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DEPENDENCE AND OBEDIENCE

Deuteronomy 13; Deuteronomy 11:1 - 17

There are two subjects in these two chapters: one is the contrast between the wilderness and Canaan; the other, the contrast between Egypt and Canaan; they are very distinct contrasts, and the teaching of the two scriptures is, how we are to retain what we reach. Many reach who cannot retain, because retaining a thing requires a continuance of the power by which we reached it. Many a person in natural things can reach a height he cannot maintain. A great effort, a fortunate act, may reach a great eminence, but the question is whether you can retain it.

We all admit the fact that God has a place for us hereafter, but Canaan is not a future place; it is heaven on earth at the present time. We belong to another place altogether; we are on earth in a place that we do not belong to. I belong to heaven, but I am on earth, and that is Canaan. I am out of Egypt, and I have to learn the wilderness, and the man who is mostly in Canaan is the man who best understands what it is to be in the wilderness, for the higher you go the better you understand what it is to be dependent.

In the history of Israel they needed the wilderness to get into Canaan, and then they left it. It is not so with us; you often get contrasts in this way in scripture. It is not that we leave the wilderness for Canaan, but that we are in the wilderness as belonging to Canaan. A person may say, You are not in heaven; and I answer, That is true, but I am united to One who is and I am nearer to that One than to any other. I am on the earth, but I am united to One who is in heaven; and the more I know that, the more I am in Canaan. Besides this, I get no support

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whatever from this earth that I am on; so it is the wilderness to me. And the more you advance in the knowledge that you are a heavenly man the more novel, the more distressing, the more severe, the more extraordinary, the more unaccountable, will be the trials that you are subjected to in order that you may be dependent, lest being puffed up you should lose your high position through independence or wilfulness.

There are many people who are converted who are not sure that they are saved; and there are many who are saved who do not know that they are heavenly. But all these stand or fall together. As we read, "The land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance" (Deuteronomy 15:4); it is a gift. I am as much a heavenly man as a saved man. I may be a very useless British subject, but I am one all the same. It is a great thing to get hold of the calling: "Walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye have been called", (Ephesians 4:1). I lay it down as a settled thing for your soul, that you must say, I am as much a heavenly man as I am a saved man. He has already united me to Himself there, and, when He comes, it is that He may take me to the place where He is. I have not got to heaven yet, but I belong to the One who is there.

Man naturally never rises to this even when he is converted. Take, for example, the thief on the cross. He says, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom" (Luke 23:42). No, says the Lord; today in paradise. He was to have, not the kingdom, but heaven. Take another case, that of Stephen. He looked up and saw "Jesus standing on the right hand of God", and he turns to his murderers and says. You are going to send me out of this place, but it is only to send me to heaven. Take a still further case in Paul. He says, "I knew a man in Christ ... see footnote (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out

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of the body, I cannot tell;)" (2 Corinthians 12:2) I have lost all sense of things here. Every person does not get so high as Paul did, but every one is entitled to be where Stephen was.

It is a great thing to be able to walk about and say, I do not belong to this place at all; It is nothing but wickedness. Take an amiable man in nature. As he suffers in seeing all the disorder, misrule, cruelty, that is around him, what a relief to him to be able to say. My citizenship is not here; I am not responsible for it. My citizenship is in heaven. I say it is an immense thing. God says to me it is not my place. When He began with Abram, He called him out and said. This is not to be your country; come out of it to a land that I will show you. And so now God says, I do not give My people a place where My Son is rejected, but a place where He is received. I am a heavenly man, not by attainment, but by the gift of God. I am as much a heavenly man as I am a British subject, whether I am acting well or not.

Some seek to escape the edge of this truth by refusing to be called heavenly; but you are a heavenly man by calling. Heaven is your place: it is the first thing that is brought before you as a saved person.

I turn to these two scriptures to show that no height to which grace elevates us at the present moment ever takes us out of dependence here. Nay, if we lose dependence, as some have done, we bring reproach on the truth we are brought into. What keeps us in the high position is dependence. A man who learns obedience without dependence is legal. What was the great lesson of the wilderness? Not simply to "humble thee", but to "make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live" (Deuteronomy 8:3). That is, that you are to be dependent on the Word of God; and then you are obedient.

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Obedience when you are looking for a rule is legal. Dependence is what I learn in the wilderness, and obedience is what keeps me in Canaan: but it is obedience as the consequence of being a dependent man.

Look at the Lord: the most heavenly Man; "the Son of man who is in heaven". And what is He down here? The most obedient One. He says, I have not got a word from God, so I cannot turn the stone into bread. I have learned to be a dependent Man, and because I am a dependent Man therefore I am an obedient Man. I live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". That is the place of a heavenly man upon earth.

It is then in proportion as you enjoy the land that there will be trials in the wilderness. So much so, that even Peter, who does not get out of the wilderness at all, says: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (1 Peter 4:12). I am passing through the wilderness; and the only thing I have to keep my eye on here, as Peter says, is the enemy of God. Peter, as we have seen, never puts you out of the wilderness. John is the first who puts you out of it; and he does not put you in heaven -- only gives you a heavenly life on earth. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour". (1 Peter 5:8) I have different enemies - three great ones, at any rate. There is Pharaoh; that is the clutch, the grasp, of the world. There is Amalek; that is the power of Satan to hinder. And there is Balaam; that is the snare of socialism. And these you do not, get in Canaan at all.

The warning of these two chapters in Deuteronomy is, that, if you do not obey, you will lose all. He shows you all the abundance of things, the contrast that there is between Canaan and Egypt; but

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will all this go on? Are you sure of it? Not if you are not obedient. If you are not happy there, you are worse off than in Egypt. There was water there, any how when you worked for it with your foot; but here there is none unless it come down from heaven. We get on to heavenly ground, and we rejoice in the fact; but we keep it only by obedience. All we have in the wilderness is the terrific opposition of the enemy of God. We are attacked by the way; but we do not become aggressors ourselves until we get into the land. And what is the result of aggression? It is getting place for Christ. Those who fought the holy wars were seeking material space for Christ; they had not intelligence as to His mind. What we want is to get moral space for Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 12, we get the brightest example of the heavenly man. A man caught up into Paradise, who heard unspeakable words which it was not possible for a man to utter. He was caught up into the place without going there bodily. He is sensibly in the enjoyment of it; so sensibly that, for the moment, he has lost his link with the earth. I do not say that souls do not get a taste of it now-a-days; but, as they do, they get a deeper sense of the wilderness. Paul did: "there was given me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me". For this he cried to the Lord three times; and He said: "My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:7 - 9). I gave it you lest you should be puffed up-lest you should get out of the place of dependence. And then see how Paul comes round, how beautifully he accepts it; he says: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities". Whilst not out of the wilderness, I have entered on the enjoyment of heaven, and I can go back to it; but I am made sensible that I am to be more of a dependent man that I ever was before. What tried Paul. was, that he lost the ability to expound this very thing

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that he had received. Never mind, through the grace of Christ 'he will be a better wilderness man'.

There is not time to go into chapter 11, but it opens with showing at what an immense cost they were brought into the land. I believe the great hindrance to every soul getting on is, not that it does 'not know the glory' - every soul has that - but that it does not know the cross. The cross has taken everything away, and left only Christ. It is not the glory that takes things away. Paul says: "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" (Galatians 6:14). It is the cross that takes all away. Paul is a bright specimen of a heavenly man.

Now I will show you one who lost the heavenly thing, as many do, by not being dependent. In Genesis 33. Jacob has come back to the land. There have been real power and grace shown in restoring him; but like many a one he thinks to rest in what he has attained. He builds a house, buys a field, and erects an altar, calling it El-Elohe-Israel. He does not give up truth, but he makes truth the thing that is before him, instead of God, who has brought him to Himself. He ought to have gone to Bethel. When at last he does get there, he finds quite another order of things. At Shechem he is a heavenly man; but he wants to rest in things here, and not to be dependent.

What is the consequence? He is brought into the most humiliating state. He says: "I shall be destroyed, I and my house" (Genesis 34:30). He has to be subjected to all this in order to make him true to his calling.

The Lord make us see what a wonderful place we are called to. I do not believe a soul ever has really known the presence of Christ if it have not at some time or other, known what it is to have everything lost to it for the moment. But, when after such a moment, you return to this scene, do not be surprised if some new form of trial come upon you,

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because you cannot be let rest in the happiness you have reached, instead of in the grace that brought you into it. Many a one can trace failure and defeat to the moment that followed some happy time. God grant that we may seek to enjoy His Son in the unclouded light of His presence. When I come down from it, I am all the more prepared to meet the contrariety, the opposition to God, of the scene in which I am. Thus, while I delight in the One I have learned to know up there, I possess the sweetest thing the heart can know - dependence on God. Down here I have the most consolatory sense that I am dependent upon the One I am delighting in, and so am competent to come down and take my place for Christ, to seek space for Him in this world, whilst I myself do not seek to be sustained by anything in it but by Him who is my life.

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READINGS ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS

CHAPTER 1

It is a great thing to know why a book was written; to be able to see why God sets forth His mind in the way He does in it. So it is well to read a book through before forming a judgement on it; for, from an isolated passage, it is impossible to get at the bearing of it. You may for instance read: "Woe unto them that rise up early", and stop there. The context is therefore the best explanation to what it is in connection with.

The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish converts, to show them how superior Christianity is to Judaism, though Judaism in itself was a good thing - was of God. None of us ought to have needed Hebrews, but, as Christianity has dropped down into Judaism, it is necessary for us to read it; we may be very like the Jews, but we have no right to be. How far above and superior to anything that ever was before it, is the Christian position!

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son". That is not true of us, but it was of the Jewish converts. "Whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1 - 2). This is a matter of faith; we believe that He did so.

Verses 3, 4. He has gone up to the throne. Verses 5, 6. He took the place of a creature, but far above all creature intelligences. Verses 7, 8. It is very interesting, as some one has remarked, that there is no revelation in Hebrews, such as you get in Ephesians

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for instance; it is all explanation of scriptures which the Jews already had. Verse 9. He is put in company with others - "fellows". This is the great secret of the book.

I may say that Hebrews is a child's book; it is addressed to a child - to babes. It is a book in which the believer is looked at in his lowest position. There is no union, no being in heaven, though there is going on to heaven; so it is a very simple book. In one sense we are all little children, because we know so little; but it is the simplest book we can take up. It takes the bright side of things here; Peter takes the dark one. He says there are desperate things out there; be sober, be vigilant. And we must have the two; if we have not we shall not get on; we must have the intercession of Christ as well as the sword of the Spirit. The Lord said, I will pray for you; but that did not keep Peter because he did not fight the devil. So that is the side he takes up, that we must fight the devil, for it is what he did not do himself.

Verses 10 - 14. The Creator comes out; He is Christ Himself. The Son has come forth, higher than the angels. And now, at the close of His career, He is called away to sit at God's right hand till He make His enemies His footstool.

It is most important to get hold of the fact that Christ was only called away from earth because of the state of things here, to wait until that state should be altered. Things here were such that He was called to leave them until the time that there should be a change -- till His enemies should be made His footstool. This it the time that we are in. It is like a sentence between brackets. God has called Him away because of the state of things here, and, if I be an honest and a righteous man, I shall own things to be in that state, and look for Him to come back to put an end to it. It is a parallel time to that in the gospels, where it says: "Neither

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durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions" (Matthew 22:46).

"Sit on my right hand". The apostle delights in this passage; here he quotes it to show that Christ is called away from things here by Jehovah; and in chapter 10. to show that He can sit down because the work is finished: "After he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God". (Hebrews 10:12) But the quotation coming in thus in chapter 1 is very important, as it points out the interval with which all our blessings is concerned. I do not belong to the place where my Lord is rejected, but to the place where He is received. If I am not within those brackets I have nothing. His rejection is one bracket. His return the other; we stand between the rejection and the return.

He is greater than creation; not only greater than the angels. All He has created will go to nothing, but He will not; they will all remove, be folded up like a vesture, but He will remain. He does not call the angels to make way, as he does all else in the epistle; they have to minister, that is their calling.

CHAPTER 2

Verses 1 - 6. He next shows that Christ is greater than any man; He is the Man of God's purpose, higher than any other that ever was. Verses 7, 8. This is a quotation from Psalm 8. The Son of man, not the Son of God. As Son of God all things are for Him as Son of man they are all put under Him. -- Verses 9,10. Now he turns aside to see how He gets the "fellows". It is like the high priest going up on the day of atonement. The priests went up with him to a certain point, and there they lost him, but we do not; we go on with Him. There is no such thing in Hebrews as communion; it goes no further than

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being of one company; but I belong to Christ; I feel that I belong to Him, and that I am going on with Him. We have a Captain; we are the troop - those who are of His company. It is not 'Perfect by sufferings' as some read, but "Perfect through". It is not the thought of a man being battered into a thing, being moulded by the circumstances; it is showing out His perfection through them, in them. He might say; I can well lead you, for I have gone through all the difficulties of the road Myself.

Verses 11 - 18. Then comes out the way the "fellows" are formed. It is a new company; it is not the Jewish company; it is those of whom the Lord says in John 20, "Go to my brethren". He never had brethren till He rose from the dead; we hear of His mother and His brethren, but that was as man speaks. They are "all of one;" that "one" must be left large enough to take in all which it is; so it is left "one" only. If you limit it to a noun you spoil it; of one glory limits it to glory; of one stock, to stock; but it is simply "of one" that it may be everything that Christ is.

And He "took part of the same", that He might deliver them from all the difficulties that they were in. He is the Man who is to come by-and-by with all power, but, before doing that. He has been down into the lowest place that He might there take our place.

Turn to John 12:24. What is the simple meaning of these words? That Christ was a unique Person; there was never anyone like Him. Where is the man who could say there was never any sin in him? But, says Christ, I want to have a people of My own stamp; and, if I die, I shall rise up, and have a harvest of the same grain as Myself. It is not merely that people are saved, or that grains have been improved, but there are a great many grains like this One. It is "new creation", not "new creature",

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as is generally read in 2 Corinthians 5. It is wonderful how much mischief has been made out of this "new creature". A butterfly is a new creature; it is an immense alteration from a caterpillar; it could not be a greater; but it is not a new creation. New creation is a new thing altogether. People talk of conversion - say, 'So-and-so is an altered man;' but you cannot alter new creation; it cannot be better than it is; so John insists on nothing but new creation. He says, "Whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not;" so that we might keep ourselves from sin. I am not saying a word as to being united to Christ; it is merely that you are a new creation, that you are fellows of Christ.

Verse 18. He was tried by Satan, and now He can succour others who are tried; and that not in a temptation to badness, but in the way a godly person would suffer in the presence of a temptation, not a bad one. Satan tempted Him, but there was no response in the Lord to his temptations. But when we are tempted, we are, as the scripture says, drawn away of our own lust and enticed. Suppose a child come into the room and see an apple on the table; it will look round, and if no one be there, it will take it. Now the Lord was never tempted in that way. The fact that a thing was not His own was enough for Him; it would have been pleasant to Him to have the apple, but it would have been no pleasure to Him to take it. Not so with us; to us it is a pleasure to. If he had let in any thought of this kind He could not have made atonement for us. Now I have an evil nature in me just the same as I had before I was converted. I am a tender flower with bad air all round me, and He says, I will put a screen about you to keep it all away; for when I was in flesh and blood I never let any of it in.

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The presence of God acts in two ways upon the soul that is in it. It first acts upon me, and then it occupies me with Himself. Some meetings are quite spoiled through getting hold only of the first of these actions and never rising beyond it. People say, "What a delightful meeting! the word cut me right and left". Certainly the disciples going to Emmaus had a grand time of it, but they did not know the One who was acting on them. It is quite right to have the word act on me: I need it. But that is not all. Having put me right it would occupy me with the Person who speaks it - with the Lord Himself. If I come into a lit-up room, I do not want the light to be occupied only with me; I want to be occupied with what is in the room. I remember a person in a picture gallery saying, "At first I had this lighted up so beautifully that when I came in I could look at nothing but the light -- at the glory of it. And I said. This will never do; so I had to have the light reduced until I could look at the pictures".

CHAPTER 3

Verse 1. Now it is "holy brethren", and a "heavenly calling". Our profession is heavenly, and if you do not take heavenly ground you lose heavenly blessings. Between the going away of Christ and the return of Christ there are special blessings that are only given to a heavenly people. You must keep this new company in your mind; He has His troop round Him, all fellows going on together. I believe the book of Hebrews is carried on on the principle of the first of Acts; what they were rebuked for there -- gazing up into heaven -- is what we are called to do here. Your eye is to be upon Him. If it be to run the race, it is by "looking unto Jesus;" if it be going

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outside the camp, it is going outside to Him; Christ is set before your heart; you find Him everywhere.

Verses 2 - 6. Now we come to His house -- His own circle. The "house" in Hebrews does not mean the house of God, the house on earth; it simply is that I am part of Christ's family, just as we speak of the house of Tudor, or the house of Brunswick. It does not allow of any one belonging to the house who is not put there by Christ Himself; as such He is the Son over His own house. Christ is gone into heaven for Himself and for His house. He has not gone in for Israel; He will come out for them soon; He has gone in for us; we get Him in the holiest; we do not get ourselves there; but He is there, and we have the right to go in. Many a child is brought to a palace without at all knowing what is going on in the palace. So the apostle takes us to heaven, introduces us into the place and says. Now study the length, breadth, depth, and height of it. I am an indoor servant; I have been in and know all that goes on there, but I cannot tell it to you; I can only open the door and let you in, and now you must find it out for yourselves.

Verses 7 - 11. What was the provocation? What has Christendom done? Christendom has been in the provocation; Christendom has looked down to earth instead of looking up to heaven. Christ has been rejected by earth, and, if my heart be right, I do not look for anything here, I do not seek to set things straight here; to do so would be to turn back to the way of Cain. Christendom has looked down, and that is the provocation. The book of Hebrews is that you are looking only up into heaven, for Jesus is there, and you have a right to go in; and when I go on to the Ephesians, and learn what the heart of God has for me there, I say, I may take it all, for I have a right to go in. The Israelites would not go into the land; it was the day of provocation,

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and the way they began was by remembering the fish of Egypt. If ever I hear a man talking of what he might have been, and might have done, I always think, woe betide you! Peter began saying as much to the Lord, and the Lord answered him. You have made a very good bargain; you have gained a hundred-fold more. I am sure there is nothing the Lord feels more than that we should put value on anything but Himself, or allow anything whatever to detain our hearts here. It is the provocation.

The question has been asked, "How can you be in heaven whilst you are on earth?" And that is true; I am not in heaven; but I am united to One who is. Jesus is there; and where is your heart if it have not gone after Him? The Captain of the ship is on shore, and the anchor is let down.

Verses 12 - 19. Just think of God being grieved! They would not enter in. I do not unchristianise every one who has not got heavenly joys, but I do say his carcase falls in the wilderness; it is there that he dies. I have title to enter. But, you say, I might go back. Wait till you get there before talking of going back. It is a very interesting point that there is no such thing as restoration in Hebrews; you must go to some other part of the word if you wish to find that. It is never contemplated for a moment that you will give it up. The only thing put before us is, that if you go back to any of the old clothes, God will burn them off your back, "for our God is a consuming fire". (Hebrews 12:29) He has taken the old rags off, and made you fit for His presence; and do not you talk of going back to them. God would say. You have taken up that which I have put away, and I will not allow it. There is no such thing as provision for return; I have got rid of all the old things for you, and now, if you do not get rid of them too, I will burn them off you. You must drop them. Nine-tenths of those who complain of their dullness and weariness owe it

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to the fact that they are cleaving to something they will not give up.

Verse 19. They could not enter in because of not obeying the word, is the meaning of the verse.

CHAPTER 4

The point here is not rest merely, but "His rest", that is, God's rest. The prominent thought of God from the beginning was to have rest. As soon as everything was made and He saw that it was very good. He rested. The sabbath was the sign of it; and in the time that is coming, it is said "He will rest in his love". The great desire of man, too, is rest; it is man's ideal; it is God's reality. The question for each of us is, are we looking for a rest before God's rest? There is rest of conscience for us: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" but it is not that. Neither is it rest of soul: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and, ye shall find rest unto your souls". (Matthew 11:28,29) It is the day when everything will be according to the mind of God; when everything will be in unbroken rest gathered round Himself; His rest. Is that the rest we are looking for?

Israel got discouraged; they would not go on; they saw the cities walled up to heaven. And people now will not go on; they say the thing is impracticable. But as Israel turned back in heart first - they "fell a lusting" -- so it is always. You first begin to think of the things that suit yourself, and then you refuse the things that suit God. Therefore it becomes a testing question to everyone whether it be God's rest he is looking for, or whether it be any rest in time. What is the desire of every man, from the politician in Parliament down to the lowest and the

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poorest? He is looking for the day when he can lay down his cares and cease from toil, rest on his laurels, spend a happy old age in the bosom of his family, have a bright sunset in some little spot he has retired to. People look to connect themselves with earth in some way or other. Is that your thought? No! I expect no rest on earth. I have rest for my conscience and rest for my soul, but as for my body, it is only "Come ye ... apart ... and rest awhile;" which is as much as to say, you must be working again presently. I am just going through the six week-days now; and I am going on to God's Sunday. Are you waiting for God's Sunday? Are you looking for no rest till it come? Do you expect nothing but toil on, toil on, now? If I engage a man to work for me six days, and I see him loitering on a Thursday, I say he is not an honest man. There is 'time for meals' as it were; time to rest and work again; but you must not "seem to come short" of God's rest. Work, work, work, is the whole character of the thing. What is before my mind is God's rest; that is the only Sunday for me. It is not works for salvation; it is just anything that I may have to do. A man that is working for salvation is still in Egypt. It is thus I would meet a Wesleyan with his thoughts as to work.

God's thought, as I have said, always was to have a rest: first there was the Sabbath, which was broken; then there was the rest offered by Joshua, but which he could not give them; and then David spoke of a rest. But we shall never find our resting place until we get into God's rest; and that rest is not on earth; it is in heaven. If you had asked the apostle Paul how he expected to spend the evening of his days, he would have answered, I expect to be martyred. That is how he speaks in the Philippians.

I leave it to every man's conscience what his work is; it is whatever the Lord would have you do; all

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I say is, it is work now and not rest. There must be duty. If it be your duty to go to the stake, go. I dare not dictate to anyone what he ought to do. I am dependent; I am longing for the word to show me what I am to do; and the moment I obey it I am all right. Saul of Tarsus says, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" The greatest thing I deplore in the present day is the aimlessness, uselessness, want of any definite occupation of nearly everyone I meet. I believe everyone has a mission; I cannot tell others what theirs is; I might make a great mistake if I tried to. Still I can say to a woman with a family, there is no doubt about yours; but I add that the banks are not the river though they determine the river. And just as the banks of the river are the greenest, sweetest spots, so it is at home, with those who are nearest to you, that you are to show forth most practically and perfectly your mission. Moses set to work forty years too soon with his mission. His was muscular Christianity. Afterwards he was sent by God to do the work; but he had to beware of his muscularity to the end: it was that which prevented his going into the land.

At the end of the chapter, I get two helps for the way: one the word of God, the other the intercession of Christ.

Suppose you were in a large forest, in the midst of which you saw a hundred roads, one of which only led to heaven; all the others leading off different ways; a road of pleasure, a road of eminence, and so on. You say, I thought I might go up this road of pleasure a little bit. No, you must take only the one road. I am not only protected by the word, but I am also directed by it. This is its double action. It protects me from going in a way in which I might be drawn aside from its direction; and then, being in the road, it directs me. And in the road I get the company of Christ; He says to me: I have

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been all along it, and I can give you My sympathy in it. The One who is passed through the heavens, is the One who is sympathizing with me all along the way -- I, a poor weak thing, always wanting to turn up one or another of those ninety-nine roads. And the more alive I am to the enjoyment of things here as a natural man, the more temptation and attraction there is to me. Well then, as I refuse to go up any of these, roads, the more I have Christ's sympathy with me as I tread His path. Christ does not sympathize with a person who is in a wrong path. There are two actions in the word of God: it corrects, and it directs. The Lord corrects Martha and directs Mary. A father would say to his child. If you walk in the mud I cannot walk with you; you must come out of it if you wish to be with me. You may feel your feebleness, your inability to stand all the difficulties of the way; but the Lord says, I will keep you company; I have been through it all before you, and I have never touched sin. If He had ever touched it He could not have lifted me out of it.

If you do not get heaven you lose all the blessings of Christianity; for if you want a priest, where is He? "Passed into the heavens;" through the heavens it really is. The "profession" we are to "hold fast" is this actually going on to heaven. It is that you are a heavenly man. It is a positive declaration; and it has become applicable to us because we have got involved in Judaism. It was creditable to them to be Jewish converts; it has never been a bit creditable to us; but we, having been brought up in it, the thing is for us to get clear of it. If you have not got hold of the heavenly profession, you have not got hold of Christianity at all. Christendom generally is looking for something to meet its condition on earth.

Then he says: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace". (Hebrews 4:16) People sometimes say

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when wishing to pray, 'Let us come to the throne of grace'. In answer to such an invitation I can only say, I hope we have not left it. I could say, 'Let us come and use the throne of grace'. We can come as poor feeble creatures and use it. The same in chapter 10: "Let us draw near;" we have no right to be out of the position of nearness. And to those who talk of fears of losing it, I answer, first get there before you talk of losing it. Most of those who talk of fearing to lose the holiest have never been there yet.

However, Hebrews does not put us within; it only gives us the right to go in; it is that I have got a title to be there. Just as Jonathan: he was not at the king's table; his place was empty; but it was his place as much as if he had been in it. We have a footing in heaven, and we have not to get it a second time. Have you ever known it? -- ever felt what it was to be in the presence of God without a spot? He says to the Jewish converts, you have lost the old footing, and now you are on a new one, and if you have not got it, you have got nothing at all of christianity.

CHAPTER 5

He proves now that Christ is a Priest. The natural effort of every one who has to do with ministry is to put himself as priest between God and man. "Infirmity" is the point in this passage. The Lord is not presented as the "faithful high priest", as In another place; here it is to offer to God, and as learning obedience. We are shown the dignity of His person, as well as His being appointed Priest. It is interesting to notice that He took the place of a thoroughly dependent man: He "was heard in that he feared". It was not as a priest; but afterwards he

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was appointed priest -- "a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec".

Verses 13, 14. You cannot explain the word "babe" in Hebrews by the same word in the epistles of John In John a "babe" is one who is really on christian ground; but here the babe is a Jewish convert who is not on Christian ground at all, who has not got beyond, the "first principles" of the next chapter. As a rule, every word in Scripture is best interpreted by the book in which it is expressed. Every book in the Bible contains sufficient to explain itself; I am not to go to John or Colossians to interpret Hebrews. I have no doubt the translators of Scripture in the present day will make many mistakes as to this.

The apostle gives us in verse 14 some that are grown up. The "babe" who has got on to Christian ground is "perfect" in Hebrews. It is not a question of progress here, as it is in John.

CHAPTER 6

Verses 1 - 8. This is the "perfection" he means; these are the first principles; it is not Christianity at all. What! you say; not a converted man! No, not at all. None of these things is within the brackets. You might have a man have them all without being born again. We have very much lost a true thought which the churchmen have. The dissenters are all for membership; but it is members of a church, not of Christ's body, with them. A churchman, on the other hand, is all for getting a man to church. If you ask him, "Why cannot you say what you want to him here?" he answers, "Oh, no! I must get him into church". This thought we get in 1 Corinthians 14, which shows us the power of God in the house of God. In that chapter is the only time the word

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'layman' is used. The layman there falls down, worships God, and acknowledges that God is "in you" 'clergy', not in himself. Being there, he is in a place of blessing; and if he go out from it there is no other for him; he had better take care not to leave it. Just as Noah might have said in the ark: Now, my son, you are in a safe place; do not leave it, or you will be drowned. It is no question of conversion. Then, you ask, what does he gain? He gets what we have in these verses 4 and 5. There is a wonderful sheltering power in the word; he is made a "fellow" of the Holy Spirit (not partaker); he is in company with Him, though not indwelt by Him. If I go into a house, and sit down in a comfortable chair there, do you mean to say that I have not got some of the privileges of the house, though I do not belong to it? You know that I have. And you know perfectly well the power that is felt sometimes in a meeting; how every soul is hushed; and how the presence of God is felt, whether by converted or unconverted. The man at the feast, he got the feast, but he did not get the garment; he sat all through the wedding supper, and no one found him out until the king came in.

There is no real conversion in these verses. It is the wonderful action that takes place in the house of God short of conversion. We have lost too much the thought of the power of God's presence on the earth; we look at it too much only in connection with souls that are converted. It never says in Corinthians that the man who came in was converted; only that the secrets of his heart were made manifest. The house is the "habitation, of God through the Spirit;" it takes the place that the shechinah glory did in the temple: every one who came in was not a believer, but every one who came in was in contact with the glory. The question in Scripture is whether a man who takes a Christian position be

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able to maintain the position he has taken. The man in 1 Corinthians 5 is admitted to be converted, yet he is put outside the assembly; he is not fit to be in it. It is, "Put away from among yourselves that wicked person;" (1 Corinthians 5:13) and that though he be a converted man. But he was brought back again among them very soon afterwards. In this chapter of Hebrews the apostle is showing how a Jew, having taken Christian ground, if he turn away from it, crucifies for himself the Son of God, and from that there is no return; for if this wonderful thing come upon a soul and there be no answer to it, it is like earth drinking in rain from heaven, and bearing only thorns and briars after -- fit for nothing but burning.

Verses 9 - 17. "But", he says, "we are persuaded better things of you". There are real things that accompany salvation. You take an interest in what belongs to God: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren". (1 John 3:14) We are thrown into a new circle, a new relationship, and the question is whether we like this relationship. We must be relations to them. A man does not love his relations without their being his relations. In the church a man has got out of his own natural circle into one outside nature. "As I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another". (John 13:35)

Verses 18 - 20. In chapter 4 we had the rest of God; now we have the hope. In Hebrews you are going on to heaven, and Christ is always the Object before you. Are you in heaven? No; but He is there. Are you on shore? No; but the Captain is: "The forerunner is for us entered". And He is bringing us on to where He is Himself. It is not with us as it was with Israel; Canaan is not the type of our position; there is nothing about Canaan here except in contrast; it is heaven that is brought out here. Canaan

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is the heavenly man upon earth; there is nothing at all about that in Hebrews. The wonderful thing in the tabernacle is that it is not a type at all; it is a copy of the original. We are going on to the original of which it is the image. If you say the tabernacle is a type, then you must have an antitype of it to come after it; but it is not; Moses saw it up in the mount and came down and gave the children of Israel the pattern of it. If the tabernacle be only a type, then I must be waiting to come to the antitype of it; whereas, if it be an image, I am only going on to that which was there before the tabernacle ever was.

Abraham rested everything on the heir (verse 14); how much more do we rest everything upon One who is greater than the heir -- upon that Christ who is the fulfilment of and answer to the heir, though I am down here and He in heaven a great way off.

There are three different ways in which we are looked at in connection with heaven. In Hebrews, the lowest of the three, we are seen on earth looking up into heaven; in Joshua we are in Canaan, heavenly men fighting on earth; and in Ephesians we are seated in Christ in heaven, which necessarily includes the two others. But Christendom is nothing more in principle than Jewish converts. They have not occupied the place of heavenly men for centuries; they have made the earth their centre; converting the earth has been their aim. They "say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie;" (Revelation 3:9) they are not Jews; if they were it would be no lie. And this is what makes the camp which you get at the end of the book. There is no Christianity proper if you leave out heaven; earth does not belong to Christianity proper, because Christ has been rejected from earth. We have not only the certainty of getting into heaven at some future time, but it is ours now. People say, I shall get into heaven when I die. And what will you get till you die? Earth. Exactly; and

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that is what I object to. The apostle says. Though you are not in heaven yet, still I give you the place, and I set your eye on the One to whom it all belongs, and who is gone in there for you. God could not give us the earth that rejected His Son. My heart is to be occupied with the One who has entered there for me as High Priest; and therefore the apostle beautifully says that He is gone, not either into Canaan or into heaven, but "within the veil". He says, I will not talk to you of either earth or heaven; but is your eye on Christ? Is it turned to the magnet, the loadstone of the heart?

The truth that will deliver souls in the present day is the book of Hebrews, though it be a child's book. Souls do not know that they are saved. They have got hold of the value of the sacrifice on earth; but they will talk of "a fresh application of the blood;" they have not got a Priest in heaven.

Hebrews is uncommonly lovely to the heart, because it always draws it up. It says: It was quite right for you to listen to the prophets; but here is the Son of God for you -- the One who has come down to contend with all your foes, and who has gone back to heaven, having overcome them all for you, and who now makes you His fellows. As already said, it is like the whole congregation of Israel going up with the high priest to a certain point, and then, to use a common expression, they are "at fault" -- they have lost him. But we "see Jesus". If I look up to the highest point, I have Him there; and if I look down to the lowest point -- to my weakest point -- I have Him here.

CHAPTER 7

Verses 1, 2. Christ has not yet come out as King of Righteousness: He is King of Peace already.

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Verse 3. That is all they knew about him; no one knew what he was.

Verses 4 - 26. We look after this One gone into the heavens, and we find Him there a Priest after a new order; Christ is now the fulfilment of the Aaronic course in a new way. When He comes out it will be to bless Israel as Melchisedec did Abram. Many Christians have not got hold of the priesthood of Christ at all. If we do not take heavenly ground we cannot know it. When there was an effort made a little time ago to damage the priesthood of Christ, the question was put. What did the Melchisedec priest do? I do not know what he did inside, but I know very well what he does when he comes out, he blesses the people.

I have got in heaven a High Priest who is "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners ...". I am not separate from sinners, but He is. My ship may move about a little, but it cannot part from its anchor, and that is safe within the veil. It is a wonderful thing, that, as the apostle says, I may have a "supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" -- a stream that comes down to me from heaven. I am here in the midst of all that is against me, and He says. This is what I send down to you. I am like a man in a diving bell, with everything most adverse to me; how am I sustained in it all? By a life that is in connection with Him in the holiest, in the full supply of His Spirit; a life that will not coalesce with the surrounding element. It is what we need for our destitute condition - what you call "journeying mercies", if you like. If you are not anchored within the veil, you have no anchor. He knows the circumstances I am in, and He sends down from God the suited grace. If I may say it with all deference. He knows them better than any one; so he is either thinking of you to give you suited grace, or He is thinking of you to no purpose at all. If you have real sympathy with

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me, and are thinking of me in the circumstances I am in, you cannot but minister to me if you have the ability. So I believe we never get near Christ individually about any transaction that He does not leave the impress of what His own grace would have been in the circumstance. When the Lord was in the ship He was asleep. The disciples naturally thought he was indifferent about them; if they could have been persuaded He was not forgetful of them, though asleep, they would have been as quiet as He was; but they were not; so they awoke Him. And what did He do? He put them all to sleep: "there was a great calm;" and that is what there ought to have been at the first. Otherwise, it comes to this, that He is thinking about me, but that He has not the suited grace to meet me. But He says, I have all that is suited to you; I am "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens". (Hebrews 7:26) That is the High Priest that becomes us.

There is not a word about sin properly in Hebrews: it is "infirmity". I am on the heavenly road; but I feel how weak I am, and how unable to get on. No sooner am I clear from judgment and death than Amalek comes against me. Now, the two things to help me in this are Hebrews and Peter. The Lord says, I pray for you. That is Hebrews. But when Peter was tempted, he ought to have said, I will take the sword and fight him. When he was asked to go in, he ought to have said. No; I will not go into your house; I will not go to your fire. So this is what Peter is strong about. The moment I take my place as a heavenly man, Satan says, I am against you in everything. We never fail that we find we did not resist. Peter's great point is "whom resist;" he does not take you out of the wilderness, but he says, resist the devil in it.

There are two classes of ministry: one to save you

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from a snare, the other to save you out of a snare. In the one case you have got in, and you are rescued; in the other you are kept out of it. Happier to be kept out of it; but we get the two.

Bad temper is no infirmity: it is perverseness: The Lord never takes away my weakness; He does my perverseness. You say I am convinced that Christ is worthy of all my love. And how long will you keep to it? Not half an hour!

"No infant's changing pleasure
Is like my wandering mind". (Hymn 51)

He says I will take away your thieving; I will not take away your timidity, but I will give you my strength in it. Christ keeps me on the road in spite of my infirmity.

Verses 27, 28. The apostle draws the distinction between the high priest's own sins and the sins of the people. Aaron offered for his own house; Christ for His -- for His family, as we saw in chapter 3. It is not the house as a building; it cannot ever become the "great house". In Ephesians the house is looked at as not interfered with by man, but it could be, as we find it is in 1 Corinthians. But here it cannot be; it is the house of Christ. He offered the bullock for His own house; the two goats are not offered yet; He is gone in within the veil with His own blood, and the two goats are yet to come for Israel.

Verse 19. "Perfect" through the whole epistle is that he has got to the top of the thing: "they without us should not be made perfect", as we get it further on. They have not got to that yet; but it is the top, where no further improvement can be. So the law made nothing perfect, nothing complete.

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CHAPTER 8

Verses 1,2. We get the word "heavens" now. It was "the Majesty on high" in the first chapter; now it is "in the heavens". The tabernacle on earth was the image; we are introduced into the reality, into the original.

