is
impossible without the association of all.
6. - ITS LINKS. Four visible and one invisible bound the house together: so it was in the first of Gods churches. Acts 2: 37-47. Pricked in their heart - the tree felled; they received his word - the silver sockets; were baptised - visible absorption into the gold; added together - the boards compacted; the apostles teaching - bar one; and fellowship - bar two; the breaking of bread - bar three; the prayers - bar four: one faith, one love, one communion, one worship. The invisible bar was in all, and ran through all, the only unity for ever impossible of rupture: for in one Spirit were we all baptised into one body (1 Cor. 12: 13). Eph. 2: 18. Phil. 1: 27. Eph. 4: 3. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost, without which discipleship does not exist (Rom. 8: 9), is the one visible unity which can never be broken.
7. - ITS DESTINY. The Tree rots
where it grows - no motion, no progress: its cradle is its grave. But the Board ever advances, as part of a moving tent, each day pitched a days march nearer home. The Tabernacle, of boards, crossing the
wilderness, is the Church on earth; the
Exclusion from the Kingdom
1. - Godly servants of Christ have understood the Scriptures to teach the possibility of a believers exclusion. So Mr. Robert Chapman: Has any child of God any warrant of Scripture to expect that he will reign with the Lord during the period of Rev. 20.? But, on the contrary, has not every child of God a promise of reigning with Christ in the perfect and final state?* So Mr. G. H. Pember: To those who believe on Him, but go no further, the Lord does, indeed, give eternal life; but the fruition of it will not begin until the Last Day, until the thousand years of the Millennial reign are ended. Such persons will not, therefore, be permitted to enter the Kingdom of the Heavens. So Dr, A. T. Pierson: The greatest of all the revelations about the future condition of the saints is, that they are to be identified with Jesus Christ in His reign, - that is, those who overcome. Not all saints are to be elevated to this position; this is for victorious saints. So Mr. Robert Govett: The native magnitude of this truth must speedily redeem it from all obscurity. Those who have the single eye will perceive its amplitude of evidence, and embrace it, in spite of the solemn awe of God which it produces, and the depth of our own responsibility which it discloses.§
* Morning Star, Oct, 1902. .. The Church, the Churches, and the Mysteries, p. 46. .. Life of Faith, Sept. 14, 1904.
§ Preface to Entrance Into the Kingdom.
2. - It is certain that all crowns are conditional on works done after faith. 2 Tim. 2: 5. (1) The crown of incorruption. In a race all run, but one receiveth the prize. Even so run, that ye may attain. And every man that striveth in the games is temperate in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible (1 Cor. 9: 24, 25). Can that racer be crowned who failed in the running? Paul dreaded the loss of the crown for himself: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected. (2) The crown of rejoicing. What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye, before our Lord Jesus at His coming? (1 Thess. 2: 19). Dan 12: 3. Can he be crowned for turning many to righteousness who never turned one? (3) The crown of glory. The elders therefore among you I exhort, Tend the flock of God, and when the chief Shepherd shall be manifested, ye shall receive the crown of glory (1 Pet. 5: 1-4). Can a disciple be rewarded for shepherding the flock of God who never did it? (4) The crown of righteousness. I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, ... and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved His appearing (2 Tim. 4: 7, 8). Can the crown for watchfulness be given to one who never watched? (5) The crown of life. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life (Jas. 1: 12). Rev. 2: 10. Can he be crowned for resisting temptation who succumbed to it? That a crown may be lost to a believer is as certain as any truth in Holy Scripture. Hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown (Rev. 3: 11). Matt. 7: 21.
- Scripture states that the Kingdom is offered to all believers as the
master-prize for service and suffering. He that
overcometh, and he that keepeth My works unto
the end, to him will I give authority over the
nations (Rev. 2: 26). 2 Tim. 2: 12. It was a supreme desire of Paul. He abandoned all, he says, and suffered all,
if by any means I may attain unto the [select] resurrection from the dead. Not that I have
already obtained, ... but one thing I do,
forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching
forward to the things which are before, I press
on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore,
as many as be perfect, be
thus minded (Phil. 3: 11-15). For the fall of
4. - Scripture also explicitly asserts the exclusion of certain believers. Proud (Matt. 18: 3, 5: 3); unfaithful (Matt. 24: 48-51); disobedient (Luke 12: 47, 48); covetous (Eph. 5: 5); effeminate (1 Cor. 6: 9); slothful (Matt. 11: 12); strife-loving (Gal. 5: 20); unbaptised (John 3: 5); erroneous (1 Cor. 3: 15); or luxurious (Luke 6: 24) disciples are unripe for the duties and harmony of Messiahs Reign. Most rigorously also will all unclean disciples be excluded. Eph. 5: 3-8; 1 Thess. 4: 3-7.
The Holy Ghost has given a summary of exclusion. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they which practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God(Gal. 5: 19-21). 1 Cor. 6: 9, 10. For it is the Kingdom of the holy, who are holy, not by imputation only, but also by active righteousness. Heb. 12: 14; 2 Thess. 1: 5.
BLESSED AND HOLY IS HE THAT HATH PART IN THE FIRST
RESURRECTION: THEY SHALL BE PRIESTS OF GOD AND
OF CHRIST, AND SHALL REIGN WITH HIM A THOUSAND YEARS (Rev. 20: 6).
O God, I have lost this world: grant that I lose not
that which is to come! (
The Glories of
It is not easy, says McCheyne, writing on Mount
Carmel, to pray really for
1. - ISRAELITES. Not Jacobites,
but Israelites: not mens supplanters, but wrestlers on their behalf with God;
princes by conquest in intercession. Thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed (Gen.
32: 28). It was
2. - THE ADOPTION. Ex.4: 22, Jer. 31: 9. The Church receives an adoption as sons (Gal. 4: 5);
3. - THE GLORY. Gods Shekinah
Fires never dwelt in the midst of any nation except Israel. He made thee to see His great fire; and thou heardest His
words out of the midst of the fire (Deut.
4: 36). From a burning Bush
4. - THE COVENANTS. Apart from Noah, God has never entered into a covenant with any man but a Jew. Eight covenants were made with Abraham; one with Moses; at least two with Israel; and the New Covenant, the blood of which has been shed (Luke 22: 20), and the ministers of which have been appointed (2 Cor. 3: 6), has yet to be made with the Houses of Israel and Judah (Heb. 8: 8). Covenants between God and man belong only to the blood of Abraham.
5. - THE LAW. Jehovahs
descent in person on Sinai, with a Decalogue written by the fingers of Deity,
is an unique glory of
6. - THE WORSHIP. Jew means praise: and Gods liturgy, the sole mode of ritual
access into His presence under the Law, was revealed to the Jew only. If thou bearest the name of a Jew, [thou] restest upon the law, and gloriest in God, and knowest His will ... being
instructed out of the law (Rom. 2: 17). God planned every knob and tent-pin in
7. - THE PROMISES. All promises are held in germ in one promise to Abraham; - In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (Gen. 22: 18). Thy seed is a Jew: whether, therefore, by way of circumcision, or through faith, salvation is of the Jews, because salvation is from a Jew. So also the promise of the Spirit was first given to the Jew. Gal. 3: 14. Acts 2: 39.
8. - THE FATHERS. Gods
providence never leaves the Jew because His love never leaves their fathers. Because He loved thy fathers, therefore
He chose their seed after them (Deut. 4: 37). No man ever gave God a name but a Jew: He is
not known as the God of Adam, or the God of Noah; but, - I am the God of thy father, the
God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Ex.
3: 6). No nation ever had divine
9. - THE CHRIST. In
The Trial of Jesus
Sanhedrim, a court regularly constituted of
(1) Our Lord was arrested and tried at night: which, on a capital charge, was illegal. (2) The trial was conducted, not in the Hall of Purchase, where the Sanhedrim was regularly convened, but in the private house of the High Priest. This, if not actually unlawful, was highly irregular: it obviously savoured of conspiracy. Mark 14: 1, 2. (3) The Prisoner was pronounced guilty on the day of the trial: whereas, according to the law of the Sanhedrim, although a prisoner might be acquitted on the same day, he could never be condemned. (4) The Sanhedrim, in appealing to Pilate, dropt the charge of blasphemy, and substituted the charge of treason (Luke 23: 2): quashing their own proceedings, they carried an appeal to a higher court on a new and unsubstantiated charge. The trial was thick with illegalities. But these are technicalities: although establishing a grave presumption against the equity of the Sanhedrim, they are not fatal; it is conceivable that, in spite of technicalities violated, substantial justice might yet be done to a prisoner.
turn therefore to the Trial. Two charges were brought against Christ: the first
sedition, the second blasphemy. The charge of sedition was based on an alleged
statement threatening the destruction of the
(l) Everything, on such a charge, obviously turns on who the Prisoner is: yet the Court never examines the point at all. If Jesus was the Son of God, it was no blasphemy to say so: if He was not, it was. The action of the Sanhedrim would make it impossible for the Messiah ever to come at all without being liable to immediate arrest and destruction for blasphemy.
The Law of Moses expressly forbad condemnation, on a capital charge, on the
evidence of less than two witnesses (Deut. 17: 6):
Jesus was condemned to death on none. He
was then spit upon and smitten. Matt. 26: 67. So, hundreds of years before, Isaiah had
said, - By oppression and judgment He was taken away
(Isa. 53: 8): Micah also, - They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the
cheek (Mic. 5: 1). The Roman Law has been the foundation of the
soundest jurisprudence of the world: yet here again the air is thick with
illegalities. Not one of the essentials
of Roman law was observed in the trial of Jesus. There was no notice of the trial; no
definition of the charge; no invoking of the law whose breach was alleged; no
examination of witnesses; no hearing of counsel; no proof of a criminal act; no
sentence formally pronounced. Still more amazing, the judge actually acquits
the Prisoner whom he delivers to execution.
Three times Pilate pronounces the Prisoner not guilty
(Luke 23: 4, 15, 22), yet each time re-tries
Him: whereas under Roman law a prisoner might not be tried twice for the same
offence. Three times Pilate pronounces
the Prisoner not guilty: yet over the cross,
as the law required, Pilate wrote the charge, and he wrote - treason. Three times Pilate pronounces the Prisoner not guilty: yet he orders his soldiers to execute the
sentence of guilty. Jesus
of Nazareth, says a member of the New York Bar, was not condemned; he was lynched. The martyrdom of
The People had not yet officially condemned Jesus. Pilate, conscious of Christs innocence, resorts to the last expedient open to him under Roman law, short of acquittal. A judge might stop a trial at the demand of the prosecutors, if it appeared to him that that demand was prompted by just motives, and not actuated by any unlawful object. Pilate presents the pitiful object of the Saviour bleeding after the flogging, crying, Behold the Man! and tries the pulse of the crowd by suggesting His release in place of Barabbas. A hoarse cry warned him off: the prosecutors refuse to drop the charge. Pilate then publicly reveals what is happening. It was a Jewish custom, in order to attest ones innocence of murder, to wash the hands: Pilate therefore, to ensure being understood in that deafening uproar, and amid a crowd of so many diverse languages, symbolises silently that which all will understand - he washes his hands. The judge pronounces the whole transaction to be murder.
World, alas, now shares the verdict. The
issue is as momentous as ever. Nineteen centuries,
says a member of the Italian Bar, will not again go
by before either the cross of
A Sacrificial Priesthood
We venerate the Eucharist, says Pope Pius X, addressing the Eucharistic Congress (1908), as the sacrifice of the New Testament, ... a tribute of thanksgiving and praise, of atonement, and propitiation, ... a sacrifice foreshadowed by the offerings of the Fathers of the Old Law, notably by that of the High Priest Melchizedek. Now into the hands of two priestly Orders only has the knife of sacrifice been committed, the order of Aaron, and the order of Melchizedek; since Moses God has received atoning sacrifices from no other hands: and Pius X claims for the Roman Priesthood succession to the Order of Melchizedek.
it is universally agreed that the Order of Aaron is gone:
1. - Without descent: without father, without mother. God suppressed certain details in Melchizedeks life that, as recorded, it might be made like unto the Son of Gods: he is not like unto the Son of God, but is made like by, the silences of the Scripture. Without recorded father or mother, he types Him who, as Son of Man, had no father, and, as Son of God, no mother. Why? Because this Priest had to offer a superhuman Sacrifice. Sacrifice and offering [of the Aaronic Order] Thou wouldest not, but a body didst Thou prepared for me (Heb. 10: 5). The Priest must be divine who is to offer the Son of man: and the Priest must be human who is to be Himself the Sacrifice: He must be Son of God, and Son of man.
2. - Without
genealogy. Genealogy was a requisite for Aarons
Order. On the return from
3. - Without origin or end: having neither beginning of days nor end of life. Neither birthday nor deathday is recorded of Melchizedek: so our Lord was not born to the priesthood, for He was never born, and thus required no genealogy; and His priesthood is not forfeited by death, for He never dies; birth and death, to Him, were but incidents in an eternal existence. Behind His birth lies the eternity of the Godhead: beyond His resurrection lies the eternity of His Priesthood, - a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Here is the final overthrow of the Roman claim. The Order of Melchizedek stopped with Christ. Without successor, as without predecessor, He never lays down this priesthood, and so no other ever takes it up. He, because He abideth for ever, hath a priesthood that doth not pass to another (Heb. 7: 24, marg.), - an irrevocable, inviolable, un-transmittable priesthood.
Most solemn is Gods attitude to the claim of sacrificial powers. It is the sin of Korah. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram - Levites, not priests* - for offering animal sacrifice - how much more daring the impiety of offering human sacrifice, nay, a divine - met instant wrath. The ground clave asunder ... and swallowed them up; and upon their adherents fire came forth from the Lord and devoured them (Num. 16: 32). Judgment on priestless sacrifice now tarries only for the expiration of the day of grace. Depart, I pray you - ours becomes the sorrowful invocation of Moses - from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.
* So we, though priests. have no power to offer atoning sacrifices, but spiritual only. 1 Pet. 2: 5. Heb. 13: 15.
the supreme glory of the Son of God. As
Aaron soared above
(1) He is the human Priest. The Order of Melchizedek arose long ere God had chosen the Jew: humanity was one, and Melchizedek was its priest, Not once does Jesus call Himself Son of Judah; but sixty-three times Son of man.
(2) He is the royal Priest. Royalty and
priesthood were kept distinct in
(3) He is the solitary Priest. Melchizedek himself, already half vanished into the night, was but a type: so tremendous is a worlds atonement, that no Priest was sufficient but One - the Son of God; and no Sacrifice was sufficient but One - the Son of man: for ever the Priest upon His Throne.
The Higher Criticism
Higher Criticism. - Advanced Criticism has arrived, in some quarters, at a goal
which challenges the attention of the whole
Results: Old Testament. The legends first taught by word of mouth, says the Dean of Westminster, you may read in the Book of Genesis. These stories, which fathers used to tell their children about their national heroes, contain only that amount of history which such stories contain in the case of other peoples. Abrahams real existence, says the Encyclopoedia Biblica, edited by an Anglican Canon, is as doubtful as that of other [legendary] heroes: the Book of Jonah is to be classed with Tobit and Susannah as imaginary religious stories: the Red Sea was crossed by a natural wind: the setting up of the Tabernacle in the wilderness must be pronounced utterly impossible: Jehovah was a wilderness deity, who had his abode in Sinai or Horeb. Ezekiel, says Prof. Peake, seems to set on the throne of the universe a self-centered egoist who bends the whole course of history to glorify his holy name. Critical research, says Prof. Krόger, has annihilated the Old Testament Canon. There is no longer any theologian who can conceal from himself the final outcome of Old Testament criticism. The century just dawned will in all probability consign the New Testament also to the same fate.
New Testament. The connexion of sin and death in
Scripture, says Prof. Denney, is no piece of
supernaturally revealed history, to be accepted on the authority of Him who has
revealed it. In such revelations no one believes any longer. The picture of Jesus, says Prof. Bousset, is drawn from the standpoint of the miraculous. The historian can scarcely do otherwise than
admit that legends, and not history, are before us. So far as the reported miracles of Jesus [were to
establish His Messiahship], says Dr. Abbott, they
are no longer to be taken to be credible; either they never happened at all, or
(at least), if historical, they were not miraculous. For modern criticism, says Dr. Abbott, the story [of
Results: Jesus Christ. All storms close at last around one lonely Brow. The Messiah, says Prof. Harnach, is a conception to which we can no longer attach a meaning or validity. Jesus, says Prof. Schmidt, never assumed the title Son of God: it was a bestowal upon him of a title he did not claim, and probably could not have understood. When he was lifted up from the earth, and made a god, he drew all men unto himself. It ceases to be a matter of fundamental importance, says Prof. Schmeidel, whether Jesus rose again on the third day. The belief of the disciples [that they had seen the risen Lord] does not prove that what they saw was objectively real: it can equally well have been merely an image begotten of their own mental condition. The accounts of the empty tomb are none of them admissible. There is no use, says Prof. Burkitt, in shirking the plain fact. The old infallible Bible has been taken away. It has been given into the hands of the Critics, and what they have given back is shorn of its old authority. We no longer believe because the Bible tells us to do so.
The Higher Criticism says Prof. Peake, has drawn the fangs of the Secularist: only - we
sorrowfully add - by removing them to the mouth of the theological professor. The
sale of Bibles in
did the Holy Ghost pass in the revival of 1904.
Nemesis is at the doors. In Liverpool - the second city of the Empire, a sample city - in 1881, 40 seats out of every 100 were filled in morning worship in the Free Churches; in 1891, 31; in 1902, 25; in 1908, 12. So also evening attendance has fallen from 57 in every 100 seats in 1881, to 28 in 1908. The average morning attendance in 1881 was 274; in 1891, 212; in 1902, 170; in 1908, 85. So also the average evening attendance has fallen from 392 in 1881 to 190 in 1908. These are appalling figures.
When doubt speaks in the pulpit, infidelity sits in the pew, and at last empties it; diluted doses of infidel criticism are killing the churches, undermining public confidence in the Bible, and laying the foundations of approaching apostasy. But thou, O man of God, flee these things!
Adam and Christ
1. - SIN. Through one man sin entered into the world (Rom. 5: 12). How so? Because God made of one blood [or stock] all nations of men (Acts 17: 26). Made of one stock, sprung from one source, pollution at the fountain-head necessarily fouled the whole stream; as a severing blow at the root of a tree levels all the branches also. An angel might sin, and conceivably - if isolated, as a small-pox case is isolated - the sin might not spread; for angels neither marry, nor are given in marriage (Mark 12: 25): the sin could be isolated to the angel. But humanity increases by procreation; through one man therefore - because he was the first - sin infected a world: nothing short of arrested increase - i.e., the total annihilation of the race - could cut the entail of inherited corruption. Behold our helplessness. Sin entered: it is a done thing.
2. - DEATH. So death passed [travelled] unto all men. Death is not essential to true humanity: God could have garnered the whole race, as Enoch or Elijah, without death. Why then did death come? Because, with sin, rottenness entered into the bones; and now, though a man may doubt universal sin, who doubts universal death? And universal death proves universal sin. Sin bringeth forth death (Jas. 1: 15); the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6: 23); the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ez. 18: 4); in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. ii. 17): - death is a consequence of sin. Only he may say, - I am no sinner, - who can immediately add, - Because death will never cross my threshold. A doctors utmost achievement is to postpone his final failure. What helplessness! Death passed: it is a done thing.
3. - IMPUTED GUILT. But the gravest fact of all is one which it would never have entered the human mind to conceive. So - through one man - death passed unto all men, for that all sinned. That is, in Adam all died, for in Adam all sinned. Human solidarity is a profound mystery comprehensible only to Deity; but so real is it, so actual, that death seals in every man what every man did in the first man. Imputation of guilt is as real as the imputation of righteousness. Could helplessness sink lower? All sinned: it is a done thing.
4. - RUIN. So look at the facts. (1) A man is lost thousands of years before he is born: even could he atone for his own sins, he is powerless to wipe out his share in Adams: sin entered, death came, the tragedy was over, the race was ruined thousands of years before we were born. Moreover (2) every man himself enters the world a sinner. Ps. 51: 5. The stock is ruined: so, while I commit corruption, I also am corruption: I carry in me from birth the seedbed of all sin. But also (3) we are helpless, not so as to be irresponsible, but so as, by ourselves, to be unsavable. Why? Because since birth we have made sin our own by the delight with which we have sinned. Where in all the world is a sinner who does not love sin? But if a man catches the plague, and dies, he dies, not of the other mans plague, but of his own. Death reigned: it is a done thing. The ruin is complete.
5. - IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS. Gods antidote now exactly fits the poison: as by a solitary sin came death, so by a solitary righteousness came life. So then - for, as the fall, so the redemption - as through one trespass the judgment came, ... even so through one righteousness the free gift came. As Adam involved us in Hell before our birth, so, before our birth also, Christ secured to us a right to Heaven. But how? As through the one mans disobedience the many were made sinners, through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous. Adams sin imputed made sinners; Christs righteousness imputed makes saints: and, as the imputed guilt begot actual sin, so the imputed righteousness produces active goodness. But for whom was Christs obedience wrought? As through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life. The obedience of Christ for redemption is coextensive with the disobedience of Adam for ruin: the All that fell is the All that is redeemed. The free gift came: it is a done thing.
6. - LIFE. The salvation also travels back in effect over the road of ruin. Life springs from righteousness exactly as death springs from sin. Prov. 12: 28. So as through one trespass the judgment came ... to condemnation; even so the free gift came ... to justification of life. Adam gave us his death: Christ gives us His life. We are one with Adam by birth, and that is our ruin: we are one with Christ by second birth, and that is our salvation. So that all shall be saved? no, but that all may be saved. For as we have sinned wilfully, so we must be saved willingly. For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive [take] the abundance of grace ... reign in life. The righteousness bringing life has been wrought: the thing is done.
7. - SALVATION. So God has mercifully made salvation as helpless a thing as the ruin in which we were born. We were passive recipients of Adams sin: we are passive recipients of Christs righteousness. Thousands of years before I was born, I was lost: thousands of years (nearly) before I was born, I was redeemed. Salvation, equally with the Fall, is a done thing: I can no more alter it, or add to it, or take from it, than I can alter, or add to, or take from Adams guilt: I can reach neither, across a gulf of thousands of years, any more than I can gather up last winters snows. I can only suffer the one: I can only take the other. All that I can do, all that I ought to do, all that I need do, is to take it; that is, to believe it, to accept it. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely (Rev. 22: 17): the free gift came, and the moment I take it, it is mine for ever.
