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Colossians 2

Two things are very evident in this scripture first that the apostle had a great conflict; and second, what that conflict was for. As the servant of God, Paul was answering to the mind of the Master, he was in conflict to meet the mind of the Master about the saints.

It was no easy thing; he would not have great conflict (agony) for a trifle. He was in prison, and His heart went out to them -- what for? See verse 2 - that they might have "the full assurance of understanding" in the mystery of God.

Note verse 4 -- "This I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words". There was no safety except in reaching this topmost point -- there is no safety save in being where the heart of Christ has set you. In Hebrews you go from earth to heaven; here you go from man to Christ, "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". "In vain the net is spread in the sight of anything which hath wings". If you are in Christ above, you are above the claims of things here that are snares.

Are saints' hearts comforted (verse 2) practically? They are sure of salvation, but the heart is never comforted until it lays hold of the Person of Christ. In any dispensation, whatever God gave, the great thing was to maintain the top; the highest point was the place of safety, and to forsake it was ruin - Satan always tries to take from us the best bit of truth. Now what are we set for? We have heard of the ruin, but have we lost Christ? Note two or three ways in which failure set in.

In the garden of Eden, what was attacked first? The word.

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Abraham: the first failure (Genesis 12:10) is that he goes out of the land. The land was the very point, it was that which God had given him and into which he was called.

Jacob: Genesis 33 -- Shechem and El-elohe-Israel. He is come back to the land, but he is appropriating blessings to himself. Does he go to the point that he had said was the very gate of heaven? He had got the name of Israel and he made Israel the object, but God says, Go to Bethel, and what is the result? He had to clear away all sorts of things. He wanted God to make him the object, instead of his making God the object.

There ought to be progress, always adding, as Peter says (2 Peter 1:5). People are satisfied to get among the brethren, and yet when there, instead of progress there is declension. At deathbeds, too, I find people resigned, and not a full and abundant entrance.

What brought Israel into captivity? The neglect to keep the sabbatical year (Leviticus 26:33 - 34; 2 Chronicles 36:21), the great witness of the care of God for them.

You must get your relationship to Christ as the first thing. In Revelation John shows us the bride, but she went up to heaven to be dressed -- a bride adorned for her husband. See, too, the series of Psalms 120 - 134, verse 2. They are songs of degrees or steps, progressing until we get to standing in the house. God always had a house, but there is another thing -- the body of Christ -- that must be the ultimate of my heart. In Psalm 120 I get away from the tents of Kedar.

That which is foremost in the mind of God must be the highest point with me -- do not let the thought come in that it is too high for you. Where did Daniel look, in spite of the lions' den? Where God's eyes

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and heart were -- he opened his window towards Jerusalem. Look, too, at Elijah's last day's walk, 30 miles; he went in company with the mind of God, and he did not skip Bethel either. Wherever there is a power, though it may appear dormant, there is always the desire to act on it.

In Luke 2 the Lord, when brought into the temple as a child, is greeted by Simeon and Anna. She was a sample of one who clung to the chief object of God's interest on earth. In Haggai, it was a right thing for Israel to dwell in ceiled houses, but their hearts were in them and not in the house of God. My interest in Christ and with Christ cannot fail; what we need is devotedness.

In John 20 He is greeted by one who is inconsolable without Him. I connect the affection displayed in her with that word, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". What outlived that dark tempestuous night when the Son of God was crucified? That woman's love. So you may look at ruins, but there is a bride, and she says, Come! Shall I not aim to be of the mind of Mary Magdalene? And mark the answer she gets; He does not tell her anything for herself, but He speaks to her about Himself and where He is going, and then bids her tell His brethren their relationship.

What though the carved work is broken down, there is a bride. It is not a candlestick coming forth but a bride. "Behold, the Bridegroom" (not "cometh") -- He is there.

You are complete in Him in verses 10, 11 and 12 of Colossians 2 -- He disposes of the man. I cannot better explain it than by a colonist, fearing to be deserted by his friends, burning the ship in which they came out -- thus man is gone, himself and his status.

The conflicts of the wilderness are about our own

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circumstances; the conflicts of Canaan are about God's circumstances. I fear some are not on God's battle ground.

Do not forget to go to the top -- nothing short of that will do!

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Isaiah 6:2; Corinthians 4:4

When man first encountered God after the fall, he said, "I was afraid ... and I hid myself". Now for the believer the place of the greatest fear is the place where I am most at home. We are as much out of judgment as Jesus is on the throne of God -- "As he is, so are we in this world"; "He that feareth is not made perfect in love". We cannot be in the presence of God in innocence, for we are guilty, so that we must be there in righteousness, and more at home there than anywhere else, and that place which used to repel now forms me into a likeness of itself. I am not tolerated there, I am at home, and where the distance was, there is now nearness and attraction.

Isaiah was a distinguished prophet having received the word and vision from God; but now he sees the Lord on His throne. Note that it is the year Uzziah died, -- the glory is not gone yet, but it is on the move. This man, distinguished as he is, what is his language? "Woe is me!" etc., -- he is filled with fear. I like to see a child afraid of the dark, there is nothing worse than no fear of God. Not only is he unclean, but undone. Look at Peter in Luke 5, he is an object of favour, and yet he says, "Depart front me", for he was in the presence of God. It was not one craving for mercy, but he had the sense of his unfitness for the presence of God. But mark, the place from whence the fear comes, the relief comes also. The Lord says, "Fear not". So with Isaiah -- "then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal"; not a jot of holiness is abated, it is a live coal; thus the relief comes from the place of fear.

Divine truth always leaves its impress on us, and

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so Isaiah having got, as it were, a base of operations, can say, "Here am I; send me". He is with Him that is above and consequently can go down to the lowest place of God's people uttering the words (verses 9 and 10) quoted both by the Lord and Paul.

There is a simple word that the lips utter -- "the just for the unjust", but mark, it is not merely to bring me from hell, but to bring us to God. The Lord says to the dying thief, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise". He would bring a man that the world had driven out of the world (not God, as with the first man) to paradise. God had sought to connect Himself with man in glory on the earth, so that Moses' face shone with the very impress -- a significant intimation that the glory would conform to itself.

In Ezekiel 1, man's wickedness had driven away the glory of God from the earth. As it was departing, the prophet sees, in verse 26, as the likeness of a man in it, -- that is, the bright amber spot. In Luke 2 the glory comes back; in verse 9, "the glory ... shone round about them". They were sore afraid, but the word is "Fear not" -- where there was unspeakable fear there is unspeakable rest; -- "Ye shall find the babe ... in a manger". There is the man in the glory, -- in Luke 9 He, as a man, is glorified on the holy mount, and a voice from the excellent glory proclaims, "My beloved Son". We have the Man there, but nothing about us yet. It is at that moment that Moses and Elias (the law and the prophets) speak of His decease. This glorified Man has to descend from that scene, for all turns on His death, as the law and the prophets witness.

In 2 Corinthians 3 we have two ministrations, -- one of condemnation and one of righteousness, and both come from the glory. God comes in a tempest, making a claim, and what is the answer? "There is none righteous, no, not one". We always avoid the

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person who has a claim on us, the effect of a claim was condemnation, and the claim, even of the glory on the face of Moses, was such that they could not bear to look on it, a glory that introduced law.

I do not want to mitigate the claim of a holy God. It is true we cannot meet it, it brings nothing but condemnation; but it is "that he might have mercy upon all".

Now look at the One who enters the earth in Luke 2the world could not contain the books that could be written of all He did, because everything He did was worthy of being recorded, and God glorified Him, that is what we see on the holy mount. He descends from the mount to die. Nothing shews me more how unfeeling I am, than when I speak of the cross. Ah! we are like sons who live on the means their father toiled to procure, without feeling it.

Look at Psalm 22 -- all the accumulation of evil pouring down on the head of the blessed One. I note seven things in that Psalm, from sin in verse 1 to the lion's mouth in verse 21. No one ever knew the extent of the offences against a holy God, but One, the Lord Jesus Christ. How do I know what sin means against God? Nothing can tell it but the cross. Nobody ever knew distance but the One who knew nearness; -- there are two things which only He knew, -- the sin of man and the heart of God. He is left, the solitary One, with all the force of sin and Satan on Him -- Oh, how unfeeling we are to walk about the earth with so little sense of the death of Christ; there is more feeling in people walking in a cemetery where a mother lies.

In Mark 5 He delivers the man who had the legion of demons from the power of Satan, the woman from the power of weakness, and the young daughter from the power of death. His word, His grace, His hand, accomplished them, He gave her His hand; but now it is not merely deliverance, but victory. He

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conquered "him that had the power of death".

In John 11 the Lord goes into our side of death; in chapter 12 He speaks of going into the place Himself on God's behalf. Look now at John 13, verses 31 and 32. "Now is the Son of man glorified". Where? On the holy mount? No, it is the One who propounded the law and fixed the penalty, who takes that penalty and maintains the inviolability -- God is glorified when paying the penalty. He is raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, and now I have a Man in the glory who bore my penalty, and it is a ministration of righteousness from the glory. I look up and see I have a Saviour where there was a law.

In Acts 26 we have a man doing everything wrong; not immoral, but going against the mind of God. In verse 13, "At midday", etc., and what was the effect? "We are all fallen to the earth". What now greets him from that glory? "I am Jesus ... rise, and stand upon thy feet" -- not condemnation. But it is now not that the glory looks down, but that I look up into it, and I say boldly, if it were possible to push a man into the glory, he would be saved, for he would find a Saviour there, nay the glory as a balance to his credit. Look too at the divine intelligence which shone into the heart of the poor woman, "If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole". If it were not for Christ I should be afraid to go about for fear of the devil, but His word casts him out. There is never any violence but he is there, therefore it is said, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil".

There is not evenness in the course until we have a mark; the effect on Isaiah is; "Send me". On Peter, he brought his ship to land and followed Him. People maintain dignity etc. because they have not a mark -- Christ in glory. It is not now God requiring of us, -- "If thou knewest the gift of God".

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Now I am not repulsed, but attracted -- nay, "changed into the same image" by "beholding". I get a taste, -- it is not conscience that is in question, but cultivation of taste through communion with what is blessed. Look at a rushlight and a wax candle together: the one helps the other and you cannot tell which gives the light.

There is not a particle of light that has reached any soul in this whole earth, but came from the glory; follow the history of that ray in your own soul; trace it, eagle-like, up to its source. This is an immense comfort. People may preach, but if light breaks in, it is the glory in the face of Jesus, who paid my debt and satisfied the glory. It is not now compulsion, but that I am afraid to do this or that, -- to read such a book, to talk politics, -- lest I should lose my enjoyment in Christ. To Paul, Ananias said, Receive thy sight, and he filled with the Holy Spirit, as much as to say, If you open your eyes again on this world let it be in company with the Holy Spirit. Christ satisfies the heart; you may say, 'I have not entered into it;' but if the Lord has lighted a light in your heart it came from the glory, and you follow it up to the source whence it came.

We are left to commemorate death. No saint of old ever did that. Oh, retire into your privacy and rejoice that you have a Saviour and not a law! and that you have boldness to find your place in that scene of unbroken delights where Christ is!

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John 4:14

There is a verse in Romans 8 of great importance: "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live", How little we make the Spirit of God our Guide and Ruler, and hence we get caught in the trammels of the flesh. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit".

Look around and at yourself. Can you say, 'I never thirst?' Do you consider all that is around you as a cottage, but that you are living in a mansion? As I walk down the street and see a book or a dress -- well, I do not want it, for I have everything in my mansion. It is not enough to say, I cannot afford it -- that is the wrong way of looking at things. I have, so to speak, two hearts, a little one and a large one, my own and God's. Which do I consult? We often talk of our weakness; why do we not speak of God's grace? Weakness does not hinder its action, perverseness does. I ask myself, or I am asked, Do you not want that thing? Not when I am in the mansion.

The fourth chapter of John stands in opposition to the second. It was a joyous occasion in the latter chapter. When the Lord comes in to the marriage feast He is met with this, "They have no wine"; but in chapter 4 we read, "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up". If a christian does not know this he goes back for his enjoyments to himself. In chapter 2 there was the marriage and the temple. At the marriage there was no wine, and the temple instead of producing worshippers produced merchants. In chapter 4 the Lord is speaking of the Spirit of God. If you feel the misery of the cottage, go into the mansion.

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If you have the Holy Spirit in one way -- a well of water springing up -- you will have Him in all ways, though you may not have exercised yourself in them. In chapter 4 it was yourself, and the Holy Spirit makes you superior to yourself as Stephen was. If you have a restless night, are you superior to it or under it?

But in Chapter 7: 37 - 39 it is not the man but this earth. It was the feast of tabernacles -- the witness of how God made man an object of consideration on the earth. Is it the time for that now? No. There were ten thousand with Gideon at first, but nine thousand and seven hundred went back, though neither fearful nor afraid. They were tried by a mercy: a mercy tests your weakness -- a trial your strength.

Jesus was not yet glorified; but now that the Holy Spirit has come it is not a question of blessing flowing into man from the earth, but rivers of living water were to flow out. Instead of the earth contributing to believers they contribute to it. Jesus has now been glorified, but what is this earth but the death-place of Christ?

We have not only to be above ourselves but above the earth. Are you looking to the earth or to Christ? The great failure with us is likeness to Noah. The earth was made favourable to him, and he himself was in favour. So are we, but he planted a vineyard and got drunk.

You have perhaps a flower garden, and something comes in to spoil it, and you lose your temper. Like Noah you have lost your senses.

In John 14:26 we find that we have an enormous possession -- One that is to fill up the void made by the absence of Christ. See how little comfort saints have -- how little joy in Christ. This chapter is not meant for those going to die, but for people living on the earth.

The Holy Spirit makes up for the absence of

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Christ. He recalls all that Christ spoke of down here, In John 15:26,27 the same Holy Spirit is a power on the earth to testify of Christ. Do you believe it? We speak of our testimony, but do you believe that there is an invisible power for testimony on this earth?

There are three powers on the earth -- Satan's, man's, and that of the Holy Spirit. God put the sword into man's hand and then gave him the law, and he used both to kill His Son.

Can we use those powers now? Christendom has done so from the time of Constantine. There is a new power on the earth, the Holy Spirit. The world is dressing Babylon till the kings burn her -- that is the end of the harlot. She does not become a harlot until the pearl is carried out of it.

We are weak, but we must never use weakness as an excuse for weakness. There is an unseen power, but real to faith.

Paul goes to Philippi. A man appears to him in a vision to call him there. A woman is converted and not a man. Then Satan seeks to help with a woman until Paul, grieved in spirit, casts out the spirit of Python. Satan then raises opposition and Paul is cast into prison, and then he finds the man. There is a power acting in testimony.

The world is now convicted, because the Holy Spirit is here. The world is, as it were, in the dock and the Holy Spirit in the witness-box. We must be in one place or the other. Most christian people try to have a foot in each. Do we know the fellowship of the Holy Spirit? He reveals Christ.

Christ's body is the great interest of God upon the earth, and gifts are for the edification of the body. In testimony it is not so much what we say as the interest with which we say it.

We should remember that in seeking souls there are vacancies in the heart of Christ; and thus if souls are converted they will be brought to Christ.

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Matthew 25:1 - 10; Revelation 22:16, 17

This scripture describes the state of things to which the kingdom will come. The "kingdom of heaven" means that the rule of God upon earth is of a heavenly character. It is a closing scene and not the normal state, and this state was brought about by chapter 24: 48; the servant said in his heart, -- he did not preach it -- "My lord delayeth his coming".

Luke 12 describes the normal state, and is addressed to Jews. It diverts them from all earthly expectations, and so to speak breaks the entail. In chapter 11 "the light of the body is the eye" and they needed a single eye; and now in chapter 12 they need have no fear nor care and therefore they were to be as men waiting for their Lord. If you have no fear you come to Him; no care, you are occupied with Him. They were to be waiting for their Lord, giving light for Him. The body was lightsome, (chapter 11: verses 34 and 36), giving light where He was not, like the moon deriving light from an absent sun.

Christ was driven away, and we ought to be like the One that was driven away, and not like those who drove Him away. We do not get any of our blessings perfected until He comes back, and we cannot coalesce with those who drove Him away. Now the wicked servant said: "My lord delayeth his coming", and then went down and mixed with the people that drove Him away. Remember your body is the member of Christ, -- mind what you do with it, how you dress it, -- the body is the light.

They all slumbered and slept, and how are they revived? Revival does not mean what it is often used to express. Revival implies that there was life before. Now look at the manner of revival -- it is not warnings

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and threatenings -- they could not be told from dead people. An actual thing occurs to bring about this revival, not a doctrine preached. A cry was made. There must be oil in the vessel, the Holy Spirit there in order to receive the cry -- therefore it is said, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". It is not enough to receive the doctrine, but to hear the cry, "Behold, the bridegroom" -- He is there.

Ephesus is alluded to four times in Scripture. In Acts 20 it is addressed as the flock (verse 28). In the epistle to the Ephesians the subject is the body; in Timothy, the servant; in Revelation 2, the candlestick. Two evils spring up in Ephesus -- Popery, in 1 Timothy 4, and Radicalism in 1 Timothy 6.

Now see whether you have the cry -- He is there; that brings the heart in. Business etc. is not that which hinders, but the loitering after business is done. After business a man wants to get home to his wife and children, affection draws him. Do you want to get to Him? The testimony is not now to "the church", but that He is coming. How would you all feel, if a messenger came and said 'The Lord is here'? Would you be looking for something you left behind? Affection will survive the ruin of the candlestick. I am not looking for a revived church, but for a people who expect the Bridegroom.

John 21 speaks of the disciple whom Jesus loved and who leant on His breast -- he was the one who was to tarry till the Lord came, and it was a tradition to the second or third century that John was alive. He did live to get the finale in the Book of Revelation -- he gets this new thing. The truth of the coming of the Lord is not new, but the cry is new, "Go ye out to meet him". If I am not expecting a friend, I want a telegram to say he is coming; that is what is in this cry.

In John 20 we have the commencement of bridal affection in Mary Magdalene -- after, the Lord speaks

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peace in the midst of His disciples; but we see Him in Revelation 1 in the midst of the candlesticks with eyes as a flame of fire, and in the end of the book He is the bright and morning star; the night is dark, but the Lord awakens the heart to His coming by giving in the darkest state such a word as chapter 2: 28, "I will give him the morning star". To Philadelphia He says, "I come quickly". Peter speaks of the morning star dawning in your heart, but the Lord says "I will give". In Laodicea He stands and knocks, but in chapter 22, where He proclaims, "I am ... the bright and morning star", it is affectionate relationship that says "Come". This spirit begins in Mary Magdalene, and it will not be worse at the close.

In the end of the book the bride is saying "Come!" There are two actions connected with the bride -- personal affection to Christ, and inviting thirsty souls. She is bridal and evangelistic -- she is occupied with the heart of Christ and because of that she is evangelistic, but this latter must not be put first. People make salvation everything, and not the body; they find the piece of silver but don't put it with the other nine.

James speaks of the relief and Peter of the advantage of the Lord's coming, but Paul of the "Lord himself". John is Enoch intensified -- he takes care of the earth.

There are three characteristics of the bride -- satisfaction, sanctification and service. We see the first exemplified in Mary Magdalene, John 20:17. She is inconsolable without the Lord. Her heart is not merely won but satisfied with Him. The heart is won in humiliation as in chapter 11, now it is union and association with Christ where He is and He tells Mary where He will be -- that is what we want to know to draw our affections out; the heart only gets satisfied by union with Christ where He is. A dark

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day or a bright day, what matters if I am united to Him. All the Lord has to do to produce this is to make the cry ring in your hearts -- He could do it tonight so that you should say "Come!"

When we see the bride coming down out of heaven it is not then saying "Come", but it is adornment -- a bride adorned for her husband -- that is the second characteristic; she who had failed as a candlestick on earth has been robed in heaven and comes down to earth to reflect Him. Psalm 45 shows us the ornaments -- the suitability for Christ in the bride. There are two marks: first separation from what is without, and what she is personally. Sanctification answers to it in the New Testament -- "That He might sanctify and cleanse it". Washing has to do with defilement; sanctification brings to God; there is sanctification through the word, and the Father's sanctification through circumstances. The word brings me into what is suitable to Christ.

Do you not now see many things to be wrong that you did not some time ago? If not, you are not progressing. Are you breaking from things here? "Forget ... thy father's house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty". Christ desires our sanctification. Do not say you have sanctification unless you are as separate from things here as Christ is in heaven; Christ says, If you keep my words I will walk with you. We want to study suitability; we must break with our own people to be beautiful for Christ. We often close the front door to the world and open the side door to relations. Do you say, I desire to have beauty for Christ?

Secondly, the person is glorious: "wrought gold", that is divine righteousness; "raiment of needlework", not woven, but careful work, stitch by stitch.

Thirdly, service. People are often trying to serve before they are settled for Christ. In Proverbs 31 we have the wise woman occupied with the interests of

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her lord -- "the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her". He can trust her, He wants nothing more, "he shall have no need of spoil" -- neither hunting nor war. Paul says, "He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry". What a wonderful thing to be a friend of Christ!

Well, we can be true to Christ, though the candlestick has failed. The great point is to know that we are united to Christ. Proverbs 31 is a wonderful chapter, for the Lord does nothing and the wise woman does all, and her lord gets the credit. So now, as it were, the Lord does nothing and we do everything, and yet we can do nothing without Him, and He does nothing without us. The two great subjects of the wise woman's service are necessary -- food and raiment.

Now, having these three characteristics, what should be our attitude but to stand and say "Come!"

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Psalms 32; Job 42; 2 Samuel 7; 1 Kings 10

I desire to present the subject of confidence towards God in four aspects. Psalm 32 shews how the heart turns to God. Here, we may say, it is the first order of confidence, that of the sinner. The person who understands grace best is the person who confesses his sins best. It is the non-understanding of grace that makes a person timid to confess his sins. There would have been no necessity for grace if there had not been righteousness. Grace reigns through righteousness. The first thing the psalm insists upon is the completeness of grace. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven", etc. The Lord clears you altogether. The thief on the cross is a perfect blank, so he is a perfect example of grace. He has no past, he is a thief; no present, he is on the cross; and no future, he has nothing to expect from God or man, therefore he must be a recipient. He cannot dictate terms. Grace proposes a new Person and a new place. "This man hath done nothing amiss", and the Lord says to him, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise". He exchanges his own- condition as a man for Christ's. God's righteousness places him in the highest place, in the presence of God, that's what God has done for a man entitled to nothing -- unrighteous -- a perfect blank as to his past, present and future. A person who has nothing must not in anywise modify what grace puts upon him, else he goes back to the blank. Grace proposes a thing to him, he is entitled to nothing but judgment; grace comes in and clears him entirely, and now he must be essentially subject to what grace proposes, namely, he cannot take a lower person than the Person of Jesus, nor a lower place than the paradise of God.

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Grace says, 'Everything on your side is gone, and now I will act as I like'. The thief on the cross does propose modified terms; Christ meets him with, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise". "I can now do with you as I like". You cannot have this too clearly, that everything has been blotted out by the blood of Christ, and now He will write on your heart a new order of things. Scripture presents the effect, you learn what grace is, you have nothing to keep up, and the effect is that in your spirit there is no guile.

The woman in John 4 is afraid in the morning to face the men; in the afternoon she has seen the Lord, and she has nothing to cover now, for in her spirit there is no guile. They may say what they like now, all is out, God has cleared it away, and you cannot make more of it than God does. I am prepared to incur reproach. We have to bear it, and if we have failed in unconverted days we cannot get rid of the marks until the judgment-seat of Christ. But then grace has come in and cleared it all off and put us on an entirely new ground before God. But supposing you have failed again, you are astonished to find you do wrong and that you are a failing person. You ought not to do wrong, but "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Again, you find you have sin in you and you feel it ought not to be there. What do you do? In one sense I am not sorry when people are in Romans 7. I wish more people had been there. You may try to cloak or excuse yourself when you fail, if you have a tender conscience, and say, "it was so-and-so", but that is not confession, and it is not for blessing to excuse yourself. You are not to wait for the law to find you out, you are to tell on yourself. I stand before God against myself, and the better I tell out the things, the clearer I get discharged. Why are so many christians

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unhappy? I have no doubt because they have never made a clean breast to the Lord of their condition. He has turned over a new page in the ledger. The more fully I confess it, the more I enter into the enormity of the thing in His presence, and instead of its leading to recurrence, if you confess to God and know what it is to be in the consciousness of His solemn presence, you have a horror of that sin you have not of others. You have seen it as He sees it. Hence the scripture says, "Godly sorrow worketh repentance". I never saw a person so hardened that he was not sorry that he had done the thing, but repentance is that I repudiate the principle that does it, not that I regret the tarnish on myself and am sorry that I made so little of myself, but I repudiate the thing as before God.

A child will cry and beg your pardon, but he will not tell you why he broke the window -- that he was in temper; he will not deny the deed, but he will hide the motive. Confessing the motive, that is repentance. In this psalm he says, "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long". He is all withered up. That person is in an unhappy state. I will tell you why, because he has not made a clean breast of his state. Grace reigns through righteousness. "I said, I will confess my transgressions", etc. I know One who the moment I come meets me, when no other eye could pity; to Him you disclose your motive, your intentions, your little spiteful ways, and the like.

Where is there one to whom you can disclose all the ramifications of the evil that is working in you? Your dearest friend breaks off when it becomes too personal -- we are afraid to make little of ourselves. Oh, it is a moment of unspeakable blessing when I find out how degraded I am, but that there is One to whom I can tell it all, to whom I can unfold the whole secret workings of my evil heart, who will

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meet me, and who says, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us". 'I not only forgive you, so to speak, for soiling your dress, but I will put a clean one on you so that neither you nor I shall see the soil, it is no longer to be a trouble to you as a thing standing between you and me'. I do not at all deny that we bear the marks of our folly all the journey through. It is said to David, "now therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house". It is not that he did not go on with God. The more I understand the love the more I insist on the righteousness, because His righteousness is the security for the permanency of His love. In the epistle of John we get love and righteousness, in the Hebrews grace and sanctification. The effect produced upon me is there is no one else to look to. Jonah is brought to this point, "I will look again toward thy holy temple".

In Psalm 107 there is every variety of distress, but you can never be too low down to cry to the Lord, and He will hear you. There is a great lack of this confidence.

The second aspect of confidence (Job 42) has to do with condition. Condition and conduct are most difficult to explain, for people think of their condition by their conduct. Here it was not conduct at all. Job's conduct was excellent. It is a wonderful thing for a person whose conduct is excellent to get the sense, "I abhor myself". Many a person does when his conduct is bad, but this is an experience of a different kind altogether. Job was a perfect example, "none like him on the earth". Satan was on one side, God on the other, and Job in the middle. He was depending entirely upon God's gifts, and God says, 'Take everything from him'. He is deprived of his property, bereaved of his family, and he loses his health -- three things which reduce a man to a spectacle of misery. He first loses

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the things he could enjoy, and then he loses the power of enjoyment. Job's trial is that God does not interfere on his behalf. If you only hear of the love of God, and have not been taught what the wretchedness of man is, you will be liable to the same thing and will always be expecting that God will do something for you in your own sphere. The higher the sense of your elevation in Christ the greater will be your sense of your moral degradation in the flesh. Paul had a higher elevation than any other man, and he had a deeper sense in himself of the moral degradation of man.

Job is brought to this, "Now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself". Every christian is suffering either from disappointments or obstacles. Disappointments come when you are like a fly in honey, you will not go on, and obstacles when you cannot go on. Jacob's life was all disappointments, and Joseph's was all hindrances. I know of no experience I covet more than "I abhor myself"; it is not that 'I am vile'. Every christian says that he is vile; I never heard of one that did not, but this is a different experience altogether. If you abhor yourself, would you expect love, health, or favours? Not a bit of it! I assure you the fact is that you would be surprised at the favours of God. I used to be terribly disappointed that God did not do this thing and that for me; now I am positively surprised at His mercies. Job will have such a sense of his unfitness for God, that he will expect not one single thing; he will walk out of it like a man would walk out of his clothes when he has had the pestilence! And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends; then he had confidence in God about other people. If you are nobody, then God must be everything; you are nobody, very well! Then you do not want anything for yourself. What had troubled

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Job was that he wondered God did not demonstrate His interest about him.

The first thing when you get into Canaan (heavenly ground) is circumcision, is that I have no mind of my own; I have God's mind, not my own. There is a principle that would go counter to Gods will; then I must have the Spirit of God, or the flesh will carry the day. "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better". Man likes the old best.

God does not grudge a man anything. He gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Now I turn to 2 Samuel 7. The first two scriptures are connected with ourselves, the second two with God. It is what God thinks about me. The Lord propounds it in the parable of the prodigal son, what the father feels for the prodigal. Every one of us takes his place in nearness to God just in proportion as we know how He feels about us. Confidence, I need not explain to you, is when I act on the feelings of another about me. I knock at the door, or perhaps I do not knock, but turn the handle and go in; to another I do not go in unless he asks me. Presumption would be acting on my own feelings. Confidence is a greater thing than devotion. Every one knows, who knows anything, that a mother would rather the child would say, 'Mother, I believe you would give all the world for me', than, 'I would give all the world for you', unless she was a bad mother. I give God credit for what exists in His heart; I am answering to his feelings about me. That is what David did when He went in and sat before the Lord. When I know what He feels about me, I am not acting on my own thoughts or views, but on His.

The fourth confidence (1 Kings 10) is not the confidence of a servant merely, but what every saint ought to know. The queen of Sheba is presented to

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us as one who came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. In 1 Corinthians the old man was not looked upon by the saints as an intruder, so the apostle corrects this want of sense by bringing in Christ as wisdom. The queen of Sheba came all the long journey, and now a greater than Solomon is here.

It is not only a person loves me, or that they confide in me, but I want wisdom. I know my children love me, but I am not so sure of their wisdom. If you make a person your confidant who has not wisdom, you have committed yourself where you will be badly handled.

I want a sense of His unparalleled greatness as the wisdom of God. The queen of Sheba communed with Solomon of all that was in her heart. I often say, give Christ the key. There is not a thought hidden, it is the sense of what He is to me in His individual greatness. In Jonah we have the aspect of Christ in His death, in Solomon His wisdom; eye hath not seen it, ear hath not heard it. There is to be nothing hidden, it is an action of extreme importance to our hearts; you let Him see all. It is not going to Him for answers, but you confide to Him the whole of your heart, you have such a sense of what His wisdom is that you give Him the master key. No matter how peculiar the locks may be, the master key will open them all. You cannot make a person your confidant unless you know he has wisdom, and you make him your master.

What makes me proof against the man of evil and the woman of flattery? Wisdom! You must get the higher thing to be proof against the lower. He shews me the path of life, which the vulture's eye hath not seen. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. The effect on the queen of Sheba was that she was entirely occupied with the things that concern Solomon. She had everything which the world could

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give, or attract her with -- camels, gold, precious stones -- all that could minister to these poor hearts, but she is brought into a scene that surpasses it all. It was the personalities of Solomon that impressed her, every little thing belonging to him, and she loses consciousness of her own condition in an ecstasy as to him. Your proper element is a transport, an ecstasy with God, it is the highest order of enjoyment, not enthusiasm, nor by fits and starts, but always. To man I am sober, to God I am beside myself.

Paul in the third heaven was collected about everything but his connection with man, "Whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell".

I have no doubt the reason why there are so few queens of Sheba is because saints will not take the trouble she did. People often think it a great trouble to go a few miles by rail. Did you ever lose anything -- a night or a day -- to seek Christ? She put herself to extraordinary inconvenience to see Solomon. May the Lord lead our hearts practically, beloved, to understand what a christian's life is.

It is not a melancholy life if I can live in an ecstasy. If I can get conversant with the things that concern my Lord, with the scene where He is, my heart is in an ecstasy, no more spirit but for praise, 'My soul is all transported'.

The Lord lead our hearts, beloved friends, to see that whether we take the lowest point of our own ruin and shame, or come to the highest point -- Christ, the King of Glory -- self is lost. Having to do with Him, I go on to Hun, and as I do, my heart is set free, I have lost myself in delighting in the true Solomon.

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Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 12:1 - 4; Hebrews 13:10 - 14

In these three scriptures the Lord is presented to us in three different ways, and I take them in their order. The first as connected with worship, the second with the race, and the third more with service, going outside the religious thing on earth.

First, in chapter 10 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". In the preceding chapter we read "Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us".

The great point in Hebrews is to connect us while on earth with heaven. There are two things you have to learn practically; one is, that you have to break with the man that is here, and with the place where he is; and the other, that you have to do with a Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, in another place, in heaven where He is. He is not here, for if He were on earth He would not be a Priest, and it is clear that He is a Priest and that He appears in the presence of God for us. It is true we do not get union with Christ in Hebrews, but the apostle pre-supposes it. Let us go back to the Acts of the Apostles and see how the truth is developed there.

At the end of Acts 7 Christ in glory offering to return is refused, not only was He crucified, but now in glory He is refused. They had said "This is the heir; come let us kill him". but here they are refusing Him from glory; and, moreover, it is the religious council who refuse Him in the person of Stephen. It is as if the twelve judges of the land were

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solemnly to decide "We will not have this man to reign over us", for it was not the mob who decided against Stephen, all the power and dignity of the nation decided against him. And then a new and distinct energy of the Spirit of God comes out. Stephen being full of the Holy Spirit looks up steadfastly into heaven and sees the glory of God and Jesus. Now this is what you must practically learn in order to be able to run the race; for, if you have not your place with Christ where He is, you cannot run for Him here. Many try to run, and fail, because they have not, so to speak, the mettle, the ability to run, but when you know it you can run -- you can be a witness, you are as a giant refreshed with wine, rejoicing as a strong man to run a race. There must be strength and condition in order to run the race here, and you must get that first; in fact, you must be a worshipper before you can be a racer or a witness, just as Hebrews 10 comes before Hebrews 12. In Acts 7 we see how it comes out. The doctrine of union with Christ is held by many who are not consciously associated with Him. The real hindrance is that they are still linked to the earth, for a wife, though united to her husband, would lose his associations if she were not in the same place as her husband. The thing I have to learn is that we are not only united to Christ, but we are united to Him in the place where He is.

This is to me the grand significance of the Lord's word 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", in a word, where I shall be! She had said, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". And the Lord meets her, and says 'I will tell you where I will be, and you go and tell my brethren, those who are now of the same stock as myself'. He is bringing us into that wonderful relationship with

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God which He Himself has. He never had brethren before, for "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit". -- many of the same order.

Though the Lord is gone away, He not only imparts to me what my condition requires, but also shares with me through the Spirit His position in heaven. In John 20 it is the inauguration, the beginning of the creation of God, and it is entirely new. He does not wait for the six days of the week before all will be finished. It is now, the first day of the week. All is coming forth in the sublime grandeur of the new Man, who has broken the power of death, and now will introduce His beloved ones on earth into the knowledge of what He can do for them in their condition, and share with them His condition in heaven.

Man has committed two great crimes. One is, that he has given up confidence in God for self-reliance, dependence on his own powers; that was the beginning of evil. The serpent in the garden of Eden assailed the word of God. He said to Eve, It is better to trust to yourself than the word of God, and she put forth her hand and took the fruit. Self-reliance is preferred to confidence in God. Sin entered, and death by sin; but Christ is risen out from the dead, and become in resurrection the Head of a new creation. Man is lost, but God sent His own Son into the world, "made of a woman, made under the law ... that we might receive the adoption of sons;" and He was refused by them. Now this is the second crime. God gave man a law, and the Jew said "by our law he ought to die". God gave man a sword, now in the hands of the Roman power; the Jew said "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death", so they handed Him over to the gentiles to

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put Him to death, so that both the law of God and the sword were used against Him.

Now there is not one of you who will not own that he is guilty of the first crime. But what about the other crime, -- that you are connected with the man on the earth that refused Christ a place here? God, in His wonderful, unaccountable mercy, comes out in grace to forgive you your sins, setting forth His own Son to be a propitiation through faith in His blood; and, more, He says, as it were, 'You would not give Him a place on earth, but I will turn even that to your benefit, and you shall share with Him His place in heaven'. You cannot accept the place in heaven and not suffer from His rejection here.

Thus, through grace, there are two great facts; one, I have done with the man on earth that ruined me, and I am united to the Man in heaven -- my Saviour. Just think of the thief on the cross getting hold of that Man. You remember his prayer; "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom" The Lord replies, I will take you into My place now. "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise" What could the thief do? If he looked back he could only say, I have been a thief, now I am powerless, nailed to this gibbet, and the future is judgment. But by faith he sees the One who had done nothing amiss. Faith is that moral power which diverts you from the ruined thing, and occupies you with that which satisfies the holiness of God. The ruin in the garden of Eden is reversed at the cross. There, man was in the most wonderful earthly circumstances, but Satan comes in and induces him to prefer self-reliance to the word of God. Then, in the most deplorable circumstances, the Son of God comes here to win back the wretched heart of the thief. "This man hath done nothing amiss", It is a wonderful thing for a poor sinner to see by faith a Man

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who is thoroughly holy. Well, I want to get away not only from the man on whose account Christ died, but from the place where He was put to death. In Acts 7, Stephen being full of the Holy Spirit looked up steadfastly into heaven and he saw the glory of God and Jesus. That indicates that it is all over here, and, when it is so, I have nowhere to look but to heaven. As Elijah said to Elisha, "If thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so to thee; but if not, it shall not be so". There is no power now without this, for all is gone here, and all help must come from heaven. Again, if my heart has been won by Christ, I want to be with Him where He is. As in John 14, the Lord is going away, and it will be all trouble and nothing here to comfort the heart of the one who belongs to Christ; but faith follows Him, and the Holy Spirit comes down to comfort us.

Every saint is troubled here, and some are praying to God to change their circumstances, others that they may be resigned in them, but in neither case are they comforted, because neither have found out the comfort, which is independent of all circumstances; they have not found out the value of the words, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me".

Directly I speak of faith, I have done with visible things. The moment the Lord was ascended, the place was prepared.

First and foremost the Lord says, I will prepare you for the race, for you will have a sore time of it here. So Stephen looks up and then is able to come forth and run his course here: a faithful witness, he is perfectly superior to his circumstances, and moreover, able to act in them. He hands over his own spirit to the Lord, and then prays for his murderers. "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep". Nothing can be more marvellous.

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Hebrews 10 describes the manner and the place of blessing. "Boldness to enter into the holiest", When we come to the race, it is "patience" not "boldness". Now I ask you where is the Lord Jesus Christ? He has entered into heaven itself. The tabernacle was given to Israel for the wilderness, but what is given to us for the wilderness is heaven, and therefore we read, "Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself". We are united to Him there. This is elementary but it is an immense fact, and one which determines your whole course on earth. You are to walk here according to the fashion of the Man, your Saviour, who has won your heart and has drawn you right away from the place where man is, by carrying your heart up with Him to heaven, there to learn divine associations. You are greater than the psalmist in the sanctuary. Outside he could not understand anything; but, when he goes in, his words are "then understood I their end". Everything is different. There you see the Lord at the head of everything.

The first thing God told Moses to make was the ark of the covenant, to be set in the holiest, but the Jew never reached it. The high priest went in once a year, but because of failure did not wear the garments of glory and beauty. But now the saint is an emancipated person, able to enter into that most magnificent scene, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, through the veil, that is, His flesh; and you have all the activities of His heart to sustain you in that incomparable scene.

The ark of the covenant is the very first thing presented to a sinner. The word "propitiation", in Romans 3:25, is the mercy seat. It is the first thing with God, but the last thing man can get to; Jesus brings it about so that it is our first enjoyment. Now, most people are like Jews expecting something

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from heaven, and the measure of their comfort is their experience. They use the figure of a ladder reaching up to heaven, and hence they can never be sure of it until they get to the top. They like to sing --

'Could we but climb where Moses stood,
And view the landscape o'er'.

But really the ladder comes from heaven, you are heavenly on the first round of it. Where are you now? "Boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus", and he adds, "by a new and living way". I know it is all right, because He who came from God has gone back again, having finished the work given Him to do -- so that He who measured my distance is the One who is the measure of my nearness. It is not only that I am saved by the blood. Every saint is saved by His blood, but all that is connected with man is entirely set aside, so that you have exclusively to do with Christ in the holiest. You start with another Man and that where He is in the holiest of all. He came to bear what was on us: now, through grace, you are connected with the Man who "hath done nothing amiss". You start with a spotless Man.

Nothing preserves you like knowing the fact that Christ is in the Holiest of all. When you get near Him, the secrets of your heart are made manifest. I would you had a deeper sense of the holiness of God. The woman of Samaria said, He "told me all things that ever I did". Nothing gives you more the sense of what God is, than that He discovers what you have been trying to hide from yourself, and if you are near Him He will. He is light, and that is light which doth make manifest.

But young believers say, "If you ask us to give up the world, what do you give us in return?" Well, I offer you the most perfect delight, that ever was

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known to the heart, in that scene where God's love is made known to you in its delight, where He says "Let us eat, and be merry". I would the saints knew more what divine joy is, for then they would find it incomparably superior to any other.

Before touching on the race, I go back to the Acts of the apostles to mark the history. If Christ has been refused on earth, what is the next step? In chapter 8 Philip is sent down from Samaria to Gaza, which is desert. It is not now the queen of Sheba coming to Solomon, it is the servant of God sent to a eunuch -- one reduced in circumstances and condition -- returning from Jerusalem. The scripture which he read was this, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer ... his life is taken from the earth". That is the point. Philip began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus. In the beginning of Mark's gospel the grace of Jesus reaching out to the need of man is presented. He is evangelised to us then in chapter 2. He says "The days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days". No language could be plainer. The Lord had cast out the unclean spirit; He had subdued fever, cleansed the leper, and healed the palsied man. Levi follows as the witness of all His power, and now He adds, "When the bridegroom shall be taken ... then shall they fast". I want you to see that if you have to do with the Lord in the scene where He is you have to walk in a scene where He is not, and there you must fast. That brings us to the race, and what comforts my heart in it is having to do with Him where He is. Supposing you had a room which contained everything to satisfy your heart, would you not like to go to that room? Well, that is the holiest where He sustains you.

It is not merely "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall

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not want". That only states that the supply is equal to the demand, but there is much more, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures", and again, "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee". Nothing there but praise. The next verse is "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well: the rain also filleth the pools". The valley of Baca is a different place from the house of God. Are you acquainted with it? Are you dwelling in the house? That is the place for the heart!

In Hebrews 12 we find what the race is, You have the race-course in the place where your Saviour is not, and you have a resting-place for your spirit and heart where your Saviour is. Settle those two points and see how they will work. It will not do for you to be merely in the racing-field. The posts mark off the race-course and I want you to be in it, for I believe many are on the racing-ground and not in the race-course. Faith is the steed, so to speak, the power, the only power by which you can run. When Abraham was called out he had to break away from the things that would have most influenced him, his country, his kindred, and his father's house. So it is with us practically. What is nearest to us binds us most, and must be cut first. This was the call, he must depend on the word of God only. A dog follows his master by the scent; if he loses it he has no clue as to where his master has gone. Thus the word of God is the only guide to faith. Abraham "went out, not knowing whither he went".

He was come into "the land that I will show thee". It is an immense principle, that now all is faith. To be in the happiest conceivable circumstances will not keep you in the course. There are two posts, and the race can only be run within them; one is what is on your back; and the other is what is in your heart; the

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one is outside, and the other inside. You must lay aside "every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us". I ask you, Are you running with patience the race that is set before you? Have you fellowship with His sufferings? Supposing I had a dearly loved friend in America, but when I go there I find he is gone, would I not like to walk in the very place where he was, and have only the same friends? Now, the blessed Lord made a path all through this scene. You cannot conceive any circumstances of need that a man could be in, with which He did not make Himself familiar. He was a Nazarite from His youth. He entered not into the joys of man, yet He "teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight". Do you consider "Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself?" Have you "resisted unto blood, striving against sin?" "The sin which doth so easily beset us" is not any particular sin; it is yourself, what is inside. The great effort of Satan is to induce you to allow some earthly thing to turn your attention from Christ where He is. If your hearts were happy in Christ outside this scene, you would not want anything of earth. "The bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast". Are you going to promote enjoyment here? We "ought always to pray, and not to faint". Prayer is the expression of dependence, but I don't believe there is any real prayer without fasting, and the absence of it is the secret of the little we gain from prayer. Some one will say, "What do you mean by fasting; are you not getting legal?" Not at all, but my heart is so happy with the One that is in the brightness of the Father's presence, that, while I have to walk here, where He is not, I refuse to give countenance or encouragement to that for which Christ died. "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh

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hath ceased from sin", Would you minister to the flesh? You have to be here as Christ was, you have to look off unto a Person "Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame".

He went through the greatest suffering to maintain the truth of God upon earth. Such a path must be yours if you are actually maintaining that to which God has called you, but if you don't know the joy you cannot do it, you are not as a strong man rejoicing to run a race. There is an array of witnesses in chapter 11, "of whom the world was not worthy". They were maintaining the truth of God, cost them what it might. "Ye ... took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance". I am speaking now of what would practically be the effect of the race. It is going on in faith, no matter what it costs, for the truth of God must be maintained. I see people checked and hindered in the path of faith by different things. One time it may be attractions, and another time afflictions; but, whatever it is, it turns you from the race, and hinders you from walking as He walked on earth.

There were two things in the wilderness (Exodus 16 and 17 comprise the wilderness journey), one, the manna; and the other, that they had to overcome Amalek. To acquire the Man that is not here and to fight Amalek here -- take that as the principle or rule of your daily course. Well, I begin the day with the sense that the Bridegroom has been taken away and there is nothing for me here, and I learn that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for me, whatever may come. You cannot store up experience, because you never get a chance of the same thing again.

I am far from objecting to reading and prayer in the morning, but gathering the manna is more, it is

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the sense in your soul, as you start for the day that you have that which is adequate for all the exigencies of the day. Look at the Syrophenician woman. The power is Christ. You get power over the evil in the presence of God. You take the place of nobody, and you get the crumbs, abundance of blessing.

The manna was to be gathered for the day's use before the sun was up. Your heart should be stored with the sufficiency of Christ for everything you will have to meet through the day, before the demands are made on you; as I might say you have not to go to the baker's shop to buy a loaf, you have it in the cupboard. There is where prayer comes in. If I am looking to Him, I am not trusting to myself at all, and I find there is nothing at all here for me. Saints pray for this and that, and then say they have not got what they asked for, and yet they never fasted, never really renounced self-dependence. I see people who will not deny themselves in the smallest trifle. You may say you were very happy in the meetings, but you did not go home to race, or you would say there is nothing here for me at all. I must leave off what would hinder me. I must get rid of what is in me. That is the race-course, and if you are not within the two posts you cannot be a racer. Nine people out of ten are suffering from disappointments because they want to linger here, and if I ask, "What is the matter?" "Oh, my servant went away, things went wrong with me". "So you expected things would go right, did you?" If you had been racing you would have said, "I don't expect anything here, it is a desert". The Lord took His disciples apart with Him into a desert place and said, "I can feed you here, and more, I am superior to every power of evil here. I will walk on the water", and the man of faith says "I will walk there too, keeping my eye on Jesus. Jesus' power cannot do anything inferior to Himself". But, as soon as Peter

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gets taken up with the evil around, he is afraid, and, beginning to sink, cries, "Lord, save me".

It is the most wonderful experience a man can pass through to know how the Lord sustains him in the midst of all that is trying. "I laid me down and slept; I awaked;" and I was not afraid to awake, "for the Lord sustained me". Some people are afraid to awake, afraid to face their circumstances. It is not only that He has travelled all the road, but I have His life, His own grace on every thorn and every rose. If I don't do a thing as the Lord Jesus Christ would have done it, I have to judge myself. How different the saints would be! Instead of being pressed down with weights on their backs, they would be in 'light marching order'. Their testimony would be, I expect nothing here, I only want to get on to be more like Christ, that I may finish my course with joy. There is an immense joy along the road. As you represent Him here, His joy will be fulfilled in you, and, through chastening, you will he made partaker of the holiness of God. Besides, you are not come to the mount that might be touched and that burned with fire, but to mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

You are come to a most wondrous display, not looking at the earth to see how the ten kingdoms will he formed, it is not about Gog and Magog you are thinking. As a racer you are come to mount Zion and all that wondrous group, you are a worshipper in the holiest of all, at home in the serenity of God's presence. As a racer, you are sustained by Christ, feeding on the manna, as He was here on earth. You set Him forth where He is not, and you resist Amalek. But people say, 'You have nothing to enjoy, you refuse the beautiful things in the world, you shut out the wonderful developments of science, and the like'. Surely we can say, It is a mistake; we are come to mount Zion, and to the

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most wonderful array of scenes, like oriental gardens from one circle of beauty to another. What God has prepared for them that love Him surpasses everything here. You cannot seek for enjoyment on the earth, whence the Bridegroom is taken. It would be contemptible to say to a friend, I will seek you in your bright circumstances, but I will shun you in your dark ones. A true friend says the very contrary. May we each be able to say, I know the Lord in heaven where He is, and I follow Him in His path on earth. I maintain what is true of the Man who is not here in the place where He is not; man cast Him out and may cast me out too, because I study to be like Him and unlike the man who cast Him out: and, the more I am consciously with Him where He is, the more I am practically like Him when He was on the earth; and, the more I know of the latter, the more I seek to enjoy the former.

My last subject, chapter 13, is in connection with service. I must go outside the camp, -- religious system on the earth. Christ is gone into the holiest of all. Now, you have an altar of which they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle, you are to go forth unto Jesus outside the camp, for you are with Him inside the veil, and just as much as much as you are morally in the one place you will be practically in the other. The difference between Hebrews 10 and 12 is that chapter 10 is in relation to God. I am brought into God's own circumstances, the beauty of the Lord. In chapter 12, you are running to what is in relation to yourself. Mount Zion &c., is all in relation to man. You receive a kingdom which cannot be moved. In chapter 13 you have nothing set up nor organised as an earthly system. "Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come", We suffer reproach for following Christ, but we offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to

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His name. What a finish! The Lord lead us to know how blessed it is to follow in that path, a path in which I am dependent on God, but a path all the more blessed, because in it I have to do with Him.

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Colossians 2:19

I desire to show the contrast of what not holding the Head is; and secondly, the benefits that flow from holding the Head, and what marks it; thirdly, what is the nature of the opposition to the truth which we have had to encounter within our own memory.

There are two truths that, I might say, mark christianity: one is, I have to break with the man here, and with the place where that man is. Man is here on the earth, and I have to refuse man where man is; but I have a Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, and we are united to Him in the place where He is, in heaven. It is true we are still in the flesh and still on the earth, but while so, we are to walk as He walked who is in heaven. We are to work it out here on earth. It is with that intention that I hope to be able to bring before you what are the practical results of the truth in this passage. Our Lord Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand of God. I need hardly say to any of you that there could be no union with Him as here on earth. In John 20 we have a new thing introduced, and it is marked by the first day of the week. To any heart at all drawn to the Lord this is a most wonderful scene; the beginning of the new creation. It is the first day of the week, the Lord is risen from the dead, and He is now introducing us to what He is to us on earth and what He is to us in heaven. The first thing for the heart practically to learn is, that there is no connection at all with Christ but by the Holy Spirit. Where God's grace is manifested to my heart is in the death of Christ. He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by

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the Spirit. If I set aside the man here in Christ's death, then I have to do with Christ in quite a new order. It is not that souls do not know it, but it is a new thing which, in all its newness, ought practically to characterise us entirely. I do not speak of it as a thing we can take in in a moment. Sorrowful though it is, we must own it, that we have to be broken down in one thing after another; but it is a great thing to be assured of the fact that that is our true place, that we are united to Him who is risen from the dead, and who is set down at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens. The Colossians did not deny union, but the danger with them was, and with us too is, whether we are realising the benefits that flow to us from it. I often say and wonder to myself, 'Am I really united to that blessed One, the Son of the Father, and can I be moved by this poor world and the things of it?' Unless the Holy Spirit holds your heart, you are a poor trifling thing, moved about like a child by one thing and another, I do want your hearts to be moved by the fact itself of what a wonderful thing it is "holding the Head". God in His mercy has been pleased to recover this truth for us. I believe that many a conscientious person has the sense that things are not all right, yet does not know the remedy of "holding the Head". It would correct a great deal of the disorder and confusion.

The first thing is the Holy Spirit, and mark how it comes out in the gospel of John. When John the baptist sees our Lord, he says, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world". There is evil in the world, and One has come in who will eventually take it all away. But that is not all; he goes on. "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him ... the same is he which baptiseth with the Holy Spirit". There is one mind. God sent His Son to

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take away the sin of the world. We were powerless to meet the ruin, and God sent His Son to bear the judgment upon us. "He it is who baptises with the Holy Spirit". That is what comes out; and as I am on that, I may mention another thing that brings in the second point. The disciples follow Him (and very interesting as showing how the divine mind leads to the highest point), they ask Him, "Where dwellest thou?" Has your heart ever gone out to the Lord in that way? For that brings out the second point. If I have gone out to Him, the Man that is away, I must refuse the man that is here, and the place where that man is; but I must walk in this place according to the principles of that Man who is away -- like Jesus who is not here but in heaven. That is the great problem to work out, and it is what we are set for, but it is only by the Holy Spirit that we can act like Him.

First, then, I go to the contrasts. I have the Lord Jesus Christ, the Man now, and in heaven. It was a place not known before. I hope I shall not surprise any one when I say that Moses could not "hold the Head". I take that as an example, I do not say that God did not hold Moses, but I want you to understand it practically. Abel was an accepted man, but is that the way I know acceptance who am "accepted in the beloved?" I remember well when acceptance was a new word to me. I had never heard it before, and it astonished and arrested me, that it was acceptance in the Beloved. That was perfectly new to me, but it is also a long time before the truth works into the soul, producing the due effect.

Enoch had this testimony that he pleased God, but had he the power of eternal life? Had Abraham? Was it in character the same as "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son"? "He

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that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life".

But I come to a closer contrast, and I think it is here that souls are puzzled. They have not the sense of having derived power from Christ. It is a different thing, and would have an immense practical effect upon you. There were those who had not the Head, and there were those, as the Colossians, "not holding the Head". There could not be union with Christ in humiliation, because, first, everything must be removed out of the way that would bar the union. So the Lord says, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone". Some lose the force of that scripture, "If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" -- they say that merely means He saves many, but it is more than saving many. It is what is said in another place, "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one". We do not get communion with the body of Christ until after His death. We are brought into another order of things in resurrection and I am learning the goodness of it. It is not only that He has done great things for us -- He has, but we belong now to that blessed One who is at the right hand of God, We are united to Him; He is the Head.

Now I will take the disciples in three different aspects or places in which they were with the Lord, and it was a wonderful thing to be with Him, and a blessed thing to have Him as a shelter. They were under His shadow; but at that time He was only a wing to them, and not the Head. "I sat down under his shadow with great delight". Under the shelter of that wonderful Person they sat, and lacked nothing. "When I sent you ... lacked ye anything?" They answered, "Nothing". I can understand what it was, but they were not united to Him, they could not hold the Head. Tell me, have

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you, practically, that wonderful fact in your soul? Do you understand that you are nearer than they were? They knew what it was to be under His wing, and I contemplate them there as under the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, and the wonderful charm of His own presence such, that however trying the circumstances around, they could distinctly say in words used in the brightest days of Solomon, that they lacked nothing. (Compare 1 Kings 4:27, with Luke 22:35.) But what is all that now to you? You are higher still, and your place is to hold the Head. I say it and I know it. There is nothing has so shaken the foundations of my heart as that. I still say to myself, 'What am I? Where am I? Is it the place here that is to occupy you? You are united to another Man in another scene. That is to occupy you. A higher place altogether, with another Person, and in heaven'.

The disciples on the mount of transfiguration "were eyewitnesses of his majesty". "Eyewitnesses", and not a bit at home. But what can you say? There is no place where I am so at home as in the glory, because my Saviour is there, in answer to the love of God to me. There it is that the chief of sinners sees his Saviour, and what is the effect? He was three days blind, and neither did eat nor drink. His soul had to go through what it was to be brought up from the depth that was his as a man, to the height of the glory of God, where Jesus is.

Again, John 20 is a most wonderful chapter, for there I see a Man risen from the dead, and not only that, but death broken, and a new Man too, the beginning of the creation of God. The first creation began with the heavens and the earth, and finished up with a man. The new creation begins with the new Man. It is the power of the Christ, the One who glorified God in everything, so perfect,

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so answering to the mind of God, that He is saluted, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". God sent forth His Son born of a woman, and He so maintained what was due to God under the weight of our guilt, that He is now raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father. Now in this chapter He appears to Mary Magdalene, and says to her, 'I will tell you where I will be'. "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God". That is His place. Then He comes into the midst of His disciples, and imparts to them what our condition requires because of the nature of His own condition. They were not one of them united to Him, He introduces it all, and He winds it up by breathing on them, "Receive the Holy Spirit". As the flesh is the link with the first man, so the Holy Spirit is the link with the new, the Man in glory.

I will now show the benefits that flow out of union with Christ. In turning to Romans 8 I shall be told that union is not taught in that epistle. But I get "no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus". Man is set aside as a sinner, and then the apostle says, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness;" and more, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his". I have to do with Him in all the perfectness of Himself in the glory of God. Romans gives you the justified man, and Ephesians the heavenly man. The only two perfect codes of practice summed up, some one has said, in Philippians. Now Luther never went beyond a justified person, he never got on heavenly ground, or to holding the head. It was all our side. I ask you, you may say that all understand it, but I ask you what is it to be a christian? I don't understand it all. I want to. The proportion, the magnitude of what becomes one is beyond conception. See what a

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new place you are in, another creation altogether. The practical effect comes out in Romans 12"Be not conformed to this world"; but "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". I am delivered from the body of this death by this blessed Person, in whom I am. What a restful place to be in! Where are you? Have you this happy sense that you are in Christ? What is your reasonable service? If I belong to this blessed One, I am here upon the earth where He suffered for me. He wins my heart in humiliation, He satisfies it in glory. He made Himself familiar with every character of suffering in passing through this scene that He might be able to guide us all the way along. We are not only succoured by that blessed One, but we are united to the One who won our hearts in the place where that One is, and it is His own associations that we have now to do with, so that the truth is of practical power here on the earth. It is old associations that ruin us. You see I am the same person that I ever was; a tree, if you please; then God will deal with the branches. The same man with the same duties. But suppose I am a member of a political club, He does not support me in that. He will support every branch of the tree that is for God. He will support it in more vigour and more order than ever naturally I had maintained it. My proper relationships I fulfil better than ever.

The way to keep out the bad is by bringing in the good. Take a banker as an illustration. He is sent into a room till he gets so conversant with the good notes that the bad are detected at once. He has learned what a good bank note is, by handling and observing them. When he sees a forgery he can't tell you how the bad note was produced, but he knows that it is bad, and that is enough for him. He says, 'That is not a good note'. Anything that is not

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good is bad, and that is the great thing now.

The action is beautiful in Romans and Ephesians, making a perfect code. You will find the epistles of Paul for the most part correct the intrusion of what is bad by insisting on what is good. He says in 1 Corinthians 6:15, "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?" and in the same chapter, "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit". Now, with the Corinthians the flesh was unrebuked; there was no check upon it. And in chapter 10 he turns round to them as wise men to show how foolish they were in what they were connected with practically.

"Your bodies are the members of Christ". What a practical word it is! I am sure it will reach us all in that way. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit". If you want to improve the world, you are not holding the Head. It affects the smallest detail. For instance, if a person says there is no harm in going to a flower show, I say you are not holding the Head. Is that the place for a member of Christ? You are not mindful of the gravity of your position. You do not deny the benefits of grace perhaps, but you reduce yourself to a lower level. All the great truths lie on one flat -- one level. You might have forgiveness, good conduct, faith, with earthly mercies, and I will call that downstairs; but now upstairs we are united to Christ; we have to do with Himself and with His own interests and a heavenly scene. Upstairs must have downstairs, and includes all the benefits of downstairs; but downstairs has not upstairs. The great difficulty is, meeting souls practically where they are. You say perhaps, 'I never feel up to it'. There ought to be in the heart earnestness in consequence. Do you ever agonise about yourself? The Spirit of God interceding in you with groans that cannot be uttered! Do you ever hear these groans? What tries me is the fact

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that one feels one is sharing in the very thing one would like to correct, I think of some whom I would like to see getting on, and instantly it raises the question, "Are you getting on yourself?"

2 Corinthians shows the contrast. To me it is an immense thing that the heresy that underlay all at Corinth was that there was no resurrection of the body, and yet the body here is to be light, in the way the moon derives light from the absent sun. You are to be here the light of the world when the One who was the light of it is not here. It is the most cheering thing. I am to be like the One that is not here and unlike the world -- the people that are here that cast Him out. Like a true wife, she is to remain in the premises, but to be there looking out for Him, contributing His light to the ruthless world which has driven Him away. I am to answer to His tastes, and I have nothing to do with the enemies that refused Him. You are to have the same moral expression as the moon has, sailing through the sky on a dark night, towards the world. I contribute light to this scene from the absent sun. I am not looking for any thing in it or from it. Those who had a title to possession on earth were to waive it. What of those who had no title?

2 Corinthians 3:18: "We all, with open face", &c. We see the glory, and the glory claims us as its own. The apostles had seen the glory on the mount of transfiguration and were afraid, but now the glory says 'you must take the same image'. It claims us as belonging to it. I believe you will never get deliverance from this present world until your heart gets the impress of what the glory of Christ is. You must get a new taste and be brought into circumstances to form the taste, and once formed, you are at home in that which is above the brightness of the sun. The effect on Paul was that he lost his eyesight. I must not omit speaking of the effect, that

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while your associations are with Christ in heaven, you walk as He walked on earth. The difficulty is to maintain what you have learnt. The practical action in 2 Corinthians is "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus". I want you to understand the actual magnitude of the position. We are united to this blessed One, our hearts know that He loves us. I am to live here in a life of another order, but to do this I must set aside that in myself that would hinder it. Those who are most living to the Lord find out practically that there is nothing to promote it in the other.

Galatians gives you a legal man. Ephesians is an advance on Romans, it is in heavenly places. I come out, properly speaking, a heavenly person on the level to which God has called us. The Man now at God's right hand walks into the scene and says "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest". 'I ignore the existence of everything of the first man, I set aside everything but Myself, the saints are Myself'. Here Paul says: "It pleased God ... to reveal his Son in me". Now, in Colossians it is the religious man that has to be set aside. In Hebrews it is heaven instead of earth. Philippians is where they combine. I find Christ (chapter 3) is the simple object. Christ set aside everything, and "we are the circumcision", &c., and He is not only the object but the mark for which I leave all things behind that were gain to me. It is not intended only to set forth beautiful theories in Scripture, but you find out their magnificence just as you get into the practice of them. You might talk to a child for ever about walking, and what is the good? But as soon as he puts his foot to the ground he knows what it is.