Verses 3 - 5. This is a very important point; "If he were on earth, he should not be a priest;" therefore He is not on earth. We have to deal with heaven itself; and those who think it is too high to go to heaven may do without a priest. If we do not know Him there, we do without the good of it; it is not that He forgets us; He is always pleading for us; He does not cease, because you do not enter into the value of it, but how can you be in concert with Him if you do not know where He is? You do not get the special blessing connected with it. Formerly the association was earth; they never got into the holiest; the high priest himself only went in once in the year. The first thing God told Moses to make was the thing they never reached till Christ came: the mercy-seat was the first thing in the mind of God, and the mercy-seat was never reached till Christ's death. None of the Jews ever got to it. Whilst the epistle to the Hebrews does not say that we are in heaven, yet we can look in, and Christ is gone in for us. Then, however holy a man might be, however sincere, a time came when he lost his priest: he went in; now the nearer I get the plainer I see. He who has accomplished everything for me is there, and I have a right to go in after Him; my right is established. As to title every Christian is there, but there is a moment when I first get the sense of the enjoyment of my right. Hebrews is individual; each individual has a right to the holiest as the fellow of Christ. We follow Him, not upon earth but into

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heaven. It is very necessary to learn that I have a right to go into my Father's house. It is the point that is settled all through the Hebrews.

Verses 6 - 13. It is important here to make one remark about the covenant, which may clear false ideas from people's minds. Among men a covenant is an agreement between two. I propose terms to you, and you correct them until we come to an agreement. A covenant with God is quite another thing; God only has a voice in it: He defines the terms. The children of Israel said they would accept God's terms, but they did not make a single term themselves. Now God says, I am going to bring in a new covenant. We are not under this covenant, though we have to do with the Covenanter. He told them He would propose a thing to them: He would create a nature in them which should be entirely according to His own mind. He says, I will make a people who shall know Me from the least to the greatest, and in whose hearts shall be written my laws. This is the millennial saint; therefore this epistle meets the millennial state, for we must remember it is written to Jews. Verses 11,12 will be the condition of the millennial saints. Is it true of us? I hope so. I hold him to be a very bad Christian who does not go beyond the law. I will beat any Sabbatarian that ever was; for I keep the day not to myself, but to God. Whilst he is a legalist, I am trying to please my Lord the whole day through. He says, I Keep Sunday as the Sabbath. I keep it too, but it is as the Lord's day. But the Lord's day being the Sabbath duration of time, I fall into creational order; only, instead of keeping it as an enactment binding on my conscience, I keep it to please the Lord of the Sabbath.

And so on with all the commandments. As to a thief, he is not only no more to steal, but he is to be a giver. No one could ever get into Canaan by keeping

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the law. I must die in Christ and live in Him and so get in. Certainly a Christian will not be in practice below a heathen; but the moment I hear a man say, I am going to judge myself by the law, I say. There is a man who has no proper sense of what Christianity is. Christianity goes far beyond the law. The law says, you are not to call your brother a bad name; but I am to die for my brother. Do you mean to say that I am not higher than a millennial saint even now? I am not in millennial circumstances; but I am in more than millennial favour. Does Christ reign in your heart now? If He be reigning in your heart He will certainly reign in your house. I believe He holds every one of us accountable for behaving as if He were on the throne at the present moment; otherwise, we do not believe in His kingship. It says, "Seek ... thekingdom of God".

CHAPTER 9

Verse 1. "A worldly sanctuary". It does not mean anything of a sinful character; but it was an earthly arrangement.

Verses 2 - 10. We have lost a great many things through being children. The Jewish converts were not up to it, and so the apostle stopped: he says, it is not the time to speak of these things. The great point is, that the way into the holiest was not made manifest whilst the first tabernacle was standing; but now the way is open, and he wants to get them, with a good conscience, into God's presence. So he shows them first that Christ is gone in, and then he opens the way for them. This chapter shows us Christ in, the next shows us ourselves. They have not got a good conscience here yet; the conscience is not yet purged. But they must be in first, before he will explain to them what is inside. It would be

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indulging mere curiosity to do so. God says, I cannot tell you anything on your standing; you must come on to Mine. Many think they can get information about the things of God; but, as He did to Moses, He still says, "Draw near;" you must get to My level before I can speak with you. God's thought is to get us where we can learn of Him undisturbedly. Where does He write Christ on our hearts? Anywhere? Not at all! In glory. Many try to get acquaintance with the great things of God, who have never been experimentally through Hebrews, and this does great damage to souls. It is like the prodigal son looking in through the window, instead of going in at the door. We are to walk through the length and breadth of the land; and how am I to walk through unless I am in?

Verses 11 - 14. Now the conscience is purged. Can you say, I have stood before God, and there was not one single thing, one single blemish of any kind, upon me? It is not that He is just to me, but that I am just before Him. God has no more claim on me. Some commentators have said that the prodigal son kept his rags on under the best robe, so that he might look at them sometimes to keep him humble. You may smile at the idea, but, nevertheless, a great many act on it. That is not what God has done. He has entirely moved Adam out of the way; and the soul never gets perfect liberty until it sees every shred of the old clothes gone, and nothing but Christ left. God said, "The end of all flesh is come before me". (Genesis 6:13) For a moment it was fulfilled in the deluge; for a moment everything was either dead or covered; and now, again, God sees no flesh before Him: every one is either covered by the death of Christ, or lost. What would be the most incomparable blessing that could be conferred on us? Would it not be to get rid of the flesh? And God has got rid of it in Christ. There is no sense of deliverance until

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you get to Christ in glory; and you never get near Him unless you see His death.

Verses 15 - 17. This is the statement of the doctrine. We do not receive property until the testator is dead; so in the case of our Lord: death was not only for the redemption of the saints, but it also opened the way to the inheritance. You see, the moment the wrong end is cleared away, everything is fair with God. That is what He said to Cain: we will be on terms; there is no enmity in Me; if you will clear everything away, there is nothing on My side. It is the same in the thief on the cross: everything that offends against God is taken out of the way, and then all is thrown open. In Exodus the blood was shed, and then, in a moment, they saw "the body of heaven in his clearness". (Exodus 24:10) The saying is, "I can forgive, but I cannot forget". That is not at all God's way; He says: Remove the offending thing out of My way, and everything is open to you. The prodigal son was in favour in a moment, as if he had never done anything wrong. There is no enmity on the part of God. I take a long time to be reconciled to God, and so I cannot believe He can so quickly be to me; therefore it says, "Be ye reconciled to God". (2 Corinthians 5:20) The soul gets clear about the value of the blood long before it gets the thought that it is in perfect favour; it is a long time before you get to in Christ. "Every believer has it" through Christ; but it is "in Christ". You do not get "in Christ" until the sixth chapter of Romans, and then it is "in " for the first time; before that it is "through". Such souls are in Adam still, though I doubt not they are converted. But I say to them, change your ground; for "there is ... no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus". (Romans 8:1) The Galatians are properly Romans who have gone back from the eighth chapter. Romans brings saints out of the law; in Galatians they go back to it. So the apostle

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says. Of whom I travail in birth now; for I am not quite sure that Christ is in you. Every man in Christ is a new creation.

The word "eternal" is so often repeated in Hebrews 9, because the first tabernacle was not eternal; this is; it is for ever and ever.

Verses 18 - 22. If I understand Exodus 24, it was not the priest alone who did it all, which makes it still more interesting. We are seen coming up under cover of the blood with Him, everything thrown open to us.

Verses 23 - 27. The way into the holiest was "not yet made manifest;" while the pattern was standing the original was not opened. It was not that the tabernacle itself was defiled, but it was sprinkled to get a defiled people into it. The original is purified to get us in; it is all opened to us, and it cannot, be defiled by our going in. There are no wicked spirits in Hebrews as you find in Ephesians. Hebrews is only our right to go in; the wicked spirits are inside; we must be in before we can, meet them. You can hardly say that it is heaven itself, but the whole creation is defiled, as you often hear people say, feeling how everything is spoiled.

The holy place is the Jewish place. The holiest will not be visible during the millennium. Christ brought us in as His own house, and He brought in also the Jew; He brought in the heavenly company and also the earthly. The heavenly will be entitled to the holiest, and the earthly to the holy place. Christ has opened the way, so that I am as much cleansed for heaven as for earth; indeed, heaven is far the more certain of the two to you; you can "read your title" to heaven far more clearly than to earth. Why? Because the light is clearer there. A very small thing interrupts the soul -- turns it aside. There is nothing we ought to desire more than to be in circumstances, in surroundings, pleasing to

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the Lord. It is a poor thing, indeed, if I do not seek to know the Lord in circumstances that are pleasing to Him, in surroundings that suit Him.

I often wonder evangelists do not bring more out the thought that the prominent thing that God had in His mind was never carried out until the death of Christ -- the mercy-seat. God says: The thing I told you to make first, not one of you has ever reached; but My Son has come out, and He is made the way. The thought of God is to have man without a cloud in the brightest spot; and therefore when man was found perfectly incapable. He says: I know what you most want, and what you want most I will give you first. I have no doubt the holiest was thrown open the first day; but, Aaron's sons bringing in strange fire, it was all closed up; after which comes the command to drink no wine. Wine is acting from impulse. Giving out a hymn because it is 'on your heart', for instance, is impulse. I am not an individual when I come into the assembly; I am really a member of the body, under the government of Christ the Head.

Verse 28. There will be no question of sin at all then. Sin is not taken away yet, as we well know. This is future. He has taken away my sins, for how can I have sins if I be in Christ? But sin is in the world. The work is done which will put it away, but the full result is still future.

CHAPTER 10

Verses 1, 2. That is the place we are brought into. There is no more conscience of sins, not sin. I can come into God's presence without a single thing being laid to my charge. It is not whether you continue on, but whether you have ever been on this ground. Many hesitate at making such a statement;

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but I believe they hesitate because they have never realised the fact of what the work of Christ has done for the believer. You may have a bad conscience, but I cannot admit that you have a bad one until you have a purged one. You may be merely legal, What do you judge your 'bad' by? Is it by the law or by Christ? Many a man would have a bad conscience, but the question is, what does he judge it by? Many a one shelters himself under 'I am a failing person', Do not tell me of failure or of what you are, until you have got into His presence without a single thing displeasing to Him. 'But I may go back?'. Well, we will answer that afterwards; settle it first that you have got in this once; that you have, like Jonathan got title to a place at the king's table. Psalm 32, which speaks of no imputation of sin with God, is the psalm where there is the deepest distress, because the soul will not confess. The great principle of divine grace is, that where I am most detected, there I am best protected. The Lord says, I will protect you; and "if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed". (John 8:36)

Verse 3. This is exactly what is done in Christendom; there is reference made to sins every day, because they do not know a Saviour in the holiest. There is a premium for the soul on getting higher; if you were to go up, you would see yourself perfectly clear in the sight of God; you would see not only the sins, but the sin gone. I never yet heard a man talking of his sins when he was out of them. If a man say to me that he is so worldly, I am ready to answer, so you are. Your confessing failure shows that you have a conscience, but do you drop the thing that you fail in? When you first got into the holiest you dropped everything; why not now? You have something in your right hand that you will not give up. If a man be really confessing in private, he will not want to confess in public. I am not

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speaking of confession for the assembly, but of a man's own private confessions. I repudiate this flesh of mine in God's presence as a wretched, vile thing; there can be no good conscience if I do not. But many souls are harping on their sins instead of abandoning them; saying, 'I am so weak', and refusing all the time to abandon their weakness. There is never an excuse for weakness: I take pleasure in weakness, for His strength is made perfect in weakness. But in nine cases out of ten it is not weakness at all but perverseness. If a man be really repentant he is praising the Saviour; he has got on to the other side.

Verses 4 - 9. "The first", that is the offerings. Verse 10 is the great point: it is "the offering of the bodyof Jesus Christ". He comes forth and takes a body; and, when He offers that body, all is removed that barred me from the presence of God. God has separated us now to the same standing as Christ. Christ has come down from God and measured my distance, and placed me in the measure of His nearness. Verses 11 - 13. This is actually the period we are in. Verse 14. The professing church in the present day knows nothing whatever of this; it has dropped into ritualism. Verses 15 -18. Supposing a person, say, I have failed now; what will become of me? I answer: Still, you cannot get out of the place; you cannot get out of belonging to Christ's house, out of being one of the family. Wesleyans say you can fall away. They make the new creation less than the old; whereas the new is infinitely, incomparably, beyond the old. Besides which they try to change the old into the new. Verses 19 - 23. Verse 19 ought not to be divided from 20; it is all one sentence; it is not two ways; it is only one. The door is wide open; I look in; I have a right to go in, and, if you once enter, you ought never to go out again; the veil is taken away, and you have boldness, and the more

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you realise, the more you have boldness. It is the fullest efficacy of the faith. It does not mean what we commonly call "full assurance". It is the full weight of faith. It is not that you are assured of the faith, but it is what the faith gives you -- what you derive from the faith. And it is not that you are to have your hearts sprinkled, but that they are. We draw near with a true heart: I have not taken this standing without the full verity of it in my soul. I am perfectly suited to the place, and have title to be in it. There is not a speck upon me, not a thing to offend against God; the body is fit for the Lord. You cannot lose your standing, the footing you have got; further on it comes to not giving up your birthright; God chose to quicken your soul; take care you do not give it up. It has not to be done when you come in; all was set right before. It is a difficult thing to explain practically; the blood is on the mercy-seat for every believer, but each one has to have it upon himself also. It is only by the Holy Spirit I can come in. There is only the flesh and the Spirit here, so there is not a word about the oil. You are brought in as priests before God; the blood is not only on. the mercy-seat, but it is on you. The blood is for the weakest believer, but besides that, at the consecration of the priest, it was sprinkled on him: The flesh is over; I am left entirely to the things of the Spirit; entirely in the power of the oil. We are fellows of the Holy Spirit.

Verses 24, 25. How long ago is it since they saw the day approaching? 1800 years ago. We know He is due; that is the thing; We are sure He is coming. We do not judge of the day by events; we know that it is due. When the Revelation was given there was nothing to hinder. It is now just as we say of a train, 'it is due'. So if the Lord were due some time ago, how much more now? The world takes up the question in a contrary way to the professing

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church, but both arrive at the same conclusion: the professing church says: "My Lord delayeth his coming;" (Luke 12:45) the world, "Where is the promise" of it?

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together", (Hebrews 10:25) is that we are not to drop out of Christianity; not to fall back to Jewish standing.

Verses 26 - 31. These people with all their talk were never converted at all. They had been sanctified by the blood of the covenant, by the position they had taken as professing Christians. They had taken this place and never answered to it. Baptism has to do with the old man; the Lord's supper, with the new. God has got a house on earth in the midst of all the confusion; and the moment you take your place in that house, you take the position of present administrative forgiveness. And I believe God deals with all who take that place. He treats professing Christians very much as if they were all true believers; he deals with them on the ground that they themselves take. There is no question as to their being in the house of God. Every churchman has an idea that there is something in being within the walls; they take off their hats when they go in; they think everything of the house. On the other hand the dissenters look for membership; they know nothing about the house, and are pitched out somewhere without one, whilst ritualism makes everything of it.

Giving up in that day would have been going back to be a Jew; in the present day, it would be apostasy from Christ. The Holy Spirit was acting in the place they were in, and they refused that place. Scripture does not say there is no hope for such persons, but in the place they have got to there is none.

The church is looked at in two aspects: the house and the body. While the wise woman keeps the house everything is in beautiful order; but you can

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easily see, if she be indolent and negligent, to what a state things will come. It is not that she ceases to be the wife, the bride, but that she is not caring for the house. If she had been always true to her place, there would have been no disorder. When Christ comes He takes away the bride, and leaves the house here. Satan has collected it together, so it is called "the synagogue of Satan", and then it becomes the great whore. The pope is not the man of sin: he exalts himselfin all that is called God, not "above all", as we read in Thessalonians.

Verses 32 - 37. There they really suffered for their Christianity. The time was getting long, and the test of patience is whether you can endure. So here we come to another word: we haveboldness to go up, but we havepatience to go along the road. It is very interesting the way the coming of the Lord is brought in here. It is the rest that is for us in chapter 4, whilst we work; here the coming of the Lord is the thing that is for patience.

Verses 38, 39. We get a very important principle here. Every person's progress is in accordance with what it costs him. I find a man who has to walk ten miles to a meeting is ten times as fresh as the man who lives next door. If it cost you anything it brings out the virtue of Christ which enables you to do it. It is a great fact that any person is a leader now, not so much through what he knows as through what he suffers.

CHAPTER 11

These are all men of God, and their lives set forth what they did by faith. There is what I may call a gradation in their histories, a successional virtue brought out in them. First we have justifying faith in Abel. Then Enoch's faith ending with translation

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into life. Noah's faith takes him safe through judgment. Abraham has separating faith; and so on, till we culminate at a very interesting point, which proves to me that the apostle Paul was the author of the epistle; it is internal evidence to it, as we say: "Rahab perished not, ... and what shall I more say?" (Hebrews 11:31,32) We have got the gentile into the land, we have got as far as we can go. Paul is the apostle to the gentiles, and the great thing with him is to show that a gentile is there. A worldly person in herself, he says, I have placed her on the same ground as the people of God. It is the only touch of the gentile that he gives in the epistle.

It is not the varieties of the faith that is brought before us; it is that in these specimens we learn that faith is the cure for everything. If you have faith you can do anything; it only wants the thing to call it out. A different need only calls forth a different phase of it. There are four phases of the moon, but every one knows it is the same moon. Abraham is a man of faith, and he dies a stranger in the land; whilst Moses goes there in triumph. And it is a different thing to the gift of faith; the gift of faith has to do with service; but this is common to all. If a gift be not used for God's glory, but for man's service, it loses its character. Gifts of ministry may be misapplied. Gift belongs to the assembly; and not only to the assembly, but Christ's gift is for Christ's benefit in His saints.

In this "cloud of witnesses" it is all earthly associations. If you ask what is faith, I answer, here are specimens of what faith can do. It is not the thing proposed to faith that is the difficulty, but it is, if you count on God you can do the greatest thing just as easily as a small one. You cannot in yourself do a small thing a bit better than a large one. Faith is that I count upon what I do not see; if I can see it, it is not faith. As has been said often,

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a thing that you have been praying about will look less likely than at any time just as it is going to be accomplished. As they say, 'the darkest hour is the hour before dawn'.

Eve lost faith the moment she "saw". People say what is the harm of a beautiful view? None, I say, unless it influence you. Look at Paul in the shipwreck: the master says, go on; all the passengers say, go on; but Paul says, I would not. But then there was a third thing: the south wind blew softly; that was Providence. But no, says Paul, I will not look at Providence. If I look for wind, I shall not get it; but if I am going with God, I shall find Providence fall in with me. Sad to say we know so little of faith; that is the reason we are influenced so much by what we see.

CHAPTER 12

Verses 1 - 4. The weight is something outside; the sin that besets is something inside. The weight is not properly a sin; neither is the sin what people call their "besetting sin:" it is the whole principle of sin in you. Some things are much more easily recognised as sins than others are. It is not only Amalek that we have to meet, but Balaam, too. The Israelites got the victory over Amalek, but they were borne down with Balaam. Nothing does so much harm as the social element; so the wise woman says, "Forsake the foolish, and live;" just the opposite to Balaam, who says, Come into our company. Worldly society is intolerable to the true soul; the world cannot do you any good, and it does do you much harm; whereas, the company of the Lord's people should always be agreeable to you; for, though there may be failure in them, yet there is always Christ in them also. The more I walk with

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God, the more I draw out what is of Christ in you. Supposing you were all diamonds, and I brought a light into the room, how you would all shine! The difference between a piece of glass and a diamond is, that the glass lets the light through, but the diamond absorbs it. Christians should all be diamonds.

Well, what is a weight? Anything that hinders me; for instance, music. If I find it a snare, I throw it aside, just as I would a cloak that was in my way, if I were running a race. Whatever hinders a man from running, is a weight, for this is the race.

Paul was pressing on to the goal. I believe he saw it at his conversion. He saw the mark then, and he ran on to it ever after. If you say you cannot see your goal, I say, you cannot go to it then; and, what is more, you cannot race until you can worship. Worship is, that I am in spirit in my Father's house; racing is, that I am going home to it.

The race here is, in principle, the same as in 1 Corinthians 9; only there the apostle is talking more of the way he has trained or disciplined himself for the race, rather than of the race itself. The point of that passage is, "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things". (1 Corinthians 9:25) You must be a self-denying person. That is laying aside the weight. It is always so: after knowledge comes temperance. For very bit of divine knowledge that I get, I grow more temperate, more self-denying; I want less than I used; I give myself less gratification than I used. One can excuse a person who knows but little in a great many things; but we lay aside everything that we may go on; and the more we get on, the more we have to bear. The cross was the greatest trial, the greatest suffering, that could possibly be brought out. It is not redemption here; it is the martyr side of it only that is looked at. I need not say it is the same cross. But, just as if a horse can go over a six- barred gate it can go over a two, so, if you can bear

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the cross, you can bear anything. As to what he says of being a "castaway", it is that he was writing to those who made much of their gifts. He says, if I stood upon mygift, I might be cast away; I do not go upon that ground at all. The believer can be subjected to very severe judicial treatment here; and that comes out in the chapter we are on. God says, I do not see you in the flesh at all; so you come into the holiest; but the flesh is in you, and, if you do not judge it, I must tear it from you; and that is where chastening comes in.

The Lord is always put first in everything; as it says in John, "When he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them". (John 10:4) It was "for the joy that was set before him". (Hebrews 12:2) We can understand something of that joy; the martyrs had it at the stake; Stephen, no doubt, was full of it when he was going to the Lord. And we have not yet died; we have not all been martyrs yet.

Verses 5 - 11. It is extremely interesting how he brings in chastening here; not at all as we think, for we generally think chastening to be something very much out of the way, but the very pelting of the stones on Stephen, was freeing him from the flesh, and setting him for ever in the presence of God. And so persecutions and troubles here, they set us free from the flesh. Chastisement is too often connected in our minds with punishment; it is not so much that as correction. It is martyrdom, if you like; not retiring to have a happy evening to our days. You are to lose the flesh; there must be the cross; so it is "mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;" (Colossians 3:5) there is something that must be got rid of; the flesh must be torn out of us in one way or another. It may come to special sins, but it is the whole thing that you have to get rid of. Thus we never can say we have got beyond the need of discipline. The chastening in 1 Corinthians 11 is

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confined wholly to the body, because the believer has been eating and drinking unworthily. Here in Hebrews it is much wider. It is not simply punishing: He corrects you for something that would hinder you from running the race. Jonah might have said, why should you have let me get into all this trouble and affliction? Well, I gave you full instruction; it was because you would not bow to the word, and therefore you got the blow. If Paul had not had the flesh, he would not have needed the thorn; it was preventive. To Laodicea it is, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten". (Revelation 3:19) God always speaks before He chastens. The Father's chastening has to do with everything; "If ye call on the Father ... pass the time of your sojourning here in fear". (1 Peter 1:17).

Chastening may have to come upon you for failure; still, wonderful grace! if you be exercised thereby, you get all the good of it, just as if you had been walking righteously. In three ways my body is dealt with; first, governmentally, that is on account of my forefathers. I may have a sickly body because of the wickedness of my grandfather. In this the Lord gives me His sympathy. Secondly, on account of my own failure. In this I have exercise of heart and conscience. And thirdly "for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death". (Philippians 2:30) That is a distinct honour; a decoration won in the Lord's service. I think the persecution of the present day is the opposition of believers. A man who is faithful will have very few friends. The more exclusively you are set for Christ the fewer friends you will have; every one will be shy of you. The character of the present day is, be good friends with every one.

Verses 12 - 14. Go on steadily and follow peace and holiness, or more properly sanctification. Verses 15 - 17. Esau gave up his place in the inheritance. Verse's 18 - 24. This is what we have come to. All this is what is connected, with man. In chapter 10, we get what

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we come to on God's side; here it is what is connected with our own side. It is everything as it now stands at this moment; it is not the future; it is not what you will come to. There are eight things mentioned; the "ands" separate and determine them.

Verses 25 - 29. He is going to shake everything. If we give it up now we shall have manifold more; if we hold to it, when everything is shaken we shall be shaken too.

CHAPTER 13

The last chapter is exhortation, and takes up the visible ground, which is important for the Jew. We are visible, and we are now put into a visible place; we are put outside the camp. The camp is an orderly construction of religious arrangements; it is a settled state of things, with military precision, and sentinels to keep all from going outside it. And those who do, have to pay the penalty of it which is our portion. Where is your address? "Outside the camp". Where are you to be found? "Outside the camp". And what are you doing there? I am praising God and serving man. We are a praising people; praising God. That is what people ought to find us doing. They cannot see us worshipping, but they ought to hear us praising. And is that all? We are serving man too. There must be nothing contrary to the altar about us. The altar is the figure for worship; "we have an altar;" we have gone inside there; we are invisible there; but here we become visible; we are found outside the camp -- outside everything that has regulation. Then have you disorder? I hope not; the Lord keeps order. But the moment you make anything ordered and settled it is in the camp.

When a convert came out of Judaism, he had no place but the church to go to; but the difficulty that

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we have to contend with is, that there are a dozen places. But, go where I may, I cannot leave Christendom; I cannot leave the house of God. It may be a very large house; but, as has been often said, let me get into some little clean corner of it; into some attic; some upper room. There may be a house in which dancing is going on in one of the rooms; but I can keep in another.

At the time the epistle was written "the camp". applied to Judaism; but there is the principle of it to this day. Ask people where they get the word "priest"; they must go back to Judaism for it. Wherever I find Judaism, there I find the camp, and wherever I find Judaism, I stand clear of it. I am dependent on God's Spirit alone for arrangement. If I have a case to deal with today, I cannot deal with it by a case that has already been dealt with; I must have God's guidance for that special thing.

The camp and the house are not the same thing. The camp is the peculiar arrangements that are going on in one part of the house. It is a thing that ought never to have been in the house; they brought it in, but it has no right there. However, we are in the house, and we cannot deny our family; we have to bear the shame of it. When the captives returned from Babylon, there was a nice handful of them; but where were all the others? Those who came back had to bear the weakness and the shame of the defection of the rest. And as it was then God's house, though in a state of dilapidation and ruin -- "they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers. They have cast fire into thysanctuary" (Psalm 74:6) - so it is still His house. Well, and what are you doing? I am keeping things as straight as I can in the clean corner.

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THE TWO CRIES

Proverbs 9

The word of God gives a complete answer to all cavilling. Man urges continually that he is in a ruined condition, and knows not how to escape from it. Scripture gives a direct contradiction to this. It says there are two cries on the earth -- two invitations, either of which man accepts; the cry of wisdom and the cry of folly. What is called folly in the sight of God is thought a great gain in the world. God designates her cry as that of "the foolish woman", because it has qualities of natural attraction, and it is subtle in its influence. It is of immense importance which cry we attend to, and are led by; and every honest person knows how often he turns aside from the voice of wisdom and listens to the voice of folly. The cry of the foolish woman is naturally more attractive to us than the cry of wisdom, because of the terms of the latter.

The foolish woman cries to those "who go right on their ways", and to them only. The world is not inviting the world; there is no occasion for it to do so; and the intention of the invitation is to lead the upright astray. On the other hand, wisdom gives her invitation from the very highest places of the city; she sends it out to every one; she longs to give to all that which she has provided; she cries from the highest places as if, being really right, she were the more determined. They say a man who is right is always persistent. The other is persistent too, but she has not got the same thing to offer, and therefore she cannot assume as a high a place as the former.

There is a great distinction in the cries. Folly offers something that will gratify -- something pleasant to look forward to. If that be my thought it is

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almost sure to be something wrong. It is not this that wisdom proposes, but something right; what is good is not always right; you may be doing a good thing that is not a right one at all.

I am going to wisdom's feast, and therefore I refuse folly's. I am going to have bread and wine; not the Lord's supper, I need scarcely say, but that which the Lord's goodness provides for me; the present enjoyment of soul in what God has provided for it. "They began to be merry"; (Luke 15:24) it does not say that they had reached the finish of it.

Many speak of God's love as having done its most for us: but that is not all; it has done its best. Love has done its most; Christ has died for me; you could not get anything greater than that; but that does not satisfy love; it must do its best; it says to my soul: Come up here; eat of my bread and drink of my wine. Many souls possess the most who have never got the best; they have never yet seen the good things that God has prepared for them. We read in Corinthians, "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". (1 Corinthians 2:9) It is a quotation from Isaiah, and the apostle quotes it to prove that Isaiah did not know the great supper. There is something great there, he says, but I do not see it; it is to me like folding doors, and I cannot see inside them. Paul can say, But we do; we are not inside, but the doors are opened, and we see in. That is the great supper; that is wisdom's entertainment. Love has gone down to the lowest point to reach me there, and now it would take me up to be with Christ where He is.

The house is a divine organisation, an abode; the seven pillars give us the completeness of it; all is in perfect order, the most perfect arrangement, for Christ is the wisdom of God; He is the spring, the fountain, everything to the soul; all is connected

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with Him, all springs from Him, and therefore it entirely ravishes my heart; it gives me a sense of perfect delight; it is to me instant refreshing, as bread and wine typify; as the apostle says. To God I am beside myself. It is not only that I am saved but that I have a great feast. "Many waters cannot quench love". (Song of Songs 8:7) I am at the feast; the work is crowned: it is the festival of accomplished grace; and therefore it is, "In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore". (Psalm 16:11) To so great a height does love take me!

But many saints know nothing of wisdom's feast, and so they are not satisfied; they are always seeking some pleasure, by the way, to supply the lack they feel; they want something here, to be like little flowers in a hedge of thorns. But separation means that I have no right to such things. What right have I to pleasure here? what right have I to anything! It is only Christ who can give me real pleasure, and that is at God's right hand; it is not here; it is something beyond what the human mind can reach to.

We ought to weigh the fact that there is only one spot that can satisfy the heart of God for us, and that spot too is the only one that can fully satisfy our hearts. You may thank Him day and night for the love He has shown you, but you have never got to the crown of it if you have not got there. It is all ready; it is accomplished; and it is the labour of the Spirit of God to bring you there. God has revealed it by the Spirit, and it is the sure mark of a faithful servant, that he labours to lead the soul to the things that God has prepared for it.

The world presents something that is pleasant, something that can be seen; there is no faith where you can see. Wisdom says. There is nothing to see in what I offer you; if you want it, you must "forsake the foolish, and live". (Proverbs 9:6) And so it always is in Scripture; it is always the evening before the morning:

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Abraham goes up to mount Moriah before he gets the blessing. In a world where God is unknown it must be so; it is a standing principle that "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy". (Psalm 126:5) You never took a step in your life that you did not find sorrow either with it or before it. But if I trust God in it, it will all open out like a bud. The question is not whether what is before me is in itself pleasant. Never is anything presented to you but that your first thought is. What will there be pleasant for me in it? You must not make this your object, but only seek that which will be according to God's mind for you in a world of evil, and it must therefore be a path of separation; but "She shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her". (Proverbs 4:8) "If any man serve me, him will my Father honour". (John 12:26).

The foolish woman attracts; she seeks to turn aside those who are going right; that is her object. The world knows how to address itself to each one of us; we each, in a certain sense, have got a world of our own -- some sphere that affects us. The foolish woman always ensnares or draws aside from the path of rectitude; she always runs in the opposite direction to wisdom. It is self-gratification that she offers, and that is always the bait when the flesh acts. I have no doubt that the better and the more comely the thing presented in connection with self-gratification, the more dangerous; and things are getting more this character every day. The lack is not that people are not going on nicely and rightly, but do they know the things that are in the heart of God for them? He is ever crying to His own, but another voice tries to rival His, and it is a great thing to be aware of it and to be armed against it. The worst of it is, that many think they have made such a good start, got such a long way on their road, that they are quite safe from such invitations, whereas they have never yet got out of the harbour at all. The

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thing is, not to think you have got out of sight of land, but to pull away every day. There is nothing like getting clear of the shore at once; but even when you are quite clear of it, yet as long as land can be seen, that is as long as you are on the earth, you are not out of danger.

I would press the thought that there is nothing God so delights in as making us perfectly happy, even in such a scene of ruin as this; as the psalmist expresses it: "This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs". (Psalm 69:31). What shall please Him? Some tell me obedience; others something else; but what does the scripture say? It is praising God: "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs". (Psalm 69:30,31). No amount of sacrifice can be of the same value to God as the enjoyment of the place He has set us in. Could anything be more disheartening to a loving parent than his children being dissatisfied with his care for them? Does ever a cloud cross my heart in the thought that there is not perfect love for me up there? If I had not an atom of His favour to show it me, I am satisfied with what I have in His heart. Nothing has done such damage practically to souls as judging of God's heart by His favours. I give the favours a colour by the love: I do not judge of the love by the favours, but, knowing the love, I appreciate the favours.

He brings me into a scene of perfect happiness. Here it is wisdom that is said to do it; wisdom is set forth as to its action. Most hearts dwell upon love, and I do not object to their doing so, but wisdom only can complete love. When Abraham made a feast for Isaac he set forth the expression of his love. God says: 'Where shall love have its plenitude, Its full demonstration? When I gather you

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round My Son'. Then it will have its plenitude. We are to have the sense of the delight of God in us in this scene. As Caleb says: "If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land". (Numbers 14:8). But I cannot use such words for I say. He has delighted in us, and He has brought us in. Abraham loved Isaac before, but now he wanted to give some distinct expression of this love to the whole household; the festival is an expression, a demonstration, of the love when it had got to its height; so that which fully expounds the satisfaction of God's love is not when it reaches you in your ruin, but when it brings you into His own presence. This is the culminating point.

In 1 Corinthians 2, the apostle speaks of wisdom doctrinally; and in Colossians 2, his conflict is that the saints should understand the wonderful position into which they are called. Is this future? No, it is not future; that is the very point: "God hath revealed them unto us". (1 Corinthians 2:10) It is what qualifies me for the contrariety, the difficulty, of the scene down here. When was it Moses said, "Show me thy glory?" It was when he was filled with the ruin of everything here, when all here was at an end. Israel had failed, idolatry had come in, all was gone; and then he says: If I could but taste of the scene of divine brightness, if I could but see God's glory, I could face it. When was Isaiah qualified? When he saw the King, the Lord of hosts; Habakkuk the same; and in the New Testament, Stephen looks up, sees the glory of God, and now he can meet everything.

It is an immense lack to souls not having a high moral elevation. If you have not a high sense of what you are brought to, your walk will be in keeping with your thought. How can a man be in keeping with a great thing if he have never seen it? I know nothing that saints are more deficient in than this; they cannot retire into solitude and say: I have

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a scene of perfect unbounded joy that my Father has given me outside of all the difficulties here. You are not fit to serve if you cannot say this: I see Him up there, and I am to walk according to what I see down here. If I had not seen Him up there I should be powerless down here, but if I have, I see what a practical thing it is to walk according to His life here. You may eat of the bread and drink of the wine that is mingled; there is wondrous joy to be had while in such a world as this. I never could face things here unless I could say. That which keeps me steady is the fact that I have a scene of light and joy outside all that attracts me on the one side and that oppresses me on the other. Wisdom is the aggregation of everything that delights the heart. When the queen of Sheba heard the words of Solomon "there was no more spirit in her". (2 Chronicles 9:4) People talk of trying to get out of the world, but I say, get but one sight of Solomon and you will be out.

But, says someone, I have not got it. Are you looking for it? "As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God". (Psalm 42:1) I would set you looking for it; I would have you seek "To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary". (Psalm 63:2) I would have you say, I will cry tonight for it; I will cry for weeks, and if I do not get it in weeks, I will cry for months, but get it I will. A sinner must believe to get heaven, but a saint must cry for it to enjoy it. He has given you a taste for it, and He will satisfy it: "He that seeketh findeth".

I want your soul to be awakened to the fact that there is the cry of wisdom; I want you to listen to it, and to enter into all the favour and love of God so that it may produce in you a practical result, and that practical result, separation. Who is safe from the enticing words of man's wisdom, and all the subtle ways in which it is propounded? No one who

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has not heard the voice of God's wisdom; only he is proof against it who knows Christ "the power of God, and the wisdom of God:" (1 Corinthians 1:24) "This I say, lest any man should beguile you". (Colossians 2:4) Souls need Christ in a deeper way. If. He have come down into this scene and delivered you from the things that surround you here, you can afford to take a new path and follow Him in faith.

If I contrast the two cries, I see that one demands moral separation; the other, offers pleasure. And all day and every day the two are inviting me; and, whenever I cannot tell which is the one to attend to, the words "Forsake the foolish, and live" (Proverbs 9:6) will guide me. A really wise man looks to be rejected; but on the other hand I get into the place where love is created by the service of love: "Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee". (Proverbs 9:8)

And after all you have a better time of it here: "By me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased". (Proverbs 9:11) You are a man superior to the things here, but, besides that, you derive more from everything in this scene because of what Christ is to you in it. On the contrary, when you come to the foolish woman, it all ends in sorrow of some sort: "The dead are there".

The Lord lead us into it, beloved friends. It is not merely in my walk and personal blessing that I gain, but I am led into the deeper sense of what God has prepared for them that love Him. There is a spot of unclouded light, a sphere where He has gathered everything round His Son, who will gird Himself and come forth and lead you into the light where He is.

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THE NATURE OF THE CHANGE EFFECTED BY GRACE

Psalm 32; Luke 10:29 - 35

We could hardly get a simpler scripture to set forth what God has done for every believer on this earth. It is not that every believer enjoys it, but that God has done it. "Himself hath done it", and it is very important to us what God has done. He asked man to do something for Him before He did anything for man; and man having utterly failed in doing it, God has now done everything for man.