The Judgment Seat of Christ
1. - THE WILL OF GOD. The ideal
manhood - A man after My heart, who shall do all My will(Acts
13: 22): its aim - I am come to do Thy will,
O God (Heb. 10: 7):
its business - My meat is to do the will of Him that
sent Me (John 4: 34): its fellowship
- whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in
heaven, he is My brother (Matt. 12: 50): its education - Teach me to do Thy will; for
Thou art my God (Ps. 143: 10): its
pleasure - I delight to do Thy will, O My God (Ps. 40: 8). So Gods ideal for a disciple is obedience to
His will; and Gods ideals are not optional, but obligatory. We labour(A.V.) - we strive
(Alford) - we are eager (
2. - THE TRIBUNAL. (1) The tribunal is a Bema, not a
Throne; a Judgment Seat for the investigation of disciples, not a Throne for
the arraignment of rebels: for the Judge (2 Tim. 4:
8) is a certain king, which would make a reckoning with his servants (Matt. 18: 23).
It is the first of our Lords three judgments (Rom.
14: 12; Matt. 25: 31; Rev. 20: 12) on His return; and judgment begins at the house of God (1
Pet. 4: 17). (2) Thus those examined are Christians only. We all - i.e., them that
are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be
saints, with all that call upon the name of our
Lord in every place (1 Cor. 1: 2):
it is a final investigation of the whole
3. - A JUDICAL PROCEDURE: that each one may receive the things done. Not, that each may receive something from God, but that each may receive the things he himself has done: it is not a general granting of glory, irrespective of service; but an exercise of the Divine Law, - as he hath done, so shall it be done to him (Lev. 24: 19). Be not deceived - is a word to disciples - God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6: 7). Paul puts it with exquisite clearness, and two-fold emphasis. Whatsoever good thing - for a judge approves - each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the Lord, whether he be bond or free (Eph. 6: 8): on the other hand - Ye serve the Lord Christ. For he that doeth wrong - for a judge censures - shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons (Col. 3: 25).
4. - THE EVIDENCE: things done by means of the body. We must all appear in our true light (Alford): as the fossil imprint of a birds claw, made ages earlier by a momentary alighting when the stone was soft, now records that act in solid rock, so our actions are the unerring imprint of our characters; the things done reveal what the body was. Like a palimpsest, when the heat of fire (1 Cor. 3: 13) passes over it, so our life silently steals forth in lines every one of which we ourselves wrote: so that what our eyes looked on, what ours ears listened to, what our hearts loved, what our minds believed, what our lips said, what our hands wrought, where our feet walked: - these are the unimpeachable evidences of the Judgment Seat. Rev. 22: 12. Secrets (1 Cor. 4: 5), motives (Matt. 6: 1), soul-attitudes (Luke 6: 36-38), and just church decisions (Matt. 18: 18), also sway the adjudication.
5. - THE AWARDS: whether it [the award] be good or bad. The Greek points to the award: that each may receive according to the things done, whether it - i.e., what he receives - be good or bad. Reward (as distinct from salvation, which is through faith, against deserts) is strictly defined by works. So minutely do actions tell, that whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple [it is true only of Christians], shall in no wise lose his reward (Matt. 10: 42); how much more, greater benefactions! Matt. 19: 29. Conversely, as judicial, the Bema, inevitably taking cognizance of a disciples unrepented offences, may inflict loss, or even penal (but temporary: Matt. 5: 26) consequences. I Cor. 3: 15. That servant, which knew his lords will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes (Luke 12: 47). Matt. 18: 35. (Nevertheless, eternal 1ife cannot be forfeited by a disciple: John 3: 16; 10: 27, 28.)
So somewhere there exists a draft by the hand of God of what our life might have been, and still can be: some have lived wonderfully near Gods thought for them: let us find and follow that Divine original. Eph. 2: 10.
The New Birth
- sincere, moral, upright, needing no reformation - meets Jesus: Jesus says, -
You need to be remade. How much more an
open sinner! For verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man
be born again, he cannot see the
He is (2) lifeless: except a man be begotten. Begetting is the imparting of life; and life is imparted to the dead, not to the living. Who ever saw a man who was not born? no more has anyone even seen a Christian who was not born again. Man enters no world except by birth: and we must be born into heaven if we are ever to enter it.
He is (3) fatherless: ye must be born again. A second birth implies another fatherhood: begotten of the Spirit- it is the second birth which produces sonship of God. Even Nicodemus - sincere, moral, upright, needing no reformation - is a sightless, lifeless, fatherless soul, who can be saved only by being remade.
Ye must be born afresh:
if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old
things are passed away; behold, they are become new (2
Cor. 5: 17). Many a sinner,
bitter and broken, cries: Oh, that I could begin life
afresh! That is exactly what
Christ offers: ye must be born afresh. Ye must - therefore ye may: ye may - therefore ye must.
Regeneration is not so much an organic change, creating or extinguishing
human powers, as a functional change, whereby our old powers take a new
direction, move by a totally new life, and expand to the fullness of their
created capacities. Man redeemed fulfils
all, and more, than God planned in man created.
But Nicodemus interposes. How can this
be? Jesus now introduces baptism the
more fully to unfold His meaning. Except a man be born out of water - not a second time
of his mother - he cannot enter into the
The new begetting is regeneration: the new birth is baptism. Secret, viewless, mysterious is the begetting of the soul: open, visible, natural is the birth out of water which manifests life already begun. As an infant is alive before it is born, so within the water is a living soul, and out of the water issues a new birth. It is a new man that issues out of the water: not made new by the water, but by the Spirit before the birth. Therefore only the regenerate may be baptised. Regeneration is a renewal (Tit. 3: 5); a translation (Col. 1: 13); a quickening (Col. 2: 13); a creation (Eph. 4: 24); a cure (1 Pet. 2: 24); an emancipation (Gal. 5: 1); a resurrection (Eph. 2: 6).
Lord now probes deeper: that which is born of the
flesh is flesh: i.e., a second fleshly birth would be useless. A thousand re-births from the flesh would be
- flesh: a new start indeed, but the millionth would be a start as polluted as
the first. It
is not the children of the flesh that are children of God (
But the crowning marvel of regeneration remains. It is a re-birth: but with whose life? The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Animal paternity gives animal life; human paternity gives human life; divine paternity gives divine life: it is possible to start life afresh with the life of God. As the flesh is the seed-bed of all vices, so the new creation is a seed-bed of all the virtues of Him who begat it: we are indeed put back into the cradle, but out of that cradle spring the mighty limbs, and the soaring soul, of a son of God. Children are sometimes born crippled, or with limbs missing: there are no cripples from the second birth.
The divine power has entered in a divine birth to produce on earth a divine life: it is a birth from above: and Heavens gates swing back to the born again, because their life, their nature, their creation belong to Heaven. O Nicodemus, have you learnt the lesson yet? But mark: how shall the wind blow our way? We can no more control that Wind than we can handle the hurricanes. Listen to the Gospel which our Lord immediately adds. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth may in Him have eternal life. The price of the new life is the old: the renunciation of sin is the birth-travail: but the moment of faith is the moment of regeneration. Accept Christs work for you, and instantly begins the Spirits work in you.
Whosoever BELIEVETH that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God (1 John 5: 1).
Baptism and the Lords Supper
Powerful and tempting arguments are now being used for the union of all disciples on a basis of the spiritual divorced from the external. Possessing the realities for which the rites stand - it is asked - why maintain the forms, so creating, and perpetuating, division? Our Lord, in principle, has graciously revealed a profound answer. Why do thy disciples fast not? (Mark 2: 18): why, as a Teacher come from God, - for this is the underlying question to which our Lord addresses His answer - dost Thou add no ritual to Moses Law? The Lords reply is the great RUBRIC OF RITUAL.
Jesus, having guarded Himself from any condemnation of fasting, of which He approves in His absence (Matt. 6: 16), answers: - No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth it upon an old garment (Luke 5: 36). The ritual of Moses for two thousand years draped the Law of Jehovah: as an outward vesture, it clothed and expressed that which God Himself now calls the old covenant (2 Cor. 3: 14), the oldness of the letter (Rom. vii. 6), the Covenant grown old (Heb. 8: 13). No man - Jesus says it is a truism - patches an old garment: the reasons are obvious.
(1) It is useless: else he will rend the new. The patch will be stiffer and stronger than the garment: the old worn, vesture, too threadbare to stand the strain, will rend: and that which should fill it up taketh from it, and a worse rent is made (Mark 2: 21). Both patch and garment perish. Moreover (2) it is unsightly: also the piece from the new will not agree with the old. It does not match: the patch of unbleached rag - unwhitened by sunlight or chemicals - is not only a badge of poverty, but a positive ugliness. God rejects it.
ritual principles here stand revealed.
The Son of God refuses to add a single rite to the ritual of the
Law. He removes the robe, to replace it
with a better: but patchwork is abhorrent to His eye: so long as God preserves
the vesture, no human hand may tamper with its handiwork. This is the condemnation of all man-made
rituals, such as the Seven Sacraments of
Ritual principles deeper still are now revealed. No man putteth new wine into old wineskins; else the new wine will burst the skins. As the skin yields to the pressure of the wine, and yet the wine is exactly delimited by the skin, so a rite enshrines and expresses a doctrine, and the doctrine is exactly defined by the rite. Christ therefore had to make new rites. The old skins had become rigid: new wine, poured in and fermenting, would have expanded the skins, till they burst: the strong, seething, expansive spirit of the Gospel would have ruined the old rituals. The modern Jew instinctively realizes this peril to the Law. If ever there was a converted Jew, says a worker, concerning a recent convert, he is one. And yet, whilst his religious conviction is well known to the Jews, and even to his employer, he cannot accept baptism. While not baptized, it is little matter to the Jews what his religious opinions may be: they still consider him as one of their own. Once he submits to baptism, however, he becomes an outcast, and is regarded as worse than a heathen. For the Jew prefers the doctrine which sets the flesh on its trial - as in Circumcision - to the doctrine which buries it as incurable - as in Baptism: for he saith, The old is better (Luke 5: 39), - that is, is milder. The Decalogue from the Mount is an easier rule of life than the Sermon from the Mount.
Our Lord now establishes His Ritual Rubric. Doctrine must be enshrined in rite: new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. Why? They put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Matt. 9: 17): for if the skins are rent, the wine itself will be spilled, and the skins will perish (Luke 5: 37). Says Dr. Marcus Dods:- We are in possession of descriptions of proselyte baptism which make it impossible to doubt that the rite was performed by immersion. And it is probable that unbiased interpreters of the Pauline Epistles will continue to believe that his allusions to baptism are intelligible only on the supposition that he had in view baptism by immersion. Of course it is also the fact that owing to the inconvenience and frequent impossibility of performing the rite in the ideal manner, another and also significant mode was commonly adopted. But if the meaning of baptism is understood, why fuss about the mode? Because to rend the skin is to lose the wine: the meaning evaporates with the mode. Burial and resurrection disappear from a baptistry that is no more a grave: a priest, standing before an altar, swathing a water with incense, and offering a sacrifice of masses - what of truth lingers when the Feast of Communion is visibly gone? New wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
So long as our Saviours sacrificial death for sin is to be kept before the eyes of the world, so long are the wounded Bread and the shed Wine to be kept before the eyes of the Church, showing forth the Lords death till He come (1 Cor. 11: 26): so long as the flesh is to be buried as incurable, and saved souls are to rise to newness of life, so long is baptism to be the funeral service and the resurrection rite of the Church of God - baptising them ... even unto the end of the age (Matt. 28: 19, 20). So both [doctrine and rite] ARE PRESERVED.
An Empty Tomb
1. - THE SEPULCHRE. Came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre (Matt. 28: 1). What did they see? (1) A new tomb, wherein never man lay: therefore, if a resurrection took place, it was not, as in Elishas case (2 Kings 13: 21), a resurrection from contact with a holy body: it was a new tomb. (2) A tomb hewn out in the rock: therefore there was no subterranean passage by which a body could be withdrawn; by the door the corpse entered, it issued. (3) An open, empty tomb. What did this prove? That what had been buried, that had been raised; namely, a crucified corpse. The resurrection could not have been the rising of the spirit of Christ, because the spirit of Christ had never been in the tomb at all. The world had waited thousands of years to see a tomb that would never be refilled: it saw it now.
2. - THE EARTHQUAKE. And behold, there was a great earthquake. The Prison-house into which our Lord descended was a Prison-house erected by sin. Through sin came death: the place of the dead is the place of sinners. Now shaking by God is preparatory to destruction. Whose voice then shook the earth, signifying the removing of those things that are shaken, ... that those things which are not shaken may remain (Heb. 12: 26). The realms of death have been twice violently shaken: the third shock (Rev. 20: 14) will be a final paralysis. When Jesus entered Hades, it trembled Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold ... the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent; and the tombs were opened (Matt. 27: 50). So, at the resurrection, there was a great earthquake: Hades shook beneath the rising tread of the Son of God, and faint tremors reached the surface of the world. The Resurrection was the death of Death, and the first instalment (for the redeemed) of the obliteration of Sin. Hos. 13: 14. Rev. 20: 14.
3. - THE ANGEL. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven; his appearance was as lightning, and his raiment white as snow. The presence of the Angel was of incalculable importance. That Figure - bringing with him part of the shining of Heaven - proves that Christ did not break prison, but issued with a free and legal discharge, authorised by God. Christs body needed no rolling away of the stone: the Angel did not raise Him: the supreme function of Gods officer, in flinging open the gates of death, was to show to the universe that the great Burnt-offering had been accepted for a guilty world. The Angel brought the legal authorisation of God. Rom. 6: 4.
4. - THE WATCHERS. The watchers did quake, and became as dead men. Our Lords resurrection had two immediate and opposite effects: - dead saints became living, and living sinners became as the dead. Roman soldiers, the hardiest of the worlds sons, able to meet death in battle with a smile, are cowed by the lightnings from an angels face. It is the terror of another world. Earths bravest become white to the lips when they see through the open grave into the dread world beyond: but to the weak and defenceless women Jesus says, - Fear not ye. It is a presage of the dual effect of the Last Assize.
5. - THE NEWS. He is not here; for He is risen, even as He said. Give me the resurrection as a fact, and I will shatter in pieces the modern view of the world. It casts lightnings backward. Again and again our Lord had foretold His resurrection, By His death all that had gone before seemed disproved; by His rising, it was proved that nothing had been disproved; nay, that everything had been proved. The sinlessness of Jesus (John 8: 46); the miracles of Jesus (John 14: 11); the prophecies of Jesus (Luke 22: 69); the salvation offered by Jesus (Matt. 11: 28); the judgment foretold by Jesus (Luke 19: 27); the Heaven and Hell (Matt. 5: 12, 22) Jesus revealed: the resurrection is the last link that shows the whole chain, backward, as solid gold. He is risen, even as He said.
6. - THE BRIBE. - They gave large money unto
the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples
... stole Him away while we slept. This last session of the Sanhedrim recorded
in Scripture seems an incredible fail: yet
7. - THE COMMISSION. Go ye therefore, and make
disciples of all the nations. An
empty tomb means that there is a gospel to preach. The sweep of the Commission has been verified
by history; the Resurrection is the cause of the Church, but the Church is also
the proof of the Resurrection, The Commission Christ bases on all power: He clothes it in the Triune Name: He
assumes myriads of unborn witnesses: He foresees the homage of nations: He
flings its arches sheer across two thousand years of Christian experience and
Christian love. History has verified it.
And what for the individual soul?
All God asks for salvation is the acceptance of the Resurrection, and
action upon it. FOR
IF THOU SHALT CONFESS WITH THY MOUTH JESUS
AS LORD, AND SHALT BELIEVE IN THY HEART THAT
GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD,
THOU SHALT BE SAVED (
A Dying World
shock of earthquake at
God reveals no fact (I suppose) without implying a moral consequence: all inspired doctrine is a verbal statement of fact leading to practical goodness. God reveals eternity - that I may become a child of eternity; He informs me of the Second Coming - that I may be prepared to meet my God. So here. Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be. The big things of eternity dwarf the seductions of time. How can I live for a world which will soon be dust and ashes? Science must dissolve with the dissolution of that which it examines: all gold will melt in the last fires: the pleasures of sin are dissolving views which depart with the world that bred them: - wisdom does not allow the heart to settle on that which can suffer dissolution. 1 Cor. 7: 29-31. These tremendous facts are designed and revealed to have an effect no less tremendous on our life.
What manner of persons. All things are dissolving: personality abides. What manner of persons can rise above what a ruin of worlds! 1 John 2: 17. Some insects are born, grow old, and die within twenty-four hours: when we confront personality we confront the imperishable. What manner? In all holiness. Holiness is a growing recoil from the horror of sin: righteousness is conformity to the law of God, but holiness is approximation to His character: holiness beholds ten thousand burning worlds, and sins not. Holiness in doctrine is good, but holiness in life is better; for it necessarily presupposes the possession of holy doctrine: in all holy living. Our life is long? Not so wise Angels say Who watch us waste it, trembling while they weigh Against eternity one squandered day.
What manner? In all godliness. Godliness is the life of Heaven lived on earth: it is the activity of God reproduced through a human soul: it is the air of eternity always blowing through a human life. The world may rock in the last earthquakes, but God remains: therefore, as the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God! (Ps. 42: 1). Heb. 1: 10-12. Godliness is, in me, the activities and aims and joys and griefs of God: - furnished completely unto every good work (2 Tim. 3: 17): prepared unto every good work (2 Tim. 2: 21): in every good word and work (2 Thess. 2: 17). This is the calling of the child of eternity.
attitude - Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose
again this morning, and is coming back to-morrow: the atmosphere - The closet is an excellent place in which to practise
meeting Christ in the air: and the aim - That
ye may be found in peace, without spot and
blameless in His sight (2 Pet. 3: 14). How deep the Churchs slumber! It is possible, and even probable, that the world will last
hundreds of thousands, or a million, or even millions of years, before the
coming of Christ (Church Quarterly Review, 1901). Was
SURELY I COME QUICKLY. AMEN. EVEN SO COME, LORD JESUS (Rev. 22: 20).
An Unknown God
1. - ONE BLOOD: God made of one blood all nations of men. Acts 17: 26. The solidarity of the human race is one of the awful and mysterious facts of life. That solidarity is the basis both of the Fall and of the Redemption. One blood - so, if poison enters anywhere, it enters everywhere: one blood - so, if Christ died for one man, He died for every man. If there has been one sinner since Adam, all are sinners: if one has been saved, all can be saved: if one is lost, all are lost: if one has become radiantly Christ-like, so can all. One blood circulates through the whole human race.
2. - ONE AIM: God made all nations that they should seek God. God made the human soul for God: the soul is a great emptiness which only the Divine can fill: God made every man for Heaven. When He moulded the human soul, He gave it a bias Godward. Creation - our birth - our present heart-throbs - the world in which we live, all have come into being simply that we might seek God. Nor is He far to seek. He is not far from each one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being. If a veil has dropt between God and man, it is a veil God never made. The world is full of God: every word we speak is spoken into the ear of God: every motion we make is made in Him: the difficulty is not to find God, but to escape Him. God made your soul for that research to which all science is a toy - the search for God; therefore - Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and spirit with spirit can meet, Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.
3. - ONE LIKENESS: for we are also His offspring. This is an immense advance on earlier statements: it means that when we find God, we can know Him. Gen. 1: 27. Man has lost the moral likeness of God (Gen. 5: 3), but the rational likeness remains. God can see and feel and hear - so can we: God can reason - so can we: God can love and yearn and sorrow - so can we: that is, God and man can understand one another when they meet. Herein is the deadly insult of idolatry. To make God wooden, or even golden, is not only an almost incredible degradation of the human intellect in worship; but also, instead of a seeking after God, it is a blotting out of the image of God, by the substitution of a caricature. Nevertheless our rational affinity with the Divine remains. It is the inalienable dignity of the human spirit that it can communicate with God. Jer. 9: 23-24.
4. - ONE COMMAND: God now commandeth men that
they should all every where repent.
Repentance is a change of mind about sin: it is a sinner taking sides
with God against himself: it is a lost soul retracing its steps back to God.
God commands this. To whom? All men - everywhere. The poison is in the one blood: - in cottage
and palace, in young and old, in moral and immoral, - wherever God is God, and
man is man, God commandeth all men everywhere to
repent. When? Now. Now - that the days of ignorance are past;
now - that
5. - ONE APPOINTMENT: because He hath appointed a day. Gods wishes are made as clear as light. Who? - all men. Where? - everywhere. When? - now. Why? - because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world. To-day is a merciful interlude, a last opportunity, a golden moment, a supreme crisis, before one Day arrives, to which God is converging all events, and in which He has fixed all judgment. Gods cry is urgent because there is no hope in judgment. God never breaks His appointments: He will be there, and the world will be there: and mercy will be swallowed up in doom. Heb. 9: 27.
6. - ONE MAN: He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He hath ordained. Men will be judged by a Man; and He only among men who tasted death for every man has the right to pass eternal sentence upon any man. The man who judged the leper (Lev. 13.) was the priest who atoned for him; and the priest who atoned for him was the one who judged him. God is very slow to pronounce any man a sinner: every scrutiny is resorted to, every delay is made, every opportunity for amendment is given: and even when the case is hopeless, then atonement is made. Lev. 13; 14. But judgment comes at last. The greatest friend the leper ever had exiles the un-purged leper from the Camp for ever. Lev. 13: 44, 46; Rev. 22: 15. Jesus examines, Jesus atones, Jesus absolves, Jesus condemns: no element in the destiny of the lost is more hopeless than the fact that the Priest who atones is at the last the Judge who dooms. It is the wrath of the Lamb. Rev. 6: 16, 17.
7. - ONE PROOF: whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead. All things tell of coming judgment. Every star that obeys its orbit; every human state founded on the administration of law; every career that tells of the triumph of virtue, or the ruin of vice; every warning in the soul of sins that go before us into the other world:- all things speak loudly of coming judgment. But one fact proves it. There is only one Judge: the Father hath given all judgment unto the Son (John 5: 22): and the Judge is alive. God has lodged all judgment in the Son: if Christ be dead, so is all judgment; if Christ be risen, judgment is risen from the dead. O man, be warned of approaching judgment.
If any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world (1 John 2: 1). Claim the advocacy now. A lady wrote to her lawyer to undertake a case. Madam he replied, I am sorry I cannot undertake your case: I am no longer an advocate; I have been made a judge.
1. - THE PARABLE. Luke 19. 11-27. The Parable is two-fold throughout: two reasons for its utterance (1) because He was nigh to Jerusalem at the close of an all but royal progress, and (2) because they supposed that the kingdom was immediately to appear in consequence; two classes - citizens and servants; two judgments - a compulsory muster of citizens and a willing assembly of servants; and two adjudications - slaughter and reward exactly measured by service. (With the Citizens - unbelievers, who are taken and destroyed - we are not now concerned: nor are we concerned with the differences in ability (Matt. 25: 15) among the Servants, which is the ground of the distribution of the Talents).