What I dread is an aptitude for hearing truth, and no sense of the responsibility which I incur because I have heard it. In a certain sense Israel was worse off in Canaan than in Egypt when there

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was no rain, for in Egypt the river came up and watered the land, but in Canaan the rain was stopped and they had no river, when they grew indifferent.

There are many persons with great and high truth who are worse off than when they had very little, because they have not gone on with what they had, and are not walking in practical diligence. Then God says, 'I will not give you the rain'.

Now 2 Timothy is to the servant what Philippians is to the congregation. It is the last words of the apostle Paul to the servant. He says "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord". Why is this? Why does he not speak of the power of the enemy outside? All they in Asia had turned away from him; Asia, where his chief work was done. (Philippi, I need hardly say, was in Europe.) Those in Asia had not turned away from "downstairs" from the forgiveness of sins, from expecting the favour of God, or from good and upright conduct on earth, Probably they became very scrupulous and made more parade about that, mere Pharisaism; for there is not most depth where there is most parade. But they had turned away from "upstairs". I thank God for the wonderful ways of His mercy, that it is not lost to us long ago, that this wonderful truth has been preserved -- that we are united to Christ at His right hand. Paul could only light upon one man (Onesiphorus) who had not turned aside. No one could understand this testimony but by the Holy Spirit; namely, I must set aside the man that is here, in all his development and talent, and the place too -- the earth, where all these wonderful things are; I must refuse both the man and the place, and introduce here the manners and ways of that Man in heaven whom I know not only as my Saviour and Lord, but

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to whom we are united as our Head. That is the truth. 'Be not ... ashamed of the testimony of our Lord'. What is it? Are you ashamed of it?

But the thing that ought to come home to every heart here is this, Do you hold the Head? Are you ashamed of the testimony of the Lord? Christ was not only refused life upon the earth, but they rejected the Holy Spirit in Acts 7, and God has turned it round to my gain. He gave Jesus a place in heaven, and the very place He has given Him He gives us. And what consummates the joy of my heart? I am in company with Him where He is. The wonderful thing in the mind of God is that saints are united to Christ. I look back and see for 1800 years great men, devout men; but Satan closed the eyes of the most devoted, so that they never saw this truth as we see it now. It may be that all do not see it now, and, though I could not refuse any such, offering to come among us, yet I never would encourage them. I never discourage, but I try to press on them the gravity of the position, because I think it is too easily adopted. The word said to myself, when I was coming out. I feel to be momentous, 'Have you faith for it?' There is not sufficient sense in the heart of what the position is. Are you conscious of this, that the more you have of a divine truth, the more immense it becomes, and the deeper is your desire to know more about it, for you know its value; your capacities increase as they are ministered to.

"Be not ... ashamed of the testimony of our Lord". Chapter 4. "Do the work of an evangelist". The apostle puts maintaining the testimony on higher ground even than his work in the gospel. This is precious to me, and I should not easily give it up. I see it is an immense thing to maintain what is due to Christ, and I would rather be known as a man standing here for the Lord Jesus Christ, that

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He knew it, than be the performer of the best works that could possibly be done. Was the gift the first thing? The first thing was maintaining the testimony. Timothy must wear the uniform of a soldier. The first thing to do is, whether officer or anything else, to put on your uniform. If the army be demoralised, so to speak, you must first, when you return to allegiance, put on your uniform and then do your work. You must put maintaining the testimony higher than any gift.

One point more, though I am hardly adequate to it, and that is, the different oppositions which the truth has encountered within my own memory. When the cry was made, "Behold, the bridegroom; go forth to meet him", there came in a very dreadful error, only checked by the maintenance of the truth, and that was, that the Holy Spirit was not here. We were to fall down and pray for the Holy Spirit. Look at all the various ways Satan has attempted to draw away the saints, just as you might look down a river and see all the colourings in the clear stream.

In a certain sense, I don't believe that we ever lose the consequences of declension. A deserter may return and be a good soldier, but there is the mark "B" on him, for he has deserted. Like a horse that has been down, I do not believe we ever recover entirely from the effect of a fall. I am higher morally, because I have the divine power that has put me higher than my failure, and with the Lord I go on more thoroughly. I have no one but the Lord now; I had brought myself into ruin, but there is nothing for me but the Lord. So that a fall often produces real devotedness.

I think there is a danger of losing sight of the fact that the only power we have, is the power of the Holy Spirit. Then as to the coming of the Lord, I suppose no one in this room denies it; but I ask

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the question, Are you really going out to meet Him? Are you waiting for Him? Do you think you can wait for Him in the flesh? Never! "The Spirit and the bride say, Come", and what does that lead to? In the same verse it leads the servant to that which meets the deepest need of man, but it begins with the highest. From the highest occupation down to the lowest. You say, 'Oh, I believe in the coming of the Lord'. I admit it, but is that the testimony you bear in Manchester? 'That is a man we can't understand. He has gone out to meet the Lord'. They were leaving the things around and pressing on to meet the Bridegroom. I say that cannot be without the Holy Spirit. I speak of that now as the power, and I think we suffer from losing sight of this.

Satan's way of acting and hindering truth is varied. There is no evil or error going on around without our being influenced by it. There is no activity outside of us that is not in the air, so to speak. When a malady is prevalent around, it attacks whoever is predisposed to take it. How will you be free? By holding the Head. He is gone into heaven, having condemned all of man; and the rudiments of the world, the A B C, the elements therefore, whatever is going on, affect us. For instance, ritualism. 'Oh, that never touches us', you say. Does it not? There are some among us who never come out to any meeting at all, but the breaking of bread. What is that but a little bit of ordinances, and baptism may become so too. What is ritualism? It is that you get Christ through ordinances. It sprang up with the revival of truth, and no doubt carried off many a true heart from the river of blessing. I am not preserved at all but by holding the Head.

Another error is, that Christ came among men merely to restore man, to add His divine virtues

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to a human stock. It is trying to get Christ to mend up the old thing, and there is no such thing. Instead of that, you get the old thing superseded. You must be good, most people say, but that is not enough, there must not be a leaf of the crab tree at all. The true gardener will not allow one bud. As to what sprang up among ourselves, it began with saying that the church would be in the judgment, and what eventually came out was that we had no Head in heaven at all. There was neither knowledge of the Church, nor the truth of holding the Head. You never get the right sense of how the saints are in the care of Christ, unless you begin with Him as Head. I remember a subscription being made for a poor widow, to get a sum invested that she might have a yearly income, and I said to myself, Surely, they might trust the Lord's care for her next year as well as for this.

All these things are landmarks, but what I seek is that all should go home saying 'Well, I will seek to cleave closer to the Lord than ever', owning that there shall be "one Lord, and his name one".

Ecclesiastical laxity came out next, called Bethesda. They did not understand what the unity of the body was. They did not hold the Head. You will never understand this phase unless you know it is not the evil you sow that defines the character of the evil you will reap. You may say "That is not what I sowed", but you are not prepared for the various things that will grow out of it. In Corinth they had no respect for the holiness of God's house, and so they went to law with one another before the ungodly. There was no respect for God's judgment in His own house, and they went to the world for its judgment. The leaf -- the outward thing -- will tell you where there is church laxity. They do not understand the body at all. They do not hold the Head.

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The refusal of the third class of sufferings turned out to be a denial of the end of the first man. I think that many lately who have got hold of the unity of the body have got it without power, because they have got hold of it merely as a doctrine. In all cases where it has not power they have not begun by holding the Head. "From which all the body by joints and bands", &c. What is the use of the most beautiful network of gas-pipes in this city if they are not connected with the gas-works?

One thing more -- what I believe has done more detriment to the truth than any one thing yet is the gospel without the church. I am bold to say it, and I say it anxiously, I have lost friends by it, because I have tried to maintain what is the truth. Nothing has come in and given a character of laxity and indifference as to vital truth so much as this. They are content with the gospel, and say the church is secondary. There are those who have no church, while they have derived their gospel from us. We have heard of the gathering the good into vessels. They have no vessels at all!

Do you think we are safe from it? That is why I touched on that point in Timothy. In a moment I am assailed, 'Oh, you don't care for the gospel'. I do; but I have a deeper thing before my mind. What one desires is that souls should be converted to find their true place in the body of Christ.

In Ephesians he gives "evangelists" for the body. Therefore I spoke of 2 Timothy. Timothy was to maintain the testimony of the Lord prior to all: he was to do the work of an evangelist. I may call it "a forlorn hope", but it is not forlorn. It does not mean a hopeless thing. It means a company of volunteers who will die or succeed.

My heart knows many who really do hold nothing so dear to them as to maintain what is due to Christ upon this earth. Do you think this will

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produce a lower character of work? I say all this because I do not want that we should be carried away by what is outside. I do not want to judge my brethren with regard to their work; I have nothing to do with that. It is not that I regret the work of those to whom I have alluded, but I would not co-operate with them. I would not touch the net while they were touching it. I have a different business. I am in a different position. I feel I must be for the Lord, and I can turn to Him as the one simple thing to guide me upon the earth.

I believe the more one knows of the Lord the more one values His own. You cannot be united to the Head in heaven but by the Holy Spirit, by whom you are baptised into one body. If I had not any interest in the things of the Lord Jesus Christ on this earth, what a nonentity I should be! The Lord lead our hearts more into association with Himself in heaven, and there you will find, a great deal better than I can tell you, what a source of unspeakable light, and power, and guidance in everything He will be to your heart.

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Philippians 3 and 4

The epistle to the Philippians is to the saints in general what the epistle to Timothy is to the servant. The apostle has not been delivered out of prison, and his voice from the prison tells us to "Rejoice in the Lord". There is nothing here on earth to rejoice in; but that is what people are very slow to learn.

Now one of these chapters is in relation to yourselves; the other in relation to things around you. Some may say, It is not my state that depresses me, it is the things around me. Well, the third chapter treats of your state; the fourth of your circumstances.

There are three things I must notice in the first of these chapters. First, Christ is the object, second, He is the mark, and third, He is the hope of the saint.

The apostle begins with a warning, "Beware of the concision". The concision are those who try to correct themselves; and they stand lower in the sight of God than even the self-indulgent. The apostle writes much more severely to the Galatians, who tried to mend the flesh, than to the Corinthians, who indulged it. The great attempt of the present day is to christianise man; but God's way in Scripture is to make man a christian. The attempt to christianise man is all wrong. A christian is a man of an entirely new stock and a new lineage; he is of Christ, who is the beginning of all. Hence, in the third chapter of Revelation, He is spoken of as "The beginning of the creation of God". There was the Laodicean church boasting

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itself that it was rich and increased with goods, and had need of nothing, and knew not that it was wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. And what was to come in to correct such a state of things? Why, "the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God".

Then he says, "We are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and boast in Christ Jesus", -- not "rejoice", it is a stronger word than "rejoice", -- "and do not trust in flesh;" that is, the flesh is practically set aside. This is what you must start with. The thing that was insisted on as soon as ever the people of Israel got into the land, -- the first thing, as you may remember, -- was, that they were to be circumcised; and that was to set forth this fact, that in heaven we have no will of our own. Abraham brought in Ishmael by his own will; and the rite of circumcision was to show that he altogether ignored the flesh that had brought him in.

Now in the following verses (4 - 6), we have the good state of man, -- human righteousness, everything that is good in itself, -- and we find this: that man, not only in his bad state, but in his good state, has no sympathy with God; so that the apostle ends by taking God's side against himself, and saying, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ". Christ is the object, and what I seek is, "that I may gain Christ". The apostle says in the first chapter. "Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better", and "to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain". The gain would be to be with Christ: it would be gain to him if he were to die. Rut here, in the third chapter, he shows what it is

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that leads him to this, -- even that Christ is his object.

Now it is a great moment to the soul when Christ first becomes your object; it is then that you can count all things but loss for His excellency, so that He may be your gain.

But many persons ask the question, How can I have Him in such a distinct way that I may know Him as my object? Well, there are two ways. When Jonathan saw David with the head of Goliath in his hand, and knew that he had delivered him -- brought relief to him, -- he loved him as his own soul. He stripped himself of his robe, and his garment, and his sword, and his bow, and his girdle, and put them on David. It might have been said, What an improper thing for the king's son to do! But Jonathan cared not for that. His heart was won by David because of what he had done for him, and he loved him as his own soul.

But there is another kind of devotedness, of which I will also give an example in the Old Testament which will make it clear to you. Ruth says to Naomi, "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God". This is a deeper thing. It sets forth one to whom the Lord becomes the object of the heart for what He is, not only for what He has done.

Now you will find that saints rarely arrive at the second of these, though every true-hearted saint knows something of the first. You may know Christ as your relief, but it is quite another thing to know Him as your resource. It is one thing to know Him as the One who has relieved you from every pressure; it is another thing to know Him as the one attraction of your heart. If I know Him thus, I ascend as a balloon with not a string left to tie me to earth. All my links were to earth, but now I have

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Him, not only as my relief from the death on myself, but as my resource from the death and ruin on everything around me. I will try to explain the difference.

I might say to Jonathan, Do you know David? No, he says, I do not know him, but I love him; he has relieved me from the dreadful pressure that was upon me. I love him as my own soul.

I say to Ruth, Do you know Naomi? Yes, she says, I know her, and I love her too. I say to her, "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God".

Now this is an example of a heart not only attracted by what a person has done, but by what he is.

There are four stages in a soul which is led to this happy, practical association with Christ. In the case of the widow of Sarepta there was first relief from the pressure that was upon her and her son; the barrel of meal did not waste; neither did the cruse of oil fail; it supplied all their need for a whole year. But, though it did not waste, neither did it increase. Then, at the end of the year, death comes in. The prophet takes the death upon himself, -- bears the child up to his own room, and from thence delivers him alive to his mother, and he becomes the solitary witness that the power of death was broken. Then she says, and not till then, "Now by this I know that thou art a man of God". She had learnt so far, even that there was power over death. We have more; we have eternal life, and the witnesses to us of it are the Spirit, and the water, and the blood. I have not only got power over death, but there are witnesses to me that I have eternal life. I have first relief from death, and secondly, I have eternal life.

The next thing I find is that there is death on all

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around me. Jonah finds, when he gets out of the depths of the sea, that there is death all around him; his gourd withers. Where then does the heart find comfort? Where did Mary of Bethany find comfort, when every light was, as it were, gone out? It was then, as she trod that solitary path to the grave, that she found that He walked beside her, -- not only as a relief to her, but a resource. And, fourthly, in the next chapter, she takes the costly ointment, and anoints the Lord with it.

Is it thus with you, or have you a hundred other things to delight in beside Christ? Paul might have had attractions down here to bind him to earth. But would he stay here? Yes, he says, I would stay for the church, but not for myself. "To depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" for me.

If I look at the Lord I ought to be able to say, "Come"; because I answer to the wish of His heart, but, if I look at the earth, I have nothing to tie me down here, and then my wish is to depart to be with Him, How was it that Hezekiah, when he had to face death, said, "Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter"? It was just because he had all his links to earth. The apostle was quite different; he had nothing to detain him here.

Christ is not only my relief, but He is my resource. If I have nothing down here but a dreary waste before my heart I can say, He has relieved my conscience, He has satisfied my heart.

If you have not Christ thus as your object, you cannot count all things but loss for the excellency of His knowledge; but if you have, when you get up in the morning, your thought is not, I hope I shall behave myself well today; but, I have to live Christ today. You ought to begin your day with this confidence that you have enough in Christ to meet every difficulty that may befall you, just as you know that you will have light enough to do your work by;

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you never think of wanting another sun; the day may be more or less bright or cloudy, but all you want is clearer light, not a new light.

If you do not know this you are not enjoying eternal life. I have a new condition altogether. I am in a region where I can enjoy God, and the proof of it is that death is not on me only, but it is also on all around me. Have you ever seen the world a bleak barren desert, and you yourself left alone in it like a solitary tree? And could you then say, Well, there is One who sits on the throne, and He is enough for me, though all else has withered? I make Him my object; and as I cannot yet depart to be with Him, I shall try so to win Him while I am on the earth that I may be as truly with Him in spirit, and as truly see Him by faith, as if I were gone to Him. When we see a man without an object in life we say he is an aimless man. Now here is a man with a purpose, with an object: "that I may win Christ", and "that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death".

And now comes another thing. It is not only that he has an object, but he has a mark. It is not only that I know what He has done and what He is, but I must be in association with Christ where Christ is. Then it is that I come to understand what the mark is.

The mark is what gives steadiness to the walk. If a man is a stranger he shows by his behaviour that he is strange in the place; if he is a pilgrim he shows by his behaviour that he is going to a place. Now Paul says: I am going on my way to do a service; I have started from a place, I am going on a circuit, and I shall come back to that same place again after I have done my work. I do not expect to grow old here; if I look forward I see

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myself die as a martyr; I see the stake before me, But when I think of what I have to comfort my own heart, I see Him before me. There is no steadiness in your heart unless you see Christ in glory. When my heart gets the sense of seeing Him where He is, it acquires a certain definiteness. It is vain to talk of a mark if you do not see it.

Now what people say in answer to all this is, -- I do not see what you say! Well, have you ever spent a night praying to God to show it to you? Have you ever been thoroughly in earnest about it?

The apostle brings these things before them so that they may be able to rejoice always. I find that if there is one thing that marks the saints in general, it is absence of joy in the Lord. How can you get joy in the Lord? By making use of Him. You will never know the value of Christ until you use Him. The Lord likes you to use Him, He says "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee", and "casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you". I find when I sit down with people quietly to have a talk that they begin at once to speak of the trials of the way! And after that, if I say, Suppose we change the subject and talk of the things of God; -- then I find that they can talk of nothing but the mercies of God to themselves, but it is all the temporal mercies of God they talk of. And they get no higher than this. How few can say, The Lord has shown me wonderful things lately about the Lord Jesus Christ!

Lastly as to our hope. "We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ". This is what we are looking for; we have no country but heaven, and we are looking for the Lord to come and take us to it. And when He comes forth the first thing He will do will be to raise the bodies of His sleeping saints; He will raise them in likeness to His glorious body; and as to us, He will also "change our vile body, that it

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may be fashioned like unto his glorious body". That is our hope, and you see it is all connected with Himself.

And thus we are brought back again to the text that we started with, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice".

Well, so far, it is all about myself, but what about circumstances outside? Now we come to them; and the first thing is, "let your moderation be known unto all men". A man jostles you in the streets: let him. "The Lord is at hand". You can "be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving" -- do not forget past mercies. Is my child sick? I remember how one was before, and how God succoured me then, Keep up the recollection of His goodness; there is nothing so good for the soul as to keep up the remembrance of the goodness of God. "With thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". All your requests are to be made known. What! pray about every thing? Yes. I am sure the saints would not have half the foolish things they have in their houses if they made all their requests known to God, Make known everything to Him.

In public, as well as private, we are often troubled with the thought as to whether we are expressing God's will. Now the first question is, Have you been to God about it? And, having been, do you know that God's ear has taken in what you have requested? The moment that you have got the sense that He has heard you, you are satisfied; you want no more, and need not repeat it; just as a man says to his child, -- You have talked to me about that before.

The great importance of prayer is, not that you

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may get your request, but that you may have the sense that God has to do with your affairs. You have got a sense of what it is to go to Him and get an audience. I have taken, as it were, the whole of the contents of my heart, and poured them out before Him, I say, I know He has them; I need not tell Him about them again. The fact is people lose their time saying a great many words to relieve their consciences, and not to ask for what they really need. When I ask anything according to His will I know that He hears me, and that I have the petition that I desired of Him.

The first great parable about praying is that in the eleventh of Luke. The man would not go away without his friend giving him the loaves, because he wanted them, and had no other way of getting them. Do not go to God if you have any back door; do not have any plan of your own if you are going to pray to Him. That is the principle of real prayer. What makes people so often not gain in prayer is that they have some plan in the background. They go to some place for their health, and pray about it, but all the time they are thinking that if this place does not cure them they will go somewhere else and try another.

Well, how can you know when you have had an audience? -- when you have gained God's ear? You can know at once; I will tell you how. The most wonderful favour that ever was conferred upon man by God will be yours. You will have the peace of God. Have we any troubles at this present time? We have. And why do we go about troubled with them? Because we do not go to God with them. When I go to God with my troubles and get an audience of Him, He gives me His own peace about them. I am in the state that God is in. What a wonderful thing! Here is a man who was troubled this morning; he has gone to God and got an

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audience. And has he got his prayer answered? Perhaps not. But he has come out in the state of God.

Well, do your work like a horse in a mill, and go on. Circumstances are not to bear you down. We all fret and worry until we can go to God with it and say to Him, Settle it as you, like; and then we can go out with the peace of God. The effect of it is, first, to bring us into a calm from a state of perturbation, and next, into the peace of God.

Now, if your own state is not right you cannot rejoice. Your own state which you find in the third chapter, must come first. You must have Christ as the one object of your heart to supplant everything else. Then as to the things around that try and afflict you, if you tell them all to God you get rid of them. The point is, Have you had an audience? What a solemn blessed sense it imparts! A man can go about in the world saying, I know I have the ear of God! And thus this most wonderful favour that ever God conferred on a man on earth is his. It is the most wonderful favour, because God might have given me all the world and not have given me peace.

And "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". Amen.

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Matthew 16:1 - 23

The two great subjects which come out at the end of the chapter I have read are, the one, the rock on which Christ builds the church -- that is His own Person; and, the other, the cross. These two things must go together, and I desire to dwell upon what will prepare you to understand them; looking however at the cross, not as connected with our sins, but as that which separates us from the man that is here, and from the things that are here.

You will never understand that wonderful scene in which the Lord presents Himself to Saul of Tarsus unless you see that He there recognises no other man besides Himself: He has done with man. That blessed One, who is the Son of the living God, brought man -- the first Adam -- to an end in the cross: so that my hope is not in a dying man but in a risen Man. Now I wish to show you how we are taught this.

You have to learn the cross as that which has separated you from things here; you have to find out what Jesus is when there is nothing else but Jesus, or, as this scripture teaches it in figure, when there is "no bread". The Lord says, Do not look for a sign. The leaven of the Pharisees was looking for a sign; but Jesus is to be sufficient for you when there is nothing but Himself, when there is nothing to supply you naturally. The natural is what man looks for; but what Christ would here teach His disciples is that it is not for what is natural they are to look, but for Himself.

You will never really understand the church of God until you understand this lesson. And why do not saints understand it? Because they have not

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learned Jesus as the resource of their heart, though they may have learned Him as their Saviour, as a relief for their conscience.

Bread is what suits nature. After forty years' wandering in the wilderness Israel learned, "man doth not live by bread only". God's purpose is to teach me this lesson, and He does so in various ways: not only by leading me through sorrow; He gives me bright days as well as dark ones. But though there are dark ones, I wish to correct an idea that often troubles people, namely, that God always wants to bring us down when He chastens us. When He corrects a man it is not that He may bring him down, but that He may lift him up. He says, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time". I discipline my child in order that I may exalt him morally.

The Lord says, "Man shall not live by bread alone". That is what I have to start with. Here is the blessed Son of God led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, and when He has fasted forty days and forty nights He hungered. He has no bread. Is it wrong to be hungry? Of course it is not. But what does the Lord say when the devil comes and says to Him, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread".? He says, I have got no instruction from God to make bread. What a marvellous sight! There is the Son of God, that made the heavens and the earth -- there He is, hungry, in the very nature and make that He Himself created; He is hungry, and He will not stir His hand to provide bread for Himself!

I just turn to that passage in Peter to which I referred. He says, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time". Then, "Casting all your care

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upon him; for he careth for you". That is the proof that you are humble; a man who is really humble casts His care upon God. As a man here I must have care, but when I am humble I cast it on God.

But besides this there is the devil. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour". Here I get a double character of evil: care inside and the devil outside. As to the care, you are relieved from it when you can say, I am so little that I cannot help myself, so I just cast it upon One who can help me, as in the case of the widow with the adversary. I am then a humble person, because I cast my care upon One who can care for me. But this lowly weak person has besides a most terrible enemy; and where does this enemy show himself? Perhaps in your next-door neighbour, who will try to carry you off to a flower show; perhaps in another, who will come in to talk to a mother about her children, or to a man about his business. "Whom resist stedfast in the faith"; and the more sense you have of your own weakness as you resist him, the greater the sense you will have of the power of God. You never learn power but in weakness, and the measure of the strait you go through with God is the measure of your strength.

Oh! it is the distraction of the soul that so hinders, -- the looking for something else to relieve it in the strait instead of Jesus; so that it is unprepared for a place where there is only Himself. Our place is in the holiest, and what is there there save Jesus? What does Paul find when he gets into the third heaven? Not one bit of bread there; nothing to keep up nature. He did not even know whether he was in the body or not, so little was there to minister to it there.

Now there are three powers in the world: the

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power of Satan, the power that God gave man, and the power of the Holy Spirit. And since the cross, there is, as it were, a subterranean passage between the power of man and that of Satan. There was a coalition between them when they put Christ to death, so you cannot now use the power given to man; for Satan is connected with it. The moment you use it the Holy Spirit retires. I do not stay to dwell upon this now, but pass on to the power of God with which you really have to do; for the Spirit of God is my only power, and the only bond that I have to Christ. When have I the greatest sense of His power? My adversary the devil is going about as a roaring lion outside me, and inside, it is weakness and cares; but it is when I am most conscious of the power outside and the weakness inside that I have the greatest sense of the power of Christ.

What strait have you passed through with God? I do not doubt you have had troubles; but it is not passing through troubles that makes you strong, but passing through them with God. It is "that the trying of your faith worketh patience"; the trying, not trial. Putting a horse at a fence that he can go over is a trying of him, but it is no trial; on the contrary, he enjoys going over it if he can clear it. You say, I have gone through plenty of trials. But how has it been with you in them? You have been looking for bread, and often the bread has come in, and you have lost the blessing of the lesson which you might have learned. If God is going to teach it you, He will not let you have any relief until you have learned it; He will not give you relief until you are fit for it. When Peter was going to be relieved what was he doing? He was sleeping: he had no care; he had cast it upon the One who cared for him. But instead of this, people are shrinking from distress, whereas it is in distress that you learn what

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God is to you. In favours you learn what the kindness of God is; but it is in distress that you learn what God is Himself.

Let me say a word upon enjoyment, for I think people confuse in their minds the difference between enjoyment and strength, and thus after a season of enjoyment are much surprised to find that they want strength. Paul found this. After being in the third heavens he had to say, "When I am weak, then am I strong", and to learn, "My strength is made perfect in weakness", so that he could say. "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong". No man in life could make sense of this unless he knew that it is in straits that you learn what Christ is. Do you like to get into a strait to learn something of Christ? We are glad enough when it is over to see what we have learned in it; but do I say when going into it, Well, now I shall learn in this sorrow what a resource Christ is? I hear people talk in a very loose way of their 'being on the Rock', when they have very little idea of what they mean. To say that you are on the Rock is to say that you are connected with Christ, and, if so, you are prepared to find that Christ is sufficient for you in any circumstances in which you may be placed.

Now I want you, beloved friends, to see how what I have been saying is established in the third chapter of Joshua; namely, that it is the measure of the strait you go through with God that is the measure of your strength. This great truth is brought out in the bed of Jordan -- in death. Here is a type of death! -- every bit of "bread" gone, not a thing left to support nature. What can be weaker than death? Well, "Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you"! See it in the death of

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Christ; God, the living God Himself came down -- the mighty power of God -- and raised Him from the dead. I have not got a bit of power; there is nothing left; well, then 'man's extremity is God's opportunity'.

If you have thus gone through death you will never lose the mark of it. Do you think you could forget what God is, when He is thus known to the soul and thus learned? And how did you learn this? Was it in His favours? When did Jonah learn it? He learned it when the gourd withered; when he had no one but God; when he was in extremity. I tremble for the saints who look for favours upon earth. Favours will teach you God's kindness; but if Noah had been in a desert where there was only a little stream of water, he would never have got drunk. It is not that I want you to look for trial; I think a person who could do that has self-confidence: but I want you to say, Jesus is enough for me, and if trial comes, it but brings out the preciousness of Christ.

Look at David at Ziklag. He was in the greatest and most terrible strait; everything seemed to bear down upon him; his own conscience could not be happy because he was in a wrong place; and his friends, who had adhered to him through thick and thin, now spake of stoning him. What did he do? "David encouraged himself in the Lord his God" He cast all his care upon Him. And what was he brought through such straits for? It was all to prepare him for the elevation to which God was going to raise him.

As to myself, practically speaking, I may feel that I am not fit to be put through much suffering; that I should go to pieces if I were. But when I have the mind of God, I know that the highest portion I can have is, not favours, but suffering. In that wonderful chapter where the Lord sends out His disciples,

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He tells them that they are going out as "sheep in the midst of wolves", and that "he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me". You cannot complain of any suffering when you see that the greatest possible suffering, -- the cross, -- is only your normal state. But the Lord sometimes cannot put you through suffering; because you would be discontented, and He does not want you to be that. It is marvellous to see one like Stephen superior to everything, and to think, -- Why, a tooth-ache or any trifle of that sort would put me out at once! The Lord says, I have given you an opportunity of learning, and you will not take it; you prefer the bread, so I let you have it. If you will not learn of Him, He will not force you; He will not subject you to suffering if you cannot bear it. But I believe the saint ought to be subjected to suffering. If he is not, he is to me like a horse turned out to grass; it may be all very fine for the horse, but I would rather have it said of me, I cannot do without that horse, and find myself kept at work, than be the horse turned out to grass because I was not wanted.

The more I suffer, the more deeply I feel a trial, the more I know Him with me in it. As He walked beside Mary to the grave, the Lord could not suppress the sensibility of His heart. Lazarus was dead; He knew what it was; and He walked beside her to bring her heart into acquaintance with His own.

Now you never understand a truth until you practise it. You do not preach to a child to walk; he must be set on his feet if he is ever to know how. It is in your greatest weakness that you learn the power of God, and you never know what God's power can do until He has done it in yourself. If He has done it in you, then you have proved it, and you will be able to use it yourself. If you compare

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Ephesians 1:19 with chapter 6: 10, you will find the same word used. I have only to take that same "power" that He used to quicken me, and use it against my adversary. I have learnt it in my weakest point, in death. No one ever yet got a right sense of dependence on God who did not learn it through death. This is the practical difference between a nun and a widow. A nun is a person trying to retire from things; a widow is one who has lost them all through death. We can learn this lesson in the death of Christ, and we ought to. I often think in connection with the death of those I love, how I have passed through a greater death before -- the death of Christ. But there is this in sorrow, that you never get used to it; every new sorrow revives all the old ones, while every new joy eclipses all the old ones. And not all the nunneries in the world will teach you this; it must be death. A nun dare not look out of the window for fear of what she will see; but a widow says, However much I look out I can see nothing to engage me, for I have lost all. And when I have learned death I have learned what the sufficiency of Christ is.

Now I turn to two miracles in Matthew to show how they meet these two points, and whilst I do so I would say that it is not in our power to apply truth; God applies it according to the condition of the soul.

In chapter 14 John baptist is cut off from the earth. Death has come in; death is a thing that I am now prepared for; it has come in like a wave, and, if it has done its worst in the death of Christ, I cannot fear anything else; it cannot now take me by surprise. "When the bridegroom shall be taken from them ... then shall they fast". That does not mean that I am to deny myself this thing or that thing, but that the Friend who lent a charm to

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everything has departed. Do you say, I want to learn the Lord in this way? Well, then, you must go into the desert to learn Him thus; this world must be a desert place to you; you are to be fasting here and feasting with Him.

Now the Lord finds in the desert the multitude that has followed Him; and He is moved with compassion towards them. In both the fourteenth and the fifteenth chapters of Matthew He gives us a miracle and an illustration; in one case the illustration is given before the miracle, in the other it is given after. As we have seen, there is the evil working in myself, and there is the adversary outside; weakness and care within, Satan without. In this fourteenth chapter we get the outside evil. He goes out to the multitudes and feeds them with five loaves and two fishes, and they take up twelve baskets full of fragments -- twelve being the number of earthly administration of government. Where there is no resource He is my resource.

Then He sends His disciples over the sea; the ship is in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves, and the wind is contrary. And now we find Jesus walking on the water to go to them. He is acting throughout like a rejected One. He begins with feeding His people in spite of all the dearth, and then He shows Himself in power above all the evil. If the church had held firm to the Holy Spirit it would have been kept from the inundation of the world. Nothing but the Holy Spirit can keep me from the world. Christendom has entirely lost sight of Him as the One who is standing for Christ in the presence of the world, and He is here not only to comfort me but to witness for Him. I feel at times that I would do anything if I could persuade brethren to say. Not one single natural thing will I allow to come in to help me in the testimony.

Well, the Lord finds them in these trying circumstances.

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The waters are men, and the winds are Satan; He is above them all. Where will you be? The ship was made for water; the ship was 'bread'. Peter will not have anything to do with it. He says, I will have faith; I walk on the water to go to Jesus; I have done with bread. Is not a ship made for water? Of course it is; and if you have not faith you had better stay in it. But a ship is not faith; Jesus is not there; He is walking on the water. Do you think a man would try to walk on the water if he had not faith? I hear people say, But I cannot do as Christ did! Peter had the same power. There is no mediocrity in Christ. In any act of faith, I either have the power of Christ or I have no power at all. It may be only a thread of gold in a rope of cotton, but if there is gold there at all, it is as good gold as in Christ Himself, because it is the same gold; there is no mixture. If it is of faith, it is of Christ.

Faith leaves the ship which is made for water to walk upon the water because Jesus is on it; and the power to do it is to keep looking at Him, to keep the eye on Him. I find if I begin planning, and say, I will go to such a place and do so and so there, that it is sure to be all wrong, and nothing to happen at all as I expected; another time, when, instead of planning, I say, 'I will just go looking to the Lord', everything will turn out right. Why? Because "I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved". How did Peter fail? He looked at Satan's power, and he began to sink. However, I had sooner be near the Lord and sink in the water and have Him save me than I would be in the ship.

I turn now to the next chapter. Here we have the illustration before the miracle. It is the inside thing now. "Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile

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the man". There is weakness, evil within you that you cannot get rid of. In the last chapter we found Christ taking His place in the desert and saying, I feed My people in spite of all that is against them; but if you will walk with Me I will make you superior to the bread altogether. I often ask myself. Why was one put before the other? Well, I believe it is that I often find that Christ has the power over things all round me, before I find that He has got practical power over the evil inside me. Stephen gives us an example of the one, Paul of the other. Stephen was superior to everything that was around him; Paul to all that was within him: he had the messenger of Satan to buffet him that he might know the power of Christ resting upon him.

In this fifteenth chapter we get the evil in ourselves. The Syrophenician woman comes to Him, and He answers and says, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs". Here we get the illustration. She has no claim. She says I quite admit I have no claim; I am the lowest of the low. If I have gone so low as to be a dog I certainly have not a particle of claim on the Lord. When I accept the lowest place the trying is over -- the strait is passed. What is the use of keeping Paul and Silas in prison when they are singing? They are just as comfortable as if they were at their own fireside, so what is the use of keeping them there any longer? They are morally over the fence. And David is over it when he says, "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about".

You will often hear a person say, I am so worried by the evil thoughts that are in me. Then, I say, you have never yet taken the place of being a dog -- of abhorring yourself; that is repentance. You would soon come down if you got into the presence of Christ. This woman is there, and she says, I am

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a dog. And at once He answers, The devil is gone out of your daughter.

Then come to Him great multitudes of lame, blind, dumb, maimed -- all weakness finds in Christ a complete resource. And next we find the seven loaves to feed the multitude and the seven baskets full taken up; that is completeness again -- a complete resource. And thus we get back to what He is teaching His disciples: to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. He prepares them to know the Rock, the Son of God, and then shows them that in the cross, the man that is here is set aside.

Well, what is the good of it all? What is the good of an hour's recital of the truth? The soul must be exercised if there is to be any real good. Am I in straits? Then I am to learn what Jesus is in my strait. That is what measures every one of you here tonight. People go through trial, and think God has dealt very hardly with them. The fact is they have never gone through a strait with God; it has been a trial to them, not a trying. It is a wonderful thing to think that each of us has a history that will come out at the judgment seat of Christ; all that He makes us pass through will come out there. Is it that He likes to see us suffer? It is not! And this is why He spares a person who He sees will not learn in it.

What a blessed thing it would be if you were to start now and say, Well, whether it be a strait from outside or inside, I must from this night learn Christ in it and His sufficiency. I have to do with the Son of God, and in this same Son of God the history of the man that ruined me has been ended. God says, I have broken the bond that united you to him, and have brought in a new bond: I unite you to My Son. You are of the church, which is founded on the Rock.

The Lord lead our hearts, every one of us, to

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know what is the wonderful way in which He would lead us -- the wide place into which He has brought us, even to have to do with the Son of God. May the Lord bless us. But to be blessed we must be content to walk with Him through straits to learn in them what Christ is, and how He can make Himself known as a sufficient resource when there is nothing but Himself. Very often then the strait is over; but the fence does not fall until you have passed it, and what matter if it fall or not when you are over it? Our place with Him is that of those who have passed into a scene where the natural man is at an end, to have to do with Christ Himself.

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Matthew 25:1 - 13; Revelation 22:16, 17, 20

I have read these two passages, the one as the closing testimony of the church on earth, the other as the state of the heart of the believer towards the Lord -- the affections of the bride. The public testimony in keeping with the state of heart in Revelation 22:16 is that of Matthew 25:1 - 13, when at a certain time the kingdom of heaven, which was being spoken of, became like ten virgins, etc.

Now for what brought about this state of things we must refer to the preceding chapter. There we read, "That evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming;" and as the consequence, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which ... went forth to meet the bridegroom", and, "While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept". This is the sad state into which the church has fallen; but to explain it I must refer to its normal state. And before doing so I will say that the expression, "the kingdom of heaven", means the character of God's rule at a certain time, whilst the other rule -- that of the earth -- is going on at the same time; just as we say "The British rule in India". The rule is of a heavenly character; it is the kingdom of heaven.

If you look at Matthew 13 you find what it was like at the beginning; this in chapter 25 is what it was to become like. The normal state of the saints is also pointed out to us in Luke 12. There we find that the saints were to express Christ whilst He is not here. Their lights were to be burning; they were to be His glory, set forth in the scene where He was not, without expecting anything from the earth; just as we see the moon soaring

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through the sky on a dark night, not receiving anything from the earth, but shedding forth to it the light of the sun that is not there. The true character for the kingdom was that of expecting nothing -- quite a new state of things for the Jew. They were to sell that they had, and give alms; to provide themselves bags which waxed not old, a treasure in the heavens that would not fail, This is to the Jew; the gentile had nothing to sell; he had no rights to claim; and the Jew who is entitled to the earth is to forego his rights as to it. He says to him, You are now to look for another thing. And if the one who had title has to surrender his title, what about him who had none? This is how it touches the gentile. Then, as you have nothing here, you do not fear them that kill the body; you have no care without, no fear within. And the effect is, as you do not fear anything, that you can bear witness, you can confess Him before men; and as you take no thought for yourself, you can seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Well, all this failed. "While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept". And then there comes a change. How does the alteration occur? A cry goes forth. "Behold, the bridegroom". The Lord counts upon the affection in the hearts of His people to respond to it. The word "cometh" is not there. It is just the statement, "Behold, the bridegroom", and He counts that that announcement will awake them. If it were "cometh", He might be still at a distance. It is not cometh. He is there -- go to meet Him! How interesting it is that the Lord counts on the effect of this cry! Yet, though the cry is now preached, many have not been awakened by it. But the fact is the same, There is the Lord. And when He comes, in a moment all else passes away from you; it is not like death, when you leave those you love behind you;

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but all is absorbed by this One who calls you out to Himself. And we are called now to the meeting; we "wait for his Son from heaven;" we are "like unto men that wait for their lord". That is the testimony, the thing that has been made known.

But as to the kingdom all is a failure. We turn to Revelation, and find that the church, the candlesticks, have all failed. But before looking at it there, I turn to John 21 to read two verses: "Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" Now, in connection with this, John gets, in the book of Revelation, this coming of the Lord, that which closes the history, and therefore I turn to it, and read in the first chapter -- "I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead". Mark how changed everything is. Just look at John 20 for a moment; for if you do not see how things were at first, you will not see how changed they are now. At verse 19 you read: "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

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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 the Holy Spirit". That is as it was at the beginning. Here was the opening of everything; a Man risen from the dead, who for the first time takes His place in the midst of His own, speaks peace to them, and breathes on them. That was the normal state.

Now when I turn to the book of Revelation, I find a change. I see Him in the midst of the seven churches, His eyes like a flame of fire, His feet like fine brass, His voice as the sound of many waters, and a sharp two-edged sword going out of His mouth. There is the aspect, the terrific aspect, of the Lord. How can you account for the change? It is that ecclesiastical corruption has come in, and He is indignant. Nothing makes any one so indignant as slighted affection. In John 20 He was in all the delight of reciprocated affection. What is He now in the midst of the seven churches? He is there with such an aspect that John even cannot recognise Him. His eyes are like a flame of fire. I never talk to people about ecclesiastical corruption; I try to bring them near the Lord. You cannot keep mixed up with ecclesiastical corruption when you see the Lord's eyes; -- all bright and beautiful at first, but what now? "His eyes were as a flame of fire". Who can look at them? And why this change? Because He is indignant; His affection has been slighted.

The first church brought before us is the church of Ephesus; the one of all others which had been before us as that to which the full favour of God was shown. And now it has given up the very thing that God first looks for; it has lost its first love. We cannot stay now to look at each of the churches; but when it comes to the very worst state of things (I suppose all here know that Thyatira brings before

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us Roman Catholicism), when the church had got to the lowest depths of darkness, then it is you get the precious promise of the morning star: "I will give him the morning star". The night is wearing on its dreary length; its long dark hours are passing slowly by. You know how in travelling by coach, as the tedious hours drag on, how eagerly the weary traveller looks out for the morning star, the promise of the coming day. And that is just what the Lord gives us here when all is at the darkest; He gives us the morning star, His own coming.

Of course this is not all, but I just pass on to mark how the Lord completes His dealings with the church. Though He finds no love of theirs to speak of, yet His own has never failed; at the very last it is, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten". And what does He say to them? "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me". He says, I do not give up my love, though you give up yours; all the dreary night I stand at the door and knock.

All this I think plainly shows you that, looked at as an ecclesiastical testimony, the church is a failure. And when I turn to the last chapter of the book, I say, Is there then nothing for the Lord in the whole earth?

Well, here I find something new. The testimony was that of the wise virgins going forth to meet the Bridegroom; but now I find a little word of great importance -- "the bride". In the midst of all this ruin, then, there will be a bride, When the Lord comes, He will find a bride here. That "bright and morning star" will so gain the affections of the saints, that they, in company with the Holy Spirit, will invite Him to come. The cry has gone forth, "Behold, the bridegroom". The Lord says, "Surely I

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come quickly;" and the saints, awakened up by the approach of Himself, answer, "Come, Lord Jesus".

I will explain now what the bride is in character, and also show what is the effect upon the saint of being in that position.

The importance of the bride's hope is, that practically, that affection is awakened in my heart which invites Him to come, and this makes me fit for Him to come. His coming is the only thing that answers to the affections of my heart. Now what would prepare a heart -- what would make a heart fit to say these words, "Come, Lord Jesus"?

I turn again to John 20 because there that which characterises the bride begins. Mary in heart is representative of the bride. Now there are four different things that characterise the bride. First, the heart must be won; second, it must be satisfied; third, it must be made suitable; and lastly, comes service.

But first, you must be won. Mary's heart here is wholly won; I need not show that to you, for it is evident. She is inconsolable without Him. She, like the bride of Canticles, seeks Him whom her soul loves. That is the effect in the saint of the heart being won and not satisfied. A heart won and not satisfied is a miserable heart; it does not possess the object of its affections. And many are in that state; the affections His, but no sense of being united to Him; they are bright one day and cast down another, just like the bride in Canticles. There is no sense of union, for affection is not union. You may love the Lord in the deepest, fullest way, and yet it may only make you miserable because you are not with Him, because you do not know union. The very fact of my heart being won makes it dissatisfied; I am inconsolable without the One I love; nothing but His company satisfies me. A heart fully won knows the Lord in a two-fold way: as a

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relief, like the widow of Sarepta when her son is dead; and as a resource, like Jonah, when the gourd is gone -- when all that was a shelter and a delight is gone -- there is but one to turn to, and that is the Lord.

The next thing to having the heart won is to have it satisfied; and that is what Mary also is in John 20. He says to her: "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God". She goes, no longer inconsolable, but satisfied, to tell her message. She is satisfied through knowing Him where He is; it is "My Father, and your Father"; "My God, and your God". Association with Christ where Christ is alone satisfies my heart.

And as I know Him up there, I find that the One who has gone down into judgment for me, that same blessed One who is now set down on the Father's throne is the One who bears me company on my path down here; He has won my heart, and the affection increases as we go along. He is there as the Priest to sustain me, and the Advocate to restore me. I have an Advocate when I sin; and because of this I confess; and God is faithful and just to forgive me my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. The man who sins and does not confess loses the sense of divine favour. The one who confesses goes in and condemns himself, and God says, I come and forgive you all unrighteousness; and thus the heart is kept up fresh in the knowledge of His love. He will sustain me in all that bright scene. The Spirit carries me into it all -- into the holiest -- and He is the One who sustains me when I am in.

So the heart is satisfied, which it never will be but by knowing Christ in the glory. He wins my heart in humiliation, but He satisfies it in glory. And

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that is union. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit".

Let me ask you, beloved friends, do you think any person like the Lord? Can you -- now that He has won your heart, and it is devoted to Him -- can you be happy apart from Him? Well Paul says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ". It is "in heavenly places in Christ". I see many a person longing to get the Lord here, to get Him in their place; but they do not care to get Him in His place. What could delight your heart more than to be in company with Him? That is what satisfies the heart. It is thus that it is made "suitable", and for this I turn to Psalm 45.

I only use the word "suitable" so as better to convey my meaning, because words get so hackneyed that they fail to convey anything to the mind; it is hard to get words to bring truth home to hearts. Sanctified is the word that is generally used. Of course, in this psalm it is the earthly bride that needs adorning for Christ; how much more the heavenly bride? "Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty". Now that is suitable, or, if you prefer the word, that is sanctification; I do not object, if you only know what I mean. In John 17 you get the character of this sanctification. "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth". And if you ask me, What is the measure of it? I reply, -- to be as separate from the things of earth as He is in heaven. "Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house". Not only is it that I do not

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go near them, but I have forgotten them. He absorbs me with His company.

You never can learn what suits a person, except in his own company. There was nothing wrong in Martha. She judged by her own feelings that a wearied traveller would like refreshment, and so set about preparing supper for the Lord; she studied her own feelings instead of His. People often think that because they like a thing themselves their friends will like it. Now Mary, on the other hand, studied the Lord's mind. She sat at His feet; and that is the only place where you will ever learn His mind; you cannot possibly know it otherwise; it is preposterous to think that I can out of my own mind find out what He would like; He is so infinitely above me. Thus I must be with Him to be satisfied, and, being with Him, I grow suitable to Him; and that is what sanctification is.

"So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty". When I read Canticles, the whole thing that I find is the bride's feelings towards the Lord. But in Revelation, as the bride comes down from heaven, I do not find a word about affections: affection has done its work; now it is "adorned" that she is.

I now turn to Proverbs 31 to show you what service is. There we find the wise woman taking care of her lord's house. Now the lower the state of things, the less work there should be done, In Laodicea there is no exhortation to work. Is there anything more marked in this present day than how much work there is done, and at the same time how little souls are in company with the Lord? I do not mean that there should be a great amount of reading got through, but how little there is of sitting before Him to wait for His counsel.

"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her". That is the place for a saint. Christ's heart can trust him. If he is only coming down the street,

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Christ can say of him, That is a friend of mine.

The public side of service is giving one's life for the brethren; the private side is washing the saints' feet. The public thing is to die. You ought to be known as a man who would give his life for the saints. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends". Now how can a man be the friend of Christ, who does not know any of His ways or His likings? Why, Enoch walked with God! That was how he came to please Him.

I think people too often confound sympathy with communion. Do you understand communion? a common mind with the Lord? My child may be in the same room with me, but he may be thinking about the fire; I about the gas. There is no communion between us. But if he is thinking about the gas, though he may understand very little about it compared with what I do, yet our thoughts are on the same object; we have communion with each other. I believe that the one thing we have to seek is to be in communion with the Lord; and when I have got to His side, when I have begun from above, I am able to face anything here. "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her". That is the principle of real service; but I think service has lost its solemn place.

Thus what really characterises the bride is, first, the heart won; then, being in company with Him where He is, the heart is satisfied; then, being satisfied with Him, I learn to be suitable to Him; and this suitability becomes my beauty; I am "adorned". Then comes service. The person whose heart is most set upon the coming of the Lord is the one who can go out in service to others. And notice that the coming

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of the Lord is not ecclesiastical; to the very last it is evangelical.

There is nothing here to delight me but that one thing that is expressed in that word "Come". The testimony now, when everything has failed, is that of the wise virgin going forth with but one purpose -- one object -- and that to meet Him.

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Luke 14:15 - 33

The parable we have read was spoken in reply to one of the company who said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God". Then the Lord set forth, under the figure of a great supper, the greatness of what God has provided. It is a great thing for us to get hold of and understand, in some measure at least, the goodness of God, and that which His heart has provided for us.

What is here put before us by the Lord is not a purpose in God's heart; it is what He has already accomplished, and accomplished by the One who alone could accomplish it; and therefore, all that remains for us, is to take possession of it and to enjoy it. But in order to enjoy a thing there is something more needed than the mere possession of it. Many a man has property who has not health, and of what avail is his property to him then? You need health in order to enjoy what is given you.

Now it is most important that I should know the things that are in the heart of God for me. He had a purpose to bring me into a wondrous place, and that purpose He has accomplished in His Son. Just as in the case of the children of Israel, He says to Moses, Bring my people out of Egypt into the land of Canaan. His purpose was to bring them into the land, and that purpose was accomplished. There were difficulties and dangers by the way, and failures too, but God's purpose was accomplished. We have not only to get out of Egypt, there is a land for us to enter and to take possession of; a house prepared by the Father to which He calls us; a feast to which He has bidden us.

Have you understood anything of the love that

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is in His heart? The Lord sets it forth in this chapter as a feast; in the next chapter He shows how the guest is fitted for the feast. He tells out the Father's heart -- how He feels about us. It is not the prodigal's feelings; it is the Father's feelings about the prodigal coming home. God there says, I am a Father who will receive you when you come back to me, and whose heart will rejoice to welcome you. There is one Man who has told us of the Father's heart. He was the only one who could, for He was the only one who knew it -- the Son of God. And He was the only one who ever knew the enormity of my offence against God -- the sin that had put me at such a distance from God -- and He bore it. I do not know the measure of my sin, and therefore I cannot pay the penalty it incurred; but that One knew it, and He paid it; and He also knew what no other man ever knew, even the love that is in the Father's heart; and that love He declares.

Thus the first thing that comes out is the purpose of God: God makes a feast. The Lord introduces you here to the Father's thoughts and counsels for you. One of the company says, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God". That was nothing in comparison to what the Lord had to tell, and He answers, "A certain man made a great supper".

But, before speaking of this supper, I should like to say a word about the guest. In the next chapter you get three things about him. He is first kissed; next robed; and then feasted. Now without this revelation of the Father's heart we never could have known what the Father's love is. Could philosophy teach it to us? The present race of philosophers are the most contemptible because they borrow from this Book and deny the Author of it. The old philosophers never got beyond benevolence because

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they had not this Book to reveal love to them. Love delights in the one it serves. This I get in the fifteenth of Luke in the wonderful way in which it unfolds the Father. The prodigal is first kissed by Him; next robed; and then feasted. A kiss is the intimation of affection on the part of him who gives it. The heart of God, which was denied by Satan and doubted by man in the garden of Eden, is the first thing He brings out. The first impression of having to do with God is what Scripture calls a kiss, though grace had already worked in him. The second thing is the robe; "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him". And notice that, as soon as the robe is on, he is in the Father's house, though he was "a great way off" when it was brought to him. This robe is what fits him to enter the house; it is the new nature. The moment you have the nature you are qualified to enter. The word is, "Bring forth the best robe". You do not say bring forth a thing when you are inside a house; you must be outside if anything is to be brought forth to you. But now that they are inside, it is "Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry". When they were outside it was "bring forth;" now that they are inside it is "bring hither". He has brought us inside. He has made us "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light". There is not a saint on earth who is not fit for heaven; but there is not one who is perfectly fit for earth. The only one who was fit for earth was the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the Son of man who is in heaven. You are left here heavenly men upon the earth; there is no provision made for your being earthly ones. That is the marvellous place you are put in; you cannot understand what it is to be fit for earth until you have been to heaven.

Now this great supper is not a future entertainment, any more than the Father's house in chapter

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fifteen is a future heaven. It introduces you into that wonderful scene which is typified in the Old Testament Scriptures by "the holiest". You cannot worship anywhere else, and that is what we are brought to now. Mark! now -- not by-and-by. We are brought now by God into a position which is altogether beyond nature.

In 1 Corinthians 2 we read, "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, 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". The point here is to show the Corinthians that they were above nature. A man that acts below nature is a monster. But here you are above nature. You are on a higher level than that which is naturally your own, just as a man on horseback is above his own level and power. Do you say to me, See what lovely things! How the eye rejoices in them! -- Well, I say, so it does, and there is nothing wrong in an eye; but still "Eye hath not seen". -- Do you say, Listen to those sweet sounds! did you ever hear anything more lovely? How the ear rejoices in them! -- I say, so it does, and there is nothing wrong in an ear; but still "Nor ear heard". -- Do you say, Look at the wonderful feelings of the heart? What sensitiveness! what refinement! what delicacy! -- I say, so it has; the heart does feel wonderfully; but still it has not "entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him". This is what we find in Isaiah; he says it is a hidden thing;

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man has not seen it, heard it, or conceived it.

Well now, what is heaven? Oh! you say, we do not know. We believe it is something very grand, but we do not know what it is like. Then you have not got beyond Isaiah if you do not know what heaven is like; "which God hath prepared" is not a hidden thing to us. "God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit". That is the Great Supper; but none of our natural powers can enter into it.

It is an immense thing for the heart to get into this place. The Lord, speaking of the children of Israel, said, that He was come "to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them ... unto a good land, and a large". And, speaking of His people now, He says that He has revealed all these good things unto us by His Spirit. If you say, We believe we shall have it all by-and-by, that implies you have not got it now. The first thing the sinner meets with now is the mercy-seat. It was the first thing that Moses was told to make, but the Jew never could get to it; it was hidden in the holiest. But, 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".

Have you ever entered the holiest? Has your heart ever entered that wondrous scene? "By a new and living way ... through the veil, that is to say, his flesh" -- that is what you are to pass through. And, having entered, there you eat of "the old corn of the land" -- there feed on Christ at the Father's right hand in glory. Is that what you are doing? or is all that only future to you? Is that union with Him there to be by-and-by? Oh, it is an immense thing to know that it is now! It makes you superior to everything! See the seventy-third Psalm. There the prophet was cast down, troubled, perplexed; he could not understand God's dealings.

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But when once he gets into that scene how differently he views everything; there is no more perplexity for him now, no more dissatisfaction; he says, "When ... I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I".

Even in natural things what a different effect is produced upon us by an object according to the level from which we look at it -- whether we see it from above or from beneath. And you cannot be on both at the same time; you must keep either to one level or the other. The apostle says, "What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received ... the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God". Thus what God has done is, He has brought in another power. He has revealed these things to me, and given me the power to understand them. He says, By the Spirit of God I can unite you to the One who sits at My right hand; I can bring you into association with Him up there. Do you say, I do not think I ever have enjoyed what you speak of? Well, if you have not, it is a good thing to be awakened to find it out. All that I say is: "Come, for all things are now ready". It is not you that have to make them ready.

Now Satan has a device to hinder souls getting to this supper. And I would say he will let you go through the world pretty fairly if you do not aim at the top of the ladder; he brings all his guns to bear on the top, if he finds you are set for that. It is not at the first round of the ladder that he aims; it at your hands that he strikes, not at your feet. If he struck away the round you are standing on, you might hang on by your hands, but if he strikes away what you are holding to with your hands, you can make no progress. It is the highest point of

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truth you have that he aims at. It is the most advanced bit of truth that any person in this room holds that he will let go the first when he begins to let anything go. We find throughout Scripture that Satan has always aimed at the highest truth that was held at any given time.

The device that is now current in christendom to hinder souls getting to the supper is the thought that they will get heaven when they die. Now, this is not true. I shall be in heaven when I die, that is true enough; but, as to position, I am in heaven now. But if you say I shall get heaven when I die, then you imply that you have not got it now; and that it is the earth you have got now. That is Satan's device. He puts heaven in the future, and presents earth to you now. The wine is red, and, as you look upon it, it deceives you.

Tell me is there any Spirit of God? And, if there is, what does He reveal to you? Where is Jesus? In heaven, you say. And do you never get there? do you never get to Him? Surely I am made acquainted by the Spirit of God with Christ where He is now. By the Spirit I am brought into heavenly places. Our translators have made it "heavenly things", but it is really "heavenly places". And from these heavenly places I am to come down and act on earth as a heavenly man; Christ imparts power to me from above so that I may thus walk, and my heavenly walk sets forth God's own glory. I am a heavenly man on earth. Is it a question what I am to do? I am responsible for nothing but to come in as Christ was upon the scene, and not as a mere man.

If you say we shall get heaven by-and-by, that puts off heaven till you die. Are you never there now? People confuse going to heaven with eternal life. Eternal life is that I have the capacity now to enjoy the things of God, and, because I have it,

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I pass into a scene where I can eat the old corn of the land; where I find perfection, quietness, satisfaction, Christ Himself. I dwell where I can enjoy Him, where, by "beholding ... the glory of the Lord", I am "changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord".

Do not let any one here say it is too much. God, in His grace, has come in and ended the history of man in the flesh, in the cross, and now by the Spirit I am brought into association with His Son at His own right hand in heaven. Christ wins my heart in humiliation; He satisfies it in glory. A won heart is not necessarily a satisfied heart, But I believe if a heart is truly won by Christ it never will be satisfied without Him. No heart that is won is ever satisfied but in the company of the one who won it. Absence does not 'make the heart grow fonder!' You only discover in absence what you have gained in presence.

God's thought is to bring me into the best -- into the highest -- place. Paul was taken up into heaven on purpose that he might come down and show us into it, just like a servant to show us through the different rooms of a house. Look at the queen of Sheba; "there was no more spirit in her;" she was lost in the surroundings of king Solomon. Were you ever lost in the things of Christ? Were you ever in an ecstacy? Do you think if people were in an ecstacy to God they would be so taken up with things down here? It is true I have to be occupied here, but is it as one who comes out from heaven to do duty for Christ? There is a great difference between a man working in an office and that same man at home. Have you ever seen one glimpse of heaven? If you have it will have thrown earth into the shade. The more you look closely at man's things the more you will find out their defects; take a microscope and see what the finest things of man's

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manufacture will look like under it. But the more you subject to examination anything of God's, the more beautiful, the more wonderful, and the more symmetrical it will appear. Now God has brought man into His own heavenly scene, but man could never take it in. To begin, there are numbers of saints who have not got hold of the power that can keep them separate from the world. It is not a question of thus merely coming out of Egypt: we are to "go in and possess the land".

I will just turn for a moment to the tenth chapter, that we may look at the earthly side of this. Here we find the parable of the man who fell among thieves. We are upon earth evidently; here there is a "neighbour;" you do not want a neighbour in heaven. Now there are three things connected with this neighbour. First, he pours in oil and wine. We are poor, helpless things, full of wounds, half dead; that is the only attraction we have. But misery is an attractive thing to grace; that is a great comfort to a poor soul. Man meets a miserable creature in the street, and he shrinks from him; but never did a poor creature meet Christ in the street that He was not attracted to him.

The second thing in the parable is something entirely new to man -- something he never had before. He "set him on his own beast". This is a very difficult thing for man to accept; there is nothing so difficult as to induce a man to leave his own legs for the power of Christ. Everyone likes to have wine and oil poured into his wounds, but the many do not like to go farther than that. Not so Paul. He had a power outside of himself; he says, "I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me". "For when I am weak, then am I strong". No one minds a difficulty, when there is power to meet it. You see a woman standing by the side of a street, wanting to cross, but not

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daring to do it. A policeman comes and takes hold of her arm, and at once she goes straight across without any fear; and yet there is just as much difficulty as there was before; the difficulty is there just as much when the policeman is with her as it was before he came. What then is the difference? She is trusting in his power to take her across. A difficulty is no difficulty when there is power to meet it. He "set him on his own beast". But, that is not what saints want. They would like the Lord to make them prosperous on the earth -- to help them along on their own legs. But that is not what He does. He "set him on his own beast".

Then thirdly, He "brought him to an inn". Now an inn is a place for strangers. People try to be strangers, which just proves they are not strangers. For instance, John the baptist had to eat peculiar food, and dress in a strange way to show the Jews that he was a stranger amongst them; and this showed that he was not really a stranger. The Lord has put me on His own beast, and brought me to an inn, and that is my place on earth, I have no other. That is the earthly side: "strangers and pilgrims". The fifteenth chapter is the heavenly side; and in the fourteenth, we get it as the feast.

Oh, you say, but none of us would refuse the Great Supper The Lord says "They all with one consent began to make excuse".

Now mark It is not sin that refuses the supper -- it is nature. Nature has got something that satisfies itself. There is no sin in any of the reasons given as excuses for refusing the invitation. There is nothing wrong in a person buying a piece of ground; on the contrary, it is one of the strongest instincts in our nature to own land. "The earth hath he given to the children of men;" there is nothing more attractive to man; you never knew a man yet

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that did not like a bit of land. There is no sin in it; but it is nature; and nature cannot rise to the Great Supper.

The next buys "Five yoke of oxen". You see this is in advance; he has the land, and now he wants to cultivate it. And the third marries a wife, and therefore he cannot come. He wants to settle down and make himself happy in his own home. Is there anything wrong in that? No, nothing. But they refused the supper.