I take up, then, the simplest passage I can find, in order to bring out what the grace of God makes of a man on earth, not in heaven, what the grace of God makes of a poor sinner who believes in Christ on earth. What has He done for such a man? This is what I would simply bring before you.

The first statement you get in this psalm is quoted by the apostle Paul in the epistle to the Romans: "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered: blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin". (Romans 4:7) This declares to us what God is: it is God coming out. It is God's glory and happiness to say. Poor, wretched sinner, I can clear you entirely. It is a great matter to get this simple thing impressed on the soul -- the delight that God has in clearing us. See how the Lord speaks to His disciples about the woman of Samaria. No, He says, I cannot eat. They wonder and are surprised that He should do such an uncourteous thing as to refuse the meat that they had brought Him. But He had come "to finish His work", and that was His meat. Many a time I thought it was her work.

Has it ever entered into your heart the delight

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that it is to God to clear you? .The thing that has come out, which is so insisted on in Hebrews, and which God announced in the flood, is, "The end of all flesh is come before me". (Genesis 6:13) For one moment it was so: all was either covered or drowned; a figure of what grace is. All is now gone judicially in the cross; and "He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified;" (Hebrews 10:14) He does not impute sin to them "The worshippers once purged having no longer any conscience of sins". (Hebrews 10:2) This is a very important verse to get correctly in the soul. God has no claim for sin; sin once gone in the cross of Christ, God never imputes it again. Do you mean I never do it? No; nor does God say the end of all flesh is come before you. If I say it is come before my own eye, I know it is not; but, if God is the one I have offended, am I solicitous that the one l have offended should be satisfied as to my offence? If I have offended an affectionate father, I want to know how he feels about my conduct; If he says, I have removed it all myself, I am at perfect ease in his presence.

I put it to every soul here, Are you really resting in heart on this, that God can never impute a sin to you again? And a much greater thing than that too, He has liberated His own heart. Do not talk about committing sin, but get the sense that you have a purged conscience. A purged conscience is that God does not impute sin to me.

But I often find people saying, I feel that I am not as I used to be; I feel that there is something wrong. Well, what have you been doing? Oh, I have been drawn away by politics, by painting, or the like. But have you stopped It? No. Then you are still entertaining the thing that revived the flesh.

What I insist upon is, that you must get hold of what God has said; "To whom the Lord will not impute sin". It is the main point of everything. He "died for our sins". What for? to satisfy my conscience?

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Not merely; but to satisfy God. Nothing can be simpler! "Our old man has been crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed". (Romans 6:6) The moment you get the cross it is judicial; He has fulfilled in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ that which was foreshadowed in the deluge; the end of all flesh has come before Him. It is a wonderful moment: I have got into the holiest of all; the clothes of the old country are gone; the prodigal is in the Father's house.

But is not the great thing the gospel of theglory? I answer, everything comes from the glory, and from nowhere else. But what do you get in Saul of Tarsus? That the cross is what brings in the glory. Everyone that is saved has the light of the glory, but it is not everyone who sees it. It took Saul three days to learn the effect of the cross, before he could rest in the glory.

What I want to leave distinctly on every heart is, the relief that there is to the heart of God when He can say, I do not see a spot on you. But how can I get on such ground as that? I come in "by a new and living way", not merely by the blood; it is "through the veil, that is to say, his flesh", (Hebrews 10:20) and having done that, I have got rid of Adam. What will heaven be? Why, not a bit of flesh left and that is what heaven is now; that is the residence for a soul now. What puts me into the bliss of heaven is Gilgal -- cutting off the flesh. I have got in and I reside there. What is the character of the place? No admittance to the flesh. You have not to combat the flesh here, but to speak of what God is.

God has brought in the perfect liberation of His own heart. His Son said, "I have a baptism to be baptised with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!". (Luke 12:50) But now God has liberated Himself, He is free to go out to poor sinners. I am perfectly at a loss for words to convey the magnificence

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of the love of God, that could come down to such a world as this, to rid me of all that stood between me and Him. And how did He do It? by a stroke of His hand? That would have been like a king, to pass by a transgression; but He did it in righteousness. He brought in the end of flesh by the cross of His own Son. Do you think God will ever let flesh go? No, never! He will even "deliver ... to Satan for destruction of the flesh". (1 Corinthians 5:5) A child of God may be in a house where wickedness is going on, and, if that house fall, the first one to be stricken down in it will most likely be His own child.

God, then, has seated me at His own board. At the King's table: "While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof;" (Song of Songs 1:12) I am in the enjoyment of the wonderful position He has set me in. This is the first point, and it is a great thing to get hold of it, because it is grace.

God forgives, and never imputes. He forgives what you have done, and He does not impute what you are. Real repentance is, that I put my flesh as far from the eye of God as He has put it from Himself. I do not really sorrow unto repentance if I do not.

In the New Testament we see this figuratively brought out in the parable of the man who fell among the thieves. Here we find the state of the soul of a wretched sinner. What is a state for grace? A state of grace, we often hear of. Now, there are two things that form a state for grace: one is, that you do not resist the grace; and the other is, that you do not conceal your need of it. The man who had fallen among the thieves was in this wretched condition, and he did not resist any offer of kindness, neither did he conceal his need of it. Many a man who does not resist God's offers of forgiveness, yet conceals the extent of his need. This is the third verse of our psalm: "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long;" (Psalm 32:3)

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but then he comes to saying, "I acknowledged, my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin". (Psalm 32:5) This is the great evidence of having no concealment. If everything be cleared away there is nothing to cover. You may say what you like to me, I have settled it all with God. That is the proof of a man really forgiven; but what brings about this state of no guile is, that there is full confession; if you have the title to forgiveness and you are not quite happy, it is that you have not thoroughly confessed all. The man in Luke does not say, I had six wounds, and I covered up three, and let the other three be healed, and I am well of those but not of the others, for I can see them still.

What is the use of grace if you do not want it? Suppose I were to say to a man deeply in debt, that I would pay all that he owed; and he were to bring his account books to go through with me, and set to work turning over three or four pages at a time so that I might not see the contents, and, upon my remonstrating with him, I received for answer that, They are gambling debts and the like, and I do not want you to see them. This is just what many do as to their sins. Says the psalmist, "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring". (Psalm 32:3) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". (1 John 1:9) Many a one goes wrong in this way; many a one has Never made a clean breast with God, and so is walking with an appearance of ease that he does not possess in His presence. Just as a bird will go hovering about over any part of the field but where its nest is, to draw away the dogs from it, so many a soul tries to conceal one thing or another from God's eye.

Now God has not a claim on me for sin, but He

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has a claim on me for holiness; He will have holiness and truth in His people. "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him", Psalm 32:6. That is, he shall be preserved in the midst of all that is contrary to, him here. It is the actual state of a person placed in this world; as we get it in our parable, He "set him on his own beast". This opens up a wonderful field as to where the forgiven soul is set upon the earth. But, I add, if there be partial ignorance as to the first point, there is also ignorance as to the second -- the position in which the forgiven soul is placed.

God's Son not only came down by Himself to clear away everything from me that could offend the eye of a holy God; but when He was exalted to God's right hand, as Peter says, "He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear:" (Acts 2:33) He has sent the Holy Spirit to be the power in His saints. It is given in striking figure in Luke: He "set him on his own beast".

Without a spot upon me, liberated in my conscience, but in the very scene of my suffering, in the very place that tells of my shame and my degradation, I am in divine power. It was not that he walked a few steps, and then went a few steps on the horse. No "we aremore than conquerors". And I believe that it is not a question whether we are up to it, but whether we know it. I like a child who gets on the table and says, "I am as high as my father". He, anyhow, knows the height he is aiming at.

A man who is walking in divine order in daily life, is a man of power. Many do the right thing in the wrong way; that is not being a man of power. Doing everything in the right way at the right time, that is power. It is not simply doing a good thing

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that is necessarily power. The old prophet brought back the young one very kindly, but, there was no power on either side. Paul says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me;". (Philippians 4:13) that is power.

We have wonderfully lost hold of the fact that the Holy Spirit has come down to be power in the believer - power for action. "All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive". (Matthew 21:22) "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". (Philippians 4:7) Do you believe you are in favour when you are praying?

If I may make the distinction, there are two ways in which I get to God in prayer; one is, that I tell Him my need; the other, that He hears me. It says, "Let your moderation be known unto all men". (Philippians 4:5) The word "known" there, means that I do not publish it, neither do I keep it secret. But in the next verse, "Let your requests be made known", means that I do declare it; that I go to God several times about it, until I can say, I know that I have made it known. I may not know what I am to do about it, but this I do know, that I have got His ear, and I come back into the midst of all my troubles, at perfect peace. Is it that there is any change in them? None at all; but I have made them known to Him, and I have got His peace about them. I am like a mountain, the sun gone, and the winds and storms around me, but I am looking up to God through all, and I have got power.

But do you never have temptations? If I do, I have that which is a well of water springing up into eternal life, and which causes that I shall never thirst. I pass by a shop window, and I see a book

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that I would like, but do I go down the street disconsolate because I have not got it? Not a bit! I have the Spirit of God; I have inexhaustible resources; the temptation has only this effect on me, that I say to myself, The Spirit of God does not want that, and I am just as happy without it. When Abraham returned from the battle, having refused the goods of the king of Sodom, Melchisedec met him and blessed him; and I believe there is no man who suffers, ever so little for Christ, but a special messenger is sent to him to minister blessing to him. "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies". (Psalm 23:5) Do you think the Lord had not a halo round Him wherever He was on this earth? Then outwardly? He "anointest my head with oil;" in a scene of sadness I have the oil of gladness. And inside? "My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever". (Psalm 23:6)

In saying this I am not talking of serving at all. No one can serve until he enjoys. When a man can tell me what a passage has done for him -- when he can say, This is what this passage can do; then I say, he can help me with it. I can only take you as far as I have gone myself.

Thus, in the very place in which I am forgiven, God has sent down to me the new wine, and set me up in power; I often ask myself, "Is the Holy Spirit dwelling in you?" l look up to God, and thank Him with my whole heart for setting me on the earth in this most wonderful position. The great work in the present day is not to be refuting infidelity, but to be taking up your bed and walking - showing power in the place where you had none. The man who was healed carried his bed, not to prove that he was forgiven to himself, but to the bystanders. Let me see in any place one faithful man

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walking with divine power, and I know there will be a wonderful effect from it in that place.

Now I turn to the third and last point: He "brought him to an inn". "Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance". (Psalm 32:7) I will say here what may surprise you a good deal, namely, that no one has the third, who has not the second; very few people know that the Lord cares for them; they have not got to the inn yet. And it will not do to go there on foot. Paul says, "Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry;" (Philippians 4:12) I am perfectly happy in the care of the Lord. He "brought him to an inn". That is a place for travellers, it is not heaven. What can be more interesting than the knowledge that I am altogether in the care of the Lord here on earth? So many saints are disturbed, so many are restless, because they are not living in the knowledge that they are under the care of the Lord; and then there is no power to walk. Why have you no power in walk or in service? It is because you are not clear that the Lord is caring for you, that He is in all watchfulness over you, that He has let down the strong quills of His protecting care till they sweep the ground around you, and, if you are wise, you will creep up close under His wing, into the very down.

There is a reality in these things. My heart delights in the extent of what God has done for a poor soul when he puts one in power on the earth. I have not said a word about heaven; I am simply dwelling upon that which I want very distinctly to bring out, what God's grace has done for a believer on the earth. I say, he is cured, he is carried, and he is cared for.

The Lord grant that this little word may not be without its value to our souls. He says the cross of

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My Son has cleared away everything from My eye that was against you, and now down here I leave you to walk through this scene in the power of Him who died for you. Thus I walk through an unreconciled scene, a reconciled person. May each of us have a more correct sense of the magnificence of the state in which God sets us on this earth for His name's sake. Amen.

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THE CHRISTIAN A LIGHT-BEARER FOR CHRIST

Luke 11:19 - 36

The first thing we notice in this scripture is, that the Lord accepts, or foresees. His rejection by the Jews, and speaks of those among the gentiles, who should rise up and condemn the nation. The queen of the south should rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; so the men of Nineveh; because the one came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and the other repented at the preaching of Jonas; but a greater than either was here -- the Lord Jesus Christ. Here were two marks of the light now shining in the darkness: suffering and glory; suffering from man for the glory of God. Jonas was the one who suffered; Solomon represents the glory; I am not going to dwell upon it, but simply state the facts.

The Lord is now in the place of rejection. I suppose no one would be bold enough to say the Lord was not rejected. Still, whether you do or not, you must admit the simple fact that He is not here on the earth. He is gone to heaven, and we look for Him to come again. The scripture is very definite about His being rejected. The Roman soldiers put Him to death, after the Jews had handed Him over to them, saying, "By our law he ought to die". These brought the law, which God had given them, to bear upon Him, and the Roman soldiers the sword, which they also had received from God. The Jews and the gentile Romans combined to put Him to death. True, Pilate, the viceroy under the emperor, washed his hands to clear himself from the crime, but He was nevertheless clearly rejected, both

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by Jews and gentiles. I cannot understand a person who refuses to believe in His rejection; I have heard it done. But what saith the scripture? "The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now. Lord, - behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus". (Acts 4:26 - 30) True, it was what had already been determined; nevertheless, it was they who said, "This is the heir, come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours". (Mark 12:7) I want no other proof of it; and, to a mind subject to Scripture, nothing can be clearer than the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has been rejected from this earth.

Man at first refused God in the garden of Eden, and doubted His goodness; thus sin came in; and secondly, he refused the One God sent to take that sin away; that was the double sin. Every believer admits the first sin, the sin in the garden of Eden, but there is another sin: Man has rejected the One who came to take the sin away, who came to bless; nor will the world tolerate Him now.

Nothing struck me more when a young man, than when I once ventured to speak to a young acquaintance who was sitting near me about Christ. The man seemed perfectly amazed at the mention of the Name, and said, if I remember rightly, that it was not a fit subject for company. It completely shocked me. But so it is, there is no real acceptance of Christ by the world. They might not be so bad as to put

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Him to death, but people do not want to be interrupted by words about Him. But, be that as it may, I insist upon it, and I must take it as a settled thing in scripture, that this is the second sin of man. The first was the questioning of the goodness of God in the midst of everything to tell of that goodness in the garden of Eden, and man became a sinner. This, every person with a conscience admits. The second is, man refused and rejected the Son of God; wherefore I take the ground now that He has been rejected; and that will lead to my subject this evening. What is to be done in the place where He has been rejected? It is a solemn question! Do you say, Christ died for me, and by Christ's death I am saved and can go to heaven? I quite admit it; I go further, I say the moment you believe you are fit for heaven. But I have another question to put to you: Are you fit, according to God, for earth?

There is not a believer on the whole globe tonight but is fit for heaven. As a believer he is made meet for "the inheritance of the saints in light". The prodigal son was made meet immediately he returned to his father. We see three things in his case: he is kissed, he is clothed, he is feasted. But that is the heavenly side of it; the question I have to ask is: Are you fit for earth? You are fit for heaven the moment you are converted. The thief was the moment he believed. But the question is, Are you walking here according to God in everything? Are you walking wholly for Christ here where Christ is rejected? It is a solemn question: What is to be here on earth where Christ is rejected? Merely a people to be saved and go to heaven, and not a vestige of Christ to be seen on the earth? Is that your thought? Is that the way you look at the grace of Christ? Not a vestige of Christ left on earth? That is what Satan wanted, no doubt. But what Christ says here is. On the contrary, that when He,

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who is the light should go away, His own people should be lights upon the earth during His absence -- a conjunction of lights -- which light He was Himself when here. Of course, they would not be the origin of the light; He is the origin of it; but they would be the light here instead of Himself. Hence, He says in this passage: "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light". (Luke 11:33) He is the light Himself.

This, then, is the time of His rejection. He is gone away, and what will follow? Will the candle upon earth be extinguished? "The lamp of the body is thine eye: when thine eye is simple, thy whole body also is light". (Luke 11:34) Not full of light, but light. But where is the light? That is the question. Let us see what scripture says.

First, let me say, there are three things you must always do in reading scripture. First, accept the truth; next admire it -- get the taste of it, say. That is beautiful! Lastly, adopt it. If you do not do the second, you will not do the third. First, I say, I accept it; I say, That is the word of God. Then, the next thing, I like it; I say, It is beautiful! Then, there is hope for you if you say that. I believe in a person who admires the word of God; he is safe; he has not adopted it, perhaps, but he is safe. There is accepting, admiring, adopting. Now, what have we to learn in this passage before us?

If I wanted an illustration of it, I should say we have it in the children of the captivity, who would not eat of the king's meat, nor drink of the king's wine; that was separation; and yet their faces were fairer and fatter than those of all the children who did. Their appearance was better. Then they were enabled to bear the fire. They first refused the wine, and then they endured the fire. That is the order. The light that is in you shines out.

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But now another thing. It is the body itself that is light. It is what is called sanctification, but not sanctification simply as belonging to God. There are two sanctifications. One is the sanctification by the Spirit; the other is progressive sanctification, which is simply this: you are more separate unto God. Practically, you get it in these children of the captivity. The principle is the same; it is the body of light. It is not the body full of light, as that tumbler is full of water. There is only one word used to express it in the original. It is like a glow-worm. We get the same idea in Scripture in another place. "Who gave himself for us",- firstly, "that he might redeem us from all iniquity", and secondly, "that he might ... purify unto himself a peculiar people". (Titus 2:14) The word "peculiar" means something out of the common. The saint ought to be in this world as something novel. People may not admire, but they must observe him, as we read of Herod concerning John. It is said he observed him, and I think this is quite possible I believe the rich man observed Lazarus though he does not seem to have given him anything; yet when in hell, he says, "Send Lazarus". He knew something of him. Why did he not take notice of him? Because the one was for the world, and the other was not; but now he was obliged to confess his virtue. It is an illustration of that passage, "That ... they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation". (1 Peter 2:12) Many a person might pass you by now, and take no notice of you, nor how you walk like Christ. But, by-and-by, they will say, I used to see that person on earth, and I remember how he walked like Christ. "That ... they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God", (1 Peter 2:12) not now, but "In the day of visitation". In the day when He comes.

Look at that lamp; see the halo round the flame.

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It is a circle properly. You see it in the distance like a circle of light. I might compare it to a Christian: in the midst of the darkness, he would be like an apparition. I cannot get an illustration to give the right idea. It is not that people would really like it, not that they might be attracted by it, they might be astonished at it, might dislike it; but there is something peculiar there, it is a body of light, and they cannot but see it.

Having settled this point, I hope with clearness -- Christ being rejected -- I ask this question. Can anything more strikingly set forth the wisdom of God than that, when Satan had succeeded in tempting men to drive God's Son bodily out of the earth and afterward to refuse Him in glory. He should now come out with this wonderful secret that there should be thousands of bodies upon earth all bearing the light of that very Christ whom they had refused! Would we could see it more! But this is what the Lord sets forth to the disciples when He says, "If therefore thine eye be single" -- if you are entirely set upon this -- then "thy whole body shall be full of light". "The light of the body is the eye". (Luke 11:34) What is your eye upon? Upon getting property? That will not give you a body full of light. Is it amusement? That will not do. The eye must be right, to get the body full of light. Is it upon the One who is not here? Then the eye is single, and the whole body is light.

The apostle speaking on this subject in Philippians 3, has three things before him. First, Christ is his study; he counts all things loss for Christ. Secondly,- where He is, is his mark. Thirdly, what He is; he covets a glorious body like His. He says, I am going to Him. He is my study, my mark, my hope. There is a man who has got a single eye. He is my study. Like a painter taking a sketch: he looks at a landscape until the picture is so impressed upon

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his eye, that he can transfer it to canvas. I have a study, an object, and that object is Christ: "that I may win Christ". I say. Where are you going? To that Christ in glory. What is your hope? I am hoping He will come, and I shall have a glorious body like His own. That is a single eye. A body full of light. Paul therefore, can say, though in prison, "So now also Christ shall be magnified in my body" -- what an expression that is! "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death". (Philippians 1:20) Paul would so walk here that he would be the expression of the light in the scene where his Lord was not. We should be so separate, so apart from everything here, so bearing out what He was, that we should be setters forth of the very light He was when here, but now absent.

The moon is a beautiful illustration of this. She has no light of her own, but borrows it from the absent sun. And we are to be here, setting forth the light of the absent Christ, until He returns. That is where this subject closes: "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning: and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord". (Luke 12:35 - 36) Like the moon going through this dark night, shedding forth the light of Christ, looking for nothing at all from the earth, but bearing about the light of the absent One, in the very scene where He has been rejected; bearing light from Him who is absent, in the place where He is not. This is the wonderful position we occupy!

Now for the question. How is this to be attained? How is it to be brought about? You say, I bow to the truth -- I accept the truth. I trust many of you say, I admire it; it is really beautiful to be in such a position; I see the picture; tell me how it may be brought about; let me see in Scripture the course one should pursue in order that this may be effected.

Take the case of Stephen. Looking at his face they

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saw it as "the face of an angel". That is figurative of what I mean. A person so distinctly separate, such a peculiar course, something so marvellous, something so morally beautiful!

You find this in John 17 where the thought is even a higher thing than service. Not that I make little of service, but to represent Christ on the earth is better than any service. He says in the tenth verse, "I am glorified in them". Like a briar grafted with a beautiful rose, so Christ is glorified in a man. What is he by nature? A briar. But I look at him there, and I see a thing that is really fragrant to God, and fragrant to man; he is a beautiful rose, and there is Christ glorified. It is not, I will take them to glory, but "I am glorified in them". Therefore, He says, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil". (John 17:15)

How is this to be brought about? The first thing is -- and it is the great lesson for souls -- and it divides my subject: first, how this is produced; and secondly, what the effects are. First. It is not simply that Christ is in you; He is in every believer; but the question is, has Christ got -- I will not say dominion over you -- but has He got the throne of your heart? I do not ask, has He got some rule? Like a king who may own a conquered country, with a few soldiers here and there to keep it for him; that is not the throne; but as the little hymn expresses it:

"Oh for a heart submissive, meek,
My dear redeemer's throne,
Where Christ is only heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone".

That is the way it is brought about. Christ having the throne of the heart.

It was just the difference between Himself and the Pharisee, as we see a little lower down. The Pharisee came, and invited Him to dine with him, and he

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marvelled that the Lord had not washed before dinner; and the Lord takes the opportunity to teach him a solemn lesson. The Pharisee worked on the outside, but Christ on the inside. The Pharisee doubtless thought the Lord and he were agreed, but he soon found out his mistake. No, the Lord says, you work on the outside, but I work from within. When the light works it is from within, and shines outwards.

Every believer has a love for Christ in the bottom of his heart. It must be so. It is the first commandment, and it must be in the heart; but it is not every believer who can say. He has the complete control of me. Can you say so? I say He has the fight. There is a time when the heart of the believer does acknowledge His right to rule. "My son, give me thy heart", (Proverbs 23:26) is the command in Proverbs. Now, it is not that the Lord takes the heart; the Lord really looks to you to give Him up the reins. Did you ever give up the reins of your heart to Him? He says. There are the reins; give them up to Me; "Son, give me thy heart". The Lord will receive anything we give Him; He does not take anything.

Like Hannah, Samuel's mother, she says, "I will give him unto the Lord", (1 Samuel 1:11) and she brought him up to the temple, and put him in the house of the Lord. He was not a priest, he was not converted, but she says, "I will give him unto the Lord", and the Lord says, I will take him. This is where we parents fail too often. We say we give our children to the Lord but there is a little reserve for the world. The Lord will take anything we give Him. That is the great principle.

Now, let me show you how it comes about. Turn to a passage, Galatians 4; where we get, first, the doctrine of this. In the end of this chapter we read: "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it

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is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free". (Galatians 4:29 - 31) The doctrine there is that, that which the law could act upon was to be cast out. That was not to have rule there. The force of the passage is, that, Christ is to have no rival in the heart. There was not to be a bit of flesh there. The practical way of it we get from the Old Testament, Genesis 21, where Isaac, the child of promise, was weaned.

Every believer has Christ in him, but the question is, Has Christ, really got the reins? Has Christ got the throne of the heart? Is He the acknowledged sovereign? Has it come to this point -- this blessed point in your soul? Do you say there is no rival to exist here? Christ is to reign. If I go into my business, Christ is to reign there. In my home, Christ is to reign there. Am l a worse husband, a worse father, a worse business man because Christ reigns in my heart? Not at all.

Isaac was in the house before he was weaned, and Ishmael was there fourteen years before he was turned out. It is well for us if we can say. We have turned out Ishmael. There is a moment known to the soul when it says, I do not tolerate the flesh. No toleration to the flesh. Why not? Because you have got something better: Christ.

When Isaac was weaned Abraham made a great feast in his house, and the consequence of this festival was that every person in the house acknowledged the right of this little child. Weaning means that he was put on his own account. Every one in the house is doing him honour.

Is that the acknowledged feeling of your heart with respect to the rights of Christ? It is a blessed moment! It is the heart keeping festival in, the

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acknowledgment of the right of Christ to occupy the throne; it is the coronation day.

It was a wonderful day in the house of Abraham when Isaac was weaned, when the three hundred and eighteen servants of Abraham all acknowledged the right and title of that child to his place! Was there anyone who did not acknowledge it? There was one: Ishmael. "he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit". (Galatians 4:29) And now, Sarah says, let him be cast out. The thing was very grievous to Abraham, but God commanded him to hearken to her voice, and do it. A moment comes when Christ must be supreme in your heart; when you acknowledge that He has the right to dictate to you in every circumstance and relation in life. He has the right to my heart, to every heart; He has the right to be sovereign.

Have you reached that moment? I hear people say, This is quite true, but I find the flesh comes back again. I find Ishmael still haunts the corners of the house. Yes, that is true; nevertheless, I have reached a point where I do not tolerate it. Practically you have reached the point described in the language of a poet, when

"He who knows thee well,
Will quit thee with disgust
Degraded mass of animated dust".

I do not tolerate it now. Why? Because I have got something better. I have Christ, the One who has the right.

That established. What is the effect now that He is sovereign? What will He do?

I come to Ephesians 5. and I see what He does. There we read, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word". (Ephesians 5:25 - 26) There are two things in the latter part of this verse. The first, is the effect

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of what we get in verse 2, "Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us". I need not dwell upon that. But I ask this question, What is He occupied with now? I ask you, and I ask myself, and the Lord grant us all a deeper feeling of it. What has He been occupied within regard to you this very day? He has been occupied in sanctifying you. Do you ask me what the Sovereign of the throne of my heart is engaged in? l answer "that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish". (Ephesians 5:27)

That is the measure of what I am coming to. Let me first get what this Sovereign is occupied with. "That He might sanctify ... it with the washing of water by the word".

This brings out two things: one, sanctification, and the other, washing. One is positive, and the other negative.

Turn to John 13, where, we get the Lord. Washing the disciples' feet. There is the negative, and there is the positive. Everything in Christianity must go on this ground. There must be negation, because the thing is bad. There must be a positive, to acquire the thing that is good.

Now, mark one thing in connection with these scriptures. Paul always puts John's statements in inverse order. The cause is this: John is setting forth the Son of God on earth, and Paul is connecting the saints with Christ in heaven. The washing of chapter 13, is to get rid of the bad; it is for the restoration of communion. You have lost communion with the Lord; you looked into some shop window, perhaps, and your heart has got away from Christ; then He come? with His word, and turns you away from it, and thus communion is restored.

In John 17, you get the sanctification.

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There are two characteristics of those who represent Christ on earth. Alas! beloved friends; we have lost the first, almost never to be recovered. That is, that we all should be one, with the same mind, the same judgment.

There is an erroneous notion abroad that one form suits one, and a different one another; that is, that one man is an oak, another an ash, another an alder, another a birch; that we are all to be trees in the forest, and therefore we should agree to differ: It is untrue, we should be one; we ought to be all oaks; little, big, or middle-sized oaks. That is the meaning of John 17; as the Father and the Son are one. There is no such thing in Scripture as that you and I should have different opinions about any one thing. There may be little and great lights, but they all agree. There might be a thousand lights in this room, but they would all blend. There might be five thousand, or five million candles in this room, but not one starts for himself. They all blend. There is union: "perfectly joined together in the same mind". That is the first characteristic. The other is, you should be separate from the world. In point of fact, if I had none of the world in me, I should have nothing but the heavenly mind in me. When I differ from you, and you differ from me, there is some of the world in one or both of us. We could not but agree if it were not so.

As to sanctification, the Lord says: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil". (John 17:15) We are here to represent Christ, and to be separate from the world. Then He adds, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world". (John 17:16) It is a wonderful thing to say, I am not of the world. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world". (John 17:17 - 18) The truth here is the

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truth of the Father: That is, I have lost the world, but I have the Father.

Suppose a person offends me in the streets, I will not give him in charge of a policeman. Why? Because I have a Father in heaven who will take note of it. He tells me, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper". (Isaiah 54:17) I have lost the world; I have overcome through Christ; in place of the world, l have the Father. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him". (1 John 2:15) "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth". (John 17:17) That is. Depend now upon Me. I have a greater sense of what Christ is in Himself, and this is its effect; I am more separate from the world. Thus I become a light. I take a new course, a novel one, because I have got something instead of the world: a Father in heaven. I have a Father in heaven in lieu of the world. That makes me a distinct person, and I have not only a new nature in Christ, but I am kept here in such childlike dependence on my Father in heaven, that I am separate from the world. This is sanctification.

A person may say. Are you better than you were, with all this separation from the world? Not a bit. But I will tell you what is the difference by an illustration.

In my garden I plant a laurustinus. I plant nothing else; but the laurustinus grows till it covers the whole space. You say, I see no weeds there, nothing but laurustinus. That is just it. That is sanctification: so pre-occupied by Christ, that you see nothing but Christ. No weeds, only Christ to be seen. As the apostle .says, "So now also Christ shall be magnified in my body", (Philippians 1:20) not in my heart. Christ so monopolizing me that there's no room for anything else. It is not that I am better, but that Christ only is there.

Now let me say a word as to the measure of sanctification

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Every believer admits that he must be separate from something. He used to go to certain places of amusement, but he does not go to them now. He admits that christianity demands separation: and there is a certain measure of separation in his walk. Another says, That is not enough; I must do this, and do the other; I must keep a more separate path than he does. Now what is the measure of sanctification? "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth". (John 17:19)

Beloved friends. We mast bow to it. I cannot go behind scripture. A man may tell me he is sanctified, but I say, Are you as far out of the world as Christ on the throne of God? That is the measure of your sanctification. "For their sakes I sanctify myself;" for their sakes, I go out of it. If I stay in it, they might have something to connect their hearts with here; but if I go out, there will be nothing for them in it. I go outside the world that they may be sanctified through the truth -- that they may be coloured with the truth, Just as the worm gets coloured by the leaf it feeds on. That is the measure of sanctification.

You say, I never shall be that. I am not saying whether you will be or not; but I say. Do not assert that you are sanctified until then. I only repeat what a person said lately: 'Whatever God asks us to do must be impossible to a man -- must be entirely beyond him'. The measure of sanctification is Christ in heaven.

If you have only given up going to places of amusement, natural pleasures, and the like, I say that is only a little bit of the road. We are to learn practically what the Lord meant when He said, "Sanctify them through thy truth". (John 17:17) The only thing I have got instead of the world is the Father Himself. Blessed for the heart to know it!

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If I want to get the measure it is clearly settled. I must separate from the habits and customs of the world, from worldly ways and principles and practices, from things here, I must be as separate in principle and spirit as that blessed One on high.

But there is another way of sanctification. One is by the word, already dwelt on; another is by chastening. The Father lays a man sick on his bed, and you go in and visit him, and you find him rejoicing in the Lord. He says, perhaps, "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now" -- what is the rest of that verse? -- "have I kept thy word", (Psalm 119:67) he is sanctified. So that the very chastening brings about his sanctification. He is brought under the ministry of the great Sanctifier, Christ Himself. There is one mode of sanctification by the word, and another by circumstances.

Let us turn to a passage to bring this out -- Hebrews 12:10 "For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness". This brings out the measure again. How separate are you? As separate as God is? You know you are not: then do not talk of holiness until you are. "That we might be partakers of his holiness". God is using things here with this object in view. I find it so; I do not want anyone to tell me my besetting sin, for I know it from the word of Christ, and from the chastening of the Father. The word shows what is wrong in you, and a blow comes to correct you in the very thing in which you are failing. God shakes you out of it. You are going on with the Lord, but there is something in the way, and He says, I will remove this, for you would get on better without it. The Lord will take the heart out of the earth, and to do this. He may give you a fit of illness. He says, I see your heart is drawn to the earth; and in the fit of illness, you lose your joy in everything here.

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You were full of these earthly things, but now you say, I do not care about any of them. Sometimes it is the case with a rich man; he gets ill, and he says, I am so languid, so pulled down with this disease, I really do not care about anything, I cannot enjoy anything. It was thus with Job; he first loses all he could enjoy and then he gets sick, and loses the power to enjoy.

Christ first presents us in the perfection of Himself before the Father; and now. He says, I will present you as Myself before the world. That is our true place.

I think you cannot find it difficult now to see that Christ is really to be the Sovereign of your heart; that what He is bringing about is this separation from the world unto God -- separating you for this distinct and peculiar thing: your eye upon Christ, yourself a body of light going through this world.

If you want to know what Christ's ministry really is, go and read a chapter, and you will find, if you want to know what is the matter with you, that the part of the chapter that speaks to you is the very thing you need. There was a vacancy for that brick, and the Builder says, Bring it, up for this vacancy here. The Lord knows all about it. When a preacher says, I will apply the word, he is out of his place. How does he know what is in the heart? All the preacher can do is to bring out the word; he cannot apply it. The Lord applies it.

Now let us connect this part of the subject with Luke 2. The great principle is, that we are here upon the earth a body of light; a luminous body, like the glow-worm, like the moon, like the rose, in the beauty of Christ.

One word more as to what sanctification is. People say. We have bodily power, and mental talents, and such like; and Christ sanctifies them for His use. A

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standard rose shall be my illustration. Go and examine one. Look at the joint between the rose and briar. From the moment you join the rose with the briar, the rose refuses to take any colour or mark whatever of the skin, or any likeness whatever of the briar. It says: I will appropriate every bit of strength in you -- I will appropriate every bit of you as to power, but I will not bear your name, nor be like you. Thus Christ takes all the believer's strength, mental and bodily, not for credit to himself, but He appropriates it all as in the rose. And what is the briar? Nothing but a poor briar still, though it has grown a most beautiful rose. It is in itself as poor a briar as when it grew in the hedge. But the fact of allowing it to partake of the nature of the rose is very wonderful. It is absorbed by the rose.

The subject closes with these words: "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights (or candles) burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord" (Luke 12:35 - 36) -- doing it all for Him. I am the moon going through this dark night. Waiting for the promise, the coming of Christ.

What must be the character of the Christian thus set in the most glorious position that ever a saint can occupy in this world! I can contribute to the earth, but I need not look for a single thing from it! We are not as the Jews; receivers from the earth. "He that believeth on me", said the Lord Jesus, "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water", (John 7:38) to this poor world. We are to be contributors to the earth, not receivers from it. That is the wonderful position we occupy! Now, see that your body is light.

There are two characteristics of this practical light in this chapter. One is that I do not fear them that kill the body; I am as bold as a lion. Stephen is an example of this. He could say, I am not afraid

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of them that kill the body. The other is, "I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on". (Luke 12:22) There is no fear without, and no care within. What would people say of such an one? There is a body, a light -- there is a peculiar man coming down the street! He has no fear, and no care! He is here in this scene, looking for nothing from it, and he is afraid of nothing in it! A man that has no care can occupy himself with the things of God. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you". (Matthew 6:33) We have not a thing to think of -- only the kingdom of God.

The Lord lead our hearts to see what a solemn and yet happy thing it is -- the greatest inducement we can have to stay upon this earth. The Lord knew all that would happen to us here, and yet He says, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil". (John 17:15) I am to be a representation of Christ on the earth.

The Lord lead us to see what a blessed thing it is to be in the scene where He is not, thus shining as lights in the world.

The great occupation of the One sitting on the throne of God is to sanctify me. I look at the Father's dealings with me, chastening me, and one thing and another as I require. Jacob may go down into Syria for twenty years, but God says, I will bring you up again.

Talk of 'exclusivism!' I believe we do not know what it is divinely. Do you know the holiness of God? What sort of exclusiveness should we have if we knew the holiness of God? We do not understand what the holiness of God is. We do not understand what the holiness is that becomes His house. "Thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel".

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WISDOM'S FEAST

Luke 14

The chief thing presented to us in the 14th chapter of Luke, is the supper; and it becomes a great thing for us to know what this supper is. You see it is at the end of the day -- it is the celebration of an accomplished work, -- it is a festival, wisdom's feast. It is often used, I have no doubt, for preaching the gospel, but though it includes that, there is a great deal more -- it is the climax, the completion of the thing. In chapter 15, we read of a feast, and it is at the end of the blessing, not at the beginning of it. We have not got to heaven yet, but we taste of the joy of it, that is the supper. The supper is in the Father's house.

It will help us if we note that there are three places in which the prodigal is found. First he was lost: grace came and he got enlightened. He came to himself, he arose, and while he was yet a great way off the father saw him, and he gets the kiss. Last of all we read of the feast, "They began to be merry". The three parables are fulfilled in every believer. We get the shepherd going after the lost sheep, that is, Christ on the cross; then the woman lighting her candle, and sweeping diligently. You get light working in the soul. "And he arose, and came to his father". Well, what next; "His father saw him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him". (Luke 15:20) The sinner gets the sense in his soul 'there is love in the heart of God for me'. That is the first thing that gives real comfort. It is not a question of love in me, but in Him. How do you know that love? He kissed me. You see it was God's act: the kiss is the expression of the one who gives it. There is love in the

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heart of God for you. I do not ask, Are you a better man? but Do you know this love of God?

