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STEPS IN LIGHT

SALVATION

Luke 23:39 - 43; 2 Corinthians 12:1 - 4

The subject I desire to occupy you with this evening is Salvation . The word is much misused, for it is looked at generally as only what I am saved from , while in Scripture it is also what I am saved to .

It is interesting to observe how the word 'salvation' is used. In Ephesians, we have "the gospel of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:13); in Hebrews, "the captain of our salvation" (Hebrews 2:10); in Philippians, "Work out your own salvation". (Philippians 2:12)

There is a great difference between being occupied with what you are saved from , and what you are saved to . If you are occupied with the first, it is only relief that is before you; if with the second, you are occupied with the hope of the gospel. Our blessed Lord was not satisfied with getting us out of misery, but He obtained the Father's house for us.

I turn to 1 Thessalonians 5:8 - 10: "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him". Mark verse 10; I beg you to bear that especially in your hearts. What a comprehensive verse it is! "Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him". He died that we might be with Him. How that touches the heart! And the word 'with' here is remarkable; it means co-partnership, association. Well, that is most cheering, that whether I watch or sleep, I am to live with Him.

"Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed". (Romans 13:11) I ask, do you know what this salvation is? The first thing is that the work is completed, not

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merely to get me out of misery and judgement, but to place me in glory. That is the reason I have read about the thief on the cross. Directly his eyes are opened, and he sees the just One suffering for the unjust, he says, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom". He saw Jesus as King; the Lord says to him, "Verily, I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise".

Commentators have tried to put a comma after "today", to make out that it did not happen then; but it did happen then; at that moment Paradise was opened, and it was not the Paradise of man, but the Paradise of God. The flaming sword and the cherubim guarded the Paradise of man. This was far more. It is the Lord's place. The Lord says to him, "To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise". The effect of Christ's work was to transfer that man from the deepest misery to the greatest happiness. See what he was transferred from , and what to ! By the efficacy of the death of Christ, that man passed from the lowest, deepest, darkest place of misery ever known to man, into the brightest, holiest, most blessed place of ineffable bliss with the Lord. That is the transition. That is what Christ has done.

Now I must digress a little. There are two great spheres of blessing obtained for us; they combine in the Father's house. Both were procured by the death of Christ: in type they are -- Canaan, and while on the road to Canaan, the tabernacle. These two now converge. We are in the presence of God, and approach Him in all the acceptance of Christ; that is, the tabernacle; and we are seated in the heavenlies in Him, that is Canaan. They had in the tabernacle a travelling companion in the wilderness; we, too, have the presence of God with us, we approach Him now in all the acceptance of Christ; we have the true tabernacle in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has passed into "heaven itself, now to appear in

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the presence of God for us". (Hebrews 9:24) I have entrance into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus, and I get there in all the perfection of the One who brought me there. The other sphere of blessing is Canaan -- heaven -- that is, in the very brightest place. I am "seated in the heavenlies in Christ". "Accepted in the beloved". These two -- the greatest blessings -- converge in the Father's house, and both are obtained by the death of Christ. Both of them are obtained, and secured to me by His death. "He died that, whether we watch or sleep, we should live together with him". (1 Thessalonians 5:10)

I look at it now from another side. Every saint looks for escape, expecting to go to heaven by-and-by; but there is another thing, approach to God now; that is unknown to Christians in general; it is not only that I am going to heaven, but I have approach to God now, known along the road: that is Hebrews. I have right to enter the holiest of all, where all is suited to the holiness and righteousness of God, a scene of spotless purity and light. I can rejoice now in all this blessedness while on the way to heaven. I have entrance now into the holiest; and, besides, we are now seated in the heavenlies in Christ. In Luke 23 is established the great fact, that by the death of Christ you pass from the deepest darkness to the brightest place. People cavil at it, they say the thief died; very well, but his death did not entitle him to enter Paradise. It was Christ's death that obtained it for him. There are four aspects of the death of Christ from Egypt to Canaan.

  1. The Blood on the lintel, that is shelter from judgement.
  2. The Red Sea, the death and resurrection of Christ.
  3. The Brazen Serpent. You know the first two perhaps, but do you know what this is -- that you are free from the law of sin and death?
  4. The Jordan -- you are dead and risen with Christ.

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These are the four aspects of the death of Christ; they all happened together, but I do not say I learn them together. The Holy Spirit comes down to make known to my heart what Christ has done.

The thief on the cross entered into Paradise, and his own death had divested him of the encumbrance of the old man in a moment. We are not free of the encumbrance as he was; he was free because he died. So the apostle says, "Though the outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day". (2 Corinthians 4:16) Look at a saint dying and going to heaven; he gets brighter and brighter because the encumbrance is getting weaker. I say the thief went to Paradise, and that he was free from encumbrance, because he could not carry a bit of the old man into that place.

Now I turn to Corinthians, to show you a man in Christ free from encumbrance, who had not died. Christ's work entitles a man on the earth to enjoy this . Paul does not say an apostle, but "a man in Christ", who had no sense of encumbrance. The Holy Spirit from the glorified Christ led him up there to show him what the work of Christ had accomplished. I believe this man in Christ is in a greater position than the thief in Paradise. It shows the possibility of being taken into Paradise; and more than this, it shows also the nature of the reception vouchsafed there.

Of the thief on the cross we know that he died, and that from the lowest place he went to Paradise, but here, without getting rid of the encumbrance on this earth, the apostle was taken at once into the very highest place, received in the most cordial way, and treated most intimately. Often by favour people get into high places, but the question is, How are they received there? How was this man received? Nothing can convey the cordiality of his reception! He could tell no man about it. Here was a man walking about this world with the secrets of God in his heart which he could not disclose to anyone.

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We have heard of the man who dreamed that he went to a great palace, and was received well at the door; then he went in, and at each successive room he was better received. At last he entered the presence chamber, and there he was received with acclamation. It is more than that with the man in Christ!

The prodigal son entering the Father's house shows out the nature of our salvation. It is not simply for my benefit that I am there, but God has a delight in having me there. The Lord here was working out the will of the Father; He says, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of" (John 4:32) "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work". (John 4:34) We see in Luke 15 the delight of the Father in the reception of the prodigal. "It was meet that we should make merry and be glad". (Luke 15:32) Love delights to have me in its company. If man's need were the measure of Christ's work, human joys would suffice; but, when divine love is the measure, the Father's house and the joys there are alone sufficient. It is the Father's pleasure that His house should be filled, therefore "It was meet that we should make merry and be glad". "This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found". (Luke 15:24) That is why the reception of the man in Christ was so cordial and so full. This is the characteristic, not of the apostle, but of the man in Christ. Every believer now has a home there. I am dwelling on the gain which we derive from being occupied with the finish; what we are saved to .

Do you accept that this is the main point? It is not like the man in the dream; he made good his footing as he went in; but in the gospel, the light that first comes to you is the light of the end, it is "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ". The light comes from the finish, though it begins with you where you are, and conducts you to the finish. As you advance it becomes fuller and fuller, like the path of the just, that shineth more and more unto the

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perfect day. If that end is mine, it is from that end I actually derive all the way. My income is from thence, the Holy Spirit comes from thence.

I turn now to Luke. Luke's gospel shows that you are not saved for earth, but saved for heaven. From whence, then, do you get your joys? From heaven! "Who died .. . that we should live together with him". (1 Thessalonians 5:10) That is the end, the proper hope of the Christian; and you are actually deriving your present enjoyments from that end. Many Christians are not happy. Why? Because they are not deriving their joys from the place where the joys never end; as Peter says, "Joy unspeakable, and full of glory". (1 Peter 1:8)

In chapter 14 is the great supper; it is not in the land, but in the Father's house. The prodigal is conducted to the Father's house; he is not restored to the land. That was lost, but he gets a greater thing, the Father's house, and finds joys that can never end. The natural man connects joy with temporal things; even Christians are often disappointed, because they look for joys in the wrong place. The feast is Wisdom's feast, and that is in the Father's house. How wonderful the present enjoyment that I derive from that which has been obtained for me by the death of Christ!

I have salvation as a secured thing by the death of Christ. I have heaven, I am not there yet, but the efficacy of Christ's work has placed me in two great blessings -- the presence of God, and the joys that come from heaven -- as in the case of the prodigal, "They began to be merry", (Luke 15:24) and that joy will never cease.

I turn now to John 7:37. Well, beloved friends, what I learn here is, not what I am saved from , but what I am saved to ; I am in the reality of the fact that I am outside of death in His life, and not only in His life, but in His power , too, here in this scene of death! The Holy Spirit had come down from the

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glorified Christ to acquaint us with the joys of the place whence He came. "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". (John 7:38) Mark how it is stated, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". We should be exercised as to whether we have these joys in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let me explain. There were for Israel three feasts in the year: the Passover, the feast of Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles. The first is the death of Christ, the second is the descent of the Holy Spirit, the third is not yet fulfilled: it will be in the millennium. Do you say, Then the millennial saints are better off than we are? No! For the presence and power of the Holy Spirit make us rejoice more than if we had the feast of Tabernacles. He is here to enrich our hearts with Christ. He has come down to make known to us all the joys of the Father's house. That is the great supper! I am not there yet, but I get my joys from there. I get home comforts, before I get home; my income is derived from there. There is no such thing as an earthly people now; we are a heavenly people, with heavenly joys.

I now recapitulate. First, Christ has accomplished our salvation, this great blessedness He has obtained for us, and we know it now. Secondly, in His life we are outside of death, and while passing through this evil world, we are superior to it through His power; the Holy Spirit sent down from our glorified Saviour, at one and the same time making us superior to the power of evil, and filling our hearts with joy; the joys of heaven to which we belong.

May each of you join with me in asking the Lord that we may know the nature of divine grace.

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LIBERTY

Galatians 2:20

Last week we were speaking of Salvation; not only what we are saved from, but what we are saved to. And what you find is, that the Spirit of God occupies us now with what we are saved to. If you are only occupied with what you are saved from, it is relief that is before you. But if you are occupied with what you are saved to, you are abounding in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There are two sides to Christ's work which we often find separated. One is the sinner's benefit. Thank God, that, in a great measure, is proclaimed fully. But there is another side that is not so fully proclaimed, and that is the delight of the Father in having us in His company. Christ accomplished both; for He had not only to bear the judgement of our sins in order that our benefit might be secured, but He had to effect that which would satisfy the Father's heart, so that we could be in His company: like the prodigal son, who was brought home to the Father's house. The subject in that parable is not the benefit of the one found, but the delight of the finder. You must connect the two sides in the gospel.

As I pointed out last week, the parable of the great supper (Luke 14), shows God's side; while that of the good Samaritan in Luke 10 shows our side. It sets forth how the Lord fully secured our benefit for evermore.

Christ shares in the delight of the Father; He can share in saying, "It was meet that we should make merry and be glad". (Luke 15:32) We too much lose sight of this side, even the Father's delight in having us in His house. However slow one's heart is to take it in, it remains true that He has positive delight to have us in His house.

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Now for the point that I wish specially to bring before you this evening. The thief on the cross went straight to heaven, there to be with the Lord. He was free from all encumbrance. Mark the fact, that his salvation is accomplished and enjoyed by him. But one will say, O, but he died! Well, I admit it; and that free from all encumbrance, he went to Paradise; but it was Christ's work, not his own death, which obtained it for him. Hence there is a greater thing now, which is illustrated by Paul being caught up into the third heaven. The Spirit in relating it, does not say Paul; He says, "a man in Christ" on one occasion was caught up into Paradise, before he died, but free from any sense of encumbrance! By the Spirit of God, he was carried up to the highest spot and meets with a most wonderful reception, for in great confidence and intimacy, he hears the counsels of God. He has not only reached the highest place, but he is received there on the most intimate terms, as "accepted in the Beloved". (Ephesians 1:6) Verily he is there in perfect liberty, with no sense of encumbrance. And that is the point I want to bring before you this evening: that it is possible for us to enjoy, as our present portion, what Christ's work has secured for us; to have the sense of it without encumbrance, as made "free from the law of sin and death". (Romans 8:2)

The thief died, he was divested of everything; Paul, a man in Christ, was caught up into Paradise, and was received there in the most cordial way possible; he had no sense of encumbrance. This is a sample of a greater thing.

The Holy Spirit has come down from the glorified Christ, and leads our hearts into the enjoyment of that scene in which He is, a scene of perfect brightness which he has obtained for us; and though we are still encompassed with this body of death, yet we can really know what liberty is, liberty in Christ's life.

This, beloved friends, is what I wish to dwell a

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little upon; it is a subject of all importance. Earnest souls have at all times endeavoured to reach this liberty, that is, to get rid of the encumbrance, to walk about in this world free from that which is the encumbrance, that is, the old man, the flesh. Hence, you see the apostle states his own practical knowledge. It is not simply what we call knowing the truth doctrinally, but he states it is a known fact. "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me".

Well, now, what I desire to occupy you with is how this is practically known, how you can really arrive at it. The first thing is, that the old man has, in the eye of God, been ended judicially on the cross. I am not speaking now of experience. But the first great point is, that man, the responsible man, must be judicially removed from the eye of God.

Look at the beginning. Man was driven out from the garden of Eden; there was the flaming sword that turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. He is a responsible man under judgement; unless he fulfils what is required, he cannot get back. He cannot regain, when guilty and under the judgement of death, what he did not retain in innocence. When he failed in innocence, how could he get back when under condemnation? But we find that instead of man getting better after being driven out, he goes from bad to worse. Hence that man must judicially terminate in the sight of God; that is, that as man cannot meet his responsibility, he must bear the judgement of God.

Mark the fact: man did not get better; on the contrary, after 1,500 years I read in Genesis 6:13: "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them: and behold I will destroy them with the earth".

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In the Septuagint (a Greek version of the Old Testament, a version of the scripture that the apostles continually quote from, just as I might quote from the English version now) -- in the Septuagint it is, "The time of all men is come". "The time", that is, a period: we get the word constantly, "time" and "times"; it is a period of existence now completed. I dwell upon this, because it shows that the wickedness of man was fully exposed; "The end of all flesh is come before me".

When I come to Romans (though I am not going to dwell upon it now), I get three things spoken of, which indicate what the state of man in the flesh is. We get the blood of Christ, the death of Christ, and the crucifixion of Christ. All occurred together, but they are different aspects of the same act.

I want you to understand, not only that Christ has atoned for our sins, "He bare our sins in his own body on the tree"; (1 Peter 2:24) but, beloved friends, that He bare the judgement due to us , and we judicially have come to an end in God's sight; "He, who knew no sin, was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him". (2 Corinthians 5:21) Hence, in Romans 6:6, we read, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin". Here, as has been often remarked, it is "sin", not "sins" -- "that the body of sin might be destroyed".

Man, as the responsible man, has failed; it could not be otherwise; and he is under the judgement of God. If he bore the judgement himself, it would be the end of him, in misery for ever.

Well, who will bear the judgement for him? The Lord Jesus Christ has come, become a man, apart entirely from sin; He knew no sin, or He could not be the sacrifice for it. He is the Aaron in the day of atonement: He went in with His own blood into the holiest of all, but also He suffered without the gate.

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The carcase of the sin-offering was taken outside the camp and burnt. There were two actions of the fire. There was the fire upon the altar which took up the offering as a sweet savour to God, that was the burnt-offering; and there was the fire outside the camp, which took it away from God, that was the sin-offering.

Mark now the importance of this; we know what exercises souls go through. A person says, All my sins are forgiven me, but I am sinning every minute, and if I am not sinning, I have an inclination to sin. Well, that soul has not liberty, he is not "free from the law of sin and death". (Romans 8:2) I am not speaking of forgiveness tonight, I am speaking of liberty. O, you say, but we are never out of the body. True; we are never out of the body, but still the great thing is, to find liberty of soul in freedom from the power of the flesh.

Now the first point is, that the responsible man must undergo the judgement of death. You could not have the responsible man existing if he bore the judgement. How could he exist if he bore the judgement. And if that judgement is borne for him by another, is he to exist? It could not be! People talk of a recruit being taken in place of another man who is pressed for the army, and he dies for him, as if that were an illustration of what we are speaking of; but that is not the truth at all, that is allowing the responsible man to live, whereas the truth is, that I am free from the responsibility of the responsible man, through Christ bearing the judgement. I am not, through Christ, that man now; that man cannot continue; if I really believe that I have died with Him, I am in liberty in His life, for He lives.

Man was driven out from the garden of Eden what is he to do? He cannot get back! He must have a new state. The man in Christ has a new state. We have it illustrated in 2 Corinthians 12. The man in Christ did not know whether he was in the body, or

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out of it. Paul, speaking of himself practically, says, "I am crucified with Christ". It is not a question that I am forgiven, but I am crucified with Christ; that is, I am entirely gone. The responsible man, who never acted up to the responsibility that God required -- that man is gone in judgement. The man in Christ can say, "Our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be abolished". (Romans 6:6)

The word here used for 'destroyed' is the same word that is used for "He hath abolished death, and brought life and incorruptibility to light through the gospel"; (2 Timothy 1:10) the same word that is used for, "That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil". (Hebrews 2:14) But I need not go into that.

Well, I see that man is gone from before God in judgement. That is a great step, and if you have not got that, you will not have any power or liberty.

I take it now for granted that you concur that the old man is entirely gone from the eye of God in judgement. "Our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed". And now we come to the second step, if I might so say; I have to learn that I am really myself free from him, and that is what you get in Romans 8:2. Mark how it comes out there. "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh". He did not forgive it. He condemned it. You say, But you sin now, don't you? Yes, I regret to have to say that I do, but I ought not; still I do, and I will go into that question a little, though it is a digression, because it is a difficulty to many.

There is no such thing now as a worshipper once purged, having any more conscience of sins. God does not impute sin to the believer, He never makes a

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claim on me for a sin again. Do not misunderstand me -- He has no claim on me. If He had a claim on me, there must be an atonement. Do you mean He passes sin over? No; that which does the sin will pay for the sin, if you do not judge it. Mark my words! You will find in your history that this is true -- the thing that does the sin will pay for the sin, will suffer for the sin, unless you judge it. "Deliver ... to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" (1 Corinthians 5:5) -- that was not atonement for him -"Deliver ... to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus". I say, beloved friends, if you have really judged it, you have put it as far from you as God has put it from Himself. He put it away on the cross, there is no other place for you; that is really what liberty is. That is the reason why the red heifer comes in. The Spirit of God brings me the ashes, that is, He tells me the fire of God's judgement has been there. It is not that it is there; if it were there it would be fire and not ashes. Ashes only indicate that it was there; it is not there now, but it brings to me the fact that it was there, and that is the reason that it is ashes. It is not the question of an atonement, and it is not a fresh application of the blood, but it is that you judge yourself about the thing that God has set aside on the cross. Because we start with this, that in the cross God has removed it from His own eye.

Well now, you must practically hold to the fact that is stated in this verse, "I am crucified with Christ". If you fail, you revive the flesh; I have no right to revive the flesh, and if I do revive it and do not judge it, I revive what God has judicially brought to an end in the death of His Son. It is not only that I do a wrong thing, but it is a grievous thing to revive that which God has set aside from His eye.

Many a one enjoys gleams of unclouded light in looking up to God, who has not liberty -- freedom from the law of sin and death. You look up to God, and

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no doubt you are perfectly clear. But you do not know the second step; you cannot say, "Christ liveth in me". When you do, you can say, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". (Romans 8:2)

Well now, turn to Numbers 21, and you will see how this comes out practically. In that chapter you have the brazen serpent. I referred to that last week, so I will only recall it to your attention now.

There were four aspects of the death of Christ. They all happened together; I do not say that I learn them all together, but they happened together. There was the blood upon the lintel, there was the Red Sea, there was the brazen serpent, and there was the Jordan.

The brazen serpent was when they were leaving the wilderness. Then the real character of the flesh came out. After thirty-nine years in the wilderness, and recipients daily of the utmost care of God, they spake against God and against Moses, and God sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people; they are turned back to the very first entrance of sin, of the old serpent, the devil, in the garden of Eden; the virus of sin was there.

And now God tells Moses to make a brazen serpent that never did a bit of the wrong, but was in the likeness of the serpent; and this serpent he was to put upon a pole, outside of man and above the earth, and it came to pass that if any one was bitten, if he had a sense of what the bitterness of sin was, he looked and he lived; that is, in the life he got by looking at the one who was where sin was condemned, there he had liberty. He had liberty because of being in a life outside himself; and this was the result of faith.

Now if you turn to John 3, You will see that is where John's teaching begins. He does not begin with the blood upon the lintel, nor with the Red Sea; no, he begins where they had started upon a new

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journey, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man"- who is the antitype to the serpent -- "be lifted up"; and we can say that the Son of man must be lifted up -- for what? To bear the judgement for me! "God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh". And now, what then? I believe, I look up, and I see I shall not come into judgement, but am passed from death unto life. I have the life of the One who bore the judgement. And that is the argument in Romans 6, which I must revert to now. Paul says, "If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him". What gives me relief? I believe that I am dead with Him; I am not dead at all myself , for I find sin springing up, but I say, "I am dead with Christ". And I am in His life; I have the life of the One with whom I died. It is really the simplest thing in the world, if you look at it as Scripture does, that I have the life of the One with whom I died. If you were dead yourself, you could not be alive. But you are dead with Christ, and there is nothing against you, because "he that is dead is freed from sin".

But more, I have life now, I have life in the One with whom I died; and that is where I have it, and nowhere else. Therefore the apostle says, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me". That is the second step. It is not that I am better than I was; but I have the life of Christ with whom I have died. I see now that I am dead with Christ, and that as I accept the fact that I am dead with Him, I am in His life. And hence in Numbers 21, there was also the "well of God". "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life". That is, the Holy Spirit in me gives me the enjoyment of that new life which I have now

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received, and have received from the One with whom I died, on the cross where the judgement was -- the termination of that which was under judgement.

Well, that is what I call the second step; but there is another -- the practical one -- to which I must turn now; but before I do so, I digress a little, to point out the different ways that people try to arrive at this liberty. I need not go into all the phases, but there are four ways I should like to bring before you, by which conscientious, earnest souls have tried to arrive at the relief which can only be had when I am alive in Christ's life. Then I am free. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free". It is not that I am forgiven merely, but I am free, I am at liberty.

It would be going too far to go into it now, but the same statement is made in Colossians, "If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world"- that is Jordan. In Colossians you are not only dead to sin; that is Romans; but you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world; you are out of it. It is by the same means as in Romans, only extended. If you are dead with Him, you are free from yourself, "Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me".

Well, now I must turn to four different ways in which people have thought to arrive at this liberty, and I think I have traversed them all myself.

The first is that you think by a certain monastic course you will be able to control the flesh. I never thought that any self-denial I adopted would atone for my sins. But I thought I could control the flesh. I dare say you all know something of that. That is very often in connection with a state where there is not a clear apprehension of the full work of Christ; that is, that the whole thing is gone from the eye of God, so that He does not impute sin. Unless a soul gets so far clear, he will not be safe from the snare of "bodily exercise".

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The second is what is called 'holiness by faith'. That is extremely specious. The thought is to bring oneself up to a certain standard of holiness. a holiness which does not offend against the law. Such hold that there is no sin but in transgression. That is the holiness of the law, it is not the holiness of God.

They argue that we are dead by faith, and that if we can be without sin for one minute, why not for two? and if two, why not for four? And so they go on, adding on, and say that because you have faith you are a dead man. But you are not a dead man; you are dead with Christ, but you are alive; and you find out very quickly, too, that you are not dead: but you are "free from the law of sin and death" in Christ's life. It is not that you are dead, but being dead with Christ, you live in another life.

The great mistake at the bottom of 'holiness by faith' is, that what holiness really is, is not understood; the presence of God in the holiest has never been known. There is no sense of separation from everything unholy, no separation from the systems of religion in Christendom; no idea of the separate position of one called to God.

Now I come to the third way, which is called 'death to nature'. Death to nature is the snare into which one falls who seeks liberty, when he knows that he is called to a holy separate path, that he cannot take lower ground than that he must be free from the flesh; and therefore he is trying to get rid of it. The teaching therefore is, I am dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world; I belong to a sphere of life, and I live in it; I belong to that life now, and I am outside of this scene altogether; I am out of death and in that new scene.

Well now, but if you accept all this, come back into this scene in the power of Christ, and then it will be manifested that you are in His life. Death to nature is one-sided -- an ideality. Death to nature assumes

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that I am over Jordan; but in Jordan it is not only that the water is all gone, and a clear way over, but it is added (Joshua 3 - 10), "Hereby shall ye know that the living, God is among you", etc., so that if I am really over, if I am in the life of Christ, outside of this scene of death, the thing that marks me is that I am in the power of Christ in this scene of death, and that I take up the duties and the responsibilities -- as you get in the epistle to the Ephesians -- I take them up in divine power, and carry them out to the praise and glory of God in the midst of this scene, and in spite of all its opposition.

That is what you get in Ephesians. I face it all I never swerve, but own what is due to the Lord, overcoming evil with good, the greatest moral victory that ever can be upon this earth. But you must connect the two, and if you combine them you will be greatly blessed. I am out of death into life: outside of it all, yet in it all, but above it. That is true liberty, as the apostle says, "The life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me".

The fourth, and most novel, is assuming that you can have power over sin by applying the death of Christ; a curious perversion of being dead with Him.

Now I must turn for a moment to what I call the practical side (Galatians 4), a subject of immense interest and very great scope. And what I find, is -- you may think I am severe in making the remark, but I do not feel that I am so -- I do not believe any person progresses till he has got hold of this liberty. He may be very conscientious and very devoted, too, but devotedness is not progress properly in itself. A devoted person wishes to progress, but when he is not free from the thraldom of the flesh there is a terrible block in his way.

Now in the end of Galatians 4, you get how you practically enjoy liberty. I have already dwelt on the

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doctrine, and without correct doctrine you will never have correct practice. You may have a great deal of zeal, but you will never use it rightly. A person may be monastic, or try to get holiness by faith, or death to nature, but you will always find that such a one has not right doctrine.

This chapter 4 teaches us how Ishmael, one born after the flesh, is cast out -- treated as an intruder. Time would fail me now to bring before you fully what is extremely interesting in itself -- even that there are three great intrusions of the flesh. I will just touch upon them. There is the Corinthian intrusion, which is self-indulgence; one is beguiled into that, when he thinks he is wise enough to govern himself. What the apostle brings forward to meet this is, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified". The old man is gone. If at the Lord's supper you call to mind Christ's death on your account, how could you indulge the man for whom He died?

The Galatian intrusion is another. They sought to be made perfect by the flesh. That is legalism, and in a certain sense, the opposite to that of the Corinthians.

The third intrusion is in Colossians. That is to make man, both by mind and body, a contributor to the Christian. I do not mean merely an instrument, but a contributor, that is, he would be what they call a Christian man ; the truth of the mystery only would preserve from this.

I return now to Galatians 4, to show how you practically get to the enjoyment of liberty, so that you find you are free from the thraldom of the flesh. This is a wonderful thing.

What is brought before us in this chapter is related in Genesis 21, that Abraham, when Isaac was weaned, made a great feast, and when this feast was made, Ishmael, who was at that time fourteen years of age, mocked, no doubt ridiculed the idea that this little

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child, who was only about a year in the house, should be made such an object of respect.

Isaac's place was acknowledged in Abraham's house on that day, and this drew forth the reviling of Ishmael, which the apostle calls persecution. "As then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now". But how do we enjoy this practically?

This is an extremely important and interesting question for us. We first find how bad Ishmael is; the incompetence of the flesh as in Romans 7, but concurrently with it, the enjoyment of what Christ is. When did persecution, as Paul calls it, when did the scoffing of Ishmael come out? When Isaac gets his place. It was a festive day, and I dare say many could look back historically to when this festive day was known to their souls. When did you get a sense in your hearts that you wanted to be so entirely free from the flesh, that you felt you would not tolerate it any longer -- not merely as to doctrine, but that you could not tolerate it? When did you arrive at that day when you felt it was not to be tolerated practically? When you learned that the flesh was opposed to Christ, and at the same time that He was possessor of your whole heart, so that you felt the flesh had no right to be there; you do not tolerate it. Therefore the apostle says, "Not I, but Christ". I call this the coronation-day, that is, when Christ is crowned King of my heart. It is not that He has the first place there; that He always had through divine grace, but He has got every place, that is, I acknowledge His sway from centre to circumference. I have found out the flesh. What then? Ishmael must go out. Well, it is not a pleasant thing to accept that I am dead, and therefore God says to Abraham, "Let it not be grievous unto thee; cast out the bondwoman and her son". That is non-toleration; I accept what God has done with the flesh. Well, what then? I am at liberty .

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One may ask, Does the flesh never come again? It does, but you treat it now as an intruder; and you can say to it, You are an intruder, you have no right to come here; you are supplanted, and you have no place here. You may say, But Ishmael knows the house well; thrust out at the door, he can come in at a window. No doubt he does; he was fourteen years in it, and that is a long period. But then, I say, he has no right. I am crucified with Christ, that is the first thing. This would not suffice to keep him out, he knows how to master you too well. But also you have a new power. If you turn to chapter 5: 17, You will read, "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye may not do the things that ye would". I have got the Spirit of God to maintain me free from the intruder, and He only preserves me from the flesh.

But someone will say, You will be very often disturbed. Yes; but what does that make me feel? It makes me feel the greatness of the Spirit resisting the flesh, which is ever intruding. But how do you keep safe? By dependence on the Spirit who is my power against the flesh. In chapter 6, the apostle says, "He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting". You see how you are brought into the new order, "everlasting life". Well, you say, What is sowing to the Spirit? I am led by the Spirit. It is a wonderful thing, I speak of it timidly, but earnestly; to think I have got such a Friend, such a Master, so to speak; but it is not a Master really, but One who identifies Himself with me, and wants to lead me exactly according to Christ.

I remember the time when I used to think the flesh was stronger than the Spirit, but I would not say such a thing now. Well, you say, do you never give way to the flesh? Alas! do not ask me that question.

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But the comfort is, that the flesh is an intruder: it has no right to come, and I have got power by the Spirit of God to stand free, so that I may not do the things that I would. Well, then, how is it that you act in the flesh? Because you are not sowing to the Spirit. You may have been sowing to the flesh in touching politics, or sowing to the flesh in your business; it is not your business that is to be blamed, because your business is properly your business, and the Lord would have you to do it well, with a heart for the Lord in doing it. It is possible that you want to make something of yourself by your business, and that is of the flesh. It is not that business is wrong, if you are doing it rightly to the Lord. The Lord could not do a thing imperfectly. What He did He did perfectly. The question is, What do you attempt? The Lord would never lead you to attempt a thing you could not do. Well, that is a long exercise, and an everyday exercise.

You will never treat the flesh as an intruder unless you have already seen what I have called the two previous steps; that is, that the flesh -- the old man -- from before God. and that Christ liveth in me. Thank God! Nothing delights my heart like that. I look up, and see that it is gone before God; I am in the life of Christ, I am free, Christ liveth in me.

The Lord grant that each of our hearts may know practically what divine liberty is, in our walk down here, for His name's sake.

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APPROACH TO GOD

Hebrews 10:19 - 22

The subject here is approach to God. Amongst all Christians there is the knowledge of escape from judgement. Escape from judgement is, as it were, the only thing pressed. I do not know that, as a rule, the doctrine of approach is much known.

You get an example of what I mean in Luke 17. You will remember the ten lepers: they were all healed; they all escaped; but only one approached. You see, according to the type (Leviticus 14), there was first the relieving of the leper -- an offering for his cleansing -- but afterwards he had to go through a very particular process before he could approach God.

Now, beloved friends, I would wish to interest your hearts very much in this truth, that there is not only escape, but also approach to God. It is truly a wonderful thing for us sinners to escape from judgement -- that is our side of the grace of God. But just think that the blessed God would like you to approach Him. Hence, when the one leper returned, the Lord says, "Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger".

Well, you naturally ask, what was the hindrance or difficulty? That I will speak of presently. But before I speak of the hindrance or the obstruction (and that includes the process), I would dwell upon our having the right to approach to God, for that is the first great thing to be assured of in the soul, and that is what we find in figure here. The Lord had so blessed the leper, that he was bound to return to Him. When he did return, he doubtless exemplified what we have to go through as we approach. He falls down on his face; that is the process; you cannot approach without that. You can get the knowledge that you are saved

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from judgement, without parting company with yourself, but you cannot approach without doing so. No flesh can glory in His presence.

The first thing I will dwell upon now, after this preface, having, as I trust, interested you in the subject, is that the tabernacle discloses to us the delight that God has in having us in His own presence. If there had been no tabernacle, and Israel had only the land in prospect, their benefit and happiness would have been fully secured; but actually, on the road to Canaan, there was the tabernacle. And what you get in Hebrews is, that with us, it is not a tabernacle like the one Israel had, but the true tabernacle. It is not that I am brought up to it, but the sense of it is brought down to me, that I may know the delight that God has in having me in His presence.

First, then, we have in Hebrews 10:19 the right to go in. We have "boldness", a very strong word, a word that is used for an emancipated slave; we have boldness to enter into the holiest. It is not escape merely; you might escape and yet never get there, like the nine lepers.

Let me interest you in one thing more -- I have no doubt of the blessing of it -- it is not only that I have the right to approach into this light, but it is the nature of the reception I get from the Person who owns the place. When I use the word 'place', I mean the condition belonging to a place. "The holiest of all" does not in Hebrews mean merely a place, therefore I say, you are here now in the presence of God.

If you follow out the type, the tabernacle was in the wilderness, down among them. Now the antitype is that we can enter into this blessing, its living reality, not in figure, but by the Spirit of God. Though I have not come to heaven yet, I have found approach to God in the holiest of all, beforehand. Oh! some may say, but when I read the Ephesians, I am seated in the heavenlies in Christ. True, but that only shows

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you still greater things, and that is for another purpose altogether, which, if the Lord permit, we will consider another time. That is to qualify you to be a beautiful transcript of the heavenly Man on earth. This is delight of heart in conscious nearness to the blessed God. And therefore the first thing is, the right to come in. There is "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus". This is the first thing, beloved friends. You have to say distinctly, I have the right to come in. As has been often remarked, you do not get beyond right here. This does not treat of what you do there; it does not come up to John 4, worshipping the Father. This is only establishing your right. It does not speak even of the consecrated company, though no doubt this is the only company there. We have the right of entrance. We have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus".

Now look at the ground for the right of entrance. Turn to Matthew 27:50, "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost; and the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent".

I do not stay now to bring much scripture before you, but I will give you a note of it. You all remember Leviticus 16, the day of atonement. I will only allude to what occurred then. The blood was taken right in by the high priest, the blood of the bullock, and the blood of the goat. There were two bloods, the blood of two animals; and that was to show the twofold blessing of the two companies. There was the earthly company, and the heavenly company. What we have to do with is the heavenly company, that is, the company that is identified with the high priest. That is ourselves. Therefore it is in that aspect we are looked at in the Hebrews.

The blood was taken right in, into the presence of the majesty of God, and it was sprinkled there upon

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the mercy-seat seven times. That was to establish a basis for God to receive us there. The high priest personated himself and his house. According to God's estimate of the blood, He receives us there. Hence, the very moment Christ died, the veil was rent; God can come out and embrace the sinner. No one will ever be able to reach up to God's estimate of the blood of Christ. It is on His own estimate that He deals with me, not according to my estimate. Oh that your heart might enter into that! you can hardly believe the rest it gives! It is on His own estimate of the blood He deals with me. We do estimate it, but we cannot come up to His estimate of it. I press that point, beloved friends -- on His own estimate of the blood He deals with me. As soon as Christ died, that moment of all moments in the history of this earth -- the darkest, if you look at it as man would look at it -- was the opening up of the brightest era that ever was disclosed upon this earth. All bore witness to Him. "The rocks rent", "the graves opened", and so on. But who was the first, beloved friends? God! Oh, may it touch every heart! "The veil was rent from the top to the bottom". It was not only that we can go in; no, but God can come out, a much greater thing. He who dwelt in thick darkness, He can come out. What do you mean? On His own estimate of that blood, He can come out and embrace a poor prodigal, though he be "a great way off". Love travels faster than necessity. Do you understand that saying? Necessity was bringing the prodigal to the Father, but love brought the Father to the prodigal, and the love went faster than the necessity.

On the basis of what has been accomplished, love can do all its pleasure. God, the Father, can take that poor sinner into His arms, and kiss him; He can let His heart go out to him. Thank God for that.

The veil was rent from the top to the bottom; now He has cleared everything away; there is no more

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offering for sin, He suffered without the gate. I say that Christ bore the judgement resting on the responsible man, and the responsible man disappears in judgement. Now we have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Christ, by a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh". The blessed holy One dies, His flesh rent to open a way for us; what place, then, for your flesh?

It is not necessary to speak of carnal ordinances now. Beloved friends, open your eyes and see what the holiness of God is, in His presence, and you will understand this. If Christ's flesh was rent for me, to procure a way for me to enter, how could there be any place for man in flesh? Never! Flesh disappears, and I am glad that it disappears. "I am crucified with Christ" -- thank God I am -- and I do not want it to appear. "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world".

Now you can, I trust, see the ground of the right. And I say again, and I desire that your heart may cleave to it -- it is on the estimate that God Himself has of the blood of Christ that I have the right. That is full of blessing.

Well, I trust it is clear to you, that now there has been a basis for God, according to His nature, to receive us in His presence; the nature of the reception I hope to turn to at another time.

The sin-offering does not go beyond establishing the right -- it does not set forth how you are received, but only that you are entitled to be received. The parable of the prodigal son goes further -- but I am not going to that tonight. What I have sought to make clear to you is that the right is established to go into the holiest of all, because if the holy, the blessed

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God Himself is ready and happy to receive me, how assured must be my right to come!

Now we come to the second step, and that is, what is the reluctance; why does not every one go in? If it is so simple, and we all have the right, why do we not all go in? What is the hindrance? That is a very important question. I have already pointed out, in Luke 17, the case of the ten lepers, where there was only one out of the ten who overcame the reluctance; and in order to come, he had to fall down: "he fell down on his face at his feet". You may say, Well, I have escaped, I am clear of my sins, I will try by religious exercises to approach God. That is ritualism. That is what the other nine had recourse to; and, alas I it is where the mass of Christians are to this day.

The Samaritan very likely was not what we call religiously brought up, but he learned grace. He could say, I am clear, and I certainly owe it to the One who cleared me, to own it to Himself that I am clear: but you will find, as he found, that he could not bring the flesh into Christ's presence. "No flesh shall glory in his presence". There is nothing I am more convinced of every day, even in one's prayers, that when there is a baulk, a stone before the wheel, it is the flesh -- oneself, in some form.

Turn to Luke 5. Look at Peter, he was giving his time and his means for the Lord's work until arrested by the presence of God. Then he was confounded; "he fell down at Jesus' knees; saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord". Though doing everything right at the time, he could not approach in the flesh. See also the prodigal son (Luke 15); the Father kissed him; reconciliation was effected, yet he was not at liberty. You may know your sins are forgiven; but you may not enjoy the presence of God. Like the prodigal, you may know reconciliation, but you may not know that you are fit for the presence of God. "And he arose and came to his father. But

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when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him". That is reconciliation; that is the answer to the efficacy of the atonement. "And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son". He is not happy in his presence, he has really to learn what Leviticus 14 is. You see the leper there had to go through two washings -- I am not going into it, but I merely point to the scripture. He had to go through one washing in order to come into the camp -- the place of God's government; and after being there seven days he had to go through another washing before he entered into the full bloom, if I may so say, of the work of Christ for approach. That is the type. In Luke 15 I get the practical thing in the man who is actually kissed. It is true of us all. Are you happy in the presence of God now? Well, you might say, I do not know; I feel I am a pardoned sinner.

I have already remarked that if your faith only rests on what you are saved from , that you are only occupied with relief; but when you are occupied with what you are saved to , the Spirit of God carries you out into the wonderful expanse of divine blessing, which is yours.

I come now to a subject of deep importance; it was not reconciliation that enabled the prodigal to go in. That which enabled him to go in is figuratively expressed here; it is renewing. (And when I say 'renewing', I do not mean what the English word conveys, but I use the word as Scripture uses it. The scripture uses the word 'renew' as something entirely new, something you never had before -- "the renewing of the Holy Spirit", "the renewing of your mind" "the inner man is renewed".) That is an entirely new thing, something he never had before, not a bit of it. You know it has been said by some

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commentators that the prodigal describes a backslider. But, I say, if he was a backslider and had thrown away grace, he did not get one bit back that he had thrown away. If he had thrown away grace, he would get back grace, but he did not get back what he had squandered; what he gets is entirely new.

Many souls who are clear about reconciliation, are not clear about renewing. You have something entirely new; it is not merely that you have been cleared of the old. I have shown you on a former occasion that you must be free of the old; I am not dwelling on that side now, but on receiving the new; for, beloved friends, you cannot approach without it. That I have already alluded to. In entering the holiest through the veil, you must come in new, you cannot enter in the old.

Here it is stated in figure how the father removes the reluctance in the prodigal. He says to the servants, "Bring forth", that is, bring out of the house; "Bring forth the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet". These will make him sensibly suitable for Me. "A ring on his hand" -- a mark of distinction -- "and shoes on his feet", which shows that he was at home. You may say, It is a parable. True, but it is a parable that conveys wonderful doctrine. Do you ask, where is the doctrine? Well, the doctrine is in Colossians 1:12, "Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us MEET to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light". The word 'meet' expresses the new state, that was the new thing. You cannot by any ritualism make the flesh fit to enter into the holiest. There never was a greater mistake than to suppose this possible.

The veil, Christ's flesh, has been rent to open a new and living way for us into the holiest; but there is reluctance to enter until in Christ's life you are free

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from the law of sin. That is just what the Samaritan who came back expressed in figure, for when he got near Him, he fell down on his face; but I am not dwelling now upon reckoning the old dead, but upon enjoying the new. Some may say, What is it? It is Christ in me, a nature that suits God, ever glad to be near Him, and thus I grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. I do not know how to explain it. It is ever growing -- all of God; "that you may grow thereby". The outward man perishes, but the inner man is renewed. The prodigal son never had anything like this dress before it came out of the father's house; perfectly new, it is the "first" robe: nothing better nor higher.

Now turn to verse 23. I call your attention to that verse, because you find there, that the prodigal is in. You may say, How did he get in? Mark now the beauty of Scripture! It says first in the previous verse, "Bring forth", which shows that he was not in. Now a very important thing is presented, and that is, that it is not, when you go in that you are made fit to be there, but you are "made meet to be a partaker"; you are made fit to go in. Mark also that there is no interval allowed between being made fit, and being in. It says in the previous verse, "Bring forth", and now, in the next verse -- without allowing any interval for the distance (which historically was a great one, because he was "a great way off" when the father saw him) the servants are told to clothe him; there is no interval; he is in . There is no interval allowed. Ponder that. The moment you are fit you are in. That is exactly what we get in Hebrews; it is the condition that suits the place; I am fit, and I am in. I dare say I do not convey it to you; but still, I believe that everyone who has gone in would say, I understand it perfectly. The moment I knew that I had the Spirit of Christ, I was in; I had nothing to do; I had not to expostulate, desire to be, or strive to be

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in; I was in. The prodigal son got in, and he was fit to go in.

Now I turn back to Hebrews 10, I trust two things are clear to you -- the right to go in, and the removal of the reluctance to go in, so that with the knowledge of the right, there is also the knowledge of fitness to enter.

I will now dwell a little upon how you are within -- what the sense is of being there, because I have no doubt that this will disclose whether we are in or not. It says, "Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water". It is evident these two things are clearly and distinctly known as you draw near: your heart is sprinkled from an evil conscience, your body washed with pure water. I have no doubt at all that it takes in the two aspects of the cross. He "came by water and blood .. . not by water only, but by water and blood". It is the actual sense of a heart sprinkled from a wicked conscience, and the body washed with pure water.

I think that we are often very practically defective understanding that purification is by Christ's death, as well as expiation. Anyone who has studied the subject will at once see how appropriate this is, and will understand it. Therefore John insists upon it; He came "not by water only, but by water and blood". There is not only the remission of sins -- Christ died for our sins -- but there is the moral action of the word, setting me free from that which already was removed in the death of Christ. So I say you draw nigh in the sense that there is not a shade of sin upon you. I hope I shall not offend some of you when I say that when one gives out a hymn about his sins in a worship meeting, he has left the holiest, and he is not leading the congregation as in it. I say there is not a sin upon you, not a spot.

The first thing is to enter. I cannot speak of

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losing a thing until I possess it. And be assured, once you have entered, that you have appropriated your right. It is not that you had not the right before; you had the right, but you have appropriated your right. You will never know the reality of worship until you know that your heart is sprinkled from an evil conscience, and your body washed with pure water. It is not a question at all of sin now, but of holiness. And that is a wonderful contrast. It is wonderful when I compare what is our portion now through Christ's work, and what it was before. All things are contrasted now. In the old dispensation, death was before the soul. Thank God, life out of death is before it now. It was sin then, it is holiness now. We are now to be "partakers of his holiness". May your hearts be exercised about this. You could not come into the holiest if any sin were on you; if you did, it would no longer be the holiest.

Nothing can be plainer to a thoughtful person than that he could not come in with sin on him; the delight of being there would be lost, gone, if sin was before one there. Thank God, that I know the inconceivable delight of being in the presence of God. No spot there, all sense of sin gone; I have passed through the veil by the new and living way. Worship is not spoken of here; the things which occupy you there are not mentioned. The consecration is not described. Of course, only the consecrated company could enter in; but we are not told here how they are occupied.

Now I turn to a question which often tries souls, and it is this, what about the sins which I may commit? I do not deny that we may sin, but I say, a worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins; of course, when we sin or become defiled, we lose our enjoyment in the holiest; and this may happen very soon after being there, yet it is a very interesting fact, that the better you know the reality of being there, and the

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more fully you enjoy it, as long as the sense is fresh, the more careful you will be to keep yourself unspotted from the world.

I am so sensible of the contrariety of everything here, I must be guided on every side. When we sin or are defiled, we are outside, we are not in the holiest. But remember, you cannot lose your right to be there; you never do lose the right. The consecration is only once and for ever. If you sin you must judge yourself; if you do not judge yourself, that which has done the offence will suffer for it; that accounts, no doubt, for many of our maladies here; I do not say for all.

A man works his brain too much to make a fortune; very likely he will suffer in his brain if he does not judge himself. And if he judges himself he stops it; a man cannot judge a thing and go on with it. In Hebrews 12 it is different. There you are suffering for righteousness, and God uses the suffering to make you more separate, in order that you should be "partakers of his holiness". There we have to lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us. "You have not yet resisted unto blood" -- you have not yet died, that is resisting unto blood -- "striving against sin".

As in the stoning of Stephen; he was becoming practically more separate every minute. "We who live are always delivered unto death"; when anything is a hindrance to you, the Lord rolls in death upon it. If you feel it a hindrance, you are glad death has come in upon it. No matter what it is. Suppose a man has a voice for singing which is a snare to him; he loses his voice, and he can thank God for the loss; he knows the meaning of it.

The Lord grant that each of us may know better what it is to be in the holiest, the delight of it. You get the idea in the case of the father and the prodigal. I know that the Spirit of God only can really lead your

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heart to understand it. But how wonderful to be in the presence of God without a spot or a shade, and to know that He delights to have us there!

The Lord grant that each of us may know what approach is.

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OUR GREAT PRIEST

Hebrews 4:12 - 16

The subject that I desire to bring before you, this evening, is the priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The question of sins is first settled, as you find in the first chapter of Hebrews. In Hebrews we have the greatness of the priest; the greatness of the sanctuary; and the greatness of the offering. At the end of chapter 9 you get the testament in consequence of death. It would be of no value at all until the death of the testator.

"By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified". "There is no more offering for sin". Now we have a great Priest over the house of God.

It is little understood amongst Christians, that priesthood has to do with infirmities and not with sins. The question of sin must first be settled. In the opening of Hebrews it is, "Having purged our sins he sat down"; but in chapter 8, "We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens". In order to understand what priesthood is, the first great thing to know is, that you are clear of your sins, and of sin, too.

The question of sin has been entirely settled in the death of Christ, and now we have to do with another thing; He has gone up to the right hand of God; He has entered within the veil, the Forerunner for us; that place is secured for us by His blood, and now His service is to support and help us all along the road until we get there -- and that is priesthood.

It has been remarked, that it was not the rod of Moses that budded, for that was authority; but it was the rod of Aaron, and that was priesthood. Priesthood has to do with a feeble folk. In fact, one gets a

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good deal of instruction about it, even in the family circle. The mere authority of the father will not be enough for the children, you must have grace also. I am not saying now how you are to deal with their wilfulness, that is another thing; that brings in the advocacy -- I am not going to touch on advocacy more than this. The moment you sin, it is not priesthood you want: it is advocacy. Though it is the same Person who is Advocate, and you have to be exercised, as in Numbers 19, on account of the sin.

Now the main thing is that the question of sin is altogether settled; there is no imputation of sin whatever. Priesthood is, that the One who has gone the road, and gone up to the top, and has secured that top for me, is now conducting me along the road in the very same grace in which He walked that road Himself.

But the great thing for the heart to enter into is the nature of this ministry, which, as I have said, is pre-figured by Aaron's rod. The rod budded and blossomed and brought forth fruit, and was placed in the ark of the covenant.

Now the ground is cleared immensely by seeing that it is not a question of sin at all, but of infirmity. Infirmity is not sin. For instance, a nervous character. I know very well what it is to be startled, and to be so annoyed at being startled as to be ready to express myself very angrily. It was not wrong to be startled, but it was very wrong to be in a passion. Therefore you see you are very near sin in infirmity. The priesthood is to preserve me from it. The priesthood has to do with my infirmity. It was not wrong of Sarah to be afraid; but Sarah told a lie, and that was wrong. Children, if you frighten them, will tell a lie; better avoid such things. Their feebleness makes them liable; still it is no excuse for the lie. Timidity is infirmity; a lie is not infirmity, it is sin.

I think, when you get hold of this point, you will

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find immense comfort in studying the priesthood of Christ. It is that Christ having secured the end, has entered within the veil, He is the Forerunner for us entered, and now His service is to lead us to the very place where He is. In John 14 He says, "I go to prepare a place for you", and "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do". That is the measure of His power. He is telling us that there is no limit to His power up to the place He has prepared for us. You will find immense blessing when you understand this ministry.

Now if you turn to the passage I have read, there are the word and the priesthood. The word exposes your motives. "The entrance of thy word giveth light". I am vexed: well, the question is whether I am rightly vexed or not. There is such a thing as being angry rightly: I may be rightly indignant with a man for beating a horse; but if he were to turn around and beat myself, I might lose my temper and be vindictive. Well, the object of the word is to expose, and put me on my guard. It penetrates; it is not here to restore, but to preserve. In John 13, the word is restorative. Here it is to make all patent, there is nothing hid from it, it penetrates to the depth of everything: "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do". Therefore, when you come to deal with trials, common as they are all day long, you never can get on if you have not Christ's sympathy; it has a marvellous effect upon you; God grant we may know more of it. If you are sensible of the continued support of the Lord Jesus Christ in all the little worries of daily life, you gain much spiritually. That is the real reason why trials do good. Trials in themselves do not mellow; as a rule, you will find people hardened by trials. If I learn the grace of Christ in the trials, I am a different person, I am mellowed by them.

I am dwelling now on the difference between the

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word and the priesthood. The word exposes my motive -- whether the rest of God is before me. All is open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. It shows the continued exercise of heart which goes on when we are in the light. Then, "we have a great high priest that is passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, sin apart".

Now let us look at the difference between knowing Christ as a Saviour, and as a Priest. Look at 1 Samuel 17 and 18. It is surprising, when we come to investigate, how little we know of the priesthood of Christ. We know something of the Saviour. One may say, But knowing Him as the Saviour is greater than knowing Him as Priest. In one sense, it is greater, no doubt; but I think I shall show you that it is as I learn the priesthood, that I begin fully to appreciate the Saviour. I turn to this passage, because, here you have the mind of a person who enjoys a Saviour, and this in order that you may see the difference between the affection which one has when saved, and the affection one has who has known Christ as Priest. Here is David with the head of Goliath in his hand; and Jonathan is so affected by what David did, that he loves him as his own soul, and strips himself to give to David. He had a right sense as to the greatness of what David had done for him in slaying Goliath, but he had not learnt what David's company was, or he would have gone with David, and been able to bear up against all the difficulties which lay between that time and David's time. I am not saying now whether Jonathan was right or wrong in his course, but that he did not learn the effect of David's company or priesthood.

Now I turn to Ruth 1:16. "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following

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after thee; for whither thou goest,. I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God". I bring this forward as an example of the difference between a person who knows Christ as Saviour, and the one who knows Him as Priest. Of course, I only use it as an illustration. I want to bring before you the effect of knowing Christ as a Companion in your trials and difficulties here: sustaining you in the very grace He walked in. I say there is an advance in Ruth beyond Jonathan. Ruth says, "Intreat me not to leave thee". Now you find Jonathan can leave David. When I learn Christ as Priest, I cannot do without Him; He is my stay. I have an invisible Friend; He supports me as He had gone the road Himself. It is not a new path that I make for myself; but as He had gone the road, He supports me. And thus is my heart drawn out in attachment to Him -- as the child is attached to the mother by nursing; and the more you enjoy this ministry, the less you can do without it. Therefore Paul could say, I take pleasure in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

How was this peculiar affection produced between Ruth and Naomi? No doubt, Ruth, in the time of her widowhood, found out that Naomi was so necessary to her, that she could not do without her. "Intreat me not to leave thee .. . for whither thou goest, I will go". This peculiar affection for Christ, I doubt not, is the great effect of knowing Him as Priest.

I get it beautifully illustrated in the Lord's life with His disciples. I get there these two things always together; the word, and His sympathies. He was the light that shielded them from the working of their own will, while, on the other hand, He led them to regard everything in a right way. So that we can understand what a blank it was to them when He went away. It was not the blank of a Saviour only,

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it was the blank of One who knew how to lead, according to God, in every step. It was this perfect leading that so attached them to Him. And we all know how a companion of the kind affects our hearts. In Luke 18 Peter tells the Lord, "We have left all, and followed thee". The Lord answers, "There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting". And what had He given them? Nothing but His company! "Manifold more in this present time".

In Hebrews we are looked at as individuals fit to be companions of the Lord. There is nothing said there about the greatest thing, namely, that we are united to Him. I see that all our individual greatness is prospectively with reference to union, and thus it is that we are fit for union. Thus it comes out in Ephesians. I mean that it is not by union I get my fitness; I get my fitness by being of Christ; we are "all of One" -- "accepted in the Beloved" -- in order that we might be fit to occupy the position of members of His body. His ministry as Priest produces another thing, even your attachment to Him.

Take the illustration of a babe. A babe does not know the relationship that subsists between it and the mother, though that is the greatest relationship. Now it is the nursing which attaches the child to the mother. And we know that sometimes the child is more attached to the nurse than to the mother, simply because it has been more in the arms of the nurse. This illustrates Christ's priestly service. It is most wonderful when you know and feel that He is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities". He knows every shade of difficulty in your path, and He would lead you through it, not according to your will, but as He has gone through it, in order that you should have His support in it. He knows how you feel in it,

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and He would have you to behave as He behaved. For instance, the Lord felt the inattention of the Pharisee, but He never expressed it; the Lord never says a word about it until the Pharisee found fault with the poor sinner. It was not because it affected Himself that He spoke; but when the Pharisee reviled the poor woman, He presents to him the difference between him and her.

In a subject like this, it is very hard to give a history of it in detail, because every one of our histories is different. But I do ask you -- and you will find the good of it if you do it -- whenever a trial comes (I have done it myself often) to say to yourself, How does the Lord feel this? If my own will works, I do not know His sympathy nor learn the way He acted. Many look to the Lord in their trials, to get help out of them, instead of sympathy in them. I do not mean by this to make little of His mercy; not at all. If I have a cold, it is a mercy to get well; I am relieved. His sympathy supports me when suffering. If you are in some great trouble, in prison, for instance, and you get out; well, that would be a great mercy. But the question is, How did I behave in the prison or in the trouble? If you notice your prayers, you will find that, as a rule your desire is to get out of the difficulty; but it is a great thing to bear up like Christ in the difficulty, because I share His grace in it. When He pleases, the difficulty is removed, and that is mercy; As Paul said, "The Lord had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also".

Now I turn to some examples in our Lord's life, which will perhaps explain His sympathy more fully to us. Look at Matthew 8:23 - 26. "And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves; but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us; we perish. And he

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saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm". It is interesting to get an example, because, as I said before, you must learn Him in the trial -- and this is real blessing. I have seen many get out of trial, who did not gain by it. Why? Because, as a rule, trial hardens you. The sympathy of the Lord, in the trial, mellows you, and you find out what the Lord is to you at such a time -- this is His priestly service. Hence it is not, how can I get out of the trial, but how am I in it?

Here there was a storm, and they were all troubled, and the Lord was asleep. It requires great nearness to the Lord to know how He regards the trial in which I am. He is always in the aspect suited to my need. He can say, I have been through it all, I am able to bring you out of it fully -- for He is fully out of it. Now here is a storm, and He was asleep, the disciples are troubled and awake Him to save them by His power. If they had sought His sympathy, they would have said, We will see what He can be to us now. Look what an effect the trial would then have had upon them. True they got out of the trial. Many a one has got out of a trial who has gained nothing in it. But how different would have been their gain if they had said, Well, He is asleep, He is superior to the storm. You may say, But how can we know? Well, the Lord is ever thinking about you, He never leaves nor forsakes us.

Supposing a man offends me, I look to the Lord to learn how He would take it. I see the way I feel about it, but I want to know His feeling; for with His feeling I shall have His grace, He will bear me up in it. Oh! you might say, that would be a continual exercise. Yes; but would it not be a very happy exercise to be finding out what Christ is to you? See how your heart would become attached to Him. Thus attachment grows. Attachment is properly

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before union is known -- union is the consummation of attachment; thus a person attached to the Lord, as Ruth was to Naomi, appreciates union with him.

I now turn to the end of Matthew 17, to show you how the Lord acts in an emergency, when an unjust demand is made. "They that received tribute-money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers". Do you not feel, beloved friends, that the Lord beside His disciples gives you wonderful insight into His sympathy? Yet, by the Spirit of God, we have greater opportunity of knowing Him and walking in company with Him, than they had. How did He act in this case? This is what we call an emergency: He says, "Lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up". You are unprepared for the emergency; He is not unprepared. It was an unjust demand, but He was not without resource. And if an unjust claim came unexpectedly upon you, you can count on His sympathies -- He will show you that He is not without resource.

I turn now to John 11, to see the intimate way in which the Lord walks with His own. We are all acquainted with sorrow. Here are two sisters suffering from the same sorrow; but very differently. Martha does not get sympathy; the Lord speaks to her, tries to correct her, but more according to John 13. She is not subject; she is in the same sorrow as Mary, and she is eventually relieved. Many are relieved, but that is not sympathy. The great value of the priesthood is learning what the Lord is to me in the sorrow. I get to know Him better. He walks with Mary; He makes known to her what He can be to

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her in that blank. The blank was caused by the death of Lazarus. He is using that blank as an opportunity to make known what He can be -- "a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother" -- and makes her feel that He feels it more deeply than she does: "He groaned in spirit and was troubled". But He never says a word about raising up Lazarus; that would have spoiled the sympathy. The sympathy is making known to her the way He Himself would act in the circumstances. It is right to feel the loss of a brother; but you must be subject to the Lord in your sorrow, and then you find the cheer and help of His company in it. Mary, as soon as she hears that Jesus called for her, makes haste and goes to Him, and she falls down at His feet. She has the sense of who He is; and the Lord says, "Where have you laid him?" He enters into her sorrow in order to acquaint her with His own sensibility in it, so that she comes out of the sorrow with a deeper knowledge of what the Lord is. It is not that she gets out of the sorrow; but she is comforted by the immense gain that she has acquired -- a divine sensibility in it. I cannot conceive anything greater than this; I have been in a trial, and in the trial I have learnt how the Lord would feel in it . I have gained His grace in it. The trial has given me a fuller acquaintance with the Lord's heart for me, as well as a greater knowledge of Himself.

When you get the subject before your mind, it is easy to find examples and illustrations of His sympathy. There is one passage I must dwell a little on, because it shows the completeness of how Christ bears us up all the way. I turn to the end of Acts 7. In the case of Stephen, you get Christ's present support beautifully brought before us in the smallest compass: "He, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus". That is, he saw the spot Christ's work had secured for him -- in fact, he crossed the Jordan. I

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have no doubt of my right to the spot; but I have to get there. Our blessed Lord, who has gone the road, bears us through everything all the way. There are two things here; one is, that I can pass out of it all here, in the power and joy of the Holy Spirit to that of eternal life, where Christ is. But mark, that if you are really carried up, another thing follows, even that you can, in Christ's power, resume here in the face of all opposition. Now I get these two combined in Stephen. He saw Jesus, who had done everything for him, and he saw the place where He is. He is within the veil, and when I see Him there I have laid hold of eternal life.

Now Stephen resumes his place here; he finds the type of Joshua 3 fulfilled: "Hereby shall ye know that the living God is among you". How? You know that the waters of Jordan are gone, that there is not a single thing between you and the presence of God, that it is your home, and knowing this, you can predicate that you will be superior to every power here. Mark the words, "Hereby shall ye know that the living God is among you". How? Stephen is over Jordan in spirit; but he comes back, as a man over Jordan, to prove that the power of Christ which led him up to glory, will enable him to overcome evil with good. Stephen seems to me to learn here Christ's superiority over everything on man's side. Borne by the power of the One who has gone up to glory, and sustained by Him through every opposition here, so that he overcomes evil with good. To be equal to the occasion is true power. It is not that Stephen's circumstances are mine; but still I should be able to say, "I can do all things through him who gives me power".

I need not add more. The Lord lead us to prove His grace for ourselves. I trust what I said at the commencement may rest with you; because I think, as a rule, souls do not enter into the priesthood of

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Christ. It is regarded as the way of approach to God, instead of the support of Him who, by His blood, has secured for me a right to be where He is. Stephen has illustrated this. Both John 14 as well as Matthew 14 are thus known to you. You are made superior to the circumstances here. Tomorrow, when someone annoys you or some vexation occurs, will you bear up? will you overcome evil with good? will you say, I am sure that the power which leads me to Christ in glory is the power that will enable me to walk superior to evil and overcome it with good?

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THE ASSEMBLY

Acts 2:1 - 4

In the former lectures I have desired to bring before you, where the grace of God has set us, as relating to ourselves, and what Christ is to us and for us. Now I desire to turn your attention to what we are to Him. We cannot be for Him if we do not know what He is for us.

I have read this passage because it describes the first time that the Holy Spirit came down to us, and then was established the habitation of God by the Spirit. We read in the last verse of the second of Ephesians, "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit". Now that is a great thing to start with -- that God has a habitation on the earth. In Ephesians 2 is, "In whom ye are builded together"; the true building is spoken of. I do not mean to go into how that has been intruded into. how certain men have "crept in unawares", bad building. and the like. What I mean to occupy your attention with is the nature of this structure, "the habitation of God through the Spirit". It is established here in Acts 2. There were two actions of the Holy Spirit, and one of those actions I do not mean to speak much of. But the great point is that the first action is connected with the congregation. "There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting". It does not say it filled the walls, "but all the house where they were sitting"; these latter words you must keep distinctly in your mind; that is, the congregation, with it the Spirit connects Himself. The other action of the Holy Spirit is that He fills each of them individually. So there were two fillings. It is very important for the soul to be

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clear about these actions. The first thing is to accept the truth, and the truth is that there is a habitation of God upon the earth, and the Holy Spirit dwells in it, notwithstanding all the corruption. If I can, I will allude to what it is in the weakest day, and in the darkest day. Still, the main thing remains, and you will never understand the assembly unless you own that it is "the habitation of God through the Spirit". Here (Acts 2) it is first established. The Holy Spirit, in a visible way came down and "filled all the house where they were sitting"; and He also, in a very distinct and marked way, at the same time, "sat upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit". You will say, That all in the house were true believers. I do not deny it; but still, though it began that way, you must bear in mind that such things happened as that evil men "crept in unawares", and that there was bad building, and that judgement must begin at the house of God; but that side I am not going into. What I am trying to bring before you is what the assembly is, and in the house aspect more than the body aspect. The latter, if the Lord permit, I hope to bring before you another time.

Now I turn to a few scriptures, as though you were studying it for the first time; because after all, we are practically very unacquainted with the reality of this truth. Turn to Matthew 16:15 - 18. "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". That is the first time we get the statement, "My church". The word 'assembly', as you all know, occurs in the Old Testament, but here is the

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Lord saying, I will build my assembly. And in what connection does that statement come forth? If you look back to chapter 14: 10, you will see what led to this, "And he sent and beheaded John in the prison". Now that intimated to the Lord that He would be rejected by His own people. God had dwelt in the cloud among Israel, but the glory had departed. But now the Lord, from that verse up to this point (I am not going into it, but it is an interesting scripture), is educating His disciples for this great announcement, even that He will have a new structure, and that new structure is "My assembly". He announces, "Upon this rock I will build my assembly", and that rock was the Son of God. That is the nature of the teaching, or education, which I believe every one of us has to go through, in order to learn the assembly. I do not dwell on the education, but rather on the result of the education. It is an interesting moment. The Lord says. "I will build my church". He does not say, I have built it. Many think that the assembly dates down from Abel. No, it is entirely a new thing, and a new thing consequent upon Christ being refused by His own people. I am not referring to the body, that is when He is entirely rejected as glorified, that is a different thing, though they conjoin, they go together. But the house, the habitation of God, is a thing manifest on this earth. I do not know anywhere in Scripture that you could say that the body was manifested. On the contrary, the body, as far as I see from Scripture, is hidden, save as to its works. I believe that it is the vital thing in the assembly.

The Lord says, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock" -- the Son of God -- "I will build my church": not upon Peter , as the Romanists have made it; all their breakdown you can trace to that. What is the great importance, of the Son of God? Why did He not say, the man Jesus? Because it is entirely outside of everything, simply divine ground. It is in principle

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what you get in John's epistle: "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" And that gives a character to this great structure. You are a stone in it. As Peter says (1 Peter 2:5), "Ye also, as living stones".

Now I have a very interesting thing to put before you, and that is, I am not asking you, Are you saved? I do not doubt it; but have you a sense in your soul that you are material for Christ's building? This is more than your salvation; it is consequent on and corroborates your salvation, for how could you be a stone, a living stone, if you are not saved? "To whom coming as unto a living stone". When you understand this, a wonderful light comes into the soul, and you can say, Thank God I am a bit of Christ's building. You are a component part of the structure which Christ builds. That is the great thing. Hence he says, "To whom coming ... ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house". Now that is not the same kind of union as in the body, though it is important to understand that the Spirit is the hold in each, a binding as a stone in a building. Wherever you might be, you would still be a stone in the building. But you are not in assembly function except when you are assembled, gathered of God. If I might illustrate it by an ordinary subject, all the members of parliament together in a room, would not be parliament; they are not convened. Therefore, a believers' meeting, as such, is not the assembly at all. The assembly is called God's assembly; or, as our blessed Lord called it here, "My assembly". Our idea of the assembly is borrowed from Christendom, and thus regarded as "the congregation of the faithful". Now nothing can be plainer than that when a great person has an assembly, he is chief in that assembly. If I went to a man's house who had invited me, and saw a great many collected there, but not the master of the house, I should say I had made a mistake; I came here at

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his invitation, and he is not here. You could not have God's assembly without the presence of God. You may have a company of believers; indeed, you might get all the believers in the world, but that would not be the assembly of God. Therefore it is said, "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the assembly of the living God", 1 Timothy 3:15.

If you were to go to an assembly at any house, the very first person you would look for is the one who invited you. Now when you come to an assembly meeting, the first person you look for in the room, and the first person before your heart, is the Lord. If otherwise, you have not a true idea of the assembly, you are affected by the leaven of Christendom. If you ask a theologian, What is your definition of the church? he will tell you "the congregation of the faithful". It is extraordinary how people are leavened with this idea. The great characteristic of the church of God is that God Himself invites you, has called you out to that company. The company looks for His presence.

Now I turn to John 20:19 - 23, because my object is to lead the youngest here really to understand the assembly. "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit; whose soever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained". I read this, not because it is the church established, but because it

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is the pattern. (I think it is important for you to get hold of the pattern, though it is not the thing itself. You get a great deal in the gospels of what I call pattern, but it is not the thing itself. A pattern of the coat is not the coat, but it shows the way the coat is made. Here it is extremely interesting, and one is thankful to the Lord for giving us the pattern of the assembly at the beginning; and it is a comfort to us that we can always go back to beginnings. Here we have the assembly in its infancy. In Scripture the first time a thing is set forth, its main features are presented. You may not have it in all its development, but you have it in its real features, just as a babe has the features which will eventually develop into a man). The Lord has risen from the dead, and you get two things which are interesting to put together. He leads Mary Magdalene into association with Himself where He is; but He also comes down into the midst of His gathered ones here on earth, because He is Son over God's house. The Lord grant our hearts may be true to it. I would not think of going to an assembly where the Lord was not.

In this passage we see the pattern. There are two great things in this pattern -- one is, how He fitted His disciples to be component parts of this great assembly; and the other is, that being fitted, He instructed them as to their responsibilities. This is a pattern of the introduction to the assembly, and therefore not required for those introduced. I do not think that every believer (though his right is unquestionable) is intelligently a component part of Christ's building, a living stone, a component part of the most august assembly that ever was upon the earth. I speak now of "My assembly", because you cannot be occupied with Christ, if your own state still occupies you. Hence the first thing the Lord says, in order to fit His disciples for this new place, is "Peace unto you"; He clears them from every

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disturbing element. Then they see His hands and His side -- His death; and then He says, "Peace" to them again. That is, not only peace with God, but peace in their circumstances. They are now becoming constituent parts of this great assembly, they are learning that they are "living stones". It is a great day when I know that I am a living stone; and I trust you all will understand it better, and be able to refuse every worldly offer, because you can say, I am a constituent part of the most august assembly that ever was on this earth, where Christ makes known the Father, and His interests are paramount. It is Christ's assembly. It is not only our association with Him where He is, but He comes down into our midst. Now when I have association with Him, it is in a sphere where there is nothing to hinder; but when He comes into this room, there is hindrance in me and everybody, which He displaces. Still, thank God, He overcomes, and takes His place. If you have not an unclouded sense of the peace in which Christ's work has set you in the presence of God, you are not able to accept your place in the assembly as a living stone. I do not want to shut you out; but I call on you to "make your calling and election sure"; I call on you to understand your privileges. I mean that none else is rightly there. I do not say that others are not there. I own the patience of the Lord.

The assembly is very like a family; the Lord is there. But it is not a family if the head is not there. I do not refer to the Head of the body, but to the Lord as Master of the house. When we are gathered to His name, He is there. Then I see some, like children in the family, who enjoy His presence, others of them who know it is right to be there, but are occupied more with themselves than with Him, and others, lastly, who follow the example of their older brethren, and are there because it is the right thing. Now these three classes are constantly found in the assembly.