2. - THE KINGDOM. Our Lords words at once postpone the Kingdom. A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return, Israel - and even the apostles after the resurrection (Acts 1: 6) - expected the kingdom immediately: the Church since the second century has supposed, for the most part, that it has been established: Jesus reveals that, until He had died, risen, ascended, and returned, the kingdom is impossible. The Nobleman must go into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 1 Cor. 15: 50.
3. - OFFICERS. The supreme principle of the Parable is now laid bare. Officers are required for the administration of a kingdom: so God deliberately interposed a prolonged period between the two advents, that our Lord might be enabled so to test His servants, in His absence, as to discover which are fitted for positions of responsibility and trust on His return. A silent period of profound mystery is slipped in, for the servants to reveal their character, for the citizens to reveal their enmity, for God to reveal His justice upon both, and for the Nobleman to reveal the Kingdom he has gone to obtain. Rev. 10: 7; 11: 15-18.
4. - SERVANTS. Ten servants are chosen (ten is the number of responsibility; Ex. 34: 28; Luke 17: 17; Matt. 25: 1; etc.): of his- all are the Noblemans property (1 Cor. 6: 19): each is entrusted with a sovereign: all are commanded to trade: and, on the Noblemans return, all are assembled for judgment, Matt. 25: 19; 2 Cor. 5: 10. The court is full: the bystanders (ver. 24) - doubtless Angels - keenly watch the adjudication, and carry out the sentences (Matt. 5: 25): and each servant steps forth, isolated and alone, to report to his Lord. Rom. 14: 12.
5. - Faithful Servants. The first servants report is brief and pregnant - Lord, thy pound hath made ten pounds more. (1) Not, I have made, but, Thy pound hath made: the utmost we can do for God is what God shall do through us. Phil. 2: 13. 1 Cor. 4: 7. Gods gifts in us push through into fruit and flower: our responsibility is to give grace free scope by which to multiply itself. John 15. The servant trades, and the pound multiplies. (2) No servant had more than one pound: no servant was without one pound: every servant had an equal opportunity of making ten pounds: yet only one so (far as we know) did so. 1 Cor. 9: 24. (3) The recompense exactly corresponds to the trade done: for every pound a city. Well done, thou good servant: because thou was found faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. The servant receives the well done for one reason only - because he has done well. Eph. 6: 8. So the second servant: - be thou also over five cities. God works through us: but He rewards us exactly according to the measure in which we have allowed Him to do it. Unto every one that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him.
6. - An Unfaithful Servant. The First - Commendation and reward: The Second - Reward; but no commendation: the third Servant, neither commendation nor reward, but reproof and loss. Lord, this servant says, here is thy pound, which I have kept. But the Lord had told him to circulate it, not to keep it: trade ye herewith till I come. To bank money is the easiest way to reap returns: this servants refusal even to bank it revealed, not only how little he had his masters interests at heart, but that, while willing to take money from his Lord, he was unwilling to spend it for his Lord. But worse lies behind. Sadducean denial of a believers judgment according to works, flowers at last into open criticism of Christ when that judgment is found to be a fact. Thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow: that is, I object on principle to the servants of God coming unto any judgment for their works. (Just as the Legalist resents the doctrine that good works can have no part in effecting our forgiveness, so the Evangelical recoils from the idea that they can constitute any ground for our recompense. - Dr. A. J. Gordon.) The Judge answers: - Your very consciousness of the severity of the principle ought to have made you more careful, not less, to meet its requirements Rev. 2: 23; Heb. 12: 28, 29; 1 Pet. 1: 17. Take away from him the pound, and give it unto him that hath these pounds: - for the capacities and opportunities of service, out of which spring the emoluments and dignities of coming glory, if despised by one, will be reaped by another. Rev. 3: 11.
7. - OUR CRISIS. Do we realise the tremendous nature of the crisis through which we are passing? Before the Nobleman departed, He laid plans for the selection of officers to aid Him in the administration of the Kingdom: He devised a plan for bringing to light who these officers are on His return: this plan is in operation at the present moment, purposely so contrived as to reveal individual capacity for office, and personal fitness for trust; and - most impressive of all - the Long Journey is now nearly over, and at any moment the investigation may begin. Make haste about cultivating a Christlike character. The harvest is great: the toil is heavy; the sun is drawing to the west; the reckoning is at hand. There is no time to lose; set about it as you have never done before, and say. This one thing I do (A. Maclaren).
The Indestructible Jew
The preservation of the Jew during so many centuries of
complete dispersion is a fact standing nearly, if not absolutely, alone in the
history of the world. It is at variance with all other experience of the laws
which govern the amalgamation with each other of different families of the
human race. (Late Duke of Argyll).
There is no land without a Jew; and so fecund and virile is the race
that in fifty years it has leapt up from four millions to twelve, and now
exceeds by five millions the Jewish census of the time of King David. Between
is the racial type altered. Other races
have suffered dispersion, but dispersion in colonies; the Jew alone has been a
race in solution among other races: yet what he was on the
We are now confronted with a startling fact. The ineradicable instinct of the Jew has been to seek absorption among the nations. Even in the golden age of Israel the Psalmist had to say, - They mingled themselves with the nations and learned their works (Psa. 106: 35); and it was the unceasing grief of Jehovah that Israel, His Bride, was never weary of breaking wedlock. So eagerly did Israel absorb a Babylonian atmosphere that, after seventy years, Nehemiah had to translate the Law into Hebrew (Neh. 8: 8), and a thousand years later the language of Palestine was still a compound manufactured in Babylon. Yet every instinct of absorption has been defied by an invisible barrier of mysterious destiny. Intermarriages with Gentiles have but one third to one fourth the fertility of pure Jewish marriages. A ring of fire has kept the Jew lonely, isolated, and indestructible. Experience shows that this conservation is due in a great degree to the very hatred which they have incurred (Spinoza).
was the persecutions of a Pharaoh which first isolated the Jew into a national
consciousness, and made him a nation. It was the whips of Philistia, and the
indestructibility of the Jew is a fact of unsurpassable significance. There could be no more startling proof as to
Who it was that hung upon the Cross than these nineteen centuries of
un-exhausted expiation. For our SINS - the
Jews have confessed every year since the burning of the
could it be the transgression of the Mosaic Law alone; for Jehovah had
explicitly promised, that, on repentance,
the Lord thy God will TURN THY CAPTIVITY, and have
compassion upon thee (Deut. 30: 3). No people has fasted longer, or prayed more
fervently; no nation has so studied the Law, or sought more earnestly to obey
its precepts: yet not a single [spiritual] blessing, that was to follow obedience, has been
procured, and not a single curse, which was to follow disobedience, has been
averted. What immediately preceded this
The survival of the Jew is an equally arresting proof of the love of God. The worlds that roll around our earth are no more indestructible than the people of Gods choice. Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night: If these ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever (Jer. 31: 35). All blessing for the world God has lodged in the Jew. In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: with the absorption of the Jew among the nations, therefore, would disappear, as a river that sinks out of sight, the hope of the world, and his survival is essential to the salvation of the race. The indestructible Jew carries in the wandering feet and weary breast the irrefutable proof of the crucifixion of the Son of God, and the perpetual witness of Jehovahs un-exhausted love.
Take the Jew from the world, and what becomes of the Bible? Take the Bible from the world, and how do you explain the Jew? Interpret one by the other and the proof is overwhelming that God has sent His Son into the world, that through Him the world might have life.
Not a line written by our Lords hand has come down to us. Once, and once only, He wrote (John viii. 6): and that word vanished with the dust in which it was written. Nevertheless, for nearly two thousand years Jesus has been writing millions of letters: what are these?
1. - THE RAW MATERIAL. What is Christs paper? Ye are an epistle of Christ, written, not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts (2 Cor. 3: 3). God might write on the mind - yet, knowing what is right, I might refuse it; God might write on the conscience - yet, feeling what is right, I might neglect it; but when He writes on my heart, He grips the centre of my being, and masters my life. I will put my laws on their heart, and upon their mind also will I write them (Heb. 10: 16).
2. - THE PARCHMENT. All writing material - whether reeds, or leaves, or skin, or rag - is utterly unfit to be written on until worked up: the reeds and leaves have to be dried, the skin to be dressed, the rags to be pulped; even stone must be polished before it can take the engravers tool. The raw material is the heart: what is the parchment ready for inscription? Written in tables [or tablets] that are hearts of flesh. A heart which refuses to absorb the ink, which takes no saving impression from the Gospel, is a hard heart, which has no part nor lot in salvation. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh (Ezek. 36: 26). But all rags can make good paper. A manufacturer cares nothing concerning the original state of the rags: - foul, or clean, all he asks is that it should go through the indispensable process: so the cleanest sinner will not enter Heaven because of his cleanness, and the foulest sinner need not keep out of Heaven because of his foulness. Joel 2: 13.
3. - THE PEN. Christ writes no letter with the pen of an angel, or an audible voice from Heaven: what then is His pen? An epistle of Christ, ministered by us. The sun takes the photograph, but human hands set the camera: so the penmanship is Christs, but the amanuensis is any one who can write Gods truth on other hearts. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Ps. 45: 1), and that Writer is Christ. 2 Cor. 4: 13.
4. - THE INK. What is the
invisible and mysterious fluid, which, traced by the finger of Christ, engraves
God upon the heart? Written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. The Tablets are alive: the Pen is alive: so
must the Fluid be living too: the Holy Ghost is Gods great Agent of life
without Whom salvation is impossible. If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His (
5. - THE WRITER. How can we be sure that the Writer is Christ? The author of a letter is revealed, not alone by the penmanship, or the signature - these can be forged, - but supremely by what he says, and how he says it: that is, by the contents, and the style. An epistle of Christ must give a savour of Christ. I saw a terrible object says a traveller - propped against the wall. He had lost all semblance of humanity, eyes and face eaten away: he could neither move nor speak, but could hear a little. Near him stood a handsome young Chinaman. Do you see that young man? said the doctor. When he came to us he was intensely proud, and bitterly opposed to the Gospel. He was converted. His first thought was, What can I do for Jesus? He constituted himself the nurse of this melancholy object, sleeping by his side, feeding him before touching his own food, and lifting him hither and thither. As a violet will fall out of an opened letter, or some word of love in it suddenly set all our pulses beating, whose is the aroma of this subtle and exquisite perfume? Whose is the image and superscription? It is a sweet savour of Christ.
6. - THE CORRESPONDENT. No letter was
ever written except to convey thoughts to others: to whom are these letters
epistle known and read of all men: that is, read and re-read; the
handwriting recognised, and the contents studied; read within and read
godly man is the ungodly mans Bible.
Everybody knew what the Corinthians had been: everybody knew what they
now were: in every one of them, therefore, all
7. - THE CONTENTS. What do these letters declare? And who may become living letters? (1) Ye - the whole church - are an epistle. As there are many copies of the Bible, but only one Bible, so there are many Christians, but only one epistle; and as a copy of the Bible may be mutilated or defective, yet the Bible is perfect, so, however defective a Christian, all the grace in the world to-day is lodged in the Church of Jesus Christ. One Christian is a living document overthrowing all infidel argument: how much more the entire Church! It spells a divine Christ. (2) If Christ has written one such letter, He can write a thousand, and He can write a million: and if your neighbour has become Gods love-letter to the world, so can you. (3) Life can hold no higher possibility for a man than to become Gods living letter: for it is Christianity in its most convincing form - the godlike life; in its most persuasive form - a loving voice; in its most enduring form - an immortal heart; and in its divinest form - an autograph of God.
Christ will soon close His correspondence for ever. He will soon have written the last letter. Will you be one? Gods Church is a letter addressed to you: He who wrote it is waiting for an answer.
1. - THE CHURCH. Countless problems are solved the moment the word church is correctly defined. What is the Church? It is - as the word indicates - an assembly called out of the world [by the Holy Spirit]; a body of men, women, and children who believe in Jesus as the Christ (1 John 5: 1), and who confess Him as the Son of God (1 John 4: 15). Seven times the Scriptures describe the Church as that body of people which is vitally one with Christ. It is (1) a Vine; I am the Vine, ye are the branches (John 15: 5): (2) a Flock; other sheep [Gentiles] I have, which are not of this fold: ... they shall become one flock, one shepherd (John 10: 16): (3) a Temple; unto Whom coming, a living stone, ye also, as living stones, are built up (1 Pet. 2: 4): (4) a Bride; that He might present it unto Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing (Eph. 5: 27): (5) a Family; that He might be the firstborn among many brethren(Rom. 8: 29): (6) a Body; God gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body (Eph. 1: 22): (7) a Spirit; he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (1 Cor. 6: 17). The sole fact which constitutes membership of the Church is vital union with our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. - RECEPTION. The moment the
Church is defined correctly, the terms of communion become inevitable and
obvious. If the Church is the assembly
of all vitally united to Christ, all so vitally united constitute the Church,
and must therefore be acknowledged as the Church. We do not make a Christian, the utmost we can
do is to receive him: we do not manufacture fellowship, we can only acknowledge
it: we do not make the unity of the Spirit, we can only keep it: and we are
bound by the very construction of the Church to receive into our fellowship all
whom God has received into His, - for they are the Church.
3. - SCHISM. We are now in a position to define the sin of Schism. God is compacting His saints into unity: Schism tears them asunder. God tempered the body together, ... that there should be no schism in the body (1 Cor. 12: 24). God tempers together: Schism, which means a split, or rending, pulls apart; it is party spirit in the Body, alienating hearts that still profess the same fellowship. 1 Cor. 1: 10-13. Whence does it come? Now the works of the flesh - that is, permanent tendencies in us all, springing from the old nature - are manifest, which are these, faction, divisions, parties (Gal 5: 20). Jude 19.
4. - HERESY. But there is a worse sin, - the sin of Schism grown hard and old: this Scripture calls Heresy. Schism is heart-separation in the Body: Heresy is an undisguised faction (often involving a separate Table, and an organisation hedged by separatist terms or communion) which ultimately develops into a split from the Body. Both sins are named in one passage. I praise you not, ... for I hear that schisms [heart-separations] exist among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies [factions] among you (1 Cor. 11: 17). It is crucial to observe that Heresy - which never bears in Scripture its modern moaning of false doctrine - is a faction which divides the people of God either on a truth or on an error. Its sinfulness lies, not in that which divides, but in the division. The forcing of any doctrine or ritual or practice - whether true or false - as a term of communion compels division, and is the sin of Heresy: and the heretic, or party-maker, is to be avoided. Tit. 3: 10; Rom. 16: 17.
5. EXCOMMUNICATION. The only
commanded excommunications are those for implacable injury (Matt. xviii. 17), certain stated immoralities (1 Cor. 5: 11), and perhaps also for persistent
sloth (2 Thess. 3: 11, 14). All other exclusion is unscriptural and
doth he himself receive the brethren - the grounds of Diotrophes
excommunication of others are not stated, for they are immaterial: it is the
excommunication which is the sin - and them that would
he forbiddeth, and casteth them out of the
imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good (3
John 10, 11). Schism and Heresy
will exclude disciples from the millennial
6. - THE SCHISMATIC. A fact of supreme practical importance remains. Who is the Schismatic? The Schismatic is the one who raises barriers to communion with his brethren which God never raised. If an individual, or a church, or a group imposes as a condition of fellowship any doctrine or ritual or practise which God has not imposed - that is, any doctrine except that which makes a Christian (Rom. 10: 9) - the guilt of schism lies with the imposing body, and not with the conscientious objector who is thereby debarred from fellowship. God has founded His Church on life: he who, ignoring a disciples life in Christ, and his entire innocence of the immoralities of 1 Cor. 5: 11, insists on a doctrine or a ritual or a practice as a term of communion, - he is the Schismatic: on the other hand, the individual or the church which, loving all Gods children, receives them on the sole ground of regeneration, nor exalts un-sectionalism as the fresh rallying-cry of a sect, no excommunication can bring in guilty of Schism at the bar of God.
7. - CATHOLICITY. Here lies the
true Catholicity. I take a whole Christ for my Saviour; I take the whole Bible
for my staff; I take the whole Church for my fellowship; and I take the whole
world for my parish (Augustine).
In spite of the deep disorder and tragic sin at
The Blood and the Soul
1. - SACRIFICE. A custom that is universal, dating back through all ages, and spread through all nations, is bloodshed in Sacrifice. The most ancient writers, as Pythagoras and Plato, complain that so strange a practise - one so abhorrent (as it is) to reason, and opposed to all the dictates of natural religion - had even then spread through the whole world: modern travellers affirm that it is still as wide-spread as the human race. How could the blood of a dead animal please God? Imagine the first sacrifice. No animal had yet been killed by man. No creatures were yet slaughtered for food. No holy human instinct demanded bloodshed for worship. Yet Abel deliberately cuts his lambs throat, and its blood welters on the ground; when the last quiver of the heart has ceased, he places the carcase in the flames; and the fire consumes it into silent ash. Blood, hot with life, poured out is a tragic and awful thing: could it please God? Ezek. 18: 32.
2. - GUILT. Abels only possible motive is that which has been the motive of all Sacrifice since. The dreadful accents of an offended God still rang in the ears of the disobedient family. Abel, profoundly moved, must have felt thus: - I can come before God no more in the glow of child-like innocence and gratitude: the purpose for which He made me, I have destroyed: I have sinned, and now I am sin; even as this sacrifice is burnt to ashes, so I deserve nothing but death. But the moment Gods lightnings fell on the lamb, and not on him, imagine Abels joy. God is pleased, somehow; the philosophy of it I do not understand: how an innocent animal can replace my guilty soul, I do not know: all I know is that I have escaped the fire. It was life for life.
3. - FAITH. But was God pleased? By faith Abel offered his lamb: and, since faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10: 17), God must have told Abel to do it. How else could Abel know he was not to offer the animal alive? How could he tell which animal was sacrificial? How could he know God would not be angry with the slaughter of His lovely living thing? Moreover, God had already done it. The first animal ever slain was slain by God (Gen. 3: 21): not for human food, but to cover man: life was taken, that life might be preserved. It was life for life.
4. - BLOOD. The meaning of the bloodshed now begins to appear. Death is no pleasure to God: it is a tragic and horrible necessity. For the soul of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it - the blood, containing the soul - to you upon the altar to make atonement - that is, a covering - for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement; by reason of the soul that is in it (Lev. 17: 11). It is soul for soul. There is no magic in blood, but there is a soul in it: and only when the blood is poured away with the soul in it is death assured, and soul has been given for soul. Therefore God, for mercys sake, reserved all the blood for sacrifice alone. No soul of you shall eat blood: ... I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement. It is soul for soul.
6. - JUDGMENT. Therefore all
Sacrifice - and
7. - CONFUSION. How then, and
when, is atonement - Gods mercy-gift - made mine? The Law of Moses - the most organized and
wonderful sacrificial system the world has ever seen - first made plain, by its
ritual, the identity of the sacrifice and the sinner. Aaron shall lay his
hands upon the head of the live goat, and
confess all the iniquities of the children of
And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him [by God] to make atonement (Lev. 1: 4).
The Prize of the Kingdom
1. Because our Lord states it in the Gospels, - the Holy Spirit repeats it in nearly every Epistle, - it is the basis of the promises and threats to the Seven Churches, - and it is foretold as an actual experience in the prophecies of the Apocalypse.
 Matt. 7: 21; Luke 20: 35, etc.
 Eph. 5: 5, 6; Gal. 5: 19-21.
 Rev. chs. 2. & 3.
 Rev. 11: 18, 20: 6.
2. Because the Types of the Old Testament, largely an unquarried mine, strikingly corroborate it, thus confirming our understanding of the literal passages of the New Testament, and weaving all into an exquisite mosaic of revelation. 1 Cor. 9: 24 10: 12: Ex. 12: 15; Luke 17: 32; Heb. 4: 11.
Because the Age to Come - as distinct from the Eternal State, which is based (Rev. 20: 15) on grace alone - is revealed as one last day of a thousand years, a full and perfect
judicial aeon, in which all seed sown in this Age reaps its exactly
corresponding harvest, and to which the consequences of works done after faith
4. Because it safeguards the infinite merits of our Lords imputed righteousness and divine sacrifice by establishing the spotless and eternal standing of every believer in Him; while it also safeguards human responsibility and divine justice by making every believer accountable for his walk, under pain of a possible forfeiture of coming glory.
 Heb. 10: 14, Rom. 8: 33;
 Phil. 2: 12, Rev. 3: 11.
5. Because - since Gods dealings with His people must always rest on the character of God, and Gods character is not mercy only, but justice also - it is inconceivable that a disciples life, if unholy, should have no profounder effect on his destiny than mere gradation in glory. Heb. 10: 30, 31; Rev. 22: 12; 1 Cor. 3: 15; Luke 20: 35.
Because, if we acknowledge any judgment of a believers works at all, and that
before a tribunal which is a judgment seat and not a mercy seat, we are thereby
compelled to acknowledge, further, that the investigation must be strictly
judicial, and that it will therefore be as exactly graded in censure as it is
in praise. 2
Cor. 5: 10; Rom. 14: 10-12;
7. Because it vindicates the holiness and justice of God from the charge of compounding with His peoples sins, and makes the highest glory of God to rest only on the active righteousness of the disciple co-operating, consistently and ceaselessly, with the imputed righteousness of his Lord, - obedience being the only proof of love. 1 Cor. 3: 17; 1 Thes. 4: 6; Matt. 5: 20; Rev. 20: 6.
8. Because it is the supreme reconciliation between Paul and James, - that is, between justification through faith unto Eternal Life and justification through works unto Millennial Reward.
 Before works - Rom. 4: 10, Gen. 15: 6;
 After works - Jas. 2: 21, Gen. 22: 16.
9. Because it is perhaps as near an approximation as has yet been reached to a solution of the perennial controversy between the Calvinist and the Arminian: for it establishes all the passages of glorious certainty, while it leaves ample scope for the most solemn warnings: it takes both sets of Scripture as it finds them. John 10: 27, 28; Rom. 6: 23; Rom. 11: 29; John 15: 6; Heb. 10: 26; Matt. 5: 22.
10. Because it gives the natural and unforced interpretation to the facts of Church life, as it does also to the simple statements of Holy Writ, and reveals how exactly the one squares with the other, both in present character and in just recompense. 2 Cor. 12: 20, 21; Jas. 2: 5; Matt. 18: 18; Rom. 8: 12, 13.
11. Because large sections of the Church of God are purged, and can only be purged, by seeing the drastic consequences of a carnal life: and because, for want of a frank and fearless statement of these consequences, multitudes of disciples are now wrapt in a profound slumber. 1 Cor. 5: 5, 11, 6: 9; Matt. 24: 48-51; Luke 12: 47, 48; Rev. 3: 16, 21.