The true evidence of a converted, man is, that he prays, as it was said to Ananias of Saul; "Behold he prayeth;" that is, he counts on God. Like the Syrophenician woman, she did not get the blessing when she took the place of Israel, but when she took that of a dog (deserving nothing), looking to Him, He gave her what she sought. There is nothing a parent values more than confidence. Confidence is when I count on you; presumption is when I count on myself. Suppose I go to a friend's house, and walk in, and he says, 'I am delighted to see you'. 'Well', I say, 'I counted on you'. But if l go to a stranger's door and do so that is presumption, I am counting upon myself. Man turned from God at the garden of Eden, and to bring himself back, that is presumption. Then how do I get confidence? I see Christ given for me, that is how I get it. "God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". (Romans 5:8) We are not up to grace. Look at the thief; "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom". The Lord says, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise". (Luke 23:42 - 43) Grace was beyond him. When the son got the kiss, he was still a great way off. What then? "Bring forth the best robe;" what then? He is, in another place. "And bring hither (it does not say, "Bring forth") the fatted calf ... and let us eat, and be merry". (Luke 15:22 - 23) That is the feast. I trust I am addressing those who have got the kiss. You have got the sense in your soul 'there is love in the heart of God for me'. Is that all? It is not, it is only the beginning. Well, what now? (Romans 5.) You get the new clothes, for we are, made "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light". (Colossians 1:12) That is the divine nature; that fits me for that other place; for what I insist upon is that there is another place -- a place with the Father.

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I ask the evangelist, Where do you leave your converts? With the kiss, or at the feast? Many never bring them to the feast at all. The feast is in the Father's house. "They began to be merry". The soul must be brought to the sense of this -- I am in the scene that suits God. There is the feast.

It is the same grace that kisses me afar way off that delights to have me in the Father's house. But, you say, it is a great thing to have had the kiss. I admit it. If you have not had the kiss, you have nothing. But l am talking about the feast, because I want you to see it is the same love that gives me the kiss that will not be satisfied till I am at the feast.

It is not that I am not satisfied; but He is not satisfied. No greater appeal can be made than that. If you wish to gratify the Father's heart, go in and partake of the feast. I remember hearing of a mother whose heart was broken by the bad conduct of a favourite son-, it brought her to death's door. At length he returned, and someone told her he was come. What do you think was the message she sent out to him? 'Tell him to come upstairs'. Suppose he were to say. 'No'. Well, I would say you were bad enough before, but now you are shameful. That is what I say to you. Have you ever gratified the heart of God? What do you mean? Have you ever come to the feast? Have you ever enjoyed the fatted calf? It is a figurative expression, but every one who has lived in the country knows what the fatted calf is: one kept under a crib till some great guest arrives, then it is brought forth. Beloved friends, the things set forth here is the love of the Father, He was so glad to have the prodigal back. Now, He says, we have the right guest. Who is the guest? A sinner saved by grace. And that is what the elder brother could not understand at all. God's heart was delighted to have a poor sinner. Now, He says, for the feast, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard" that

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is, the feast; "Neither have entered into the heart of man". "But" now says the apostle, we go beyond that -- "God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit". (1 Corinthians 2:9 - 10)

We have the feast, (verse 15). One said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God". (Luke 14:15) Oh! says the Lord, You are looking forward to the millennium; but there is something before that. Just as with the thief, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom". (Luke 23:42) This man was looking for the kingdom, not what the Lord brings before us in the supper. Now we find one thing very clear, that the feast or "great Supper", is not an earthly feast (the kingdom was that), and if earthly blessing is occupying you, you turn away from the supper, and therefore the Lord looks out for those who are poor and wretched, for the others are pre-occupied and will not come.

It is the festive moment when the soul is brought into the sense of divine enjoyment -- festivity with God. I am at home with God. Did you ever hear of a father that did not like to share the joy of his house with his children? I ask you; have you entered into the feast of the Father's house? What was the apostle's anxiety about the saints? That they should be converted? No, they were converted. That they should walk as respectable citizens down here? Of course he wanted that, but that was not what they were converted for. "For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea; ... that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". (Colossians 2:1 - 3) It is a wonderful thing for a person to say, True, I have a poor place down here, but I have a wonderful home. You see the poor

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labouring man, toiling on from day to day, but he says, "I have a home". You never met a man in the world going on regularly and steadily, who had not a home. And the Christian who has not a home is very shaky and uncertain. In one sense I have not a home; I am a pilgrim and a stranger. A stranger is one without a home; a pilgrim is one going home; but how can you be going home, if you do not know you have a home? I shall always be walking down here in the sorrows of this world, if I do not know I have a home, and taste of the enjoyment of it, and walk in the power of it.

Now turn to 1 Kings 10, because people ask, 'But how do you get this?' The Lord said of Himself (Luke 11) that He was greater than Jonah, and greater than Solomon. It is not only that Christ suffered here and bore the judgment of sin which answers to Jonah, but He is greater than Solomon. The apostle says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above". (Colossians 3:1). Beloved friends, are you seeking the things above? Now do not say that is all very fine if I could only get to it. It is not a question of getting it; but are you seeking it?

Look at the queen of Sheba; you get an example there of seeking. We might say of Christendom, The queen of Sheba shall rise up and condemn it. She was the queen of the south, a gentile - just what we are. Well, you say, I wish I could get it. Then you are like the queen of Sheba. She said, I must have it. It was at an immense cost she had to come from Abyssinia, across the desert; a toilsome journey. No matter; look at what was in her heart. I am set upon having it, at whatever cost. Oh, that this were in every saint's heart! I am set upon having the enjoyment of Christ.

I remember when I wanted to get that enjoyment in Christ. What did I find? That things I never thought I could get rid of dropped off like autumn

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leaves. Why? They lost their power. Why? Because they were cast into the shade. What was Paul's argument? "I saw ... a light above the brightness of the sun". (Acts 26:13) What I have to learn, and what I have learned, in some feeble measure, is that Christ is the brightest thing, not only in the dark day, but the brightest thing in the bright day. In the brightest circumstances possible. He is the brightest - far "above the brightness of the sun". That is what will put out the farm, the oxen, and every earthly blessing. Will you go to trouble to get it? Paul counted "all things but loss" -- not for salvation; he had got that -- "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord", that he might know Him. How long had he been at it? Thirty years. "I have suffered the loss of all things;" (Philippians 3:8) He counted them rubbish. The moment I hear a man saying, I lost so-and-so following the Lord, I say, Oh, do not talk about what you lost. If you lost a farthing in picking up a sovereign, you would not be talking of what you had lost. If you counted Christ as a treasure you would be talking of what you found in Him.

This great queen had great treasures; gold and silver, and precious stones, and camels. Can you not imagine her counsellors of state addressing her: 'Madam, this is a most extraordinary journey to take; think of the time, the fatigue, the cost, and on a mere report'. 'Ah' she said, 'I'll go; I do not care what it cost; all I want is to talk with Solomon'. Beloved friends, is that what is in your, heart, I want to talk with Him? That is not all she goes to Jerusalem for. Many souls stop on the way; many have the kiss, and stop there. I may be speaking to some who have never been in the Fathers house. People make a wonderful thing of it if they walk seven or eight miles to a meeting, and talk of what they lost -- perhaps a day's work. It is not what you have lost, but what you gained. We ought to be set on this

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"Until we all arrive at ... the knowledge of the Son of God". (Ephesians 4:13) That is the highest knowledge you can ever come to. The queen came to Jerusalem with a very great train. People say, 'if only I had everything in this world, I would be all right'. Well, she was not all right. The world is divided into two things -- pleasures and afflictions; I am more afraid of the pleasures than the afflictions. In affliction you turn to the Lord. The danger is of being carried away by the very favours God has given to man.

What is the next point? She communed with him of all that was in her heart. Have you given the Lord the key of your heart? I asked that of a believer, and he turned honestly round, and said, 'No, I won't'. I will not say he was an unsaved person; but he was not happy. The moment you confide in a person, that person is your master; he has hold of you. m "There was not anything hid from the king". She told him all.

Now comes occupation with Himself. Not only with what Christ is doing; but what He is. "He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you". (John 16:15) What is the consequence? "There was no more spirit in her;" (1 Kings 10:5) all things here faded away. She was lost; gone, dead to them all. Her gold and silver were there just the same; but she had seen a brighter thing. She was entranced. Paul was beside himself, and no wonder, in such a scene. It would be a wonderful difference to us if we were entranced. You will never be proof against the beautiful things of this world (for it is not so much the bad things, but the good things, of this world that do us harm) till you have seen something better. I am not saying anything against the world's good things; but I have seen something better. Did you ever take a pair of scissors out of a child's hand? How can you do it? Show him a glass marble, or something bright, and they will drop. It is not that I say. Drop the world; but I ask you to see

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Christ in glory. The moment I see a person occupied with things down here I say, You have not seen Solomon. I do not say you have not seen Jonah -- that Christ died for you; but you have not seen the King in His glory. Now I am identified with Christ's death, I do not dwell on that. I have Christ's life first, and therefore life is before death, and death is an advance on it. Death works in us; life in you. "We who live are always delivered unto death on account of Jesus". (2 Corinthians 4:11)

Now I ask, is there one of us who has not tasted of the joy of the Father's house? Paul says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling". (Philippians 3:14) And can we be steady in our course till we have the "mark?" and what is this? -- it is seeing Solomon. It is not simply seeing Christ in humiliation; but Christ in glory. We see Christ as the One who has suffered; then His present interest in us; what He does, and the things He is in. Do we all know what this is? Does every heart go out to what is presented in the feast with the father in Luke 15? Is there one heart saying, 'I don't care for it'. I trust those who know it, like the apostle, are longing to know more of it. The Lord grant everyone may know the wonderful blessing; and portion of light and joy we are brought into, instead of going through the world trying to overcome this and that, and laying, 'I must give up this thing and the other'. It is not a question of giving up at all; but I have something better, greater, brighter, and I let it drop.

"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". (Philippians 3:8)

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HEAVENLY THINGS

John 3

We get in John 3, the distinction between the earthly and the heavenly things. Every believer has tasted of the earthly thing, but the question is whether each has enjoyed the heavenly things. The earthly thing is conversion; but there is more than that. The Old Testament: saints were born again: but the heavenly things had not come. "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven". (John 3:13) We never had heaven on earth till Christ came; there were good men but not heavenly men. Moses and Joshua were types; Abraham got into Canaan but he saw a famine and left it. Suppose you are converted; well, what you want to see is that there was a heavenly Man on earth, and if I can get the life of that Man I am all right. But they never possessed and never could enjoy the heavenly life till Christ came. Go to a nest and see the young birds in it without their feathers -- perhaps you could not tell what sort of birds they were. But come after a while, and you say they are gold finches; they had life before, but not that character of life. So the apostle says, "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God". (Galatians 2:20) We are not only converted, but we have another life and in another Man -- "The Second man".

We have an excellent government: it is a great thing; and we get good laws through it. Are you in the government? No, you say, but we have a great many good things through it. That is the way people speak of Christ; they have got a great good through Him. But there is another step -- In Christ; that is eternal life; this the heavenly thing. The soul will

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never get clear, till it sees there are two men -- Christ and Adam.

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up". (John 3:14) He says I have been to that side of death and you cannot get lower than death, -- "that. Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life". (John 3:16) Now for the wings: you are brought into "the power of an endless life". It is not what people call final perseverance; eternal life is a new kind of life altogether. David says, "Oh that I had wings". The believer does not say this; he has them. But many believers never seem to use them. In the Old Testament they had not come to that kind of life, therefore, they say, "Oh that I had wings". (Psalm 55:6) Every believer now has "eternal life", though all do not know it. They had the same life then but not expanded.

There are three things a true bird can do -- feed, sing, and fly; but no bird in the nest can do one or the other. It cannot feed, sing or fly. I do not believe any bird can sing till it can fly; It can chirp, but not sing: Until they get full deliverance people cannot sing; they may try, but it is premature. Sometimes when people sing they are not up to it. "As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather ... so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart". (Proverbs 25:20) That is why people like the psalms best, because it is their match just as they read biographies and say 'Oh, that was a good man, but he had his doubts'. A pity he told them then! That is not flying! This life is not a transformation of the old life, but a new thing, a capacity to enjoy God, and the more you use it, the more you can use it. I had the life of Adam and was under judgment because of that life; but Christ was judged for us; brings that life to an end, and redeems us in order that He may give us His life. The Son of man was lifted up to give eternal life. Adam. Even in his innocent days, did not know what it was to

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enjoy God as a Christian does; he never could say, 'Abba, Father', so we see that every believer is immensely above Adam in innocence. The Adam-life may go to pieces, may be delivered even to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. "The spirit shall return unto God who gave it", (Ecclesiastes 12:7) God breathed into Adam the breath of life. His body died, but his soul left it. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die". (Ezekiel 18:4) What is it, the soul? No such thing? It means the life, the judgment is upon the body. Now the body is the Lord's. It is either under the power of judgment, or redeemed by Christ; the garden where all the weeds of Satan grow, or the garden where all the flowers of Christ grow and scent the air.

In John 4:14 we get an entirely new thing for the believer: "never thirst". The believer ought to be able to say, I am in possession of something. It is not merely that I believe something; but I have gotten something, a thing I never had at all before, a power that enables me never to want anything. It is like a lake where the river runs through it, or the gulf stream. They say this country would be bleak and barren but for it, for it brings fertility and warmth. I compare it to a man living in a cottage by the sea-shore, easily knocked to pieces by the wind. That is the old thing; the other is a fine mansion where there is everything. Which do you live in? Very often in the cottage, and complaining heavily. A pity you do not go to the mansion: there is no want there. Suppose you see a nice book, or a beautiful dress, and you think within yourself, 'Oh, I would like that;' but ask the Spirit of God 'Would You like it?' 'No!' 'Then I will do without it'.

I go to visit a friend staying at the sea-side; I say to him, 'You put up with very small accommodation here'. 'Oh', he says, 'I have a fine house in the country' "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall

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give him shall never thirst". (John 4:14) This poor woman had tried it often enough. She had had five husbands, but she had found nothing. But He says, I have something that will make you perfectly happy -- not once a week, or once a day, or once an hour, but always. "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing". (2 Corinthians 6:10) I think you cannot go to any who will not tell you of their trials. 'But have you no mercies?' 'Oh, yes', they say, but back they go to temporal things. I remember talking to a poor woman, trying to educate her in the twenty-third psalm -- "The Lord is my shepherd". 'Oh, that's beautiful'. "I shall not want". Then I went on; "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures". (Psalm 23:1 - 2) Oh, she did not want that; she was contented with the first, that was enough for her. If a man brings me into his parlour, I am not afraid of being denied the benefit of his kitchen. When God brings me up to the top, there is no fear for the rest.

"But the water that I shall give him shall be in him". (John 4:14) A person says, Have we never a temptation? Plenty in the cottage; I have none in the mansion for I cannot get to the end of it as I cannot get to the end of the green pastures. I cannot take it all in. If I were to say to a boy. There is a room full of apples, go and take them, and I meet him half-an-hour after, and I say. Did you take them all? I could not: 'I .look a dozen'. Well, he cannot say there was not plenty. There is a great deal more than I can take in: 'never thirst!'

I heard a person say. That could not apply to this world. Do you think Christ wanted anything? You say He wanted food; He did: but then He retired out of the temporal thing. There is no such thing as hunger or pain with the Spirit of God. You can be made superior to these things, (see Matthew 4:2. Also Moses and Elijah.)

A person says, I am not up to it. But I ask; Are

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you looking for it? We have seen a child jump up on the table and say, I would like to be as tall as my father. I would like to be as Christ. It is not a question of experience, you get that when you look down here and see there's a slate off, a pane out; that is the cottage, but I have everything in the mansion. This is the contrast to the second chapter, where the wine was out. The Lord says, However happy you are you will have to come to Me in the long run; and He says I will give you something better than wine that will never run out -- "a well of water springing up into everlasting life". (John 4:14) Things down here -worldly things -- cannot satisfy. As one has said, -'Man into whom God has breathed the breath of life, cannot be satisfied short of God'.

A man in the world, a natural man, if he has not got ambition is not worth anything. See a young man trying to better his condition, quite right. But, thank God, I don't want now to better my condition for I cannot be better. I cannot improve myself, for I cannot thirst, but I can enjoy it more -- I have never got over half the mansion. I have never got to enjoy all that Christ is -- never got Christ's thoughts or circumstances fully. What a wonderful thing to be walking about with Christ's thoughts! The very troubles in the cottage ought to drive me to the mansion. It is not that I am unnatural: there are trying circumstances in the cottage; the cottage is want, trial, hunger; but if I look to the provision of the Spirit of God I will not be hungry. Look at Stephen, as they knocked him to pieces, the stones never made him swerve. I believe he fulfilled that word "Greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father". (John 14:12) Take this life away, there is a new current in me, and that current will take me away to Christ, and leave this old thing behind. Now, it is not deliverance from the trial, but superiority to it which Christ gives us. The old way

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was to put people in the furnace and they were not burnt; they were put into the lions' den and they never touched them; but now they go into the furnace and are burnt to a cinder, the lions eat them up, and they never give in; for it is not power for them now, but power in them. Romans is power for us. I come to a fence and I say I would like to have a gap here. The Lord says, if I were for you I would make one, but I am in you and you must go over the fence: that is power in you, and you are able to get over the fence. That power is the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. When sorrow, or trial, or weakness comes, the thing is to look for grace to be above it. Look at Paul and Silas in the prison: God was in them and they were superior to circumstances, and they were singing away there as if at their own fireside, and the prisoners heard them. Peter was sleeping in his prison. If trial is impending, you had better be quiet.

A man once said to me, I thought God was to take us out of our trials; but this is a new era now, and it is very important we should understand it. The moment Christ was rejected He introduced a new thing: to walk on the water He left the ship that was made for the water (that God had made for the water) and walked above the water. He has gone to heaven above it all and I have to walk above it all in Him.

John 20:19 - 21, "Peace be unto you". None of the Old Testament saints had peace. How could they? the battle was not fought. They might be expecting it, verse 22, "He breathed on them". Did they get the Holy Spirit then? I believe it was confirmed when the Holy Spirit came, but they had the sense of it: it was the intelligence of it. He connects life with the Holy Spirit, chapter 4: 14. Water rises to its level.

Adam's life was in the blood; Christ's life was in

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the Holy Spirit. It is "Christ liveth in me" but I am sustained in the enjoyment of it by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 7 supposes life, but there is not the power of the Spirit of God. Life is not power; the divine nature is not power. There must be the "new bottles" and the "new wine" in the "new bottles". We don't get the new wine till the bottle is ready. I may have the Spirit in me, but not in power unless I am walking in communion with Christ. It is like a husband saying to his wife. 'I will give you what you want, but you must come to me for every article'. It is not a question of union but of communion; you must come to me for everything, that I may have the pleasure of your coming to me for everything. If I lost this, what must I do? Turn back and see the thing by which you lost it. Sometimes it is high up, for it is only when you begin to act that you find you have lost ground, therefore it is by our acts we shall be judged. Where did you lose it? I began to talk to that man about politics, but that was ten hours ago; but that is where you lost ground. It is like a child who will have its own way, and leaves its father and gets into the mud. He does not cease to be your child, but you leave him to flounder in the mud until he calls out, 'I am in the mud'. Then you go and give him a hand; but he must come out of the mud.

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STEPHEN, A PATTERN OF WHAT IT IS TO BE FOR CHRIST ON EARTH

Acts 7

Stephen and the thief on the cross are pattern men. In the latter, I get the pattern illustration of grace to a sinner; in the former, God's pattern specimen of a saint on earth linked to Christ in heaven.

Stephen is the pattern of a man that was not only going to God, but one who was for God on the earth; he not only knew what it was to belong to Christ in glory, but he was for Christ on earth. We have here the account of how he finished his course for God on the earth.

He died; that showed he was faithful unto death. But some one says to me. Can you point to an example that continued? Yes I can, Paul, he continued; he was sent back here after being in the third heaven. In Stephen, I get an example of what heaven is to a saint going to die. In Paul, of what heaven is to a saint going to live.

We are not all called as Stephen to martyrdom, but we have all the same grace, and Stephen is set before us as a pattern man, just as I should say to an unbeliever that the thief on the cross is the pattern man of grace. Stephen is the first one set before us actually as a heavenly man; he is the first man upon whom heaven opened. Enoch was translated, and Elijah went up to heaven in a chariot of fire, but that is not heaven being opened on man; heaven did open on the Lord Jesus Christ, but He was more than a man.

The heavens open here on Stephen, and he sees his Saviour up there, and so he is for his Saviour down here. There are two marks that belong to a believer now. One is, that by the Holy Spirit you are associated

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with Christ where Christ is; and the other, that you have the power of Christ where Christ is not. I trust you will remember these two. They are for each one of us; not only for a Stephen in giving up his life, but for everyone of us in whatever difficulties we have to pass through, be it a mother of a large family with all around to disturb and distract, or anything else, whatever it be, I say to you that these are the two marks of what grace can do for you. I have association with my Saviour where my Saviour is, and I have the power of my Saviour where my Saviour is not. When Paul came down from the third heaven, what was it for? That the power of Christ might rest upon him.

If you want to be powerful, to have practical power while walking down here, it must be by looking above, by association with Christ where Christ is.

Let me say here, that when your heart gets liberty, or rather deliverance, when it gets clear of judgment, the first, the chief thing that shows you are clear of judgment is that you want your Saviour. First you seek relief from your sin, from the burden, then you seek the One who relieved you. Like a man who is drowning, first he wants some one to save him, but when he has recovered a little, he says, I should like to see that man who, at the risk of his life, saved me. He looked first for deliverance, and next for his deliverer. Take another example. Jonathan did not look for David until Goliath was slain. When David struck at Goliath, Jonathan was not thinking of David, but when he saw the head of Goliath in David's hand, what then? The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David. That is the way it always comes. A person may be converted, and may be very genuine, and still not be looking for Christ where Christ is. He may, like Jonathan, see Goliath on the ground, but not be quite happy;

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but when be sees the head in David's hand, what now? He says, as it were, l am going to give up all my thoughts to David. And that is what we get in John's gospel (chapter 1). When those two disciples followed our Lord, When they followed Him as the Lamb of God, their first question was, "Where dwellest thou?" Beloved friends, have you ever put that question to Him? Where dwellest thou? Do you remember the answer of the Lord, -- "Come and see";? And do you not think He would say that to you if you asked him?

That is what Stephen did. He, "being full of the Holy Spirit ... fixed his eyes on heaven". (Acts 7:55) He saw Jesus there in the glory of God.

See what Colossians 3, says, "Set your affection, on things above". Where? Where Christ is -- above, "where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God", (Colossians 3:1 - 2)

Now that is what the Holy Spirit sets before us in the case of Stephen. The heavens are opened, and he "saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on, the right hand of God". (Acts 7:55) How was he able to look up to that glory? There was no check. The Spirit could not say, you must not look in here; on the contrary, the Spirit of God showed him what was there: "Being full of the Holy Spirit".

This is the introduction; and, as I have said, Stephen was a pattern, not merely as a great martyr, but he sets forth what a heavenly man is.

Well now, let me turn to a verse or two (Ezekiel 1:26) Here the prophet sees the glory of God on the earth. God connected Himself with the earth, as we see in the tabernacle, in the glory cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night. In chapter 1, the glory was going away, leaving the earth, because Israel was so wicked. God could not connect Himself any longer with them .He is retiring. But now what is the wonderful thing? As the prophet sees the glory retiring, what is there? There is the figure of a man

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in the retiring glory, and from the brightest spot in it, from the midst. Where was the colour of amber. In the brightest spot there was the figure of a man. "Where sin abounded grace did much more abound". (Romans 5:20) Man's wickedness has caused Him to retire from the scene, but it was that there should be a Man in the glory of God.

Now if you turn to Luke 2:9, we read, "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them".

The glory never came back to the earth from the time it had gone away in Ezekiel till now. Now it had come back to announce this, "And the angel said unto them. Fear not? for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord". (Luke 2:10 - 11) There the glory has come down to announce the birth of the Saviour, that there might be a Man in the glory of God for us. Here we have, in the Babe that is born, the Man -- God manifest in flesh.

Now turn to chapter 9, of this gospel, verse 29. "And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory". (Luke 9:29 - 32) Now mark, beloved friends, from that time (Luke 2), when from the glory it is announced that He is come, He spends thirty years in retirement. It is sometimes said that Christ went from the cradle to the grave, but that is not a correct way of expressing it. He was thirty years in retirement. At the end of it heaven opened upon Him, and announced its fullest delight. A voice proclaiming the Father's good pleasure in

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Him, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". (Matthew 3:17) Then he goes into the wilderness, and from there into public service, as the Obedient, dependent One, whose meat is to do the will of His Father, and to finish His work; He always does those things which please the Father, delights to do His will, manifests God in every act and word, glorifies God in public life, as before He had done in private life. And here is the close of His public life, public ministry rather. Now at the close, glory salutes Him. God again announces, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". (Matthew 3:17) He could have gone to heaven, then and there; glory claims Him, but the astonishing thing is that Moses and Elias speak with Him of death, not of glory; they spake of His decease, which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. Like the Hebrew servant He might have gone out free, but, instead of that He descends from the mount to die. He comes down from that point of His exaltation. He had done all the will of God, magnified the law and made it honourable: the one perfectly righteous One. Now with a title to everything as Man, He says, "No, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free". (Exodus 21:5) Now turn to John's gospel "Verily, verily, I say unto you. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit". (John 12:24) He must die, unless He would abide alone, and He comes down to die, to obtain the glory for us, Hence if you look at the next chapter you find, "Therefore, when he" (Judas) "was gone out, Jesus said. Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him". (John 13:31) Here is the glorious One, the One who pleased God in everything, with a title to everything. He comes down from that point. Now He says, I will die for the man who never pleased God in anything. As an individual in Himself, glory saluted Him; but now

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He bears the judgment due to us. "If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him". (John 13:32) Glory claims Him. Why? Because He so perfectly glorified God, so maintained it under all the weight and judgment due to sin. He was so perfectly holy. He so met all the mind of God in His whole path as an individual; and then from that point He came down to bear the judgment due to us. He was raised from the dead by the glory of God, and now He is set down at the right hand of God. Now it is there Stephen saw Him, "being full of the Holy Spirit, having fixed his eyes on heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God". (Acts 7:55)

Mark, beloved friends, when Adam was turned out of the garden, there was the cherubim with flaming sword that turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life. But now, if I look up to that glory, I see my Saviour is there. The place that naturally I should fear the most is the place where I have the least fear. Why? Because my Saviour is there. What place would you fear where your Saviour was. You remember about the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 6). He saw the glory of God in a vision. Then he says, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts". (Isaiah 6:5) Then what was done? "Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand"(not a dead one), "which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth". (Isaiah 6:6 - 7) He does not abate the holiness of God one bit; but He says, while I utterly refuse your state, I can show grace to you. "Thine iniquity is taken away". (Isaiah 6:7) From the point we most feared relief has come. Well if you get relief there, you do not fear it in any other place. As we read in another place: "Perfect love casts out fear". (1 John 4:18) Well, Stephen's

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fear was so cast out that we find him here looking up steadfastly into heaven, and seeing the glory of God and Jesus. This the apostle shows us in another place. Where he sets forth the contrast between law and grace (2 Corinthians 3). From the glory there came the demand of righteousness, but there was none to be had. "There is none righteous, no, not one". (Romans 3:10) But now if I look up to the glory, there is the ministration of it. There never was such a moral revolution. The law came from the glory claiming righteousness, but there was none. Then God sent His Son, the perfectly righteous One to bear the judgment due to me. Now I look up, I see not the seraphim, but the Saviour. Instead of the glory being a thing to terrify me, it is the very opposite. Under the law it would terrify me, because I could not meet the demand, but now it is God's gift. I do not know how to illustrate it. You cannot find such a thing in this world. But suppose a number of tenants, and their landlord calls them all up and demands from them his rent, but they have nothing to pay: now what is to be done? Well, he says, I will pay it myself, and he pays for them all round. So God was demanding righteousness, but now He has paid the demand, and there is none. He ministers righteousness, the very opposite: to demanding it; and now to the place I most feared l can look up without a fear. People say. But I am not up to it. Well, all I can say is, you will be up to it one day and a pity you should not be enjoying it now.

I had a very interesting instance of this in a dying sailor whom I visited. He said, I have faith in Christ, but I sometimes have a cloud. I said, well Stephen had no cloud. Now, beloved friends, though we are not all called to the same, place of suffering and martyrdom, we have all the same grace -- that poor dying sailor in common with all believers. I said to him, Stephen had not a cloud. He was very weak,

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and I did not say much more. After I had gone, he turned round to his mother, an old believer, and said 'Mother, you never told me I had a Saviour in the glory, I have not a cloud now'. He could not have a cloud when he looked up. But many people have not found that they have a Saviour in the glory of God.

Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God.

Heaven opened upon him, and it has never closed since. But I cannot get up to heaven without the Spirit of God. It is like Jacob's ladder, it came down to earth, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. Now the Holy Spirit has come down, and enables us to look up to heaven and see the glory of God.

We get an illustration of this in the new invention called the telephone, by which you may speak to a person at a distance, and in five minutes near your friend's voice answering you. Man has found out by his experiment a thing which may be known to every believer. I speak to Christ up there, and He hears me, and answers me, not by thunder and lightning, but by the Spirit of God.

You say. Oh, but none of us can be like Stephen. You may not be up to his measure, but a child may enjoy the comforts of the father's house as well as the grown-up person. The clothes, the ring, and the shoes, were all provided for the prodigal, and put on him before he was brought into the father's house. The grace that was for Stephen is for you.

Well, that is the first thing; now turn to the second. The second is the power of Christ where Christ is not, and you always find the two connected.

Every person's power and sense of grace is in proportion, or according to where he sees Christ. I ask you, where do you see Christ? You may reply, I see Him going unto death. Well, that is very blessed,

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and you maybe a genuine man, but that will not give you power. I remember an officer in the army telling me his experience. He said he was speaking to a lady, and telling her that thrice every day he went down on his. knees and prayed to the Lord Jesus on the cross. The lady said (it shows how one person may help another), "Why, He is not there". "And do you know", he said, "it had the most wonderful effect on me". What was the effect? He had got a new sense of power. He saw Christ not only dying for him, but that He was out of death and judgment. Well, I say, if you look up, you see Him on the right hand of God. That is what you get in Exodus 15, "The Lord ... hath triumphed gloriously". (Exodus 15:21) Many a believer has seen Him in the battle, and feels truly that was the most wonderful thing to his soul, to see the Lord taking his place; going into those depths, surrounded by those crystal walls, the waves and billows going over Him; that was a marvellous moment for his soul. I admit it, but that is not all. He has not only gone unto death for you, but He is triumphant out of death; and you will never get occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ till you learn that He has so perfectly cleared the ground for you, that now you can turn round and delight yourself in Him.

Now, the second point: I have the power of Christ where Christ is not. A great many people are trying to get power. Now if you do not see Christ, you have no power. Elijah gave the secret to Elisha when the latter said, I want a double portion of your Spirit. I am willing to stay down here but I want a double portion of your spirit. Now if we were asked tonight what is the thing we would like most, how many of us would say, the thing I want most is a double portion of the Spirit of Christ? Well, Elijah says you shall have it on one condition, if you see me taken. That confirms what I have said,

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that wherever you see Christ, that is the measure of your power.

Now turn to Matthew 14:10. John was beheaded. That was an intimation that Christ should be rejected. Well, in verse 13, you find Him in a desert place apart. "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion towards them". (Matthew 14:14) And then He feeds the multitude. The Lord was to be rejected from this earth. What does He do then? He feeds the poor of the flock who sought Him in the desert. I know this is a favourite text to prove there should be ministry; and so there is ministry, and we can thank God for it. I remember once being at a reading, and a clergyman read that chapter, down to where the Lord took the loaves and blessed and gave to His disciples to give to the multitude, to prove that there should be an ordained ministry. I said to him, let us read the rest of the chapter and we shall see another thing. Now, I said, there are two things in that chapter; one is, Christ feeds the poor of the flock, during all the time they are with Him in the desert; but there is something else also, there is the man of faith and power that leaves the ship to walk on the waters to Jesus. Peter says, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water", and "he walked on the water, to go to Jesus". (Matthew 14:28 - 29) That is the second thing. Faith leaves the thing that was made for the water, to walk on the water. All that were in the ship saw it. They could not but see it.

Before, when the Lord was in the ship. He was asleep. His head was on a pillow, but things were changed: a new thing comes out in light -- Christ was to be rejected. He says, I will feed the poor of the flock in spite of all the wilderness of this world (and this Book is His word, the witness of it), but that is not all; the one who has faith leaves the thing made for the water, at the word of the Lord.

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and goes on the water. Why? Because Jesus Himself is on the water. Christ is in power over everything here, and I, looking at Him in faith, become superior to all here. As Peter says "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him". (1 Peter 3:22)

But what I want to press on you is this -- the character of this new order. Now I am set here on earth in a place of trial. It is not made easy for me; but in this place of trial, this place where the flesh cannot stand (how could the flesh stand on the water for a minute? it must go down), here in this very place, I am to be superior to it. Whatever be the trial, if I look up to the Saviour in glory, I can be superior to it. The difference between the old and the new order is, the old was to change your circumstances, and to give you ease and relief. Look at the children of the captivity; they were cast into the furnace, and there was not a hair of their head hurt. Daniel is cast into the lions' den, and their mouths are shut. The new order is this: "As the sufferings of Christ abound", (2 Corinthians 1:5) so also the consolations of Christ abound. As the sufferings increase, so also does the capability to suffer increase. You are not taken out of the trial, but you are made superior to it. Do not look for a change in your circumstances, but keep your eye so on Christ there, that while by the power of the Holy Spirit you have association with Him where He is, you will have His power where He is not.

There are two ways of getting a fortune in this world. One man makes his fortune, another gets his fortune. Now the fortune of a saint is the gift of God. If he does not know of it, that is another thing. I may say to a man, your father left you all that land. He says, I did not know it was mine. I say, what foolish man. Well, Christ has given you all this; but

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you say, I have not made it mine. Why do you not? A man may have a beautiful estate, and yet not be able to enjoy it, because he has bad health. That is how it is with many saints; they have not spiritual health to enjoy their possessions.

Now turn to John 14, verse 2. The Lord says, "I go to prepare a place for you". (John 14:2) It is a place in heaven then, not a place here. Verse 12. He makes this very remarkable statement, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father". (John 14:12.) When the Lord was here. He raised a dead man to life. But what does the Holy Spirit do now? He makes a man superior to himself. That is the wonderful thing that comes out in Stephen. You may not have the same enemies Stephen had, you may not be in the same position, but you have the same grace that he had in that position. Stephen was put into the most trying position conceivable to man; in order to show that there is nothing too trying or too difficult for us to be made superior to through grace, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. What really hinders souls is this: they are looking for easy circumstances, looking to God to take away the difficulties, instead of looking to God for grace to be superior to them.

I turn to Psalm 22, to show how Stephen in his measure was made practically superior to even what Christ had to encounter: There I get the sufferings of the Lord and all that was against Him. There are seven distinct things that He had to encounter. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1) In that Christ was alone. Stephen, or no one, could follow Him there. He was the solitary one in bearing sin. He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him; and if I have that, I can look up to heaven without a cloud between. When I come to Jordan, not a drop of water is to be

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seen; death is abolished, there is not a thing between me and the throne. Simeon says, I am ready to go, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. Stephen says, I am happy to go, I have a Saviour in the glory. Paul says, I am longing to go.

Then we come to the second thing, verse 6; "a reproach of men, and despised of the people". (Psalm 22:6) Stephen knew what that is, but he is unmoved, he does not give way.

Then there is the third, "Many bulls have compassed me". (Psalm 22:12) The bulls would represent the high priest, what is called the ecclesiastical thing in our day. How does he bear up against that? Unmoved. What a wonderful thing to walk on the water. It is an old saying, 'It is a fine thing to see a man struggling'. I say it is a wonderful thing to see a man, utterly weak in himself, superior to all through the power of Christ; that is Christianity. That is what Paul has "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". (Philippians 4:13) "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content". (Philippians 4:11) I look upward, see my Saviour there, and I can encounter all down here.

Now we come to the fourth thing, weakness of body, verse 14; "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death". (Psalm 22:14 - 15) This only fully appears in the Lord, but Stephen knew it in his measure; when they were battering him with stones he stood on, how thoroughly bodily weak, we cannot imagine. We all know how bodily weakness overcomes us. A man who is bodily weak is like one who has a number of servants, and he finds they have all left him -- eyes, hands, feet -- he does not know what to do. Then I have the power of Christ, not to make me strong in

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body, but to make me superior to the weakness, that is what I want.