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Next see to what they are appointed . "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". Sent into the world with a mission from the Lord -- the vocation of the assembly fundamentally. I believe that there is no place where the Lord opens His mind as He would in the assembly. I do not think any one can understand the Lord in private as He reveals Himself in the assembly. He does manifest Himself to a solitary individual, no doubt, and makes him know what He is to him; but that is not the same as when He is in His own house, making known His pleasure and His counsels, and leading us into the blessedness of the holiest.

But now, what are our responsibilities in the assembly? I turn to Matthew 18:20, "Where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them". That is not a promise, though it is very often quoted as a promise. It is a consequence; and a consequence is not a promise. A consequence is that if the sun rises, it shines. The Lord says, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I"; it is not, "there will I be", but "there am I". However small we are, we can always secure the presence of the Lord; and that really is the chief gain in the assembly. Now there is a great deal involved in this: because if gathered to His name, we walk according to His name, you could not be truly gathered to His name and not be walking according to His name. It is impossible. This solves one of the great questions of the present day. Many may assume to be gathered to His name, but it is impossible for them to be gathered to His name if not walking according to His name . "Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord, depart from iniquity". When a company is not walking according to His name, one cannot accept it as gathered to His name; one cannot be black and white at the same time. The Lord does not leave the assembly as long as it

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gives Him His place, but the Lord leaves the assembly when independency rules, that is, when you act without Him. And you will find, as a general rule, that when you act without Him, you have previously allowed some terrible leaven to work, or you would not act without Him. Thus the Corinthians were recovered, they were not so far gone that they would act without Him; but they would give Him His place and be guided by Him.

Now I turn to 1 Corinthians 10:17 - 21, "For we being many are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh; are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God; and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils". It is not that you might not, but you cannot , it is impossible; just as I might say it is impossible for a man to be in heaven and earth at the same time; impossible for a man to be a saint and a sinner. That is the meaning of the word, "Ye cannot". I refer to this, because I want you to see the assembly in its very beginning. I have tried to present to you the pattern assembly in John 20. In Luke 24 you get the other side of it; while the two disciples are telling their tale, the Lord is standing in the midst of them.

I turn to this passage (1 Corinthians 10) to show how the youngest believer is at once connected with the two things which are embraced in the Lord's table. One is the responsibility to have that table suited to the Lord; the other is that there is room enough at the table for every believer on the face of the earth. I am not going into that side of it, but I

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am showing you that the very youngest believer is introduced at the very first moment into the great characteristic of the whole assembly on earth. He has two things to maintain, and in fact it is on either of these that all the variances have arisen between Christians. Either they are too lax about what suits the Lord, or they are too narrow as to receiving all that belong to the Lord; and so there are what we call denominations; and that is not His assembly. There are two things: one, it is the Lord's table, and the Lord is there, and the other, as the apostle says (1 Corinthians 5), when you are gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, then you must remove from among yourselves every one unsuited to the Lord's name. There is no other course when leaven is working; that is, when the conscience is overborne by sin.

I want you to understand, that everyone at the Lord's table is answerable for these two things.

On the one hand, that there must be nothing sanctioned which is unsuited to the Lord; on the other hand, We are one bread (one loaf), one body (verse 17). That is, every believer in Christ has a right to be there; you must acknowledge his right; he has a place at His table. These are the two things that mark the Lord's table: one, that there must be nothing that is unsuitable to the Lord, nothing that the Lord would not have there; you must consult Him about it; leaven defiles ourselves, but it is not ourselves only we have to think of, it is the Lord; while, on the other hand, and this introduces the body aspect of the assembly, every one who belongs to Him has a place at His table.

The moment you break bread you are committed to these two things: that nothing shall be there which will not suit the Lord; and that there is room there (it is not the Lord's table otherwise) for every one of His own over the whole earth. There are only two

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ordinances, baptism and the Lord's supper, and it is extraordinary how very few can distinguish between them, though all admit that there is a difference. But what is the Lord's supper? It is not, as many hold, reviving to yourselves the work that Christ has done. The Lord's supper is remembering Him in His death when you are in the enjoyment of His presence; He is present as the glorified One. Saul of Tarsus for three days did neither eat nor drink, he was learning the depths of the cross, and how that cross could free him from every charge in the presence of the glory of God. But having learned it, he came to the Lord's supper, to call to mind what that blessed One went through in order to put Him in His presence without a cloud. It is not myself I am thinking of there, I am remembering Him . This is the passover in the land, after you have got on divine territory. If you know that the Lord is before you (God grant that we may know it better) it is wonderful happiness, heaven is begun, there is not a shade between me and Him; I greet Him, His death is prominently before my mind. As a rule, at a bright meeting the Lord's supper is not postponed.

We call Him to mind, as typified by the passover in the land, and we do not get the old corn of the land until the day after the passover. The table then is the responsibility, and the responsibility is, I will go through this world in communion with His death. In fact, it is, if I may give an illustration, as if I were on the Canaan side of Jordan, and I desire to pursue the rest of my journey along the shore of Jordan as I walk on day by day; I look down into the river, and not only at the stones brought up out of it.

Having dwelt on our true state in the assembly, let us now dwell a little on what the Lord is to us in it. According to Hebrews 2:12 He is declaring the Father. "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the assembly will I praise thee". He

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has, according to Psalm 22:1 - 21, removed everything that was against us, at the deepest cost to Himself. We are, in breaking of bread, calling to mind all He went through to place us in this unclouded bliss; but now we are listening to Him, happy in His presence, to His declaring the Father to us. Just as a sample, He uttered John 14, at the Supper table, so that we are privileged to expect great unfoldings of the Father in the assembly. As the Lord said, "Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee", for the assembly of the living God is the pillar and ground of the truth; all the truth known is in the assembly. We now see that the assembly, as in the hands of man, is in ruins, yet each true heart has a zeal for His house, and knowing that "holiness becometh thy house, O LORD, for ever", he seeks that a corner at least of it should be fit for the Lord.

Let us turn to the second epistle to Timothy. That epistle is divided into two parts. The first two chapters are occupied with an ordinary state of things; the last two, with the difficult times.

The assembly must have fallen into great disorder when profane babblings are tolerated there (2 Timothy 2:17); "Their word will eat as doth a canker; of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus". It is not leaven here, but a worse thing, gangrene. Now the Lord did not get His place in that assembly, that is evident enough. Well, now, in this great failure, what are we to do? We are not to stay where the Lord does not get His place. In verse 21 we read, "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour". Now this word 'purge' is only used twice in Scripture. It is used for purging out the unclean person in 1 Corinthians 5:7; and it is used here for purging out oneself. The assembly has come to such a condition they have tolerated vain babbling there, and you must purge yourself, not from the doctrine only, but from the vessels. People are ready

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enough to purge themselves from the doctrine, but where the trouble has occurred in many cases, is the endeavour to exonerate themselves because they were clear of the doctrine. To be clear of the doctrine is not sufficient; you are to purge yourselves from the vessels. You are to be vessels unto honour, and to follow "righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart". This indicates that there never would be a time when there would not be a purged people calling on the Lord. This was the divine counsel given to Timothy, to whom it was written when things were in order, "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God", etc. One now might say, I have purged myself from the vessels to dishonour, where shall I go? If you depend on the Lord, He will show you that there are others besides you who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Isolation is never recommended. A person may have more light, but if he is faithful to Christ he will find that there are other exercised souls who would be glad to receive from him. The saints are all united together; there is one Spirit in the whole; I speak now of the unity of the Spirit, not of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And you will find that when the Lord is working and leading souls in a certain direction, He is working elsewhere in a like manner, and you will often be surprised at the expanse of the testimony, so that when there is an energy of grace here, you will find an energy of grace in America or the Antipodes.

I trust the Lord will lead your hearts truly to understand the august nature of Christ's assembly on the earth.

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THE MYSTERY

Colossians 2:1 - 10

The subject I desire to bring before you this evening is the mystery -- Christ the head of the body. Those who were present on the last evening will remember it was the assembly in its house aspect, as a vessel of testimony here on the earth. As I said then, they conjoin. What one has to look at now is the assembly as the body of Christ.

In the previous chapter, you will find how the apostle distinguishes the ministry of the assembly from the ministry of the gospel. He says in verse 23, "If Ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister" -- that is, he was a minister of the gospel -"who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake which is the church; whereof I am made a minister". It was not that the Colossians had not heard of this second ministry, but they were not in the power of it. They had the ministry of the gospel, and very interesting they seemed to be from the way the apostle writes to them in the early part of the first chapter. "Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints". Now they had the ministry of the gospel, and they were exemplary too -- "faith in Christ Jesus, and love to all the saints".

I desire to convey this, that they did understand the blessedness of the gospel; because what he prays for them is that they might know that they were saved for heaven; and that was part of the gospel, that was not part of the mystery. We are saved for heaven,

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not for earth; in one sense God could not save a people for earth now. How could He save a people for earth where His Son was rejected? He saves them for heaven. "Faith in the Lord Jesus", or "faith in Christ Jesus", gives us a very different idea from faith in God. And I think many are defective in this. They have not entered into the right understanding of the gospel, if it could not be said of them, "Faith in Christ Jesus, and love to all the saints". That is not the mystery; it is the gospel. It is not that they did not hear of the mystery; just as in Romans, the mystery is not spoken of till the last three verses; but the mystery is a distinct doctrine, though it is not easy to point where the gospel ends and the mystery begins. And I am confirmed in this by another, who says that you could not really understand the gospel ministry aright if you did not understand the ministry of the assembly. Still, there are two ministries; that is all I want now to make clear.

Those who knew the ministry of the gospel, the apostle tells, in this chapter I have read, that he would they knew what great conflict he had for them. Now a man would not have a great conflict if there was not a great opposition; and you remember the apostle was in prison; it was not fighting with flesh and blood at any rate. He said, "I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh". What for? That they might know the mystery; that they might be in the enjoyment of the mystery. But what were they in danger of? They were in danger of being carried away -- and he introduces this truth to preserve them from the danger -- that when a man gets clear in the gospel, and that he is settled and sure for heaven, that then, as it was with the Colossians, he tries to make the flesh religious. It is hard to explain, but I will try to explain it to you. It is to try to make the flesh an actual

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contributor to the Christian. For instance, I get such a term as this, which is common -- "a Christian man". Now what does that mean? Why do you bring in the man? Why do you not say a Christian? I say, no; you want to bring in something; you are going to give the flesh a place; and the flesh, as it were, craves to get a religious place. It came out very early in the church; it was a compound of mind and body; and therefore, in the present day, it is rationalism and ritualism; it is a combination which gives the flesh a place.

I press it with great earnestness upon you, that nothing will ever preserve you from this intrusion of the flesh, but the mystery. You will never get out of what you may call religiousness in the flesh, but by the mystery; that is the only truth to do it. And we do not look enough at truth; we do not value it enough. I think every truth has what I may call a speciality; that is, it has a power to supplant its contrary. I may state that the Lord in His miracles here never cured two maladies in the same way; He had a different way of dealing with everything. A person says sometimes, "That truth is not necessary". That is all you know about it. It is not necessary until you require it; but then every truth is necessary. Now nothing but the mystery can prevent religiousness. You may find a person very happy in the gospel, who perhaps will sing excitedly. I say, What is that? That is the flesh. That is religious flesh. You may find a man very clear in the gospel preaching a very eloquent sermon. I want to know what that is. Oh, he is naturally eloquent! But the more you are really in divine things, the less ability you have to express them. As someone has said, the more we deal with divine things, the less we make of ourselves. I know very well how often I have wished that I were eloquent, when I had a vista of a divine beauty before my soul. Well, I should have spoilt it if I had brought human

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eloquence into it. And therefore, the more advanced Paul was, the less able was he to communicate, because the power must be of God. He was crippled on purpose that the power might be of God, and he had the immense comfort in his heart. Well, I did not express that very well, but, thank God, I expressed it by the power of God, and it did good to souls, though I got no credit for it. And a man of God is happy in the fact that he is serving a soul, and has pleased the Lord.

I think it is an important thing for the soul to understand this, because I do not think the mystery is sufficiently valued. How rarely can it be said of one, he understands the mystery! The ministry of the gospel is appreciated -- thank God, it is. But it is the ministry of the gospel. As I have heard a person before now say, Preach justification by faith, and you will be heard; but preach the body of Christ, and see how few will listen to you. Why? Because they do not understand the immense blessedness connected with this truth. Here the apostle writes, "I would ye knew what great conflict I have for you". That shows he had great opposition. And there is great opposition to it now; and I trust you will see plainly presently why there is such great opposition to the ministry of the church.

Let me try to explain this about the intrusion of the flesh a little better. You see there are three great intrusions of the flesh; two of them are referred to in connection with the gospel, and one in connection with the assembly. There is the intrusion in the Corinthians, which is self-indulgence. There they were so full of their own intellectuality, their wisdom ruined them: they said, We can do as we will, we will reign as kings, we are saved, and we have great gifts. Therefore the Lord's supper was brought in to correct them. You, self-indulgent man, do you know how you got all your blessing? By the death of Christ.

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And are you going to indulge the man for whom Christ died? That is what you get in Corinthians; and therefore, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say". How can you have communion with Christ's death, and allow the man for whom Christ died? Impossible. The sense in my soul is that Christ died for me, and I am thinking of His death, and I am without a shade before Him, it is not only that His death cleared me, but He bore the judgement for me -- then how can I minister to that man? Not I; I cannot minister to him. That is Corinthian. Therefore the apostle tells us practically, that he was always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus.

Now with the Galatians is the other snare. They were led away by legalism; "Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" That is what you very often get with conscientious people; they are trying to improve themselves, and they put themselves under restriction; that is legalism.

Now the Colossians is neither one nor the other. Very likely a Colossian would say to you, I know that man is not to be indulged -- because in Colossians we are looked at as risen with Christ. And hence the very same word is used in Colossians 2 as in Romans, "Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". The doctrine that you have in Romans is only enlarged. In Romans it is, "If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him". Here it goes a step further, "If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". It is not only I am clear of the man, as in Romans, because I am dead with Christ, and therefore "he that is dead is freed from sin"; but here I am clear of where the man is, "the rudiments of the world"; you cannot get lower than rudiments. I am dead with Him, and as some have said, you have a complete deliverance. I do not know whether practically you have a complete deliverance till you are sensibly

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over Jordan. Still, I have no doubt that when a man rejoices in the fact, I am dead with Christ, and in His life I am free from the old man here, that soul is very near enjoying the fact, I am dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world; I am not only free from the man that was under judgement in the death of Christ, having died with Christ, but I am free from where the man is.

Still, I think if you look at it now, you will find that what is brought in here is both mind and body. "This, I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words". But then you see in the end of the chapter there was restriction, "Touch not; taste not; handle not". You do not restrict a thing that is not there. The moment I restrict it, I admit it is there. Hence the apostle opens out in chapter 3, "If Ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above". You are entirely upon a new course; in that sense old things are passed away, and all are become new, and all are of God.

May the Lord open it to your own hearts better. I do not believe anyone can ever learn a thing by listening to it; I must be exercised about it, and thus I learn the value of it. I make it a rule to myself that I never attempt to expound a truth that I have not weighed how much I know of it myself. It is only then I have really learnt it. I have often heard things that I could not make much of; but when I have learnt them I have proved them for myself. That is deriving; there is a great difference between copying and deriving. Deriving is making it your own, and, as one has said, He that speaks from the conscience speaks to the conscience.

I turn now to explain the mystery. Look at Matthew 22:44, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool". It is consequent on the rejection of the Lord that He first intimated about the assembly.

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"I will build my church", as you get it in Matthew 16. But that was not the mystery; though of course what is Christ's building is of the body. But it was not until Christ was completely rejected that there could be a disclosure of the great secret of God, that is, that He had a body for His Son on this earth. I must guard what I am stating; because that wonderful thing had been kept secret from the foundation of the world. I think we are not enough affected by it; I wish my heart were more affected by it. That wonderful disclosure has been made, that Christ, when He was completely rejected by Jew and Gentile, not by one only, but by both Jew and Gentile, was called to sit down at God's right hand. That is why I turn to this first. God says to Him, Sit down at My right hand. Now a wonderful thing is connected with this point, as I have already intimated to you. When God's Son has been rejected from this place, this place could not be a place for God's people. If the brightest, the greatest, and the best could get no place here, it is no place for the weakest. Nothing can be plainer to anyone. Christendom has got out of the difficulty by refusing to admit that the Gentiles have rejected Christ. Well, they show simple ignorance of Scripture, because it was the Gentiles who actually did the deed, the Roman governor and his soldiers. I need not go into it. I am addressing those who have no question that Christ has been rejected from this world. Thus we read in John 15, "Now they have no cloke for their sin". The first sin of man was turning from God in the garden of Eden. The completeness of sin -- there is no cloke for it -- was when Christ came into this world, and "men loved darkness rather than light". The Lord says, "they have both seen and hated both me and my Father"; and the world is now under judgement. You may say, I do not see the judgement. If I am not sailing through this world under the shelter of Christ's

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death, as Noah in the ark, I am under the judgement. I need to be saved now going through the world; it is as much under judgement now as to God's sentence, as when the waters were over it. "Now is the judgement of this world", said the Lord.

Now, Christ is called up to this new place; then where will His own be? This is the problem in Christianity. A problem is something that is to be solved. How can you have both the earth and Christ? You cannot; heaven is the hope of the gospel; you are saved for heaven, not for earth. But I am on the earth. True; but then the problem is, how can I be on the earth where He is not, and how can I reach Him in heaven? That is the problem; and if you do not understand the mystery, you will never solve it.

Now it is definitely stated that Christ is called away from this world, and called to God's right hand. Now if we turn to Acts 7:55, we shall see what comes out in connection with that. Here in the rejection of Stephen is the consummation of His rejection. You see He was rejected first by Jew and Gentile, and then after He went up, He was rejected when in glory. As has often been said, they sent a message after Him, "We will not have this man to reign over us". He is now not only refused in humiliation, but refused in glory; Stephen says, "As your fathers did, so do ye". Then the Holy Spirit opens out the new order of things, "He, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God". That is where He is; that is the centre of the new order. It is not Jerusalem any longer; Jerusalem is over, the new centre is the right hand of God. Look at all the places where "the right hand" occurs, and I am sure you will be edified, much will open out to you about the new centre. Hence it says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,

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where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God". All here is over, and that is the new centre.

There was no disclosure of the mystery then; the disclosure to Stephen, which is also true of us (God grant our hearts may know it better), is that in the power of divine life he is outside all, and he sees his Saviour in the place where his Saviour is. There is nothing said about union; he is united, but that is not the point; the secret is not divulged. The proof that Stephen was by the Spirit led up into heaven, is that he comes back into this scene in the power of Christ, and is superior to it all; he fulfils the type, crossing the Jordan. If I have power to rise out of all this scene, to rise to the things above where Christ is, I have His power in this scene. This is no sentimentality. Because, if you are really over Jordan, you have power over all the enemies here. Otherwise you are like a bird with a wounded wing, you would like to fly but you have not the power. "Hereby shall ye know the living God is among you". The power that carries me right over and right up to association with my Saviour up there, is the same power that places me in superiority to all the combined forces of evil down here. That is the practical manifestation of the power. Hence Stephen returns to confront the whole array and force of evil here, and overcomes evil with good. That proves he was over Jordan; and if I am dead with Christ I am over, I am outside of the power of death, and I prove it in detail every day by overcoming evil with good.

Now I turn to Acts 9:4. "And he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Now for the first time is the secret disclosed; it had been, hitherto, kept secret from the foundation of the world. But it comes out now at the proper time. It could not have been divulged any sooner. Christ was not finally rejected until now. He was here in humiliation, going about

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doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him, and Satan worked upon man, so that man refused Him a place here; His own would not have Him, cast Him out, and when He had gone to heaven they refused the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the person of Stephen. What then is the secret? The secret is that His body is on the earth; and if His body is not on the earth, there is no other way whatever of solving the problem that we who are His own can be where He is not, and that we can have association with Him in the place where He is. Cavillers say, How can you rise up to heaven until you die? Well, if I am an individual only that would be true, but I am not merely an individual, I am a member of the body of Christ; and a member of the body of Christ united to Him has a title to be where He is. I am not going further in this subject now. Still it is of immense importance, because if you think of it for a moment, you will see that where He was refused, there His body is. Think what a disclosure it is; how little the heart bows to it; you can imagine how Satan was defeated; why, nothing has ever exasperated Satan like it. Look round you, and see how this enmity works. Look at Romanism. Romanism holds that the church is one great whole, but it deprives Christ of His place, and places a man at the head of it, and thus necessarily sets aside the Holy Spirit. They hold, in a way, the unity of the body. Now Romanism sets forth independency, which is the characteristic of every decline in the church. I believe, that no matter what the form of trouble, the first evidence of decline in the church is independency. That is, acting without Christ.

But I trust your heart will lay hold of the simple fact that He is the Head, and that His body is here. It will have a great effect upon you. I sometimes think to myself what a beautiful service the woman in Luke 7 had; she actually anointed the Lord's feet. Would

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not you like to have done that? Certainly. But as great an opportunity is open to you. Each Christian is a bit of Christ, and you can minister to Christians. And it is not to the showy one only, but to any one; "more abundant honour to that part which lacked". It has an immense effect on the heart to realise that Christ's body is here, a wonderful impetus to service. As has been said, you cannot separate the body from the Head. It is not a question of equality, but similarity; the same life, the same nature, and the one Spirit.

Now I turn to Ephesians 5:29, "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ the assembly". The assembly therefore is His own flesh. "For we are members of his body". It is a great thing to get the idea of it in one's heart. "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the assembly". You all remember that with a rib which the Lord God had taken from Adam He made a woman, and Adam said, "She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man"; or, rather, "She shall be called Isha", which was the Hebrew word for woman, "because she was taken out of Ish", the Hebrew for man. There you get, as far as types go, the most comprehensive one of the mystery of the assembly, "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the assembly".

First I get in Hebrews that we are His companions; we are all of one, the same life, the same nature, His brethren, sons of Aaron. Well, I might be a very small brother, but still I am a companion of Christ. I want you to understand that it is not union which acquires this companionship; this is what grace has made me. This is set forth in Ephesians 1, where I get the greatness of the individual saint before it is

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declared that he is a member of the body of Christ. And this is very important, because it is not union which has given me my qualification or fitness to be with Christ, I had the fitness and qualification before by grace; and union binds together those who are fit to be together. I say this, because I want to disabuse your minds of the idea that it is union which makes us fit. For instance, Rebekah going to be united to Isaac, is a type. She is related to Isaac, going to be united to him. She does not get any advance as to birth or as to nature by marrying Isaac; she does as to distinction; but she is of the same family, the same stock; and that is the argument in the Hebrews. "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren". And that is the argument of Ephesians 1, that we are really fit to be united to Christ. As you get in the figure, "She was taken out of man"; and "They twain shall be one flesh". Union was declared after the fitness for companionship was assured; otherwise it would be that union makes us companions for Christ. You were fit to be companions first, and as such you are united to Him.

Now there are two points more, and I turn back to the Colossians. You say, How does all this work? I only quote one passage, "Ye are complete in him". How can I go any higher if I am complete in Him? Hence it says in chapter 3, Christ is everything; "Christ is all and in all". Now the point is that I derive all from Christ. I am entirely of the same order; I belong to Him, a member of His body; and it is as a member of His body that I can now reach -- or rather enjoy -- the place where He is. That is His place, He is called to the right hand of God, and I can enjoy Him there as a member of His body; I enter into it individually, but I have not an individual right, but a corporate right.

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Now I turn to Ephesians 1:19, to show how this position is entirely outside the flesh; and that everything is of Christ. And it is not a question of acquiring any help from science or the natural mind, or bringing in anything; as I am complete in Christ, man's mind or body cannot add to me. In Colossians I am learning the Head; but I get the Christ, the whole structure, before me in Ephesians. I may see the truth of it as it is in Ephesians, and I may accept it; it is beautiful to look at it. Christ's body here on earth, and all the gifts given, "until we all come, in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man". Every one of us? Yes. "Be no longer babes; tossed to and fro". Hence in chapter 2, verse 6, we are all raised up together. Oh, someone might say, I did not know that till long after I was converted! Yes, but that was true when you were born of God though you found it out long afterwards. It is like a feather of a bird's wing; it was in the bird first, and it has come out now, and you are it; thank God you are it.

What I want you to understand is this. You see we are not united to Christ in humiliation. We are united to the exalted Man; but members of that exalted Man we are here on earth; we are properly heavenly men to exhibit Him according to the measure of His grace to us; every one of us is called to be an expression of the heavenly, exalted Man here, where He was the rejected Man. How could anything exasperate Satan more than that? Satan would not have Him in humiliation, when the smoking flax He would not quench, and the bruised reed He would not break. Now He is the exalted Man over everything, and we are united to that blessed Man, members of His body, and we are to be the expression on this earth, not only of the humbled Man, but of the exalted Man where He was the rejected Man. That is what the church is. And therefore the whole effort

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of Satan is against such a thing; and therefore all the practice that you get in Ephesians is of a heavenly character; you could not do any of it, even the least, but in heavenly power.

It is the most marvellous thing that Christ's body should be on the earth; God's great object now on earth is the bride for His Son. The assembly which is His body is in the very place from which He was rejected. I do not believe there is a member wanting to that body; I do not see that they are compacted together; but I believe that His body is here. I admit that it is disorganised, because the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace is not kept. But is that a reason for giving it up? Do you believe that this wonderful thing is here? Yes, thank God. In God's eye, not one member wanting? Yes. You play into the hands of Satan, if you give it up or deny it. That has been his great effort since Christ's ascension. I say, Christ's body is here. And because I am a member of that body, I can, by the Holy Spirit, associate with Him in the place where He is. I am not there yet; but as a member of His body I know the power of Christ. I enter this association. The Lord grant we may know it, and understand what a wonderful position it is. I should be found here descriptive of the exalted Man in the very spot where He was the rejected Man. We are called to a marvellous position. The Lord grant that each of our hearts may acknowledge it, however little we know of it practically; but it is ours, and we are not going to stop short at anything less. And what does it produce in us? More earnest looking to the Lord to lead our hearts into full devotedness to Himself, that we may lay aside every hindrance, and be found more thoroughly expressive of what we are called to, here on the earth, for His name's sake.

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CONSECRATION AND EFFECTS

Leviticus 8:18 - 28; 2 Corinthians 3:18

We have seen, on a former occasion, that we have the right of entrance into the holiest of all. That is, the ground of approach to God is so sure, that we can say, His presence is ever near; as prefigured in the fact of the tabernacle being a travelling companion, as we might say, of Israel through the wilderness. It is now, through the efficacy of Christ's work, that we can say His presence is with us, though we are still travelling to heaven.

We have looked at the fact of the assembly on the earth, and we have looked at the assembly as the body of Christ -- our wonderful relationship to Him; and I think that it would be fit to conclude with this subject -- What do we enjoy, what is the nature of our position in the presence of God? This I will call consecration and worship. Consecration is properly completion, that is the right meaning of the word; we are filled; it is like saying, "Ye are complete in Him".

In a subject like this, one cannot expatiate much, but I think one can point out what we ought to understand. If I may use such a figure, I can open a door for you to look in, and you can see what you are.

I have read about the two rams. Now if you do not understand the first ram, you will never under- stand the second one. The first ram is the burnt-offering; it is gone up whole. Mind you, that is not the sin-offering. The sin-offering establishes a basis, by virtue of what Christ has done, that God can receive you in His presence. The burnt-offering goes farther, because it shows me not only that He can receive me, but the nature of my reception; a very important point. A person might be received in a very grand

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place, but he might be received there only formally and not cordially. It is not merely that I have the right of entrance to a place, but the nature of my reception there. That is what the burnt-offering shows. Hence there were the two rams, and in one sense one ram was the duplicate of the other. The one ram as the burnt-offering went up whole. The blessed Lord who glorified God in death is gone up into the presence of God; He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, and as it says, "the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified"; not crucified, but glorified. The Holy Spirit comes down to tell us that a Man on this earth has so glorified God that He is raised up into glory, and not only raised into glory, but all glory rests upon that blessed Person now. In the sin-offering the blood was taken into the presence of the majesty of God and sprinkled on the mercy-seat, and seven times before it, and thus a basis was made for God to receive us there, so that He could "be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus". Hence the veil was rent the moment Christ died. But then there is another thing. The same blessed Person so glorified God under the weight of judgement that He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, and hence you find that is what the burnt-offering is; He is crowned with glory and honour. The priest never had any of the burnt-offering; it all went up to God, it was burnt whole. Next we enjoy what Christ as the burnt-offering is; to us, in a word, the nature of our acceptance. As it is said, "Accepted in the beloved". It is not the question therefore that I have the right to enter, that is not what I am upon, but how I am there. We may call it our acceptance, but that would not be sufficient, because it is not only our acceptance, but I wish to bring before you what you gain there; I do not know how to express it; it takes in not only what you are, and what you enjoy, but what you do.

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I cannot leave out worship, I cannot leave out enjoyment, I cannot leave out progress.

Now look at the other ram, that is the consecration ram. Look at the two rams; one ram typifies Christ glorifying God and now gone up to Him, and the other ram is how He, the glorified One, is to you. That is its great point -- What is Christ to you? We are complete in Christ; I see what He is to God in the burnt-offering, but what am I? Hence you see, first the ram for the burnt-offering was brought, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on it, and it was killed, and the blood sprinkled on the altar, and the whole ram burnt. Then the other ram was brought, and Moses took of the blood of it (and now we are all under the virtue of the blood); it was put on the ear, the hand, and the foot, and all in connection with the high priest, for we enter the holy place as his house. But that was not all. Then come the fat and the inwards, etc., typifying the pure perfect motives of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus I come into the presence of God in the sense of the fragrance of Christ. The prodigal had the best robe on; invested with the beauty of Christ which has come out from heaven. Thus I am brought into correspondence with a greater One who is inside. I mean correspondence with Christ, the burnt-offering, now glorified. Of course, we do not come up to the greatness of what He is, but I am brought into correspondence with that blessed, glorified One. I have nothing of myself, I am filled with what He is to God. The idea of consecration is rarely apprehended; some talk of giving up themselves to the Lord. In presenting my body as a living sacrifice I am only yielding that to which the Lord has the right; for it necessarily follows, that if Christ has freed me from the old master, the flesh, He has the right to the body now.

The consecration takes place when their hands are filled. The varied types of Christ in His life and

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ways, were put upon Aaron's hands and his son's hands, and waved as a wave-offering, and then all was burnt for a sweet savour unto the Lord. I want you to have a true sense of the way in which the priestly company went into the holy places. At that time they only went into the holy place, but of course now when the veil is rent, there is full approach to God. We approach in all the fragrance of the One who has glorified God, we are in the presence of the glorified One; He was the burnt-offering, and has gone up into glory, and we come in, in correspondence with Him; we go in, not by any virtue, or anything of our own, but in all the blessed fragrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the type.

Now we turn to the New Testament, and get it all plainer, surely. Still, I trust the sense is awakened in your soul, by the beauty of the type, of the wonderful nature of our entrance into the true tabernacle. Well, you know that Christ has gone up into the presence of God, raised up and glorified; and you know that you can enter in to be assimilated to Him there. You come in, in the fragrance of Jesus in the glory of God.

Now in 2 Corinthians 3, the point of the argument is, that if that which was done away was glorious, how much more glorious is that which remains; that if the ministration of condemnation was glorious, how much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. What we find is that now that our blessed Lord has been received up into glory, it is not a demand for righteousness, but the very opposite, there is a ministration of righteousness; the greatest moral revolution ever known. Now we behold the Lord's glory, His face is unveiled. You are looking at a Person in glory; we have looked at the type, now look at the reality. You are looking at the Lord's glory. I hear people sometimes say, I am looking at the Lord. I say you have left out a word; it is looking at the Lord's glory. Why do I make such a

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point of looking at the Lord's glory? Because the glory is the expression of the divine satisfaction in the One who has accomplished everything according to the glory of God. What is the glory of God? When God said to Moses, I will show you the back parts, He could not show him the glory fully, because it was not fully come out. It was not yet the ministration of righteousness, and love could not come out without righteousness. The glory could not be displayed all round; it was not equipoised. The Lord Jesus Christ, He, as man, glorified God. Glory can be displayed! Hence the apostle says in the next chapter, that which could not have been said before -- mark the expression: "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ". But glory is the expression of the Father's satisfaction according to all His attributes; and that never could have come out till now, and it now rests on the glorified Man. The Holy Spirit has come down from that glorified One. Ezekiel in a vision saw a man in the glory (Ezekiel 1:26), but it is not only a man in the glory, it is that the glory rests upon a Man. As it is in another place, He is crowned with glory and honour. He has glorified God in the very place of judgement upon man; as Man He so glorified God that the glory of the Father claimed Him. It was not only glory saluting Him as in the mount of Transfiguration, but the glory claimed Him. I am looking at the Lord's glory; I am looking at the One who has established everything according to the nature of God; His righteousness, His truth, His love, His majesty, His honour, everything is there consistently. That is the Lord's glory; and I am looking at it.

Next I learn the effect. Beholding the Lord's glory, we are transformed; it is the strongest word used in the language, it is stronger than changed, it is 'metamorphosed'; you are changed morally into another being altogether, "into the same image".

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You become assimilated; "from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord"; or as our hymn has expressed it -

"Yet sure, if in Thy presence,
My soul still constant were;
Mine eye would, more familiar,
Its brighter glories bear".
(Hymn 51)

It is not only that I can reach this bright place, it is not only that I can enter into, but am actually made to correspond with the condition suited to it. The state of holiness is an inseparable condition for entering the holiest, but assimilation to the glory is the condition acquired within (we are not come to position yet, we have only to do with condition), but instead of being a stranger in this place, on the contrary I find that the more I behold the Lord's glory -- mind, it is not a question of place, but of condition -- I am "transformed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord". I hope we know something about it; but if the Psalmist could say, When I went into the Sanctuary I was completely altered as to my judgement of things, how much more should you and I be altered! I am not speaking now of enjoyment; I am insisting on what really belongs to us. If I were a solicitor, and telling a man of a fortune to which he was entitled, he would be arrested. I am now telling you of your title to a much greater thing than an earthly fortune. I am trying to make it clear to you, that glory is your property.

One may not understand how he could be transformed. If you were beholding the Lord's glory, you would understand it. But I will give you an example, Paul prayed three times for the removal of a thorn; and he was a very spiritual man. He was trying to get rid of this thorn but at length he found out that it was better to take pleasure in it. He was a wonderfully changed man; and how did it happen? By

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being in the Lord's presence Paul was brought right round to the Lord's mind. I do not say it was wrong to try and get rid of his thorn, but he was so utterly changed as to it, that he takes pleasure in it; you cannot have greater transformation than that.

I may give you another example. We are told to make known all our requests unto God, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep our hearts and minds. That is the experience of a heavenly man. The effect, an effect that passeth all understanding, of being in the presence of God. I want to press upon you this passage, "Beholding the Lord's glory". It will afford wonderful delight to your heart -- you will see every attribute of God's nature established in that blessed Person; the effect upon me of beholding, will be to be transformed into the same image. Could anything be more exquisite than that? Because it is not merely that I have reached the highest place, but I am actually made to correspond with the highest moral beauty there. Now if you understand that sentence you understand everything. The greatest potentate on the earth might receive me into his presence, and might treat me with the greatest friendship, but he could not transform me, he could not make me correspond with himself. But here is the most wonderful thing, I am changed, transformed into the same image. No wonder Paul said, "To God, I am beside myself". It is not now merely what you get with the Psalmist, that all your preconceived notions are reversed, but that you yourself are changed -- you are being assimilated to the glory.

I turn to a passage that is familiar to us, Luke 15:22, to make this plainer. "The father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet". We are made meet to enter; we have a new nature, Christ's nature, and in His Spirit we come into a new place, and are actually fit for this place. Once

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a prodigal, I am now fit to be in the Father's house; I am not merely fit to be in, but it has an effect on me:

"And with adoring fervour,
In this Thy nature grow".
(Hymn 51)

When you are acting from God's presence it is always God who is before you, and not man. A wonderful mark of a spiritual man in every matter. See the difference between Moses and Joshua in Numbers 11:28, 29. "And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them?" You cannot judge of a thing as it relates to God, unless He is prominently before you. We often speak of going to God; it is quite right, I need not say; but the true power for acting is coming from Him. Our blessed Lord always came from God.

Well next, when in spirit in the holy place, what occupies us? It is a scene of unbounded joy. It is consequent on eating of the fatted calf that the Father's delight is known to the heart. I want to know, Do you believe that you are entitled to this festivity, that it is a part of your property? I am presenting to you your property, I want every one in this room to say, Thank God that is my property, though I have not rightly enjoyed it yet, yet it is my property; and I not only enter, but I come in suitably, according to the beauty of Christ. I am accepted in the Beloved.

The next point is -- I have already alluded to it -- "To God I am beside myself". It is a sure mark that I am in the presence of the Lord, when I am so absorbed by Him that I have lost sight of everything but Himself. Would to God we all knew it better. I will give you an illustration of what I mean. In 1 Kings 10:4, 5, "When the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he

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had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her". That, I believe, illustrates what Paul said, "To God I am beside myself"; as you would say of a man, he is beside himself, he is in an ecstasy. I do not object to ecstasy, I would we knew more of it. Here is an interesting illustration of it, in the queen of Sheba. She was a very great person, had plenty of natural means and the like, and yet she is absorbed with the things belonging to Solomon . See how often she uses the word 'his'; it was all that belonged to him . I believe you get the antitype of this in John 16, "He shall glorify me, for he shall take of mine, and shall show unto you; all things that the Father hath are mine, therefore said I, that he shall take of mine and shall show unto you". Did you ever look for those things? Did you ever lose an hour's rest looking for them? Do you think you will pick them up from books, or by listening to me? Not you. "Exalt her [wisdom], and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour when thou dost embrace her"; that is, when you really seek Christ as for hidden treasure.

Next I turn to 1 Corinthians 2:9, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him". Is that all you know? "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God". I ask you, and I think I am entitled to ask you, Have you really seen these things? In Isaiah's time they were not revealed; now the doors are thrown open. Have you come to Solomon? And I very often say, when I see a saint clinging to the things of this world -- You have not seen Solomon; I do not say that you have not seen the Jonah side of

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Christ, but you have not seen the Solomon side; Jonah is the sufferings and Solomon is the glory; and you are as much entitled to the Solomon side as you are to the Jonah side. It says in Colossians 3:1, "Seek those things which are above". That is your place, and it is not only that you would like to be there, but your Father would like you to come in and have fellowship with Him there.

Well, beloved friends, there is only one thing more. It is not only how I get in, and what I am, and how I am there, and what I enjoy there, but now, what am I to God? Now I turn to Ephesians 3:14 - 21, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith: that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled unto all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the assembly by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen". There you get the completion of the thing. Therefore it is always, by the assembly, the glory of God.

Now we have reached the place. We are in the condition of holiness, and we are in the condition of glory, now we come to position. You never can enjoy the position unless you are in a condition for it. It is not the question of having a right to that position, but you cannot enjoy the position without being in the condition suited to it. You are in holiness, which is inseparable from God -- you have a right to enter the holiest of all; it is not a question of sin at all, it

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is holiness, a very great contrast; holiness before God, and not sin. You are in there too with the One who not only died to effect this entrance for you, but as the burnt-offering, the Man who glorified God in death, so that God Himself delights in that Man, His own blessed Son, who has established everything as Man according to God's nature and attributes; that blessed Person is your Saviour; and instead of shrinking from the glory as you naturally would, you are transformed into the same image. And therefore you are in a condition now to occupy the greatest position. Hence the prayer, "That you may be strengthened with power by his Spirit in the inner man, that the Christ [not Christ only, but the Christ] may dwell in your hearts by faith" -- there you have the whole scope of Christ's interests before you. Well, how small this poor world would be, if you spent a little more of your time there -- "That the Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being settled and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints" -- not one left out, how could you see the extent of it if you were not there? How could Abraham walk through the length and breadth of the land if he was not in the land? -- "may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height".

Now, beloved friends, will not you believe that I am showing you your property, and is it not your heart's delight to know it? "And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled unto all the fulness of God". I feel myself, when I am reading this passage and trying to explain it, how little I know of it, but still I see it, and I want my heart to enter more into it.

Now we worship. "Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, to him be glory in the assembly by Christ Jesus" -- all

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by Christ Jesus. I think it is unspeakable delight to dwell on the fact, that I am in the presence of the Father, to worship Him, "for the Father seeketh such to worship him". I am lost in adoration at the wonderful nature of the grace that has brought me into a scene of such unbounded blessing. And what next? You are fit to come forth, and on this earth to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; and you are never fit otherwise; and I do not believe that you could do it, or even keep a single precept in the Ephesians, unless you come from the presence of God in the sense of the power that worketh in you, not working towards you now, but "the power that works in you". And what then? "To him be glory in the assembly by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end". What a wonderfully blessed thing, that the assembly will be ever the instrument, ever the channel of setting forth the glory of God; and hence when she comes down as a bride adorned for her husband, the very first sight that you get of her is, "Having the glory of God". The Lord give us grace to be more according to His glory here.

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[Page 89]

THE CIRCLE OF TRUTH

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[Page 91]

THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

"Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God", 1 Peter 3:18.

I desire, beloved friends, to bring before you in these lectures, if the Lord permit, what has been brought out by our Lord Jesus Christ. I begin with His death and resurrection. Every believer has some idea of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and when there is some advance in piety they look for His coming again; but there is very little knowledge of what comes in between the two. I desire to bring before you what He has brought out -- THE TRUTH in its parts.

This evening I confine myself to the fact that He was on earth, and what He did here. That He died and rose again is a familiar subject, but the more you ponder it, the more you find that it will bear pondering, and the more wonderful will it become to you.

We have types and illustrations of it. We have all heard of the creation of this earth in Genesis 1, of what took place on the first three days, and the great event of the fourth day, when the sun rose on this earth!

God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. What a change! what a wonderful change it made upon the material earth when the sun rose upon it; but, great as that was, it bears no resemblance to the magnitude of the fact, the amazing fact -- and I want to press this -- that God's Son has been here on this earth.

The sun shone; it was a great fact, and everything on the earth was necessarily affected by it. You can conceive what an immense difference there was between the first three days and the fourth when the sun rose

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in his splendour; but immense as that difference was, it is small indeed and poor in the presence of the great fact that God's Son was here in this world. "The dayspring from on high hath visited us". God was manifested in flesh. One wonders how one can walk about the earth and forget even for a moment this stupendous fact. You can understand the apostle, as he breaks forth to Timothy, "Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh". That is the first thing, and I desire to press it on every heart. It is a very simple thing, but it is a very great thing; everything necessarily comes out in a new order. In the material creation everything in the first day is as nothing to what took place on the fourth day. Now the greatest has come to pass. GOD has been manifested in flesh. God's Son has been here.

I turn to John's gospel (chapter 1: 14): "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us". Well, beloved friends, I hardly like going from the subject, there are such momentous issues flowing from the fact that God's Son was on earth. "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law". You cannot conceive anything greater! He was the Creator. He made everything; all was good in the eye of God. He made man, the head of it all, in the image and likeness of God, the head of the creation and set in authority over the earth -- but that man let everything drop, he gave in to the enemy, and all was wrecked with him. What a thing for the Creator! The Creator was God's Son. Then God's Son, who made all, became a Man. The Creator had made man, placed him head over the earth, and he had failed; and He becomes a Man Himself. The first man yielded to the enemy, then came forth the promise that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, but only His heel should be bruised. I want you to get hold of the fact that man, the first creature of His hand on earth,

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has failed; but that in the fulness of time God sent forth His Son made of a woman. In Scripture language, a passage you all understand, "I have laid help upon one that is mighty". That is now fulfilled. I would arrest you with the grand fact, that God's Son became a Man and dwelt among us. He was the Son of God, equal to the Father, and because the first man has failed He becomes a Man, and John says, "We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth". It is so great, yet so simple, I want the youngest in this room to get the light of it into his soul, that God's Son has become a Man.

The next thing is, He is the true light. In John 1 the first thing I get is, "The true light was that which, coming into the world, lightens every man"; and a little lower down (verse 17) -- I will put them together -- "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". You see I put grace and truth together. I am looking now at what He is . He is Light, and light is what I call the moral being of God. But more than that, He comes to declare God: "The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him". Now He has not only come, but, having come, He does two things. He exposes what is not of God, and discloses what GOD is. Follow that, and see what a pathway it is! Read down the gospel narrative, and you will see how He exposes all -- all that was good in the eyes of man, religious, comely, amiable; and, on the other hand, He could say, "He that hath seen ME hath seen the Father". Does your soul take in the moral grandeur of such a course? Let us see how it works. In the early part of John you find that the first great thing He did was to set forth what God is. He tells us, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"; but I do not go into that now.

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I turn to His pathway here. Look at the Lord in His way with the woman of Samaria; this blessed One talking to a poor sinner! What does He offer her? "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life". When? Hereafter? No; now, here, and for ever. Magnificent! A poor, wretched, abandoned creature she was; but not a word at first about what a sinner she was, but what God is; He first shows what the giving God is, and the new condition He could set her up in, there in Samaria. She only looked at it naturally, thought only that He spoke of spring water. But He is light too: He turns to her conscience, and says, "Go, call thy husband"; and this exposes to her what a sinner she was. A little later she goes to the men of the city and says. "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did". She talks only of the light; this prepares for the love. He "told me all things that ever I did". He does not want to expose, but He must. He is the light. He shows what the giving God is, and He begins with this; all contrary to the light must be removed; the love is the measure of what is conferred.

Now in chapter 8, beloved friends, a guilty sinner (there is no question as to her guilt) is brought into His presence. Up to chapter 8 it is the love side that is before us. Here and in chapter 9 it is more the light. A guilty person is brought before Him, and He says, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her". What happens? The Pharisees who had their reputation to maintain, being convicted by their own consciences, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last. There was no one to point a finger at her. The light has exposed them. I cannot dwell on this part. But I want you to understand that the law, when it finds you out, condemns you; the law exposes to condemn; the Lord

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exposes to relieve. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. He shows not only what man is, but what God is; hence you find to the woman who did not go out He turns and says, "Hath no man condemned thee? ... No man, Lord.... Neither do I condemn thee". Is it that He glosses over sin? No; not at all! But the most wonderful thing comes out, no human tongue can describe it. He comes to expose everything, but He comes to relieve. He exposes down to the very bottom of the heart, but takes away for the believer everything that is exposed. That is what you get in John 1, where His character is portrayed: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world". But if any one does not believe in Him, the wrath of God abides on him -- that does not mean that it comes on him, but that it remains on him, it has never been off; while for the believer all is exposed and all is removed.

I trust, beloved friends, you have some apprehension of the walk of our blessed Lord here, how at the close He could say, "I have glorified thee on the earth". We now come to His death, He is to die! This blessed One came for this. "For this cause came I unto this hour". "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit". Now let us see what He has effected by His death and resurrection. I know it is an elementary subject, but one very dear to us all, and the more we look into it, the more we shall see the amazing consequences that flow from His death and resurrection. We will turn to the Old Testament for types of His death. The first I turn to is Exodus 12:13: "When I see the blood, I will pass over you". The blood shelters from the judgement: that is the first thing that the guilty soul finds out, that he is sheltered from the judgement by the blood of Christ; mind you, we are talking of guilt now; the blood shelters from the Judge, it keeps the Judge out; but

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there is no rest there. Very often this is a very interesting time with souls, because the soul is so in earnest; like the Israelites, in haste to get out of the place where the judgement was. With loins girt and shoes on their feet and staff in hand they ate the passover. There is evident haste, but no rest. To me, in this state they are very like a man in a life-boat: he is rescued, but still in the place where the danger is; he would like to get to shore: safe, but not clear of the power of the enemy, not clear of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. That is really where many a soul is today.

Turn to Exodus 14:26 - 28: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them". The power of the enemy is destroyed. "The Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea ... there remained not so much as one of them". Now that is a very simple statement, but do you understand what that typified? Did any Israelite, even the youngest of that company, doubt? Did not every one of them know that they had crossed the Red Sea? that they had seen the enemy destroyed? that they were not only safe from judgement, but were delivered from the place where the judgement was? There is not a question about it. It puts the believers today to shame. The Israelites were not only sheltered from the Judge, not only had left the place of death, but were clear of the power of the enemy. They knew they had left the place of judgement, and that they had seen the power of the enemy destroyed.

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Let us now turn to the New Testament, and look at the antitype, the reality of this. I know this is familiar ground, but the truth you know best is the truth that will yield you most: I turn to Hebrews 2:14, 15: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage". He took part of the same that He might destroy him that had the power of death (destroy is the same word as abolish), that he might deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. He not merely passed through death, but He bruised the head of the one who brought in death. The judgement of death had come upon man through the devil; therefore, as the scripture says, the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Where the power was, there the power should be annulled; not death in itself, but him that had the power of it. Hence the proof that He who did it was greater than the devil. As a man He mastered Satan -- the devil owned Him the Son of God. No one created on the earth could be delivered from the fear of death before Christ died and rose. Never! Not one -- it could not be. Death was the penalty of sin. We have gained immensely as to this; He has the keys of death and of Hades. The power of the enemy is broken; we have more than shelter, we have peace.

The first man had failed. The Son of God, the Man of God's pleasure, comes into the world, HE has suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. The gain is immense! Not only shelter, but peace; and I do press this very earnestly upon you, because there is a very imperfect idea of peace generally. Forgiveness in itself is not peace: peace is, that the foe is silenced, there is not

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an enemy. "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". Hence the Lord's first salutation to His disciples after He rose is, "Peace unto you". He had silenced every foe that was between God and you. "The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea ... they sank as lead in the mighty waters". I turn to Exodus 15. There you get the mark of a man in peace; the mark of a man who only knows the shelter of the blood is that he wants to get out of Egypt, out of the place where the judgement is. Like the man in the life-boat, he is eager to get to shore. The mark of a man in peace is the song, and he never sings till then, and in the song there are three parts. "I will sing, unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea"; that is the first part: "brought to God", as Peter expresses it. In verse 1 they sing this one simple fact , the complete overwhelming of the enemy. This is what Miriam sings -- I believe it was the chorus. Then in verse 2 you have another thing. I am on new ground; as God has given me peace, I must think of Him: "He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation". That is, I desire that God should be honoured in the place where He has given me peace. This is the second part of the song. Then in verse 17 you have the third: I am going to God's habitation: "Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance". We were not only guilty, but lost, driven out from Paradise; and I do not believe any soul has ever true rest until he knows that he belongs to a new place. God's Son entered into death that He might destroy him that had the power of death. I ask you, do you believe that death is abolished ? I hope that many here will say, Well, I believe that He has abolished death , and I can say with the apostle. "O death, where is thy sting?

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O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ". I press this; it is the lack in souls today; in all that company of Israel there was not one, not even a child, who did not know they had crossed the sea, that the Egyptian was gone, and the power of the enemy was broken; secondly, that God should be exalted; and thirdly, that they were going to God's place. There was not one that did not know it. In type, "brought to God".

Well, beloved friends, so far I have dwelt on Christ's death for us , and every believer has some idea of this; but there are two more types of His death. We have seen that we are brought to God; the song celebrates this. You may say then, Why do we want the other two? We want them in relation to ourselves, and this is where so many are hindered. All believers know something of Christ's death FOR US, but there is more, we must believe that we died with Him. If I only had to do with God's side of it, I need not go farther than the blood of the lamb, and the Red Sea. But there is sin in me, and I need more. This comes out in Romans 6, and in the type is set forth by the brazen serpent and Jordan. Exodus 12 answers to Romans 3, and Exodus 14 to the last part of Romans 4, that is Christ's death for you. But now you get to yourself, and this I must dwell a little upon. I read Romans 6:8: "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him". Now I am sure if you get hold of this truth you gain immensely. Many believers are puzzled to know what is to be done with sin in them. They often ask, What is the meaning of dying with Christ? They will gain immensely when they believe they have died with Christ. Only this week I had a letter from a stranger, asking how he was to be freed from the sin in him. Nothing tries the believer more than finding sin in him, and the more conscientious

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he is, the more he is tried by it. There is no escape but through death. "He that is dead is freed from sin". Death is on you, therefore there is no relief but through death. Death clears us from the whole thing, there is an end of it; not our own death, but Christ's death; though if you were dead yourself you would be free, you would be out of it; but we who believe are dead with Him . And that is not all, there is the greatest gain connected with this, and that is, we have His life. "If we be dead, with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him". You have eternal life in Him, with whom you died. If you do not believe that you are dead with Him, it is plain you are not going on happily in life with Him.

Now I turn back to John 3:13, and you will see how it answers to the brazen serpent. "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven , even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life". Now mark, he does not go to the type of the blood on the lintel, or the Red Sea; they are Christ's death for us , and as your soul enters into that, you know there is no disturbing element; everything that was between God and you is gone; all that could disturb has been removed, and you know also that you have a place with God. You may say, Is not that enough? Yes; enough if there were no sin in you; but there is, and you must learn how you are freed from it, and this the brazen serpent teaches. The brazen serpent came at the end of the wilderness journey, it was on the border of the wilderness (Numbers 21); the well (answering to John 4:14) was geographically outside the wilderness. John introduces us into the new thing -- but he first shows us the brazen serpent, the condemnation of the first man. If I understand this new thing, I am like a bird let loose

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from its cage, in freedom; I have got into liberty. Look at that verse in Romans 6:8. If I have died with Him, of course I shall live with Him if He is alive. It is so simple, a child can understand it; and baptism is the expression of death with Him. "Buried therefore with him by baptism unto death". Therefore "reckon yourselves dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus". Death only can set free from sin; this death cannot be in yourself, but you have found it in Christ.

Now I look at the type. The brazen serpent never did the mischief, none of it; but it was made in the likeness of what did all the mischief. Man was suffering from the bite of the serpent. The poison was in him. It was the devil, the old serpent, who did the mischief. But now what happened? The man that looked at the brazen serpent lived. That is the way John uses it. "Even so must the Son of man be lifted up". The Lord is introducing a new thing, the heavenly thing, but first the old is condemned, that man is gone in judgement. Sin is not forgiven; it is condemned. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh". Sin in the flesh is gone in judgement in Christ's death, and I am alive in His life -- this is a fact. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". Well now, I am coming to a point that I think will help you; I know how a believer often loses the effect of the truth by turning to his experience. He says, Oh, I do not feel dead. Does that make it not true that the believer is dead with Christ ? Are you going to have faith first, or feeling? which is it? An Israelite looked and he lived; he felt he was healed. You ask me, Do you always feel that you are dead? I say, No; because I do not always believe that I am dead with Christ; I cannot feel it unless I

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believe it. It is faith first, and then feeling. It is a fact to faith. I go by the fact. I have died with Him, and the consequence of that is, I am alive with Him. I have no other life. What other could I have? It is so simple, the youngest believer can understand it. But I press in connection with this, that if you are not acting in the faith of this, you will get a bad conscience. You must keep your conscience up to your faith, then you have a good conscience. If you neglect a good conscience, you make shipwreck as to your faith. Suppose I lose my temper; I have failed in faith, I have acted in the flesh; my conscience is exercised, I go to God about it, and I judge myself. I had been sowing to the flesh -- reading the newspaper, indulging in gossip, or the like, and I did not find it out till I had lost my temper, or done something out of the way. Like Samson, he thought to go out as at other times, but wist not that the Lord had departed from him. You ought to find out in a minute that the Lord had left you, or rather that you had left the Lord. If I am not walking continually in faith, I am sure to fail. It is with Christ I am dead, and not in myself. Sometimes I am afraid to do anything, to move, or write a letter, because I am sure to blunder, to do it wrong, when I have lost the Lord's support. Thank God, the Spirit of God never leaves me, but He will not help me when I have been ministering to the flesh. I am like a bird with a wounded wing, I have the power but I cannot use it. I have to go to the Lord and confess that I had gone back to the flesh that was condemned in His death, and had not reckoned myself to be dead indeed unto sin. You must accept the word of God, that to faith you are dead to sin. Our old man is crucified with Christ. I press this, for I feel it is of great importance. You have to believe, and then reckon on God to enable you to walk up to your faith, in order that you may preserve a good conscience.

I turn now to Joshua 3, the Jordan, the last type of

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the death of Christ. The New Testament scripture that answers to this is Colossians 2:20: "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". Now Jordan is very interesting. It is my death. Oh, but, says someone, I have not passed through death, meaning what is called the article of death, physical death. But I do not accept that you have to pass through the article of death, because the Lord is coming, and if He came you would not die. I am dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world. All the cords that bound me are loosed by His death. It is true there is sometimes a physical fear of death beforehand, but when you come near to it, the fear is all gone, except in those cases where discipline is necessary; the flesh that I had failed to judge, is judged. His death has severed me from everything, even in myself, that could keep me out of heaven. Do you believe that Christ's death has freed you from everything before God that could bar you from His presence? If the Lord were to come, you would find it is a fact. Now look at the last part of Joshua 3. There was not a drop of water visible. Commentators say that at the Red Sea Israel went through in single file -- the water a wall to them on the right hand and on the left. They could see the waters of judgement which Christ had to bear. Certainly we do learn the death of Christ there. But in Jordan there was no sight of water. Commentators say they went over abreast. You may ask me, Do you feel it? I do feel exercised about it, that is the very thing that helps me to expound it to you. The Lord does not send angels to expound, but someone who is learning it. I have gone through great exercise about it. I know, by the death of Christ, I am clear of everything that could come between me and God, clear of the rudiments of the world. His death is your Jordan, and by it you are set on new ground altogether. Hence in Colossians 3 it is, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid

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with Christ in God". Have you learnt, beloved friends, what this blessed Man has wrought? That He has not only borne the judgement that was upon you, delivered you from the power of the enemy, but that He has set you free from every single thing that is unsuited to Himself in that glory where He is, and that would bar you from His presence. "Your life is hid with Christ in God". "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free". Everything is taken away that could bind me to this world. Take Ephesians, though that is out of my line this evening, but Ephesians shows me I can go up there. I believe many a soul has tasted being over Jordan who has never accepted it. If in the enjoyment of the life of Christ, tasting of the joys of association with Him where He is, that soul is really over Jordan. By accepting it, I mean owning it as your only true place. If you accept it, you cannot return to the things of this life to be taken up with them. They are weights that would hinder you; as in Hebrews 12, you lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset you, in order that you may run the faster. When I accept what Jordan entails, I sit loose to everything here, I get rid of the hindrance to my onward course. I believe that is the way discipline comes in. Discipline is to free us from things here, that we may go on the faster, as an express train gets rid of luggage trucks in order to proceed quicker; while at the same time we fulfil our duties better than ever.

All discipline comes in to help you, to free you from earthly things, that you may be partakers of His holiness -- what He is. The word for holiness here is only once used, and means its abstract nature. Take Stephen, every stone that battered him only detached him the more from things here, and verified to him the reality of the life outside it. It is said that a man in a balloon as he ascends gradually loses his senses,

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first one and then another, till in the long run he becomes wholly unconscious, and here the illustration fails, because he has not another life. But suppose he had another life, a divine life, the higher he went and the more he lost consciousness of the one, the more he would get into the other -- a wonderful gain. Like the apostle, he was sensible of the divine sphere into which he was introduced, but unconscious of his natural condition: "Whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell". I have a divine life, but to enjoy it in its own sphere I pass through Jordan -- death with Christ. There was no Jordan for Hezekiah; all his links were here. Paul's links were all above, he longs to depart and be with Christ . Perhaps you say you are not up to it. Very likely. And if so, discipline may come in that you may be more detached from things here, and more in the enjoyment of heaven. You must be always on the alert; if you do not walk in the Spirit, you will be carried by the flesh; there is the danger. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit".

Christ's death has done everything for you, has set you free to walk in liberty from the man here; and not only that, but to walk in liberty from the place where you are, detached from and unencumbered by the things here. The Israelites were safe out of Egypt, but the failure was they would not go on to Canaan. From the beginning down to this very day, man has always had reluctance to go to God's place. Take Abraham going to Canaan, there was reluctance; and his family eventually left it. Where Christ is, there is your place. Love always gives the best thing it can. The Father's house is thrown open to you, where everything tells of the perfection of the divine love that sought and found you; and yet how few accept it! They would rather stay on earth. But you are brought to God. Then what are you to do? To walk here in the delightful sense that there is not a shade between

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you and the Father's heart; and take care you do not go back and get your heart connected with anything here. You have a life that belongs to God, that introduces you into the sphere and character of things where God is, therefore do not go back into the world, "He hath given us an understanding" is the consummation of John's first epistle, therefore he adds, "Keep yourselves from idols". An idol is something in this world.

Who is sufficient for these things? Our sufficiency is of God. We must ever fall back upon God. I need not add more. My comfort is in looking to the Lord. My confidence is in Him, and I count on Him to make good to your souls what I have tried to present to you.

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CHRIST GLORIFIED

"Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him", John 13:31, 32.

The last evening we were looking at the first coming of our Lord, His death, and resurrection. This evening I desire to engage your hearts with Christ glorified. Every believer would own that Christ is in glory, but there is more than that for us to know and to enjoy -- it is, that the Son of man is glorified; that is what we have here. There is a Man in the glory. When Judas went out our Lord said, "Now is the Son of man glorified". In John 11, when He raised Lazarus, He said, "That the Son of God might be glorified", that you can very easily understand. But the marvel now is, that the One who was here crucified and slain, has been raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. He is gone up into glory; there is a Man in the glory of God, and that Man, beloved friends, is our Saviour. I am not speaking yet upon the benefits that accrue to us from that fact, but I want you to get hold of the simple fact, that there is a Man in glory. You will see that He is the One who died and rose again. "Now", as is stated here, "is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him". The simple thing for faith is, that the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, is in glory. What flows from that we shall have to consider.

Now, first to show you that the counsel of God is that it should be so, I turn to Exodus 40:34, 35, "Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation,

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because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle". I have read this, in order that you might see that God desired to connect His redeemed people (Israel were then His redeemed people) with His glory. You may say it was only in a cloud, but still there it was -- the glory filled the tabernacle. And I lay stress upon it, because it shows you that God desired to connect His redeemed people with His glory. The glory filled the tabernacle, as it also did the temple afterwards.

I turn to Isaiah 6. Here a new thing comes before us -- that the glory that God had manifested, which He had connected with His people on earth, His intention is to remove it. There is nothing said about the removal, but we get incidentally, that there is a change. Mark the effect upon Isaiah -- not an unconverted man, but a prophet -- it was that he was "undone". We should not wonder at its being terrific to a sinner, but it was terrific to a prophet. There was no man in the glory then.

I turn now to Ezekiel 1. Here I get the vision of the glory about to go away. It does eventually go away in chapter 11. The wickedness and perverseness of Israel have obliged God to take away this distinctive mark of His favour -- the glory is going away. But I turn to verse 26 with especial interest, for you will see that the glory -- that very remarkable token of God's favour and interest in His redeemed people on the earth -- is to be removed because of their wickedness, but before it is removed, the prophet sees, "And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness of the appearance of a man above upon it". Now ponder that passage. In the very brightest spot in the glory about to retire, because of the wickedness of Israel, there comes out a wonderful manifestation. In the very brightest spot

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of the retiring glory, where the spot of amber was, there is a throne, and upon that throne is the figure of a Man. Well, the glory goes away, and it never returned in Old Testament times. Habakkuk is made to feel the sense of it, but it never returned to Israel.

Now, in Luke 2:9, you read, "And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them". The glory is come back -- I do not say to stay -- but to make an announcement. The glory shone round about them, and it is announced, that "Unto you is born this day ... a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord".

Let us pursue the history of this blessed Person -- God's Son come into the world and announced from glory: "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord". In Luke 3:22 you read, "And the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven which said, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased". Now this was after thirty years of private life. But mark this, the heaven is opened and a Voice comes -- there is a Man upon earth that is well pleasing to the Father, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". After He had taken His place with the godly remnant in baptism, there comes this announcement from heaven. Upon this Man, whom the glory announced, the Holy Spirit descends in bodily shape like a dove. A Man, thirty years of age, was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, and enters on public service, and this culminates in Luke 9, where, "as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering, and behold there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

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But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.... And there came a voice out of the clouds, saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him". Now that is a very important moment, because here the glory salutes Him; "The fashion of his countenance was altered". "They saw his glory". Peter makes known "the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ"; he says, "we were eye-witnesses of his majesty, for he received from God the Father honour and glory". That is what He was as a Man here upon earth; He had done everything to the Father's pleasure; He was fit for the glory of God as a Man. He now descends to die. In fact, here comes out the fulfilment of that type of the slave, "I love my wife, I love my children, I will not go out free". You see this by turning to John 12:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit", or many grains. Now note this. May the Lord fix your eye on it. This blessed One came into the world announced by the glory; He pursued His course here till that very glory saluted Him as belonging to it. But He will not abide alone. You have to remember that this blessed One was here, perfectly according to the mind of God; He magnified the law of God and made it honourable; He did His will; He did not confine Himself to the limits of the law, but He embraced the whole range of God's heart, and He did His will. He showed that when He loved His neighbour, He did not merely relieve him; but He set him on His own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him for ever; all the journey until He returns. He was the one unfailing expression of divine beauty on the earth.

In John 13:31, Judas has gone out, and the Lord says, "Now is the Son of man glorified". It was not

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only that He had glorified God upon the earth, but now He will go down into death; and as death was the judgement upon man for having dishonoured God, it was the most distant spot from God; therefore you can understand our blessed Lord saying on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He was at the most distant spot from God, but it was in that spot He glorified God. The burnt-offering typified this. He goes down to the lowest point, which is death, the judgement upon man, and there He maintains what was due to God. It is not merely that He is the Substitute for our sins. That is perfectly true, but you must see more, or you will not understand His words, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life", John 10. It is impossible to get a good illustration of His act. Suppose a banker had been greatly aggrieved and compromised by a friend of mine, I might say, I will pay all he owes, I will clear him perfectly, but I have another thing, a much greater thing, to do. I have to make reparation to the banker for the outrage and dishonour which he has sustained from my friend. Hence, the Lord here in this passage is not dwelling on the benefit His death will be to the sinner, but He has another and a higher thing before Him. He says, I will glorify God while bearing the penalty on man for dishonouring Him. I will maintain all that is due to Him there. In the most distant spot I will glorify Him. "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him". I am going down to the lowest spot, and there I will maintain the glory of God. He swerves from nothing; He bears everything that is due to God's glory. As someone has expressed it, A Man has made God a debtor to Him for glory. Hence you read in Romans 6, "Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father".

Now I have established what I said at the commencement. You have a Saviour, who has not only shed His

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blood for our sins, but who has unswervingly maintained all that was due to God, when under the penalty on man for dishonouring Him. He glorified God then, and now He has gone up into glory -- the trophy of glory. A Man had maintained all that was due to the glory of God. He could say to God, "All thy waves and thy billows have gone over me". He could say to His enemies, "This is your hour and the power of darkness". All was let loose upon Him. He had gone down to the sinner's distance. Are you surprised that He should be raised to the highest place in glory? From the lowest distance to the highest acceptance, the believer finds himself now. The sinner is either at the lowest, or, on believing, at the highest with God: in one or the other he must be. One is the deepest, darkest, infinite distance from God; the other, the highest exaltation it is possible for man to be in. You may say, you are not there; but there is no intermediate place with God. One or other it must be.

Turn now to Acts 7:55, "He being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus". Here I would try to explain what the glory is. It is not a place. I believe the glory is the manifestation of God according to His attributes; there is nothing left out. I gather this idea from Exodus 33:18, where Moses says, "Shew me thy glory", and God answers, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live. And the Lord said, There is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock; and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take

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away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts, but my face shall not be seen"; that is, all that had transpired of God. My impression from that passage is, that the glory could not be seen yet; but now, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ. To Moses, He says, My face cannot be seen -- the full expression of it -- but I can show you the back parts -- what has transpired. Therefore I conclude that the glory is the manifestation of God according to His attributes, the expression of the divine satisfaction according to His nature; there is nothing left out. That is brought out now; it was only brought out by the Lord Jesus Christ. I trust that it will be helpful to give this explanation of the glory.

Now I turn back to Acts 7, and there I see the Holy Spirit upon the earth in a saint. The Holy Spirit came from a glorified Christ, "The Holy Spirit was not yet; because that Jesus was not yet: glorified"; that is one of the consequences. If Christ has the highest place in heaven, He has the greatest power on earth. "Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus". He saw a Man in the glory. He saw the fulfilment of Ezekiel 1:26. He turns round and says to the Jews, "I see the Son of man standing on the right hand of God". They were just as wicked in that day as in Ezekiel's day, a day older and a day worse, and they stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord. But that is not all; that was the opening out of a new era, because the heaven was opened, the first time heaven was opened to a man, and that to show him a Saviour in glory, and, thank God, it has been open ever since. We are looking now at what has been wrought by a Saviour in glory; but this is not all. Turn to chapter 9, and we find that the Saviour in glory has come down and made Himself known to a sinner on earth. To my own personal

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knowledge, I know some who, while they believe that a saint on earth can look up by the Holy Spirit and see a Saviour in glory, do not see that things are so altered because Christ is glorified, that a Saviour in glory can reveal Himself to a sinner in the greatest possible distance from God. The light is now "The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ". Hence Paul says, "A light from heaven above the brightness of the sun shone round about me". He saw the light, and heard His voice; but he was three days learning the work which set him free in the presence of God.

I would dwell on the wonderful change that has taken place. It is not merely the difference between Stephen and Isaiah. Isaiah could not look up into heaven. Stephen can say, I have a Saviour there; the new line is open, and every believer now travels that line; and that is not all, but that a Saviour in glory can be revealed in a light above the brightness of the sun to a sinner, and the chief of sinners. I repeat, that many, who believe in the grace shown to Stephen, do not apprehend the gospel in that largeness in which it is presented in Acts 9.

Now I turn to 2 Corinthians 3: 7: "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away, how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory". Now what is the argument here? It is very simple. There was a demand for righteousness from the glory of God, so that Moses himself said, "I exceedingly fear and quake". Again, when Israel saw the glory upon Moses' face they were afraid, because they were afraid of its demand, so much so that Moses had to put a veil upon his face. Now this is the argument of the apostle: -- If the

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demand for righteousness was from glory, and it was the ministry of condemnation, how much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory? The meaning of that is, that the ministration of righteousness now comes from the glory. Instead of a demand for righteousness, there is a ministration of righteousness from the glory; and I need not tell you, that if it comes from the glory it is divine righteousness, God's righteousness. And the argument of the apostle is that now, righteousness from the glory is ministered. It is not a demand; that was a ministration of condemnation. This is a ministration of righteousness, the ministration of the Spirit. Hence what we find now is, that it is not only that you have a Saviour in glory, but that you are brought in divine suitability to that glory. If you look for the doctrine of it, it is explained very clearly in Romans 5:18: "Therefore as by one offence, judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by one righteousness the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life".

I am dwelling a little on this point, because some hold to what is called 'imputed righteousness'. Well, I have no righteousness but Christ's righteousness, the righteousness of the glorified Man. I have His righteousness because I have His life. Hence you get in Romans 5:18 "justification of life". I have His life; and I enter into all that He is. In the end of the fourth chapter of Romans, I am cleared from all my sins: "He was delivered for our offences and was raised for our justification". But we are beyond, because we have the life of the One who cleared us. Therefore it is "justification of life." In the end of the fifth chapter of Romans, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound". The excess is, that grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord; Romans 5:21. I am brought in divine righteousness to the glory. It is

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the righteousness that is ministered from the glory. In that sense, it answers to the best robe brought out from the Father's house for the prodigal. It was brought out of the house and put on him, that he might enter in, completely suitable to the Father's pleasure.