Then the Lord turns round to the multitudes and says, Nature will not do; every relation in life must be taken up in a new way if you are going to follow Me. The tree, i.e. yourself, will be in the same place that it was before; the leaves of it withered often, and the sap was often not there; but now there is a new nature put into it, and the leaves may never wither, and the sap should be ever flowing in its branches. Such is the wonderful elevation to which I am brought, that in all my earthly relationships I derive grace from Christ, and am in them to His glory. God sets me in every relation in keeping with this place which He has given me in Christ.

Love in nature is not the point: it is sure to fail when put to the test. A mother loves her child, and yet when it is peevish and cross, she may get cross too. The Lord says, If you do not take up these relationships in grace, you will never be able to finish the tower, or to meet the enemy. The tower is defensive to arrest an attack; the army is aggressive, to make an attack; you will not be equal for either, unless you have a power outside nature. If you are not superior to all natural ties -- "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".

I am in the same place that I was, but I am only used there now by Christ. Christ's cross sets me free

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as I bear it and go after Him, a slave to Him on the earth. Saints often think that unless they are doing something very great, that they are not serving the Lord at all. It is often said, "Mary has chosen the better part", as if there were two parts. There never was but one part, and Mary chose "the good part;" the other part was the invention of Martha s own heart, and not from Christ. She judged from her own feelings that a tired traveller would like refreshment; she had studied her own thoughts more than the Lord's. But Mary knew His heart, so she sat at His feet and heard His word. This is what is lacking in service now; this is where lies our real difficulty as to pleasing Christ; we need His mind to know what He would have us do, so as not to be going after our own thoughts. What we labour for is, that "whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him".

In conclusion, I would say that the higher you go, the more is man exposed to you. No amount of actual conversance with the things of God will do; but once get into the holiest, into the presence of God Himself, and you will get a sight of man's moral state that will almost shock you. The Lord grant that each beloved child of God may be encouraged to press forward; as the Lord said to Paul, "Be of good courage", and to Joshua, "Go in and possess the land".

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Mark 2:1 - 12

You will find there is a moral order in the miracles of the Lord as recorded in the opening of the gospel by Mark. He meets man here according to his need, and therefore the first miracle spoken of is that in which He casts out an unclean spirit. The second is the fever; that is the excitement of nature; and the third is the leprosy -- man's state by nature. He heals the leper. Of course God always had power over Satan, but here is a Man who has power over him; He shows that He is able to meet every kind of evil from which man suffers at the hand of Satan. Leprosy is external defilement; if a man speaks a bad word, it is leprosy; it not only does himself harm, but it contaminates others. And next we come to the fourth -- the palsy -- the perfect helplessness of man; and the man that is thoroughly helpless draws the most from God, for the great attraction for the grace of God is my need of that grace. So what is it that attracts the heart of Christ? What was it that was attractive in the widow of Sarepta? It was her sorrow. A poor widow gathering a few sticks to dress a last meal for herself and her son, and then going to die! Christ ever desires to find a home in the widowed heart -- in the desolate heart. Do you want to attract Christ to you? What is there in you to attract Him? Is it that you are great or beautiful? No, but that you are powerless. See how the Syrophenician came to the Lord. She takes the lowest place to get a claim on Him; she says, I am content to be a dog if only I may have a crumb. Then, He says, you have got a claim, and more than one; great is thy faith!

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Here we get a case of utter powerlessness; a palsied man; so a new principle comes in that is not mentioned in the previous miracles, and that is faith. Where one can do nothing -- where there is least power, -- there there is most faith. "It is of faith, that it might be by grace". The thief on the cross is a wonderful sample of faith to us; he recovers what was lost in the garden of Eden; he is the first man who turned the corner in that way, so to speak; he gained the power of God where the power of man had been lost.

So here with the palsied man. He has not a particle of power; he cannot come to Christ himself, and the moment others attempt to bring him, they are hindered by the press; but "when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay". There is nothing that will really stop faith; faith wants to reach its object -- an object outside itself. They want to get to a Person, and they find obstacles in the way, but faith is not hindered by obstacles; it is like a river that is dammed; it swells until it gets over the barrier.

There are two things I would now bring before you: first, what Christ does for a soul, and next, what a soul does for Christ: what is done for me, and what is done in me; and I must not confound the two.

What is done for me is the first thing. The palsied man is laid before the Lord; but He does not say a word about his palsy; He says, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee". Why is this? Because He comes out to meet the greatest enemies first; it is not the palsy He is looking at; and as to his sins, it is not one or two of them, nor three or four, but all; when He accomplished the work He removed them all. If he had only removed twenty out of twenty-one, I

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should be lost for the one; but it is "the forgiveness of sins", of all of them. And not for past sins only: as has been said by another, there is not a sin of ours, but has been committed since Christ died, so that we are in a poor position if He has not died for them all. I must see that He is the Person who has done away with all my sins; He has not to die for my sin every time I commit one; if He did not die for them before I committed them who is to die for them?

God says, I will meet the case. It is plain we could not meet it ourselves. I may say to one of my children, You have broken this beautiful pane of glass, and you cannot mend it; but I will repair it myself in a perfect way. It is just so between ourselves and God. We cannot meet our sins, but He has met them in a perfect way. Suppose a man owes me money and cannot pay it, and I say, You can never pay me this, so I will pay it myself! It is thus that God has dealt with us. He has "laid help upon one that is mighty;" He has taken away through Him the thing that offended His holy eye, so that He might have me in His presence for ever. And He cannot lose sight of the efficacy of what He has done; I may lose sight of it, but He never can. God comes forth of His own self, and says he loves the world: Jesus says He takes away the sin of the world. He "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification". I look to Him as I walk, and I say, The man on that side of the road ruined me: I belong to the Man on this side; so I turn my back upon the one, and I turn my face to the other -- I turn my eyes to Him. One man is the man that ruined me; the other is the Man that has wrought deliverance, and therefore He says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved". The lamb in the Levitical order only showed what God required; so Christ, as the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world; and,

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the moment a man has faith in Him, He rises to the height of grace, and says, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee",

Well but, says some one, I have committed a great many sins since I have been converted, and I do not doubt you have; but you have now to regard your sin as a child, and not as before, as a vagrant. As a child of God I say, when I sin, I have no right to have done such a thing as this -- I repudiate it; I confess my sins, and then "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". "Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins", and, "their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more". Do you believe that God really ever spoke those words? God cannot impute sin to a believer. You may have a sense of having committed sin, but God will never lay it to your charge. When I sin what do I find? Why, that the moment I go into Gods presence I am humbled, and have to confess it; but, as I do so, I say that God did away with it all at the cross. God says, you must get rid of all this black that is upon you. Like a naughty child I have gone down into the cellar and got myself soiled; but God says, You must come up out of that place and be made clean again -- be made fitting to the place I have set you in.

And what a place that is! I am now a brother of the risen Man! (See John 20.) And I love to think how that I am more distinctly a brother to Christ than I am a brother to the old nature -the Adam nature in which I was born; I am more distinctly by divine power in the new creation than I am in the old. A new and more wonderful creation has been wrought in me -- poor creature though I am in myself -- than has been in the making of this world, this sky, these stars, which we all admire so much. In the new creation I am a brother to the glorified

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Christ! I never was a brother to Christ on earth. It was not until He was risen from the dead that He could say, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God". I am a brother to a risen Christ, and though I have belonged to the old man, the cross has broken me off from him and united me to this risen Man.

What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, How am I to keep my eye on Him? I reply, Keep your eye off everything else and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Hint. How simple it is!

So far for the first part.

Now they raise the question, "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?" And Jesus says, "Why reason ye these things in your hearts? whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house". Now comes out the power in us. And what I want you to see, beloved friends, is that you have nothing to say, or to do, as to the first of these two things, whilst you have everything to say to the second. People are continually confounding the two. God does the first entirely for you, but having done it, He does not leave you there; it is said, "He it is which baptiseth with the Holy Spirit;" He imparts a new power to you.

How shall I know when I have a new power? I will tell you. Whatever you are most singularly defective in in nature, there you will be most singularly superior in grace; in other words, you will

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carry your bed. In everything it is so. Here is a poor weak man who says he cannot do without his bed. Well then, that is the very thing he is to carry. Whatever you are notorious for in nature that is the very thing you will be the reverse of in grace. A man is covetous: he will become the very opposite in grace; he will be generous.

Christ is now in the place of power; He is at God's right hand, and He says, I am going to give you a power that shall enable you to show me forth in spite of all that is around you and within you to hinder it. But, you say, I am in the old creation -- I know you are; but remember that the Head of the new creation is the Lord of the old. And if you have this power it will manifest itself most where there has been most carnality -- most of the old man; there it will express itself most distinctly.

How do I learn my besetting sin? By seeing how the Lord watches me, by seeing how the word touches me, and by seeing how the Lord exercises me. There is not a person who walks with the Lord but he finds out what is his bed -- what is his weak point.

What does Christ want to do with you, beloved friends? what does He want to do with you upon earth? He wants that He Himself -- Christ -- may be seen in you. But there is that in you which hinders the expression of His grace. Now what will He do to get rid of this hindrance? He will bring in a power that will entirely overcome it -- to such a degree that that man's body here upon the earth, which was the very soil in which all the seeds of Satan were sown to his cost -- that body is to be the garden of the Lord; it is to bring forth fruit for the Lord; so that people may well say, "We never saw it on this fashion". It is a new point set forth in christianity -- that the body is the Lord's.

Look at the history of any saint walking with

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God, and you will see how, in grace, he becomes superior to what distinguished him in nature. If he be in nature an ambitious man then that is the very thing he will not be now, because that was what ministered to his infirmity -- that is his bed. People say, I cannot do without reading light books, newspapers, and so on. I answer, that is the very thing that ministers to your selfishness -- to your nature --; and when you get power you will carry it. It is the very thing that you were most notorious for in nature as a man, that in grace you will be made most superior to; for now, instead of being under its power, you rise above it; instead of letting yourself down to it, you are superior to it -- you carry your bed.

Just turn to Ephesians 4:28. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth".

Now here is a case that is very remarkable. You see it is a very bad case. "Let him that stole steal no more" -- that is where most people stop; and, in doing so, they make it only the law, and nothing more. But what will this divine power make of a thief? A thief is a taker; but grace makes him a donor. "Let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he" -- may be able to support his family and take care of himself? Not a bit! but, "that he may have to give to him that needeth".

I can bring you instances enough to show you that saints have been distinguished for the very thing in which by nature they failed. Take Peter. He was so active -- always foremost in everything. He ends by being carried, and that too where in nature he would not like to go.

In Hebrews we have another example of grace making strong the very spot that was weak. We all

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know what Jacob was, a most grasping man, always looking out for the present, always thinking of himself. God took him up as the most perverse of men just to show what grace can do. Here at the end of his life he is found leaning on his staff, a worshipper. -- Now a worshipper is one whose heart is detained by the object that controls it -- adoringly occupied with that one object. And he was not only worshipping -- occupied with another instead of himself; but he was also blessing the sons of Joseph -- thinking of things future instead of planning for the present. And thirdly, to complete the picture, we find in Genesis what we do not get in Hebrews, that, when he looks at himself, all that he can say is: "As for me ... Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way". He says, I can bless you as to the future, but, as for me, the whole scene is a blank here; death has cast its pall upon it.

He is brought out at the close of his life to show how grace has turned him right round, and made him the very opposite of all for which he was notorious as a man. He was thinking of others; he was not moping, though all was a blank; Rachel died by the way. All is the very reverse of what it was. Is this the Jacob we used to know? Yes, indeed! he is carrying his bed!

We make so little of divine power. People often indeed go on just the same after they are in Christ as they used to do before. But a christian is a man who is exemplifying a Man who is in heaven, whilst he himself is on earth. And I cannot do this -- I cannot learn Christ here upon earth, but as I know Him where He is. As the apostle says: "To me to live is Christ", That is not a man of whom men can say, Oh, that is a very nice man; christianity has improved him -- lent a burnish to him -- a polish to him. It is not that at all. But christianity has turned him right round -- made a new man of him altogether.

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That is what divine power is: not to make him a good man, but to make him like Christ. People are all for humanising Christ, and christianising men, and there is nothing I fear more for saints than that. To humanise Christ is to bring Him down to man's level; and to christianise a man is to make a good man of him.

I am sure I say it humbly, that I often do not know how Christ would do a certain thing. I often think and know how a man -- and how a nice man would do something; but the thing is how would Christ do it? It is easy to find out how a man would like a thing done. If I say, How would people like this to be done? I am going wrong. That is not the way to do it. The question is, How would Christ like it done? It is another order of things altogether. I feel for my own part how ignorant I am about it, but I am glad to say I think about it, and am exercised about it.

If I am to have power, I must know a glorified Christ seated in heaven at the right hand of God. What would that make me? Why it would make me like Christ. It is as plain as can be to me; I am carrying it out very little, but the fact is plain, that divine power would give me that divine shape, that divine attitude, that divine conduct, that would be His if He were standing in the very place in which I now am. Therefore the apostle says: "Christ shall be magnified in my body".

There are two parts in christianity. First there is the Deliverer; He brings you to God through His own work on the cross. And second, being delivered, you are to be like the Person who delivered you; you are to be the expositor of the One you belong to. You are to express nothing of yourself; you are a thorn in the hedge, but a thorn that is to bear a rose. I am in myself but a briar in a hedge, but I have been engrafted; and the consequence is I bear

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what is not natural to me, a rose; and thus, though my stem is but a briar, the fragrance that I shed around, is that of a rose of Sharon.

Divine power is to be manifested in the one who is absolved from his sins -- in the one to whom it has been said: "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee". The man that is naturally avaricious, when grace works in him, will cease to amass for himself, and will end by being a giver. The man who is ambitious will be brought down in every direction. The Lord will not let a man glory in flesh.

May the Lord in His grace make it plain to your hearts, first, that Christ's blood-shedding washes you completely before a holy God, from everything that could rise up against you; -- and God has never lost His satisfaction in Christ, and never can lose it, and therefore He can never lose His satisfaction in me who am in Christ. And secondly, that divine power has come in to make me much more marked with the power of Christ, than was even that man who carried his bed in Jerusalem. There is not one of you but has a bed; and the work of God is just hindered in you because you will not carry it.

This man was not to carry it about the streets either; he was to take it to his house. A christian husband is to be a peculiarly good husband; a christian wife, to be a peculiarly good wife; a christian child, to be a peculiarly good child. It is at home that people always fail -- it is in the inner circle that failure first comes in -- because there they are off their guard.

As I have said, what I want the Lord in His mercy to keep before our hearts are these two things. One, what Christ has done for me -- that He has removed everything by His own work that stood between God and me, so that nothing can ever come between Him and me again. And the other, that there is a

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power which can make you superior to everything in yourself.

I do not know what your bed is; I know very well what mine is; and God says, I will crush it, snap it, do anything to it to put it down; because it is every bit of it, the flesh in me, that hinders Christ from shining forth in me. The thing here is not to get Christ in to me, though that must of course come first, but to get Christ out of me. That is the thing!

And "they were all amazed"! It does make people amazed to see Christ come out of such poor creatures -- to see divine power act through such weakness. Christ says: The body is Mine; and now it is to grow beautiful flowers for Me. Your very countenance is to shine! Is it to be sorrowful? No! "alway rejoicing"!

The Lord lead you to see what this grace of God is -- what this divine power. That is all that I desire. The power that wrought in Christ Himself is the very power that is working in me to bring me now to His image, to which I shall be conformed entirely when He appears.

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Psalm 22; Galatians 1:15, 16

The twenty-second psalm is an account of what the Lord went through for us.

There are two subjects in this psalm: one, that this blessed One bore all that was against us; the other, that He declared the Father. These two things, when you come to understand them, bring out distinctly the fact that He was the Son of God. So much so, that Paul, after seeing Him, went into the synagogue and preached that Jesus -- the Man -- was the Son of God. We have it "Christ" in our translation; but the right word is "Jesus".

Now mark, for you may not at first see why the Person who endured all that was against me, and the Person who declared the Father, must be the Son of God -- that it proves it. First, there never was a man who knew the nature of my offence against God; and next there never was a man who knew the love in the heart of God to a sinner.

There never was any man but One who knew these two things; and He who knew them must necessarily be equal with God in order to know how He felt as to each. A child does not know how I feel. People misunderstand the feelings of one another simply because they have not the same order of intellect. You must have a mind equal to that of the person aggrieved if you would understand how he feels about the grievance.

Tell me, have you ever measured or understood the extent of your offence as it is seen by God? I will put it in the plainest language. How could you go about paying a debt that you did not know the amount of? None ever knew the extent of your offence but one Man; and that Man must have been

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the Son of God, or He could not have known it. Well, that Man comes to bear it. There were two things known to Him that were never known to any other man, and these two things prove that He was the Son of God: no other man knew the amount of my debt but Himself; and no other man ever knew the heart of God, and understood the love that He bore to me, but He. He alone could declare that love, just as He alone knew the nature of my offence.

As we grow holy we know something about it, but the unholy know nothing about it at all; we have no sense of what a terrible thing sin is in the mind of God, but as we get near Him; none ever knew what sin was in the mind of God as the Son of God did, and He was the One to bear it. But, besides this, as I have said, no one knew the love that was in the Father's heart for the prodigal but Himself, and therefore He comes out Himself to tell us what it is.

This is what this psalm recounts to us: sins borne, and then the love of the Father declared. The one is when all the enemies are strewn upon the battlefield; He has encountered every foe, and laid them all prostrate; and then on that very battlefield, where they are all laid low, comes out this blessed, this unknown, eternal light; when there is not a foe left that He has not encountered, He brings into the scene the wonderful declaration of the Father's love to the poor wretched ones now rescued by His grace.

Paul speaks of it, as one in whom it was perfectly accomplished, when he says, "It pleased God ... to reveal His Son in me". But practically souls do not reach this -- do not understand this new light, this new day, which in fact was called, and I doubt not significantly, "the first day of the week", because on it the new Man comes in; and when the new

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Man comes in, there must be a new day, which is what I want to show you.

The Lord descends from the mount of transfiguration to die at Jerusalem. The soul never gets perfect deliverance until it sees the Lord put Himself in this place, where He says: "Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour".

Now I will show you the foes that He encountered for us. I do not think we bear along in our hearts sufficiently what Christ's path was for us down here. I do not mean merely to be looking at the story of it, or reading theoretically about His sufferings; I mean the entering in our hearts into what He actually went through for us, so that sin might come before us as "exceeding sinful".

I will go through the psalm in detail. We may notice that generally in a psalm it is the greatest thing that begins or heads it. And I state according to my judgment, that a psalm is always the record of what the soul has gone through. When you write the psalm you recount what you have gone through. So I find I cannot read a psalm well till I am out of the thing it recounts, because it was written by one who had got out of it. When I am in the depths it is no use to read it; but, when I am out again, then I can bear the recital of what I have been through, and then is my time to read it; I am exercised in the place I am in to see how I reached it.

Paul sees Christ in glory, but for three days afterwards he neither eats nor drinks. He does not want to know that he has been there, but he looks back to see how he got there. He has to learn how Christ went down into judgment, how He bore death for him. It is the answer to what we get in the twelfth of Exodus. It is the lack of this that makes the conversions of the present day so weak in their character.

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There are two things: there is the blood on the lintel -- that is security, I admit; but what is the eating the roast lamb with the bitter herbs? A person says. I believe in the blood. And I say, I do not question it a bit, but you have not got the sense in your soul of how Christ bore the judgment of your sins; you have not a sense of the consequences of sin, and consequently there is no coming out of Egypt. But I am not only delivered from the judgment; I am going out of the place where the judgment was. Therefore Scripture says; "Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water". People speaking in a familiar way of the Lord Jesus Christ as "dear Jesus", and "the adorable Jesus", and such like, is eating it raw. I do not touch the question of security, because the slightest faith in Christ brings security; but I say there is no depth in it, because they have not gone inside and eaten the lamb "roast with fire", and "with bitter herbs"; they have no sense of what Christ went through when He was made sin for us.

There is so little known of confession. "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation". That is not merely going out and telling people; the meaning of confession is the heart having a sense of what it has found in another, so as to be forced to acknowledge it. When Jonathan made a covenant with David, that was confession. The woman coming into the Pharisee's house was for confession. She had heard of Him and believed in Him before, but she says, I must go and speak to Him; I must give up all for Him. And she comes in, and stands behind Him weeping, and anoints Him. That was confession; with the mouth owning Him. So did Jonathan. He first made a covenant with David, and then he "stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle". That was

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public. There must be the private and the public action, to show that I am indebted to Him for everything. It is a great lack to souls, their not practically accepting this. When your soul gets the sense that Christ bore the judgment in the place where you are, what must be the effect of it? Why, that you long to get out of the place.

In this psalm I count seven distinct things that the Lord encountered for us, and I pray Him to show it out to us, that we may understand it, for it is holy ground that we are on whilst we look at that holy One going down into death. As He went through this world, He walked scatheless in the midst of all that was against Him; enemies might rise mountains high before this, but not a single one could touch Him. But now His hour was come; every barrier was broken down, and the accumulated force of men and devils bore down upon that spotless One! And not that alone: He had to encounter the judgment of God. It is, "Father, save me from this hour!"

Has your soul ever gone in company with Him in this hour? If it has, if but for one moment, you will know something of the exceeding sinfulness of sin.

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" This is the first thing in the psalm; not that it comes first chronologically, but that it is morally the greatest; it is first in its gravity. No one can understand what sin is but a holy person; who then could estimate it like the holy One of God? And when He took the sinner's place, He bore the sinner's penalties. There was not a single penalty attached to disobedience which He had not fixed Himself; none knew so well what those penalties were as He, the law-giver, who had fixed them. And He it was who bore what He Himself had fixed. He takes the sinner's place in judgment, and He says, "My God,

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my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He gets the sense in His soul of the distance between the sinner and God, and darkness comes in. He felt it as none other could. Despair has something of this character, because it is the feeling of one who has had the light and has now lost it; and who says, I know what the light is, for I have rejoiced in it; but it is gone, and now I am in despair until I get it again.

This is what He has borne. Have you got a sense of it? He has borne it, and the darkness is gone; the sinner's distance from God is gone in the One who has met it. Therefore the Lord can come forth and say, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him". When was this? Was it on the mount? No. At the grave of Lazarus? No. He was the Son of God there, not the Son of man. Where then was it? It was on the cross! He was not thinking of what it would cost Him, but of what was due to God, cost Him what it might. He says, I know the holiness of God, and I know the penalties of sin, but I will bear it all.

Practically we have to learn this in our own history; but I hope I shall be able to show you that we have nothing to fear when we look up; but if we look down, God says, I am going to shake all that is here. That is the twelfth of Hebrews. "Our God is a consuming fire". If you do not shake yourself, as sure as God is in heaven, you will get a shaking some of these days, and lose your reward too. He says, "Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem". I have thrown it open to you up here; but if you go down to the earth, you will get to a consuming fire; for I am going to shake terribly the earth.

That is the first thing; and I want your souls practically to understand it. There has been a good deal said about being personally occupied with

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Christ, but you never will be occupied with the deliverer until you have got deliverance. How could Jonathan be occupied with David the deliverer before he saw the head of Goliath in his hand, and he knew that deliverance was wrought? Then David becomes his object.

Christ has removed every single thing out of the way; there is now nothing to bar your access to God. He has removed sin, and the darkness of divine wrath, but there must be more than this. You cannot get into Psalm 23 until you have learnt the Lord in Psalm 22. How can you lie down in green pastures unless you see first that He has removed everything out of the way which could come in to disturb you there? Praise comes out as I look at the One who is triumphant; the song comes after the victory, when the whole thing is accomplished, as in Exodus 15"The Lord ... hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea".

I would encourage your conscience and heart in this matter. Can you say, I see that the distance between myself and God is gone, that the darkness is over? Yes. And do you see the Person who did it? Yes. And you can be occupied with the One who did it all?

Now mark, you must keep another thing before your mind, and that is, that God Himself sent Him to remove the distance which man had brought in between God and himself. Man was responsible to remove the distance, but he could not, so God says, I will prove that there is love in My heart. "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". God commends His love by the way He acts love, not by insisting that love is there. He proves that He loves us; the very thing that was denied in the garden of Eden. You were bound to repair the distance, and you

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could not do it; so now, says God, I will do it Myself; I lay help upon One that is mighty.

This is what He teaches us in the parable of the prodigal son. You get three parables in Luke 15, all of them unfolded in the thief on the cross. The point to be established is that God Himself acts; He sends the One who will perfectly meet His own mind, so that the work is perfectly done. I hear people say Christ has paid all their debts. Yes, all that you know, I say; but what about what you do not know? Your conscience is clear, but I know where you will be presently: you will be in misery; you will find that it is not only what you know, but that sin is working in you; you will be in Romans 7. You have not got hold in your soul of the fact that God Himself has provided the sacrifice that satisfies Himself. It is not only that I know that every one of my debts is paid. The thing that will stand, and that gives the soul real stability, is the fact that God is perfectly satisfied, because He has provided the One who satisfies Himself. And what am I to do? Why, to look at that One who satisfies Him.

I might tell you an incident of a man I met with in a train a short time ago. He was evidently dying, and I spoke to him of Christ. He answered me, "I knew Him before I fell sick, I am thankful to say; but still I am not perfectly happy, for sometimes a cloud comes between". I said, "But God satisfied Himself with the sacrifice He provided". "I thank you for that", he said, "I never thought of it before". His face lighted up with joy; he saw it in a moment, and I trust he went away really happy. It gives immense strength to the soul seeing it. As a woman, to whom I had spoken the previous day, said just before her death, "He is satisfied, and so am I".

It is not the mere fact of His paying my debts;

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but He has so met the mind of God that He has entitled me to a most inconceivable inheritance. I have searched up and down in nature for an illustration of this, but I cannot find such a thing. The One who discharged the debt did it according to the mind of God. I did not know what I owed Him. One only knew, and He discharged it. Well then, rest in this!

That is the first point; and I have dwelt long upon it, because I do not think people are clear about it. God never imputes sin to me any more. He has raised Christ from the dead to prove it. He never sees me "in the flesh" any more, though He sees me acting in it. But all the question of sin is settled, and it will never come between me and God any more. If I call in question my acceptance I am simply dishonouring Him; but the more I am concerned about my acceptability the more I honour Him. The heart does not get perfectly clear until it sees this.

Now I turn to the second point. The figure I use is this. The Lord is on the battlefield, and that to encounter not one Goliath but seven. I see Him meet them here in single combat. They are all coming down upon Him, all the enemies that could gather themselves against Him. I see Him encountering each of them, and, after overcoming each, eventually enter into death Himself to "destroy him that had the power of death ... and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage". I find that, unless a person gets clear about the death of Christ, he is sure to be balked by one of these seven things. But I trust that every one in this room is clear as to the question of sin being entirely gone.

Next we find that He is the "reproach of men, and despised of the people". Now tell me, does this ever hinder you? Is that giant laid low? Christ says,

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I bear all that, and take it out of the way. These are the things that bear upon man here. He says, "I am a worm, and no man". He bears that too. He has met God; now He comes down to man. Are you clear of this? Are you superior to what man is? Are you not afraid of what man can do? Look at Stephen; you will see all that we find here worked out there. He says, I do not fear what man can do to me. He looks up and sees no fear as to God; he looks down and sees no fear as to Satan, no fear as to man; as to himself, no fear of pain; he is superior to it, and shows it by being able to act for others -- able to pray for his murderers. People say, I am sure I am going to heaven; but I say, Are you above the power of man here -- above all that he can do?

He says, "I am ... a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head". That is what Christ was; and if your heart does not get clear of it, you will be balked by it. In Stephen you find a man who has got perfectly clear of all these things. Everything is gone. There is not a particle of distance between him and God; he looks up and sees Him. Is he afraid of Satan? Not a bit! Afraid of the people? Not a bit! Afraid of pain? Not a bit! Not a bit concerned about anything! He is the prince of heroes! If all the heroes in the world were put together they would never make such a hero as Stephen, because he is not only above all these things, but he can act for others in them, and that, too, for those from whom he was suffering.

Now we come to the next. "Many bulls have compassed me". Who are these? The Jews; I find the Lord surrounded with them. "Strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion".

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That is what they were. He says, I have met them all and have laid them prostrate; the battlefield is strewn with them. And if you do not see the battlefield strewn with them, as Jonathan saw the head of Goliath in David's hand, you will surely be balked by them some day.

Now comes the next enemy, one that balks very many; that is bodily weakness, which is the fourth. Where was there ever weakness like His? "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint". You have read of the Inquisition; you have read of the screw and such like instruments of torture; but where was there ever anything like this? "All my bones are out of joint". I speak not of sickness, but I have here One who was weaker than any other in this world ever was. Do you say, Have I sympathy from the Lord in my sickness and weakness? I say, Yes, I have. I have the sympathy of One who was weaker than any other ever was. I have the sympathy of One who, whilst thus in weakness, encountered the judgment of God and bore it, and thus entitled me to an inconceivable inheritance besides the debt He discharged.

Do you think people are not balked by bodily weakness? I know nothing that balks like it. And why? It is because the body, instead of being the medium of what is going on within, becomes a positive burden. As the apostle says, "We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened". I ask you, is this giant gone for you? Do you think it was not gone for Stephen? Do you think his bones did not loosen as they were battering him to pieces? Of course they did! And did he not feel it? How is this effected? It is that he was triumphant in the power of the blessed One who had laid low every foe that could come against us.

"My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my

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tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death". I can not get lower, I find this blessed One where? In the grip of this fearful antagonist. But He says, I will meet all; in single combat will I encounter all. I know what it is to meet the judgment of God, and now I will meet all that the malice of man can bring against Me. I am brought down to the very dust. Thus did He glorify God under the weight of it, and God has glorified Him.

And now He takes up another point. "Dogs have compassed me". That is in Romans. We have spoken of the "bulls", which represent the religious magnates -- the Jews; now we get the "dogs" -- the gentiles. The Jews delivered Him over to the Romans. You cannot say that it was thus with Stephen, but with the Lord it was so; therefore I do not connect this part with Stephen.

"The assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture". Now, beloved friends, let me ask you (for it strikes me sometimes how desperately unfeeling the heart of man is), if I were to say, A friend of yours is dead; would not your heart feel it? But then if I were to say, He died for you? What then? Surely I need not dwell on it.

And now we come to the sixth point. "Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion's mouth". Here we get Satan. See what a place the blessed Lord is in for me!

And then He says lastly, "Thou has heard me from the horns of the unicorns". That is generally supposed to be the pains of death.

He has gone through all that. And now let me say, That is my Saviour; that is the One

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I belong to, the One who has done everything for me.

You say, I have got part of it. I tell you if you have not got all you have none. If you are weak in any one of these things you will be weak in every one of them. If you find a person who is hindered by bodily weakness, you will find he is hindered in all his enjoyment of God. The body of a thoroughly healthy person is really a help to him; but, when the body is not a help but a hindrance, it is like working against the stream in everything. Does ill health cast a cloud over you? and do you say, It is my weakness? I tell you, if your illness brings a cloud between you and God, you have not got a sense of real acceptance with God -- you have never yet got the question of sin settled before Him. It is with you as with the woman of Sarepta; as soon as sorrow comes upon her she says, "Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance?"

I believe it is an immense point practically for the heart to get hold of. There are the foes. Are they all down, or not? They are all down. Even the pains of death are down; there is not a drop of water to be seen, as you get in the figure of Jordan, and also in the Red Sea -- "The Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever". "The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone". All these enemies are floored; and what comes out now?

Next: what Satan told you did not exist, He declares. I have borne the judgment on you for listening to Satan; now I declare the Father's name to you, the love that is in the Father's heart. In the battle He was left alone; He encountered all the foes unassisted; it was a single combat. But now He is heard, and as He rises from the dead, He brings in a new life and a new day; He is no longer alone; He says, "Go to my brethren, and say unto

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them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God".

The point of departure is the point of restoration. The point of departure was distrust of the heart of God. The point of restoration is that Christ says, I will show you the love that is in the heart of God; I know the love that is there.

This is what the heart has to find. It is not only that He has removed all that was against me, but that He acquaints me with the love which He only knows. So He says: "I have declared unto them thy name ... that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them". And He adds "I ... will declare it".

It is to me most wonderful! I do not think I am able to convey the thought, but it seems to me that, having borne everything, and having come scatheless out of the conflict -- this terrible conflict -- He says, Having borne all this on account of the doubt you cast upon the love of God, My very first service is to acquaint you with the love that is in the Father's heart. I was the only One that ever knew it; but now I have many after My own type to whom to show what that love is.

This is what the prodigal finds; not only is he kissed and robed, but he is in the Father's house, and his own heart is continually deepening in the love that has brought him into such a scene.

Well, it is no wonder that He adds the word, "In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee"! I do not believe praise can come out of the heart until then. Praise cannot come till after the victory. First the victory; next the communication of the love; and then, "In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee". Wonderful climax!

Now let me turn for a minute to the verse I read in Galatians: "When it pleased God ... to reveal his Son in me". Now mark, the moment I say Son,

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I intimate the Father. Lose the Son and you lose the Father; establish the Son and you establish the Father. "When it pleased God ... to reveal his Son in me" -- that is the point the apostle was insisting upon -- "that I might preach him among the heathen",

Just mark how it comes out, though I feel myself unequal to putting it before you. But to me the grandeur of the scene is this: Jesus comes in in glory, manifesting Himself to a poor sinner there fallen to the ground, who is powerless, who does not dare to move. What is his safety in such a place as that? Why, that Jesus is there! The entire doctrine comes out. Man gets no place. The same God who brought me into birth in connection with the first Adam now brings me into the new creation -- comes in, and reveals His Son in me.

If Saul is there as man, he must die; for it is written, "There shall no man see me, and live". Manoah said, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God". And what was the whole lesson in Exodus? Why, that they must not break through to gaze, and so perish. How then is it here?

The Lord Jesus walks into the scene, and Saul says to Him, "Who art thou, Lord?" And the Lord says, "I am Jesus". How I wish I could convey the thought to you. It is just as if He said, I have done with man altogether; there is now no other man but Myself. And I can reveal Myself to you, as the chief of sinners, just because there is no other man but Myself. I ignore every man but Myself. I ignore Saul of Tarsus. (Indeed if He had acknowledged him at all, it must have been to bring judgment down upon him.) But he says. I can come forth to you, the chief of sinners, because I no longer recognise you as a man in the flesh; but as having your sins washed away in My blood, and your old man crucified in My cross.

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Have you got hold of the fact that He has brought in another Man? And that that Man can come in to the chief of sinners simply because He has cleared all out of the way, and now occupies the ground He has cleared? If you understand it, if you let your heart go out to it at all, you will see that it is the most wonderful thing. It is not that man is historically at an end, but that he is altogether gone. He is at an end with God. God says, You are dead. He may see you active in the flesh; but that is not where He has put you, or where He recognises you.

So Saul goes into the synagogue, and preaches that Jesus is "the Son of God". And he argues upon the same ground in Colossians: "Ye are complete in him". The Son of God comes in, ignoring the man that is here altogether, and at the same time occupying the ground that He clears. And must He not occupy the ground that He clears? It is most wonderful!

Then I say, That will do; I am quite satisfied with this, and want nothing more. No, says the apostle, it will not do to stop there. You have got to the point of what you are in Christ, but that is not all. Having brought you to the completeness of what you have in Him, now you must go on to the next thing.

I will explain the principle of it. Suppose a man emigrates with a number of companions. When he gets to the new country, he burns the ship to make sure that there shall be no returning to the place they came from. This is literally the point in Colossians 2. The apostle first states, "Ye are complete in him;" and now he says, You must turn round and burn the ship. You are circumcised with the circumcision of Christ; disposed of judicially on the cross, and now you are "buried with

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him in baptism". Your status is gone. Yet I am always a man, but according to Christ.

What I want you to get hold of is the fact that I have got another Man, who puts aside the old man altogether. "You, being dead ..". But you are alive if you say, "Touch not, taste not, handle not". I must have the ship burned. The body of the flesh is set aside in Christ, and in baptism I acknowledge that the first man is gone.

See what a place! What a difference from where I was! What man then are you going to live? I am going to live the Man that is not here, among the men that are. I want to practically regulate my life by the Man that is there. Whenever I am in any difficulty about any single thing, I say, What would that Christ do?

"Circumcised with the circumcision ... of Christ". That is what God did on the cross. And now I am "buried with him in baptism". Baptism has taken everything from me; I have no status; it has not brought me into anything, but it has cut me off from everything; the man is over -- gone. And now I have reached another Man, and this Man is the Son of the Father. And I have to walk through this scene as that Man who has made my heart acquainted with the love that is in the Father's heart; I am to walk now, not as the man who is gone, but as the Man of God's counsels.

The Lord lead our hearts, beloved friends, to understand what a wonderful victory He has accomplished -- all the enemies cleared out of the way. He has come in like the sun shining in his glory upon the battlefield where the foes lie prostrate. Like the general who used to talk of the sun that rose in its splendour after the night of victory, so has our Sun shone out in His glory; He comes in saying, I have laid all low; I will declare the Father. And I say, I thank you. You have laid all low that was against

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me, and now I am taken up with You, and not with what You have cleared away.

What man is to be for me now? The Man Christ Jesus! "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".

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Hebrews 10:19 - 23; Hebrews 12:1 - 4

This scripture sets before us our right of entrance into the holiest of all. You hear people say, I wish I were in heaven. Now it is not right for you to say so if heaven is not yours by right; the first thing to establish is whether you have a right to heaven.

The people of Israel ought never to have left the land; but wherever Israel went, even if it were to Assyria, they were God's people still. And thus we find in Hebrews that wherever we are, we are still God's people -- His people now after a new manner. We ought not to wander, but even if we do we are still God's people.

In chapter 10 we are worshippers; "once purged" we have "no more conscience of sins". Oh, but, says some one, I do still sin! But I read, "Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more". He has called us brethren. He is not ashamed to do so; and of what order is that? It is a new creation. There is no sin there. "Whosoever is born of God sinneth not".

Well, I am constituted a worshipper; and a worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins; he has "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus". The argument of the chapter is this, that we have not to try to get to heaven, for the One who came down from heaven is there, and He is the measure of my nearness to God. You may say, I often act in the flesh. Then you must repent, but God never sees you in the flesh; if you go back to that old ground there is nothing but judgment for you, unless you judge yourself. If you were near God as a believer, you would find there was not a

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thing between you and Him; the man who talks of clouds has never been near God. We are Gods people quite in a new way; He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Could the brethren of Christ be chargeable in the presence of God?

This chapter unfolds to us Christ coming down here to do the will of God; He came to measure our distance from God, to bear our sins and our iniquities; and now we have boldness to enter into the holiest by His blood, "by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh". It is not only by the blood of Jesus; every person who is saved, is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ; but you cannot say that to every one of these saved souls the veil is rent. Mark, he does not say: "and by a new and living way;" that would imply that there were two doors. It is "through the veil, that is to say, his flesh", and that is the real difficulty with souls; there is no difficulty as to the blood; but to understand this you must get off carnal ground on to spiritual; "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more".

"Boldness to enter into the holiest". It is the happiest place; it is the home of the heart in the brightness of God's presence. There is no place that I have such a right to, that I am so fully entitled to, as that place. My Father likes me to be there. Paul does not tell you what the nature of the place is, as to your enjoyment of it, but he just tells you of the place. We do not get here so much as we find in the parable of the prodigal son. I go in where I have a right to go, and there I not only find Christ to be the One who has come down to find me in my sins, but I find Him as the One who has gone up; and thus He, who has measured my distance from God, is the One who is the measure of my

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nearness to Him; and I enter into that place by the One who sustains me there.

Now I find that the gospel is preached in three different ways. Some preach, very sincerely, Christ as bearing the judgment of sin; and very true this is, otherwise how could you face God? Many a person has only got this, and is therefore never pleased but in hearing a gospel sermon; it is not that he has not got forgiveness of his sins, but he is not quite sure of it, and wants to look at it again and again, like a person reading over a balance account. The second way of preaching the gospel is, I admit, a very full gospel, but it is defective It is, that God so loved the world as to send His Son to bring us to heaven. Now there is just one word here that makes it defective, and that is heaven. If you substitute "God" for "heaven" then you have a perfect gospel. But, as it stands, it has only brought you to a place instead of to God. True the judgment was upon us, Christ has come in and borne it, and gone up and opened heaven to us; all this is true, but you have not got it all unless you bring in the word God -- Christ has entered "into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us".

To show you how connected this is with the gospel, I turn to Luke 15. You have here the Lord announcing what the Father's delight is in receiving the prodigal. We have here three parables, and we find the answer to all in the case of the thief on the cross. There the Lord was the shepherd going out after the lost sheep; the Holy Spirit, figured by the woman who sought the silver piece, was there opening the heart of the thief; and the Father, as we see in the rending of the veil, comes out to embrace him. And then see how the Father says, "Bring hither the fatted calf". It is not a great way off that the prodigal is now, he

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is in the house; and this is not hereafter, it is now.

Are you studying to answer to the heart of God -- to own God's love to you? I can never be fully happy unless I am where He likes me to be, and He likes me to be in His house. True, we read in another parable, Luke 10, that He brings me to an "inn", and it is there my feet are; but where is my heart? A man may be at work all day in an office, but is not his heart in his home? Besides this how can you feast until you get into the Father's house? It is there that the fatted calf is. And you get no growth until you are in there. You must be "planted in the house of the Lord" before you can "flourish in the courts of our God". You may have no doubt that you are a child, but you will never learn the manners of a child unless you are in the place of a child. I say to any poor sinner who is only converted tonight: You have not satisfied your Father's heart until you are in His house. Are you not to meet the desire of the Father's heart about you? Then you must begin there; you must be planted there; you have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus". You do not even properly know justification unless you are there, because the mercy seat was in the holiest. If you look at the order in which Moses was to build the tabernacle, you will find that the ark was the first thing that was to be made; but man never reached it. How great the importance of our practically drawing near into the holiest!

Now what are the effects that are produced in one by being there -- in the presence of God? you will find four in Psalm 73 -- four marks by which you may know when you are in the sanctuary.

The first effect that we find in this psalm is that God becomes the prominent object of the heart. "How are they brought into desolation as in a

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moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image". God in His greatness is before the soul; and it is always in a simple way that we find this out. In Philippians we come to Him making all our requests known, and what is the effect of it? That you get rid of the cares on your mind? No, but that you get Himself. The care is gone away certainly, but I have got God. I had the weight of the care; now I have the colour of God. I come out with God upon me, and not the cares; I have got God's way of looking at things, and not my own; and so I come out from His presence a different man from what I was when I went in, because I have got the peace of God. So here, the Person who entirely engages my mind is God Himself; He comes prominently before me. That is the first mark.

The second is: "Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee". You have got the sense of your own nothingness -- that you are lower than a man -- a very beast. As Job says, "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.... I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself". It is a painful thing, but a necessary thing to get a true sense of one's nothingness.

The third is: "Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand". That is one of the most wonderful and blessed things connected with the presence of God, that I am never so sure as when I am in it that I am an object to Him. "I am continually with thee!" Though I am nothing at all, yet I never before was so confident that I am an object to Him. And where would you ever get that sense but in His

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presence? And, if man could see this before heaven was thrown open, how much more you and I! "Thou hast holden me".

But now the fourth effect, which is always the result of the third, is that He becomes an object to me. "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee". It is practically what the Lord taught His disciples when He brought them into a scene where there was nothing but Himself -- where there was "no bread". Have you got Him thus? are you satisfied to have nothing but .Jesus? Did you ever see one about to die delighted with Jesus? There is "no bread" then -- nothing there to sustain the flesh, nothing but Him.

Scripture never contemplates a believer as being in a lower class than that of knowing the Father: "I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father". This knowledge affects you every hour of the day; you show it in every little thing here and there. What did God send His Son for, but that you might find your enjoyment in His presence? And, if you have never gone unto the Father's house, never taken the child's place, how can you grow?

The Lord lead our hearts to understand it. I see people trying to act here for the Lord who have not got a home, but how can you be a pilgrim and a stranger here if you have not got a home in heaven? I am a pilgrim here because I am going home; I am a stranger here because I am not at home. I say to every evangelist: You have not done your work until you have landed a soul in the Father's house -- until you have placed him in the home: it is there he is formed according to the scene in which he is set. Saints think that God will educate them at a distance from His presence; He never does that I know of. I do not believe a soul

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ever gets any line of instruction but in the presence of God. Daniel is afraid of the glory of the Lord. The Lord says: "Stand upon thy standing". But, you say, how am I to get into heaven? Well, all I insist upon is that unless you know your place in the Father's house -- unless you know your home -- you have not answered to the heart of God; you really say, Christ has accomplished it all; He has given me the place; but I have never gone into it! Then you have never yet been able to praise Him; and it is "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me".

But there is always a tendency in us to go back. So chapter 12 looks at the danger of the saints falling back from what their calling was.

In this epistle it is first the worshipper, as we have seen, and then the racer. I soar into my true place when I am a worshipper; and, in one sense, worshipping is the easy thing of the two; it is easier than racing, for in the race there is need of patience -- of holding out, which is what patience means.

The race is not service, but a man is not a true servant who is not a racer. There is always a certain weakness about his service. The whole of the church of God is like an army that is demoralised. It is no use a man saying, I will return to my duty; he must return to his standard if he wants to be of any use; it is his standard that marks him as belonging to the royal army. That is the testimony for us. The apostle writes to Timothy: "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord". The race is the testimony. The testimony is to maintain the position in which we have been placed -- to maintain our standing. It was for the sake of the testimony that Christ "endured the cross, despising the shame;" it was not to save us, though of course it did; but the point here is that He went to the cross to maintain what was due to God upon the earth.

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And so in chapter 10 we read: "Ye endured a great fight of afflictions;" that is not service; "partly, whilst ye were made a gazing-stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used;" no service in all that. But they were set for heaven, and as Jews they were refusing all that Jews had by right on earth, knowing that they had "a better and an enduring substance". They had set out on a race, so it is not only, "boldness", now, but "Ye have need of patience". I can go home with boldness, but I have to run the race with patience. It is an immense thing to the heart to know that there is now not a single thing between me and the brightness of God's presence. I can always go home; that is an easy thing; there is no place for me like home even if I fail; I shall get no quarter; I shall be rebuked; but if you have failed in the race, go home; it is the only place for the heart to recover in -- the only place in which to get fresh strength for action. "Ye have need of patience;" that is, that you may get to heaven. I have "boldness to enter" there now; that is where my heart is. Why? Because Christ is there, the delight of my heart. I never get a landing place anywhere but in the Father's house; God has set my heart nowhere but in His own presence. So I enter there with boldness, and I run on here with patience; and, you can well afford to be patient, for "yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith".

This cloud of witnesses had a certain thing to maintain for God here upon the earth, and now you have to do the same, and you are not to give up that race; you have "need of patience" in it. You are going to heaven because Christ is in heaven. When I am doing this I am a racer. A worshipper is one who delights in the presence of God, because

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he is there in divine acceptance; but a racer comes from his home to run. The worshipper is in the holiest of all where God is. It is not when I have run the race that I come to be a worshipper. What I want to make evident to the soul is that you are to be a racer as well as a worshipper. You will not have the heart to be a racer unless you are a worshipper, for where have you got anything to sustain you down here?

In Psalm 84 you get a twofold blessedness, There is, "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house", before you get "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them, Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well". You have the home before you set out on the race. The one who dwells in the house "will be still praising thee", He will be always doing it. And after that comes the other blessedness, for it is another thing altogether; it is a race through a vale of tears; but, even there, whilst passing through such a scene as that, you come as a servant; you come to serve others in it. But, whilst serving, your characteristic mark is that you are racing; you are not at home in the place in which you serve.

The great point in the recovery of truth in this present day is, that you are to bear testimony to Him, who is not here; and thus, whilst serving others, I am not serving in an earthly way, but in a heavenly way. "He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve". Of course I have compassion on the poor, and seek to serve them, but it is not as a reformer that I do it, but as one who has heavenly principles and heavenly tastes, as one who is a pilgrim and a stranger here because this is not my home, and so I am bearing out the character and manners of my home here where it is not.

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I turn now to a scripture or two to give you practical illustrations of the race of which I have been speaking. First we will look at Philippians 3.

Here we find three things. In verse 8 we read: "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ". Here I get my object. The apostle tells me in these words what his own practical walk in the wilderness was: he had but one object -- Christ.

If I talk to a painter who is studying a work of art, I find that he is imbibing the beauties he is studying; and just so I study Christ, but with this very great difference that, as I study Him, I am formed like Him; as I study the beauty of Christ I am growing like Him; nothing can be more captivating to the heart, than this growing like the Person whom I love; and, as I grow like Him, I get more enlarged power and taste to appreciate Him; I so admire Him, that I give up the old man altogether. There are two pictures hanging on that wall; one, the most beautiful painting that you can possibly imagine; the other has some lovely tints in it. Surely I shall surrender the latter, when I can have the former. Now that is just what the apostle is doing here; he is not merely giving up man's evil things, but it is the good ones that there are in nature, even these he will not have, that he may get Christ in a deeper fuller way. I give up all the beauty of the old picture, in order that I may have the enjoyment of the far greater beauties of the new. The beauties in Christ are of a lasting nature; the beauties of nature will not stand. Nature gives way under pressure, not so Christ: the Lord would have loved His mother no matter how she might

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have behaved to Him; her badness would only have brought out His goodness, And it is not only the deformities of the old picture that I have to give up: the Lord saw the young man and "loved him"; and I often think how beautiful are the touches of nature that I see. But it is not permanent. So the apostle says, I can give up what is gain to me "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord".

We get the second thing in verse 13. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus". Here I get my mark, I am pressing towards the mark "for the calling of God on high", as it is literally. Now that is the race. I am now a racer. I have not only an object while here, but I have a mark towards which I am racing. I am going to Jesus where Jesus is. When did Paul see his object? When he was converted; he saw Jesus in the glory; and so he could say. I am going to that point; I am giving up everything to get there; I must run on till I get to where Jesus is.

And how am I to get there if I do not know where He is? And how am I to know Him without seeing Him where He is? And how am I to see Him so that I may make Him my object? Well, look at Him! Look at nothing else, and you will soon see Him. In Canticles the bride cannot find her Lord, and what does she do? Why she says: I will portray Him; so she describes Him. And then what does she do? She goes down to the garden of spices, and there she finds Him. Scripture gives you the features of Christ -- gives you His portrait; and, if you only get hold of that portrait, your heart burns within you. It was just so with the

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disciples going to Emmaus; the Lord presented Himself to them in the Scriptures; He, by divine skill, portrayed Himself to their souls, and afterwards He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

Are you, like the bride in Canticles, studying Christ? Are you searching for Him? People think they can acquire all this without any trouble, but I tell you plainly it is not so; the Lord knows His own worth too well ever to disclose Himself to any who do not value Him. No, He does not make little of His own love. Did you ever yet give up a single thing for Christ? If there are people who have never given up anything for Him, how then can I suppose that He is their object? and how can they expect Him to make Himself known to them?

The two great things which mark christianity are the Person, and the place -- what the apostle is insisting on in Hebrews is the place; and the place is the most difficult thing to get souls to accept, because people will have earth and not heaven. But you must get the place first; for how can I find any person unless I know the place he is in? If I were in the place I should soon find the person; so in Hebrews it is the place that is insisted on. Of course you find Christ as your Saviour first.

Well, what is the effect of my getting there? It is that I give up things here. And mark, it is "things" now. And it is not only giving them up, but it is forgetting them. When a person is remembering the things he has given up, he is going back to them in spirit; as it says in Hebrews 11"if they had been mindful of" -- that is, if they had remembered -- "that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned".

Now where are you racing to? I believe there is

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a moment in which the soul knows that it has got the mark.

The third thing we get in verse 20. "Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ". Here I get my hope. Now I saw the doctrine of this verse for years before I could shape my life to it. It was not until I saw that I was a stranger here, a heavenly citizen, and therefore not answerable for the state of things here. I am not a citizen of this world; I belong to heaven, and I am looking for the Lord to come and change the whole state of things here, and when He comes I am to be "fashioned like unto his glorious body".

These three things, the object, the mark, and the hope are what characterise the saint walking through this world, and, if they mark his path, he can turn round on the world and say, I have got "the mind of Christ;" and "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death". Now to be clear as to what the race is. It is going to the place where Christ is; and that is the place for my heart. It is only as my heart is there now -- only as I have got hold of what is above -- that I can really walk here according to the testimony.

The first scripture I turn to is John 14. There the Lord is going away, but He says: "Let not your heart be troubled.... In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you". He brings forward the place. The way He comforts us is that He is gone away to prepare a place for us. I hear people say He is preparing it for us. That is incorrect. His going there was what prepared it, and it is ours now, though of course we are not actually in it as to our bodies. Isaiah says: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things

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which God hath prepared for them that love him" 1 Corinthians 2:9. There are folding doors into that bright scene, and they are closed. But Paul says, I have seen through them; they are thrown open now; there is a place for me inside them, and it is there my heart is, because it is there that Christ is. I know nothing that so takes the delight of the place here out of my heart as knowing the place that I have there.

People say, We shall get heaven when we die. It is not so. We have got heaven now; we shall go there when we die, It is a given thing; it is not a thing to get. Heaven is a place, and it is mine now. Glory is a condition; it will be mine then. Glory is the display of God according to His attributes, Saying that I do not get heaven till I die is what does all the mischief. If I do not get heaven till I die, then I must have earth till I die; and that is just where many a christian is, and what gives the character to his walk; Satan wants by this to throw you out of the testimony.

Christ has been rejected; they put Him to death. God now turns that to your account; He calls Him to heaven, and unites His people to Him there. "I go to prepare a place for you". And "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am" -- where I am -- "there ye may be also". Thus I have a Head in heaven; and the Holy Spirit is on earth, forming the body and binding it to that Head in heaven. And this is all defeated if I say I shall get heaven when I die. God has revealed these things unto us by His Spirit. The apostle shows us how much more christians have got than ever Isaiah had any conception of. "God hath revealed them unto us". And yet many, in spite of all He says, have no idea of what is inside the folding doors. Though I have not got inside yet, yet I am looking in by the Spirit of God, and, as I look, I

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run; I am a racer; "I press toward the mark;" I am going to the place where Christ is, and where I have a place.

You get this practically illustrated in Acts 7. Stephen, 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". Here the way into heaven is inaugurated; the doors are opened, and that is where Stephen is running to. You may say, but that was only a vision! No; it was more than a vision: it was the truth as to heaven inaugurated. Every truth in the word is inaugurated with great ceremonial; all the beauties of it are to be traced in it the very first time it is spoken of; you get its characteristic elements at the introduction of it, just as a baby is a man, only undeveloped. Ask me, for instance, about the truth of the church, and I go back for it to Matthew 16. Ask me about Babylon, and I go back to Genesis 11. Ask me about salvation, and I take you to the thief on the cross.

Thus here, in Acts 7, I see a new line is opened to me, and the Holy Spirit leads me up it to see Christ.

In Elijah's time God sees he has grown weary, and God says to him, I must take you up; there is nothing else for it. So then, when Elisha asks, "I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me", Elijah says, "If thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee". The whole point was in his seeing him taken up. That word "taken up" is repeated four times in Acts 1. The Lord Himself has been taken up to heaven, and this proves that all is over here now, and that you must look to heaven for everything. That saint will not get on who, when he draws up his blind in the morning, cannot say: There is not one thing in this wide world for me today; I draw all my supplies from heaven. As surely as Israel

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got manna from above so surely do I get all my supplies from heaven.

So Stephen looks up "stedfastly into heaven". It was no use his looking down to earth, though he was a Jew. He looked up, and he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. The Holy Spirit led his eye up there.

If a person say to me, I have the Holy Spirit in me; I say, Well, where does He lead you to? Is it to earth? Never! My heart is carried by the Holy Spirit into a new region, and I rest there. The Holy Spirit never turns the eye to earth. "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth". It is a remarkable word that; because it is not simply "affection", but it is, Set your mind on things above. People say, How am I to be where Christ is? Set your mind on things above, and you will soon enough be there.

We have each of us got a home and a work. I am at home when I am in the land; I am at work when I am down here on earth, I am eating the old corn of the land when I am at home; I have the manna when I am at my work. The manna is Christ on earth, the bread of God come down from heaven; "the old corn of the land", is Christ in heaven, When you go home you relax; you are at your ease; you are at home. I have got bright clothes -- beautiful clothes; but they are only fit for home. I could not appear in them at my work; I have to cover them all up with armour. And what is this armour? It is character. The devil will soon trip me up if I have not this.

Stephen says, "I see ... the Son of man". That is his testimony. Our testimony at this present time is to a Person. It is just the same thing in the ninth chapter, where He says to Saul: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Before this the testimony had been to a thing, but now it is to a Person. When

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you talk of the race, it is that you are running on to a Person. But, if you do not go to the place, how can you maintain the character of the Person who is in that place?

Christians, thousands of them, fall short of the testimony. I do not find it generally among christians at all; I do not find it in theological books. Christians who are even very sincere have fallen back altogether to the testimony of a previous day. Our testimony is to represent on earth the Man who is not on earth, but who is gone into heaven. The apostle had set them in heaven; he had shown them that Jesus was in heaven; and now he says, If you give up going to heaven you will lose your race. I would just say here, that there never was a heresy but it took its rise in the overstraining of some singular truth, giving it an undue prominence, and thus destroying it; that is what a heresy is. So I say a truth is not the testimony; a Person is the testimony; and, if you insist on a truth unduly, and persevere in it, you will become a heretic.

All that were in Asia turned away from Paul. Why? Because he wanted them to turn away from the man here, and they would not, They would not give up things here; so they gave up Paul, and followed Peter. Only Paul was sent to bring out that the Man whom he had seen in glory was now the only one to be represented on earth. If I want to learn how to be a servant I must learn it from Christ. Paul says, There is now no man for God on earth but Jesus. Whatever I would be I must learn the grace, and manner, and ways of Christ; it must be Jesus only, that Christ may be "magnified in my body".

Now mark; The Lord says: "I am Jesus". I understand this myself, but I am not sure that I can give to you my thought as to it. Suppose the Lord were to walk into this room, and were to say:

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I do not see any of the old man in any one of you; I see nothing but Myself. What a wonderful deliverance this would be for many a saint! He sees nothing -- He acknowledges nothing in the saints but Himself. Paul was to go forth and maintain that this wonderful Man in heaven, whom they had refused, is the only Man now on the earth; he goes forth, as we read farther on, and preaches that Jesus is "the Son of God", That is the testimony: this Man in heaven whose body is on the earth. All has passed away except this blessed One. And Paul has to learn in his own soul the wonderful manner in which God can place him in the light of His own glory, without one single charge against him, without one single spot upon him, The Holy Spirit comes in and seals it to his soul, as he says in Galatians: "When it pleased God ... to reveal his Son in me;" so that God can say, I now see nothing there but my Son.

What a relief to my heart! If Jesus walks in He says: I see nothing but Myself. And as to me, I can say: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me". But what about the life that you live? It is "by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me;" it is Jesus only. Therefore it is, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner". I may well not be "ashamed" of that which can set me, a sinner, in His own bright presence without a single thing to hinder.

I turn now to Hebrews 12 just to notice two points. First: what the strength is that is to carry you in the race. It is faith. The moment a man is influenced by what he sees it is not faith; it may be prudence, but it is not faith. In Acts 27 three great arguments were brought to bear on Paul, but they had no effect on him;

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nothing diverted him from faith. The owner of the ship said, the haven was not commodious to winter in. There was self-interest. The passengers "advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phoenice and there to winter". There was prudence. And then "the south wind blew softly". There was providence. But Paul said: I am not to be swayed by any one of them; I am to be guided by faith. And what is faith? Faith is simply reckoning on the word of God. All three were against him, but he was not to be moved by any one of them. The wind veered right round to the east, and of what value then were the words of either the owner of the ship or of the passengers? and of what use was it the south wind having blown softly before they sailed? You are to be guided by nothing but faith; prudence will not do; faith is lost when prudence guides.

When things seem most hopeless, then is the time that faith is tested. Faith will bring us into suffering. The greatest One suffered here, and why do not we suffer more? It is because we are not able for it. There will be a trying of your faith. And remember "trying" is not trial. "Trial" is pressing a horse over a five-barred gate when he cannot go over three. "Trying" is riding him over three when he can go over five. He will like it; it only exhilarates him.

Now a word as to running foul. Many a person is not rightly in the race course; but to run fair you must run between the posts. Now there are two posts on the race course. One is: "Lay aside every weight;" the other is "the sin which doth so easily beset". There is the outside and the inside; the weights outside, and the besetments inside. A man running says: This cloak is too heavy for me, I will take it off. It is a weight that hinders him as he runs. A weight is anything outside that prevents

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you from being a heavenly man. It may be reading the newspaper -- it may be anything; there are more weights than one; and, if you begin taking off weights, it is wonderful how many you will find to take off. People say: Oh! it is only a little thing! Well, take it off even if it be only a little thing. It is well said: "Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves".

The other post is "the sin which doth so easily beset". It is not any particular sin; it is the whole body of sin. And that is inside. It is the working of the flesh; and faith is the only power to throw it aside. So it says "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin". I am going right against the current; I am refusing the thing here. And so the consequence is people will not have me; "All they which are in Asia be turned away from me". What a lamentable thing that all should turn against him; that there, where he had done all his work, all that he could count on is one solitary family.

The Lord lead our hearts to see what a real place of honour and distinction we have. He has called us to bear the mark of the heavenly Man -- to represent the One who is not here; and it is a positive delight to the heart to do it. I am not here to represent the man who is here; neither am I to set up or do anything for him. I am to maintain the Man who is not here, and I am not ashamed of the testimony. He is the One who maintained it for God, cost Him what it might; and, as I run with patience this race that is set before me, I do it "looking unto Jesus ... 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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Genesis 32:24 - 32

There are three things, beloved friends, that I have before my mind to say a little upon to you now. One of these is: what does grace make us? what is christianity? It is very elementary, you may say; but I feel it very important these days to go back to elementary things to see if we are what we know we are -- to find out whether we are, in our practice, up to our intelligence. It is a sad state of things when the intelligence gets beyond the heart. Those whose hearts are beyond their intelligence are the ones God instructs; and, in every case in Scripture, the ones the Lord uses are those whose hearts are beyond their intelligence. Therefore, though without doubt intelligence is a good thing, yet it is the heart God looks at.

The three things I wish to speak a little on are: first -- what christianity is; second -- what we are coming to -- what is the consummation of things; and third -- what is the Lord's thought about us at this present moment. What grace has made us, is the first thing.

If I look at the Lord's walk on earth, everything He did was to consummate the will of God; and He did it. And now what is He thinking of? Not my standing, or state before God, for that has been accomplished by His work in the cross. It is my state here He is thinking of. You may say, But we have to learn our standing first; and I answer, Yes: of course you cannot be in a state in keeping with your standing, without knowing what that standing is; so before we come to this point I will ask you to go over with me a little what christianity really is.