Fifth, "dogs have compassed me" (Psalm 22:16) -- Man's power. Then the lion -- Satan's power, verse 21. Then, seventh, "the horns of the unicorns" (Psalm 22:21) -- death itself. He kneels down and prays, and says, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge". (Acts 7:60) He says, as it were, I'll spend my last breath in their service. He never swerved from his post. That brings out the power of Christ to sustain a man when the greatest power on earth is brought to bear upon him. He can sing that hymn 'We triumph in Thy triumphs, Lord'. Christ has overcome all enemies, now He is out of it, and as I have my eye on Him I have His power. I have set the Lord always before me. When we are in difficulty and want power, we have just to look up. If you say. What is the use of looking up, it will not alter things. I reply, just try it and see. It connects you with Him. And He says, "Without me ye can do nothing". (John 15:5) That is not a question simply of being united to Christ. It is dependence on Him. It is like a wife whose husband says, I will give you everything you want, but you must come to me for it; for every single thing: I won't give you ten things at once. So with Christ. He says, I won't give you power for two things at once, "Without me ye can do nothing". (John 15:5) You have a trial; you get through it very well one day, but the next day you are perhaps so elated with your past victory that you forget your need of dependence and you fail most miserably. Look at Paul when he came down from the third heaven. The enjoyment he had up there would not keep him; he needed the thorn, but the Lord says, "My grace is sufficient for thee". (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The Lord grant us not only to look at this as a picture, but to have the reality. The Lord give us not only to see these two marks so blessedly set before us in Stephen, but to know his Christ as ours. It may

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not be in Stephen's place; but in whatever place you are. Take a slave for instance, what does the apostle say to him? -- "Adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things". (Titus 2:10) But he may reply, I have a hard master. Well, adorn the doctrine in all things. You must walk on the water. "Greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father". (John 14:12) In the old order, the Lord came in to deliver His people, and showed He was for them. Now He shows, not only that He is for us, but what He is to us. Mark in Romans 8:31 the change, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) Then read further down, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us". (Romans 8:34) That is God for me. Then, "As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long", (Romans 8:36) that is for Christ's sake. Yet we are not overcome, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us". (Romans 8:37)

The Lord grant that each of us, in the place in which we are called, may have these two marks: by the Holy Spirit I have association with my Saviour where He is, and then power to be for my Saviour where He is not.

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THE PROVING OF FAITH

Exodus 15, 16 and 17.

I may not always see myself triumphant, but there is never a moment when I look up that I do not see Christ triumphant, "The Lord ..hath triumphed gloriously" (Exodus 15:1) it does not say we; very often we are not triumphant. Well, you say He is, and see what effect it will have. Is He triumphant? To be sure He is; then what more do you want: you belong to Him. Christ never had a battle to fight for Himself, every battle was for the believer.

The song goes on to Canaan. I do not know what they end with, and no doubt there's many a cry in the wilderness, but they begin with a song. The same day that I begin rightly in the wilderness, I begin in Canaan.

The wilderness is where I have nothing but God -- no resources, no protection -- nothing but God. But have you not good government and laws and a fine police? No. They are there and I can thank God for them, but they are nothing to me. But if a person offends against the law, where is he? In Egypt. But suppose I am selling apples in the market, and a wicked man comes and knocks down my stall, what must I do? Call for the police? If you were in Egypt you might. But if I am in the wilderness, what must l do? Pray to my Father. I do not know what He will do, perhaps make my tree bear twice as many apples; perhaps make me contented. The Lord says, "I have overcome the world", (John 16:33) what then have I to fear? In the wilderness I have to do with man; with human things; when I am in Canaan I have to do with divine things.

In John 14 the Lord says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you". (John 14:27) In John 20 there

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is a second peace, -- "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". (John 20:21) This is not peace for the conscience it is His own peace, the peace He had as a Man down here; this is peace for the wilderness. The peace of Philippians 4, is much the same thing, only this is more general. I may have trouble, but I go and tell it all out in His ear. It is not that I say my prayers; every one does that, but I know I have told it to Him, I have not got a promise, but I have His peace about it. It is like getting a colour from a thing from going so close to it. Now you will find (and this often astonishes people) that it is far easier to be in Canaan than in the wilderness. Many a person has peace with God that has not peace in his circumstances. Here were the children of Israel beginning with one universal shout of praise, and when they come to the wilderness, they begin to murmur. It is very easy in one's own room. Often a man has to say to himself, I am sorry I left my room, I was very happy there, but the moment I came out and had to go into business, I got ruffled. I cannot walk without a trouble, I may without a ruffle. Everything is against me down here, but there is nothing to ruffle you in the presence of God. What I want is His peace, that I may go through this world and never be ruffled; 'calm amidst tumultuous motion'. In nine cases out of ten, people are not quietly happy before God. But here were people perfectly happy with one universal song of praise, and they come into the wilderness and find they cannot drink of the water. It is death. There is nothing favourable to the man of God in the world. As I take down the shutters in the morning or pull up my blind, I must begin with that feeling -- there is nothing for me down here. Expect everything to come from heaven. Where did Israel get the manna? It came from heaven; it certainly did not grow here.

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But they cannot drink of the water; it was that left from the sea, and very bitter; they were very glad for their enemies to die in it but not pleased that they should die in it. It is death practically, I am to bear about in my body the dying of Jesus. It was the Lord who led them down to this bitter water that He might teach them this great lesson.

The first great enemy you have in the wilderness is yourself. If we had no selfishness, we would get on very well in the wilderness.

There are three things we must remember, three steps for us to take. The first is that the cross has cleared away everything from me in the sight of God. He does not see a single speck on me, and will never see me in the flesh again. The second is that I am united to the one who has done it; that is power. Third, I am to bear about in myself the cross of the Lord Jesus, so that everything the cross has removed in the sight of God is to be practically removed from me. You may try to get the third step without getting the second; the Corinthians got the second without getting the third, they saw they were united to Christ in glory but they did not go on to the third; that is why the apostle had to bring in the cross. You must begin with God. I hear people saying, I am going to God; it would be better if you were comingfrom Him. Oh, but we must go to Him first. Ah, that I quite agree with. A person said, I hear you talk about looking up. Why do you not go up and look down? That is the practical thing.

Why does the Lord bring them down to Marah? Because I must get into the wilderness to find I have got God only for me -- no resources but in Him. Where is my Saviour? I must get to where my Saviour is, to be able to do anything.

If I look above, that is Canaan; but in fact you find that many souls do not get through the Red

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Sea until they come to die, much less through Jordan. It is Christ's work in either case.

Well the question is now, is everything gone in you that is gone in the Red Sea? But you see I cannot bring death to myself, that is what the monk is trying to do by his penance. Many a conscientious legal man is trying to beat it out, trying to kill himself, but that man has not power, he is doing the thing from effort; there is no effort in power.

The moment I say, Christ suffered for that; that sour, bitter, rancorous feeling; that lust, that pride, that selfishness, Christ died for it; then I will not have it, it all becomes sweet, and there is no trouble in drinking sweet water. Instead of complaining of circumstances, I see that the cross of Christ brought me into them, then it is all right. Sometimes you hear people saying after trial. Oh, I would not have had it otherwise, though perhaps like Job, they were complaining very much in it. The word in Scripture is not the trial but the trying of your faith. Trial is a poor horse lying in the road, that cannot get up; trying, he is springing over the fence. Just as you may hear a man say, 'I will try him, and see what he is up to'. Well, if you press him beyond his ability that is trial, if not, it is trying. The trying of your faith worketh patience. Do you count it all joy then? That is what scripture says. If we could see all as coming from God, if we had no self we would be able to say it is all right; the water would be sweet, and if God is bringing me into these circumstances to cut away self, it is that I may find my resources in Him alone. It is wonderful how one can be cheerful in circumstances the most trying. The scripture says, "A cheerful heart is a continual feast". (Proverbs 15:15) There is to be no complaining in our streets. What are you complaining about? Did not you say there was nothing but God in the wilderness? lf you are complaining, you are not giving thanks, and that

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is what we have to do in everything. Oh a man says, but I cannot give thanks for everything, I cannot understand that. Why? Because you are selfish. But if my crops are damaged, am I not to complain? No, my Father does it, and He knows best. And I believe several things apparently most untoward, have turned out to be most signal interventions of God.

Look at the messenger of Satan, the thorn in the flesh to Paul; he wanted to get rid of it, not for himself but for the Lord's service. No, said the Lord, I am not going to take it from you. Well, he said, it is very bitter, but he brought the cross into it, and he says, I take pleasure in it, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

But suppose a person, in communion, does not behave well to me, would it not be right to complain? I do not say you will not feel it, but if you find a person is not loving you, your business is to give him the more love, for he needs it. In the two passages which speak of charity in Scripture, one is taking something from you that has come in between your soul and Christ, and hindered your communion, and to remove it. The other, 1 Corinthians 13, is taking something from myself; taking off this and that. Now you are fit for a servant -- not "easily provoked", &c. Charity is not always giving something. In both these cases, it is taking something away. I believe the most charitable man in the world is one that puts an extinguisher on himself. If I meet a proud man, how am I to cure him? Not by telling him so, most likely he knows it far better than I do, but by being humble.

I believe more than half the trouble in the world comes from disappointment; people expect something and do not get it; lie awake at night building castles in the air that never come to anything. I should not expect anything, I am not entitled to it.

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What is a dog entitled to? Nothing. Christ will not cast me out; no doubt He will give me a crumb, but I am not entitled to it. But is a person not entitled to the love of the saints? He is entitled to show love: he ought to do it, but he must expect nothing. As a brother has said, "I have got ten times more love from the saints than I expected, and ten thousand times more than I deserved".

Christ came up to the fig tree seeking fruit, for He was hungry. He found none; He was neglected; but did He feel it so? No; He will make it an occasion for service, and uses it for an illustration of what He wished to teach His disciples. And I believe if we were only simple and walking with the Lord, many things which we call disappointments would turn out opportunities for service.

It is very trying when saints are hindering the work of the Lord; that is the only thing we can complain of. "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words". (2 Timothy 4:14 - 15) That is the severest thing I know.

But the next point is. What is to be my support in the wilderness? lf I have got rid of self, what have I to live? To live Christ, that is the proper food of the wilderness. It is not Christ in heaven, but Christ as He was down here. Everywhere He was well pleasing to God, publicly or privately; working at a table (for I have no doubt He did such work) or taking up the little children in His arms He was well-pleasing, He was the perfect man on earth. A man says to me, How should I do this? The way Christ did it, that is all the answer I can give you. l have no standard but Christ. The law is not my standard. I could beat a man with the law altogether -- even as to the Sabbath, for he would keep it as a duty, I would keep it as a favour I would beat him in all points.

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Take a thief, for example: the law says; "Thou shalt not steal". is that all? No: I would say, "But rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth". (Ephesians 4:28) Instead of being a stealer you are to be a giver. You say you have turned me round altogether. Yes, I have turned you round to Christ. The law was given for slaves, but a great man speaks very differently to. his son from what he does to his servant. Christ is to be my standard. Oh, you say, I can never get up to that. That is not the point, but is that the thing before you? Is that your standard? Did you write that letter as Christ would? Well, I did not. Then you had better write another. When Peter walked on the water he did not walk in all the splendour of Christ, but he walked as Christ.

There are three things connected with the manna: the first is, get it before you require it; the second, get as much as you require before you require it; the third, get it before the sun is up. I do not say anything against morning prayer -- it is a very good habit, but many a person, says his prayers in the morning who does not get the manna. The manna is the soul having got the sense of the supply of what is in Christ so that, he can say I have got what will keep me through this day. I do not say you will not have to go to Him again. But it is like having bread in the cupboard, not like having to run out to the baker's shop when in need. I can then say I began this day With the Lord; there may be pleasant things or disagreeable but all I know is that I began with the assured sense that it was with Christ. Not that I believe the day is twenty-four hours, l believe it means every single event. But what I must get is the assured sense that Christ is for me, and though I be forty years in this business He will see me safe through; that is what I call having bread in the cupboard.

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I have no other supply whatever, but I have confidence that the Lord is adequate; I must get it fresh, get it constantly (some of them left it till the morning.) It shows that though I may get manna for this sick person that will not do for the one next door. I have got on very well with this chapter, that does not say I will get on well with the next.

Then it must be gathered before the sun is up, it must be a secret thing between your own soul and the Lord. If you want to get strength from Christ, do not let the influence of the world come on you or you have lost it. If a person is going to do anything unto the Lord he had better not tell his family about it. Chapter 17 is the Spirit. The rock that followed them was Christ. This is the Spirit of God bringing it out freshly with power.

Anything that carries me outside of self is always the Spirit; when carried to do a bad thing it is the devil. A man says I went beyond my intention, you were made an instrument in his hands. Look at Judas, he wanted money; he did not want to kill Christ, but he was carried beyond his intention. The Spirit of God carries me on in freshness. A man in the Spirit is often a surprise to himself. But then as often as you get the energy of the Spirit you get the energy of Satan to resist. Therefore you find Amalek. There are enemies all along the way. First there was Pharaoh; the enemy tries to keep them in Egypt. He says, I will not give them any straw. I will engross them with business and I will knock religion out of their heads, and he succeeded. They said to Moses, We wish we had never seen your face: times are so bad.

But God brings them into the wilderness. Then comes Amalek, who says, I Will not let you go any further, I will hinder you in some way. Amalek is not the flesh, it is Satan acting on you in some special form by some direct pressure it is not general.

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When they leave the wilderness they have the nations; that is what we have in the present day -- infidelity. The difference between them and Amalek is that I go and attack them; here Amalek comes and attacks me. We get it in Peter "Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not". (Luke 22:31 - 32) I get over it by two things; one is by Christ's intercession, as in Moses; the other, the Spirit of Christ as in Joshua. I go to fight and resist him; that is what Peter did not do. He should not have gone to the high priest's house; and when he found a friend to take him in, he should have said, I will not go. Full of self-confidence he would see it out; he did not see Satan in it. It seemed very providential; here was a friend to take him in and moreover a fire of coals to sit by; and sitting there, he is taken in the snare when he is not ready for it. The grand thing is to resist. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. The Lord said "Get thee behind me, Satan:" (Mark 8:33)

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CHRIST TRIUMPHANT

Exodus 15

There are three marks of one who is a triumphant Christian, of one who has learned the triumphant Christ. It is not Christ fighting the battle, or part of the battle, that makes me triumphant. It is a victorious Christ. When you see Him, you see what God has done. When man had ruined himself, God says, "In me is thine help". (Hosea 13:9)

But before I go on let me say one word on the questioning of the infidel and the caviller, who says that he does not believe the gospel. I say to him, have you anything to put in its place? Have you anything else to give man, for he is ruined? Death stares him In the face, and all the science of man cannot get him out of the fatal snare. Have you anything to put in the place of this which. God proposes to do for the believer in Jesus? -- that is, the gospel.

An infidel said to me the other day that he did not believe it. 'Well', I said, 'have you anything to put in its place? Have you any other remedy?' 'No', he said, 'I have no remedy'. 'You have no remedy', I said, 'and yet you do not believe the only remedy that has been provided!' The gospel is the only remedy; that is the great thing to arrive at. People may split up Christianity into different sects; but there is no other thing offered by men to meet man's ruin, but the gospel. It has no rival.

I said to him, 'I have another question: supposing for a moment it were true, would it suit you to have a triumphant Saviour out of all the ruin and misery into which man has fallen?' 'Admirably', he replied, 'admirably'. 'Well', I said, 'see where you are! You have no rival scheme in place of this one,

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and it is one, you admit yourself, which would suit you admirably; but you meet my appeal by saying you do not believe it! I have a third question to put to you -- Did you ever try it? If you heard of a certain cure for a headache, or a toothache do you think it would be a wise thing for you to say, 'I do not believe in it,' if you had not some other cure, or if you had never tried it?' You see man treats the proposal God has made -- the most wonderful thing that ever came into the world -- in a way that shows you what a set of people cavillers are, and how true Scripture is when it says, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God". (Psalm 14:1) Man would not treat a common remedy for a common pain in the way he treats the gospel, that relates to his immortal soul. If he said, 'I did try the cure, but it was no good', or if he said, 'I have got a better one', it would be something; but here he does not say, 'I have got a better', but 'I have not one at all. It would suit me admirably if it were true'. Did you ever try it? 'Never'. How dare you, then, say you do not believe it? If you had tried it and found it would not do, then you might say something about not believing in it; but until then, you have no right to say you do not believe it.

Take the case of the children of Israel when bitten of the fiery serpents. There they were suffering, and an evangelist of the day goes up to one of his friends or neighbours who had been struck down, and he says to him, 'Do you see that serpent up there?' 'Yes'. 'Well, God says if you look at that you will be cured'. The man says, 'I do not see any sense in that; it is unreasonable'. The evangelist replies, 'I have two reasons why you should try it. The one is that God says it; and the other is that I have looked at it, and I have proved the benefit of it'. That is what makes an evangelist. He has always two reasons: the word - God says so -- that is the first

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witness; the second is, I know it experimentally. Here is a man in the agony of the serpent's bite; he turns a look up at the brazen serpent, and he is well in a minute! Would all the world convince that man that looking at the serpent had not cured him? Would the man not go to his neighbour and say, 'Now, neighbour, there is a cure for you. I have got two reasons why you should try it, and 'In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established': God has said it! and I have tried it myself, and I am well'. It was a most instantaneous cure. He that looked lived.

Now, having said so much upon this wonderful thing that God proposes, I come to the subject of a triumphant Christ; and the three characteristics of one who has got the triumphant Christ. The Lord has triumphed. I do not say you have triumphed, but I say, "The Lord ... hath triumphed gloriously". (Exodus 15:1) I put it to any one here, if a dog attacked you, and a friend came to your relief, would you not rather see the man triumphant over the dog, than merely fighting it for you? Would you not like to see him perfectly triumphant? And therefore the Scripture insists upon it, not merely that Christ began the battle, not merely that He went through it, but that He is triumphant. It is a triumphant Christ that is presented to the soul. What did Paul say to the jailer, the poor pagan, when he cried "What must I do to be saved?" Did he tell him Christ began your battle, Christ will go on with your battle, and I hope; Christ will finish it? No he said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved". (Acts 16:30 - 31) No doubt Paul told him more afterwards, but still the thing he first put before him was the object of his faith -- that is, the Christ of God.

God has laid help upon one that is mighty. You are ruined -- you art bound; and He says, 'I will restore, I am going to get you out of the house of

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bondage and out of the fiery furnace. I know your sorrows and your weaknesses; and I am sending My own Son to deliver you -- to bring you out of the land of Egypt, and into the land of Canaan'.

Remember the little word of four letters -- done. It is not doing, but done. I will tell you how it is done presently, but what I now say is that it is done, for that is the thing you want to know. Is redemption accomplished? It is. I will give you an illustration.

Any child will remember the story of Goliath, how the whole army of Israel were in a terrible fright because of the giant. A stranger stripling, David, comes forward and attacks him. Jonathan, David's friend, looks on in an anxious state. He sees David deal the giant a blow that fells him to the ground. What is his state then? Hopeful, but not happy. The giant might get up again. But Jonathan sees David take a sword from its sheath and cut off the head of the giant, and then hold it up in his hand. Now, what do you think Jonathan does? He thanks the Lord that it is done.

Do you believe in Christ that way tonight? Have you the simple faith that Jonathan had? Can you say, "I am clear of judgment", as Jonathan could say he was clear of Goliath? If you can, it is because you see. a triumphant Saviour. It was not that Jonathan did anything himself. All he did, was to stand there and look. That is just what you have to do. "The Lord ... hath triumphed gloriously". (Exodus 15:1) Jonathan has nothing at all to show for himself. All that he can say is, that he sees David with the head of Goliath in his hand.. Can you say that "Jesus Christ ... hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light?" (2 Timothy 1:10) -- that He is triumphant? If so, then you have the true marks of a triumphant one. Then it is that the soul of Jonathan is knit to the soul of David. Up to that he had been thinking

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of Goliath; and if you are faint believe me, it is because you do not see the triumphant Christ -- not David, but one greater than David -- because you do not see the ground cleared, and Goliath put out of the way. "Ah! you say, but I am looking to the Saviour". Yes, I admit you are, but to a Saviour fighting the battle. You do not see a triumphant Saviour. I will show you presently the marks of the soul that has got hold of the triumphant Saviour; but before I do so we will turn to see how Christ fought the battle. See Exodus 12:13 -- "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you". (Exodus 12:13)

"And the blood shall be to you for a token". That is the first thing -- that the work of Christ meets the poor sinner. The first thing is to learn about the blood. Remember what night it was that is referred to in the verse I have quoted. It was a night of death. There was not a house in Egypt in which there was not one dead. Death was raging from the family of the king to that of the beggar. What a desperate night it was. In that desperate night the people were brought face to face with death. Has your soul ever come in contact with death yet? Some day it must. When I was a very young man -- about 17, I suppose, I heard of the cholera being within six miles of me. I was what might be called a religious man then. I used to read the Bible four times a day; but when I heard that the cholera was in the next town to where l was living, I cannot tell you what came over me, but in the long run I was on the floor, and I said to myself -- I remember it to this day -- 'What is the matter with me? I am afraid to die'. Did you ever face death? I was not irreligious. It is no common thing for a youth of 17 to read the Bible four times a day, and yet I said, 'There is death, and l am afraid to

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die'. People do not sufficiently look at what death is. Death is a terrible thing. Death is an intruder, because it is the wages of sin, and we are all afraid of our wages. How are we to get clear of it? You can get clear of it only by the blood of Jesus.

I put the gospel in the simplest way possible. Do you believe that Julius Caesar was in this world? 'Yes, you believe that'. Do you believe that Jesus Christ was in the world? 'Yes'. But there is another question; Do you believe God sent Him to die for your sins? If you do, you are a saved man; for he that believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Many believe that Jesus Christ was on the earth, just as they believe that Julius Caesar was on the earth, or George the Fourth. But do you believe God sent Him? That is the point. What did the man do who got his sight (John 9)? He went to the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, "Sent;" that is the virtue of it, God sent Christ. Do you believe God sent His Son to die for your sins? If so, you are saved. You may have to learn a great deal more; but you have got that much at any rate. "When I see the blood, I will pass over". (Exodus 12:13) That was where the Israelites got shelter on that terrible night in Egypt. A lifeboat pushes out from the shore to a man who is drowning. The man sees the lifeboat, and he says, 'I am saved'. He gets into the boat and is safe. He is not triumphant yet -- he has not got ashore yet -- but still he is safe; he is in the boat. That is the first thing. I pray that God would not allow a single one in this hall to leave without being able to say, 'Thank God, I have found shelter. I believe God has sent His Son to die for my sins, I see the Christ of God'.

A person dwelling on the sufferings of Christ may be very pious, and yet not be triumphant. When the drowning man gets into the lifeboat, he does not wish to stay in it because he knows there is still danger, and all the sailors in the world would not

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persuade him that that was a safe place. When Noah was in the ark, was he not safe? And yet what made him send out the raven? Because he longed to see the dry land; which he did in due time. He was saved, not triumphant, but when he got to the shore, 'he built an altar;' and when the sweet smelling savour went up he said, it was as if 'I was amid the manifest judgment of God. I was saved from it by the ark, and now I am in favour from the altar'. He is triumphant now that he finds he is in favour. You see what God proposes is a perfect thing; and therefore, as Scripture puts it in another place, "We may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world". (1 John 4:17) That is the language of a triumphant one.

I want, every one who hears me preach to go away with the impression that God's gospel is a wonderful thing. That I should be, not in heaven, but even in this earth, in the triumph of God's own Son, who sits at His right hand -- was ever anything more marvellous than that!

Look at 1 John 4:17, and see what Scripture says: "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". (1 John 4:17) If that is not triumphant, I do not know what is.

Now turn to Exodus 14:13. They came up to the Red Sea, and they were all afraid, and Moses said, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever". (Exodus 14:13) What is the Red Sea to the believer? I have first to learn by the blood of Christ that the judgment of God is met. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood". (Romans 3:25) I am sheltered by the blood. But the next thing I learn is that Christ has destroyed all that is against me. He has destroyed the power of

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death. He entered into death that He might destroy him that had the power of death. He has abolished death. That is the Red Sea -- and now I can go through it without fear. Many a believer thinks himself in a hopeful position of soul when he says, 'I see the way quite clear through death -- but I am not over yet'. Then you are only looking at the way. 'It is a magnificent sight'. Granted, but you are on this side of it. You have to march through it yet. You are just where Jonathan was when he saw Goliath on the ground. You are hopeful -- very hopeful, but you never get rest till you see the head in David's hand. That is triumphant. You may say, 'Can anything be more grand than to see a way made through the sea?' True, but there is something grander on the other side. Ah! you reply, but we are not at the other side yet? No, I say, that is perfectly true; but our Saviour is. He is triumphant; and what is the use of His being triumphant for me, if I do not get the good of it? What is the good of a man representing me if I do not get the benefit of what he represents? What I want to know is, whether the work is really done -- the work of my redemption. It is done, and therefore, as Moses says, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord ... for the Egyptians" -- (not Egypt but the Egyptians -- it is not that I am saved from judgment in Egypt; but when I have learned that Christ is triumphant I am clear of the person who exposes me to the judgment, and that is the Egyptian) -- "the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever". (Exodus 14:13)

I put this solemn truth to every believer in this hall tonight -- namely, that I hold that believers are greatly culpable for the infidelity of the present day, because you do not give a good expression of the gospel. You do not insist on the fact that you are put in this glorious position on the earth: You have failings every day, and conflicts, and falls. All this is

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no doubt true; and you have a giant -- sin -- to fight against and you may have doubts, about yourself proving triumphant, but believe that Christ is triumphant and your doubts will vanish. Nothing but a realisation of the triumphant, Christ will give you relief. Christ did not triumph for Himself. He triumphed for me; but what was the good of its being done at all if I do not get the benefit of it? What is the good of David killing Goliath, if Jonathan and the army do not get the benefit of it? They did get the benefit of it; and if any one had gone into Jonathan's tent and said to him, 'I am afraid that giant is walking about still', Jonathan would have said, 'Did you not see his head in David's hand? Don't you know he is gone? I did not do it, but David did. Rejoice, therefore, in David's triumph'. So do you, believers, rejoice in a triumphant Saviour, He has fought, the battle. He has destroyed death; He died and has risen again. He has risen triumphant.

And now we come to look at what are the marks of having a triumphant Saviour, because what God really desires is to get you to know this wonderful thing that He has accomplished for every believer in Christ; that you may sing that song tonight, and say, 'I have got a wonderful Saviour, a wonderful salvation'. The first mark is, that a new joy is put into your heart -- a new song -- you have more gladness in your heart than when your corn and your wine increased. What will you sing about? That Christ is fighting the battle? No; but that He is triumphant. Any one not able to sing of a triumphant Saviour has not got the first mark of the man who has found the triumphant Christ. The man who has found that has joy in his heart, and he will go forth singing. Lt was the chorus, too, that Moses dwelt upon, "The: Lord ... .hath triumphed gloriously". (Exodus 15:21) I do press this upon you. You say, 'How

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do I know that Christ has triumphed, and that He is up there?' It is not very easy to explain it. If you saw a ladder come down from heaven to earth, you would say, 'There is a ladder and I can go up and find out all things that are there.' Jacob saw a ladder come out of heaven. We have a greater ladder -- the Holy Spirit. Christ has done the greatest thing for you, and He has given you the greatest gift. He not only wrought out salvation for you; but He also sends you the Holy Spirit. Christ says that He was exalted to God's right hand, that His people might receive the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is clear about the fact that Christ has done the greatest thing for us; but I say that if He had not sent down the Holy Spirit, His work would have been vain. The Holy Spirit comes down to tell you that Christ has triumphed. Jonathan said, 'I saw David fight and kill Goliath'. I see Christ triumphant over my foe; and I know what He has done through the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

Christ went down into the depths to get me out of the ruin, wretchedness, and misery into which sin had brought me. That, however, is not enough for me. When He came out He said: 'I will send you something to show that the Egyptians you saw today you will see no more forever: I will send down the Holy Spirit for you'. That is what He meant when He said to the woman of Samaria -- the poor sinner, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst". (John 4:14) That is what makes a song spring up in the believer's heart. The Holy Spirit puts a new song into your mouth. "The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit". (Romans 14:17) Not only did my Saviour go down into the depths, but He came out again and I am in Him for ever. How do I know this? I have got the greatest thing God

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ever gave to anybody -- the whole world would not be equal, to it -- the Holy Spirit dwelling in my heart for ever. "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life". (John 4:14) The Saviour who sends the Holy Spirit to me is the same One who died for me. He does the two things. He completes the work, and He makes a song spring up in my heart. He says, 'I will send down the Spirit, and I will connect you with my accomplished work'. When He was exalted to God's right hand. He sent forth this "which ye, now see and hear". That is how you can now sing a new song. How can you sing it otherwise? How do l know the work is done? Because I have got that message sent down -- the Holy Spirit has come down to show that the work of the Lord Jesus Christ is accomplished. What is the proof that Christ is glorified.? The Holy Spirit has come. Therefore I can sing. That is the first mark of a triumphant Christian, and l am dwelling long upon it. "The Lord ... hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea". (Exodus 15:21) Do you ever get gloomy? Sometimes, some one says. I will tell you a fine cure for it. Were you ever out at night? What were you looking for -- the cloud? No, you say, I was looking for the moon. So I would say to the gloomy believer, look for Christ. He is the triumphant One. Look for the Advocate between you and God. "The Lord ... hath triumphed gloriously". That; is the first mark. "He hath put a new song in my mouth", (Psalm 40:3) He has "put gladness in my heart".. "A cheerful heart is a continual, feast". (Proverbs 15:15) It is not that my circumstances are better, but I have perfect gladness in the Lord. No more gloominess; no more complainings; no more murmurings; no more discontent; no more dissatisfaction with God's arrangements for you. Now you say, I have got the greatest thing He can give me. -I have not only got relief. It is not that my outward

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circumstances are better. I am the same as ever, but I have got a new thing which is in me a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

The second mark of a triumphant christian is that he is occupied with the Lord. When Jonathan stripped himself and put his sword and bow, and girdle on David, he was thinking of David and not of Goliath. So you read in the second verse of the fifteenth chapter of Exodus: "The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation". (Exodus 15:2) I am thinking of God, not of the giant, now. I have got a new interest. I am at peace with God, and I am exultant. The triumphant Christian says: "I do not mind what other people say, I will make much of my Saviour. He shall have the chief place in my heart".

The third mark is, that I am going to God's place. "Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established" (Exodus 15:17) We are going to His place; but before we go to His place, we want Him to have a place where we are. "I will prepare Him an habitation". (Exodus 15:2) Thus David says, "I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob". (Psalm 132:4 - 5)

These are the three marks; the first is the one I have dwelt on most, because if you have got it, you are sure to possess the others. The first is that my heart is exulting in the triumphant Saviour. The work is done. God has done it, and I am looking at the triumphant Christ. Therefore it is not a question of looking at death. There is no death to the believer; there is no sin. You pass out of these through Christ. Thus the aged Simeon says: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy

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word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation". (Luke 2:29 - 30) Stephen, saw the Lord up there, and he is happy to go. But Paul is longing "to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better". (Philippians 1:23) The first was ready to go, the second happy to go, the third longing to go. The Lord grant that you may all be in this condition. Do not turn away from such great salvation. Let not one of you be satisfied with anything but a triumphant Saviour. Then a better, testimony would go abroad from you. What was it that arrested the elder brother of the prodigal when he approached his father's house.? It was, the sound of music, and dancing. And we should wake up many a soul if we had more of the expression of those, who have got the greatest thing that God can give. I have the favour of God. I have the greatest mark of it which God can show me. I have the Holy Spirit. The Lord give you to see where Christ is. That is the thing. Look to Christ, and to Him alone. When the jailer, in his alarm, asked Paul, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul's reply was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved". (Acts 16:30 - 31) So I say to you: Is there any one in this hall who will go away tonight, saying; "I despise, God's offer". What a terrible thing. The Lord grant, in His infinite mercy, that His word may be effectual in delivering you all out of the condition of misery, in to which you have been brought by sin!

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ENLARGEMENT BY REDUCTION (1)

1 Corinthians 1

It is interesting to notice the particular circumstances in which we find these Corinthians. They were an assembly highly favoured of God. Paul says: "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by him in all utterance, and in all knowledge; ... so that ye come behind in no gift;" (1 Corinthians 1:4) and they were "called unto the fellowship of his Son". (1 Corinthians 1:9). It was not possible to get any higher than that. Everything that could be done was done for them on God's side. But on their own side they were not "dead to sin", as Romans says they should have been; they did not walk in self- judgment.

The great subject of the epistle is in chapter 1: 29: "That no flesh should glory in his presence". (1 Corinthians 1:29) The point, therefore, that he presses between these verses, 9 and 29, is the cross. It is "Christ crucified", and that not in connection with sin; indeed, except in chapter 15, I do not remember that the word "sin" occurs in the epistle; but it is "no flesh"is to glory, hence he dwells upon the cross: We preach Christ crucified.

They were seeking wisdom; they sought a mental view of divine things. Wisdom was the great desire of the Corinthians. Hence it is, If you would have the wisdom of God you must reach it through crucifixion. It is "Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. That, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord " (1 Corinthians 1:30 - 31) If you seek divine wisdom, wisdom of God, we preach Christ crucified; and if you learn Christ crucified,

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you then learn that He is the wisdom of God. They were looking for wisdom without the cross. He proposes to them wisdom through the cross. So he puts wisdom the first on the list.

In chapter 2, he opens out the subject more fully: "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified". (1 Corinthians 2:2) Now this is a very large subject. It is "Jesus Christ". It is no longer a Subject but a Person. The great aspect of His ministry, the speciality of it is "Jesus Christ, and him crucified". The more you dwell upon this, the greater you find it. If you try and describe Jesus Christ you will find what an immense Subject is before your mind. When you think of the person of the Son of God, you are lost. But when you bring this Person down to a certain practical point, then that is a speciality. And that is what Paul does here.

In verses 5 to 10, he contrasts man's wisdom and God's wisdom, beginning with the former. And then comes the great point of his argument. But, before touching on this, just a word in explanation of the state of the Corinthians.

There are three steps in Christian infancy. The first is that everything that was against me is cleared away from the eye of God by the work of Christ; not a thing has God against me; He has placed me in His favour. That is the epistle to the Romans. The second is that the Holy Spirit has come down and united me to Christ in glory: This is the epistle to the Corinthians. The apostle, was not at Corinth between writing his two epistles to the assembly there. What he speaks of in the second epistle he had taught them when there. The third step is, that I go back to the cross of Christ to get rid of in myself, everything that hinders the life of Jesus in me. Many saints only get so far as the second step. They are like the children of Israel, who, when they came through the Red Sea; got a sense of perfect deliverance, but

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who, when they got to Marah, could not drink the bitter waters -- those waters which only the tree, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, could, sweeten. Do you bring the cross into your circumstances? If you do, your selfishness goes out, and they become sweet to you. It was in this that the Corinthians had failed, they had not "suffered in the flesh".

The first point of the apostle's argument is. The wisdom of God cannot be reached by the natural mind. "Eye has not seen". How then can you glory in the flesh? It cannot reach it. You will see a person in the first stage of infancy trying by his natural mind to grasp and be an expositor of the great things of God, and, as the result, failure comes in. They have not "entered into the heart of man ... but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit". (1 Corinthians 2:9 - 10) It is the most conclusive argument. Lf l cannot grasp the truth of God with the natural mind, then the natural mind is of no avail here.

The first point then is, that the natural mind cannot grasp God's wisdom; and the second (chapter 3), that if the material be not divine, the fire of God will consume it. Take care what you bring into the church. Let the builders see to it what they do. If anything of the flesh be brought into God's building, the day will destroy it. That carnal thing that is brought into the building, it will not stand the fire. I, as a, builder, may bring in that which is not sound; if so, it will come to nought. lf it be not divine work it will not stand the fire.

In chapter 4, the ministry itself is of God, and man only to be thought of as coming from God. If the ministry be of God, all those who are fruits of that ministry ought to be in keeping with it. But, says the apostle to the Corinthians, you are the very opposite of this; in plain language, you are not a bit like your father; not at all like us; you are full, you are rich; .God. has set forth us, the apostles, as it

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were appointed to death. "We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised". (1 Corinthians 4:10) "I beseech you, be ye followers of me". (1 Corinthians 4:16) That they had not been. They were not like the stewards of the mysteries of God. Contrast yourselves with those that brought you the truth. See what you have got to through allowing the flesh to work. What they had lost by not bringing in the cross upon the flesh, by not going on to the third stage of Christian infancy: not only being clear before God, not only united to Christ by the Holy Spirit, but arming themselves with the same mind (see 1 Peter 4).

In chapter 5, he turns to another side: how their moral sense of what is due to God's house is lost. To show them how this sense had declined, he is actually obliged to give them a list of the people from whom they must separate (5: 11). Their moral sense had become so blunt through not judging the flesh, that they were content to go in association with such. But if Christ has borne the judgment of the flesh, the flesh cannot be tolerated. The body really is to be the exponent here of the life of Christ; this body that used to be the exhibition of all the natural things of man's life, now becomes the exhibition, through divine grace, of the life and ways of the Lord Jesus Christ. He does not include in the list the worst characters; he does not say, you have no moral sense at all; for instance a murderer is not mentioned; the grosser crimes are not alluded to. It is just a list to quicken their moral sense, but not one that supposes them entirely deficient of any.

Next comes out that, because they are wrong in their relations with God, they are not able to get on among themselves. Chapter 6 opens: "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust and not before the saints?" (1 Corinthians 6:1) They cannot judge the things of God in His own house,

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and, when all was so defective there, it was no wonder that they went to the world to settle their own private difficulties.

This leads to a very important truth at the end of the chapter, which is little known. "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 6:15) The body is the member of Christ.