Here is the Son of man gone up into glory; and consequently, not a demand for righteousness, but a ministration of righteousness -- the greatest moral revolution. The glory rests on a Man. God always had love, but He could not show it, because, righteousness was not revealed. Jesus so satisfies the holiness of God, that the moment He died, the veil was rent from the top to the bottom; it is not merely that we may draw nigh, but God can come out consistently with His nature, and take a poor prodigal into His arms. And the prodigal is not only reconciled, but brought in divine righteousness -- divine suitability -- into the Father's house.

There are three things that result from a glorified Christ. One is that the Holy Spirit has come down from the glorified Man. Man in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ must be set in the highest place, before the greatest power can be sent down to man on earth. When He was exalted to the highest place with God, God then sent down the Holy Spirit, to His own, to maintain for Him in the very place where He was rejected. And necessarily so. If the world rejects Him, God exalts Him, and when God exalted Him, the Holy Spirit came down to His own, in the very place where He was rejected. Christendom has lost sight of this altogether. If you do not believe in the exaltation of Christ, you do not believe in the manifestation of the power of the Spirit in the place of His rejection.

The second is, there is divine righteousness ministered from the glory. It is not clearance only; that, thank God, we have, but there is a ministration of righteousness from the glory. It is not like Isaiah

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trembling before it, and it is not like even Moses who could not see it, but what we have is this -- a righteousness which suits the glory.

Then there is the third, which is 2 Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord". Now the right reading of the passage is, "Beholding the glory of the Lord with unveiled face". Moses had a veil on his face; but there is no veil on Christ's face, as you read in the next chapter, "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ". I believe every ray of divine glory rests in that blessed One. His work is the ground for its manifestation, not that it was not there before; but until He, the Son of man, died and was glorified, it could not be manifested to us. God's love is now declared; He always was love; but now His love can come out, because His righteousness is established; there is nothing wanting to complete the circle of His attributes -- everything divinely balanced. I think when we come to practice we shall understand it better. A person is sometimes too loving, sometimes too righteous. It may be a very good thing that you have, but you are too one-sided; you could not be one-sided in the glory; there all is even, every virtue equipoised. The glory of God rests upon the Man who has done all His pleasure, and, thank God, that Man is our Saviour. Are you beholding the Lord's glory?

Now the third consequence of beholding the Lord's glory -- not beholding the Lord, as people sometimes say, nor beholding the glory; that will not do; because I think there is an immense importance connected with the simple fact, that I am looking at Him as the bearer of God's satisfaction, according to all His attributes; and the effect upon me is that I am brought into moral correspondence with it; nothing

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less could suit the Father's pleasure. Therefore the true state of a believer now is, 1 John 4:17, "Herein is love with us made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world". This is his present state. God could have no lower standard than Christ, and nothing can satisfy His love except His own standard. And if His love is perfected with you -- if God's love has shone into you, it has had this peculiar effect on you, it assures you that as Jesus is accepted up there at God's right hand, so are you sitting in this room. You may say, It is marvellous. So it is; but it makes us narrow-minded if we look at the gospel only as it relates to ourselves: you must bear in mind God's interest in the gospel. Hence it is, when His love according to its true character (that is the force of the word) shines into you, it tells you this -- that nothing less could satisfy that love than that you should be in the same acceptance before Him, as Christ is at His own right hand. It is not the question of how you feel, it is the question of what that love is -- and this explains the marvellousness of the grace.

Let us examine more in detail the effect consequent on Christ being glorified. Turn to 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them". "The glorious gospel" is not a correct reading, but "the gospel of the glory of Christ". It is that now the light comes down from the top, from the finish of the work, to the bottom where the sinner is. Doubtless to make the sinner sensible, That is light; but not to condemn him, or to demand of him -- not at all; but to conduct him to the top, to the finish. I ask you earnestly, Has your heart travelled that road? The light comes down to the bottom where the sinner is,

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to lead him to the top. It is like a man in a dark forest, he is on the verge of a precipice, and a light shines on his path. Satan tries to blind him. You get the intensity of malice here, as you do at the cross, in the presence of the consummation of goodness. Satan would blind him that he may tumble down the precipice; God's light shines to save him, and to direct him to the spot from whence it came. The light has come to invite us to the glory where our Saviour is. It used to repel, now it invites. This is the greatest moral revolution. Not merely are our sins forgiven, but we belong to the glory.

I will now give you two scriptures to illustrate the way we are transformed into the same image. The more you are exercised, the more you will understand it. I turn to 2 Corinthians 12, and I find that Paul has come down from the highest place where he had been most wonderfully received. Nothing adds more to the character of the gospel than the great intimacy in which "a man in Christ" is received in paradise. This man returns to earth, and a messenger of Satan buffets him. He turns to the Lord (and rightly) to remove it; he did not want it to be removed for any worldly purpose, but that he might use his abilities for the Lord. He goes to the Lord once -- no change; he goes twice -- no change; he goes three times, and the third time a most wonderful change comes over him, he is brought round to the mind of the Lord, he is transformed into moral correspondence with His mind. Now instead of being dissatisfied with the thorn, he says, "I take pleasure in infirmities". What a change has taken place! how wonderful! he is brought into moral keeping with God's own mind. He is not merely resigned, but he can say, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me".

Well, that is one example. You get the same in a lesser way in Psalm 73. The psalmist goes into the

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sanctuary, and he is led into God's judgement . In Paul's case the man is transformed.

I will give you one example more, in Philippians 4:6. We all know something of this, and the more conscientious we are, the more we know it. I suppose there is hardly a day that we are not sensible of a pressure which we cannot remove. What can I do? I go to the Lord about it; perhaps He will remove it, but if He does not remove it, He will transform me. I do not say I know much about it, but I believe it thoroughly. I believe that very often this verse is quoted when it is not realised; and some think they have the peace of God when they have not, because there is nothing can surpass the peace of God; it "passeth ALL understanding". "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God". Mark the word; we use two words in the English to convey the meaning of the original, because it is not simply knowing it, but I know that He knows. For this you must be near Him: you have had an audience, and you have told the Sovereign fully your need. I know the Sovereign knows it. It is not that I know God knows it by His omniscience, but I know I told Him. Well, we have the wonderful privilege of drawing near to God and "making known" our requests; and He transforms us into moral correspondence with Himself. Though we may not receive the desired answer to our requests, we receive a far greater thing, even "the peace of God which passeth all understanding". It is not merely uncomplaining acquiescence with the will of God. It is divine tranquillity. I cannot conceive a more wonderful transformation. I meet a man in the morning, much distressed because of some great trial; and later on I meet him and say, Are things all right with you now? Has the mercy of God been shown you? No; things are just the same, but a wonderful

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change has come over me; I have been to God about my trial, and I am now in unspeakable tranquillity, "the peace of God"; it passeth all understanding . "It is he that sitteth on the circle of the earth", and ruleth over all -- and I am in moral correspondence with Him. I suppose every exercised person amongst us knows the attractiveness of anything philanthropic, benevolent. That is what often ensnares a Christian. I look at man, man's interest, and I think of some benefit. That must be all right; but I go to the Lord about it, and I do not find that He takes much notice of it, and I go perhaps four or five times, and I learn that He does not approve of it; I give it up. A conscientious man must have either God or man before him. You say, But I have to deal with man. Yes; but you have to deal with man from God, otherwise it is not faith, it degenerates into mere benevolence. There is nothing so attractive naturally. What you have to do in a world where God has been dishonoured is to maintain strictly and implicitly for God only; and you may be sure that the more distinctly you are for God, the better you will be for man. The more I behold the Lord's glory the better I test every desire of my heart, and thus assure my heart before Him.

The Lord grant that each of our hearts may have a deep increasing enjoyment of the simple fact, that we have a Saviour in glory.

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THE HOLY SPIRIT ON EARTH

"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you", John 14:16, 17.

Our subject this evening, beloved friends, is the Holy Spirit's descent to this earth. Not merely His coming to the earth (every believer owns that), but the first point I press is, that the Holy Spirit is residing here. I use the word 'residing' because it is here that the defect in our faith lies. The Holy Spirit is in residence here; and if this fact were known and held in faith, it would have an amazing effect upon us. The Holy Spirit is invisible to the world; He is not sent to the world, and He is not visible to you practically if you are worldly.

The first great fact, then, for you to lay hold of is -- this blessed Person has come to reside here, in the very scene where Christ was rejected. Christ has been rejected on the earth, refused and cast out, and God has exalted Him to the very highest place in heaven. As a Man He is in exaltation in heaven, at the right hand of God. What higher place could He have? But then, what about the place where He is rejected? If we look at Christendom, we see the defect broadly, and it is our common shame. In Christendom there is but little sense of the exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently but little sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth. As to ourselves, we do not walk about sufficiently with the sense of the exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am sure, if we were in faith as to His exaltation in heaven, if our hearts were better acquainted with Him in that exaltation at God's right hand, we should at once apprehend that there must be One here, commensurate with Himself , to maintain

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for Him here where He is cast out. Is He to be refused a place here, and this to be passed over? Impossible! Nor has the blessed God passed it over. The Holy Spirit was always acting here, He always worked here; but He was not always resident here. His residence here is consequent on the rejection of Christ and His exaltation in heaven. It is as if the Master of a house were turned out by the inmates of His house, and a power commensurate with the power of the Master, an invisible power, has come from the Master to maintain His own in the very house where those avowedly His own refused Him. This invisible power makes Himself known to faith, but He is invisible to those who reject the Master.

You see in what a terrible way the church has departed from this. Look at theology, look at Romanism! What has it done? Set up a man in the place and offices of the Holy Spirit, and calls him the vicar of Christ on earth! Romanism never gave up the unity of the church, that she maintains to this day; what she gave up was the fact of the Holy Spirit present on earth as the alone power to maintain for the Head in heaven, and she has appropriated man's power instead. She maintains a visible order, but it is the empty imitation of a grand reality. She says, One church, one head, one language; so that the most ignorant repeats the prayers in Latin.

I trust even the youngest believer in this room apprehends this, and is able to say, I believe in the exaltation of my Saviour to the right hand of God, and that the Holy Spirit, a power commensurate with the Saviour, has come down from Him there to maintain a testimony here, to act for Him in the very place of His rejection. "Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you". Now I quote one passage more to corroborate what I have stated. I turn to Acts 2:33,

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"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear".

We very often find that even intelligent people pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; indeed, I heard of a case tonight. But, dear friends, the Holy Spirit is here ! His presence is a consequence of Christ's exaltation to heaven. If Christ is rejected on earth, and nothing can be plainer than that He is rejected, is He to be overlooked as to the earth? Is it enough to say that He is exalted in another place? No! Such a thing could not be. Being by the right hand of God exalted, He has received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit. In this passage He has not received Him for Himself but for us. He was anointed Himself on earth with the Holy Spirit and with power; but the presence of the Holy Spirit for us is consequent on Christ at the right hand of the Father. See John 7:39: "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive . for the Holy Spirit was not yet; because that Jesus was not yet glorified". It does not say because Jesus was not yet crucified . No -- not yet glorified . This is the important point, that the Holy Spirit comes from the One who is in the glory of God. I trust I have made this plain. The first thing then is, that we believe in the residence of the Holy Spirit here, and this in a twofold way, "with you" and "in you", as it is expressed in John 14:17. I cannot dwell much upon it, but I give you the texts. "He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit". "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:17, 19). Here it is the individual temple. I trust you will be like the Bereans, search and see whether these things are so. Next I turn you to 2 Corinthians 6:16, "And what agreement hath the temple of God

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with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people". This is the collective temple. "Ye are the temple of the living God". "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Now this is all I mean to say to you upon the first part of our subject, but I trust you will dwell upon it, and I am sure that if you do, it will have an immense effect upon you.

The second point I would bring before you is the mission of the Holy Spirit. I turn to John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you". Here He is sent by the Father. In that sense it is a mission. I will show you presently how He is sent by Christ: thus He has a twofold mission. In chapter 14, the Father sends Him for the comfort and blessing of the individual believer, in the absence of Christ. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send". Now think of that; and especially to any lonely one here I would say, Think what an amazing fact this is for you. The Holy Spirit sent by the Father to dwell in your body, as His temple! I can imagine such an one saying, To dwell in my body, besides in the collective temple? Yes; the Father has an interest in His child, and He says, as it were, I will show you the depth of My interest, and He sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in you. It is not only that the Son has prepared a place for you in the Father's house, and you have a bright prospect of that place, but the wonder of all wonders is, that the power of the new place is sent down to you here in the old place. Faith knows it and enjoys it. You may say, I don't feel it. I don't ask you to feel it; I ask you to believe it, and when you believe it, you will enjoy it. It is a

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wonderful thing. I have a new place, but I am not there yet, but while I am not there I have the power of the new place dwelling in me here in the old place. But that is not all, "Whom the Father will send in my name". That is the wonderful characteristic -- in My name. He brings to my heart the absent loved one. He comes to me in the name of my Saviour to teach all things, and to bring back to remembrance whatsoever He has said. Could anything be more exquisite, more perfect? It is divine. And this is for the individual; with such a Guest, the heart desolated by the absence of the Lord can feel lonely no more. But you may say that was to the apostles. Yes, but we get it through them; everything comes to us from the apostles; we derive from them. In natural things you derive from your father. Well, this is one part of the mission of the Holy Spirit.

Now I turn to John 14:26, and I bring this scripture before you to show you that the Holy Spirit has another mission -- the same Person, but with two different missions. Just as a man may be both a husband and a father: the same man, but in two different relationships and with different duties. Now I read this verse, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me". "Whom I will send unto you". Now here it is Christ who sends, but He adds, "which proceedeth from the Father". It is in connection with the Father, and this connection is most important. He is the Spirit of truth, and He shall testify of Me . No other power could. He is the alone power to testify of Christ. And nothing exposes the lack of faith in the church more than the attempt to use any other power than the power of the Holy Spirit. What other power could testify of the glorified Christ? Has the church sunk so low that she has no sense of the greatness of the Head in heaven, and thinks she can

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utilise any earthly power to maintain for Him? The power He has sent maintains His testimony, and would not be allied to any worldly power. I feel it deeply before God that any Christian should use a worldly thing in Christ's service, as if the Spirit of God were not enough. Does the Spirit of God need a placard, or human means of any sort? The saints He uses; that is a different matter; they are His vessels for testimony. Look at the world. God gave the sword of government to Nebuchadnezzar, and when this power lapsed to the Romans, they used it to put to death the Son of God! He gave the law to Israel, and Israel used the law against His own Son! "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die". "Now they have no cloak for their sin"; "Now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father". Jew and Gentile united to put Christ to death. Do you mean to say that God can use anything of that power in testimony for Christ? A good man, a man of position, might say to me, I'll use my influence to help you in the gospel. No; I do not want your influence, I refuse it. I want no influence but the influence of the Spirit of God. I rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit. "He shall testify of me". You are the vessel of the Holy Spirit; therefore stand out in testimony; but the Holy Spirit is the alone power, "HE shall testify of ME". Every word is important. Here the Lord does not even say 'ye'. The Holy Spirit alone can stand for Christ where He is not. The Holy Spirit, who came down at Pentecost, is here in the same mission and for the same purpose today, and as fresh and as powerful as in the days of the apostles. True, He does not demonstrate Himself in the same grand way as then, but He is the same that ever He was.

We have looked at the descent of the Holy Spirit, and at His twofold mission. The next point, the third, that I desire to bring before you is the spheres of His

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activity. There are three spheres in which He acts: the house, the body, and the individual. He never acts in the world, as far as I can see. He is not given to the world. The world has the word of God; it has accepted the word of God, as in Matthew 13, what is there called the kingdom of heaven, but it has not the Spirit of God. Worldly men can talk of the Scriptures, boast of having the Bible, but never of the Spirit of God. They know Him not. In this country the government and the laws were based upon the word of God, but during the last sixty years it is being gradually given up; though parallel with the surrender of the word in the kingdom of heaven, God has been reviving the truth in the assembly -- not for a fraction of it, but for the whole assembly.

I turn now to Acts 2:2, 3, "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them". This is the fulfilment of the day of Pentecost. Every Christian believes the Passover is fulfilled, but every believer does not believe that the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) is fulfilled. The Feast of Tabernacles has not come yet, it will not be fulfilled until the millennium, but we have a greater thing now. I read this passage in Acts 2 to show that one sphere of the Holy Spirit's action is in the house of God -- "filled all the house where they were sitting". I call your attention to the words, "Where they were sitting". We cannot be too sensible of the magnitude of the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in the house. How little reverence we have for the presence of the Holy Spirit! We are rebuked by the respect pious men have for the mere walls of a building; it is a warning to us. I feel deeply the lack of reverence so often manifested amongst us for the Holy Spirit's dwelling in the house. That is one sphere.

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I refer now to 1 Corinthians 12:13, where we have the Holy Spirit in another activity. "For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit". In Ephesians 2:22 we have "an habitation of God by the Spirit". The Spirit does not dwell in the body; He forms the body, and He dwells in the house. "By one Spirit are we all baptised into one body". Thus you see the distinction between the house and the body. The habitation of God, that is the house; and we are baptised into one body by one Spirit. Another operation of the Holy Spirit we get here. He is the source of gifts. "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit", 1 Corinthians 12:4. "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" (verses 8 - 11). The body, then, is also a sphere of the activity of the Holy Spirit.

And now I turn to the individual, to the services which the Holy Spirit renders to each individually, and I think these will occupy our full time the rest of the evening. The more we dwell on His services to each one of us, the more wonderful they seem. I am not speaking now of conversion; not of a work or action of the Holy Spirit upon a person, but what He is to oneself . The first service is as to life and relationship. I put these together because "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death"; and, "because ye are sons God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your

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hearts, crying, Abba, Father". There you have the two. Hence, as soon as the Lord rose from the dead, after having said, "Peace be unto you", He breathed into them, and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit". Now mark the expression. It is of immense importance, beloved friends, to understand that the communication of life is in the power of the Holy Spirit, and its greatness and virtue could not be known but by Him. You could not have the sense of eternal life but by the Spirit of God; and it could not be communicated, and never was communicated to any one till Christ rose from the dead. I ask you, Is it possible that eternal life, life in the Son of God, could be communicated to man while under the judgement of God? No, beloved friends, it would be incongruous to suppose that those who "all their lifetime were subject to bondage" could enjoy eternal life. Impossible. It could not come, and it did not come till the judgement of God on man had been borne by a Man; and that Man risen from among the dead, "THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD", breathed into His disciples saying, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit". As another has said, He gave up the life to which sin attached, brought the first man to a JUDICIAL TERMINATION in His own death. "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, CONDEMNED sin in the flesh". The mighty Victor, risen from among the dead, stood in the midst of His disciples, and said unto them, "Peace be unto you". The foe is silenced; every disturbing element gone. What a moment! In the devil's stronghold He has bruised the serpent's head, and now life and incorruptibility are brought to light. He entered into death that He might destroy him that had the power of death. Death must be annulled before life and incorruptibility could be brought to light. However highly favoured Moses and Elijah were, they could not have what the blessed

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Lord communicated to His disciples when He rose from the dead. In the eye of God there are only two men -- the one, the lost man, and the other, the glorified Man at His right hand. To which do you belong? There is no middle place. You belong to one or to the other -- to the lost man, irretrievably lost, or to the glorified Man in the most wonderful exaltation. It is by the Spirit of God you receive of His life; the Spirit of God is the only power of life. "Peace be unto you .. . and he breathed on them". This is brought out doctrinally in Romans 8. "The law of the Spirit [or breath, it is the same word] of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent his own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, has condemned sin in the flesh". Sin is never forgiven, sins are forgiven. "Condemned sin in the flesh", that is what He has done; and by the Spirit of God we enter into eternal life. We live in the Spirit. Every converted soul, when assured of forgiveness, is sealed by the Holy Spirit; just as a bird is born to fly, but until it flies it has not the sense of power. And you are not on true Christian ground until you are sealed by the Spirit. Hence we read, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his". There may be a work of grace in your soul, that I do not deny; but you are not on true Christian ground unless you have the sense of liberty. Christian ground is that I have His Spirit. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death". "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me". That is only known by the Spirit of God; how else could it be known? In connection with life, I turn to Romans 8:14, where by the Spirit we get the knowledge of relationship. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God". I give you another

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text, Galatians 4:6, "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father". Now let me press upon you to be exercised as to the understanding of this. You say, "Father"; I dare say you do, I do not ask you if you say Father, but I do ask, Can you say, I am a son? You will see what an immense difference it will make to you when you know you are a son; when in the Spirit of His Son you say, Abba, Father. Think of it, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. Ah, you say, That is too great. Too great for unbelief, but I cannot come down to unbelief; I cannot lessen the scripture, and that is what the scripture says: "The Spirit of his Son", "whereby [or by whom] we cry, Abba, Father". It is the Son, however feeble and infantile it may be; it is not to the same fulness but it is of the same character, the same order of intelligence and relationship, in the same Spirit. I know and am sure that many a one says, "Father", who has not got the solid, blessed consciousness in his soul, I am a son. If led by the Spirit of God, I am a son of God, and if a son I cannot say anything but "Abba". God has given me the Spirit of His Son . The lack of knowing this has led to much feebleness, and even doubt.

Many pious people know nothing of this; they say they feel their sins are forgiven. I cannot stand on my feelings, but on the word of God. The word is my authority. I rest upon what God says, a sure basis for faith. If I rested upon feelings, I should get depressed. I rest on the word of God, and not on a feeling. The word says, I am a son, and I believe it. This is the first service of the Spirit in the individual, namely, life and relationship.

Now I come to the second. Turn to Galatians 5:17: "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that

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ye would". Remember, I am speaking of the services of the Spirit of God to each one of us. I am sure every exercised soul will acknowledge, It was a wonderful day when I first learned I had a power in me greater than the flesh. "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world". This is power inward, presently I shall have to speak of power outward; but if you do not know the power inward, I am sure you cannot know the power outward. Do you believe you have a power in you greater than the flesh? It is a most consolatory word. What a friend the Spirit of God is to me! Do you go about day by day and hour by hour in the sense of this? People say, sometimes, I must show grace. Show grace! You ought to be ashamed not to show grace. You speak of it as if you thought you were going to do something very good. If you do not show grace, you are not answering to the Spirit of Christ in you, you are not acting according to Christ. We are left here to show forth the power and the grace of Christ, in the circumstances and in the old order in which formerly we exhibited our contrariety to God. Christ was in every detail of daily life the perfection of grace; and now it is, Christ dwelleth in me. "He that saith, he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk even as he walked". You ought to walk in the Spirit; you have no right to walk in the flesh; you have a power in you greater than the flesh. Thank God, I say, that is most consolatory. You say then, Why do I walk in the flesh? Because you do not walk in the Spirit; you do not use your power. You have been sowing to the flesh, talking politics perhaps, or some foolishness, and then you act in the flesh you do something that shows you where you are; you have been tampering with the flesh, and you have grieved the Spirit, and He will not help you. It is not that the Spirit of God has left you, but He will not help you. You possess this great power, but what is the good of possession if you do not enjoy it?

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It is like a man starving with a lot of gold under his pillow. Appropriate what you have, use what you possess, and you will know the good of it. Therefore the apostle says, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit". That is liberty -- freedom from everything to live Christ .

You say, Then I must be very circumspect. Yes; you must be very circumspect . You ought to be able in a moment to say, That is not right, that is not of the Spirit, and judge yourself. Well, beloved friends, I cannot speak on all the passages, I give you the heads only; but I trust I may lead you to study these services of the Spirit better for yourselves. I have given you the second service, I turn now to the third.

Romans 8:26: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered". Now, beloved friends, a very plain question, How much do you value this word? Well, to me it is most wonderful, beautiful, encouraging! To think that the Spirit of God is in me, and so interested in me that He actually presents to God the very things He desires peculiarly for me. He makes intercession with groanings. (The groaning is to show the depth of His interest, and, remember, the Spirit's groan is not uttered.) "The Spirit maketh intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered ". Every exercised soul longs to enter into the Spirit's desire. This is the Spirit in the individual going through the wilderness. It is not assembly-prayer here. In the assembly you pray in the Holy Spirit; you know what to ask for; you are in the fellowship of the Spirit as to the interests of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here it is individual as to our own needs, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us". It is most touching, the depth of His interest, and most consolatory. What could encourage

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me more than to know that the Spirit of God makes intercession to God for me? I think this explains how we advance in divine things. The Spirit of God is acting for you, and God, "who searches the heart, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to God". God searches my heart, not looking for the bad but the good, for what the Spirit desires for me. Thus He helps my infirmities, helps me in the very circumstances in which I am. What could be more consolatory? The more I am in the Spirit the more I am entering into His desire for me.

There are other passages, but I cannot dwell on them. I look at Romans 15:13, just to carry you on in this line, but I trust you will find more passages for yourself. Here (Romans 15:13) you are rather rising out of the wilderness than actually in it. "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit". Philippians 4:6, I think, goes beyond this; there it is rather power from above making me superior to things here -- it is the experience of a heavenly man. In Romans, the Spirit helps me with regard to things here. The Spirit of God so identifies Himself with me that I have a Helper in all these things; He interests Himself in all my concerns, He HELPS me. This is the power downward, and I trust presently to speak of the power upward.

There is one passage I would like to turn to in connection with this, another branch of it, but a service of the Holy Spirit. John 7:38: "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". Mark you, not 'a river' merely, but "rivers", and out of the inward parts . That is, it is your own first; out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water, fertilising, refreshing all around -- but yourself first. This is a very blessed service of the Holy Spirit. I think to myself sometimes,

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one ought to be most thankful. God could not do more for us than He has done; He has given us the greatest gift He could give -- His Spirit! I say, if we better understood that the Holy Spirit has come down and dwells in each of us -- your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit -- there would be a far greater expression of divine satisfaction about us, in all our ways and habits, in everything. A heart of thankfulness would characterise us as to everything. We should move on with cheerful step through all the vicissitudes here.

I turn now to Galatians 5:22, 23: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance". The Spirit of God adorns me; He beautifies me with His own fruit. First the internal, then the external. The first three are inward, to yourself -- love, joy, peace; then what you are to others. Beautiful! Someone has said, Did you ever hear of a tree that bore such a variety of fruit? There never was such a tree. No tree was ever known to yield two kinds of fruit: a tree bears but one. But here they are all found together, one Source producing these varied virtues; and there is no 'and' between them, they are all one cluster. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace", etc. First inside, that must be; then outside, that is the way He adorns us.

Now let us look at another service of great interest -- the power upwards. Ephesians 1:19, 20: "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised, him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places". One very blessed service of the Spirit of God is, that He always leads me to act in correspondence to Christ in everything I do. Here we have to do with the power which wrought in Christ. But you will say, Have you not already shown us that we have a greater power in us than the flesh? Yes;

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but that was to correct the man down here; to lead me on to master the flesh in me. We have also seen how the Spirit of God identifies Himself with me, helping me in my circumstances; and that is not all, but He adorns me with His own fruit. This is all the power downwards.

But I come now to the power upwards, the power that wrought in Christ, and the apostle prays that ye may know this power. Now that has not to do with things down here. As an illustration, take Peter walking on the water. He left the ship to go to Jesus. It is plain enough he must have had power; he could not walk on smooth water any more than on rough. It was not power in the circumstances, it was power above the circumstances. The ship would have sustained him in the circumstances, but the power of Christ made him to be superior to the circumstances. We have to do with the reality of this, we are to know "the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ". We have to do with Christ raised from the dead; now we know power for us. As Joshua 3:10 expresses it, "Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you". We have crossed the Jordan, we have left all behind, we are brought into a new scene, we are in association in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. This power makes me know that I am united to Christ, a member of His body. We are not in heaven yet as individuals, but we are there as members of His body; still it is the Spirit of God who brings me into this union, and who makes it known to me. Our deficiency is that we lack personal love to Christ. If our hearts were set upon Christ where He is , if we longed to reach Him there, we should soon find that we possessed the power able to conduct us to Him; like Peter -- his affection made him long to reach the Lord. "If it be thou", he said, "bid me come unto thee on the water". He would

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accept the most perilous circumstances, circumstances impossible to the natural man, where he would be drowned naturally, to get alongside of his Lord. Have you that affection for Christ, beloved friends? "And Jesus said, Come", and Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus; he walked in divine superiority. This is what we are called to -- to walk in divine superiority above all the power of evil. Peter is the pattern. In the gospels you get patterns; in the Old Testament you have types. Peter had not the power, it was Christ's power delegated to him for the moment; but he had heart for Christ, and because he had heart he got the power. We have the power, the Holy Spirit in us; but we lack the heart, the affection that would make us realise and use our power. The Holy Spirit always leads up the heart to Christ in heaven. He came down from the glorified Saviour, and the same Holy Spirit that came down from heaven can lead us up to heaven, can make us look up there. Stephen being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus. Thus he became descriptive on earth of the One he saw in glory at God's right hand, the One who was the Object of his heart. And he stood in testimony for Him; he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God"; and though battered by the stones, in perfect calmness he kneeled down and prayed for his murderers.

Now notice how the power works in Ephesians 3. It proves to you the exceeding magnitude of the power, and then sums up: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (verse 20). This is the power which enables me to contend with Satan. For this conflict you must have the power of God and the armour of God. Some think they have taken to them the armour of God when they have not; no one has the armour of God until

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he is in the place to which Satan is most opposed. Satan will not oppose you in the wilderness with the same force; he will oppose you, try to baffle you -- like Amalek, try to hinder your projects, or, as Balaam, seek to seduce you -- but he does not exert all his force and power against you until you are on heavenly ground, in the heavenly places. In Romans you have the armour of light; that is a very different thing, you want that for the wilderness, you cannot go through a world of darkness without the armour of light, but when you come to the Lord's battles, then you must have on the whole armour of God. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in heavenly places". Do not misapply Scripture; you do not need the armour of God in Romans; if you are only there, you are not in the Lord's battles. Do not imagine that you are farther on than you really are. Do not deceive yourself. "The power that wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places"- that is the power that works in us. I ask you, beloved friends, Could anything be more magnificent? Is your soul filled with the grandeur, the dignity of your position? "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might". Now, I can face the enemy; in the armour of God I am invulnerable. The armour is for Satan, prayer is to God. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit". I turn to Him for support, and I stand against the enemy, I face him in the armour of God. In setting forth the services of the Holy Spirit I could not leave out this, for indeed it is a most amazing part of His service to us. I trust you will ponder it before the Lord, and that the importance of it may grow in your souls.

I need not dwell on the Spirit of God being the earnest of our inheritance: "heirs of God, and joint-heirs

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with Christ". Everyone knows what the earnest of a purchased possession is. The Holy Spirit comes down to dwell in our bodies, the earnest of our inheritance. I desire to say a short word on 1 Corinthians 2:10, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God". As it is expressed in another place, "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things", 1 John 2:20. The Holy Spirit is the Revealer . I add this to show the fulness of blessing with which we are blessed, the magnificence of the position we are in. What eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, God has revealed to us by His Spirit. Mind you, beloved friends, it is a revelation of things , not words . Many a one has the light of words who has never known the Spirit revealing the things of God. "He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine, therefore said I, that he shall take of mine and shall shew it unto you". What do you know of His things ? "Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth". Do I wait, listening for what the Spirit of God will show me of the things of God? He reveals things. When the queen of Sheba came to King Solomon, and "had seen all his wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her". She saw his things , and the effect was that there was no more spirit in her.

Beloved friends, there would be a great moral effect upon us, if we were sensible of what the Spirit of God brings before us. We should move about in a chastened spirit. There would be a subduedness about us, as our souls waited on God for the revelation of things that eye has not seen, that ear has not heard,

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that have not entered the heart of man, things that the greatest power, the Spirit of God, reveals. Many cannot see them; have they the heart that desires to see them? God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit. Beloved friends, what a wonderful portion is ours! No one but the Spirit of God could reveal the things of God.

There is one thing more in the services of the Spirit of God that I must not leave out, the last verse of 2 Corinthians 13, a well-known verse, but in reality, alas, how little we do know it! "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit". If you come to examine this, you find it expresses an immensity: the communion of the Holy Spirit ! Now, beloved friends, what does that mean? We all know something about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we may know a little of the love of God, but what about the communion of the Holy Spirit? Going in company with Him -- in concert with the Spirit of God! In Revelation 22:17, the Spirit and the bride are found together: they are suited company. The bride is in concert with the Spirit. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". The Holy Spirit is the alone power who stands for Christ on the earth; no one can be for Christ who is not in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Those whom He fills are in company with Him; they act in concert; they are in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, His vessels, maintaining for Christ here.

I do trust that what I have been allowed to bring before you may so affect your hearts that you may look to the Lord, that in fellowship of the Spirit of God (a more amazing favour than your heart can conceive) you may walk through this world, for His name's sake.

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THE HABITATION OF GOD THROUGH THE SPIRIT

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", Matthew 16:18.

On the former evening our subject was the Spirit of God having come down to reside in the place of Christ's rejection. It is consistent that, as Christ is exalted to the highest place in heaven, there should be a divine Person to maintain for Him in the scene of His rejection. If we were to see some great luminary in the sky, we should all accept it; but the Holy Spirit is invisible to the world, He is only known to faith; "The world seeth him not, neither knoweth him". Do you think God would send Him down here to be seen by the world? Here, where His Son had been rejected? Impossible. You believe in a glorified Christ? Yes. Well, then, you have the Holy Spirit down here. The Holy Spirit here is the answer to Christ glorified. It would not be possible, looking at what God is in Himself, that He should exalt Christ to the highest place in heaven, and leave His own in the scene of His rejection overlooked and uncared for. Therefore the Holy Spirit comes down to us in this place. And, as I tried to bring before you, there are three spheres of His action here -- there is the house in which He dwells, there is the body which He forms, and there is the individual whom He serves. There is the collective temple and there is the individual temple. Still, as the words pass out of one's lips, one is sensible how little one enters into the magnitude of what is stated. The lack is, that there is not simple faith as to the reality of the truth I am propounding.

I dwelt on the last evening on what He was to the individual. Now I turn to Him in the house, the habitation of God through the Spirit.

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I turn to Matthew 16:18, because it is the first time that "My assembly" is referred to: "I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". It is a very important principle in Scripture that whenever a thing is first spoken of, though it be not developed, yet you get the great features that characterise it.

I will divide the subject into parts to make it simple: the first part is the origin of "My assembly". It is a great point to lay hold of the fact that "My assembly" is a new thing. The word 'assembly' is not a new word. We read in Acts 7 of the assembly that was in the wilderness; but the word 'My' is what is new, "My assembly". It is a little word, but it is of great importance; because the fact of its being His assembly necessarily implies that He is there Himself. He would not call it "My assembly" if He were not there Himself. In the Old Testament we read of the assembly, but never of "My assembly". And hence Paul says to Timothy, "That thou mightest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God". Mind the word 'living'. I press it, because I think we are liable to forget the solemnity of the assembly. God's assembly must be a company to suit God, though I am not speaking of the company, but of the Person who has the company, "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God"- it does not say "in the body", it could not say that, but "in the house of God, which is the assembly of the living God".

I am not speaking of the body this evening, but of the house -- the temple. The house is the earthly aspect, the body is the heavenly aspect. No doubt those who compose the house -- the true ones, "living stones"- are the body.

Now I turn to the origin of "My assembly", and I

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hope to lead the youngest in this room to understand this great subject. This is the first time, as I have said, that "My assembly" is alluded to in Scripture. Its origin is of great importance, because it is quite different from the origin of the body. People so often confound the body and the house. A churchman will talk about the house of God, and a dissenter will talk about membership; and the dissenter has an advantage over the churchman, because the churchman thinks of nothing but the house, and he has no idea beyond a building which he calls a church, and which he regards as a very sacred place; he will behave with all possible decorum in it because it is God's house.

We have to learn the right thing in order to get out of the imitation. There is no way of doing so but by presenting the real. If a man say, There is a diamond, when it is only an imitation, I can easily confound him by presenting a real diamond. The principle of imitation is satanic. It requires a great mind to originate; a very small one can imitate. Satan seeks to spoil and undermine God's works by imitation. To originate is God's work. Hence the apostle says to Timothy, "As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses". What did they do? They imitated Moses; they did not originate, they imitated -- "so do these also resist the truth"; and that is the professing church.

But I say all this in preface. The part I have before me (the Lord give us grace to expound it) is the origin of "My assembly". Its origin dates from Christ being rejected on earth . If you study from Matthew 14:10 to Matthew 16:18, you will then be prepared for this new structure. It is like an avenue conducting you to a terminus. I commend it to your patient study: mere reading will not do; go up the avenue and you are prepared for what is -- at the terminus. The Lord was educating the disciples for this new structure and you must travel the road they did -- divinity lectures, if you like. In Matthew 14:10,

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John the baptist is beheaded. He was Christ's herald, and this intimates to the Lord what will happen to Himself. It is of immense importance to the soul to have faith as to the origin of "My assembly" -- that I know why that structure is here. It is here because Christ was rejected by His own people. He has a new structure for Himself on the earth where He is rejected. He can say, I have My assembly there.

I must allude to a very interesting thing here, and one of great import: it is that when a soul has found rest in Christ and His work, the very first thing that occurs to that soul is, Has God a place here? My authority for this is Exodus 15:2, "I will prepare him an habitation". You may be occupied with the blessing and going on with it, but when you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, the first question that will occur to your mind is, Has He any place of His own on the earth where He wrought out my salvation? Hence the language of the Psalmist is the language of many a true-hearted soul, "I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob". Believe me, this is a true experience; and the reason why Christendom has not found out this, the second part of the song (Exodus 15), is because they have not learned the first part of it, namely, "The Lord hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea". Have you peace with God, able to say, I am delivered from the power of the enemy? It is not only that you are sheltered by the blood, but that you are delivered from the power of death, you are brought out of Egypt, you are on resurrection ground; "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God". There are three things, as has often been said, in that song. The first is, the sense of what He has done; the second, you desire to glorify Him, prepare Him a dwelling; and third, "Thou shalt bring them in and

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plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance".

I have dwelt long on the origin because it is an important point. Christ has been rejected here, but He has a structure here at this minute, against which all the powers of hell cannot prevail. And that is an immense thing for the heart; it is the breakwater against the violence of man. How it ought to cheer our hearts that there is a structure built upon this earth by Christ, which all the power of hell cannot shake!

Now, the next part to which I turn your attention is the material that forms "My assembly". Well, I need hardly say that Christ does not build anyone into this structure before he is converted; but I will try to explain to you. Conversion in itself does not put a man in "My assembly". Everyone in "My assembly" is a "living stone"; that is something in addition to conversion. Some may say, You are imposing terms or intelligence for communion. I am not. I am only insisting upon the true material for this new structure. If I ask, What is the material? there is not one in this room, even a child, but would answer, A stone. What kind of stone? A living stone. Right. You did not say conversion. Well then, there is a difference between simple conversion and a living stone, and that is all I want. You may ask, What is the difference? Well, I believe a very important difference. I believe we should have very different meetings if we believed in this addition to conversion, even that you came into the assembly with faith in the supremacy of Christ. This constitutes a living stone. "Thou art Peter"- a stone. What had he said? "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God"; He did not merely say, Thou art my Saviour, though if Christ were not his Saviour, he could not have said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. He has faith in the supremacy of that blessed One of whose building he is a part. Turn to Matthew 16:7 - 10,

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"And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?" He had been educating them as to what He could do. They now had no bread, and they were upbraiding themselves for their lack of prudence in not bringing bread. The Lord does not charge them with lack of prudence but lack of faith , and mark, He did not give them any bread, but He reminded them of His own greatness . "Do ye not ... remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?" In the one case there were twelve, and in the other seven. What was all this to establish? Even that where Christ is there is unbounded power; and every one is a living stone who believes in His supremacy. I do not mind how young you are as a Christian, if you believe in the Son of God the builder. You will likely slip away some day unless you come in right. You have not light and faith, you have not taken your place rightly, if you are not according to your vocation. We read in 1 Peter 2:5, "Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house". Nothing can be plainer. The living stones are built in; they are in function. As Paul says, "I planted", they were plants before, but they had to be planted. You get the same thought in Matthew 13:48. The fish were caught and the fishermen sat down to sort them, and they put the good into vessels. The question was put to me, Have you faith to come into Christ's assembly? I look back to that challenge as a very wise one -- had I faith! I had very little intelligence, but that is not

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the point. It is a question of faith in the Lord, otherwise there is no stability. Teaching is not the ground for coming. You are according to your vocation, a living stone built in by Christ, when you believe in His supremacy. I fully admit that it is the right of every believer to be there. I am only dwelling on the way in which he may enter on his rights and his calling, even that he is a living stone.

Thirdly, this structure is the habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:22, "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit". None of you will question it, and therefore I need not dwell upon it.

The next thing is -- seeing that "My assembly" is God's house, and that the Lord is the Son over this house -- what do you find in the house? What do you look for? The youngest believer would answer, I look for His presence. Right; but I want to have it a little more defined. What do you expect to find in His presence? Well, His presence is our sanctuary. We have the antitype of what Israel had in the tabernacle; otherwise Israel were better off than we are. Remember it is said of the mercy-seat in the holiest of all in Exodus 25:22, "There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee". The term sanctuary is a common word amongst us, and I believe often used without intelligence. What do we mean by the sanctuary? It is a very interesting question. You read in the Old Testament, "Until I went into the sanctuary"; "To see thy power and thy glory so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary". We have something far better. The sanctuary is God's place, and this is very important. It is not your own room. You may say you may sanctify the Lord in your hearts. It is perfectly true that the Lord does make Himself known to us individually, but that is in relation to our own circumstances. In God's house it is with relation to His own interests. If there are any here with an

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exercised conscience they would like to understand the sanctuary. I am sure one often repeats anxiously to oneself, I long to see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary. If in the dark ages before Christ came a godly soul would have found so much in the tabernacle, what do you find? Do you come to God's house expecting to find something greater than that? You have not come rightly if you do not. Do you think there would be the inattention that there is sometimes if you had such an expectation? In Old Testament times they could not go into the holiest. But the holiest is thrown open to us. As someone has said, there is no Urim and Thummim now, but there is greater, there is Christ's presence . And that is not merely the presence of a Saviour, but, as in Hebrews 8, a Minister of the sanctuary, or, as is more correct, of the holy places, because there is no veil now. But I ask you, Have you ever been in company with Him as a Minister of the holy places? The point in the Hebrews is, that you are brought into company with Christ, the heavenly Aaron, after the order of Melchisedec. He is the Minister of the holy places, "the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man".

I think a great many -- I have done so myself -- read Hebrews merely for the Lord's priestly service for our infirmities. No doubt that is in it, but there is much more. We go a piece of a road, and think we have gone the whole journey. The High Priest's object in supporting you along the road is that He may have your companionship in the holy places. Read Hebrews again with that view, and you will see where you are. He supports me along the road; He does what Aaron could not do for his sons. If his sons had an infirmity, such as a bald head, they could not go into the holy place. The Lord says, If you are under pressure, or in illness, or in sorrow, I will sympathise with you, and for this purpose, that you should bear Me company

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in the holy places; that you should be inside with Me. There I get such a sense of heaven that I am ready for the race; Hebrews 12. You get this in company with the Lord in the sanctuary.

I turn to my fellow Christians in system; I have a great respect for them. What is the character of the building which they call the church? First, it is constructed as much like Solomon's temple as possible. The next thing is, that as you walk up the aisle, right before you there is what is called the communion table, where the clergy only are allowed to be, and no one else. It is the holy ground. It is in imitation of the sanctuary. Now the sanctuary, and not an imitation of it, is the proper place for every believer, for every believer is a priest. It is not merely a believers' meeting, with great enjoyment that the Lord has saved us, and we remember that He died for us. We must remember that Christendom in its worst form makes everything of the mass. In the Lord's presence, the sanctuary, the first thing which should engage your attention is the Lord's supper -- that you call Him to mind in His death. You cannot greet Him but as remembering Him in death, dwelling on what the love of His heart was, that He should go into death for me. But that is not all. You have Himself now, you are in His company -- the apostle and High Priest of our profession. You are entranced with the Minister of the holy places, you are now conducted into participation of all the heavenly blessing which He is in, you now learn what it is to be in the sanctuary. They try to imitate it in Christendom; through divine mercy you are enlightened and can enjoy the real thing. I admit it is in ruins, but remember it is His house. We ought to be the more zealous because of the state of things. See how the Lord respected the temple: "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up". Does the zeal of His house eat you up? When the Lord was here, the glory had departed from the house.

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What should characterise us then, with the Lord of glory in our midst? You never can refute an imitation but by presenting the reality. There is not a shade of distance between Him and you in the sanctuary; all is heavenly, a heavenly atmosphere brought in by Himself in the midst of His own, just as the tabernacle was a heavenly construction in the midst of the twelve tribes. The mistake of Christendom is, they make the laity to be the antitype of the twelve tribes, and the clergy the antitype of the priests. The antitype of the twelve tribes has not come yet. Israel in the millennium will be the antitype.

The next branch of the subject is the company who enjoy the sanctuary -- as it is said in Peter, "a holy priesthood". This is the calling of every believer; but there is a great difference between right and enjoyment. If you have not right you are not quickened. It has done much mischief to souls to be satisfied with the assurance of right without entering into what the right confers; like a man of great rank, an exiled prince, very great in his position, but without property to support it. The Christian has always the means to support his position if he will use them. There is the condition of the "holy priesthood", and you must be in that condition to enjoy the sanctuary. You enter in the fragrance of the High Priest. The fragrance of the High Priest is common to each one of the consecrated company.

The next thing I must try to explain is, the organisation in "My assembly". Turn to 1 Corinthians 12:13, "By One Spirit are we all baptised into one body". Now, if you study the epistle to the Corinthians, you will see the apostle is speaking of the house to chapter 10. The house is visible. The body of Christ is only known to faith. It is a mystery. When you speak of a body of Christians, that is not the church. If a stranger comes into the assembly and he finds it well ordered, he might ask, What is the

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organisation here? I saw no disorder, and yet there was no visible organisation; who ordered? Well, this verse shows the organisation. It is one body, and the apostle is showing what the assembly is when in function, every member of the body co-operating. I am now speaking of "My assembly", what the Lord builds. Here you have the organisation -- all baptised by one Spirit into one body, and the smallest disturbance affects the whole; there is not a spiritual person in the room who does not know it. An unconverted person cannot disturb the organisation, though he may disturb the meeting; but if "one member suffer, all the members suffer with it". You say, Would not that apply to you when at home? I believe it would, but that is not the point here. The point here is, that the assembly is in function. I trust you will bear in mind what I say, and examine it. "I speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say". Man does not know how the organisation is carried out, but he is often convinced when it is done right. I do not say that there is no disturbance, but the Spirit, if there be simple dependence on Christ, will carry you over it, just as, if an obstacle were thrown in the way of a stream, it would be checked for the moment, but would eventually flow over it. I will give you one scripture as an illustration; Proverbs 31. The wise woman keeps the house. The wise woman is the organisation; as long as she was in vigour and health she kept the house well. Surely if the body of Christ had been true to itself it would have kept the house in order. If I walk into the house of a wise woman I see that it is well kept.

Now there were two things which marked the wise woman. One she fed her household, and the other she clothed them. This answers to what is said of our Lord, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church". Thus edification should be found in the assembly -- there should be the nourishing and the

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cherishing for those who come. Even if a stranger come into the assembly, he should hear the word of God there, and "the secrets of his heart are made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth", 1 Corinthians 14:25. It is not that he knew that the Spirit of God was there, or that the Lord was there; no, he had not faith, but the ministry of the word is so effective that he falls down and reports that "God is in you of a truth". It does not say even that he is converted, but he is made sensible of the wonderful power in the assembly. Thus the Lord uses the man speaking by the Spirit of God in the assembly to arrest the stranger. In the habitation of God through the Spirit, a stranger even is made sensible of the power of God.

No one has the right to take part but under the sanction of the Lord. It is not because there is a pause, or because it is on your heart, that you give out a hymn, or read a scripture, No, but because you have faith in the Lord that it is His pleasure. What is so interesting in this scripture (1 Corinthians 12) is, that the assembly is in function. When we come together we find Him in the midst. He is the Head of the body, and each individual is subject to Him. Then there is the responsibility. Every privilege has its responsibility. I turn to 1 Corinthians 5:7: "Purge out, therefore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened". I do not pursue it, but every man, woman and child in the assembly is responsible. You may not be able to remove the evil you see, but you must not let it slip by; you must look for someone competent. In 1 Thessalonians 5:14, the whole assembly is addressed, not merely the preachers. No one who has a sense of the blessedness of God's house but will say, I cannot have anything unsuited to my Lord.

Thus, beloved friends, I have touched on a great

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many points; and I trust in the Lord that the subject is interesting to each of you, and not without profit.

Finally, I bring before you an important thing connected with the house, which I see in John 20. The Lord says, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". My impression is that the servant is actually sent from the assembly. In the Jewish system there were no missionaries. The land and the nation defined the limits of their services. Now you get in John 20"As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you"- missionaries. Each one has a mission, and I believe that if each one was occupied with Christ's interests in the assembly he would learn his mission.

In closing I would ask you to bear in mind 1 Timothy 3:15, the object of the assembly on the earth. The assembly is the pillar and base of the truth. Look at a clock. You may not know its organisation, but you see what the time of day is; the clock was made for this. Like the clock at Greenwich, it tells the time to the whole country. Now the church should be, in like manner, the pillar and the base of the truth. A child could not understand the organisation of the clock, but if the organisation is damaged the time of day will not be given correctly. And it is thus with the assembly, so internally distracted it is imperfectly the pillar and the base of the truth.

There is one thing more I have to say on this: "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God". This does not mean simply when Timothy was in the house assembled, but wherever he was he belonged to the house of God, a living stone, a constituent part of Christ's assembly.

I will just enumerate the points in their order. First, the origin of the assembly; secondly, the material of the structure thirdly, the habitation of God through the Spirit fourthly, the sanctuary is there; fifthly, the character of the company who enjoy

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the sanctuary; sixthly, the ministry of the word, edification; and finally, what the object is, to be the pillar and base of the truth.

The Lord lead our hearts to be not only encouraged, but that gladness may fill every heart that there is such a structure on this earth.

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CHRIST THE HEAD OF HIS BODY

"And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God", Colossians 2:19.

The subject I desire to bring before you this evening is Christ, the Head of His body. Now while in Ephesians you get the whole structure, what is called there "the Christ", so that one who apprehended it would have apprehended the whole, still it is of immense importance to understand Colossians. The epistle to the Colossians is of deep interest, because there we learn the Head, and thus are preserved from the effort of the enemy to give the flesh a place in connection with Christ.

I do not doubt that many have learned the doctrine of the Ephesians; those who are well instructed have learnt the unity of the body, that we are all one; but the practical defect in their soul is, that they are not holding the Head. In the Corinthians you get nothing that I know of as relating to the Head save one passage, "So also is the Christ", 1 Corinthians 12:12. You get the unity of the body, which I have already spoken of, as the organisation in the house. If one goes into the house of God, if he sees things in any order, then he imagines there is a prearrangement; but there is no prearrangement. There is a divine organisation which is not visible, and it is a great thing for a soul to lay hold of this -- that divine power is not visible. The effort of the enemy is to lead you astray by something visible. Divine power is invisible except to faith, and faith sees it. If you take into account the rejection of our Lord here, how could you expect any divine gift to be visible? The miracles and the gifts of tongues were visible at the beginning to confirm the grace proclaimed; now, the greatest manifestation is

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invisible except to faith. Who sees the organisation in the assembly except the man of faith? He not only sees it, but he is in co-operation with it. The Head is common to all, He is the Lord of each individually. Thus in the assembly no one should give out a hymn, or pray, or speak, or do anything but under the direction of the Lord, who is the Head of each in the assembly; the Head of the body. I now would dwell upon the Head. I may just state the object of this epistle; that is a great thing to get hold of. It was written to an assembly who were apparently in good order in the house, but they were in danger of being ensnared, because they did not hold in power the truth of the mystery, even that Christ was the Head of the body. Now the instruction here comes very suitably to us, because we might be in commendable order, yet we would be in danger of the selfsame snare unless we were holding the Head. Hence the apostle presents the truth that only could preserve them from the snare which was impending, and that is, as I have said, "Holding the Head".

Now let us turn to the epistle, which I will divide into sections, so that you may find it easier to understand. The fourth verse of the first chapter tells us what their state was: "Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints". That was their state. Look at the advance they had made, and yet they were in danger. The Colossians are described as having "faith in Christ Jesus". Every believer has faith in God, but this is faith in the Man that is now in heaven; as the Lord said, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me". Their faith was not resting on anything short of Christ in heaven. Next the apostle prays for them. It is of great importance to apprehend the first thing necessary for souls who had advanced as far as the Colossians. Well, his prayer for them is, "For [or according to] the hope which is laid up for you in heaven".

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Now let me try to bring this before you in its singular importance -- "The hope which is laid up for you in heaven". No one is saved now for earth; you could not be saved for the place where Christ is rejected. You are saved for heaven. That is not connected with the church, but with the gospel. The Father's house is the home of the prodigal; you are saved for heaven. And mark, he prays for them according to this hope, because if they are not kept connected with heaven and as belonging to it, he never will be able to lead them into the position which they are to occupy as belonging to that place. You will see, as we go on, how important it is. The point that is pressed is that heaven is their place, not earth, because the very moment you accept a new place you will regard everything with reference to that place. If a Christian would plead for any fascination here, I should say, Would you expect it in heaven? No; it would not be compatible. Exactly. So that the moment a man is set upon heaven, he knows very well that his tastes must accord with that place. The natural man would not find a home in heaven, because the natural man is of the earth. "He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth". Man was made for earth, and heaven would not suit him at all; you must be a new man to enjoy heaven. I never knew a departure from the truth by an enlightened soul, but the first thing given up was the heavenly position. Everything for Christ depends on retaining it. The hope of the church is the coming of the Lord, but the hope of the gospel is heaven.

The first section ends at verse 14. It embraces from the highest point to the lowest, to forgiveness of sins.

The next begins at verse 15. It does not relate to us. It is simply a description of Him who is the Head, and the more you dwell on that description, the more your heart will bow before Him. "Who is the image

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of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell". That is, this section is simply a description of Him who is the Head of the body, the church.

The next section is from verse 20 to the end of the chapter, and I will describe it, though I cannot go into it in detail. The point of it is how the truth is ministered. There are two ministries -- one in verse 23 -- "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel" -- (note how he brings in that again) -- "which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister". That is one of the ministries -- the gospel -- that is universal; it is "to every creature under heaven". But there is another ministry (verse 24): "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory". He dwells long upon the second; they had learnt the ministry of the gospel, and all he would keep them up to is the hope of the gospel; as we say (it is almost a children's rhyme), "Heaven is our home". We belong to

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heaven; we are on the earth, but we are not saved for earth, but for heaven. It is not we are seated there, but that heaven is our home. As in Luke 15, we have the Father's house, a parable, showing that our joys now come from the Father's house. The apostle dwells upon the second ministry -- the ministry of the church, the mystery. They had the first in faith, but now he labours that they might hold the second in faith; and hence he dwells upon it exclusively, and that is now my subject. Verse 27 gives You the character of the great communication: "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you". The great point here, beloved friends, is that Christ is in you. I press this, because many think that "the hope of the glory" is the great point. The first noun in Scripture is the prominent one. We very often put the most important noun at the close. As I might say. Will you give me some bread? Bread is really the important noun, and a child would have put "bread" first, because it was the prominent idea in his mind. That is exactly what Scripture does. Now, the first noun here is "Christ in you"; and if Christ is in you there is a consequence, you have the "hope of glory". It is not, as has been said, like Israel looking for the reign of glory; you have the hope of glory. because Christ is in you. It is a great point to insist on, because if you knew what it is to have Christ in you, you would be clear about the Head. The great object of the epistle is to educate them into the knowledge of the Head. Therefore he ends, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect [grown up] in Christ Jesus". If a man grows up in Christ Jesus, the more he is grown up in Christ Jesus, the more Christ is in him.

I turn now to chapter 2 down to verse 10 -- that is the next section: what we gain from the mystery.

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The apostle begins by telling that he would that they knew what great conflict he had for them -- he was in prison, with whom was the conflict? Of course, he would not have had great conflict if there was not great opposition. And I earnestly press this upon you, beloved friends, because many have no idea of Satan's opposition to the mystery. You may present the gospel without much opposition, especially if there be little separation from the world in connection with it; you cannot preach a full gospel if you do not understand the mystery. You may say it is a distinct ministry, and I quite admit that; but I have found it very difficult to say where the gospel ends and where the mystery begins. Indeed, as has been said, there is the assembly gospel. If you have not learned the assembly gospel you certainly will not apprehend the church; and that is the real lack in Christendom. The assembly gospel is not "the everlasting gospel", nor even the gospel preached in the early chapters of the Acts; there it was for the remission of sins, and they received the Holy Spirit.

But to proceed, "I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted" (what a cheer it would be to me, beloved friends, and I need not say what a delight to the Lord, if some in this room were thus comforted), "being united together" (as is the real force of the words) "in love". You see, if there is one Head, we must be united. I do not ask my finger to go in concert with my eye; if they have one head they must go in concert. "That their hearts might be comforted, being united together in love, and unto all riches of the full weight of understanding" -- not "assurance"; we use the word 'assurance' in the sense of being sure, but that is not the meaning here, it is more the sense of the magnitude; "to the full knowledge" -- "acknowledgement" is a feeble

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interpretation, it does not convey the Spirit's meaning, which is "the full knowledge of the mystery of God, in which are hid all the treasures" -- mind you, it does not say 'some' -- "ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". I can understand a godly soul, who never heard of it before, saying, Well, I wish I knew that -- "in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". This gives the description of our gain; we have had the description of our Head already, and, therefore, you can easily apprehend that there must be in this mystery all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The apostle having stated the greatness of the mystery, now proceeds to present the snare to which they were exposed. "And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ".

Now, beloved friends, we have come to the snare. And you may be sure that Satan is not less active in this day than he was in that day, but he is always most active when there is most purpose of heart to apprehend that whereof we are apprehended by Christ Jesus. I believe he is roused by the energy of the Spirit. Here the snare is different, and it is peculiar in that way from any spoken of before in Scripture. In Corinthians the snare is Antinomian. If one is converted, he may enjoy himself as he likes. I understand Corinthians to be like Israel suffering from Balaam. Israel had obtained much, they were within one step, so to speak, of the land, but they were drawn aside by

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Balaam, that is, by association with the world. They were in popular favour, thus they were beguiled and corrupted. The Thessalonians suffered from Amalek. The Corinthians were in favour with their neighbours, and from association with them were compromised on every side. The Galatians in a way would correct the Corinthians, but with them it was legalism, and legalism will not correct Antinomianism; in fact legalism is more ensnaring. Because a Christian will never say, I am quite right to indulge myself; the most he will say is, I do not see any harm, I do not see why we should not enjoy ourselves; he tries to excuse himself. But it is very different when a man puts himself under the law, he is quite pleased with himself and commends himself. Therefore the Galatian was far more difficult to correct than the Corinthian. Now the Colossian was the worst, because he had received the gospel and had walked orderly, hence the snare to him was that a man could contribute to Christianity in a double way: one, by his mind, that is, philosophy; the other, by his body. "After the tradition of men" is ritualism, or religiousness; and "the rudiments of the world" is man's learning, the principle of the world.

Perhaps someone here may think, Oh! I am quite safe from that, I do not think I shall be caught by philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, that is, Judaism; or after the rudiments of the world, that is, the elements on which it is formed. Remember, it is a very deceitful snare, it appeals to the mind and to your body to help on Christianity. It is rampant in Christendom under the terms rationalism and ritualism. It is remarkable that ritualism obtains among those called churchmen, rationalism amongst dissenters. One is exalting the mind to be a contributor, the other is the making the body the expression of religion. Well, what is the object of this snare? It is to displace Christ, to supplant Him, that Christ should not be

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everything. I must say, beloved friends, to every one here, you do not yet know the tendency of your own heart if you are not aware how readily you are taken both by mentality and religiousness. Very often preachers work upon you by one or the other, or both combined. See how a learned man moves a congregation. People say, Let us go and hear him, especially if he be accredited as being very religious. Now nothing will preserve from this snare but holding the Head; it is most important to bear this in mind. It is sometimes said, Such a truth is not necessary. Not necessary to salvation, I admit, but every part of the truth is necessary for walk. Every truth has a speciality; you could not correct a particular error but by a particular truth. In all the epistles up to this, you never get (except in Ephesians) the speciality which would preserve you from the Colossian snare; nothing can preserve you but the knowledge of "the Head".

Mark how this section closes, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily", that is according to the description in the first chapter; and then mark how he applies this, "And ye are full in him"; it is the same idea, "Ye are complete in him". And if I am complete in Him, what do I want with man's learning, or man's religiousness? How can you add to me? Any contribution would detract from Christ; the idea of subsidising Him is presumption, as if we needed any addition to Him. No; we do not need any addition, we are complete. A man might say, By my scientific researches I will prove to you the scripture. Because I am complete in Him, I do not want your scientific researches. The attempt in this snare is to make man prominent, and thus to deprive me of the pre-eminence and all-sufficiency of Christ, and nothing can preserve you from it but maintaining the sufficiency of Christ, and not only the sufficiency, but that we are complete in Him.

The next section begins at the eleventh verse, as I

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read it, and runs down to the end of the chapter. This is an important section, because it describes how we are relieved from all we suffer from. It begins, "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the flesh [not 'the sins'] by the circumcision of Christ". There is no scripture that I know of more absolute than this as to the removal of the first man. The figure used is circumcision, which was cutting off, never to be resumed, and that cutting off was at the cross. The copyists of the text felt it was such an absolute statement (I really commiserate them) that the body of the flesh should be cut off never to be resumed, that they thought it impossible, that it must mean our sins, and they put in "the sins". It is not so in the original. But you can understand how a pious man, who did not see the truth, thought, That must mean sins, and therefore in copying put "of the sins" into the margin; and the next person copying put it into the text. But the fact is, it is not there, it is the body of the flesh cut off. The cross is the circumcision. Baptism is, that you have no status here, that you have been baptised unto the death of Christ, from thence to enter into newness of life through His resurrection. There is no more claim on the one buried by baptism unto the death of Christ. Here, in the sight of God, man in the flesh is absolutely cut off, never to be resumed. There is no returning to it, the ships are burned. Like the man who emigrated with some friends, and when they had reached their destination, fearing his friends might repent of the step they had taken, he proposes to burn the ship, to obviate any possibility of returning.

The first section of the second chapter presents our gain by the mystery; the second insists on that the old man himself, and all that was on him, have been removed by the death of Christ. In verse 20, "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of

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the world", you are looked at as over Jordan. In Romans 6 you do not get farther than that you are dead to sin: "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus". Here you get a step further on, you are over Jordan. It is not a question of sin at all, but there is not a single barrier between you and God. The Jordan was a river, it was the last barrier to the land. It is not only that there is not a shade of sin, but there is not to us now a shade of a barrier between us and heaven. We are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, the elements on which this world is formed. 'Rudiments' do not include your relative ties. They are God's ordinances, and we are sustained in them by Christ, but every barrier is gone; and, thank God, we know it in spirit, though we do not always accept it. Therefore the Lord says to the thief on the cross, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise". There is not a single barrier. It was not the thief's own death which removed the barrier. See Paul caught up to the third heaven. He did not die; it was Christ's death removed every barrier. How then could you be subject to ordinances, because that would be admitting that you were alive. But here you, as to the body of the flesh, are absolutely gone in the cross; and as you are walking in faith you learn that through the death of Christ there is not a single barrier between you and the place where God is. So that, though I am not actually in paradise, I am, through the gospel, possessed of a home there, and in the church I reach, in spirit, my place there -- that is the difference between the gospel and the church. It is my place, my property, and I draw my provision from my property as a child of God; but in the church I am a member of the body of Christ, and I enjoy that place as a member of His body now.

Now I come to the last section I will speak on. It runs from the first to the eleventh verse of the third chapter, and is the practical consequence of the preceding

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section. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God". We are spoken of as risen now, as over Jordan; but we are not in possession. In fact, Colossians answers to the fifth chapter of Joshua. We have reached Gilgal; that is, the reproach of Egypt is rolled off. There, it was rolled off practically; that is, it was not rolled off until the circumcision was effected. Now with us, it has been rolled off in the cross, and we have to accept it. I said a while ago, and I repeat it, that we often enjoy being over Jordan, though we do not accept it. The moment we enjoy the presence of the Lord, and feel He is enough for us, we are over Jordan. But there is another question: Do I accept it? If I accept it, heaven is my sole place, I have lost the earth. I must leave everything of myself behind, and enter heaven in quite a new order. In the type they were literally circumcised, and therefore it was called Gilgal -- rolling off. They had crossed the Jordan, but they were not in possession. Here I am come to a spot where the Lord is everything. In Joshua 5, the day after the passover they ate of the old corn of the land, they did not eat it the day before. It was a new phase, and this "the morrow" expresses. You are now living in a new scene, feeding on that which grew there; in plain language, it is Christ in glory. You are where He is .

But mind you, when I get to Christ in glory, I get where there is no other man but Himself. Now you have got the Head, and you will never get the Head in any other way. You may have the doctrines, but you have not got the sense in your soul.

I would to God every one in this room could say, I have found where the Lord is. I believe there is a moment in the history of the soul when the question arises, 'Where is the Lord?' Of course, as a matter of mere doctrine, you all would say, He is in heaven. But that is not what I mean. I mean: Do you know

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where He is? Mary Magdalene said, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". Did John know where He was? He knew He was risen, but he did not know where He was. And many believers know no more. Hence the apostle says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God". Now you have reached Him where He is. Next, "Set your affection [mind] on things above, not on things on the earth". Now earth and heaven are in contrast, and that is of immense moment. It is not heaven and the world, but heaven and earth. I see many who are earthly, who are not worldly. "He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth". The whole point here is, that you are on new ground; you are over Jordan, and are to "set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth; for ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory". As has been said by another, life is the subject here, not the power of the Spirit. Nothing can give you such an idea of the Head as being in His life. Christ, my life; and if Christ is your life, it is very easy to understand the Head.

Now follows Gilgal -- the rolling away of all connected with Egypt, that is judgement; all that had been cut off in the cross. Often this chapter is read for practice (and I do not deny that it is practical), yet I submit that the object of the scripture is to set us in a spot where there is no one but Christ; and in reaching Him you must drop everything that is unfit for Him, seeing that He, in His cross, removed for us everything which was unfit for Himself in glory. We are practically in the effect of His work. In the type, if you would eat of the corn of the land, you must endure Gilgal, that is, practice; you must roll off the reproach of Egypt. It is an excision of the man wholly. It is not merely

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Marah, a man denying himself when he is tempted; "Arm yourselves with the same mind; for he that has suffered in the flesh has done with sin". Now here, all of the man is gone, not a bit left, and therefore all is classed under two heads -- one where the will works, and the other, habits. "Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth". Practice is properly, walking consistently with a position or a power conferred on us, as in Ephesians. Here it is the necessary abandonment of everything which has been removed from us in the cross of Christ, in order that we may enjoy Him, our life, where He is. It must be absolute, for we could not reach Him where He is in any other way. Verse 8: "But now ye also put off all these" -- now it is habits -- "anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds" (all the old, with its connections, must be abandoned), "and have put on the new" (we are no other, through grace, in the sight of God) "which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him". Now, when you accept all this in faith , you are where Christ is -- "Where there is neither Greek, nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all". There is a spot where Christ is everything and in everything; all of the first man has been removed to you sensibly and practically. I am conscious of it; not only do I believe that all has been cut away in the cross and absolutely removed from the eye of God, and that I have been buried by baptism unto the death of Christ, but I am led now in Christ's life outside of all that I am as a man, both as to will and habits, and I have come to a place where there is no other man at all but Christ. "Christ is everything". The apostle enumerates every class of man; it matters not whether he is a Greek (a learned man), or a Jew (a religious man), circumcision or uncircumcision,

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Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, but every kind of man is distanced. It reminds us of that word in the transfiguration, "Jesus only". And you have reached this heavenly spot, and reached it in and by Him who is your life; you are now eating of the old corn of the land, and you have no other food there. A blessed moment for my heart, to have reached Himself, where there is no intrusion of man. I am sensible that the flesh was excluded, that it could have no place there. Though I do not call this practice, yet it is most practical. Here it is the prodigal, stripping himself of every shred of his old clothes, before he is invested with the new ones. Practice is behaving myself in conformity with my new clothes, not working to obtain them. Here, the object is not practice, but practical, in order to reach the spot where the Lord is everything and in all. Now you are where the Head is, where there is no one to interfere with Him or to rival Him. He has indisputable sway. In Him all fulness dwells. As you know Him here, you know the great fact of "holding the Head".

I need not add more. The rest of the epistle follows as a consequence. Having reached the Head, you will come out here a different person in your family, and everything. Now practice will follow, as he says lower down, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus".

In conclusion, let me ask you to bear in mind the magnitude of this truth. I believe there is no truth so little known as the fact, we all have one Head. The same Head who directs you directs me, if we are right. If you and I were where Christ is, we should do everything in loving subjection to Christ. As we all have the one and selfsame Head, if He direct an assembly to any course, that must be binding upon every assembly on the face of the earth, because there is but one Head. Holding the Head is individual; it is the blessing and privilege of every member of the

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body of Christ to hold the Head. The one who is "vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind" is not holding the Head.

One thing more: I believe if we insisted more upon the magnitude of having such a Head, we would divert many from the vain pursuits with which they are occupied. When you see a Christian engrossed with his works and usefulness, with his own conceptions, and his prominence as a servant, it is evident that he is not holding the Head. If the Head were held, all these vanish as a cloud before the rising sun. There is little use in controversy. The one thing for us is, to present the blessedness and magnitude of this great truth.

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THE CHURCH, THE BODY OF CHRIST

"For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church", Ephesians 5:30 - 32.

The apostle here refers to what took place in the garden of Eden. The fullest expression of God's care for man is the fullest type of Christ and the church. There is no type that I know of at all commensurate with it. It is one of peculiar significance, hence it is brought in here; "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church". Mark how it arrests our attention. At the very start, when everything was according to God's pleasure on this earth, when there was nothing discordant, when God saw everything that He had made, "Behold, it was very good". It is important to apprehend the order of things at the moment. As it is expressed in Genesis, a rib was taken from Adam whereof He builded a woman, and when God brought her to Adam, he said (I quote the original), "She shall be called Isha, because she was taken out of Ish". (The great point of the quotation in Ephesians is to show that Eve was taken out of man.) This was when everything was beautiful and in order upon earth. A much greater thing is now on the earth, when everything in it is in the greatest possible disorganisation. It is not that everything is not very good, but everything is spoiled and corrupted. As we read in the Revelation, though it has not yet come out in its full deadly character, the sea and the rivers (the springs that furnish society), all the sources are corrupted. You are not surprised in that moment of beautiful perfection in the garden of Eden to see Adam and Eve in this consummation of happiness. But our hearts ought to be sensible that

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we have a much greater happiness now upon the earth than was in the garden of Eden. I need hardly say, immensely greater. What was typified then is set forth (Ephesians) in divine fulness. This One, who is greater than Adam, and sitting at God's right hand, can call the saints, "members of his body". The Lord lead us to apprehend it. To think that here on this earth, amid all the misrule and alienation from God, we can say, Christ has the joy of His heart, He has His helpmeet here! The church is not yet in heaven; it is here on the earth, in the midst of this terrible confusion and moral degradation. This in itself is a wonderful thing. Hereafter, when the church comes to the earth in its fulness, as the bride, it will be fully in its administrative character as the holy city coming down out of heaven from God.