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To put it in the plainest way: when Christ was here upon earth, it was heaven that He was thinking of; now that He is in heaven, it is earth He is thinking of. There are two parts in christianity -- two experiences; and you get them both in the parable of the prodigal son. The first is, that I am cleared of everything that stood between me and God by the blood of Christ. There is no such thing as God imputing sin to you any more. I admit there is often weakness in the heart as to this, but the fact is God does not impute sin any more. But, says one, I know I do sin. I know you do and will, but you must not lost sight of the fact that God says: "Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more". This is the first experience in christianity. I know that in the heart of God there is no remembrance of my sins.

Then when you do sin, what do you do? I go into the light, and the light finds it all out. I remember its being pointed out to me once in a show-room, that silver, when placed in a full blaze of light, any tarnish there might have been on it was no longer visible; so, when the soul is brought into the light, all the tarnish upon it is judged, and put away. And this is repentance. Repentance is my putting the flesh that did the crime into the same place in which God put it, that the body of sin might be destroyed, and He has never taken it from thence. I take it away, alas! and repentance is when I go and put it back again there where He put it. The effect of the light is to make me do this. But when a man goes on moping (I must use plain words), talks of how he falls into this and that failure, why, he does not get into the light at all. Such a one spoils the prayer-meetings and the worship-meetings, and all because he will not go into the light. The light would say, I cannot have this tarnish. The light makes manifest the evil, and,

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having discovered it, it frees me from it. It brings me, by the power of the Holy Spirits the ashes of the red heifer -- the water of purification.

I say to a person, Have you really got into the presence of God about this failure? He says to me, I am afraid to. And I do not wonder at it; I really do not object to the reluctance, for I know how many souls have not got quite clear as to this experience. But there is not a single thing in the heart of God against me. God says, I do not remember them, and therefore "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". What language that is! Has God cleansed me? Where then is the tarnish? But, you say, I have done them. Yes, He says; and if you come near Me, I will take care that you shall get rid of them. "Having therefore ... 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" ... I do not go on to the rest yet, because it leads to the second experience I spoke of.

I want you just to get down to the lowest point, and I say, Have you really learned the efficacy of that blood in the sight of God? Have you learned that He says, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you"? I go to a pagan and I say, What do you bow under that wheel for? To appease the Almighty. All right, I say; but the question is, Can you appease Him? You cannot. I do not object to the word "appease". I think that conscience must have got into a very low state that does not know that God needs appeasing. And, when he acknowledges it, then I preach to him Jesus; I tell him that God has sent His Son -- that God is love: that when the sinner could not meet God in righteousness, then God said I will meet the difficulty Myself. And what is the effect of this upon my soul?

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I see that God has done it; that He has set aside that which caused the distance between Him and me, and has removed it according to the sense that He Himself had of it; and, if He does it, I say, He must be perfectly satisfied. A soul that has once got hold of it can never lose the fact that God has thus come forth according to His own sense of what was wanted, and given His Son to pay the ransom -- the only One who could pay it; the One "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood".

I do not know what was needed to satisfy God; not a sinner or a saint upon earth ever knew what God required. None ever knew but that one Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He answered to it. These two things prove Him to be the Son of God: first -- that He knew the measure of my iniquity; second -- that He knew the love of God. How could you measure God's thoughts of your offence? My answer to an infidel was: "What value would you set upon your dog's opinion of you? How, then, could you form the slightest conception of God? You cannot even measure the great animals of His creation". God brings before Job animate and inanimate creation, just to prove this to him.

But God is love, and He says: I do not like the distance; you cannot remove it; you cannot even understand it; you cannot measure it; but I will send the One who can, and He will remove it.

Now a great deal of what is called evangelicalism does not go any farther than this. Indeed, it would be thought a great way to go, to say that you could go into the presence of God, and find all cleared away, and not a stain of sin remaining. But it is only the first experience of which I have been speaking.

I now come to the second, where there is a great deal of practical exercise for the soul. I will turn to two chapters in the Old Testament, to give you

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an illustration of it. The first is Exodus 12. There are literally two experiences here, though they do not exactly come up to what I mean. The seventh verse is the one of which I have spoken. "They shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it". You have got such a sense of the blood between God and yourself, that you can look up with perfect security. I have got a Saviour there. Instead of my fearing to go into the Father's house, I find there is rejoicing about me up there. I am an object of wonderment. I am cleared of everything.

But in verse 8 I get another experience altogether. "They shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it". Here it is the soul inside feeding upon Christ who has borne the judgment of God. If Christ has borne the judgment of sin, are you feeding upon Him as the One who has borne it? You get the warning here: "Eat not of it raw". If you speak of Him in a merely natural, familiar way, as if He were a man in the flesh, you are eating it raw. I sometimes hear people say, 'sweet Jesus', 'dear Jesus', and the like, and feel it is almost profanity.

Here is a soul with a sense of being perfectly clear before God, and what now goes on in it? Your whole bearing shows it out; your loins are girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; you are eating the Lord's passover; you are leaving Egypt.

I turn next to 1 Kings 17. Here we find the first experience in verse 15. "She, and he, and her house, did eat many days", or as the margin has it, "a full year": a year takes in the whole circle of your life -- every season. The prophet comes to the widow, and finds her in the most desolate

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way: "I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die". Just like the world: they want to make the best of things, and enjoy themselves while they can. But the prophet comes in, and the whole scene is changed. He is to her very much what the Lord was to His disciples when on earth with them. And many a saint has not got beyond this: Christ is a shelter for me, and takes care of me. Souls look for their barrel of meal not to waste, and their cruse of oil not to fail. But is that the whole of christianity? Is it that Christ comes and dwells with me 365 days, -- stays with me through every season, and cares for me? I make bold to say it is not. Is it shelter only? No! There is another experience altogether, and that is what I am coming to, and you are mutilating christianity if you confine it to the first. It is the effort of Satan to divide it thus, and "what ... God hath joined together, let not man put asunder". God says: I have saved you by My own Son, and now another thing must come in; you are to live by the One who has saved you; My purpose is that you are to be conformed to His image.

The true character of grace is this. God says: I gave you My law, but you were never able to keep it. You were tenants, but you were never able to pay your rent; so now I send My Son to say to you: It is useless My looking to you any more for the rent; He will pay all you owe Me, and for the future, instead of having you as My tenants, I make you My children. Many a man I have seen who does not know what to do with his farm. That is just Romans 7he never has paid, and never can. But now, says God, I am going to make a model farm of it; and you all know what that is: it is a farm that is carried on at the owner's expense.

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It is a great comfort, that whilst we add to what we have learned, in doing so we never lose what we have previously been taught by God. Here in 1 Kings 17, she does not lose what she has already got. We do not lose Christ as a shelter because we know Him as something more. He is shelter to us; that is the character of His grace; and, believe me, the heart is not happy that does not know Him, like Zacchaeus, as a guest in his home. But am I to stop there? Do you think you will lose the first verse of Psalm 23 if you go on to the second? "The first verse is a grand verse", said a poor saint to me once, and I could not get her past it. And truly it is a grand verse -- the Lord for my shepherd, my shelter; but it is not all: in the second verse, I "lie down" -- I am satisfied. I could not get her on to that. But the first verse is not enough for the saint; God alone knows what is enough for us. I trust I am speaking to many to whom it has been brought about; He must bring that home to us which He has done for us in Christ.

So now the widow's son dies. And then it is she says: "Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance?" After these 365 days of unbroken care, after all this wonderful exhibition of divine love, this is what she says. And so you find it. Souls that have a sense of the perfect care of the Lord for them, when death comes near them are thoroughly disturbed and upset. They have never learned it. You say, Why speak of death? Because it is the judgment of God for sin. I see the Lord Jesus Christ can raise the dead, but to save me He had to go into death Himself. That same blessed One who raised Lazarus in one chapter, had to go into death Himself in the next chapter; and then it is the Son of man is glorified, though the Son of God was in chapter 11. Be sure of this, that you must face

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death. People have got hold of truth poetically. They talk of having got hold of Christ in glory. I say, if you have, you will have to learn death here. God must bring it home to you. The moment Paul sets us with Christ in glory, he says, Now it is death down here to the flesh. Glory never put an end to flesh; it is death that does. So her son dies; and then it is she says: "Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance?"

And what does the prophet do? He does exactly what the Lord did: he goes down into death to the child. "He ... carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed". "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone". He went into death to bring us out of it. And thus another thing comes out. There is life, but there was life before; now it is life out of death.

Let me turn for a moment to John 20. Mark the disciples here. They did not know the Lord in this wonderful way: they had not learned death. When I come to the death of Christ it is "a new and living way". It is not every saint that goes in by the new and living way; the Old Testament saints did not, for the veil was not rent then. I want you to see what this experience of the disciples was. They had had the shelter and comfort of Christ; and you may say, I know the blood was shed for me; but I want you to know what the apostle means when he says: "I am crucified with Christ", and not only that, but "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". This is another thing. I am not only cleared by this blessed One, but I have to live His life. I hope you never have a shadow of a doubt as to being cleared; God has taken all out of the way, and now He can come in and dwell with you.

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The disciples understood who He was; they had received Him; they knew His shelter and His love; but He is risen from the dead, and what now? Look at the nineteenth verse: "Jesus ... saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side". The soul says, How am I to get this peace? By having to do in spirit with the risen One. I believe it is impossible for you to be in contact with the risen Christ, and not know the results of His resurrection. Righteousness comes in by resurrection, He comes into the midst of His disciples, says, "Peace be unto you", and shows them His hands and His side. All is cleared away. God's Spirit alone can conduct the soul into such a scene as this. I see that One above all the ruin, in the pure light of the holiness of God's presence; I stand with Him upon that level, and I breathe a new atmosphere altogether. So we read: "He breathed into them, and says to them, Receive the Holy Spirit". It was not clearing them from all that was against them, for they were cleared; it was not conversion, for they were converted; but they are on entirely new ground, and they are to taste the fact that they are not only cleared, but that they have the life of this blessed One who has cleared them. I have got life, which is the burden of John's gospel; not only a life that triumphs in death, but "the gift of God", the "well of water springing up into everlasting life"

To complete this, see how the apostle works it out in Galatians. In that epistle I find the defect of the christianity of the present day. The apostle is not dwelling on the first experience of the gospel after the first chapter, where he says: Christ "gave himself for our sins"; but he is taking up the fact that they have lost the second. This comes out plainly in the last verses of the epistle, when he

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winds up by saying: "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, that is a very strong statement, It is not the experience of putting away your sins, but of putting away yourself and the world. If the world be crucified to you in the cross of Christ, and you to the world, well then, what is left? Nothing but the new creation. I have nothing but Christ.

I am united to Christ in glory, and there is no ground I delight more in pressing; but, the moment I take the place of being connected with Christ there, I cannot dissociate myself from where He is on earth. It is what we find in Hebrews: earth is done with for the saint now; if I am "inside the veil" I am "outside the camp". I find that in many minds "outside the camp" means only "outside of system". But that is not at all as I find it in Scripture. Outside the camp is the spot you ought to occupy here: it is where Christ died. Christ having gone to that spot for you, it is the spot you ought to occupy here for Him. And you cannot do this unless you first understand that here you are to live Christ. As the apostle says: "I am crucified with Christ", self is gone; "nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me". What a place I am in! and he was labouring for the Galatians that they might know this. "The life which I now live": I am actually living, breathing, enjoying the very life, tasting the very joys, knowing the very relationship, and am in the wonderful position of being on earth in the very place of that blessed One who has delivered me. I have life out of death -- His death. "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts". We are now placed on earth as that blessed One who has placed me in His acceptance in heaven.

But to turn back to Jacob. Jacob, like some of

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us, after many years of wandering has been brought back to the true ground. But true ground is not power -- Christ is power. "There wrestled a man with him". It was not Jacob wrestling with God for blessing, but God wrestling with Jacob to set self aside in him, As soon as God touched the hollow of his thigh, Jacob says, Now bless me. Jacob is come to nothing: he is crippled; so God can come in and bless him. The moment I am nothing, that moment I am a reliant person. When I am nothing I turn to God: I am crippled; God must do everything for me. Job prayed for his friends when he lost everything, and immediately God blessed him. As soon as Jacob feels that he is nothing, God comes in. The moment he dropped himself he became a dependent man. He says: I am a crippled man; I have nothing; God must do everything for me. Now, says God, you have come to the right place; you have done the right thing; I will bless you and change your name. You must no more have the disgraceful name of Jacob; you shall be called Israel. He begins a new day; it was at "the breaking of the day".

And has he no exercises after this? Yes. In chapter 35 he gets the name confirmed when he went to Bethel. I never get the value of Christ's name but in God's presence. He had one great exercise between these two periods, and I believe this to be especially our snare; it is Shalem. He settled down, lost the pilgrim character, without reaching the house of God, Bethel, the place of worship. And I can do this, as he did, after getting the sense that I am a crucified man, and that Christ is everything.

God has to make this true in us, and He brings it about in different ways. You say, But can I not get it without having to go through all that Jacob did? I think you can. Paul did in those three days

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in which he was blind, and neither ate nor drank; and he felt it was a good thing to have gone through it, and to have got clear about it. If you really enter into what Christ bore for you from the hand of God, you need not go through this severe breaking in your own individual experience. But God must somehow bring you to the moment when you say: I cannot stand flesh. There is a moment historically when the soul says, I am good for nothing. That is what Jacob does. If you were real at the Lord's supper you would learn it there; you would there learn to shrink from the old man; His death would teach you. There are two ordinances of christianity that express death, and people relieve their consciences by thus expressing it. One is baptism, which avows that I am cut off from man; the other is the Lord's supper, which avows that I have reached Christ in His death, I have watched souls, and seen a moment come when He brings in one thing and another to make that soul taste death, and then it gets hold of Christ. He was saved before, but he had never really got hold of Christ.

And that is what God is doing; He is working out in me that which He has accomplished for me. If I am rightly at the Lord's table I shall feel a shrinking to have to do again with that man for whom Christ died. Abraham learned it in the feast that he made for Isaac; he sent Ishmael away then. Are we Abrahams? I fear most of us are Jacobs. God has to break us down by circumstances -- sickness, perhaps -- it may be even on a death-bed. Saints go on and on, resisting the workings of God's grace, but God will have it out in the end. He says, You must give in. And then the most active man in the company comes out a cripple -- insignificant in the eyes of men, but great in the eyes of God.

The Lord lead our hearts to know what christianity is.

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Judges 7:1 - 18

I have read this scripture not so much to interpret it, as to give a clue to the path the Lord would have us follow in this day; and, in order to see what this path is, you must be instructed from the word as to two great things now going on. These two are the new Jerusalem and Babylon -- two great structures now in course of formation; and we are helping on one or the other, contributing to one or the other in each one of our actions. Every one on earth is aiding and abetting either Babylon or the new Jerusalem. This is a momentous thing for us. There is the divine path, and the Lord can lead us along it, though the keenest eye -- the vulture's eye, as it is said -- cannot see it. I have read this scripture simply as a way-mark to point out the road, but the subject I wish to bring before you is these two great cities.

We must go back to the beginning of things to see how these two gather force as they go along. God never deserts His plan, His thought about a thing; but the evil gathers strength as it goes on. Genesis 11 gives us Babylon at its beginning. Here we look at the city, which we soon drop; but it is principles that form cities; and, Babylon once set up, we can trace without difficulty the principles that it represents right on to the end.

"Nimrod ... began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel". This is the first allusion to it; and I would call your attention to the state of things in the midst of which Babylon sprang up. It was not

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before the flood; it arose when God had set man in new favour on the earth -- everything mitigated as to the curse upon it, and man himself placed there in new terms; God had smelled the sweet savour of the offering of Noah, and had brought in blessing in a new form. But, instead of man using these favours for God, he used them to make himself independent of God. Men combined together to reach a point where they should be independent of God. This being the principle of the organisation of the city, I shall drop the name Babylon, and call it independence.

This will touch us all very closely, that the favours of God here upon earth, instead of turning our hearts to God, only tend to make us independent of Him. Prosperity makes a man independent of God; when money accumulates he has an opportunity of gratifying self, and, unless he be able to deny himself in the midst of plenty, it will prove a snare to him. This is the principle that Babylon was formed upon. Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is, he pursued the object that attracted his heart -- his game, if you like -- he pursues it to death. A saint may be like Noah; he drinks of the wine and exposes his weakness; but that is not what a hunter is: a hunter is girt up to his work. He does not lose his senses in the least; he is all on the alert; it is the most exhilarating pursuit -- human energy reaching to its goal. That is what the beginning of this Babel is.

I seek to make it simple to any here, for in the smallest hamlet you are not exempt from this danger. Where it looks least likely to crop up there it comes, for the heart so easily rests in mercies and forgets the Giver of the mercies.

In Genesis 11 this independence comes to a head. "They said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us

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a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth". Here it takes the form, independency being the principle on which it is formed. God confounded it for a time, but it is very plain to any who have read Scripture, that Babylon will yet come forth and be destroyed. "In one hour is thy judgment come". "How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her". It is well for us to know this -- what the consummation of Babylon will be -- because it is what men will come to.

Besides Babylon, however, there is another city coming, of which I cannot say much, for there is but little told us about it; but this I can say, that it is what Christ Himself has formed, and that in it there is every beauty that He Himself can bestow on it -- it is the display of all His divine beauty as a Man to the earth. In the one there is every natural attraction without God; in the other every heavenly attraction with God. And you are contributing to one or the other, for you must belong to one of the two.

We see next, in Genesis 12 that God calls out Abram to be a witness against all this. Thus I get independence in Babylon, and now dependence in Abram. His history is a history of dependence. It is not that there is not failure and trial, there is; but throughout he is a dependent man. First and foremost he starts by being a very peculiar man; he has to break with country, and kindred, and father's house. What a thing dependence is! what it calls us to! who would have thought it would have called us to such a path as that -- to give up not what was wrong, but actually things that are right, country,

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kindred, and father's house! But it is often the things that are right that interfere with our walking with God. The man who is to be the leader in this wonderful line of dependence -- the character of this man -- is: I break with country, kindred, and father's house.

It is not that he does not encounter difficulties by the way; he does. "There was a famine in the land". and every one knows that hunger will break through a stone wall; but he recovers himself; and, when he does get back to the land, the true character of dependence comes out. He says to Lot: I do not choose; I am a dependent man; I make no choice; I have nothing to seek or to choose. Of course as he was the elder, his uncle, the one who had brought him with him, he had the right to the choice in every way; but he says: I do not choose; I leave you to take what you like.

This is an important point in the history of dependence. Failure is continually coming in because saints do not know how to refuse. When Satan attacks a saint he comes first in an attractive form; he comes with devices. The invitation is, "Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant;" and would you not like something -- say a day in the country? Satan knows you, and what is more strange, your own family knows you very well too. They put before you something that they know will tempt you; and, if they do not succeed in making you yield, they will censure you. It is always so; Satan first invites and then opposes. If the first shot carries you away, Satan will not use a second; he economises his forces. Here, in Judges, the water carried them away at once. That was enough; they could not stand favours. There was no need for any other attack upon them.

You say, But surely may I not accept an opportunity that offers? I say, I must refuse offers, I must

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refuse opportunities, and then I can suffer for God. I want you to get hold of the great principles of dependence, and you will see them very clearly in Abraham. Look at every servant of God and you will see this brought out more or less in him. Even our blessed Lord Satan tried first with seductions; he offered Him everything in the wilderness to tempt Him; and then, in the garden of Gethsemane, he brought everything down on Him; He first refused and then endured. Did you ever refuse anything for Christ? If you never do, you will never suffer for Christ. If you accept, you will suffer for yourself. That is what Lot did, and he was carried away captive. And who then comes to his rescue? Abraham let Lot have the choice, and so, when he was taken captive, it was Abraham suffered for him. If we suffer for Christ, we shall suffer for others; and the greatest earthly distinction that ever was given to any one is that of suffering for Christ. This is our place. If you cannot refuse, you will not be put in a place to suffer for Christ. How could a deserter be called out for a forlorn hope?

I want you to understand what dependence is; but the Lord alone can conduct your soul into it. I say I am not looking for anything: "I have nothing to seek or to choose". Well, then, do I get nothing? Why, I have "manifold more in this present time!" As soon as Lot was separated from Abraham, the Lord said to him, "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever"; and then he goes to Hebron, the resting place. People are all for relegating rewards to the future, but I get them now. Afterwards Abraham had to suffer for Lot, who got into difficulty. Here the servant character comes out: he had to risk all he had for Lot. The

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moment I become a servant, I risk my comforts. There is not an insurance office in the world which would have given anything for Abraham when he went out in service after Lot. He went out with his life in his hand, risking all to serve the very man who took the choice before him. It is the one who chooses that gets into trouble; but the one who is dependent, who suffers for him, has the sufferings of Christ abounding in him, and his consolation abounding by Christ; and this the present gain.

I will take David for a moment, as another instance of the difference there is between a person walking in the simplicity of denying himself, and that same person when yielding to what is naturally attractive. David yields to Joab, and brings Absalom back to Jerusalem, thus listening to the voice of nature pleading for his son; and Absalom actually drives him out of Jerusalem. But when he might have killed Saul, he would not, because he was dependent upon God. If you choose, you lose. If you do not choose, you gain, and you gain in God's way. I never saw a person get into a scrape yet but because he could have his choice; he was not observing that grand line of faith -- dependence -- that God has set, fulfilled only by His own beloved Son.

I next come to Joshua 7. It is very difficult to carry ordinary students of the word rapidly through a long subject like this; but I can just give you way-marks tracing out the progress of dependence and independence. I am sure that whilst we all talk of dependence, we often have but very little understanding of the characteristics of it.

I do not then go into the history of the children of Israel, who eventually went down into Egypt; but I see here God, after having brought them out of the wilderness, leading them into the land. Now there are two ways of being in the land. One is the heavenly stranger, Abraham; not a foot of the land

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has he in possession. But Joshua comes in in quite another way; he goes in to take possession as a warrior, to take possession in power. We are here on the earth in both these attitudes: heavenly strangers like Abraham, and men of war like Joshua.

As soon as they get into the land, the reproach of Egypt is rolled off them, and then we get the most surprising instance of dependence. The walls of Jericho fell down! No one did anything! It was patient dependence going round the city seven days. But the men were armed all the time; armour for Satan, and prayer for God. The efficacy of prayer is to get armour for Satan. You must have a good character; nothing stands with Satan but character; all the truth in the world will not carry any weight with him; it must be "the breastplate of righteousness", etc.

Here dependence has gained an immense victory -- a wonderful day! And immediately in walks independence in one man. Achan sees among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment and a wedge of gold, and hides them under his tent; and no sooner is the greatest victory in the land gained than they are on the way to Babylon. You see this by looking at Hosea 2, where they are brought back by the valley of Achor for a door of hope. Achan was the very first man who traced the way to Babylon, and God brings them back through sorrow. He says, I will bring them back by the very valley where he was stoned. And this prophecy was written before ever they went into captivity. These dealings of God are very remarkable, and enough to make us tremble. If you allow the leaven to work, if you do not judge it in its commencement, you will reap the misery of it eventually, for it will surely yield its crop. It may be a very small thing that walks in. Achan says: Have I not got this opportunity? See what an offer! And you yield, and then see what

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you come to! The children of Israel never recovered dependence; in all their history they never had again such a thing as Jericho. So long as you maintain dependence, Babylon is not heard of. When the star of Israel is in the ascendant, Babylon is nowhere; but the moment the star of Israel descends that moment the star of Babylon ascends.

We do not hear of Babylon again until the ten tribes go into captivity. And the next time after that is when Hezekiah receives the courtesy of the ambassadors of the king of Babylon. One would have thought there was not much harm in this; but God says, You have committed yourself, and all you possess shall go into Babylon. And, as we know, they were all eventually carried away to Babylon. Then they lost their power; the power of God, the right of kings, was in the hands of Israel, and that power lapsed; it passed into the hands of the gentiles. I pray your attention to this, for it is of the greatest importance. God says to Nebuchadnezzar: "Thou art this head of gold". "For the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory". And the power never returned to Israel. The captives returned to their land; but earthly power was never given back to them. God says to them by Haggai, My word and my Spirit remain among you, but not power. So much so, that when it became a question of crucifying the Lord they say: "By our law he ought to die;" but "it is not lawful for us to put any man to death". They could only deliver Him over to Rome, the fourth power. Israel was a people that were to be dependent upon God, and, so long as they were, He was their power. When they were carried into Babylon it was the kingly power that went down; it was not a question of the priestly, but the kingly they lost.

One redeeming point, however, is that there never was a place where there was such a bright expression

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of dependence upon God as in the midst of that very city of Babylon; and this by men who refuse the king's wine, and so they are not afraid of the king's fire. They refused the king's meat; they would not eat anything but pulse, and yet in the end of the days they were fairer and fatter than all those who did eat the portion of the king's meat. They could refuse; and I thank God, if I have it in my soul to refuse, I am sure to be able to bear. Satan will come down upon me in a hundred ways, but I say, I am not afraid of you; I have been able to refuse you, so I know I shall be able to endure. You cannot beat me; for the grace that enabled me to refuse, is the grace that will enable me to endure. The king called on these men of God to bow down to the image, and what is their answer? "O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up". They said, We will stand the fire: and what did it do? Merely let them loose. Here was dependence. Let me be in the very midst of Babylon -- of its attractions or its fire! by simple dependence I may astonish them all and win the day.

But these three men also brought out another great principle which marks the servant of God; he has a base and a door; a base behind -- the ground on which he stands; and a door before him -- in presenting the truth to others. The greatest proof of a faithful man is that he knows what he is about. Others may not see it, but I see it myself. He says: "I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it". Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew what they were about. They said: We are not a bit afraid of you; there is an open door

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set before us by God Himself. Thus they gave the greatest expression of dependence in the midst of the city of independence.

I am sure we are losing if we do not know what things are going on to. One set of things around us is going on to a city that suits man -- Babylon; the other to a city that suits Christ -- the new Jerusalem. Which are you going to? It is a great question. We get the picture of the future bride; how she will be adorned for her Husband; and this is put before us when everything has failed in the church. The nuptial garments are brought out before the wedding day, in order that we may try them on. The bridal costume is shown us in order that we may acquire the characteristics of the bride. We are presented in Revelation 21 with all the beautiful features in which the Lord will have us stand before Him on the wedding day.

One passage more in the Old Testament before I go to the New. In Zechariah 5 it says: "And they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base". Now this lawlessness is "between the earth and the heaven"; the weight of lead has been cast upon it; it is not allowed to come out in all its evil. But it is going to be set up on its own "base" in the land of Shinar. It is really going back to the place where we found it in Genesis 11, and there all the first principles will again come out. That is through independence.

And now to turn to the New Testament. In Matthew 16 I find a Man who was thoroughly dependent upon God -- a Man whom no one understood, first led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil and there overcome him

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through dependence. And then, through a dependent life, His service, His public life, culminated on the mount of transfiguration, whence He descends to die. This is the One we have to do with. In this chapter He is coming to the close of His ministry, and, on speaking to them of Himself, Peter makes the confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;" when He tells them that on this rock He will build His church. That church is the new Jerusalem, and nothing prior to that is. If you ask: Why does not the new Jerusalem take in the Old Testament saints? I answer: Because it is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets", and every builder knows that the first thing that is laid in a building is the foundation; I cannot have anything prior to that.

The city that the Lord is about to build will be a brilliant display of every divine beauty here upon the earth, where man and the church have made such total shipwreck. The heavenly city is a most compensating thing. I belong now to a people who have completely failed to set forth Christ on the earth. Where is the church? People often say there is none! But though the church has so entirely failed as the candlestick, yet is it necessary that it should fail as the bride? Not at all! Though there never be a recovery of what is lost, the faithful are brightened up to what is coming.

We are the bride. I get her moral features in Revelation 21. The bride is formed by the Bridegroom; He makes her suitable to Himself; she is His helpmeet. "For Adam there was not found an help meet for him;" and that is what Christ is seeking for Himself -- a helpmeet; as it is beautifully brought out in the German translation, "one over against you". He is seeking something that answers to Himself. We are that which will not entrance man's eye, but which will suit His eye. We have lost

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too much the sense of how His heart takes pleasure in the beauty He has formed in us Himself. I turn round to those who say there is no church, and say: Are you the bride then? If people are answering to Christ as that, they will be on true church ground. He says: You have failed to man but you must not fail to Me; I form a thing that My eye can rest upon; and to be this you must be occupied with Me. We would be the most holy separate people on earth if we were truly the bride. We should get light as to what suits Him so as to stand morally in all the capabilities of the church, though it be not the church or the candlestick either restored or revived.

So the Lord says: "Upon this rock I will build my church". And in this same chapter this very man to whom it was revealed lets out that which will try to come in and spoil all this. He rebukes the Lord about the cross -- says to Him, "Be it far from thee, Lord". The cross here is not looked at as setting aside sins, but as setting aside man, and Peter refuses this. The very man who was at one moment telling who Christ was, is the next refusing His cross; he cannot see it; and the Lord says to him, You are Satan. I cannot think of anything more sad than that this same man should take up natural feelings to such an extent that the Lord should be able to say this to him, that the one who got the greatest revelation should be the one to seek to neutralise it, however unwittingly.

I must maintain the two things: the Rock and the cross. Do you accept the Rock? I am sure you do; we all accept it; and the cross too, as that which delivers us from our sins; but do you accept it as that which sets man aside? Do you say, Yes, I do? Let us look a moment at Luke 14, to see whether you do or not. A man here says to the Lord, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God".

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He meant the millennium. But we will have a great day before the millennium comes, says the Lord; we will have a great entertainment, because of poor sinners received now by the Father.

Now what hinders any coming to it? There are two things that do, and we find them in Judges. One is earthly mercies, and the other the ties of nature, -- mercies given from God's hand, and ties formed by Himself. Nothing wrong at all -- no harm in them! Are not earthly mercies beautiful? And may not man receive from God oxen, and ground, and marry a wife? To be sure he may. But yet these things tend to hinder from seeking the great supper. Are you proof against right things? It is not wrong things; it is the right thing that will do the mischief. The apostle could say: "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ". I give up all that is bright and beautiful in the first man, for the surpassing excellence and beauty of the Second. I can supersede man if I have got Christ. I have to exercise my soul every day so to keep the beauties of that blessed One before me, that I may be proof against all the beauties that are around me here. It is impossible to be proof against either attraction or affliction if you have not Christ to compensate you for the one and comfort you in the other. He eclipses everything for me. I have not got to steel my heart, but I have to guard it against all the beauty that is around me. I do not go to Christ in sorrow only; every one does that; I go to Him for beauty. "If a man ... 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". Hate my father and mother! I never heard of such a thing! The question is, Will you have the cross? "Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple". You are taken off natural ground. If you say, I attend to my unconverted

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father because he is an old man, and so on, I say, All very well. But if he say, I would sooner be without your company, then he has set me free, and I leave him mournfully. You must have Christ first; if you have not you will never go forward; you will neither be a tower nor an army -- a tower to resist the enemy, and an army to attack him. And why not? Because you have not got the grace in you. Gideon's ten thousand began, but they could not stand it; they turned back; they had not got it in them.

There is one more passage I must refer to, to bring this to the final issue; that is the latter part of Revelation 3. I would gladly trace it all through the New Testament, but it would be too much exercise for patience. I may, however, say in passing, that the grand point of the apostle in the epistles is to keep out the man. It is the man I am afraid of, and that is the reason I say to you, Get rid of the man. And why? Because Satan cannot turn anything against God except man. He does not turn an elephant against God. But, as to man, he says, I have turned your own image against you. But God says, I will deprive you of the man; I will have the cross on him. In Romans we see man without any restraint, and see what a state he has got to, and then how faith in God justifies him. Then in Corinthians it is the worldly man. In Galatians it is the legal man: "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ". In Colossians it is the religious man, and thus rationalism and ritualism crop up. And in Hebrews it is the earthly man. But if you get rid of the man you clear the ground.

And now in Revelation I get the closing scene. There is one link, perhaps, that I have a little lost sight of; and that is, that with this new city Christ brought in a new power -- an invisible power. The power of Babylon was visible, and it is still in existence, but it has nothing at all to do with this new

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structure. Would to God I could get the saints to see this; they would then refuse to use a particle of the power of that beast which is soon to carry the church, as soon as it has been spued out of Christ's mouth. When I hear of saints licensing rooms, putting up notices and so on, I can only say they are stepping outside to the power that would carry them; you are coquetting with the beast, and he will end with carrying the harlot -- the spued-out church. If you give up witnessing to the place the Holy Spirit has here in bearing testimony to Christ, you are losing power in your own soul. A man might say, I will shut out the sun from one side of my property; but if he do he will injure the whole of it. One office of the Holy Spirit here on earth is to comfort me in the absence of Christ; the other is to stand for Christ as a witness to the world; and if you say, I understand the one, but not so well the other, then I say, you are losing the other too.

In Revelation 3 it says He is "the beginning of the creation of God". What comes in to delude the saints is present advantages; and they end by being so drawn away by them that it comes to Christ Himself being outside. He stands at the door and knocks. The final state of things in the church is that of having need of nothing; it is independence again. This is the church, not the body; it is the vessel; it will be spued out of Christ's mouth; and then the beast says, I will carry you. Christ takes the body to heaven with Himself. Then the Holy Spirit is gone, and the vessel left behind becomes the harlot, and the beast carries it.

Now what is Babylon working for? I turn to Revelation 18 to show you. Babylon is this great structure where everything is pleasing to the natural eye. People are cultivating ease and comfort in this world, and what is the effect of it all? Is it suffering for Christ? I say, I am not to be taken up with it.

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I may enjoy a beautiful day, but I seek not to be carried away by it. God says, I will bring you to the water to test you, and the one that is proof to earthly mercies is the one who will go on with Christ, and be kept from the delusions that are so ensnaring to man, and so pleasing to his heart -- from all those things which culminate in Babylon. She says: "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow". She has all that is beautiful in nature, but nothing of Christ. It is not that I would deprive a feeble person of any comfort, but this I do say, When you go into your house just think whether it is a question of ease that is before your mind, or whether it is that you are here to suffer for Christ? How much is your heart set upon Him? Look at poor Anna -- an old woman of eighty-four. I wish we were more like her. She departed not from the temple, though it was ruined. It is not a question of ability and intelligence, but it is whether I have a heart for Christ. Why should He not come into this room and be greeted by many Simeons and Annas here? -- Simeons who know what Christ is to them, and Annas who are here for Him.

Surely it is a word for each of us. In everything, I remark, the world is getting richer. It is all there, and can I not accept what is offered? Yes, you can; but, if you go on your knees to it, you lose your true path for Christ here. Which am I helping on today? Is it this heavenly Jerusalem, the illustration of all divine beauty which is coming down to make up for all the failure of the church in this world where we have been such poor wretched things? Or am I going on with that whose plagues shall "come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her?" Is it a happy thing to be in any wise supporting that which is rival to

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Christ? As I look at the little urchin in the streets I say, That is one part of this vast machine that is working up to either one or the other. The grand consummation for the world is Babylon; the grand consummation for the church is the new Jerusalem.

Some may perhaps say, How do you get to Babylon? When the church is cast out of Christ's mouth it is not the body; the body has been taken up to heaven; but the church -- the vessel of testimony -- has no longer any vitality, and the beast takes it up; he takes the place from which the Holy Spirit has retired. You find this in Revelation 17. And then "upon her forehead was a name written: Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth". Do you ask, What induces the beast to take up the church? I answer, What is the character of Laodicea? It is that which fits her for it. Laodicea is trying to get men embellished by christianity -- getting up that terrible thing called self-culture. People talk wonderfully about it, but what is it? A man may be all right outside, and yet have the most terrible rage boiling up within. Some twenty years ago, they got the leader of Romanism in England to lecture on self-culture at the opening of an Institute. It is nothing but a form of christianity without power. A person converted now-a-days is generally drawn into anything for man's benefit; young men's associations and everything utilitarian. I admit such a man is agreeable to his neighbours through all this, but he is nothing better in the sight of God.

Babylon is a "mystery;" that is, a thing that is not yet unfolded. So when it first comes out it does not take openly the character of independence that it assumes in the end. But soon it will come out in its true colours; and the beast will carry her until he hates her, and makes her desolate, and burns her with fire. There shall not be a bit of Christianity

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left; but man shall be satisfied in his own acquisitions.

Well, what about the three hundred? The ten thousand are tested, but they never hear the order of battle. And what is that? It is, As ye see me do so shall ye do. If you want to get on now you must keep your eye on Christ. I cannot give you any directions; I can only give you the order of battle. "As I do, so shall ye do". The Lord lead us to be very distinctly for Christ, and open our eyes to see whether we are helping on that which man has got his heart set upon, or that which Christ's heart is upon.

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2 Peter 1

It is a great point for our hearts, and an immense cheer and help, to get hold of what the thought of Christ is about us at this moment.

There are different ways of carrying out this thought. You get in Ephesians 5 that "Christ ... loved the church, and gave himself for it"; but then comes another thing: "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word". I do not know whether our hearts enter sufficiently into the fact of what He is thus occupied with now -- of what He is securing for us now. It is not glory He is now securing; He has secured that. All His service on earth consummated in this, that I am placed before the Father's eye as He Himself is -- "accepted in the Beloved". Therefore sanctification cannot come in properly until I know that "Christ ... loved the church and gave himself for it".

It is important to make the foundation sure with souls. To clear the ground, I will first say a few words upon the fact that we are given "all things that pertain unto life and godliness". Christ has cleared away everything that was against us in the sight of God, so that now "there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus". The adding of the latter part of that verse in our version shows the ignorance of souls generally about this. As a rule, people know that Christ's blood has washed away their sins, but what they are slow to learn is, that God has crucified on the cross the thing that did the sins. There are the two things that I have alluded to already: one, the blood of Christ -- "without shedding of blood is no remission"; the

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other, the death of Christ -- "in that he died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God"; "death hath no more dominion over him".

I sometimes think, that while some of the evangelists are very clear in showing that the blood of Christ has atoned for sins, they are not so clear in showing that the thing that did the sins is crucified. You may act in the flesh, but you are not in it. God put both my sins and the flesh that did them on the cross of Christ. If I act in the flesh, I must, when I go to God, put it where God put it; and that is repentance. I am not merely sorry for the sin, but I abhor that which did it; and "godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of", People are generally sorry for the wrong things they have done, and try to conceal them, and this is just what I often find with saints -- that they are sorry for what they have done; but that is not the question. Are you sorry for the thing that is in you? Do you repudiate that which did the sins?

God sees me acting in the flesh, but He never sees me in it. I am as dead in the sight of God this moment as if I were in my grave; otherwise it would be my death that would free my soul and not Christ's. This has led to a great deal of confusion in minds, To me there is nothing plainer in Scripture than the doctrine of purgatory; but man puts purgatory in the wrong place. God does punish a man for sin after he is dead on the cross, but that does not mean after his body is in the grave. "You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities". God does deal with souls for their sins. If you judge yourself -- and it is not an easy matter -- you will have to put your flesh where God puts it, and out of which place He never sees the old man. There is no repentance without this. The

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moment I believe in Christ I find that God has cleared away all my sins in the death of Christ, and not only my sins but my old man; the nature that did the sins is ended in His sight. Do I act in the flesh? I quite admit it; but, if I do, I am reviving what God has put to death; I have done two wrong things: I have done what was wrong; and I have revived that which God put an end to in the cross of Christ. I am speaking now of the place where the soul would find itself as to what Christ has done for it before God -- clear of sins and sin too. The work has been finished according to God. He meets the mind of God; we could not meet it. In speaking of the woman of Samaria He says: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work". And then again: "I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do". He was sent of the Father to clear everything away, and He has done it.

And now I come to another point. There was not a single thing that He did from Calvary onwards that He did not do for me -- I mean for the believer. There was not a thing that He did for Himself, and in all He glorified the Father. He did not die for Himself; He died for me, He rose for me; of course He did not need to rise for Himself; He got the resurrection for believers. He went in to discharge the debt for me; and He not only discharged it so as to let me go free, but discharged it in such a way as to win glory for me as well.

I think the resurrection of Christ is a great deal more than the receipt for my debt; that is the word that is familiarly used for it; but that is only its aspect towards you. The question is, What is the resurrection to God? Our side of it is quite true. If you pay into a bank a sum due there, in whose name do you get the receipt? Of course, in the name of the person who owed the debt. So we read:

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"To whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead". He has cleared all for the believer. But He discharged the debt in such a way -- He glorified God so under the judgment of sin, that God's satisfaction must be expressed. I say the resurrection of Christ is a great deal more than the receipt for the debt; He is raised from the dead by the glory of the Father; so Peter says here, He "has called us by glory and virtue", for glory is the expression of the divine satisfaction in that man who, having descended from the mount where He culminated as the perfectly righteous One upon earth, glorified God under the weight of the judgment due to my sins, and God has glorified Him. So I have got my Saviour in glory, and that is the "glad tidings of the glory". I look at the glory as the expression of the divine satisfaction in that One who paid my debt. If I may use such an illustration, it is as if the bank were so satisfied at the wonderful way in which the debt is discharged, that it not only gives the receipt, but it illuminates, and keeps up a perpetual illumination to display for ever the sense of its satisfaction at the mode and manner in which the debt was discharged.

Immense time is lost as to growth, if you have not learned that God has dealt with Christ about the thing that did the sin. I do not deny that flesh is there still, and that is the very thing that I have to come to sanctification about; but I say that I stand perfectly clear as to it before God, and that, when I do sin, the very place of all others that I can go to is God Himself. When I get to Him the light makes manifest. I feel it there, I put the sin where God put it, and I never get liberty till then. As Paul says to the Galatians: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free", When did he say that? When Ishmael had

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been put out. He is talking of sins in Romans, but in Galatians of that which did the sins.

So I start you with the fact that you are clear in the sight of God. The moment you stand in His presence there is nothing at all against you there, neither the thing that is done, nor the thing that did it. "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.... Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his". I trust that everyone of you accepts that, and the more you insist upon it, the more you glorify God. I say you cannot improve your acceptance, you cannot alter it, and you cannot lose it; three things surely that ought to establish the heart in perfect comfort. I believe in the One who knew what was the hindrance to the love in the heart of God, who knew what hindered it from travelling out to reach the prodigal, and who says, I take it away so perfectly that that love can flow out in all its mighty volume to the greatest wretch on earth -- can take hold of him and lead him up to the glory. That is the first point: "To them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ". These are the ones whom the apostle is addressing, and if this be not known, there is no use in talking about sanctification.

Now I come to the second point: Christ's present thought about us. If He "loved the church and gave himself for it", it is "that he might sanctify ... it". His present thought about each of us is sanctification. If I say, What is Christ thinking about me today? the answer is, He is thinking about sanctifying me. Well, what is that? I think it is most important to know. Sanctification does not add one bit to my acceptance, but it does to my acceptability. Acceptance is what Christ has gained for me; acceptability is what the Spirit of God is working out in me. The more simply I admit my acceptance,

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the more I glorify Christ; and the more anxious I am about my acceptability, the more I honour His grace. There are the two things -- grace and responsibility.

I turn to John 17 first, to see what sanctification is in its character, before I look at its practical bearing on ourselves. Here the Lord is expressing His desires to the Father, and there are two ways in which He speaks of the sanctification being produced. One is, "Sanctify them through thy truth". The truth here is the revelation of the Father. The other sanctification is quite a different thing. "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth". That is, I have left the place altogether, that they may in heart follow me. Now if you understand these two verses, you will see the effect they will produce on you. One is what you have here; the other is what you have not here; and this is not difficult to understand.

First, it is "Sanctify them through thy truth". I will explain how that is done. I am of the Father now, and not of the world. I am in this new relationship -- in a new dependence. Supposing a man knocks me down in the street; if I call a policeman, then I am calling the world. But suppose I say, God is my Father; He will undertake for me, and I will leave it all with Him; then I am sanctified by the truth. I do not turn to the world because I have the Father, and I know what the Father's love is; that is what sanctifies me. And you will find you have lost your place as a sanctified man the moment you turn to the world for help, or are of it. It is curious how people are tried about this. I have lost the world, but I have got the Father. And this is what Christ had; therefore, He begins by telling them, "I have overcome the world;" and thus I have the Father's love down here, His love to the

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Son; "the love wherewith thou hast loved me" is my portion.

Some may say, I wonder, if God is your Father, that He does not interfere more on your behalf. But I answer, I know His love, and the more I know it, the less I need demonstrations of it. Christ had little or no demonstration of that love, but He never lost the sense that He was ever the object of it; and it imparts the greatest dignity to be in His path -- to be nobody to man, but to be an object to God. And often in the very place where we have been made little of in the eyes of men, there God makes us remarkable. At Philippi, where Paul and Silas were made so little of before men, they are made much of as God's men, not as the world's men. God says, I will have you acknowledge that man; he is a man of God. There is "a God that judgeth in the earth". God thus comes in to maintain the cause of His people, though not always at the time.

It is an immense thing for the heart to get hold of -- "Sanctify them through thy truth" -- the knowledge that I am of the Father. But can you walk through the world and say, I do not appeal to it? It is just the difference between a man in the wilderness and a man in Egypt. In Egypt I turn to the world, but in the wilderness I have not got anybody but God. If I am of the world, of course I can claim its protection. And yesterday I might be in it -- a man in Egypt, but today I am in the wilderness -- in the same town, in the same business, in the same house. What is the difference? Why, today, in the wilderness, I have none but God; and it is this knowledge of the Father that sanctifies me; it has the most wonderful separating power; through it I escape "the corruption that is in the world through lust". I am not dependent on the world for any one thing here, for I have a Father outside and apart from it all.

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The second thing is, that my heart is gone out of the place altogether. Christ says: I go out of the place altogether, and the consequence is they will all come after me. How could I stay in a world where He is not? How could I be attached to a place whence He has gone? "The bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days". It is a wonderful weaning from all things here, knowing that He is gone. If I am looked at as here, I am separated from anything I might in nature want here -- I am separated from the action of the world in every sense -- because I know the Father. And then, on the other hand, I am taken out of this scene altogether, because He is gone away. And this is enough for every heart surely.

Now I come to the third part, which will occupy us more elaborately. What is this sanctification to produce in us? "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth". The measure of my sanctification -- of my separation from things here -- is His. I am speaking of the mode by which it is accomplished. First, He has accomplished redemption; the thing that is to be accomplished now is sanctification. And what is Satan doing now? He is pressing it in the wrong way; he is setting up a fictitious thing, because saints have not taken the right ground about it. But let us defeat him by maintaining the right thing. Never contend with the wrong thing, but press the right. No person ever knows evil but by knowing good; you judge evil by the amount of good you know. Man lost good by doing evil, and now I must know good to be able to discover evil. The person best able to tell me what is wrong is the one who knows best what is right. I must get the divine idea of what is right. The spiritual man judges all things; he can distinguish between things where there is the least apparent difference.

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Christ, having accomplished everything for us as to redemption, then, is now thinking of us as to our sanctification. "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly", is His thought for us. I think we are not enough occupied with sanctification. I can measure my sanctification, because the measure and the principle are one; even that I have got the Father and not the world; and I have to be as separate from the world down here in which I remain, as Christ is up there where He is gone.

You are very far from it, one may say. Truly it is so; but I cannot accept anything lower.

Many are seeking sanctification in order to will thus a better standing before God. That I cannot accept. I can neither alter, improve, nor lose my standing. It is not that my heart does not condemn me; but the moment I go into God's presence, I know He has nothing against me. Peter, if he had known what was coming, would not at all have liked the thought of that interview with the Lord. Peter was made sad apart; he was grieving because he had done wrong. But when he is probed to the root, it is Christ only which is before him.

I come now to the practical effect of what we have been speaking of. I am sorry to say, that, instead of seeing more sanctification, I see less. The character of the world in itself is seductive; and besides this, Satan is very adroit in the way in which he manages to bring the world home to each one, as it is most ensnaring to him. He knows very well what your tastes and likings are. You may have great tastes and capacities for enjoying certain things, and you had better watch those tastes and capacities, for they are the avenues to your heart, and Satan knows them as well as you do, and a great deal better too. Consequently, the thing a man is most distinguished for in nature, is the thing he must be most guarded about. God will make it

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evident to you that He can do entirely without that for which you are most distinguished. God will clear all away that is only nature in you; He will get rid of everything that is contrary to Himself. God grant you may understand this. If you do not judge yourself, He will judge you.

You are perfectly without spot, as to standing, by the work of Christ, and there your ground or state before God is. There is another thing now to be accomplished, and that is, your state down here; for the Spirit always brings us to our standing or state above, in order to produce practical state here. Show me a single passage in Scripture where standing is brought out without a state being consequent on it. In the epistle to the Ephesians, where we get the highest standing, we get in chapter 3 that most touching prayer, the servant in the attitude of the greatest earnestness appealing to God to produce state here in keeping with it.

Now I turn to the chapter I have read, and here I find practice. We accept these two points -- one, accomplished, the other in the course of accomplishment. There are two things that mark the saint, and these two are put together in Scripture. One is, he believes with his heart; the other, he confesses with his mouth. One is inside, the other outside. If I take Jonathan as an example of this; he sees that Goliath is gone, and he is no longer occupied with Goliath and his fear of him, but with David, and owning him as his deliverer. I see at once if a soul is devoted to Christ; many an earnest person is not devoted because he has not got clear of Goliath -- he has still fears. But the moment he sees the dead man's head in the hand of the living man, his fears are gone, and he is taken up with David. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". It is the same thing in Luke 7. The

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woman there at first stood behind him weeping. Afterwards, with her as with Jonathan, comes the public confession; he stripped himself to make much of David. This was confession. And what I want now to dwell upon is the perpetuity of confession.

I believe no soul is safe that does not keep up perpetual confession; safe for heaven he may be, but not for earth. It is "If ye do these things, ye shall never fall". Three things come out in practice. First: you increase in the knowledge of your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Second: you never fall. Third: an entrance is "ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ".

How many pass out of this scene like a full-freighted vessel, having abundant entrance into His kingdom and glory? Every soul that does not, I say, he has not been confessing. Do you think Jonathan would have fallen on the mountains of Gilboa if he had gone on with perpetual confession -- if he had kept on owning David? if he had not gone back to the sword? Are you all perpetuating the confession you made at your first start?

And it is not merely perpetuating, it is adding. I am to seek to add to what I have. It is the lack of the present day that there is little or no confession. Often with the children of saints, and indeed with others too, there is not even any beginning to confess. It is not that their hearts are not touched, but they will not confess; and are they then safe from the world? Not they! Indeed, I cannot speak of anyone as being safe from the world; this is the work that is now going on -- saving us from it. But what does save from it? It is working out "your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure". Is that to get to heaven? No!

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It is that I may be saved now from the order of things in which I am down here. I would not talk to a person of sanctification who was not clear as to his perfect acceptance with God. I am left here to represent Christ as we see in John 17. There is nothing in that chapter about works; it is all sanctification, and you left in the scene here.

At the close of the Lord's ministry, in Luke, there is the cleansing of the ten lepers, of whom He says: "Were there not ten cleansed; but where are the nine?" All were cleansed; but there was only one able to overleap all the trammels of system -- only one able to clear every barrier, and come right upon the simple ground of confessing His name and leaving the world. Thus the end of the ministry of the Lord, as often, foreshadows the end of the ministry of the church. Many saved, but little confession; very few give any testimony to His name.

You are kept as a saved person from the circumstances here by the very maintenance of what you are. Just as travellers do in a strange country; they light a fire to keep away the wild beasts: so you are to keep up such a glow of divine power about you that you will keep the wild beasts off. It is the simple confession of Christ. It may expose you, truly, to greater dangers -- to more of the shafts of the enemy; but what if it do? If I have got a greater enemy, I have greater forces to meet him with, and a difficulty is nothing when I have power to meet it. I do not mind any difficulty, I am standing here for Christ; I am maintaining what He is, and I am increasing in it.

Thus Peter sets it before us. "Beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue". It is "all diligence". I have to deal with myself about this. People do not like to be asked, Are you more out of the world this year than you were last? Have you

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added anything since last year? You have if you have been exercised. Not that I mean that you know what it is that you have added, but you have certainly been going on. Or have you added little bits of the world since this day twelve months? I knew a man once amongst us most exemplary in devotedness until his father died, and he gained wealth and position. If your circumstances -- your position in life -- were to change through inheritance or gift, would it alter your course as a saint? How many have I seen drawn aside! how many times have I been carried away myself by offers of one kind or another. God may recover the saint, and often does, for He carries out the purpose of the heart, even though the feet have gone in another direction.

I put it to you plainly: Are you adding little bits of the world, or are you adding that which carries you out of the world? Are you giving all diligence to add? Are you watching to add, in the vitality of the new life? I am made a partaker of the divine nature, and I am to work it out, and what do I get? I get grace and peace multiplied unto me through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. I am increasing in the knowledge of God. The bad thing is gone; I must not touch it. If you do you will have to repent; and if you do not repent, you will suffer for it, and dearly too. I could give you histories of the closing scenes of saints that would make you shudder; all because they would not walk with God; they would add the world; they would not add the ways of Christ; and they went out of the world a spectacle of misery. That was not abundant entrance! And all because they refused to add.

I know how difficult it is. One has to watch. I know what it is in a family: one wants to bring in a little thing here; another one there; "only a little picture, or a ribbon, or a book; there cannot be any

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harm in it" No, but you are not adding, and you are losing if you are not adding.

What are gymnastics? Learning to use your muscles. What is growth? "Strong meat belongeth to them that are full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil". Are your senses exercised to discern good and evil? To do this you must get the good first; you must begin above. It is because you do not know what is good that you are unskilful in the word of righteousness. I see it coming out in all sorts of ways. People say, We must have a larger house, and new furniture, and so on. I say, That is adding the wrong way; you are going against what the Spirit of God is set on. God wants to bring out in you a deeper knowledge of His blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who walked about down here, and was so peculiar that He was not understood even by His friends. It was not a question of love, but they did not understand Him. He says, "I am ... an alien unto my mother's children".

It goes on: "Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance". Temperance means separation; renunciation of things here. Are you temperate -- really more separate from all things here than you were?

And then: "To temperance patience". Patience must come next; for most surely if you refuse you will have to endure. But when you have got patience it is all easy work afterwards, for patience is the greatest christian virtue. Can I bear up, no matter what is the state of things? In 2 Corinthians 6 the first mark of the minister is "much patience". And again we read: "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power" -- what for? -- "unto all patience". There is nothing that so proves a man qualified for eminence in the church of God as patience. Some men you cannot say a word to

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without their being offended. Such a man is not under control; he is like an unbroken horse. "You have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise". The way God prepares any servant for service is by trying his patience. I must be like the ivy; put a stone upon it, it will grow round it. I will not give up; I will hold out; as Job says, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him". I am not going to give in a bit. That is patience, and it follows temperance. I refuse the offers when I am temperate, and then I get the pressure, and can bear up against it.

From this I get on to godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. I have reached the practical ground of all christian fruits. "He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins". One who does not add will lose all the comfort of what he has.

Adding brings out the vitality of grace. This is taught in a wonderful way in that passage in Zechariah 11"Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! ... his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened". Now this is remarkable in the human system. If I were to tie up my arm for three weeks, and at the end of that time remove the bandage, I could no longer use it. That which ceases to be used ceases to be useful. Whilst if instead of this you have been using your arm regularly according to your strength, it will get stronger and stronger. The idol shepherd did not use his arm to feed the flock, and so it is dried up. And this is exactly what you find in people. They have not been adding, so they lose all the brightness they have.

You will never get out of the sense of being besieged so long as you are here. It is marvellous the different forces that Satan contrives to bring

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against you at the same time, like a host of locusts eating up every green thing; one time, politics; another, something else. But I stand against all this; I belong to Christ; He is the treasure and delight of my heart, and I want to increase in the knowledge of Him. Otherwise you will become blind, and you will forget that you were purged from your old sins; it does not say God forgets. I am sure I have known people who for years have been like animals that hibernate; they have not moved one bit -- not made the least progress; and at last they have waked up and started off again exactly where they were years before. They have lost the time for ever.

Life is a wonderful thing, but health is still more wonderful. Health is sanctification; and it is the health of the saints I want -- the happy unimpeded activity of every organ working in harmony for the good of the whole system. That is health.

"If these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ". I am getting to understand that blessed One better. You ask, Are you making progress? I say, I cannot answer for that, but I know I am watching the enemy, and I am giving all diligence to add. I am conscious that I am increasing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ,

And next, "If ye do these things ye shall never fall". God lets saints fall so that they may find out what they are and what they are trusting to, as He did Peter. But if they make their calling and election sure, He says they "shall never fall".

I need not say more. The heart meanwhile can rejoice that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh; the Daystar is at hand. He will then present us "to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing". When Eve was presented

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to Adam there was not one single thing to be done to her; she was all ready; she had not a thing to give up. He should be able to walk into this room and have us all for Himself. We know that when we go to glory we shall drop off every thing that is unsuited to Him, thank God. But let me tell you, the person who is fit to ask Christ to come, is the one who can say, I have a desire to depart and be with Christ. That is the person who is both ready to be left here, and ready to welcome the Lord when He comes -- the one who can say:

"This world is a wilderness wide
I have nothing to seek or to choose:
I've no thought in the waste to abide;
I've nought to regret nor to lose". (Hymn 139)

The Lord lead our hearts to understand the perfection in which Christ has placed us before the Father, that we are made the delight and the joy of His heart, and that now the joy of His heart is to sanctify us; and as we understand what this sanctification is, it is for us to give all diligence to add. And the effect of this adding -- increasing in "the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ". We are here today to add, to increase; so that whether He come, or whether He call us to go to Him, we may be like a full-freighted vessel coming in to shore, an entrance ministered unto us abundantly into His everlasting kingdom.

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Jonah 4; Philippians 1:21

You have to get through Jonah 4 before you can know what it is to be in Philippians 1.

You find in this book of Jonah, that there are two deaths that must be gone through by the soul to whom "to live is Christ" -- first, death on myself; and then, death on everything around me. Martha and Mary show out exactly these two classes of saints; those who have only learned the first, and those who have gone through both.

Jesus talks to the one; He walks with the other; He talked to Martha; He wept with Mary. There are none of the saints He will not speak to, but there are but few that He walks with. You get the two together in Hebrews 4"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". That is the talking. And then: "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, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need". That is the walking, and the weeping.

You must know what it is to have learned Him in the path of death, before He can say to you: I will bear you company. It was there Mary learned Him; and it was thus she was fitted for communion. It was first sympathy, and then communion, and so it must always be.

There is this difference between sympathy and

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communion. Sympathy is when the Lord comes to my side of things; communion is when I go to His side. You must know His sympathy, before you can know communion. I have a Person who accompanies me on my path, and my heart forms itself by Him and is occupied with His thoughts; and this is communion.

It is a wonderful thing to see that death, which has been the terrible blot upon us, should have been turned right round by God, and made the door of so much blessing to us. Death is the great difficulty for the soul to learn. When I know deliverance, I am devoted; but I must learn Christ in the death of all dear to me before I am a devotee.

I can give you examples of this in the Old Testament, Jonathan sees David, who is a beautiful picture of Christ. He risks his life for my sake. Now, in reaching perfect deliverance, there are three stages for the soul. David meets the foe, and first, I am anxious to know the result of the contest, Second, I am hopeful; Goliath is down. Third, I am assured; his head is in David's hand. Then comes a change. Jonathan thinks no more about himself and Goliath; he is occupied with David. He says: David is my object! And he takes off "the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle". He does it before all the army, for he thought of no one but David. He was devoted.

Now I come to Ruth, another example. Ruth is a widow, and her only friend is a widow. Naomi entreats Ruth to leave her, and go back to her own people and country; but Ruth says: "Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following 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: where thou diest

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will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me and more also, if ought but death part thee and me". Now she is a devotee; she will follow Naomi anywhere.

There are two instances in the New Testament, that I can give you -- the two alabaster boxes. In the one in Luke 7, it is the sinner. She comes into the Pharisee's house and says: That is my Saviour.

Scripture not only communicates light to you, but it tells you how light will act upon you. It is not only the wardrobe to supply me with clothes, but it is the looking glass to show me how they are on.

She is behind Him weeping; that is the private thing; it is between herself and Him only. Then she takes the alabaster box and anoints His feet with the ointment; that is the public thing. She gave Him what she might have kept for herself; that is what love always does; it makes little of itself to make much of its object.

The second alabaster box is in John 12. Lazarus has died, and has been raised again, and now, at the supper, is sitting at the table with Him, whilst Martha serves. "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment". Why was this? Why did she take all that she had most costly to expend upon Him? It was that He had taught her in that hour when death had done its worst for her heart, that she had "a friend that sticketh closer than a brother". And, now that that dark hour is past, she comes out in the saint's house with her alabaster box -- not in the world, as the other had done. She had done it in the Pharisee's house: the world can see when a man is converted, and makes much of his Saviour.

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But Mary is in the saint's house: the world cannot appreciate or see a saint making nothing of himself, and burying all of natural value in the grave of Christ.

People are very unwilling to accept death; but, I believe, no one can know what Christ is personally, until he has passed through death with Him, until he has had to say: I have nothing but Christ. We all have some links with earth -- some enjoyments here; I say: You are not equal to being deprived of everything; you are not fit to be without a gourd. As to Paul, Jerusalem was a gourd to him.

I remember a poor woman once telling me of a time when she had been left with nothing whatever in the house, and she said: "It was the happiest moment of my life!" I said: "Why?" she answered: "Because, don't you see the honour the Lord put on me to trust me?"

The gourd was really a thing that softened him, and comforted him; and, when God took it from him, he was angry with God. Scripture does not conceal things; it just tells us out the plain truth. You may be saying all sorts of nice things outwardly, and be as angry as possible all the time in your heart. He says: "I do well to be angry, even unto death". Now, says God, I brought you through all this just on purpose to teach you my own feelings.

The fact is, death is a wonderful blessing, not merely for the person who passes away through it, but it has a wonderful effect on us who remain. I must find out Christ now in the place of the one whom God has taken from me. God lets you into His own feelings. He says to you: You are talking of your gourd; why do you not get into my thoughts? He took it away in order to get Jonah into His line of things. That is communion with God. He wants to show you what His heart is occupied with.

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I do not say you always have to learn it through bereavement, for I believe you ought to learn it at the Lord's table. There I pass through the greatest death that ever can come upon me -- the death of Christ. I am going through this scene as one upon whom death has done its worst; but to whom also, at the same time, death has opened out the most wondrous Person, I have communion with the blood of Christ, and with the body of Christ.