12. Because it purges every motive with the awful vision of the Judgment
Seat of Christ, and supplies a lever of unsurpassed power for alienating the
disciple from the world and filling him with a passion for the
Jehovah Our Righteousness
TRANSGRESSION. By works of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight (Rom. 3: 20). What is the Law? Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself (Luke 10: 27): on these two commandments hangeth the whole law, and the prophets (Matt. 22: 40). Love from cradle to grave; love to God from every part of ones being; love to every act, to every truth, to every attribute, of God; love that has so controlled us as to prevent, under all circumstances, and at all times, injury to God or man; love to every neighbour without exception, with a love no less than love to self; love that has never ceased, and that has never slipped: - this is the Law of God. The soul that imagines that flesh can be justified before God by works of law has no conception whatever of the true nature of the Law of God.
REPENTANCE. Nor can Repentance ever be Justification. For through the law cometh the knowledge - or consciousness - of sin, or guilt, and not its removal. No law court in the world ever justified an offender because he repented: for law has to do, not with the feelings of the guilty, but with his deeds: it has never said, Repent and live, but always, Do this, and live (Ezek. 18: 19). The doers of a law shall be justified, that is, pronounced righteous (Rom. 2: 13). For law to acquit the guilty on the ground of repentance, or on any ground whatever but that of obedience, is to dissolve the very foundations of righteousness. Prov. 17: 15. Gal. 3: 10.
RIGHTEOUSNESS. But listen. Now - since the Gospel came - apart from law a righteousness of God hath been manifested. A righteousness now manifested, - now, for the first time: and it is Gods: what is this righteousness? God was never manifested anything but righteous: and so far from the Gospel revealing a righteous God, it is the Law which supremely did this (Ps. 119: 142): what then is this righteousness now revealed? Look again. A righteousness of God: but righteousness before law is the Law pronouncing righteous one who stands before it: when did God ever so stand? Look again. This must be a human righteousness; for it is human conduct which the Law regulates: what then is it? Christ.
PAUL ANSWERS. Christ Jesus, whom God set forth ... to show His righteousness: ... for the showing, I say, of His righteousness at this present season. Whom God brought forward: God brought Jesus out of the veiled eternities, led Him under human gaze for three-and-thirty years, lifted Him on the cross to the eyes of all men and all ages, and then drew Him back to God. Behold the Righteousness! It is the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1: 1); for as through the one mans disobedience the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of the One shall the many be made righteous (Rom. 5: 19). It is a Mans obedience, for Christ was born of a woman, born under the law (Gal. 4: 4): yet it is Gods righteousness, for it was God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3: 16) who gave that obedience its infinite value and reach. It is Jehovah our righteousness (Jere. 23: 6). Phil. 3: 9.
JUSTIFICATION. So justification before law - though apart from law so far as the sinner is concerned - becomes both possible and a fact. Gal. 2: 16. For the showing, I say, of His righteousness at this present season; He might Himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. On what ground? Because, since the Law has been perfectly obeyed in a living righteousness, and perfectly obeyed also in a death under judgment, the Law itself now justifies him who is in Christ. If I have faith, I am in Christ: not only, therefore, may God justify me, but - by His own gracious provision - He must; once justice is satisfied, it were injustice to ask for more: the just Judge can now justify the unjust without losing his character, - nay, while gloriously vindicating His holiness. Is. 61: 10.
BOASTING. Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. Three things must follow if I had a finger in my own salvation: - (1) the Divine holiness would be irretrievably damaged in my eyes, for God would have slurred over, and accepted, an imperfect goodness; (2) my eternity would be uneasy, for how should I know what fresh guilt the Law might not uncover in my earthly life? And (3) for all eternity I could boast in the face of Heaven that salvation belongeth unto God and myself. Rev. 7: 10. But now the righteousness that saves is not mine at all, but Gods; nor is it Gods righteousness eking out mine, but substituted for mine: the meriting cause lies wholly outside my conduct, and wholly inside Christs; and the Law, Thou shalt love - the highest law that man could hear, or God could give - has been so divinely fulfilled from Bethlehem to Calvary that now Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to everyone that believeth, Rom. 10: 4.
LAW. Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish law. The law is holy and righteous and good (Rom. 7: 12): its enforcement is holy and righteous and good: and the joy of eternity is a salvation that rests, not on a pardon granted against law, but on a righteousness founded on the vindication of law. God is pleased to impute Christs righteousness to the soul on faith as surely and effectually as He imputes the souls sin to Christ. Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become - not righteous, but - the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5: 21).
There is such dignity in the Godhead that all it does is infinite in its merit, and when He stooped to suffer, the Law received greater honour than if a whole universe had become a sacrifice (Spurgeon).
1. IT IS A COMMAND. To save (John 12: 47)
- that was our Lords mission; I must work (John 9: 4) - that was His motto: and as He is, even so are we in
this world (1 John 4: 17). Follow Me, and I will make you fishers (Matt.
4: 18): every follower is to be a fisher: and our witness, like a pebble
dropped in a pool, is to widen out to the utmost frontiers of mankind. Ye shall be My
witnesses both in
2. IT IS A RESPONSIBILITY. 1 Cor. 1: 27, 28. It was labouring men out of whom our Lord made the greatest Fishers. All the college that is needed is a heart set on souls; all the learning, an experimental knowledge of saving truth; all the training, actual experience in soul-winning; and all the ordination, the impulse of the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor. 4: 13. The very consciousness of our sinfulness is the best warrant for our pointing others to the Saviour.
Christ, the Son of God, hath sent me
Through the midnight lands;
Mine the mighty ordination
Of the pierced Hands.
3. IT IS A RESOLVE. I determined that as I loved Christ, and as Christ loved souls, I would press Christ on the individual soul, so that none who were in the proper sphere of my individual responsibility or influence should lack the opportunity of meeting the question whether or not they would individually trust and follow Christ. The resolve I made was, that when ever I was in such intimacy with a soul as to be justified in choosing my subject of conversation, the theme of themes should have prominence between us, so that I might learn his need, and, if possible, meet it (Dr. Trumbull). Prov. 11: 30.
4. IT IS A GREAT CHALLENGE. For every ten men competent and desirous to address a meeting, there is not one competent and desirous to deal with individual souls; for winning the individual is incomparably the hardest work that God has given us to do. From nearly half a century of such practice, I can say I have spoken with thousands upon thousands on the subject of their spiritual welfare; yet I find it as difficult to speak about it at the end of these years as at the beginning. If there is one thing Satan is sensitive about, it is the danger of a Christians harming the cause he loves by speaking of Christ to a needy soul (Dr. Trumbull). It is a challenge to the highest manhood in the soul. Luke 14: 23.
5. IT IS A GREAT BLESSING. The first recorded soul-winners in the world - save Noah - were angels fresh from the throne of God (Gen. 19: 15): our work is the work they dropped: and we too must live in Heaven if we would do personal work on earth. We must win men to us if we would win them to the Lord: the effort, the self-watchfulness, the unselfishness evoke all that is loveliest in the soul. In dealing with souls, Be especially careful of the hand, the voice, and the smile (Evan Roberts). Mr. Mullers five principles of intercession produce the highest type of character. (1). I have no shadow of doubt in praying for their salvation: 1 Tim. 2: 4 and 1 John 5: 6. (2). I never plead for their salvation in my own name, but in the all-worthy name of my precious Lord Jesus: John 14: 14. (3). I always believe in the willingness and ability of God to answer my prayers: Mark 11: 24. (4). I have not allowed myself in known sin: Ps. 66: 18. (5). I have continued in believing prayer for over fifty-two years, and shall so continue until the answer is given. Nor need the highest talents lie unused. Every one out of Christ I look upon as a fortress that I must storm and win; and when I look back upon the thousands of youths whose hearts have opened under my influence, I can only say, The Lord hath done it. In working to save souls, my life has been one of joy, rather than of toil. (Dr. Tholuck). Jas. 5: 20.
6. IT IS A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. In the great eternity which is beyond, among the many marvels that will burst upon the soul, this surely will be one of the greatest, that the Son of God came to redeem the world, that certain individuals were chosen from among mankind to be the first-fruits of the new creation, that to them was committed the inconceivable honour of proclaiming the glad tidings to their fellow-creatures still in the darkness, and they did not do it (Dr. Eugene Stock). Matt. 21: 30.
7. IT IS A GREAT NEED. Isa. 60: 2. The need is greater by many millions of souls
than when our Lord gave the command nineteen hundred years ago. Thirty millions of
souls go to no place of worship in
8. IT IS A GREAT
Do something, oh do something! By the hell on earth these poor creatures suffer to-day; by the destruction on the verge of which they hover; by the abundant mercy provided for them; by the deliverance we have proved so possible; by the agony of the Cross under which I make this appeal, I plead for a united, desperate, persistent effort to save the lost (Gen. Booth).
1. - A RUNAWAY SLAVE. Onesimus had
fled from the mountains of
2. - A LETTER. Philemon, wealthy, loving, wronged, hurt; Onesimus, a runaway, a thief, an outcast, a criminal: - now there appears one between, - Paul, a sufferer, a sympathiser, an intercessor, a surety. What does Paul do? Whom I have sent back to thee in his own person. The first thing Christ does with a soul is to send it back to God. Sinner or saint, pure or foul, saved or unsaved, we must all get back to God. But how? With a covering letter only. No excuses, no denials, no vows, no promises; no offers to pay our debt, or to work out our own liability: Onesimus, silently pointing to the letter in his hand, stakes everything on Pauls influence with Philemon. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 1: 2).
3. - VITAL
4. - A NEW BIRTH. But, Philemon may say, how
can I take back one so false and untrustworthy? a second time he may ruin me
utterly. Therefore Paul gives
back another man. My child, whom I have begotten
in my bonds: [who] perhaps was parted from thee
for a season, that shouldest have him for ever. Paul gives back one born over again; one
re-created in his own likeness; the new nature, one with the Holy Father. The child of God is begotten in the bonds of
5. - THE DEBT. But Onesimus is a bankrupt slave and the debt remains. If my slave, Philemon may say, can rob me with impunity, and I merely cancel his debt, how can this be just to my other slaves? Paul answers: If he hath wronged thee at all, or oweth thee aught, put that to mine account, ... I will repay it. Paul had not robbed Philemon: but the liability for the debt, by this offer, now passes from Onesimus to Paul: after this, Onesimus is no more in debt. Crucifixion, the extreme penalty of a runaway slave, has been paid in full: having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, nailing it to the cross (Col. 2: 14). The redeemed soul is in debt to God no more: the bond is cancelled, because the debt is paid.
6. - A BROTHER BELOVED. So Paul takes the whole liability: Onesimus takes a full discharge: and what is he to Philemon now? No longer as a slave, but more than a slave - that is, a slave still, but much more a brother beloved. He was Philemons in body before: now, in body and soul. Why? Because the soul has now understood its God; that our God is love, essential, originating, all-comprehensive love: and it has found salvation in simply letting God love it. The state of salvation is the state of love between God and the soul. Every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God (1 John 4: 7). Nothing, in heaven or earth, is nearer the heart of God than His redeemed child.
7. - COMING HOME. In one point - perhaps the loveliest - the picture fails. Paul had to work on the sympathies of Philemon, to win back his love to Onesimus: in the Gospel it is Philemon who sent Paul after his runaway slave.
And none of the ransomd ever knew
How deep were the waters crossd;
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passd through,
Ere He found His sheep that was lost:
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick, and helpless, and ready to die.
O Onesimus, will you present Christs letter, on your behalf, to God? God will be certain to hear that plea: none ever came to Him through Christ in vain, Are you there, Mary? a blind girl, dying, said to her attendant. Yes. Have you got a Bible? Yes. Turn to Heb. 7: 25. I have got it. Read it. He is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. Yes, that is it. Now take hold of my hand, and put my finger on that verse. Is it there? Yes. Now, my God, I die on that verse.
I AM THE DOOR: BY ME IF ANY MAN ENTER IN, HE SHALL BE SAVED (John 10: 9).
The Great Escape
THE PERIL. All these things that shall come to pass (Luke 21: 36): what things? Crowding and disastrous miracles: - terrors from heaven (ver. 11); signs in sun and moon and stars (ver. 25); the powers of the heaven shaken (ver. 26): for these will be the days of vengeance (ver. 22), of persecution (ver. 17), of distress of nations, men fainting for fear (ver. 25). Jer. 25: 32. Then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be (Matt. 24: 21). No peril so awful has ever demanded an escape so great.
A HEAVENLY ESCAPE. Escape is possible: to escape all these things. Gen. 19: 22. Now since the distress is universal it can only be an escape into the heavens: for it shall come upon all them that dwell on the face of all the earth. No foothold of safety will exist in the whole inhabited world. It is an escape to the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory: for He bowed the heavens also, and came down; ... He made darkness His hiding place, thick clouds of the skies :.. He sent from on high, He took me (Ps. 18: 9). 1 Thess. 4: 17.
A MORAL ESCAPE. Nor can this be the deliverance of the elect Jewish remnant: for (1) the escape of the Jew is into the wilderness, never into the heavens. Rev. 12: 6. The earthly escape was typed by Noah passing through the Flood, the heavenly by Enoch who escaped it altogether; and this is an escape which sets before the Son of Man. Matt. xxiv. 26. (2) The Jewish escape is active: this escape is passive. The faithful Jew is to flee to the mountains (Matt. 24: 16): the faithful disciple here is to pray to be removed - to be set [by angels, Alford] before the Son of Man. (3) The Jewish escape is on purely physical grounds, - if he instantly sets his face to the mountains whatever his exact moral condition, he escapes: this deliverance turns crucially on moral acceptability - accounted worthy to escape.
A CHRISTIAN ESCAPE. Other Scriptures are conclusive that this escape is Christian. (1) To the head of a Christian church is our Lords promise: - Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon whole world (Rev. 3: 10). 1 Thess. 5: 9; Heb. 9: 28. (2) To the head of a Christian church is also our Lords warning: - If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will arrive over [see Greek] thee (Rev. 3: 3). Matt. 5: 13; Rev. 12: 17. (3) The Type exquisitely confirms it. The Field is the world; the Wheat is the church; the Reapers are angels (Matt 13: 39): - the Reapers first of all gather the Firstfruits, then garner the Harvest, and finally glean the Corners of the Field which had been deliberately left unreaped. Lev. 23: 10-22. So firstfruits are found in the Heavenlies before the harvest (Rev. 14: 4): and after the harvest (Rev. 14: 15) the warning to watchfulness still goes forth (Rev. 16: 15). Only those who are devoutly looking and waiting for the Saviours return shall be taken at first (Dr. Seiss).
A CONDITIONAL ESCAPE. The moral crisis of the escape lies in the condition: watch and pray that ye may be accounted worthy to escape. These Divine words, if they have any meaning at all, must mean that without the prayerful vigil the worthiness is impossible: watch and pray always. Heb. 11: 5. No command is more frequent, none more solemnly impressed (Dean Alford): for the escape is no privilege attached to faith, but a reward attached to a standard of holiness known only to God. Then shall two men be in the field; one is taken, and one is left; two women shall be grinding in the mill; one is taken, and one is left. Watch therefore, for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh (Matt. 24: 40). Our Lord assumes that some of His beloved Church will continue to be cared for as His sheep upon earth, until He destroy that wicked with the breath of His mouth (Dr. Tregelles).
THE WAY OF ESCAPE. Watch is one of the great comprehensive words of the Bible. Watch oneself: watch the advances of the world-crisis: watch for the King; watch for the highest interests of Christ: watch for flying opportunities: watch for dying souls: watch Satan: watch God. Watchfulness is acute alertness exercising every faculty for God. But it must be accompanied by specific prayer: - pray that ye may be accounted worthy; that ye may prevail [with God] to escape. Watchfulness invokes all our powers for God, - prayer invokes all Gods powers for us; but more than that, - watchfulness devotes our works to God, - prayer devotes ourselves. 2 Tim. 4: 8.
THE CRISIS. The cry of
urgency should now ring through the whole
A Cancelled Bond
THE BOND. No judge can liberate accused man without first disposing of the indictment which holds the prisoner in an iron grip. That indictment is absolute master of the situation. Now such a bond, Paul says (Col. 2: 14) - a document that binds - exists between the soul and God. The contract in the bond is obedience in all points to the Law of God: man is a debtor to do the whole law (Gal. 5: 3). The advantage named in the bond is Eternal Life - he that doeth [the works of the law] shall live (Gal. 3: 12): the penalty named is a Curse - Cursed is every one which continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them (Gal. 3: 10). The great Creditor now holds the Bond: drawn originally in His actual handwriting (Ex. 31: 18), it is deposited with Him, and therefore there can be no evasion of its obligations. As all-knowing, no detail of the debt can escape Him; as almighty, the payment can be enforced; as all-just, the indebtedness must be exacted; as all-holy, He cannot tear up His own bond. The indictment flutters over the whole human race.
BROKEN. No honourable and solvent man need fear a bond: he can not only meet its obligations, but it guarantees his own claim. The Bond binds me to obedience, but it also binds God to grant me life, on obedience. But the exactness and comprehension of the contract allows of no flaw in the fulfilment. Whosoever shalt keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all (Jas. 2: 10). One sin, therefore, releases God from the Bond: one sin renders me powerless to enforce my claim upon Him. But Gods claim upon me does not lapse: on the contrary, the penalty agreed upon the Creditor, as a just judge, has now no option but to enforce. And my sin is not one, but a multitude (Jas. 5: 20): the list of the Laws enactments has become, approximately, the catalogue of my sins.
HOSTILE. Thus a bond, which is broken, becomes actively hostile: it becomes virtually a writ for my arrest. I can be proceeded against in a court of law, and the broken bond is the fatal document. Which was [secretly] hostile to us, and [also openly] contrary to us. Secretly: for myriads, resting on obedience for salvation, thus actually appeal to the Bond for justification; which is as though a thief, caught red-handed, pointed to his indictment to clear him. Slowly it dawns on the debtor that he is dead through his trespasses; and, if a Gentile, doubly dead, for his signature - circumcision - has never been affixed to the bond at all - dead [also] through the uncircumcision of your flesh. Even if he has kept the Law, he is powerless to enforce his claim on an unsigned bond.
EXPUNGED. Now God, anxious for the salvation of all, deals, not with the debtor, but with the indictment; for the cancelling of the indictment is the only hope of the accused. First, therefore, having blotted out the bond: He has expunged the charges of the broken Law. How? In the only way open to a judge in a true indictment. The debt has been paid. 1 Pet. 2: 24. The penal consequences having been endured, the obligations are discharged: justice never strikes twice for the same sin: every sting for every sin, emptied into Christ, is a spent sting: therefore the handwriting of the Bond fades and disappears, Jesus having undergone my capital punishment, the writ against me no longer runs: His death is the death of my sins: and the only condition is my acceptance of the discharge. Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts. 3: 19).
REMOVED. But God has done more: He has bodily removed the indictment, taking it out of the way. The Law rose up as the great barrier between God and man; it blocked the road to life; it was powerless - through the weakness of the flesh - either for justification, or for sanctification: God has therefore removed the Flaming Sword from the way to the Tree of Life. Who has removed it?
THE CREDITOR. The document on which all His claims rest, - by which alone He can enforce those claims, - in which lies the only record of my debts - He has taken it away; and the Judge Himself is powerless against me without the indictment. The indictment is withdrawn because all the charges have been met.
PUNCTURED. Our merciful God has finally turned the Bond into a receipt: He has nailed it to the cross. Who was nailed to the cross? Christ. What was nailed to the cross? The Law. Then the two were identified, and both were crucified. The nails which pierced the Lord, pierced the Law: the moment a debt is paid, a bill becomes inoperative: it becomes a receipt. A man once entered an American bank, and presented a cheque of considerable value. The cashier, after examining it, asked him where he obtained it. I do not see, the customer replied, that that is any business of yours: is it not made payable to bearer? Certainly, the cashier replied. Is it not a genuine cheque? Yes, said the cashier. Then why wont you cash it? Look here, said the cashier, I dont want to exceed my official duty; nor do I question that you came by this cheque honourably. But here, in the middle of the cheque, is a peculiarly-shaped and clear-cut little hole. It corresponds to the die of this little instrument, with which we bankers puncture cheques that have been paid. That cheque has been cashed. Once punctured, it has no power or authority over the bank. Exactly so it is with the Law. The Law has no fraction of authority over me any more: it is a cashed cheque: it is a cancelled bond: and God now hands it to every soul, for the taking, as a receipted bill.
For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every
one that believeth (
The Blood and the Leaven
THE TYPE. Ex. 12. A zoologist, it is said, if he be given but a single bone of an animal, can reconstruct the entire anatomy to which the bone belongs: so one sure clue is sufficient to explain a type: and, in the Blood and the Leaven, three explicit clues are given by the Holy Spirit, so as to put all beyond doubt. Our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ - therefore the lambs blood typifies Christs blood: wherefore let us keep the feast - therefore the Church age, the Seven Days between Advent and Advent, is the antitype of the Feast of Unleavened Bread: not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness - the leaven, therefore, is sin - but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Cor. 5: 8). No type could be clearer or surer. 1 Cor. 10: 11.
THE BLOOD. Jehovahs
first command was putting of the Blood upon the House. They shall take of
the blood, and put it on the two side posts and
on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they
shall eat the lamb (Ex. 12: 7). The Destroying Angel sought out every house,
for every house held sinners; but he lowered his sword, and passed, wherever he
saw the blood. When
I see the blood, I will pass over you. Why?
Because death had already crossed the threshold: the lamb had perished
in the place of the firstborn. But into
every other house the Angel entered. The
moment Christs blood rises up between my soul and Jehovah, it is the beginning of months to my soul: it is
regeneration, the begetting of a new and divine life: in that moment, when I
have consciously appropriated
THE LEAVEN. Jehovahs
second command was the putting forth of the Leaven from the House. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day - that is, from the moment of
conversion - ye shall put away leaven out of your
JUSTIFICATION. Here then is Gods dual truth exquisitely revealed. The Blood - Justification; the Leaven - Sanctification: the Blood - Christs work for us; the Leaven - the Spirits work in us. Now observe. There is no command to put out the Leaven before putting on the Blood. The Lamb, it is true, must be eaten with unleavened bread (ver. 8); the heart must turn from all sin in the act of appropriating Christ: but we are not to attempt to cleanse the House from Leaven before it is presented to God for the Blood.
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou biddst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.
Being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Rom. 5: 9).
SANCTIFICATION. But the completed work of Justification immediately introduces the complementary work of Sanctification: and only when the Blood is on the door have we power to put forth the Leaven. Work out your own salvation - the Leaven put forth - with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you (Phil. 2: 12) - the Holy Spirit is now in the House. Jehovah does not say that the presence of Leaven in the House proves that there is no Blood on the door: on the contrary, the constant peril of known or discoverable, but un-expelled, leaven is assumed as the peril of every house. We cannot be too passive under the Blood: we cannot be too active in purging out the Leaven. My sins slew my Saviour: now I must slay my sins. Mark 9: 43-50.
DISOBEDIENCE. Both these
Divine commands involve grave consequences.