The first thing I call your attention to is the origin of this beautiful thing, the church -- it is a great thing to understand its origin. I have on a former occasion dwelt upon the origin of the house, which was connected with our Lord's rejection on the earth. When John the baptist was beheaded, then He educated His disciples, as you find in Matthew 14 - 16, for that new structure which, He said, I will build, and which all the powers of hell cannot prevail against; as you get in the last verse of the second chapter of Ephesians: "Ye also are builded together for an habitation of God [by or] through the Spirit".

In order to see the origin of the body of Christ (for at first it was a secret hid in the heart of God, and never divulged until the appointed time, therefore the occasion on which it was divulged characterises its origin), see Matthew 22:44: "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool". Here it is stated that the Lord is called away from the earth to sit in the highest place. It is not simply that He has been rejected by His own -- that I have already alluded to, the house

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comes out then -- but now He has left the earth, that is the point. There is nothing about His going to heaven in Matthew 16, except that He is about to die; the point there is that He is rejected by His own people on the earth, and where He is rejected He will have a structure built by Himself, "My assembly", which all the powers of hell cannot prevail against -- that is the origin of the house.

I am conducting you now to the other aspect of the assembly. I tried to explain on a former occasion that the body is the organisation in the house. A stranger walks into the house and, after the meeting, says, You have had everything nicely arranged, of course you settled it all beforehand. I say, No, we did not settle anything beforehand. You have a good organisation. Yes, we have; but it is an invisible one, unknown except to faith. It is the body, as described in 1 Corinthians 12. But you must not confound the body with the house. A stranger walks into the house. And we know one may be in the house though not in the body. The vital thing in the house is the body.

I want to confine your attention this evening to the assembly as we get it in Ephesians, that is, "the Christ". I turn to Matthew 22:44 to show that Christ has left the earth, and I address myself to every conscientious believer, and say, How are you on the earth, then, if He is not here? You see, I propose a question which to any true-hearted soul would be a very serious one. And I have no doubt that the answer to it is a crisis in every believer's history. The answer is, I belong to Him where He is. Well, then, where is He? That is answered in Colossians 3:1: "If Ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth ". This is not so much a matter of the conscience. The conscience wants rest and freedom from judgement. This relates to the heart. My heart seeks the company of Him who saved me. You may say, Oh, we are saved and we are happy.

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Quite true; but your heart is lacking in true affection to Christ (it is a great lack) unless you really know where He is. It is touchingly expressed by Mary Magdalene, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". John went home, though he did not know where He was. One with the light of the truth can go home, not knowing where the Lord is. It is a crisis in the history of the Christian when he desires to know where the Lord is. Where is He ? It is answered, as I have said, in Colossians 3:1.

I turn to two passages more, one in Acts 7:55. Here I get a remarkable thing: though union with, Christ was not yet disclosed, yet you get here the energy of the Holy Spirit, and that, although we are upon earth, we are not disconnected from Christ who is in heaven: "He, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus". And he says, "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God". I adduce this passage in order to show you that the Holy Spirit has come down from the rejected Christ now exalted to the highest place in heaven, to maintain for Him here. A power equal to Himself is upon the earth, though invisible. He who was the Light is rejected, and now He sends from the Father the Holy Spirit to testify of Him. The Holy Spirit is invisible to the world, He is only known to faith; He connects me with Christ where He is.

"And see, the Spirit's power
Has ope'd the heavenly door,
Has brought me to that favour'd hour
When toil shall all be o'er". (Hymn 74)

That is the action of the Spirit. He has come down to where I am, and therefore He can lift me up to where Christ is; as the hymn puts it:

"In spirit there already". (Hymn 56)

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Stephen, being filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, the place where my Saviour is. The heavens are opened. It was the first time heaven ever was opened to a man (I do not speak of our Lord). That is the way the Holy Spirit leads now. I put it simply to every believer, What do you do when you are praying? When you are in any wise walking in the Spirit of God, do you not look up?

Another thing I want to establish is, that we are the body of Christ on the earth. Acts 9:4: "And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Now for the first time was divulged the secret that the saints on earth are "the Christ". That is the word all through the Ephesians, as well as I remember; "the Christ" means Himself. It is not a question of two parts, it is one great whole; you do not add anything to Him. Some say, There are a great many Christians not born yet. Well, as in a bird, the feathers have not come out yet; but they are all in the bird, and when they do come out, they come out from the bird, it is not that they are added to it, but they grow out of the bird. We are quickened together with Him. All comes from Him, just as the rib was taken out of Adam, and the type is but a shadow of the reality. The great lack in those who profess to understand the mystery of the body is, they do not see that it is a part of Christ Himself: "We are members of his body". It is not something I add to Him, but something I derive from Him. I derive my membership from Him.

This fourth verse is the first time it is divulged. It is divulged to Saul of Tarsus, and to him this great truth was committed. He was persecuting the saints to the death, and now is disclosed for the first time that the saints whom he was persecuting were Christ Himself. "Why persecutest thou ME?" It does not say 'mine', but "ME". Hence the apostle says (1 Corinthians 12:12), "For as the body is one, and hath many

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members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ". This is the only allusion I know of in Corinthians to the mystery. Now we see that nothing else could answer the question; if Christ has been rejected from this place where I am, how could I be in this place? I do not belong to the place where He has been rejected, thank God (I am sure I thank God with all my heart for that), but I belong to the place where He is exalted. But, you say, how are we here then? You will never be able to solve this problem, why it is that we are in the place where He is rejected, until you understand this truth, that you are a member of the exalted Man in heaven, and that you are down on this earth to do His pleasure. So that it is not simply that you are in the place from which He was rejected, but you are in it to fulfil by divine power His pleasure here. That solves the problem. I know how Christendom solves it -- by saying that the Gentile did not reject Christ. I say he did, he was the active agent in it. The Roman soldiers crucified Him, they parted His raiment among them; but I need not go into that, I trust, to any of you. What I am explaining now is, that while we are in the place from which Christ has been rejected, we belong to Him in the place where He is exalted, and are doing His pleasure here by His own power given to us. We have not the power of this world that rejected Him, but we are here to stand for Him in the power sent by Himself. You could not apprehend this unless you were a member of His body. And then you can see how consistent it is, that when His rejection was completed, that He was not only rejected in humiliation but rejected from glory, as you find in Acts 7, then should be divulged the secret that His body is here. And if you do not believe that Christ's body is on the earth (and, alas! how little it is believed in the church), you are unintentionally playing into the hands of Satan, who crucified Christ here; but

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God's counsel, which had been hid from the foundation of the world, is that His body should be here. You may say you do not see it; you may say it is greatly demoralised. It is disorganised if you like, but it is here; there is not a member of it wanting, though the expression of it is not maintained. But His body is on this earth where He has been rejected: "By one Spirit are we all baptised into one body". How indifferently each member acts in relation to that fact is but too true! I need not say, beloved friends, how thoroughly we have all failed. But still, the failure is not on God's side, the failure is on man's side, and all I insist upon is that the body is here.

Now I take a little view of the epistle to the Ephesians, and I give you a summary of it, to establish distinctly what I have already asserted.

The first section goes down to the end of the fourteenth verse of the first chapter. It comprises a very important point, and that is, that we are brought by divine grace into similarity with our Lord Jesus Christ as to relationship and inheritance; no union yet. I am anxious you should understand that these first fourteen verses are all individual. It is all to show what we are brought to. For instance, this one verse gives you an idea of it, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will". That is individual. You may understand it better if I state it in another way, and as I get it in Hebrews -- I am fit to be His companion. That is a very important truth for the soul to be clear about. You do not get a word about union in Hebrews that I know of; you get the church spoken of once; but what you get is, that He is anointed with the oil of gladness above His companions (that is the meaning also of the word 'partaker'). "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one"; but that is not union. If I am not fit to be His companion, how could I be happy

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with Him, or He with me? How could there be for ever and ever a bond which never could be broken? You see it must be so. Hence the first fourteen verses of this epistle in which "the Christ" is described, carefully set forth and group together the wonderful position we hold individually. Just as I might describe how Sarah was as to rank similar to Abraham; before marriage took place she was quite qualified to be his companion, her lineage was the same as his; but by marriage her position only was advanced. That is the first section.

Now look at the next section, from the fifteenth verse to the end of the chapter; that is counsel, that is what we are called to. The apostle prays that the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him may be given, that the eyes of our hearts might be enlightened, that we might understand what God's calling is. And not only the calling, because in one sense that is future, and it is all future as to its completion but the nineteenth verse is that you should know now "what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ". We are all members of Christ's body. As I said before about the bird, every feather in that bird comes from the bird, it is in the bird. And that explains a great deal that happens now, because in that sense the plumage is here. And would to God it was more practically so of us; that is, that each of us set forth here the beauty of the exalted Christ in the very scene of His rejections What a wonderful sight it would be, beloved friends! And we may indeed hang down our heads and be depressed in heart that it is not so. If in Israel they mourned that the temple was not according to what it was, how much more should we mourn that the exalted Christ is not better described here. This is our testimony on whom the ends of the ages are come; and therefore it is now the fullest expression

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of what Christ is. You are not united to Him in humiliation, but in exaltation. A person may say, Why don't I know the power if I have got the Spirit of God? Well, that is a question I am quite ready to meet. I believe if you had the same affection for the Lord as Peter had when he said, "If it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water", you would know that you had it. Peter had not the power then, but he had the affection. I believe we have the power, but we lack the affection. I do not judge any one, but I judge myself. Peter could say, "Bid me come unto thee on the water", a place no human mind could accept; it was impossible to man. And everything of faith is impossible to the human mind. It was the most perilous position a man could enter on. Peter, in his affection for the Lord, would encounter all to get near Him. And this is what I call the second stage in the Christian, affection for the Lord. Many a one loves the Lord for saving him, and like Jonathan he would give to Him; a great sign of grace; but that is not all. Next, you follow Him. Peter left all and followed Him. Following is greater than giving. It is then His company is greater than property; for you will never value union until His company is your greatest satisfaction.

The second chapter is a section in itself, as I understand. It is the vocation. There are seven parts in it. You begin with heaven, you are seated in heaven, you are a new creation. I must turn to the fifteenth verse, because it explains a great deal of what is defective in Christendom; "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace". Our brethren in Christendom do not know how Jew and Gentile could worship together. There is a great deal of confusion and darkness abroad on this point: that is, how Jews and Gentiles were to be put upon common ground

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before God. If a man walks into a parish church, facing him as he goes up the aisle he will see the ten commandments. Well, then, we are all Jews; every Gentile is on Jewish ground. And I have no doubt that is what is alluded to in Philadelphia (Revelation 3), "Which say they are Jews, and are not"; they have taken the ground of Jews. How will you meet the mistake? By this verse. Hence whether the Jew, or whether the Gentile, making in Himself of the two one new man, so making peace; and now the new man comes out distinctly for the first time. It is not a question of whether you are a Jew or Gentile, He has done with both: "one new man, so making peace"; I do not look upon you as a Jew or as a Gentile, but as in Christ, and therefore of the new man. Every man in Christ is a new creation. I come on to new ground. As someone has said, God is bringing out a wonderful thing on earth, and that thing is outside everything. This section ends with the house, the habitation of God, the last verse of the chapter.

Of the third chapter I cannot say much, but I cannot pass it by. It is a parenthesis, but it seems to me to be a most amazing chapter, and I feel I have very little to say on it, though there is a great deal to think about. This chapter sets forth the object of the body of Christ on the earth, and also the wonderful power that is in this body; not only what its object is, but what it possesses. Let me read a verse, and leave it not only to your meditation but to your prayer, for I think if one really prayed more to understand the word of God, it would have more marked effect. "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the administration of the mystery". You belong to the church, but do you take to heart the way we have failed? "To make all men

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see what is the administration of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ". That is the first thing; there ought to be a manifestation of it here on the earth.

But that is not all; but as has been said by someone, it is a lesson-book to the angels; "to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God". Have you an idea, have I an idea, of what that structure was to be on this earth? You read Christian books, but do you find anywhere a conception of what that is? Do you feel charged with it? You say the apostle is gone; yes, but that is the very reason why you should be more zealous. The first thing I press on the youngest here is, Are you weighed down with the grand responsibility which attaches to you as a member of the body of Christ? As a feather, so to speak, of the most beautiful One that ever was seen upon this earth, to set forth the colour and beauty of Him in His exaltation, in the spot where He was rejected? Is this your paramount object as you walk about this world? or is it only that you may be useful and happy? Are you losing sight of the greatness of your calling? The devil is always most opposed to God's chief purpose and interest at any given time. Hence, as the apostle says, "All ... in Asia be turned away from me".

Read now the end of the chapter (verse 20), "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us". You must not say that you have not ability; you may not have used your ability. When the parent birds want the young ones to fly, they go two or three feet above them, in order that they may find out the use of their wings. Affection makes them move their wings, and then they discover that they have the power; that is the way now for you. There

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is no lack of power; the lack is in the affection. It is plain that there is the power. "Unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power" -- that is in Himself? Not at all, but "according to the power that worketh in us", feeble in ourselves. Yes, the Spirit of God is in you, you are members of the body of Christ. The power is towards you in the first chapter, it is in you now. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end". Thank God, it will ever be. This wonderful centrepiece of God's counsel shall be for ever and for ever, "throughout all ages, world without end".

The next section, the practice, goes down to the tenth verse of the sixth chapter. It begins above, as divine practice always begins. It begins with the circle nearest to the heart of Christ -- "keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". It affects every one of us. The first thing in your life as a heavenly man is "to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". But everyone knows very well, even in his own family circle, how little he does it; some selfish thing or other stops it. Now this is very solemn, for if you fail in the first, the top circle, you fail in every one of them, down to the lowest. A man may think that he is the most amiable man in his own family, but I say, If you have failed in the highest circle, the circle nearest to the heart of Christ, the flaw that is there has travelled down and characterised you in every circle of practice.

I must add a word here. You must begin at the top. Even Romans 12 starts you from the body. I apprehend that many servants of God are really hindered because they do not begin there: "That which is crooked cannot be made straight". They did not begin with the body of Christ. In fact, I remark that when a young servant is led of God he begins at the prayer-meeting, not so much at works of

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service. He is first interested in the interests of Christ on earth. Evidently Timothy received his gift in the assembly "with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery"; and Paul and Barnabas got their directions in the assembly, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them". All I press is -- as you get in Romans 12, and in every place that I know of -- that the assembly which is first with Christ must be first with you. And then you descend, as in the sixth chapter, to the conduct of masters and servants.

But it is not simply practice which is presented to you. I must now bring before you a grievous thing. On this earth, where we are appointed to set forth the beauty of the exalted Christ, you will meet with the most unrelenting opposition. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might". It is not now power to enable me to act like a heavenly man. Ah! no, beloved friends, it is very solemn -- there is a power here to withstand you and baffle you at every turn. I do not know anything more lamentable, I say it sorrowfully in my own history, I never accepted a step for the Lord that I know of, that the devil did not throw something in my way, and I found afterwards it was a snare to draw me aside. If you want a quiet time, do not seek to be true to your calling, just settle down, avoiding any truth which would distress your conscience. Then you will have an easy time here, I will not say a good time. But if you say, No, I must stand for my Lord; I am a member of His body, and I must be true to my heavenly Lord, though I am the weakest in myself; my heart, through the Spirit, is so set on Him that nothing can satisfy me but to be a true transcript, according to my measure, of Him, the exalted One, in the very spot where He has been rejected -- this is fidelity. Such is a virtuous woman: "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her".

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Nothing will preserve you from the enemy but the whole armour of God; you must put on the whole armour of God. You must stand; like the Israelites going round Jericho, you must be in armour. Not "the armour of light", that is Romans. This is "the whole armour of God"; it is all to secure you from the power of the enemy. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood" (it is not that you are fighting a crowd in the street), "but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". He is in heavenly places, for if he can circumvent you there, he can stop you everywhere. His great aim is to stop you there. Do not think he does not know us. It is wonderful how we find out that he does know us. As a great politician has said, "Every man has his price" -- and the enemy knows well what it is. Then what are you to do? "Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand". Well, beloved friends, we have to confront a deadly enemy, and if there is a point of the armour wanting, he conquers. Supposing your feet are not shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, suppose you argue with a man and you lose your temper; he conquers. But then, you have the power of God to be here a beautiful description, according to your measure, of the exalted Christ, and that measure should be continually increasing: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ".

But what do you do now that you are in armour and able to face the enemy? You pray. And mark the fulness of the prayer, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints"; I cannot leave out anybody. I often say,

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If you do not pray for those whom you do know, you can hardly pray for those whom you do not know. You are to pray for all saints, and then for the testimony. "And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel". You may say the apostle is not now here. Well, if the general of an army is cut down, every valiant man tries to make up for his loss, instead of running away as if panic-stricken. No; we must all seek to fill up the blank, and do what we can; each contributing his quota, in order to make up for the loss.

The Lord grant, beloved friends, that our hearts may be bowed before Him, and that we may delight to contemplate before Him, and in the secret of our hearts to have the comfort and the strength of it -- that we are members of His body; that, though we are down here, yet we are united to Him in heaven. We were not united to Him on earth, but in heaven, and hence, while in the gospel we have our home in heaven, in the church we have our place in heaven: that is, we are there as members of the body of Christ.

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THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH

"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself", Philippians 3:20, 21.

It has been said that in the epistle to the Philippians we get the experience of the heavenly man, while in the Ephesians we get the position and practice. Well, it is very evident you could not have the experience without the position and practice, but still experience is a great thing, because it flows from them. You do not get anything about the Lord's coming in the Ephesians, because you are by the Spirit in association with Him, you are enjoying His presence in His own sphere. You get in Ephesians that you are raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. We have to learn by the Spirit that such is our place; in fact, a Christian has no other place. In the gospel I get the right to the place, like the prodigal to the father's house; in the church I find that I have a place, because I am a member of the body of Christ. Now in Philippians I come to the practical experience of a man that has a place in heaven. "Our polity is in heaven", that is the force of the word; 'citizenship', it is sometimes called; it is really more, it is the rule or order of the state or city to which we belong. Our polity is in heaven. We are looking for One to come from that place, "From whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ". We are looking for Him to come. And mark, beloved friends, we are not looking for Him to come merely as a great historical event; and not merely to obtain relief from our distressing circumstances -- not at all. In James the Lord's coming is put before you as the harvest day. In fact, all the apostles present the coming of the Lord

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in a different aspect. Peter speaks of the advantages that are to come to us, the grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. But here you have what satisfies the heart of the one associated with Him in His own place, while still on this earth. What do we look for? We look for the Saviour to come. What for? We are looking for Him to come to change this body of humiliation. We are not looking for Him to come merely to settle things. He is coming to reign, and we shall reign with Him. We are looking for Him to come and "change this body of humiliation, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself".

Beloved friends, it is beautiful when the heart apprehends that the first wave of the power of the Lord, when He leaves the Father's throne, will be to give a glorious body to every saint on the face of the earth, wherever they are. That is the rapture. "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout"; we shall meet Him in the air. He does not come yet to reign. I am speaking now of the first step, "This corruptible must put on incorruption".

But before I pass to that, I must turn to a passage in 1 Corinthians 15, which corroborates what I am saying. Here we see that no one has a glorified body till Christ comes. I know people speak of Elijah and Moses, as if they had glorious bodies, but we cannot give pre-eminence to anyone but Christ: He must have the pre-eminence. I think it is an important incentive to desire the coming of the Lord, to bear in mind that nothing is consummated till He comes; there is no finish, Christ must get His place. Now He is in the place of rejection; He must take His place before anything is brought to a finish. We groan now, being burdened in this earthly tabernacle; we are looking to be clothed with our house which is from heaven, but the time for it has not come yet. Now

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look at 1 Corinthians 15:23, "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits"; that is all, we have not got beyond that yet; Christ only is glorified. In Romans God speaks of us as glorified, but that is in His own counsel. Paul has not a glorified body yet; "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming". And therefore it says in the Hebrews of the Old Testament saints, that they "without us should not be made perfect". Now I have no doubt that it will affect you much to think of the Lord's coming as the harbinger of the day. It is the day-star, and therefore the apostle says to the Thessalonians, "We beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind .. . as that the day of Christ is at hand". But it is the prelude of the day. When travelling by night, one's attention has been called to the morning star. What does it indicate? That we are near morning. It is not the question what is the interval, but there it is: "Until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts".

But the first step, the first thing is, we are looking for Him to come from heaven that He may change our vile body, and fashion it like unto His own glorious body, according to the power whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself. He was called to sit upon the Father's throne until His foes were made His footstool; and there He is now. But He comes. He will be like a conquering general coming into a besieged city where his family are in prison, and he says, I must release my family first. The very first expression of the power of the Lord is the resurrection of His own; that is the rapture.

Now look at 1 Corinthians 15:52: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this

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corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality"; there must be a change. What the nature of that change is, I do not know. We know that sin brought death into this world; and all that appertains to it, all that on which the judgement of death was, must go. Even if the Lord's coming occurred this minute, all that must go; the corruptible thing must put on incorruption. "We shall be changed". What the nature of the change is, I cannot tell; but we shall drop the old thing, this corruptible shall put on incorruption; and then it goes on to say, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory". We have already got the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, I need not say. In the Red Sea we find that all that was between God and us has been removed; but it is in Jordan that we find that all between us and God has been removed. We see all gone in the death of Christ, and therefore we can say, "O grave, where is thy victory?" In Thessalonians we read He "died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him". Then we know practically for ourselves that all between us and God has gone, and therefore, as we read, we are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world. If we were practically dead with Christ we should be better prepared for the change, the dropping of all that is connected with death. I believe that it is because we do not reckon ourselves dead that many of our trials have to be passed through, as the hymn expresses it:

"The cords that bound our hearts to earth
Are loosed by His hand".

They are loosed by Christ's death , but if you have not accepted it, then it comes in that they are loosed by His hand. We are dead with Christ from the elements of the world, that is Jordan. The power of

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the enemy is broken in the Red Sea; and all that debars from the new ground is gone in Jordan.

I now return to what I call the first step; and there is not a heart bound to the Lord but must anticipate with great satisfaction the day when we shall have a glorious body like His own. That is what we are looking for; that is the first thing.

Now, if you turn to 1 John 3:2, I will bring before you the next step. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him". In fact, there are two things. One, "we shall be like him". The other, "your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory". When He comes, we shall be with Him.

First, we are clothed upon with glorified bodies, so that we shall be like Him. I suppose there is nothing more satisfying to the heart than to be like Him. And the next thing we are told is, that we shall see Him as He is. I do not think it means here that seeing Him makes us like Him, but when He is manifested we are like Him, and being so we shall see Him as He is. As you get in Psalm 45"The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework". The idea is that we are really suited to Him; you cannot find a more comprehensive word than 'like him'. We shall be in similitude, which is the real effect of association with Him now, as you read in another place, Beholding the Lord's glory we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory. That is similitude; it does not say equality; there is no contrariety. There is moral correspondence. I ask you, beloved friends, what could attract your heart more to the coming of the Lord than these three things: "a glorious body", "like him", and to "see

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him as he is"? These you are waiting for and anticipating.

Now I turn to Revelation 19:7, 8: "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of saints". I have dwelt on the three things which must delight every heart; the day has not dawned yet; these three are before the day. Now I bring before you the scene in heaven. "The marriage of the Lamb is come". The rival, the harlot, Babylon, has been destroyed, and there is great joy in heaven because of it. Consequent on the destruction of the rival, the marriage of the Lamb is come, the declaration of our union with Him. One cannot dilate upon this, but I am sure that the more you dwell upon all that is connected with the coming of the Lord, the more will your hearts be drawn to Him. It is no longer individually, we all together share this consummation, "the marriage of the Lamb is come". It is the declaration of union. You say, Are we not united to Him now? Yes, but the opening of the day is marked with the public declaration of our alliance to the Lamb.

I believe that it is of all importance that we should know our union with Him now. Many put off even association with Him until He comes. I see that many Christians believe only in the first coming of our Lord, His death and resurrection; but between the first coming and the second coming of the Lord, they skip over everything; they know nothing of His chief interest in the interval. Therefore they know nothing about union. They are looking for the second coming of the Lord. Oh, they say, it will be a great delight when the Lord shall come, and then everything will be right. Now the fact is, they have never made acquaintance with Him by the Holy Spirit. They are looking

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for His second coming as the day of their acquaintance with Him, while they should be looking for the day of His nuptials. In the Canticles you get personal attachment to Him, but there is no union there; union is by the Spirit. Many earnest souls have not seen the Spirit of God residing in the assembly, both in the individual temple and in the collective temple, and therefore they cannot understand union with Christ. It was not that they were not attached to the Lord. Such men as Baxter, Owen, Rutherford, and the like, were devotedly attached to the Lord, and yet they never knew union with Him. Why? They never saw the fulfilment of the feast of Pentecost; they never saw that the Holy Spirit had come down and formed the church. When Christ was exalted to God's right hand, a power equal to Himself was sent down to maintain for Him in the very spot where He is rejected, invisible to the world that rejected Him (and rightly so), but visible to faith, thank God -- visible to every one that receives Him.

But to return, we read, "The marriage of the Lamb is come", and that is the consummation. Next, "His wife hath made herself ready". The readiness is in the next verse, "To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints". I believe that she has passed the judgment-seat, she is now coming with the King to reign in righteousness -- the reign of righteousness is about to begin, and therefore now it is righteousness; she has passed the judgment-seat, she has made herself ready, and there is given to her fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints. Now mark the words of the apostle to the Thessalonians, "That ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer". Beloved friends, it is by grace only that you have heaven; but your place in the kingdom will be according to your righteousness here. As we are

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followers of the Lord, suffering with Him, when He comes we shall reign in righteousness with Him. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad". Now the marriage has come, and His wife has made herself ready, she is ready in her righteousnesses; each person appears according to the righteousness in which he has acted here on this earth, and according to that righteousness he obtains a place in the kingdom. And therefore "it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you". And instead of a person shrinking from the judgment-seat, on the contrary it ought to be a cheering thing for us to know that every part of our history, from babyhood up to the moment we leave this world, will be all brought out there; not brought out to condemn us -- we cannot be condemned -- but to show us what objects of grace we have been all the way; so that when that declaration is made as to what God has been to us from our babyhood up to that moment, our hearts will be filled with His unwearied grace which has followed us every step of the journey. Each will be rewarded as he has turned his talent to good account. As the apostle says, "I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me". Where you were entitled to nothing, where nothing but the grace of God could save you, the grace of God has given you heaven. But the pound, or the talent, has been given to us, and we have to trade with it, so that we may be counted worthy, one to rule over five cities and another over ten cities -- that is, we are rewarded according to our righteousness. He is coming to reign in righteousness, and therefore our righteousness entitles us to a place according to it, one to five cities and another to ten cities.

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Now I turn to Revelation 21:2, to complete the picture, "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband". That is the future, the eternal state; but in the tenth verse, "He carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God", we are come as the bride now to the earth. This is the introduction of the day. I turn to this to complete your anticipation. I desire to arouse in your heart this great joy; such a prospect will have a wonderful effect on you. What could give you a more dignified and restful continuance in well-doing than the moral effect of this great anticipation?

I turn to this scripture. It is most interesting to come to the full answer of the Lord's prayer in John 17. It must affect us much to reach the moment when His desire shall be accomplished. There was a little gleam of an answer to this in Jerusalem, the natural place for it, but now it is fulfilled in the new Jerusalem, the city coming down from God out of heaven. The city is the bride who comes down to administer on the earth for Christ.

I must now give you a little sketch of what our future may be. We see our present to be very sad; but let me draw your attention to what a gladsome future we shall have here where we have been such a failure. The picture runs down to the fifth verse of the twenty-second chapter, "They shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads". Our future then with regard to the earth -- There are seven traits of the bride as the holy city, the new Jerusalem. I shall not go into them at length. It is very interesting, that where there is a defect now in the assembly, it is the lack of one of these traits. Then there will be a perfect and a complete expression of the mind of the Lord to the earth. It is not then that the wisdom of

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God is known in the church as now, but this is its actual administration. As the apostle says in the Hebrews, "Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come". Abraham looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God; and therefore it says, "He has prepared for them a city".

Then we take our place with Him here. We are not only looking for a glorious body, but we shall be like Him, and see Him; the marriage of the Lamb is come, the bride has made herself ready in heaven, and now we are to be in perfect administration for Him on the earth. Now the day begins.

Let us now briefly look at these seven traits, for as we anticipate our future, we are instructed as to our present. The first trait is light. The holy Jerusalem descends out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. It is evident that we ought to be the light now.

The next is "walls". I can only give an outline of the picture for your anticipation; the effect of such an anticipation is that you are ordering your life now on earth with reference to it. What do you anticipate? What do you look for? The first thing is the light most precious, a jasper stone, the Lord Himself. The second, "walls", they are not only protective, but exclusive. It says in verse 27, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life". Everything is excluded that is not fit for the Lord; that is the principle of the assembly now. "Holiness becometh thy house, O Lord, for ever".

The third trait is "gates", twelve gates, with the names of all Israel upon them. The gates are not only the place of judgment, but they also have a moral

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character. We read in chapter 22, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city". The twelve gates show the perfection of administration here; and the names of the twelve tribes of Israel upon them, that all the Israel of God can enter through them.

Then there is the street of gold, the walk of divine righteousness; next there is no temple there, no shrine; next the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the light of it. It is in reference to the earth. There is no earthly light, no sun and no moon, the Lamb is the light thereof. Then there is the Spirit of God; the living water which you can offer now. "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely". Finally, His servants shall serve Him. However we fail now, there is a day coming when we shall not fail; we shall do His pleasure here; we shall be the medium of the communication of His grace for ever. We are the trophies of His grace now, thank God, and we shall come, as I have said already, clothed in fine linen. As Peter says, "They may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation". There will be the acknowledgment in that day of your good works. I might take the case of the rich man (Luke 16); he singles out Lazarus as the one to serve him. Had Lazarus ever received any attention from the rich man? No; but he now owns that Lazarus is a man of God, and he cries, "Send Lazarus". Look at the way he gives him credit; a credit which he did not render to him on earth, he renders now; he glorifies God in the day of visitation. If there is not the acknowledgment now, there will be the acknowledgment by-and-by; God is a righteous Judge.

To sum up -- our polity is in heaven, but we are down here, and are looking for Him to come from that place, because the moment He comes, the first wave of

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His power is to raise up every saint on the face of the earth; wherever they are, they will all rise to meet Him; these that are dead will rise first, and together we shall all be caught up to meet Him in the air "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed", and we meet Him in glorious bodies. What a moment! We shall be like Him, and we shall see Him. Our hearts will be satisfied. After a short interval the marriage is come, the wife hath made herself ready, and we now come with Him to the scene of His rejection, sharing with Him His place of power, when all His foes are made His footstool. We are not only glad in the day of His espousals, but we accompany Him when He takes His place of power in righteous judgment here.

The Lord lead your hearts to anticipate the great realities which I have tried to present to you in these lectures. I began with His first coming, death and resurrection; and then that He is glorified in heaven, gone to God's right hand, and the Holy Spirit has come down here, and is down here with the assembly; next, that Christ is the Head of the body, the church, of every believer on the face of the earth; next, that the body of Christ is on the earth; last, His coming, the hope of the church.

I need not add more. The one great thing is to be led by His Spirit, and to hear His own voice. Oh, what a wonderful effect it would have on each of us if His coming were brought home to our hearts tonight. Do your hearts anticipate that hour? Do you anticipate all the varied blessedness, the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ? The Lord grant that each of your hearts may have a better and a fuller idea of it. I like to hear a man praying for the Lord's coming if I see that he is ready for Him; but I say, if we are not ready for Him, we are overlooking the wonderful blessings which will be ours at His coming.

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LESSONS OF THE SANCTUARY

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In submitting to my brethren in Christ the notes of lectures, on the blessing conferred by the Lord in the midst of His own gathered to His name, I desire to awaken interest in this great subject, assured that it is as we know Him, "Son over his own (God's) house", that we in every detail correspond to His pleasure here.

May every reader of these notes be not only helped by them, but may he learn much more from the Lord for himself. "Unto you that hear shall more be given".

J. B. STONEY

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THE LORD'S PRESENCE AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS

"For where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them", Matthew 18:20.

It may appear to some, that this is a very elementary subject, but it is a subject which I trust we shall see is of great magnitude; and in fact, the more we learn of it, the more we shall see how little we do know, but we shall long to know it more. I propose to look at the fact of the Lord's presence, though I cannot go much into detail, but I hope, if the Lord permit, to go on with the subject, and to point out the marks connected with His presence. But I desire to confine myself this evening, to what His presence is. It is a fact. You may not think it necessary to insist on this, but I feel assured that it is; because though I have no doubt that, thank God, many have faith that He is actually present, yet, the mass of believers have only a conviction that it is so -- and conviction is not faith. There are three classes which generally compose the assembly meetings: (1) those who have faith and who enjoy His presence; (2) those with conviction, who believe the truth and who would not go anywhere else; and (3) those there from imitation. The two latter do not hinder the Lord's presence, only the first enjoy His presence. To enjoy it is a very different thing from being merely convinced that it is the right way.

Though I cannot, this evening, dwell upon the character of the company He comes to, subsequently I hope to do so. I confine myself this evening to His actual presence, and I must try to explain why it is necessary to consider this elementary subject. I do not know any subject that is more misunderstood or commonly adopted than this very subject. I was in

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a place lately where there were five meetings, and they all assumed to be on the ground of this verse, yet they were each opposed to the other; there was no inter-communion. Well, there must be something radically defective in the meaning given to this passage to admit of such a state of things, and all I have to say is, we must learn what the right meaning is. This principle I get in Timothy, in the last days. When the apostle has gone -- in times that were unknown to the apostle, Timothy was to stand, and he was to battle with the magicians of that day. What was the attempt of the magicians? To neutralise the power of God by imitating it. And what was Timothy to do? He was to "continue"; but "their (the magicians of the day) folly shall be made manifest unto all men". We do not at once overthrow the magicians of this day; no, what we have to do is to stand. "Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of". Moses did not retreat when he saw the magicians working. He went on and prospered. You have to learn and be assured that you know His presence, and that you have the marks which accompany His presence. I hope to present consecutively the marks or guard of His presence which are known to those gathered to His name, and which are proof positive that you have His presence. There can be nothing more definite than that He is in the midst of them. The very words are used in Luke 24:36, "in the midst of them".

Now the first thing I dwell on is the fact that He is really present; and I cannot for myself conceive anything greater than the actuality of His presence. What can I speak of greater than that? What can I present to a young believer greater than the simple fact -- I can conduct you to a spot where you will actually know the presence of your Saviour? I can understand a young believer saying, Well if I had to

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go fifty miles, I would go. What could delight his heart more than to be actually in the presence of his Saviour? Well, it is a fact; because some might think it an action of the Spirit of God. No doubt, if you had not the Spirit of God you could not recognise His presence; and if there were not the Spirit of God, there would be no communication between you and Christ. And remember, it is not the presence of Jesus as He was in humiliation, but as He is in glory, that He comes into the midst of His gathered people. A greater thing could not be on earth. He comes here -- here, where He was rejected, in all the moral dignity of the heavenly atmosphere, the Lord in glory. "Where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them". It was to the disciples who knew His presence, He said this; they knew very well what His presence was, though then they only knew Him as the meek and lowly One.

I turn to a passage in the Old Testament to look at it in type -- for it is only brought out in its great living reality now -- but if you look at the type, the ark of the covenant and the cherubim of glory, they typify the presence of the Lord. I turn to the passage merely to show that there was a type, for if there was a type you may be sure that the antitype is greater. "And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the LORD their God", Exodus 29:45, 46. I could turn to many passages, but I trust you will search them out, because it is easy to find out references in connection with God dwelling among His people. The word that is called "dwell" there, in the popular translation of the Old Testament is, "I fix my name there"; it is not simply dwelling. It is not any point of learning, but it is interesting to understand, that in

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the Septuagint, which, to the Jew, was very much what the English translation is to us, they expressed that "dwelling" by "His name there".

But I go outside revelation now, to ascertain the opinion of the people of Israel or their teachers about it. They adopted a word which is common amongst us, though it is not found in the Bible, and that is the Shekinah. Now the word Shekinah simply comes from dwelling; that is the derivation of the word, but they attached to it something else, some glorious manifestation. I only give you those two as showing you what an idea was connected with the type. Every believer can come into His presence, he has a right to come into the holiest of all; and in the holiest of all was the ark of the covenant, the type of our Lord Jesus Christ, and God said, "There will I meet with you". Now the antitype to that is the presence of the Lord in the midst of His own, gathered together to His name. There was only one ark of the covenant. It could not be with Israel and Judah too. Jeroboam set up calves in Dan and at Bethel to wile away the hearts of the people from the place where God had set His name. I do not dwell on this, I desire this evening to confine myself to the solemn blessedness of the fact -- The Lord of glory in the midst of His own assembly. With Israel it was a cloud of glory, for us the Lord of glory. "And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office", Exodus 29:43, 44. "And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle", Exodus 40:33, 34. The tabernacle was all a representation of what Moses

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had seen in the mount -- a figure of the true, the heavenly; and when he had set it up, the cloud of glory filled it. Now in heavenly dignity the Lord comes into the midst. He could not come in an earthly order. The tabernacle was a heavenly thing in the midst of Israel.

Now I trust further on to be able to show you that, when the Lord was rejected here, He said, I will have My assembly (mark the word 'my') I lay great stress upon the word 'my'. That gives it all its character. How could it be His assembly if He were not there? "The assembly of the living God", it is called in another place; "living", I believe, because He is there in His activity. And that assembly will be an impregnable fortress upon the earth. Some will tell you it is all broken up; but His assembly is impregnable; it is very plain and very strong language, but there it is, it is impregnable, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it". That is not in heaven at all, it is on earth. And, therefore, when He speaks of all the evil in this world, speaking of how the kingdom of heaven fails here among men, He says, My treasure is there. I only allude to that to show, that at no moment in the history of the church, though you may speak of its being dismantled, and of its carved work being broken down with axes and hammers, yet you never can set aside the fact, that the power of the Lord is connected with it, that He abides faithful. You may not abide faithful, that is very likely, a great many have not, but He does. That is a great matter. Where was the breakdown in Israel? With Aaron and his sons. Where? just as they were going into the holiest; in the very brightest spot. And what then? Aaron's sons were reduced to two; but they had the high priest with them, and though reduced to two, we may have the Lord; we have still the One who will stand by His own and maintain His own according to His pleasure, while the assembly is

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here. But that I only dwell on to show that the presence remains with the two or three.

I have brought before you what I hope you all admit, and I trust we may know it more sensibly. I often ask myself the question, Am I going really to meet the Lord? What an effect it would have upon us all! In the Old Testament we find, when the Lord appeared there was a sensible effect. Man was appalled. I do not believe that is the effect now, the flesh is not recognised now at all. The Lord's presence is only known to faith, and therefore something morally beyond the flesh. In the same way with the Holy Spirit -- the world seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him. He is known only to faith. Little as I do know Him, there we are, this is something greater than the type.

Now I trust I have made it plain to you all, that we have something greater than the type. If I asked the youngest child in the whole company of Israel, Do you know God is dwelling here? He would say, Yes, there is the tabernacle and the cloud dwelling on it. Now surely you will admit, that the antitype is greater than the type. We are come to the fulfilment of the word of God. There is not a single thing that is gone before according to the purpose of God, that you do not find now established in full vigour in the blessed Lord whom we represent here. You admit, I trust, the reality of His presence, that is all I want. In Luke 24:36, and in John 20:19, you get a pattern of it. I do not think you get the thing fully, but you get a pattern of the Lord in the midst of them. "The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord", He "came and stood in the midst". The Lord Jesus Christ takes His own place in the midst of His assembly. "My assembly", and He says, "Peace be unto you"; not a cloud. This is introductory. I desire that we should all pray to understand this better.

Now I think this is settled, and I go on to the characteristics; I trust I shall have your prayers.

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I am quite surprised that any soul should think that he was not doing service by praying, for it is wonderful how the answer comes, and thus the Lord encourages us. I have found that, if I went on praying, the Lord would surely answer. I say this, that we might co-operate with one another.

Now turn to Hebrews 8:1, 2, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man". "A minister of the sanctuary" should be of "the holy places"; it is plural, therefore it means the holiest -- "which the Lord pitched and not man". And who were associated with the high priest there? Aaron's sons. And we are of Christ, priests with Him in the holiest -- in that sense, Christ's sons. The Lord is actually there, and in heavenly order. The imitation of the thing only proves there is a great reality. People do not counterfeit farthings, they counterfeit sovereigns.

Now tonight I dwell on the characteristics of His presence; and the next time, on the marks. I say this just to give you an idea of the difference between what I call the marks and the characteristics of His presence -- the presence of the Lord of glory, and that He cannot be with two companies opposed to each other. This evening I prove to you that He is present, and give you the characteristics which prove it. On another occasion, I will show you the marks which prove that you have been there. The thing is so great; you could not be there without being affected by it, without being conscious of the effects -- not one of them only, or some of them, but all of them. Well, there is nothing plainer, I think it will commend itself to every one here, and I need not detain you much upon it, though it is a most interesting subject. The first is that in His presence you have not a cloud; if

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there is a cloud you do not enjoy His presence and, the lack of this enfeebles our worship meetings, you are occupied with your state, you are not enjoying His presence, you are occupied with the effect of light. Every believer knows what it is; he is not conscientious if he does not. It is just like a person who is preparing to be presented to some great personage -- he must get himself ready, and by the very light of the place (if I may use such a figure) he looks in the mirror to see if he is all right. And if you watch meetings with any interest, you will find as a rule that it is state that occupies us first, we are not yet quite ready for the presence. And very often you find at our meetings the breaking of bread is put off to an indefinite period, simply because there has been no preparation, no readiness for it; the happier we are, the more earnestly we shall seek it. The breaking of bread should characterise the whole week. Every one true hearted knows that that is the thing he longs for; he feels, I am in the place where He is, and the first thing I do is to call to mind what that blessed One suffered to bring me to this wonderful place, where He is Himself; and I am so happy, so without a cloud, so restful in His presence, that I really lend myself heartily to call Him to mind, and His death sets me in this unclouded bliss.

Now you see how it is. You are without a spot -- you must be, or you could not be there. He is the minister of the holy places; you could not be there without holiness. There is not a shade. I am as clear as if I were in heaven. I press upon you the reality of this. "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". A greater thing to us, beloved friends, than the cloud of glory on the tabernacle. That was to the natural sight, this to the spiritual sight; by faith we see Him. Turn to Joshua 5:10, 11. There you get the type of the Lord's supper, and of the Lord's supper on heavenly ground, and you must be

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in the Spirit to touch heavenly things. If you are not in unclouded bliss in the presence of your Saviour in glory, you cannot remember Him. I call Him to mind who brought me to this unclouded blessedness by His own work -- so at ease in His presence that I dwell on His death. To many the Lord's supper is only as the Passover in Egypt; that was appropriation, and let me tell you, appropriation is not remembrance. But that is not all. "And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover", Joshua 5:11. "The morrow", means a new phase, you turn over, as it were, a new leaf: you have dwelt upon what He went through; that is, the Passover; now, you are feeding on the One who went through it all.

In John 20, when He came in, He said, "Peace be unto you". You could not enjoy His presence without it. If you really understand it, you would be deeply affected by His presence. The Lord Jesus Christ is in the midst of His own, on that earth where He was crucified; He has gone down into His garden to eat His pleasant fruits; He has gone to be in the midst of those gathered to His name, that He may delight His heart with those around Him for whom He died (that is the wonder of the thing), where with wicked hands He was crucified and slain. The Passover in Egypt is the appropriation of the benefit of Christ's work. It hinders our worship meetings when you are occupied with the benefits that Christ wrought for you by His death, instead of dwelling upon what He went through to procure the wonderful blessedness which you enjoy in His presence.

The fact that the disciples knew very well what His presence was makes it very definite. Nothing could make up for it; if all the angels were to come, it would not make up for it; the presence of the Holy Spirit would not make up for it; it was His presence they knew. It is not the same thing to an individual

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as it is in the assembly, though the Lord in a peculiar way does manifest Himself to His servants -- Paul, for instance. What I dwell on is -- and it is a great characteristic -- that there is not a shade of distance between Him and me, there is no one's presence in which I so thoroughly rest, One who knows me entirely, and who has removed everything that would cause the slightest shade between Him and me. You are at perfect rest then. And without it how could you draw near to Him? Could there be a cloud between Him and you, in heaven? Neither should there be in this room. If there is a cloud you cannot remember Him, so in Luke 24, before the Lord took His place in the assembly, He settled with Peter. A person going to an earthly court, could not go but in court trim, he would not gain admission otherwise; he could not be allowed in; it would be the height of presumption to attempt it. In Christendom there is a week's preparation before going to the sacrament, and though I do not approve the way it is done, I do approve the principle and object of it. Why is the breaking of bread often delayed in our meetings? The preparation is going on; we are not ready. Coming into Christ's assembly, you come not only as saved, but as a living stone, a constituent part of His assembly.

I trust it is plain thus far, first, that Christ is actually present in our midst, more so a great deal than ever the type was; and the sense of it to our hearts no one can tell. Here I am worried and fretted with all the varieties of this antagonistic scene, and it is not that I come to a tabernacle that has come down from heaven, and where all things are heavenly, but I am come into the presence of One, who has brought a heavenly atmosphere with Him, so that I am in heavenly influence; as the Psalmist could say, I long to see Thee so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary. Think of such language! Do you know anything about it?

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Thank God that we have even tasted of it. I feel how very little I do, still I am here to enjoy the presence of the Lord, to be in another sphere, to be shut out of everything worldly, to breathe a heavenly atmosphere; there is not a disturbance. A person may be prevented by illness -- I feel very much what a mercy it is not to be hindered from coming to the Lord's presence -- but some say, Cannot you have it in your own room? Yes. But you cannot have it in the same way, because, when the Lord meets you in your own room, it is with relation to what you need; when you meet with Him in His assembly, you meet Him in relation to His interests. I hope I make it clear. It is worth your bearing it in mind. When He comes to me, and He does come to us, thank the Lord, He leaves none of us, He supplies to me what I require. But when I meet Him in God's house I meet Him in relation to His own interests. And hence He propounds, as you find in Psalm 22, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee". I am introduced into a new thing, a new region. The things of the Father are then made known.

Well, now, that is the first characteristic of His presence, and I trust that it will be accepted by every one of you. I press it, that if you do not enjoy His presence without a cloud (and you cannot enjoy it if you have a cloud), you cannot know what His presence is. Saul of Tarsus spent three days without eating or drinking. Doubtless he was learning what Christ went through for him, and he tells us, it pleased God to reveal His Son in him. What joy to his heart along the road to taste of His presence! We have not it in its fulness yet, but we taste of it. And if you were to depart from this world, what would you have? You would have it without a break; but you have tasted of it already, you have to do with Him. Then you read in Joshua 3, "This day will I begin to magnify

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thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee". I believe the soul has the sense of the Lord in such a distinct way, that He is sufficient, and everything here put aside. The beginning is the whole point; begin rightly and there is no fear of you.

Now if you accept the first characteristic, it is very easy to go to the second. And the second characteristic is, that you are in heavenly trim. You belong to a new scene, to a new order of things, you are heavenly. How could you get in at all, unless you are of that new sphere? And that sphere is heaven.

The third characteristic is you are at home. You are a son in the Father's house, a son in this new sphere; at home. All you have is there, you have nothing here, no property here; what you have here, you will lose. You have no title to it. Use what you have for the Lord here, and then, by-and-by, you will be recompensed.

The fourth characteristic is you are beside yourself. Now do not think that this is transcendentalism. I say, it is of immense moment to understand this effect, and it is a characteristic of His presence that cannot be assumed. It cannot be imitated. And it is a fact, "To God I am beside myself"; I am apart from everything of man, that is what it is. It is to me one of the greatest characteristics. I forget everything but Himself; my greatest mercy, forgotten; my greatest sorrow, forgotten! How can I be at home there, and be in any way connected morally with the man, a sinner? Paul did not know whether he was in the body or out of it, he was entranced -- in an ecstasy, though people do not like the word 'ecstasy', but it is the word translated elsewhere, "I was in a trance". A person asks me, How do you know you are in the Lord's presence? I say I have lost sight of everything but Himself. How long did it last? I do not know, it might last a minute; but it is a great

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thing to get the sense of it, because the sense of it proves the verity. One minute proves the reality, though I do not want to limit you to one minute. If I could get every one in this room to say, I know that is true, that is all I ask; it is positively true, I am lost to everything else. It is like the queen of Sheba, there was no spirit left in her. How could it be otherwise? You see, it is not that you feel that you have lost anything, but the remarkable nature of it is this, that you are quite surprised how a great many things you considered absolutely necessary to you, in His presence are not so at all. One may say, But do you mean to tell me that I could do without food and raiment? I do not say that; but I say that, when you are happy in the presence of the Lord, you do not think of earthly things as necessary.

Was the queen of Sheba thinking of her place in Abyssinia, or of her jewels? She had lost sight of them all. Did she feel it a privation? Not a bit, she had no privation. That is what I want the heart to get hold of; no privation whatever, but on the contrary, I found the sufficiency of the Lord, and instead of feeling I had a privation, I never was so happy. It was not that she was merely absorbed, but so sensible of the bliss she was in, that she breaks forth in acknowledgments, this is another characteristic. This characteristic necessarily follows on your being beside yourself, but I must turn your attention to it a little more. If you are really beside yourself, and find you do not want anything, your cup is full and flowing over, you cannot contain yourself, you must worship. Worship is the outflow of a full cup. What could you do? You could not keep silent. It is not that a brother gives out a hymn to raise the meeting; not at all. I say, get into the presence of the Lord. When you are in the enjoyment of His presence, lost in all the blessedness into which you are brought, your heart is so filled that you cannot restrain yourselves.

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Some may say, Must we express it out loud? The Lord may tell one of you to express it out loud; but you must take care that if He does not tell you to express it out loud, you are out of order to do so. He has His chosen vessels or instruments for that purpose, but you must not suppose that those who do not express it out loud do not worship.

I am speaking of the characteristics of the Lord's presence. I have spoken of four, I am now dwelling on the fifth, which I have no doubt every one who has been in it knows, and that is, that I am so sensible of the blessedness that I am in, that I worship the Father. How blessed He must be to bless me in this way! It is not looking for blessing, it is not praying, it is adoration, I break forth in acknowledgments; Christ leads me to the Father. I am now in a new region, and in this new sphere all is heavenly, made so by His own presence. I am presenting to you deep realities. For example, take the prodigal son. You have fed on the fatted calf, and now what do you do? I bless the Father, and therefore I read, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ". "The Father seeketh such to worship him". It is the delight of the heart to adore the One who has blessed me so much. At the Lord's supper there are two parts: first, I recall Him in what He went through; second, I am listening to Himself. Turn to Psalm 22, there are two volumes in it, the first ends at verse 21. Twenty -- one verses recount His sufferings. Then verse 22 introduces a new thing, the present thing, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren". Where? "In the midst of the congregation will I sing praise unto thee". That shows you He is there. The apostle translates this in Hebrews, "In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee". This is all experimental; it is not teaching at all. I might as well say to a man, If

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the sun were up, what would happen? There would be light. It is experimental.

The next characteristic that I desire to bring before you, will very easily occur to you, it is a larger one than any I have named. We have His actual presence, and the first thing is you find there is not a cloud. He has now made you sensible there is not a shade between Him and you. He has removed all Himself, and you are delighted. Well then, you are beside yourself. And then you worship. Now what next? The sixth characteristic or effect of His presence is that you are edified. Now I think this very important, because I see some who read the Bible a great deal, but with no result. They enjoy the word greatly, but they are not edified. I do not think anything edifies but the Lord Himself. I will give you a very simple scripture for it -- Luke 24. Familiar passages always help much. The better you know a scripture, the more it yields you. The greatest exposition that ever was, the two disciples listened to, and you would expect great results from it. No. Only their hearts burned within them; it did not produce any change in their course, they said, It is too late to go any farther, and they asked Him in. He went in, and He was known to them in breaking of bread, it was the figure of His own death, a fitting opportunity for Him to reveal Himself, and what then? They must go to Jerusalem -- eight miles off, though it was too late to go any farther a few minutes ago. "And they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them". See, what an effect! Mark, that same hour they rose up and returned to Jerusalem, and what had produced it? His presence! The impression I have is, that if one only reads the word and one does not realise the presence of the Lord, he is like one with plenty of ore; silver, or gold, or whatever it is, he does not know what to do with it, he has no mould.

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The presence of the Lord fashions me. He is the mould; I am changed. Many a man has a great deal of Bible knowledge, like a lot of ore, but he has not a mould and it is no use. Let him see the Lord, that will make all the difference; He will put it into shape, his ore is of use now. A child learns manners at home; he is shaped by those he is with. The presence of the Lord produces conformity to His mind, and that alone. I have read much of the Bible, but can I say to myself, You are a transcript of the word? "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only". It is beholding of the Lord's glory that has the effect upon me. You get a sample in Philippians 4. But how do you get "the peace of God"? When you are near Him. You get the peace of God from Himself; and that is the moral effect of the word. I am transformed (metamorphosed) into the same image.

One might say, I was at the meeting, and there was not much said, but I really found the Lord there and I gained much from His presence -- that is edification. Edification is building up; any builder would say, to add brick to brick. Love edifies. Knowledge puffs up. I have no doubt you were eating of the corn of the land. How could you be in His company, and not be affected by it? What is moral weight? A man who is really walking with the Lord, if he comes into your room, you know he has an effect upon you, and he is only a reflection of the Lord's glory. It is like the moon's light from the sun. The Lord chooses His servants to minister. It is not simply the word uttered that edifies, many a soul is edified without ministry. It is not that I make little of ministry, because I have no doubt that ministry produces an effect; the secrets of the heart are made manifest. But what I dwell on is that, if a person enjoys the presence of Christ, he does not leave the room as he came into it; he is edified, he has acquired something of Christ. Like those two disciples going to Emmaus,

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they were made very intelligent in the scriptures about the Lord, but when they saw Himself, they went to Jerusalem. He never told them to go, but they went the same way that He went, and while they were telling the tale, how He was seen and known of them in the breaking of bread, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them. A greater thing. His presence at Emmaus put them in communion, they went the road He did. They had seen Him. (Like a bee, if it gets any honey it goes to the hive with it, a wasp would eat it.) People say, Oh! I can enjoy the Lord in my room. Very likely. But that is not the same thing as knowing Him in His assembly. I believe we have very little sense of His assembly. The queen of Sheba went to king Solomon; and not king Solomon to the queen of Sheba.

The seventh characteristic is, where the presence of the Lord is, there is power. There are plenty of insubordinate spirits, and you always find that the bad spirits are always ready to help any bad spirit, but they are kept in check. How? The Lord's presence kept them silent. I have seen it in discipline meetings, they will often talk wildly after a meeting is over, but why did they not talk while it was going on? They could not. The power of the Lord's presence held them in check, and you could not have His presence without it. What I insist on is -- the actuality of His presence.

On the next occasion I hope to dwell on the character and responsibility of those who compose His assembly. I need not say any more now. The Lord lead our hearts to enter into the reality of coming together in the name of the Lord. The Lord grant that we may pray more about it, and we shall long to be gathered to His name and obtain the blessing which flows from it.

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THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD

"Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood", 1 Peter 2:5.

The subject I desire to bring before you this evening is, The character of the company to whom the Lord vouchsafes His presence -- even two or three, though there be others present not gathered to His name, though professing to be. I think you will find as I proceed that such do not enjoy His presence. It is distinctly stated in Scripture, of the sons of Aaron, though they had a common right (we are all of that order now), yet some of them did not enjoy the presence -- "shall not go in unto the veil" -- though they were fed; Leviticus 21:21 - 23. That will come out farther on.

The first thing is, What is the character of the company who enjoys His presence? It is a solemn thing for our hearts to apprehend the character of the company to whom the Lord comes; "Where two or three are gathered together unto my name"; it is to His name. I believe the word 'to' means the character of His name -- there He is "in the midst of them". It is conditional, but a condition to be observed by every believer. It may seem superfluous to dwell upon a subject that is so well known amongst us, but the very fact of the way many adopt it in the present day, makes it important for us to understand whether we have this condition or not. I am sure the only way to expose imitation is to be presenting the reality. It is of no use deprecating imitation, we must distinctly set forth the reality, and thus we shall expose the imitation. Look at the wise virgins, they do not contend with the foolish ones, but they go on. Let us do the same: that is the advice given to Timothy, Go on. That is what Moses did with the

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magicians, and then: "They shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was".

I say, beloved friends, and I desire to feel it, and I trust you all will feel it, that a great responsibility rests upon us to set forth the reality. I do not speak of a responsibility that we are not able to meet. That was the responsibility under the law. The responsibility of a Christian is a responsibility which he is able to meet. There is no responsibility now that is not in keeping with a privilege. If you fail in your responsibility, you have not acted up to your privilege. The law disclosed the inability in man to accomplish its commands. The responsibilities or injunctions that are given to us, are actually to manifest the power that is given to us. I have been much interested and greatly affected by the amazing character of the condition we are called to. I read this verse in Peter -- it is only a little part of it -- but mark the words, the "holy priesthood", that is the company -- a holy priesthood, that expresses the condition, the character of the company who are entitled to enjoy His presence.

I turn first to Matthew 16, because it brings out the character of the company, for if you do not know the character of the company, you do not know how to preserve it, and if you do not know how to preserve it, you certainly do not know its character. The first thing I dwell upon is the company, the constitution of it. Matthew 16:18: "I say unto thee, That thou art Peter (a stone), and upon this rock I will build my church". There it is His own building, mind you. That you will all admit; and that is in keeping with the passage I have read: "Lively" or "living stones". Peter tells us what the actual nature of that building is. I trust you will see how definite and exclusive the company is. I know some of you might shrink from the word 'exclusive', but the

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company is exclusive. We have seen that He calls the assembly, "My assembly" -- an immense point -- because He is there Himself when He calls it My assembly: the word 'My' gives it a definite character.

Now to show the beginning or foundation of this condition, I turn to John 13:8; "Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". That was an entirely new and strange notion to His disciples. Here they were touching Him, John just leaning on His breast, and now He tells them all is changed, and they cannot come near Him unless they are washed. Hence in Hebrews 7:26 we read: "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens". Separated, not separate. He was separate from sinners when down here. All is now of heavenly order, not a bit of the earthly enters there, nothing of the first man; all that is gone, all that is new has come in. It is the fulfilment of Joshua 5. Now we have to do with the true. He is a minister of the holy places, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Hence to enjoy His presence, the Minister of the holy places, we must be in the holy places with Him. What a wonderfully sanctified company then we are! Wonderful indeed!

It is not merely that you are saved; but that there is not a shade between Him and you. I said on the former occasion that the very first thing that marks the enjoyment of His presence, the first characteristic is, that there is not a cloud there, and then I enjoy His presence. Hence, without separation, you could not enjoy His presence, you are not one of those who are gathered to His name. You may say, there are a great many then who are not. Well, I admit that is possible; but it is a relief to one's mind, that though they are not there in company with Himself; that is, that they do not go in unto the veil, yet they are fed:

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"No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. Only he shall not go in unto the veil, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them", Leviticus 21:21 - 23. It is an immense comfort to know this. I press this first, for if there is a shade, you are not consciously of the company who surround Him there. I am speaking of the company from whom He will not withhold His presence. There is a company who obtain His presence, "There am I in the midst of them". Nothing can be plainer. It accounts for a great deal of the poverty of our meetings, when any are out of communion. You may even say it was a good meeting, and you got helped there. You were fed, but you did not enjoy His presence.

I will now dwell on the positive side of this truth. In John 20:19, I get the pattern of the assembly, of the company. In this verse 19, they are gathered, and the doors are shut, and the Lord stands in the midst. As someone has said, They were gathered by the Lord's message through Mary Magdalene; certainly we know they were there, and that He came into the midst and said, "Peace be unto you". That is introductory; but still it gives you this idea, the condition of the company to whom He comes. He fits them for His presence. I am looking at the assembly as at the beginning. It may be reduced to the two or three; just as Aaron was reduced to only two sons. Every believer is a priest now, we are constituted the holy priesthood. Christendom, to escape this responsibility, has divided the saints into two classes, the priests and the laymen. There is no distinction in the New Testament; that is the reason

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I read that verse. We are all priests. Every priest is a living stone, and within the veil: associated with the Lord, and all there. That is what we are called to. Two or three is its limit, and makes it applicable to the feeblest time. But I am speaking of the privilege of every believer, the condition which applies, not only to the assembly when two or three, but what is proper for all saints; though the Lord will come to the two or three.

There is nothing more important to keep definitely before the mind than the condition of the company who enjoyed His presence, because if not complied with they do not have it. Therefore the Lord limits it to the smallest company you could find; still, what is right for two or three is right for all. Peter does not say for two or three, but the whole company, "Built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices". That is what characterises the assembly. I am anxious for you to get hold of this. Each person is fit for His presence. I have already tried to show that His presence necessarily required fitness, and you cannot be too distinct about it. We see in the type, how Rebecca, when she saw Isaac, made herself ready. I think we have not thought enough about it. A person may say, Shall I not get good in the assembly if I am not fit? I do not say you will not; but what I maintain is, you cannot enjoy His presence unless you are in trim for it: it would be impossible. "She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework". There must be suitability for the Lord's presence. He could not manifest Himself if there were not suitability. Hence it is conditional. "Where two or three are gathered together to my name". I do not limit it to the two or three, but if you are not up to this, you are not in your proper place as a living stone.

Mark another thing. Turn to Hebrews 8:1, 2, here we have the Minister of the holy places; that is

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of great importance. Can you get to the holy places unless you are a holy company? You could not be with the great High Priest any other way. But one might say, 'The meeting will revive me'. Yes, but getting up state is a hindrance to the meeting. If you are occupied with state, you are not occupied with Christ. Thus often the breaking of bread is postponed, waiting to get up state, or looking for the Lord in relation to self; you cannot turn over a new leaf. I think you must see plainly, beloved friends, that the character which belongs to every believer is the priestly dress; I do not know whether each one has it on or not, but every one has it.

Now turn to one or two passages in the Old Testament. It is a great thing to get the principle for any action, because if I have the principle, I am sure to get it established. We have seen the character of the company to whom the Lord vouchsafes His presence, it is not only that He promises it, but He is there: "Where two or three are gathered together to my name, there am I". It is a consequence, He cannot but come there. If the Holy Spirit gathers, the Lord is there. The first passage I turn to is Numbers 5:2: "Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead; both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps in the midst. whereof I dwell". There is a type of the responsibility of the congregation. And here it is the congregation which is bound to preserve itself fit for the Lord's presence. I come to that presently; but I call your attention now to the constitution of the assembly. All the children of Israel formed it, not the priests nor the Levites merely. Someone has said there were three classes -- the warriors, the servants or labourers, and the worshippers; but still they were all there -- the whole congregation. It is an immense

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point with regard to the preservation of the holiness of the company, that every one of the congregation was answerable for the state of the company. It is the same principle in John 13; you are bound to wash one another's feet. But I introduce this passage in Numbers to show the character of the defilement that is to be excluded. The chapter has three parts, the second portion is that I must not permit my brother to be wrongly treated, I must insist upon reparation. That is the second, to which there is no penalty attached. The third is, God takes the case into His own hands, and that is the trial of jealousy. As far as my judgment goes, it is what is alluded to in the opening verse of 1 Corinthians 5"Ye have not rather mourned, that such an one should be taken away from amongst you"; and in 1 Corinthians 10"Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?" "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep". This shows the great holiness charged on this company, and I think we are too indifferent about it.

What I have referred to before, I must turn to now for a minute; because I think it explains a great deal in this connection, and that is Leviticus 21:21: "No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire". I know this is sometimes limited to ministry, but that is not the meaning of it; because you see, from the passage I read, that we are the holy priesthood inside the veil. Here if one has a blemish he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God; he shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy. He is fed. That is what happens often to the individual, he is fed, but he has not been inside the veil. "Only he shall not go in unto the veil, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries; for I the Lord do sanctify them". What does all this,

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beloved friends, conduce to? The wonderful sanctity, exclusiveness of the company, the strongest word you can use. However, if I were to meet a simple Christian, I would not go beyond Matthew 18; to him it is enough to say, You must be gathered to His name, you must be characteristic of His name; He could not give His name to a company not characteristic of His name, He could not come there. But I have read these passages in order that you may see and be more affected by this great subject, and the more you ponder it, the more it will grow upon you, the wonderful sanctity of those who command the presence of the Lord; because He says, I am there: therefore I say command. I trust that great light will come into your soul, touching the wonderful sanctity of the company to whom He cannot deny His presence. When God came down in the midst of His people Israel, as an earthly people redeemed, He charged the whole congregation to put out all that were defiled by a dead body; touching a dead body is being legally defiled by that which is natural. If the standard in the carnal dispensation was so great, how much greater in the spiritual. A blemish is really a weakness, and you have no liberty in the assembly meeting if you are under it; you are not fit. But, you say, you want to enjoy the presence of the Lord; well, but can you? Still what a wonderful provision is here, and every one can testify to it, that is, that though a man may have a blemish, he gets food there. Thus we often hear people say they are refreshed, but that is not enjoying the presence of the Lord. Several different effects are known to one in the Lord's presence, which could not be produced in any other way. Refreshment and food every one may have; but refreshment and food are different from edification. It is only in the Lord's presence that one is beside oneself.

There is one passage more that I must allude to, namely, the type of the holy priesthood, and I give

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you the scripture in the hope that you will look at it yourselves. It is Leviticus 8:6, "And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water". I do not go further, because I cannot go into the chapter; but those were the ones who were consecrated, as you will find in verse 22: "And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram". They typify the church. In Christendom they limit the priests to the clergy. None but the consecrated company went into the holy places. But one says, Are we not all a consecrated company? Yes, all sons of Aaron, all fit, in all the fragrance of Christ, to go into the holy places, but perhaps not enjoying it -- that is another thing. Thus you cannot lose sight of the fact, that the company who enjoy the presence of the Lord are a peculiarly select company. I do not mean an eclectic company, I mean every one, every Christian, is of the priesthood, and he cannot go in, in any other way, but in priestly trim. That is his place, speaking now of what he is before God. In another way, we are outside, but as priests we are inside. A priest's place is inside, to offer to God. In the New Testament they minister unto the Lord, offering up spiritual sacrifices. Outside is levitical. But the more you think of the magnitude of His presence, the more you will see that consecration is required to enjoy it. Suppose you take the case of an earthly sovereign, do you think every one can rush into his presence without fitness, without preparation, without the proper dress? Never! And could you venture into the presence of the blessed Lord without it? Never!

Now, beloved friends, having I trust, in some little measure, brought before you the subject of the sanctity of the company, and I hope effectually, for I am more than ever impressed with it myself, and how exclusive they must be; they must be consecrated in Christ's own fragrance in order to enjoy His presence; it is

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not that He is not there, He might be there and you not enjoy Him. That is the provision of Leviticus 21, those with a blemish will be fed there; they eat the bread of God, even the most holy and the holy.

I turn now to the preservation of this company. Once you have a true sense of the sanctity of the company to whom only His presence would be given, then comes your responsibility to preserve that company holy for the Lord, and the better you understand the sanctity He required, the more zealous assuredly, you will be to keep it fit for the Lord. The more you value the dignity, the more you will say, I cannot allow anything that would compromise it, nor sanction anything unfit for His presence. Hence, we have to wash one another's feet. So we see here in the type, the whole congregation were responsible that there should not be anything unfit for the Lord's presence visible. The whole congregation are responsible, as I have already read in Numbers 5. How responsible? Well, if you, brother or sister, see a man failing, you are responsible; if you cannot correct him yet you are responsible, and therefore you may ask another; the purpose is to save your brother, and to preserve the company fit for the Lord, for all are responsible. One with a leprosy, or one with an issue, or defiled by the dead; these were all visible, open to the naked eye; I do not impute motives, I do not insinuate; but if I see you keep bad company, I say I cannot allow it. And why? Because the Lord dwells here, therefore the whole are responsible. If a sister finds that she cannot do it, she can speak to a brother who can: I have found I was not equal to a case, and I have asked another. Therefore it says, "Ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness". The great thing is that it is your responsibility to preserve the company fit for the Lord. I know very well how naturally we like to see defects in others, because a defect in others may exalt ourselves. A man

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does not like to see a defect in his children, because it does not exalt himself; and surely it should be much more so in the church. One of the easiest ways I know to exalt oneself is to point out the defects of others, because the impression it gives is that you have not got the same defect yourself, and that is the impression you want to give; that was Absalom's way. But you are ever to be in the sense of your responsibility to keep the company, every one of them, according to the sanctity that must characterise those who are entitled to His presence. If we had this feeling more, what a place of interest the assembly would be! It is not a question of your own enjoyment, how you may enjoy His presence for yourself; that is perfectly true if you are in priestly trim; but you will find that you become defiled if you do not act up to your responsibility, and you lose the Lord's presence till your feet are washed.

Now, though all the congregation were responsible to put out the leper, yet the congregation were not to judge if it were leprosy or not, the priest alone was competent for this. It is a very important point, for it might not be leprosy. And the first work of the priest is, that he does not assume that an offender is incorrigible. I do not say that he may not prove incorrigible. But if you watch the history of a soul, you will find he is not incorrigible at the beginning. Take any departure you like: for instance, light reading, which is a very injurious thing; or anything where the affections are engaged, what Scripture calls covetousness, an uncontrolled desire to possess. I may see a person carried away, but as long as the conscience is sensible that it is wrong, even though there be a return to it, there is hope for that soul. But when the act is committed, the conscience is overborne, the man is under an evil power, it is the work of the devil. The duty of the priest therefore was to see whether the offender had become incorrigible, then it was

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leprosy, and there was no remedy but excision.

Now turn to the New Testament for the antitype. That is the substance, and it is peculiarly so with us upon whom the ends of the ages have met. Every thing must now come out in the assembly, and you cannot go back to any previous dispensation. I turn to 1 Corinthians 5:7: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened". "A new lump", that at once shows the requisite discipline, and also shows what must characterise the company. "A new lump" does not mean a little handful of Christians, but the whole church. The term is not right in any other sense. You are unleavened. "Therefore purge out", etc. Can there be anything stronger than that as to our responsibility? When a Christian sins with a high hand, he has gone contrary to all his conscientious feelings and prepossessions, contrary to everything that he knew was just and right, he knows that he has been carried away, and he cannot deny it. And that is the danger everyone is exposed to, who tampers with evil -- pleasures of the flesh or of the mind.