Now the body is looked at in three aspects in Scripture. First: "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die;" (Genesis 2:17). Death is its portion. Second; the Son of God comes in and redeems it. So that that which Satan used to use as his own, Christ says is now Mine. Therefore it is, "Glorify God in your body". (1 Corinthians 6:20) The word "spirit", should not be read there. That we are members of the body of Christ is corporate truth; but that our body is the member of Christ is individual. Take care then what you do with your body; do not take it to a flower show; do not put a beautiful dress on it. We, in our bodies, are all members, of Christ, but that does not make us members of one another. That which makes us members of one another is the baptism of the Holy Spirit; that makes us members of the body of Christ, which is another truth. Here it is my own individual responsibility to represent Christ. Thank God l am a member, of the body of Christ too, but this framework of a body is not a member of the body of Christ, though it is a member of Christ, and is to express his life here below, and I am to receive according to the deeds done in it.

In chapter 7 in comes failure in your own house. If you allow in this dreadful intruder, the flesh, it will come out everywhere.

In chapter 8, they have fallen into the greatest snare that is possible, social intercourse mixed with false worship. It is Balaam. And the only cure for Balaam is Jordan death. I say, I am a dead man; I cannot go to your feasts.

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And now (chapter 9), the apostle says, I go exactly in the very opposite way that you do. I might marry, but I do not; I might be paid for my services, but I am not; you indulge yourselves, but I do not. I waive my rights; those things that I might have I do not take. "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway". (1 Corinthians 9:27) A man might be greatly lifted and yet not be converted. They were boasting of their gifts, but, he says, Take care; you might have wonderful gifts, and yet be lost. He has shown them seven distinct ways in which they have given way to the flesh, and he says, I do not ask you to do what I do not do myself; I show you that I waive even my positive rights, not indulgences. I reduce myself. It is a path of self-reducement that I may win others.

Lastly, (chapter 10), he adds, do not trust to your privileges; the children of Israel came out of Egypt and passed through the Red Sea, but their carcasses fell in the wilderness.

And now he turns the Subject: "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say". (1 Corinthians 10:15) I have shown you how foolish you have been not to judge the flesh, and now I speak to you as wise men. And mark where the start is from. It is from the Lord's table, not baptism, as in Romans, but the Lord's table; a word not used anywhere else in Scripture.

I turn to chapter 11 first, for many more saints understand the eleventh chapter than the tenth. Verses 13 to 26, each individual at the Lord's supper ought to know. The Lord comes into the midst of His gathered people. Man slew Him and turned Him out of the world. Now He says, I come back into the midst of My people to listen to the memories of My people, to see how they remember Me. Many spoil the Lord's day morning meetings by dwelling on the remembrance of what He

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did; but it is himself, in what He did, that is before us. When the soul is awakened, first it looks at the death of Christ to get to Him. Now I have got to Him, I look back at His death as the way in which He suffered for me. If a soul is at a distance from Christ, he is always dwelling upon His death as the way to Him; but if he is close beside Him, he thinks of how Christ went through that death for him. Many true -hearted in themselves are occupied with thus remembering how Christ has cleared them before God, but such are deficient in the knowledge of grace. I am so at leisure from myself that I can be occupied not merely with what He has done, but with the One who has done it. So the twelve stones were placed on the other side of Jordan, not beside the Red Sea. l am on God's ground, on God's territory; there is not a single charge against me; and there I remember Him.

In chapter 10, it begins with the cup, not the bread first, as in chapter 11. It is the responsibility that is looked at here, and not so much the heart as in chapter 11, though the heart likes this too. In chapter 11 you are very happy; and nine out of ten who are very happy at the Lord's supper have no sense of the responsibility as we find it in chapter 10. But if you are identified with the death of Christ here, how can you go on indulging the flesh? The Lord says to us: I am entitled to everything on the earth, but I give it all up for you. Well then, the soul answers, I can give it all up for Thee, and I have not a regret as I see human hopes all end. I used to be burdened with my own death; He has relieved me by His cross from that burden, and now I go about this world bearing company with his death. It is in the communion of the blood and of the body of Christ. This comes in as a corrective to the liberty and self-indulgence in which the Corinthians were walking.

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In chapter 12 we have an entirely new subject: It is the Spirit now, no longer the flesh. It is all important to understand that all times it is with us either the flesh or the Spirit. We may try to make excuses for ourselves; but there are but the two and everything we do is either the one or the other. We start from the Lord's table on new ground; fellowship of the death of Christ; this is the responsibility of being at the Lord's supper.

The Corinthians were boastful of their gifts, and so they made way for the flesh. The flesh is in us; we are relieved from it by the death of Christ, but still it surrounds us; and notwithstanding this I am called to live out the life here in the Spirit. There is no excuse for walking in the flesh at all, because there is a greater thing in me than the flesh. We start here with this truth; but in reality we do not get practical life at all in this epistle, or very little, for they are not up to it. When showing how they had been damaged by the flesh he just refers to their house, but that is all.

He starts then with, "There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations but the same Lord". (1 Corinthians 12:4 - 5). Now there are diversities of gifts all over christendom; gifts are to be found in every system where Christians are. Where then is the failure? It is in the administration. It is not enough to have gift; two other truths must be taken in connection with it. "The same Spirit", gives the gifts but it is "the same Lord" who administers them. "The lord" is for the individual. For instance, I might have been preaching in some other place this evening; I might know whether the Lord would have me here, and I must know whether the Lord would have me preach at all.

But in Christendom everything is upside down. I see a young man beginning to do some little service for the Lord; his delight is in visiting a poor sick

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old woman, reading to her, and leading her soul on in the things of God. Presently I hear that he has been sent out to China as a missionary. His gift is all right but the administration is wrong. Then I hear of another young man whose delight has been talking to navvies in a lane, seeking to bring sinners to Christ; and presently I hear that he has been sent as minister over a congregation in London. Just as if in a house where there are many different candles, I were to take a dip into the drawing room, and a wax candle into the stable. It is all wrong administration. You may have a gift, but the question is, are you using it in the right place?

Thus individually with the saints Christ is Lord when I speak of Him corporately, in connection with the church. He is Head.

Everything, even in my private life, should be determined by my relation to the church. If you are wrong in your relation to the assembly, you will be wrong in your own house. And if wrong at home you must be wrong in the assembly. The assembly is the first circle of interest. In every epistle it is so. Ephesians begins with keeping the unity of the Spirit, and ends with the servants in the home. Romans in like manner. We begin with "one body in Christ", and end with living "peaceably with all men".

These, gifts are "given to every man to profit withal;" (1 Corinthians 12:7) not for his own profit but for another person's. You have not only drunk into this Spirit for yourself, but for others; for the one body. See then, how you stand in relation to it.

When you come into the assembly your gift is a member of it, because you drop into the corporate thing; you leave your individuality and become a member; it may be a mouth or an eye. If a man be a teacher he is a gifted member. He may, at any time, ask his fellow members to come together to

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hear what he has to say, but this is not in the assembly. The moment he comes into the assembly he is simply a member of the body, though a very useful one.

Suppose a man says, 'I have been reading and enjoying during the week a portion in 2 Chronicles; I will read it now'. He is acting as an individual if at the time he is not consulting for the good of the assembly. Suppose he comes with a hymn marked in his hymn book ready to give but, he comes into the assembly as an individual, and not as a member. He says perhaps, 'I have it on my heart', but that is no reason for giving out a hymn. I hope sisters have hymns on their hearts as much as brothers. It was this thought that gave rise to Quakerism. Suppose he says, 'I thought there was a pause'. A pause! Is that the way to minister in the assembly of God? It is little understood how responsible a thing it is to give out a hymn. To avail yourself of a silence without faith is the most terrible thing, for it is intruding in the most holy place.

A stranger in the power of the Spirit will walk into an assembly and bring out the very truth that is needed in the place. He will not need to be told of the state of things there; indeed he will prefer not to hear it, for he will be guided. In all my service for Him I may walk in the confidence that the Lord would have me do it. You ask me why I give out such a hymn. I answer. Because the Lord would have me. And in all this I have a certain proof from Scripture whether it is so or not, and that proof is whether it edifies the body.

If you see a person very anxious to minister in the assembly you may be sure that person does not know the responsibility of it. Those who really do know what a grave thing it is will more likely err on the side of timidity, though timidity may be as much nature as forwardness. By keeping back I may give

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an opportunity to some person who is not in the Spirit to make an intrusion.

In one way there is nothing happier than being in a meeting where one is not called upon to take any part, for the sense of responsibility in a certain way checks one's happiness. Of course, one is happy after it, but, I mean at the time. But I would add that when taking no part it is not that one has no responsibility, but rather that the responsibility is in another direction for hearing is as much responsibility as seeing; it is simply the difference between being an ear and a mouth for the body. So that sisters do not escape the responsibility.

Health in the body is when it is "fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth". (Ephesians 4:16) To have health, both food and exercise are needed. lf you say you do not need gifts, then you do not need food; and, if so, there cannot be health.

But while, as we have seen, when a soul is wrong in the assembly he will be wrong at home, it is equally true that if his own house be in a disorganised state he must bring wrong elements into the church. If he can but get right with God in the assembly he will go back to his house and say, I can no longer allow things to be as they are; I have judged them in God's presence. There never was a man who was unfaithful to God that he was faithful to anyone. You may hear it said, 'What a nice man so-and-so is', but I tell you if he has been unfaithful to God you need not expect that he will be faithful to you. If he does not love the greater, how can he love the lesser? The relations of a man with God in the assembly affect all his other relations.

There are then the two sides to the ministry in the assembly: there is the responsibility of caring for the Lord in His body, and there is the danger of intruding in His holy things.

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In chapter 13, he goes on to say that while it is very good to have gifts, one who has them cannot in consequence take a prominent position, cannot take leadership; he must be the servant of the assembly, and nothing more. My eye is the servant of my body; it does not assume to lead my body. The more excellent way for this is charity. If we were divested of our own selfishness we should become useful to the assembly of God. Two or three things may perhaps occur to me to say in the church l wait then on the Lord; I turn to Him to get His support, and then I do not trouble myself about how I shall get it out, how I shall express it. It is not a question of long prayers or long sermons. People often, think that by making long prayers they shall make a great impression. But, says the apostle, it is not the possession of gifts, but it is the getting rid of yourself that is charity. You are then like a well-trained horse ready to go in any direction it is required; you have got rid of the selfishness, which prevents your being useful to others and in the grace of Christ you become a great benefactor. The most charitable man in the world is the man who is self-divested. Charity is generally supposed to consist in doing for another that which he wishes, but charity in God's thought is removing from another that which hinders his communion. If I remove a little worldliness from you, that is charity; also if I remove anything from myself that hinders my being useful to you, and I cultivate all that will, that is charity.

I have not much to say on chapter 14, which is the working of the gifts in the assembly. One interesting thing we may notice in verses 23 - 25. The Holy Spirit is actually dwelling in the house of God on earth; but it is not the simple fact of His dwelling there that affects people; it is His activity in the house.

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A teacher is one who expounds the word. A prophet is one who, brings out the character of the word so as to expose one to oneself. It is the opening out of the word so lucidly and so effectively that the heart is searched by it. It is not great eloquence; there my be nothing very striking or stirring in what is said, but people are nevertheless subdued into quietness and attention, listening, and the conscience is reached. Let everything be done to edifying is the great point of chapter 14.

In chapter 15 a very important thing comes out. The apostle goes into the exposure and correction of the heresy that was held in Corinth. This heresy is very current in christendom without being openly avowed. All self-indulgent people hold it without avowing it. They may profess to believe in resurrection; but that this very same body in which they now indulge self shall one day stand before the judgment-seat of Christ to receive all that has been done in it, that they do not believe. In this very body, though not in its present state, we shall receive from Him the reward of all that has been good, whilst all the bad will be burnt up. But man's thought is, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die". (1 Corinthians 15:32) "The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play". (Exodus 32:6) Paul does not say a. word about the idol that was in their midst; he just says it was something that was not God.

As to the beginning of the chapter, we read: "I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures". Many evangelists stop here, but this is not all: "And that he was buried", to show that He was actually dead; "And that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures". (1 Corinthians 15:3 - 4) It is not only that He died, but that He was buried, and that He rose again according to the Scriptures. Now "If Christ be not raised ... ye are yet in your

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sins", "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept". (1 Corinthians 15:17)

And then comes the question. "What body?". I only touch it for a moment. "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him". You lay the seed in the ground and the grain comes up as we see it. So, though you are raised in a different way, it is still the same thing that comes up. So he goes on, "To every seed his own body". "For one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead". (1 Corinthians 15:36 - 38) Not that there are different states of glory, but that there are different conditions in which you may be in that glory. Not that there are varieties of glory, not different degrees of it, as people say, but that there are distinctions in it. There are natural bodies and there will be heavenly ones. It is the same body, the same person come up again in a new condition. I cannot explain it to you, but I see in the Lord Himself in resurrection a body that can walk in through closed doors, that can pass anyway, and yet there are the marks in His hands and His side. And we shall be like Him. "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed". (1 Corinthians 15:52) If Christ were to come into this room at this moment we should all have spiritual bodies:-. "When he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is". (1 John 3:2)

In chapter 16 we get a little, but very little, practice; and that connected with the church. He lays down a general rule as to collecting for the saints. If this laying by as God prospered had been carried out it would have prevented any accumulation of

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wealth. It is sometimes asked where there is scripture for handing round a box. I say here it is. I have here a general principle. It is always those at a distance from God who want direct precepts for everything. There may at times be reasons why people are unable to give, but I have no doubt it is the mind of the Lord that there should be a weekly gathering. This was for saints at a distance, but if for those at a distance how much more for those who are near? If I do not care for those who are near to me, I certainly shall not for those at a distance.

He lastly presses on them to respect the ministry of God and also lets us into a very interesting thing connected with his own private history: that, while he would not be a recipient from the Corinthians as an assembly as a whole, he was glad of the coming of Stephanas, who was a Corinthian, and who ministered to him. An individual going on faithfully with God is not shut out from happy individual service because of the state of the assembly in which he is.

The Lord lead us to see what a blessed place it is to be in the assembly, to belong to His body here on earth.

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ENLARGEMENT BY REDUCTION (2)

2 Corinthians 2

A very different tone comes out in the second epistle. The apostle now comes in to comfort them, for they are cast down. It is "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, but the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God". (2 Corinthians 1:3 - 4) The grace of God comes out. Everything has been going wrong, but now I find that the more diminished I am in myself the more I receive from God. What a premium there is on smallness! Paul had got comforted in persecutions and deaths, as comes out in chapter 11. God had comforted him in the midst of suffering for His name and now he was able to comfort the Corinthians when they were cast down because of their failure.

He had been so grieved (chapter 2) at having had to grieve them; but now he rejoices that he can comfort them because they are cast down and made small. True, I do not deserve to be comforted, since it is my failure that has brought me into this state; but the secret of it is, that, no matter how you have been made small, or self-diminished, you will then be comforted by God.

It was the same with Job. He says, "I abhor myself", I am self-diminished; then God comes in and shows that it is then only that he was in a fit state to receive His favour. Practically it is when one is reduced, put out, nothing, that Christ is everything. Many a one talks of Christ being everything to him who has never yet found himself nothing. I have to take the place of the Syrophenician woman and say,

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I am not entitled to anything; l am a dog; but yet His grace will reach me.

The first epistle was man's perverseness: this is man's weakness. The great point is that you are brought to the lowest point: "We had the sentence of death in ourselves". (2 Corinthians 1:9) The apostle himself had been reduced to it by his faithfulness to Christ. He shows too how small he himself was, for he left even an open door, turned his back on everything, because of his feelings about the Corinthians. He owns how small he was. He says, "I had no rest in my Spirit, because I found not Titus". (2 Corinthians 2:13) But God made His servant's weakness the opportunity to show out His own greatness. He says, notwithstanding God always leads me in triumph. It is not that there is any excuse for weakness, but that the great trait of the epistle is that, when you are self-reduced, God comes in. The purpose of his heart is right, still he is a poor feeble man; but he admits his feebleness, and then God comes in to succour him.

In chapter 3 a very important thing comes out. He draws a contrast -- an important one -- between the way in which the law had been given and the way in which Christ was given. The law had been written on tables of stone by the finger of God. Now Christ is written on the fleshy tables of my heart by the Spirit of the living God. He puts the two in contrast, and if you do not take in the extent of the contrast you will not take in the purport of it.

Man in flesh could not come before God. The law was written on the tables of stone in glory and taken down to man; and now Christ is written on my heart in glory. It is quite true you have a Saviour in heaven, but that is not all; you must have that Saviour written on your heart. Christ must now be written by the Spirit on the fleshy tables of the heart. Verses 7 to 16 are a parenthesis explaining the nature of the contrast. The law came from the glory

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of God. There was no place for man at all there, and God coming out to man simply from the glory could but have cut him off. The people were afraid to look even on Moses with the reflection of that glory on him. But now, instead of the law coming out from the glory, it is a Saviour that is in the glory, and, instead of being the ministration of death, it is the ministration of the Spirit.

This writing is not what it will be to Israel in the millennial day; it is not a law written in our heart, but Christ written on it. And to this end He has an unveiled face; there is no veil on His face as there was on that of Moses. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory". (2 Corinthians 3:18) The word "glass" is rather confused. It is a mirror. I bring a mirror up to an object, and immediately that object is reflected on it. There is no place given to man; Christ only must appear; It is an immense thought and we do well to weigh it. You may say, I know perfectly well that I have a Saviour up there; but it is not that only; it is that that Saviour is written on your heart here. You have got the treasure, as he says lower down; but it is not simply that you have a treasure in heaven, but that you have a treasure in you. Thus does he present Christ to them.

He then passes on, chapter 4, to "the glad tidings of the glory of the Christ", not "the glorious gospel". (2 Corinthians 4:4) The knowledge of God has come out from the glory, and this knowledge should shine unto them. This great thing I have received, this wonderful fact, that I have a Saviour up there at the right hand of God, and He is written on my heart down here. It is not a question of my being safe merely, but that I am the epistle of Christ.

Souls often lose comfort because not clear as to this: When man was driven out of the garden there

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was a cherubim and a flaming sword placed there to keep the way of the tree of life. The glory kept man out. After this God came down to take His place among His people on earth, and He came down in glory to the tabernacle and the temple. In process of time man became so wicked that God retired from the earth; but when He so retired, as we find in Ezekiel 1, in the brightest spot of the retiring glory was the figure of a man: an earnest that judgment will yet be removed, and man will be in the glory.

All this did not come out at once. Stephen catches the first glimpse of it; he looks up and says, I see a Man in the glory. Stephen, as a saint on earth, thus sees Him and goes to Him. And many a soul sees Christ thus inside now and can say, I have a Saviour in glory and the judgment is over. But with Saul of Tarsus it was the opposite way. It is not a saint on earth going to a Saviour in glory, but it is a Saviour in glory appearing to a sinner on earth. So he calls it "the glad tidings of the glory of the Christ". (2 Corinthians 4:4) I have a Saviour in glory and that Saviour is written on my heart here. I do not now belong to the ruined thing here; I have a treasure in my heart as I go through this world.

And now the apostle sets forth his own practical life. He had reminded them of the truth ministered and now he turns to the practice flowing from it. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us". (2 Corinthians 4:7) "We are troubled" that is outside; "we are perplexed" -- that is inside; "persecuted" -- that is outside; "cast down" that is inside. He gives us two things that affect us outwardly and two that affect us inwardly, but, he says, I bear up against them all. It is "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body". (2 Corinthians 4:10) He says, I bring in death

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on myself here; whatever the cross of Christ has set aside, that I do not allow. It is not only that I know I have Christ, not only that He is written on the fleshy tables of my heart, but that I want that which is written to be expressed. The treasure is in an earthen vessel. It is like a light enclosed in an opaque substance: the more I attenuate the substance the more the light shines out through it. How then is this to be accomplished? Well, it is my purpose that it should be, and I look to the Lord not to allow a single thing in me that will hinder my showing out the life of Christ. God then comes in to help me. While glory lightens up my soul with all the certainty that I belong to another Person and another sphere, certain though I am of all that, yet I have down here in me and around me that which hinders me, so God comes into help: "We which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh". (2 Corinthians 4:11) He changes the word: it is not our "body" now, but our "mortal flesh". God brings in, in various ways, for any one who has a purpose to go on with Him, that which will break down the flesh. It may be sorrow, it may be bodily sickness, but, whatever it is, it will be something that will diminish the flesh because God cannot work until you are made small. If I could diminish myself to a fraction so that God might work I should be only too glad to do it. The hindrance with souls is that there is not enough of self-diminishing.

So it happens that one often sees a saint going on with apparently no trial, but the moment he sets himself to be for God, God brings in wave after wave upon him. Jacob in Syria never had a single death trial that we hear of. I do not mean that he had no kind of trial -- his wages were changed ten times -- but he had no bereavement; it was only circumstances. But look when he gets into the land

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how Rachel dies, and Joseph is taken from him, and he has to give up Benjamin.

I cannot explain it for another, but I know for myself how the Lord keeps me not depressed but small. I say I will set myself to reduce myself of everything that hinders Christ coming out in me; and then God says, I will reduce you that it may be so; and He rolls in death upon me. Someone says, I will give up this or that worldly thing. Very likely he will lose it the next day. He may think to himself, I meant to have given it up myself; God took him at his word and took it away from him.

But glory does not kill the flesh; death is the only thing that will silence it. Many think what wonderful sights of the glory they have had, but that will never put out the flesh. It must be the cross. If I am dying I am getting all the brighter for it outside. "Death worketh in us, but life in you". (2 Corinthians 4:12) I am getting smaller one way, but bigger the other. It is what man naturally is reluctant to go through. But "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal". (2 Corinthians 4:17 - 18)

He continues the subject in chapter 5. Here we see the importance of not letting the flesh work, but of having the grace of Christ brought out in us. "By and by we shall all appear before the judgment - seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad". (2 Corinthians 5:10) Suppose grace be brought out in me today. It may be suffering work now, but every bit that comes out in me practically here will be brought before the judgment-seat of Christ to qualify me for my position with Him in the kingdom.

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As to ourselves he brings us down to the very lowest point. "If one died for all, then were all dead". (2 Corinthians 5:14) It is man's thorough weakness: "all dead". And Christ died for all in that low position "that they who live should live no longer to themselves, but to Him who died for them and has been raised". (2 Corinthians 5:15) So we now "know ... no man after the flesh". (2 Corinthians 5:16) He who was the perfect Man in the flesh has died out of it, so that we can no longer look at anything on that side. All is to us "a new creation". It is not "a new creature". A butterfly is a new creature; it is not a new creation. But the new nature is not an old thing changed or renovated; it is a new creation of God. "All things are become new: and all things are of ... God". (2 Corinthians 5:17 - 18)

In the following chapter the apostle dwells, upon himself as the minister of God. What really makes the minister a very great man is his smallness; so he begins with "much patience", and ends with ".having nothing". It is all characteristic. When once you get hold of the idea -- the grand vein of the epistle -- the thread running through it all is smallness. If it even comes to the ministry the whole point is smallness. God Himself rolls in death upon the servant in some form or other.

Then he turns round to the Corinthians and says to them, "Be ye also enlarged". And how? By being small; come out and be separate, and nothing will make you so small. "Come out ... and be ye separate .. and I will ... be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty". (2 Corinthians 6:17 - 18) You shall have your Father to look after you. This is not adoption; when Scripture speaks of adoption it does not say "sons and. daughters". It is the sense of your Father taking care of you. A saint is much tried in his circumstances. It is that he is keeping on with the world. l say; Come out of the world and you will find ease, and have God for your Father.

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Chapter 7, tells out their repentance; how small they had been in their "earnest desire", and "mourning", and "fervent mind;" they had been "made sorry after a godly manner". He too had been small, for he had repented, having made them sorry with his letter; he had feared the effect upon them; had feared losing their affection through it, but now he does not repent: he rejoices at the result of it in their having so thoroughly cleared themselves in the matter.

And now, being in a certain sense set right, he would have them take up service for others: chapter 8, and the argument he uses in it is a very interesting one. Persons generally turn to those who are wealthy to help others. What the apostle insists on is that the act of the poor is the great thing. It is often said, 'But I am so poor, so small'. Then what you give will be the real thing. The poor widow who cast in her two mites to the treasury "cast in more than they all". If I am so poor that I have but a few coppers, that is the very thing for God. The Lord Himself "became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich". (2 Corinthians 8:9) It runs counter to all the thoughts of man. It is not a man giving what he can spare, but it is giving when he can say. This is self-reducement. Not that I am to deprive myself of food and warmth, but that my action should be self-diminishing. Whether it be service, or whatever it be, it is the same; again it is being small; it is always the line of self-reduction.

We now pass on to chapter 12. After showing them how they had been deceived by false teachers whilst he himself had as great title to be great as any of them, he says, I will tell you now something that is worth boasting of. "I knew a man in Christ". That is Romans. And what about that man? "He was caught up into paradise, and, heard unspeakable things which it is not allowed to man to utter". (2 Corinthians 12:2)

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I know not whether it was in the body or out of the body. I can only say that I was intelligently there, that I enjoyed myself there, but that there was no account taken of my body.

Mark what comes out now: the apostle goes into heaven; then he comes down again to earth, and what does he find? That he is worse off than he was before he went up, that he is a smaller man than he was, that he is diminished more than he was; and that even in a point in which he could not go on as he did before in the Lord's service. Suppose, for instance, that he could not speak with the ability and eloquence that he did before; suppose that he could not tell out the things that he had heard as he would otherwise have done. Satan was no doubt glad enough of the liberty to go and cripple him; he would think, there will be no withstanding the man now after all that he has seen if he is let go on and tell it. So it was as he was advanced in the heavenly thing he was made small down here; he was a bigger man before he went up than now. Your mere human powers will not advance because your spiritual powers are greater. It will not be the power of the instrument, it will not be the perfection of your style, it will not be the grandeur of your eloquence, nor the power of your oratory; it will be the power of God.

Paul felt it terribly. He prayed to the Lord thrice to take the trial away. But He says to him, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness".

It is the theme of the epistle. If you want to be made strong, be weak. I am able to do nothing as a man. The most impressive language will never bring truth home to a soul. No, says the Lord, it must all by My power. I may seek to make a subject interesting, to make it plain, but the power must be divine.

I need not allude to the end, except to add that

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the apostle fears that, because they persist in going on in the flesh, he himself may yet be made small in another way through their not being humbled.

But the great theme is, and one that is an immense help to us in our circumstances going through this world, that, if you want power, if you want help, if you want to be used by God as you go through this scene, be small .

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THE NEW JERUSALEM

Revelation 21:9 - 27; Revelation 22:1 - 17

The new Jerusalem and Babylon are, to use common language, rivals to one another. In the one there is nothing of man, it is all Christ; in the other there is nothing of Christ, it is all man. The one is the expression and the exhibition (and that is the wonderful thing), of the beauty seen in the Man Christ Jesus; it is His fulness. The fulness is a word not easily explained in our language, but it is not what some people call it -- the complement. Complement very often in men's minds means only supplement. The real meaning of the word fulness is just what you would call a full blown rose with every petal seen. The church -- the rose -- is here; the Lord is there. He has left the earth, driven away, so to speak, and now all comes out through His body. Christ is the fulness of God, and the church is the fulness or plenitude of Christ. Nothing, therefore, can be clearer that the fact that the church, notwithstanding that it has failed, and it has failed grievously, will come out in the future as a magnificent exhibition of the beauty that is in Christ as a Man. All will contribute to it then; now we only contribute to it as we are suitable to Christ; but then only Christ will be there.

The great instruction for us is that nothing that is not Christ will be there. This comes home very practically to us for we may decide as to everything by the question: Is it Babylon, or is it the new Jerusalem? Which is it for? Is it for man's interests or Christ's? Babylon is the aggregation or collection, the bringing together of everything that suits man, while the new Jerusalem is the exhibition of the divine beauty that was seen in Christ on earth.

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But why do we get this picture of it here? Why, that being made acquainted with what we are to be in the future, we may learn what will suit Christ now. and that is an immense point. I know what will suit Him. You say, I have heart for Him. I hope every Christian has a heart for Him; but you may love a person and not know what will suit that person. There is such a thing as awkward love. But here I learn what will suit Him, and hence I know what does not suit Him. I know what I have to set aside and what to cultivate, and that is the great point.

Here we get a picture of the bride before the nuptial day. If I may use a familiar illustration, the wedding clothes are brought home before the marriage to be tried on, and thus we can see what suits Christ morally now. We have the same thing alluded to in a passage similar to this: "As a bride adorned for her husband". (Revelation 21:2) So that I can tell a person a great many things that will suit Christ from this scripture.

So far as I can count them, there are seven distinct things that show us what will suit Christ. It is not merely something to be put on for the time, but what will suit her for ever as the bride, the Lamb's wife, made meet for Himself.

One word before I pass on to confirm what I have said, for it is important that there is nothing in the holy Jerusalem that is not Christ, and that any one thing of self, no matter what it be, will have no place there.

There was not a thing He did that was not beautiful to God. If He ate and drank it was beautiful to God. Whether He looked at Him in private or in public life it was all beautiful. There were thirty years we know little about, but the testimony of God at its close when He came up out of the Jordan after His baptism was, "This is my beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased". (Matthew 3:17), and the testimony on His public life. Which culminated on the mount of

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transfiguration, was the same, "This is my beloved Son". (Matthew 17:5) Thus, whether in His private or His public life. He equally pleased God and it was from that point He became a Victim. He was the expression of righteousness till then, and then He went down to be the Sufferer for unrighteousness. That is the difference between the mount of transfiguration and the cross. You do not understand Him if you say, as is often said. He went from the cradle to the cross. We see a Man in the flesh entitled to go up into the glory: as Peter says, We were "eye witnesses of his majesty" (1 Peter 1:16) in the flesh. But He comes down to die, for "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit". (John 12:24) He goes down to be nothing at the cross, and there glorifies God under judgment as a Man. First the glory saluted Him and then the glory claimed Him, after He had borne the weight of our judgment. There the Son of man was glorified. He went down into death, but God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand, so that I have a Saviour in the glory. Not only One who was entitled to glory for Himself, but One who went down under the weight of my ruin and entitled me to glory also; and thus I get it, thus I shall have glory by and by; and this is the first characteristic of the bride: she has "the glory of God".

Now what comes out and is so interesting to mark in the book of Revelation is that it is at the close you get the bride, not at the beginning. We have there the church, and of course it is the same thing only in a different aspect. We get the church first, and that all a failure as a vessel of testimony on earth. We see Christ walking through the seven golden candlesticks with His eyes as a flame of fire, for He is indignant at the state of things, indignant that His love for His church is so unrequited.

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Nothing makes one so indignant as unrequited love. Well, that is the state of things at the opening of this book. And here I make a remark which, though an old one, it is important to keep in mind, namely that, as soon as the Revelation was given, the Lord could come. When the book of Revelation was given then was fulfilled what was said of John, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John 21:22) When the book was given, so to speak, Christ had come. Of course I do not mean that He literally came, but there was nothing to prevent Him, and there has nothing happened since that which must have taken place before He could come. Things have grown since then, but everything was there at that time that there is now. Just as I might say twenty trees were planted in a certain lawn 1800 years ago, and not one since. The trees may have grown since, but only the same twenty trees are there; there is no new tree in the lawn. Well, here at the opening of this book I find the church a failure as a testimony to man. It should have been the light of the world, the representative of Christ as the light to the world when Christ had gone away, like the moon shining in the light of the absent sun where the sun is not. That is what the church ought to be, but it has lost that character, lost its place as the vessel of testimony. True, it retains its responsibility still, but no one in his senses would say that it has maintained its responsibility, unless it be those connected with Romanism and such like.

All the light that is in the world is in the church. Still, when Christ restored to the church, as He did to Philadelphia, the truth of His relationship to the church. He did not send Christians to read all the books that had been written by theologians, nor to study the light in the church, but to go back and learn exactly as the disciples did at the first; they had to begin anew. After 1800 years of light they

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had to go back where they began. To speak plainly, when the light and truth that have come out within the last half century began to come out, the Lord acted exactly as He did with the two disciples at Emmaus, as if not a single book or tract had ever been written, nor a sermon ever preached for the last 1800 years. He says you must go back and begin as at the beginning, as He taught the disciples at Emmaus, when, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself". (Luke 24:27) That is the way He makes Philadelphia; He revived the truth of His relationship to the church. That is the 24th of Luke, or man's side, our side of the 20th of John.

Now what I say is that the church has failed in being the expression to the earth of Christ.

When John sees the Lord at the opening of the book of Revelation, he sees Him indignant at what He beholds, and I believe we ought to be more indignant ourselves. I believe that if a person mixed up with ecclesiastical corruption got near the Lord, instead of being happy in His presence, he would be frightened. And why? Because he would encounter His eyes like a flame of fire. His eyes to the church properly should be as, doves' eyes. Why is this? Because, He says, you are mixed up with the evil, the corruption, and I cannot suffer it. Do you think the Lord is not indignant at the state of corruption throughout Christendom? Do you think He tolerates it? He is indignant at it.

I never preach ecclesiastical corruption, I preach nearness to Christ; but I do think, indeed I am perfectly certain, that the soul who is in this corruption will, if he is near Christ, get frightened; not about his salvation, but distressed because Christ does not greet him cheerfully.

John knew Him best of all the disciples -- had lain on His bosom, knew what His heart was -- yet now

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He falls at His feet as dead. He says, I do not know Him with that countenance at all, and the Lord has to tell him I am the same Person I used to be. Well, I speak of the fact that there is a change, not in the Lord's heart, but in His manner. When in the 20th of John He comes to His disciples they are all glad to see Him, feeling His side and seeing His hands, and He breathing on them, and bringing them into all the blessedness of His own position as the One risen out of the ruin. There He stands among them all, calm, and making their souls to know that there was for them a region of light with not a single cloud to disturb the peace, and then sending them forth into the world with their mission in peace. But He is all changed now.

Let us trace a little how this change came in. I will first give you a sentence and then I will try to explain it to you. So long as the church maintained its character as the bride, it was true in its aspect to man; but as soon as the church gave up its bride aspect, that is, its heart for Christ, then it failed in its other aspect to man. Its aspect to the Lord is love, its aspect to man, light. It gave up love to Christ, and it lost its light to man. When it gave up the bride aspect it lost the place of the candlestick, and it not only lost the place of the candlestick, but the light. A person may say it is the candlestick still, but what is the good of a candlestick without the light. It lost the light at any rate.

Turn to the latter part of Matthew 24. Here we see the servant failed. "And if that evil servant shall say in his heart. My Lord delayeth his coming". (Matthew 24:48) Now it is a heart saying, my Lord delayeth His coming. That was not the bride looking out for the Lord. The true state and position of the church was that of a bride waiting for the bridegroom who had gone away.

Now let me make one remark I omitted just now.

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When all the animals were brought to Adam to see what he would call them, he gave them names, and search was made to find a helpmeet for him, but it says, "For Adam there was not found an help meet for him". (Genesis 2:20) That word "helpmeet" is very difficult to understand. The German translation, it is said, is the best rendering of the word, and the meaning is 'something over against you'. Then there was a rib taken from him, and with it God builded a woman and brought her to Adam. Hence the word "that he might present it to himself". What for? For Himself and entirely of Himself -- something over against Himself. "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish". (Ephesians 5:27)

Now, I say that the church has failed in the bride aspect, and why? Because the teacher has failed. It is always the case. We might be sure the church would fall after the fall of the teacher. As sure as the teacher goes down the congregation goes down too. Like priest like people. The servant was made responsible, and it was the servant who said in his heart, "My Lord delayeth his coming", (Matthew 24:48) and then he goes and mixes up with the world. The church, too, has gone down into the world, but the servant went first.

Now look at the first verse of the 25th chapter. "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened". It was not always likened. "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which ... went forth to meet the bridegroom". But "while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept". (Matthew 25:1) There is a sleeping saint now, and I will tell you what a sleeping saint is. He is one that has neither the sense nor the activity of life. He gives everyone the idea that he is not awake. It is not the question whether life is there, but there is no activity of life.

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And now what we come to is this: the Lord, at midnight, which I believe was about fifty years ago, says I will wake up the church in her aspect to Myself. He does not say He will wake her up and make her a luminary again to the earth. I do not think a thing that fails in the eyes of men in this earth is ever restored to the eyes of men. But why, because it has failed in its aspect to men and lost its character before men, should it lose its heart for Christ? Now what I see Christ does is this. He says, I will wake up the church in its relationship to Myself; and then comes the cry (and I ask you to mark the terms of that cry): "Behold, the bridegroom". Not "Behold, the bridegroom cometh". (Matthew 25:6) 'Cometh' is an interpolation. If I tell you the Lord is coming, I am putting all upon that coming, not upon Himself, 'The Lord is here', that is the cry. And it is a very solemn and yet happy thing, and I am sure I seek to get my own soul awake to the reality of that cry -- 'He is here'. Suppose some one came to the door and cried, 'He is here, go ye out to meet Him', see how we should all drop everything and go. It means an appointed place of rendezvous. We have no word in our language to express it properly.