There is no spiritual elevation without natural humiliation. There is no natural elevation without apparent exaltation. Supposing the Lord is wrestling with Jacob, and he gets a great blessing, he is lame first. In another case, Lot, he gets natural elevation, and he gets exaltation. "Well watered everywhere ... even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt". Supposing the Lord takes my child to Himself, that is spiritual elevation, but I am humiliated. Now, instead of spiritual elevation, we are too often looking for natural elevation.

I never can know what the Lord is, until I am thrown entirely alone with Him, and nobody else there. That is really the force of those words in Psalm 73"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee".

Are we then to lose everything -- to lose everybody? No, no! for God knows exactly what is best for me to have, and what I really need, and that He leaves me. But, when He does come in, and takes loved ones from me, the heart must fall back upon this: this is a moment when I shall discover something in Christ, that I never had an opportunity of discovering before.

I say to Ruth: What do you follow that poor old woman for? She says: I have found in her in the hour of sorrow what I could not find elsewhere. When none other cared for me, she stood beside me.

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She has been my stay, she has been my prop, she has been my solace, my comfort, the companion of my heart; and my heart is bound to her; I will never leave her.

Another point in the second alabaster box is, that He is going to die. Then there is nothing of value to me here that I will not put into His grave. And that is a wonderful thing to do; it goes farther than Jonathan; his was devotedness; this is devoteeism. True, devotedness must come before devoteeism. People may object to the word; we know that it is used in heathen worship, but I cannot find a better for what I mean.

Now it is a fact, that you never get near Christ that you do not see His death. When John looks into the glory, he sees "In the midst of the throne ... a Lamb as it had been slain". The One who is on the throne is the One who has settled the whole question between us and God; this is what Scripture sets forth to us.

As to the difference between the New Testament and the Old: I say, that the New Testament is, as it were, the science of navigation, and the Old Testament is the log book. A man says to me after reading Ephesians: Oh, I see the heavenly calling perfectly! -- I say: Come to Exodus, and let us see. Are you out of Egypt? -- Yes, indeed I am! -- Are you across the Red Sea? -- Oh, yes, I hope so! -- Are you across the Jordan? -- Well I cannot say that! -- Oh, then I know where you are! The Scripture measures you.

A man who reads the Old Testament without the New will become legal. But go to the Old Testament with the New, and you will always get a practical illustration of what you have learned in the New.

What has made some poets celebrated is that they have dared to reveal thoughts that others never ventured to express; and that is just what the Bible

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does; it does not cover over things; it brings out the naked truth; it tells us Jonah said. "I do well to be angry, even unto death",

As to the meaning of the words: "God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them, and he did it not". Repentance in connection with God means that He went back to His original thought. When we repent we cannot go back to our original thought; we have to repudiate our own thoughts altogether.

There is a natural shrinking from death, and yet it brings out all that is great and true by its presence. As a poet says: "There is no great thought but is allied to melancholy;" because, if you want to get to reality, you must get to sorrow.

When I come to look at the death of the Lord, I must say: All that came in order that God might say: I bring in a Man now according to My own counsels and after My own heart.

We must take Jonah as a converted man. God wants him to do a thing, and he will not. Then, says God, I must break your will. Jonah insists on going his own way, and instead of bringing himself into easy circumstances, he brings himself down to the bottom of the sea.

There is a moment in the history of a converted soul when he finds that he is absolutely good for nothing. It is then that he becomes devoted, and then he is tractable.

Jonah begins to trouble about the work. He says: "I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil". And he sat down to "see what would become of the city". Now, says God, you must learn that you have nothing to trust to but Me. The gourd goes, and then he learns to be a perfect servant.

It is an extraordinary thing, but, even in the

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world, a man who passes through trials is always hardened unless he gets sympathy. When I see a saint who has gone through a great deal of sorrow, very hard, I can only say: He has never had Christ's sympathy in it.

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Revelation 3:14 - 22

It is very important for us to understand what is the state of things in the church; and when I say "church" I mean the whole house of God, not the real thing, the body of Christ, but that which will be spued out of the Lord's mouth when He comes. It is very important for us who are on the verge of this, if not quite in it, to understand what will produce it. We may say, thank God, we know we are of the true thing; but still it is a great thing for us to see what produces and conduces to this state of things that Christ will thus spue out of His mouth, so that we may not in any way be helping it on ourselves.

In the beginning of Revelation 2 I find the church has lost her first love, and in the end of chapter 3 He will do without her as a witness. In Laodicea the vessel of testimony is spued out of His mouth. And the terrible thing is that as soon as He thus rejects it, there is another power ready to pick it up -- a power that rises and says, This just suits me! The church unfit for Christ is fit for the beast. As soon as Christ has done with the church, the beast will arise and say, I will carry it, as we get it in chapter 17.

Now this is a terrible thing -- a very serious thing, if we lay it to heart, to see how it is produced; and I think none of us can escape censure on the point, though we may escape judgment. For it is evident that Laodicea springs out of Philadelphia; it is evident that the state of the last of the churches is consequent upon the preceding one.

What then is a Laodicean?

There are four phases of the church of God which

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run down to the end; these are Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and, Laodicea: Thyatira being Romanism; Sardis, the Reformed religion; Philadelphia, the last revival -- a most brilliant unfolding of the truth that had been lost; and after this, Laodicea, Latitudinarianism. I will explain first what a Laodicean is, and seek to apply it to our consciences afterwards.

A Laodicean, then, is one who has got Philadelphian light and has not got Philadelphian power. You see a Laodicean is not in system; he is neither in Romanism nor in Protestantism, and you must be in either of these two to be in system. I trust this will come home very closely to every one of us. It is a very important thing to get light, and light does lead out of system; but light is not everything. A Laodicean is one who has got light, but who has not that which the light should produce. Hence the Lord appears to Laodicea, saying, "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God".

A Laodicean says what even a rich man would not say: "I ... have need of nothing". I would say to any such, You have got the light, but you have not got Christ in power. A Rationalist said, "I have got rid of the author of christianity, but I have kept the morality of it", and that is just what the beast might say. What does he want christianity for? He wants christianity to so improve the man that he may be independent of God.

The christianity of the present day will issue in Babylon, that great city where there will be the aggregate of all that suits man upon earth, where everything that magnifies him will be brought together, where man will get on without God. We are not Babylon, and, thank God, never shall be the harlot; but we are warned that we fall not into the state of things that will characterise her. I may say

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here, there are the two great structures going on at this present moment -- the new Jerusalem and Babylon; the one the bride of Christ, the magnificent display of all that He is; the other all that naturally suits man; every natural beauty will be found in it. The one, all of Christ, where there is nothing of Adam; and the other, where there is nothing of Christ. Just as the bridegroom forms the bride, so is it here: everything in the new Jerusalem will suit Christ. She will come down from heaven, having the glory of God, to show out the beauty of Christ here upon earth, where we have all failed. In Babylon, on the other hand, will be found all that gratifies man.

People often say, What is the harm in this or in that? But that is not the way to put it. The question, whether it be a bit of furniture or a bit of dress, is whether it suits Christ or whether it suits man. Is it meeting man in his natural tastes, or is it meeting Christ in the counsels of God?

God tells us what things are coming to, in order that we should not in any wise contribute to them. What a sad thing it is to think that the light we have may only minister to our condemnation! If you receive the light that comes out of Philadelphia, and do not at the same time refuse the human element, you are actually preparing for Laodicea.

Supposing any one says to me, I know I have received the grace of Christ. I say, That is all very well; but what are you studying? Are you trying to improve people's natures -- trying to make a man good-tempered or temperate? Then you are working at the old creation. And you have got light from Christ, the beginning of the creation of God! It is a fearful thing in the sight of God to have light and not to walk according to it. In all the great theological works you will not find the new creation taught; and yet the authors were true godly

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men. Why then was not the church spued out of Christ's mouth long ago? Because they had no light. Now, when we have light, if it prove ineffectual to produce Christ, we are nauseous to Him. All through Scripture we find instances to prove what I am saying.

I say, then, a Laodicean has light; but man in nature is his object, and not Christ.

The first example I find is that of Eve. She had light, but she did not act up to her light. The word of God told her not to eat of the tree, and she did. It was a very bad case I admit, but it is a case. I give up the light in self-consideration; she had the pure light in a state of innocence; it was perfect light from God Himself; and what a power of sin was that in her when she said, I will give up the light and please myself. That was Laodicean in principle; and when the church gets to that state the Lord says, It does not suit Me. It cannot be of any use.

There are more examples of this in the word than I could possibly think of or put together now; but one or two will show you how the principle of the evil comes in. Who was it helped the children of Israel into idolatry? No one less than Aaron, the brother of Moses. Was there a want of light there? No; he had plenty of light, but he wanted to please the people. He was the one who was to carry out the words that Moses gave him from God, and this very man, whilst Moses was gone up the mountain to God, says: Give me your gold, and I will make a calf for you.

People talk of light, and are boastful of it; but with the knowledge of that light. I say, take care that you keep out the human element. If you are ministering to man in any way, no matter how -- be it in your house, your furniture, your dress, anything -- you are just paving the way for Laodicea,

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you are helping it on, for you have got light and are not walking in the practical power of it. It is a point that must be settled practically. The crisis is coming when people will say: There is plenty of light. They are trying to improve man by it, and Christ really is unthought of. Can you say people are more for Christ now than they used to be? I know that years ago saints used to be far more for Christ with less light than they are now.

I turn to another case, in 1 Samuel 15. The point to get hold of, and it is a difficult one if a person does not work it out in his own heart, is that we are the people who are to blame, because by giving a place to the human element in our preachings and teachings, we have produced a type of christianity which is very human. In this chapter king Saul is sent to destroy Amalek. There is no mistake about what he is to do; he is not in the least ignorant; yet he keeps what suits himself, while he destroys the vile and refuse. He could not say he was not able to walk up to the light; but he spared the best, that which ministered most to man, what most pleased himself.

Again, in 2 Kings 5, Gehazi is sent to communicate the truth to Naaman. Gehazi has the truth; but, when the prophet will not take anything from Naaman, he will. This is the principle. "Went not mine heart with thee", says the prophet. "when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and men servants, and maid servants?" -- all to suit himself. Then he adds: "The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow". That is a Laodicean. He had light, but he considered for himself; he had not self-control enough, not self-mortification enough, to

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keep himself from coveting things that belonged to Naaman.

I turn now to the New Testament, to Matthew 16. Here the Lord says to Peter: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven". The greatest light is shown to Peter; nothing could have been more wonderful than the Father giving such a revelation to him; it was light of the highest order. He had been given this light about the church. And, would you believe it, that this very man, in this very same chapter, foreshadows what a Laodicean is! He has light about the church, but he will not have the cross. Read farther on: "Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter. Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men". Thus it is possible that the person who has the greatest light may make the greatest mistake. Peter wants to spare the man.

How differently the apostle Paul uses the cross! "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". If this be so, what is left of you? Why, the new creation, and nothing else. That is what is left -- a new creation, not only a new creature.

The same Person who is going to build this wonderful structure, the church, is the One who will set aside man in His cross. Oh, says Peter, I do not like that! Then, says the Lord, you are Satan.

That is exactly the principle of the thing, and this is where we have to judge ourselves. The light is here, and the question is whether I am bringing out that upon earth which will shine out in the new Jerusalem. It was thus that the Lord left His

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disciples here. He could say of them: "All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them". Truly we have failed in this; but He turns round in the book of Revelation and says: You are the Bride to Me, though you have failed in everything else.

I make only one more remark, The apostle says in 2 Timothy 1"All they which are in Asia be turned away from me". It was not that they had turned away from christianity, but that they would not have Paul's teaching; they would not have Christ instead of the man here. And when you leave Christ out of christianity it is Laodicean, and sinks into Babylon; when you leave Christ out of christianity Christ does not want the church.

I would warn you to see to it, that the more light you have, the more you exclude the human element. People have gone on for eighteen hundred years, knowing but little and with but little light; and till the light came, the Lord, as it were, says, I tolerate it all. But now all is changed. We can no more speak of ignorance: the light has been given us. If the light increase, be careful to see that that light produces Christ in you practically.

And now, having shown you what a Laodicean is, I will show you the remedy for it, how the Lord can keep you from being one, and how He can deliver you if you now are one. He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me". It is not any particular truth He brings in; He brings in Himself. He says: I will make you know Me in the intimacies of daily life; I will come and sup with you and then you shall learn what it is to sup with Me. I will throw Myself into all your circumstances, and then you will come to Mine.

We get the practical illustration of it in John 11

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and 12. First, the Lord walks beside Mary to the grave of Lazarus, and weeps with her there. And then she says, anointing Him for His burial: This world, with all its beauty, is nothing to me! He is gone out of it, and I have buried it all with Him in His grave.

The day we live in is a critical one. I am sure it ought to be a solemn thought that we are a corrupting instead of a sanctifying people, when we propound light without promoting and manifesting Christ, the new creation.

The Lord lead our hearts to understand how we may thus only injure souls instead of being a blessing to them. The apostle tells us in Timothy that unless we have conscience about what we believe, we shall make shipwreck. May we take the subject to heart for His name's sake!

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Luke 11:29 - 36

There are three experiences necessary for full saint-ship; that is, for the saint to be really in his true place upon the earth. First, that his conscience should be relieved; second, that his heart should be satisfied; and third, that his body should be full of light. These are the three things that constitute a man really for God upon this earth.

It is not that a man may not have grace: that is not the point. The moment he believes that "Jesus is the Christ" he is "born of God", however feeble he may be; but it is another thing if that person is here for Christ on the earth. It is not a question now of knowing Jesus is the Christ; it is, "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" He may be saved, but he is not victorious over the organisation here unless he knows Jesus as the Son of God -- unless he knows the dignity of the Person who has done this blessed work for him.

We get here Christ presented to us first, as greater than Jonah; second, as greater than Solomon; and third, that He is the light when the eye is single -- the body then is full of light.

Now the first every believer knows something about: that is, Christ the ransom for our sins. We all know something of the Jonah aspect. Jonah was the type of the Lord entering into death for us. He went down into the deep; the floods compassed Him about; all God's billows and waves passed over Him; the weeds were wrapped about His head; the bars of the grave were about Him. A soul never really gets the sense of remission of sins unless it sees that

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Christ entered into death for it. He said: "Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour". We know as sinners that the judgment of God is upon us, and the conscience never, gets relief, though there may be a work of grace in the heart, until it sees the blood of Christ. "Without shedding of blood is no remission". This is so elementary that it is almost unnecessary to speak of it, but this is our first point -- the Jonah aspect of Christ. "There shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas;" that is Christ in humiliation. It is the first thing for the soul.

Many a person thus having got the first, tries to get to the third without knowing the second. A soul says: I am relieved from my sins, and now I am seeking (though he may not say it in so many words) that I may glorify God in my life -- that my body may be full of light. The candle is lighted within, and I want to let it shine out.

The conscience being relieved, the first thing the person begins to think of, and properly, is his walk. And I am not objecting to this, but I do not think he gets it in this way, though he may desire it; and a great many, by seeking it thus, become legal. It is not difficult to see that a relieved conscience says, What am I to do now to please Him who has chosen me? But I want to show you that, though the desire be right in itself, you must be prepared for the carrying of it out; and that, if you skip the second you will never be in the third rightly. And this is very important, for I have met people who would have the third but who would not accept the second; and, if you act thus, you will find you will fail. It is no use trying to walk in order to get a satisfied heart; you must have your heart satisfied first, and then the walk will come in its right place.

I am left on this dark earth to set forth Christ

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where He is not. That is John 17"I am glorified in them". He has left us down here to show forth His light and beauty -- to be the real representatives of Him here.

Now, to Saul of Tarsus it was said: "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do". Many a one has a right idea, but he does not know how to carry it out. He feels he ought to do something -- take off this, or reduce that. But then you may be doing it all legally; you may be doing the right thing, but you have not got the right way of doing it. It is only as I carry about in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that my body becomes the practical vessel for carrying out His life here. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God". It is the body that is to be the vessel, and not anything that is in the body in itself; it is to be the earthen vessel to carry out the grace of Christ; it is not a self-acting machine, but the machinery itself is placed at the disposal of Christ.

So we have the relieved conscience; the satisfied heart; and the body full of light; and the main point for us will be, what the satisfying of the heart is. But let me premise this. It is a very great snare when a person who has got hold of the truth of Jesus as Solomon, does not bring in upon himself that which would cause his body to be full of light. The Corinthians failed in this; they got hold of the truth of a Saviour in glory, but they did not use the cross practically. When I find that I have a Saviour there, then I turn back to the cross to set aside everything in myself which would hinder the outshining of that glory which I have received from above. Hence the apostle, though he had brought out before them the glory, had to say to them, You have neglected the cross. He had to write the epistles

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to the Corinthians because they did not reckon as dead all that would hinder the outshining of the grace they had received.

Having thus dwelt a little on the first point, I now come to the second, which the Lord brings out here; even that Christ is a greater than Solomon.

When I look at the death of Christ, and ask the question, What was the necessity for it? the answer of course is that sin was the necessity. But supposing you were cleared of that altogether, what would you have to guard against then? I do not believe that any saint stands up for what is really evil; there is a much more difficult thing for the heart to be proof to than what is evil, and that is what man calls good. How do you get clear of that? That is what really puzzles the heart; it is not able to stand against what is good. Thus the things that are good in themselves are the things that are the greatest difficulties here; and about which we must have exercise of heart.

The Lord, when He told His disciples about the great supper, said that the two hindrances to souls getting to it were what you would all say were good things: mercies, and natural ties. There is no harm in them, and yet they are the difficulty. Is there evil in mercies? Is there evil in a bit of land? in oxen? Of course not; and yet they are the difficulties! And, "If any man ... hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters". Hate what God Himself has given him? Without that, "he cannot be my disciple".

No one stands up for bad things. We have a bad nature and we are prone to evil, but we do not stand up for these; but where is the person who does not stand up for good things?

The fact is you want to get your heart satisfied; and if it were satisfied with the higher order of things then it would not be satisfied with the lower.

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It would then be proof against the lower order. Many a one who knows Christ as Jonah, does not know Him as Solomon. Of course if you do not know Him as Jonah -- as the Substitute -- you do not get relief for your conscience; but you may know this, and at the same time the good things here have power over you, because you do not know Him as Solomon. And besides this I do not believe that a man's conscience is really at rest until he knows Christ as the One who satisfies his heart. He is not a man of divine power until he can say: My conscience is relieved and my heart is satisfied, and now take my body and make it full of light. Therefore it is an immense thing for the soul to understand Christ in the Solomon aspect. I turn to John 8 and 9 to show you this in doctrine.

John 8 is a case of sin. Well, says the Lord, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life;" I will clear all the sin away. And He closes with saying: "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death". That is, that in Christ's work that side of the question is entirely answered; the evil is cleared away, and death, the penalty, gone.

And now, in chapter 9, quite another thing comes out. There is nothing in this world that can compete with Christ -- not the bad part of the world, but the good part of it: chapter 8 is the bad side, and Christ clears it all away. He says. "Neither do I condemn thee;" and then comes a man who, having got his eyesight, learns that there is not a single thing in the man that will stand for Christ in the good part of the world. All classes of society are brought forward, with nothing morally bad. First his neighbours, those best acquainted with the man; they pass him on to the Pharisees. These own the fact of the work having

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been done, but pass him on to his parents. The parents say he must answer for himself; and then the nation casts him out.

Then the Lord finds him, and says to him; "Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And He said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him". What has he got? He has got the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, outside of all men; in Him he has found an object to delight and detain his heart outside the good of men -- not the bad. The bad all cleared away by Christ's own work, "he shall never see death;" and now, on the other hand, having got light, what do you find? Why, that there is nothing in man in sympathy with Christ, and that you have in Him what is superior to man, and to every class of men.

Now, I say, have I lost in all this? No, I have gained immensely; my heart is detained by an object that controls it, and that is worship. It is not the mere eyesight -- many a one delights in that -- but it is delight in the One who has given me the eyesight, and who, in giving it, has dimmed everything on earth to me. It was nothing to him to tell him to give up his neighbours; he could say, I have got the Lord Jesus Christ. It was nothing to him to tell him to give up his parents; he could say, I have got the Lord Jesus Christ. What was it to him to give up the Pharisees, to give up his nation? There is nothing that enriches the heart like giving it an object worthy of it. And do you pity him for all that he has lost? He can say: Why, miserable man that I was I searched all society, and found in it nothing that was worthy of God -- nothing that would satisfy my heart; but now, instead of that, I have something that fills me, and satisfies me; and,

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having that, I have seen the end of all here; I have found out, not only what the bad ones are, but what the best ones are, and they are all cast into the shade; I have got One so vastly superior to them all that He detains my heart.

So far for the doctrine. I now turn for the practical side to Philippians 3.

I say it advisedly, that I do not think a person has full relief in his conscience about his sins who does not see Christ in glory, though I believe he may have his sins forgiven, and have assurance too. Do you think assurance never gets a shake? When it does, the reason is that you have never yet seen Christ in resurrection. For instance, a friend may have settled some matter for me with my father, but on hearing it a question arises: How does my father feel about me? I do not believe any soul is fully established until it knows that the Father finds pleasure and full satisfaction in the way in which the work has been accomplished. And the glory in which Christ is, expresses the satisfaction of the Father in the mode and manner in which my debt has been discharged. You never get your conscience thoroughly settled until you see Christ in glory, because until then you have never been at God's side of resurrection. It is a weak way of expressing it to say that Christ's resurrection is the receipt for our debt, as is generally said, and, of course, in measure true; the receipt is only applicable to the debtor, whereas the question is, what is God's thought about it? His feeling towards me is that of a tender Father who says to me, You see your Saviour in glory.

I was a short time ago visiting a sailor who was dying, and who had doubts as to his salvation. After a little conversation I said to him: "If you have a Saviour in glory, all must be straight with you". When I went out of the room he said to his

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mother: "Mother, you never told me that I had a Saviour in glory! I am not a bit afraid to go now that I know that!"

The testimony is that I see Christ raised from the dead, and not only raised, but raised by the glory of the Father; and, as thus raised, I speak of Him as the One who is able to make your hearts superior to all the good things of the world.

First, the apostle asserts in verse 7: "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ". Now, what is gain here, does not mean temporal things, it means character; as he says: "Touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless", -- a perfectly amiable person. Can you say that you do not value your amiability, but count it loss for Christ? It is a fact that it is harder to correct a man with what is called a nice nature, than a man with a very bad one; an amiable person is the most difficult to move, because he is so satisfied with himself.

Paul never knew Him anywhere but in glory, and he says, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" See what an object He was to eclipse everything. There is no question about Christ having put away all the bad things, but can you say Christ eclipses the best, and the brightest, and the most beautiful things on earth to me, because He has so satisfied my heart? That is knowing Him as Solomon! and that alone is what will really satisfy the heart of any.

Do you say: What heart-breaking work it is! I must give up this thing, not have that thing! What miserable work it is! No; but, I count them but rubbish! I give them up, not because they are wrong, but because "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord".

There is no way of getting a person out of the

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good things here but by showing him what is superior to them. So, if you say to me, That is a beautiful view, I quite admit it; but if it is to satisfy my heart, it cannot, for it will pass away; the only thing that can satisfy my heart is the Christ of God -- "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ" -- not of salvation -- but "that I may win Christ". I might illustrate it by supposing two portraits. In the first I have all that is good in man -- Adam: all the most beautiful tints that you could put upon canvas. For instance, the young man in the gospel whom Jesus loved, and who had kept all these things from his youth. Mind, the Lord never asked him about anything but what was in relation to his fellows; there was not one word as to God. And that is what self-culture is; we find many who have that, and call it holiness -- the being suitable to your fellows; but that is not being suitable to God. You may have a man outwardly everything that is right. This is the first portrait. The other is a picture of Christ as He was on earth. The first may he lovely in the eyes of man, but this is lovely in the eyes of God; and this is the one for me. What the apostle sets forth is that He prefers Christ to man at his best.

But there is still one more step: I am going on. "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus". I have the goal before me, and I am pressing on; so the word "mark" is used, which shows that I have seen something towards which I am pressing, for how can I go on to a mark unless I have seen it? Just as a marksman could not aim straight at an object unless he saw it, so it is impossible for any one to go on straight through this world unless he has seen Christ, his mark. Then I can afford to leave anything

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here behind, for I have an object before me, and I am going on to it.

I have now given you both the doctrine and the practical side of my subject. We will now look at the experience of a soul reaching it, to show you how you are to get it if you have not yet got it. How then do I get it? Evidently before you can bring Christ out you must get Christ in. You say, I have got relief for my conscience; but I hope you agree with me that, besides this, you must have an object for your heart.

I turn to 1 Kings 10 to show you how it is attained. Here we get the story of the visit of the queen of Sheba -- who we know is "the queen of the south" -- to Solomon. She had heard of his fame.

Now the first thing is, do you desire to see Solomon? That is what the queen of Sheba did. And what is more, she said, I will not rest until I have seen him. She had very far to go to get to him: she came to Jerusalem "from the utmost parts of the earth". You have not got this long journey to go, but you will certainly have to go through the exercise that it represents. It is very easy for a soul to say, I should like to know Christ in glory; but it is a very humbling fact that every soul possesses what it values. The queen of Sheba's ministers may have said to her, You surely are never going to take all this long journey merely to see a man whom you have only heard of! But she said: Solomon I have heard of, and Solomon I must see. I can never rest until I get to him!

I know I can say that the first effect on me of finding Him was, that the things that I had been in vain trying to get rid of just dropped off without my giving them a thought; they dropped off without my knowing it. Some have one kind of attraction here, some another. Things lost their hold that I had thought I never could give up or do

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without. Some things, of course, are uncomely, and those we are told are evil and we must drop off; but it is the things that are not evil I mean. Why should I not be able to say, like the apostle, The things that were gain to me, those I count loss for Christ? I have seen something that puts everything here in the shade.

Thus I am clear of the badness by the blood of Christ, but I am clear of the goodness by Him in glory. It is not the sin of this world, it is what man calls goodness that most balks the saint in his progress. But what are good things here to what I see in the glory? The day is coming when all here will be burnt to ashes, but I have seen that which will never fade away; I have seen that which will endure in all its brightness for ever; and though I can see the beauty of this, it does not hold my heart a bit.

Well, the beginning is half the battle! Is there any one here tonight who says, I am determined to go? Is there any single one who, like the queen of Sheba, says, I will never rest until I have seen Him? like her set off to seek Him, for "he that seeketh findeth".

Now when she got to Jerusalem she might still have stopped short of the full thing. There is a still further test as to whether a soul is in earnest. If you have not true desire of heart you will stop short of the second thing that she did. Having at last reached Solomon, she communes with him "of all that was in her heart".

I have known a believer who said, I would not let Christ have the key of my heart. Now would you give Him the key? As I say, I have known a person honestly say, I would not. How can you expect to have your heart satisfied when there is something there that you will not let Him see -- perhaps some earthly idol there -- and you will not make Him

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your confidant? If you tell a person your secrets you give him power over you. This is the difference between love and wisdom. Love begets love, but wisdom makes me confide. Do you know Christ as "the wisdom of God"? Can you say, I talk everything over with Him -- all my motives, and thoughts, and wishes. I know He has such perfect wisdom that I tell Him everything?

And lastly, the third thing that we find in the queen of Sheba. All the things that concern Solomon are now before her heart. When she "... 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 his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her". Let me notice one very interesting thing as to this. It was not any future things as to him that occupied her; it was present things. It is now that we are let into the interests of Christ. Supposing I got a little glimpse of what He is now doing, became, so to say, a cabinet minister of His in --; understood what He was doing, and how He was working out things here, what a sense it would give me of my position; how it would alter everything here to me! So she never thought of her camels or her gold; there was nothing wrong in them, but her heart was full of his things, and she never thought of her own. And so of any one of you who has ever been in the presence of the Lord; it was not that you were occupied in giving up this thing and that thing, but that your heart was full, and they all vanished. You were not thinking of the bereavement you had gone through, of the lack of things around you, of the distracting circumstances in your home. No; all had vanished, and you were entranced! "There was no more spirit in her;" or, as the apostle puts it, to God he was beside himself;

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or, as the real force of the word is, outside of himself.

Now is this an impossibility? It was once said to me that it was, that it was "a splendid impossibility". The person who said it lived to know that it was not. It is splendid, but it is not impossible. The person who has it is the only one who can be occupied with the third experience. I am so entranced with the beauty of this One whose perfection I have seen, that I am seeking to get rid of everything in me that hinders it shining out of me -- that hinders my body being "full of light". Be it society, love of painting, music, scenery, all the nice things here on earth, no matter what, take them all away from me, so that I may have the outshining of Jesus in my life.

The Lord give us to understand these three things that constitute real pilgrimage, that we may be to His glory as we walk through this evil world for His name's sake. Amen.

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Luke 24:13 - 36

This chapter tells us the beginning -- how the Lord led His disciples on to the new ground on which they were to understand His relation to them and theirs to Him. In the last verse I read we find Him "in the midst of them". Therefore it is a matter of immense interest to us to know how it was brought about then, so that we may see how it is recovered to us now. But we must first understand that it has been lost, otherwise we cannot talk of recovery.

What then is the true order of meeting for the saints, or, to make it simple, what is "church order"?

Now there are hundreds of notions as to what it is, so that it is evident it is lost, or there could not be so many. This is the question then: What is the present relation of Christ to His people on earth?

Luke 24 is plainly the beginning, everyone will admit. And next we must admit that very soon after it failure set in. We see this in the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3, where things go on from bad to worse until in Thyatira we get to Popery. After this we get Sardis: "Thou hast a name that thou livest". Things were better in appearance. Luther and Calvin tried to reform the church, but they never got at what had to be revived. There was in that sense a partial recovery at the Reformation; but in Philadelphia the truth is recovered. Every student of Scripture admits that Thyatira is Romanism, Sardis Protestantism; and that these four last churches go on to the end. Finally we get to Laodicea, "neither cold nor hot", and spued out of Christ's mouth. I

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think then that you will admit there is ruin, and that it is proved by the diversity of opinion that exists. There was certainly no second opinion in Luke 24. As I have said, differences began soon after, and became greater and more confirmed as we go on to Thyatira and Sardis.

But now a point of great importance. When the greatest darkness has set in there is a revival. Mark this, for it is always God's way. When the ruin is irretrievable, then He comes in.

You can trace this principle all through Scripture. At the very beginning, in the garden of Eden, the ruin was irretrievable, but before God turned the man and the woman out there was a revival. Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living, and the Lord made coats of skins and clothed them. Wondrous grace of God in the midst of all the ruin!

We find the same in Genesis 33; Abram was called by God out of Mesopotamia, and Isaac actually sent his son back there; but Jacob returns to the land, and in that sense Jacob is a revival. He had a new name given to him, and everything is bright for a time. He is pious, his altar he only calls El-elohe-Israel. It all turns around himself. This is just the snare into which those who are now being revived are liable to fall in the present day -- retaining the name of power without the character of it. Jacob ceases to be a pilgrim.

Another snare comes out in Haggai. The remnant, the captives, have returned from Babylon to the land, and it is a wonderful thing that they should have returned at all. But, while they were at first set upon building the temple, when they were opposed and hindered they became occupied with their own blessings. There was a revival when all was in ruin, but there is a snare in that revival; and as we see Jacob lose the true place of a man restored

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to the land by the grace of God, cease to be a pilgrim and settle down at Shalem, so in Haggai we see the remnant cease to care for the house of God, and be occupied only with their own individual blessing. The temptation to us is to settle down here; and, while pious, like Jacob, to think nothing of the house of God like the people in Haggai's time, though seeking the good of our own souls.

Thus we see that God does revive, and that when the ruin is irretrievable; and that before it actually does occur He brings in a revival. Having established this point I come to another.

But first I must make one remark. The word "revival" is often wrongly used. A "revival meeting" for unconverted souls is quite erroneous, for there is nothing there to revive. I can revive a sleeping saint, but I cannot revive an unconverted sinner. And when a word is wrongly used there is sure to be a wrong thought at the bottom. So in this case. The great thing that is wrong in this idea of revival meetings is the thought that there is something in man to work on.

Now what is true revival? The recovery of what has been lost; and the first thing to be recovered is the first thing that was lost. You will find, every one of you, that when you begin to fall away it is the best bit of truth that you have that you give up first; just as in a storm it is the top shoot of the tree that goes. A man who talks to me of heavenly truth being impracticable, that man is going to give it up as sure as can be; he may not be lost, but he is going back. Satan always addresses himself to the best bit of truth you hold; when you are growing cold you will find that it is the most advanced truth you hold that is in danger.

Just turn to Colossians 2 there the apostle says: "I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you". What is this great conflict for? It is to get

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them to the top. The apostle from his prison has written to the saints three epistles, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians. In Ephesians he shows them the wonderful place the church has in Christ; but in Colossians he is eager by the Spirit of God to carry them up to the mark. Do you know what the desire of Christ is for you? Do not tell me you know what He did for you; the question is, Do you know what He desires for you -- what the Holy Spirit is aiming at in your soul? It is that you should be complete in Christ -- it is that you may actually know that you are united to one another and united to Christ.

He says, I have great conflict for you; it was a great point to be assured of this wonderful position. To walk in it is the desire of Christ's heart for us, the aim of the Holy Spirit and the labour of the servant, for it is the accomplished purpose of God. And what has become of it? It is lost. Look at all the sects around us. They have kept their own order, their own forms, or their liturgies, but that is not what the apostle had conflict about, and if it be not, then it is lost; and the thing to be recovered is the thing that was lost.

I will prove to you that it was the best thing that went first. The church of Ephesus, so richly endowed, so highly gifted, lost their first love. They lost true affection of heart for Christ. It is the spring of everything to know myself united to Christ; to know the saints "knit together" unto Him, and He in our midst, the One who keeps us in happy harmony by His Spirit. This was what they lost, and the point of departure must be the point of restoration. This is the thing to maintain. It was what the apostle Paul was struggling for. And nothing stimulates me like knowing that it is the desire of the heart of Christ for me, for then I know that I have the Holy Spirit to back me up -- to be my power. The apostolic fathers never had it. You may read their

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folios in any library you come across, and during 1800 years past, though you will find most beautiful thoughts, you will not find what is church order -- what is the relation of Christ to His people, and of His people to Him. This, then, is what had to be recovered, and I come now to how it is recovered.

You are not a Philadelphian if you do not know the relation of Christ to His people, and of His people to Him. A man may be saved in Sardis, but he will not be a Philadelphian; and if you are not a Philadelphian you are not entitled to the favours Christ bestows on Philadelphians. By Philadelphian I do not mean merely a man out of system, but one who understands his relation to Christ.

The way in which the Lord first recovered it for His people was by bringing a devoted servant to see: I have a Head in heaven, and, if I, so must other saints; and one Head necessitates one body. This was true recovery. In Colossians the apostle says, "Not holding the Head"; the Head was lost to the church. But this was recovered, and the true relation of Christ and His people is made known. You must admit the fact that for 1800 years it was lost. If you say, How do you prove it? I answer, Show me anywhere that it was known. And, apart from history, you may see it from the attitude in which the Lord stands in the midst of the seven churches. John did not know Him: "His eyes were as a flame of fire, and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters".

Let me then describe to you what a Philadelphian is.

We read in Revelation 3"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; ... I know thy works: behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not

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denied my name". That is a Philadelphian. He is one for whom the truth has been recovered. And the truth that has been recovered is not a particular truth; all along there have been different attempts to recover different truths by earnest men, but now it is the truth that has been recovered. Irving made much of the Holy Spirit's power and of the Lord's coming, but he became a heretic because Christ was not his simple object. Christ is the One who has accomplished everything, and the Holy Spirit is the One who establishes in the soul what has been accomplished, and that is a very different thing. Getting hold of Christ is like getting the magnet, whilst a person occupied with only one truth or two is like a man who has only got some points of the compass.

The truth then has been restored to us; but I say, take care lest you make too much of knowledge. I believe that many a one accepts the truth who has never been led into it of God. These tend to Laodicea. A person may be able to explain to me most thoroughly and completely the ground of meeting for worship, may be able to teach me how solemn a thing it is to give out a hymn or read a scripture if I have not been led of the Spirit to do so, and yet he is on dangerous ground unless he has been led of God into it.

I find next that the Lord, in all revivals, always restores the best thing that has been lost. Jacob really had a very bright view of heaven. And when the whole nation was going off into desolation, God's own grace in dealing with them comes out. The Lord Himself is the light that God brings in: "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up;" and yet very soon the house was left desolate.

And so in our day, when the Lord restores true

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knowledge of Himself, the remarkable character of His grace is that He actually begins with us in the very same way in which He did with the disciples at the beginning. This is why I have read Luke 24, which I now turn to for a little.

I believe no person ever finds this true ground without being educated. I do not believe a soul can get it out of a book; the Lord only can teach him. The Lord educated His disciples at the beginning, soon though they may have lost what He taught them; and at the beginning of our present revival He took just as much pains to educate souls.

Now there are three great lessons in the education of a soul that is to learn church order; and, as I have said, he will not get them from this or that theological folio, for they are not in them. In this chapter the Lord leaves on record for us how He taught them to His disciples.

First we find: "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself". What was the first thing that God opened your mind to? Was it not that Christ is the object of all Scripture? The immense thing brought before the soul is Christ. Some little while ago I came across a man who said to me, "I have been reading the Bible for fifteen years and never saw Christ in it, but now I find it is all about Christ". So in the meetings years ago, the prominent thing brought out was that everything in the word related to Christ, the Holy Spirit thus taking the same pains with us as He did with the first disciples.

Secondly, "He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him". "He was known of them in breaking of bread". I do not mean that it was the Lord's supper; but there is the simple blessed fact of the soul being able to say, I have by

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faith seen the risen Lord; I have by the Spirit of God known the risen One. It is not a question of the amount of knowledge, and it is not conversion.

These two (their hearts had burned within them by the way), now that they have seen Him, go straight back to Jerusalem, and whilst they are telling the tale of what had been done in the way, and how He was known to them in breaking of bread, we reach the third thing, which completes the education of a Philadelphian: "Jesus himself stood in the midst".

Now if you turn to John 20 you will find a parallel passage. Here we see the Lord first sending Mary Magdalene with the message: "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God". She represents another condition of soul to that of the two disciples. We find two different states of soul and of knowledge, one represented by the two going to Emmaus. If you had asked them their feeling about Christ they would have said, Well, there is only disappointment as to it all; "we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel". But Mary's state is different. She is mourning because they have taken away the One she loved. She has not union, but she has affection, and she finds it intolerable to be here without Him. You will find many varieties of these two states of soul. But my point is, that He first sends Mary Magdalene with a message, and then the two disciples with another, and having thus prepared them for it, He stands in their midst and says, "Peace be unto you".

And it is thus He comes, when two or three are gathered to His name as on Lord's day mornings, into the midst of the assembly, to impart to us the virtues of His own elevation. Have you got the sense of such a thing as this? It is wonderful to realise it -- the fact that the risen Man, with all the proofs of

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triumph, with all the proofs of victory, should come into the assembly and say, Here I am, your peace! I have come into your midst, having risen out of all that was against you, and everything must now pass away but myself; I occupy the ground that I have cleared.

Do you think people would come in late, and behave themselves carelessly, if they knew that they were in the presence of One whom they had known privately, as did the two going to Emmaus? I say that church order was understood there. We must go back to the very beginning, and this is the beginning. I must go back to the babe: "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein". I ignore all human development -- all church history. Whether it be the disappointed ones walking to Emmaus, or the loving hearts like Mary Magdalene, they must all be educated and revived. Then you have church order. He says to them, If you open that door to anyone, I will ratify it; if you shut any one out, I will ratify it. He does not say, I will shut him out of heaven, but I will stand by what you do. "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained".

I trust you have now no difficulty in understanding what is revived. Christ in His true relation to His people has been revived in their hearts. The way He works is by educating the soul until it can say, I know what it is to be in this wonderful circle of which He is the centre. My Lord is there, and the state of my soul is that of dependent expectation. It is not a very bright meeting that I am looking for, but I am going to be where Christ is in the midst. And He cannot be "in the midst" of one individual alone; there must be the assembly -- the two or three gathered to His name. And there He enters, saying. All care, all trial, everything must now give way,

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that there may be fellowship with the Father and Myself.

What has been lost is what has been restored to us; it is not anything new we have got, but it is that same cardinal truth which was lost. And, having this, you are a Philadelphian -- no power apart from Christ. And He says to the faithful, I will stand by you. This is the wonderful reward of a Philadelphian.

The Lord lead our hearts really to understand it. How delightful to find out the interest that Christ takes in us! May we know His relation to us, and our relation to Him.

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Psalm 45

The subject we had on the previous evening was the present great revival of truth -- the way in which the Lord has led back His people to the knowledge of His mind as they had it at the beginning; so that, in fact, as some one expressed it lately when speaking on this subject, "extremes meet". We have had to go back to the first start of that which has since grown into an immense thing; we have had, as it were, to cancel "the mustard tree", while the Lord conducts us back to the bud of it -- to Luke 24. I do not believe that any true soul has reached this point without having gone through a similar exercise to that of those we find in that chapter; taught by the Lord, he has reached the point where he discovers, not his salvation, but his relation to Christ and Christ's to him. He, as we saw, first opens to them the Scriptures, next, is known to them in the breaking of bread, and lastly, stands in their midst. I fear some have taken their place in the third, who have never known the second.

But this church order was almost immediately lost, because the central point, Himself, was lost. To Ephesus He says: "Because thou hast left thy first love ... I will ... remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent"; I will take away the power and ability to set forth light to others. And now, when ruin is irretrievable, He has brought in this revival. It is the most wonderful thing. Here we are amidst the debris of everything, and He says, I will bring you out again, though not in the illustrious and distinguished character that you bore at the beginning. I must take things up again where I

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fell off, just as Abram went back to where his altar was "at the first". And it is most exhilarating to the heart to know that the Lord takes the very same pains with me as He did with His disciples at the first. I trust now that it is simple to you, the fact of your relationship to Him -- that of the body, united to Him and to one another -- and that this is the true place of His people. Having seen this, I come to a second point: it is not everything that truth is recovered. As I heard it quaintly said, Ezra built the temple -- recovered the truth -- but Nehemiah built the walls to preserve it; and this thought suits me as an illustration of what I mean. There has been the recovery, but now the thing is to preserve it.

What then is the nature of this preservation? There is a little word in 2 Timothy 1 that will help us if we turn to it. It is: "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me". The word translated in our version as "form" would he better rendered by "outline".

Now notice that he does not say, "hold fast the sound words", nor does he say, "which form I gave you". I hope you understand the difference. He wants them to get hold of not only the words, but of the scope of them. It was the outline they were to keep. The words, he says, you got from me, but have you got a certain knowledge of the form, of the outline, of the scope of them?

And this is of great importance. You will find that every failure and defalcation of the people of God has been marked by this -- that they have lost sight of the scope of the word that God has given them. I find that Satan often comes in and upsets a soul about a word, but I say, I am not going to stand about a word: I know what the scope of the whole thing means. Just as one would say to a child, You have not taken in my meaning; so you will find at

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any time that failure arises when you lose the sense of the scope of the words.

I will take just one or two examples to bring out what I mean, before going on to show how a soul being occupied with Christ learns what will suit him. In Eden, Satan occupies Eve with the penalty for eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and deceives her as to the nature of the penalty. She loses the positive meaning and scope of the word, led away and diverted from it under the impression that she will not suffer for going contrary to it.

Noah might plead that he was not forbidden to plant a vineyard -- that there was no word of God interdicting it; but if he had kept to the form or scope of the word given to him, he would soon have seen that if he in any measure relaxed the reins of power he would forfeit the position to which he was called.

Again in Genesis 33, I find Jacob returned to the land, and in that sense a revival; he had learned the power of God at the night of wrestling, having re-entered the land where his fathers had "sojourned ... as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles". But he loses the scope of God's word, he settles down in the land. "He bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father". He might say the word of God had not forbidden him to do it, and there was no harm in it, but he was called out to be a pilgrim, and he now had lost that character. Oh! but I am a pious man, he might say, I have my altar. I do not give up the light and the truth that I have! True, but you have given up the form of the word, you have given up the great outline of your calling. God brought you back to set forth the fact that you are a pilgrim and a stranger here.

It is an immense thing practically. Even all learning

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amongst men consists in being able accurately to distinguish one thing from another. I say I know the size and the shape of two things, and I can distinguish the one of them from the other, though there be but little difference between them. Any one can distinguish between two things that are very different. I remember hearing of a learned professor who mistook a very small bird for a large one because it had identically the same coloured feathers in its wings. In appearance it was so, but he had not an idea of the true form of the bird.

Thus I often find a man interpreting a passage in a gospel or an epistle, and failing in the interpretation, because he does not know the scope of it. A man does not know the geography of England because he knows the one county of Middlesex; he must know the scope of the whole country. "Sound words which thou hast heard", but the question is, have you got the scope of them? When any one insists on a text for this or that, it is evident he is only thinking of Middlesex; but if he were to leave out Middlesex in his delineation, I should be able to detect him by the sound words. I get the scope from the whole tenor of the sound words, but I can detect omission by the sound words themselves.

There is another example in 1 Chronicles 13, where David gets a new cart to bring the ark of God home in. He had heard of its being done before by the Philistines; facts were in favour of it; history stood up for it; and there was no text to forbid it; and so he has the cart. And the worst of these things is that they always go well at first; there is no harm in them. And so it goes on all right until the oxen stumble, and then the smash comes. David was led away by expediency; he did not understand the scope and nature of God's counsel. So we find he has to fight the Philistines who brought the leaven in, and when he has thus cleared

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himself morally he says, "None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites". When the world comes in as the Philistines here, the mind of the saint gets clouded as to the counsel of God, and unless there be very positive interdiction, he cannot see how he trenches on God's ways by adopting a human expedient.

One example in the New Testament. In Galatians 2, Paul takes Titus, a Greek, with him to Jerusalem, but he would not have him circumcised. He says, I will not give way on this point, that the truth of the gospel may continue with you. And after that he adds, Neither will I give way before the old apostle. When Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to he blamed; I must stand up for the truth of the gospel, I must keep it up to its full scope, up to the mind of the Lord. If I yield, either in the case of the young disciple or of the old apostle, I shall be giving up the form of sound words.

It is an interesting point to consider. You will find when you come to deal with people, that they have not got the scope of truth at all; they have lost the form. "Form", as I have said, is a very inadequate word; it is really more the delineation of a thing. Nothing makes it so plain to my mind as a map. I must keep the whole thing in my thought, or I get into confusion according to divine order.

And now I come to the second part of my subject for tonight, which is more interesting, and will more touch our hearts.

What, then, is the object of all we have been looking at? It is that, if in the things of man it is so important I should be able to distinguish things as they are -- that I should know their true form and size -- how much more important is it in the things of God? And in these I must get everything from God Himself. I am entirely dependent upon

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Him for my knowledge and understanding of His mind. This is why I have read this psalm, in which I find how, by being in His presence, I may get what suits Christ. It is, "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty".

But, you say, how am I to get into this place? I turn to Matthew 25, to show you how the Lord brings His saints to it. Here the church has lost its hope; it has gone to sleep; there is no activity of life. The Lord comes in and wakens us up by the simple fact, not of His coming, but by the words, "Behold the bridegroom; go forth to meet him". It is not only that I know Him as the Head, but that I am in the sense of the relationship of the bride. Supposing a person came into this room and announced, 'Behold, the Bridegroom!' what an effect it would produce! How we should all immediately adopt what we think would suit Him! I am going to meet Him. My waking up to this fact and my going out to meet Him necessarily create in my heart the desire to suit Him. He does not terrify you; he does not threaten judgments on you; but He counts on your heart. The cry is 'Behold, the Bridegroom!' This at once awakes us, and, as we go to meet Him, the practical effect is, that we seek to be what will suit Him.

I turn next to Revelation 21, where I find the bride "all glorious within". This book opens with the failure of the vessel of testimony; it is spued out of Christ's mouth. But at the close of the book He lets me into His secrets, His thoughts about His bride; He discloses to me the very garments in which she will stand before Him -- the very moral condition, which will not only please Himself, but which set forth what they have who are ready for Him. You may say, But we are not the bride yet;

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and I admit that we are not; but still from this picture of the bride, I can show you what will suit the Bridegroom; and I say that I have got a wonderful secret when I can say, I know what will suit Him.

Here I learn what will suit Him. I find in Revelation 21 what the bride will be when she does suit Him, and I hear of the beauty which pleases Him in Psalm 45. "Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty" -- the greatest moral beauty.

In that day, when we shall be like Himself, surely we shall be that which will please Himself. And here He lets me know what that is, and if I am going out to meet Him I have already got some of that beauty, and I am not going to adopt anything that will not suit Him. This puts me into a peculiar position here. I cannot do what David did; I am not going to have a cart, however useful it may be, for I have got the form, or scope, of what will suit Him.

In the description of the bride we are given seven different things. First: "Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal"; I believe this is Christ in humanity. Second: "A wall great and high", to keep out everything that does not suit Christ; everyone knows that walls are to keep things out. Third: "Twelve gates", to let in everything that does suit Him. The description is so simple that I need not go through it; what I want to dwell upon is verse 11: "Having the glory of God". This is shining on the earth in the gospel of the glory of Christ. It is this that lets us into the secret of our power. Though I admit that it is future, that we have it but partially now, yet we may have it in measure: why, else, is it given to us here? If the bridal garments are brought home

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before the bridal day, what is it for, but that they may be tried on? And so, at the end of this book, the Lord allures the heart by showing it the moral nature of that which will suit Him.

But how am I to get it? It is by "having the glory of God" that I see what will suit Him. With unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord, we "are changed into the same image from glory to glory". Christ is in glory, and I must be in it too in spirit, before I can have it, and then I am transformed; and I thank the Lord that, though I may have but very little of Revelation 21 about me, yet I do know what suits Him; and I can tell others what that great moral costume is, and that the church will come out soon in all the divine beauty that I see here, and be the exhibition to the earth of the second Man, of whom it is said that if all the things which He did "should be written every one ... even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written;" and thus be "the fulness of him that filleth all in all".

But I may look round and see very little of these bridal garments! Still, I say, I will not have anything else. But I shall look so little, so nothing in the eyes of men! I shall have but very little clothing! Better have only one stitch of the "raiment of needlework" that the most beautiful broadcloth that was ever woven! I do not want to be anything in the eyes of men; I am going to meet the Bridegroom, and I want to suit Him; and, as has been said, "when we are in our true position we are not a testimony to our greatness, but to our weakness".

Now you never can become suitable to Christ but by being in His company. It is the bridegroom that makes the bride; and you must acquire from Himself what best suits Himself. As I may say, it is company that teaches manners. If you are not in His company you may read the Scriptures as much

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as you like, be able to describe to me from them dispensations and so on, but it will all end in affectation, and not in Christ's ways. I want you to accustom yourself to being in the presence of Christ; and the effect of that presence is to demand the entire removal of everything that is not of Him. There I am with Him in a scene where nothing can interrupt my communion with Him. It was in the glory that the ten commandments were written upon the tables of stone; and it is in the glory only that Christ can be written upon the heart. And the reason we see so little of it in people is that they have been so little beholding the glory of Christ. This was just what made the difference between Martha and Mary. Martha was occupied with the human good thing; Mary was learning, by being in company with Himself, what suited Him. Children are often very like their parents, because they keep their company so much; and that is just the principle.

What I look for is that we may practically so get the sense of this that we may really know what suits Him. If I want to know whether such a thing suits the Lord, and I have to acknowledge that I do not know, the reason is that I have never been near enough to Him to get His mind about it. And I may always get it, if I only go to Him for it, for I believe the Lord is always to me in the aspect that suits me at the moment. If it were not so, He would be indifferent to me. I have to do with that blessed One where He is; and, as I am in association with Him, I become identified with Him in the circumstances in which I am placed, so that I am able to act in them, in a measure, as He would have done. Is there a storm? I shall be quiet in it. But if I am not with Him, it will only be a legal effort on my part; it will be my saying that I have power to imitate Christ. It is only as I am with Himself that

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He gives me power from Himself to be that which is suitable to Him. All the Scripture in the world will not make me able to be what I ought to be without the grace of Christ. And therefore being in His presence is the first thing that is marked in this marvellous unfolding, which I cannot but regard as the most wonderful thing for the Lord to put before us -- this picture of what the church will yet be in this world, where now she is only a failure and a disgrace.

May the Lord teach us to learn what suits Him, and give us grace not to accept of anything, no matter what it be, that does not suit Him. I may appear very insignificant in the eyes of man; I may have uncommon little of the bride's garments; but I say, I value nothing but what suits Christ; and I would rather have but one stitch of the raiment of needlework -- and remember it is tapestry-work, done stitch by stitch -- than the finest manufactured garment that man ever saw. I am going out to meet Him, and, if I have the real bridal affection in my heart, I can think of nothing but what will suit Him. I quite admit how little I may have of what does; but, let me say, anyhow I have the form, and I will not give it up, neither will I take any substitute for it.

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Exodus 29:1 - 32; Ephesians 3:14 - 19

The first thing after I have learned what Christ is for me in His work -- after I have seen that He has accomplished everything as to the putting away of my sin before God, and that I belong to the One who has accomplished it, as I was saying in the first lecture -- the first desire that then rises in my soul is, that I should be a manifestation of this Christ to whom I belong -- that I should be a body full of light. As we then saw, we have first the conscience relieved, next the heart satisfied (which we went into fully at that time), and, lastly, the body full of light. To-night it is the body full of light I wish to speak to you on, and that, properly, is consecration.

I know the erroneous way in which this word is used, but I hope tonight that we shall see plainly what is the scriptural thought of it. In the margin, "consecrate" is translated "filling;" and I hope to show you the manner of it, what it really is, as we look at the way in which consecration is figuratively brought before us in the chapter I have read.

The first thing we find is that Aaron and his sons are robed. Figuratively, afterwards, they go through the whole course of the work of Christ. There is the bullock, which is the sin-offering, burnt with fire without the camp, which, I trust, every soul here has learned: "He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin". This is the groundwork of everything. Then I come to two rams. There is an identity between these two rams; understanding them, you will understand what consecration is.

The first ram goes up wholly to God. "Thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt-offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savour,

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an offering made by fire unto the Lord". It is all taken up -- every bit of it. This is Christ gone up to the right hand of God. You will all admit this; it is seen at once. But whilst He is gone up there, and I am united to Him in spirit in all His beauty and perfection, I am also left, as to my body, in this world, to be for Him down here. The same Christ who is gone up there is the Christ who is down here in His saints. Up there I am in all His beauty and perfection in the holiest, sustained there in all the sweet savour of that One whom God has taken up. And this we surely all know, otherwise we have not got the sense of our acceptance with God. So it says, "As he is", not as He was. "As he is, so are we". It does not say that we shall be as He is, but that we are at this moment. It is perfectly true that I shall be like Him in the glory in heaven, but that is not what this passage says. It is, "As he is, so are we, in this world" -- not in heaven. It is that my acceptance is as Christ's acceptance; we are "accepted in the beloved", not through the Beloved. The idea is that we cannot be placed in any higher place; and any place except that one up there would neither be commensurate with the work He has wrought, nor satisfy the heart of God for me.

Thus I am left down here on this earth, with no question as to my place up there; and it is Christ up there that is before me, and not either what I was or what I am in myself. "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance". It is there that I am according to my Father's pleasure.

But then comes the third point of which we were speaking, which is the second thing brought before us in the chapter we have read in Exodus -- the second ram -- that I am to present Christ here, and that Christ is the One who occupies me. Everything

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depends as to my being here on what I see there. My appreciation of Christ up there determines my expression of Christ down here.

People ask, What is consecration? I answer, The person most consecrated is the person who has most of Christ. And now let us mark how this is brought out in Scripture.

See how it comes out in Paul. He says that he sees Christ; that he has to do with Him where He is: "With open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory;" and so he adds, "bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus", and the life of Jesus made manifest in his body. Thus is fulfilled what the Lord says of His disciples in John 17, "I am glorified in them". Nothing in ourselves, like a briar once in a hedge, but which, having been grafted, now bears beautiful roses. The rose, though it takes all the life, all the power of the briar, yet never accepts the slightest tinge or character of the briar. Thus the Lord says, I will use in you all that I myself have made. If I look at the stem -- at the nature -- I say, that is a briar; if I look at the top of the tree, I say, I cannot see a trace of the briar. As in Paul: he is the same Paul, but nothing of Paul now comes out; it is all Christ. The new life establishes itself there; it draws in all the force of the person as he is naturally, therefore the Lord has the credit of it all.

Turn to Romans 12. Here we read: "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". People read this, and fancy that they are giving God something; but this is not the fact at all. I will explain to you what it does mean, by turning to chapter 7. Here you find that you have the new nature, but you have also with it a very

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unpleasant guest, which makes you cry out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?" As another has said, "The body is the flesh when there is a will in it;" and when there is no will it is Christ's. Well, I want to subdue the flesh, and who does this for me? Why, Christ. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" And I say to Him: I was a sufferer from this noxious guest, but now I have got deliverance; and as it is You who have done it, I give that body to You, which is the least I can do. I give You nothing but an empty house, and You may make the most of it. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable [not legal] service; and be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed". It is not reformation, it is transformation. I find my deliverance in Christ, and now I would present my body to my Deliverer; but that body is only an empty vessel, one which He must fill Himself, and His filling it is consecration.

Hence consecration is not that I have given Him anything, for I have nothing to give. People talk of consecrating their talents, their property, and so on, and I know in a certain sense what they mean; but the fact really is, that I put aside everything in me which would hinder the expression of Christ flowing out in me, that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in my body. For this the apostle prays in Ephesians 3, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts:" the true force of the word is domicile. That He may so dwell there that we "may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height" of God's own favour -- the full scope of blessing; "and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God". Christ is that fulness, and having Him thus dwelling in the heart is real consecration. Such a

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man has nothing in him but Christ. Go to him about anything, and it will be Christ that will come out; mark, Christ; not the man himself improved.

We find parallel truth in John 15 and 17. In chapter 15 we get service; but in chapter 17 I am to represent Christ where Christ is not. As has been said, Christ first places us as Himself before the Father, and then sets us as Himself before the world. As such I do not come out as a better man myself, but I come out Christ. What a wonderful display of divine power! God, so to say, says: My secret is, that now that Christ is cast out of the world, I will have thousands of souls living Christ in the scene that has rejected Him. You have, as it were, cast out the sun, but I will have thousands of planets deriving light from it. Thus, "Christ shall be magnified in my body", not in my heart, mark; for the life that I live "I live by the faith of the Son of God". It is "not I, but Christ liveth in me".

What did the apostle seek for the Galatians? Was it to get them clear of their sins? He does not say a word about them. It is that Christ may be formed in them.

I know what wonderful results men have brought about by tillage and gardening, and how they have brought common plants into a very uncommon state; but, supposing, that by cultivation I could bring myself into the most wonderful condition of perfection, I would much sooner have Christ than anything that could be brought out of me. I look up into the heavens, I go into the presence of God, and what do I find there? Why, that I am there before God in all the beauty of Christ, and I am delighted -- as delighted as I can be. And, having seen my place there, I come down here -- what for? To show out the beauty of a man? Not at all! I have learned Christ up there, and I only want to be Him down here.

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And it is not a future thing, either, it is altogether a present thing, though, of course, the future must be settled first. If your future be not settled it is no use my speaking to you at all; but, the future being settled, it is the present that is all-important. And what is the present thing to be? I say it is to be Christ. The future is that which cannot be altered, cannot be improved, cannot be lost. Oh, but your realisation of it may be clouded And so it may. If you walk carelessly you will lose your peace -- forget that you were purged from your old sins. But when your soul is restored -- when you get your peace back again -- what peace is it that you get? Is it a new one, or is it the same that you lost? Of course it is the same that you lost.

So I go a great way with the Wesleyan. I will talk to him as much as he likes about the present. If you say to me that everything depends as to the present upon my walk, I say I agree with you. But if you go on to say there is fear of my being lost in the future, I say I cannot go with you there. I say as the aged shepherd says: "Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" There must be the continual adding, or you will not keep up the testimony. Do you think if Jonathan had gone on adding to his testimony to David that he would have perished on mount Gilboa? Not he! But I do not agree that he is lost for ever in consequence. That is the Wesleyan doctrine.

I say it is important to maintain that the first great thing we learn is that believers have perfect

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security as to the future; that is settled, and we need say no more about it. The work of Christ now is to occupy me with the present. It is clear that I am up there in all the beauty and acceptance of Christ, and nothing but Christ, and now I am to live down here, not as a comely and excellent man, but as that Christ in whom I am set before God. And the High Priest who sustains me up there in all the brightness of that scene, is the same One who has to do with me in all my weakness down here.

I come now to the division of this ram into different parts. It is divided into four parts, and these four are necessary to constitute us true expressions of Christ down here. There is the blood, the ground for the oil, first. It was sprinkled on the right ear, the right hand, and the right foot -- all that is external in you; the blood is the ground for the Spirit of God to rest on. The second part is offered up; it was first waved for a wave-offering before the Lord, then taken and burnt upon the altar for a burnt-offering for a sweet savour before the Lord. Next there was Moses' part. And lastly, there was a part which was fed upon by Aaron and his sons.

We will look now, for a little, more carefully at the second division, which takes in from verses 19 to 25. In this division are the fat and the inwards, which there is no difficulty at all in interpreting: it is Christ. In the case of the peace-offering in Leviticus 7, all the fat was offered up; it was the excellency of the ram; but the right shoulder was retained, and became the part of the priest who offered up the fat and the blood. But here, in the ram of consecration, I have God's portion; to Him is offered up the excellency of Christ, both as to strength and as to beauty, and I have in it no actual part except that of contemplation of what is given to the Father. The fat and the

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right shoulder -- the excellency of Christ -- are waved in their hands, burned, and taken up to God. And, as we thus contemplate God's part in Christ, "our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ", and our "joy is full". I look at it, I am occupied with it -- with the practical contemplation of the Son of the Father -- though I cannot feed on it; it is something in Christ that is beyond us. "We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth".

The excellency and the grace of Christ are put before us for our contemplation. If your heart has never been thus occupied with contemplating Him as He is, you do not know what it is to sit down under his shadow with great delight. It is after the saint is set in heaven in the highest place that that prayer in Ephesians comes out, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" -- that you may be filled with Christ in this highest place: "filled with all the fulness of God;" that you may "know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" -- which you cannot take in, but which you can contemplate.