The Israelite or Egyptian who refused or neglected to apply the Blood, perished:
he perished at the hand of God: he perished in
OBEDIENCE. Put on the
Blood: O my soul, purge out the Leaven!
A traveller once watched a carpenter in
LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES FROM ALL DEFILEMENT OF FLESH AND SPIRIT, PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD (2 Cor. 7: 1).
The Vision of God
Some twelve visions of God are revealed in Scripture: all (since Adam) granted to fallen mankind: and all (with one exception) granted to redeemed souls of conspicuous holiness and utmost fidelity. What was the effect?
JOB. Job is one of the very few men whom God has called perfect. Hast thou considered my servant, Job? For there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man (Job 1: 8). So Job himself says: My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: I am clean, without transgression (Job. 27: 6; 33: 6). But what happened when he saw the Lord? Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: and Job said, Now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes (Job. 38: 1; 42: 5-6).
Behold the perfect man when face to face with God.
MOSES. Moses was fair unto God in the cradle; though fiery-spirited, his lowliness of heart made him the meekest man on earth (Num. 12: 3); Jehovah revealed the whole body of the Law through him; and he accomplished the mightiest administrative work for God ever achieved by human hands. But what followed on a vision of God? God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God (Ex. 3: 4). Sin-cursed earth near which was Deity was too holy for Moses.
ELIJAH. Elijah has been called the grandest and most romantic character that
ISAIAH. No Old Testament prophet had sublimer revelations than Isaiah: none caught so full a Gospel light from the still unrisen Sun. But what followed on a vision of God? I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. One seraph cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts (Is. 6: 1). The mouth through which some of Heaven sublimest revelations were poured was a mouth of unclean lips.
DANIEL. Daniel is the only man in the whole Bible in whom his enemies could find no fault except that he prayed too much: he is the only man to whom God has sent an angel from Heaven to tell him that he was loved. But what followed on a vision of God? His body was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and His eyes as lamps of fire. I saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption (Dan. 10: 6). The most faultless saint of Scripture could not face God without being turned into corruption.
PAUL. Paul came nearer to justification. Paul works [more] than any man that ever lived. By birth, the purest Hebrew; by education, the straitest Pharisee; by conviction, a burning flame; by conduct, blamelessly righteous But what followed on a vision of God? Suddenly there shone round about him a light from heaven: and he fell upon the earth. And when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing (Acts 9: 3). Even Pauls eyes were so sinful that he could not look on the Glory without blindness.
JOHN. Johns, perhaps, is the supreme case. The man whom Jesus specially loved, - the disciple who alone was faithful in the judgment hall, - the apostle selected for the authorship of the divinest of the Gospels, and the most stupendous of all Revelations: - in the ripeness of perfected maturity the old saint sees his Lord. What followed on his vision of God? His head and His hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as one dead (Rev. 1: 14). Earths ripest and loveliest saint, who had lain in the bosom of his Lord, falls as lifeless when he meets God.
This is not only the overthrow of sinless perfection in any believer: it is much more. These overwhelming issues were all to saints: what will the vision be to sinners? Sinless Adam had no such experience in the Garden. PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD! We may disown Him as Father; we may reject Him as Lord; we may dethrone Him as King; we may refuse Him as Saviour: - but we must meet Him AS GOD. See now the only Vision that saves. It was a human body that writhed, pale and racked, upon the accursed tree; they were human hands that were pierced so rudely by the nails; it was human flesh that bore that deadly gash upon the side; the soul that yearned over His mother was a human soul. But every wound was a mouth to speak of the grace and the love of God: every drop of blood that fell came as a messenger of love from His heart, to tell the love of the fountain (McCheyne).
HE THAT HATH SEEN ME HATH SEEN THE FATHER: THE BREAD WHICH I WILL GIVE IS MY FLESH, FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD (John 6: 51; 14: 9).
THE KINGDOM DENIED. In certain
present-day influential Christian circles the
IN THE LAST OF THE DAYS MOCKERS SHALL COME WITH MOCKERY, WALKIKG AFTER THEIR OWN LUSTS, AND SAYING, WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING? FOR, FROM THE DAY THAT THE FATHERS FELL ASLEEP, ALL THINGS CONTINUE AS THEY WERE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION (2 Pet. 3: 3). Num. 14: 6-10.
THE KINGDOM AFFIRMED. The return of our Lord in person to establish a Kingdom over the whole earth was the universal faith of the Church in its purest dawn. The assurance [of that return and reign] was carefully inculcated by men who had conversed with the immediate disciples of the apostles, and appears to have been the reigning sentiment of orthodox believers (Gibbon). This prevailing opinion met with no opposition previous to the time of Origen (Mosheim): until Origen no Christian writer can be found who denied it. No one can hesitate to consider this doctrine as universal in the church of the first two centuries (Giesler). The doctrine was believed and taught by the most eminent fathers in the age next after the apostles, and by none of that age opposed or condemned: it was the catholic doctrine of those times (Archbishop Chillingworth).
FOR THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN, WITH A SHOUT, WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, AND WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD (I Thess. 4: 16): AND HE THAT OVERCOMETH, AND HE THAT KEEPETH MY WORKS UNTO THE END, TO HIM WILL I GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON (Rev. 2: 26).
THE KINGDOM RE-AFFIRMED. The world-wide revival of the Gospel of the Kingdom before the End is certain. Matt. 24: 14. In our Lords teaching the conception of the Kingdom is supreme. Yet it is safe to say that there is no subject upon which there exists a greater amount of division among expositors. For some the Kingdom is definitely the historical Church; for others it is altogether in the future, a great Divine supramundane order of things which is suddenly to overwhelm the temporal order; for others again it is simply the ideal social order to be realised on earth; for a fourth class the Kingdom is the rule of God in the heart of the individual. Among recent critics the tendency is more and more to lay stress on the eschatological interpretation, and to hold that, in our Lords teaching, the Kingdom is essentially the great future and heavenly order of things which will be revealed at His coming. The Kingdom in its fulness is yet to come. It is always to be prayed for. It is the great end which is ever before us (Bishop DArcy, University Sermon at Oxford, 1910).
FOR FLESH AND BLOOD
CANNOT INHERIT THE
THE KINGDOM A PRIZE. Slowly the
further truth is emerging that the Kingdom, ushered by the First Resurrection,
is the supreme prize of the Christian hope and calling. I Thess. 2: 12 (R.V.). Heb. 3: 12, 15, 4: 1, 2. It is most evident
that Paul had some special resurrection in view (Phil. 3: 11) even the first: and to
share in that he was straining every nerve (J. MacNeil). The opinion that the Millennial Reign was
confined to the martyrs prevailed, as is known, to a
great extent in the early Church, and not only proved a support under
martyrdom, but rendered many ambitious of that distinction (De Burgh). Heb. 11: 35.
Scripture speaks plainly concerning the
exclusion of those who permit the old nature to disgrace their Christianity:
while they may be saved as by fire for Heaven, they will forfeit all their
position in the coming Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Dr. A. T.
Schofield). 1 Cor. 6: 8-10. Gal. 5: 19-21. Eph. 5:
5. For in
this exclusion from the Kingdom, which is the dominion of the good made visible
at the return of our Lord, we are not to see the loss of eternal salvation: an
entrance into the Kingdom is rendered impossible [in certain cases], but not by any means does it follow that salvation can be
thereby prevented (Olshausen). Oh for a noble ambition to obtain one of the first seats in
glory! Oh for a constant, evangelical
striving to have the most abundant entrance ministered unto you into the
NOT EVERY ONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME, LORD, LORD, SHAL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER, WHICH IS IN HEAVEN (Matt. 7: 21): FOR BLESSED AND HOLY IS HE THAT HATH PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION: THEY LIVED, AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST
A THOUSAND YEARS (Rev. 20: 6).
The Theology of Heaven
Could not an all-powerful God, wrote an unbeliever recently, especially at this time when criticism is raising so many honest doubts in many minds, send an angel to the earth to tell us really what to believe? This would be proof for ever and ever. From angels has come the most tremendous testimony to the Lamb of God the created universe has ever known.
THE CHALLENGE. With the scales of infinite justice, as it were, in his hand, and a cry flung into the furthest recesses of the universe, a strong Angel challenges all creation for a soul of spotless holiness and infinite worth. Who is worthy? On the palm of Deity, in the secret blaze of the Godhead, there lies a little Book: who is so holy as to see it, so meritorious as to take it, and so powerful as to open it? A hush falls on the assembled multitudes of Heaven, broken only by the sobbing of John. I wept much, because no one was found worthy (Rev. 5: 4). Not one with a vicarious merit; not one with a communicable holiness; not one with a Divine fidelity: - creation has no holiness in itself with which to deliver a fallen world.
A MAN. One Figure now draws all eyes. In the midst of the Elders, - closer still, in the midst of the Cherubim, - closer still, in the midst of the Throne, a Man stands: and He came, and He taketh it out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne. In His eyes before whom all character is as transparent glass, here is the face that never knew a shadow, the heart that never knew an unfaithful throb, the only stainless, radiant, infinitely worthy life. Jesus of Nazareth is in the midst of the Throne. (There are no arguments for the Resurrection in Heaven: for the Lamb is standing in the midst of the throne). The silence is suddenly broken by a rush of hallelujahs. The Lamb draws all hearts: He enlightens all eyes: He governs all angels: He blesses all creation: He is the theme of all Heavens song. Heaven has no potentate too mighty to fall before the Lamb: it is only on earth that men are too great to worship Him.
A LAMB. John heard - the Lion; but when he turned he saw a Lamb: - a Lamb with the might of a Lion, and a Lion
with the heart of a Lamb. But why is the
Lamb upon the Throne? Why are the faces
of all creation turned towards a Lamb?
Because the wounds are there: they flush forth in the heart of the
glory: it is a lamb, as
though it had been slain. The
crowning worthiness Heaven puts upon Christ is due to
THE GOSPEL. The testimony of all Gods Angels now reveals what is the theology of Heaven. I heard a voice of many angels, ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a great voice, Worthy art Thou to take the book, for Thou wast slain. Heaven is not ashamed of the cross on which Christ was slain. What a slaughter! And what a song! Christ was slain prospectively from the foundation of the world; He was slain typically in a thousand sacrifices under the Law; He was slain judicially by the pre-determinate counsel of God; He was slain actually by Jew and Gentile; He is slain retrospectively by every trampler upon the Blood. Thou didst purchase unto God with Thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. The Blood alone purchases the sinner to God: the Father comes into His inheritance of human souls only by the blood of the Son.
Therefore what do all angels yield to the Lamb? The power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honour, and glory, and blessing. What a song! All crowns meet upon that Brow: all power are in those pierced Hands: all love flows from that rent Side: all the Godhead shines in that human Face: and this is the Theology of all the angels of God. The blood of Christ, it binds all heaven, with its many mansions and throngs without number, in holy and indissoluble security. My soul, seek no other stream in which to drown thy leprosy! My lips, speak no other song with which to charge your music! My hands, seek no other task with which to prove your energy! I would be swallowed up in Christ. I would be nailed to His cross. O my Jesus! My Saviour! Thine heart did burst for me, and all its sacred blood flowed for the cleansing of my sin. I need it all. I need it every day. I need it more and more. I search out the inmost recesses of my poor wild heart, and let Thy blood remove every stain of evil.
Eer since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Mighty Saviour! Repeat all Thy miracles by taking away the guilt and torment of my infinite sin (Dr. Parker).
Burial to Sin
A GRAVE. So urgent is
God on our separation from the world that He has taken two of the mightiest
events of all history - the drowning of the old world in the Flood, and the
drowning of the Egyptians in the
A BURIAL. So baptism is the sole God-given ritual of consecration. For the Rite next reveals a new and wonderful aspect. The believer is judicially dead with Christ, but he is not actually dead to sin: baptism, therefore, enters as a self-inflicted death, by which he drowns the old life, and smothers and suffocates the past. The waters of death and judgment fill the grave; the living man steps down, and plunges beneath them; and so real is the ritual that, left but for a few minutes, he would die. Very soon, said a Bechuana convert, a shepherd, I shall be dead, and they will bury me in my field. My sheep will come and pasture above me. But I shall no more go to them, or they come to me: we shall be strangers. So am I in the midst of the world from the time that I believed in Christ. This is the meaning of baptism. Crucified with Christ - this is the order of the prepositions in the passage - baptised into Christ, buried unto sin like Christ, we are now alive in Christ. Gal. 3: 27.
A CONSECRATION. Alas, how little we baptised have lived the exquisite ritual! It ought to be - in Gods design it is - as unnatural, as monstrous, for a believer to live in sin as for a dead man to cross his grave back into life. The whole man and the whole life are baptised into Christ. A heathen tribe in the middle ages, about to be immersed, asked that their right arms might remain out of the water, that they might still slay their enemies! Baptism buries all the man into all the holiness of God. There was a day, says George Muller, when I died, died utterly; died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will - died to the world, its approval or censure - died to approval or censure even of my brethren and friends - and since then I have studied to show myself approved unto God. Baptism not only buries our past, but ourselves. Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ.
A RESURRECTION. But baptism
has a still lovelier side: it is not only immersion,
but also emersion: that like as Christ was raised from the dead, so we. Passive
as a corpse under redemption, we are at once to pass into intensest activity: alive - not to a creed, or a church, or a
philanthropy, but - unto God. On one half of us we are dead: the calls to
wealth, to fame, to pleasure, to sin, are to reach us on our dead side, all the
avenues of which, into our souls, are blocked.
So it was with Jesus. Who is blind, but my servant? Or deaf,
as my messenger that I send? Who is blind as he that is at peace with me, and blind as the Lords servant? (Is. 42: 19).
The kingdoms of the world and the glory of them appealed to a dead man
in Christ. But on one half of us we are
to be all a-quiver with life: the calls to God, to heavenliness, to service -
these are to find us as responsive as the harp to the wind, or the sunflower to
the sun. So also was it with Jesus. He wakeneth morning
by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as they
that are taught (Is. 50: 4). Our bodies are to be a living sacrifice (
A LIFE. Hebrew means a man who lives on the other side of the water: so we, beyond the ritual grave, are to walk - dead men do not walk - not in a new life so much as in newness of life. The deep, dark grave of Christ lies between us and the world that cast Him out; with Him we are to walk on the further shore: on which side, therefore, are the theatre, the whist-drive, the novel? On which side is that love of money which is ruining untold multitudes of disciples? Are these things Hebrew? Are they newness of life? So, naturally, the newness of life ends in the life which is really life (1 Tim. 6: 19). Rom. 8: 13. For if we have become united with Him [fellow-plants] by the likeness of His death [baptism], we shall be also [fellow-plants] of His resurrection. Sown together in the seed-bed of the baptismal grave, we shall spring together - heavenly snowdrops, the first to break up from under a frozen ground. Rev. 3: 4; 20: 6. Baptism is the ritual act; sanctification is the truth it enshrines: when crystallised together into an actual experience, together they will lead into the Select Resurrection (Phil. 3: 11, Greek) from the dead.
Brother, have you been entombed (both spiritually and ritually) since you were crucified? WHY CALL YE ME LORD, LORD, AND DO NOT THE THINGS WHICH I SAY? (Luke 6: 46): HE THAT HATH MY COMMANDMENTS AND KEEPETH THEM, HE IT IS THAT LOVETH ME (John 14: 21).
THE HEIRS. The law regards a child as the continuation of the personality of his father, and so as the legal possessor of his property after his death: therefore, if children, then heirs (Rom. 8: 17). So it is with God. Not, if men, then heirs; nor, if Jews, then heirs; nor, if moral and upright, then heirs: we must become partakers of the Divine nature before we can become heirs of the Divine inheritance: if children, then heirs. Property descends because father and son are of one stock, one life: so as many as received Christ, to them gave He the right to become children of God: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1: 12). But the Birth carries with it the Inheritance. All are not apostles or prophets; all are not shining or eminent; all are not even spiritual or separated: but all are heirs; - if children, then heirs.
THE WILL. A son does not inherit his fathers life - he already has that; he inherits his fathers property: here then is an inventory of the Will. All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours (1 Cor. 3: 21). Have you yet seen all things? The cattle on a thousand hills; the gold in all mines, the pearls in all oceans; the wealth and beauty of the Fathers home: all are yours. Moreover the Will bequeaths, not on leasehold, but in perpetuity; and this for two reasons. Heirs on earth often outlive, or squander, their inheritance: inheritances constantly outlive their heirs: but an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away (1 Pet. 1: 4) must be in perpetuity for heirs who never die. If ye have not been faithful in that which is anothers - all present wealth is a stewardship only - who will give you that which is your own? (Luke 16: 12): the true riches are personal and held for ever. So the Will bequeathes all things: it bequeathes it to all children: and it bequeathes it to them for ever.
A CODICAL. The Will is unconditioned: in it is a Codicil, however, to which a condition is attached. Heirs of God indeed (men) - no condition, save regeneration: but (de) joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer - in case we suffer as He did (Olshausen); provided that we suffer (Alford) - with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him. (Si autem filii, et heredes: heredes quidem Dei, coheredes autem Christi: si tamen compatimur, ut et conglorificemur: Vulgate).
Both heirships involve eternal life: but the Codicil, which bequeathes joint-heirship with Messiah in His Millennial Reign, and bequeathes it on the same condition on which our Lord receives it (Phil. 2: 9; Heb. 1: 9; Isa. 53: 12), antedates the Will by a thousand years: it is the reward of the inheritance (Col. 3: 24), a legacy which entitles to an abundant entrance into the Eternal Kingdom (2 Pet. 1: 11).
Both heirships are in the Will: both heirships are offered to all: both Will and Codicil depend for their validity on the death of the Testator: but without the fulfilment of its condition, the Codicil is inoperative. The suffering with Him must imply a pain due to our union (Moule): if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him (2 Tim. 2: 12): the Will is the unconditional bequest of free grace, the Codicil is a glory conditioned on identity of experience with Christ.
THE TESTATOR. A legal
proverb says, - Living men have no heirs: the
State requires proof of death before an estate can be inherited under a
will. For where
a testament is, there must also of necessity be
the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all - it is not
valid - while the testator liveth (Heb. 9: 16).
But this is Gods last will and testament: when, then, did that death
occur? The inheritance had become alienated
from man by sin: a fugitive and a wanderer
from the gate of
THE ADVERTISEMENT. But the most amazing fact of all remains. Something like forty million sterling lies to-day in Chancery, unclaimed, for want of heirs: and heirs wanted is a commonplace advertisement for these vast inheritances. The Gospel is such an advertisement. Through all the world God is sending the amazing cry of heirs of all things wanted; it is the offer of untold wealth (1 Cor. 2: 9); and in the advertisement is to be found a careful description of the missing heirs. What is that identifying description? Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit: the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood (Rom. 3: 13). The heir of the Tichborne estates was known to have been careless, slovenly, ill-educated; and to prove his inheritance the claimant established his own carelessness, slovenliness, and ignorance. So only could he hope to obtain the inheritance. Is your name in Gods Will? If you are a sinner, it is. We are not saved although we are sinners: we are saved because we are sinners. My sin is my sole identifying plea for a sin-bearing Saviours merit, and the life which that merit brings: if you are a sinner, rejoice! Your name is in the Will.
I came not to call the righteous, BUT SINNERS (Mark 2: 17): The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was LOST (Luke 19: 10).
An Urgent Danger
COVETOUSNESS - not only the desire of what we have not got, but the
refusal to part with what we have - God ranks among the blackest of sins. It is one of the supreme Prohibitions of
Jehovah (Ex. 20: 17); it is defined by God
as idolatry (Col.
3: 5), a sin, under the Law, reserved for capital punishment; it renders
a believer so unholy that he is to be excommunicated from the Church on earth (1 Cor. 5: 11); and twice (1
Cor. 6: 10; Eph. 5: 5) it is stated as involving a disciple in the loss
of the Millennial Kingdom. The peril of the Church is not so much an unorthodox creed
as an orthodox greed (Dr. A. J. Gordon). Love of money brought us the
first awful discipline of the Holy Ghost (Acts. 5:
5): love of money is the absorbing passion of the last Church named in
the Word of God -
THE MONEY CHEST. It is
extraordinarily significant that last thing on which our Lords eyes rested in
GODS AUDIT. Verily I say unto you - our Lord pledges Himself to the most startling of all revelations on money - this poor widow cast in more than all: that is, more than any other donor, or else, more than all put together. Those who give most often gives least, and those that give least often give most. Why? Because God judges what we give by what we keep. For they all did cast in of their superfluity; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. The widow had given all she had to live on for that day; and was so walking with God that she could trust Him for tomorrows meal. I Kings 17: 15; Heb. 13: 5. Gods scales, in weighing gifts, also weigh what is not given: so, quite literally, the poorest can give more than the wealthiest, and all can give immense gifts: for the amount withheld exactly determines the value of the amount given.
OUR DANGER. We now arrive
at the peril. The
love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (I
Tim. 6: 10). It can estrange
friends, divide families, and harden hearts; nurse extravagance, pamper
appetite, and foster pride; sweat labour,
freeze up charity, and indulge every lust - foolish
and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in
destruction and perdition. Every
year increases our peril. In the last days men shall be lovers of money (2 Tim. 3: 2): ye have
laid up treasure in the last days (Jas. 5:
3): because thou sayest, I am rich, ... thou art
miserable and poor and blind and naked (Rev.
3: 17): thus shall
INDESTRUCTIBLE PURSES. How is the peril met? Sell that ye have, and give alms; make for yourselves purses which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not (Luke 12: 33). No warnings on wealth are severer than Christs: so there is no greater tribute to the power of money over the human heart than the startling silence of the Church on these warnings of her Lord. With such words [as 1 Tim. 6: 6-10] before him, one would think that any Christian man who is laying up money, or is planning to do so, would at once abandon his project. But how many such cases have ever been heard of? I cannot remember one (Dr. J. P. Gledstone). O beloved, the indestructible purses must be manufactured now! Hearken, my beloved brethren; did not God choose them that are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to them that love Him? (Jas. 2: 5). The most sensitive part of the civilised man is his pocket (Sir W. Ramsay): so grace is supreme when it is the biggest jewel in the purse. Heavens purses are filled by emptying those on earth.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things! What things? They that desire to be rich - fly even the desire! The man who has nothing to gain is the man who can never be bought: so if you would be the man of God - a man who belongs to God, who is devoted to God, whose wealth is in God, who lives for God - then flee these things. I make no purse. What I have I give away. Poor, yet making many rich shall be my motto still (Whitefield). Prov. 11: 24. The costliness of the gift is the measure of the love behind it: God did not keep back His Son when He loved the world: what God did not keep back was the measure of the love that He felt. So we! One of the Lords people, who had once been rich, was asked how he bore his poverty so happily. When I was rich, he replied, I had God in all my wealth: now, I have all my wealth in God. How much more he who has deliberately lodged it there!
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. FOR WHERE THY TREASURE IS, THERE WILL THY HEART BE ALSO (Matt. 6: 20).