Now I turn to 1 Thessalonians 5:14, respecting the responsibility of the assembly. "Now we exhort you, brethren (the whole congregation), warn them that are unruly". Thus, in keeping with Numbers 5:2, this sets forth the responsibility of the assembly. The apostle is addressing all the brethren here. You should say, The Lord is here, and I cannot allow any disorder here. The weakest is responsible. You must consider for the dignity of our Lord, and be very jealous about it. The most timid animal we know, a hen, can be roused to great vigour when her affections are engaged. Let a dog appear when she is with her brood, and see how she comes forth, so that the dog runs away. Do not speak of your feebleness. If you have affection, you will not lack courage; courage is a wonderful thing in such cases. "The righteous

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are bold as a lion". Warn them that are unruly, and I am sure there is not a godly soul in this room who does not say, That is right. And this is a comfort, that you find in small meetings, unruliness is not passed over. Someone gives out an unsuitable hymn, it is not passed over; all the congregation are responsible. They were not to take notice of the good side only, but of the bad also, and it is not possible to do the one without the other.

I think it is a great thing to feel that we are responsible. You may say, 'How am I to act? What am I to do?' You are always to try and restore; it is not to point out the defect. The law was, "Thou shalt by any means rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him". That is law, not grace. Grace is, that you are to wash his feet, and thus to remove the offence. You say, I cannot remove it. Do you seek to walk so before the erring one that he might be corrected? I know it is no easy matter; still I am only pressing what becomes us.

The first responsibility is to preserve the company suited to the Lord, and to correct and restore every offender. I thus apply Galatians 6:1. By the word, "The spiritual", I mean the priests, those walking in communion. I do not mean every believer, though every believer is a priest. I believe what is called a brothers' meeting should be composed of the spiritual, those who are in communion with the Lord as to His interests. I think it unseemly to see men who take no interest generally in divine matters, attending a discipline meeting. I think they do not understand the nature of that meeting. It is a most solemn meeting, convened to vindicate the Lord's name in the assembly, therefore it is "Ye which are spiritual restore". It is a solemn thing to give judgment, according to the mind of God, respecting the state of any one's soul.

I turn to 2 Thessalonians 3:14 to show how you

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are to act in another case. "If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed". Now that is the duty of the whole congregation. I sometimes see that it is not so, and that instead of everyone trying to make the offender sensible of his offence, some are soft and amiable to the offender, as if there was nothing against him. I say, in so doing, you are losing sight of the responsibility of the assembly to keep itself suitable to the Lord's presence. "Have no company with him": that is, you do not seek his company socially; "Yet count him not as an enemy". To be cool and reserved to him is quite right; not count him as an enemy, "but admonish him as a brother". Consider for the Lord and your brother's benefit, and not for your own feelings.

There is one passage more as to the preservation of the company; 2 John 10"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed". It is a salutation. "God speed" is an old familiar word used in some places to this day. It is not a prayer. Many a one has been led astray by thinking it is a prayer. It is simply, bid him not Good morning, or what is equivalent to it. The natural mind could not understand that the mere recognition of a person propagating error, contrary to the doctrine of the Christ, would implicate one in his evil conduct. Therefore such a person you are not to receive into your house; but more, you are not to salute him, not to wish him Good day. Perhaps there is no passage that enjoins more fully what I am trying to present to you than this one. Because, if I were to submit this passage to a man of the greatest mind he would not understand it. It is not within the compass of the human intellect; the natural man cannot take it in. The natural man does not understand the sensitiveness of the Spirit of God in all that concerns

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the Lord Jesus Christ, and for that company to whom He vouchsafes His presence. Therefore the Spirit, in great jealousy for Christ, directs a woman, and not merely a teacher -- Do not receive him into your house, and more than that, do not even salute him, because he that salutes him is a partaker of his evil deeds; it does not say of his evil doctrine, but "his evil deeds". The moment you are in company with the Holy Spirit, and understand the care He has for the Lord's honour, and are led by Him, would you recognise such an one? Never; the Spirit would not suffer the saint in whom He dwells to recognise such an one. We should feel a divine sensibility as to Christ. Sentimentality is cultivating a feeling. Sensibility is when I feel evil as I do pain.

It shows you, in an indirect way, the wonderful sanctity of the company to whom the Lord vouchsafes His presence, and their responsibility. I cannot, for my own part, conceive anything more beautiful than the very fact of the select nature of that company. I cannot understand anything that ought to affect every heart in this room more. It only remains for me to answer the question, When things come to their present state of confusion, what should we do? Well, the two subjects I have dwelt upon are the constitution of the company, and the preservation of that company suited to the Lord.

Now I turn to what I may call the purgation or purging of the company. I turn to 2 Timothy 2:16, "But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their word will eat as doth a canker -- of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus". You learn here what was working at the time. The apostle is drawing near to his departure, all in Asia had turned away from his teaching, from that which was directly heavenly, and when the heavenly is surrendered, the assembly is also. It was not that they had given up the gospel of the grace of

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God; but they had given up what characterised Paul. But Paul tells Timothy, he is not discouraged. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind, and therefore, Go on. But what has happened? Things have come to a very bad state. They had not acted on the instruction to the Thessalonians, namely, "To warn the unruly", hence the present state. I think we are not careful enough to check disorder in the bud, as here; hence they had come to the worst condition of things imaginable: "Their word will eat as doth a canker". Chief men, too. How did that come to pass? What characterised the church then was that any man could utter what he liked. "Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness". You are not to listen to unprofitable ministry. Well, what are we to do?

Now for purgation. The first great thing you are to do is, as you get in verse 21, "If a man therefore purge himself from these" -- these vessels, not simply from the doctrines, but from the vessels. If a man purge himself from these vessels; that is the purgation. I see the church has failed in preservation, and, I believe, at the bottom, if we look at it closely (the Lord grant that we may) the Lord is not in the midst; if He were, this gross confusion would not have occurred. You see how great the declension. The state is deplorable, but not without remedy. The first thing, then is, you purge yourself from the vessels, you come out and be separate from the vessels; I purge out myself. The word for "purge out" is only used twice in Scripture, in 1 Corinthians 5, where you are to purge out the old leaven; that was for preservation, but now that things had come to the worst form of declension, the word is, Purge yourself from the vessels to dishonour. It is not, that I purge myself from the church, I cannot do that; but I purge myself from the vessels to dishonour.

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You are separated, you take a separate place from the vessels to dishonour, and you shall be a vessel unto honour, fit for the Master's use, prepared unto every good work. What a wonderful reward! And I have seen it, too. That is, that a man's power is according to the measure of his separation. The state here is deplorable, but God is equal to the occasion; He is not without resources. "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him". If you are purged, you are sanctified and meet for the Master's use, prepared unto every good work. Thank God! And is that all I am asked to do? Yes, to be a separate man, "a vessel unto honour". Is it to stand alone, be isolated, like a pelican in the wilderness, or like a sparrow upon the house-top? No. And now what am I to do? Read verse 22. "Flee also youthful lusts, but follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart". We have got back to the true company, and their character as at the beginning. So that in the very lowest and most disorderly state of things, you are not to lose sight of the character of the company which suits the Lord. Timothy was not to set up a company for himself, but he was to follow these cardinal virtues; "righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart". Thus there never would be a time when there would not be a company suited to the Lord, the two or three gathered to His name. In the Spirit there is always power to secure His presence. He gathers to Christ's name.

He will not leave Himself without a witness. He will have a company to the end fit for Himself. Stand alone? Never; I do not believe it. You will find some as pure as yourself to the end. The word 'pure' signifies that which suits the Lord. It has a connection with purge -- is a cognate word. A company suitable to Him! Would you like to go with it? Yes, I would.

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What a wonderful resource in the darkest day! I trust every heart here will say, Thank God! and every one seek to be of this company.

God is not without power to maintain the light He has set up in the world, and therefore in every case, spite of all man does, what He has set up in beauty at the beginning, shall come out again at the end. That is, you will have a bright sunset, the very same light that came out at the first. I do not go into that now. That is what is left, it is the remnant. And a remnant is not a fag end, but the real thing as it was at the first, what Scripture calls "the rest". It is what is left of the original; like a bit of cloth. It is not great but it is a bit of the real original piece.

Well, beloved friends, I do not add more. But I hope that you will receive what I have tried to present to you, really from the Lord, and understand better what an effect it would have upon us to be as the "holy priesthood", enjoying the presence of the Lord; like the sons of Aaron entering within the holiest, to enjoy that wonderful scene of unclouded bliss.

The Lord grant that we may each of us understand it better, for His name's sake.

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THE LEVITE OR THE MAN OF GOD

Numbers 8:9 - 19

The subject I desire to bring before you tonight is -- The effect that the knowledge of the Lord's presence in the assembly has upon us in private life; the outside, as the result of the wonderful place we have inside. Inside we are priests of God, and thus are fit for the presence of the Lord in moral correspondence with Himself enjoying His presence. All are called to this, and all are provided with the priestly dress, though I do not know that everyone wears it; still, every one is provided by divine grace with a priestly dress as much as with his salvation. When we are soiled outside, in this world, He washes our feet that we may have part with Him where He is. If you see that all your intimacy with Christ depends on this, that there is no sense of soil upon you, then it necessarily will oblige you that you should not do anything in which you would contract a soil. And you will always find a person who is most sensible that he is free from soil is the one who is most watchful against it. The more one is sensible of the cloudless position in which his washed feet place him in company with the Lord, the more he shrinks from everything that would make him lose this great gain. It is not that one loses the sense of His love; you get that very well exemplified in Peter, in John 21. Peter had no fear of the Lord; when he heard it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat about him and cast himself into the sea to go to Him. I know Him, he says. Yes, Peter; but you are not in communion with Him. People often think, that because they have love for the Lord, they are all right; but love is not communion. Peter's feet were not washed until after they had dined; then he is restored to communion. In one sense we

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can never lose what the Lord is to us (that is beautiful in Peter), but we can lose communion. But I am not showing that now, I merely allude to the necessity of being free from every soil in order to enjoy the Lord's presence: and because you enjoy His presence, you are found separate from everything that would deprive you of the enjoyment of it; not only when you are gathered to His presence, but everywhere. In one sense, you are never out of His presence.

In the Old Testament you get in type what we are; the priest inside, and the Levite outside. I want now to show the effect of being a priest in company with the Minister of the holy places. The Lord does not give us so great a thing as His presence without giving marks of it -- what I may call the guard. The Lord could not give us His presence without some distinct marks to confirm it. Now let us look at the effect of His presence. One might say, Will it have an effect on my private life? Assuredly it will. Mark this scripture (Luke 14:33), "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple". It is not a question of salvation here. You cannot go farther than to hate your own life. It is a great point to know what to start with. I think it cannot but strike one in this passage how the Lord turns to the multitude, and how He sets forth all the difficulties in their way. He tells them the course they are to follow; and it is a very difficult course. He seems almost to check them; "There went great multitudes with him: and he turned and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple", verses 26, 27. As much as to say, Do you understand what you are to do? I ask the youngest in this room, What are you going to start with? Because it is a

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great thing to get a good start. What are you going to start with? With this: that you must forsake all that you have, or you cannot be His disciple. The point in this chapter is, that you are apart from everything but Christ. "Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple". You undertake everything on new ground. "Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed". Transformed, not reformed. You are to fulfil the ordinances of God in which He has placed you, but you are to derive from Christ; you are to live Christ; you will fulfil all your relations in life far better; nothing on the old ground at all. "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither good for the land, nor yet for the dunghill". Israel was the salt, but it had lost its savour.

I want to lay upon your heart the entire newness of the life into which you are brought. You can neither be a tower nor an army, but as Christ is in you, for nothing else will stand. I read this scripture because I want to lead your heart to understand (the Lord grant that each of us may understand it) as belonging to Christ, as those who know what it is to be gathered to His name -- the wonderful sanctity of that position, what our individual course should be, that which is commonly called "private life". Here I get the great principle laid down, and it is absolute; but as the Lord said to Peter, there is no one who has given up these things for His sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time. Well, it is a great thing to begin with being a disciple of Christ. If I were dwelling on service, I might go a step farther and show you that you are Christ's slave and have no claim to anything whatever. A slave has no claim to anything, not to his family, property, his own life, or anything else; he belongs wholly to his master.

Now I turn to the passage in Numbers 8.

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"And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary". I have read this to show that the Levites were given to the priests. I do not dwell upon it, but I desire to press that the priest's work was inside, while the Levite's work was outside -- not a difficult thing to remember. The priests had to do with the inside, with God; the Levites with the outside, and they were given as a gift to Aaron and his sons. Keep this definitely before your minds. We are both priests and Levites. You see them distinct from each other in the type, but in the antitype they are united. The Levite had nothing to do but in connection with the priests. The Levites were given to the priests, and the Levites were taken instead of the firstborn who represent the assembly. This we cannot doubt. In Hebrews 12, we are called the assembly of the firstborn ones (as it should be read, it is plural), so that our proper aspect on the earth is as Levites; that is, we are Levites outside, answering to the priesthood inside, in the presence of God. That is our proper character here. I suppose all in this room will admit that we are priests, priests in the sanctuary; no one could escape seeing that we are the holy Priesthood, the consecrated company, the companions of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Do you admit that this is your great dignity? You say, Yes. And do you enjoy it? Yes. Then what sort of a person are you outside? I am a Levite. Right, and what is the Levite? The Levite is occupied with that which concerns God on earth, the heavenly kingdom. I hope you understand it, for it is a matter

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of great moment. Christendom has got out of the difficulty by making two classes, clergy and laity. There are things that a layman may do that a clergyman must not do, he must not soil his cloth, but where is the scripture for that? I say we are all priests, and we must not (any of us) soil our cloth. If you understand the dignity of your position in the sanctuary, how can you depart from the dignity outside? The atmosphere and circumstances are painfully different, but you are not to be different. What you are in the presence of God, you are to maintain here; in all the contrariety of this world, you are to be in correspondence to that. You are to manifest the same divine beauty in the antagonistic circumstances. One would suppose that a man could have two faces, one for Sunday and another for Monday; that at one time you could be ecclesiastical, and at another time secular. Perhaps you say, Oh well, I have my business to do. So our blessed Lord had, but He carried the heavenly grace into the workshop; He never left heaven.

There is nothing more destructive than for a person to say, he can depart from his dignity when he comes outside, while he admits the greatness of his dignity inside. But someone may say, I never enjoyed it. Perhaps not; but if you never enjoyed the dignity, how could you enjoy His presence? You could not enjoy it, nor He yours. "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". I want to insist on this (and every upright person in this assembly or any other, will say, That must be true), that if we have the dignity inside with God, we could not forego nor compromise it, nor diverge from it in this world of contrariety. You are of the light, and you must be the light in the darkness as well as in the light; like a diver in a diving bell, he is in an element contrary to him. You may be hindered, baffled in a thousand ways, but you could not compromise what you are

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before God. That is the Levite. The Levites represent the service that is rendered by the priestly company. Ask a Levite, what is your business here? He would answer, The tabernacle. I think we must all see, that what concerns the heavenly service of our Lord Jesus Christ is our paramount interest upon this earth; we all should be occupied with it in some way. One may carry the boards and another the pins, and so on, but all was a representation of the heavenly order; and now we are to set forth the heavenly Man on earth. Your business, your paramount business is to set forth the beauty of the heavenly Christ on earth. That is the Levitical service, if you have not been inside you will not know how to do it. The priest is inside and the Levite outside to do a different work, but he is not to be a different person. The same divine beauty is to be manifested.

See a fine horse drawing a royal carriage, well, put him to a cart, and you find he is the same horse still. Does he change? Is he a splendid horse drawing a carriage and a worthless one with a cart? Why, you know it would be unnatural -- that it could not be. The very creation would put us to shame. Take a canary singing up there in the wide expanse of the firmament, put it in a cottage, would it not sing the same note? Would it have the song of a canary one day and the chirp of a sparrow the next? That would be unnatural, and so is the other. Christendom has got out of the difficulty by dividing the Christians into two classes, but this helps my argument. If you insist that a clergyman in private life should be there in the dignity of his position before God, you have supplied me with a true argument. Do you say, Must we have no secular business at all? My answer is, The Lord had one and so had Paul. "These hands", said he, "have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the

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weak". He had a very good business at Ephesus; at Thessalonica business was very bad; but business was not the thing that was prominent with him. He was here for the Lord; and I put it to every one of you, if the Lord were to ask you, What would you like best down here? Would the response of every heart be, that I might be here for you: not what you might do, but that you might be for Him. It is sentimental that a man cannot go on with divine things, because he has a secular employment, and contrary to all Scripture. What a sight for the angels -- Jesus, a carpenter! And I am quite prepared to say that the apostle Paul went about the making of tents cheerfully; and without a soil on his conscience went from making the tents into the sanctuary, and that he did not lose the sense of his priesthood because of his making tents.

Do you say that you cannot have a secular calling because you are called into the very highest dignity of association with the Lord? You may have to shorten sail, and to lose a great deal that you might have; that is all right. Toil never does anybody harm, it is care that does the mischief. The raven is one of the busiest of birds, he toils all the day and sleeps all night; and the Lord says, "Consider the ravens". Take no thought. "Your Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things". There is no use in taking thought, you cannot alter things, and what do you want with more than you can use? "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth". What then constitutes happiness? Joy in the Lord. Our hearts are brought down by labour. I do not object to a servant giving up secular work to devote all his time to the Lord's service, but I know that if he gives up his secular work and does not work as hard in the Lord's service as he did in his secular business, he is sure to come to grief. What I am insisting on must be plain to every

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one who thinks for a moment. If you say, I am in the highest dignity in the presence of God, you cannot come out and compromise that dignity among men. A truthful person cannot do it. A person may be grieved and worried like a man in a diving bell. He goes down, however, to do his master's work, though he does not like the element in which he works, for he lives from above, and when wearied and fatigued he rings the bell and comes up again.

The characteristic of common nobility is that it is great in unsuited circumstances, displays itself in overcoming the difficulties. I work down here in an element that does not suit me, but I belong to an element that does suit me. I dwell much on this because it is lost sight of. A person speaks of enjoying a meeting, but I say, Did you enjoy the presence of the Lord? It is the greatest dignity a man could enjoy. A great many are fed, and it is a marvellous provision, who are not really enjoying the presence of the Lord. Their feet are unwashed, therefore they cannot enjoy the Lord in His heavenly order. In the presence of the Lord you are morally in heaven, there is not a shade upon the conscience -- "washed with pure water". The washing of the feet is to bring me into the sense of perfect fitness for Himself, so that I can be there without a single shade of reserve between Him and me. You say, It is too great. It is not too great for His heart, nor for any person who has ever tasted it; and if I have enjoyed that, the question is, How shall I act in private life? Why, I must correspond to my high dignity, I must not compromise it. Thus, there is a testimony to His name. I could point out to you some men called clergymen, who when they found out they were priests of God, gave up the surplice. They found out they were priests in common with all Christians. Again another, an officer in the army has discovered, not merely that he had salvation, but that he was one of

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the "holy priesthood" in the sphere of divine blessedness and peace, and he can be a soldier no longer. It is learning our dignity inside with God which has produced devotedness to Him outside; but I have no doubt that nothing has a greater effect upon other Christians than separation.

I do not believe, beloved friends, that our exposition of truth has at all the effect upon people that separation has. Separation is what they cannot resist; that is what they see, it affects them. Like Isaac in Gerar, he had to leave the place, the Philistines so annoyed him, and the very night he left, the Lord appeared to him! And what happened the next day? Abimelech came to him with his servants, and said, "We saw that God was with you". But when did they come to see that? When he was gone; when he had separated from them. As long as you stay in any doubtful circle, you may say what you like about it, but as soon as you leave it you condemn it. I ask you to judge everything you are engaged in by what your place is in relation to Christ in the holiest of all; judge everything by that. I will bring you Scripture to prove how you are affected. I turn first to Genesis 33, Jacob had come to Shechem and bought a bit of land there and settled down. He had an altar El-elohe Israel, but he was out of the course. As a gardener judges of the root of a tree by the leaf, so you can judge of the interior by the exterior; the defective external shows you are weak in your apprehension of your true place with God. You must start from your true place -- a priest in company with the Lord. And if you carry that out, you cannot go and do this thing and the other thing. The fact is some sacrifice their place of dignity in order to carry on the lower sphere of natural interest here.

Now look at Jacob; he is in the land, a religious man, he has his altar; he is connected with what people call the restoration of the truth. He says,

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I am on the ground, and I keep to the truth El-elohe Israel. But I ask, what is your manner of life? Mixed up with the Shechemites. Ah! I see now where you are. Your external indicates your moral power. Do you think, that if a person is living in the enjoyment of association with Christ, that person could find himself at home with company morally lower than himself? Never. You never saw a person descend to lower company morally, that he was not declining. There is nothing which affects us more than having to do with one who is superior to ourselves, because it is association that forms our character. Now turn to Genesis 35:1: "And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother". He must raise his standard; he is going now to different ground than El-elohe Israel. And what does he say to his household? "Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Beth-el; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears: and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem" (verses 2 - 4). On the low ground at Shechem he could tolerate a great many things, but now that he takes true ground for the Lord, he must be quite different in private life. It is a good criterion; the defect in private life has originated from a lack before God.

Turn now to 1 Corinthians 6 to see what the loss is when a Christian does not maintain his true dignity. I think many have a wrong conception altogether about our position on the earth. They are looking to get comfortable easy times here. I say, that is not

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what you are called to. No doubt you will be taken care of in "the inn", but it is in the inn the man was taken care of, not in the world. The Lord does not say his expenses were paid outside the inn. There is no question that you will be taken care of, but I ask you to consider the elevated position that you occupy on this earth, as priests of the Lord, ministers before God; and going through this world with the joys of heaven, an everlasting portion, the countenance and favour of your Lord, are you willing to put up with very small commons here? If you are not, you lose the greater for the lesser.

Now let us look at 1 Corinthians 6. It is very evident that the Corinthians had declined from their true dignity; they had lost the sense of being suitable for the Lord's presence. Nothing can be plainer than that if we are to come into the presence of the Holy One, we must be holy; and the consecrated priest is the only one who is in the holy places; we must be in moral correspondence with Him in order to be in His company. You must be in priestly trim to know the Lord in the midst of His own. But if you are not so while you assume to be, then you will be sure to betray yourself in private life; there you are found out. You fail in private life because you are not morally in your true dignity before God. Make the tree good, and the fruit will be good. It is a great principle that you are externally the reflection of what you are morally, as in Luke 11:36. There the Lord says, "If the whole body therefore be light, having no part dark, the whole shall be light". What stops the light from coming out? Something inside. If there were no part dark, the whole should be light, as when the bright shining of a candle gives its glare. The failure is outside, and the outside betrays the inside. You find the same principle in the Old Testament, "He setteth himself in a way that is not good", that is, the outside manner; "he abhorreth

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not evil", that is inside. Of course, there may be the putting on of a false appearance; that is, only spiritual affectation; and the one who attempts it is exposed when he least expects it, like a bird with borrowed feathers. In 1 Corinthians 5 we find the saints very low in the house of God, they were indifferent to what was suitable to the Lord; but what are they outside? What are they in public, in the face of the world? They are revealed; they sought to enforce their rights against their own brother, even before an ungodly court. That is what the Corinthians were. Most highly gifted, most highly favoured; but there was not a circle in society in which they were not a scandal. Why? Because they were a scandal in the highest, and if you are a scandal in the first, be sure you are a scandal in every one.

The apostle says, "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust?" This occurs unblushingly every day of the week now, amongst those who call themselves Christians. I judge from their low state that they do not enjoy the Lord's presence. I dare say some would not think it a nice thing for a clergyman to do, but for an ordinary Christian nothing amiss. I am only showing what are the consequences of assuming to be in the Lord's presence, without the power of it. If you are not truly there you will betray yourself. You cannot make a pony into a horse; but I insist on this, that the horse under a carriage is the same horse when under a cart. If he is a fine, well-stepped, good-tempered horse under a carriage, he will be exactly the same under a cart. Are you to change because you are in adverse circumstances? A great man ennobles the lowest circumstances. In the common details of daily life, I am to manifest the power and beauty of the heavenly Man. "I can do all things through him who gives me power". I derive entirely from Him. "The life which I now live in the flesh,

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I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me". Trying circumstances are the very opportunity for you to display the greatness of His grace. When Abraham had been met by Melchisedec, he did not fall back to Abraham a stranger in the land. No; he had been blessed in the name of the Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth, and he said, I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet. Oh! I say, How soon you carry out your new dignity. Beloved friends, if you enjoy your dignity, it is impossible not to carry it out; you would be inconsistent with yourself. No one who enjoyed his great dignity in the presence of the Lord could come out into the world and compromise that dignity -- become another person here, without deep shame and remorse. If it were otherwise, it would be a proof that the dignity had never been apprehended.

Well, here then, in chapter 6 there is no testimony. Next, look at them in chapter 8: 11. Here we have another thing: "And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?" Now they are a hindrance to others; not only there is no testimony. You do not answer to your dignity, but also you damage others: you do not appear in your true character, and this is the deficiency of all Christians still in the world. They are not attired in the priestly garments. Perhaps you say, I never knew that I was a priest. This accounts for your morally undignified course. Like the Corinthians, you are not only no testimony, but actually a hindrance to your fellow-Christians. And that is not all, beloved friends, though bad enough. What about themselves? Turn now to 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18. Here we see that they were losers themselves because they did not live up to their dignity. When you are true to your priestly position, and touch not the unclean thing, the Lord abundantly, in a very marked way, shows His care for you. I could give you examples of this:

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for instance, a clergyman, having discovered his great dignity in the presence of the Lord, refuses man's ordination, and apparently loses all his means: God provides for him in a very remarkable way, and he proves the truth of these words: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty". These Corinthians had lost what many a one in the world in trying circumstances has lost, the manifested care of Almighty God in his circumstances here on earth. Why? Because of their evil associations. And from what do I trace your evil associations? From this, that you do not understand the greatness of the sanctity that belongs to you as one of an assembly gathered to the Lord's name and His presence known to you. Many a man is like Samson grinding in the Philistine prison, because of his associations.

Let us now look at the way every advance in light is proved in detail. You get the principle in Joshua 3. The power that carries me over is the power that will enable me to overcome every power on earth. I can predicate that the power that carries me so high will necessarily carry me in complete superiority to all below it. The greater the light, the more it dispels the darkness; the greater it is, the more noticeable it is; therefore the more you are in the divine light, the farther and the wider you will shine down here in this world. We see it in our blessed Lord: knowing He had come from God and went to God, He could descend to wash the disciples' feet. He could touch everything and gild everything with the greatness of the light. If I dwell in the region of light, the power that carried me there, will also carry me into the region of darkness to shed forth the divine beauty of the light in all the details of daily life. If I have but little

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light, I shall manifest but little light. I will illustrate it for you in this way: bring a small candle into a dark room, and you find that it lights up a certain space; bring a larger one, and it lights a larger space; bring the greatest, and it clears away all the darkness. I will give three examples from Scripture; because, as I have said before, the principle I am dwelling on, and I trust you all receive it from the word, is that whatever you are in the presence of God is your true dignity, and that you cannot forego or lose sight of it anywhere, without grieving the Spirit. I do not like to bring it down to things of this world, but if a man has a certain elevation he would not give it up, if an honourable man, nor act inconsistently with it, wherever he might be.

The first scripture I turn to is Romans 12:1. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". Here is a man freed from the old taskmaster, the flesh, as we see in chapter 6, and the Lord is now his Master; one thing characterises him -- his body is the Lord's. Then in verse 2, he is transformed, comes out in an entirely new fashion. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God". In verse 4, the practice begins, and where it begins is important, it begins at what is nearest to the heart of Christ, the body. "As we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then, gifts", etc. The body is my first responsibility; necessarily it is. how can I be near the Lord, and the chief interest in His heart not be my first interest? As the Levite's business was the tabernacle, so here, you begin with what is nearest to Christ. This is the first light; it

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culminates in the last verse: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good". You do not assert your rights, you do not avenge yourself; but you overcome evil with good. That is a beautiful light. In the next chapter, such an one is subject to the powers that be, and owes no man anything but love. I am not a citizen, but I am a subject, and I do what I am ordered, and I "give honour to whom honour is due": I see a distinguished person, and I bow; I render to all their dues. That is a lovely character upon earth: set in righteousness here on the earth, your testimony before the world is that you overcome evil with good, you do not stand up for your rights, you obey the powers that be, and you owe no man anything but love. Finally, you cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. That is as far as the first light goes. Thus you are a very estimable, peculiar, godly man upon this earth. That is Romans; but there is nothing as to details in the assembly, and in your own family: the light here does not reach them.

Now turn to Colossians 3:18 - 23 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey your masters in all things according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men". See where you are. We have a much larger light here, and, consequently, we get details both as to the assembly and in the family. In Romans we do not get beyond the individual responsibility; there you come forth as one who knows what his place in Christ is, and you start with that which is nearest to Christ -- his body. In Colossians

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we are across the Jordan, dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world; we are on for heaven now. Hence in chapter 3 we are told to "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God". There is first the rolling away of the will and the habits of the old man, in order to put on the new, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him; while both among the saints, or in the assembly, and your own house, the effects of the increased light are very manifest. There is light enough to touch them all. The light is greater, and its influence consequently is greater.

Turn now to the greatest things: Ephesians 4:6 - 10. Anyone can see the advance in practice from the greatly increased light. You are seated in the heavenlies, in confirmed association with Christ, and necessarily this affects us in every circle, from the assembly down to the slave in the household. The lowest link in this world knows the benefit of the wonderful moral height from which he comes. Not only is the highest service in the church enjoined, but a man is to love his wife, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. There is now the greatest light -- the light from heaven. Hence, fathers are not to provoke their children to wrath; but to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The greater the moral height from which you come, the more the light, and it must come out in every detail down here. The canary sings its sweetest note in the expanse of the firmament, but it sings the very same note in the corner of the humblest cottage.

In chapter 4 righteousness and holiness of truth characterise you, for you have put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of truth. In chapter 5 you are the children of light; and as the children of light, your business is to love. You are lights in the world, and this fulfils what I have already said, your body is light. What is

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the meaning of the peculiar dress that some religious people adopt? It is to give an impression to those around them of the sanctity of their calling. That is Pharisaism. The way to have a body of light -- moral weight, is to be so with the Lord (the Lord is the light, and the eye takes in the light), so to feed upon Him who is more than Jonah and more than Solomon, that you are controlled by the light, and you set forth in every detail here the beauty and the greatness of the light, in which, by divine grace, you are placed. The sum of all I have been saying is this, the more you know your dignity in the presence of God, the more it will come out in private life; it will produce separation and devotedness. What are the great characteristics of this period? Dependence upon God, and surrender. This is what you get in Luke 18.

The more you ponder the subject, the more you will see the inconsistency of permitting that a saint may be one thing with God, and a different one with man. One may know little of it, but I cannot accept anything less. If I go into the holiest, I know I am there without a spot; but when I come out into this world, I meet with an intense contrariety. As I am walking in the Spirit, I like to resist the contrariety; in divine sensibility, shrinking from this and that; it is all contrary to me. As I thus walk, I am in Christ's pathway here; He was always apart from the evil, while doing the good and seeking the blessing of all He met with. A person who comes from "a believers' meeting" merely, can go into worldly associations that he would shrink from, did he know what it is to be in the holiest, in company with the Lord Jesus Christ -- the supreme blessedness of that holy association.

The Lord grant that each of our hearts may be in such undisturbed enjoyment of our place with Him, so knowing His presence that we shrink from everything that would deprive us of the enjoyment of it, for His name's sake.

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CHRIST'S CHIEF INTEREST

"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me", John 15:26.

Those who have been present at the previous lectures will the better understand what I desire to bring before you this evening. The first was, The actuality of Christ's presence in the midst of His own: prefigured by the tabernacle in the midst of Israel. If that was a very striking thing, how much more striking is the habitation of God now, with the Lord in the midst of those gathered together to His name! We must bear in mind, that we have come to the fulfilment of the word of God; we cannot go back and shelter ourselves under the state of things in any previous period, because upon us have come the ends of the ages. This is a momentous thing for us to bear in mind. We are to surpass all the testimonies that have gone before. I do not think we sufficiently enter into the dignity of our position here on the earth -- we are of the body of Christ.

The first subject then was, The actuality of the Lord's presence. The second, The company who enjoyed His presence: two or three gathered together to His name; the "holy priesthood"; that is, in moral keeping with Himself. I do not say that others will not find benefit there; all the sons of Aaron were to eat of the holy bread, but they were not all in company with the high priest in the holy places. Many a one in the assembly gets great benefit from the presence of the Lord, although he may not enjoy His presence, to which he is called. If his feet are not washed, he has no communion with the Lord. "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". He does not say, 'no part in Me', but "with me".

The third subject was, That any person who understood

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the nature and dignity of being in His company -- of association with Him -- his individual path must now be in keeping with his position in the holiest, and the better he apprehended his dignity there, the more would he insist that everything must be in keeping with it in private life. A clergyman lays aside his surplice because he can say, I am a priest already in the presence of God. A soldier lays aside his sword, saying, How can a priest in heaven fight for a world where Christ is rejected? I belong to Christ inside the veil. This fact characterises me in my individual path. Christendom excuses itself by distinguishing between the clergy and the laity. There is no such distinction in the New Testament. We are all priests inside the veil, through divine grace; and the more thoroughly you understand the profound nature and blessedness of that position, the more it will affect you in very detail of daily life. It cannot be otherwise, unless you submit to have two faces -- a religious face and a worldly face; a thing most abhorrent to a good man, how much more to the Spirit of God. It is from this that all devotedness springs. Why is there not more devotedness in the present day? Because we are not more affected by association with Christ, and the wonderful nature of it; therefore we do not carry the moral effect of it into the details of our daily life.

I come now to the fourth mark of the Lord's presence. I have not a thought that I have exhausted the subject; on the contrary, I should be sorry in one way if I could, because I should leave nothing for you to acquire. I want you to understand the reality of this grace, in a day of imitation; because, remember we have to do with worse than magicians now. There were magicians in Moses' day -- "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth". But how did they do it? They said, We can do it as well as you. That was

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imitation; and that is what we have to contend with. They assume to be as right as you; they rely on the very Scripture that you do -- on Matthew 18:20. Then what are we to do? Prove that we have something more -- the power of what we profess. There are actual marks consequent on His presence. You can see the first three plainly enough. The characteristics of His presence; the company who command His presence; and the effect upon private life individually. Now this evening, I desire to occupy your attention with Christ's chief interest at the present time. This, you will find, is the testimony. Nothing can be simpler to any one who thinks for a moment. Could you be in the company of anyone whom you valued very much, and not know, or seek to know, his chief interest? It would be impossible. Very often earnest believers have an instinct of this truth, though they are not taught in Scripture. As a rule, you will find that you have an instinct of the truth, even before you learn it. The person with the instinct before the education really values the education. Now, I do not believe a person could be in the presence of the Lord and not know something of His chief interest. You could not be near the Lord without knowing that there was no cloud between Him and you -- in fact you could not be there at all if there were. But supposing you were near Him, surely you would feel that there is a great link between Him and you, even though you did not know anything about union. You would like to hear of it; you enjoy the sense of the link between Him and you; you could not put it in words. Well, Scripture is your divine warrant for it. Nothing like nearness. Many a person might be well up in Scripture, and able to open up all the different parts of it like a science, or a dissected map, and yet that person not really understand it; because, as another has said, you must be in it to understand it. This you learn by nearness.

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Now, I trust, you will all admit that Christ has a chief interest. I will turn to what it is presently, but the first thing is, you must bear in mind, that He has a chief interest; for if He has a chief interest, it ought to be your chief interest. It is not a question whether your family, or your service, or this, or the other, is your chief interest. No, it is, what is Christ's chief interest? He has a chief interest. I have not yet said what it is, but I trust you will accept that -- that He, the One dearest to your heart, has a chief interest. No one can understand it but by love, and we never understand Christ's love till we know His love. Nothing understands love but love itself. The mind cannot form a heart; it might enlighten it, but it could not form it. A heart only can understand a heart. Though this is very elementary, the very rudiments as it were, still it is an immense thing to get hold of that simple fact -- Christ has a chief interest; and if I am in His confidence, if I am one of His friends, then His chief interest is my chief interest.

I think it will be helpful to any inquirer to see that God always had a chief interest from the time He called Abraham. No matter what it was, whether it was conducting the people to Canaan with the tabernacle in the midst, or whether the city, or the temple, still He always had a chief interest. Beloved friends, I desire to interest your hearts in this simple fact, that God always had a chief interest on the earth. I think it is an immense thing for the heart to get hold of this line of Scripture. Supposing I were an advocate pleading for a client, and I could bring the whole weight of law to bear upon the case, how effective I should be; so here, the whole weight of Scripture can be brought to establish the fact, that God always had a chief interest; and the conclusion is that He has a chief interest now. There is always an effort of the enemy to contravene what I am saying, but I ask any person to open the Bible at any point from

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Abraham onwards to the Lord's first coming, and show me that God had not a chief interest. And further, the man, the most honoured of God, was the man who unflinchingly adhered to it; while the man who wavered from it, lost all. "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning". "I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob". Why? Because it was God's interest. Where does any one fail? He has lost faith in God's chief interest. The returning captives went through much, but they lost faith in God's chief interest. "Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste". They did not make God's chief interest their chief interest; and this is the history of many a soul this day. Many a soul would be in a different position this day, if Christ's chief interest were his chief interest. I have no doubt that if even weighed down with your cares, you would rise up in the energy of the Spirit, if you were set for God's interest. Look at Daniel. In Babylon and surrounded by enemies, he prayed three times a day looking towards Jerusalem. It was at the time a waste. No matter; his heart is on the spot where God's heart is. Can you honestly say that, beloved friends, tonight -- that your heart is on the very spot where Christ's heart is? Three times a day he threw up his window, and prayed towards Jerusalem. And see the distance Jerusalem was from Babylon, and he too on the eve of being thrown into the den of lions. There is a man of God! single handed, too. See how God sustained him. See how he prospered; read the last verse of chapter 6 -- "So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, the Persian".

It is not a question of numbers; I have not a doubt in my mind that one man or one woman, faithful to

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Christ's interest in a place, will promote wonderful light and blessing in that place. It is the only refuge in a day like this. Look at Moses: he faces 600,000 armed men. "Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother". He did not fear, though humanly speaking they could have destroyed him in a moment. On the contrary, the power of God was with him. "The righteous is bold as a lion".

The Lord has an interest, a chief interest; and if that interest is not your interest, and you are not set for it, you are not prospering in soul. Prosperity is a very interesting word in Scripture; as in Psalm 1 -- "Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper". The peace-offering is called the prosperity-offering. If the Lord's chief interest is my chief interest, I have divine prosperity; for I am in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and I have His power. Is it not plain to every one of you, that if you want to have the power, the support, the cheer, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, you must go in company with Him? "The fellowship of the Holy Spirit" -- how many know what that is? If I am a man of faith, I depend on nothing but God; and as I am faithful to God's interest on the earth, I have the support of God. I might turn to Genesis 33 to establish the fact, that if I am not here maintaining the interest of God, I lose His support for myself. How could I have it? I am out of the line of His testimony. Jacob had come back to the land; God had met him and changed his name, had given him a new start; and what now? He buys a bit of land! Oh! I say, he is out of the divine way; he will certainly come to grief. I will not read the next chapter. We would like to draw a veil over it. You cannot conceive a more miserable picture than Jacob there. It is an instance how a man of God was forsaken of God, because of his frowardness.

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There were different testimonies; properly we fulfil them all. The first was Abraham, called to go out of the land of Ur of the Chaldees, unto a land which God would show him; where he was to be a stranger dependent on God. Babylon was in its incipient stage at that time. If you want to know the beginning of Babylon, you must turn to Genesis 11. Abraham was called away from the place where there was the greatest independence, to show entire dependence on God. The end of this world will be Babylon marked by complete independence of God. "I sit a queen, and am no widow". And what characterises that great city? All the delicacies of this world. Everything that is vile and refuse is refused -- the principle of Saul in his war with Amalek. The next testimony was Exodus 3:8. "I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey, unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites". Israel after one march (see Numbers 10 and 11) complained, then fell a-lusting, and eventually refused to go up and possess the land. Caleb and Joshua remained faithful.

Mark now, the place that terrified Israel, the place of the giants, becomes the possession of the man of faith. Where there is most against you, there you can record your greatest victory. "Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel", Joshua 14:6 - 15.

We have not, as Israel, to get possession: we have it; but we have to keep possession. And how are we to keep possession? By giving no quarter to the old inhabitant. By no quarter to an old inhabitant, I mean no quarter to the old man. "And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye

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shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you, but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you", judges 2:2, 3. The enemy in the land was the most treacherous of all the enemies Israel had to encounter. It is not an open conflict. Pharaoh in Egypt is an open foe, and so is Amalek. Balaam is not so easily seen -- more subtle and insinuating. But in the land, if you do not exterminate the old inhabitant, you will be victimised. Further on, we shall see they were captives in their own houses. In the land, on the right ground, but captives, instead of as promised them in Joshua 23. "One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God he it is that fighteth for you". They had forsaken the interest of God, and the consequence was that they had lost their own blessings.

I do not dwell much on the kings. In David's time there was the city; in Solomon's, the house. I pass on to Haggai (though I have already alluded to it) because it resembles ourselves. The captives had returned; they had taken a long difficult journey, and they had begun to build; but they were obstructed, and obstructed by those who had offered to be their allies. If you are walking in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, you will discover what is the power against you. Satan will let you do anything you like, except what God is set for. Where God is, there the devil is. Where there is most good, there the greatest opposition is. The captives were discouraged; they ceased to build, and sought their own interests. But the house, God's interest was overlooked, and consequently, "Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little". You say, Was it not right for a Jew to look for natural blessings? Yes, but they had forsaken God's interest.

The next testimony was the Lord Himself here on earth. Christ in glory now is the testimony. If you

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watch, you will see, that the tendency always is to be occupied with a dispensation you are not in. Like the churchman, he goes back to the time when the Lord was on earth, and he uses what is called the Lord's prayer. Then there are pious people who anticipate the hundred and forty-four thousand in Revelation 14. Well, now I look at the New Testament. I will read a verse in John 2:15 - 17: "And when he had made a scourge of small cords he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up". Beloved friends, can we say, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up"? I do think we ought to be able to say it. I ask myself and I ask you, Can you honestly say that God's house is your paramount business here? You say, Oh! but I must look after my business and my family. Quite right; but that is not your paramount business. One might say, The house is a ruin. I ask, What could be worse than the state of things when our Lord was here? They were actually making merchandise in God's house. It should touch our hearts to see the Lord making a scourge of small cords, and drive them all out of the temple. Could anything be more affecting? It is inimitable. He did it all by Himself; He asked no one to support Him. "The righteous is bold as a lion". "And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up". What a company we should be, if we were characterised by zeal like that!

In the verse I read (John 15:26), the Lord is speaking of His ascension. He says, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth which proceedeth

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from the Father, he shall testify of me". Mark every word; it is important. It is from that height He sends the Holy Spirit, and "he shall testify of me". He does not say, Ye shall. Why? Because no human means can come in at all. "He shall testify". I lay great stress on that word He . You say, Has the human element no place at all? As a servant; not as a contributor. As a servant my intellect is in subjection, though I do not lay much value on it. The great comfort is the Holy Spirit is here, and this is immense encouragement for our hearts. In chapter 14 the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father to bring the comfort of what Christ was here, to His disciples. Here in chapter 15, He is sent by Christ from the Father to "testify of me"; that is, of Christ in glory; and it is by His power alone I can testify of Him. Every path that God ever proposed to man is an impossible one to mere man. Every path He proposes is a divine one, and therefore can be carried out only by divine power. In verse 27, the disciples were to testify of Jesus as He was on earth.

Now there is no doubt the Holy Spirit is sent down to us to testify of Christ. You say, We have failed. But you cannot say, The Holy Spirit has failed. I insist that the same power to testify of Christ is in the assembly now, on this earth this day, as ever He was; and I say again, that if you are in company with Him, you have some sense of your Lord's interest. I insist that the power to maintain the testimony is here on earth. Daniel was sustained by the Holy Spirit, but he could not say, The Holy Spirit is down here residing whether I use Him or not. But we can say, The Holy Spirit is down here in this room to testify of Christ, whether I use Him or not. The divine resources are here as great as ever. Just as if an army were broken up, but all the reserves, everything of the material of war was just as perfect and as complete as when there was a disciplined army. We are only a little "handful";

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that is what we are reduced to. If the Lord permit me I will dwell upon the handful another time, but what I dwell upon now is that the power to maintain the name of Christ upon this earth is as great this day as ever it was. The saints to be used in this service are not as valiant as they might be; they are not united; they are (though one does not like to use the worldly language) demoralised. I do not mean they are so in morals; but they have lost all the keeping of rank, and all the soldier-like prowess which marked those who would stand for Christ in the scene where He is rejected. O beloved friends, what we want is loyal soldiers for the army of Christ, to stand for Him here, where He is rejected; not mere emigrants to heaven! He has gone away to the Father, and every heart in this room that knows Him, lifts up the heart to Him there, where He is, and desires and delights loyally to stand for Him here, where He is refused. I am left in a world that is ready to swamp me; in a world that hates me because I am like Christ. Strange for the disciples to be left in a world that hated Him! "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.... I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you". "Now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father". "They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come .. .". Here it is in connection with hating that He sends the Comforter. The Holy Spirit would support them. You shall not be swamped; He says, I will send down the Holy Spirit from the Father, and He shall testify of Me ascended. I have already noticed He does not say you will; though no doubt you are the vessel; that I thoroughly admit. But I want you to know, and I trust you have it in your heart in real faith that the power is here. It is no doubt the power that sustained Daniel, but Daniel could not say what you and I can say, that the power is residing here whether

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we use Him or not. That is the wonderful thing -- the descent of the Holy Spirit; He is here, and when you are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, you cannot lose sight of Christ.

Now having established the power, I turn to Christ's present interest. I look at it in a two-fold way. I read Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it". That is His chief interest, beloved friends. And though I do not go into it, you will find this foreshadowed in the Old Testament. I might occupy you interestingly on this subject, but I will only put you on the line of it. You will find that when God desires to set forth a truth, you get beautiful indications of it in the Old Testament. I speak of the bride; Rebekah, for instance, when Isaac was in sorrow; or Joseph, when he was a stranger in Egypt is given a bride -- someone to comfort him. That is the principle: "It is not good that the man should be alone". And when the Lord comes, what does John say? "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom", he was the friend of the bridegroom, and rejoiced greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. And do you think that because things are in a disorganised state, that Christ has less love for the assembly than He once had? Do you mean to say that a good man in this world loves his wife less, because she is feeble? Her very feebleness draws forth fresh expressions of his love. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it". Has that love diminished? Never, thank God! The assembly then is His chief interest. Some may not understand how that can be in a broken up state of things, but as I have already said, in the broken up state there is a "handful", commonly called a remnant, though I do not quite like the word; it is "a handful", as it is said in Psalm 72:16, "There shall be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains";

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and in one of the prophets, "Gleaning grapes shall be left in it.... Two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof". Still the few are good grapes.

I desire now to show you for a moment what the assembly is. You see it is His chief interest. No matter what the state of things is, the power is here. Hence the apostle writes, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". And I never yet saw (I wish I could see it more) a man or a woman in power who did not make the assembly his interest; the assembly is your prominent thought, though it is not a question of what the nature of your service may be. Supposing I am an evangelist; well, an evangelist was given from the Head of the assembly "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ". But I say again, what I have begun with, that you could not be near Him without knowing that the assembly is His chief interest. I am not going into the question of service; though, if permitted, I will go on to it on another occasion; but I have no doubt, that what would characterise a heart that cared for Christ would be a zeal to draw souls to Christ. I do not mean simply the salvation of souls. As a rule, one's attention now is given to sinners, and not to saints. "These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone". What is the defection now? What did Paul say? "All they which are in Asia are turned away from me". It was not that they had turned away from the gospel, but from Christ's chief interest -- the truth committed to Paul. The salvation of a soul is not the whole counsel of God. Though I have not the gift of an evangelist, I could not sit beside a sinner without talking to him of a Saviour; and I could not sit beside a saint without talking to him of Christ. I have no other subject for anybody. But I

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say it is a different thing when Christ's interest is my interest. May we be in the spirit of the captives in Babylon; they had an interest in Jerusalem. "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy". Instead of thinking that I am in any way extravagant, your heart ought to rejoice that you are in concert with your Lord's mind. Nothing rejoices His heart more than that we like what He likes. Hence the apostle says to Timothy "Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life"; and, "That from a child, thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus".

Let us now consider Christ's present interest. I turn to Matthew 16:18, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my assembly; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Now, I ask any true-hearted person in this room, Do you know the Lord Jesus is not on earth? Yes. You know He is in heaven? Yes. Very well; then tell me what really belongs to Him here, where He was rejected by His own. Mind you, that it is in connection with His rejection that this new structure comes out. In Matthew 16:18, He says to Peter, Thou art Peter -- a stone, and upon this rock -- that was the testimony he had given of Christ as the SON of the living GOD -- I will build MY assembly; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And do I not know, beloved friends, that many a heart here rejoices that all the power of hell cannot drive Christ's assembly from this earth! He has not given up possession of this earth where He was rejected. On the contrary, He announces, I am rejected by My own, but I will have a structure on this earth, an impregnable fortress that the gates of hell shall not prevail against.

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A living stone is not merely that I am converted, but that I have faith in the sufficiency of Christ; I know what He can do; I know that He can feed five thousand from five loaves, and four thousand on seven loaves, and yet many baskets over; I have faith in the supremacy of the Son of the living God in His assembly. I say, deliberately, that this is the avenue, the actual doorway into the assembly. I cannot go into it in detail, it is a little outside my subject, because the subject I am on is, that His interest is on the earth. You say, It is in ruins. Very well; sweep away the ruins if you can! Do we understand our new position? Being built into a structure, the house of God, that shall eventually come forth as a holy temple in the Lord!

But there is also the body of Christ, which was first divulged in Acts 9:4, "Why persecutest thou me?" The body is in relation to Himself, and comes out in connection with the persecution of the saints. Then for the first time was divulged that Christ's body was on earth! "Why persecutest thou ME?" Matthew 16:18 is a structure here on the earth where Christ is rejected. In Acts 9: 4, the secret of His body was divulged consequent on His rejection when in glory, and in connection with the persecution of the saints. Why persecutest thou ME? MYSELF. This is His present interest: "Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it". I have no doubt the heart often finds out something of this before the house is known. I have no doubt the order in which the truth is recovered is at first with regard to the body. It is not only that there is a structure on this earth that all the power of hell cannot prevail against; that is the aspect when I look at it as to this earth; but there is another aspect, and that is, that there is a relationship, a bond between us and the Lord Jesus Christ that no language can describe. "We are members of his body". I would not believe that a

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company was gathered to His name who could say, We do not know anything about Christ's chief interest, of which I am speaking. Some would tell me, There is no remedy, the corporate thing is over. Am I to listen to such a thing as that? Certainly not; because there are two things which forbid me. One is, the Holy Spirit is here to testify of Christ; and the other is, that Christ's heart is just the same as ever; His chief interest is here. I know the house is in a dilapidated condition, but if I look at the body I know that all the members are here, on this earth. Someone may say, I thought some of them were dead. No; that is not the body. And some of them to come? No. If Christ's body is not on this earth, then Satan has gained the day. The wonderful secret is that His body is on the earth. It had been kept secret from the foundation of the world, but as I am in His presence (and that is my point) I discover that there is a bond between us; and my heart rejoices when I find in Scripture light and authority to understand the nature of it. It is the knowledge of the tie that makes me sure of it. The enjoyment of the tie makes me value the scripture that establishes my right to the tie.

Now I turn back to John 15. There are two things which comfort me. One is, the power to maintain the testimony of Christ is here; the purpose of God is secured. The other, our service and gain are great as we avail ourselves of this great power. If any heart here says, I will maintain His interest; then I say, you will have the support of the Holy Spirit. What can distinguish a man more than a great interest? Every man is coloured by his aim, and you will never enjoy solid happiness till you make the Lord's interests your interests.

I turn to John 16 to make a remark, as to the two things which mark the support of the Holy Spirit; so that you can always judge for yourself. One is, that

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He is decidedly against the world. He is the righteous witness against it. It is not that He differs from it, He is the witness against it. "When he is come, he will convict the world", not "convince" exactly. He will witness against it. I would not read a report of the statistics of crime to know that sin is on the world. There is here an incontrovertible witness -- the Holy Spirit. His being here proves that the world has sin on it; they have not believed on Christ; and I must now go either with the force against the world, the force of the Holy Spirit standing for Christ, or I must go with the course of the world against Him. Now that is the real question with souls. All in Asia had gone with the course of the world. Anyone with anointed eyes can understand it very well. Why did they turn away from Paul, where he had done most of his work too? If they accepted Paul's line, they must be against the world.

The second thing is, "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore, said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you". He brings in the heavenly things, so that a person can say, Well, if you are going in company with the Holy Spirit, you must take the opposite course to the world; it is running one way, and the Holy Spirit going the other. Yes, you are going God's way. You have lost the world. For this, you will have the greatest possible compensation; heavenly things are brought to you. "He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore, said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you". The testimony now is of Christ, the manifestation of the heavenly man on earth, where He was the rejected man -- the saints the expositors of it. Can you conceive anything more exquisite? He was rejected here, I am united to Him in heaven, and by the Holy Spirit I can stand

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for Him however feebly, to set forth the beauty of the heavenly Man -- the exalted Man, in the very spot where He was the rejected Man. "Be not thou, therefore, ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner", Paul writes. But then, who does carry out the testimony? Well, that is our feebleness. As I have already tried to explain to you in figure, it is the army, we who are called to do the work, we have failed. The resources of God for the work are as great as ever. The soldiers are unfaithful. The material of war is not diminished. There is not one in the whole world who says, I will stand for Him, but finds out that the Lord is his support. We have learned He was here for us; have we learned to be here for Him?

There is just one passage more that I must call your attention to, Matthew 13:44. You might have thought that I would have referred to this at first; but no, I turn to this to silence any doubt that might arise as to Christ's chief interest being here. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field: the which, when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field". Now, in conclusion, in support of what I have been pressing on you -- that the Lord's chief interest must be the chief interest of those who enjoy His presence. Here, in the world, in this tumultuous scene, is there anything particular? In this scene of distraction, where Christianity has really made things more corrupt than they were, I ask, Is there anything here for the Lord? The answer is, His treasure is here; hid in the field. Well, what is the effect of this upon you? Does it not give you a new interest on this earth? I can look upon the world with all its distractions, and I can bear with it, because HIS treasure is here. I ask you, solemnly, Do you believe His treasure is on earth? Nine-tenths of the saints believe it is in heaven. Nay, they talk of Jesus

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as if He were on earth, and they talk of the saints being one in heaven! It is the other way. The body is on earth, and He is in heaven; and never is anyone right about the truth who is not clear about this.

I look for a moment at Revelation 3:11, "Let no man take thy crown". Now from this verse evidently they had it, or it could not be said, Let no man take thy crown. It does not say they should not be troubled, on the contrary, the exhortation, "let no man take", shows that there would be the effort of the enemy to rob them of their crown. Now what is the crown? It is the top; the summit. Everyone knows the expression, the crown of the hill -- the top. Now there is a great encouragement in this scripture. It is exceedingly interesting to get a verse like this in these addresses to the seven churches, which show you the dilapidation of the house -- not the body. "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown". That shows the thing is still there. Christ's chief interest is there, but the exhortation indicates danger. There would be a determined effort to take their crown from them.

I turn to Revelation 22:17, to show the close. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". I find Christ's chief interest is here. The bride (characteristically true of all saints) is here, and the Holy Spirit. Thank God, I find them together. And what are they doing? Occupied with Christ's interests. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". They invite Him to come -- those only fit to ask Him. What could be happier service than to say to Him, Come, because we are ready for Him? What next? Now look at the order. "And let him that heareth, say, Come". Here is a brother not saying, "Come". I urge him on to do so, I encourage him; "Let him that heareth say, Come". But here is another brother who is not happy; to him I say, "Let him that is athirst come": let him come to enjoy. Is that all? Do I confine

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myself to the saints? No: now I am evangelical. I go out to the wide, wide world, the whole length and breadth of the earth and say, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely". It is everything to be in concert with the heart of Christ about things, in the circle of His interests, and to come out from Him with the gospel to the utmost bounds of the earth. Do you think I should be a worse evangelist because I am devoted to His chief interest? Every evangelist gets his commission from above, and to the Lord -- the Head, he must report. What is he sent for? What is his commission? "For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ". He is recruiting for his own corps -- the assembly; he is seeking for faithful men to stand for his Lord on earth. I never saw a man really devoted to God that he had not a real care for souls, according to the grace given him by Christ. In 2 Timothy you get a most terrible thing; what really is a masterpiece of iniquity -- the separation between the gospel and the assembly. The effort of the enemy is ever to divorce what God has joined together. "All they which are in Asia be turned away from me", not from the gospel, but from Paul; that is, from the heavenly truth of which Paul was the minister.

The true character of affection is, that everything is attended to. I like to please Him. I am on the alert; the very fact of my affection makes me on the alert. The heart set on Christ has one thing to live for, Christ's chief interest.

The Lord grant that our hearts may know what is the exceeding blessedness (and it could not be otherwise if in His presence) of maintaining His chief interest, for His name's sake.

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THE REMNANT, OR THE REST

"But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof", Isaiah 6:13.

My object in reading this verse is to show that God's right is secured. The tenth is His right. The tithe was the victor's right, and Abraham gave it to Melchisedec the priest of the most high God. But what I desire, before I enter on the subject of the remnant, is to occupy your attention with the sections of the truth, which are learned from the Lord in the midst of His own. I will enumerate those which I have brought forward, and I think you will see that they are incidental or concurrent. The first evening I spoke of the actuality of His presence. If you do not believe in the actuality of His presence, you allow that there was a greater thing in Israel than there is now; because then, there was a tabernacle with an apostle and a high priest, and a cloud of glory resting upon it, in the midst of the people. The presence of the Lord of glory is not known except by those gathered to His name. Secondly, We had the character of the company who enjoyed His presence; they command or obtain His presence: "Where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them". The youngest believer may enjoy it. Thirdly, The effect His company has on the individual, in his path here; so that after knowing the dignity of being a priest in the sanctuary, he would not tamper with the unholy things of the world. Though he would be in contact with them, he would be morally separate from them. The better he understood his dignity inside with the Lord, the more separate would he be in character and position here among men. That is plain enough. The fourth

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was, That God always had a chief interest on the earth, and that no one could be near the Lord -- certainly no one could be associated with Him, enjoying Him in the midst of His own -- without acquiring some sense, though he might not be very intelligent about it, that Christ loved the assembly; and not only that, but he knows that the Holy Spirit is here to testify of Christ, and that the assembly is the vessel through which the testimony is given. Nothing can cheer the heart more than the simple fact, that in this world where we are, there Christ's treasure is. If I look at "the field", the world, I see His treasure is hid in the field. I see that in the midst of all the confusion, misrule, and every kind of extravagance of thought and action, Christ has His treasure on the earth. It is not in heaven, it is on the earth -- a wonderful fact.

Now I come to a subject of peculiar interest. I am sensible how little I can present it, though I trust I understand it. It is, that seeing His interest is here, there will always be those who "call on the Lord out of a pure heart"; that is commonly called a remnant, though I do not like the word, because it generally gives an incorrect idea. The word in Scripture translated "the rest" in some places, is translated "remnant" in other places. In the Acts of the Apostles, and in the address to Thyatira, it is translated "the rest", and this gives me more the idea of what I understand by "the remnant". If you bear in mind that the Lord has a chief interest here, and if you look around and see what a state of confusion everything is in, how broken up everything is, how failing the testimony is, what have you to do? Plainly the answer is, To be faithful to His interest. Be of the "rest", or remnant.

There are three great marks always of the remnant. The first is, That while the Lord's chief interest is your chief interest, you are sensible that the church

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has fallen; therefore there is no effort at being conspicuous, no effort to set up anything, as if we had not lost our first estate. Now, if you look around you and follow the history of the church, you will find that there is no true apprehension of Christ's interest. What is the Reformed Church but an effort to reconstruct? God never restores a thing that is fallen; He continues a remnant to set forth and maintain His own interest. Therefore, the first thing is, that you maintain His interest, while you own the failure in testimony. You do not assume to be anything, which is the second mark; a poor and afflicted people that trust in the Lord. You are very sensible of the reproach that is on the church. When a man is sensible of the reproach that is on his family, he knows he cannot reverse it by assuming that it does not exist. One should say, I am not insensible to the reproach that is on my family, but I am determined not to add to that reproach; on the contrary, my great purpose is to show that my life is an unvarying contradiction of the reproach that is on my family. We have lost our title to be credited by the world, we present no appearance to men; "as a teil tree, or an oak, when they cast their leaves", but "whose substance is in them". The Lord is with us. And the third mark is I am more devoted in serving than ever. Devotedness to God is demonstrated by the zeal with which I serve His people.

Next, we have two classes of enemies to contend with: one which works for reconstruction; and the other, who say, Oh, it is no use; a fox will break it all down; the corporate thing is over. Well, in a sense, I respect those who try to reconstruct, though I know they will find the attempt a failure. But to the others, all I say is, Your despondence as to the Lord's chief interest is only a reflection of your own state. There never was a disordered mind yet that did not think everyone was as disordered as himself. All

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over! It is all over with those who say so. How could it be over? The same power is here that ever was here; the same love for the assembly exists as ever: what you want is faithfulness in the vessel. "In it shall be a tenth". Be you a true remnant. You are not to try to reform the church; you are not to begin anew, though you are to start from the beginning. You cannot disconnect yourself from the old family, the church; you must bear all the reproaches on that family, you are not honest if you do not; but the Lord's chief interest is here.

No dispensation closes without a manifestation of God's power as setting forth His heart in connection with His chief interest at the time, though there is little to indicate it outwardly. You can be according to His pleasure; not a faded fraction; but the divine quality at the beginning comes out in great distinctness. It is like the lighting up before death, it comes out more intensely in contrast to the surrounding declension. There are the two things which you must bear in mind in connection with the remnant; one, that you are a living contradiction of the reproach on the church; the other, that you most earnestly set forth the mind of God as expressed at the beginning.

I may give you one example here, though out of place, which will explain what I mean. The widow, who gave her two mites for the restoration of the temple, was nothing pretentious in the sight of men, but she was most pleasing in the sight of the Lord. She gave all she had. She even surpassed Solomon! That is the right trait of the remnant. I believe it was a beautiful sight to our Lord as He went out of the temple. The rich men were casting in of their abundance, but this poor widow cast in all that she had. For what? For God's chief interest, though we know the hopeless state of the temple then. I say she surpassed Solomon; Solomon out of his great riches built the house, but here is a poor widow who

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gave all the living that she had, for maintaining it. Thus the end is morally greater than the beginning. There will be some to stand forth and maintain what is due to God on the earth, at the sacrifice of everything. God grant that every heart here may be in true fidelity to His interest.

The first scripture I turn to is Genesis 48:1 - 7. "And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said unto Joseph, God almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now thy two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem".

Now here, beloved friends, there is a sample of one at the close. This was the end of the Abrahamic period, and the great feature of the testimony at that time was to be a stranger in the land, with no possession. If I look at Jacob, in another day, as at the end of chapter 33, I get his failure; many fall into it now. There Jacob had an altar; he called it El-elohe Israel, but he gave up the testimony. The testimony was that he should be a stranger and a pilgrim in the land, but he bought a parcel of a field. He did not give up

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the true ground -- as you will find many say in this day -- but he gave up the testimony, which was no possession save a burying place. Now in chapter 48 we come to the close of the Abrahamic period, and we find Jacob, as recorded in Hebrews, "leaning upon the top of his staff": nothing imposing to look at; feebleness itself; dying. All his pristine vigour, all that marked him as a man of great activity, gone; but he is worshipping God, and he is blessing the sons of Joseph -- a beautiful combination! He is interested about the Lord's concerns on the earth, but as for himself, he has no link to it; a veritable pilgrim. He says, Rachel died, and I buried her at Ephrath. I have not a single link to this scene. Never was a man so thoroughly dissociated in heart and spirit from the earth, as he was at that moment. Thus he portrays the three marks of those who stand for the Lord in a day of ruin. He is in Egypt, the place of reproach. There is no effort to conceal his own feebleness; he is worshipping God, a thorough pilgrim; and blessing the sons of Joseph; devoted to God and His people.

Another example is in 1 Samuel 7. I turn to these in the hope that you may study for yourselves, and others may occur to you. This is a particularly interesting one, because it is at the close of the period of the Judges, which is, in a way, the type of our present period. In the times of the judges there was no king, and God personally was the One to rule; in that way typical of the place of the Holy Spirit at this present time. They were in a peculiar embarrassment from the Philistines; very like the way the true are hindered by the professing in the church now. They were in the land; they were in the right place; but the Philistines had so overwhelmed them that they were actually prisoners in their own houses. They had even to go to the Philistines to sharpen their tools. In the land, but not allowed to enjoy it.

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The Philistines were a people who had come up from Egypt; you get their origin in Genesis 10. The condition is lamentable. What does Samuel propose? Samuel closes this period; and it is remarkable that he came in by prayer, he was given in answer to prayer. Read verse 3, "And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines".

There was no disguising the state they were in still they were to be delivered out of it. He does not tell them to make any demonstration; but he says, "I will pray for you". Then as we read in verse 6, "And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it. they were afraid of the Philistines. And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt-offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt-offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came unto Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it

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Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us".

There you get a great manifestation of His favour. You might say, What are we to do in our present confusion? -- the Philistines actually swamping and hindering everything even in the place of blessing -- what are we to do? Two things must be insisted on and maintained: namely, separation, and dependence on God. Those were the two things here -- separation and dependence -- and God wrought a great victory. "The Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel; and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel". Samuel was the last of the judges. We see, then, that at the close of that period, there was a company who had really turned to the Lord; sensible indeed of their condition, because Ichabod was written on the nation. There was no denying their low estate, the family reproach. What could more give you the idea of humility than praying? The very attitude expresses need. They poured out water, the water is the line of separation; and they fasted. There was an entire abnegation of human resources, and they turned to God in absolute dependence on Him. Then God comes forth in His own power: He thundered. Thunder is a thing outside the compass of man. The wonder is that we do not pray more. You cannot pray without acceptance, and that is what the burnt-offering set forth. We are in acceptance: "Now is the accepted time". I believe if there were more separation and dependence, God would show Himself remarkably for us. Here they are in very different circumstances from the days of Joshua; but still it was the same power. There is no passage fraught with more instruction for us than this. It is typical of the church period. And Samuel at the close of that period can record by a stone, typically Christ: "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us".

One more example from the Old Testament: it

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will explain a good deal. I turn to Haggai. I am sure that every obstruction will be thrown in your way as you endeavour to stand for the Lord. The enemy begins to plot against you the moment you try to be released from indifference. That is always so. You see it in the case which we have just been looking at. "When the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel". The moment you seek to progress, you may be sure the power of the enemy is at work to baffle you. Now this is very interesting in connection with the captives who had come up from Babylon in Ezra's time, and had gone through a great deal of suffering. They were sensible that everything was in a broken condition, yet they returned to Jerusalem. The walls were broken down, and the temple in ruins. Still they were so assured of the Lord's favour that they kept the feast of tabernacles before even they had a harvest. And this is an immense encouragement for us, and has encouraged many; for if they could overcome all obstruction, and could again be occupied with God's chief interest here, how much more should we who have the Holy Spirit! But hindrances were thrown in their way, and so successfully, that for fourteen years they ceased building. They were baffled; though they could say, We are come back to the right place. Now this is our danger. On the one hand, there is a danger lest, like Jacob, although you have returned to the right ground, and though you retain the truth, you disregard the testimony. I mean by that, the distinct special line of divine interest. In Haggai His interest was the house: "Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little, and when ye brought it home. I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house". It was not worldliness. They were seeking their own blessing, and not God's interest.

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Israel was entitled to earthly blessing, but they were not making God's chief interest their first interest. Those who have suffered a great deal in order to stand for the Lord, are in peculiar danger of being turned aside. There is not only the danger I have alluded to in Jacob; but that you will be so baffled and hindered by the opposers that you cease to be engrossed with God's chief interest. Then it happens to us, as to Israel: "I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste". God's interest is overlooked. The only true revival is in zeal for God's chief interest. "Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. And they came and did the work in the house of the LORD, of hosts, their God".

And further on, we read in chapter 2: 15: "And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. I smote you with blasting, and with mildew, and with hail, in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD. Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig-tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive-tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you". The great thing to maintain is that God's chief interest is ours. The danger is that one may have suffered a great deal to arrive at the true ground, and then fail to maintain what is God's chief interest on that ground; to be stranded there.

How beautifully this course is pursued by our Lord!

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In John 2, when He comes into the temple (and that was not the temple built by Ezra, this had been thrown down; it was rebuilt by Herod, and took forty-six years to rebuild), He cleared it. I know nothing more affecting than that the Lord makes a scourge of small cords and drives them all out, saying to them that sold doves, "Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up". Nothing more touching. There were two classes in those days, as now -- the Pharisees and publicans. The Pharisees tried to keep up appearances; the publicans trafficked on the ruin of the dispensation, they were the tax-gatherers. The Pharisee studies appearance in works and ways; the publican says, It is all ruin, but I may turn it to my account.

Now turn to Luke 2 for an example of the remnant in our Lord's time -- Simeon and Anna, who met the Lord when, for the first time, He was taken, an infant, into the temple. Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel. There was nothing pretentious about him; he was an old man, but his heart was set for the Lord. The man and the woman together make a full type; the man denotes the energy, the woman the condition. Simeon is looking for the salvation of Israel, and he, with the Saviour in his arms, can say to the Lord: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation". As I have seen You, I can let everything else go. Anna, on the other hand, did not depart "from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day: and she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem". Look at their beautiful fidelity to God. Nothing in the eyes of men: an old man and an old woman. Anna was over eighty

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years of age; see her activity. She is not imposing or conspicuous, but the Lord's chief interest was her chief interest, and she sedulously sought the welfare of His people.

Now let us look at our responsibility. The word Isaiah 17:6, may give you an idea of it. "Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD GOD OF Israel". They were only four or five, but they were all good fruit. Again, Psalm 72:16; "There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth". One more, to which I have alluded, Zephaniah 3:12, "I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD". The responsibility of the remnant of our day is indicated by the scriptures which I have read.

I turn to 2 Timothy 4:16 - 18: "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen". I have read this, because Paul who had been the chief servant of God connected with the assembly, is made to feel and be a true remnant; to be only a unit -- actually reduced to one. And it is after he was forsaken by all the saints, that he writes this epistle. How blessed his experience: "The Lord stood by me and strengthened me!" He would not give in. The saints all forsook him. It was different with Stephen, he was

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the remnant of the people and the Jews forsook him; here, the saints forsook Paul: it is beautiful to see how he prays for them, After this it is, he writes to Timothy, Do not you give in. All in Asia have turned away from me; we are in a poor state, but you are not to give in. God is faithful; and He has not given us the spirit of fear (cowardice); but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Go on. Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner. And what you have heard of me, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose; let there be no dilution whatever. "Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned".

2 Timothy divides itself into two parts: the one relating to the ordinary state of things, the other, the last two chapters, to the extraordinary. We are in the extraordinary -- the difficult times of the last days. The gross enormities of heathendom, described in Romans 1, are not found here; but there is worse -- subtle wickedness. Is he discouraged? Not at all. As someone has remarked, he never showed more courage. Instead of saying, it is all over, as some now say, he says, on the contrary, "Continue". "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned". Would you not like to stand for your Lord, although you were alone? The master builder of the church stood alone, but he could say, The Lord delivered me, and "That by me the preaching (or the proclamation) might be fully known". In Romans 16:25 you get the same word: "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ". Does not the heart delight in a man like that? That man does not say, It is all over. He says, "The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me". Nothing in Paul for

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the human eye; a poor prisoner standing before the Roman tribunal. But the Lord stood with him and strengthened him, that all the Gentiles should hear. Thus he was a fit vessel to encourage and charge Timothy: "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine". "Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry". It is a beautiful close. He was devoted to God, and he served others, though reduced to a unit in a prison at Rome.