I think I may say if you do not contemplate Christ, you do not feed on Him. I am brought into communion with God about it, though I cannot enter into the greatness of it. I do not actually partake of it; I cannot appropriate Christ in His magnitude, but I contemplate Him. Knowing myself up there accepted in the Beloved, here, as I go along, I am occupied with looking at that Christ. It is "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ", as Paul says; and he never got to the end of it. A person who does not thus contemplate Christ may be very zealous as to his conduct, but it will never be anything but a lower kind of conduct. When I look at the Son of God in the gospel I contemplate Him, not as a Person at a distance, but as One to whom I am united. The church, in

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Scripture, is often looked at as Christ's feet; so I say, I belong to Him. As a member of His own body, I contemplate Him.

Do you contemplate Him? I have heard people talk of reading some biography, and express themselves with the greatest delight over the lovely life of the person written of. Well I am studying Christ; I am contemplating His excellency, learning to see Him as God saw Him. But you can never get up to it. No, I cannot; but I can contemplate it, and as I do so, be "changed into the same image from glory to glory".

We get next, in verse 26, Moses' part: "Thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration, and wave it for a wave-offering before the Lord: and it shall be thy part". The breast was, then, Moses' part, and not Aaron's and his sons' at all. It gives great help to the soul, and a godly tone, the abiding sense of Christ's thoughts about one -- His sympathy.

But I pass on to the fourth division: "And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place. And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation". They feed upon it. Now feeding is appropriation.

I will try to explain the difference between appropriation and contemplation. In the contemplation of Christ, the saint knows very well that he will never come up to what he is contemplating, but is he, therefore, to say he will never be able to do anything as Christ would do it? No; I may be but an atom, but still I am a member of that Christ, and His life is mine. So I eat the left shoulder, though I never eat the right. I appropriate the strength of Christ, though I can never do the thing in the magnificent way in which He did. Peter

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walked on the water, but does he do it with the dignity and the power of Christ? No. Christ is the right shoulder, in all the dignity and quietness of power. Peter is only the left: he looks away to the winds, and begins to sink into the waves.

Thus it is not a question of my being a better man than I was, or of my having a better nature than another man, and therefore it often comes out with most power when there is the worst nature. The question is whether I, in doing anything, am going to do it as Christ would. You say, How will you find that out? I answer that I believe the contemplative soul will discover it. I believe Mary had much more of it than Martha. Martha did not know the right way to carry out her good intentions. But "Mary which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word", learned what He was from Himself.

The nearer I am to the Lord the more I know His mind; and that is to me the great interest in reading the gospels. He stands out there before me in the wonderful unique majesty of God, manifest in the flesh. You say, I am reading the gospels. But I ask, What sort of a view are you getting of Christ as you do? Is it a natural one, such as you could get in that book lately published, "The Life of Christ"? It is a spiritual view that you need. I study to get a fuller and more perfect view of Christ at the right hand of God, and as I read I learn how God sees Him. I contemplate that which has all gone up to God, and in this contemplation know what practical fellowship with the Father and the Son is as I walk through this world. I may not have chapter and verse for an action, but the more I am in His transcendent company the more I get to know what will suit Him, and I say, No, Christ would not write such a line as that; and I rub it out. In business, in my home life, I say, Christ would not do that; and I will not. And so Christ

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becomes my standard. It is not that I have given something to Christ, but that I myself am more occupied with Him, have more His mind.

So consecration is not that I have given more of myself to Christ, but Christ has got more possession of me.

As to what feeding on Christ is. I need surely scarcely try to explain. As food is the only support and strength of my natural body, so I look to Him for the support and strength of my soul. And I have nothing but Him to sustain me. "Not I, but the grace of God which was with me".

And now, in closing, let me ask you to think for a moment what a wonderful position we are set in on this earth. When ruin has come in, the only thing to meet it is the highest truth. When the captives returned from Babylon, they kept the feast of tabernacles first of all; they commemorated amidst the ruin the wonderful position God had set them in on the earth. And what do we commemorate? The wonderful position God has set us in in heaven. There is not a single thing to disturb the calm, settled delight that the Father takes in me there, and down here I am contemplating the blessed One who has taken me into His own scene, am also feeding on Him, and am left to be the expression of Him before the world.

Just to think that we are walking about here on this earth, in our homes or our business, with one standard before us -- Christ! It is the one who is most happy in the enjoyment of God's presence who is the most susceptible to things here, and to the way in which they act on him. You will not fail as you seek to set Him forth, but it is an immense comfort to know that in your thus seeking to be like Him you will be cheered. There is this difference between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit: that in bringing forth the fruit of

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the Spirit you are always happy, whereas, in doing the works of the flesh there is always bitterness. Even if you are successful in what you aim at, it leaves a taint of its own bitterness behind it.

"Christ shall be magnified in my body!" What a wonderful triumph! The body that Satan had the dominion over at first through sin, this very body, brought back by grace to God, becomes the medium that is to set forth Christ. He says, I am possessor of it now; if it go into the grave I will raise it up again; and whilst it is here, I will so work in it by power that, whatever be the character of this perilous world, it shall be in it a representation of Myself.

What could be a greater delight to you than to know that you are representing Him here where He is not? There can be no change as to what is mine up there where He is, but now, down here where He is not, I am called to be an exposition of Him whilst He is away. The Lord lead our hearts, beloved friends, to understand what a wonderful calling ours is, and enable us to be more and more expressions of the grace and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ, for His name's sake. Amen.

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1 Samuel 7:3 - 13

The last evening we were upon the subject of consecration, which, as we saw, consists in simply receiving Christ, in having the hands full of Christ, and the heart full of Christ. It is not giving Him anything, for we have nothing to give Him; hence, as the apostle says, what is needed is "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith". The believer is thus formed by Him for His own purpose.

What comes next after this is, How is this consecration to be acquired? A person may see very plainly that what he needs is Christ, but how is he to find what he needs? The way to find it, and the way the Lord makes it known to the soul practically, is by dependence.

In Judges and Samuel this comes out very distinctly. In Judges everything has been tried in the way of restoring Israel from the state of failure and degradation into which they had fallen; the knife, the ox-goad, the nail, the lamps in the pitchers of Gideon, and lastly, the strongest man. But all had been a failure. And now we come to a new kind of power: Samuel is born. His mother, feeling the wretchedness of Israel, cries to the Lord; she is a woman of a sorrowful spirit; and the Lord gives her her petition: Samuel is born in answer to prayer. Thus he comes out from the first in entirely a new light: he is the answer of dependence upon God. In the chapter we have read we find him saying, "I will pray for you unto the Lord". I do not desire to interpret the passage, but merely point out that he prays, and that as the result, the Philistines came no more into the coasts of Israel, all the days of Samuel. This puts prayer in a very remarkable place.

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Satan at the fall introduced into man's heart the lie that he could depend on himself -- that he could depend on himself more advantageously than on God. That was the real point in the fall. Into the wonderful circle of favour in that garden Satan comes, and tells the woman that eating of that fruit they should be as gods; she takes and eats, and so self-dependence comes in and renunciation of dependence on God -- that dependence which is what faith in the soul is. The prodigal when he comes to himself does not begin to think of what he is, but of what the father is. His thought was of what was in his father's house. The point of the departure was the point of restoration. All dealing with God must be of faith. Ananias hears that Saul of Tarsus is a changed man: "Behold he prayeth". Instead of everything around you in this world expressing the favour and interest of God, it is "a famine;" everything is gone; it is the very opposite of the garden of Eden. But, this being discovered, the light of God dawns in the soul of the prodigal. He says, No man cares for my soul; and then he thinks of God: "I will arise and go to my father".

Thus, as I have said, in Samuel a new light springs up. Rationalists talk of love, but love cannot precede faith. Let us see what comes out in Samuel, after the test of Israel, too, in the book of Judges. Judges ends with Samson: immense bodily strength; doing wonderful things, but dying in the long run. And now comes in simple dependence, and achieves the most wonderful victory. And in this I see the way in which the soul learns Christ.

It is in a double way, for I have to do with two scenes: the holiest of all up there, and down here on the earth; in spirit there, practically to walk here. As in Paul, you get him taken to the paradise of God, which was the consummation of the work of Christ. Adam had lost man's paradise, but the

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apostle of the gentiles was conducted into God's. But he was not to stay there; he was to come down here again, which I have alluded to before. I pass into the holiest, It is the simplest way of expressing my standing before God. It is not worship in itself; it is where worship takes place; but it does not tell me what worship is. There is now "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way;" not and "by a new and living way" as is often said. It is "through his flesh" that we have got into the presence of God, and it is an immense thing to know this.

I wish to show you that you have no dependence upon God when you have dependence on yourself. Man lost dependence upon God and got in its place self-reliance, which is so greatly thought of among men. When in the presence of God, Paul could say to God, I am beside myself -- outside myself -- it is ecstasy. If a natural man do that he is almost a fool, but in a spiritual man it is realising his new creation. When you are in the presence of Christ it is not your cares nor your sins; they all vanish; go they must where He is. You have not really learned what the presence of Christ is, unless you can say, I knew that He was there, but, as to myself, there was nothing of the human thing in me ministered to, and I was perfectly happy. Spiritual ministry brings Christ to your soul, and so brings Him to you, that, whilst it rebukes you, it gives you Christ instead of yourself. As the Lord said to His disciples, there was "no bread", but they had Him, though nothing else, and would that do? This is the grand characteristic of being in the presence of God, and I press it, for people often think they are in spirit with Christ simply because they are, as they say, "so happy". Look at the disciples going to Emmaus; their hearts burned within them; and they did not know that He was there at all.

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What is needed to keep us in His presence is practical dependence. See how it comes out in 2 Corinthians 12the apostle comes down from paradise, from not knowing whether he was in the body or out of the body, and what does he find? why that Satan is here, and that he has got flesh. What does he need then? I say, he needs to know the power of Christ down here as he knew it up there, and for that he must be as clear of his flesh down here as he was up there. People say, I was very happy in my room reading, and I came out and immediately lost my temper. The fact is you were trusting to your enjoyment of the Lord, instead of to the Lord Himself. I was in a scene up there where I so enjoyed Him, but, having come out to act down here, I find that I have this flesh, and I get wearied and put out. I have, then, to learn now that by dependence I can be free from all this down here, for I was free from it when I was in the presence of the Lord. That is the lesson I learn. I find the Lord sufficient to sustain me.

If you turn to Matthew 14 you will see there the way in which the Lord introduces us to the wonderful place of dependence in which He would have us. The Lord is here as rejected, and two things come out as the consequence: one, that He feeds the poor of the flock in the desert; the other, that He walks on the water. Upon this, faith leaves the ship that was made for water and walks with Jesus on the water. That is the place of dependence, that is the new ground. But are we to do that? Yes, there is no other place promised you here.

When the apostle comes down from paradise he finds he has a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him. "For this thing", he says, "I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me", but, He said, No; "my grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness;"

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I will make that power shown out in you. Hence Paul comes out with that extraordinary paradox, "When I am weak then am I strong". I ask you whether any natural man on earth could explain that. When I am weak then am I weak, is what man would say. But the fact is when I am weak in myself, and have got nothing to depend on, then I depend on Christ. This being so I ask Peter, What then makes you sink there? Why, it is Simon makes me sink, is his answer. Is it possible for you to be kept up in such a place? Yes it is, if I have my eye on Him.

The scripture is careful to tell us that he did walk; it was not in the majestic way that the Lord did, but he did walk, at any rate a little. Wonderful to see a person superior to circumstances wherein he himself is the thing that would sink him, but instead of sinking, superior to them all. Just look at Stephen; he could look up to the bright glory and was thus superior to the whole thing down here, his soul perfectly free to intercede for his murderers; a wonderful prodigy of divine power in a poor earthen vessel here; Christ's strength perfect in his weakness.

Well, I am set in His presence absorbed in the joy and delight of it. Would we knew more of it. When I come out from that presence I find that I sink; I discover my susceptibility to all things that are here. It was not that Paul was conceited about what he had had revealed to him up there, but the thorn was given to him for fear he should be. It is all very well for anyone to say, I have been enjoying such a time with the Lord. I say, It is all very well to do so, but come down now and live it out here. Yes, but I find nothing here to support me in any way. You do not; but that is just that you may keep your eye on Christ. It is confidence in self that is the ruin of the believer. Peter never would have

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gone into the high priest's house and denied his Lord if he had not had confidence in himself. Therefore it comes to a question of power here. While I learn up there the sweetness of His presence, I learn down here His power, so the psalmist says, "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee ... who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well", because he is down here. Go to any believer you like, and ask him, and he will tell you that he wants power.

Now, you never get a supply of power; you have it only as you keep your eye on Christ. So Peter was walking very well one moment, but the next his eye was off Christ, and he sank. "Without me ye can do nothing". Many persons quote it as if it were be nothing. It is when you come to do an act that I see where you are, because the act always declares the prominent power. If you have lost your place with Christ you sink. The act always discloses your state. Just as with Samson. He said, "I will go out, as at other times before, and shake myself". Ah, but you cannot! it is no use: "He wist not that the Lord was departed from him".

When you come to act, you find you are in a scene from which you can get nothing, and the power for action must come from above. The Lord has gone to prepare a place for me, and says, I make you acquainted with the Owner of that place -- the Father; and everything you shall "ask in my name I will do;" it is do there. But it is only as I am dependent upon Him that I learn the goodness of Christ there in His own scene, and learn Him here in His power because of my need of it. It may be humbling to say so, but it is true, that the measure of the strength of any person in this room is the measure of the strait he has gone through with God. The water will not bear me up. Well, what sinks you? It is yourself. There is no acquiring of Christ,

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but by the displacement of myself. The moment Peter saw the water boisterous "he was afraid, and, beginning to sink, he cried, saying. Lord, save me!" The Lord says, Where is your faith? He does not say anything else about him; the point is that he is not really dependent. So it says. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God;" why? "That he may exalt you in due time".

Well, it is a great thing to get hold of the fact that, if you are to enjoy Christ, you cannot be dependent on self. I would guard you against what would only minister to what is natural and not what is spiritual. It is possible to be worked upon and buoyed up, and yet all the while only self that is acted upon.

I turn now to another scripture, as a kind of rule for prayer which the Lord has given us. It is in Luke 18. I will just trace through the characters that we find in this chapter. First there is the widow, with an adversary from outside. Then the publican. Then the little child. And lastly, the young ruler who has kept the law, and who is very rich: he is neither publican, little child, nor helpless and oppressed.

Now what is the Lord teaching us here? Why it is as if he said: When you are resourceless you are better off than when you have resources; or, in other words, you are better off without a boat than with one. Here is a young man who has a boat; he has everything both within and without to depend on, and yet he cannot get on a bit. He turned away very sorrowful. With all his resources he cannot go. On the other hand, what could be worse off than a widow with an adversary? Where could you find a more pitiable sight? And yet she gets her desire; she is avenged of her adversary. Then the publican; he is better off than the Pharisee who has got a boat; he goes down to his house justified rather than the

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other. Then the little child, whom the disciples would thrust away; the Lord says, This is the very one that I want: "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein". In Mark it adds, "He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them". It is the very helplessness of the objects that is their attraction in His eyes. In another place He tells us, "Their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven". Poor, helpless little things, says God, they cannot take care of themselves, so I will. Do the angels always take charge of them? you ask. I do not know; but this I do know, while they are helpless God does, just because they have no boat. The lesson of the whole chapter is, the one on water without a boat is better off than the one who has one.

Peter exclaims, We have given up everything and followed thee. To this the Lord replies with this meaning: You have done very well, and you have gained by it. Never did any give up for Christ that he lost anything by it; on the contrary, he gains inconceivably; "manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting".

We will now look a little first at private prayer, and then at public. In Luke 11 we find an example of private prayer, in the story of the man who went to his friend at midnight. Now I hope you will not misunderstand me when I say that there is no such thing as praying without fasting. I am not upholding ritualism when I say this; I will explain my meaning; but I repeat, there is no praying without fasting. Suppose I am praying for the Lord to enable me to give up some particular weakness. Then, says the Lord, you must not minister to it. If you incline to be a politician, you must not read the papers. But would not that be on the principle of making a teetotaller of me? Would it not be self-culture? No, if

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you only gave up the papers it would be; but if you look to Christ He will give you Himself instead of what you give up. Woe be to the man who has a passion for anything when he ministers to it, even while he prays against it! It will be a sore time for him ere he gets free from it.

Mind you, I do not believe in fasting without praying; but they must go together. It is impossible to have Christ without the renunciation of the man here. You must "avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away". You must come to that stern purpose in yourself.

If you go to a teetotaller and ask him if he has a taste for sobriety, he will say, No. But I want a man who can say, Yes; for my heart glories in the excellency and beauty that I have got in Christ. That is a person who has not only got rid of the negative, but who has got hold of the positive.

In this man who goes to his friend at midnight we see one who has nothing himself. He says, The credit of my house is at stake; I cannot venture to go back to it and see how things are there without the bread I ask of you. I am resourceless there, but I know where the resources are. I am not laying this down as the way to pray, but as the ground-work of prayer. I lay it down because many think they can relieve their consciences by praying about a thing which they are not quite easy about doing; or they will pray about a thing, and thus try to avoid doing what they know they ought. I always dread people who say, "Let us have a little prayer about it". I always expect they want to get out of what they evidently ought to do, like Balaam. It is strange that it should be so, but it just shows how deceitful the heart is.

In Philippians 4 we get the principle of prayer. The great subject of the chapter is, joy in the Lord. In chapter 3 the point is that the apostle gets

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rid of himself; but in chapter 4 the question comes up, What about things outside him? Well, the answer is, "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". As to the cares, whatever they may be down here, the true orderly way, the normal way, the way in which every soul ought to be found, is simply taking all to God with thanksgiving, remembering how He has helped you in time past, but with the distinctive point that, whilst men know your moderation you do not make a point of telling them of it, though you do not make a secret of it. The English reader might think the word in verses 5 and 6 was the same, but it is not the same thing. I do make my requests known to God. It is not merely that I send in a message to the Queen through a Secretary of State, but I have got an audience of Her Majesty. Just so. I do not know what will be the result, but this I do know, that I have poured my request into the ears of God. This knowledge gives a peculiar tone to a man. It is not as if the Queen had read in the newspaper something that had happened to me, but I have been allowed to tell her the whole story of it myself, and I know that she has been interested in it. She did not tell me what she felt about it, but she heard it all.

And so the poorest and most simple person in this room may have the greatest favour ever conferred upon man on earth -- the peace of God. It is not that He has answered you -- that He has given you what you wanted -- but that He has taken it in; and that because you have been occupied with Him you have got into His state. You came into His presence

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writhing under the state of things from which you were suffering, whether as the widow, or the publican, or the little child, and you have gone out possessor of His own peace, and of power to carry you through all that is against you. You have confided it all to God, and you come out from His presence in the very state of God Himself. Was there ever anything more wonderful than that a poor creature here can come out from God's presence in the state of God Himself -- in peace?

Now I turn to another more special passage in 1 John 5. But first a little word upon chapter 3, as to the practical hindrances to prayer. If I do not act to others according to the grace of God, I shall not have His grace act towards me. God has love in His heart. You cannot go to Him if you have not acted in love yourself towards your own poor brother. Your heart condemns you. But suppose you can go to God and say, I have acted out all that I have of your love, and now I come to you. Very well, says God, then come. So, "whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight". And in chapter 5, "This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us". It is very distinct that He hears us. I can understand at times that such or such a thing is according to the will of God; I ask according to that will, and the Lord says, I have heard you.

But one word I say to guard this. Though He has heard you, and will answer you, you must be prepared for His answering you in His own way, and that way always comes about by putting you down; what He does will never be for the exaltation of man, it will in some way make little of him. As with Jacob, he said, Now you will bless me. And God said, Yes; I can bless a cripple. And, when the sun

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rose, that active man of the company was lame: "He halted upon his thigh;" he was diminished among men, but blessed of God. I see it everywhere. A man must be diminished if he is to be blessed of God; he must suffer persecution or something.

As in Psalm 107, "They that go down to the sea in ships", when the stormy wind rises, "they mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble.... Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble". Here we get prayer. And what is the result? There is a marvellous interposition. "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven". And so it is. The Lord comes in in a wonderful way for His praying dependent people. He loves to surprise us, and He surprises most the one who depends most on Him. He says to that one, You shall see that you have not trusted me in vain.

And now just one word as to public prayer. Private prayers are, I believe, the most humbling things: a groan, a desire, a wandering thought, and a return; and public prayers should partake much of this character. They should be direct, a real utterance to God for the assembly -- avoiding sermonising and contemplations which the assembly would not use; then there would be a sense of direct prayer. I do not understand a person praying in the assembly without a direct purpose in it.

And direct prayer is not a thing that necessitates a long time. You can pray a great deal in five minutes. John prayed a very good prayer when he said, "Lord, who is it?" And as to how to pray, a beggar gives us a true example. He never takes his eyes off you; he looks at you the whole time, thinking, not of himself, but of the effect he can produce

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on you; and you cannot escape giving, if you pay attention to a beggar; the only way is to avoid his story, unless you are hard-hearted.

Blessed be His grace who delights to give when we are ready to receive.

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Psalm 84

We now come to the subject of "our mission".

There are two things which come out very prominently in the Psalm I have read: the first, our place with God; the second, our place for God; and these two hang together. I first have to learn what God is for me; if I do not know that I shall never know how I am to be for Christ. It is the root of the ignorance of many converted souls; they do not know what God is for them, and so their efforts for Christ are defective. Therefore it is a positive rule, that you must first know Christ for you.

This opens out very interestingly at the Lord's appearing for the first time in the temple on earth, as a little babe of eight days' old, greeted there by two saints. Simeon said, Christ is for me; now that I have seen Him let me depart in peace. Anna, on the other hand, now speaks of Him to all who look for redemption in the city. And these two states of soul should characterise all saints everywhere.

If you wish to get the two combined in one person in a very matured way, you see it in Philippians 1. Paul goes beyond Simeon, and beyond Anna. He says, I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ, and that is greater than Simeon; but, To abide in the flesh is more needful for you, therefore I will remain, is more than Anna. Either with Christ or for Him.

Now, our subject for this evening is, What it is to be for Christ, or in other words, What is our mission. But, as I have said, if you have not learned the first point -- Christ for you -- you are not qualified for the second -- being here for Christ.

I shall first, then, say a few words on what is the

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origin of your mission; for how can any person be true to a mission if he has not got the origin of it? The psalm we have read starts with this: the psalmist brings us to the tabernacles of God, even before the bright light shone which has opened up our way into the holiest. The first blessedness -- "Thy house" -- is one unbroken scene of delight; everything there awakens praise. But, in the second I am in a scene of opposition, where it is a valley of tears; it is not heaven now, the courts of the living God; it is earth; and your mission, as you pass through, is to "make a well".

The first thing to be clear about in the mission is the origin of it -- its starting point. "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". It is clear from this that you must be first out of the world; how else could you be sent into it?

And it is said to the disciples. It was "the disciples" who were assembled together, and to them He says, "Peace be unto you", as He sends them forth on their mission. When He said the second time, "Peace be unto you", it is that they may have peace in a double way; not only up there in a sphere of glory and praise, but also down here as they go about their work. That is the force of the second peace; it is the peace connected with the mission. He Himself as He walked down here had peace superior to the character of things around Him. He walked in peace, and He would have them do so too.

"As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". This is the origin of their mission and of ours. You must first put yourself outside the world with Christ, that you may come into it for Him. It is then you know the origin of your mission. We shall presently come to the purpose of it, but we must first be clear as to the origin. It is from above, and given, too, to a person who comes from above. And this not to

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apostles either. I want you to see clearly that every one of us God has thus sent.

I know a scene outside this world -- a scene of unbounded delight in the Father's house: that is my home; but I have also a place of business down here in the world. A man is not settled who has not got a home; his character is formed by his home. And just so with the saints. If you do not come from your home above you will never be a good workman -- a good missionary here. I use the word mission, because it is true that every one of Christ's people is sent into the world to do some particular work that no other person can do. All the flowers in the garden are different, and so are all the stars in the sky, and they do not clash. If I look the whole sky over I shall not see two stars clash; each has its own sphere. And I believe if those who are sent from God were more distinct in their service, that they would never clash -- I mean as to imitation or envy. I ever find it the case that the man who is laboriously occupied with what God has given him to do, is never envious of any other man.

Well, then, first settle the fact that you have got a home with God, and then say, I am sent into this world from my home.

The second question for us is, Whom am I going to serve now that I am thus sent? Having got my origin above, I find that I come into this world to make a well. It is to serve man that I come. And yet it is not to improve him; it is not patriotism and that sort of thing; it is not the amelioration of society I am occupied with, though my mission has to do absolutely with man. I am to "do good unto all men". I do not think any servant of God would differ with me as to the fact that it is man I have to serve.

But then comes a great question: What would be the character of this service? As I say, I come

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from heaven, and that more distinctly even than an angel does, for I am saved by grace, united to that One who sends me, and have thus reached the consummation of His finished work. Having eaten the passover, and been at Gilgal, I come forth a fit person to be a channel of mercy to this poor world, as we find it in John 7"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". It was the feast of tabernacles -- what answers to the harvest home in this country. Man was the object of God then on the earth, celebrated in this feast; all had been gathered in, and men rejoicing in the good gifts of God were found dwelling in booths.

Then on the last day, that great day of the feast, typical of that time spoken of by the prophet, "with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation", Jesus stood and cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink". The great thought in the feast was that man was the object of God upon earth, and Israel commemorated this fact. But now, the Lord says, I will produce in you a far greater thing than this feast celebrates; man, instead of receiving from the earth -- instead of being contributed to by it -- shall contribute to his fellows on the earth; instead of seeking water for his thirst from this scene, out of man himself blessing shall be ministered: "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water".

Just think of it for a moment. The Lord announcing, When I am glorified, instead of blessing the earth and man through it, I will give to my people the Holy Spirit, flowing out of them for blessing. Nothing can be more wonderful than that I am sent into this world of misery, to be in it a well.

Having then seen the origin of our mission, and that man is the object of it, the question arises, How am I to serve him? and this is where, among christians,

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there is a great disagreement. One thought is, that I serve him with what is called charity; and "charity" is doing for him what pleases him. One gives a penny to a beggar, and calls it charity. Charity, then, is ministering to a man where he himself thinks that he requires it.

But the divine idea of charity is that, when I serve, I serve according to the nature of Christ Himself, and that which I minister when thus serving is Christ Himself. Suppose I go to see a widow and orphans, I might console them immensely by what always consoles a bereaved heart, by telling them how the departed one idolised them and so on, and they would be wonderfully consoled by that; but it would be only by what exalted themselves; it would be all natural. I asked some one the other day, "Would you like to be sympathised with as you naturally feel, or as you ought to feel?" The answer is simple. Thus the Lord, when He sympathised with a bereaved heart, brings Himself, a divine Person, into the terrible chasm that death has created, and consoles the heart with Himself.

The great point is, What do you minister? Nine-tenths of the reasons why people fail in their ministry is that though they are occupied with man, the right patient, they are not ministering the right thing to him; they are doing what no doctor allows, anyhow not till the patient is quite prostrate, and that is doing for him what he likes -- what suits his tastes.

The next thing is, that there is a definite service for each, and each should know what his service is. In Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 2, and Ephesians 4, gifts are treated of; the difference between the three being, that in Corinthians it is the body; in Ephesians, it is Christ, the head of the body; and in Romans, it is the individual responsibility. In Romans we begin with prophecy, which is the

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highest gift in one sense, and we end with "showing mercy with cheerfulness" -- something that is within the reach of every one. Could not every one of you show mercy with cheerfulness? Do you, any one of you, think that you are outside the hallowed circle? You are not. And, let me tell you, I would sooner have the last without the first, than the first without the last. I would sooner show mercy with cheerfulness than prophesy; the highest moral quality is the gift common to all. We can all have this, though as I say, there is a special service for each one of us; something distinct, something definite within the reach of every one of us, so that we may not clash; and, as it has been said, if the Lord has a service for you, you will never be happy until you are doing it. And this service, if it be but to give a drink of cold water to some one, must be done according as Christ would do it.

I do not say that you must be always speaking to some one or other. You may be an old person like Anna, though indeed, as for Anna, she went about a great deal, speaking to all them in Jerusalem who looked for redemption. But whatever may be your service, you can anyhow show mercy with cheerfulness,

There are two spheres in which we serve, and in these two spheres every person can judge in a measure as to what is his mission. The one is corporate; the other, individual. In all my individual service I never lose the fact that I belong to Christ's body on earth. No one can interfere with my individual service until in it I do something which interferes with my place in the assembly. An evangelist says, Oh, I may go and preach anywhere that I choose! And so you may; but if in your preaching you say anything that is wrong, you will offend against Christ and against the assembly, and the assembly, or those in charge, will pull you up about

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it. Thus there are the two circles, the individual and the collective.

As to the former, I will take any sphere you like. For instance, the position of a child in a family, or that of a wife; some one under control. How shall such know their mission? Well, it is a very delicate point, and requires great wisdom and holy care lest, while trying to do Christ's service, you clash with the ordinance of God. I say to a child or wife, In doing what God calls you to -- in carrying out your mission -- be careful that you do not go against the ordinance of God. Perhaps some one says, But this is very difficult; how are you to do in the case of an unbelieving father or husband? I admit that it is very difficult, and if the clash comes, let not the subject one be the one to make it. As Christ's servant, I should not be the one to wish to bring it about. It is a matter which needs the greatest care. Whilst I insist strongly on your having a mission, and that Christ has sent you into the world to carry it out. I also insist that in doing so you respect the ordinance of God; and, until that ordinance so come in the way as to make it a question of obeying God rather than man, you must submit to it.

I believe if people gave up their rights, there would be much less difficulty about it. If a child in an unconverted father's house would only say, I am content to be nothing -- to be a servant -- they would get on all right. Look at the exhortation to a slave: "Adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things". What could be greater than that? Is your question, How shall I serve? Serve as a wife, as a mother; serve where God has put you. Everything depends upon your fulfilling your responsibility individually.

Now mark how this comes out in the assembly. A man who is not true to his individual responsibility is sure to be a hindrance in the assembly. The

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corporate must be affected by the individual. It is the lack of individual responsibility that is at the bottom of the dullness in many of our meetings. You ask, What then do you do in a dull meeting? I try so to preserve my individual responsibility that I may be happy in my own soul whilst all around me is cold and dull. I am not going to run away in a panic. If others are dull, I am not going to be, and thus only add to the general misery. If my eye gets injured or hurt, it grieves my whole body, and just so in the assembly. When people complain to me of dull meetings and the like, I always answer, Why do you not brighten up at home and come to the meeting brighter yourself?

I will now go a little into gifts -- as to the way in which God prepares people for service. I trust I have made it dear that in one way each saint has a gift; to every one is given the gift of grace; and in the measure in which each receives this grace from Christ, so he walks. As to different paths of service, a man's ability in it will soon tell me whether the path he has taken be the one to which he is called or not. But, whilst I say this, I do not believe that a person is thoroughly fitted for his work before he takes it up. The Lord never employs a ready-made servant. If I engage a coachman, I make sure before doing so as to whether he is able to drive; I make inquiries as to his fitness. Not so the Lord. He acts in just the contrary way. He sets us to drive at once, without our ever having tried before. But, whilst He acts in this way, He still puts His servants through a period of probation before He gives them their work.

Of course, besides this, the Lord gives positive gifts to His servants. Saints sometimes ask, How may I know that I am gifted? Well, I believe, from looking at Scripture, that besides conversion, the Lord reveals Himself very distinctly to the soul that He

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gifts. This revelation, I need not say, is different in different cases; but I will mention two or three examples of it, Moses has a purpose to serve, but without a word from the Lord sets off in his own strength to deliver the children of Israel, and, as the consequence, has to flee into the wilderness. There he goes through what I call probation; and, at the end of that time, the Lord reveals Himself to him in the burning bush, and sends him with His power to do the work he had vainly attempted before. No question but that Moses was God's servant all through, but he had not gone through the probation, nor acquired the mind of God for such a service.

We see the same line of things in Samson's history. He had been a Nazarite from his birth, but it was a special time at which "the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Daniel"

The same thing in John the baptist. He was "in the deserts till the day of his showing to Israel".

And in the case of Paul himself; he was, I suppose, two years in Arabia.

Any of us who know anything of what service is, know something, too, of what probation is; and know, too, what a time of sorrow and of self-repudiation it is.

It is a moment of immense importance to the soul of the servant when God thus reveals Himself to him -- when he gets what I call his base. This is a military term used for the spot at which the general keeps his resources, his ammunition, his reserves; on which he falls back in case of need, and from which he works. What is the base of the servant? It is the distinct revelation from God to his soul that he has a special support from Him in his service here, and a servant is never established until he has this base, on which he falls back in time of need.

And one more example yet more remarkable than

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these that I have mentioned -- that of Isaiah. We are told that he had the word of the Lord, and the vision, up to chapter 6; but then, he is not thoroughly established; he cries "Woe is me, for I am undone!" when he gets into the presence of the Lord of hosts. He has not got his base. But here he learned that he had to do with God in His glory -- in that glory which He was about to withdraw from Israel -- and then he "saw his glory and spake of him".

And I might even go on to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and see how He fell back upon His base in the midst of all that was disappointing here, as He said, "I thank thee, O Father"; "even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight".

What an immense place of rest it is! What quietude of soul it gives, when I know how the Lord has sent me, and how I am to act in the place to which He has sent me. After that day on the back side of the desert Moses had not only the mission of a servant -- that he had before: he would deliver his brother when he saw the Egyptian smite him, and he would deliver poor women when he saw them oppressed; but he has now a base upon which to act. This is the first point I mention in connection with gift.

The second is that a gifted person is not only clear of everything, both in himself and around him, like Jonah was, but that he also has the nature of Christ, that charity of which the apostle speaks which is the nature of Christ, and sets forth the manner or the right way for doing a right thing.

And then comes preparation for service; not now probation, nor nature, but preparation; and preparation always goes on. In saying this I do not speak of special gifts. We all require to be prepared, no matter what our mission.

Preparation does not consist in providing for what

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you will have to do. Divine preparation is often the opposite to what human preparation is. I am not objecting to any one preparing for a lecture -- to his having information, that is, understanding the scripture on which he speaks; but that is not what I call preparation. Divine preparation is that though you do not know what is going to happen, yet you are able to act with God in it no matter what comes. I believe, as a rule, that when God prepares me for what is coming. He does not tell me what it will be. Do you say, How shall I prepare for today? I answer, Get so into the presence of God that you may come forth into things here with His power and in His Spirit, so that, whatever comes, you may act for Him in it.

See how beautiful is this preparation in Moses. He is there upon the mount with God, looking at the heavenly tabernacle, and he comes down to find idolatry in the camp. Is Moses prepared for such a thing as this? Yes; he was so taken up with the heavenly things -- with what was suitable to God -- that when he came down he saw at once what was worthy of Him. He took the tabernacle and pitched it without the camp, a great way off. Divine preparation is got up there; then when you come down and see the contrast of everything here, you will know the right line to take -- you will know what suits God. Thus Moses was the man for the crisis; he came from God into it, and was coloured with what suited God. It is not how man would act in the circumstances, it is how God leads, and that is preparation. All secular employments are but discipline to make us the more effective missionaries.

The Lord lead us, beloved friends, not to lose sight of the wondrous, stupendous fact that we are all sent into this world -- sent from the Father's house to be channels of mercy in this sad world. It is for this I am sent, full of Christ, to contribute to a

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world of misery. I have a home outside it, and I come to make a well in it; and there is not a drop of water in a well, as every one knows, that has not come from above. It is wonderful that we should be sent into this world to be exponents of the grace of God! All I say is, whilst you seek thus to be for Him, keep within the banks, whether wives or children; within the banks is the best place for you, just as in a parched land the banks of the river are as beautiful and verdant as possible. And remember meanwhile that you have a place outside it all with Christ, a home there, whilst you come into this world as your place of business; your business being to show forth the grace of Christ.

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John 8, John 9

It is of great moment in a day like this for us to have our eyes open to what is coming on the earth, if not already come. Man is now seeking to adorn himself with what is of Christ, and the issue will be a terrible one. We find the unfolding of the mind of God as to the church on earth in His judgment of her state in Laodicea. We see Peter in Matthew 16 receive the greatest possible light for the time, and at the same moment refuse the cross -- not to save man, but to end him: full of light one moment; Satan at the next -- the most awful combination. And in the same way we see Ephesus with the candlestick in one chapter, and Laodicea spued out of Christ's mouth in the next. What degradation! What can be equal to such a fact? Why did he not spue it out when it was Thyatira? Because Thyatira had not light; and it is when the church has light, and does not live Christ, that she becomes an object of the utmost contempt to the Lord.

It is difficult to tell how evil is communicated from one to another, whether in physical or spiritual things. The most learned of men cannot tell you how a pestilence is carried; and just so when there is a satanic virus abroad, we cannot tell how it is communicated. But the word of God tells us how we may find the antidote for it. In Timothy we find two things given us as a safeguard by God. First, "my doctrine": "Thou hast fully known my doctrine". And, second, "Thou hast known the holy scriptures". Christendom has certainly over looked one of these; it has separated them from each other. The better part of christendom insists upon the scriptures as a great thing, but they have

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sacrificed "my doctrine". I earnestly commend this latter to you, which is now part of the scriptures.

To present my thought more easily to the comprehension of all, I turn to John's gospel, because he always prepares the saint with moral power for Paul's teachings. In that way he is a wonderful one to assist us to understand Paul. You never find a man who has fairly got hold of Paul's doctrine that he has not also got hold of John's. Paul puts John's truth in the reverse order. For instance, Paul will speak of "the God and Father", while John gives us "Father and God". John's point is to set forth the Son of God on earth; Paul's to unite us to Christ in heaven.

Three things mark a person who has really learned Christ. Let me state them. The first is preservation -- not simply from evil, but from all molestation. Second, separation. Third, service. Necessarily service must come in last. Preservation I get in John 10; sanctification or separation in chapter 17.

In chapter 9, where we get the story of the blind man, we find him at the end alone with the Lord, who says to him: "Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him".

Now I do not wish to grieve a single soul, but I must state this positive truth, that you do not understand preservation or separation if you have not been first in this place of solitude with the Lord. Solitude is where there is "no man".

There are two great solitudes for the soul. The first of these you find in chapter 8, the second in chapter 9. "Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst": this, I say is the first

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solitude, and into it every believer must enter. One is here condemned in the presence of the Lord -- repudiated by oneself. The two chapters are properly one subject, light, but light with a double action. In the first I find out what I am myself in the presence of the light; in the second I become the possessor of the light. Chapter 8 closes with His saying, "Verily, verily ... if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death;" while chapter 9 opens with a man getting light. The One sent of God into this world comes so close to us that a man believing on Him as the One, gets light from Him.

In the first of these solitudes you take sides against yourself; no man stands for you, and you cannot stand for yourself. As the thief said, "We indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our sins". And who do you find in that solitude? The Lord Jesus Christ. This is an intolerable wickedness, say they of the woman; let us stone her. But being left alone, she finds herself in that solitude in the presence of the Lord and His word: "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life".

But now comes out another thing, and one that is a source of intense agony to the poor heart, and that is, that you cannot find any among the best of men who comprehends or supports the work of Christ; all oppose it when it is insisted on.

Every good class of humanity is searched in vain. I look round, and I find no response nor aid. The neighbours, the Pharisees, the Jews, the parents, all see that he has got something, but they will not accept the fact that it is entirely of Christ. What is the terrible thing that is abroad on the earth? I am shocked as I see it, but what is the fact? It is that God is acknowledged, but Christ is refused -- Christ who has come to establish God in power

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and grace in this scene; all the power of man is used to refuse the man of God a locus standi. You are forced to the conclusion that the same religious men who would not tolerate a wicked woman will not tolerate Christ. So man's religion lies somewhere between these two points. They cannot tolerate immorality, and they cannot tolerate what is divine.

All classes are brought to bear upon him, first the neighbours, then the Pharisees, who, I believe, were the most religious people of the day; I do not look at them, as is the general way, as being hypocrites; and after these the Jews and his parents. The point in this chapter is that all society does not supply one in it who will acknowledge this work or understand it. It is not like Pharaoh wanting his dream explained; the effort is to deny its source; it is the authorship of it that is in question, and it is not understood. The end of it all is, that the man himself is cast out from among them all, and finds himself in a solitude.

Look at the solitude in which he is. It is not that of the wicked sinner, saying, I deserve to be cast out; I deserve to be in this solitude, where I cannot say a word for myself. But here is one with a new light that none can understand, who, on that very account, is cast out by all; and this is an inconceivable solitude. If you have never travelled into it you have never yet understood preservation or sanctification. I press it, for I believe multitudes have taken the place of preservation and sanctification who have never been in this place of solitude. Poets tell us of what it is to be where there is not a living soul to be seen; and I say it is a wonderful place for the soul when it finds itself in a place deserted by all -- left by the best of men -- because it has got what none can understand.

And this is where I learn Paul's "doctrine". He

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saw "the light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun", and fell to the earth before the glory of that presence in which he found himself alone, and from that day forth he was to be "a minister and a witness of the things that he had seen". He always had to get up to that point, no matter where he started from; he brings everything up to it. If I had time I could show you how, whether it be Romans, Corinthians, Galatians -- every one of the epistles -- he must work them all up to this point. That was his "doctrine". And it is in this solitude that I reach it, when I am outside everything that is of man.

I daresay there are many here who have felt what a terrible thing it is to be alone, deserted, without a creature near, and yet not to have got Christ. I believe many a soul has not peace just because, whilst deserted of man in our own judgment, it has never got into the presence of Christ. All the arguments in the world will not help such a soul; arguments will only cast you out; what you need is Himself.

Let me here say one little word of criticism which every careful reader knows. "Cast out", in chapter 9: 34, and "put forth" in chapter 10: 4, are the same word in the original. There is a saying in law which perhaps may explain this: He who does a thing by another does it by himself. If one person does anything instead of another it is reckoned to be the same as if that person himself had done it. So here. The Lord had given to the man this light, and it was on account of the light that he was cast out, so that it really was the Lord who had put him out.

The Lord says to him, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God? And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him". Can you not conceive the rapture of his soul then? -- just as Paul, when he says, "To God I am beside myself". What would make a man

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a fool among men is the experience of the one who has got into this solitude.

And the character of this solitude must be kept up, though I am now set amongst men. Hence my new condition is, "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish;" and my preservation is, "Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand". Here we get this wonderful action on the part of the Father, just as a father would put his child's hand into its mother's, as more likely to care for it in details, It is preservation. And this preservation can only be understood by one who has been in this great solitude, who understands what a child of light is.

Man has been found incompetent. A new order of things has been introduced, and the great point to insist upon is that the old is all outside.

I will give you an example of it from Isaiah 40, which may make things plainer. Here we get preservation, but it is consequent on the prophet having learned the two great deliverances that God had effected for him: one, deliverance from his enemies, chapter 37 the other, that "all flesh is grass". Will you accept the fact that all flesh is grass? Will you take the consequences of that? and will you take Christ in glory instead of it? You are an educated man when you can take hold of the glory, and then fall back on the fact that all flesh is grass.

What a place we occupy! And one which is really of no use to us if the heart does not take possession of it, even though it he the true ground. I fear a number of saints attempt or assume to be on that ground, who are not there at all in power, and many a one who has come on to it has afterwards to go through the second solitude, just because he has known nothing of it before. Every one must pass

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through this great moral earthquake, but out of it they come back to live out here the truth they have learned for the first time. Too many souls are satisfied with having learned the first solitude, and so have never got into the second. A dog that is chained does not know that he is if he has never tried to get away. Just so is it with multitudes of souls. They have never pursued, and so they do not know what it is to attain. I do not believe there is a month or a day, that, if you go on, there is not something for you to surrender. There are shafts forming and weapons ready to strike you on every side. The fact is, you are not energetic enough to reach the prize, and that is the reason you are not casting every weight aside. People think at first they can get on very well with different things, but when they get into the heat of the action they find there is one thing after another that is in their way, and that must be given up.

I do not wish to pain any one, but I want souls to see that they do not know nearly so much as they think, because, though they may have intelligence as to truth, they have not got that truth in practical power; they have not got divine energy to carry it out in their lives. I cannot conceive anything more blessed than to be really in His hand -- to really know what this preservation is. Once we know it we cannot possibly give it up for a fold. A fold is for a religious man. His hand is for the child of light, to whom the fold would be of no use.

I pass on now to chapter 17. Here the Lord says: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth". There are two processes of sanctification: one moral, the other positional. The knowledge of the Father is the first. If I am assaulted I do not call for a policeman, because I have the Father to care for me; that is moral separation. We are left here to be for Christ, and being thus left I

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am to be separate; separate, because I belong to the generation of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Sanctify them through thy truth", I am separated from everything here; I do not look for anything here to be altered for me; I do not look to be made an object of consideration; I do not seek manifestations of divine favour on earth as a proof of the Father's love. See the Lord; He came to the fig-tree when He was hungry, and found no fruit on it; do you think He would have felt any more assured of His Father's love, if He had found fruit? If He do not show care for me down here, it is that He is doing some better thing for me. If a servant is left at any time apparently neglected, it is for some special blessing.

Then He says: "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth". The One who has met me in this inconceivable solitude, that One has gone Himself to heaven. He says: I have left this scene; and I am constrained to leave it too, I have got the Father, and I am not looking round to see what the world can do for me. I think a saint is not really happy who cannot say: If all the kings of the earth were to offer to do something for me, they can do nothing. I have got a Father above who can give me anything and everything; and I am more afraid of getting a little too much of the world than of getting too little. What a blissful possession -- what a store the heart gets from Christ, as it goes travelling through this scene! We have got in the present such a wonderful enjoyment of Christ, that we are not a bit regretting that we have left the world behind us.

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Luke 12

The whole body is to be "full of light". It is not, as we were saying this morning, that the solitude is the point, and the Lord Himself the light of that solitude; but it is in the light that there is fellowship. You cannot get a better illustration of fellowship than lighted lamps give us; all of them give light in the room, but none can say what light comes from this one or from that one. We have fellowship in the light, and nowhere else. People have a very mongrel kind of idea as to what fellowship is, You must be in the level morally in which another is, if you are to have fellowship with him. His disciples never had fellowship with Christ until He rose from the dead. Some continually confound sympathy with fellowship. When Jesus walked beside Mary to the grave there was sympathy, but there was no fellowship. Sympathy is a most wonderful thing; it is said you can take an illness from sympathy. Thus in His sympathy the Lord not only saw what we went through here, but He made Himself acquainted with the very nature of the suffering.

In Luke 11 the Lord inculcates that the body was to be light -- the body was the thing. He, being rejected, now required that the bodies of His people should be lights -- not full of light like a tumbler is full of water, but lights themselves; not light inside, but light outside like a glow-worm. A certain Pharisee then invites Him to dine with him, as much as to say, That is exactly what we hold. But Jesus then, in chapter 12, shows what light is, and that the Pharisees are wrong inside, and therefore cannot be right outside. He is speaking to Jews, and

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He shows them what are the marks of those who are really waiting for their Lord.

But I must first call your attention to the fact that the church soon lost its place of light-bearer, because it soon lost Christ Himself as the object of the heart. It is impossible to have Christ for an object, and man not be set aside. It is not simply that a person is converted, as it is said, but as I am looking out for Him, the absent sun, I am deriving light from Him. The effect on the blind man on getting the light, was that he was not perfectly at rest till he got to Christ; and, as he imbibes Him, he becomes a light himself to others. You must keep up with Him as your object. If the earth come between the sun and the moon, there is no light from the moon.

In the early church, through the work of the enemy, Christ was lost as an object. In Revelation 2 we read: "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil". It was all right on the negative side of things, whilst all the while they were failing in the point that a very great penalty was attached to; there was a great deal of outward activity against evil, but it was not the activity of affection; they had lost their first love, and therefore lost their first works; the slumbering and sleeping had set in; they were closing the back door, but they had left the front open to the enemy. While commended for much that was right, they were forfeiting the great post -- their candlestick. It is a sad thing for us to own, but the greatest fallings away in the church have been through those who have held the highest truth. The higher the truth you hold, the greater the heretic you can become.

Now let us see how recovery comes in. It is an immense comfort that we never can go so low that revival is impossible. "They cried unto the Lord

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in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses".

In Matthew 24 we read of the evil servant saying, "My Lord delayeth his coming". One often hears the people blamed for saying this, but it is not the people, it is the servant; and he may not have preached it either. If you have a worldly thought in your heart, it is sure to leaven you somehow.

Following this we get the parable of the ten virgins. Now what was the condition they were meant to be in? They were to have their bodies full of light -- not merely their minds. There is a great deal in bodily appearance, as it is said: "He setteth himself in a way that is not good". "He abhorreth not evil". The outside manner reveals the inner. Christian women's influence is from their manners and dress. You talk, some say, too much of dress; too much is made of appearance. All I say is, your whole appearance ought to indicate that you seek to have your body the living expression of Christ on earth.

It is important the place the body has in Scripture. The body is that which is under the judgment of God; and the body is the great medium of activity. But what we find in this chapter in Matthew, is that they were all slumbering and sleeping. It was not that they had not light in their souls, but their bodies were not active. It is said of a saint when he is dead that he is asleep. They were then no better than dead as far as appearances went; there was no divine activity. I believe the saints would be far happier if they were more active; I do not mean active in work, but ruled in body for Christ. You see some saints who never mope, and I will tell you why; it is because they are active. Inactive people have no sense of life themselves, neither do they give others the sense of it,

Now when the Lord comes to arouse the saints it

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is with a cry. He reckons on their affections. Though not active -- not in vigour of life, He reckons on their affections, and says: "Behold, the bridegroom!" The word "cometh" is an interpolation. The thought before the mind is, There He is! The way He revives Israel is by judgment; the way He revives the church is through the affections. He says, I know there is love for me there; I will appeal to it.

What was the effect of this? "All those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps".

I call your attention to this trimming of the lamps. I hear some singing about the coming of the Lord, and all the while they go on without changing one single thing in themselves or their associations, expecting the Lord to set all to rights when He comes. But I beg to state that when the Lord appears He will call the saints to account for the state in which He finds them, though, true enough, whatever that state may be. He will at the rapture cut every string that binds them to earth and take them away to Himself. It is not at His coming for them, but at His coming with them, that it says "He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father".

I think we are in danger of becoming very loose about this. Some are continually saying that there is nothing they like more than to hear and think of the coming of the Lord, and at the same time they are mixed up with all sorts of things He would not like. Think of a gardener who was expecting his master home after a long absence; he would put out all his best flowers for him. Is this what we are doing? Are we thinking of what the Lord has now in this world? He has nothing but the bodies of His saints and their houses through them. Do you walk about this world and think it a light thing that the Lord has nothing here? He has not asked for it yet; the day is coming when He will. And what

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has He now? why, He says, the bodies of the saints are mine. It is the body He chastens, as in 1 Corinthians 11. I do not find myself in authority on earth anywhere outside my house and His house. And, therefore, I say our houses ought to be millennial; I do not say our gardens, mind! But, as I own the millennial Lord, I say I must have millennial order in the household. The Lord says, I will come and dwell in your house until you come and dwell in mine. It is the kingdom. There are only two places in which God owns me in this world; one is in my own house, and the other is in His. In these two, righteousness reigns.

But upon this cry there is an action: they go forth to meet Him.

In Luke 12, which I now return to, there are three marks of the person who thus goes forth -- of the one who is really looking and waiting for the coming of the Lord. The Lord expects the saint not to give up the thought of His return. Where there is affection the thought of the return of an absent one is as natural to us as it is to look for the return of the sun after the night.

But while saying this, I will add that I do not press the Lord to return. As I look around I cannot but see that things are not in a fit state for Him; and, though I do not expect things to get better, I do expect the saints to. I cannot press Him to come whilst I see everything so unfit for Him -- so unprepared for Him. I do say that if every one thought this was his last day he would work as he has never done before. I am sure Elijah never did such a day's work as he did that last day. I think the Lord will have a Bethany on earth when He comes, as He had when He went. Are we preparing for Him? The apostles all speak of His coming, but each in quite a different way to the others. John takes the bride's side of it; Paul takes the Lord's; Peter the flock's;

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and James takes the sufferer's side. And you must put all these together as you wait for Him.

The first great mark of waiting for the Lord is that you are "not afraid of them that kill the body". This is beautiful. The moment I come to fear God I find I fear not man, for He cares for me. Stephen is a very good example of this. He says: I have not any fear at all. Fear of the holiness of God's throne? no; I am at home there. Afraid of man's rage? no; I am superior to the whole of it. They batter me; those whom you would least expect to; but I am not afraid of them that kill the body. Stephen is the practical expression of a person able to stand out against man. And he does not talk of the way in which the Lord sustains him in the trial; he never speaks of himself at all; he thinks of others -- kneels down and prays for them. He is a body full of light.

And what grows out of all this is confession. "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God". We all know how imperfectly we confess; we all know how a stranger hinders us. But I do say this, as it may help some, that you never can tell another -- you never can tell an audience in preaching -- the wonders of God's love, if you have not first confessed them to Himself. Would there not be a great difference between the account of a man who told you the story of the battle of Waterloo, having himself been present at it, and that of one who only knew it from hearsay? You would find out at once that the former had been there because he would describe it from the spot on which he himself had stood. You always colour a thing from the place in which you are yourself, and so everything depends on your apprehension of where Christ is. If you see Christ coming out from under the judgment of God, that is what you have got. If you see Him rising and gone up to heaven at God's right hand, that is what

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you have got. What you see is what you possess. Never waver from that truth.

Is confession what characterises us? If I have been saying it to the Lord in private I can now go out and say to all the world that He is everything to me; I must say it to them, if only to gratify my heart; nothing else would satisfy it; I must let men know that there is One I delight to honour. Love likes to make much of its object at its own loss. Mary brought her alabaster box of ointment -- that which would have signalised her as if she were a person of importance, and breaks it on His head. He does not command it from me, but my love gives it.

But this confession must go on; it must be continuous. As a merchant would say, you must extend your business if you wish to preserve it; so the christian is ever called to greater suffering, greater responsibility. It is not that he can retire; no, it is more and more work until He comes. The soul is never right unless it longs to go to Him. Individually I long to go to Him; collectively we long for Him to come. It is one of the saddest things, I know, that some should have contented themselves with making one great break at first at their conversion, and then from that time out never another single confession.

The second mark is that I have no care: "Take no thought for your life". There is no fear without, no care within. Having no fear leaves your body free; having no care leaves your mind unfettered; this is the great point in having no care. "Seek ye the kingdom;" that is my occupation in a world that has refused Him altogether. I see no place for me at all except in my own house; I have even qualifications for care of the church as I rule my own house; it is the only place in which I can uphold the kingdom of God.

As to toil, there is no harm in toil; indeed it is very wholesome: "Satan finds some mischief still

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for idle hands to do". But the thing is to go on with toil without care. The raven is the most hard working bird; it goes away in the morning and is out all day toiling; but it comes back to its roost at night, and sleeps without a care till the morning. If saints had not cares it would be wonderful the peace in which they would go on. "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord". I believe that is the finest thing the heart can have. I have got One who loves me ten thousand times better than I love myself, and I am in His sphere; I belong to His house, and He cares for me. Some one said, "I never speak to the Father about my circumstances, because He knows them very well" I do not know anything in this world more trying to the patience of God than that His children should be dissatisfied with His arrangements. If a soul is complaining, I say. You have not tasted the Father's love. We all know what it is to be tried, afflicted, bereaved; and what cheers us up through it all is the love of the Father. I walk about with the comfort continually in my heart that I am the Father's favourite child. Am I anything particular? No. But I walk about knowing His special care over me in a way that I know it for no other person, and I can allow my soul to rest in no other place. Knowing this love, I am not surprised by any bereavement, any loss; I am going through the world in company with One who says to me, I am teaching you the love that My Father had for Me -- the love that always looked down upon Me with perfect satisfaction; that is the love I am showing you in a sad and sorrowful world.

Nothing harrows me more than to see people who have known the Lord long without any resources in God. You may say you are thankful they have got so far as to know Him at all, and so am I; but I say they have not got a Person, and so Christ has not

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got a person; and, therefore, nothing is being got out of them. I am glad when I hear any one say they are dull, for it shows they have, at least, been bright once; but there are some people who do not know what dullness is, because they have never been bright.

I generally find that people who are "living by faith", as it is called, are anxious people, because they are always thinking of the power that will meet the demand. It is not of the least use forecasting things; nothing ever happens as you think it will, and if the whole world were to be submerged I have got Christ, so I need have no care. The great thing is to keep the mind free for God, therefore manual labour is not so hindering as mental.

There is one mark more of those who are waiting, and that is they have their treasure in heaven. "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not". This is addressed to the Jew; I do not think it could be said to the gentile, for it would admit that he has something to sell. But has not the gentile property? Yes, but he has no divine title to it.

The Lord grant that each one of us may have in our hearts such a sense of His coming that we may never let the thought of His return out of our minds; and that meanwhile we may set ourselves to trim our lamps in the blessed assurance that it is to greet His own eye, and thus may all be fit to meet Him when He comes.

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Readings on the Book of Joshua


Before entering on the study of the book of Joshua, it is of importance that we should see that it was the purpose of God, even in the land of Egypt, before a step was taken, to bring the children of Israel into the land of Canaan. If we turn to Exodus 3, we read: "And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey"

Now that mission Moses did not accomplish, and here we see Joshua has to complete it. He is the saviour; he accomplishes the work which, Moses being dead, now takes a new turn. Salvation comes out. It is not uncommon in Scripture thus to find the mission of one servant accomplished by another. In this way Elisha fulfils Elijah's, and Paul, Stephen's. Thus Joshua comes in to accomplish that of Moses.

It is part of God's thought about me that I should have heaven. It is not a thing that I shall become entitled to at some future time; I am now. Joshua only really leads me into possession of that which is mine already. It is true I have to possess; but before possession I must have title. So in the first few verses we find God encouraging Joshua as to his title to the land; it is "the land which I do

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give to them", and "that have I given unto you". However, title is not enough to insure possession.

Canaan is properly, if I may use such an expression, an earthly heaven. The children of Israel were going on to it through the wilderness. As for us we are now in the Canaan of which theirs was the type, and which we get in Ephesians, where we are "blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ;" and we are going on to the true Canaan. We have now the figures of the true; we are in the antitype of Canaan; of course heaven is not the antitype of it. It is God's kingdom on the earth. The moment I take God's ground on earth I am on heavenly ground. This is just what makes the difference between the wilderness and Canaan -- that I am standing for God now; I am taking possession, so to speak, for God. This is Ephesians. In Hebrews the saints are going on through the wilderness, to Canaan; and they wanted to go back and to make earth the religious place. It is to extricate them from that snare that Hebrews was written. You easily get the difference between Hebrews and Colossians if you put them together. In Colossians they are trying to make man religious; whilst in Hebrews they are trying to make earth a religious place. The moment you take your place in the race you are a heavenly man. The possession of Canaan to the Jew was that he had, as his own, "the land which the Lord thy God careth for; the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year;" a land in which was everything that satisfied man naturally. So now that "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit", I am filled with all that satisfies the spiritual man just as they had everything that satisfied the natural man; and I do not believe any one is satisfied who is not on God's

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ground. A man may be cared for in the wilderness, but that is not being satisfied.

As to what is sometimes said of our being in the three places -- Egypt, the wilderness, and the land -- at the same time, I do not believe it. I do not think we are in Egypt at all. I think Egypt becomes the wilderness to me as soon as I am converted; my surroundings, my home, my business, are the same that they were, but they have assumed a different aspect to me from that which they presented when I was unconverted: it is the wilderness to me now, because I do not look to the world as I used for everything, now I look to God for everything; the world yields me nothing, it is the wilderness and nothing more; but when I come to Canaan my heart is delighted.

"Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you". It is to encourage us to go in to possess. I am entitled to it before I enter upon it at all, just as I have the key of my house in my hand before I go into it. People so often say they wish they could go into the land, and all the time they never have the sense of their title to do so. I should have the unalterable conviction that it is mine.

"From the wilderness ... even to the great river, the river Euphrates". It has been remarked that the possession was greater than their enjoyment of it. Their boundary, given by God, was the Euphrates; whereas, as to appropriation of it, they went but very little beyond the Jordan. The limit of their possession was far wider. Solomon did go out to it: "He reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines".

Verses 5 - 8 -- We must go in obedience. You find a person fail in his enjoyment of God, fail in his enjoyment of the possession; and why? Because, though he may have light and a sense of his title, he

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is not in moral power. There must be obedience, observing to do "according to all" that is commanded. When a person gets at all into the flesh he gets under the law; a man never gets into the flesh that the law does not hit him. He has revived the thing that the law deals with. It is well in this present day to insist that a man might keep the law up to his own conscience, and yet be a christian of very low standing. You cannot make the law the standard for your christianity. The new school that has carried so many with it is just this, that you are to attain to a legal righteousness according to your own conscience. But there is no such thing as arriving at perfection down here. Thus in the consecration of the priests, the second ram is not presented whole down here; it is divided into four parts, unlike the one that went up whole to God. So I get at parts of it, and say I am not able to carry out the whole; but I know there is a whole thing up there which is to be carried out here.

Verses 9 - 15 -- I find the Lord very jealous here, If he has given me a possession, it is the delight of God that I should possess it. Do you possess it?

It is not only that I possess it for my own delight, but that I, as His child, enter into that which He delights to give me. The portion of the two and a half tribes were part of the territory, but they were not inside Jordan. They stayed there for the advantage of their families, but still they had to fight; no person can get any part of the territory without fighting; but these, though they fought, did not enjoy the land in their surroundings. Some people are allowed to take a lower standard; they are carried away by present advantages; but it has always been so -- there have always been the two classes in the history of faith: one who would go the whole way and one who would not; as Lot and Abram, and Joshua and Caleb and the children of

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Israel. I do not deny the saintship of the former of these, but I deny that they are walking by faith. It is a bad thing to be content with anything less than God gives you; but even this they cannot get without fighting. The tendency always is to lose God's place for us, through beginning to think of ourselves. These two and a half tribes were too hasty, they looked for possession before the battle was fought, just as people now look for enjoyment when they have had no conflict to gain it; but this enjoyment never has the same character.

It is a fine moment in a soul when it comes to the point, "I am going to set myself for that which my Father has given me". I do not know anything more sad than a person going on quite satisfied never to get it. Our Father would have us in a scene where we can fully enjoy Himself. Many a one is hindered by not being strictly obedient; you must die and then walk in. That is Jordan. The old commentators were right when they said there was no way into heaven but by death; the only question for us is, Is there any other way of dying besides going into the grave? God is most gracious in teaching us death, by first leading us into death and afterwards restoring to life. It was so with Mary of Bethany: she could say to Lazarus, Well I have proved that I can live without you; the Lord has shown me that I can have such joy in Himself, that I can do without you; and now, after it all, I have got you back again.