Man and His Destiny
MAN. What exactly is man? Scripture regards both the body and the soul as man. The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his [still lifeless] nostrils the breath of life (Gen. 2: 7): they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths; - there then they laid Jesus (John 19: 40): Dorcas fell sick and died; and they laid her in an upper chamber (Acts 9: 37): in each case the body is the man. So also, only more emphatically, is the soul or spirit. I will go down to Hades to my son mourning (Gen. 37: 35): this day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23: 43): the garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them (Acts 9: 39): - in each case the spirit is the man, Thus both body and soul (in this context I am using soul and spirit as one) are essential elements in man: humanity is body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5: 23). Death, therefore, we had almost said, dehumanises: it is a decomposition, a disintegration, a dissolution, of man: it is a violent rending asunder of his constituent elements, consequent on sin: and, to speak exactly, though body and spirit are each man, neither is man alone. The body rots; the spirit departs to Hades: the man is dead.
CHRIST. Thus, when God deals finally with man He deals, not with a corpse, nor with a disembodied spirit, but with a man: man, for all eternity, can never cease to be man: his eternal destiny, whatever it be, must be the destiny of a man. Now our Lord, as the typical Man, is the One who, alone hitherto, has passed through all the processes of man. First, He was truly man: - they took the body of Jesus (John 19: 40); my soul is exceeding sorrowful (Matt. 26: 38); into Thy hands I commend My spirit (Luke 23: 46). Violent dissolution took place on the Cross: being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit; in which He went and preached unto the spirits in prison (1 Pet. 3: 19). After three days and three nights, the angels said: - Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here - His corpse is not in the graveyard, His soul is not left in Hades (Acts 2: 31) - but is risen (Luke 24: 5); that is, the recumbent body stands again upon its feet, and the spirit is returned into it (Luke 8: 55). Christ, born of a woman, was born full man: He died as a man dies: and He rose with body, soul, and spirit re-knit in everlasting resurrection. I am the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore (Rev. 1: 18).
RESURRECTION. A passage now arises before us than which perhaps the whole Bible itself contains none more solemn. For since by [a] man came death - dissolution, decomposition, disintegration - by [a] man came also the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15: 21) - the re-knitting, in individual re-composition, of the whole man: and this, for the entire race.
I AM RESURRECTION AND LIFE (John 11: 25): since Christ was made man, and is resurrection, resurrection has become an essential part of human nature. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive - not regenerated, but made alive physically: for as physical death poured itself through Adam into all the race, so physical resurrection becomes integral to humanity from the second federal Head of mankind. Because Christ was a Man, and rose, all rise; for all partake of the same flesh with Christ: but believers are one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6: 17): so, while unbelief severs from all benefits of the Passion, no man can escape the consequent resurrection. The Incarnation empties every grave.
THE SECOND DEATH. The eternal destiny of our race now stands revealed. The last enemy that shall be destroyed- for all mankind - is death: man, after entering on resurrection, never suffers dissolution again: it is appointed unto men once to die (Heb. 9: 27): full manhood follows for ever. Thus the redeemed are wholly redeemed: redeemed in spirit, and also in body (Rom. 8: 23), the man, as man, is redeemed utterly and eternally. What then of the lost? Be not afraid of them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell (Matt. 10: 28). The wicked equally abide as men for ever: they twain were cast alive - that is, body, soul, and spirit - into the lake of fire, which is the second death (Rev. 19: 20; 21: 8). The Second Death is not decomposition, the splitting up of the personality, as was the First: much less is it annihilation: it is the final and eternal abode of the undivided man. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 14).
Unbeliever, what a destiny! And what a Christ! I am a substance nobler than the stars: they must perish, but, for better or worse, we endure: none can escape the momentous consequences of the Incarnation. It twists its roots under and about all that is human, and lifts the entire race into resurrection from death. And what a Christ! Christ is so truly man that He actually died as a man dies: He is so truly God that He not only raised Himself, but the whole of humanity, in His rising. The resurrection of one is the peculiar prerogative of the Godhead: who but the Son of God, by the mere fact of association in the flesh, could raise all? Then confess Him as the Son of God!
I AM RESURRECTION AND LIFE (John 11: 25): whosoever shall confess that JESUS is the SON OF GOD, God abideth in him, and he in God (1 John 4: 15).
The Parousia of Christ
PAROUSIA - a word which is the cardinal pivot of all Second Advent truth, and the keystone in the arch of unfulfilled prophecy - in itself states merely a stationary presence, and is a coming only when linked with words implying motion.
Parousia of Christ, used by the Holy Spirit as
a technical expression, the Psalmist exquisitely unfolds. He bowed the heavens also, and
came down; and thick darkness was under His feet
... He made darkness His hiding place, His pavilion round about Him; darkness
of waters, thick clouds of the skies (Ps. 18: 11). Christs downward motion stops: His
peoples upward motion stops: the Lord silently forms His
The Parousia serves purposes of vital import to the Church. It is thither saints are to be rapt, encompassed, as our Lord was, with clouds: we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up [a sudden and irrestible seizure by a power beyond us: Dr. Eadie] in the clouds to meet the Lord; a reunion, not on earth, nor in the heaven of heavens, but in the air (1 Thess. 4: 17); as homing doves flock to their airy dovecotes (Is. 60: 8). The Parousia is our ark of refuge. In the covert of Thy presence Thou shalt hide them from the plottings of man: Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues (Ps. 31: 20). It is the heavenly Tabernacle against which Antichrist, enraged by the loss of his prey, hurls impotent blasphemies. And he opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, even them that tabernacle in the heaven (Rev. 13: 6). Thus the epiphany or manifestation to the Church (1 John 3: 2; 2 Tim. 4: 8) occurs in the parousia: the epiphany to the world (2 Thess. 2: 8) is delayed until the apocalypse (2 Thess. 1: 7).
The Parousia is also the judgment court of the Church. Judgment begins at the House of God (1 Pet. 4: 17): for after a long time the lord of those servants cometh and maketh a reckoning with them (Matt. 25: 19). Within the Parousia are enacted the Virgins, the Talents, the Pounds: here converts are presented by the evangelist (1 Thess. 2: 19): here the disciples heart and life are examined (1 Thess. 3: 13), and blamelessness (1 Thess. 5: 23) or shame (1 John 2: 28) revealed. For the Household is examined in camera: the Bema is set up in the Throne-room: and the approval of the Judgment Seat is the supreme reward of the disciple, and an incorruptible motive of holiness. We make it our aim to be well-pleasing unto Him. For we [disciples] must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5: 10).
The Parousia of Christ runs simultaneously with the Parousia (2 Thess. 2: 9) of Antichrist: the heavenly Parousia is the advanced outpost whither God recalls His ambassadors, on the outbreak of war against the world and the last judgments of God. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice; hailstones and coals of fire. And He sent out His arrows and scattered them; yea, lightnings manifold, and discomfited them (Ps. 18: 13; Rev. 8: 5; 10: 3; 11: 19; 16: 10). But Antediluvian and Sodomic wickedness recur, and remain obdurate, during the Parousia. Matt. 24: 37. At length ripeness of iniquity below, and the close of the judgment scene above, together produce the break-up of the Parousia; scattering clouds on a sudden reveal to every eye the triple glory (Luke 9: 26) burning in the heart of the Pavilion. For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the presence [see Revised Margin throughout] of the Son of Man (Matt. 24: 27); who shall paralyse Antichrist by the manifestation, or outburst, of His Parousia (2 Thess. 2: 8); and then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13: 43). Our Lords feet alight upon Olivet. Zech. 14: 4.
So the Presence is to be the lode-star of the Church: for its Bema is the criterion for all regenerate life and conduct. Unfulfilled prophecy all lies after the Rapture: nothing stands between us and the summons of God. No premonitions, no warnings, no signals, no prophecies: know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming - silently, secretly, suddenly, as a thief comes - he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through. Therefore be ye also ready: for in an hour that ye think not the Son of Man cometh (Matt. 24: 43). Holiness is the supreme passport into the Presence. Luke 21: 36; 1 John 3: 3. The millers apron, the bakers cap, the labourers coat, the housewifes gown, are all suitable material for ascension robes: every day, every hour, puts in a stitch, or drops one, in the garment of our coming glory. Rev. 19: 8. What I say unto you I say unto all, WATCH (Mark 13: 37).
The Greatness of Jesus
What think ye of Christ? No question is more fundamental, more critical, or more persistent: none could be asked more fraught with irrevocable destiny. What do men think? The Atheist thinks nothing about Him at all; for, as there is no God, there can be no Son of God. The Worldling, given over to pleasure and the love of money, is careful not to think about Him: for to think about Christ, is to think about holiness. The Unitarian thinks that He is the noblest of all men, a revealer - or the revealer - of God, but a man only. The Swedenborgian thinks He is God, the only Person in the Godhead, and now not man at all. The Arian (such as the Millennial Dawnist [i.e., todays Jehovah Witnesses]) thinks He is a created god, a powerful and Divine archangel, come into the world. The Gnostic (such as the New Theologian, the Christian Scientist, and the Theosophist) thinks of Jesus as a son of Joseph, but peculiarly and mystically indwelt by the Christ. The Mohammedan thinks that He is a real prophet, but inferior to Mohammed. The Jews thought that He was a carpenters son; and the Pharisees thought Him a demoniac. The CHRISTIAN - and the Christian only - sees in Him the MAN Christ Jesus, - born of a woman; who is over all, GOD blessed for ever.
ABRAHAM. None in
Christs lifetime ever doubted that He was a man; those who saw, and heard, and
even handled Him (Luke 24: 39; 1 John 1: 1)
never doubted, and could not doubt, the Manhood; - that was left to the
invention of a later age. But what rank
did He take among men? This was the
inquiry, and it began with Abraham.
Abraham loomed up incomparably the greatest figure on the horizon of
JACOB. Art thou greater - again Jesus is challenged - than our father Jacob? (John 4: 12). Jacob, the wrestler with the Jehovah-Angel, was a prince with God - what a title! Jesus answers: - If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. Jacob dug the well, and gave the earthly water: Jesus says He gives water straight from the hand of God to the lips of the soul. How much greater therefore? As much greater as the living water is than the earthly, so much greater is the Giver of the one than the giver of the other.
SOLOMON. Solomon, in
outward splendour, was incomparably the greatest of
JONAH. We pass to the Prophets. Perhaps no greater miracle (apart from the
Flood) stands forth in the Old Testament than Jonahs descent into Sheol (Jon. 2: 2), - a man who literally came back from
the dead. Art thou greater, O Lord, than
Jonah? Jesus answers: - The men of
THE ANGELS. Rank over rank rise the hierarchies of Heaven, - thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. Art Thou greater, O Lord, there? Listen to the testimony of the Most High. By so much better than the angels, as He hath inherited a more excellent name than they. For - now hear the voice of God - of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels - angels are made - winds, and His ministers a flame of fire: but of the Son He saith, Thy throne, O GOD - un-create, from everlasting - is for ever and ever (Heb. 1: 4). How much greater therefore? As much greater as the Creator is than the creature, so much greater is Christ than all the thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers that circle the throne of God. Of the SON He saith, O GOD!
ADMINISTRATION. Social Reform insists
on judicial equity and administrative purity: the
ENVIRONMENT. Social Reform lays an immense emphasis on Environment. The doctrine of environment as Dr. Campbell Morgan says, had its death-blow in the garden of Eden: man is made or unmade from inside, not outside (Mark 7: 15): nevertheless a changed environment - in a lifted curse, vanished disease, and an imprisoned Hell - is essential for human bliss.
(1) Men of science say that the tigers fangs and claws are not original, but acquired: certain it is that a restoration of the conditions of Paradise will rob the lion and the bear of their rage, and substitute the fir-tree for the thorn (Is. 55: 13); the little child shall play by the crevice in which once lurked the deadliest serpents, and the evil passions of the Fall be exorcised by almighty Power. (2) So also the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick (Isa. 33: 24): disease - except where supernaturally inflicted (Zech. 14: 18) - vanishes: life - except in the case of capital punishment for sin (Is. 65: 20) - is prolonged throughout the Thousand Years (Rev. 20: 4): the ages of the Patriarchs return. (3) Best of all, Hell is incarcerated in the Pit. It shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land (Zech. 13: 2): for the Abyss is sealed over Satan, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished (Rev. 20: 3). Is. 24: 21. What but the miraculous intervention of God could create a threefold change of environment so drastic and sufficing?
EDUCATION. Social Reform
works for universal education: but the education of God begins with the heart:
so the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the
Lord - that is, saving knowledge - as completely as the ocean covers
the sea-basin; and He will destroy the veil that is
spread over all nations (Is. 25: 7).
2 Cor. 4: 3, 4. Thus the Kingdom starts wholly regenerate:
its kings - the co-heirs of Christ, saints of tried ability and tested
holiness; its viceroys -
DISARMAMENT. Social reform agitates for disarmament with profound conviction: nor need we wonder. Of the total revenue of the leading nations, something like one half, or £600,000,000 goes for war: what could this not alleviate, poured through the poverty of the world! But no league of peace can banish war: the controversy between God and the nations over the crucifixion of the Son of God has never been settled: there is no peace to the wicked, saith my God (Is. 57: 21). Rev. 6: 4; Jer. 25: 27, 28. Regeneration is the sole secret of disarmament. For whence come wars and whence come fightings among you? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and covet, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war (Jas. 4: 1). The sword is first forged in an evil heart: wrench it out of the hand, and the heart only forges another. But, in the Regeneration, they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Is. 2: 4): for of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom. THE ZEAL OF THE LORD OF HOSTS SHALL PERFORM THIS (Is. 9: 7).
shall create this? The creation of a
perfect age is as utterly beyond our powers as the creation of a perfect
character. Before Christ came neither a
perfect age nor a perfect character had appeared: now one has: and the perfect
character is the pledge of the perfect age.
Because Christ has been, the
Did Christ Rise as a Spirit?
Even men who were considered stalwart in orthodoxy a few
years ago have now ceased to insist upon the physical resurrection of Jesus:
this is a gain: Christianity no longer rests upon an alleged physical fact. ... THE CRUDE BELIEF OF THE GALILEANS THAT THE
PHYSICAL BODY OF JESUS WAS TAKEN UP TO A HEAVEN BEYOND THE SKY AND THEREFORE
GLORIFIED IS NOW IMPOSSIBLE (Christian
Commonwealth, April 2, 1911). By such
statements the League of Liberal Christianity and its president, Mr. R. J.
Campbell, deny, totally and without reservation, the supreme factor which the
THE PANIC. A panic like that which overtook Eliphaz (Job 4: 15) suddenly seized the Apostles in the upper room. The disciples were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they beheld a spirit (Luke 24: 37). It was an ideal environment in which to prove resurrection. For even had the disciples expected our Lords body to rise, that expectation was now shattered - they did not, therefore, imagine it: His entering through locked doors made them suppose He was a Spirit - therefore they were ignorant of the nature of a resurrection body, and were thus unbiased witnesses: nor were they sure it was the Lord at all - a spirit - therefore it was no self-induced hallucination of Christ. No better test conditions could be imagined.
THE SCARS. A startling fact at once confronts us. The person most anxious to prove His bodily resurrection is our Lord Himself: it must be of the gravest moment. He presses the evidences upon them. See My hands and My feet, that it is I myself: handle Me and see, (or, as in John), feel the nail prints: and He showed them His hands and His feet. All law courts accept a scar as a sufficient proof of identity; for a scar, after the wound is healed, can be so shaped and placed as to be unique and decisive. So it was here. Not only did the prints in the palms and the soles confine the body examined to one of the three crucified; but the scar under the ribs identified it as the only Body that had the spear-thrust. It was therefore no reincarnation: the Body was His own. As a wound inflicted in childbirth, or in infancy, can bear a scar which survives all the physical changes of a lifetime, so the body of Jesus, passing under the mighty change of resurrection, nevertheless carried the death-wounds. It is I myself.
THE BODY. A decisive proof remains. The Apostles witness to a kind of resurrection so puzzling as to have been, among themselves, long disbelieved. The apparition of a spirit [i.e., a disembodied soul], like Samuels, they understood: the resurrection of a body, like Lazaruss, they had seen: what the Old Testament had never unfolded, and what no man had ever guessed, is what the apostles end by asserting as a fact again and again - a spiritual body; combining the properties of body and spirit [and soul] in a way never hitherto conceived by the human mind. It was the same Body, for there was no body in the tomb, and the body they handled was identically scarred: yet it was another fashion of body, not always recognizable, passing through matter, and ultimately into heaven, without difficulty. Nothing but actual experience, tested and re-tested, could have convinced them of so puzzling, so unique, a fact. So also our Lords resurrection is the model of ours. 1 Thess. 4: 14. The bodies of the saints arose (Matt. 27: 52): our bodies are to be quickened (Rom. 8: 11): our body is to be made like His body (Phil. 3: 21): and, while it will be a spiritual body, it will also be a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15: 44). The change that passes over the rapt, who do not leave their bodies on earth, is exactly equivalent to resurrection. 1 Cor. 15: 52.
THE RESURRECTION. Our Lord Himself is the finally decisive witness. He says: - Handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, AS YE SEE ME HAVE. If the body did not rise from the grave, what did? - for the spirit had never been in the grave at all; and if it had, it would have needed no rolling away of the stone, to free it: a spirit is already free as air. An apparition, a phantom - our Lord says - though it can be seen and heard, (as He assumes), cannot be felt: it is too imponderable, too immaterial, to be handled: it has no flesh and bones. Who maketh His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire (Heb. 1: 7). Nor was it only solid flesh and bone: it was wounded flesh. A spirit is not scarred by a physical incision: if, as Gnostics taught and teach, our Lords body on the cross was a phantom, no scars would or could have remained. Palpable to the touch; visible or invisible at will; scarred with the earthly experience; eating or not, as He chose: - a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have: He says He is not a spirit. If Jesus came back as a spirit, He came back as a lying spirit. 1 Cor. 15: 14, 15.
The gravity of the issue it is impossible to exaggerate. For the Lords resurrection in flesh is the criterion both of demons and of antichrists. That Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, (the perfect denoting a past act continuing to the present: Lange), is the truth which no demon, when challenged, will ever confess (1 John 4: 2, 3): Christ come- the Divine Being arrived; and in the flesh- not into flesh, to disappear out of it again, but - a Man for ever. So it is the criterion of the antichrists. Many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh - in the Second Advent - IN THE FLESH. This is the deceiver and the antichrist (2 John 7). A deliberate and systematic denial of the resurrection is more than an overthrow of Christ: it is the revelation of an antichrist.
LITTLE CHILDREN, IT IS THE LAST HOUR: AND AS YE HEARD THAT ANTICHRIST COMETH, EVEN NOW HAVE THERE ARISEN MANY ANTICHRISTS;
WHEREBY WE KNOW THAT IT IS THE LAST HOUR (1 John 2: 18).
Excommunication and Exclusion
THE CHURCH. As, in the regenerate, the current of being sets towards good, and evil is a backwater; so, in the unregenerate, the current of being sets towards evil, and effort after good is a backwater: and this is always the criterion of regeneration. 1 John 3: 7, 8. Yet it is also certain that the regenerate can sin deeply, and die in such sin. For - as an example - three facts decisively establish the regenerate nature of the incestuous brother whom the Holy Ghost has made a perpetual and conclusive proof.
(1) Excommunication was to deliver his flesh, but not his spirit, to Satan: Satan might touch his body, like Jobs, but not his soul: that the spirit may be SAVED in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5: 5). Now the destruction, like Ananiass, might be immediate (for aught we read to the contrary) and yet his salvation was assured: therefore he was regenerate before excommunication. 1 Cor. 11: 30, 32.
(2) Paul sharply limits the jurisdiction of the Church to believers: do not ye judge them that are within, whereas them that are without God judgeth? Put away the wicked man - pass sentence, for he is within - from among yourselves. The right to judge unbelievers, Paul says, belongs solely to God: therefore the incestuous brother, judged by the Church at Pauls command, was a believer.
(3) This brother, if excommunicated at all, was promptly restored: for in his second Epistle Paul says, - forgive him and comfort him; confirm your love toward him (2 Cor. 2: 7). This is absolutely decisive. The sharp discipline had severed him from his sin: acting under an inspired command the Church restored him to full fellowship, as a living member of Christ. Therefore a believer can so sin, and has: and - since there may be destruction of the flesh - can also die in it.
EXCOMMUNICATION. But a fact of overwhelming decisiveness still remains. Paul states that the identical sin might permeate the whole assembly. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the WHOLE LUMP? Was the whole lump all good dough, or half bad? Was the assembly regenerate throughout or not? Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump - fresh, pure dough throughout - even as ye ARE unleavened. Those whom Paul is alone addressing (1 Cor. 1: 2) had all left the hands of God as pure, sweet dough on conversion: all were regenerate: ye are unleavened: now keep so, Paul says, and if any leaven returns, purge it out, to keep the lump new. For fornication - as also the other immoralities named - might spread through the entire Church: know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? So far from Paul regarding the incestuous brother as no believer, because of his fornication, he asserts exactly the reverse - that, unless drastic measures purge the Body, immoralities may contaminate the whole, 1 Cor. 10: 12. No disciple is immune from peril.
THE KINGDOM. Thus it is
certain that believers can commit such sins: it is certain that some in Corinth
did: it is certain that all such are to be excommunicated: Paul now unfolds the
tremendous revelation that disciples so unclean as to be shut out of the
Church, must also be shut out of the Kingdom; that the excommunicated will be
the excluded. For what is the catalogue
of excommunication? Fornicators,
idolators, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners. 1 Cor. 5: 11. And what
is the catalogue of exclusion? Ye yourselves do wrong: at what peril? Know ye not that wrong-doers
[the same word, with no article] shall not inherit the
EXCLUSION. Paul closes
with words finally conclusive. Such were some of you; but ye
were washed - through blood and water - but ye
were sanctified - set apart for God as hallowed - but ye were justified - through the accepted
righteousness of Christ: these are the souls Paul is threatening with
exclusion: defiled, ye were cleansed; profane, ye
were hallowed; unrighteous, ye were justified. Dare any of you become foul again? Paul asks.
If unbelievers only are excluded, Pauls warning is not only pointless,
but unjust. Believers are sinning;
unbelievers are to be excluded: ye do wrong;
therefore the world will be punished: does God reveal the sins of one set of
men, to threaten punishment to another? I fear lest I
should find YOU not such as I would,
because of uncleanness and fornication and
lasciviousness which they COMMITTED
(2 Cor. 12: 20). It is the washed, the sanctified, the
justified that are in peril. Are [unregenerate] hypocrites -
empty professors, false brethren, who have slipped past the Church examiners -
washed, sanctified, justified? Hear what
the Spirit is saying to the churches: - HE THAT DOETH
WRONG SHALL RECEIVE FOR THE WRONG THAT HE HATH DONE; AND THERE IS NO
RESPECT OF PERSONS (Col. 3: 25).