There is one example more that I will turn to, John 21, 22: "Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me". It went abroad from this that John should not die; and it was held, I think, as far as the first century, that he was still alive. There is something specially interesting in this passage. It has been accepted generally, that when the Book of Revelation was given to John, everything was ready for the Lord to come; there was no more what we call development to take place. And it is a significant fact that John, so attached to the Lord -- the beloved disciple -- should be the one who should "tarry till I come". He does not say that John would tarry, but of the servant to whom He had made known the state of things which would be at His coming, of him He could say, "If I will that he tarry till I come". Beloved friends, He will have a John when He comes. He will have a Bethany -- a spot where His worth is known. You say, John is dead. Yes; but the love John had for the Lord is not dead; and I say, the love of a John will be here to receive Him when He comes back. Does that love characterise you? What illustration shall I give you? I have heard of an officer in the army who carried the colours (generally it is a junior officer who does this -- as long as the colours are preserved, the honour of the corps is preserved), finding himself surrounded by

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enemies, he tore the colours from the standard and thrusting them into his breast, said, You must take me before you take the colours. That is the man for this day -- a man who will not give up the colours. The colours are God's chief interest at the present time.

Look at the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. John tells you the history of things on the earth, and shows there is no hope but for those in Philadelphia, to whom the Lord, as it were, says, If you have My character, you shall have My power. "He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David". Character and power always go together. You may be sure you never have power without character. I do not mean what the world calls character, but I mean separation to God, "holy" and "true". Then we are like a beautiful streak of light passing through all the dark shadows, and coming out at the close in readiness for the Lord. Read Revelation 22:17: "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". There is John again. His love is there. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". Characteristically true of every believer; what characterises all the saints, their calling; you cannot leave out any. The bride is looking for Him, and attentive to all that concerns Him. All that concerns Him is of deepest interest to her. Love delights in the pleasure of its Object. If you love Me, feed My sheep; shepherd My sheep; feed My lambs. She is suited to Him, not scrambling to get ready; but she earnestly labours that everything may be according to His pleasure when He does come. She knows what will suit Him. If I were not in circumstances fitted for His coming, I could not say, Come. I would not ask an ordinary friend to come if I were not ready to receive him, how much less the Lord. The greater the friend, the more I would like to have everything in order to receive him. May we be "like unto men that wait for their Lord"; not merely talking about it. You say you

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will be prepared in a moment. No doubt, but if you are saying Come, you are ready for Him now.

Well, there is immense encouragement for us. If we are thoroughly devoted to the Lord, we shall have wonderful power to rally others. We are privileged beyond all the servants of God, in any previous dispensation: we are members one of another; so that if one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. We have power to help one other, beyond what was ever known before Pentecost. If I am in concert with my Lord, I am a blessing to others. I see the ruin, but I am not a solitaire; I do all I can to serve my fellows. I maintain the truth to the end, and "with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart". The thing I am longing for is the knowledge of His present mind. I want to know Him as He is this minute. If a wife is away from her husband, will a letter from him six months ago content her? No; she wants to hear from him today. The Lord gathers us around Him in the sanctuary that we may learn Himself, His present mind. Can you say, beloved friends, I had an interview with the Lord this day? He brought me to His banqueting house, and I sat down under His shadow with great delight? Or can you only say, He bore me through a great sorrow this day? That is manna -- sustaining me in my circumstances; and we cannot do without this. The other is the old corn of the land; the knowledge of association with Himself where He is. "In spirit there already". He succours me in my circumstances, bears me over the trials and difficulties and sorrow, in order that I may keep company with Him in His circumstances. But what I press is, as Paul said, "That I may know him" (Philippians 3), that is, as He now is. My heart longs to be beside Him, that I may be in His confidence. In Ephesians nothing is said about His coming, because you are there in His company -- in the heavenly places. Philippians is the

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experience down here of the heavenly people, and consequently they look for Him to come from that place, where in spirit they already are.

One word more. To Philadelphia He says, "I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown". A crown is supreme, it completes. It is the top. The top shoot always goes first in a frost; and if the top shoot goes, the tree cannot grow. Satan always aims at the top shoot, the best; he knows very well that you cannot grow if you give up that. If your top shoot is gone, your advance is checked; there is no progress. It is a beautiful word to Philadelphia. Mark the language. "I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown". As much as to say, When I come, I will have those who have their crown safe. That is the true remnant.

The Lord give us grace, beloved friends, really to be found here (instead of seeking our own advantage in this poor world), faithful to His interest, maintaining it at all cost, as true to His heart as in the brightest day. As it is for the Lord, for His chief interest, we have the satisfaction, the encouragement, the delight of heart that He Himself will be with us.

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THE TRUTH AS A WHOLE

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come", John 16:13.

This verse might be more correctly read, "He shall guide you into all the truth". Well, beloved friends, it is a very humbling subject to us; still it is no less true, that to have the whole truth is one of the marks, one of the accompaniments of knowing the Lord in the midst of His own, gathered together to His name. For my part I cannot conceive anything more really interesting -- because it is not to angels, but to us that the Holy Spirit makes known the truth: "He shall guide you into all the truth". If you look into all the sects in Christendom, what you are met with on every hand is, that each assumes to have more truth than its fellows; or at least one particular truth that others have not. We cannot but see the importance of having all the truth. And though I am very far from assuming that we have it in its fulness, still I do trust there is the earnest desire after the truth. The apostle warns Timothy, that the time would come when they would not listen to the truth, but would be turned away to fables. He speaks of those who were the mischief workers, they "withstand the truth" -- not a truth, but the truth.

What I propose to present to you as well as I am able, is what really the truth is. Because here the Spirit of God, not the church, guides into it; and one of the failures of Christendom is the boast that the church expounds the truth. No doubt the church has it; all the truth there is, is in the church. There is a verse in Timothy (1 Timothy 3:15), which is not sufficiently borne in mind: "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of

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God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and the base of the truth" -- not "the ground" exactly -- the base of the truth. And I think if we look around we must acknowledge the reproach that rests on the church. We cannot free ourselves from the reproach, for it rests on each of us. We are only like convalescents; if we are any better than our fellow Christians, we are still in the same infirmary, and we own that we have been suffering from the same malady, but that we have escaped from it. We are thankful for the revival, but we have to encourage and help others to escape also. And though this is our condition, still we are connected with that which is of such value in the eyes of the Lord that it is of immense moment for us to ascertain where the truth is. The danger, I apprehend, and I warn you of it, is that the truth is slipping away; for the truth is being weakened and diluted, and you will find that as the truth becomes weakened, every section of it becomes weakened. The more you advance in truth, the more you advance all round: you cannot advance on one alone without distorting all. If a man is a great man, he has not only good eyes and good ears, all his qualities are good. So with a tree -- all the branches contribute to the tree. There can be no greater testimony to the importance among ourselves of the truth, than the assertion of each of the sects, that it has more than its fellows.

The first scripture I will turn to as expressing what the truth is, and which will convey it to you in a very small compass, is Colossians 1:23 - 25, "If Ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the

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church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God". There, in very small compass, you get the two ministries connected with the truth -- one is the gospel, and the other is the church. They are quite distinct. Where they coalesce is an interesting inquiry; but the point for us, what is to mark us, is that we have these two ministries. It is not the question whether every person of the company understands them; but the question is, whether they accept them.

I look for an admission of the truth; not that I expect every one of the company to be intelligent as to the truth. Why were creeds ever brought out? In order to show what people believed. I do not want a creed in that formal way; but I want to understand what really belongs to us as belonging to Christ here on earth, because I take the ground that we are in company with Him. It is not only that I know Him individually. If you do not know Him in your individual circumstances, you will never know Him in the house of God. If you have not personal intimacy according to John 10, "I know my sheep, and am known of mine", do not tell me that you know Him in His assembly. You may know the effect of His presence there, you may get the benefit of His presence, but you do not know Himself there. He is there in a very full way, as He would not be with an individual. When He comes to the individual, He comes in relation to the individual; and when He comes to the assembly, He comes in relation to it, as Son over the house of God. And if you look at Sardis (Revelation 3), I think you will see there, that the great lack is, that they have not been in company with the Lord in the assembly, and therefore they do not get beyond the Reformation. You see it in Luther; justification by faith, the truth of the gospel revived, but the church only reformed. If you really were alongside of the

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Lord in His own assembly, do you mean to tell me you would not understand that there is the assembly, as well as the gospel? I do not believe it. Nothing can be plainer. The Colossians were a very nice people -- they had "faith in Christ Jesus", and "love to all the saints", but they were in danger. It was not that they did not know the truth, and it was not that the truth was not accepted, but they were not holding "the mystery" in faith.

I would not judge a company of saints by one or two; I must take the whole. I do not judge a country by a village. I look at the whole. And you may be sure that the Lord looks at the whole. Now if you are near the Lord you must know the gospel. If you did not know the gospel you could not be near Him. You could not be in His presence unless He had removed every cloud between Him and you; you could not be happy there. Even Peter was not happy till the Lord restored him to communion. Affection is not communion. I am sure there are many who have affection (you all know something about it), but communion is quite another thing. There is no restlessness where there is communion; on the contrary, there is enjoyment. Peter was restless, and was grieved because there was something between him and the Lord; the Lord removes it, He did so in order that there should be communion. The apostle writes to the Colossians that they should not "be moved away from the hope of the gospel"; and he prays for them according to the hope that is laid up for them "in heaven". As much as to say, If I do not keep you on heavenly ground, I shall never get you to understand the mystery. You must look at the gospel as the handmaid of the assembly. The gospel connects me with heaven. No one is saved for earth now; I am saved for heaven. I am as fit for heaven now, as if I were in it. Sometimes I have said to a person, You are fit for heaven, but not for earth.

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That is another thing, but you are fit for heaven. If you were not, how could you be fit for the presence of the Lord of glory? The very first thing one learns, is that Christ Himself has removed every single thing that bars me from His presence, and therefore I enjoy His presence. You have the sense that you have touched "the heavenly things"; you could not in any other way be in His presence. He comes into the midst; He comes in heavenly order, and I know that if there were a spot upon me, I could not enjoy Him.

Next -- if the gospel has not made me fit for Christ, and to be united to Christ, then what does? Surely union does not fit me. I am fit by the gospel, and that is the great teaching of the earlier verses of Ephesians. I am fit for union. It is like Abraham sending for Rebekah, one of his own family. And that is what you have in Hebrews: "He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one". In Hebrews you get that you are fit to be His companion. It is a wonderful thing that the gospel gives that. If you are not fit to be His companion, you could not be united to Him. He could not be united to what is unsuitable to Himself. Ephesians 1 shows that we are "accepted in the beloved", brought really into fitness; as John says, "As he is, so are we in this world". Through divine grace, I am fit to be His companion. And now comes out the mystery; We are His body, in the closest relationship to Him. I do not believe a soul could be in the presence of the Lord in the midst of His own, without the sense that there was a relationship, though he might not be able to explain it, he has not learned the word, the divine authority for it. Scripture tells you that you are united, a member of His body, and you are entranced; but then you were prepared for this light. I want you to understand that you could not be much in His presence without growing into a knowledge of the assembly as well as the gospel.

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These two ministries comprise the truth, because they show not only what the work of Christ has effected, but what our relationship is to Christ, and that for ever. Not only in this world, but for ever, the assembly will be the medium by which He will convey His pleasure over the whole universe. Hence you see it is the expression of Himself. There is no good in anything but Himself. "As the truth is in Jesus"; that is, the truth was expressed in Him, a man on earth. A Person was on earth who exposed the false, and declared the true; He was the living impersonation of what is true, and therefore He exposed all that is false. Hence, God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. He is "the Truth". I think I need not say more on these two ministries. I desire before the Lord that you should dwell upon the whole truth, and my comfort in speaking on this subject -- in one sense a line new to myself is, that I believe the necessity of the time has called it out -- that it is the Lord's will that it should be brought before you.

Now I pass on to the practical application, which I may call the test whether you know these two ministries or not. There are four great events connected with them, and they are in relation to Christ. The first (there is not one here, I hope, who is not clear about it), that our blessed Lord was on this earth, and that He died and rose again. The second is that He has been glorified. The third is that the Holy Spirit has come down from the One who has been glorified. The fourth is not yet accomplished; it is what we wait for -- the coming of the Lord. Now by these four events, you may judge the church: you can judge Christendom, you can judge yourself, you can judge every one.

Let us look at the first. You say: I believe the Lord was here, and that He died and rose again. Well, I ask, What does that involve? It involves a momentous thing. It involves that the old man has

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been crucified, and that a Man has risen out from among the dead. Christ bore the judgment. He was made SIN for us. You get it in the Romans; not only is your guilt removed, but your status as of the first man is set aside in the cross. I have no doubt that a great deal of darkness that is in souls, is because the work of the cross is not fully apprehended. This subject will touch you all. There is no atonement for sin. That statement may alarm some of you. There is atonement for sins, and there is atonement for a sin; that is guilt. But your state is sin: He was made sin; and sin is condemned in the flesh. There is a wonderful difference, and if you do not understand it, you have not understood the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 12, tells you to present your body as a living sacrifice. How can you do that if your body is not freed from the old master? The old master was the flesh of sin.

I do not wish to go beyond the comprehension of the youngest here, but I want you to know whether you do really believe this first event: That Christ died and rose again; that He cleared everything away, that He not only removed all your guilt when He "bore our sins in his own body on the tree", but "in that he died, he died unto sin once"; and "in that he liveth, he liveth unto God": that is, He was the atonement for our sins, but sin in the flesh was condemned. "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh", Romans 8:3. The old man is condemned, and is entirely gone in judgment. I know how slow the heart is to receive it, but till you do receive it, you will never progress. You must have the fact, I am free of the man by which I was held. That man is gone in the death of Him who bore the judgment, and I am free in His life who cleared me. Therefore the scripture is, "Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus". Now

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you are on new ground, and that is the reason John does not speak of the blood on the lintel, or of the Red Sea; he speaks of the brazen serpent, he says, as it were, man is brought to an end, and your liberty is in life. Therefore, in Numbers 21 it is, whoever "beheld the serpent of brass, he lived". "Even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life". You are out of death, and in life. You come out in a new life literally; outside of everything now. Therefore, the apostle is so earnest that "the truth of the gospel" might continue with them -- not a gospel, but the truth of it. He says, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live; yet not I" (not forgiveness here) but "Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me".

Well, beloved friends, I need not dilate upon this doctrine; but what is the actual state of the one who has accepted the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ? He is not only justified from the guilt, but he is actually freed from the old man. "He that is dead is justified (freed) from sin" (Romans 6:7); that is clearance. The man who enjoys the result of Christ's work, the first event, knows that he is clear of everything, and that he has the life of the Christ who cleared him; in that life there is no condemnation, there could not be, there is nothing to condemn. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death", Romans 8:2. You are now like a bird out of a cage, you enter on new ground altogether, you are in a new region. The old is set aside; the new is introduced; you are in the life of Christ. That is the first event.

Now I turn to the second event, and it tests us. The second is, That Christ is glorified. That is a very solemn thing. I ask myself very often, Do I believe that He is in heaven? Do I believe

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that the Person who set me free from all the misery and judgment of this world is glorified at God's right hand in heaven? It is a very solemn question, and a very useful one. The idea in John and in Numbers 21 is that you are on for another country; in fact, that you belong to the place where the Life is. I do not know anything more difficult than to lead saints to understand and accept the simple fact, that they belong to heaven because the One who cleared us from the misery and judgment under which we lay, is in heaven. He is my life, and He is in heaven. Souls are very slow to learn it. When the light broke in many years ago, there was much ignorance about this second event, there was a great deal of legality, a trying to get rid of earthly appearances, and earthly glory; that of itself was not heavenly. Still it was better than what is now. Now it is what is called a clear gospel, not a single charge against me; sins, past, present and future, all gone, as people say. But what are you doing? Trying to make yourself as comfortable here, as you can. I say, Where is your Saviour? He is in heaven, and He is your life, then your "associations of life" are in heaven.

It is one of the most interesting moments in the history of the soul, when the inquiry is raised, Where is He? Mark now, that is the turn in everyone's history. Like Mary Magdalene, desolate without Him, I am in a place where my Lord is not. And the Lord introduces her to a new relationship, to a new sphere, and to a new day, "Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new". She was like the bride in the Canticles; and He leads her from Canticles to community of relationship, and community of relationship involves union. "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God". It is a real start with Christians when they reach this.

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But I am dealing now with events or facts which necessarily test us as to whether we hold the truth or not, not a truth but the truth. The Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of truth". We need to test ourselves. What do I see generally abroad? I see the history of Israel repeated. There is not one of us who does not believe that there was a day of provocation in the wilderness, and we know that "all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come", 1 Corinthians 10:11. Study Numbers, and you see what happened. They only took one journey when the trouble came; they complained, and what then? Their hearts turned back into Egypt, they began lusting; and the next thing was, we will not go up. But that was not all; they essayed afterward to go up without the power. And the worst form today is, that a person says, It is the right thing to go up, but he goes up simply from the knowledge of the right thing without the power, and that is presumption. That was fatal to Israel. It is a grievous thing when your knowledge is beyond your power there is no power without faith.

It is a simple question for every heart in this room: we assume to hold the truth -- I will test you. You

say you are clear about Christ's death and resurrection. Are you? Do you mean to tell me you are in the liberty of His life, when your heart is indifferent as to where He is; to this second event? I could not believe it while you are engrossed with the things of this life. Hence the argument of the apostle is, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God", Colossians 3:1. I put a plain question to every one of you, How much of the things above have you sought today? You belong to another sphere altogether. You have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Be like a tree that has its roots in heaven, and

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its branches down here. You say, That is a miracle. Very likely; nevertheless, in reality your roots are in heaven, and your branches down here. No doubt they are fretted and nipped by the atmosphere here, but nothing can touch the roots up there. "Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God", Psalm 92:13. Planted inside, they flourish outside.

I have no doubt at all that the first fact, that is, Christ's work at His first coming, is not clear and full in your souls, or you would long to know where He is. The measure of the truth in Christendom is, Christ was on earth, and is coming again; they have no idea of what is in the interval. Thank God, you have believed in the first; but you must hold fast to the second event, that is, Christ is in heaven. Now, as Christ is in heaven, and I am on earth, how can I get on here in the place where He is not? The answer is, The Holy Spirit has come down, and this is the third fact or event. The Holy Spirit has come down to be with us, and in us. It is not merely that my heart is in heaven because my Saviour is there; my actual place is there, though I am bodily here. The Holy Spirit has come down to lead us into all the truth; "He shall teach you all things"; "He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you". He has come down to the place where we are, here in this scene of misery where we have been contributors to the misrule and disorder of everything in this world. We have been converted through God's mercy, but still we have the same flesh that we had, and though we are in the same world, yet we are free from all, through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. But where is He? In heaven. And when He comes into the midst of His own gathered ones, He comes in His heavenly character -- what do you know of Him as the heavenly One there? If you tell me you enjoy Him in the midst

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of His gathered saints, you must enjoy Him in the place where He is, and your heart is set upon Him there.

Someone lately asked, What would make me heavenly minded? Nothing but a Person, the Person who is in heaven -- your Saviour. "Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth". But I am not presenting this merely as a matter of affection; there is further, this great event, that the Holy Spirit has come down to us, and as the Lord tells you in John 16, He not only leads you into all the truth, not only conducts you into a sphere where everything is perfect according to the mind of God, but "He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you". It is not a question of the world; in one sense it is almost easier to get out of the world than to get free of the earth. The world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; but I see a great many people who are not worldly, but who are earthly. They are surrounding themselves with the ease and comfort of earthly things; the grandeur, and the position of the world they have given up. What I dread is the earth. There were ten thousand men in Gideon's army who were neither fearful nor afraid -- but what happened? Nine thousand seven hundred of them fell before the mercies of this life. You say, What will detach me? Nothing but the truth. These are two tests for every one of us, My Saviour is in heaven, and the Holy Spirit has come down to me.

The Lord interest you more in having really your associations in heaven. I do not ask you to give up anything, I ask you to acquire, to be true to the simple fact, that He is in heaven. He was on earth, that was the first fact, you know what that is; then, next, He is in heaven; third, the Holy Spirit has come down to be with us -- in the house of God, and in

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each of us individually. Think then of the power you have. Think of the place He comes from. The place He comes from is necessarily the place He connects us with. You are outside what is natural, your power is by the Spirit of God. That is the third; and these two, the second and the third, are what are to mark us in the interval between the first fact or event, and the fourth, as you get in 1 Thessalonians. People sometimes quote that passage, "Ye turned to God from idols and to wait" -- No, I say, you have left out the interval : "to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven". Christendom accepts what it terms the first advent and the second, but it omits the interval; that is, the present time.

The moment you accept that Christ is in heaven, and the Holy Spirit is on earth, you must bring in the assembly. The gospel gives me title to be where He is, but in the assembly we are placed there. Thus you see the two ministries embrace the truth. It would be an impossibility for you to be left in this place where Christ is rejected, if there were no mystery. If He is in heaven, because He has been rejected on earth, how could we be here even for an instant? If He, the Greatest, the Son of God, has no place here, how can I be here? By the mystery, the whole question is solved. I am here simply as a member of His body; in no other way have I a right to be here. As a member of His body, I am left here to express Him in the place where He is not, according to the grace given to me. Now, and it is very searching; Are you simply here as a member of His body standing for Him to whom all belongs, but who has been cast out? As a member of His body I have a place in heaven; I am not there as an individual, but I can enjoy it as an individual.

The fourth fact or event, I refer to only very briefly. You can easily see how it must be. What are you looking for? That you get in Thessalonians,

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"to wait for his Son from heaven"; and they were so carried away by it, that they did not attend to their ordinary business, thinking every day He would come. I do not dwell on that. Through the death and the resurrection of Christ you are clear of all the misery here, you are brought into a new life altogether, to soar away into the realms of light. My Saviour is in heaven, and I have association with Him there. Here you ought to have the sense that you are in the place where Christ died. The deeper my sense of His death, the more do I feel the death of anyone here. The more sorrow you have passed through, the more you feel sorrow. Every new sorrow revives the old ones. It is different with joy: every new joy puts out the old ones. "Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward". "Judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field". Death follows in our track. It is "the valley of the shadow of death". We recall, in the declaration of our affection to the Lord, the greatest death that ever occurred. "The golden bowl" is broken. We announce His death, we are the continuation in memory of Himself as He left this world, as He died out of it for us. This is an engrossing sorrow always before your heart as you walk through this world. "Remember me", is ever before the true heart. One feels sometimes, as one passes from the Lord's supper -- take honour there, take distinction there, seek enjoyment there, where Christ died! Never! How could I?

Well then, you are in this world, and the Holy Spirit is here, what are you looking for? I am looking for Him to come. Therefore, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". See how naturally they flow one from another. We wait for Him; that is the fourth fact or event; it is not yet accomplished, but we have the certainty of it, we can count upon it more surely than upon tomorrow's sun. You are not true to the fourth, if you do not answer to the

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other three. I do not think I need add more. I can only look to the Lord to lead you and me to pray that we might see better how necessarily His truth is connected with those who enjoy His presence. One does not assume anything, but I have challenged people before now who profess to be gathered to His name, just give me a short statement of what the assembly is. Their inability to do it shows where they are. If I look at the literature of the day, I see in it little or nothing as to the assembly, a partial gospel is enough. What I dread, is lest the truth should slip away from us. God has been pleased to recover the truth, and has allowed us to see it: may we not be deprived of it because of unfaithfulness. I am sure He will not permit this without plenty of notice; but He is warning us, He is drawing our attention to it; we are highly favoured, and are proportionately responsible. I say this in order that our hearts may be awakened to understand the greatness of His grace.

The Lord grant that each of our hearts may be delighting in the knowledge of the truth. As we are in His company, we expand in it. He is the Truth.

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SERVICE

Proverbs 31:10 - 31

A beautiful picture of what service is! Service is always declared by what is done. Here, there was a wise woman and a house; and the house told what her work was. You do not see her; but you look at the house, and you see the wisdom of the woman who orders it. The wise woman, in that sense, is an illustration of the assembly; I do not see the internal organisation of the assembly, but I see the effect of it. I see the house, and the ordering of the house tells of the mind of the Lord. It is said of the woman -- that is, in ordinary circumstances -- she should be a housekeeper. That does not mean a stayer at home, but she is one who really looks after the affairs of the house. She might stay at home always, and yet not mind the house.

I have read this scripture because it gives you a picture of service, not that I am going to interpret it, or attempt it, but I will refer to one or two great characteristics connected with it. In that sense it is a beautiful picture, because I look at what you do; not at what you assume to be. Your works are to praise you in the gate. "The fire shall, try every man's work" -- not what the man thinks he is, or says he is, but "the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is". I have no doubt, if the body, the assembly had been true to its organisation, the house would have been kept in order. If the internal machinery (if I may use the word) went on thoroughly right, that which is visible would be indicative of the harmony and order of the internal organisation. As with a clock; you do not see the machinery, but you see the effect of it, whether it is right or not, whether it keeps good time or not. What I see is properly called

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the house; what I do not see is the body, and that is the vital energy in the house; that which is in living association with the Head, and acts correspondingly to Him, and effects the result that is according to His pleasure.

There are two great characteristic marks of this wise woman, and they sum up our own service; she fed and clothed her household: food and clothing. Of course they are only emblems; but they answer to the action of divine grace in the perfect ministry of our blessed Lord. Of Him it is said, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ the assembly". The one is inward; the other is outward: food and warmth; the two things, as every one knows, that a babe requires. And no matter how great or wealthy a man is, two comforts are essential, namely, food and raiment; on these two things he is dependent: all his surroundings, without them, would be as nothing. The Lord nourishes us all, but I am not so sure that we all know the cherishing; we do not submit to it. "He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee", Psalm 81:16.

It is a great thing to get hold of principles; and the first great principle that I desire to bring before you, as describing true service, is that it is established in righteousness. We are all the bondmen of Jesus Christ; simply accept that, and it will be a great help to you. Has Christ the right to you? to all yours? Yes; you are His slave. Paul delights to call himself bondslave. People in their natural amiability talk of the emancipation of slaves, but they carry it much farther, they emancipate themselves. There is a very great claim connected with being a slave. Your master has full right over you. All yours belongs to the Lord. If you are a slave, you cannot claim anything for yourself. Well, this is a great

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principle to get hold of, and you will never understand service till you do. Very often we act as if we thought we were volunteers, that we may serve or not, just as we please. Not at all! you are slaves and have no option.

I shall be able to bring another reason for service presently, but I start with righteousness. If you are a slave, you have no right to do anything but at the dictation of your master. "You are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body". He has bought us (therefore He is the Saviour of the body in that sense) and you ought to be glad He has, and the more you dwell on it, the more pleased you will be to be His slave. It would be a good answer to give to every one who asks, Why do you do so-and-so? I am doing it righteously, I am Christ's bondman to do His pleasure; not what I like, but what He likes. That is the first great principle. To establish this, I turn now to 1 Corinthians 7:22, 23, "He that is called in the Lord, being a servant (slave), is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men". It says in the previous verse, If a man can be made free, "use it rather". A private, or common soldier, sells himself for a period of time and cannot get free, but an officer can get free if he likes. I only refer to this because sometimes we hear, "I cannot get free". No: because you do not like to obtain your freedom at a great sacrifice.

The first thing, and it is of paramount importance, is, that you are Christ's slave, you are bought with a price; as I have said, even your children do not belong to you. You should be glad that you are a slave, because He is such a wonderful Master. I see where believers fail. They do not start with the fact, that they have a Master who has a full right over their whole life. It is not what you think you can spare Him, this or that. If you are honestly and fairly in His hands as His slave, you may be quite

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certain He will take much better care of you than you could take of yourself. In fact, as far as we can gather from Scripture, a saint does not suffer from want of food and clothing, except for service or chastening.

As another has said, I never knew of anyone who was cast wholly on the Lord, reduced to actual want, except one who lived on nettles for three days, and he had been in prison for the Lord's service. He added, You are hardly up to that yet; that is, we are not sufficiently devoted to be allowed to suffer the greater privations. Paul said, "In hunger and thirst", "in cold and nakedness". Well then, you start with the great fundamental principle, you are Christ's slave, bought with a price; and if you are an honest man you will carry it out in everything. People talk of fidelity, but do they begin with fidelity to Christ? If you are virtuous, "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her". If you are not right with Christ, be sure you are feeble elsewhere, and all the way down. If you are not right at the top, how can you be right anywhere else? How can you expect a child not straight to his father and mother, to be straight to his brothers and sisters? to be straight to you? It could not be.

But is that all? No; He looks for you to be a trusty servant. "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her". Can there be anything more beautiful? Thus Abraham was called the friend of God. I know Christ is my friend; thank God, He is: but I often wish I could say, I knew I was His friend more definitely. "Henceforth", the Lord says, "I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you". He does not surrender His claim by giving the servant a higher position. Service, then, is established in righteousness.

Now turn to Romans 12, and you will see another

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thing. Thank God, I was led in anywise to think of serving the Lord. The first thing that attracted my heart from my very youth was that I must serve the Lord. I know very well how I have neglected it, and wavered from it; but the Lord never lets slip from you a real purpose of your heart; no matter how many years you may be, as it were, unattached, still He keeps it in mind, and as sure as possible, it will come, and this is an immense comfort to one's heart. Now in Romans 12 what do you find? That your body is to be a living sacrifice. Why? Look at the end of chapter 6. The old man, the flesh, is dispossessed. And who dispossessed him? Christ. And what then? "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the compassions (mercies) of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice". It is your reasonable service, it is not a legal service. The body is the Lord's. I say, if you do not believe this, you will never understand service.

But now I turn to another point, one of immense importance -- where am I to begin? Here I am a servant; I know I am a slave of Christ, I know my body is His, and I see that for myself I must forsake all that I have, and I say, Now where am I to begin? Well, it is of immense importance where you begin. I know very well if I look round at Christendom where they begin, and I know where the tendency of all our hearts is to begin. I thought in my younger days, that there was no way of serving the Lord but by being a clergyman, that I must go into the church, as the saying is. Now that is a right idea in itself, though I do not say it is rightly carried out. Some of you may wonder why I say that going into the church was a right idea, but if you read these verses, 4, 5, they will explain it to you.

Where do you begin then? With the body of Christ. "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we,

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being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another". You must begin there, begin at the top. You say, But I am Christ's servant. Yes, but you are a member of His body. We are speaking now, of what I may call the internal machinery (the works of a clock); that is, the organisation of the body which produces a result that is seen in the house. Just like the wise woman in Proverbs 31. If the woman went on wisely, the house was a beautiful exhibition of her ability -- a great testimony. Consequently her husband was known in the gates. I do not dwell more upon this, still it is a great point to get hold of this fourth verse; I begin with the body, but I extend beyond it, "Do good unto all men, especially unto them that are of the household of faith". But you begin with the body, and it is a great thing to begin right. Every good gift is from above, and comes down. I do not, now, go any further than Romans, and I am speaking of where service begins.

But now turn to Ephesians 4, and I come to another point in connection with service. Here, again, I find what the beginning is connected with -- the assembly; the first thing is to walk worthy of the vocation. I am called to "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace"; that is the first thing. I hope I shall be able to make it clearer to you presently, that if you are in association with Christ, in His presence in the midst of His own, you will get light as to that which is nearest to His heart; but I say this with reference to service -- as of one coming out from His presence to reflect Him here. The first service is, "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". Or to take the figure of Proverbs 31, the wise woman must be in health, or she will never keep things in order. I do everything to contribute to her health, and that is "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace".

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Now I come to gifts for service, which Ephesians unfolds. In Romans we get more our responsibility than special gifts, that which is common to every one, "showing mercy with cheerfulness". There is not one in this room who could not practise that grace. Picking up a little child out of the gutter would be "showing mercy with cheerfulness". To prophesy is the first, and you might say the highest; but I would rather have the last without the first, than the first without the last; it would be a poor thing to be a prophet and not to show mercy with cheerfulness; and what makes it so beautiful is, that it is a service within the reach of everybody, even a child. A child with only one penny may go and give it to a needy person, and show mercy with cheerfulness. But in Ephesians I come to special gifts, and verse 12 shows what they are for: "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ". In Christendom they separate between the servant and the church, instead of making the church the actual common object of the servant. Here if I am an evangelist, I am working for the assembly as much as the teacher, but in another way. All have to do with the Lord, the Head, but they conspire to this one great end, "the perfecting of the saints". As the apostle says, "I endure all things for the elect's sake" -- they are prominent. If I am an evangelist, what am I looking for? I am searching the world round -- sweeping the house diligently to find the silver piece, and not merely in order to find it, but when I have found it, to put it with the other nine. But how can you, if you do not know where the other nine are? But that is exactly what happens in Christendom, they do not know where they are. But in Matthew 13, what do I find? that those who drew the net also selected the fish, and put the good into vessels; that is not in heaven, but on earth. As Paul said, "I have planted".

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Here in Ephesians 4, the great point is, That special gifts are given from the Head, and not merely the service which is the duty of every man, as you get in 1 Corinthians 12, "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal". It is not given for yourself, it is given for the benefit of all; as lower down in this chapter, in verse 16, "compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part". If you are not acting in the Spirit, you are damaging the whole assembly; you may think the loss is only to yourself individually, but you are not an individual sufferer, you are making me suffer; I do not know how, but I am suffering from you because we are members of the one body.

In connection with special gifts, it is an interesting question, though I cannot say much upon it, when a person gets a gift. I do not think that it is necessarily at conversion. We know gifts were given after conversion. The apostle Paul was to be a minister and a witness of the things he had seen. His gift increased. But I want to bring before you that as the gift comes from Christ, it is not simply that you have the gift, but you must learn from Him the proper sphere for that gift; it must be in relation to Him. For instance, I take one whom we all speak of with honour, I mean Luther; I do not think, great as his gift was, that he was with the Lord in the midst of His own, that he knew Him there, so as to use his gift in relation to Christ's chief interest on earth. In fact, in one sense, no one does unless he is in association with Him. It is only there I can get true direction; how can I get it outside? I require to be in communion with my Lord in His circle of interest, if I would be directed and influenced by Him. I have no doubt there is a great deal more gift than is in exercise; but if you present your body a living sacrifice, your gift will come out. Many a one is

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hindered by other things which monopolise him instead of Christ, and the gift does not come out. The gift is from Christ, and if you are not upright to Christ, to whom will you be upright? If you are not faithful to God, I could not believe that you are faithful to anybody; and I have seen it over and over again amongst Christians.

One passage of scripture is enough to settle the matter. I will quote now the Lord's words in John 20"As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". They were sent out from that place. And I have a wonderful sense if I am working from the Head, of the circle of His interest; and it is His interest I seek. If I am an evangelist, well, I have my gift from Christ, and I find He has sent me for the assembly, though my work is to seek for lost souls in the world. I go for Christ, as an ambassador for Christ. Do you think that makes you a worse evangelist? No. I claim souls for Christ, I come from Christ, I have my commission from Christ, and there is no place I get so established as to my gift as in the assembly. And I do not doubt at all that many a gifted person is not established in the Lord's presence. The case of Moses will illustrate my meaning. No doubt he knew he was called of God, but when did he come out in power, in the real sense that he was to act for God? Not till he saw the burning bush. And I believe that was what I may call his ordination; that is, that he got a peculiar knowledge of the Lord in that burning bush, and of His grace. This grace was to mark his ministry all the way through; and therefore the greatest blessing he could give, which he gave to Joseph, was "the blessing of him that dwelt in the bush".

It was the same with Isaiah; but I put it to anyone who really understands that he has received anything from the Lord -- where did you get that confirmed? Where did you get His mind about it? You must be in the Lord's presence, in His own circle, to apprehend

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His mind respecting your gift, because it is given "for the perfecting of the saints". It is not given for people to say, That man is a great preacher, not at all. You are Christ's servant, and you are appointed to the sphere of the service, as well as to the object of it. And what is the object? The perfecting of the saints. An evangelist? Yes; how could they be perfected if they were not converted? Then an evangelist is a very responsible person. Yes. Hence Paul, the one who had the greatest interest in the assembly, was the greatest evangelist that ever was upon this earth. Do not imagine they clash; they ought not; when they clash, it is because you are separating what God has joined together. And that is where Christendom is astray. The evangelical work is paramount, for results are looked for. You are not living by faith when you are dependent on results. The first temptation (see Luke 4) is, use your means; act independently of God. The second is, accept a slice of the world. Then if you have any conscience you will want results before men, some evidence that God is on your behalf. If I have faith in God I do not want any evidence. If you depart from faith you will become worldly, and then you will seek results in order to prove that God is working with you.

Next I look at Acts 13:2. Here you find Saul and Barnabas in the assembly. "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them". This occurred in the assembly. I have no doubt that we have failed here much. We have too little connected the assembly with service. I am quite certain the better we understand the Lord in the midst of His assembly, the better we shall understand the character of the service we should render, and the time for it. It is in the assembly I see Him in His own circle, in the things which belong to Him, and there it is I understand my proper relation to Him.

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I lay a stress upon it. Here are these men, Barnabas and Saul, highly gifted, but where did they get a right direction for their service? In the assembly. The Holy Spirit is the Person who is acting for Christ, and the Holy Spirit is the only means by which the communication can be made. He says, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them".

A passage I will not leave out in this connection is 1 Timothy 4:14: "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery". The presbytery means the elders. It was as much as saying, We all go with you. I desire to get your heart into the sense that if I want to get right direction from the Lord, it is in the assembly I am to get it. It is not a question of gift. I get the gift absolutely from the Lord, but He directs me in relation to His own. I do not think we understand the assembly, and the presence of the Lord sufficiently. The presence of the Lord now introduces us into the holiest. "I went into the sanctuary of God" does not mean His presence in your own room; the antitype of that is the assembly. I do not think we have a sufficient idea of the wonderful nature of the assembly. I meet the Lord in the midst of His own; I never have His presence in the same way in my own room as in the assembly. The truth I have learned in my own room, comes out in a much fuller way in the assembly.

The next thing I would speak of is, How do I know the right thing to do? That is a very crucial question with every one, and ought to be -- indeed there is never progress where there is not exercise, and the more exercise the better. I am the Lord's servant; I desire to know the right thing to do. I turn to the end of Luke 10, a familiar passage, about Martha and Mary. The question is, Is it the opportunity that is to direct me as to my service? or, is it the Lord who

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is to direct me? I know you will say the Lord. Here are Martha and Mary, two sisters, and Martha says, a great Guest has come to the house, the occasion indicates to me that I should provide for Him. Well, she is cumbered about much serving, and that is always the case when I am occupied about my own line of things. It was the human idea; and there is nothing we suffer from more than from the human idea. Mary sits at the Lord's feet and hears His word, and the Lord says of her: "One thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part". Not "better part", which is the popular way of reading it, and shows how little it is understood. She had chosen that good part, the right thing; she is learning the mind of the Lord. And I do not see how you can have a right idea of what the Lord would like, if you are not in His company. It is not looking for a text. No doubt the Lord meets the faith of the child in this way. But you cannot know His mind unless you are beside Him. As I am sitting at His feet, listening to His word, I get wisdom from Him and I come from Him. It is not the occasion that directs you, if you are really with the Lord, He will lead you aright. It is a wonderful thing -- here am I left in the scene of the man who does not understand one thing about God, and I have to carry out everything according to God! If I were quite clear of the man contrary to God, there would not be the difficulty; but my thwarted will is constantly going out or popping up to do this or that. No; it was not direction with Martha, and Martha's way is the way generally service is done. "One thing is needful". What was needful? She studies Me.

We all know what it is to be exercised about service -- shall I go and visit this person? shall I do this or that? Surely it is not right to be indolent, but activity in itself is nothing. "The way of the righteous shall be made plain"; it does not say, 'the way of the active'; but there is a great difference between the way of the

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righteous and the way of the slothful. Saints in general are occupied with the occasion. I desire to press that it is not the occasion which is to direct me; it is the Lord. I consult Him. It is a great thing to be able to stand waiting for orders. What greater favour can there be than to be employed by the Lord? The servants of the crown are the highest men in the country; what can be greater than to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ? And I have no doubt the Lord would rather I did some little thing in concert with Him than do some of the finest works done today apart from Him. Next, and it is a very cheering thing and I often feel it a great comfort, that the very highest service is that which is most pleasing to the one who loves Christ. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am there shall also my servant be". Can there be anything more attractive? Everyone can understand what it is to be a friend, though you are a servant.

Now turn to Numbers 18:2: "And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness". Every one of us is a Levite as well as a priest. We are priests, but the priest is inside with God; and it is remarkable that when the priests were consecrated, there is not a word about anything outside: it is all inside with God; I was very much struck with this. What is the priest when he comes out? The Levite; and the Levite had plenty to do. See the Kohathite, and what the range of his service was -- from the ark of the covenant to the altar outside. He could not say he took up one part and left the other. The Levites had the pins and the bars, the boards and all the rest; they had to get material agency to come in and carry them, but they all had a service and were joined with the priests. I bring this in to show that your Levitical

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service ought to answer to your priestly service; you ought to come from communion, you ought to come outside from inside.

I look now at another subject, and that is, the moral influence of the person who serves. Luke 11:36: "If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light". You are called to be lights in the world. The servant must be a reflection of the truth he presents. Someone has remarked, If you have not a good report, even of those who are without you cannot stand up boldly where you are defective. That is the practical meaning of the breastplate of righteousness. People could say to Peter, You denied the Lord. Yes; but I am not doing it now; I have on the breastplate of righteousness. And you cannot stand boldly otherwise. It is an immense thing for a servant to be in himself morally descriptive of what he presents. You get this presented by the apostle in the Philippians. "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do". It was not only what they had heard, but what they had seen. I cannot think of anything more beautiful. Thus there is a moral weight about a person, he is characteristic of what he presents.

It is beautifully set forth in Peter's epistle -- even an ungodly husband can be won by the chaste conversation of the wife. No doubt we should have a great deal more effect upon people, our families, and so forth, if there were more of the moral weight of divine grace about us; that is, in our manner of life. Paul says to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12), "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in purity". He was to be an example. See how Christendom takes it up; Christendom enjoins upon a person a certain dress to show the sacredness of his

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office. Why should I not have that morally? Why should I not have that divine weight about me, that I should not require a mere external garb to command respect?

The next thing I turn to is the manner you ought to have to those whom you serve -- a manner which I think is very much neglected. It is not only what you are in yourself, but what you are to those you serve. There is a greater thing than gift, and that is love -- it is the nature of Christ. "Yet show I unto you a more excellent way", 1 Corinthians 12:31. I see very often, a person who has not much gift, but who has love, that he surpasses the more gifted in service. Everyone may have love. I visit a sick person, and I feel that five minutes is as much as that person can bear. I do not think of myself at all and all that I could say; I might pour out a volume, but I am thinking of him. It is a consideration for him, I am losing sight of myself. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:3 - 8. "For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us". See what a servant Paul was. Again, 2 Thessalonians 3:7: "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you".

There is another quality of the servant that I will bring before you, that I may show you the apostle's

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character. It sums up the character of a servant. 2 Corinthians 12:15: "I will gladly spend and be spent for you". That is the right principle; that gives you the character. The only other point I will bring before you tonight is the reward for service. Turn to 1 John 2:28 . "And not be ashamed before him at his coming". That was as the servant in relation to them; it was not that they would be ashamed. It is the same idea as that of the apostle Paul: "My joy and crown". "Ye are our glory and joy".

It is a very solemn subject, because if I am not acting with the Lord, my service is cumbering, and will not count at all. "The fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is". "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad". There is only one verse more that I will quote: 2 John 8, "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward". That is, there should be no lack.

I need not add more, but I commend to you the scripture I began with. It is a wonderful blessing to walk in thorough devotedness to Christ's interest. The virtuous woman had only one thought, and the heart of her husband did safely trust in her. She was thinking entirely of his interests, and whether she sought her food from afar, or bought a field, or whatever she did, it was all for this purpose, and therefore it was, that her husband was known in the gates. She sought wool and flax, and worked willingly with her hands. She began with the raw material, then she spun and wove it, and finally sold it to the merchants. And the characteristic of her own manner of life was beautiful, her clothing was strength and honour, and the way in which she spoke was a wonderful mark of wisdom: "She openeth her mouth with wisdom";

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that shows her heart is full of it. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh". Very often we say, a wise person closes his mouth with wisdom, or he may say a wise thing before he shuts it; but it is a great thing to hear a person open his mouth with wisdom.

The Lord lead our hearts to understand how blessed it is to belong to Him. We do belong to the Lord; He has His interests on the earth, and we are to be occupied with His interests, and may He use us for His interests, for His name's sake.

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ACQUAINTANCE WITH CHRIST

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ACQUAINTANCE WITH CHRIST RISEN

"I am the good shepherd; and I know those that are mine, and am known of those that are mine, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep", John 10:14, 15.

The compiler of the Scriptures into chapters and verses (man's work) did not understand their meaning, or he would not have divided these two verses; they are but one. I want you to understand first their meaning, and then I desire in these lectures, if the Lord will enable me, to point out what this knowledge of the Lord is. We all in this room have learnt, I trust, what is said in verse 11, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep"; but there is another trait of the good Shepherd, which is a new one, "I know those that are mine and am known of those that are mine, as the Father knows me, and" (it is not 'even so', that is not correct) "I know the Father". That is the simple meaning of the passage, and it is important for us to bear it in mind in studying this great subject. You will see how it will explain a good deal that you find in Scripture about knowing the Lord. To the fathers, John said, "Ye have known him that is from the beginning", and that is all. One is almost ready to say, We all know Him; and yet all are not fathers, therefore I want to trace for you, if the Lord permit me, the different steps in this knowledge. I had attempted it in one lecture, but it was very insufficient.

The subject is, The Knowledge of the Lord: and I say, What kind of knowledge is it? I answer, It is the same kind of knowledge (1 do not say the same measure, but the same character of knowledge) that there is between the Father and the Son. I can understand

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a person saying, Well, if that is the kind of knowledge I know very little of it. That would be right enough; but one would almost say, that it is impossible. Well, there is nothing given in John's gospel that is not beyond human conception; not merely that the human mind has never reached it, but it is beyond its conception. One might say, it is very fine; but it never was, it could not be. For instance, take chapter 4: 14, You shall never thirst; you shall be brought into a region of satisfied desire. In heaven? No; but on earth. I can understand the most learned man we could meet saying, It is very splendid, but it is downright impossible; never was such a thing known in man's experience. Well, it is heard of in the Bible. You admit that it is a great thing, if it is true? Yes; and it is true. But this makes John so difficult to understand truly, for in it heavenly things are brought down to man. If you take Paul's side of things, you are brought up to heaven; you do not find that so difficult, because you expect to find great things up there; but to find great things brought down to earth, and to have them here on earth, that you do not expect. Now I will try to bring before you what I may call -- if I may express it in human words -- the first step in this knowledge. The first step in this knowledge is personal acquaintance with the Lord. And it is of the deepest importance. In fact, as far as I know, the old divines, and their pious books as far as I have read, do not go beyond the first step. I freely admit that they had much piety; and what is more than piety, a good deal of thorough devotedness to the Lord; but I do not think they got beyond the first step.

Now I will give you a sample of the first step in John 9:35: "Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?"

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- he had no acquaintance with Him as yet -- "And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him" -- the last time he met Him he did not see Him, he was blind -- "and it is he that talketh with thee". That is a mark that I know Him: "He talketh with thee", -- "And he said, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him". He had made His acquaintance. I think that is a beautiful sample of first acquaintance, which is my subject this evening.

Now mark, beloved friends, this man had been cured by the Lord; the Lord had put clay upon his eyes, and Jesus had sent him to the pool of Siloam. He had faith in the Lord's words, and he washed, and came seeing. He had received his sight, and everyone knew of it, and as a consequence of his faithfulness in owning the work of Christ, he was cast out; every circle of society refused him -- his neighbours, the social circle; the Pharisees, the religious circle; his parents, the domestic circle, disowned him; and the nation eventually put him out; he is outside of the fold. He was once in the solitude of darkness, and we all have known that solitude; but now he is outside everything of man; and would to God that everyone in this room knew that solitude. The work of Christ is refused, man cannot see it; but the man who had received sight waxes bolder as he goes on; at length he said, "If this man were not of God, he could do nothing". "And they cast him out". Jesus finds him, and he makes acquaintance with the Lord. Is there one in this room who would not like to be in the same position as that man? No, surely. Well, that is the first step, but that is not all; I have a great deal more to speak of than that, though not for this evening.

One comfort is, and it is a very great comfort, that we never lose what we get by the Spirit; never. You may say, Oh! but do we not walk in the flesh? Yes; but as soon as you are restored, you are restored to

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what you lost; it is not like a soldier degraded in his regiment; when you are restored you come up to what you were, because it is the Spirit's work. If it were only what you call your own work it would be so; but it is the Spirit's work; and therefore, to illustrate it, if a "father" walks in the flesh he may for the time sink much lower than "a little child", because it is always the case, the greater the height, the greater the fall. If an enlightened Christian falls, he has a more grievous fall than an ignorant one. If you fall in the Ephesians, you fall to the bottom; you cannot land in Corinthians, because you are beyond it; nor in Galatians, because you are beyond it. But I must not wander from my subject; it is a great thing to understand the nature of this acquaintance.

I turn now to a passage in the Old Testament, which I think will help you. It is most interesting and important that the old scriptures testify of Christ as He was on the earth. If you follow me this evening, you will see that I do not take you beyond the earth. The first acquaintance is with the Lord as risen. Subsequently I shall seek to lead you to Him in glory; but this evening it is acquaintance with Him while you are still on earth where the work was finished; you first become acquainted with the One who did the work in the place where He finished it.

Now let me say before I proceed, that nothing has contributed more to the present distraction of saints than the lack of personal intercourse with the Lord. There has been a great and an increased zeal to acquire knowledge of the Scriptures, but personal acquaintance with the Lord has not been correspondingly sought after. You will find, I trust, that as you become acquainted with the word, you are better acquainted with the Lord, because you desire to know Himself. Paul writes to the Philippians, thirty years after his conversion (as far as I count); "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ

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Jesus my Lord". After thirty years, his chief desire and study is to know Christ. It is an important saying, that 'Man's words explain his mind, but you must know God's mind in order to understand His words'. I endorse that saying thoroughly; I am quite sure of it. I believe a man may be thoroughly up in the epistle to the Ephesians, thoroughly up in the words of it, and yet not understand it. Why? The apostle's prayer answers: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him". This must be received first. If you knew the Lord better, you would understand His word better. I heard of a man who advertised for six agents, and they were to be a father and five sons. Someone said, 'Why do you want them all to be of one family?' 'Because', he replied, 'they will understand one another'. I believe there is a great deal in that. I say to myself at times, Why do you not understand a certain passage? I have read it very often. I answer myself, The fact is, you do not know the Lord; if you knew the Lord better you would know what it meant. That is what the Lord said, "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word", John 8:43.

I have digressed a little. Now I turn to Genesis 50:15, to explain my subject a little more. "And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face;

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and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not; for am I in the place of God?"

Now the exercises here are very important. I trust you understand them. A believer always knows the service of the Lord before he has made personal acquaintance with Him. I read these verses as an illustration of such a state. Here Joseph's brethren had no doubt at all of Joseph's relationship to them and his continued service, but they did not know him so closely as to know his love or his feelings about them; they never had made such close acquaintance with him as to know his own mind, though they were seventeen years living on his bounty and doubtless esteemed him much. I am sure many Christians who have not the slightest doubt of the Lord's work and service, yet have never made acquaintance with the Lord personally; perhaps never make it till their death-bed. If you did not read your own heart in the light of Scripture you could hardly believe such a thing possible. If we look at this blind man in John 9, we find that he is outside of everything of man. All that he was taught from infancy to revere, to look up to as of God, all was gone; he was alone, outside everything; but he heard the voice of the Lord; saying, "Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee". The blessed moment of first acquaintance had come; any one in this room who has ever known it, will understand his deep joy. Joseph's brethren go and fall down before Joseph, for they think he will requite them for the evil they did to him, but "Joseph wept when they spake unto him", as much as to say, Is that all you know about me? The fact is, they did not know him.

There are two words in Scripture translated "knowing", and they have been explained in this way; one is knowing a thing outside of you, and the other is conscious knowledge, knowing a thing in my mind.

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The word generally for knowing is the former. I know him, I have met him; that is, we know one another by appearance. But there is much more; when you are acquainted with the moral ways of a person, like John when he said to Peter, "It is the Lord", and this pre-eminently we learn of the Lord in the gospels; there we are taught the moral traits of that blessed One. Here were these men who had been living for seventeen years under the known care and provision of Joseph, yet did not really know him, they never were in close acquaintance, though no doubt they would say, There is not a brother like Joseph; just as you hear Christians of this day say, There is no one like Jesus. Yes, but do you know Him? You say, Yes. But what do you mean by knowing Him? Do you know His feelings about you? If you answer, How could I know His feelings about me? then it is evident that you do not know Him. Do you think Joseph's brethren would have said after their interview with Joseph, We do not know his feelings? They had heard from himself, "Fear not; I will nourish you and your little ones". It is love only that casts out fear. I trust that you see now that the service of Christ is first known, His very great grace; yet until you know His feelings for you, you have not made acquaintance with Him personally.

I turn now to Luke 5:8. Peter was called, as we know from John 1, and he was very devoted; and it is worthy of note that at times we find people very devoted who really do not know the Lord. Peter was devoting his time and his means to the Lord's work, also he was obedient to His word; he says, "At thy word I will let down the net". He lets down the net, and encloses a great multitude of fishes, so that the net breaks, and they beckon to their partners to come and help them. But instead of being, as fishermen always are, very delighted when they have a great haul, what do you find? "When Simon Peter

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saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord". Peter had not made acquaintance with the Lord. Someone might say, I do not understand you. Well, I trust if any of you would say so, that you will turn to the Lord to make you understand this incident, because here it is plain enough. Every Christian has to learn it. Peter falls down before the Lord and says, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord", though he was doing everything right at the time, quite different from Saul of Tarsus. Yet he was not apart from himself; you will find that you do not really make acquaintance with the Lord until you are apart from all which He has removed; that is, in reality you have not learned the completeness of His service. In Genesis 50 there is an illustration of the true exercise of heart. There, when the father was dead, all the exercise began; because they were thrown into close quarters with Joseph, they had to ascertain how Joseph was in heart towards them; not merely Joseph's service.

Beloved friends, I do not doubt that you know the service of Christ, but do you know His love in doing it? Do you say, I know the love that did it by the service? Ah, that will not do! You know the service first, I admit; but are you acquainted with His heart? Have you come so near to Him that you know Him like the blind man, and that He has an interest in you? "Joseph wept when his brethren spake to him". The truth I am pressing is of the deepest importance to your happiness here, and to your service for the Lord. Peter, instead of being enraptured with his success, falls down and says to the Lord, "Depart from me"; but the Lord says, "Fear not". Peter's heart is relieved. He is conscious of the Lord's interest in him. Now occurs what always occurs when the love of Christ is known: they seek His company. They brought their ships to land, and "forsook all and

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followed him". That is always the effect of first acquaintance. It is not to heaven at all here, but they follow Him on the earth. One might say, Is everyone to give up one's business? I do not say that; but I am quite sure that you will find that it is characteristic of the one acquainted with the Lord, that he likes to surrender for Him. I see it in the youngest. Jonathan stripped himself for David. That is just what I mean; there is the desire to make much of Him; love always makes much of its object. Gratitude would requite; but love makes much of its object at personal sacrifice. We see this love in the woman in Luke 7. She believed that Jesus was the Saviour, and she desired to make acquaintance with Him; she followed Him to the Pharisee's house. She goes to see Him, and makes His acquaintance, and at personal sacrifice anoints His feet. Then He not only announces to her that her sins are forgiven, but He adds, "Go in peace".

The first trait is that you are alone with Him; you have come to a Person. This will lead you to see beyond the general teaching in Christendom; that is, that instead of singing about your sins gone, you will be singing about Christ. You will sing of the Saviour when you know Him. It is the Deliverer you have then before your heart. Let me dwell upon this for a moment. You have made acquaintance with a Person. And now I will turn to Romans 5:5, a verse which tells you that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given to us. In Ephesians 1:13 we read, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise". The Spirit always makes Christ paramount, and is in you a "fountain of water springing up into eternal life". I turn to Acts 10:43, where it is stated, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall

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receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word". The Holy Spirit connects you with Christ personally, with Him who has done the work. Hence, the Lord said to the man who had been blind, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He says, Who is he, Lord? Thou hast both seen him and it is he that talketh with thee". Then he said, "I believe, Lord. And he worshipped him". This is a pattern of the divine bond to Christ, which is called in Scripture "sealing".

To explain it better, I turn to Luke 17:15: "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed turned back and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face, at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed: but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole". Here the Samaritan makes acquaintance with the Lord who had healed him. The ten were cleansed, but nine of them went to ritualism, in order to obtain approach to God by religious services. One only recognised the Lord, and he turns back and fell down on his face at Christ's feet; he parts company with himself, he gives the Lord thanks, and the Lord commends him. He has made acquaintance with the Lord; this is his first acquaintance, that is the point. You see the same in other scriptures which I need not go into. The woman who was healed when she touched the hem of His garment, is a beautiful example of the effect of faith; she was quite cured. The Lord says, "Somebody has touched me", and He says, as it were, 'I want you to be acquainted with me', and she, "fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her". It was not enough to be sure of the work, but she must know Him who had cured her. "She

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came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth". That is a most blessed time. Now let us see another characteristic in connection with this acquaintance. Nothing satisfies love but company; you will seek His company, as the man who besought Him that he might be with Him. The Lord says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me"; nothing will satisfy affection but company. I get this beautifully in Canticles; the reciprocity of real love. This first acquaintance does not go beyond Canticles. One verse will explain to you what I mean, Song of Songs 2:3: "I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste". Is there anyone in this room who would not say, that is delightful? Surely the deep joy of the heart by-and-by, will be the unbroken intercourse between the Lord and oneself. To have a taste of it now is to "sit under his shadow with great delight". I do not follow on to the next verse, because that is farther on. "He brought me to the banqueting house". Still, the main subject of Canticles, what marks it, its characteristic, is, that the heart is not dwelling on His gifts, but how He loves you, and what you are to Him. You will begin with, "My beloved is mine, and I am his"; but you will end with, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is towards me". It is what you are to Him. This, I trust, will show you the greatness of first acquaintance. I can quite understand someone saying, If that is first acquaintance, it is enough for me. Well, you will never lose first acquaintance. Of course, you may drop into coldness and indifference, but if you advance into more acquaintance, you cannot lose the first. If I have made acquaintance with Him risen on the earth, where all my sin and sorrow have been, certainly I cannot lose it when I know Him in glory.

Now let us consider the character and nature of the service which one thus acquainted with the Lord

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renders. You have seen an example of it in Jonathan. It is the readiness to surrender. I do not say that it is the highest service, but this liking to give up for the Lord, this desire to sacrifice anything for Him in order to make much of Him, is very pleasing to Him. Lastly, the way you learn His interest in you here on earth; no one can catch you out of His hand. You have peculiar confidence in Him that He will look after all your affairs, your difficulties; He relieves you. It is the first trait of the new company (Luke 10 and 11) that you not only hear His word, but you, pray to Him because you are still on the earth, you are looking to Him with respect to your earthly path -- He relieves you.

I am not yet touching on higher experiences; I am confining you to Him risen where you have made first acquaintance with Him. I would recapitulate. You first make acquaintance with Him risen from the dead, you could not be sealed unless all your sins were gone. The blood was put first, then the oil; therefore the very moment Peter said, "Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins", "the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the word". You are now acquainted with the Lord personally, and everything is revolutionised. It is not only that you are saved when ruined and undone, but you have made an acquaintance with your Saviour; and His company is the delight of your heart. You may say, Have not I duties to fulfil? Yes, but one thing is paramount, and that is His company. If you have made acquaintance with Him, you can turn to Him about everything; you know His feelings about you, you dwell upon them. This, Canticles unfolds. You know His interest in you, and you dwell on it. You have One ever to turn to; practically you know the greatness of Himself. Now the nature and character of your service is to make much of Him. I admit that it does not go further than to make much of Him before man, as in the case of the woman in Luke 7; she desired

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to make much of Him on the earth; it is the service of first acquaintance; it is a surrender; making much of the Lord at your own expense.

Finally you go through the world with a sense -- thank God for it -- that He was here, and has accomplished all for you here. I have not touched at all on the other side yet; but if you are not acquainted with Him, where all the ruin was, believe me, you will not be acquainted with Him where there is none. You cannot lose that acquaintance; you may get dark and blinded, and think you have lost everything; but when you are restored, you return to it; as you advance in acquaintance with Him, you do not lose the beginning.

The Lord grant that none of you may be satisfied with the forgiveness of sins; thank the Lord, you have listened attentively and earnestly but I pray that not one of you may be satisfied merely to say, I know that He died for me, I am conscious He relieved me. Yes, I say, Take care lest you are measuring His work by your own conscience, and thus resting in the relief to your conscience, instead of resting in Him who glorified God in doing the work. If you know Himself you know His feelings about you, that if the work had to be done over again, He would do it for you. No gift ever measures love; the gift is only the expression of the love; and, therefore, as is said of God Himself, "He will rest in his love"; and He says in Canticles, "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned". Giving comes in, as I have already said, but all the giving springs from love.

I feel it is my duty to bring this subject before you, and though I am not doing it as perfectly as I could wish, yet my comfort is that every exercised soul will learn a great deal more about it than I am able to tell him. The Lord bless His word to you for His name's sake.

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ACQUAINTANCE WITH CHRIST IN GLORY

"But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God", Acts 7:55.

Last Wednesday we were permitted to look at our first acquaintance with the Lord. I need hardly remark that you never lose the measure of your acquaintance with Him. Alas! you may grieve the Spirit and be under a cloud, but you do not lose your acquaintance; for when you are restored, you return to it. You joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the reconciliation; you have received the Spirit sent down from Himself; "being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received the promise of the Father ... he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear"; therefore the Spirit is the seal. You know the Person who did the work for you. It is important to bear in mind that in all the offerings in the Old Testament, only the work was typified, though there were persons who were types of our Lord like David. Your first acquaintance with Christ begins when the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. You learn, like Peter, that at the moment you feel like the prodigal son, quite unfit for Him, yet you are so given the sense of His interest in you, that you know Him. He has not only relieved you by His work for you, but He Himself is the resource of your heart in the place where all your sin and misery have been.

Now I desire to present the next step, even knowing Christ in glory. Mary Magdalene missed Him here; she says, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". You learn that the Spirit of God leads you to where He is, as it was

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with Stephen, "He, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven". Many are clear as to the fact of the Holy Spirit coming down, who do not know the power of the Holy Spirit leading them up to Christ. "He, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus". I propose to set forth, this evening, our acquaintance with Christ in glory, and I will try to explain the effect of knowing Him there. First, the nature of the acquaintance; next, the effect of the acquaintance.

If you know Him where He saved you, you must like to know Him where He is. The Corinthians did not cleave to Christ in glory; that is, they did not seek a greater than Solomon. Every believer has learnt something of Christ in the Jonah aspect; that is, of His death and sufferings, but many do not know Him as Solomon; now He is as much the one as He is the other. There are the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. One might say, How can I know Christ in glory? It is because the Holy Spirit has come down from a glorified Christ. If one did not know one's self and other Christians, one would be surprised to find that the Corinthians, who were so highly endowed "coming behind in no gift", did not behold Christ as Solomon. Why? Because they were so full of their own wisdom; here they failed. Hence, in 1 Corinthians 1:30, the apostle says, "Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom". He puts wisdom at the head of the list; they had not learned that. I want you to apprehend, that though you have the Spirit of God, though you are sealed, yet, that you may not have followed the leading of the Spirit of God; for the Spirit of God, when He leads, makes Christ paramount.

Turn to 2 Corinthians 3:18, which will explain this more fully. "But we all" -- that is every Christian -- "with open face, beholding ... the glory of the

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Lord"; or more correctly, "we all, looking at the Lord's glory with an unveiled face are changed" -- or transformed, transfigured -- "into the same image from glory to glory". That brings out the effect. I do not refer to the effect yet, I am dwelling on the nature of this acquaintance first. As the apostle had gained the ear of the Corinthians, he is leading them to see that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. It is very comforting that, if you are walking in the Spirit, Christ has the first place; He is the wisdom of God. The apostle is pressing the contrast between the law and Christ in the glory. The law was a demand for righteousness, but now there is a ministration of righteousness from the glory. You cannot conceive a greater contrast. It is not merely justification as in Romans, because of the death and resurrection of Christ; but here the righteousness of God greets you. God is glorified by the Son of man, as you read in John 13, and now the righteousness displayed in the glorified Man is ministered to you, you are at home in the glory. Isaiah, when he saw the Lord in glory, said, "I am undone"; you, if you are acquainted with Christ there, are more assured of your acceptance than ever.

May our hearts bless Him for the greatness of His grace! Beloved friends, it is of the deepest importance that you should be acquainted with the Lord in glory individually, otherwise you will not apprehend Him in the assembly. I do not say that you will not learn there, but unless you are acquainted with Him in glory, and know your acceptance there through Him, you cannot recognise Him as Son over God's house. I am sure, that any true-hearted Christian, young or old, would say, Well, I would like to know Christ in glory. It does not say heaven; it is beholding the Lord's glory. Glory is a condition. Glory is the expression of God's satisfaction, according to all His attributes, resting upon the Man who glorified Him.

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In John 13, when Judas has gone out (I suppose Judas was the worst specimen of man), the Lord says "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself". Well, "He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father". Your Saviour is in glory. Are you acquainted with Him there? If you are attached to Him where you are, as in Canticles, you seek His company where He is: nothing satisfies love, even for first acquaintance, but company. He is not here, but you have received the Spirit of God from Him glorified; you can reach Him there. There is no impassable barrier; there is not a drop of water in Jordan. Stephen could look up stedfastly into heaven, and see the glory of God and Jesus. I am trying, in some measure, to illustrate to you this wonderful subject, the nature of your acquaintance with Christ in glory. It is open to everyone, "We all beholding the Lord's glory". By faith you see Him, on whom the glory of God rests; and the Spirit conducts the saint, who is walking in the Spirit, to Christ in glory.

The Corinthians, like some Christians, were full of their own mental energy, instead of being led by the Spirit of God. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God"; and "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit". I want you to be assured that although you have the Spirit of God, you may be carried away by your own mind, like the Corinthians; in fact, Christians have lapsed into all sorts of failure. The Galatians were trying to improve the flesh. It was laxity with the Corinthians, it was legality with the Galatians; one is as bad as the other; indeed, legality is worse than laxity, because a man cannot stand up for laxity, but he may for legality.

Now look at our text; Acts 7:55. Stephen is in Christ's acceptance. It is not merely that you know

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that Christ is in glory, every one in this room knows that Christ is there, but the question is, Are you in Christ's acceptance? Are you at home with Him there? If you read the writings of old divines, you will find beautiful statements of their affection for Christ; but they do not rise beyond Christ on earth, and so far they are beautiful, I quite admit; but you do not lose your first acquaintance with Christ risen from the dead, when you know Him in glory. When the heart discovers that "He is not here" it is an immense solace to know Him where He is. You will find this great fact will change the character of everything with regard to yourself and everything else, for it will land you in a new order of things. It is only there you are able to hear the wisdom of God, as the apostle says, "We speak wisdom among them that are perfect".

I turn to a well-known passage in 1 Kings 10:2, which in a certain way illustrates the nature of this intimacy: "And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart". This is a type of Him who is greater than Solomon. "And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cup-bearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her". I want you to accept in faith the fact which was inaugurated by Stephen; he saw the glory of God and Jesus, and he was perfectly restful there. So that when he suffers unto death -- from the opposition of this world -- he says, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit". He is at

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home there. This I want you to lay hold of in faith: and in the queen of Sheba you learn something of the nature of your acquaintance with the Lord in His own home. She comes to Solomon. You come first as an individual, yet you are connected with His circle of things. Here she comes, and communes with him of all that was in her heart; everything is solved for her. And that is not all, but "there was not anything hid from the king, which he told her not". He is the wisdom of God. You may say, How is that now? I believe, beloved friends, if we were more apart from ourselves, we should be wiser about things. Our own selfishness is like a mote in the spiritual eye which hinders it from seeing things rightly. No flesh could be in the presence of the glory; hence the apostle sets forth the effect practically in himself, "Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus". Beloved friends, if you taste of this acquaintance, you know Christ outside of everything here; you know Him in glory as the One on whom every ray of divine glory rests.

And He is my Saviour; you are now in His acceptance, you are greeted with righteousness from the glory; it is the righteousness of God. I have said much about the nature of this acquaintance with the Lord; but I must add a word from John 13:8. The Lord tells Peter, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". We generally have an imperfect apprehension of this saying. It does not mean merely forgiveness of daily sins. The idea is that He would remove every shade of distance between Himself and Peter. They were acquainted with Him on earth, and attached to Him, but He is going away into a new order of things, where nothing defiling could enter. If you look at Paul's side of this, it is the holiest of all; but I would confine your attention to this word. You cannot apprehend the nature of this washing, unless you are acquainted with the Lord.

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The Lord has entered on a new order of things; and His washing is to remove everything that causes a shade of distance between you and Him, anything which would break communion with Him. Peter had affection, so much so (see John 21:7), that when he heard it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him and did cast himself into the sea, and yet he was not restored. The Lord said to him after they had dined, "Lovest thou me more than these?" Peter had thought that he loved the Lord more than the other disciples. Peter had affection for the Lord, but he was not in communion with Him; on the contrary he was chief in leading the others astray, going a-fishing.

After they had dined, the Lord exercises Peter's heart. He removes the distance between Peter and Himself. He finishes by saying, "Follow me". The true mark of communion is that you follow Him. We see here that the Lord likes to maintain this intimacy. But if you do not know intimacy, you do not seek the removal of that which interferes with it. Many are satisfied if they preserve a good conscience. You could not be intimate with the Lord without a good conscience, but if you are acquainted with Him as Peter was, and would continue your acquaintance with Him where He is, you require to be washed from every shade of distance, everything unsuited to the place where He is. If the Corinthians had been acquainted with Christ in glory, they would know that the practical effect of it is "Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus". If you have made acquaintance with the Lord, you must like to have it continued. He, by His word, will remove every cause of distance. He will exercise your heart about it; because if you are really intimate with Him, you will know when there is a shade of distance; it may not be what you would call a sin, it might be indifference. For instance, the bride in Canticles was asleep, and

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had to be awakened: that was indifference. That has to be removed; that causes a shade of distance. The more intimate we are with anyone, the sooner we perceive a shade of distance; and if we do not perceive the distance, it shows that we are not intimate. It is not only that in His love, He leads you into this nearness to Himself, but He likes to preserve and continue it; mark His words, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". He does not say in Me, but with Me; you are not in company with Me.