As to crossing Jordan, the first thing is, have you courage? Can you say as some one did to me once, "I have set myself straight for Jordan?"

Verses 16 - 18 -- The people were all right at any rate. And now in the next chapter we have the sending out of the spies.

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Verses 1 - 21 -- It is a very interesting fact that there is a gentile in heaven. This is what the apostle leads us up to in the epistle to the Hebrews; as soon as he gets to Rahab, he goes no farther; he can only add, "What more shall I say?" God's grace has brought the wretched outcast into the kingdom, and, he says, I can say no more. It was in keeping with the apostle of the gentiles to write thus. The grace of God comes in for a Rahab now, as it did for a Cornelius in another day.

Verses 23, 24 -- One feels how dependent one is. Think how often the Lord gives us spies to encourage us! This is how ministry comes in. How often a soul is helped by the faithful ministry of another, who has gone in and seen for himself. The first twelve spies, very different to these, were of man's seeking and of man's appointment, and so, instead of helping the children of Israel, they only promoted their unbelief and distrust of God. He allowed it, as He often does, when people will not have simple faith in His word; but when people look for evidence to support their faith, they will only meet with what will discourage it.

Thus Jericho is about to be destroyed by divine power, and the people are not to take anything out of it; they were to take nothing but Rahab's family -- those who were sheltered by the scarlet line.


Verses 1 - 17 -- The old idea of this chapter, as we have already noticed, is true, that no one can enter Canaan but through death -- that no one can be in heaven but through the grave; but the question is,

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Is there any other way in which we can die? Whilst it remains true that no one can get in but through death, is there any way by which we can morally die? This is, I believe, the teaching of Joshua 3, or as we get it worded in Colossians, "Dead with Christ".

The great thing then is, how are we to die? Or rather what is the experience of those who have died with Christ?

Often people think that something has to be settled by their own death, but if so, it is clear that Christ's death has not been sufficient. His death has set me perfectly free. Whilst saints think that their own death has something to do with it, they never can get the sense that they are as dead in God's sight now as ever they will be. Death will not put me one bit more satisfactorily in the sight of God than I am now. In the Red Sea, everything is cleared away between me and God, but to see this accomplished in myself is an immense relief; and this is Jordan; the first is Christ's death; the second mine -- my entering into His. So the old commentators were literally correct. I must lose. Man is morally dead, and I say, I have done with man -- with the weak thing; it is gone. Thus, a person on a death-bed is perfectly happy; he is going to a new scene, and he has so entered into it, that he is morally superior to everything in this one; as to circumstances, he is in death; but, as to life, he has already resurrection life.

Literally, the Red Sea is the death of your enemies, and the Jordan the death of yourself. In the former, the Egyptian -- all that is hostile -- is gone. But, when the people come to Jordan, they cannot go up to possess the land; there is the water to be passed through. Thus, says God, you must drop that weak thing, and, if you do, you will be found in divine power.

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We cannot get righteousness apart from resurrection. That is the Red Sea.

However, it is the greatest comfort to the believer to be able to say, Well, I have got them all, whatever my experience may be; for there is only one death of Christ, whatever the different aspects in which it may be presented to us. There are these three aspects of that one death, the lamb slain in Egypt, the Red Sea, and the Jordan; but if you have His death, you have them all as to fact; as to experience, we have it parcelled out, so to say, into three, as we often find in the Old Testament.

To enter into death, then, without entering into the grave, can only be effected by my contemplating Christ in His death. I am to see the ark of the covenant go down into Jordan. And what do I see in this death? I see two things: I see Christ, the One who was everything that was lovely in this world, gone in death; but I also see that in death He was the One who was everything that was pleasing to God. So I have seen the end of everything that is beautiful on earth, and also of that which is perfectly well-pleasing to God. Let any one lose in death one much loved, and see what an effect it will have on him; the nearer the dead was to you, the more you enter into that death.

Christ's death is not merely the end of man; but when you see that in it everything that was lovely on earth, in the eye of God, is gone, why it is the end of everything humanly. At the same time it is everything that is lovely to God; it is the ark of the covenant going down into the waters. And, as you see it, you are made sensible that death is gone for you, and that you are occupied with the One who has met the eye of God in that scene where you were lost. I see Him there. I might find out that I am set in perfect righteousness in the presence of

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God, and yet discover that I am not dead, as in the Red Sea; but in Jordan it is more what you have to travel through yourself in order to find yourself in Canaan. And, having done it, I find that the weak thing is gone -- the thing that Satan could lay hold of. A monk tries to do this himself; he tries to die -- tries to be happy, by getting rid of everything that is most annoying to him in the flesh; but do what you will, after all your efforts you will find you are still uncommonly alive.

In the Lord's supper, I contemplate His death when He is alive. I am in association with Him as the living One, so I can contemplate Him as the dead One. I have fellowship with the blood of Christ -- I have fellowship with the death of Christ. The Corinthians were allowing their flesh to run riot in every way, so he says to them: You have not contemplated the death of Christ at all.

Think what the death of Christ was to the disciples! The Lord "gave thanks". He was entitled to everything as man, and He says, As I break the bread I can give thanks. And now we can echo His thanks and say, I, too, have nothing here.

I do not think that souls get the sense of this -- this contemplation of Christ's death showing them, on the one hand, that everything beautiful is gone; a sense of death upon everything, as when a dear friend is gone. And, on the other hand, even in this sense, we are rescued from everything; so that not only are hopes gone, but fears are gone too. I ask you, Have you any prospects? You answer, No, I have none. Well then, have you any fears? Oh. I have fears enough! Then you are not quite dead yet.

However, everything is satisfactory on the side of God, though my experience of it may be small; and the thing that is before me is not death, but the One who has accomplished all for me. I know

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all is clear; that He has entered into the whole thing, and that there is no water. In the Red Sea the waters rose to their highest: "They were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left;" so the old commentators say they went through in single file; each one felt the water on either side of him. But at the Jordan it was five miles broad, from the city Adam right down to the Dead Sea "the waters failed and were cut off", and the old writers say they all went across abreast. So in actual death of the body, Stephen could say, "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God", and, in the power of that glory, rise above all the circumstances in which he was found. And a step still farther we get in Paul, who says, I am longing to depart; to be with Christ is "far better". I am in the joy of the One who has met all that was against me, and He opens out to me all the riches of light and glory.

Hence, it can be said to Joshua, "This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel". There is no place where you get such a sense of the greatness of what Christ is to you as in your death; you get Christ's victory in the Red Sea, all your enemies dead on the sea shore; but in Jordan, in my own death, I get Christ magnified to my soul. I have to do with the accomplishment in the one; in the other, with the One who accomplished it. In the latter, it is occupation with Christ personally, and souls are not occupied with Christ personally until they have got to deal with Him in their own death. First, I have, in the Red Sea, to learn the death of judgment, like Jonah in the whale's belly; but then when he came up again he had to learn Jordan -- that everything is dead: the gourd goes. Paul learned it in Jerusalem. Every one has to learn it some way; generally the way God connects you with death is by touching something very dear to

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you. Just as with Abraham, it was Isaac that had to be offered, and he must say, It is all gone. So with Jacob. Joseph goes. It is not simply looking at it as a monk or nun might do, but it is standing amidst the death of all here entirely to the satisfaction of God. And this makes heavenly life much more absolute.

I do not think any person really enjoying God's presence thinks at that moment of anything that suits himself humanly. When you are in His presence you have sufficient. It is not that you lose things, but that you do not think anything necessary to be added to Christ. Now in the body, of course, we know there are certain things that are necessary to us, and it is said. "Your Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things;" but when I cross the Jordan I do not think of any of these things. So the Lord says to His disciples, "Lacked ye anything?" Do you know when those words were said first? from whom they were quoted by Him? They were said by Solomon in all his glory; so that, when the Lord had nothing, He had as much as Solomon had when he had everything. And this lack of nothing in His presence makes you all the more dependent on Him when you come out. It is not that God will take things away from you. You may say in the fulness of your heart, I do not want anything; but He says, I know you better than you know yourself. I might, for instance, in a moment of devotedness say, I should like to go to China to serve the Lord. And He says, You are fit to go to the north of Scotland; you may go there. So He sends me there, and answers thus my prayer to be allowed to serve Him.

If I do not know what God's power can do in my weakest point, how can I be assured of what He will do against my enemies? My weakest point is death, and I can say, From my weakest point He

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"raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus".

Just look at the way in which it is put in the Ephesians; it may be a help to us; chapter 1: 18 - 20. There is where the power works. It comes down to the weakest point; "He raised him from the dead". In chapter 3: 20, we find this same power is that which works in us. And lastly, in chapter 6: 10, the very words of the first chapter are repeated in connection with our working it out. I know the power that worked to raise me. And what now? I have it in me. And what now? I am to use it against the enemy.

I do not find any bitterness of death in this chapter. I do not think any one is sorry for dying here. There is no bereavement in this; it is a death entered into without bereavement: I would call it painless death. It is a positive real thing; you are carried into a new sphere where weakness gives place to death. In the Red Sea they were all afraid; there it was, "Stand still" in tremor and fear; but here it is, Come up and see it is all done.

I doubt not the Lord's supper is the place for us to learn it in, there where for us there is not a single cloud nor a single bitterness, and where the One who wrought for me becomes more intensely known to my heart. According as there is death there is power. Canaan is a place of more conflict and of more power than the wilderness; but difficulties are nothing where there is power to meet them. And there is ever joy connected with service. It is always interesting to me that I do not find joy connected with John 14; there it is the service of Christ for me, and it gives me "peace;" but, in chapter 15 my service for Christ gives me "joy".

There are a great many marks that show when you are in Canaan. The first great mark, but we have not come to it yet, is that you are circumcised.

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There is a scene in which I am now set that is not an earthly scene, one in which God delights to have me; and the way into that place is through death, and no other way. Death comes in and helps me. The same death that shuts me out from everything here, confines me exclusively to all there. One thing is very plain, that man is over: I am connected with a heavenly scene, and nothing can sustain me in that scene but the Holy Spirit. You will find that if the heavenly standing begins to decline in a soul, the Holy Spirit's power will also decline in it. Nothing proves this to me more than the way in which people now take up dispensational truth; it used to bring those who held it out of the world, but now any one may hold it and yet stay mixed up with the religiousness of it.

There were then, we see, twelve stones to be taken up out of the midst of Jordan and placed in the land. As you know what Christ is to you in your death, you can judge of what His power can do for you in other ways. If His power could raise me up to Himself in heaven from thence -- if it did that -- I say it can do anything. He has turned what was most against me into my greatest blessing.

And then there are the twelve left in the Jordan. My soul, as I look at them, enters into what His sorrow was when all the waves and the billows went over the One who was entirely well-pleasing to God. Supposing you saw every beautiful thing on earth dead, what sort of feeling would it give you? When you see all that is beautiful thus gone in Christ, you say, Well now I have nothing whatever to hold me here. Those twelve I have to carry me into the remembrance of the One who accomplished all for me; they lie there in the depth for a memorial to my heart.

We were seeing yesterday that we have to keep the law to get into Canaan. You never can get in if

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you do not keep it. It is the ground on which you get in. And how can you keep it without being a dead man? So "the righteousness of the law" must be "fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit", God having "condemned sin in the flesh". This righteousness could not come out in the flesh. "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". So I die in this way; I die according to Romans 8. I die here in contemplating Christ's death, I do not know anything more melancholy than contemplating one's own death, but here I see the One who has gone into it for me, who has raised me out of it by His own power, and I get the sense of that power in myself. I like to stand on the banks of Jordan and contemplate Him thus: and that is the Lord's supper.

No one ever became heavenly by merely wishing to he heavenly.


Verses 1 - 3 -- As we have seen already there are twelve stones left in the bed of the river, and twelve placed where they lodged that night -- their first lodging place in the land. The number takes up the number of tribes of Israel. There was a difference between the twelve in Jordan and the twelve in the first place of halting, the first place of rest. I think the twelve on the bank were more the memorial of the accomplishment of the thing: they were in the land; whilst the twelve in the bed of the river are where you contemplate -- where you go back to revive to your heart -- the spot where Christ was for you. You recall to yourself that you

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are over it. If I carry it out in the Lord's supper it is not simply memorial, it is fellowship.

1 Corinthians 10 and 11, give us an illustration of it. You have to get into association with His death; you have to stand on the bank and say, He was there for me. You stand and look at it now from the other side, from the heavenly side. Nothing, perhaps, fills the soul with a deeper sense of what Christ is, than my contemplating Him where He was for my sake. In Revelation they cast their crowns before Him and say, We ascribe it all to the Lamb slain.

What God had promised to Moses in Exodus 3 was not accomplished till now; but now they can speak of the fact; the twelve stones are in the land. I have got into fellowship now as I look at Him where He was -- as I contemplate all that He wrought for me in that place. A person who eats the Lord's supper only looking for the means of grace in it, has never got to this. In Exodus 12, though feeding on the Lamb, they are not across; neither is it remembrance. With all due respect, I do not believe that any in the Establishment get farther than this; they remember how God has freed them from the judgment, and that is in Egypt; you only get the sprinkled blood there, and you do not get that anywhere else. As to brethren, they, as a whole, are very much in the wilderness; they just remember the Lord's death in connection with victory. But when we get to the twelve stones in Jordan we commemorate the consummation of the work, and we then eat the old corn of the land.

Morally, with the saint, the first day across the Red Sea ought to be your first day in Canaan.

It is a wonderful moment for the soul when it gets to these twelve stones. Everything collective is individual, because you must enjoy things individually. This, of course, belongs to our standing; there

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is no mistaking the sense of it. But people so often allow the standing -- say you must accept it; but as to fact you never really get possession of the standing without enjoying it. A person perhaps might not be able to speak very distinctly of what he was enjoying in the land, but I tell you what he will know; he will know in coming back to this scene, that it is a wonderful contrast to what he knows in that. Like Moses who "wist not", but all the time "his face shone".

Verses 6, 7 -- "A memorial" you see. And it is very interesting to mark that it is where they lodge. Your first stand upon the ground is the memorial. In Corinthians the Lord makes it the centre for everything. It is only one loaf with us, twelve stones with them, because it is unity with us. They were one nation, one people; but we are the body of Christ, "members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones", nourished and cherished by Him. So every command is now "If ye love me", and this does not make a command one bit less binding. Where there is much affection subsisting between any two, there the command is inoperative.

I feel that when the sufferings of Christ are brought prominently forward, souls lose the weight of what the Lord's supper is. It is not His sufferings; it is not what He went through; it is not what the atonement was; it is that He is dead. This would not be without His sufferings; but the great thing before our mind would be, that He had gone down to the very lowest place on earth. If you have not already got redemption through His sufferings, you have no right to look at Him there; but, having redemption through His work, you are contemplating that which He was, in order that you may see the depth and the fulness of His love, and in order that you may be too in the very place that He was in. If you are only occupied with Him in order to

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get deliverance for yourself, you are not looking at Him from the heavenly side at all.

I do not think any of us have an idea of what it was for the One who was entitled to everything on the earth -- to every bright and beautiful thing that God had here -- to say, I give it all up for you. As I look upon Him dead I say, I am shut out here from everything ... human, if you like. Every believer knows something about the blood, but very few know anything about the "new and living way". This is not simply Christ's sacrifice, the shedding of His blood, but it is the "new and living way ... through the veil, that is to say, His flesh". It means that you have left everything connected with man in the flesh outside. It is not Adam dead; every one admits that Adam is dead, but do you admit that Christ is dead? Every one says, I admit that He died for my sins; but I do not mean that; I mean the fact that He Himself is dead. I am not occupied with the sacrifice. I am not occupied with the benefits that God has conferred upon me when I am at the Lord's table; but I am in the benefits, I am in light and glory, and, knowing Him in light and glory, I look at Him where He was when He was gaining it all for me.

The wonderful thing is that He gave up everything for me. I do not mean that you can lose sight of the fact that He suffered; but what is before our mind is the love that brought Him there. I do not mean that you will lose sight of his atoning sufferings; but this I do say, that, if you are occupied with them alone, you will soon bring the table to that low state which eventually brought it down to the Mass. And it is not that; it is not that I am seeking to remember something which will quiet my soul. I hold that a person is not really at the Lord's table until he can remember the Lord. It is possible to look at Him to relieve the soul without

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remembering Him. The believer, surely, has everything in the death of Christ, but he cannot enjoy the Lord's supper unless he be on Canaan ground.

You ask, Then would you not admit a person until he is on Canaan ground? Not at all. Every soul that has got hold of Christ has all the benefits of His death, and I can receive all such; but I say, that when a soul recurs only to the sufferings of Christ, he is more occupied with His sacrificial work than with the love that brought Him into it. And more: I find a person can be occupied with the sacrificial sufferings of Christ, and still go on with the world; but if he once sees that Christ is dead, he cannot possibly go on with it, I defy you to do it. Nothing ever weakens your hold on this world like seeing that Christ died to every beautiful thing in it. When you see Him dead, is it not an easy thing for you to say:

"This world is a wilderness wide,
I have nothing to seek or to choose;
I've no thought in the waste to abide;
I've nought to regret nor to lose". (Hymn 139)

This is the practical experience that ought to flow from the Lord's supper.

I think it is quite possible to speak of the sufferings of Christ and not to lose sight of His death; but the point is not to limit them to the sacrificial sufferings; you must carry them beyond Exodus 12.


Verses 1 - 7 -- Properly this is the first day in the land.

Verses 8, 9 -- Here we get the reproach of Egypt rolled away. Circumcision takes place in the land. A man can now drop himself in every form; as we get it in Colossians: "Mortify, therefore, your members

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which are upon the earth;" and this you cannot do until you are upon heavenly ground.

What a wonderful thing it is for a soul to be able to say, I have no will of my own! This is circumcision -- the wonderful sense of having no will here.

Gilgal is properly speaking the robing-room. Here you are putting on your clothes. You have crossed the Jordan, you have got to the memorial, and now you are getting on your clothes. You are a circumcised person, which means that you are keeping the knife to your flesh. It is the heavenly man getting himself into condition for battle.

As I was saying, the Holy Spirit never leaves you altogether; but, if you allow the flesh to take an undue place, you will find, when you get into a difficulty, that He will say, I will not help you now; you must find out your helplessness. "He that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption". The Spirit must be attended to and respected. The moral character of the saint must be kept up; whatever God claimed of man must be rendered; the law must be kept. I am subject to the government of Christ, though He has been rejected in this world; I am in millennial favour though not in millennial circumstances. He is not in office yet, so to speak, but I give Him His rights; I acknowledge Him as Lord over my house and over God's house, though I am afraid of the word "Lord" too much, because He is not Lord over the church. But suppose He were on the throne now, would you and I go on differently in our houses and in our business? I think the saints often feel about Him as a child does during its father's absence; it says. "He is not here so I will just do as I like"; whereas, the fact is, Christ is just as near to me, and is to rule me just as really, as if He were on His throne. The great snare of the church has been anticipating the millennium before it has come; but in one way we

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ought to see to it that Christ rules now in our houses just as much as He would do were He here in millennial power, otherwise we have joined the rebels. I might walk up to a man in the street, and say to him with truth, You are a rebel because you have never bowed to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the King. And you cannot have a king without a kingdom. The only thing Christ possesses thoroughly are the bodies of the saints; "all flesh" is given unto Him, but He takes possession through His saints. The two spheres therefore where He rules are your houses and God's house.

The first thing, then, is circumcision; and it is an immense thing. Before a man takes the ground of testimony, he must come out in a moral condition suitable to it. Hebron tells us the same story. The great moral connected with Hebron is that where there is a grave there is a throne.

Verses 10, 11 -- Now we have the passover; and, the day after the passover was eaten, the manna ceased. You are brought into the land, and set up in divine strength in it, both in one day. It marks our peculiar position.

Verses 12 - 15 -- It is very interesting to see how the Lord presents Himself in a particular aspect to His servant, in order to make that servant up to the work which He commits to him. This is very much to my mind what a gift is now. He presents Himself to His servants in the aspect which will sustain them in the particular line of service He has marked out for them, so that they can reckon upon Him to support them. Moses could always fall back upon the blessing "of him that dwells in the bush", no matter what the failure of the people. The manifestation of the Lord to His servant determines very much the character of His gift. For instance, Jeremiah sees an almond rod -- that is power; and a seething pot -- that is judgment on Jerusalem; and

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these two things were the character of his work. The Lord gives the soul that particular communication from Himself that gives the needed knowledge of Himself. To Paul the word was "a witness both of those things which thou hast seen, and of these things in the which I will appear unto thee". No doubt he increased in gift. It is very interesting to see that the Lord will give you a particular support in that line of things to which He has called you. He says, This is what I have called you to, and I will give you an apprehension of myself that you can always derive from and fall back upon in your service. Joshua could always say, I have the One with the drawn sword; so he could only go on to victory. He may have learned to hold out his spear at Ai from this very thing.

This, then, is the rise of the heavenly man; you have him now ready for warfare -- ready for testimony. People give up the testimony, though they do not want to give up the position; and so we shall find it in Joshua. The people give up pushing forward, and leave the very ones in the land who, Joshua warns them, would vex them.

At first Joshua does not know who this man with the drawn sword is; he asks, "Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?" And then the Lord introduces him into a scene entirely outside of man, so he is to take off his shoes; he is in a place where flesh cannot get a footing. The Lord always wishes to get us near to Himself, and, to do that, flesh must be set aside.


Here we get two things brought out into distinctness: the world and the power that overcomes it. It is a great matter to get distinctness. Joshua says, "Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?" There

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is nothing between; there can be no mistake about it. There is nothing visible for us. It is a great thing to start upon heavenly ground with the knowledge that there is nothing visible for you. The visible is against you; the invisible is for you. "We see him that is invisible?" So it is "... that overcometh the world even our faith".

I think Jericho is the system of the world; a city is properly a centralisation. When Eve looked away from God she took the world. What she took was good in itself; it was the taking it apart from God that made it bad. The world in itself is not bad -- not what we call the kosmos. But it says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world;" it necessarily becomes attractive to a man, and, though in itself not bad, yet, if you let yourself be occupied by it, you lose the power that is to keep you through it; you make the visible thing the thing that you rely on. Any one with practical experience at all, knows what a difficult thing it is to get rid of the visible -- to go on as if it were not there, knowing all the time that it is. The one who only is able to overcome it, is "he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God". I have to do with the Person who has overcome it, and with the dignity of that Person: He is "the Son of God". Any believer knows that He is the Son of man -- the Christ; but how much do you know Him as the Son of God? If you believe that God sent some one into the world to deliver you from the consequences of your sin, then you are a converted man. I think a very little thing saves a soul -- the smallest sight of Christ; it is the happiness of God to do it, as we read, "the gospel of the blessed (happy) God;" 1 Timothy 1:11, but it takes a very great thing to make a soul walk like Christ.

Now the mode of contending with the world is very important. What is the mode of warfare? It is a well-known thing that everyone looks to the

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general for the order of battle. The order with Nelson was, Do not wait for any particular thing, but hit the enemy whenever you can. Now the order we find here is most interesting; you are not to attack the enemy, but he cannot touch you. This brings us to the practical value of keeping the law. You must be a righteous man or you will not be able to stand the enemy; that is the armour. You cannot enter the land but by keeping the law, and, to overcome in the warfare, you must be free from the aspersions of Satan. There may be plenty of reproach, but that will not hinder so long as there is righteousness and so on.

"Ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war". It is an honourable position to be a man of war; it is a great thing to be one. Our fighting ships are called men of war.

And they were to go round about the city once a day for six days. What is that, now? I suppose it means that it is to be a continued thing; there is to he put no limit to it. You are to go on the whole time; it is the six days of work, and we work until the day of rest comes. Then do we never get the advantage of the world until the end? We do; but we do not get the full victory until the end; we have victory all the time, but the wall does not fall down until the end, We start with the knowledge that we are not to put our armour off till then. "Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off". Your purpose is to go on the whole time; and the great principle is that the enemy cannot touch you; you are invulnerable, and if you are invulnerable you are invincible. A man can move about among his worldly friends, or, worse still, relatives, and say, You cannot touch me, I am encased in armour. But a child in a worldly family, if it go in for playing croquet and so on, it is lost. Then would you never enter into any amusement?

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Yes; I would play chess with a child that was sick, or instance; but I would not play with my equal, for that would be for my own amusement. It is remarkable, however great may be the reproach, that in times of pressure the pious one in a family is always the one who will be turned to by the others. As we are told of John Newton in his unconverted days, there was a pious coxswain on board, and, a storm coming on, there was no safe place in all the ship for John to sit in but alongside the pious coxswain.

The heavenly man is himself personally weak; he has no strength to show. The natural desire in us is to wish to show our ability, but we can only take the place of helplessness; and that is the place of power. We must always carry with us the remembrance that we are across Jordan -- that we are dead men, and therefore perfectly helpless in a human point of view. It was what you would call a very ridiculous thing -- this marching round Jericho; there they were, all these armed men, and seven priests bearing seven trumpets of ram's horns: the armour was character, and the trumpets dependence. There they went -- armed men, priests, and trumpets -- and I do not see any power that you have. No, you do not; you may not see it, but you will feel it some day.

I think God often lets us get into such a place as this, that we may just feel our dependence before He brings in His power. Just as in the shipwreck in Paul's day; all looked very hopeless at first, but every one was saved in the end, though it was on broken pieces of the ship. If man has rejected Christ, and has been the instrument of His rejection, God, if He ever use him again, must do so where nothing can come out of man. It must be walking on the water, now, where man is nothing. Man, except as a vessel, is entirely set aside by God; even Paul was

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not able to use his natural abilities: he first tried by prayer to have the thorn removed, but he ends by accepting it, as he says "that the power of Christ may rest upon me;" and therefore his letters were better than his speaking, taking them as merely human works.

What is the force of verse 10? I always connect it with a saying of dear Mr. Bellet's, That the time was not come yet for us to sing aloud -- to shout; you cannot call upon every one to praise the Lord; it is not the day of victory -- it is not the universal hymn yet: "The words of wise men are heard in quiet". It is very remarkable, in every department, the quietness with which a man issues his orders if he is sure of power. The not shouting here is, I think, that you are not to anticipate -- not even in a certain way, to speak of your expectations -- not to tell the world what will be done some day.

I have two characteristics: I am an armed man defying the world, and I am praying to God because I have no strength. If I look at Satan I am not a bit afraid; I can stand in armour against Satan. But with God I am only dependent; the armour is not a bit of use Godward. People often turn it just the other way round, and think that, if they are behaving well, they will get what they want out of God; and they meanwhile pray against Satan. In that way I object to people saying, Let us pray about a thing, unless they act according to their light at the same time. People just pray to ease their consciences; they are often like Balaam: they know what they ought to do, but they do not like it, and so they pray to relieve their consciences for their negligence. The great thing in prayer is, not so much that I am going to God about anything, as that I have learnt from Him how to act. The day is come when our mouths should be opened with all boldness. That verse in Ephesians is a very remarkable one; chapter

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6: 19. The apostle is in prison at the time; and his desire is "that utterance may be given unto me that I may open my mouth boldly". It does not appear that he ever got the desired opportunity himself; so that the answer to that prayer we ought to be. Philippians would be the answer to it: "Many ... waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear".

It is remarkable that one of these seven days must have been the Sabbath. If they began to go round on the first day of the week, this seventh day would be it.

Verses 17 - 19 -- It was all belonging to God, but yet they were not to touch it. It is a very bright opening to their story in the land, showing us with distinctness the power of God. And yet at this very moment Achan comes in and lays hold of two things which corrupt the whole of society -- money and dress.

As to what Jericho is in itself, I think it is, "The world will hate you". It is the world as against Christ. It is not merely that you can take it or leave it as you like; it is antagonistic. They were encroaching on it, and this it would not stand. In Revelation you get "The synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not;" they are the very ones who interfere and hinder. There is no place to which Paul goes where the Jews are not his opponents. I question whether a person comes in conflict with this if he be not on heavenly ground. Many a saint is in conflict with his own temper, evil tastes, and so on, and has never got to standing against the world for Christ. It is the world against Christ that Jericho is. If a man be turned out of his employment for Christ, shunned because he is standing faithfully for Him, I say that is Jericho.

And I have seen most remarkable instances of the walls falling down just as they did here. I remember

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a father who said to his daughter, "You must not go to any meetings except the morning meeting, and you may not visit any one". I said, on being asked as to this, "Do just what you are told". And in a very short time afterwards, he said, "Why do you not go to see some of your friends, or ask some of them here?" The walls fell down. I say, Never give up your conscience, but submit to the limitation of your liberty. God has to do with my conscience, though man may have to do with my liberty as a human being. But where saints fail is in asserting their rights, and then they become refractory. It is grievous when the ordinance of God and Christ's service clash. This is what Satan is always aiming at -- seeking "to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law". The principles that God lays down in Scripture are the ones we are to act upon. We all have different difficulties -- a different world to meet -- but it is everything to walk with God in obedience to Him. A wife who goes to the Establishment now and then with her husband to conciliate him, has lost all power. But, if she be thoroughly faithful to her light, she will yet see the walls fall down.

Verse 23 -- All her house! What a wonderful timing! How God delights to include all that our hearts are set upon in the blessing! The wonderful bountifulness of God! He loves to do everything in a magnificent way; there is no smallness in His acts.

Verses 24 - 27 -- Who do you think was the youngest son? My impression is that it is Antichrist. Jericho, this world-city, was begun in Adam, the eldest son; and it will be ended in Antichrist, the last man. "Now is the prince of this world judged".

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What a most remarkable victory was this conquest of Jericho! It was distinctly the hand of God; there were no visible means. And now at a small place, Israel flees before the enemy, which discomfits them utterly. This is a very singular change, and a very sudden one, and has to be accounted for. You get in the first verse an intimation of what is the matter, though the people did not know it. But, as we have noticed already, as soon as they began to act they found their power was gone.

Certainly the Lord would never desert His people. His command to them was to take possession; and in the conquest of Jericho He had given them a most singular instance of His presence with them: He had shown them how He, without any human means, could cause the enemy to be overcome; and now, in the case of a very small city, the contrary occurs.

The reason of it all is that one man -- not the majority of the army, but one man -- "took of the accursed thing", and implicated the whole army in his act; and God would not go up with the people in consequence.

It is the history of christendom. The order to the church was to overcome the world -- to bring the Rahabs out of it; but for many a century the church has not been able to overcome it. It is not that there have not been true and faithful men in it; but there is no single denomination that stands forth as a light in the world, as a witness in the midst of it. The church has lost its candlestick for many a long day. The people of God now are not able to take a heavenly standing. Where is the church that has kept it? God may go on in grace with His people, but He will show them where the defect has

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come in. One man took; it was a sample of the leaven that was at work, and the whole of Israel was implicated.

The word "accursed", which we find in the preceding chapter and here, is the same as "devoted;" it means that it is all the Lord's; you are not to touch it.

There cannot be walk in faith and power unless there be self-judgment. The overcomers of the church decay in Revelation 2 and 3, are those who overcome that which has brought in that decay.

Well, this is how the thing occurred historically; but now you cannot turn out the Achans; all you can do is to purge yourself. "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work". When first I awake to the state of things in which I am, I am miserable because of that state, and my only way of action is to purge myself from it. But when I have done this I cannot, as people often fancy they can, relieve myself from the pressure of the condition in which the church is; I cannot escape from it. As a great man once said in a fine house, "I am looking for a quiet corner of the house in which I can pray;" so all we can do is to get up into the attic by ourselves: we cannot get out of the house.

In this chapter, Joshua is tremendously discouraged by the fact that the people flee before their enemies; he falls to the earth upon his face before the ark. But God says, "Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" You must find out the evil. The abominable rationalism of the day is that God is love and not holiness; and I say this is dreadful.

But, you say, who is the person who can get clear of everything? I answer, No one can; but it is a

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great thing that I do not tolerate it. Non-toleration is our principle. The flesh is in me. Yes, but do you tolerate it? No. Then that is a great step. And next the church question: Do you tolerate church evil? No; I do not tolerate it. If you allow evil you have a bad conscience. So I say, I come to this principle in my church association, that I do not tolerate evil. God is maintaining us, not simply as a saved people, but as a heavenly people; and if He be not maintaining us there is something wrong. "The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work".

The question is, What is God's purpose for His people? When a man goes to war he knows what he has to reckon on. I reckon on the power of God to support me against all odds down here, unless I am coquetting with evil; and then He says, I cannot support you, because you are connected with this. He cares for His people wherever they are: He blessed Isaac a hundred-fold when he was in the land of the Philistines. It is no evidence of His presence that He cares for His children; but it is that He keeps you from evil.

Here the evil affected the children of Israel only circumstantially. It did not soil the conscience individually, but it affected them in their proprietorship and nationally. Any godly one amongst them would not feel hindered if he were looking to God for his own comfort and blessing that day. But now, because of the unity of the Spirit. I believe a saint may be under a depression through going on right in his own heart and ways, because of what is allowed by others. I believe you may be in this condition when there is nothing traceable to yourself; for just as Israel was represented by the twelve loaves, are we by the one. Each one is not bound to find out the evil, but each one is responsible to wait on God to discover it. I do not think it is happy work to go seeking out evil. I think you may

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feel that something is wrong, and judge yourself, and wait on God to show it. None of the disciples knew that Judas was a traitor; but the Lord shows John in answer to prayer: "He it is to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it".

I do not think undiscovered evil prevents His coming into the midst of His people when they are gathered together in His name; He loves to come amongst them; but this I will say, though I do not wish to offend any one, that He will not come to where there is a rule -- a predetermined course. If there be a rule He cannot come in; for if He did He would have either to abrogate it or be less than it. If many saints were gathered with a rule He could not come in. If they were ignorant, and were willing to be shown the truth, of course they would soon be taught; but people often call wilfulness ignorance. It is possible to have a great deal of personal enjoyment of the Lord, and yet not at all know what it is to enjoy His presence. I do not believe any soul, the most excellent, the most godly, in a man-made system, knows Christ as He reveals Himself in the midst of His people -- knows what is His presence in its true sense. It is not that you and I as individuals, enjoy the Lord's presence; it is that we are gathered round His person; all of us having the same title to be there, all of us children of the one Father, from the least to the greatest. I take Scripture as it speaks: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them".

He comes into the midst of His saints gathered; and it is as the One risen from the dead, and leading them into all the moral elevation of His own position. And they have the sense of His presence with them. But to thus know Him you cannot be mixed up with what is wrong -- with ecclesiastical rules; His eyes would then be "as a flame of fire".

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His presence in the midst of His people is not at all the same thing as manifestation of Himself to an individual soul. It is a Person taking His place in the midst; not a Person coming in grace to a lonely one. A person may stay away from the table and say they are very happy in their own room, and they may be very happy, but they have not got at all the same thing as they would have if in the midst of those gathered to His name.

People who are not gathered to His name are not responsible for the ground, for they are not on it; but they are responsible to find it. "His name" means that when you are thus gathered, all is as He would have it. People say, If you do this you will have all sorts of confusion; but facts are against this.

What shows the church's power, is its being able to maintain its position as a heavenly people on the earth. I defy any person to say that the church has done this. On the contrary, it has mixed itself up with the world. Can anyone show me anything on earth like 1 Corinthians 12? At the best we are only trying to creep out of the ruins. I am sure God helps the saints to do this, but they must, as He says to Joshua, get rid of the evil; there must be a clear riddance of it. Some one remarked that Hosea is the second book of Joshua; and it is very remarkable that the valley where Achan was stoned should be made the "door of hope" for the people to return to the land by.

We see thus that God cannot go on with evil; it is not the fact, as people so often say, that simple prayer settles everything. The object of prayer is to learn the mind and get the help of God; and God can have nothing to do with you until you have got rid of evil. Hearing this forty years ago, delivered me from systems: "God will not hear you till you are clear of evil". I did not know what to do or

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where to go, but I saw that God's great principle is, first get clear of evil: "Cease to do evil".

Another thing that is a great comfort in all this is that when I set my mind to discover the evil, God will show it to me. They were to judge themselves -- to separate themselves from everything that they knew to be evil. And then we see that, when God's finger is laid upon Achan, he confesses. He will be the first to confess when God has touched him. But the finger of God was laid upon Achan before he confessed; if he had come forward before this and had told of himself, it would have been an evidence of repentance; but now it was too late. Thus a great many things that are brought out, if they had been confessed before, might never have been known by the assembly at all. Whether a matter should be made known or not depends on the pastor. Deliberation belongs to the pastors; and adjudication to the assembly.


Verses 1, 2 -- Here we get God's power acting, but not signalising the people. This is where the Irvingites went wrong; they expected to be signalised. I do not expect the same amount of manifestation now as in the early days of the church, though I believe the Holy Spirit is just as powerful in this room as ever He was, but He does not manifest His power in the same way that He did then.

I believe we get a great deal of instruction from Ai. When Joshua stretched out his spear it was not a preconcerted signal; it was really God's word to him: "Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai, for I will give it into thine hand". The city was apparently taken by ambush, by cleverness, by military stratagem, but, as to fact, it was God gave it into their hand.

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Wherein we have failed God does not ever signalise us. The same power was still with them, but not the same manifestation. It is not in reference to service; it is in reference to position. If it were in reference to service, it would be a great argument for the use of means. You never saw a self-confident man yet that he did not come down. Peter would never have gone into the high priest's house if he had not under-estimated his foe. The armour and the trumpet is our true place; it is heavenly position. I do not believe Ephesians is for service as such; it is holding our ground.

I think it is more Ai that is going on now; there is very little of Jericho. There is not magnificence or display now, though the same divine power; and there is a great deal more means used -- more toil -- perhaps waiting on God in prayer to get this standing, whereas before, souls were in it without any effort. Now you never see a man get on to heavenly round that there is not more or less of self-sacrificing toil; everyone sees the struggle going on. There is now nothing of the singular way in which God planted them in the land at first.

It is a wonderful thing to study the ways of God with His people. In the worst days Paul says to his pupil: Be of good courage; "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". Do not be discouraged; it may not be so easy to get possession as it was at first, but press on, and you will certainly get it. Joshua did give them the land; and though it is no effort to get title, it is always labour to possess; practically, you have to take possession.

Well, it is a very comforting thing to think that the Lord is our God, and, in the midst of all the weakness, to see what he would do for us if we, with cheerfulness and courage go on.

Verses 25 - 29 -- When Ai is at last taken by

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another signal victory, God teaches us a fresh lesson, and that is, that He uses His power to make us a heavenly people, and that on earth -- not in heaven. There is really no promise given to us of heaven when we die, though of course we shall be in heaven then. It is a great thing for the soul to get hold of the fact that God ministers His power in the present day to set us as heavenly men on the earth. Christ being rejected was the condemnation of the world, but it has turned to richest blessing for the saints; for God has given us heaven instead of earth in consequence of it, and ministers His power, enabling us in the face of all that is here, to be heavenly men.

The higher thing would be to turn to Jericho and say, I do not want the earthly things; but in Ai we see that we are allowed to have some of the spoil. It is not as it was in the early chapters of the Acts, where no one said "that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common", and where any who had "lands or houses, sold them, and brought the prices and laid them down at the apostles' feet". By-and-by we find this was not the case; it was, "every man according to his ability determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea". And still later on the apostle charges "them that are rich in this world", It is not now a question of giving all up, but of consecration to the Lord. Still, a man might imperil everything here for the sake of the testimony; like Abram who went out by night with all his servants to rescue "his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people". No doubt Jericho is the brighter light, but with no less doubt is there just as much of divine power in the subjugation of Ai as of Jericho.

It has been remarked that the way in which Joshua treated the king -- not allowing his dead body to stay hanging all night -- showed that he

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acknowledged the land to be already the Lord's. "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, that thy land be not defiled". We are to treat even our enemies in a heavenly way. Though Joshua had not possession of it, yet he treats the land as his and as Jehovah's.

Verses 30, 31 -- Then he establishes the law in it: it was to be read upon two mountains, Ebal and Gerizim -- the mountain of curse, and the mountain of blessing. It is an old and very interesting remark, that where the curse was, there was an altar; where the blessing was there was none; just as in Exodus 20, you get all the terrors of the law, and then the altar to meet them. They never reached to the blessings.

Verses 32 - 35 -- They were all brought unto the one standing. It was a wonderful sight! There they were, the whole company, the congregation of Israel, and the little ones, and the strangers, brought together to hear this recital -- to hear what God was, and claimed respecting them on this new ground. All were thus formally introduced on to it.


Now we come to a very different kind of thing -- man failing. And man always fails first in the direction of self-confidence. John 13 gives us a parallel to this. That chapter is really a history of the church, it shows us all the grace of Christ, and the cause of all the disorder and distraction in the church ever since. If you want an epitome, an internal history of the church, I give you John 13. In taking heavenly ground the odds are against us -- ourselves, and everything; and if God be not for us we shall surely fail, There was self-confidence where Satan was, and so they were not able to meet him.

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It is a very remarkable thing in connection with morals, that you cannot predicate what will be the result of a certain evil; I mean the offspring cannot be foreknown from the parent. For instance, take the Corinthians. They did not judge the evil that was within, and the consequence was, they went themselves to be judged by those that were without. This comes out plainly if you look at chapters 5 and 6, in connection with each other; before quite disposing of the subject in the fifth, he turns to tell them of their failure in going to law before the unbelievers, and then ends with "Flee fornication". Just in this way Bethesda people say there is no connection between their course now and that which happened years before in Plymouth. We are often deceived by the fruit, and do not see the root that it springs from.

So the people are deceived by the Gibeonites. In their case self-confidence was the fruit of unpurged sin in the assembly. It is another thing quite that now deceives them; it is wiles: "The men took of the victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord".

I think that the Gibeonites give us in figure the world getting into the church, and making terms with it. It is the old story -- Balaam's proposition: you cannot kill God's people, but you can entertain them, make up with them, intermarry with them, and thus morally overcome them.

They were not near them; they were a great way off; they could not do them any harm from there. Just as people say now: We are very far removed from laxity. But if the devil be at the end of the chain it does not signify how long it is. He was there with these men of Gibeon just to prevent the people extirpating them. It is a figure of course; you cannot now destroy men; but you must be superior to them.

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It was the elders who were at fault: "the princes of the congregation". The point of mischief was making a league with them whether they were far off or near. If they were far off, let them stay there; why should they make a league at all in that case? But the league being made, when Saul thought to break it, he got into trouble. "After vows" you cannot "make inquiry". If a man marries an unconverted woman it is too late to make inquiries after. The thing was not to make the league; if they were far off so much the better; but they were near whilst they pretended to be a great way off. That was their wile.

Verse 27 -- "Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord". They afterwards got the name of Nethinims. The two things that remained with Israel were the Nethinims and the porters. The church has in a way been served by the adoption of christianity by the world; it renders a kind of external service to us.

Still it is remarkable how the heavenly position is thwarted on every side. The object of Satan is to thwart it. The moment all were introduced -- the very mothers with their babes in their arms -- that moment the hallowed circle is broken into by their making this league with the Gibeonites. Yet the world itself does not like their league with God's people; they turn upon them, and thus Gibeon becomes a trap for its destruction. I believe Gibeon represents false ones -- hypocrites, if you like. The great thing in the beginning of Acts was that "no man durst join himself to them;" they were afraid of them, In another light Gibeon represents the flesh that does not like the heavenly exaction. The leaders -- "princes" -- are those who addict themselves to the care of the assembly, and who, if evil comes in, are, in a certain sense chargeable: "They

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watch for your souls, as they that must give account".

The point is to be extremely careful of any mixture that is not of God. It does not matter how far off you may be from a thing; the question is, is it of God? Immediately after all had taken their place come these strangers from very far off, and want wilily to take that place too. The people ought to have said: You are not one of this company that stood round about Mount Ebal, and we cannot have anything to do with you. They had distinctly taken possession of the land for God; nothing was to withstand them; they were to be exclusively the people of God upon earth, they had just avowed it down to the smallest of their details, their children and their strangers; and they ought to have said: No; we are God's people, and we must stand separate.

Possession is the grand point here. In the book of Deuteronomy we find that dwelling, not possession, is the time for worship. When they brought the basket of first fruits they were dwelling; it was no more conflict. The idea was, that you took the first ripe thing that you saw, put it into your basket, and went up to Jerusalem saying, "I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us".


Verses 1 - 3 -- It is remarkable now that the king of Jerusalem is awakened -- the central place. It is not now the nations waiting for the people to subdue them, but it is opposition; they provoke them to battle.

Verse 4 -- See how the people are connected with Gibeon now.

Verses 6 - 8 -- It is interesting to mark the purpose

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of God, and to see how He delights to succour. Of course this must not be read as a book of war, but as a moral thing; it is possession of heaven. I have failed now, but this failure is turned to blessing. God says, Do not be afraid; I will give it all into your hand. For the possession of heaven we must have a heavenly man. And a heavenly man is a man sustained by God, supported by heavenly streams, heavenly things; even the manna came down from heaven: "Man did eat angel's food;" a man who is superior to all the varieties of things down here. "The Son of man who is in heaven;" He never lost His heavenly character though He was on earth.

Verses 13, 14 -- You see God was determined to destroy them: the day is not to close until possession is obtained. What a wonderful thing Gibeon was a trap for the rest of the inhabitants now. And it was from Jerusalem the opposition emanated; it was from the head. It was one great effort of the enemy in connection with Gibeon.

It is a grand day when you are a perfectly heavenly man! God says, I will not let the sun go down until it happens. It is the greatest day in one's life when one is put in divine power superior to everything here. People say, I do not set up for being heavenly, making this an excuse for not being so. But I say, you are heavenly; it is what you are called to. The character of the heavenly man is that he is superior to every man who is not for God; he is to treat them all as dead; and if he be dead himself no one can hurt him.

The thing is, Are you set for being a heavenly man? It is a great difference as to whether you are trying to get out of the world or trying to get on in it. That is the question to decide. It makes a wonderful difference to a man which he is doing. Associations grow upon you; you often cannot tell why you do a thing. People generally give two excuses

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for themselves in worldliness; one is that they are used to certain things; the other, that they can afford them.

I think it is a very good thing for a person to be honest, and to say: I take the ground of a heavenly man. I may have exposed myself to the sneers of people for making a profession I so little maintain, but still I do make this profession, and I do seek to maintain it. "Hold fast the profession of your hope without wavering". It is your calling. You cannot go back from it, and try to evade the responsibility of it by refusing to accept it. Lot might say he was not a pilgrim nor a stranger; but he came out on that ground, and in the end he was reduced to it, and miserably too. I am sure that in the long run the one who is set upon heaven gets on the best here; and even if I were in prison, I should have the Lord with me.


They had to return to Gilgal, as we see in the last chapter; how else could they start from it? They always had to return to the place where they had rolled off the reproach of Egypt. When you return to Gilgal you return to all that the cross accomplished. People often return to the cross to get rid of their sins; but the right way is to return to the cross to get rid of yourself. There are these three things: first, I am cleared from everything that God had against me. Second, I am united in glory to the One who has cleared me. Third, I return to the cross to get rid of everything in me that hinders the practical shining out of the life of the One to whom I am united. The first you never can do. The second is only done once by the Spirit. The third you are doing every day -- it is circumcision; going about always with the knife in your hand.

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Now it is possible for a person to aim at the third, and never to have got the second; then he would be legal; and it is possible for a person to have the second and never go on to the third, and then he would be worldly -- the sad state in which the Corinthians were. And so Paul shows them the cross that they may there get rid of themselves. Often a saint, after a very happy meeting or private time, will have a fall just because he is trusting to himself and not to Christ; he has not gone back to Gilgal.

Verses 1 - 5 -- This is the last great battle; it is a desperate struggle, and you must bear in mind that the army has been successful until this; but no amount of success without complete subjugation will ever silence the foe, or cause him to abandon his position. There had been victories enough to make them all quail -- to make them all surrender; but now they make one violent effort from all sides, north, south, east, and west. The enemy in the wilderness -- Amalek -- was a direct enemy to yourself; but in the land the effort of the enemy is to prevent your getting possession of it. There he is determined not to let you pass; here he will prevent your being a heavenly man in the land that you have reached. There he will not let you travel, will not let you get to the land; so you meet him at the beginning of the journey -- at Rephidim. It is sad to see how often saints are stopped at their beginning. Amalek is more than the flesh, for God says He will "utterly put out the remembrance of it from under heaven;" it is the terrible spirit that acts against God. When you get out into the wilderness you find that nothing helps you; there is no bread, no water, and up comes the enemy to dispute your passage. That is the wilderness for you.

Any one who reads this history in Exodus reads his own. All the difficulties he will have to encounter, and also the divine way in which to meet them.

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Indeed the Old Testament is very like what is now called a surveying ship, which is a ship that goes about to mark out the true path for vessels, and to point out where the rocks and shoals are; to mark how a quicksand lies here and another there. In my knowledge of brethren nothing has hindered progress more than people thinking that they have done enough -- thinking they have made a very good sweep of the world, stripped off so much, made such renunciation at the start that there is nothing more left to be done; instead of which there is no change of circumstances that does not bring a new battle with it. Everyone knows that what does not seem worldly this year may next. You must wait until things come before you say there is nothing to give up.

Verses 6 - 8 -- All so many battles to oppose your being a heavenly man. "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life", is more the Amalek battle. The thing here is that God does give possession, and He will support you in taking it. It is not that there will not be opposition, but that you will surmount it all.

Verses 10 - 13 -- Why did Joshua burn Hazor? Because it was the seat of power -- the leader. This is very different to what was done by christians when they made Rome their chief city; they took pagan eminence and sought thereby eminence for christianity. They ought to have said, We cannot allow any connection with earthly eminence; we must destroy it.

Verses 15 - 20 -- A natural man reading this says it is a terrible thing to be killing people off in this way -- taking possession of a land and driving the inhabitants out of it; he does not see that it is God setting aside earthly people who had rebelled against Him, and using Israel as His sword to do it. It was governmental judgment.

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Verses 21 - 23 -- Well, possession was an established thing. I think there is a moment in the history of a soul when it knows that it has possession. But, if you think that there are no more enemies to be overcome, you are mistaken, for there are. It is something like what we get in Peter: "After ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you". It is a great thing to get a soul settled. But at the same time it will not do to rest on your oars, and think there is nothing more to be done. However, there was no more fighting; this is the end of it; the neck of the enemy was broken; there was no more avowed opposition; "the land rested from war". There must be two antagonistic parties to have a war. Israel were owned to be the masters of the land, though they had not carried out their rights to the proper limits.


There were thirty-one kings conquered by Joshua on this side of Jordan (without counting those whom "Moses, the servant of the Lord and the children of Israel did smite"); those who understand numbers may perhaps make something of that.


From this chapter out a new thing comes before us. Having traced the rise and progress of the heavenly man, we now come to the story of his failures, with, however, a bright witness to the contrary in chapter 14.

The five lords of the Philistines, who gave the people immense trouble afterwards, are the first mentioned as amongst the nations still unsubdued. But a very important principle comes out in connection with them. The Lord says to Joshua:

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"Divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance", Conquered or not conquered they are to divide it. It needs John 14 to explain it: "I go to prepare a place for you". It is not a question of whether you have entered into it, or whether you enjoy it; there is the place, the heavenly portion for you, and you ought to enjoy it. John never puts you in heaven as Paul does; but he wants you to get a certain comfort from the fact that you have a place there.

There is a warning in Deuteronomy 11, as to being careless in the possession of the land; and I notice in people who are careless as to their heavenly calling, that they are worse off than if they had never left Egypt; there they had the water of the river; in the land they have nothing; the rain is stayed from them, and the earth yields not its fruit. A christian is sometimes less happy than a worldly man; he is not worse off as to the future, but he is as to the present, for he has neither the world nor the Lord, and this simply because he is not faithful.

God allowed the Philistines to remain, but still you will find that decline came in through their being there. It is an old remark that people are often more careful as to their walk when they are just coming out of Egypt than they are when they are established. This is very specious. A person may be very happy in what he possesses, and yet all the time be allowing something, which he ought to destroy, to remain and be tributary to him. I say you are losing ground if you do; you would have subdued this thing once, but now you do not because it is tributary to you.

We find the tribe of Levi here without any inheritance; they were in the land, enjoying all the fruits of it, though not owning it themselves. And this is very much the place that we shall hold in the millennium: we shall have the enjoyment of

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all the holy things of God, but we shall not be on the earth.

It is an immense thing for the soul to get hold of the simple fact that God delights in our having possession. God commands us to go in and possess; and there is an enjoyment connected with it -- an enjoyment that eye has not seen nor ear heard.


The two and a half tribes get heaven; they suffer for heaven; but they never enjoy heaven. They are within the inheritance -- the Euphrates -- but they have not crossed the Jordan. All the fighting men had to suffer, but these never knew what it was to take a direct heavenly position.

But now we get in Caleb the character of the man, and the privileges and advantages of the man who walks in simple faith towards God. There is such a thing as general blessing and particular blessing. For instance, in John 20, "peace" is a general blessing; but He teaches Mary Magdalene individually; He says to her, "Go to my brethren and say unto them;" she has got this before they have it. The faithful one always gets the advantage; there is no such thing as any one losing in this world for Christ; he loses temporarily, but on the whole he does not, because "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith;" there is manifold more even in this present time.

So here Caleb. He was faithful all through; he was sent to spy out the land, and the very spot that discouraged the other spies was the one that fell to his share. He gives us a picture of the privileged position of one who does not decline. God always gives us a sample in His word of what a man can be.

I look upon Hebron as a contrast to Gilgal. You start to fight from Gilgal; but Hebron is the place

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of rest. It is the place of rest, the place of rendezvous, and the place of the throne. Abraham was the heavenly man, travelling a pilgrim and a stranger through the earth, and there he finds a grave; it is there Sarah dies and is buried. For the heavenly man on earth there is only a grave.

But what is very remarkable is that Hebron also was the city that frightened all Israel and prevented their going up to possess the promised land. And it was "built seven years before Zoan in Egypt;" it was a very old city. Looked at in connection with Satan it is the place of fear -- of "wicked spirits in heavenly places", as Ephesians tells us. And this gives us a wonderful moral lesson: the place of the greatest difficulty becomes the place of the greatest victory; the place that was the stronghold of the enemy becomes the place the most distinguished by the power of Christ: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" I die at Hebron as a natural man; it is the only way I can get rid of the enemy; and there where the grave was, is for the saints the rendezvous after battle; there faith triumphs. Where I die there I get the victory.

And not only this, but, if I overcome there, I shall also reign there. Hebron is, lastly, the throne; David was crowned there.

Thus we get these two things in Hebron: there is the heavenly man walking on earth by faith, and to him there is a burying place here; I am a man on earth with heavenly hopes going on to heaven. But I am also a king and a priest, and I know what a wonderful thing it is to be superior to everything here that opposes my possession of that place that is given me in heaven. Every saint ought to be both an Abraham and a Caleb. Stephen is both: he finds a burying place here, and he goes to glory; in him also it comes out that the hope of Israel is over -- that Sarah is buried.

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But in connection with the law of the battle there is a point that we may do well to notice. You will find it in Numbers 31. The blessing at first sight appears to be general, but there is really a difference between those who took an active part in the battle and those who did not, though it says that those who stayed at home and those who went to war were to share and share alike. If they went to war and brought back as spoil a thousand head of cattle, they divided with those who remained at home, five hundred to each. But has the man who went to war then no advantage? Yes, he has. He gives only one out of his five hundred, and that, too, direct to the Lord; it is the priest's portion. But the others had to give one out of every fifty, and that to the Levites.

I believe this explains what abounds in the church now; people holding truth which they have never fought for themselves. 'The sixpence you make, wears like steel'. It is a very solemn thing if the truth you have gained has not brought you nearer to God. I do not object to Levitical service, but I say, Do we know anything of priestly? What you have won in battle brings you into communion with God in a way that non-fighters never know. No person is able to maintain the truth who is not a living example of it; you cannot put any one higher than you are yourself. And I think it is a very low condition of things when people will suffer for service and not for truth. I ought to feel that I have Satan to do with, and that I mean to get this place which our Father's counsel has for me. I see four things leading me on to the highest point: first, the Father's counsel; second, the Son has accomplished it for me; third, the Holy Spirit is working it in me; and fourth, the servant's duty is to lead me to it. So we are all set for the top; and I believe Satan is determinately set against any one who is determined to reach it; he will bring all his forces to bear upon

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that one. It is the place where you are assailed most, but it is the path of power. Whenever Satan sees a person going on well, he always lays a snare for him, and a snare is a thing that it is easy to get into, and difficult to get out of. When you have been going on well is just the time for him; as we have been seeing, it was after the victory of Jericho came the defeat. If you set yourself for possession, I doubt not you will get plenty of trouble; but I would sooner have power on my side and plenty of enemies, than I would have no enemies and no power.

So Caleb, this faithful man, if you ask what advantage he got over the rest, I answer, he got the great stronghold Hebron. We might think that one who did not go through so much was quite as well off; but he was not. The point is to see what a much better thing it is to follow the Lord fully.

There is a very beautiful thing in 1 Samuel 30, in connection with this, as to whether we are set for it. Here David's men were quite ready to go with him; they set out to go, but David would not hear of it: "they were so faint that they could not follow". And when they returned with the spoil he made all "part alike". His men were worn out, they were faint; it was not a matter of indifference with them as to whether they went with him or not. And thus it is a very comforting passage to us, for some may not be able to proceed, still they have purpose of heart, and this will not be forgotten.


Here we get another mention of Caleb. I have always thought that he could not carry it out fully himself, and so his brother's son helped to carry it out. The idea is that they cleared their property -- that they were a family of faith.

Caleb, as a spy, was a servant of God. God, I

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believe, opens out to His servants what He is going to do, so that they may lead His people into it. The other spies behaved exceedingly badly; they inspired the people with their own fears. I have often admired the way in which Joshua sank back into the ranks of the people, to come out again when his day came. He and Caleb, instead of getting all that which they had faith to take possession of, had to go wandering through the wilderness for forty years. Caleb is one who stands out as a type of what the church ought to be; he says, "I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me". Faith never grows old.

Verse 63 -- Here we get Jerusalem with the Jebusites in it, and "Judah could not drive them out". It was David who "took the stronghold of Zion: the same is the city of David". It is remarkable that David at the close of his history recalls the mighty men that he had during his rejection, not during his royalty.

And the Lord looking down through all these years -- it is not so much the church as the servants that are before Him; when the church failed it was the servants who commenced it; it is the evil servant who says in his heart, "My Lord delayeth his coming". And when the cry came and ministry revived, there was a revival of the saints. I do not exonerate the congregation, but to a certain point I excuse them. In the epistles to the churches it is "the angel" that is addressed; and this angel is not simply one person, a particular gift, as is often thought. The church itself is looked upon as the angel; it might fail in being a true representative before the Lord; but if there were but one faithful person, like Gaius, it would be responded to by him. It is remarkable that with Gaius comes an exclusiveness that never was before: there is the exclusive name of "friends" -- those who were really friendly; it is not the

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generic name of "brethren;" some were evidently hostile; Diotrephes was. But the apostle supposes "an ear to hear;" and this makes everything more definite at the close.

Well, I think Caleb's history is a very encouraging one. He says, "If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land", and I am sure we can say, He does delight in us, and He has brought us in. I feel that, having such things, we owe an immense responsibility towards the rest of the saints in Dublin. A Caleb has immense responsibility towards others: "Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire". It is not seeking to proselytise, but to deliver. "Of some have compassion, making a difference", you must deal gently with them; others it can only be "with fear". And when we look at David's mighty men we see they did not war so much for the good of David as for the good of his country; it was a patriotic thing. It was a public act -- not a sectarian one, if I am to speak plainly.


We find now that some of the tribes have full possession, but not all of them; still, there is some failure in each of them, as we find in the last verse of chapter 15. There is a point where each fails; the lot of their inheritance they have in possession, but there are still enemies. So in the last verse of this chapter.


Here we find the same as to the half tribe of Manasseh; it is the lesson that we never do attain to full possession. I do not mean that there is a lack of faithfulness, but still it is a fact. We have always

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something to attain to. It is impossible to suppose that you can reach perfection here; the actual possession is in measure. It is a never ceasing warfare; it is not because a person has got firm on the ground that there is a point where there is nothing to conquer. You must be always attaining.

In another place it says God allowed the nations to continue in the land, lest the wild beasts should increase upon them; and it is a wonderful thing how the world protects the people of God from evil and violence in that way. A wicked man will not defraud a christian, because men in general would not stand it; so the fear of men in general secures you your rights.

But you never can say that you have done everything, that all is cleared away. So it is a great mischief to a saint when he thinks that he has made such a good stand, that there is nothing more left to do; as for instance, a man giving up the army, and thinking it so great a thing, that nothing more is needed. As a writer once said: 'It is the most unfortunate thing for most men to do a great action, because they then think they never need do another'.

When Peter left the ship to walk on the water, the Lord might have said to him, Do not think you will never have to do this again; for the fact was, the ship did tempt him again. There may be a trial before you -- a renunciation that you have never had before. Or it may be some favour; as God said to Gideon, "Bring them down to the water;" a mercy often tries people more than a trial.

The enemies are people who encroach on your property, and at the same time infect you with their society.

Verse 13 -- Here we get it again. Here is where the mistake is: "They put the Canaanites to tribute, but did not utterly drive them out". A

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person may say, I cannot drive them all out. But the question is, Do you set yourself to do so? When they put them under tribute, they ceased to drive them out. It is almost better for a man not to be a heavenly man at all, than to say he is, and not maintain it. He is like a bird with a wounded wing; he cannot walk, and he cannot fly; he is neither fit for land nor sky. Nothing can stand but the heavenly man. The Lord walked through this earth as a heavenly man; though here in human nature, and having perfect sympathy with human weakness apart from sin, He was ever "the Son of man who is in heaven". It was not that He adopted man's feelings and gave them a gilding; it was divine feelings exhibited in a man.

Believers agree in saying they are new creatures; but that is not true; a butterfly is a new creature; but we are a new creation. It is not one creature altered into another creature of the same creation, but it is a new creation altogether. This is the argument of 1 Corinthians 15. It is not a question of what we shall be, but the apostle is showing, by the present state of things, that there are now different kinds of flesh, and that then there will be the heavenly man as well as the earthly one.

And I am now to carry out this new creation in the old one. If I say the old creation is a barrier to my carrying out the new, then I am impugning my Creator. The eye is all right in itself; it is the will that works it that makes the mischief; so I carry about in my body, "the dying of the Lord Jesus", that I may be getting rid of everything that hinders my being a true exponent of the life of Jesus upon earth. He is the head of the new creation. The Old Testament is the history of the old man under trial, and that is always failure: the New Testament is the second man, and that is always success. Everything

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is brought out again in Christ that had failed in Adam: the first man was tried in every conceivable way; innocence, conscience, law -- every way; and then Christ comes in.