Thou hast a few names in
THEY ARE WORTHY (Rev. 3: 4).
RECOGNITION. For a long time a madman (Luke
8: 27) - probably years - the Gadarean, dwelling apart in the tombs, could have known nothing of Christ: yet
he instantly names Jesus. Such knowledge
could only be supernatural. Jesus I know, cried a demon far off in
IDENTIFICATION. Thee demons recognised Jesus: did they, then, hail Him as one of themselves? Or as a malignant power? Or as an angel? Or as son of Joseph? What have we to do with thee, Jesus, THOU SON OF THE MOST HIGH GOD? Hell instantly declared that it has nothing in common with Jesus Christ; and as instantly it identified Him as the Messiah. The Son was a title of Messiah (Ps. 2: 2, 12) for appropriating which Jesus incurred the charge of blasphemy (Mark 14: 64): it is the title of the Judge (Ps. 2: 9), before whom, as such, the demons recoil in terror. Rebuking them, He suffered them not to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ (Luke 4: 41).
AUTHORITY. The Jews were deeply startled by the instant obedience of the unseen world to Christ. They were all amazed, saying, What is this? With authority He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they obey Him (Mark 1: 27). The obedience of unseen principalities and powers, of keen malignancy, vast experience, and great power is an astounding tribute to the inherent authority of Christ: and yet more to His holiness. For attempting exorcism without holiness the Sons of Sceva fled naked and wounded from a single demon (Acts 19: 16): yet our Lord controls at least two thousand (for all the swine were entered), and when He says, Get thee behind Me, Satan, even Satan himself obeys.
SOVEREIGNTY. Facts compelled an extraordinary confession from the demons. Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time? (Matt. 8: 29): and they intreated Him that He would not command them to depart into the abyss (Luke 8: 31). The Abyss, into which our Lord Himself descended (Rom. 10: 7), and out of which evil spirits will swarm in the last judgments, (Rev. 9: 2), is the strong prison of Satan at last (Rev. 20: 3). Thus the demons confess that Christ can control the legions of Hell; that He can send them anywhere He chooses; that He can compel the Abyss to receive whom He will; and that He can command souls of angels or men into the Eternal Torments. What a Christ! Devils would make us doubt Christ, but they never doubt Him themselves: they would have us doubt Hell, but they never doubt it themselves: the demons also believe, and shudder (Jas. 2: 19).
MAJESTY. So also Christ had the manner of God. Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? (Is. 40: 13). God acts - famine or plague sweeps away millions - and He offers no explanation. It has been said that the owners of the swine were Jews, and justly suffered as transgressors of the Law; that the loss was meant to startle concerning the peril of the soul; that the deliverance of one man is worth the destruction of many swine: Jesus gives no explanation. What things soever the Father doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner (John 5: 19): it is the un-challengeable majesty of the Godhead, acting as God, and consulting none. Declare how great things GOD hath done: and he published abroad how great things JESUS had done (Luke 8: 39).
WISDOM. Three prayers are offered: the prayers of enemies are answered, - the prayer of the friend is refused: what man would have done that? The demons are not commanded to the Abyss - for even devils will not suffer more than their due: Jesus departs - because He never forces the human soul: the disciple is left - because, if Gadera has abandoned Christ, Christ has not abandoned Gadera. The greatest demoniac of the New Testament becomes a preacher of salvation to ten cities. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! (Rom. 11: 33).
POWER. One power quells the storm, exiles the demons, cures the maniac: what a power! Evil spirits, even through human wrists, can snap fetters like thread: yet one word from Jesus binds them with links of adamant. What follows? That no madness is incurable; no sin (save one) unpurgeable; no devil invincible; no habit unconquerable; no outcast beyond reach: - that all power is gathered into those glorious Hands.
ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH (Matt. 28: l8): THE SON OF MAN HATH POWER ON EARTH TO FORGIVE SINS (Mark 2: 10).
ANCIENT. The acceptance of the King as the Saviour is older than history; and no sooner had God deposited all earthly power in the hands of a single monarch than the worship of the emperor, or of his image, broke forth. To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that ye fall down and worship (Dan. 3: 4). God smote Nebuchadnezzar, thus intoxicated with universal (Dan. 5: 19) power, with madness - till thou know that THE MOST HIGH ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will (Dan. 4: 32). But the lesson was never learnt. Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian, Cyrus the Persian, Alexander the Greek, Caesar the Roman - every one of the empire-dynasties have claimed divine honours: emperor-worship became an ineradicable sin in the controlling dynasties of the world.
ROMAN. The worship of the King as
Saviour rose to its height in that Empire the revival of which we await (Rev. 13: 1; 17: 9, 10) - the Roman; and it reached
its climax under Marcus Aurelius. Says a Roman historian: - Every stage of life, both men and women, every rank and
condition, rendered the Emperor divine honours; a temple was erected to him,
with priests and high priests, and all those other institutes which antiquity
has decreed for worship. A
tablet to Marcus Aurelius is inscribed thus: - From
one most devoted to his Godhead.
Multitudes of Christians lost their lives for refusing emperor-worship:
of others, in
MODERN. It is very
startling to discover that, since
ANTICHRIST. Thus the world-conditions are rapidly approximating to the culmination of all emperor-worship: - all that dwell on the earth shall WORSHIP him (Rev. 13: 8). In one of the deadliest of magazines, steeped in Theosophy and Gnosticism, we read: - Behind this universal empire rises a still more majestic idea, the notion of a world-Saviour. A mighty world-ruler must come, who will at the same time be a Saviour of the world (The Quest, April, 1911). So also a leading Theosophist: - We await the coming of One to whom none may say, Go, but who ever breathes, I come; the supreme Teacher, the Lord Maitreya, the blessed Buddha yet-to-be; who shall shape the religions of the world into one vast synthesis. Emperors hitherto have never been able to wield miracle: crushing power alone has compelled worship: but he whose coming is according to the working of Satan will seduce to worship with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood (2 Thess. 2: 9). To receive his sacramental sign will be certain damnation. Rev. 14: 10. The magazine which heralds the Messianic Emperor also studies magic and the return of the dead: it emanates from circles saturated with Spiritualistic miracles; the miracles in which Antichrist is to be cradled are already in the group which is raising the cry of a Messianic Emperor. WATCH YE THEREFORE, AND 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).
CHRIST. How glorious a light it sheds on the Redeemer! How does a forger start to forge a coin? Whereas the material is bad - it may be chalk, that immediately snaps on the counter - the appearance of the coin is a copy as exact as he can make it. When Satan launches his supreme counterfeit Christ, what does he forge, so that the world may mistake him for the original? A man who is also God: an emperor who is also a saviour: one who is gifted with all miraculous power, yet human, whose are the uttermost parts of the earth, and to whom incense is offered by all nations. That is what Satan knows Christ to be: that is the original Coin which he counterfeits: he forges a world-saviour, because he knows a Divine Empire is imminent, and a Divine Emperor. For the angelic cry is near: - The kingdoms of THIS WORLD are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of HIS CHRIST; and He shall reign for ever and ever (Rev. 11: 15).
The Brotherhood of Man, as springing from the alleged universal Fatherhood of God, is incomparably the most popular doctrine in the modern world. It is (for example) a bedrock doctrine of the Gnostic groups, such as Theosophy and the New Theology; of Bahaism, which aims to unite the religions of the world; of all Socialism, so far as it is religious; and of the Brotherhood Movement - a movement growing with such enormous rapidity that its societies in 1906 numbered nine, but in 1911, 1,543, with 600,000 members. All classes and all creeds are embraced, officially and of set purpose, in this brotherhood of mankind, as they were also embraced in the motto of the French Revolution - liberty, equality, brotherhood.
EXCLUSIVE SONSHIP. The first
arresting fact which confronts us is that four revealed sonships, by their very
terms, deny universality. (1) Our Lord,
as Son of God, is the only-begotten of the Father
(John 1: 18); that is, His is a Sonship so
unique, so Divine, as to exclude all others: no other man is the Son of God in
this sense. (2) Angels, as sons of God (Job 38: 7),
are sons as His direct agents (John 10: 35):
it needs no proof that, as we are not angels, all men are excluded from this
sonship. (3) Again we read, - the son of Enos, the son of
Seth, the son of Adam, which was the son of God (Luke
3: 38). As son by direct
creation, and alone so of all mankind, the genealogy itself excludes all but
Adam from this sonship. (4) Of
SATANIC SONSHIP. Of these four
sonships but one now remains on earth: if, therefore, any one in the flesh is a
son of God, it is the Jew: does our Lord so regard him? If not, much less all others.
* The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:
1, 2, 11), exactly expounded, reveals
DIVINE SONSHIP. Where then and what, is the true Brotherhood? For it must be discoverable amongst mankind, and yet it must be sharply severed: for we read - Honour all men. Love THE BROTHERHOOD (1 Pet. 2: 17). Gods Word declares that the Brotherhood stands revealed by its place, its spirit, its character, and its conduct.
(1) Its place: come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, and ye shall be to Me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Cor. 6: 17). The brotherhood of all men is exactly the place where it is impossible to find the Divine Brotherhood. (2) Its spirit: as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Rom. 8: 14). Antagonism to the Spirit in the Word and in the Church betrays Satanic sonship: it is only the indwelt of the Holy Ghost that have become sons of the Father. (3) Its character: that ye may be blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2: 15). The sonship is not in the crooked generation: only where we see the character of God, do we see the sons of God: for sonship is not so much a title, or a privilege, or even a relationship, as a transmitted life. (4) Its conduct: he that doeth righteousness is righteous: in this the children of God are manifest (1 John 3: 7, 10). The sons of God are those into whom the Spirit has so entered that, as temples of the Holy Ghost, they work the works of God.
The Gospel now throws wide open its golden gates. Before we can be a son, we must be born: before we can be sons of God, we must be born of God: and - here is the unique revelation of our Faith - all men, of all classes and all creeds, are invited, and are able, to become sons of God, and thus to enter the holy brotherhood of the regenerate. Human birth no man can obtain for himself, or control: his parents, his birthplace, his epoch are utterly beyond his choice: the marvel of revelation is that all men can now choose to become sons of God. For ye [disciples] are all sons of God through faith (Gal. 3: 26): and AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, to them gave He the right to become CHILDREN OF GOD, even to them that BELIEVE on His name: which were BORN, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but OF GOD (John 1: 12).
No corporate restoration of the Church is to be expected before the Lord returns (Matt. 5: 13, 13: 33): nevertheless, for individual purity, and for confronting an ever-growing and spurious catholicism, the catholicity laid down by the Holy Ghost is one of the urgent needs of a growing crisis. What is that catholicity?
IN FACT. Fellowship in
His Church our Lord has thrown open to all believers. John
13: 35. Separation is commanded:
but it is separation from the world (2 Cor. 6:
14-18), not from fellow-disciples; unless they be guilty of the sins
named in 1 Cor. 5: 11 - with such a one no, not to eat. Only as severed from the world is the Church
a party or sect. Acts 28: 22. For him whom God has received the Church must
receive (Rom. 14: 3): Christs acceptance of
us is the imperative reason, without option, for our acceptance of our brother.
ye one another, even as Christ also received you,
to the glory of God (
IN NAME. I wish all names among the saints of God were swallowed up
in that one name of Christian. Are you
Christs? If so, I love you with all my
heart (Whitefield). No other
proper name is ever applied to disciples by the Holy Ghost. If a man suffers as a CHRISTIAN,
let him glorify God in this name (1 Pet. 4: 16): the
disciples were called Christians - i.e.,
by God: the word here for called is used for
the response of an oracle - first in
IN HEART. Thus
catholicity is not inter-denominationalism, or a conglomerate of factions: it
is the casting down of all barriers to full communion for every disciple of
Christ. For fellowship with a brother in
error is not fellowship with his sin, but with his regeneration: we do not hold
communion with his weakness, but with his faith: him
that is weak in the faith RECEIVE,
for God hath received him (
There will be no divisions around the Throne: daily let us recollect how rapidly we are nearing that all-reconciling world where Luther and Zwingle are well agreed. As two drops of water become one at a touch, so should redeemed hearts: receive ye one another, TO THE GLORY OF GOD. True catholicity is a great sorrow, not an angry scorn, over a mutilated Church: it is no attitude of impatient protest or impotent un-charity: on the contrary, it is the love that beareth all things, and gathers all disciples into its bosom, even as God does. But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? Or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment Seat of God. LET US NOT THEREFORE JUDGE ONE ANOTHER ANY MORE: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block in his brothers way, or an occasion of falling (Rom. 14: 10).
The Miracles of Christ
THE CONSECRATION. Miracle which has behind it efficient cause and sufficient purpose becomes utterly credible the moment it is established as historic fact. Now the miracles of Christ have behind them precisely that efficient cause and sufficient purpose. For whom the Father sanctified* - set apart for a specific use - He sent into the world as the Son of God (John 10: 36): that is, Jesus entered the world charged with the power of God - an efficient cause; and consecrated as the worlds Messiah - a sufficient purpose. Miracles in Christ, so far from being idle and incredible wonders, are so inevitable that if they do not occur, He is not the Messiah.
* This word for sanctify means to set apart for God; if the person is unholy, it involves a change of nature; if holy, as Christ was, it is simply consecration to a divine purpose.
THE FACT. We now turn to the fact. Did our Lord work miracles? We may be told that the narratives of miracle are subsequent legends; that He worked no miracles, but that myth-makers said He did. But John did no miracle (John 10: 41), and no one ever said that he did. John was a contemporary of our Lord, and probably as famous as Christ in his lifetime: yet the Jews never said that he worked miracles; the Bible never says it; tradition since has never said it: not a single miracle has gathered round his name. Neither, therefore, need miracles have been invented of Christ. But the proof that Jesus, as a matter of fact, did work miracles it is impossible to resist. Many were wrought on public men - as Jairus, a synagogue ruler; Lazarus, a man well known to the Jewish authorities; and Malchus, an officer of the High Priest: and some were permanent miracles - that is, the cured leper, the blind whose eyes had been opened, the man raised from the dead, could be handled and cross-examined years after. So real were the miracles, so indisputable, so palpable, that no refuting evidence was ever produced, no denial of them was ever made, no contemporary doubt of their occurrence was ever expressed. The men who were looking at Christ, both friend and foe, never doubted that He worked miracles: but His foes said that they were Satanic: an explanation which at once establishes, out of the mouth of the keenest hostile critics on the spot, that they were actual occurrences. The Talmud, hundreds of years after, still puts them down to magic.
THE KIND. This brings us a step further. Of what nature were our Lord miracles? Were they Satanic? Apocryphal literature asserts that, as a child, He made clay birds to fly, turned children into goats for refusing to play with Him, and cursed a boy with death for running against Him; exactly the kind of miracle which our Lord did not work, but which miracle-mongers invent. Had the Gospels been apocryphal, such miracles would cram their pages; but not one such miracle can be found. Two characteristics are so supreme in our Lords miracles as to isolate them from all others, and to establish their Divine character.
goodness: many good works - fair, beautiful,
comely - have I showed you from the Father (John 10: 32).
Moses slew an entire army in the
power: many good works have I showed you out of the
Father; works therefore omniscient and omnipotent. Moses was constantly at a loss what to do -
THE CHALLENGE. Thus our Lords miracles are a grave and un-escapable challenge to every soul. If I do not the works of my Father, believe Me not; though ye believe not Me, believe the works; believe Me for the very words sake (John 14: 11). The miracles are fundamental to our salvation. Why? Because forgiveness is so invisible a transaction, so purely spiritual, that it requires to be proved by supernatural credentials direct from God. To say, Thy sins are forgiven thee, is a knocking off of invisible shackles, a healing of an invisible soul, a cancelling of a debt in invisible books: but to say, Arise and walk, is a removal of visible shackles, the restoring from a physical paralysis, such that the fact can be seen to correspond immediately and exactly with the word. If Christs word is instantly operative in the physical sphere, it is equally instantly operative in the spiritual sphere. THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT THE SON OF MAN HATH POWER ON EARTH TO FORGIVE SINS, He saith unto him that was palsied, I say unto thee, Arise (Luke 5: 24). The outward sign of power instantly guaranteed the inward gift of grace. Are the miracles real? So is the pardon. Are the miracles un-bought and unearned? So is the pardon. Does the miracle perfectly cure? so does the pardon.
Reader, have you sought and got the pardon? How sad, if Jesus can forgive sins, and you are never forgiven! Seek it and you will find it. THE SON OF MAN HATH POWER ON EARTH TO FORGIVE SINS.
The Spirit saith expressly- so momentous is the announcement, that for once the Holy Ghost italicises His own utterance - that in later times - that is, on the threshold of the Second Advent (2 Thess. 2: 3) - some shall fall away from the faith - become apostate - giving heed to seducing spirits (1 Tim. 4: 1) - spirits, that is, who masquerade in a personality or a holiness not their own, for the seduction of Christian souls. THE GREAT APOSTASY IS TO SPRING OUT OF [regenerate] CHRISTIANS GIVING HEED TO UNTESTED SPIRITS. It is a fact of incalculable gravity that Christian leaders, at this moment and before our eyes, are giving ever deeper and closer heed to spirits miraculously present, and advancing the most monstrous claims.
AS OUR LORD. Seductive spirits sometimes masquerade as the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is Mr. R. J. Campbells startling confession. I am conscious of someones presence in the mysterious unseen at this moment. Who is it? I have always believed it to be Jesus; it is no vague abstraction, but a definite, living, personal being. I work under his orders. Am I wrong [in supposing it to be Jesus]? If so, I have been deluded into doing a good many things which otherwise I would never have attempted. Someone is directing me from the spirit world: it not Jesus, who is it? To me it is a thing incredible, impossible of acceptance, it should be anyone else (Christian Commonwealth, Nov. 30, 1910). No more awful lightning-flash could reveal, not only how a local apostasy originates, but also the origin and methods of the world-wide Apostasy yet to come.
AS THE DEAD. Again, these seductive spirits masquerade as the Dead. I pray to my wife, said Dr. Joseph Parker, every day. I never come to the work without asking her to come with me: and she does come. I never come to this place without her coming with me (Review of Reviews, Jan. 1902). In a book of messages from the dead, endorsed by prefaces from Mr. R. J. Campbell and Dr. F. B. Meyer, Mr. Meyer says: We are evidently passing into a new realm. The veil is getting thinner, and the day is at hand when we shall see face to face. What may lie immediately before us is known only in Heaven: but it is sweet to think that the Departed may not only be a great cloud of witnesses, but a great body of helpers! This is Spiritualism: and Spiritualism is either the work of the dead, that is, Necromancy (Deut. 18: 11), and therefore of the wicked dead; or it is the work of personating demons, that is, Sorcery: either was forbidden by the law of Jehovah under pain of death. On Mr. Meyers words Mr. W. T. Stead comments thus: - The work is important because it has received the imprimatur of the Rev. F. B. Meyer, who may be regarded as an exponent of the average belief of Nonconformists on this matter. When so competent an authority tells us that he is convinced that the spirits of our departed friends may return and visit us, is it not the duty of all Christians to take up the study of Spirit Return and Ministry as a religious duty?
AS MAHATMAS. Apostate spirits also seduce through false messiahs, alleged reincarnations, and world-teachers. The Theosophical Society, founded to lead an open warfare against dogma, by Madame Blavatsky, who asserts that the Serpent of Eden was actually the Lord God Himself, whereas Jehovah is Cain, - now foretells, through Mrs. Besant, the imminent coming of the blessed Buddha yet to be, who shall shape the religions of the world into one vast synthesis. He loves all faiths, blesses them all alike, sends his messengers to every one of them and is the heart and life of each. And ever the World-Teacher is connected with what are called the mysteries, that which Origen called Gnosticism; and in those mysteries the teaching of the World-Teacher was ever the same. He is waiting till his messengers have proclaimed his advent, and to some extent have prepared the nations for his coming.
Here is the Satanic groundwork preparatory to the Advent of Antichrist. Yet it is Dr. R. F. Horton who writes: - It would almost seem from these addresses that Mrs. Besant has been brought back to Christ by the road of Theosophy. It is to such a heart, determined to find the truth and to speak it when found, that we could well imagine the communication should be given of the coming of the Lord: it is an appeal which, I trust, will come home to us all. The anxiety of the lecturer was lest, through our unfitness and blindness, we should not be able to recognise the great World-Teacher when He comes, lest we should treat Him again as He was treated when He came before; lest if He should come again as a poor man, or if He should come with the skin of the black man or the yellow man, we should not receive Him. What a conception of the Advent! Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, there: believe it not. For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the coming of the Son of man (Matt. 24: 23, 27). Ignorance or refusal of prophecy is as grave a danger as is now possible to a human soul.
the Holy Ghost. Nor do these
conscienceless spirits - having consciences cauterised
as with a hot iron - shrink from masquerading as the Holy Ghost. We state the grave
fact, says a collective utterance of German pastors (1908), that in the late Tongues movement in
It was by a spirit personating the Holy Ghost that Mr. Prince, of the Agapemone, was led at last to exclaim: - In me you see Christ in the flesh; by me, and in me, God has redeemed all flesh from death.
May God help us! The Advent cannot be far. IF THOU PUT THE BRETHREN IN MIND OF THESE THINGS - the Apostasy, seducing spirits, and the doctrines of the Apostasy - THOU SHALT BE A GOOD MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST (1 Tim. 4: 6).
THE CHURCH. The creation
of the Korean is one of the modern marvels of God. In 1885 there were 10 missionaries and no
converts; in 1886 there were two baptized Koreans; in 1888 there were 125; in
1903 there were 15,000; and in 1910, 250,000: a strong, living, fruitful
church, probably second to none in intensity, created, within quarter of a
century, out of nothing. The Korean receptivity
to the gospel has been rarely equalled.
The same amount of evangelistic work (Bishop Montgomery estimates)
THE LAND. The background
of this mighty work of the Holy Ghost is one of the oldest of the nations. The rectangular streets in Pyeng Yang, its
oldest city - only recently altered - were laid down 3,000 years ago: the text-books
used (until lately) in the schools date back a thousand years: and so dark was
the nation spiritually, that the word for God (as we understand it) had to be
created. Until 1885 no Korean could
become a Christian under pain of death; and as lately as 1902 proclamations
were placarded on the roadsides, If you see a
foreigner kill him: if you see a native reading the Bible, kill him.
THE REVIVAL. A revival
swept over the infant church from 1903 to 1907.
Prayer and Scripture were the two dominant characteristics of the
revival. A passion of prayer fell upon
the people. Whole days and nights were
spent in prayer; they would kneel for hours on the frozen ground on the
mountain sides; there are churches which have had prayer meetings every night
since they were founded; and the largest prayer meeting in the world - with an
average attendance of eleven hundred, frequently with an overflow meeting - is
in Pyeng Yang. Prayer is like some vast deposit of
precious ore: time must be taken to sink deep the shaft to reach the richer
veins; and this the Korean does.