Let us now look at the effects of this acquaintance. Turning again to 1 Kings 10, you will find that the queen of Sheba when with Solomon was occupied with new things. A type of the new things with Christ. Hence Peter writes, "joy unspeakable and full of glory" -- glorified joy -- Christ in glory. It is a very simple thing that if you were with Christ in glory, you would be taken up with the things there. If a child goes into a great place he is taken up with the things there. And it is not possible that you should behold the glory of the Lord and not be affected by it. When the queen of Sheba saw "The house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her". The first effect upon her was that she was entranced with Solomon's home circle. She was a great queen, had great possessions, but she is so charmed with the order of things in Solomon's house that all else is eclipsed. This is only a type, but it shows that the effect of this acquaintance with Christ is, that His immediate interests absorb you. There is a great lack if you do not know the Lord in glory, for you do not know the order of things which suits Him. One might be trying to help another, but he must fail if he does not know the order of things which suits the Lord. The

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queen of Sheba had not seen things done the same way before; common things were done in a perfect way.

I have already dwelt upon the nature of this acquaintance, and how you find yourselves in Christ's acceptance in the presence of God, so that you are at home there. Now the first effect of this acquaintance is that you are occupied with His things according to the glory of God; and the second, you get in Corinthians, "We all beholding the Lord's glory are transformed". This is the effect of this acquaintance; and here you learn wisdom. Many wish for guidance. If you were rid of yourself in the Lord's presence, you would be transformed into the same image from glory to glory; it is your own wisdom that is blocking the road. If you looked more at the Lord in glory, you would become more familiar with His glory, and, as the hymn says,

"In this Thy nature grow". (Hymn 51)

There could not be a more cheering state than that we are "transformed into the same image". It is not merely "changed": the word is used only four times in the New Testament, and is translated twice "transfigured" (which, I believe, is the true meaning), "transformed" in Romans 12, and here "changed". It is most marvellous, because you are outside of yourself; and if you knew what an encumbrance yourself is, you would be very glad that it should be in abeyance. And how blessed would be your course here when thus morally transformed. It is not merely that your judgment is corrected, as in Psalm 73; but you are transformed into moral correspondence to His glory:

"And thus, Thy deep perfections
Much better should I know". (Hymn 51)

If you are walking in the Spirit, Christ will be paramount; not merely first, but paramount. Then,

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as you behold Him in glory, you are transformed into moral correspondence with Him. Stephen is a wonderful example of this; he had been looking for the Lord to come, and to bring times of refreshing from His presence; and all in a moment he looks up stedfastly into heaven -- the new line is open, he sees the Lord in glory, and everything is changed; he is turned right round; instead of Jerusalem being the centre, and the Lord's reign his subject, he is transformed into correspondence with the Lord's present position. This proves to you the greatness of the effect of knowing the Lord in glory. If you do not understand this acquaintance with the Lord, you will never please Him in service, or be for Him here. I do not say you may not have happy seasons, and know that you have a Friend in Jesus: I do not doubt that you may; but to know Him where He is, is much more. How can you act for Him here unless you know the order of things which suits Him? The glory is the expression of God's satisfaction according to all His attributes -- the greatest contrast to all here.

I need hardly give you other examples, but there is a beautiful one in the two disciples going to Emmaus. They had heard a wonderful exposition of scripture from Himself, and yet they did not alter their course; but when their eyes were opened, they knew Him; they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem. Why? Because His interests now command them. But the best illustration is to get it yourself. Get so near the Lord that yourself has no place, because you are entranced with Him, your one absorbing Object. You will then find that you look at things here in quite a new light, because He is uppermost. When you walk in the Spirit, Christ is in His place in your heart, and you have all the fruit of the Spirit, because the Spirit is unhindered.

One remark more. In the end of John 13 the Lord

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had spoken about being glorified, and now (chapter 14) He says, "Let not your heart be troubled". They were aware of the character of things they were connected with; He was going away, and among themselves there was treachery on the one hand, and unfaithfulness on the other, He says, "I have a place for you outside of it all". I hope you are glad to hear He has a place for you outside of this world.

I trust each one of you will own the deep importance of being acquainted with Christ in glory, and all its blessed effects. Your happiness is complete; for you not only are in Christ's acceptance in the presence of God, but also you have His own order of things -- what "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God". And not only this, but you are transformed into moral correspondence to Him. There can be no greater satisfaction to the heart; as the hymn expresses it:

"Yet sure, if in Thy presence
My soul still constant were,
Mine eye would, more familiar,
Its brighter glories bear.

And thus Thy deep perfections
Much better should I know,
And with adoring fervour
In this Thy nature grow". (Hymn 51)

Surely, beloved friends, there is not one of you who does not echo in your heart those words. The Lord, in His infinite mercy, cause each one of us to be more really acquainted with Christ in glory, for His name's sake.

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ACQUAINTANCE WITH CHRIST -- HIS PATHWAY ON EARTH

John 14:27

I have read this verse in order to bring before you the next step of acquaintance with Christ. I have tried to present to you how you are acquainted with Him risen, as having removed every shade of distance between the blessed God and yourself, and that you are sealed by the Spirit of God, and have tasted His love in the very place of your misery; now the unfailing mark of that step is that you are not occupied with your sins or yourself, but with Him. Be assured this is the effect. Jonathan was not occupied with his sufferings on account of Goliath, when Goliath was gone; he was occupied with David.

The second step was that you are acquainted with Him in glory. The Holy Spirit has come down from the glorified Christ, and He is the One who has sealed us; and if we are walking in the Spirit, Christ is always paramount. I do not say, beloved friends, that He is paramount to every sealed soul, because the Corinthians were sealed, and the Galatians were sealed, but they were not walking in the Spirit. They were sealed, but we read in the epistles to them how thoroughly they were diverted from the true line; but when the apostle gains the ear of the Corinthians, he presents to them Christ in glory, where all things are of God, and flesh cannot be. In Galatians, he shows that Isaac displaces Ishmael. It is an immense comfort to your heart, because in your daily walk, it is not so much what you should do, as whether Christ is paramount to you. As a sailor in a storm looks out for the sun; if he can see the sun, he can tell the bearings of the ship. The great gain of knowing Christ

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in glory is, that you are brought into a new order of things; you cannot conceive any greater contrast than between Christ in glory and the order of things on earth where Christ has been rejected. In the scene of all your wretchedness and degradation, you have found a Saviour who cares for you; and at the very moment when you are most conscious of your unworthiness -- like the prodigal son, or like Peter when he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord", Jesus said to him, "Fear not" -- you have found a friend in Jesus.

But beholding Christ in glory you have before you a new order of things, and, like the queen of Sheba, you are entranced. It is His wisdom now (you do not lose the sense of His love); when you believe in Christ as the wisdom of God, you have confidingness in Him. Love ensures confidence; but wisdom gives confidingness. You might be sure of the love of many, but you might not be sure of their wisdom; when you know the wisdom of the one who loves you, you can always confide, and the one in whom you most confide has the greatest influence over you, because he is in possession of your full mind. "She (the queen of Sheba) communed with him (Solomon) of all that was in her heart". Now in this acquaintance with Christ, you are absorbed with Him; you are beholding every ray of the glory resting upon a Man. The glory is the expression of God's satisfaction according to all His attributes -- holiness, truth, righteousness -- all rests upon a Man, your Saviour. You behold the Lord's glory, and instead of being repulsed, or affrighted, as Isaiah was, you are greeted with the ministration of righteousness; and a wonderful thing occurs -- you are transformed into the same image! Our translators could not catch the idea, and they put the word 'changed'. The word is used only four times in Scripture, and it is translated twice 'transfigured', and in Romans 12 'transformed'. It

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means that you are brought into moral correspondence with Christ.

Now I come to the third step in your acquaintance with Christ. You have made acquaintance with Him in glory; and the great effect of it is, that you desire to be acquainted with Him in His pathway here. He was superior to circumstances here where you are to serve. That is our subject tonight. You are upon earth, and though you know Him and see Him in glory, in unclouded beauty in a new order of things, you are down here in this scene, and you have to learn to walk here even as He walked. You have to make His acquaintance in His pathway here. Beloved friends, I know how very little we are practically superior to our circumstances in this world. If you know Christ in glory, the effect on you is that you seek to be clear of every interruption. You have been in the highest circle, you have seen the glory of God resting on a Man, and that Man your Saviour. And now you learn the apostle's own experience -- "Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus". You are in this world, and it is a terrible thing to find that you are in a place where everything is contrary to God, and therefore the question is, how can you maintain your acquaintance with Him under these circumstances? I am sure this is a question which will interest every one who seeks to serve Him. You may say, as many a Christian can say, I know the Lord, I know what it is to lose myself in His presence, in the sense of the blessedness He is in. But you are here to serve Him; look at all around you; look at yourself; look at the power of the enemy; look at your own weakness. Though you are acquainted with Christ in glory, still there is here where you are, the power of Satan as well as your own weakness. There is conflict here, and you ever want succour for conflict and support for infirmity. You have to learn as Israel did: Israel crossed the Red Sea, and they

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drank of the bitter water, they drank death; then they fed on the manna; then the rock was smitten; and then there is conflict. Conflict is with the enemy. First you must feed upon Christ in death; "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you". You then feed upon Him, as He was here; that is the manna. You must "reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord"; which is fully carried out in 2 Corinthians 4, where the apostle tells you his own experience, "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus". I believe that if you were entranced with the blessedness of knowing Christ in a scene of incomparable perfection, you would be glad to be free of everything which would interfere with your enjoyment of Him. The Corinthians failed because they were not dead to sin; that is the beginning of every failure. If you are not walking in the Spirit, you are not in faith reckoning yourself dead with Christ. You will be free of your old man through His death; it is not merely sometimes but 'always'. Some do not know the way; some do know it, but do not keep up to it, and then they are not walking in the Spirit. As we read in Galatians 5, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit"; every believer in Christ lives in the Spirit, but everyone does not walk in the Spirit, and if you are not walking in the Spirit, you are walking in the flesh. I need not dwell upon it, but it is plain that if you knew and enjoyed the fact of being in a scene of transcendent blessedness where every ray of divine glory is resting on your Saviour, you would not like anything which would disturb or hinder your enjoyment. But you are on the earth where the impediments are two-fold; one the power of the enemy, and the other your personal weakness. In Exodus 17 you find that Amalek came out to fight against Israel; now that is conflict. When Moses held up his hand

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Israel prevailed; they were succoured. I am now speaking of the opposition you encounter here. I will come to our own weakness presently. You can rise above the opposition, "In that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able also to succour them that are tempted". Look at our Lord's temptation by Satan. In Luke you find the moral order: the first temptation, "If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread", is, use your own means, act independently of God. Constantly you see a believer thus ensnared: the Lord refuses, quoting Deuteronomy 8. The second is, to accept power from the god of this world; this many Christians do. And the third is, you seek for some palpable proof of God's intervention on your behalf. If you fail in the first, the others will follow.

You know very little about your own history if you do not know that the effort of Satan has been to divert you from following the Lord. As Israel encountered Amalek when they were first starting in the wilderness, so you may have seen that when a believer is starting for the Lord, the first thing Satan does is to try to turn him aside by the fear of man. There are two things, the fear of man, and the favour of man. You may stand fear pretty well; but very few can withstand the world's favour. The first form of opposition is intimidation, that is Amalek; but God will have war with Amalek for ever and ever. Amalek is not a type of the flesh, the flesh is judged; Amalek is Satan, and Satan is overcome through the intercession of Christ. Let me ask you, when the power of fear confronted you in your path, did you find that the Lord had been interested about you, and that you, as Joshua, prevailed through the Spirit of Christ?

In the verse I have read the Lord says "My peace I give unto you". Think how the Lord walked in this world. I am not aware that He ever altered a circumstance for Himself; but I find we are often

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wishing and expecting that the circumstances will be altered. When the Lord was in the storm in the ship He was asleep; Matthew 8. Some commentators tell you that He was taking rest. That is not the point; He was there to prove His superiority to the circumstances here. He is not now in these circumstances: He is supreme. As we know Him in His walk here we learn how we can be superior to circumstances here. The Lord was down here in our circumstances, but always superior to them. He did not seek anything for Himself; He had not where to lay His head; but He always found His true resource in God; as He said when He came to the most painful moment of His history, "Ye shall leave me alone, and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me". Thus He taught them the Father -- "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" -- as their compensation for their loss of earthly things.

I now refer to Balaam. The Balaam snare is the opposite to fear; it, is favour with the world. The Corinthians failed because they were in the favour of the world, they were in social friendship with it. You will find that a Christian who is on social terms with worldly people is greatly hindered; he is leavened by them; and his children suffer from it. There are these two hindrances; one fear, and the other favour. When you suffer from fear you triumph where you are cast upon the Lord. "He ever liveth to make intercession for us". A wonderful cheer when the heart learns it. You turn to Him as the One who lives to succour you, and you know His succour. The Lord make you know it more and more. You will never know Him as your friend until you do. It is said, 'A friend in need is a friend indeed'. When you have proved Him a friend, you prevail over Amalek in the Spirit of Christ. You are thus led into personal acquaintance with Himself. It is a wonderful thing to be acquainted with Him as He was here. You are

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in the world where everything is contrary to God, and He says, "My peace I give unto you", unbroken, unruffled peace, though you are not untroubled. "My peace". What a wonderful thing! It is not only "Peace I leave with you", but "My peace I give unto you".

I have spoken of the conflict, the power that is against you. You see what is before you in this world, but you have His succour. Bear in mind that I have not touched upon the enemies in the land. If you cannot run with the footmen, you cannot run with the horsemen; if you cannot overcome in the wilderness conflict you will not enter on the heavenly conflict. Heaven is your place; and so much the more should you be able to enjoy it. It is not a question of your right; you have the right, but you may not enjoy your right, because you do not follow the lead of the Spirit of God.

Turn to John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send unto you in my name. He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you". In the gospel narrative we read how the Lord went through this world, how He bore up against everything. And now the Comforter is come to teach us how He was here. You cannot get this by reading the gospels; you get the account of it by reading the gospels, but you get it by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven by the Father. He enables you to walk here even as Christ walked, so that, though you were not on the earth with Him, yet when you read the gospels in the Spirit, you can realise nearness to Him. The Bible surpasses every other book, for it leads you into living reality with the things related, as if you were there yourself. You get such touches of His grace in it, "When he was alone he expounded all things to his disciples". How He endeared Himself to them! In what a way they knew

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Him! Hence you can understand the apostle saying, even after thirty years, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord". Be assured that this is the measure of every one, not your knowledge of the Bible, but your knowledge of Christ. Peter says, "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ".

I turn now to your weakness. Sometimes we think only of the power against us, but there is infirmity on our own side. In the gospel narrative you see not only the man overpowered by the legion, but you see the woman who spent all her living on physicians and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. She had to contend with infirmity. In the one case, power against you overcomes you, and in the other, you are oppressed with infirmity. Man is in a sad case! It is good to realise the state of things you are in naturally. I have spoken of the power of the enemy against you here in the wilderness. I do not speak yet of the power of Satan connected with heavenly things, but only of his opposition to you upon the earth, and this opposition has two forms, the fear of man and the favour of man.

Now I turn to the hindrance from infirmity. In John 11 you get a practical illustration of Hebrews 4; and it is most important to apprehend the Lord's support in your infirmity. In John 11, you have the death of Lazarus. Martha does not obtain sympathy or support; she gets relief eventually. As I have already instanced about the storm; you are probably looking for relief from it; you may say, the storm is beyond all human endurance. I know it is, and hence, generally, we are looking for relief. But there is a greater blessing for us than relief, there is the Lord's support, for it imparts to you an acquaintance with Himself which relief does not. Relief makes a man more satisfied with things here. I have known some

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who could tell you of a long list of mercies, most touching, truly the proof of the tenderness of the blessed God. Thank God, we all know something of this tenderness. But then there is a greater blessing, namely, that He does not remove the pressure, but raises you above it, so that, though you are not relieved, You are better off than if you were merely relieved, because you know His heart who supports you under the pressure: you have made a deeper acquaintance with your Lord; and your heart is more attached to Him. The great object or moral intention of the epistle to the Hebrews is to detach you from earth by drawing away your heart to Christ in heaven.

It was a wonderful moment to Mary when the Lord walked beside her. "Jesus wept". He is in sympathy with her, He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, tempted in all points like as we are, apart from sin. Having therefore, "a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God", who, in all our afflictions, was afflicted, but is now above the heavens. Most blessed when one knows a little of His sympathy, He raises you above the pressure by His nearness to you -- the nearness of One who has passed through the heavens. There are three great pressures: the pressure of circumstances; you may be too rich even, or you may be poor; the pressure of bad health, a very great pressure; and the pressure of sorrow, which is the greatest of all, because there is no relief for bereavement. The Lord sympathises with Mary in her bereavement; He has a deeper sense of the terrible havoc wrought by death than any one. Mary discovers in her sorrow that the Lord thinks about her, and comes near her in His sympathy. When you were under pressure, were you looking for the Lord's sympathy? The word exposes your motives and aim; for the Lord cannot support you unless you tread the path in which He walked. He spoke to Martha, but He did not support her. The Lord

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supports Mary first before He raises Lazarus; she learnt His sympathy before she was relieved.

It is an immense comfort that in bereavement He will support you all along to the resurrection. His mighty hand revealing His heart, reaches down from above the heavens, and He says, as it were to you, Take My Hand; I have been down into that sorrow; I have known the greatest sorrow: but am out of it all now, and I can raise you up to Myself. It is very wonderful; you know Him now in a way you never knew Him before; and thus the trial mellows you. If it does not mellow you, it hardens you. A man is not broken by trial, unless there is with it a sense of sin. Christians pass through trial after trial, but often grow harder and harder. Many go on nicely until some great affliction overtakes them, and then they are so engrossed with their sorrow, that they make the sorrow an excuse for self-occupation.

We see in Paul and Silas at Philippi a sample of the Lord's way. They were strengthened by His grace; they had suffered dreadfully in every way, maltreated every way, but they are supported above it, and are praying and praising God; then comes the relief -- the earthquake loosens their chains. Doubtless, relief will come, but it is great gain for you to know support first. The Lord would like you to have this blessed acquaintance with Himself.

The effect of relief without support generally is, that you are carried away with the greatness of the relief. On the other hand, the practical result of support is surpassingly shown in Mary's act. John 12:7, "Against the day of my burying hath she kept this" -- a very rare act in our day. "And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment". He had so drawn her heart to Himself, He so supported her in her deep sorrow, that if He is not here, nothing can be bright to her here. I need not add much more.

I have called your attention to the fact that you are

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in a world in every way opposite to the glory where you have known the Lord. It is surprising that things can go on at all in a place where He is rejected, where there is the deadliest opposition to Him, but also where you yourself are naturally of it. Hence you must begin with "our old man is crucified with Christ". In order to live here as He lived, you must feed upon His death. You are glad to reckon yourselves to be "dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus". I desire to impress this much on you. If you know Christ in the glory of God, you will rejoice that everything which interferes with your joining Him there, should be removed, even yourself in abeyance. But you are passing through a world of opposition, where everything is against you, where the prince of the power of the air uses the fear or the favour of man to turn you aside. Then your resource is "He ever liveth to make intercession". He never ceases; and the more you are acquainted with Him, the more you know that He makes you superior to both. You cannot conceive anything more morally grand in itself than a man superior to his difficulties. In the world they say, 'It is a fine sight to see a great man struggling with his difficulties'. How much greater to see a Christian superior to his. In Old Testament times they looked for deliverance, because they were on that ground, and doubtless the Lord is so gracious to us that He often meets us in that way. They were cast into the fire and not a hair of their head was burnt, cast into the lions' den and not hurt. But what happened to Stephen? He was battered with stones. The power of God was for Daniel; the power of God was in Stephen. Which is the greater favour? To us it is said, "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world". It is also true, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"; but it is a greater thing to have the power of God in you than for you. This power comes from the Lord by the

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Holy Spirit. It comes down from heaven to you, but it is to conduct you in His superiority through all circumstances here; so that whether it is the adverse power that you have to contend with, or the infirmity in yourself that obstructs you, "We are more than conquerors through him that loved us". The great result, blessed be God, is, not merely that you are conquerors, but that you are more personally acquainted with Christ.

The Lord grant, beloved friends, that each one of you may turn to Him, and so seek Him, that you can say, I know Him better, and how He is for me, not only as my Saviour, but in passing through the circumstances down here, for His name's sake.

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ACQUAINTANCE WITH CHRIST IN THE ASSEMBLY

Hebrews 2:12

It is very interesting to know that this verse is quoted from Psalm 22. Twenty-one verses of that Psalm describe what the Lord endured on our account, seven different sufferings; and then when He is "heard from the horns of the unicorns", He utters verse 22. Mark the place where it occurs, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the church" -- (the assembly) -- "will I sing praise unto thee".

The subject I desire to present to you this evening is, knowing the Lord in the assembly. We have believed on Him in resurrection when He had finished the work; and seeing Him there, the work finished, we were sealed by the Holy Spirit: "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us". That is first acquaintance.

Secondly, we know Christ in glory, a condition of things in contrast to all that is here. Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Glory is not so much a place as a condition of things; we are in the habit of thinking of it as a place. Doubtless, the glory is in heaven; but glory, in itself, is the expression of God's satisfaction according to all His attributes resting upon the Man Christ Jesus, who was in the deepest humiliation here. It is called the gospel of the glory; we become acquainted with Him there, for we are accepted there. Instead of being repulsed or afraid, like Isaiah, we find out that we are at home. We are fully justified by faith here, where the sin was committed; but in the glory, there is a ministration of righteousness; we are transformed according to the same image.

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Thirdly, we are here in the place of Christ's rejection; and now comes the question, How are we to get through it? We know Him in the glory of God, and know our acceptance there; but how are we to rise above all the opposition here? Not only the opposition, but we have another obstruction, our own infirmity; not sin, but the fact that we are poor, weak things. Here we learn the Lord in a new way: He says, "My peace I give unto you". He makes you superior to the circumstances here. He supports you in your infirmity; He who is "made higher than the heavens", sympathises with you under the pressure.

Well, having the peace of Christ, you are superior to the circumstances here, and supported by Him under every infirmity. Now the question arises, Has Christ a place here? First, you must own that He has been rejected from the earth, and has no place in it as such. Christendom does not own that He is rejected, but assumes that His right is acknowledged here. On the contrary, when the rejection of Christ by the nation was indicated in the beheading of John the baptist, the Lord prepared His disciples for a new structure on the earth, which He calls "My assembly". I would awaken you to the great fact -- we are too insensible to it -- that He has a house on the earth. In Psalm 16, the Psalm that tells of His resurrection, we read, "to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent in whom is all my delight". As rejected by man, you might have expected that His delight would be only in heaven; on the contrary, you find in John 20, that He came unto His own, He sought the company of His own here on the earth. Until He rose from the dead, He could not have His assembly, He had not "brethren" after His own order. See Hebrews 2:11.

It is important to see that when God had a redeemed people, He says, "I will dwell among the children of Israel", Exodus 29:45. Now in Christendom they

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make the material building the house of God; they do not see that everything on the earth with respect to God has altogether changed. If Israel, in their day, made the house of God such an object, how much more should we, for we are "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit"!

I make a solemn appeal to each of you, because I fear many are satisfied with the assurance that they are saved, and this has led to merely believers' meetings. To a young believer happy in the Lord, I should say, Would you like to meet the Lord? Would you like to be in His circle? It is not merely to know Him as superior to your circumstances here, but to know Him in His circumstances, as He is in His own house. A believers' meeting is not, in itself, His house, of course believers are there, but He is Son over God's house, He is paramount there. You are not really in the truth of His assembly if you have not a sense of the greatness of His presence. It is the only spot He claims now on earth. It is there you first become acquainted with a heavenly Man; you are in company with Himself, as were the disciples in John 20. He gave them peace and life, the qualities of the new order. The great thing to maintain is, that the blessed Lord has a house on this earth. You may see everything in a broken up condition; but Christ has an assembly on the earth until He comes. When He takes away His own, then all corrupt professors are spued out of His mouth.

One word more on this point. The Songs of Degrees are an interesting part of Scripture for this day. There are fifteen steps, they describe the remnant, and the great desire of their hearts. They have gone through much in order to reach the house of God. It is not so much the question where they were, as to see all the obstacles in their way. They look to God to remove them, and they were removed, and at length, by night, they arrive at the house of the

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Lord, in the fifteenth step. If you would say, Everything is gone in this day of ruin; then I recall to you the Songs of Degrees, and ask you to read Psalm 132, "I will not give sleep to mine eyes, nor slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob". Are you really set for it? Remember the scripture in another place, "Glory and honour are in his presence, strength and gladness are in his place", 1 Chronicles 16:27. I fear that we do not sufficiently take to heart that we are where Christ has been rejected. I see around me many Christians, truly evangelical, who call a building, made by man, the house of God. Christ, rejected by man, could not have such a structure set up upon the earth. Until you learn the nature of God's house now, you will never be according to the Lord's mind here. You may be very devoted, but you will not know His mind. How could you work apart from the centre? In the human constitution, if the heart is not in true action, there is imperfection in everything.

I turn to Matthew 14:10, "And he sent and beheaded John in the prison". I am showing first that the Lord has been rejected, for this beheading of John plainly indicated that His own would not receive Him. Now the question arises, What will the Lord do? In human language it is a great crisis. Rejected by His own, He goes into the desert and there He feeds the poor of the flock who seek Him. But that is not all. Read verse 26, "When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled". He had taken the place of supremacy. I think the youngest in this room can keep two words in mind. The last evening I was dwelling on superiority over the circumstances by the power of Christ: this evening my great subject is His supremacy . It is as the supreme One that He is in His assembly. I can imagine a devoted soul in this room saying, Oh! what a delight to be in a place on this earth where the Lord is supreme

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over all the evil here. The Lord was educating His disciples for this new place; and you will be greatly helped by studying from chapter 14: 10 on to chapter 16: 18, where He says to Peter, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church". Peter had said, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God". John says, "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" He is above everything here, and He is Son over God's house, where He declares the Father's name. In chapter 14 the great teaching is that Peter, the man of faith, will leave the ship to join the Lord; he walks on the water to go to Jesus. It is evident that you cannot realise the presence of the Lord, if you do not leave your own side of things. You cannot join Him risen from the dead, and the One you know in glory, without leaving natural things. I do not mean that you are to die, but that, like Peter, you are to leave your own side of things in order to join the Lord.

When the Lord came into the midst of His disciples in John 20, He introduced them to a new order. He fits them for it, He gave them peace first, and the Spirit as life. He breathed on them. That was a pattern. Our subject is to know the Lord in the assembly. Peter knew Him in an out-of-the-world order of things, where he joined Him. You join Him there, by the Spirit of God, as we read in Hebrews, "In the midst of the assembly". "Both he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are all of one". It is not that He is one of us, but, thank God, we are of one with Him. We have His Spirit and are in His life; for, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his".

Now it is in the assembly that you know Him as supreme. He was asleep in the storm -- in divine tranquillity in our circumstances; but now He is outside of all here, He is supreme; and as supreme, He comes into the assembly. In Matthew 15 is set

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forth His grace to us in the lowest condition here. The Syrophenician woman's child is grievously tormented of the devil, but faith counting on His grace, without any title to it, proves that His grace is sufficient. Stephen sees the Lord supreme at the right hand of God; while Paul, buffeted by Satan, hears from Himself in glory, "My grace is sufficient for thee". So that on the one hand you see Him supreme above everything; and on the other hand, however oppressed by Satan here, Christ's grace is sufficient for you; and like the apostle you can say, I take pleasure in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

In Matthew 16 the Lord, because of the lack of faith of His disciples, refers to His two miracles in feeding the multitude. Then He turns to them and asks, "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter says, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God"; then He said, "Thou art Peter". When Simon was called (John 1) the Lord named him Cephas, a stone, but he was not qualified for that place until now; he is now consciously in the building. Every believer is a stone, but every believer does not take his place in the building. Would to God he did! You take your place in the assembly when you acknowledge Christ in His place supreme over all here; a building not made with hands, but His own building. "I will build my church" -- My assembly. "To whom coming ... ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house", 1 Peter 2:4. It is a great moment when by faith you apprehend this, when you are confirmed like Peter in your place in the assembly. The Lord had educated the disciples for it.

We realise then by the Spirit that "the prince of this world is judged". There you are in fellowship with the Lord, who is above all the power of evil here; and when you know that you are united to Him in heaven, you are "strong in the Lord and in the power of his might ... above all taking the shield

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of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked".

I hope you all will apprehend the nature of the Lord's presence in the company, which He calls "my assembly".

Now I turn to Hebrews, in order that you may enter into the great blessings in His house. Our subject is acquaintance with Him in the assembly. As the High Priest He passed through the heavens, and He so sympathises with your infirmities that you are supported by Him, and so rise above the pressure, that you are in company with Him. You can accompany Him into the holiest. In Hebrews 10:19 we have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh". That is His death: at the other side of His death a new place is opened out. He was ever in heaven, even when here, and when He died He opened the way for us into it; you are in company with Himself in a new order of things, in His things risen from the dead. It is a great thing to apprehend that now you enter His things; you have not gone to heaven, but you are in His company, you are in the presence of the High Priest who has so supported you under pressure that you can be in company with Him in the holiest. You learn this individually, but it is for the whole house; according to my text He is in the midst of the assembly. He has lifted you from the lowest, in order to lead you into the highest in company with Himself; you are like Aaron's sons, the consecrated company; He is a great priest over the house of God. Now you come into a new order of things, the holiest of all. It is the moral atmosphere of God's Presence made known to you by the Lord in the midst. In Old Testament times, as we see in Psalm 73, the psalmist in trial went into the tabernacle, where there was only the cloud of glory. What was

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the effect of this, "I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end". Surely the Lord of glory is much more than the cloud of glory in the tabernacle.

The Lord lead us to apprehend more and more what the assembly is to Himself; built here by Himself when He had been rejected by this world, and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". You make acquaintance with Him, not only in His supremacy, as you see in Matthew 14, but you know Him in the holiest of all, you are in company with Him there in all the fragrance of Himself. Like Aaron's sons accompanying their father into the holy place, to eat the consecration offering. We are always in His presence; we are in Christ's acceptance in the glory, as you have already seen.

Now we may consider the object of the assembly. He there directs you as to His interests. In John 20:21 He sends His disciples. He fulfils His word: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren". He is greater than Moses and greater than Aaron, He is both; He not only maintains you in the brightest spot, the holiest of all, but He there makes known to you the Father. In 1 Timothy 3:15 we read: "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God" (always, not merely when assembled) "which is the church of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth". It is plain, I submit, that if you wanted to know the Lord's mind about His things here, you should go to the assembly to learn it. You might say, That was true when all was in order, but can it be true now when all is in disorder? In 2 Timothy, Paul's teaching and the scriptures are enjoined on us, the former with respect to the church which is the pillar and base of the truth, and the latter because of the authority of the word of God. It is not, as Romanism asserts, that the church interprets the word, for the word directs the church, the Spirit

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interprets it. The church, however in ruins, is here for the Lord. If you bear in mind my reference to John 20:21: "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you" -- you will admit that it gives a great character to the assembly; that is, there the servant learns his mission. Many are running who are not sent by the Lord in the assembly. You have to learn that you are here for the Lord.

Now bear in mind, because a great deal depends upon it, that He is in the assembly to give direction; as you read in Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit said, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them". I am afraid that we do not sufficiently regard the assembly as the sphere of Christ's interests. For example, you may have heard it said by one who had remained at home, when remonstrated with, 'I can have the Lord at home'. I quite admit that, but there is a difference between the two. In the assembly you meet the Lord in His own house; but when He comes to you individually it is with respect to your circumstances. There is a great difference. I am sure that all truth opens up to you more fully in the assembly than in your own room. I believe if you were right, you would go to the assembly to learn the Lord's mind.

In Acts 2, when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the Holy Spirit came down and filled all the house where they were sitting. He sat on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. It does not appear from the Acts that the saints knew the mystery; there is a difference between the ordering of the house and that of the mystery. If a soul is walking simply in the Spirit of God, he really defers to Christ, and hence is led right to the assembly, though he does not know the mystery. It is evident that the Colossians did not know the mystery, and yet they are commended for "their faith in Christ Jesus and love to all the saints".

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You are "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit"; and if you walk in the Spirit, He will always lead you to Christ; but you are there for Christ's interests on the earth, and not merely for your own refreshment and enjoyment; quite right for the worshipper, but you are to be fitted and prepared in the assembly for the Lord's service. In Romans service begins from the body; in John 15, you begin from the highest circle. The eleven disciples started with this, "That ye love one another as I have loved you". It does not say what they are to do outside yet, but they are to begin with one another.

Now I come to 2 Timothy for a moment, and there we are told how to behave ourselves, though the house is in disorder: "vain jangling", etc. When you are true to your Lord, like the wise woman in Proverbs 31, the order of the house is cared for. In 1 Timothy the assembly is in order; in 2 Timothy it is in disorder. What then are you to do? Certainly to be more zealous than ever; purge yourselves from the vessels to dishonour; every one who does shall be a "vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work". Think of this great favour! Could anyone expect a higher position? It is a most encouraging word. We learn from the history of Luther that as long as he was separate, he was greatly honoured of God; and the more separate you are, the more thoroughly you are sanctified and meet for the Master's use, prepared for every good work.

Next, Timothy is directed to "follow"; he was not to originate a reformed church, but to "follow ... with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart". "Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever", and this primarily marks Philadelphia: the company there seek the Lord, they do not deny His name. Meeting in His name was surrendered in Christendom.

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The revival of it characterised the recovery of the truth of the church, which synchronised with the midnight cry: "Behold, the bridegroom". If you are seeking the Lord in separation (He is holy and true), you have a little power. (The word is 'power', not 'strength'.) You will not succumb; you have the Spirit of God, you have some power: He is the only power. Thou "hast kept my word, and has not denied my name".

This company runs down to the end. The Lord not only never gives up the body, but He never gives up His house until He comes; and then He spues out of His mouth that which is unfit for Him. After the Lord has taken away His own, the beast carries the harlot.

In conclusion, I trust the Lord will impress our hearts with the greatness of the assembly -- as He calls it, "my assembly"; He has not given it up -- and that we will be truly suited to Him.

Beloved friends, may you believe in the Lord as supreme in taking His place in the midst of His own, and be acquainted with Him there.

I trust you will look to the Lord that we all may apprehend better the Lord's place in the assembly, and what the assembly is to Him, and rejoice in being acquainted with Him, there, for His name's sake.

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ACQUAINTANCE WITH CHRIST AS HEAD

Colossians 3:1 - 17

Our subject on the previous evening was acquaintance with Christ in the assembly. There He is supreme; He walked through this world in superiority to the circumstances here, but in the assembly He is supreme . There was an assembly in the wilderness, but never "my assembly" until Christ was rejected. In Matthew 14:11, etc., when the Lord heard that John the baptist was beheaded, He retired into the wilderness, and there He fed the poor of the flock, who followed Him; but as to Himself, He is no longer in the ship, as in Matthew 8. He walks upon the water; He is supreme, not simply superior. To be superior implies that He is in the circumstances; to be supreme implies He is above them. The Lord is educating His disciples for the new structure, the assembly. Hence Peter leaves the ship, which was made for water, and walks on the water to go to Jesus. You get here in pattern the teaching in Colossians. Leaving the ship is really Jordan. Some regard Jordan as their own death. It is not; Jordan is your death with Christ, and if you by faith are dead with Christ, you have passed out of the order of things in which you are, as Peter did, leaving the ship to join the Lord; it is then you enter "my assembly". It is very little realised, that in "my assembly" you are in the presence of Christ supreme over all the evil here. Each believer is a stone, "To whom coming", we read, "as unto a living stone". You are in your place when you own the Lord in His place. There are many who are stones who have not entered on their place yet; they all will be in the future temple, but they do not enjoy their place in it here. You must

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first see the Lord in His place. Peter does; he says, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God". He is above everything here, in an out-of-the-world condition of things.

There is much confusion in many minds as to the difference between the house and the body; the house is Christ's building, the body is the members united to the Head. You cannot call a stone a member, though a stone is a member; but a child can understand that a stone in a building is very different from the member of a body. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came down, and He filled the house where they were sitting, and He sat upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit: that is the house. The mystery was not yet revealed, but as they walked in the Spirit, they were subject to Christ. The Colossians were very exemplary, and yet they were not in the truth of the mystery, knowing Christ as the Head of the body. The lack of this truth has disorganised the church as a whole.

I trust each thoughtful soul will see the great addition there is to the assembly where the mystery is known. When you acknowledge the Spirit then you are subject to Christ; but there is more, He is Head, and this the apostle is pressing on the Colossians. This wonderful acquaintance with Christ as Head, is our subject tonight.

I must premise, feelingly I trust, that I do not know much of it, but the more we are interested in it the more we seek it; but you must remember that you learn nothing divine without cost to yourself. All I ask is, are you prepared for this truth? The apostle was very earnest that the Colossians should lay hold of the mystery, even Christ the Head of the body. "Not holding the head", we read of some in the previous chapter.

Let us turn to chapter 2: 2, as setting forth the character of the mystery. Paul says, "that their

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hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment" -- the full knowledge it means -- "of the mystery of God, in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". At the start you see the greatness of the place you are called to. Some may say, Oh! we are not up to it. Well, beloved friends, in one sense that may be true; for if you are not clear as to the gospel, you are not up to it. If you do not see that everything against you has been removed from the eye of God in the cross, you cannot touch the mystery. There are two great actions in the gospel; one is to remove all that is against you, and the other is to bring you to God. The first is in a measure proclaimed, but only in a measure. Full relief is not assured to you except you know that all has been removed from you according to the measure in which God saw you; the measure which satisfies your own conscience is not enough. It is a measure of relief, but not full relief; and the same faith which sees the work of Christ up to the measure of your conscience, could see it after the measure in which God sees it. When you know that all against you has been removed, to God's infinite satisfaction and glory, you have the Spirit of God. When you are clear of your own side, you are on God's side. Like the prodigal son, you are not only out of the far country, but you are in the father's house; and there you will be prepared to hear that the One who died for you and rose again is your Head. It would be too soon to tell this to you till you are at rest as to yourself.

There are the two ministries, the gospel, and the assembly -- the mystery of God. We ought to take it to heart more, that we do not better understand the mystery. It is God's chief object on the earth.

You could not be united to Christ except you were of the same kindred as Himself. The one thing

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Abraham's steward was sworn to was that Isaac's bride should be of the same kindred. "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren"; His brethren: you are kindred to Christ. The Colossians were a very nice assembly, but they were in danger of being carried away by philosophy and vain deceit; even that learning and religion could contribute to Christ, in fact rationalism and ritualism of this day. Now the apostle tells first the greatness of the mystery, "In which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". It is interesting to one who is seeking to teach others, that he had to learn it himself. Before you can apprehend the Head, you must learn two things. The first is in verse 10 of this chapter, "Ye are complete in him"; you cannot add to it. You may not realise it by faith, but it is true of you, by God's grace, that you are complete in Him, and you cannot apprehend Him as your Head until you do realise it.

Our subject tonight is acquaintance with Christ as Head, the One who directs you. It is the most wonderful acquaintance! You will admit that it was a great thing for the queen of Sheba to have listened to Solomon's wisdom; but it is a much greater thing for you to be acquainted with Christ as your Head, He dictating to you and directing you; He does this individually. He may direct you to a passage of Scripture, but still it is positive direction for yourself. It is not impulse, it is direction. Would you not like to be directed by Him? A blessed acquaintance! The queen of Sheba knew nothing of Solomon until she came to him. First, you must apprehend that you are "complete in him who is the head of all principality and power"; there is no place for any addition from either learning or religiousness. You are complete in Christ. Many read the Bible with interest who do not know the Lord personally. The

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Lord, speaking of His sheep, says, "My sheep hear my voice" -- not merely read the Bible. This personal intimacy is much overlooked in the present day. You cannot know Him as your Head until you first realise in faith that you are "complete in him". There can be no addition.

The second is also of the deepest moment. Verse 11, "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the flesh" -- "the sins of" must be left out -- "by the circumcision of Christ". You are complete in Him, and the body of the flesh has been cut off in the cross. Now if you do not in faith hold these two facts, you will never know Christ as your Head; you may read of it, but you are not in the truth of it. In type the circumcision was not until after the crossing of Jordan. Circumcision the "putting off of the body of the flesh" was effected in the cross. Some religious copyist was so perplexed by the passage, that he put in the word 'sins'. He could understand the sins being put away, but he could not understand the putting off of the body of the flesh. The body of the flesh is removed in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; it is effected for you by God, but you are to realise the fact experimentally.

We read in verse 20, "Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". Here it is not merely dead to sin, but that you have by faith passed out of natural things though still in them; you are "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". I do not mean that you die and leave the world, but that you are morally outside of it; you are "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world"; you have passed out of old things into a new order of things. You will find that the One who has effected all this for you is your Head.

You first leave the old order. Hence the first verse of Colossians 3 is connected with chapter 2: 12:

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"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead". In baptism you are buried with Christ in whom you are risen.

Now we come to chapter 3: "If ye then be risen with Christ". Beloved friends, where are you if you are not? The Lord, when He rose from the dead, said first to His disciples, Peace be unto you; then He breathed on them, saying, "Receive ye [the] Holy Spirit" -- life in the Spirit. They can join Him as in the assembly. Suppose it was said to Peter, You have joined the Lord above everything here, now you are to be directed by Him; He is your Head. You have to pass through a like experience. Hence we read, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God". Then, at verse 5, you are practically at Gilgal -- "Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth". "Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth" -- you are looking for a new order of things -- "for ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God"; you are now outside of the life here; you are in an out-of-the-world condition of things. Now this is the practical setting aside of the old man; not merely dead to sin, but the whole rolled away. Mortify all that is of your own will, and put off all your evil habits. The best illustration I can give you is Elisha's act after he had received Elijah's power -- he took up his own clothes and rent them in two pieces, he had done with them. That is the great point. You have put off the body of the flesh, it is cut off in the cross, and you enter on a new order entirely, on new creation ground; "But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds". You may say, the old man is here still. I quite admit that the old man is here

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still; but by grace you belong to a new order, not to the old; you have put off the old man, and put on the new; you are in the life of the new man.

Where anyone is rejoicing in Christ as his life, he is over Jordan (Stephen was over Jordan), but that man may not have practically accepted Jordan; he meets with a loss or disappointment the next day, and is quite overcome by it. When once you have left the ship and entered on new ground, you know what it is; but it can only be retained in faith by the Spirit. If you have died with Christ, you live with Him.

Now you have put on the new man, which is yours; you have put off the old man, which has been cut off in the cross. In verse 11 we read, "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all". There is no class of man at all. The Greek is the learned man, the Jew the religious man; no man now, as you get in another place, but "Jesus only". Now, beloved friends, would not any devoted heart rejoice to reach a spot where Jesus is everything? Many can say genuinely, "He is the chiefest among ten thousand" and "altogether lovely". But there is much more here: "Christ is everything".

If your heart is true to the One who was rejected in this world and is now exalted to God's right hand, you would rejoice that you are called to be here for Him in the very place where He was rejected: but in order to be truly for Him where He is rejected you must first know Him as your Head. Next, you lose your individuality, the interests of Christ occupy your thoughts. It is not merely 'Christ for me'; but I should add, Christ's things for me; like a wife, her husband's interests are her interests. When you come to this, that "Christ is everything", you realise the Head; there is no one there but Christ. May you dwell upon the immense joy of heart in this great

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acquaintance with Christ! I could not convey it, the wonderful fact that He directs you with reference to the other members of His body. I believe the greatest present favour from the Lord is when He opens up His word -- to give for the present need, "meat in due season".

You apprehend, I hope, this wonderful acquaintance with Christ -- He is your Head. Now let us see the result of this acquaintance. Firstly, when you know Christ as your Head, it is His own that you are occupied with. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity" -- love -- "Which is the bond of perfectness". "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren". We love them because they belong to Christ. "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful"; -- still occupied with His own. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him". Secondly, you are ruled by Christ in your own house.

Lastly, I would say a little on the effect of this acquaintance in the assembly, though I know but little of it; but I believe Christ, as your Head, would direct you to a suited hymn for the assembly, and restrain you if you were thinking of an unsuited one. It is not impulse. It is faith in the Lord that you are acting according to His pleasure, for you have looked to Him for direction. You must remember that you

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must be in an out-of-the-world condition of things to be acquainted with Him as your Head. If you are under His direction, you are a help in the assembly, because you act from the Head, and as He is the Head of each of His own, every spiritual one receives it as a word from the Lord, because it is from the Head. I feel humbled that I can so partially explain to you this great acquaintance; but the more I dwell on it the more I am entranced with the exceeding blessedness of it.

I trust the Lord will use my attempt to be a help to each of you, that you may be more and more interested in this subject, acquaintance with Christ as your Head; that as you know Him as your Saviour, and know Him as supreme in the assembly, that you may be led a step further and know Him as your Head, the Head of the body, thus made conscious that we derive all from Him. The Lord grant that each one of you may be more deeply interested in what is so interesting to Him. If you do not as yet regard Him as your Head, He regards you as belonging to Himself, and He would like to lead you and direct you according to His pleasure.

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ACQUAINTANCE WITH CHRIST IN UNION

Ephesians 1:19,20; Ephesians 3:14 - 21

The subject I have endeavoured to bring before you is "Acquaintance with Christ". The first evening I showed you that you are acquainted with Him risen from the dead; not merely that you had found relief, but that, in your heart, you were acquainted with the Reliever, you are acquainted with His love. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us". The Holy Spirit comes from Himself, and then, like Jonathan when Goliath is gone, a greater than David absorbs your heart. This is first acquaintance.

The second is, that I know Him in glory where He is. Glory is more a condition than a place; it is the expression of God's satisfaction according to all His attributes; you know Him there: and instead of being repelled like Isaiah, you are at home there; you are greeted with a ministration of righteousness. You are acquainted with Him in a new order of things, where the flesh has no place.

Hence the third is, that you seek now to be superior to the order of things here. This you get in John 14, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you". When thus acquainted with Christ He enables you, by Himself, to rise superior to the circumstances in which you are.

The fourth is knowing Him the supreme One above everything here; thus He comes into the assembly. Peter learned it by joining Him on the water.

The fifth is knowing Him as your Head. It is not only that you see Him in an out-of-the-world condition of things, but you know Him as your Head,

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the source of life, and all is of Himself. You are on new creation ground.

Now I come to our acquaintance with Christ in union with Him. This will complete the subject. We are all united to Him by the Holy Spirit according to the counsel of God. But our subject now is the nature of the acquaintance you make with Christ, when you realise that you are united to Him. I am quite ready to own, beloved friends, that I know so little about it that I cannot speak much of it; but still I can see the great effect which would follow from this acquaintance with Christ. I see that no greater enjoyment could possibly be known, not merely your own personal blessing secured (that you must know first), but that you are united to the One who has secured it! I do not think you should say that union with Christ secures your happiness. For example, the prodigal son is in the father's house; he is abundantly happy, "joy unspeakable". But in union with Christ you are in a nearness of position to Him, a relation so peculiar, that your individuality is merged in Him. Individually, led of the Spirit you are the sons of God, all through the efficacy of Christ's work. And though your relationship as sons is the highest, yet your nearness, your identity with Christ is assured by union. In the types Sarah was of the same family as Abraham; there could be no advance on that line; but she, by union with Abraham, was brought into distinct identity of interest with him. So it is with you and Christ, blessed be His name!

There is a great difference between the individual blessing and the corporate blessing. A Christian who is enjoying the highest blessing individually, delights in the wonderful position into which union with Christ introduces him. You, once a child of Adam, are now a child of God, and the joys of the Father's house are yours; and besides, you are united to Christ at the right hand of God. His circle of interest is your circle

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of interest. It is no longer your individual circle.

I have read these two verses from Ephesians 1 that you might see the counsel of God. It is not here what is made known to you by union, but the simple fact that we are all united to Christ by the Spirit. Though many do not understand union, they are united, but they have to realise it. I hope to show you the effect of realising it. It is your portion, that you are united to Christ; it is the work of grace. God has done it; and hence we read, "That ye may (know) what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward ... which he wrought in Christ". When? Over Jordan? Not a word about Jordan here; "which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead", and without delay, brought Him all the way from the bottom to the top, "and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places". And you too are raised up. One might say, I do not know it. My desire is that you should know it. The force of the word 'know' in this passage is conscious knowledge, a sense in yourself of the truth of it. But still it is true of you, even though it be not true to you; it is true of you before you have conscious knowledge of it. Like a child born a prince, who for years does not know that he is one. Many very great blessings are ours, but as yet we do not know the good of them. You have the right of possession; but you must make use of your possession to realise the good of it. The object of ministry is to lead you into it; in fact, there are three activities always working to lead you into it. There is the Spirit of God (because everything has been effected) working in you, to bring you into all that is yours. There is the ministry of the word; all the gifts were given to this end -- "till we all come in 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". And thirdly, there is prayer. Your conscience is awakened by the word

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to see your portion, though you do not enjoy it, and therefore you now look to the Lord that you may enjoy it; and the Spirit, according to the measure of your exercise, realises them to you.

Here, then, is the counsel of God, and it is a great thing to understand it. May every one in this room lay hold of the fact, that by God's grace you are united to Christ; just as you can say, by God's grace I am forgiven my sins. There was a time when you did not know you were forgiven your sins; the work was done, but you did not know it. The youngest believer is united to Christ as surely as the oldest, though I do not say that he realises it, and until he does, he does not know the intimacy peculiar to it. I feel for myself how little I know it or can speak of it, because a servant is not to speak beyond his faith.

Now I turn to Ephesians 3, where the effect of union is declared. The type of Abraham sending his steward to find a bride for his son, will help you to understand it. The steward was sworn not to accept a bride for Isaac except she was of his kindred. May you specially lay hold of this, that union does not advance your acceptance with God. You are individually accepted in the beloved. Hence, as you may have often heard, Ephesians 1, for the most part, is taken up with you individually. Each one is "accepted in the Beloved"; you cannot advance on that. But it is of the deepest importance to see that you are not fit to be united to Christ except you are of His kindred; it is incorrect to say that He is of your kindred; you are of His kindred. Hence we read in Hebrews 2:11: "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren". They are fit to be His companions. You do not get beyond companionship in Hebrews. We are companions individually; in the assembly we are an organism; but there is more, we are united to Him. Hence the first step is, that you are brought to Christ

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where He is. Abraham's steward went to the country where Rebekah was, in order that he might conduct her to Isaac. That is the first step. But as you see in Ephesians 1, you cannot realise union with Christ until you come to Him in heaven. In Colossians you are not looked at as in heaven; you are only in an out-of-the-world condition of things. In Ephesians 1:19, you are to know the "exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power".

First, you have to accept God's grace, even that you are united to Christ. All Israel could say, We crossed over Jordan together. All Christians are raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. All the feathers of a bird came from the bird, though they do not all come out at the same time. Until you realise union with Christ, you cannot know the intimacy peculiar to that great position.

In Ephesians 3 the apostle writes: "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom every family in heaven and earth is named; that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power" -- not 'might' exactly, but 'power' -- "by his Spirit in the inner man". Now we come to the effect of union, the great gain from it.

I have dwelt upon the position, but I now come to the state. The first great effect is, that you are given a new circle of interest. Not simply a particular line of service, but that "the Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith". This is not the same as the passage in Galatians, "Not I, but Christ liveth in me". Here it is Himself and all that concerns Him. You get the idea in 1 Corinthians 12:12: "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is the Christ". You have Himself and all His (you cannot separate them) at home by faith in your hearts.

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It is no longer yourself uppermost, but the Christ. When Rebekah came to Isaac, his interests became her interests. She had left her people and her country, and had come to Isaac where he was. There can be no sense of union with Christ until you come to Him where He is. I do not mean until you have died, but until you have conscious knowledge of the Spirit's power:

"... The Spirit's power
Has ope'd the heavenly door,
And brought me to that favoured hour". (Hymn 74)

Stephen apprehended union, though it was not revealed at the time. "He being full of the Holy Spirit looked up stedfastly into heaven". How? By the Holy Spirit; he was brought into the sense of union though the truth of it was not as yet revealed. He found himself connected with the One who was there. Great indeed is your gain from this acquaintance with Christ. First, the Christ dwells in your heart by faith. You have a new interest on earth. The mighty power of God works in your inner man. It is not simply now to bring you: you have accepted the counsel of God, you realise union with Christ; and now you are made acquainted with the results of union; you have a new circle of interest. The first result is that the Christ dwells in your hearts by faith -- all that belongs to Him personally. The unfailing mark of union is that your individuality is merged in Christ. This characterised the wise woman in Proverbs 31. "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her". She keeps his house, and "Her husband is known in the gates".

This is a wonderful subject. I wish I could unfold it better. You start out in the morning to do your business, but you have an interest in your heart paramount to all your personal interest. In natural life many a man attends sedulously to his business, but his heart is in his home. The man who has a happy home is generally the most satisfactory for any work.

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Next we read, "That ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to apprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length, and depth and height". The extent of His possessions; like as it was said to Abraham, "Look .. . northward and southward and eastward and westward". This is your new country. The range is infinite. It relieves and delights your heart to go to the next -- "And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge". Blessed result of union! His love is not new to you. After you were converted, your first acquaintance, never to be forgotten, began with He loves me. He has never ceased to love you. And now when you realise union with Him in heaven, He is dwelling in your heart by faith; and you so know His love that surpasses knowledge, "that ye might be filled even to all the fulness of God". I believe the meaning of this is, that the better you know His love, the better you know Himself, because in Him is the fulness of God. Who can measure or describe the nature of this acquaintance? What will it be hereafter when there will be no obstruction?

Your endowment (as I may call it) in this passage (Ephesians 3); is fourfold. The first, the Christ dwelling in your hearts by faith; the second is apprehending the domain of His glory; and the third is His love; and the fourth is that the power of God is in you. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us". These all are yours, because you are united to the glorified Man in heaven, Head over all things to the assembly. Stephen knew this power; he could say, 'I triumph in thy triumphs, Lord'. He had realised union with Christ, though not yet revealed, and in Christ's power he confronts all the powers on earth, and he is so sustained that he prays for his murderers.

May each of you so enter into this great acquaintance with Christ that you can join in the doxology, "Unto

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him be glory in the assembly by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen".

One word more. The practice now follows. It begins with "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". If a man is in health, his eye and his heart and his hand all act together; if they do not, he is out of order: the unity is lost. Unity is the first thing; you start from the highest circle, Christ's body. The gifts come down from the ascended Christ. Then in your own family circle you are in heavenly power. And that is not all; but in Ephesians 6 you are "Strong in the Lord and in the power of his might". You are in heavenly power to "Stand the wiles of the devil".

You cannot have heavenly power unless you touch heaven, and you cannot touch heaven, but through the Person who is there; and you cannot get heavenly power but through union. The angels have it not; it is union that gives it me. Oh! you say, we are all united. Yes; you are called to it: that is counsel; but here you are made acquainted with it. In chapter 1 it is the power towards you; here, chapter 3, it is the power in you.

I need not add more; but may each heart here be led into the inconceivable greatness of this acquaintance with Christ and the untold blessings which are yours through union with Him for His name's sake.

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THE CLOSING TESTIMONY

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THE RESURRECTION

John 20:1 - 20

I desire, the Lord helping me, to bring before you in these lectures what I may call the closing testimony and how we are prepared for the coming of the Lord. The church has failed as the "candlestick"; we see in the church at Ephesus that they had "left their first love", and they were threatened with the removal of the candlestick. The candlestick, or lamp-stand, implied that from the church, light would be found on the earth. Hence when things had come to their worst in Thyatira, there is no longer the candlestick, but "I will give him the morning star". We should be characterised now by looking for the Lord to come. The morning star is the harbinger of the day; not exactly the day, but the harbinger of the day. Anyone who is accustomed to see the morning star knows when he sees it that the day is at hand. It is not the day, but it is the harbinger of the day. Thus Peter says, "the day star arise in your hearts".

I desire in some measure to set before you your preparation for the Lord's coming. We read in Luke 12:47, of "that servant which knew his Lord's will and prepared not himself". I am not speaking of the rapture, but of being prepared for the Lord to come, how we are ready for Him. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". I do not think anyone is qualified to say "Come", but the bride. As Scripture presents it, no one can say, "Come", but the bride. It is not merely to say the word 'Come'. All the virgins went forth to meet the Bridegroom; but the question is whether you are up to what is involved in the wonderful invitation, "Come"; whether you are really in heart asking the Lord to come back to earth. It is a very solemn thing for anyone to say, "Come".

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You may ask, Would it not be right to say, "Come"? If truly said, it would be right; but remember it is the Spirit and the bride say, "Come", and the effect is that others may be induced to say it.

I desire, in these lectures, to lead you to see the formation and calling of the bride. I begin with THE RESURRECTION; and in order to make the subject plain, I shall divide it into sections.

The first section is: -

THE RESURRECTION AS IT IS TO GOD.

You will not wonder if I proceed slowly and perhaps not always quite distinctly, because the subject, as I am presenting it, is new to me, and I have to speak carefully. But I see the importance of it, and I desire to convey it to you. The first part is to understand the resurrection as it is to God. The resurrection is a proof that a Man has glorified God. I cannot turn to every scripture which relates to it, but I will name the chapters. In John 12 the Lord says, "Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again". The Son of God was glorified when He raised Lazarus, and He was glorified Himself when He was raised up; as we read in another place, He was "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father". John 13:31 gives you the whole in a small compass: "Therefore when he [Judas] was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him". I ask you to ponder the fact that a Man has glorified God. I believe there is an immensity conveyed in that -- a Man has glorified God, and the glory claimed that Man. I ask you to dwell for a moment upon what that is to God. It is not merely that Christ has come when man had failed

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under every trial. If you look at the history of man as the scripture recounts it, you will see that the more God revealed Himself to him (and in every new dispensation God was more revealed to man than in the previous one), the more he failed. And so at the end the Lord says, "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and in vain". But now what has come? God has laid help upon One that is mighty. His own arm has brought salvation to Him; He sends His Son, and the Son says, "I come to do thy will, O God". Not only did He in private and in public set forth everything to the satisfaction of God -- He came as the healer of the breach -- but after having been for thirty years in all His walk and ways beautiful in the eye of God in private life, He so set forth God in His public ministry that on the holy mount there comes a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son; hear him". It culminates in the mount of Transfiguration, where the glory itself claims Him. And now from this point, He goes down to die. Not only was He in every way beautiful to God as a Man upon the earth, but now He will bear the judgment that rests upon man. That judgment is death; there are not merely sins on man, but death is on him. Hence the Lord descends from the holy mount to die, and He says, "This is your hour and the power of darkness". We know that in the garden of Gethsemane this perfect One, the delight of God as a Man here upon earth, anticipated the terrible judgment He was to bear. Great as that was, it was not all. The marvellous work was that He who came to bear the judgment on man, not only bore it, but in bearing the judgment He glorified God. You will see presently the effect of this. He not only bore the judgment due to man, gave up the life to which sin could be attached, but could say, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again". He so unswervingly maintained all that was due to God in

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that terrible moment, so glorified God, that He was "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father". Now contemplate the resurrection as it is to God! God is no longer dealing with man as He had been dealing with him, working upon man, making trial of him; that is over . But now God works (blessed be His name!) from His own side. If you apprehend this it will be an immense help to you: God works now downwards from a Man in glory. If you apprehend that, you will get some idea of the resurrection as it is to God. He now works downwards , and there is no one saved now but by the light which comes from the glory of God resting on a Man at the right hand of God; it is the light out of heaven. And therefore, "If our gospel be hid" -- mark the expression -- "it is hid in them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" -- (the correct reading) -- "should shine unto them". Man is utterly ruined, under the judgment of death; but we are looking now at the resurrection as it is to God. I hope you can see that now He works from another Man. I am not yet looking at the resurrection as it is in relation to the believer, but as it is to God: even that when Christ bore the judgment on the man who dishonoured God, then He glorified God, so that instead of man being at the greatest distance, Man in His blessed Person is now at the right hand of God; and from that point God now works. If you apprehend that, you will find it a wonderful opening out to your soul, and a delight to your heart. The resurrection implies that there has been death (death is the judgment of God on Adam and his race); but it also assures us that the Man who died has risen out from among the dead, "In that he died he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth he liveth unto God". The man who was under judgment has been judicially terminated in the eye of God. But I am rather anticipating now what

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belongs to another section. So far is the first section, and I trust that you will ponder it, for if you do, I am sure you will get more from it than I can convey to you.

Now I come to the second section: -

THE RESURRECTION AS IT IS TO CHRIST.

Now the first thing with Him is, that through it He has opened the way for God to express His heart to His full satisfaction. That which was a puzzle to the prodigal's elder brother, is made clear, even that the one who was a disgrace to the family should be greeted with the greatest affection, and set in the highest place, and that the one who had always been well conducted should not receive anything of the same character. Why was that? Because the prodigal is brought in on the ground of the glorified Man; the other is on the ground of his goodness. People dwell on the importance of forgiveness; but forgiveness -- great grace as that is -- is a very small part of the gospel; for the gospel is not merely the benefit and gain of the sinner, but there is God's part in it; as Christ said after His interview with the woman of Samaria, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of .... My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work". He says, as it were, I want to let my Father's heart come out according to all its mighty volume, and express itself to a poor prodigal. I do not think we can at all estimate what the joy was to Christ, when He said, "I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do".

That is the first point in connection with the resurrection as it is to Christ. The second is that He has a new kindred. In John 12:24 He says, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit". And again in chapter 20, "Go to my brethren". I know well, and I would like you to feel it, that while

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every one likes to have forgiveness, there is a terrible reluctance in our nature to accept the resurrection. Why? Because if you accept it, you must part with the old man. Nine-tenths of the believers who have faith in the virtue of the blood, have not in faith appropriated the resurrection. True they have got the good of the resurrection on God's part, even though they have not appropriated it; and it is an immense comfort to know that my acceptance with God is according to the perfection of Christ's work, not according to the measure in which I appropriate it. Acceptance with God never alters, nor can it be improved. Your own enjoyment of it will improve, but you cannot improve God's acceptance. But I have digressed. I was speaking of the resurrection as it is to Christ. It is consequent on His being heard from the horns of the unicorns that He takes His place in the midst of the church. And then He announces, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren". He now has brethren . "Both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren". That is the new kindred, the many grains out of the corn of wheat. Hence He said to Mary Magdalene, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God". Now He can make known the Father: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren"; or, as in John 17, "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them". It is revealed that now He has a company of His own order, or as we find in another scripture, "this is a great mystery". You do not get the mystery in Hebrews; but the great mystery is that we are of His flesh, members of His body; it is not that He is of us, but we are of Him. "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church". I am now looking at the resurrection as it is

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to Him. Then as to Israel, though by dying He gave up all He was entitled to as man, yet "As concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David", Acts 13:34. And in Psalm 2 Jehovah says to Him, "This day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession". I desire that the youngest here should apprehend the wonderful change that has taken place as to everything on this earth because of the resurrection. I think we do not really apprehend it; I speak for myself; I am learning it, thank God, and I am increasingly impressed, and thankful to be impressed, with the magnitude of things consequent on the resurrection. But as I said before, I believe there is a natural reluctance in us to accept it.

The next section is: -

HOW GOD IS TO THE BELIEVER BECAUSE OF THE RESURRECTION.

We have seen that the man under the judgment of death has gone in judgment in the cross of Christ, and the Man who bore that judgment and thus removed it, is the only Man now before the eye of God, so that God can be "just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus". I have already spoken of the elder brother: how unaccountable it was to him that the prodigal, who was a disgrace and a scandal, should be received with the greatest affection and distinction. Simply because he is received on the ground of the glorified Man, and not merely on the ground of a forgiven sinner. God can now come forth in the fulness of His heart to every returning one, because He accepts us "in the Beloved". No one can fully estimate the greatness of this reception; how the blessed God can greet the returning prodigal! We read of it as a parable; but it is a communication of infinite blessing

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to us. You could not be in a better acceptance, it could not be improved.

Next you have to enjoy this acceptance; that is your side and quite different. I press it upon every one of you (you will find it of great importance) -- do not confound your enjoyment of the acceptance with the acceptance itself. The acceptance is according to the greatness of what Christ is to God; your enjoyment of it is as you walk in the Spirit: the one is because of all that has been done; the other is as you know by the Spirit consciously the grace of God. Your faith must first be simple and clear, that God's acceptance of you could not be greater than it is. Next, do you enjoy it? That is quite another question. The prodigal son did not enjoy it at first; but he was brought into the enjoyment of it, he had to be fitted for it; but his fitness did not improve the acceptance, it made him capable of enjoying the acceptance. I am speaking of the resurrection now, how God is to the believer because of the resurrection; that the man who was under judgment has gone in judgment in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, who there glorified God. The man under judgment was not merely removed in the cross, but Christ glorified God in His death. The blessed Lord so unswervingly maintained, in the darkest and most distant spot, all that was due to God, that He glorified God there, and therefore He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father. Thus you can see how the resurrection is for God to us.

I turn now to the fourth section: -

THE RESURRECTION AS IT IS TO THE BELIEVER WITH GOD.

This section is of the deepest importance to every one. I have no doubt that the lack of power and divine joy in believers is because they do not in faith understand the resurrection as it is for them with God. I hope you will not confound the resurrection

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as it is for God to you, with the resurrection as it is for you with God. You have seen, I trust, that the man under judgment has gone from the eye of God. If you look at Christ as man's surety, He has removed the man under judgment in His death, but He who bore the judgment has been raised from the dead. To the believer the man under judgment has gone in judgment in the eye of God, and the only Man now before God is "the Man Christ Jesus", who glorified Him in bearing the judgment, and He is at the right hand of God, and from Him in glory God now works in opening eyes and turning from darkness to light. This is God's side; but now for your side. You must first realise, and it is an immense grace that our old man is crucified with Christ and thus removed, hence you can account for the reluctance to receive the truth of the resurrection. You cannot be before God in the man who was removed in judgment in the cross of Christ. God never returns to that man. Lay hold of this by faith simply and distinctly, let not the enemy disturb you from it, that the man under judgment has gone in judgment from the eye of God, and the only man before His eye now, for every believer, is the Man who glorified Him. This is an immense step. This you accept in faith. Now comes your side. You are to be in keeping with the acceptance which you hold in faith; and now it is not that by faith you see yourself free of the law of sin and death, but you are so by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Many are hindered and damaged here, they seek to be free by believing that they are free, instead of being really so by the Spirit of God. God's grace has two parts, and you must bear them in mind; He has removed the man under judgment from His own eye in the cross, and as you have faith you enjoy it; next, He gives you the Holy Spirit, the power of God, to maintain you in keeping with His acceptance of you in Christ. Hence we find in Romans 5 that we are

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justified by faith, and next in Romans 8:2, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live"; you are clear. It is simple and wonderfully beautiful. God has removed it all from His own eye; hold that in faith ever. It is unalterable. One might say, Yes, but it is not gone from my eye; I am like the prodigal, I am distressed at my disparity. But God has given you the Spirit that you might be in Christ before Him in divine power, and thus as clear of the old man practically, as you are in God's eye because of the work of Christ. I am speaking now of the new position which you occupy by the Spirit of God. This is our side. It is as you walk in the Spirit you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. One might say, I lost my temper this morning. Then you were not walking in the Spirit. It is faith ever which appropriates God's side, for He never alters; you are always in the same acceptance. He never returns to the old order, He never revives it; I do not say He does not see you walking in the flesh; He does, and He will judge you for it if you do not judge yourself; hence we read of a man delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh. When you understand your new position by grace, then you will understand that you are severed from the old man by the death of Christ; you are dead with Christ, and severed from the man under judgment, and now you learn to say, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me"; this is experimental. The man under judgment has gone in judgment from the eye of God (never to return) for the believer; you must keep to that. If you say, Oh, but it does return to me, it is because you are not walking in the Spirit. If you were walking in the Spirit, you would not fulfil the lusts of the flesh; and you are walking in the Spirit when Christ is paramount. Nothing can be more wonderful

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than the position in which God in His grace has set you. Finally, there is another great gain to us from the resurrection; we shall have a glorious body like unto His own glorious body (how little we know what that is), so that "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead". Christ is the firstfruits of them that slept.

I have spoken on four sections, and I now come to the fifth, which is important for us to keep in mind,

THE RESURRECTION AS IT IS TO THE POWER OF EVIL.

Christ in rising from the dead has overcome all the power of evil. If you ponder on the immense range which the resurrection embraces you will be greatly helped. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil"; He fulfils the promise in Eden that one born of a woman should bruise the serpent's head. He could say, "This is your hour and the power of darkness"; but, as we read in Colossians 2, He triumphed over all in death; and as He says to John in Patmos, "I have the keys of hell and of death". I need not multiply passages; but you will see that He must reign till all enemies be put under His feet; "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet"; "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death". And you see in Ephesians 1:19 that we share with Him in the power of His resurrection; "And [to know] what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is

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named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come". You will say that this is a marvellous position accomplished by the resurrection of the Man Christ Jesus from the dead. A Man in the Person of Christ has overcome all the power of Satan; He submitted to the utmost of Satan's power, and then vanquished it. 'He in death, death o'erthrew'. God always, I need not say, was greater than Satan; but in the gospels we see the marvellous fact that a Man has greater power than Satan, so that the devil himself exclaimed, "Thou art the Son of God", Mark 3:11. But now Christ has risen out of death. He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and delivered them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Eventually when the man child is caught up into heaven, Satan will be dislodged. That will not be fulfilled, I believe, until the church is caught up to be with Christ; then Satan is cast down. But even now, though we are in the world where Satan "as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (for there is no one for God here who is not assailed by him), "Whom resist, stedfast in the faith"; "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you". Why? Because he will find Christ in you. But that is not all. Look at Ephesians 6:10, 11: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil". Your power comes from Him who has risen from the dead. He glorified God, and has brought forth much fruit -- His brethren; and He has put us in this wonderful place of superiority to Satan here. We are often assailed by Satan, but the Lord allows us to be assailed in order that He may prove to us the superiority of His power. When Paul was imprisoned at Rome, the power of evil seemed to have succeeded; but the Lord used it as an occasion to reveal His mind more fully.

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The concluding section is: -

THE RESURRECTION AS IT IS TO ALL CREATION.

You get an intimation of it in the chapter I have read in the words, "The first day of the week". We read of our blessed Lord that He is "The beginning of the creation of God"; everything in creation will be suited to Him. The immensity of the subject is beyond my ability to explain. It is more to be meditated on than to be explained; and I believe the more you meditate on it, the more it will open out to you, and you will see the wonderful new order of things because of the resurrection. When you see the resurrection as it is for God to us, that He can receive you in fullest affection and favour, because of Christ who glorified Him, bearing the judgment on man. He has given you the Spirit, so that you can say, The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Christ also is superior to all the power of evil, and He is the beginning of the creation of God, and He will make all things new. If you read the last chapter of 2 Peter, you will see that the millennium is not referred to, but that there will be "New heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness". You get the same in Colossians, where we read that He will reconcile all things to Himself; things in heaven and things on earth; which was typified in Leviticus 16. I give you the chapters, because I trust the Lord will lead you all to meditate on the subject; I believe the great lack in souls is that they do not meditate on these things. There are three things necessary for any profit; the first is to receive; the second is to ruminate, or meditate; and the next is to assimilate; that is, be of it; you never will be of it if you do not ruminate.