Now, what is the way in which the Lord acts to His church? He acts upon the heart and the affections of those waiting for Him. He says as it were, I will awake them up, not in the way in which I awoke up Israel, by threatenings and by judgments; that is the way I took with Israel, but I have another way of acting upon the church. And, beloved friends, how blessed a way it is! Of course. He says, I know they have love for Me in their hearts, and I will arouse them by a cry, and they will hear. And I believe the truth about the cry is gone abroad. I ask my own soul, 'Have I heard the cry from Christ?' "Behold, the bridegroom" What a wonderful loosening effect it would have upon all of us to hear

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the words, "Behold, the bridegroom". "Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps". (Matthew 25:7) I believe it is bringing out saints to a church position -- to a certain testimony; that I do not deny at all, but it is the effect of having got heart for Christ, not that you are looking to make yourself any testimony to man. You know very well the effect of trying to make a testimony of this kind. Man is always a failure. But I am not looking for this, and I do not expect it to be restored. We have lost our character. In plain words, I do not know anything a greater scandal upon the face of the earth than the church of God. I do not care what part you take in it, but we belong to the family, and we cannot shut ourselves out. I belong to the Romanists; I cannot deny it; I have got relations among them. You say, But I am not one myself. Ah! but you have got relations there nevertheless, and you cannot deny them. How can you say I have nothing to do with them? That is independency. Independency was thinking it could place itself outside the house of God. All my relations are there. Some of them may be obnoxious, but be it so that they are obnoxious, still I cannot get myself out of it. Like a member of a disgraceful family, I am not to do what disgraces them. If I belonged to a family of thieves, I am not to be a thief myself; still I should belong to the family of thieves. Just as a Jew might say. We rejected Christ. We have His blood upon us as a family, but I will not do it myself. It is to our interest to understand this, because of what Christ awakens the church up to. He awakens up the church to Himself, and the proof is you go out to meet Him. You leave things behind, and this brings out practically that He has become the object of your heart.

Now I must give you an example of one thus waiting for Christ. A person may say, I really should

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like to hear of a person thus waiting for Christ. Well, you always get cases in Scripture.

I turn to John 20, which brings out a great point and a very interesting thing: that what we have in infancy at the beginning comes out at the end. Well, what we have here is this, that what marked the dawn will mark the close. There was a bride at the early dawn and there will be a bride at the close. I look for a bride, beloved friends. I say it is the church I am speaking of, not a select company. I do not think Christ will have an elect company only when He comes, but all the saints on earth to greet Him. I do not predict His coming tonight, but I look for Him in my lifetime. I am looking for Him to come as one of those ready to serve, as one of "a people prepared for the Lord". (Luke 1:17)

But what I get in Mary Magdalene is this: the Lord transferring her from the sense of the earthly to that of the heavenly bride. The earthly bride is one who has no enjoyment when she loses the Lord personally. There is no sense of union in the earthly bride. When she loses sight of the Bridegroom she is unhappy. So with Mary Magdalene. But the great point I am pressing is this, which to me is the grand characteristic feature of the closing hour, and which I would urge with all the stress and energy I can command, that what marks the closing hour is heart, not intelligence. The ruin of the church is intelligence without heart. Laodicea is intelligence without heart. Let me tell you, beloved friends, that when the truth was first revived it was heart, and very little intelligence. I do not object to people's setting themselves to get knowledge about the One their heart is set on, but heart is what Christ is looking for now, and the first gross characteristic feature in the failure of the church was giving up heart for Christ.

See the case of the church at Ephesus. The Church

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that has had the greatest favour bestowed upon her is the one to whom He has to say, "Thou hast left thy first love". (Revelation 2:4) I look at a saint sometimes, and I see there is great intelligence; he is very anxious to get some particular arrangement of truth, dispensational or otherwise -- all right in itself; but a greater thing than this is heart. Heart gets intelligence; intelligence never gets heart. If you have got heart you are sure to get intelligence, for the Lord loves to communicate to a person who has got heart.

Now the thing of unspeakable value to the Lord in the case of Mary is her affection for Himself. She has lost Him, and she says. The whole world is intolerable to me without Him. The apostles come to the grave, and John gets intelligence about Him, and then they go home. Mary says, I could not go home. I say I would rather be Mary Magdalene than John; and we find the Lord communicates to Mary Magdalene, and does not to John. Thus the Lord comes to her and transfers her from the sense of the earthly bride to the light of the heavenly one, and gives her the intelligence which sets her in the right way: that is the intelligence for the heart.

This is what I find is working out in the present day: too little heart and a great deal of intelligence, but the intelligence is doing the mischief, because absorbed with the intelligence and not heart. If intelligence does not form Christ in us, beware of it. Beware of a bit of intelligence that does not form Christ in you: it ministers to man, and helps on Babylon. What, you say, helping on Babylon with Christian knowledge! I say it could never be Babylon without Christian knowledge. If the truth does not produce Christ, it subsidises man; and if you help on man, you are diverting from the building Christ is set upon. Christ's building is the church, the new Jerusalem, which He is building out of Himself.

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Now the Lord comes and tells Mary, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God". (John 20:17) He actually communicates truth to her which is the kernel of the epistle to the Ephesians. At any rate. He communicates truth which suits her, transferring her from the feeling of the earthly bride to that of the heavenly one, and giving her intelligence suited to the heavenly one. She can say, I know where He is, and that is all I want to know. I know where I have to do with Him, and my heart is satisfied. What satisfies the heart of the bride is this: I know where my Lord is. First she says, I do not know where He is. "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". (John 20:13) She gets truth concerning the place and the relationship of the church: She is the one to whom is communicated these two great truths, and she is sent as the messenger to convey these truths to His brethren. Now she goes off happily; not a bit of distress now.

The church failed in its aspect to Christ, and then lost its aspect to man; and now Christ wakens it up to be in its true aspect to Himself; and, as I am true to Him, I really am in my proper aspect to man.

I leave the things unsuitable to Christ, and go out to meet Him, and I know what will suit Him. That is what I find if I turn to Revelation 21. There I am looking on what really suits Christ. A person may say. You are not suited to Him. Perhaps not; but I do not admit that I do not know what will suit Him, and I am thinking of what will suit Him, not of reforming the church. I am thinking of the bride. People may challenge me and say, "Where is the church? Surely you do not call that little meeting of yours the church". I say I do not, but what I am looking at is the principle; I mean that the

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hearts of the saints should be in longing, earnest, looking-out for the return of the Bridegroom, and that they should be in a suitable state to receive Him when He comes.

I say, if you get into suitable circumstances for Him to come, you will find you are far more in church order than if you made order your object. You could not be in church disorder. It is not that I am looking for church order, but I am looking to be brought out of everything unsuitable to Christ. I want to be according to Christ -- according to His word.

There are two things which should characterise the Christian: the first is, I must have my heart alive to Him, to His return; and the second is, I am to be representing Him here till He comes back. As the Lord says of His disciples, "I am glorified in them". (John 17:10) I study to be unlike the world that will not have Him, and to be like the rejected One.

The greatest glory the bride ever had, or will have, is to be like Him. It is the Bridegroom who forms the bride.

What the apostle gets here is a picture of the new Jerusalem. "I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife". (Revelation 21:9)

Now the first character of the bride is its appearance, and this gives it its whole character: it has "the glory of God". "And her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal". (Revelation 21:11)

What a wonderful thing it is! I cannot dwell upon it, but it is extremely interesting. There is not one single thing that has failed in the hands of men that will not be resuscitated and brought into divine beauty by the Lord Jesus Christ. We have failed as the candlestick, but we shall come back again in all the brilliancy of Christ to the earth. It will need no candle, nor light of the sun or moon to lighten it.

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We shall come back in all the magnificence and brilliancy of divine beauty to the very place where we have been such a complete failure.

And so with the Jew. He will be set again upon the earth in all the perfection, of the law -- the Lord maintaining it all. No matter what has failed in the hands of men. He will restore it all. So there will be an earthly bride and an earthly paradise, as well as a heavenly bride and a heavenly paradise.

I do not believe any soul can have a sense of union with Christ except where He is. I do not want to distress, any soul, but you must know Him where He is. I have union with Christ where He is, in glory. You cannot be perfectly clear of all your state here if you, have not got into that region of calm. You have to do with an ascended Christ. How talk of perfect peace if I have not to do with an ascended Christ? Practically we have to learn what the frigate bird does. When a storm comes on it gets above the region of storms, above the clouds, where there is none, and there it stays even for days until the storm is over. I am placed beyond the reach of storms; I am a frigate bird, in that sense, through grace, for I am with Christ in a scene where there is no storm and no clouds. I am united to an ascended Christ. The Lord says, "The glory which thou hast given me I have given them". (John 17:22) A person might say, I cannot get this now. I answer, I belong to the glory now; I possess Him now in glory, and I am changed into the same image by the Spirit. I belong to the glory. That is the Solomon aspect. Every believer knows Him in the Jonah aspect; but He is just as much his in the Solomon as the Jonah aspect. If you do not know Him in the Jonah aspect you are not clear of your sins. But He is the King of Glory, and I have come to Him in a scene of unclouded light, which is the expression to my soul of the perfect satisfaction that God has in the One who

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died for my sins, and I have perfect deliverance and perfect rest in Him.

This is the first characteristic of the bride; but properly it is not a characteristic, but the expression of the whole thing.

The second are the walls. These are not for protection merely, but for exclusion. Everything is excluded that defiles. Nothing can come in but what properly suits Christ. Anything that does not suit Him must be excluded. That is a main point with me. The walls therefore art high as heaven. The walls are undoubtedly a figure, but nothing can be clearer than that they were to shut out everything not suited to Christ. It is not looking to be a church, nor to get into church order; not looking to be, as set forth in 1 Corinthians 12, a manifestation of divine power to tell upon the whole town. But I am to separate from everything and everybody that does not suit Christ. Why so? Because I know it is the one grand principle with Him, displayed in these walls as high as heaven: it is exclusiveness.

The next characteristic we get is receptiveness: the gates. Here I have to let in everything that is suitable to Christ. Therefore the names of the twelve tribes are here. So the foundations have the names of the twelve apostles. There was no person connected with the city prior to the apostles. People who talk of Old Testament saints being in the city make a mistake. Every builder knows the foundation is put in the first thing. And so with Christ and His building; for it is Christ's own building. He brings in this entirely to eclipse what man has built, and therefore it is "a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God". (Hebrews 11:10)

The foundations, then, are the first laid, and the names of the twelve apostles are in them. The twelve tribes are connected with the gates showing, figuratively, that all the people of God would come in,

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all belonging to God would find a place there. But then they are not the city. The church is the city; the Lamb's wife is the city. There will be many persons enjoying the city but not of the city. The walls and the houses of this place are the city, not the people who inhabit it. His church is the city, and the nations walk. in the light of it. It is only confounding the figure to make other saints a part of the city.

Let me lay aside the figure for a moment. Let me try to understand what a wonderful thing the church will be coming down as a body of light -- coming back to earth as a beautiful expression of what Christ is. Everything and every person to be kept out that is not of Christ, and every thing that is of Christ to come in. It gives much for contemplation, but who can understand it without the figure? This figure is used that the saints on earth might have the benefit of knowing what the glorified church is like, and it is for this purpose.

Everyone knows a candlestick is a figure, but how expressive. God is obliged to use figures from the greatness of the subject, and the incompetency of language to express it. Often great minds use a great deal of figure, because they have not sufficient command of language to express their ideas. God does, because of the greatness of the subjects He is dwelling on. Who could sit down and write a book and tell me what that city means without the figure? He would have to explain a wonderful thing, the very size of the walls and everything else. Take the whole character of the thing.

Then comes the streets of gold. I know from this characteristic what will suit Christ: perfect, divine righteousness in walk. That is the streets of gold. That is what I shall be by and by. I am not it now, but I know what will suit Him, though I shall not be it actually till I am with Him. It is the bridegroom

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forms the bride, and I get like Him as I get near the Bridegroom because, as I know what will suit Him, I get clear of the things that do not suit Him. I say He will not have this or that, and I walk away from it. It is really the effect of going forth to meet Him. It has produced this.

I say I am not seeking to revive the church but what I am seeking is to have souls alive to the coming of the Lord, because they who are waiting for the Lord seek to maintain what is due to Christ in their walk and ways on earth.

Then there is no temple there, no oracle. Man has his temple, that we all know. We have none. We gather on this principle. When we come together we have Him in the midst. We have nothing imposing to look to as a temple.

The next characteristic is, "no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it", (Revelation 21:23) which means natural light. We do not need human learning, we have Christ. We do not want natural light, for Himself is the light thereof.

Now the more you look into all these beautiful characteristics the more you see how the bride will be when she comes down from heaven, a beautiful exhibition -- I cannot find a better word -- of Christ. She will come down arrayed with Christ, one magnificent display of all the beauty of Christ. There is the moral expression here of all that Christ was upon earth.

And now comes the seventh -- the water of life. This is the only one at present available. In chapter 22: 17 we get what is her behaviour, what her mode of acting. What is she to do? What ought a bride to do? I am not talking of individuals, I am rather looking for the church. I do not know how the bride will awake. I see the Lord loosening people out of system but they become Laodicean. Laodicea is as much out of System as Philadelphia. I dread people

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getting out of system, and not getting to Christ. If you have real heart for Christ you separate yourself from everything unsuited to Christ, because you know what suits Him.

Now what is the remarkable point here? In the 16th verse, "I am ... the bright and morning star". (Revelation 22:16) Bright because it is the approximation of His coming. It is an approximate thing, for "the Spirit and the bride say. Come". (Revelation 22:17) Now I am talking of your mission. What is your duty? what are you doing? If you are asking Him to come you must be in a state of readiness to do it. That is what I feel is necessary, for a person to be real. To use a plain word, it is an impertinent thing to ask a person to come to you, when you are not ready to receive him; it is not good taste. The very fact that I ask Him to come implies that I am ready for Him; I wish Him to come, in fact; "The Spirit and the bride say, Come", (Revelation 22:17) that is the first thing. A real person can say this; that is, one who is ready to go to Him; because, he says, I have nothing to keep me here, nor to distract me, I am perfectly free from the things here.

Then we drop down to another stage: "Let him that heareth say. Come". (Revelation 22:17) Now I am anxious to know what you are doing. I say, first, our work is to ask the Lord to come; and, secondly, to say to all the saints. Let us all see to it. I do not like to be alone; like Mary Magdalene, I go and tell them to say, "Come". Let us all say, "Come".

Now we drop down to a yet lower stage: "Let him that is athirst come". (Revelation 22:17) Is there an unsettled one? Let him come. The corporate thing is maintained.

Then I go down still lower to the lowest, the greatest point of need of all, and that is the evangelical point: "And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely". (Revelation 22:17) I get down from the highest occupation the heart can be occupied with to the lowest state of soul upon earth. Well, that is the

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church's mission. Travelling down like every good thing does, for "every good gift, and every perfect gift" (James 1:17) cometh downwards. A person who has the true spirit of an evangelist here goes with delight of heart while looking to the Lord to come, looking to the saints to join him in the cry, "Come", and dropping down to the thirsty soul, going out to the utmost boundaries of the earth, crying, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely". (Revelation 22:17)

Thus, beloved friends, I have endeavoured to trace for you what Christ is occupied with now, what He is now forming. He "loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing". (Ephesians 5:25 - 27)

I have no doubt you will find it a comfort and a joy to your heart to say, I have heard the cry, and I am looking to Him to come, and I am going out to meet Him, dropping everything in my ways and habits and associations which is unsuitable to Christ. I say I know what will suit Him. I may be a bad hand at getting clear, but I know what is pleasing to Him and I am determined, through His grace and power, not to connect myself with anything that will not suit Him.

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MY GAIN FROM GOD WHEN I HAVE NOTHING; AND MANIFOLD MORE WHEN I SACRIFICE ANYTHING

Luke 18:1 - 30

In this chapter the Lord looks at the different positions, if I may so say, in the path of His people upon earth. The seventeenth chapter gives a prophecy of judgment on the earth, which He ends by saying, "Remember Lot's wife". Now He points out the path of His people, in which there are found two classes of difficulties; the one being that you are so weak, so small in this world, the other being that you are so great; the one having so little, the other so much; the one having no resources, the other many. We do not generally think that the second would be a difficulty, but it actually is a greater difficulty than the first.

The Lord sets before us a picture of the journey through the wilderness, and gives us three examples of the one who has no means, and one example of the one who has plenty. The first gets relief; the second goes away sorrowful. Those who have earthly means rarely seek help from God; but when people have nothing at all to turn to, if there be any conscience, they turn to God. It is the very opposite of human judgment, which would be, that it is easier for a man to get on who has plenty of means; but the truth is just the contrary, so much so that it is "impossible with men" for those who are rich to enter into the kingdom of God; it is only "possible with God".

There is nothing, perhaps, that people like so much as to have visible means, but it too often diverts the eye from faith. I do not say that God in

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His mercy may not at times give means, but still, when it is so, even rich people find that large means in this world cannot produce everything. Riches cannot give them health, nor drive sickness, and sorrow, and death from their door. And as to possessions here, the fact is you cannot look for succour when you have no need.

The Lord intimates that the very look back is dangerous. "Remember Lot's wife". You will find whenever you stumble, that it is always because you have turned your eye to something for yourself. Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt, an example to others. You might have thought her crime very small: She was only sorry to leave the place she was in. But we are in a place that we must not be sorry to leave. And having brought us out, He gives us four examples of what we meet with in our path: three having no means, one having plenty. Where there are no means. He succours; He makes bare His arm; He perfectly acts for His people who have no means; so that each may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me". (Hebrews 13:6) But the one who had plenty of means went away sorrowful. He was sorry that he could not remain with the Lord, but he preferred his possessions to the Lord.

The first example is that of a widow, and a widow who had an adversary.

The Lord tells us when a thing is difficult, we should pray; "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint". (Luke 18:1) You could not conceive anything more pitiable than this case. The widow, who had lost her only son is the true picture of sorrow, but this widow with an adversary is the full picture of misery. And this miserable object gets relief from a judge who feared not God, neither regarded man. And she with no influence whatever, for a widow in Scripture represents one who is powerless. So that

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we have a perfectly powerless person, and that powerless person with an adversary, which greatly aggravates the case. She has no one to appeal to but a judge who is a reckless man; who says to himself, "I fear not God, nor regard man". (Luke 18:4) Well, this miserable case moves even him. He says: Though I am perfectly indifferent to everything else, I really must pay attention to her. Then the Lord adds: If an unjust judge is moved by a case of misery, do you think God will not be moved? He has an ear for every misery on earth. Here it is a powerless woman, a sorrowful one too, deprived of everything in this world, and then beset by an adversary, and she moves an unjust judge! How, much more then will not such a one move the great God and the merciful?

So, to any one here who is powerless I say. You are not without resource. "Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily". (Luke 18:7 - 8) Typically, of course, this is the remnant; still it is "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint". (Luke 18:1) Never say. There is no resource for me. If you had means, very likely you would turn to them and find no deliverance; but without resources there is a resource for you in God, that very likely you might not turn to if you had natural resources.

I doubt not there is that in people which leads them in difficulties to think only of the fact that there is power in God, and it is a very necessary thing to get the sense in one's soul that "Power belongeth unto God". All that the widow looked for in the judge was power; she did not look for kindness. But I do not think it is the highest condition of soul simply to know and to trust in the fact that God has power. The man could not have gone as he did to his friend at midnight unless he knew that he had bread; and the importunity is in consequence.

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Hence "because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth". (Luke 11:8) Very often where there is the prayer of faith, there is an amount of hardness connected with it, because I am looking to God only because I know that He has power.

What I want to press is, that you have resources. It was the great mark of power in Israel, that, when everything had failed, after the ox goad, and the jawbone of the ass, and the woman's hammer, and everything had been tried, then God said, I have one instrument yet. Prayer! Samuel comes in with one sovereign remedy: that is prayer. Whatever happens he says, I will pray, I will pray for you.

Supposing I saw a poor desolate woman now without resource and pressed by trouble, I say to her, Well, you have God to turn to; you can turn for help to the Hand that moves the whole world. In that way this poor desolate woman has an advantage over me: I, who do not want God's interference, will not get it; whilst her misery makes it necessary for her to go to God as her resource, and then He interferes on her behalf. He will rise and give her all that she has need of.

The second example goes a step further. I get in it another element of what God is. We read: "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican". (Luke 18:10) The Pharisee stood boasting of what he was himself; the publican, in quite another spirit, stood praying. It is just the difference between a person going to God knowing that he has nothing to turn to but His mercy, and one who can in his self-sufficiency commend himself. This is a most important element: I am not entitled to anything, but God has mercy. The result was that the publican "went down to his house justified rather than the other". (Luke 18:14)

In the widow I get God's power; here I get His mercy. A poor failing creature down here, where do

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I turn to? I turn to God. Suppose I had something of my own like the Pharisee, it would not put me to so high a place as God's mercy puts the publican. The publican was in a higher place morally than the Pharisee. "God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ". (Ephesians 2:4 - 5) I can turn to Him who is full of mercy, whose "mercy endureth for ever". I may rest in, not only His power, but His mercy. One has an outside affliction, another an inside. We all know what the name of the publican implies. He was one, who, in order to be rich, sacrificed both his country and his religion; one who gathered taxes for the Romans, and gave up his place as a good Jew to make money. This man comes into the presence of God, and says: I cannot say anything for myself, but I can count on the mercy of God; God be merciful to me, the sinner. Thus I get not only power but mercy. I have sin inside, and an enemy outside, but I am not without resource. My very necessity makes me a fit object for God's power and mercy. There is an old saying which is a very important one: Man's extremity is God's opportunity, when in simple faith he turns to Him.

We ought to know when we get answers to prayer. We see books printed about prayer, where we read of food provided, lodgings and rent paid, sick children raised up, in answer to prayer. But I do not think I ever read in any book on faith, that any spiritual mercy was granted, that any one's soul was brought into greater light in answer to prayer. And yet I do not know any greater favour that God could ever show me than giving me something more of Christ, revealing to me something fresh by His Spirit.

When one spoke to the Lord of the blessedness of those who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God --

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the millennium -- the Lord replied, I can tell you a greater thing than that; there is "a great supper" for you now. This is not the gospel, as some say; it is a feast; it is the fatted calf. A soul must be converted first, then kissed, then clothed, before he can come to the great supper. I think it would be very easy to write a book as to the way in which God orders everything, even down to the very weather, if you are walking with Him. But there is a greater thing than any of these. A soul led up like Paul into the third heaven; a soul that gets an answer to the prayer that, "being enlightened in the eyes of your heart - .. ye should know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the surpassing greatness of his power" (Ephesians 1:18 - 19) in raising us up with Christ. If God gives an answer to such a prayer as that, it is a far greater favour than His supplying any temporal need here; far greater than curing your sick child or anything else.

I believe some may go on smoothly in their circumstances for a length of time, until they get a certain self-reliance, and a tone of indifference about them, which they who are not in so smooth a path cannot have, because the latter are cast upon the Lord by their difficulties. But you will often see a man, well off in circumstances, tried in health. God will keep each godly one in some way or other dependent, for He knows how blessed it is for the soul to lean upon Himself.

We now come to the third example: "They brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them". (Luke 18:15) They thought they should not trouble Him with such weak things. "But Jesus called them unto him, and said. Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16) It is a remarkable thing. It is a little child,

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where there is no progress, no development, without education, without anything, in fact independent of all these things, that the Lord takes up as a sample of the way in which a soul gets into grace. It is not merely powerlessness and incapacity in themselves that qualify, but the fact that a little child has nothing in which he can in any way rest to obtain anything for himself: he is both weak and clinging. He is neither reduced like the widow, nor degraded like the publican. Still in either of these cases, as we have seen, we can turn to God, whether we be tried outwardly or inwardly. But neither of these is the case of the little child. "Their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven". (Matthew 18:10) Why? Because their very beginning is weak, and they cannot exist without help; they seek it, and He delights to vouchsafe it.

The disciples rebuked those that had brought them, as much as to say. Do not trouble Him with such little helpless creatures as these, with neither development of head nor heart, neither strength of limb nor anything whatever to commend them. In Luke it is more history, and we are only given the simple fact of His receiving them; but in Mark, where it is service, we are told He did three things: "He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them". (Mark 10:16) This is what He does where there is no conscious strength, but simply clinging. It is more than turning to His power or His mercy; it is simple repose in the arms of Christ. "He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them". The child never had any power nor any history; it just lies there, and has the satisfaction of being taken care of. If you are not a desolate one oppressed, if you are not morally distressed, you can still in immeasurable grace as a child repose in the arms of Christ. Here, then, I get confidence. It is the confidence of a child; it accepts the attention and

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care it receives without doubt or fear. I do not, as a child, feel that I am merely a recipient; I feel that I simply could not do without the Lord. This is what I get when I have nothing to lose and nothing to regret.

I now come to the one example of the man with plenty of means: "A certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18) Now here is one who is neither a widow, a publican, nor a little child. He is a ruler, not a widow; he is a great man, not a little child; and, instead of being a publican, he is a very good man, one of excellent, unblemished life among his fellows. In answer to his question the Lord only asks him as to the way in which he had fulfilled his duty to his neighbour; and even of those commandments he leaves out, "Thou shalt not covet". He does not ask him one at all of his duty towards God, because it is impossible for a natural man to keep those, though it is possible for him to keep his duty to his neighbour. Yet the Lord leaves out the tenth commandment, the one to which Paul refers in Romans 7, as that which convicted him of sin. The five which the Lord quotes were quite possible for an amiable man to do, who would neither kill, nor steal, nor bear false witness. So this young ruler answered: "All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things. He said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me". (Luke 18:21 - 22) He had everything; he was not oppressed, he was a ruler; not a publican, but a high-class Pharisee; he was no child, not resourceless, he had plenty of possessions. The Lord directs him. Distribute your property to the poor; reduce yourself to nothing; take up your cross, and follow me. Have no means but me; let me delight your heart and be your resource.

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No, the ruler cannot accept this, and "went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions". (Luke 18:23)

So it is practically with saints. I never see a saint in adversity get on badly, if he has faith, and I never see a saint in prosperity who gets on well if he trusts in his means. The moment a man gets means that he can rest on, then there is an opportunity for his particular worldliness to come out. When he is a poor man he cannot buy a picture; if he were rich he could, I do not say he always does.

But now comes out another thing: mercies and ties. "He said unto them. Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting". (Luke 18:29 - 30) The Lord announces. If you give up what naturally you value, such as natural ties when they come to bar the way, when they hinder you in your path with me, I will take care that you shall gain by doing so. You shall have manifold more in this present time. If you sacrifice natural things for Christ here, you gain manifold more from Christ here. There are rich men: some are rich in friends; others in belongings, in means, in bodily strength, in mental powers, no matter what. I say to you, if you begin to trust in such riches instead of surrendering them to Christ, you will find you are not progressing.

Now is it not pleasant for the heart to be able thus to delight in God? To be able to say: I am a poor, feeble creature, without means; but He has taken me up in His arms, laid His hands upon me, and blessed me; whereas, if I were a man of great natural resources, perhaps I should find it very difficult to give up everything to follow Christ.

And yet it is there that devotedness comes in, because devotedness consists in giving up for Christ.

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When Gideon's army was too great for God to use, He said, "Bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there". (Judges 7:4) The water was the test to them. And I am sure many now turn aside after an earthly mercy. They do not cease to be Israelites, but they are no longer fit to go on, no longer fit to fight the Lord's battles.

Therefore, in conclusion, let not a single heart droop here. Surely there is immense comfort in the thought that, if I am a poor helpless widow, I can turn to the power of God; if I am in a distressed state of soul, I can rest in the mercy of God; and if I am but a feeble thing like a babe, I can be borne along in His arms. I have no resource whatever but Christ, but I am supported by His arm, and carried along in the sense of His love.

And as for those who know what it is to surrender anything here for Christ -- those things which I might have, but which I give up so that I may have more of Him; I have no loss; my gain is great. It is "manifold more". Let no one say, I have suffered through giving up for Christ. You have not. The apostle says. All things that I have given up for Him I "count them to be filth". That is the force of the word. What! Does a man talk of losing a farthing when he has picked up a sovereign instead In this way I say a saint enjoys "the life that now is, and ... that which is to come". (1 Timothy 4:8) A saint walking with God enjoys every remnant of good in this world far more than a rich man does who is surrounded with every luxury that he is dependent on. "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth". (Luke 12:15) "A cheerful heart is a continual feast". (Proverbs 15:15) And who is there in this room who cannot have a merry heart?

The Lord give us all to understand what a wonderful resource He has given us in Himself, as we go travelling on through this wilderness.

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OUR RESOURCES AND RESPONSIBILITY IN THE PRESENT DAY

John 17:11 - 26

I have read this scripture so that, in considering it, we may look a little at what really becomes us in the last days.

Let me first say a word as to the church, the body of Christ. It is "the mystery" of which Paul tells us in the Ephesians; it is the secret of God which could not be divulged until after the rejection of Christ from the earth. When the Lord said to His disciples that He would build a new structure. His church, there was nothing in that about the body. It would have been premature to have spoken of it before His rejection. And even immediately on His ascension we get nothing as to it. In Acts 1, the disciples are distinctly told not to look up into heaven, where the Head of the body was gone. It is only when we get to chapter 7, when the nation has rejected the testimony of the Holy Spirit come down from heaven to witness to an ascended and glorified Christ, that we find a man led by the Spirit to look up there, and who sees, as he does so, Jesus in the glory of God. It is after that He says to Saul of Tarsus, "Why persecutest thou me?" (Acts 9:4) The truth comes out that He regards the saints here as Himself.

Satan brought all his forces to bear against the Lord Jesus when He was here; his one object was to remove the Son of God from the scene. It was not now merely the sin of the garden of Eden; it was not simple disobedience; there was now no cloke for man's sin; the Son of God had come down to earth, and done among men works which none other had done, and they had both seen and hated both Him and His Father. The most marvellous expression

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of God's counsels, Satan has been always most unwearied in opposing.

But after the Son of God was thus rejected by man and taken up into heaven, there came out this secret that His body was still upon earth to represent Him. What, through the dark ages? Yes, then just as truly as in the present moment. Souls do not believe it. They do not believe that united by this bond they are as close to a brother in Australia as to one in their own town in England. Of course I am not so responsible for the brother at a distance as the one beside me; so in Romans and Ephesians a brother is called a "neighbour" -- "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour" (Romans 13:10) and "speak every man truth with his neighbour". (Ephesians 4:25) But we are all brought into this new bond, "members one of another", a bond which overrides every other; and I will add, that I never saw a man defective in the higher bond who was not also defective in the lower ones.

Though the expression of this wonderful body has so failed in the hands of man, yet in the mind of the Lord, in the heart of the Lord, it is as bright as ever. And each one of us individually has to do with it; we each have to do with the testimony here on earth; we each have our duty connected with it. If one only sits down to think a little; to say to oneself, I am a member of Christ! what a marvellous thing! I hear people speak of the future, but, for myself, I have never yet been able to grasp the present. Besides which, I get the light of the future to bear on the present, "while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal". (2 Corinthians 4:18)

I have said thus much as to the body, to show that it exists always as a perfect and complete whole, while we own the disorder. Each is bound to avail himself of the resources which are in Christ unto

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the end, and, as he does, he is an example and help to all the rest, for he can never lose sight of the body.

We have all been brought up in the ecclesiastical idea of a great profession. The church is "the pillar and ground of the truth", (1 Timothy 3:15) as we read in Timothy. It has kept the Bible for us, and even that it has not done over well. And these Scriptures which have been thus kept for us are what we have to turn back to in "perilous times", which, I suppose, none of us doubts we are now in. Paul says to Timothy, you have the Scriptures, and they are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". (2 Timothy 3:16)

I have, then, turned to this chapter in John, not to interpret it, but to get a few thoughts from it in connection with our present resources and responsibility. I find here, that I have Christ's heart, and that it remains unchanged whatever the state of things may be in the church. Thank God, on this side it is as bright today as it ever was! There is this wonderful thing in Scripture that, as you are in communion and read it, you can actually feel yourself in company with the Lord, and hear Him speak; you can say, I have heard His words. John's gospel and the epistles to Timothy are just what are attacked by the enemy in the present day, because they are the very scriptures suited to help us in it. The gospel was written after 2 Timothy.

In this chapter His disciples are overhearing Him pray to His Father. He, as it were, says to them: I will let you hear Me speak of you to My Father; just as a mother sometimes lets her child hear her pray for it. I feel that we do not pray enough for the saints. We speak too much of Ephesian truth, but we do not pray enough that souls may understand it and get hold of it. There is not enough of Paul's way: "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease

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not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers". (Ephesians 1:15 - 16) What makes an evangelist so interesting is that he is the communicator of light for the first time to a dark soul, but souls need light communicated to them after that; saints need light.

But my present thought is our responsibility, and what characterises it in the present day.

And first, what are the resources or the provisions that are made and ready for us? I run down the chapter, part of which we have read, and I find four things which are given: "Life eternal", "The words", "Thy word", and "The glory". Next what He has done or is doing: "My joy fulfilled in them", (John 17:13) and the Father's love. These are still our portion. And then come His desires: that they should be kept from the evil of the world; that they should be sanctified: and "that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one". (John 17:22 - 23) This is His chief desire. There is no such thing as isolation here; it is not a unit that is spoken of; it is "they" and "them". It is not Elijah: "The children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left". (1 Kings 19:14) No such thing. Even then the answer of God is, "I have left to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed knee to Baal". (1 Kings 19:18) I have thus partially enumerated our resources, and turn now to the consideration of what should characterise us.

I find, as stated, that there are three characteristics which are to mark us as answering to the Lord's desires:

  1. To be separate from the world.
  2. To be sanctified.
  3. To be one.

In this chapter we do not get any service properly

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so called; we are set here as representing Christ; it is the representative character. The true thought in the word "charity" is that of one ready to serve. There are four grades in service: they are the lover, the witness, the servant, and the soldier. If you lose the first of these you lose all the energy of service.

It may be asked what is the practical use of the body? I answer, the house was always in existence from the time that redemption came in. We find the delivered people rejoicing on the other side of the Red Sea, and singing, "The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation". (Exodus 15:2) And the apostle speaks to Timothy of behaving himself in the house of God. But I am only the more careful to do my duty, if I know myself united to the glorified Head in heaven, a member "of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones" (Ephesians 5:30) Every step that we get in truth it adds to the foundation; so, knowing this wondrous truth, I do not dwell upon the fact that I am saved, blessed though it be, but rather that I am set in His body, and that He has "loved me and given himself for me". (Galatians 2:20) And thus loving Him because He has first loved me, I find that the first qualification for service is that of being a lover.

The second is a witness. The witness is one who is really maintaining the truth in his life. You cannot be the third, the servant, unless you are these two, for the true servant must be a witness. And, lastly, if you are a servant you are sure to be a soldier. To this I shall allude presently.

Now the great aim of the faithful is unity. But separation from the world and sanctification cannot be overlooked. You say. Oh, how little we agree! I answer. The more sanctified we are, the more agreement we shall have. Everything here turns on the word "holy". It is the "holy Father" who keeps His people, it is the Holy Spirit who is their Comforter.

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If you are defective in holiness you are defective in everything. Take the case of a man in a wrong partnership; he may not feel the evil of it himself, but all the same that man is not walking in holiness; he is not led by the Spirit of God. He may say, I do not see any harm in it myself; I am going on with a quiet conscience; and so he may be, but the Holy Spirit is not going on with him. He is not what we read of in Luke: "Thy whole body ... full of light, having no part dark". (Luke 11:36)

Therefore to your objection, 'We have not oneness;' I answer, 'Well, then let us have all the more of the other characteristics, let us be sanctified, thus also shall we increase in unity'.

The Lord says: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth". (John 17:15 - 19)

I turn for a moment to this passage. I understand by it that there are two things which sanctify us. One "the truth. " This puts us into a new origin altogether. So much so, that I can say to a believer, 'You are not in Adam; you are not of this race now; you do not belong to this world; you are in a new condition'. The second thing is, that the One to whom the believer belongs, and on whom his heart is set, is nowhere in this world; He has "sanctified" Himself, has gone away from it, so that positionally I am out of it. Seeing this is an immense help to us as we go on our way.

Let us see now what characterises the faithful in an evil day all through scripture. It is maintaining what was the great characteristic of the original thing, that which marked it when it was in order.

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The remnant properly is not the fag end of the thing. It is part of the original thing, but it is not a faded bit; it is a bit that shews the original nature of it. As we might say of a regiment much cut up, It has not lost its colours. An officer has been known to strip the colours off the pole and thrust them into his breast, denoting. You must take my life, before you can deprive me of the colours!

Now the question for us is. What are the colours? And before answering it I will say that those who are carrying them are getting brighter and brighter, though I do not say that they go on without interruptions.

What, then, are the colours? They have varied in character with the times according to the call of God. An Enoch stood for them as he "walked with God" three hundred years, until "he was not, for God took him". (Genesis 5:24) So did Abram as he left his country and kindred, and father's house, to go to a land that God would shew him, and then sojourned in that land a stranger "dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob". (Hebrews 11:9) Joseph, too, when he came to die, said, "God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, ... and ye shall carry up my bones from hence". (Genesis 50:24 - 25) There was a remnant. That is what I call the colours. I shall come presently to what are our colours, which of course are not the same thing.

But it is said, why contend at all? what is the use of contention? Discretion is the better part of valour. Is not such discretion of value in the church? Why contend about things? I answer. No. If we enjoy the resources which are in Christ, we shall be opposed, and we must contend for them; but with these resources, as I have glanced at them, we are well off.

I pass on to 1 Samuel 7. I lay great stress on this chapter because it is distinctive of a period that

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answers to ours. Samuel's colours are very much what ours are; the period when he was the remnant finds its parallel in our day.