So also Bible conferences sprang up everywhere; there are now more than
a thousand such throughout
THE FRUIT. Here are a handful of Korean fruits. A blind sorcerer walked five hundred miles to find a blind mans Bible. One man saved five slices of bread, and lived on one a day, that he might attend a Bible conference. One assembly - and Korea is reputed the poorest land in the Far East - gave £2,500 for the erection of its own church, an assembly only ten years out of heathenism. Whole days and weeks are set aside by church members for personal work in winning the unsaved: in one young Koreans diary a missionary saw a record of 3,400 such personal interviews in one year. In a village where there was no money to build the church, a farmer-evangelist sold his ox, a valuable one, and finished the erection of the church; and when the missionary arrived, he saw this man and his brother yoked together in the plow, while their aged father held the handles, and followed the furrow. What must be the mighty undercurrent of grace which can throw up such living marvels on the crest of its wave!
THE LESSON. The lesson is exquisite
and solemn and I beseech any unsaved reader to mark it.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon (Is. 55: 7).
Testimony of History. It will be
accepted without challenge that Mr. Gwatkin, professor of ecclesiastical
history in the
Christian life [in the early church] properly began with baptism, for baptism was the converts
confession before men, the soldiers oath which enlisted him in the service of
Christ. The rite was very simple, as
described by Justin in the 2nd
century. After more or less instruction,
the candidate declared his belief in our
teachings, and his willingness to live accordingly. Then he might be
directed to fast a short time, in way of preparation. He was then taken to a place where there was water. Here he made his formal confession, and here
he was baptized by immersion in the name of the Trinity. After this he was taken to the meeting and
received by the brethren. We have
decisive evidence that infant baptism is no direct institution either of the
Lord Himself or of His apostles. There
is no trace of it in the New Testament.
Immersion was the rule: the whole symbolism of baptism requires
immersion, and so
The Testimony of the Old Testament. The Holy Ghost has selected the two mightiest catastrophes by water in all history to picture baptism, and thus to reveal its significance and its mode. These two catastrophes were judgments in which, in the one case thousands, and in the other millions, were drowned; while, in both cases, the people of God, though in the water, and overwhelmed by the water, nevertheless came through it dryshod.
(I) God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: which also after a true likeness - no fancied analogy, but a real type - doth now save you, even baptism (1 Pet. 3: 20). Sin provoked the Flood, which turned the world into one vast watery grave: all mankind perished: but the household of faith, passing through judgment unscathed, arose on Ararat out of the grave of the world.
At the Red Sea both church and world are again plunged into a common grave: the
mountainous walls of water roll down on the Egyptians, wiping them out of
existence: while Gods people, threatened on every hand with a watery death -
for they were all baptized in the cloud and in the sea
(1 Cor. 10: 2), the two forming together a
stupendous coffin - nevertheless emerge alive on the further shore. Thus baptism, as foreshadowed in the Old
Testament, pictures death overwhelming all - all flesh drowned in the judgments
of God: but, while one group perishes irremediably, the other - because God is
with them in the
Testimony of the New Testament. It is
with exquisite appropriateness, therefore, that one of the first allusions to
baptism in the New Testament runs thus: Jesus baptized. And John also was
baptizing in Aenon, because there was much water
there (John 3: 23). A tumble-full could have sprinkled a thousand
converts: not so immersion: nor without the destruction of the symbolism. For we were buried therefore with Him through
baptism into death (Rom. 6: 4); having been buried with
Him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with Him (Col. 2: 12).
Burial is total immersion in earth; and when it is ocean-burial, it is
no less total. For
as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ (Gal. 3: 27) - clothed with Christ in
Of all revealed truths, not one is more clearly revealed in
the Scriptures [than believers baptism] - not
even the doctrine of justification by faith; and the subject has only become
obscured by men not having been willing to take the Scriptures alone to decide
the point (George Muller).
Judgment passed over the believer on
The Testimony of Experience. Experience exquisitely confirms baptism, so administered, as of God. Here are some testimonies the writer has himself received. Last night I was smitten to the dust. Of course I shall obey Him in baptism! There is nothing else to do. I do so gladly, humbly, thankfully, gratefully. - Sunday night was far more beautiful even than I had thought: I saw no one - the Master was there. - I shall never forget how I realized the preciousness of Christ after I obeyed Him in baptism. - I have been thinking over the matter for 25 years: I only wish now it had taken place years ago. - It has brought greater joy into my life, and it has given me a stronger passion for service. To obey is better than sacrifice. The blessedness that has been mine since my baptism is more than words can express. - I was just trembling in every limb, - but when the time come to step into the water, it was just as if He held my hand, and led me. Never in my whole life has He been so near: I cannot tell you all that it meant to me, as I laid my whole life at His feet. - Each moment of this evening last week comes to my mind to night; so overpoweringly, that I was forced to my knees in an ecstasy of joy. What hath God wrought! Is it likely that such experiences flow from an illusion, an error, a misunderstanding, or a falsity disapproved by the Holy host? Then obey!
He that hath My commandments, AND KEEPETH THEM, He it is that loveth Me (John 14: 21): why call ye me, Lord, Lord, AND DO NOT THE THINGS WHICH I SAY? (Luke 6: 46).
Expiation by Blood
HUMAN SACRIFICE. The sacrifice
of a substitute is one of the oldest instincts of the world. Here is a cuneiform text from the Accadian,
the most ancient of all civilizations. The lamb, the substitute for a man, the lamb he [the
offerer] gives for his life: the head of the lamb he
gives for the head of the man, the back of the lamb he gives for the back of
the man, the breast of the lamb he gives for the breast of the man,
etc. But substitution, groping after the
actual redemption desired, inevitably became human. At
lay in the heart of humanity in this awful holocaust? An Egyptian inscription tenderly and profoundly
replies. An ox, about to be sacrificed,
was stamped with a seal bearing the image of a man: on this seal the mans
hands were bound behind him, and a sword-point was at his throat. The ox perished in the place of the doomed
man. A Babylonian treatise on astrology,
speaking of children offered by their parents to the Moon-god, says: - The son who lifts up his head among men, the son for his own
life must he [the father] give; the head of the
child must he give for the head of the man, and the neck of the child for the
neck of the man. It was
substitution with a view to expiation.
animal sacrifice, felt to be inadequate, became human: moreover, in some cases
sacrifices were selected, the dearest to the offerer that could be found. Deeply pathetic was the sacrifice of
children. These were selected on two grounds: - (1) as the most innocent, they could stand for the guilty; and (2) they were the sacrifices dearest
and costliest to the offerers heart.
The parents stopped their cries by fondling and kissing them, for the
victim had to be mute: the sacrifice must be so wholly voluntary that if either
child or parent wept, the expiation was forfeited. Blind instinct of
CHRIST. Now what has God to say to these human sacrifices? They have built the high places of Topheth, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded not, neither came it into my mind (Jer. 7: 31). Jehovahs rejection of Isaac, and His substitution of the ram, reveals once for all His refusal of all human sacrifices: when He said: - In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. He knew that He passed sentence of death upon Himself. The reason of Gods rejection of human sacrifice is clear: no sinner can be a propitiation for another sinner. Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?(Mic. 6: 7); when none can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: that must be LET ALONE FOR EVER (Ps. 49: 7). To offer up a sinner for a sinner is to add murder to a futile sacrifice.
The Church and the Kingdom
THE CHURCH. No church, properly defined as such, existed before our Lord appeared: upon this rock I will build my church (Matt. 16: 18): un-built in His lifetime, He nevertheless here foretells it as we know it. He also legislated for it: - if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican (Matt. 18: 17). For the stones our Lord quarried became the foundation stones of the Church (Eph. 2: 20); and all disciples, made and baptized between the two advents, are to be taught to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you (Matt. 28: 20). The next occurrences of the word, immediately after Pentecost, assume the Church as by this time actually existing in the world. Great fear came upon the whole church (Acts 5: 11): they were gathered together with the church (11: 26); when they had appointed for them elders in every church (14: 23); when they had gathered the church together (14: 27); it seemed good to the apostles, with the whole church (15: 22). The Book of the Acts refers throughout to the church as a body actually in the world: it is the book of the propagation of the church: it refers to Jew and Gentile, - gathered out to Christ, and compacted together, - as the church: and it does so from the moment of the Holy Ghosts descent, - the birth-moment, therefore, of the church. The Epistles follow, as church documents: and, in the Apocalypse, churches are addressed for the last time by our Lord - Hold fast till I come (Rev. 2: 25): that is, the church is to continue until He comes.
THE KINGDOM. The
essentially church documents, the Epistles, refer constantly to the Kingdom, and - with the exception of Col. 1: 13 - invariably refer to it as
future. So did our Lord. When they supposed
THE KINGDOM IN MYSTERY. In one aspect, however, the kingdom is now present: for in parables the kingdom is the church: in literal passages, it is the literal kingdom; in figurative, it is the mystical. The reason seems clear. Our Lord, when personally present, spoke of the kingdom as present also, for it was present in the person of the King: if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you (Matt. 12: 28). When the King withdrew from the world, so did the kingdom. But the Lord is mystically present with His Church: there is, therefore, a mystical kingdom: who translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1: 13).
THE CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM. Scripture
finally unfolds the right attitude of the Church to the Kingdom. The Church is to preach the Kingdom, to pray
for it, and to seek to enter it. (1) Paul, peculiarly the Church apostle, reasoned and
persuaded as to the things concerning the
LIFE. I was
alive, Paul says, in the most wonderful of all revelations of
conversion, apart from the law once (
LAW. But when the commandment came, Paul continues, sin revived. What commandment? One he has just named, the tenth in the Decalogue, - Thou shalt not covet, or lust, or have an evil desire; the solitary command in the Decalogue that deals solely, not with outward actions, but with internal emotions. Coveting, or lusting, or evil desire is a motion of the soul which may, or may not, flow out into action: our neighbour may never know that we covet anything that is his: nevertheless the mere desire the Law forbids. A sinless soul, not only would never indulge an evil desire, but would never have one: God has no evil motion of the soul. The commandment came home to the conscience: it found the heart lustful, and, after it has come, the heart remains so: the Law reveals sin, it does not create it. But instantly, in Pauls eyes, sin revived- sprang back into life; the dormant, latent sin deep down in his heart sprang up like a serpent in his face. Paul had run his finger down the Decalogue, the great summary of the Law. He is no idolator - no blasphemer - no sabbath-breaker - no dishonourer of parents - no murderer - no adulterer - no thief - no false witness: he is a righteous man. But suddenly his finger stops: his eye is riveted by a command that blazes at him as if he had never seen it before, - Thou shalt not covet. He had controlled all his outward actions; but how can he control the motions of his soul? But if the motions of his soul are sinful, how can he be without sin? And if he is sinful, a law-breaker, how can the Law grant him freedom*? If evil desire is sin, who in all the world is not a sinner?
DEATH. What then was the effect of this awful discovery upon Paul? I died: I saw myself a dead man, I fell back dead. Why so? Because the Law says, - whosoever shall keep the whole law - Paul had kept nine commands - and yet stumble in one point - Paul had broken the tenth - he is become guilty of all (Jas. 2: 10). The only possible condition on which law can grant life is a perfect obedience: for the Law is an entirety, covering all righteousness; and less than the whole Law is not the Law. The man who is to win eternal life by perfect righteousness must possess a righteousness that is perfect. But Pauls failure was not only negative: it was positive. The soul that sinneth - to break a single commandment is sin - it shall die (Ezek. 38: 4): the wages of sin - whether little sin or much sin - is death (Rom. 6: 23). So long as God remains God, and sin remains sin, not murder only, or adultery, but evil desire also, damns. Internal haemorrhage kills as surely as external; a man can bleed to death inside, without a drop of blood ever becoming visible on his skin: so a man externally righteous can become hellish, and sink into Hell, while found blameless - so far as human eyes can reach.
Moreover the Tenth Commandment is the root command of all. Idolatry, a lust after other gods; murder, a lust of hate; slander, a lust to wound; adultery and theft, lust after that which is anothers: coveting, or lust, carries the germ of every sin. In it, it is not the mans life that stands out black, but the man; and whereas a vile hand can be cut off, and a foul eye can be plucked out, what is a man to do with an evil heart? The heart is the man. So Paul fell back dead. For it was as though a sleeper rested in a pitch-dark room, in perfect security and peace. He is sure, as he lies in the dark, that all is well. But as the first light creeps through the window, he suddenly realises that the room is full of wild beasts, and the door is locked. From the chandelier hangs, half uncurled, a serpent, poised with lolling fangs and constant hiss; beneath the window a tiger, with eyes glaring full upon him, crouches in the act to spring. I was alive [in my own eyes] apart from the law once: but when the commandment came [home to my conscience], sin revived [sprang back into life], and I died [saw myself a dead man].
CHRIST. So the Law had
done its glorious work, preparatory to salvation: the Spirit had wrought
conviction of sin, before He displayed saving righteousness. It is ever so. The pangs of the sinner are the blessed
footsteps of the Holy Ghost. For who
immediately confronts Paul? He who said,
- I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2: 17):
for the Son of man came to seek and to save that which
was lost (Luke 19: 10): and on the
Yea, through life, death, through sorrow and through sinning, He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed: Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning, Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ.
WORLDWIDE BLOODSHED BY THE CHURCH OF
ROME IS FORETOLD BY THE HOLY SPIRIT BEFORE THE END. I will show thee the judgment - not the history, or
the mediaeval corruption, but the judgment - of the
great harlot: these shall burn her utterly
with fire (Rev. 17: 1, 16). It is a judgment which is on the immediate
threshold of the Advent; for the Woman is seen actually riding on the
Antichrist after he has come up out of the Abyss.
TOLERANCE. Now a most
startling fact confronts us. For four
centuries we have lived in an era altogether exceptional, before which was
blood, and after which will be blood again; and this era will not last. The acceptance of Protestantism by half the
governments of Europe robbed
neither age, sex, nor condition; I will hang, burn, waste, boil,
flay, strangle, and bury alive; and when the same cannot be done openly, I will
use the poison-cup, or the bullet, or steel. Nevertheless, it is also true that a gracious
respite granted to us by God has withheld
no intellect in the world to-day is less intoxicated or more wary than that of
the twentieth century
The day is not far distant, and may be very near, when we
shall have to fight the battle of the Reformation over again (Sir
Robert Peel). I
do not pretend to be a prophet; but though not a prophet, I can see a very dark
cloud on our horizon, and that cloud is coming from
Be it so: the blood of the martyrs has always been the seed of the Church. Thirty attempts, says Mr. Chiniquy, have been made to kill me; but I have ever remarked that the very day after I have been bruised and wounded, the number of converts has invariably increased. John 12: 24. O for grace to say, with an old-time martyr, - Can I die for Christ but once?
ASCENSION. That we saw him go, that we have heard from him since, and that he has been seen in that other land, is the sole evidence we ever have of a friends existence on another continent. Such is the evidence we have of Christ. The crucifixion was public, the burial was public, the appearances after the resurrection were public, and as public as all the rest was the ascension: as they were looking, He was taken up (Acts 1: 9). While all eyes were calmly, attentively, lovingly turned towards Him as He speaks, He was slowly carried up into Heaven. No eyes had seen Enoch go: Elijah went up in a flash - seen but by one: the calm, quiet convincing gaze of eleven sober men watched the Lord upward. They saw Him go. No fact could be more simple or sober or real. As the Body had been physically handled in the upper room, so it went up, physically visible, until a cloud came between; as literal as the cloud, so literal was the body; and up to the moment that He disappeared behind the cloud, it was the actual Jesus who had talked and walked and eaten with them. He had shown His power over the sea by walking on it, over the earth by raising the dead out of it, over Hades by leaving His own grave, and now over the air by rising up to God through it. Who maketh the clouds His chariot; who walketh upon the wings of the wind (Ps. 104: 3).
DEPARTURE. If the
ascension did not happen, what did? The
Lord had risen; the tomb was empty; He had talked and eaten with more than five
hundred people; He had been handled by reverent unbelief: - how then did He
leave the earth? If He left it by death,
- the whole resurrection thus becoming meaningless, - if He wasted away with
disease, fell once again into the grave, and was laid to rest by those who have
since died for love of Him, how is it that there is not even the whisper of a
tradition how and where He died? We have
the tomb of Abraham, in
FORETOLD. The ascension, moreover, is a section of a coherent whole. Our Lord had plainly foretold it. What then if ye should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before? (John 6: 62). Yet a little while am I with you, and I go unto Him that sent Me. Ye shall seek Me - as the prophets disciples sought Elijah - and shall not find Me: and where I am, ye cannot come [i.e., until the time of your resurrection] (John 7: 33). Why not? Peter answers: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things (Acts 3: 21). Why must? Because it needs be that Scriptures be fulfilled. Thou hast ascended on high - so runs a passage which the Holy Spirit applies to Christ (Eph. 4: 7); Thou hast received gifts for men (Ps. 68: 18): for He that descended, Paul says, is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens (Eph. 4: 10); who is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven (1 Pet. 3: 22); a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God (Heb. 4: 14). Christ has moved up from off this earthly globe, and passed into the real, sure, abiding portion of the universe; we are divided from that great world only by a cloud; up to the edge of the cloud human eyes followed the Lord, now as literally and as actually on the other side as ever He was on this; and how thin that cloud wears at times, and how quickly and suddenly we too may step behind it!
THE BLOOD. What then is
the deep significance of the ascension?
The High Priest, on entering the Holy of holies, was required to enter
with blood, and to deposit it in the Sanctuary, so covering
If any man sin, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, BUT ALSO FOR THE WHOLE WORLD
(1 John 2: 1).
The Sabbath and the Lords Day
THE SABBATH. The Sabbath
was a Jewish ordinance founded on (l) Gods after-creation rest, and on (2) the
the sabbath was a specifically Jewish ordinance. Thou shalt remember
that thou wast a servant in the
* It was a three days journey to the wilderness of the
Red Sea (Ex. 3: 18), by which
We now turn to the Lords Day. The word sabbath is never used in Scripture for the first day of the week; nor is there any hint of a change of days - one newly hallowed, and one now made unhallowed. God is nowhere stated to have done this: no church has the power. The seventh day is a sabbath unto the Lord thy God (Ex. 20: 10). BUT THE LORDS DAY IS HONOURED FOR REASONS TOTALLY DISTINCT FROM THE SABBATIC.
REDEMPTION. As Jehovah
rested on the first day after creation, so He rested on the first day after
redemption. He that is entered into [Gods] rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from His (Heb.
4: 10): God now rests in the finished work of Christ; and as the ark
rested on Ararat, after its strenuous salvation, on the seventeenth day of the
seventh month, so the Lamb, slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the same
month, rested on the seventeenth, redemption completed. God had carried the redeemed beyond their
RESURRECTION. The firstfruits, and also the Resurrection, first of the firstfruits, were offered on the morrow after the sabbath (Lev. 23: 11): so Christ, the first of the firstfruits, and the body of already risen saints (Matt. 27: 53), were both offered to the Lord on the Lords Day. As eight resurrections are recorded in Scripture, so the eighth day, the day after the sabbath, is the day of resurrection, our Lords first day as the first-begotten from the dead.
PENTECOST. Pentecost (meaning fifty) always fell fifty days after the Sunday preceding the Passover feast, that is, on the Lords Day. Thus the Holy Ghost descended on the Lords Day: for when the day of Pentecost was now come, suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2: 1). The Church, by the descent of the Spirit, was born on the earth on the Lords Day; and John was in the Spirit on the Lords Day: for whereas the day of the Letter was the Seventh, the day of the Spirit is the First.
LIFE. The First Day is supremely the
day of the resurrection of dead souls.
On the eighth day
the honouring of the Lords Day - its observance is nowhere commanded in the
Scripture - is a practise (not a precept) sanctioned by the Holy Ghost: for upon the first day of the week the disciples gathered together to break bread (Acts 20: 7), and offered their substance to God (1 Cor. 16: 2).
Although all days are now fundamentally alike to the robust believer (
The Sermon on the Mount is our Decalogue, the Gospels and Epistles our Law, and the Apocalypse our Prophets; for ye are not under law - the Decalogue was the summary and quintessence of the Law - but under grace (Rom. 6: 14): let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow - for sabbaths are part of the vanished Law - of the things to come (Col. 2: 16). For we are under law TO CHRIST (1 Cor. 9: 21).
Probation after Death
GODS CHARACTER. God is almighty - so runs one plea for probation after death: He abhors sin, and He must triumph; therefore He will empty Hell, some time, by swinging open the door of mercy to all mankind - or else His character of goodness and love is destroyed. But a fatal objection lies against this plea. The perfections of God have not prevented sin entering into the world, and remaining in it for sixty centuries; therefore a God of love can co-exist with a world of sin, for He has. If Gods perfection allowed sin to enter the universe at all, why cannot His perfection allow it to stay, and why not allow it to stay for ever? Gods absolute goodness does co-exist with a sinning world: there is no reason, therefore, why it should not co-exist with a sinning Hell. But - it may be said - there are good reasons why sin should be permitted to exist now: but that at once admits that God may allow, nay, does allow sin to exist for good and sufficient reasons. But who knows what those reasons are? Who can say that they are not eternal reasons? But as long as the reasons persist, so will the sin. If evil may wisely be permitted now, it may wisely be permitted for ever: if an eternal Hell is the ruin of Gods character, that character - I speak as a man - is already ruined. But God is light, AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL (1 John 1: 5).
MANS CHARACTER. But another opportunity, - so runs a second plea - would save many souls who did not, or could not, choose the right in this life; that is, it is assumed that God has but to offer mercy, in order to empty Hell. But how is it to be done? It can only be by the appeals of the old Gospel, the exhibition of the old love; for God has no new pity to disclose, no new saving power to display: all that can be brought to bear on lost souls is that which has already been pressed to its utmost limit, and has failed. The Gospel has used all its arguments and appeals, and it is a spent Gospel: the Spirit has used all the agencies at His command to move the heart, and He is a rejected Spirit: what can now change mans hate to love? Death works no magic: what is to make men love that which, by their very nature, they abhorred, and still abhor? For there would be the same demand for righteousness, the same commanded renunciation of the world, the same stern prohibition of sin, the same offer of a salvation by mercy alone. All that is abhorrent in the Gospel now would be abhorrent then. If men can reject God for forty years, they can reject Him for forty aeons, or for 40 millions of aeons; if they can trample on the blood of the cross for a generation, they can trample on it for a hundred generations: if all the love and wisdom and miracle of Jesus Christ, God incarnate preaching in person, could not open deaf ears, what could, on the other side of the grave? But if probation is useless, God will not offer it: even now, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, NEITHER WILL THEY BE PERSUADED, IF ONE RISE FROM THE DEAD (Luke 16: 31).