Verses 16 - 18 -- This gives us fresh conquests. You can get an accession -- an increase -- to what you already possess. Thus, a person may get in advance beyond his brethren in heavenly things, because of his faithfulness. An interesting thought in connection with this, is the way in which the Lord gave Mary Magdalene Ephesian truth which He does not propound to the assembly. He gave the message to her; He considered her to be in a fit state to receive it, and state is what is required. You will find that every servant of God is put through a state of things which will fit him to give out to others the trust that God reveals to him. God puts each where He will be able best to expound the truth He has given him. Paul in prison is in the fit place to declare heavenly truth; and John in Patmos is in the fit place to see what God thought of the earth. If you were to transpose them, you would not have either in the fit place to carry out his ministry. John was an exile on earth, having nothing, and so the Lord shows him all the condition of things that will be on the earth. Paul was in prison for the mystery, and God shows him what heaven is and the glory of it. You see this continually in the Old Testament prophets. The Lord brings His servant into a state of things which will make him not a mere automaton, like a pump bringing up water, but where what He teaches in word may be learned practically.

Well you are "a great people;" the greatness is there; but if you are great, you must prove your greatness; you may have a double and a larger portion of the heavenly position, but you will have to fight for it.

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Verse 1 -- There is the possibility of getting such a sense of possession that it gives a person rest for the time, so that they can turn to God. They "set up the tabernacle". I think, without pressing the thing too much, that we now get into the true place of worshipping God.

Verses 4 - 6 -- What is the meaning of these three men out of each tribe? The seven tribes do not get their turn yet I think it answers to the ministry. You see service is never over. A man never can say he has done serving the church -- edifying the body of Christ -- no one can ever say he has done enough. I suppose the number three shows that there is a sure testimony. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established".

Very often difficulties in the word of God prove the occasions for the unfolding of the greatest light. I think people ought not to be in a hurry to find out the meaning of a thing; it is well to raise questions for yourself; to say, What does this mean?


Verses 49 - 51 -- This is very interesting. It reminds us of "his inheritance in the saints". I have a very happy feeling about this division of the land. I think my place is assigned to me in heaven, though I have not got it yet. No one else will get it; it is appointed for me; each lot falls to the right man; no other can take it; you will have your own, whether you are in possession now or not. First two and a half tribes are put in possession as an earnest: and thus we are sealed, we have "the earnest of the spirit", and so we worship God: the tabernacle is set up; and then the rest of the land

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is to be explored and divided, and each person to get his lot.


The Levites are men not so much occupied with the enjoyment of Canaan as with leading the people of God into Canaan. They have not possession of the land, but they have dwelling places in it. It is another thing the whole army fighting to take possession, and this one tribe set apart to keep the people's hearts in connection with God. Real service is always to bring the soul to God. If I am in the enjoyment of God myself, I want to bring souls into the same enjoyment; if the Scriptures are unfolded to me, I want to bring other souls into the understanding of them; therefore the Levites and the priests were all connected with the sanctuary, that they might bring the people into the nearness to God in which they were themselves. We come from Christ now as really appointed and gifted to draw souls near to Him. That is true service.

Verse 13 -- It is very interesting to see that Hebron becomes one of the cities of the Levites, as well as a city of refuge. Caleb gives it up to them, and especially to the children of Aaron the priest. The cities were marked out; they were appointed to them; they were dwellers in the land rather than taking it as their inheritance: "They which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar". It is interesting to see this one tribe wholly given to the service of God, dwelling in cities scattered all over the country, making the service of God their object. As the people were more devoted to God the Levites were better looked after; and, as the people began to decline, we find the Levites were neglected in proportion. I never saw a person yet who made little of ministry in the word, that he was in a good state.

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Of course one may not be edified, but the thing is to seek it. In ministry, saints often come together to be acted upon instead of coming to help. No one is ever really disappointed who comes in the spirit of "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it;" out of stones He can make bread, and He can turn a very little thing into immense profit to a soul. But I find saints come together expecting to be acted upon; it is a very different thing if I come expecting to hear something I am to act on.


Verses 10 - 20 -- We now get the two and a half tribes building an altar. What is this? Did they build it to escape going to Shiloh?

It is the failure of the epistle to the Hebrews; there they tried to make an earthly worship on a heavenly ground; they did not mean to give up the tabernacle. Here the people had not got into the true position. In Hebrews they did not understand that they were to take a heavenly position before God on earth.

We find in this altar the principle which is the root of all idolatry: it was "a great altar to see to". When Aaron made the calf he never thought of giving up God; all he wanted was something visible -- something to appeal to the eye. The thing was to get a representation. Now there was to be no representation of God but Christ, and not that until Christ came. Here it was the altar -- not an idol. And this is the character of all the systems that have been set up on earth. The excuse given is that they are needed to meet the weakness of man; something "to see to". It is seeking to bring God to man's ground, instead of man to God's. But God has come down to the lowest point of humiliation in order to exalt man to the highest point of the creature. The greatness

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of the grace is in the humiliation to which He descended, and so it is called "the riches of his grace". But getting a something "to see to", is losing the place of divine power. The whole thing is really a conflict between the visible and the invisible: "the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal;" it is the invisible God that we have to do with.

It was subtle. They did not mean to do it; but they wanted something to connect itself with their natural senses. But I am never either to take from or to add to God's word. One of the most specious reasons for system given by the Rationalists is, that you must have a church to suit the temperament of the people -- a church to suit ignorant people, and another to suit the learned. That is just the rationalism of man. I do not want an altar "to see to;" if I do I am going counter to God's altar. "We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle", so that we are outside the Jewish polity. Unbelief and independence go together.

If you say, the Lord suffered it, I admit it; He suffers many a thing that He does not commend. He let the people have a king when they desired one. Even in one's own life we have seen how God, as it were, says, If you will have it so, then try it. I have the strongest feeling about asking God to give me merely temporal things.

Verses 21 - 34 -- We see they entirely repudiated the notion that it was an altar for worship; but there was true zeal for the Lord on the part of the other tribes; they were afraid of what it might come to.

We are to get great principles from this book. If we just look over what has come out, we find that we have possession of the land, a limited position in it, given to us by lot; we have the cities of refuge;

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we have the Levites in their cities; and then we get the failure that comes up -- the altar. The people decide against it, but still there it stands. Ed is placed there, though it has been met with a storm of holy zeal for God, with the resolve that there should not be another altar -- that nothing should be super-added.


Now we come to what will lead to the loss, the forfeiture, of the heavenly standing. We have seen that it is the purpose of God to have us in that standing, and that to that end there is no measure to the power that He will give us; He would have us in the enjoyment of it. We have seen the failure, through want of purpose of heart, of the two and a half tribes; but now that the land has rest from war, and that the possession of the other tribes is a settled thing, the servant of God sets forth to the people how they would forfeit all this great possession -- how it would come to pass by their leaving the inhabitants of the land in their midst, and their being corrupted by them. This would lead to their departure from God, and then they would quickly lose everything; forfeiture would come. A person may be dispensationally right, and yet be "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked", as the Lord says to Laodicea. As Moses had said to them in Deuteronomy 28"Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies, which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things". A person is sometimes far more careful to reach a point than to maintain it. This is just what Israel was. It is evident if you do not enjoy what you

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possess, that you are not entering into the value of what you have. So the apostle says, "Rejoice in the Lord". It is not possible that the Lord should allow a person to be brought into a high position and yet leave him there when he is incompetent to maintain it. People often think position is everything but position always requires condition. It is right, certainly, to stand up for position; but, I repeat it, the moral gain from position is condition.

False worship becomes the snare of the land. Deuteronomy gives us the difference that there is between the wilderness and Canaan, and between Egypt and Canaan. The eighth chapter gives us the wilderness and Canaan; the eleventh, Egypt and Canaan. When you come to the wilderness trials, it is not false worship that is your danger, but in Canaan this is the snare. In the wilderness it is more your own private trials and the like -- you are pining for something that you have not got. But now that the people are dwelling in cities that they never built, and possessing vineyards that they never planted, false worship becomes their danger. Joshua, the leader, sets before them what would cause their failure -- departure from the Lord their God; he is, like Peter in his second epistle, as the shepherd of the flock looking at what will cause it: the tendency is failure.

The snare is association with the people who belong to the land. That is man. It is always man that is the thing to be afraid of. You cannot read the psalms without seeing that man is the oppressor. Balaam's advice holds good to this day: try and get them to be social; try and get them to mix with you. It is the old principle, that, by thus acting, the very best thing becomes the very worst. I have heard it maintained that the epistle to the Ephesians could not have been written to that church, because they were warned of such gross evils. But that is exactly

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the case; it is the man that goes highest that is the one who falls lowest; one high up, if he do fall, it must be a great fall. So the church at Ephesus when it fails takes the lead in failure.

There is nothing more seductive than man. Solomon was drawn away by marrying strange wives. Nothing shows such a lack of spirituality in a saint as his getting on in worldly company; and by this I do not mean grossly bad people, but people with whom he cannot have communion. It is then the Nazarite loses his hair. The moment you fall to the level of a person, you have lost your power with him; you have lost your hair, which is the sign. I may say, of your singularity. But how about business? you ask. Well, business is like a horse in a

mill: it is no pleasure to the horse, but it is his work, and he gets it done and over as soon as he can. People who keep worldly company always show it in their ways; it is curious to see how even staying one week in a worldly house often makes one trim oneself up in one's dress to suit them. A man rubbing up against a whitewashed wall gets the colour of it. And what does not appear at all worldly in worldly company, looks very much so when you are out of it. The burden of every epistle is, keep clear of the world. But, say some, I shall not get into their religious ways, if I mix with them; I shall have nothing to do with their false gods. You cannot be sure of that; if you get into the world you will get into its lusts, and it says, covetousness, which is idolatry -- covetousness, the wish to obtain anything which God has not given you. Your great power against the enemy is fasting and prayer: fasting, refusing to minister to the man; while prayer keeps you dependent on God; you must take the place of separation from them. But, you say, this will be a very strait-laced life. And so it would, were it not that I have a better thing. Canaan is larger

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than the world, and it is larger than the wilderness. In the wilderness there are no cities to dwell in, no vineyards to enjoy the fruit of; and in Egypt I have to water with my foot -- nothing without toil; whilst in Canaan I have the rain from heaven. It is a miserable thing when a christian thinks every one in the world is better off than himself. Canaan is a type of the heaven we are now in, and of the spiritual blessings that we now enjoy in Christ; there are enemies there, and it is not the Father's house, but we have enjoyment there, and the tabernacle is set up there. It is the enemies there that are our danger; Jude tells us of men who have "crept in unawares" who are "spots in your feasts". "wandering stars;" it is the people who have crept in who have done the mischief; "cursed children", as Peter calls them. Each has his peculiar difficulty to overcome, each will meet with enemies; as John says, the snare of "babes" is men; the snare of "young men" is the world. The "fathers" have no snare; I do not mean they do not have trials, difficulties, and so on, but they have found rest of heart in Christ -- "him that is from the beginning".


Verses 1 - 15 -- Joshua reminds the people two or three times in this address that they were idolators at first, and that therefore there is a natural tendency in them to go back to idolatry.

It must have been a very interesting moment when Joshua confronted the tribes in this way at Shechem, and when he forecast their future to them as Jacob did, and Moses. What a sad thing for the servant of God, after long service, to thus have true forecastings as to the failure that would come after his departure. Here, after a long and blessed campaign, putting the people in possession of the land,

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he sees that failure is imminent; and certainly nothing can be more pitiable than their history after this: carried away into Babylon they perish from off the good land which the Lord gave them.

There is enough to keep us humble in looking back to what we have been. We see the mighty hand of God; He has brought us into this wealthy place, and it enhances His grace to look back and see the state of wretchedness which he has brought us out of. As the apostle puts it: "Such were some of you". You could not remember that you had been poor unless you were now rich; it is the very fact of being set in this wondrous position that enables you to go back in thought to your former one. When in worship, being set high, we can look back to the low; it is not necessary to begin low, though often a meeting does begin in a low tone and rise to a high one, like Habakkuk, who begins his prayer upon variable notes and ends on stringed instruments. But this is not Deuteronomy 26; there worship begins; and it is not well to drop low to see how you can rise.

Verse 14 -- This is our responsibility.

Verse 19 -- Joshua is fully aware of the state of things, just as Moses was; he had no expectation from the people: They were too confident; as the scripture says: "A fool rageth and is confident". They said just what they did to Moses, "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do". But Joshua did not believe in them.

Verses 26, 27 -- He says, I have no confidence in you, but in this stone I have. It has heard all the words that I have spoken, and it will retain them. I believe this stone is Christ. So here Joshua falls back upon the stone, and writes all the words on it, and says to the people, I hear your declaration, and I have no confidence in it; but I will tell you in what I have confidence: in this stone, the Rock of Israel; "I have confidence in you, through the Lord".

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Verse 32 -- Joseph's bones being brought was the proof that they expected resurrection in the land. The idea was, that he was to rise where he was buried. And so, morally, I say we rise where we are buried.

The close of the book is very like the close of the day: it does come to a close, but it is with the hope for every one that we are coming to the morning -- that eternal morning when Christ Himself will be the perfect witness. But you cannot let the book flow through your mind without its bringing very distinctly before you the wonderful working of God, the desire of His heart to set you upon heavenly ground, and the terrible character of opposition that you are subject to from your fellow-man and Satan upon the earth.

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John 17:26

The Lord concludes this wonderful chapter by stating what He had done, and what He would do. What He would do was to bring His disciples into the same condition on earth in which He was Himself. "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them". This was not the love of God to the sinner. True enough, it was love that reached the sinner. "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 it is something inconceivable that we are here as much the objects of the Father's love as His own blessed Son, the One who pleased Him in every detail, glorified Him in every act and word on earth. So He says here, "The love wherewith thou hast loved me" -- they may know the very same love that I do. It is something impossible to grasp, poor, feeble things as we are, continually warped by one thing and the other; it is too wonderful a thing that we should be learning here, that the Lord educates us into the same love that He has Himself; and nothing gives a man such dignity as the knowledge that he is loved by one superior to himself.

The true saint is like a star in the sky -- perfectly independent in itself, but in perfect harmony with every other one; the fellowship is there, but the individuality is there too. As the apostle says, "I have learned to be satisfied in myself": that is, I am self-contained; and nothing gives such self-containedness as the knowledge of perfect love Would that we knew more about it, all in concert,

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all blended together. One star does not light one part of the sky and another that. If you brought the brightest lamp in the world into this room, it would not put out the others; it would only join them, and all work together. That is fellowship; and at the same time we are all self-contained, satisfied in ourselves. We work in concert, but that does not destroy or take away for a moment our independence, though I do not like the word. But I have learned to be satisfied in myself; I do not go outside myself to seek satisfaction. That is the wonderful place that a christian is in. He ought never to go outside himself; for, as the Lord says to the woman of Samaria, I can make you perfectly happy, so that you need never to go outside yourself. I know what you are -- a wretched creature who has looked in vain for happiness in this world. You have had five husbands already; you know what all earthly joy is; but I will give you something that is inexhaustible -- you shall never thirst: it "shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life" -- a thing you can never get to the end of, You may say you have not so much as you might have, and that is true, but still it is in you.

Now the Lord Jesus Christ concludes this wonderful chapter by saying, "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it". Thus He declares that you know the Father, and that you know the Father's love. You might know a person and yet not know his love. But that is the order: you know Him first. As with a child, it knows its mother a long time before it knows her love. So you know the Father.

If I turn to John's first epistle, I find the babes -- the lowest class -- know the Father. I cannot say that all believers are up to this class, but Scripture does not recognise a lower one. "I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father".

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That is the third class. There is nothing looked at lower. It does not say they have known the love. Every babe -- the youngest -- knows the Father; and, of course, the action of divine grace is the love of the Father. A babe in arms knows its mother, how she caresses it and the like, but, as it grows up, it learns the love the mother has for it. The reason why there is this defect -- that there are not more of the babes who know the Father -- is because of the way the gospel is presented to the soul.

There are two aspects of the gospel. There is the way it affects you. You say I have received great comfort; oil and wine He has poured in, He has healed my wounds; my poor heart and conscience are wonderfully relieved by the grace of God. But that is not all; if you stop there you do not speak of God at all; you speak of His goodness to you. If you limit yourself to that, you are limited to your own feelings about it, and the effect it has upon yourself only, and of the relief it has brought you from the terrible distress of a wounded heart. But the prodigal son says, My father kissed me. The first notice he had of grace reaching him, though not the first work of it he had, was the father falling on his neck and kissing him. When it comes to that side, what would such a soul say? He would say, Well, I know at least how my father feels; I know how he received me; I have the knowledge of the Father. So the very first action of grace towards the prodigal was to show him the will of the Father. This makes a very great difference between what he could say, and what the man who fell among thieves could say.

The gospel tells me what a wonderful thing it is that God could meet my conscience; but also it conveys to me that there is a thought in the heart of God about an undeserving person like me. And there is this lack in many a one who can talk of the

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wonderful relief that he has got from the grace of Christ, for the very reason that he did not know where it came from. But if I know it, I can always count on having it again. I know my Father to begin with; I have to learn the greatest thing afterwards -- the love of the Father in me; but I still know the love of the Father has reached me, and therefore there is no grade given lower than the babe that knows the Father.

To a soul that talks to me only of how happy it is as knowing the finished work of Christ, I can but answer, Well, that is all very well, as long as it is smooth water, but when it gets rough, what will you do? I can say I am anchored in the love of God, and, though I may swing on my moorings. I can never be moved, for I am in safe anchorage. All here comes to me from one spring, and that spring is the heart of God. You must connect your heart with the love and not with the benefit, otherwise you have not got established, I am not only clear of everything that was against me, but I am brought into a new kind of love -- the love of the Father. It is not merely His power. His greatness, but it is the knowledge of what He is in Himself to me: "I will declare it".

I believe we should have a great many more hymns to the Father if we were more in this knowledge; not that I am against hymns praising the Saviour for the wonderful work He has wrought, but if we were really in the sense of the sphere in which we are, and He leading the praises in it, we would have a great many more to the Father, He leading us into the consciousness of the place into which He has brought us.

One passage more in connection with this subject; it is Galatians 4:6: "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father". You see it is an entirely new

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sphere, one you get into by the Spirit of God; a new origin altogether: life is come out in a fuller way -- it is more developed; it is now "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly". As an illustration it seems to me that Old Testament saints were like a bird in the nest: it has life, but it has never flown out of it. But in the New Testament the saint is in a new sphere, like the bird in the air. I believe no christian ever gets thoroughly free until he sees, not only that he has a new nature, but a new sphere. God does not send forth His Spirit to make you a son; He did that before; but "because ye are sons" the Spirit is sent. I have got into a new sphere, new power, new relationship -- some of the intelligence that Christ had of the Father. It is not the same measure -- no one could think it was -- but it is the same character. If you can call God your Father with the smallest particle of the intelligence of Christ -- and it must be that, or you are not a son -- you have got the Holy Spirit with the intelligence of Christ. He "hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father". I need not go into the variety of blessings that the Spirit of God brings in, but I am in relationship with the Father, and I have a divine sphere where I can enjoy my divine origin.

I now turn to 1 John 2 to see how this love comes out; we read in verse 14, "I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one". Now that is addressed to young men, not babes -- to those who are strong, who have overcome the wicked one, and who have the word of God abiding in them; very fine christians. But take care; the world is your snare; and not the bad world either, for you have overcome it; "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If

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any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him".

Mind you now, the Lord in John 16 closed the chapter by showing the disciples that they are to overcome the world, and, in chapter 17 that they were to have instead of it the Father. He could say: I can go through the world; I made it; I know the beauty of it far better than anyone, for I saw it before the trail of the serpent was on it; I knew how to make it according to the Father's pleasure, and We Both looked upon it and saw it was very good. And when I came to it, did I get anything out of it? No, nothing. I looked for figs and there were none. The mere creation did not know Him though He was in it. And now He says, I am going to instruct you, My people, into such a knowledge of the love of the Father as shall make you superior to the world. So "if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him".

The knowledge of this love puts you above everything that is in the world. Get the most beautiful scenery, the most lovely things of any kind, they will not love you; you may love them, and they may feed the natural tastes of your heart, but there is no love. But the Lord would acquaint us with the love of the Father as that which makes us superior to all that is in the world; and it will make you so self-contained, that you can say: I am not looking round for anything; I do not want things here to tell me of that love, for I interpret all by that love. Souls are very much damaged by dwelling on the different ways in which God's love has met them in different circumstances; it is not circumstances, it is Christ that is to educate me into the love of the Father. I have the greatest teacher and the greatest lesson: the Son Himself is my teacher; and He teaches me the wonderful nature of the love of the Father.

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I believe, if you knew something of this love, you would say your life was a most interesting thing, for everything in it is bringing out the love of the Father. There may be a reverse here, an affliction there, and a trial on beyond, but it is all to teach you the love of the Father. And there is a great deal more love shown in His checking you by some trial or sorrow, than by His allowing Satan to present something to you that will attract you and draw you away from the Father. Who is best able to judge what is suitable to me here -- my own heart, or the heart of the Father? This is a thing that we do not get to at once. Of course, we would sooner have a bright day than a stormy one, but earthly favour always tests you, because it is an opportunity for your weak point, whereas in trial you always turn to God. Were Gideon's men proof to favour? So people are always looking for what is pleasing to themselves; and if you make your own heart a criterion for what you are to have, you are like Job. You are not to look upon yourself as a person entitled to favour. When Job acknowledges that he is vile -- when he says, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes;" then God says, Have any favour you like -- double! A man is not fit for earthly favour until he acknowledges he is not fit for any; and generally people only have favours that they may surrender them. Abraham says, I will not have the green fields; I will not choose; and Lot chooses.

Practical work is the thing; and the question is, Are you getting on with this great Teacher? Are you listening to Him? Do not tell me you are looking at this or that circumstance; I suppose every one of us could write books as to all that God has done for us, but the love of the Father is the greatest thing that ever can be shown us. Supposing things do not come as I wish them: well, I say I must learn the love of the Father in them. Thus my life becomes

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a most interesting history: every little circumstance, every little thing I meet here on earth, I have the key to in this love; I can explain it all. Others may not be able to understand, but it is a cypher between Him and me, and I do not want any one else to know it; it is enough that I know it myself. All I want people to see is the grace that is in me because I have learned this great lesson from this great Teacher.

Do not make yourself an object, but "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God" that He may make you one -- "that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you". "Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind; for all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things". You would be surprised, if you knew how to interpret His love, to see how it cares for you in everything. There is a danger of getting what I would call sentimental about this, and if you are sentimental in divine things you lose the whole power of them; it is imitating the oil of the sanctuary, and the soul that did that was to be cut off. But the soul should get the sense that it is to deal with everything on this new ground: thank God, it is a fine day; well, I hope it will not be a snare to me. It is a rough day; well, thank God, I belong to a sphere where all is pure and bright.

May each one of us know what it is to celebrate the coronation day -- the day when Christ is crowned in our heart. Abraham made a feast when Isaac was given his proper place in his house; and your greatest day here is the day when your heart keeps festival in the knowledge that Christ is crowned King there. After that, though you may see all go in death, as he did, you are risen in the light of the resurrection day -- in the light of the eternal day.

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You have begun eternity; it is time no longer -- it is eternity.

May our hearts get such a lesson in the love of the Father, that, instead of being depressed by trying circumstances, or elated by what are called providential interpositions, we may know that we are the objects of this wonderful love, and are being educated into it by the only One who knew it in all its power as He walked here below through this wilderness world.

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Ephesians 5:25

The apostle here speaks of the manner of the love of Christ. He can in another place tell of His love as an individual thing to himself, and each of us can well say with him "He loved me, and gave himself for me".

Now, it is important for us to see how far we have entered into this love. No doubt the love is there, but when we enter into it is only when we in some measure enter into His own sphere -- there where there is nothing to hinder our acquaintance with Him. But we find that we are often occupied with a great deal that is connected with Christ and connected with ourselves, and yet that is not Christ. Of course, we are all at first occupied with the service, but it is a greater thing to be occupied with the One who did the service. The woman who touched the hem of His garment had an immense idea of Christ: she wanted to touch One who had not only such power for perfect blessing, but who also so delighted to communicate the blessing. "If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole". She had an immense idea of what He was -- of what God in His nature was; as it says, "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him". "If I may but touch his garment".

But more than this. She has not got to His love yet, though she has got to His service. But she has to do more than that; the Lord will not let her stop there. Perhaps no one in this room has ever had a greater idea of the Lord Jesus Christ, ready to serve the suffering and the helpless, than she had; but she

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has not reached the knowledge of His heart. Do you mean to tell me that there are not people on earth who have touched His garment for healing to their souls, and yet who have never known His heart? I hope to show you that there is a very different result when we have reached His love. I propose to bring before you cases of persons in different states of soul with regard to this, so that each may have an opportunity of seeing to which class he belongs, and that we may thus be shown how the difficulty is met, and the soul brought into conscious relation with the heart of Christ. The knowledge of Christ's love culminates in heaven. If I want to know the Father's love, the Son teaches me. If I would know Christ's love, in heaven it passes knowledge.

The first scripture I call your attention to is Genesis 50:15 - 21.

Now this passage alludes primarily to the restoration of Israel to Christ in the day when He shall be made known to them, and they will be made sensible of what His love is. But it also brings before us a class of souls that has not yet reached the knowledge of the love of Christ, though they have of the service of Christ. This knowledge does not come at the moment of reaching His service. When the children of Israel put the blood on the door-post, did they enter into the fact that the lamb had to be roasted with fire? No; it was afterwards. And Paul, did he know at first the work of Christ, and why he was not consumed in the glory? No; it was in those three days during which he was "without sight, and neither did eat nor drink". It was then he was made to enter into all the judgment of the law -- into what Christ went through for sin; it was then he learned how God could bring one like him into His own presence.

In this passage in Genesis we have a beautiful figure of the gospel. Jacob sends Joseph to see how

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his brethren fare, and they first cast him into a pit and then sell him to the Ishmaelites, who carry him down into Egypt, where he is first a slave and then a prisoner before being raised to the throne. With the famine there come the tidings of relief, and the brothers go down to Egypt, and find there is food to he got from Joseph only. He receives them, and they live upon his bounty for seventeen years; but they never knew his heart all this time, though they enjoyed his service. And do you not think souls go on in the state of not knowing what Christ is? If these brethren had been asked what they thought of Joseph, they would have said, there never was such a brother. Had they ever got at his heart? Never. This does not come until the father dies -- until death supervenes; and then they are brought into the terrible light. They never had a disclosure of his heart until now; both things come out together: We "did unto thee evil", and "Joseph wept when they spake unto him". And he says, "As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not". And then it adds, "I will nourish you, and your little ones" -- I will now let you into the depths of love that are in my heart. And "he comforted them, and spake" to their hearts.

There is an entirely new sense, a new link as to Christ, that the brethren have got into here. They have reached his heart, the spring of all, and they can say, All my interests are His. Just as the Lord says to Zacchaeus, "Come down, for today I must abide at thy house;" we are going to God's house, but until we get there He will come to ours. He says, "I will nourish you, and your little ones;" weak things that you cannot look after, I will. Practically, it is what the soul knows when it receives the Holy Spirit: "The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the

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Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all the things which I have said to you".

There are only three classes, however, which I wish to bring before you this evening; and in the first of these I see my guilt. There was a time, whatever you may be now, when you did not like to hear the name of Christ spoken of; there was a time when you did not relish it; there was a time when, though you would not say anything offensive to the one who did so, for you were too well brought up for that, yet you could not tolerate him -- and what was that but hatred? -- "He that hateth his brother is a murderer".

The real loss in souls is that they have never got to Christ. They have never come to close quarters. As the woman: when she saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and fell down before Him, and "He said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace". I see it continually in people, and I say you never have been close to Him yet; there is a screen between you and Him. For that very reason I think God sometimes brings people almost to death, that they may know what it is to be outside everything with Christ alone. It is, He says, that you have not touched my heart, and it is with many a soul as with the bride in the Canticles, "I sleep, but my heart waketh;" and the Lord will not let them stay in such a state. A sense of depression often comes over the soul from the fear that sin is not gone. As in the case of the widow of Sarepta: she may have been saying, What a blessed woman I am, to have had a prophet in my house all these three hundred and sixty-five days; but the moment her child dies, she says, "What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?" This after he had

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shown such continual interest in her! But death has to come in to teach her the resurrection and the life.

Well, this is the first class I alluded to: the soul must get the sense of the guilt of its nature. It is not a question of what you have done, but it is yourself; and you cannot get the sense of what that is until you get the knowledge that it is all gone in the death of Christ; and then you say, What a wretch I am to have to do with this blessed One; but I have learned what His heart is. Just as Peter, when he had lost all self-respect, went out and wept bitterly.

I next turn to Luke 5, where I get another class, a class which is brought out in Peter himself. Here it is not merely a person knowing the service, but I find a person who is himself serving. Peter is a devoted person. You say, Well, a person who is serving Christ must know Him. That does not follow. "Perfect love casteth out fear", and there is yet fear in Peter. I have to learn the criminality of my nature first; but there is another thing I have to learn here, and that is its unsuitability. Supposing I were going on all right, and never did anything wrong, like Job; well, there is a time coming when you will have to find out what you are in the sight of God. Job ends with saying, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes".

Here Peter gives his ship, just as a wealthy person now gives his house, for the service of the Lord. He is exemplary in giving up both his time and means for the Lord's work, and he is also obedient. If the Lord say, "Let down your nets for a draught", he answers, "At thy word I will let down the net". He does not put forth his own superior knowledge as a fisherman. Besides, he is loaded with favours. But now there comes a change for this exemplary Jew.

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He falls at Jesus feet, and says, though he had been doing everything that was right, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord". What made this great change? It was the fact that Peter had come close to Him, and so he saw what he was himself.

And this accounts for another class. You hear of a person very devoted, very earnest; and, yet, to your surprise, you find him one day very depressed. Why? Because he has never yet known the perfect love of Christ. I do not care how good you may be, or how criminal, but at the Lord's table you are told that it is His love that has brought you to the place in which you are. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". The light truly discloses to me what a terrible thing I am in the sight of God, but at the same time it opens out to me the depths of the love that could give itself for me. "He that feareth is not made perfect in love;" therefore it is added: "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world". We are as much out of judgment now as He is. It does not say we shall be in the next world; we shall all be so there -- we all agree to that, of course; but the point is that we are in this world.

Peter now has such a sense of what he is, that what is the result? He forsakes all to follow Him. It is not whether the employment was a right one or not, but he surrenders all -- leaves all to follow Him -- the practical effect of learning what the love of Christ is.

The third class I bring before you is where the heart deepens in His love. John 11:33. It is very important to understand that I never know what the love of Christ is till I learn it where every human stay is gone. I first see it when I am criminal, as did Joseph's brethren; next in all that is good, like Peter.

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But now death comes in; and who is to bear me up?

My impression is that Mary had some doubt of His love, for she cheered up at once when she heard He was come, and had called for her. Martha had doubts of His power. It is a terrible thing in sorrow to have doubts, misgivings of His love. What is here set forth is how the Lord makes known His heart at such a time: it is always in the breakdown of man, for it is man that is always in the way; so, as is said, "Man's extremity is God's opportunity". The case is hopeless. Who will come in to comfort the heart? I will, says the Lord; and "Jesus wept". When He saw Mary weeping He sympathised with her. With Martha He does not sympathise, because she is not subject to His word. So He talks to Martha, but He walks with Mary; He does not neglect any. He does not say a word of His power; it is only His love. And He does not say, as I most likely should have done, Dry up your tears, for I am going to raise him in a few minutes. No; "he groaned in his spirit;" He said, I know more deeply than you do what a terrible thing it is that is here. I see the most beautiful, the most wonderful thing that I ever made, gone down into death before My eyes. So it is the Son of God that is glorified here, whereas in the next chapter it is the Son of man, for He goes down into death Himself. He says here, You have lost the human heart, the arm of flesh that was your comfort; but I will teach you what a perfect eternal heart is; I will teach you how I can enter into all the depths of your sorrow; I will show you that there is One who can be even nearer to you than Lazarus was; and you shall be able yet to go through the wilderness, saying to Lazarus, I have learned how I can do without you, for He was sufficient for me when you were gone; and now I have got you too. The Lord loves to make His people perfectly happy.

In the next chapter we find the most wonderful

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scene of conviviality that I suppose there ever was upon this earth. Mary is the only one who comes in with a discordant note. She says, I will speak of death; I will anoint Him for His burying; and as He is going down into death, there is nothing precious to me upon earth that I will not cast into His grave. The alabaster box in Luke is for a living Christ; that in John is for a dead one. All goes in the tomb with Him. Like Ruth, she can say, "Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried".

I need not give any more examples; if you take these three classes and exercise your soul upon them, you will come to the simple conclusion that it all consists in getting near to Him, the great effect in every one of the cases is that man is out, and that Christ becomes the great and only joy -- the one singular object of the heart. You say, I know what a desperate thing my nature is -- how criminal, how unsuitable, and how desolate. Talk of not being criminal! I know I am. Talk of not being desolate! I know I am. Talk of not being unsuitable! I know I am. But He has been known in His love in each breakdown of myself.

I now just pass on to the climax, which we find in Ephesians 3. The apostle's prayer here is not prior to the believer being in heaven, but on his reaching this wonderful standing in consequence of Christ being there; and the result is the desire that he may supersede everything. It is exactly like Jacob having come to Bethel -- he was not confirmed in the name of Israel until he got there; so until you come to heaven you will not be able to enter into the wondrous fact of what Christ is to you. He prays "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". It is not like

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the first chapter, that you "may know what is the hope of his calling", but that you may be able to enter into the fulness of that scene into which wisdom has brought you, and "know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God". Christ is that. He asks that you may get a deeper sense of what Christ is to you.

Very few read the Canticles without being pleased with them; but really we ought to be a great way beyond the Canticles. The bride there longs to know more of Him, and is only happy in His company; and, I would ask, is the believer now only happy in His company?

The difference between the Canticles and the present moment is that I have now what is not to be found in them; I have union to Christ by the Holy Spirit; and what is the use to me of that if I have not His company? If I cannot be in concert with him now, I prefer to be Mary Magdalene, who said, I cannot live without Him. You may say she was very ignorant -- did not know resurrection; but I do ask, is the company of the Lord Jesus as necessary to you as it was to her? If not, I tell you you may have more intelligence but you have less heart, and I would sooner have heart any day than intelligence. Always go upon your heart rather than your intelligence; for John had more intelligence than Mary, but the Lord communicated His mind at first to Mary, and not to John. It is to the one who has most heart that you always make communications about yourself, for you can reckon upon his love. And what shall I discover in His company? Why, all His love -- that love which passeth knowledge.

I allude briefly to one passage more, as showing what a relief the soul has in leaning on this love as it goes through the world. It is Romans 8:35. "Who

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shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".

The Lord lead us, beloved friends, every one of us, to know more of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, for His name's sake. Amen.

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John 17

The great subject of this chapter is that we are here to represent Christ. It is not so much service -- indeed, service is not spoken of in the chapter -- it is that we are here to represent Christ. In the anticipation of His leaving the earth, the Lord, as it has been said, presents us as Himself before the Father, and then presents us as Himself before the world. He looks up to heaven before He speaks, and then sets forth that we should be His representatives where He is not. This is the greatest desire of His heart in leaving us here.

Let us look a little at the different things which He gives us, in order that we may be able thus to represent Him.

We must first see that He has left the earth -- that He has been rejected, and is not here. This the soul must learn as a distinct truth before it can know what it is to be for Him here. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not". Both Jew and gentile rejected Him; the Jews said: "He ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God;" and He was delivered over to the hands of the Romans. As Peter says: He "was disallowed indeed of men". You cannot understand Scripture without seeing this, Many do not believe that Christ is rejected. so they think that human means and influence can he used in His service. If you believe that, you do not believe the world has rejected Christ; for you cannot expect the world to be the rejecter and the upholder of Christ at the same time. Honest, conscientious people say the Jew rejected Him, but the gentile did not; so we can use and make subservient

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to the cause of Christ everything that is of gentile power. So all they can appropriate they do. But I say, while you use that power and that means you cannot be using the power of the Holy Spirit; it is impossible to be using both together.

It is a great and a solemn thing that we are here to represent Christ; it is a simple fact that ought to interest every heart. The Lord, going away from earth after having shown out the nature and character of His love, says, I am going to heaven, but I leave you here to represent me; and I can state that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you are glorifying me.

The church will come down eventually from heaven, "The fulness of him that filleth all in all" -- the full magnificent display in detail of all the beauty of Christ, and nothing but Christ; but, meanwhile, we are each left here to act as a component part of the great future should act.

It is not a question of serving; a person on a sick bed who cannot serve at all can glorify Christ. Chapter 15 is service. This is not service; it is representation. You are here to represent Christ where Christ is not, as the full and true picture of what Christ is; and so the apostle says, "that I may win Christ".

Scripture says that man, both Jew and gentile, rejected Christ. Power was committed by God to man -- to the Jew first, afterwards to the gentile; and at the time of the death of Christ it was found in the Romans' hands. This power, I may say, was a downward thing; it was given from God to man, and man used it to crucify Christ. This being so, God says to Him, "Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool". Man is thus utterly disqualified; and now, if Christ be to be maintained on earth, it must be by an entirely new power -- the power of the Holy Spirit. And to that

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power we are indebted for everything: it is a power that is entirely unknown to the world -- that power that is against Christ.

I now turn to chapter 14. Christ has been rejected by the power that man had; and now, consequent upon that rejection, and upon Christ sitting at the right hand of God, a new power comes in -- that of the Holy Spirit. All the Old Testament saints were born by the Holy Spirit, and yet God allowed them to use natural power in His service; not only such as King Solomon, when the people were in the land, but Daniel and others in Babylon. But Christ has now been rejected by man: all his resources were brought to bear against God's Son on earth; and now God maintains the saint on earth independently of everything that has pre-existed. I want to draw your attention to the character of it.

We read: "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". The first thing I learn is that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person who comes to earth, who is sent down here, but whom the world can neither see nor receive. The power that I am to receive on this earth in the absence of Christ is an invisible power; it is no more to be seen than the power by which the walls of Jericho fell down. It is an immense thing when the soul gets hold of the fact that there is a power here that the world cannot receive. The difference between the Holy Spirit being here and Christ, is that Christ was visible whilst the Holy Spirit is invisible. Men may not have acknowledged Christ as a divine Person, but they could see Him; but the Holy Spirit is neither received nor seen. Did they see the power by which Jericho fell down? No; they

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saw the results, in a certain sense steam-power is of this character; for the moment what is called steam becomes visible it ceases to have power -- it is not steam any longer; it is only vapour.

The Holy Spirit came down to comfort my heart during the absence of Christ, so that a simple believer may say, I am entirely independent of the world -- as independent as the armed men outside Jericho were of the armed men inside. He comes down from heaven and takes up His abode in the soul, when it knows that it belongs to Christ. And this gives me power: "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts". You have got the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit never leaves the one in whom He takes up His abode. He may retire and let you feel that you have lost His support when you have grieved Him, and then you break down and do some foolish thing. So it is in their acts that saints always show out what they are. They may be able to talk very well, but it is in action that it comes out whether you have grieved the Spirit or not. If you have, He will, if I may use such a very familiar expression, "leave you in the lurch", when you come to act; but when you confess, He is ever ready to come to help you -- to restore your soul. So you cannot, as David did, pray "take not thy holy spirit from me", for, though you may grieve the Spirit, He will never leave you. The Holy Spirit fills the new bottle after creating it; first there was only the old bottle. There is great confusion in christendom as to this: the thought prevails, that He takes the old bottle and improves it. It is not so; it is a new creation altogether. As it has been well said, "He first builds the house and then dwells in it".

How then are you to get the Holy Spirit? By coming to Christ. You must get into another thing entirely -- something outside yourself. The Lord

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Jesus is not only "He that taketh away the sin of the world", but also "He it is who baptises with the Holy Spirit". Chapter 14 tells me that the Holy Spirit is come down to comfort my heart during the absence of Christ, and I am thus entirely independent of the world, which will neither receive Him nor see Him; so do not you try to get the world to understand it.

In chapter 15 we have another phase of the world: the world will hate you; "Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you". Now mark how the connection comes out. The Lord says, "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you", the simple meaning of which is that they were to die for the brethren as He had died for them. Any divine going into the world was to be with the object alone of seeking for the lost souls in it. What does Christ in His love do? He clears you from your sins. But people reduce love to mere charity, which is just doing to a person what he himself would wish done. There are two characters in this love: one that I remove from you everything that hinders your being near Him, and the other is that I remove from myself everything that would hinder my being a good and efficient servant to you. That is 1 Corinthians 13a man stripping off self that he may be a true servant.

And what does this produce for me in the world? Hatred. You will find that nothing produces more hatred and more envy in the world than leaving your own relations and friends for the Lord's people. We ought to be like an island of the most devoted love in the midst of a ruthless sea, which seeks by all means to swamp it.

In the end of the chapter we get it in a less individual way: "When the Comforter is come, whom

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I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning". It is now not so much individually as in testimony for Christ, here where I am placed with this hostile power against me. In the former case it is the Father who sends Him; of course I need not say He is the same person. He is the Witness here, whilst our Comforter individually. And now this same Person -- this invisible Person -- is the One who is here to testify for Christ. Supposing I had power over every one in this town, supposing they were all my servants, I could not make them stand for Christ; I might make soldiers of them, I might mark the name of Christ on them, but I could not make them stand for Christ. Indeed, that is just what the world has done, and has thus lost both.

Passing on to chapter 16 I find the Spirit, having come, convicts "the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment". Here it is not that I am hated by the world, but that I oppose it. Not only does it hate me, but I stand against it. I am a witness against it; I stand with the Holy Spirit, and the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth is the incontrovertible witness that sin is on the world. The Lord grant us to know that the Holy Spirit is as near in the church as the air that we breathe. In Acts 2 we find the way He came down, and He never went back; after all the failure He is still with us; and I ask you solemnly to weigh the fact that He has not only come down to be a Comforter to us, but also to stand for Christ. We read that He first "filled all the house", and then that He "sat upon each of them". He did not lose His power by giving to them. I beg you to ponder it, for it will produce a great effect on you. It is not now that the world hates the saints only, but that the saints

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are opposed to the world. The world is the culprit; the saint is the witness in the witness-box; and he says: I fix the brand of sin on you; you may hate me, but I am against you. It is not that I do not seek their souls. He will convict the world; convicted does not mean converted; if they are converted, they cease to be of the world.

Now you must see this, and you must accept it, else how can you carry it out? There are three steps in truth: you must first accept, then admire, and lastly adopt it. You may say, But admire it as I may I cannot carry it out. Never mind that; if you admire it, you are sure to get it in the end.

The saint is called to entire separation from the world. I am like the armed men going round Jericho: I say to the world, I cannot touch you; but you certainly shall not touch me. They ought never to have taken anything out of Jericho -- that was where their failure was; they ought never to have taken anything but the poor Rahab saved by the scarlet line. And that is all the business I have with the world; I do not seek for any acquaintance whatever, I only go into it to seek for souls.

It is just here that failure comes in. People say: I own the Holy Spirit as the only means for comforting my soul during the absence of Christ, but I do not see why I should not use the power of the world to promote the work of Christ. I answer that in the measure in which you give up the Holy Spirit as the only power to act for Christ here on earth, you also lose the sense of His power in your own soul, You are separating between the advantages and the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. He is One whom the world cannot receive, and when you get worldly neither can you. It was thus that the church lost it. Ananias and Sapphira lied against the Holy Spirit just because they did not see Him. Do you think they would have done it if they had? If they

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had had the high priest before them instead, with the Urim and Thummim, they would not have dared to do it. Oh, there is no one there! was their thought. They go in and say it was sold for so much. And so Peter says, You have lied to the Holy Spirit. And that is just the lie of christendom: they do not believe that He is here.

You see, then, that if you take the place of testimony, what a portion you receive. The world will hate you. But now we find the compensation that the Holy Spirit gives to the person who takes this place with Him. It says: "He will guide you into all truth; ... he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me, for he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you". Beloved friends, it is as clear as possible, that if you have this, you will "glorify Him". I do not believe a person can have a real sense of Christ at God's right hand in the glory who has not taken his place with Him on earth. He does not communicate to your hearts heavenly things until you have taken your place with Him on earth. "All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you".

We now come to the last verse of chapter 16 where it is not only opposition to the world, but we are to overcome it. "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world". Tribulation, that is not trouble: trouble is in the heart; this is another thing altogether, and brings us on to chapter 17; here we are overcomers of the world, as the scriptures put it in another place, "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" The world does not see nor receive the power that I have got -- does not recognise it. And it is not only that the world hates me, and that I oppose it, but that I overcome it. So in

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chapter 17 the Lord, as the One who has overcome, leaves us here. He gives us now the Father instead of the world; we have lost the world as our place, and He opens out to us what the Father was to Him here. All the organised thing here we are to be superior to, and so He opens out to us the different things that are to enable us to he thus superior. I very briefly call your attention to them, merely reading without making any comments on them.

The first is (verse 2) "eternal life". "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him". Then He says in verse 6: "They have kept thy word". Count the things yourselves as we go on, and see what a wonderful place He puts us in -- as victorious; not only as suffering, but as overcoming. Verse 8: "I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me;" and verse 9: "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine". We are to be kept in all the sense of belonging to this new origin. It is a new origin, entirely apart from the old order of things; I am superior to the whole; I am not in it, or only so as a bird is that walks on the earth; I fly quite away from it; I belong to another expanse and region altogether. He gives them the words His Father gave Him, and they know "that I came out from thee ... that thou didst send me ... and I am glorified in them". Then verse 11 He manifests to them the name of the Father, to keep them in their new position. In verse 13, "They might have my joy fulfilled in themselves". That is where we are. Then verse 15: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil". Then: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world". And then (17): "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth". That is the knowledge of the

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Father; it is not the knowledge of other things. Verse 18: "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world". That is our mission. Verse 19: "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth". That is, we are to be as separate from everything here as Christ in heaven. We are all a long way off that. Then, verse 21: "That they all may be one;" and 24: "That they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world". That is the joy which He had, which we are not in yet; but which He has given to us, to set us in superiority to the world.

I say thus, beloved friends, He has constituted us to be here, in a scene where He is not, as representatives of Himself; and I say, are your hearts really set -- for that is the answer you have to give to Him tonight -- are your hearts set upon thus being as standard rose-trees, though in yourselves but poor briars, to set forth the qualities, the features, of Him where He has set you. Do not say that you have not got the power, for that He himself has sent down to you -- a power entirely outside the world, and whose primary action is to set forth Christ. You will always know that you have got the Holy Spirit by His action: He ever seeks to connect with Christ in glory; that is His work. And in the world I get hatred, because I am the expression of devotedness to those who are Christ's in it. It is not the gospel that calls out hatred; it is devotion to His own. And then if you want any one thing here for Christ you shall have it; if you want a room to preach in, if you want a jail shaken, the Father will do it for Christ. There is not the same demonstration now, but there is the same power -- the very power that shook the jail. The Holy Spirit is here standing for Christ, and has been

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ever since the day when He filled the house where they were; in the dark ages He was just as much here as now, but souls did not know it. Thus it is true I have lost the world, but, if I have, I have gained heaven, and now I am to be victorious here.

He then opens out the desires of His heart, which I have not looked at so much as what He gives us to constitute us representatives of Himself.

The Lord awaken in each one of us the simple desire to thus represent Him in a world where He is not.

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John 1:29 - 39

There are three things in this scripture in which Christ is in relation to us. The first is, He takes away the sin of the world; God sent Him to take away everything that offended Himself. This is the groundwork of all in the soul; if it has not got hold of this it has not got simple confidence, but if it have, it can say, as we learn in another place. "As he is, so are we in this world;" we are not afraid of the judgment; as to the sin, we do not see it all taken away yet, but for us who believe it is taken away to faith. The soul never gets settled rest with God if it do not see that God has satisfied Himself; it is He who has "provided himself a lamb", it is not I who have done it. According to the levitical order they had to bring their offerings, and it is true that I come to the levitical side too; but it was not I who went and found Christ. I only appropriated Him; God provided Him; He sent His Son for Himself, and satisfied Himself in doing so.

Some little time ago, in a train, talking to a stranger of these things, he said to me, "I know all that you are saying to me, but nevertheless there will come doubts". 'If God have satisfied Himself', I said, 'how can you have any doubts?' 'I thank you for that', he said. He felt the importance of it at once. God only is able to remove the distance that lies between Himself and you. The holiest man living does not know the measure of the offence that he has done against God. There never was but one Man who knew it, and that One bore the punishment that was due to it: "He taketh away the sin of the world". The simple heart lays hold of it: God sent His Son, and He knows it, and He did the work,

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and therein maintained all that was due to God. It would be an immense favour to say to one of my children, You have committed a great offence against me, and you cannot settle it, you cannot repair it, but I will tell you what I will do: I will settle it myself, according to my own mind. Now, what would a sensible child say? Why, Father, I am very glad, and amazed at your settling it yourself, because then you will certainly satisfy your own mind, and it can never cause any more coldness between us.

Thus the first thing is taking away everything that is objectionable; the second is something conferred -- a new thing brought in. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a new thing altogether; it came from an ascended Christ. The third is a new place.

In John's baptism the Lord took His place with the godly ones here upon earth: He cut Himself off from that which connected Him with Judaism. There were three parts in His life. He lived a private life for thirty years; then for three years He was the servant of God, until His service culminated at the mount of transfiguration; then He comes down from this point, after He had been the perfect Man both in private life and in public life, to become the victim -- to meet the judgment of God which we had incurred for ourselves; He sets His face stedfastly to go to Jerusalem. And now we are entitled to glory, because the Person who paid our debt has been raised by glory. Paul woke up to find himself in glory without a word as to his sins; but then he could not see for the glory of that light, and was three days and could neither eat nor drink. It was then that it passed through his soul how that in the cross God could bring such a sinner as he was into such a place that was eating "the lamb roast with fire". God brings the sinner into His own presence. Thus we are to be in the same dwelling as Christ Himself. The moment John's disciples get to Him, they ask

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Him, "Where dwellest thou?" and He at once answers, "Come and see". The first thing is to take away sin; the next to bring in an entirely new power -- the Holy Spirit; and the sum or fruit, that you are to be in the same place as Himself.

Now, the moment you find you are really set in holiness you want to change your place. I always doubt a person being really holy in his tastes who does not seek for heaven. This is not your rest; it is polluted. It is a mistake to say it is not. Everything around you appeals to "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life". Look at a shop-window; is not that polluted? You cannot go into a friend's house without saying, He has done up his house to meet my flesh. You tell me a thing that addresses the spirit here, that helps up your heart here. Except the Spirit of God in the scene, you do not find anything here; all here diverts the soul from God.

Now what I purpose to do as shortly as I can is to divide this subject of the Spirit of God into four heads. First, how we get the Spirit: second, what are the effects of the Spirit; third, how we promote the Spirit: fourth, how we grieve the Spirit.

First, how we get it. Some think, and very rightly too, that we are born of the Spirit. But in Luke 5 we read that "new wine must be put into new bottles". The figure there of the Spirit is "new wine". As some one has said of the Spirit of God, First He builds the house, and then He dwells in it. You must have the bottle before you can fill it. The world will use Christianity as a patch, and so try to make itself better, but it has become worse through christianity than it was before, which you can see by comparing 2 Timothy 3 with Romans 1.

There are certain denominations that do not see the new bottle at all, and yet they own the action of the Holy Spirit. Thence it is more difficult to detect

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their mistake than with the world. I find christians trying with the new wine to make the old bottles new; they expect the Holy Spirit to work upon the old bottles. This might be without conversion. I read that a man can come into a meeting of saints, and "falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth;" but there is no new bottle there, though there is the wine. What I want you to understand now is not the new wine, but the new wine in the new bottle. There must be first a new bottle.

Well, first, how do I get it then? You get it by faith. I do not want to speak of any interval of time -- there is interval -- but I want you to see that it is a distinct thing. I will show you first the doctrine of it. In Galatians you read: "Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect in the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He, therefore, that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" There was the "hearing of faith", that is, the way the Spirit comes: that is the first thing. Practically speaking, we have no link with Christ but by the Spirit of God; and, if that were simply carried out, it would set aside a good deal that people are now quietly going on with. Mere happy feelings, pious feelings, and so on, never connect you with Christ; it is only the Spirit of God, and we have a great deal to learn about the wonderful position that He puts me in. The flesh is what binds me to man, but God has broken that bond; the bond that bound me to the first man was broken by Christ, and now I am not in the flesh but in the Spirit. But some one says, How then do I get the Spirit? Every one of you here, I trust, knows what the new bottle is -- you all have that; but the thing is to get the new wine. Very often a person does not

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get it until he is dying. It is not a question of salvation we are dwelling upon; it is that which gives the soul consciousness of being bound to another -- to Christ. A new bond, the Holy Spirit, binds you to Christ, in consequence of the work which has freed you from the old. I ask every soul here, Are you bound to Christ? I say there is no other bond to Him but the Holy Spirit, and it comes "by hearing of faith". But while you are seeking something else you are dimming the truth. Christ has put away everything that was against you in the sight of God, but how long is a soul often after he believes, before he sees Christ risen and gets peace. You do not get either righteousness or peace until you see Christ risen. If I am in debt, and someone comes forward and offers to pay the whole for me, and I see him go into the bank to do so, it is not when I see him go in, but when I see him come out, having paid it, that I feel satisfied. I must see Christ come out of death, out of the grave, and seated at the right hand of God in heaven, and know myself by the Spirit connected with Him where He is.

I turn now to Romans 7, to show the practical way in which the soul finds the necessity of having the Spirit of God. "Oh, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" There is the new bottle, but without the Spirit of God. The new bottle says, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man", and yet I am wretched. Why are you? Because I have not power to rise superior to my state. That person has not done with the flesh. The apostle is not describing his own experience, but that of a person who has not got the Spirit of God. I say I have desires after holiness. Well, that is the new bottle; you have a new nature, but the new nature has not power over the old thing; you want power, and you only get power in Christ: "I thank God, through Jesus

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Christ our Lord". Now you see where I have got to: I have not to do any more with man in the flesh; it is crucified; I have done with it. God has done with it in the cross, and God will never revive the bond He has broken in the cross. Can you say, God has done with it on the cross? I do not say you will not find it rising up now and then, but God has broken the bond in the cross, and He will never revive it. Of course, I suffer for it if I let it get up; if I sow to the flesh I shall pay for it; but God never revives it. I suffer for it if I do, because I not only sin, but I revive that which God has done away with in the cross. The only way for me is to drop it as a man would a stick that is broken, and say, That stick is no use to me any longer.

In the parable of the good Samaritan it says, he "set him on his own beast". He took him away from his own power, and put him on that of another; he took him off his own legs, which were weak and powerless, and put him on a beast with four: his own legs were useless. The point we all stop short at here is what happened to that man. This is the earthly side of grace. We get the heavenly side in the parable of the prodigal son. In the one I am brought to the Father's house, in the other to the inn. Both are blessedly true; I cannot do without both. I cannot do without an inn as long as I am in a poor world like this; I must have somewhere to be; this room is an "inn". I have got the blessing -- the oil and the wine -- but I am perfectly powerless, and the more powerless the better, because then I will drop myself and trust to Him.

Have you ever come to that? If you have, you find that you are united to Christ. You have the document of grace written out upon your heart, and at the bottom the seal is put. That is one grand effect of the Spirit of God; He is the seal on the document. You would not like the seal put after

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only a few lines were written! The Holy Spirit comes in to establish the fact that the man had the oil and wine in his wounds. As has been said very truly, no one ever got out of Romans 7 until he got into it; we must find out where we are, and we all go through it, one as well as another; we must all find out that "in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing". Well, then, waive it! There only are two men; One is on the right hand side of the road, the other on the left. The one on the left hand side ruined me; well, I cross over to the One on the right.

Thus, you have got to the Spirit now in Romans 8"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". I will give you an illustration in Mark to show you a simple mode of learning this positive truth.

"A certain woman ... was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment: for she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole". Now, mark you, there was a case of weakness, perfect powerlessness; every effort to get on, like Romans 7, but every effort only made her worse and worse. But she has faith in Christ; just a touch, and she is whole. Now it is all done, you say. But no, it is not all finished. But is she not cured? Yes, she will never get a bit better cured; the bottle is made, but there is something more to go on in the soul. I often see it in people: they know that there is a divine work done in their souls, but they have not had an interview with Christ, they do not know that they are united to Him.

Now the woman is cured, but the Lord has to bring out another thing in her: He says, "Who touched my clothes? ... and he looked round about

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to see her that had done this thing". Then the woman, "fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole: go in peace;" and I believe if souls would go and tell the Lord, You are the only one I have to do with now, they too would "go in peace". Look at the fearing and the trembling that you see in souls, and some even think it is the right thing; it gives them the comfort that they have something new and divine.

To get positive relief there must be confession. You get the same idea in Romans 10"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved". I do not believe people are walking in the consciousness of salvation if they are not confessing Christ -- not confessing their sins, but confessing His worth. The more I am like a Jonathan confessing the worth of David, the more am I walking in the consciousness of salvation. There is always "the heart" and "the mouth": the inside and the outside. It is then she finds she is connected with Christ; she finds He has not only done a work for her, but He calls her "daughter". It is "Daughter, go in peace". She is acquainted with Himself; she says, I know not only what He has done for me, but I know I am His.

Now I turn to another point; that is, what it effects. In John 3 -- I am not going through all the effects, but will merely just touch upon one or two -- He says: "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". But there are two things in the christian. In Numbers it says they not only looked to the brazen serpent

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and lived, but there was God's well. He said, Come, and I will give you water; and they sing to it. There are the two things: life given by faith, and water given to sustain the life given. You have here a crucified Saviour, the Son of man lifted up; and I say, what then? Why, I have life. And what comes next? Why, "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", "Sing ye unto it!" and people ought to sing to it! And why should not we sing to it, and be filled with the Spirit? It is inexhaustible; there can be no failing of it, whilst on the brightest festive day the wine was out. There is man for you! But here in chapter 4, to a poor sorrowful woman who had done everything she could to make herself happy in this world, He says: I will give you something that will make you perfectly happy without your ever going outside of yourself; you shall "drink waters out of your own cistern, and running waters out of your own well". And yet with all this you find people murmuring, discontented, dissatisfied. The fact is, you do not "sing to it;" you are not, as the princes were, occupied with it.

Another effect is that it makes you superior to man. You can worship; you have become another being; you have got into another state of things altogether. I have a fund in myself that is inexhaustible; I have a store filled with everything that I want for God and internal enjoyment. In the new bottle I have the new wine; and it is, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit". If I am, there will be melody in my heart to the Lord; and "melody" is a wonderful thing. It is not the mere chanting of a song, but it is the heart in full accord to Christ.

And now I turn to another passage to show the

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practical effect of having the Spirit of God to which I attach a great deal. It is in Romans 8"If ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live". We all know how we fail when we try to repress bad habits, cares, anxieties, worries of any kind. I try to repress a bad temper, but do I succeed? I find that my heart is like a river; repression only makes it swell the higher. I will take for an instance what every one would consider a very good man -- a teetotaller; he has repressed himself into good habits, but there is no virtue imparted. As has been said, "Sublimate the flesh as much as you will, it will never yield spirit". Repression is only the negative side. The teetotaller has repressed a bad taste, but he has not got a good one instead of it. You may pick up a weed, but that will not make a flower grow in the place of it. Self-culture represses bad habits, but in doing so it only makes the will stronger; it has only strengthened itself to repress the bad habit. If there were any good in you to come out it would be another thing; but there is not any virtue produced. Now the Holy Spirit will not only repress your bad habits, but will actually give you new tastes, so that a drunkard will love sobriety. He will not only not allow the bad thing, but will also put a good one in its place.

Now I turn to Galatians 6 to show you what promotes the Spirit. In verse 8 you read, "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". That is the way to promote it. It is well for us to study ourselves a little bit, for there is nothing more sure than that people reap what they sow. You say, I am going out for a day's amusement. Well, then, tomorrow you will be dull, and you will tell me you are depressed and do not know why. It is because you have been sowing to the flesh. If you had been sowing to the Spirit,

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waiting on the Lord, doing His will, do you think you would have been dull and depressed? But, you say, how am I to sow to the Spirit? Well, I find I have to check my mind constantly, to be continually watching myself, I think of such foolish things. Do you look upon the Spirit as a second self? and as a second self ever superior to yourself? I have now got the Spirit of God to be in me! It is the most wonderful thing! I do not think people at all estimate such a fact. And do I minister to that Spirit, or am I ministering to the flesh? As some one said lately of Noah, he did not mean to get drunk at all; he only wanted to indulge himself a little. I feel one has to be careful about everything, even to such a thing as reading the newspaper; if it comes to be a question of indulgence, you are solving to the flesh, and if you do you will reap corruption; any indulgence is sowing to the flesh.

And now just one word upon grieving the Spirit. We read in Ephesians 4"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption". A person who has grieved the Spirit is very like one who has never had it, but I have hardly time now for dwelling on the difference that there is between them. The fact of having grieved the Spirit often does not show itself until you come to do something, and then you find He is not there to support you. As it was with Samson: he awoke out of his sleep, and "wist not that the Lord was departed from him". The Spirit retires when He is grieved, as you get in the psalm: "Be not silent to me, lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit". Often when I have felt powerless I have said to myself, You have been grieving the Spirit, and you have

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not settled that grieving. What settles it is getting the feet washed.

Now nothing can disturb my acceptance -- not all the weakness of the human heart; but the smallest thing disturbs my communion, and God will not let the smallest thing pass. He brings it up. He says, If you will not judge yourselves you must be judged; "for this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep". To me it is melancholy to see saints making much of themselves when they are under the chastening hand of the Lord, trafficking upon the sympathies of their brethren because they are suffering for their failures. There should be such an answer of divine grace coming out of the broken vessel that every spectator should be occupied with the grace instead of looking at the vessel. God may put a person in prison for his own good and for service too, and there is no greater prison than sickness.

Well, a very small thing grieves the Spirit of God. What a wonderful thing it is to be baptised with the Spirit! What resources I have in myself! If you understand it at all, do not grieve the Spirit, so that He may go on with you and help you, and that you may be able to say. I have a wonderful back, I have a wonderful power, though I have nothing but an "inn" here. The Lord lead our hearts practically to understand the magnitude of being sealed by the Holy Spirit.