I need not add more, but I trust the Lord will lead

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each one of you to have a deeper and fuller apprehension of the magnitude of the resurrection -- and I am sure, and I thank God for it, that the more you dwell on it, as it is to God and to yourself in relation to it, the more you will be impressed with the blessedness of it -- for His name's sake.

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CHRIST FORMED IN YOU

Galatians 2:20

The subject I desire to bring before you this evening is CHRIST FORMED IN YOU, of which the apostle speaks in this epistle, when he writes: "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you", Galatians 4:19. You must first know justification. You will not receive this great grace, "Christ formed in you", until you enjoy justification. Many here may think that they know justification. Justification is more than assurance through faith in the blood. You are justified when you believe that God has raised up Christ from the dead; He "was delivered for our offences, and was raised for our justification". Let me exercise your hearts a little as to the acceptance with God which you have found because of the resurrection of Christ. Have you learned that you are not only sheltered from the Judge by the blood of Christ, but that the man who was under the judgment of God has gone in death? If you believe this, it must be plain to you that the man under the judgment of God has been judicially ended in the cross of Christ. Hence the believer is not before God as the man who was under His judgment, but you, a believer, are before Him as Christ is -- the Man who bore the judgment and has been raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Christ glorified God in bearing the judgment. There is a Man in glory at the right hand of God. If you study the latter part of Romans 5, you will see the difference between Adam and Christ. Adam was a figure of Him that was to come, and "If by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ". It becomes of the deepest importance whether you are

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accounted by God as Christ, the Man who has risen from the dead, or as the man under the judgment of God. If you have accepted in faith that Christ has risen from the dead, you must see that the man ended in the cross of Christ cannot appear before God. You must admit that our old man is crucified with Christ: you cannot make anything of a dead man. After the Lord appeared unto Saul of Tarsus, for three days he neither ate nor drank. What was he doing? He had heard the voice of the Lord; he had seen the light; there was no question as to the divine work in him; but what was he doing those three days? He was appropriating Christ's death. And that is where the great lack in souls is. Saul found that the only way to get clear of the man under judgment was through the death of Christ. And mind you, it was not that Saul was a wicked man, for he said, "I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day"; but he had found the death of Christ the only way out of the man who could not stand in the light of God. The type of this was when Israel walked through the Red Sea. They did not make the way, they did not even find the way themselves; it was God's light that showed them the way, and it was God's hand that made the way, but they walked through it . I lay great stress upon that. I am speaking now of justification; I have not touched yet on the subject before me; because if you are not clear about justification, you will never understand what it is to have Christ formed in you; and unless Christ is formed in you you will never progress, you will never understand the things of Christ. It is necessary that you should have Christ formed in you before you can be in the order of things in which Christ is. You must first be established in grace.

But to proceed with justification. God has now a Man before Him who has risen from among the dead; and righteousness is imputed unto us "if we believe

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on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead". The youngest here can understand that if you speak of resurrection you imply that one had died. But you must first see how God reveals the scope, the nature of His grace to you; that is, that He has sent His own Son, and His own Son has borne the judgment upon man, hence that man is judicially terminated in the cross in the eye of God for every one believing in Christ. Adam sinned and fell; but God has a Man before Him now who not only did all His pleasure, but glorified Him in the most distant spot in bearing the judgment upon man; and according to that Man He now deals with the believer. It is an immense thing to see how God was so glorified by Man that there was nothing to prevent His heart going out in all its own fulness, and delighting itself in receiving a returning prodigal; that is your acceptance. I want you to apprehend your acceptance. If you do, it must be upon this footing and no other, that the man under judgment has gone from the eye of God in judgment, and that you are as Christ is; if you believe that, you must see that you cannot improve the man who is gone from the eye of God; he cannot be dealt with. Saul could say that he had lived in all good conscience before God until this day. What did he find? He found he could not stand in the light of God's presence, he fell to the ground. And what does he learn then? That through the death of Christ he is clear of himself; he learned "that in me [that is, in my flesh] dwelleth no good thing". As afterwards he could say, "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ". It was not the bad things that he did that he counted loss, but the good things, what we call the naturally good qualities. Like the young man in the gospels; Luke 18. It is quite possible for a man to keep the five commandments that the Lord asked him had he kept. The Lord did not ask him his duty towards God at all; He asked

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him as to five commandments; and he says, "All these have I kept from my youth up". Saul found that he could not stand in the presence of God though he had lived in all good conscience, because he was under the judgment of God. "If there had been a law which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law". Now he found that there was no recognition of that man before God; that man could not be maintained in the presence of God; he finds he is clear of him in the death of Christ; and after three days he prays; he is dependent on God; and then comes Ananias to tell him, Receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Now I come to my subject. Saul received the Holy Spirit. Every one justified has received the Holy Spirit; but I press first that God has removed everything to His own satisfaction and glory in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that He accepts the believer now according to Christ; and therefore, "As he is, so are we in this world". That is the acceptance; no fuller, no greater, could be; it could not be altered nor improved. But now comes our side. God gives the Holy Spirit to you believing in Christ, that you may be in practical correspondence with all that He has effected for you.

But before speaking of this, I must diverge a little, because I must look at the present state of many souls. I speak from my own experience. I long knew that everything had gone from the eye of God in the cross, and that to look up to Him was unspeakable satisfaction; but when I looked at myself I did not see it gone; and many a sorrowful day was I trying to correct it. Still God's side remained perfectly true; all had gone from the eye of God in the cross, God had perfectly relieved His own heart about the returning prodigal, but I, like the prodigal, was not in moral correspondence with Him. I have said to myself in those days, 'Well, I believe that flesh is

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stronger than grace'. I dare not say it now; I am only giving you my experience in order to show you what one is liable to; for often we are enabled to help others by the way we have been helped ourselves. But the great thing to believe is, that God has not only removed all from His own eye in the cross, but He has given us the Holy Spirit that we might be in moral consistency with Himself. Otherwise it would be like the prodigal thinking -- You are all happy about me, but I am not in keeping with you. But the father puts him in keeping with himself; he says: "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet". That figuratively was Romans 8, because there you are in Christ, and there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ; and "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death". My mistake, and the mistake of many others, was in trying to improve myself. How often I have tested people since, by asking them, Are you ever disappointed with yourself? Oh! they say in the most contrite way, Indeed I am. That shows they have not done with themselves, or they would not be trying to improve themselves. I shall have to show you presently that the very best quality of man does not like Christ: "They that are in the flesh cannot please God".

Now we have come to a great point; that is, that the Spirit of God is given to every one justified. In Romans 5 we are justified by faith; that is, I believe, that God has set me before His own eye according to His pleasure in Christ Jesus, and "therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this favour [grace] wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God". I need not tell you that the first eleven verses of that chapter describe the terms on which God is with you; chapter 8 describes the state in which you are before Him: that

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is the difference. In Romans 8 it is not faith. Many have a loose way of looking at deliverance through substituting faith for the Spirit. Faith is for God's side. Why? Because God never alters; His satisfaction in the work of Christ remains for ever. He has expressed His love, and that love is co-existent with Himself; it never alters. He never revives what has been set aside in the cross, and He can now cover with kisses the returning prodigal.

But now I come to our side. If you read Romans 8:2, you will see, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death"; that is what I would insist upon. What was the mistake I made? I was trying to improve myself, instead of seeing that the Spirit of God has set me free. The first thirteen verses of Romans 8 show you that you are free from the flesh. In that chapter you learn what Christ is to you. You first learn the work of Christ, and you are attached to Him because of the work He has done for you; every believer knows that. But believe me, there is a much deeper affection than that; it comes out in the end of Romans 8, that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Why? Because Christ is your life.

The first trouble that a believer finds is innate sin. This Romans 7 sets forth: "When I would do good evil is present with me". In Romans 7 there is a divine work in the soul but justification is not known; the power of the Spirit is not known. The defect with myself was, that I did not see that the Spirit of God would set me free. If you read on in Romans 8, you find, "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body" -- why the deeds? Because we are first occupied with what we do ; conscience is at work, and a man's conscience does not go beyond his light. But first I want to show you that you judge of your conduct by your conscience. You will hear people say, I did not do so-and-so because it is contrary to

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my conscience. That is according to the light, and that is the first exercise. Hence we find, "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live". But then it is by the Spirit one mortifies, that is the point; and I hope you will lay hold of this fact tonight. First that the man under judgment has gone from the eye of God. I see little papers about self-culture and self-control. Self-control! It is the Spirit of God that is to control you, not yourself. You may fit yourself, in a sense, for man ; but you will find, if you really get hold of the first part of this verse, "I am crucified with Christ", your individual experience, that it is not simply that man has gone in the cross in the eye of God -- our old man crucified with Him, as in Romans 6:6 -- but I am crucified; how could you improve a thing that is crucified? If I had not gone through the experience myself, I should be puzzled about it; but I see it now very plainly, that as that man has gone from the eye of God, with that man I cannot deal. On the contrary, though here in the flesh, I do not walk after the flesh. I hope we may look into that another evening; but now I desire to set forth how Christ is formed in you. I believe it is most wonderful to know that Christ liveth in you. But it is with Him you have to do, not yourself. If it be yourself you are thinking about -- how you behave, and if you are seeking to improve, you doubtless think, Well, if I get another opportunity, I hope I shall behave better. If you knew yourself, you would not think so. Why? Because you would fear that you would behave worse. But if you walk in the Spirit, you will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. I press this, that faith lays hold of this great fact, that God accepts me on the ground of Christ, and that He never loses His own feeling about me, because of the work which has been effected by the Son of His love. But besides this, He has given me the Holy Spirit that I might be in practical keeping with Him; and as

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I walk in the Spirit I do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh; I have in me a power superior to the flesh. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye may not do" -- it is not 'ye cannot'; our translators could not see the greatness of it -- "that ye may not do the things that ye would". The position of the believer is wonderful; that God has in the cross removed from His own eye the man under judgment. I lay hold of that by faith; but besides, He has given me the Holy Spirit, so that I may be free; "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteous claim of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit". (I have altered the translation a little in order to give the correct idea.) To the eye of God you are not looked upon as in the flesh, but in the Spirit. A person may say to me, How am I to get on in daily life? That is the latter part of the verse, and I have not come to that yet; I hope to refer to it another time. But if ye have not the first part -- Christ formed in you -- you certainly will not know how to act as Christ in His path among men.

I turn now to the latter part of Galatians 4"Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free". I can understand an exercised soul asking, and it is a very interesting question -- But when does that happy moment occur when Christ

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really gets His place in my heart? Well, up to this I have only asked you to accept that this is His place; that the man born after the flesh must go out, must not be tolerated. The Corinthians and the Galatians were both defective: the one, the Corinthians, in giving place to the mind of man; and many like them think there is no harm in the pleasures of the mind who would think that there is a great deal of harm in the pleasures of the flesh; the Galatians, on the other hand, were trying to improve or check the flesh by the law. Both had received the Holy Spirit. The Galatians had received the Holy Spirit, but they were trying to correct the flesh. It is very interesting to note that the way the apostle corrects both the Corinthians and the Galatians is by putting Christ in His place. To the Corinthians the Lord's glory is presented (and there is no place for their own wisdom there) to bring them into moral correspondence with Him, and the effect is, as in 2 Corinthians 4, to be "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body". That was the effect on the apostle. With the Galatians the apostle uses the type of the weaning of Isaac to illustrate what he is setting forth. You remember that in Genesis 21 Ishmael was about fourteen years of age when Isaac was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast for him; it was a festive moment when Isaac was to be acknowledged in his rightful place in the house. And I say, and I thank God for it, that there is a moment in the history of the soul when you are so drawn to Christ, not merely because of His work, but you have tasted the truth of the passage I have read -- "Christ liveth in me". He is with you personally; it is this which really attaches you to Him. I get in Romans 6 the way it begins: "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin; but alive unto God in Christ Jesus". You are severed from Adam (the man who brought you under

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death) by Christ's death, and you have found life in Christ Himself, and there you have wonderful and unspeakable rest. You "reign in life by one, Jesus Christ", Romans 5. You were under death by one man, Adam; you get life in Christ; you have passed "out of death into life", as we read in John 5:24. Our translators put "from death" instead of "out of death", because they could not catch the importance of having passed "out of death"; for if you say "out of death", you admit that you were in death. And that is exactly what is true; you are in death by nature. In Adam all die; but Christ is our life. It is here many are puzzled. "This do and thou shalt live" was law; it was addressed to the old man; but in order to get life you must pass out of Adam and find it in Christ; and here all the difficulty lies.

Now you find from this verse that there is a moment when Christ gets His right place. We sing sometimes:

"... Thou art enough
The mind and heart to fill". (Hymn 174)

Did you ever know that moment? It is a very simple question to ask. I am not asking you to do anything, to arrive at any perfection in yourself, or anything of that kind; but simply to acknowledge Christ's right. It is His right; but do you acknowledge tonight that He has the right to live in you? That like Isaac, He is the rightful heir, and the One only to be acknowledged. In Oriental fashion all in the house acknowledged Isaac except Ishmael, who was the son of Abraham, about fourteen years of age, brought up in all the culture and elevation that Abraham knew, and he mocked, "He that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit". That is man; the cultivated man does not like Christ. I know well the painful exercise of Romans 7; even to find that you are incompetent to keep the law. But believe me, Galatians 4 is a much more painful experience, even to find that the best quality in your nature does

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not like Christ; it is a terrible experience that the amiable and most commendable quality in your nature does not like Christ. But when was this discovered? When Christ was given His right place, when His right is acknowledged; right to the office, right to the study, right to the nursery, right to everything in your heart. He has redeemed you; He has the right to you. Hence the apostle says, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me". Another Person -- Christ, liveth in me. I do not ask you if you are attached to Him; but I do ask, Do you acknowledge Him? I believe, as I said, there is a moment when you are so entranced with the blessedness of Christ, that you can truly say to Him, This is Your rightful place; I acknowledge it. And that is the moment when there is no toleration for Ishmael. There is the acknowledgment of the One and no toleration of the other; Ishmael is cast out.

Now I have to show you that your practical course will then be quite different. It is not your conscience merely which is the arbiter of everything, but it is Christ Himself and all that suits Him. You may say, This or that is not contrary to my conscience. A man of great integrity may say so, but he has not come to the inexpressible moment -- I call it the coronation day -- when Christ is acknowledged in His right place in his heart. The throne shall be established in righteousness; and the moment you have done rightly, you know you are right; you are confirmed in it. Consider the greatness of the moment when Christ has in you His right place! See how thoroughly you can now enjoy the "great supper", the celebration of grace; you are now fit for it, and you make merry.

I hope it is so simple that the youngest believer here will follow it. You acknowledge that Christ has the right to all, and that Ishmael, the son of Abraham, the cultivated man, the man brought up under the

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law, must be cast out. "Cast out the bondwoman and her son". Now, in chapter 5: 1 we read, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage". You are on a new footing now; Christ is the arbiter of everything.

In John 13 the Lord says, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". Who is to be judge of a soil? A great many walk with a good conscience who are not near enough to Christ to have their feet washed. When you are in intimacy with Christ, He is the judge of the soil. He knows the causes of the cloud between Him and you. These two states are clearly expressed in the type of the cleansing of the leper; Leviticus 14. After the first washing the leper came into the camp; that is, his own conscience was relieved. But on the eighth day after this he had to go through all the offerings and the anointing, then typically he was brought to God. It is not merely your conscience now, but you look at everything as Christ does. Hence the apostle Paul can say in the last chapter of this epistle, "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ". I remember once being in a company, and they seemed quite astonished because I said, There is nothing about your sins in that passage, but about yourself. "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world". Both are gone; that is, "crucified", judicially ended. "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation". You are a new creation.

Now when you come to this, you see that to give Christ His place is simply the only right thing. Many are trying to improve this world; but if you think of righteousness, there cannot be righteousness in the full sense in this world, or in myself, till Christ gets His right place. I do not ask you to do any great work

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or to do any particular service; but I am asking each of you to avow, "I am crucified with Christ" (judicially terminated), "nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me"; and now I judge of everything in relation to Him.

I need not dwell further on it, but I trust many here will see what a blessed moment it is when Christ gets His right place in the heart. I have often said to myself, Ishmael knows the house well, and will try to regain his place. Yes, but I have got a power to keep him out, I have received the Holy Spirit, I must walk in the Spirit. You may say, What do you mean by walking in the Spirit? That is a very good question to be exercised about. I will give you a simple illustration to show you what I understand by it. A sailor, when asked, 'How do you get on in bad weather?' replied, 'I do not mind the weather so long as I can see the sun'. When I am walking in the Spirit I see Christ only. If I am going to do my business, who is before me? Christ. If I am going out to visit, who is before me? Christ. If I am going to write a letter, be it one of business or otherwise, who is before me? Christ. This refers to the wilderness; that is the latter part of the verse, "The life which I now live in the flesh". But you must begin above. Nothing has done more mischief than trying to work up from man to God. instead of working down from God to man. All the infidelity in Christendom has arisen simply from working upward from man, instead of working downwards from God.

Now for another deeply interesting point. As soon as Christ has His right place in you, His things become yours. And now you can understand that word, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". How cheering that saying must have been to the disciples because they were personally attached to Him. It is not a question of any work, or any effort, but that you are personally attached to Him; He is your life, He

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liveth in you. You may say, Oh, that is very great. Yes, but surely everything of grace is great.

Necessarily now everything which is interesting to Christ becomes interesting to you. I do not believe that any one truly finds his way to the assembly who has not found Christ as the object of his heart. If Christ is not formed in you, He is not the object of your heart; and if Christ is the object of your heart, you come to this "living stone, disallowed indeed of men"; you leave the ship to walk on the water to go to Jesus. And until Christ is formed in you, you will never progress; you are not intimately acquainted with Christ till then. Many a believer has not yet acknowledged Christ in His own rightful place in his heart, and until you do you cannot be occupied with the things which are interesting to Christ here on earth. He could not confide in you if you have not given Him His place. And consequently you have not found your own true enjoyment, you are not in keeping with all God has done for you. Would it not be a delight to you to retire to your own room tonight, and be able to say, Well, God has removed everything of the man under His judgment from His own eye in the cross, and has given me the Holy Spirit, and I am before Him in the One who has glorified Him in the cross, and that One is my life. All this is for your own unspeakable comfort. At another time, if the Lord will, when we come to the Christian circle and the Head, you will find how He ministers to you.

I conclude with one remark. If you do not know Christ living in you for yourself, you cannot really enter on the wilderness path. I do not dwell on that now, but I trust, if the Lord permit, another evening to bring it before you, in order that we may understand how the grace of God enables us to be here.

I trust the Lord, in His own gracious care for us all, will lead you to accept the two things I have brought before you, which are not beyond the compass of the

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youngest Christian in this room. First, to acknowledge Christ in His right place, and then not to tolerate His rival. How is the rival to be kept out? By the Spirit of God. You must walk in the Spirit. If you do, you will not be thinking of yourself, or of what you are; you will be occupied with Christ; you will learn all that the Spirit of God is for you in Romans 8. In fine, He is your Friend, He "makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered". May we all look more for the help of that great Friend, and the power of that Friend, for Christ's sake.

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"PART WITH ME"

John 13:8

I have read this scripture that we might, by the Lord's goodness, meditate upon what the meaning of "PART WITH ME" is. In the last lecture, any who were here will remember that we were learning how Christ is formed in us; the Christ owned in His right place in each of us, like Isaac in Abraham's house. It is a wonderful moment, because you are free from the intruder; and you can say, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me"; a new order of person lives in me. Hence you are not only free of the old, but you are in the new. The apostle illustrates this to the Galatians (who were trying to improve themselves), by the type of the day when Isaac was weaned and Ishmael cast out, which doubtless describes a moment which ought to be known to every one of us, that is, when Christ is acknowledged in His right place. It is a festive moment, a moment of deep joy; it must be so, because in true righteousness Christ is in His place; hence the apostle adds, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free".

You must know the two subjects which I have already dwelt upon before you can address yourself to "PART WITH ME". One is the marvellous acceptance in which you are with God; the other is liberty. You are to His full satisfaction, because He has accepted you in the Beloved. It is on this ground you are accepted. It is not on the ground of a man who had not offended, but on the ground of the Man who glorified God in bearing the judgment upon man. The acceptance could not be greater, it could not be improved, it is unalterable. That is the first grace, and if there be any imperfection in the apprehension

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of it, there must be an imperfection in liberty. The first is that God has removed everything of the man under judgment from His own eye in the cross to His everlasting glory, so that His heart can in all its fulness greet the prodigal. The second grace is, that God has given you the Holy Spirit; and now Christ gets His place in your heart: "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage". Now you are free, and now you progress; and you do not progress till you come to this. You now are occupied with Christ as He is; now you begin to know "PART WITH ME".

Two lines open out to every believer when he is in liberty, but not before he finds liberty. One is that as he is liable to infirmity, the question necessarily arises, How am I to be borne above my infirmity? The other, as I am on the earth where Christ is rejected, the question arises, Where is the Lord to be found? You see that one plainly relates to yourself, and the other to the Lord. There are two lines, though you will find by-and-by how they converge.

The first is, as I have said, that you are liable to infirmity. I do not refer to sins, because Christ having purged our sins, sat down; there is no more offering for sin. It is most important to know that if you are not cleared of your sins, you cannot have to do with the High Priest, He who will bear you above your infirmities. In Christendom all is leavened, for the priest or minister is looked at as between the congregation and God, thus the truth is reduced to man's level. The truth is that you are already set in the fullest acceptance with God, and you are in true liberty. Next, as you are in a scene where you can be oppressed by infirmities -- not sins -- you want to know how you can be above your infirmities. I turn to Hebrews 4:14, "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into [through] the heavens,

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Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, apart from sin". (Correct reading.) Infirmities cover a large class of suffering; there is the pressure of circumstances, the pressure of impaired health, and the pressure of bereavement; this is not sin, but infirmity. As the Spirit of God leads every one who has acceptance with God, and the liberty of the Spirit, the question arises, How am I to be borne above my infirmities here? Then you learn that it is through having part with Christ that you are borne above your infirmities. In Hebrews 2:11, we read, "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren". In a former lecture you saw that you were in liberty when Christ was living in you; here you find we are His brethren. May your heart enter into the great fact that you are now of His generation; as He said, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" -- His brethren; and you cannot speak of sin in connection with Christ's brethren. You are "Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling". I say to the youngest believer, If you enjoy acceptance and have liberty, you have Christ living in you; you can say, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not 1, but Christ liveth in me". You have been freed from the old "I", and you have received another, even Christ Himself to live in you. You are now of His kindred. It is plain from Scripture, that if you are not of His kindred you cannot understand His sympathy, you cannot have part with Him.

You get in Leviticus 16 the type in Aaron and his sons; Aaron had to offer for himself and his house: "Whose house are we". Many refer to their old nature in one way or another, but if you have part with Christ

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you are upon entirely new ground -- in liberty; you are free of the old: "And if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live". You are on new ground, and now you can say that you are of His kindred. The only thing Abraham's steward was sworn to was that the bride for Isaac must be of his kindred. Many have the idea that Christ is our elder Brother. No; that is not correct, we are His brethren, He never was our Brother; and this is a very great difference. "Both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one". He is not ashamed to call us brethren. He liveth in you; but you have infirmities. Well, you have a High Priest which can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities; who was in all points tempted like as we are, apart from sin. But where is He now, beloved friends? He has risen from the dead, He has passed through the heavens, and has gone within the veil. Hence in order to get His sympathy you must have part with Him. When you are with Him you are borne above all your infirmities. He draws you to Himself. He alters nothing in this place, but He draws you out of it. First the word exposes to you everything inconsistent with Him, for you cannot have part with Him if there is any darkness at all. "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do". "The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart". It is light; it clears away all darkness. I am looking at the great result of having part with Him who in all our afflictions was afflicted, but who is now out of them; and the fact of having part with Him where He is assures me of His sympathy, because He was tempted in all points as we are, apart from sin, and He is now out of them. It is not that you are out of them, but when you have part with

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Him, who is out of them, you are borne above them. If you have His sympathy, you have part with Him; when you drop out of communion you do not enjoy His sympathy. I am dwelling long on this point, because it is of great importance (I hope to show you presently what it culminates in) that you should know that the effect of His company is that you are borne above every pressure; you have part with Him.

If I look at the Old Testament, I find a variety of cases in which God has relieved a person under pressure; for instance, Elijah, or Ruth, or Daniel; but here it is not that He removes the pressure, but He bears me above the pressure; the pressure is there, but I am borne above it, because I am in company with the One who is out of it. I have part with Him. No one who has not tasted of it knows what it is. It is illustrated in the case of Mary of Bethany. She, in the blank which was caused by the death of Lazarus, so learnt in that walk to the grave what the Lord was to her, that when she knew that He was to die she was a great deal more affected by the prospect of His death than by the death of Lazarus. That is a pattern which you get in the gospels, but I want to press on you the wonderful reality, that you have passed to Him outside of all here. "We have a great High Priest, that is passed through the heavens"; gone out of it all. He was in it all, and if you are in company with Him, the simple result of being in His company, of having part with Him, is that you are borne above the pressure. That is the first point connected with the first line. I hope to be able to return to it afterwards; but it is the main point, that in all the pressure which the saints are going through, the first thing to learn is, that if you have part with Christ you will be borne above that pressure. I do not say it will end there; I will come presently to what it culminates in; but this is the first step.

Now I come to the second, and that is, I am in a

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world where Christ is not, and I want to know where I am to find Him. I am speaking entirely of the individual now; I ask, Where do you find Him? You will find Him only in the assembly. Now I come to His side, if I may so say. In the first line it is about myself, and about my own pressure; I must have part with Him to be borne above it. But now I am looking for Him here. A young believer may say, I do not see anything for the Lord here, I see everything contrary to Him: where shall I find Him? I am not speaking of going to heaven now, but of finding Him here. You will find Him in the assembly. We get a pattern of it in John 20; He came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and "then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord". Let me dwell upon this for a moment, because I believe that, like the first step in relation to Him as the Priest, so is the first step in relation to Him in the assembly, it is the important step; and if you do not take the first step, you will never reach the second. The first step is -- the Lord is risen, and He is outside all the ruin and misery of this world; He is the "chief corner stone", "disallowed indeed of men". But where can He be found on earth at this time? There is only one spot here in which the Lord can be found, and that is in the assembly; and there He is supreme. He is risen from the dead. He educated Peter for this in Matthew 14. The Lord was walking on the water; He had changed His position; when He was here with us, He was in the ship and asleep; tranquil; but now when He is rejected, as you find in the early verses of Matthew 14, He takes new ground; He sets forth that He is above all the power of evil here; and therefore He is educating Peter for the assembly, for in chapter 16 He says, "I will build my assembly; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"; and that is the only place where He would be. I can understand a believer saying, Well, I have got immense comfort

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from being really with the Lord outside of all the pressure that lay upon me here; but now it concerns me that here I am in a place where the Lord is unknown. Where shall I find Him? You can only find Him in the assembly . Surely any devoted heart, however young, would say, I should like to join Him where He is. Like Mary Magdalene, she had the right sentiment, though she was ignorant. She could not find Him, and she was inconsolable without Him; and the Lord then makes Himself known to her. But I only take that as a sample. I ask a young believer, Would you like to join the Lord here upon earth? Peter said, "If it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water". That is an immense step, I admit; but it is not the step that I would put before a young believer; I would put before him affection. If you have affection to join Him, I know the step you will have to take: that you will pass outside of man, out of all the ruin and misery of this world; you will pass outside of man, because Christ is outside; He is "disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, precious"; and if you join Him, you do take a momentous step. But then, like the disciples in John 20, you will be glad when you "see the Lord". I think saints think too lightly of the assembly; they have not really learnt the immense nature of the blessing of getting into the presence of the Lord risen from the dead. Just for a moment think what it is to be in the presence of One risen from the dead, risen out of all the depths of man's misery! The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord, and the Lord breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit"; they must be there in His life. But I do not pursue that; I present it as the first step. It is interesting for any one who studies the subject, to know that John 6 occurred at the same time as Matthew 14. You may say they are very different. Yes; I believe one is God's side, and the other is our

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side. But I do not wish to expound so much as to point out the new course of the believer who has found the rest of acceptance and the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free; that is, I have learnt that in company with Christ I am made consciously sensible by Him, that I am above the pressure that lay upon me here; and, beside that, I have found the spot here upon the earth, outside of everything, where He is, and my heart is glad that I have come to that spot where He is, outside of everything, and Son over God's house.

Now having spoken of the first step in those two lines, I turn back to the first line to see, as I said, where it culminates. It is very blessed when the heart lays hold of it, to see how the two lines coalesce. Christ draws you to Himself to have part with Him above all here, and to conduct you into the Holiest of all. Here it culminates -- you have boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. You may say, It is so wonderful, we shall never be up to it. The Lord grant that our hearts may be so touched with His grace that we cannot be satisfied with anything short of it. Christ Himself is the antitype of the Holiest. To the Gentile, it is described in 2 Corinthians 3:18, "Beholding the glory of the Lord". In the type there were only the golden box with the cherubim of glory, and the golden censer. The antitype is Christ. So that when you join the Lord in the assembly you are in the Holiest, for He is the antitype of the Holiest; you see the Lord's glory. Here the priestly service culminates. Then follows the result which is the race; you now run on to Him. Instead of looking for anything in this world, you are like Israel after Numbers 21, making for Canaan. In the race you are "Looking off unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God".

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Now let us turn to the second line. Read John 14:18 - 20: "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you". I trust that many here know the joy of joining Christ in the assembly; nothing can satisfy a true heart in a scene like this but to have part with Himself outside of all the ruin here. He says, "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice". "I will not leave you comfortless". "You" embraces the whole company. Remember, I began with the individual, for it is individually we learn the Priest but when you enter the Holiest, you know Him, "The great Priest over the house of God"; you are in company now. You enter the assembly individually, you, a living stone, are built in, "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious; to whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, precious". Now you are built up. The Lord grant that each of us may know better by the Spirit of God the great joy which Peter had when he joined Christ walking on the water. Surely you are thankful to see Peter taking the step. I do not present the step to a young believer; but I say if you have affection for Christ, you would like to join Him, and you would not be deterred by the step. You cannot join Him without taking this immense step. It could not be possible otherwise. I do not deny that you may have been helped spiritually at the meeting, but unless you have taken the step to join Him, you have not experienced the joy of having part with Him where He fulfils the word, "I will not leave you comfortless [orphans]; I will come to you", "Because I live, ye shall live also". Now note how it culminates, "In that day you shall know" -- (now it is about Himself) -- "that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you". I am not going to attempt to

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explain this blessed announcement; I only say that wonderful things are now revealed to you by the Spirit, and this is the culmination. But then you cannot have it, but as you have PART WITH HIM.

Before I proceed, I just refer to an interesting point in John 14:22, 23: "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him". I refer to this because one might say, In this wonderful place, "Part with me", collectively, is there anything for the individual? Now this is for the individual. In the rest of the chapter it is all "you" collectively that is used. But in these verses it is, "If a man love me, he will keep my words". Generally we are looking to the Lord to do something for us, to receive a mark of His favour, some temporal mercy. But here He gives the highest favour in part with Himself; to the company He says, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you". I will come to you, and acquaint you with Myself, and how you are in relation to Me. Surely any one who dwells upon verse 20 will know how profound it is. I do not attempt to explain it; it embraces immensely more than you imagine. Then in verse 23 we see the portion for the individual, "If a man love me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him". As another has said, 'They will have a room in your heart'. It is not that He is always there, but He has a room there; it is His room.

Now you will be prepared for the result of all this grace. We find it in John 14:26: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I

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have said unto you". The Spirit of God revives to the disciples Christ's ministry here, so that the result, having part with Him in the assembly, is that you, as we read in chapter 15, come out in service, fruit-bearing; you are in that sense a branch of the vine, bringing forth fruit on the earth where He was rejected.

Now I should like to recapitulate the blessings of each line, and I trust that you will follow me prayerfully. The first line is, that when you are under pressure here, and have part with Christ, you are borne above it, because you have part with Him. And this culminates in your accompanying Him into the brightest spot, the Holiest of all, so that you can behold the Lord's glory with so much effect that you are transformed into moral correspondence with His pleasure at the time. I am speaking now of the effect of having part with Him. Like the disciples at Emmaus, they saw the Lord; He did not give them any directions that we know of; but the effect of seeing Him was that they went off to Jerusalem; the fact of being in His company made His interests paramount with them. Hence the practical result on that line is, that laying aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, we run with patience the race that is set before us. We look for nothing here, but we are looking for everything where Christ is. We are not come "to the mount that might be touched and that burned with fire", but we "are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God", etc.

In the other line you pass outside of all the ruin and misery of man, to find the Lord in the assembly on the earth, and you are there outside of all here, for you have part with Him. Then is fulfilled, "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice"; "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you". You sit under His shadow with great delight; you have part

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with Him; and this culminates in that you come forth to bear fruit here as His disciples. It is not merely relief now; you begin with being borne above the pressure here, and this culminates in your being absorbed with Himself; you are so attracted to Him who is outside of all here, that you are not looking for anything here; you are running on to Him. Then in the second line you have joined Him in His assembly, you have part with Him there, outside of all the ruin and the misery of man; you have tasted of the reality of His words: "Because I live, ye shall live also"; and you are in a sphere altogether unknown to man. You are so absorbed with Him, outside of all the ruin, that, like the queen of Sheba, "there is no more spirit in you", you are beside yourself. If Christ were thus known in the assembly, how you would long for it! You could truly say, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD". In Christendom the most advanced go to church to enjoy their salvation; they have no true idea of the house of God. The house of God is where He is; "the habitation of God through the Spirit"; and hence there you would learn His mind, as we read in Hebrews 2:12: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee". He unfolds the Father; you cannot worship until you are in His presence.

I need not add more. I have tried to present to you the blessedness of having PART WITH HIM, how it begins; and if you are led to dwell upon it before the Lord, you will be thankful that there is such a portion for you while on the earth.

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THE WILDERNESS

Exodus 15:22 - 25; Numbers 21:4 - 9, 16 - 18

The subject I desire to bring before you is "THE WILDERNESS"; for though we so often speak of the wilderness, perhaps there is no subject (I speak for myself) we know so little about according to God. I have read the passage from Exodus 15 to show the way you enter the wilderness, where you prove that the flesh profiteth nothing, where you learn yourself: while in Numbers 21 you are brought to see a new state. You learn the incompetency of the flesh, of your own state, in Exodus 15, and you are given a new state by the Spirit of God, as seen typically in Numbers 21. But firstly, and it is of the deepest importance, you cannot enter the wilderness except you have been delivered from the judgment of death, and are on the other side of the Red Sea. You may sometimes hear a person speaking of the trials of the wilderness who has never entered the wilderness. If you have entered the wilderness, you have entered it through death, and you are clear of death in the sight of God.

In Romans 4, when you believe that God has raised Christ from the dead, you are justified by faith, you can joy in God. But consequent on this every believer finds that he is sinful. In Romans 6 and 7 you find that the first thing you are occupied with is relief from sinfulness. Hence the true character of the wilderness is death to the will of the flesh; it is Marah; properly, the water of the Red Sea. I feel, in myself, how little one accepts the wilderness in its true character. You have been delivered from the judgment on man by the death and resurrection of Christ here in this place, where you were under the judgment of God, and now this place is a wilderness

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to you; there is nothing for you here naturally. If you maintain your new ground through grace, it must be a place of death to the flesh. You can only maintain your new ground by death. Hence the first thing your conscience is occupied with is your sinfulness. Hence you read in 1 Peter 4:1: "Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind, for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin": you must not gratify yourself; when you have suffered in the flesh you have ceased from sin. Many are surprised when they find, consequent on the joy of being justified in the sight of God, that they are so distressed by their own state. And why? Because they are not drinking death. But it sweetens death to see that Christ was in it for you. Nothing else will. Though you know that your sins are forgiven, yet you find that you commit sins; this is simply because you do not arm yourself with the same mind, "for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin": that is from doing sin. This experience gives you the character of the wilderness. We speak familiarly of the wilderness, but have we really entered it? There is nothing for the saved soul in the wilderness but God, and if you really apprehended this, you would respond, That is a great deal. You will find that Christ trod this path; He made a path through the wilderness. Manna can now be found on every leaf, for even the smallest thing. In His public course He said, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head". The manna is, that He was here, a Man, God the spring of all His ways, He learnt nothing from man; He was born of a woman, but we read of Him. "I was cast upon thee from the womb". As has been said, It was not anything He found here, but what He brought here. The more you study His path, the more you will understand what the wilderness is to you from God. But it is very different to us, because we have been

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alienated from God, and we could not be relieved of the judgment on us but by death. Hence, as you get out of death through Christ's death, you must accept His death as the only deliverance from the old man; that is the bitter water; and the bitter water is made sweet when you connect it with Christ's death. The great education of the wilderness at first is, that you should know yourself, what is in your heart. Many have not learnt themselves. When you have learned yourself you will say, "In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing". If any one can say that with a true heart, be assured he knows something of the wilderness. Your most amiable quality has no good thing in it. Now you have learnt that nothing can come from your own side. That is the first thing.

The great characteristic of any one truly in the wilderness is dependence. Turn to Deuteronomy 8:2: "Thou shalt remember all the way" -- mark how definite that is; all your history, remember it -- "which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee.... And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live". The Lord, when He went into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, quotes this scripture. He needed not to go into the wilderness to learn dependence, for He was in circumstances the contrast to Adam in the garden of Eden. Adam was surrounded by every mark of God's goodness and care for him, but in the midst of it all he gave way. Here is the Lord, forty days without food; He takes the lowest place, there is no intimation of God's care for Him, but Satan comes to Him and says, so to speak, Use your own power. It is there where we fail. Be assured there is no one who has either material or

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mental resource, who is not in danger of using it, and when he uses it he is not walking by faith. That is the first temptation, and if you yield to the first, you are a prey to the rest. The first is that you leave the place of dependence, and therefore it is the man of natural resource who really wants faith most. Satan says, "If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread"; but the Lord replies, "It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God". Who can describe what the manna is? One can adore at the sight of it, and seek to appropriate it; but it is a wonderful thing; the One who had all power took the place of dependence, and found all His resource in God. There was nothing to be found for Him in this poor world. He quotes this verse; I read it to show how we are taught; "That he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only". What you are brought to practically is dependence. The highest point you can arrive at is dependence. Dependence is what should mark us here. There is nothing for a believer here. It is a life of absolute dependence on God. God can show how He can be gracious to you in the wilderness, and therefore there are "twelve wells of water and threescore and ten palm trees". But that is not from the wilderness, but what God can give you in it. The only support in the wilderness is the manna and the water from the smitten rock. I consider that the manna is the grace of Christ as He walked here. At the same time, while the grace is there, I do not think you appropriate the grace until you accept death with Him.

I ask any conscientious person, Were you not first occupied about your sinfulness even after you had peace? Though I am afraid what is called peace is not always true peace. Forgiveness is not peace; peace is when there is not a cloud, when the enemies are gone. If you want to know what peace is, go and

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ask a soldier, Have you succeeded? Oh! he replies, we crushed the foe. That is peace. "Who hath abolished death and brought life and incorruptibility to light through the gospel": that is peace -- that is the Red Sea.

Now you enter the wilderness; you have got out of judgment through death, you then enter the wilderness; and as you accept death with Christ you are in the wilderness. I cannot go into detail, but I commend to you Romans 6, because there the question of dead to sin is raised. It goes further than Peter; but then chapter 7 shows (what was really the education of Israel in the wilderness) that the flesh is unmendably bad. And we all have to be brought to say with truth, "In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.... Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord". The wilderness is where the life of Jesus is known concurrent with the dying of Jesus.

Before passing on, let me make one remark -- Israel encountered opposition there. When you have got clear of Satan as Pharaoh, he opposes you as Amalek; that is, to prevent you from taking the wilderness condition. If you look at the history of young Christians, you will find that they are diverted from taking the wilderness condition by some worldly pressure; that is the opposition of Satan as Amalek; he acts against you in order that you may find something here; if you resist him, you will not be carried away. Take an example, Peter went into the high priest's house; he was invited in, and might have thought he was favoured. But it was a terrible moment; Satan had gained the day. Alas! if you know yourself, and have read your own history, it is not once nor twice that you have thought, when a snare was laid for you, that is a good opening of which I may avail myself. Like Lot, when he saw the green fields towards Sodom, why should not I avail myself

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of them? he thought. Woe betide you if you do! If you knew yourself better, you would not trust yourself.

"I have nothing to seek nor to choose,
I've no thought in the waste to abide,
I have naught to regret nor to lose". (Hymn 139)

Now let us turn to Numbers 21. There Israel learnt that they are irretrievably bad; they speak against God and against Moses. Let me call your attention to the way this was manifested. Israel sought to stand for the Lord before they were qualified; you cannot stand for the Lord until you have come to His side.

In Numbers 21 you get the new state. You have first, as we have seen, to learn the unprofitableness of your flesh, that there is no escape from it but as you accept death with Christ; then you are brought to say, "In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing". You learn that "the Son of man must be lifted up"; He who knew no sin made sin for us. And then, as in Romans 6:6, "our old man is crucified with him". You have learnt the bitterness of the serpent's bite; you have cried out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" It has been said, you never could be out of Romans 7 until you were first in it. Some think it is a hopeful state; I think it is a most miserable state.

When the day of everlasting blessedness dawns upon your heart then you say, "I thank God through Jesus Christ". Then a new state is entered on; you speak no longer about yourself, no longer about the weakness of the flesh and how you can get relief; that is the first thing, and I am not objecting to it, for you have to learn that you are irretrievably bad, but having learned it, you are cast upon Christ. Hence you get in Romans 8 what I believe is prefigured by the well in Numbers 21, "Whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together and I will give them

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water". This is the first time in Scripture that I know of that it is said, "I will GIVE them water"; the water followed them before. And if you ask me what is meant by the type of the water from the smitten rock, I believe it is the grace of Christ which meets us; I have no doubt that when we look to Him we obtain His grace to enable us to act in the circumstances we are in.

But I have digressed. Now you can reckon yourself dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Suffering from the serpent's bite you have looked to Christ who knew no sin made sin for us. Hence we read, "I will give them water". In Romans 8:1, we read, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus"; you are not occupied now with the sinfulness of the flesh, but you are in the power of the Spirit of God -- "for the law of the Spirit of life" -- mind you, it is the Spirit of life -- "in Christ Jesus hath made me free" -- (a wonderful moment!) -- "from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of flesh of sin" -- the antitype of the brazen serpent -- "and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh". Sins, transgressions, are forgiven, but sin is condemned, removed in judgment from God's eye. Now as we read in the end of Romans 8 you are not occupied about yourself, but "For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter". You now stand for the Lord; you enter on your new history in the wilderness. You, like Israel, now stand for the Lord; they encounter Balaam, a new and very dangerous power of opposition. Balaam succeeds by drawing you into the society of unbelievers. Of course, you have to meet them in business and otherwise, or you must needs go out of the world; but I speak of social intercourse with them, joining with them in their tastes and pleasures. There the Corinthians

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failed, and hence the apostle writes to them, "What communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? .. . Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you". In Revelation 2 you find that at Pergamos the church suffered from Balaam; consequently the reward to the overcomer is, "I will give to eat of the hidden manna". May we know more of "the hidden manna", the wonderful way that the blessed One walked here according to the pleasure of God.

Your new course is detailed in the epistle to the Hebrews, you "run with patience the race". Every obstacle in your way is not discomfiture but an opportunity for faith, according to the last clause of Galatians 2:20, "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me". That is the new course; you are now led by a new power, hence every obstruction is only an occasion for the manifestation of His divine power. You are in the race, though still in the wilderness; you know the power of faith and can say, "By my God have I leaped over a wall". You are now in the power of the Spirit of God; you entered the wilderness to learn what the flesh is, now being dead to sin, you are in the power of the Spirit of God and your course is simply to run the race set before you, overcoming every obstruction. As an illustration, you are like one seeing a mansion five or six miles off, and your one object is to reach it. The mansion is where Christ is; hence "looking off unto Jesus". It is a wonderful course, and like Israel, you are victorious all along it; over Og, king of Bashan, and Sihon, king of the Amorites. God appears for you, and in a wonderful way displays His power.

I turn now to Romans 12 and 13, to present to you your responsibility in the wilderness. When I speak

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of responsibility I do not refer to church fellowship, I refer to you as individuals. I commend these chapters to you; I glance briefly at some points. The first is, your body is the Lord's. The next is that you are responsible with reference to the church, to be faithful to the grace committed to you, from the highest gifts down to showing "mercy with cheerfulness". Your responsibility is, first to Christ, second to the church, and then, in chapter 13, to the powers that be, and to your neighbour. There is no such thing ever contemplated in Scripture as levelling. I need not say, we are all one in the church; but in the wilderness there is no levelling. You are subjects, though not citizens; you obey the powers that be implicitly, and in your dealings with one another you are to love your neighbour as yourself, in business and everything else; you owe no man anything, and you render honour to whom honour is due. You are on the earth a stranger and a pilgrim, running a race; you are to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof". I need not dwell more on this. Anyone who desires to learn will study these chapters in order to apprehend his responsibility in the wilderness. You cannot appropriate the grace of Christ for your walk here until you know first that you live in Christ's life outside it. The order is "I am crucified with Christ" (in type, Numbers 21), "but Christ liveth in me" it is not merely that He has given you life, but He lives in you -- a much more wonderful grace. And then, "The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me".

So much for your responsibility in the wilderness as in Romans 12 and 13. I will not detain you long, but I cannot conclude without turning for a moment to the epistle to the Philippians. I can only refer to the subject of the chapters, a mere sketch of it. The great difficulty in understanding this epistle is that it is the

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experience of a heavenly man down here. Many read it as if it were practice, but I believe it is the experience of a heavenly man, and you cannot have experience without knowledge.

In the first chapter the apostle longs to depart and to be with Christ; no doubt he felt the pressure of prison-life; he had lost everything he naturally valued in this world, even Jerusalem on which his heart was set for God; he had nothing now personally to keep him here; he was a heavenly man in the wilderness, hence he longs to depart and be with Christ. But it is better for the church that he should remain, so he will remain; but his expectation, as always, so now also is that Christ shall be magnified in his body, whether it be by life or by death. How beautiful!

In chapter 2 the subject is the low place the Lord came down to from the highest in order to be a servant. He made Himself of no reputation, emptied Himself. He who being in the form of God, thought it not rapine to be equal with God, became a man, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Paul was a prisoner in Rome, and he was ready to go down to any degree to be a servant.

Chapter 3 is more within our reach, as I might say. You prefer Christ to anything of man; all that is gain to you you count but loss for Christ; you count all but rubbish that you may win Christ. There is a connection with chapter 1; Paul there longs to depart and be with Him, because to die would be gain; hence now he says, as it were, I am, not going to Him, but I want to gain Him now. This chapter ends with a very important experience. In the epistle to the Ephesians there is nothing about the Lord's coming. Why? Because you are in company with Christ in heavenly places. But when you find yourself in the wilderness, you as a heavenly man would say, "Our conversation is in heaven"; we are subjects on the earth, we are

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citizens of heaven. That is the characteristic of a man in the wilderness, he is a subject here, but a citizen of heaven. This would settle a great many questions. "Our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself". The moment Christ rises off the Father's throne, it is in the power by which He will "subdue all things to himself", and the very first wave of that power is towards the saints. And this Paul was looking for. The heavenly man in the wilderness looks for this.

Chapter 4 is more within our practical experience. Here is Paul, a man in prison, and he tells us that he has learnt in whatsoever state he is, to be satisfied; he knows how to be abased and how to abound; whether he is in the lowest position, or in affluence, he is the same in either. A man in very low circumstances is naturally depressed, and when he is prosperous he is elated; but the apostle can say, I have learnt in all things to be satisfied. Our translators could not catch the idea, and they put in the word 'content' it is "satisfied".

I trust many in this room will feel that the wilderness is a wonderful subject. I may not have helped you much, yet I believe you will get great help if you simply accept that you are delivered from the judgment of death by the death of Christ, and that you expect nothing but Marah -- death to the old man in this world, and yet abounding grace from God. "When he putteth forth his own sheep he goeth before them". Thus you learn the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in a wonderfully real way; how it meets you at every turn; you ought not to enter on anything here except you have previously gathered the manna. Then you know "My grace is sufficient for thee". I believe as

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you are real and true, you will not move without it; so that you would address yourself to every new demand according to Psalm 23; you have been lying down in green pastures and led beside the still waters. The figure here is not to feed; a cow does not lie down until it is full. You survey the green pastures; you lie down to be assured of the resources you have in God. Then you are led into the paths of righteousness, because you are in a scene of corruption. Next, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil". And eventually, He prepares a table for you in the wilderness, an expression of His favour in the very place where you have been slighted.

I thank the Lord for allowing me to speak on this subject, though I have felt how very limited is my knowledge of it; yet I am thankful that our hearts have been led to it, and I trust to Him that many of you will be helped to understand better your true path upon the earth as those who have been redeemed from all iniquity through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, for His name's sake.

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CHRIST THE HEAD AND SOURCE OF EVERYTHING TO THE CHRISTIAN CIRCLE

Colossians 1:26, 27

I must recall to your remembrance the subjects which we have had before us, in order to see where we are. We had first

THE RESURRECTION

and its effects. Then, No. 2,

CHRIST FORMED IN YOU;

and consequently that you are in liberty. I pressed that if you do not know the second, you cannot progress in divine things: it is there, as a rule, every one is detained. It is a very striking statement, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me". One man gone in the cross, but the One who bore the judgment on me, now lives in me. I hope you enter into the comprehensiveness of this statement. We familiarly speak of getting life; but there is vastly more in this passage, even that Christ lives in you; and hence you have His motives and His tastes. Nothing could be plainer. Consequently you have liberty -- you are free. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free"; this is the start; and if you do not know it you cannot progress.

From that we went on to No. 3,

PART WITH ME.

You enter on new ground; now you know Him, first in relation to your infirmities while living upon earth, the great Priest, the Son of God, passed through the heavens; that is one line; and the other line is that you know Him in His own assembly, above all the power of evil on the earth, outside of man. But you

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have not yet come to Him, Head of His own circle.

No. 4, I was on

THE WILDERNESS,

where we learn that there must be death to the man in the flesh, but by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus I am free from the law of sin and death.

Now I come to No. 5, to

CHRIST (outside the world) THE HEAD AND SOURCE OF EVERYTHING TO HIS OWN CIRCLE.

Hitherto I have only conducted you outside of man; now I trust to conduct you outside of the world. Someone might say, and very justly, I do not know that I have learned to be outside of man. That, however, is not my inquiry. I seek to interest the youngest of you in the desire of your Father's heart for you. And surely that is enough to arrest you. When you hear what is His desire for you, you turn to Him and pray that you may answer to it. I press first, that Christ liveth in you, because if you have not entered into the liberty of Christ living in you, you are not free of the man under the judgment of God. I have already illustrated this by the feast at the weaning of Isaac in Abraham's house; he was then acknowledged heir, given his right place; and when you realise Christ in His right place, as living in you, you are in liberty.

Now I come to Christ in His own circle of things, not merely what He is to you, but as He is in His own things. I have to know more fully "Part with Me". You may remember that when I was speaking of "Part with Me", I did not go farther than outside of man, whether in relation to one's self or in relation to Him (the assembly is on earth; and in your infirmities here of every sort, you need Christ as Priest to bear you above them). Now I desire to conduct you into

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His own circle. I have read this verse about the mystery, "Christ in you the hope of glory". Mind you, it is the same Christ who lives in you. Thank God, if you know that He lives in you; now you see Him in His own place, not merely to relieve you, but drawing you into His things. It is the same Person as in Romans 8 where we read, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin"; but it does not mean the same; the difference I desire to show you. If Christ lives in you, you can, in His own life, enter into His things. It is not so much that He can vouchsafe full relief or liberty to you; He has done that; hence, I want to direct your attention to His things. You may be conscious that you do not know much about them. Who does? But would you not like to know more about them? The apostle writes to the Colossians of the mystery. They evidently were a godly company but they did not know it; they had heard of it, but they had not received it in faith, like many in the present day. Yet it was the only truth which could preserve them from the impending snare of rationalism and ritualism. "Christ in you the hope of glory". Who can explain all that is comprised in those words? "Christ in you the hope of glory"; it is not now your side, but on the contrary it is the greatness of His side made known to you. Now the more you dwell on this, the more you must see how He has blessed you; that He who has freed you from every pressure on yourself, is the same One who conducts you into His own circle of things. I can quite understand how we like to limit His grace to our side of things, as the apostle writes, "All seek their own". I do not think that means worldly things. I see often in books, and in conversation I hear much about Christ's services to us, but comparatively very little as to His thoughts and interests. You like to know that He thinks of you; why do you not think of Him? It ought to affect you that you are so little

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occupied with His things. This accounts for our lack of freshness and vigour. What was the cause of the blight on the captives who returned from Babylon after all they had gone through? They were intimidated by the force of the enemy, and they stopped building the temple for about sixteen years; consequently, "Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why, saith the LORD of hosts? Because of mine house that is waste". It was their own interests they were thinking of; it was not worldliness; they were entitled to earthly blessing, and for earthly blessing they were looking. Having been hindered for sixteen years, the prophet comes to them and says, when they would resume building, "From this day will I bless you". I believe souls would be immeasurably happy if they were occupied with thinking of the Lord's interests. You are thinking of how He is interested about you. Right enough; but if you know His interest about you you know it could not be greater. Then I ask you, Are you interested about Him?

I turn to Colossians 2:2, 3, to see the greatness of the mystery: "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God; in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". Mark all you obtain, "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". The Colossians were a faithful company; they had not been drawn into the impending delusion, even that man's mind and religiousness contribute to the Lord's service. It is a remarkable combination. The Corinthians were diverted from spiritual wisdom by cleaving to natural wisdom, and the Galatians sought to be religious under the law. With the Colossians it is also the mind and the body, though not in the same way as with the Corinthians and the Galatians, but to contribute to or help on Christ's work. Hence in

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Christendom today, except a man is formally religious and educated, he would not be accepted as a minister of the gospel. One is ritualism, and the other rationalism; the one is carnal religiousness, bodily exercise; and the other, the powers of the natural mind. In order to preserve the Colossians from this impending snare, the apostle writes, when he was at Rome and in prison, "For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh". And for what? That they might know the mystery, "in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". I say to the youngest in this room, Do you believe that if Christ is living in you, that He is not enough for everything? I feel much impressed with the profound blessedness of this truth, that as Christ lives in you He personally expresses His mind and motive, everything in you! He is the source of "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge".

I shall not dwell long upon the different points, but I must call your attention to them. Next

YOUR COMPLETENESS IN CHRIST.

"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality, and power". As you are "complete in him", you cannot add to what is complete; neither mentality, nor religiousness can help what is complete. Again I ask the youngest here, If Christ lives in you, is He not enough for you? You are complete in Him. That is the mystery, and as you apprehend it, you will find yourself in His circle. Still, as to this verse, one might say, Would not a religious demeanour be commendable? Would it not have an effect upon others? I reply, if you are walking in the power of Christ you will be naturally solemn and sincere. Affectation is occupation with your behaviour; if you are in the power of His grace you would walk according to His pleasure, not occupied with your appearance. If you

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are "complete in him", you do not want to go outside Him "who is the head of all principality and power".

I turn now to verse 11, and you will see how it is consequent on the previous one, "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the flesh" -- not 'sins of the flesh' -- "by the circumcision of Christ". There, beloved friends, the body of the flesh is put off in the cross of Christ. It is the antitype of Gilgal, the rolling off; the circumcision after Israel had crossed over Jordan. In the previous lectures I did not come so far as Jordan, only outside of man. Now you are outside the world; "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world" and in Christ's circle of things. Now you find that you cannot make any trial of man in the flesh; that you, in the circumcision of Christ, have put off the body of the flesh. Some pious copyist put in the words "the sins of"; he saw that if the body of the flesh was put off there would be no place for his religiousness, so he added "the sins of". If a monk were the copyist, he would say, If that means simply "the body of the flesh", then all my religion is worthless. Hence "the sins of" would make it easy for him. The true meaning is "the body of the flesh" put off in the circumcision of Christ; it is a stronger expression even than "crucified". Now that you are complete in Christ, what can be added to Him? You cannot require an addition if you are complete in Him. I say to the youngest, Where is your affection for Christ if you do not think Him enough for you? Now you will learn that He is everything, and having put off the body of the flesh in the cross, it is not your work, it is His work that is to be carried out practically by you. It is very definitely stated: "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands". Israel were not circumcised in the wilderness; not until they came to Gilgal were they circumcised, the rolling off the reproach of Egypt. If it has not

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been effected for you you are trying to effect it; and you sink, alas! to carnal religion, where many are. You are called to carry out practically what has been effected for you; but that is very different.

Now I turn to verse 19,

"HOLDING THE HEAD",

not with the intention of explaining it, but proceeding step by step, that you may the more easily apprehend this great subject: "Not holding the head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth". Now you see that "the Head" is common to all the members; the Christ, who is living in you and living in me, He is your Head; and you know Him now in a new capacity; it is not merely as affording to you the greatest relief, but He is your Head; and the Head of every one of His own. I do not say that all know it; would to God that all did; but I am presenting to you the only way by which you can be preserved from the intrusion of the flesh in one form or another. In that day the snare was Judaism and gnosticism. In this day in Christendom they are designated rationalism and ritualism. Nothing can preserve you from this leaven but the assurance that Christ is "the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands, having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God". Can you read that scripture, and believe it possible, without being cast upon God? and like the apostle exclaiming, "O the depth of the riches!" "His ways past finding out!"

In chapter 3 we come to the practical application of the truth. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above". Literally, you have not left this place: you have accepted that you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world. In Romans, you are dead with Christ unto sin; here you are dead with Him from the rudiments of the world; you are

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outside of the order of things here; and hence over Jordan. Now, "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth". You are brought into a new circle: "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth". It is not now for your relief, but to make you acquainted with the interests of Christ in a wonderful way. "For ye are dead" -- or "have died"-"and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore" -- now you come to the practical application of the circumcision effected for you in the cross. All the members on the earth are to be mortified; all to be swept away; there is not to be any acknowledgment of them. In the life of Christ you are outside all. It is like Elisha's act when he got power, seeing Elijah taken away; he took hold of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces, as much as to say, I have done with them; I render them useless, they cannot be worn again. That is the intention; and he took up the mantle of Elijah to appear in a new character. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry" -- all the works of the will are to be mortified -- "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth". These latter are habits; the former are indigenous to the nature; they must be mortified; the habits put away. "Seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him".

Now you come into personal acquaintance with Christ, and you are consciously in His circle; you

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realise, as you read in Hebrews 2"Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one". Hence here in Colossians we get: "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is everything". You have come to a great experience -- where Christ is everything. Surely I am addressing those who apprehend something of the profound blessedness of Christ as Head of all the members of His body. This is the mystery. Only one Head for us all. Little you may know of this grace, still if you do not look for it, if your hearts are not attracted by it, you will not advance.

Now you come to the qualities which you derive from Him as Head. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness". These are divine affections. Whence do they come? You have now a new Head. However contrary your character as a man, when you get a new head, and so great a One, you will come out in accordance to Him. Now not only Christ lives in you, but you are brought into His circle, the Christian circle. I think the youngest here can understand the difference; when you know Christ as Head you are in His order of things; it is not merely that He has effected for you all you need. When He was down here, His disciples were conscious that He could satisfy the hungry soul, for He said, "When I was with you, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing". But now He has gone away; and as you have part with Him, He bears you above everything of man; but now you come to Him, Head of the Christian circle. The Colossians were a true assembly, but they did not know Christ as Head,

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though doubtless they had heard of the doctrine. I should like myself to see the assembly which knows Christ as Head (though individuals may so know Him). I believe that it would be a wonderful assembly where each was governed by one Head. Consider the qualities which the Head supplies to you in relation to one another in the Christian circle, even to "forgiving one another"; with "humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering", etc.; you derive all from Christ the Head. The Lord lead your hearts into the knowledge of this great grace, for, as it has been said, you never understand anything until you are in it. Little as I know of it, I can see the profound blessedness of having Him as Head instead of my own. What a wonderful company the church would be on the earth, if each of us consciously had only the one and selfsame Head; however great the number, only one Head. Great indeed would be the effect; ministry would be traced to Christ Himself, and not merely to the channel -- a ministry which would arrest every spiritual soul. We read in Acts 2, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, but they had no knowledge of the Head; and the Colossians were not in the power of this knowledge. I have been asked the question, What would be the difference between an assembly or an individual knowing the Head, and Acts 2? I believe that the Spirit of God never leads the servant beyond his light, that He would help him in what he knows; but I believe if Christ were known as Head, that He would dictate to you a ministry which was new to you; but the fact that He was your Head would make you conscious that you had the light of it; the dictation itself would give you the light, so that you would minister according to Christ's pleasure. A great deal of the discrepancy which occurs amongst us in the assembly arises from the fact that Christ is not known as Head. The Corinthians, with all their gifts, did not know Him as Head. It is a wonderfully solemn moment when you

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are conscious that you have nothing to say, that you are like a blank sheet of paper; and then that Christ the Head should dictate to you some word on which you have but little light; yet the moment you serve, you know it is from Himself; and though you may be feeble in your exposition of it, yet it meets the state of souls at the time, because it is from the Head.

Now I come to another quality which is individual: "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful". It is as the peace of Christ rules in your heart that you are qualified for any service. In His peace -- His profound tranquillity -- you come forth to serve. Hence finally, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly". If Christ is your Head, you will be soon enlightened. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord": your service is in His own circle.

I must add in conclusion that you do not get union with Christ in this scripture; you are in His life. You are conducted into the greatness of His life; and I press this, that if you do not understand Christ's interests as knowing His life, and that He is your Head, I do not see how you can enjoy union. If the Lord permit, I hope to speak on union the next time. I now only press that you cannot enjoy union except you are suited to Him. There can be no moral disparity between Christ and one united to Him; nothing would be more incongruous. Hence we read, "They twain shall be one flesh"; we must be of Him; it is not merely that He came and took part with flesh and blood, and bore the judgment on us; but we are to be of Him , otherwise He would abide alone. He was unique: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die" -- now comes out a new generation -- "it bringeth forth much fruit".

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Hence it is stated in Hebrews 2"Both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one" -- note, "WHEREFORE he is not ashamed to call them brethren". It must be plain to the spiritual that nothing of moral disparity, nothing that is not of Christ, could be united to Him. Do not be surprised, beloved friends, but be assured that God cannot support any one now on the earth who is not of Christ; He has been rejected here, and God cannot support anyone but Him. If you are not included in the "Me" ("Why persecutest thou ME?"), you cannot receive divine support. What is not of Christ will all vanish. This gives the church its peculiar elevation, it belongs to Christ in the place of His rejection; and therefore there is nothing that God can do to bless the church that He does not do; there is no blessing to which He does not call it. In the place where Christ is rejected, God could not support a David nor a Moses.

Now if you accept this truly, you will discern how it is that you have been often disappointed with the course of things. Why? Because you were looking for something besides Christ. God will support Christ, and nothing but Christ. The only thing Abraham's steward was sworn to was kindred; he was sent to get a bride for Isaac, but she must be of the kindred of Isaac. According to the type, you must be of Christ's kindred; it is not enough that you are converted, but you must be of Christ's kindred.

The Lord grant, beloved friends, that every one of us may understand something of this blessed mystery, and that our hearts may be set upon "Christ in you the hope of glory" -- for His name's sake.

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UNION WITH CHRIST AND THE RESULT

Ephesians 2:4 - 7

THE subject of the former evening was

"CHRIST THE HEAD".

In His own light we know that He is our life, and we learn the resources which are in Him. If you have not entered into this side, and known Christ as Head, you are not ready for the subject now before us, even that through God's grace we are quickened with Him, and raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. The meaning of this scripture is not apprehended when "in Christ" is quoted before "in heavenly places". The place is the prominent idea in this passage. In Scripture the prominent idea is put first. The Greek is a very simple language, just as a child would speak. This is an immense help in the study of Scripture.

The subject I desire to bring before you this evening is,

"UNION WITH CHRIST AND THE RESULT".

In the verses I have read, it is stated that God for His great love has "raised us up together". This is true of every believer, but every one does not know it. Hence in the prayer in the preceding chapter we read, "That ye may know .. . the exceeding greatness of his power ... which He wrought in Christ"; it is not merely that God has done it, but you have the benefit of it when you are in the conscious knowledge of His grace.

I shall divide the subject into parts, in order that you may be able to follow it more easily. The first part we find is

FITNESS FOR UNION

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(Chapter 1: 1 - 14) I need not comment on these verses in detail, but I merely dwell on the nature of the fitness -- you must be of Him. You read in verse 4, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world" -- before ever there was any sin -- "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" -- you must be fit for Him. All moral disparity must be removed or you could not be united to Christ; you must be of Him. This I have dwelt on previously, when referring to Hebrews 2; "all of one"; you are of His order. In the type, Eve was formed out of Adam; and in Ephesians we are called the "members of his body"; and "this is a great mystery".

Now for "fitness". You are not only chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, but you are given the highest position; you read in verse 5 your position, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself": you cannot be higher than that; union does not put you higher than that. And we are "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise". I press that the first step is "fitness"; and it is important to bear in mind that the only point to which Abraham's steward was sworn, when he was sent to find a bride for Isaac, was that she should be of his kindred. The great lack in souls is that they do not apprehend that they are of Him, of His order, and therefore you are not really in rest of heart, you are not ready to be conducted to Him as Rebekah was to Isaac. How was Rebekah proved to be fit to be conducted to Isaac? By her grace. When the steward asked her for some water to drink, she said, "Drink, my lord", and added, "I will draw for thy camels also"; she might have acceded merely to the letter of his request; but she had grace, she was fit to be conducted to Isaac. I cannot say every one is conducted. I wish all were; I see that they are not ready to be conducted. Here the apostle writes, "After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto

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all the saints". I need not dwell more on "fitness"; it is a wonderful privilege, that you are of His kindred. "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one"; there is no moral disparity.

Now I come to the second part,

THE COUNSEL OF GOD.

From verse 17 to the end is "the counsel of God". The first thing necessary in order to understand the counsel is enlightenment, "The eyes of your heart being enlightened", etc. Let me press on you how this great grace is effected, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him". It is very interesting that we are enabled to help others by the way we have been helped ourselves. I used to dwell on being enlightened until someone said to me, You are enlightened when you are given "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him". I believe many are well acquainted with this epistle who really have not grasped God's counsel in it. Why? Because they have not "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him". They think that they can understand it by studying it with great care; but all that will not be sufficient until they get "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him", and hence they are not enlightened; they do not apprehend God's counsel. You might ask me, What is it? I could not explain it to you, but it is the most magnificent thing which could be conceived, even that the body of Christ is on the earth during the period of His rejection. I do not think anyone can convey it to you, but I hope to point out presently what the object of it is, even that throughout the ages there should be glory to God by the church. Our Lord in John 17 (he is a well instructed man that can explain John 17), first sets us as Himself in the presence of the Father, and then

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sets us as Himself in the presence of the world. But bear in mind that Satan had so worked upon man that Christ was cast out and rejected, and then the secret of God, the mystery, was divulged, which had been kept secret from the foundation of the world, even that Christ's body is on the earth. Hence as I pressed on a previous occasion, God cannot support anything which is not Christ: "Why persecutest thou ME?" This "ME" embraces all of Christ. In the place where Christ was refused, God cannot support anyone but Christ. You may say, There are the powers that be? Yes; God has ordained them "for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well". Hence when Christ rises from the Father's throne all who belong to Him will be gathered to Him. I have been speaking of enlightenment; when you are enlightened you understand something of the counsel of God, His great purpose in the church. I need not say that we have failed in maintaining it, but let me add that the familiar way in which we speak of this truth indicates that we do not really apprehend it. It is often said we are gathered on the ground of the one body. I understand what is meant by the expression; but I believe that if you apprehended the truth. you would see that not only are you bound together, a confederacy, but that you are of Christ .

I now turn to the scripture I have read for the third part,

THE REALISATION OF UNION.

I must dwell a little on this, because, though union is true of you all, yet without deep exercise you do not realise it. Take the type, Rebekah was conducted by the steward to Isaac. First, she is fit to go, not only because of her kindred but of her grace. Then she has to encounter family influence; they say, "Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten".

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It is not so much worldly interests as family interests which interfere with the realisation of union. The interest nearest to you is the one which most interposes. Many think that because family ties are in themselves right they will not be hindered by them. The steward said, "Hinder me not": and they said, "We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go". She overcomes the family hindrance, but she has not reached Isaac yet; she has to traverse the wilderness. Every step she takes nearer to Isaac is farther from family influence; it is experimental. You rise above all the things which would detain you here, and you are conducted by the Spirit of God to the place where Christ is, and you have a sense in your soul, a marvellous sense, of the place where Christ is. You not only know Him as Head, but you know that you are united to Him in the place where He is, a place in perfect keeping with Himself; as the Lord said to His disciples, "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father". You can sing:-

"The Spirit's power
Has ope'd the heavenly door,
And brought me to that favoured hour,
When toil shall all be o'er".

Here union is known. Each one must be conducted individually; it is experimental. You may rejoin, and it is perfectly true, Are not we all united? Yes. God has set each of us in the body as it hath pleased Him; 1 Corinthians 12. It is not when you know it that it is done; it was done before you knew it. But I lament that we are so little interested in this great position to which God has called us. The realisation of union takes place when you have reached Christ in the place where He is. If you enter the assembly, you join the Lord outside of men; He is disallowed of men but chosen of God. He is superior to all the power of evil. In

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the next step, you know Him as Head outside the world; you are over Jordan, but you are not yet consciously on heavenly ground. When you are consciously united to Christ in heaven where He is, you are on heavenly ground. It is profound. It is most blessed to join Him in the assembly outside of men; it is a wonderful moment to the soul when you find that here where He has been rejected He has a place, and in that place He is supreme; that is the assembly. Next you find that He who is supreme in the assembly is your Head. He is apart from every human voice: "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew" [the whole scene], but "Christ is everything and in all". You derive from Him. Next you are conducted to Him where He is. The Lord grant that you may believe it in your hearts; you must believe it first, and then look to be brought by the Spirit of God into conscious knowledge of union with Christ in the place where there is not a discordant note; "Thy pavilion", free from "the strife of tongues".

Now I come to part 4,

THE ENDOWMENT.

Ephesians 3:16: "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God". Here we have detailed the gain from union with Christ. I call it 'the endowment'. I am afraid the nature of it is little understood. But without the endowment, you could not be qualified to be here for Christ according to Himself; you may in many ways serve, but you are not in His confidence. In order to be in His confidence you require two

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things; one, to know His mind; the other to receive from Him ability to carry it out. How could you carry out His mind without His ability? How do you get this ability? Except you are united to the heavenly Man, you could not have His heavenly ability. Hence it is evident when you are in conscious knowledge of union with Christ, because if you are you receive 'the endowment'. The endowment is composed of three parts. The first is that "the Christ" dwells in your hearts by faith. Be on your guard as to the application of Scripture. I have read that Christ dwelling in your hearts by faith means that you are holy. The passage does not refer to your state; it refers to Christ's interests. As to yourself, Christ lives in you, He is formed in you. But when the Christ dwells in your hearts by faith, you enjoy the first gain from union with Christ. Your individuality is merged; it is now "the Christ" dwelling in your hearts by faith; if y