How different the state of Israel in Samuel's time to what it was in the time of Joshua! What power there was in the way the ark went round the city of Jericho and the walls fell down flat. Such was the power of that day -- a power that was invisible. It was a moment when what they were aiming at seemed impossible, as it has done many a time since; a moment such as many of us have doubtless seen, when there was no way out, and everything seemed hopeless. And then what happened? As at Jericho, God's hand came in, and the walls fell down flat.

But then in the moment of success one individual takes a goodly Babylonish garment and a wedge of gold, and hides them under his tent, and God cannot go on with the people. It is wonderful how much harm one man can do. In Achan the innate corruption of the race broke out. I say 'of the race', because we find that the door of escape opened for Israel in the latter day is this very valley of Achor where Achan was stoned.

In a time of difficulty men of faith will get the sense of what should be done to meet it. They get light from God at the moment that it is needed, and in the power of it go forth like a forlorn hope to meet the enemy. I say a forlorn hope, though I do not think the simile a perfect one, for in this case, the forlorn hope is sure to win. I never see a man who is set for victory in God's things but he is sure to win. It is one of the characteristics of Philadelphia: "I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it". (Revelation 3:8) Here Samuel and the people were in the right standing; they were in the land; but the Philistines came in and interfered with them. You ask. Who are the Philistines now? I answer, I do not know; but this much I see, that they are

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intruders amongst God's people who hinder them on the very ground of testimony, a direct evil influence.

The first thing, then, that the remnant must have is holiness I repeat, we must have separation. We must if we are coming to pray; we must be able to lift up "holy hands". We positively come to God sometimes as if He did not see what we were about. It is a great blessing and a great happiness to see the ground God has set us on. It is that of separation from evil; that is the first characteristic, as we have seen. Samuel says to the people: "If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only". (1 Samuel 7:3)

And the next thing is dependence, he says, "I will pray for you unto the Lord". (1 Samuel 7:5)

Then thirdly comes defending, "The Philistines drew near to battle against Israel". (1 Samuel 7:10) You ask. Do you like fighting? No, I say, I do not; but the most timid animal makes a great fighter when what is most dear to it is assailed. See a hen when a dog attacks her chickens, how she will defend them! And why? Because there is love there. It is the greatest lover who makes the best defender.

So I say, separation, dependence, defending, and success mark the remnant.

In Luke 2, we find another picture of the remnant. I find two people here who mark the remnant when the Lord first comes into the temple: Simeon sets forth one aspect of it, and Anna the other. To the one it was revealed that "he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ", (Luke 2:26) and the other "departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day". (Luke 2:37) Thus we get in the two the remnant adhering to the thing that marked the period.

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And the Lord Jesus is found in the same path; He goes into the temple and drives out thence the sheep and the oxen and the changers of money, saying, "Make not my Father's house an house of merchandise". (John 2:16) He says, I must look after the temple -- after what belongs to God upon earth. And this is just what characterises the remnant: it always adheres to what belongs to God upon earth.

Then, when the Lord goes out of the temple for the last time, "he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said. Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living she had". (Luke 21:2 - 4) The poor widow gives all that she has for God's interests here; for what belongs to Him on the earth.

Now let us turn to the second epistle to Timothy to see how the remnant comes out in the present day.

I believe a great defect in our thoughts of the remnant lies in the fact that we do not take into consideration what the original thing was. We shall never understand the characteristics of the remnant if we do not see clearly what the church was at the first. Do not think that I mean we shall have the original thing back again? I do not; but I do say that we must return to beginnings.

In 2 Timothy I find that the church has got into a very corrupt state. Corruption has come into the house. And finding things thus in such corruption, the duty of faithful ones purging themselves from it comes out. "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". (2 Timothy 2:21) The word "purge" only occurs twice in Scripture: once in this passage; the other in 1 Corinthians 5. There it consists in purging out of leaven from the assembly; here, in purging out

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yourself. It is interesting to see the word only occurs twice; little things of this sort help us in the understanding of God's word.

Now what calls for this purging out of the individual? For myself I do not see at present that I should ever separate from a meeting on account of leaven, but when the maintenance of the leaven is insisted on, then it becomes canker and must be separated from. Canker can be kept out of companies gathered on the ground of the church of God, and if any such refuse to purge out the evil, then one must purge out oneself, for they cease to be on that ground. But I maintain that the place I am in is God's house, and because I believe in the presence of the Holy Spirit in it, I do not suffer a bit of evil in the house.

And, in thus caring for the holiness of it, I shall not find myself in a place of isolation; I shall never be without company. This is an immense comfort. The Lord has not left the house. So here the apostle does not say to Timothy, You are all alone, there is no one left so good as you are; no, but there are others who "call on the Lord out of a pure heart", and you must "follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace" (2 Timothy 2:22) with them, and thus help the whole church of God.

Now what are our colours?

The first thing that Christendom did was to give up the colours. Rome deputed a man to represent Christ on the earth, whilst Christ had sent the Holy Spirit from the Father to testify of Himself through His body, the church. So numbers who instinctively seek Christ's rule on earth, and do not know where to find it, go over to romanism, and are deceived by this counterfeit. On the other hand, protestantism has rejected the wrong one, but has not apprehended the right One; and many who have accepted as a fact the truth of the presence of the Holy Spirit

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on earth make infidels of themselves in not acting up to what they believe. Do you think if I really believed the Holy Spirit were here, I should not look to Him instead of to human means of one kind and another in preaching the gospel, for instance? How could I accept revivalism if I believed in the presence of the holy Spirit? How could I trust to boards outside preaching rooms to bring in hearers, instead of to His leading?

You may answer. But the Holy Spirit is here to comfort us during the absence of Christ; Very true, He is here sent by the Father in the name of Christ to be the Comforter of His people, which we see in chapter 14:26; but in chapter 15:26 He Is sent from the Father, expressly for the testimony; we read, "He shall testify of me". And again, in chapter 16: 14, "He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you". (John 16:14)

I say, then, that the colours and the responsibility of the remnant is, that the Holy Spirit is here to maintain for Christ. But, even amongst those who believe it as an article of faith, there is such looseness in carrying it into practice, that the consequence is, numbers are found on the ground of the remnant who are there with very little conscience as to their position.

As to evangelising, I believe the real thing, that which is most owned of God, is to go from house to house. It might be more laborious, but it would certainly be more effective. Of course there is the public thing as well, that is proclamation, and I wish there were more of it. But I insist upon the presence of the Holy Spirit in carrying it out.

I now turn for another thing that characterises the remnant, to a passage that is in the mouth of you all: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst". (Matthew 18:20) Remark they are to be "gathered". Each one must be led to His

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name by the Holy Spirit -- must be gathered, and that to the name of Christ. We have to learn what a real thing His presence is in our midst. Do you think if people really knew the Lord were there, that they would give out any hymn that was merely in their mind? I am sure I speak timidly on such a subject, but I always ask Him if He would like me to give out such a one, and, if He does not countenance me, I do not.

It is one of the defects of brethren that they think they know everything, but I believe that very little is known of the Lord's presence in the midst of His gathered ones. When we are around Him it is not a question of what ministry there will be, of what I shall hear, but of whether the Lord Himself will speak to me. There is an old adage that 'a crooked loaf will feed a man'. We have accepted the fact that Christ is in the midst of His church, and I do not know any greater favour that God has ever shewn me than that of bringing me into His place upon earth; but, as in the days of Nehemiah, "there is much rubbish" with the truth we have. As our epistle tells us, we are in "perilous times", and there is no apostle, for perilous times. The second epistle of Peter, and Jude, give us descriptions of these same times; but there is always left to us the holy scriptures, which are sufficient to make the man of God "perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works". (2 Timothy 3:17)

But whilst, on the one hand, God has provided power for His people even in "perilous times", there are those who, like Jannes and Jambres, in the days of Moses, withstand the truth by imitating power. A person once, speaking of the lawfulness of any means to reach souls, asked me, 'Do you not think it is right to weep in preaching the gospel?' 'Never', I answered, 'if it is to make others weep'. And this imitation never succeeds in reaching the real thing;

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when it came to be a question of life, the magicians had to stop.

Now in this third chapter we find a different thing to what is in the second. There it is purging oneself from evil which has become canker. And saints generally have stopped at the end of that chapter without going on to the third and fourth. A state of things comes in amongst those who have purged themselves in which the apostle says, "reprove, rebuke, exhort". The first five verses of chapter 4, are his words to us. I am sure I do not say it valiantly, but still I am convinced that it has now come to what Moses said to Levi, "Who is on the Lord's side?" "Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour". (Exodus 32:26 - 27) It is not that what has gone before in the previous part of the epistle is to be neglected, it is not that you are not to separate from evil when it has assumed the character spoken of by the apostle, but that you are also to cleave fast to God's word, and to "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine". (2 Timothy 4:2) If I find a person ignorant, I am to teach him with all patience.

One word in conclusion: what is my present gain if I, in a moral condition, fight God's battles and stand for Christ's interests here on earth? I might enjoy God's mercies, I might go down on my knees to the water like Gideon's soldiers. They were fearless men though they did it, and I am fearless too; why should I not enjoy what I find of His mercies in my path? Simply because I will not turn aside to anything, however lawful, that may distract me from my one object -- standing for Him here where He is not.

And, meanwhile, in all the conflict, I know the heart of the One I am standing for; I have that

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infallible comfort, Christ's joy. Are you turning aside? Are you looking for something to amuse you by the way? Some pleasant book it may be, no matter what. I know as well as any what a little thing can turn the soul aside, and 'A burnt child dreads the fire'. But if I am to take the place of the lover, there must be no turning aside; there must be the character suited to it.

There never was such a time as this, never such opportunities for giving up for Christ. You need not talk to me of what you have given up, for it is more than made up to you; it is sure to be "manifold more in this present time". (Luke 18:30) But we need the warning. How many a fearless man is turned aside by a mercy here! Satan says. Here is a nice little spring; stop to have a drink at it. There is always such danger in a novelty. A thing you possess is not nearly so dangerous to you as the offer of one you have not, but desire. Give it up for Christ and there will be "manifold more" for you. Oh, we little think of the honour there is in standing a valiant one for Christ! People think the honour and glory are all coming by and by. I say it is now! "The Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God rests upon you". (1 Peter 4:14) Do you say. It is not a reality! I answer. That is your own fault; it is you who have not suffered. Look at Abraham after the victory! Melchisedec, the priest of the Most High God, comes out to meet him and to bless him. Lot never met Melchisedec that I know of.

The Lord grant that our hearts may be so enlarged by the knowledge of His heart up there, that we may be persuaded that there is no greater joy than that of being allowed to stand for His name in this world, and thus going on in company with His heart, and in association with those who follow Him here. If all saints, all the church, are not on our hearts, we are defective. No member is really helpful who forgets the body. But, at the same time, the

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best way to help others is by being faithful ourselves. Barnabas could say, I own you helped me, Paul; I was offended with you at the time, but I have come back again, for I see that you were valiant for the truth, which I was not.

Give up for the Lord; be valiant for the truth; and what I have said will be yours: "manifold more in this present time". (Luke 18:30)

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ACCEPTANCE

2 Corinthians 3

I desire in these lectures to go over very old ground, and look at the different stages in christian life. As the psalmist says, "Walk about Zion, and go around about her: tell the towers thereof, Mark ye well her bulwarks consider her palaces". (Psalm 48:12 - 13)

We begin with what the apostle taught the Corinthians, though in practice they did not answer to it. First we see where the soul is placed. There are two things brought together in this chapter: what the law was, and what Christ is. This is important, because people are often not clear of the law. I am sometimes struck with the standard a person has in his life and ways. The law is looked at as that which is the rule of life.. The young man in Mark 10, is considered an example of a very good life. But you must have one or the other; either the law, or Christ.

People try to make a compound of the two, but it is impossible; they are quite distinct. There has been the greatest moral revolution that can possibly be conceived: the demands of the law came from glory; but, instead of drawing man, it repelled him. See Moses and the people in Exodus 34. The revolution is, that now the glory, instead of repelling, attracts; it is the expression of God, the thing of all others that invites you, and forms you in correspondence with itself. The law was in the glory once; now there is a Saviour in the glory. It is a wonderful thing that, instead of demanding from us righteousness, there is a Saviour in that glory who met all demands. He has led us into the enjoyment of the Father's heart in that bright scene that suits Him; it is a complete revolution. The prodigal had only two places: a

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great way off, or in the Father's house. The thief on the cross was on the verge of divine judgment under the law, but he got that most wonderful step, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise". (Luke 23:43)

You must connect your life as a Christian with the law or with Christ; there is no middle course. Being saved by the blood of Christ, I have the righteousness of God. But the thing that is now sought is what suits man, not what is according to the glory of God. Once we find out that God has placed us according to the desires of His own heart in divine glory, the glory becomes the measure of His grace. Why? Because God has carried out the desire of His own heart, and that has placed me in a scene where there is nothing to check the full flow of His love. That is grace, and there is only law or grace. If a person has not got a good foundation there is no building on it, no going on; there is no progress but in keeping with glory; no formation, though there may be intelligence; no growth.

The apostle first shews how God has brought us into connection with the glory by our Lord Jesus Christ. The law in Exodus 20, was given from the glory too, but instead of drawing, it repelled. When Moses came down from the mount the second time, his face shone, and they could not bear it, because the law was there. It was not grace yet, but God shewed all through His desire to connect His people with His glory. The house was filled with His glory, but man did not answer to it.

In Ezekiel they were so contrary to God that the glory departed. We read in the first chapter: "And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it". (Ezekiel 1:26) What does this point out? The glory was about to leave the scene because of the wickedness

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of Israel. But when the vision of its retiring was shewn to the prophet, there was a spot of amber in the midst of it; and in that amber spot the figure of a man. God had spoken to man, and He desired to dwell with man. The pillar of the cloud shewed that; and here we find, in the brightest spot of the retiring glory, there is the figure of a man. Thus man drove away the glory, and it never came back to earth until Luke 2:9, where we see it come to announce the fact that a Saviour is born which is Christ the Lord. The glory was connected with Christ's coming to the earth.

In chapter 9:29 we get the close of the Lord's ministry on the earth. After thirty years of domestic life He entered on His public service; that public service culminates here; and glory salutes Him; the glory invites Him. There is not a word about us here. Peter says, "We ... were eye witnesses of his majesty". (2 Peter 1:16) Here it says, "They feared as they entered into the cloud". (Luke 9:34) They were afraid because death had not yet come in. Moses and Elias may be said to represent the law and the prophets, whilst Jesus was the one righteous Man who had met the mind of God on earth in everything. He had answered to all God's requirements of man; He had met all the mind of God in public and in private life, and the glory salutes Him.

But now was to be fulfilled that wonderful word, "I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free". (Exodus 21:5)"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone". (John 12:24) The meaning of this is, that, by dying. He produced a company of the same stock and order as Himself. "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one". (Hebrews 2:11) One what? Put any noun in there and you spoil it. All of one; not one life, not one glory, but ONE; His own order. We read of brothers of Christ in the gospel narrative, but there were never

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any such, in its proper character, until He rose from the dead.

John 13 presents to us the thing as effected: "Now is the Son of man glorified". (John 13:31) A Man is in the glory; He has gone in as the representative Man. He came from heaven down here. He went up to the mount of transfiguration, and from thence to the cross, as a victim. He will not go out free. He came down from the mount of glory to bear the judgment of that man who did not do the mind of God in any thing; He went down to death and bore the judgment of sin; and, "If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him". (John 13:32) He glorified God under our judgment as well as in every single act of His daily life down here. God was glorified in Him, and, "God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him". (John 13:32) He was raised from the dead "by the glory of the Father".

I pass on to Acts 7, where Stephen sees the glory of God and Jesus. Ezekiel 1, is fulfilled: a Man is seen in the glory, and henceforth the glory, instead of terrifying, becomes the place that invites the heart. Saul finds a Saviour in the glory of God, and straightway he preaches Jesus, that He is the Son of God. Stephen is an example of a believer; Saul of an awakened sinner. Some may say, I do not know whether I have seen a Saviour in glory. I do not say that such a person is not converted, but I do say that he is not without fear, and "fear hath torment". If you have not seen Christ in glory, you have not learned divine righteousness; you are not suited to God. It is not a question of my conscience, but I get the sense that God is perfectly satisfied about me. We never get peace but in connection with righteousness. In the glory it is a ministration of righteousness. On my side it is peace; when the Lord rose from the dead He said, "Peace be unto you". (John 20:26)

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There was not one disturbing thing left. It is, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God". (Romans 5:1)

In Isaiah 6, we see a man before the Saviour was in glory. This great prophet is unfit for God's work because he is not free in the presence of God's glory. We see in chapter 5, what a man he was; but he was unfit for the service which God had called him to, because he was not perfectly at rest in the presence of the glory of God. You may be very well versed in scripture, and yet you may not have found that you have a Saviour in the glory; that in the very brightest spot of God's glory there is most attraction for your heart, because your Saviour is there. Righteousness has looked down from heaven; peace and truth have kissed each other. Stephen saw his Saviour in glory. He does not tell the people what he saw; he says "the Son of man" to them, but He was the Saviour for himself. From the spot that fear came, relief came. One of the seraphim flew from the glory down to Isaiah (not from Isaiah up to God), having a live coal in his hand. There was no abatement of divine holiness, but still he could proclaim, "Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged". (Isaiah 6:7) Where fear was evoked, there was generated relief. Then it is, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" "Here am I;" (says Isaiah) "send me". (Isaiah 6:8) See the effect! If you are not right up there, you cannot go for God down here.

We read, "As he is, so are we in this world". (1 John 4:17) As He is, not as He was. He was on the cross; He is not there now. It was, "All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me", (Psalm 42:7) but now He is "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father". (Romans 6:4) Now as He is so are we. Is that in heaven? Not at all; "in this world". In the place where I was at a distance from God, failing in everything, love is perfected in me. Christ has so met the judgment of God for me, that my soul gets the sense of being as fit for paradise as

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He is. The thief on the cross was fit for paradise. Christ died "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God". (1 Peter 3:18)

People may say. That gospel is too high, it would not convert any one! However it converted Paul. We have his conversion related three times. Once to the Jews, once to the gentiles, and then typically. I have a terrible world to go through, and God desires me to know as I go through it that it is all bright up there. I have a Saviour in glory, and I belong to the scene where He is. What is the effect here? I am ready; Send me. If the heart is not established in grace, you cannot go.

In the epistle to the Corinthians, Paul goes back to what he had previously taught the saints in Corinth. Instead of the law, they had Christ written on their hearts. The treasure was in an earthen vessel. As in a standard rose-tree, the new graft is put into the old stem, so they had the rose graft; the apostle did not allow them to say they had not the graft; they had it; but they had not the rose, because they did not keep the stem in self-judgment. The young man in Mark 10, judges of himself by his relation to man. If I have not God's idea about what I am, I shall never be able to form a right idea about anything. In Psalm 73, when the psalmist is outside the sanctuary, he judges of everything in relation to himself; but when he gets inside, God eclipses everything.

When I have to do with glory, I myself am nowhere; I have to do, not with the law, but with Christ in glory. Then Christ is to come out. If I am true to that I shall not give way to self-indulgence. That Saviour in glory was the One who was written on the fleshy tables of their hearts, as the law was on the tables of stone. What an immense thing! You may say there is very little expression of it. True, but it remains a fact. You must get the thing

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before you can get the expression of it. The Lord's walk on earth was one of perfect beauty; He left manna on everything He touched; and I, now united to Him, am of a new order and lineage. I am the same man that I was; I have not got out of nature; but all the principles and springs of my action are different. I have the same natural duties that I had before, but now I am maintained by a different power. The wheel of a mill may be turned by water, and it will do, so long as there is the right supply; but if the water fails, the wheel stops. If the wheel be turned by steam, its working is not dependent on natural supply. So in grace. I have got a new power instead of nature, a power to conduct me according to the divine nature through all for God here on earth.

All through scripture we see that when God communicates anything to man. He repels the flesh. It was so with Moses, with Ezekiel, and with others. There must be nothing here to interfere with the divine action. "Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. All things are of God". (2 Corinthians 5:17 - 18) The reason there is so little growth is that there is so little association and occupation with Christ where He is. The glory invites now, instead of repelling, and the practical effect is, "changed into the same image".

May you retire into the secret of your heart and wait on God, and think that God's heart is so relieved of everything about you, that He sees you according to the Son at His right hand. Amidst all the confusion and contrariety of this scene I know how He feels about me. You might read the Bible through and through from morning till night, and yet not grow; growth never takes place but in association with Christ Himself. Look at the two disciples going to Emmaus! What a wonderful exposition of scripture they had! It gave them light, but no more.

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But when they saw Himself there was formation, they were in concert with Him; they went the very same way He went: they returned to Jerusalem. You may read scripture, and you may get light from it, but it does not take form and power unless by faith you see Him where He is; because glory not only attracts me but it forms me.

Beloved friends, the Lord give to each one of us the happy sense as we retire in private with Himself, that we have got a Saviour in the brightness of God's glory, to the delight of God's heart: and that we can find our home there. God delights in Him, He gave Him to bear the judgment of our sin; many accept Him as the scapegoat, and know that their sins are borne away to the land of forgetfulness, and that truly is a relief to the heart; but that is only what suits me. It is not that which brings me into union with God's heart about me. What God is thinking about is, that He has glorified the One who glorified Him; and I have got a Saviour at God's right hand. You may say. Oh, that is too high; I have got the first, and that is sufficient for me. I can only answer that, if you do say so, you are not thinking of what God rests in.

May we have a deepening sense of with what delight of heart we can look up and say. It is in the brightness of God's glory that I have a Saviour. He is before the Father there, and He looks at me in Him. The more I am occupied with Him there, the more I am fashioned as to what He was in walk and course down here; and thus characteristically I am like Him here.

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THE END OF MAN

2 Corinthians 4

Last evening we looked a little at the place in which God has set the believer in Christ. This evening I want to set forth what is the practical side of this.

We are entirely of a new stock, as we have already seen, "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one". (Hebrews 2:11) It is not now God demanding righteousness from us, but righteousness is ministered from glory. God having found righteousness for us in Christ, a revolution has come in, righteousness is ministered from glory. The Son met everything according to God's mind; He has borne the judgment due to us and glorified God, and God has raised Him from the dead; and now comes in a new thing: the ministration of the Spirit.

In these lectures I desire to go over the Christian's history, the first point of which is, that he is placed before God according to the beauty of Christ, and is, according to God's eye, as Christ; nothing less. Stephen was the fruit of Christ's accepted work; he was the answer to Psalm 22.

There are three steps in what I call an infant Christian. The first step is, I know that I am accepted in the Beloved. I want to know how God feels about me, and I do know that He delights in me because His Son has cleared away everything that was between Him and me, and has placed me in His own beauty before His eye to be conformed to the image of His Son. The second step is, the Holy Spirit has come down from the glorified Christ, and has united me to the One who has thus cleared all away. The third is, that I am to come back to this scene and not allow in myself one single thing for

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which Christ died. This is what the Corinthians were defective in.

As the cross has cleared away everything from the eye of God, you must practically go back to the cross and not allow one single thing in the old stem; as we saw in our illustration of the standard rose. The graft is the pure work -- Christ; the stem is the old thing -- Adam. The graft commands all the resources that are in the briar, but gives it no credit at all. The cross must come on every bud of the briar, on every expression of the old thing. It must be, "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body". (2 Corinthians 4:10)

We must distinguish between the carnal mind, and that nature which God at the beginning gave man. For instance, my eye is nature, and is given me to be used; but how am I going to use my eyesight? Is it for Christ? That is the question. We must not forget that while Christ is Head of the new creation He is also Creator of the old. So we read, "Commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator". (1 Peter 4:19) And, "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body", (1 Corinthians 6:20) the words, "and in your spirit", ought not to be there. The Corinthians were not setting aside the old man, so the apostle presses on them the truth that another Person is to be seen now; the whole point is not, is a thing good, but, is it Christ? It is to be, "Not I, but Christ liveth in me". (Galatians 2:20)

We shall see the different ways in which the flesh intrudes, and the different ways in which it is set aside. In Romans we get one way in which the flesh intrudes. Chapter 6:6 shews how we get clear of it all: "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin". (Romans 6:6) The sins were all judged on the cross; but more than that;

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we get a statement in Genesis fulfilled in Christ, and which was never fulfilled till He came: "The end of all flesh is come before me". (Genesis 6:13) For a moment this was symbolised in the flood; all was either covered or drowned; but it never came out fully till Christ made an end of it on the cross.

In Romans 5, there are two headships: Adam and Christ. In chapter 6, all the sin is gone; I learn it in the cross. In chapter 7, we get the new nature, very anxious to keep the law, not perfect, not full grown. It is not here a question of sin, but of good. Am I not to do good? I delight in the law of God; after the inward man I am trying to do good. Take an example of a man, a tenant, over head and ears in debt. I say to him. My son has cleared away all your liabilities; what now? Oh, he says, I hope to live a very grateful life, to manage my farm better, and so on. Then I say that man it not clear of law; he is not out of Romans 7, But I say to him, I am going to bring you into my house, and make you heir with my son, instead of a tenant whom I had a demand on. "Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ". (Romans 8:17) But the man cannot understand it. Just so, many find it difficult to know what is done with the old farm. At last he comes to, "In me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing" and cries out, "O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:18) And it is a wonderful moment when the soul gets there. It is not a question of sin, but of doing good, of trying to be good; it is all constant trouble till I find out "that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing". (Romans 7:18) I must get there, and when I do, I can never again be disappointed with myself, because I do not expect anything from myself; I am transferred to Christ; I have done with the old farm. Now it is to be a model one, and carried on by a new power.

In chapter 8, it is "In Christ Jesus", and therefore

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no condemnation. A man that is in Christ is perfect, has done with the old man. Chapter 8, brings out the wonderful charter: I am in Christ.

Look at Galatians now. In Romans the flesh is dealt with as it is in the sight of God; but in Galatians it is how you stand with yourself. Pious people dwell on how they stand with themselves. The Galatians put themselves under law, and they were no better off than the Corinthians, who were lawless. The Corinthians were self-indulgent; the Galatians legal; they were putting restrictions on themselves. If I have a bad temper, and I put myself under law, does my temper improve? No; I do not get rid of the inclination that way, and it is this that I want. And the only way to attain it is, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would". (Galatians 5:16 - 17)

I used to say, I believe the flesh is stronger than the Spirit, but I do not say so now, because I have in Christ a greater power; there is in me a greater power than the flesh, and that is the Spirit of God. I have no right to walk in the ways or the flesh. A teacher ought not to speak of what he does not know in himself. The apostle gives himself as a pattern, and I can say it is a wonderful, marvellous blessedness to have done with the briar, and to have the rose occupying my mind. "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". (Galatians 6:14)

I belong to another Person altogether. I breathe another air, and I am not going to cultivate the old thing at all. "God forbid". You get the world in its relation to you, and you in yours to the world. It is not the gospel that is brought before us in this mention of the cross of Christ. I would rather have

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the smallest atom of Christ in me, than the most beautiful thing that was ever seen in man by nature. Do you know anything of the beauty of Himself, and can you put anything for a moment in comparison with Him? God has got a man to His own mind; and we are accepted in Him, and are to be conformed to His image.

Colossians gives another form of the way in which the flesh intrudes. It is curious how we are beset by the assaults of the old man. We read in chapter 2, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after ... the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ". (Colossians 2:8) This is a very deceitful kind of intrusion. We may designate it methodism; it is a religious appearance; actions that correspond to the feelings that have been worked upon.

In both ritualism and revivalism we get what answers to the working of the feelings to make a man religious. I am always against revivalism, because it is acting on the thing which has nothing in itself. They say good impressions are produced, but all those good impressions die away like a flower, and leave days of darkness; hence the unhappy state of many we see. There is nothing really solid in the soul but God's work.

That form of the intrusion of the flesh which was allowed in the Corinthians is not allowed in the Romans. In the latter, man's conscience is exercised, though he is not acting according to God. It is an interesting case. The Corinthian was not interesting; he says, I have got the work of Christ, and now I am going to enjoy myself. The first epistle was written to shew them, not that their sins were put away, but that the old man was crucified. "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ" (that is objective) "and him crucified", (1 Corinthians 2:2) (that is subjective). The true heart asks where He is. Many a person has Christ for his sins, who does

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not say. Where is He? but, when my soul has Christ for its object, then it is, I want to know where He is. If you have Christ for your conscience, you have only relief; but if He be an object to your heart. He is not only a relief but a resource; and then the question is where is He? "Where dwellest thou?" You could not have an object to your heart without knowing where that object is. If He is only an object to the conscience, it is the service that He renders that is before you; but if it is Christ for the heart, then it is

'No place can fully please us
Where Thou, O Lord, art not'. (Hymn 56)

The apostle said, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified". (1 Corinthians 2:2) And what were those he was writing to doing? They were indulging themselves bodily and mentally. They were full of mind and amusement. Therefore in chapter 2: 14 he says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God". (1 Corinthians 2:14) With the natural mind you can never know heavenly things; if you allow the briar, it cannot help you in divine things.

In chapter 8, they were occupied with things belonging to idols, and in chapter 10, the apostle says, I am going to set you straight by the word of God; not by eloquence or logical power. He has wonderful reliance on the word of God. He says, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say". (1 Corinthians 10:15) Here is the Lord's table, and what are you doing at it? "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 10:16)

In the next chapter we get the Supper, which brings out His love in dying for us. He died for you, and what areyou doing? Are you enjoying yourself? Enjoying yourself in this scene without God is idolatry. In the Lord's table it is not much my gain

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which is before my heart, as what it cost Christ to effect this great gain for me. I cannot charge myself with forgetting what Christ has done for me, but I often forget what it cost Him. If we were more in communion with His blood, more in the sense of what it cost Him, we should take a much more retired pathway through such a world as this. "Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: ... this shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow". (Isaiah 50:11) And how can you indulge yourself in a world where all good effects for you come by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ? But how am I to get on? you ask. Carry out 2 Corinthians 4:10. Do not allow any thing that Christ died for. You may say. He did not die for my eyesight. No; but He died for the will that works it. Your body is the Lord's.

In Philippians you find the practical life of a man who loves Christ; of one who gives up, not the bad things, but the best things, for Him. It is not a question of how far he had advanced; the greatest mark of progress is, that I am seeking more of the Lord. It is not accumulation, but the more I acquire the more I seek. I have become so enriched by what I have, that I am going on to learn more. I leave everything behind to go to Him. I "do count them but dung, that I may win Christ". (Philippians 3:8) It is a sorrowful thing that, as intelligence increases, earnestness often declines. The psalmist says, "My soul followeth hard after thee". (Psalm 63:8)

In Ephesians there is the full outflow of Christ. All natural duties are carried out, but not as in Colossians. In Colossians there is resistance. Is it that we have done with nature in Ephesians? No; but that the treasure is in an earthen vessel. The Lord first made the vessel, but the question now is whether the Lord works the vessel. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord". (Ephesians 6:1) Christ is to come out

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now. God does not look at us beyond our own house and His house. Every one is tested in his own house, that is where the strain is. "Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost?" (Luke 14:28) Do not build unless you have got the material that will stand. Christ will stand. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church". (Ephesians 5:25) You will never know a sentiment until that sentiment has been acted towards yourself. No one knows love until it has been acted toward himself. "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters ... as unto Christ ... doing the will of God from the heart". (Ephesians 6:5) If you are a servant you may be a beautiful specimen to angels that you act here as Christ would act. And if you ask. How am I to get on with the powers that be? I answer. Obey them.

May our hearts be so delighting in the beauty of the Lord, that we may realise something of the language of the hymn we sang, and look for it nowhere else.

'O fix our earnest gaze
So wholly. Lord, on Thee,
That, with Thy beauty occupied,
We elsewhere none may see'. (Hymn 174)

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OUR PORTION

Luke 14:15 - 33

Our subject tonight is. What is the nature of the present portion of the believer.

We read in 1 Corinthians 2, "We speak wisdom among them that are perfect". (1 Corinthians 2:6) The meaning of the word perfect in Scripture is a person established in Christ. You may be long about it, but, if you are not yet clear, you are still a babe in Christ -- you are not perfect. The first epistle to the Corinthians was written to shew where the defect was -- no particular thing about Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5 he says, Now you are a new thing altogether. The hindrance is in not being clear of the old man. Till you are, you are not established in Christ. When one is clear of that, there is rest. It is then true of the believer, as it was of Israel of old: "The land had rest from war". (Joshua 14:15)

I belong to Christ; I am of Him; I do not belong to the old man. The only true standard is, "Not I, but Christ liveth in me". (Galatians 2:20) The only question in everything is. What would Christ do? How am I to do this or that? How would Christ do it? If we knew Him better, this would settle every question. I get but one standard for my conduct: Christ.

You say, He was not in domestic life. But He had the grace for it, though a Nazarite. Besides this He made me, that I might be a creature here to the glory of God, and He gives me grace to be as He appointed me. In Ephesians, where we are brought to the highest point, I get my duties pointed out; but there is no lower standard than Christ. Christ is all and in all. Nothing but Christ. First I have to learn that I am cleared of everything, and Christ is all; next I learn what I partake of in Christ; what is

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my portion. The simplest form of this is found here in the gospel narrative.

One says to the Lord: "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God". (Luke 14:15) The kingdom of God: God's rule. What a blessed time when we can have everything according to God, where we can be quite natural and where God will have the rule. "Eat bread"; the commonest thing. That man looked on to the millennium; he had a wonderful idea of the divine order; a beautiful conception; a blessed aspiration. We have the same idea in Exodus 24. They saw the body of heaven in clearness, and they ate and drank in the presence of it; that is, they went on naturally. The characteristic of the believer is to seek the kingdom of God. If I am seeking God's rule and sway in this disordered earth, I get all things for the present as well as future,

But now, the Lord says, I am going to do something before that time. I will shew you a better thing even than that millennial day, and that is the "supper". If I am seeking something bright here, where all is disorder, I am diverted from God's scene, where all is in His order; it must be, "In spirit there already". The source of joy with most is, that they are saved, and certainly I do not want to weaken that joy; it is the new song; but it is not the only song; and that song will not keep you from seeking something in the present scene.

Paul says, I am entranced by what I am brought into; by that new scene which God brings me into, and in this present time too, in spirit. It is wisdom's feast: "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city. Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him. Come, eat

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of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled". (Proverbs 9:1 - 5) It is a feast held in a new place: she "hath builded her house. "

People use this for the gospel, and I do not object to their doing so, but it is the end of the gospel, not the beginning: it is the feast of accomplished grace. You cannot have the feast before the prodigal is brought into the house. It is said the fatted calf is the sacrifice of Christ. That is not true. It is participating in the unfolding of what grace presents. "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". (1 Corinthians 2:9 - 10) It was not revealed to Isaiah. Then it was like folding-doors at the end of the room; God's people never saw through them; but now the folding-doors are thrown open. If they were not, we could not be told to "seek the things which are above". (Colossians 3:1) Isaiah could not give such an exhortation, for the things were not yet revealed. Christ, when He went into heaven, said, "I go to prepare you a place". (John 14:2) He did the work; He cleared man from ruin, and then He says, Now have faith in me. (John 14) That is the power to get into these things, and to keep us above all the opposition by the way.

Here, in Luke, it is more that there is a place for our hearts to delight themselves in: it is, "Come; for all things are now ready". (Luke 14:17) You must not lose the idea that it is a feast; it is the exhibition of the divine order. The Lord says, I will introduce you into a scene where all is of God; where you will have unbounded delight. As Paul says: "Beside ourselves ... to God". (2 Corinthians 5:13) And it is not only a feast, but a feast in a new place. The prodigal had but two places; either the far country or the Father's house. To which do I belong? There is no third place. Do I connect myself with the Father's house? Thank God I do. Christ

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is there, and He says, I will come forth and serve you. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be". (Matthew 6:21) It is a wonderful thing to be able to say, I am not looking for joys except there. "The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit". (Romans 14:17) What hinders people is looking for things here in a scene of disorder; for green fields in the wilderness; and how a person in the wilderness craves for green fields! Souls are looking for what suits them naturally, are looking for the mercies of God to improve the things here. All this diverts the heart from the great festival in God's house. An evangelist may say, I have found a man in a highway or under a hedge. And what have you done with him, I ask? It is well to tell him of Christ for salvation, but you must not leave him there. Unseen things are eternal; and it is with these that the Spirit connects me; with the things that are there. I belong to Him in the place where He is. As we sing,

'No place can fully please us
Where Thou, O Lord, art not'. (Hymn 56)

He said, "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father". (John 14:28) He is gone to a place that suits Him, and He says. You ought to be glad. This is not connected with my salvation, but with the delight of my heart. Of the Holy Spirit He said: "He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you"; (John 16:15) He will open out to you this festive scene.

The one thing I see is, that once you have got hold of the place there, you do not look for things here. That is the force of Psalm 23"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures". (Psalm 23:2) That is where I am invigorated; I have got into the elaboration of wisdom. In Joshua 5, we read, "And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the

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plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day". (Joshua 5:10 - 11) It is in the place where Christ is that I have my feast.

The whole point is the difference of place; if things go crooked here, where do you find your comfort? Not down here at all, but there where He is. "Lie down in green pastures" is a beautiful figure. You do not lie down to eat; but when you are full to survey. "He leadeth me beside the still waters". (Psalm 23:2) I am actually prepared and furnished. I can come out quietly and orderly to my work. No man will do his work well who has no home; but if he has, he is happy in his work; he comes from it orderly and carefully, and goes back to it eagerly; his interests and his joys are there. Thus my joys are in heaven, but my work is down here; my supplies and my support are there. This is what makes a man a stranger here.

The passover was celebrated in three places:

  1. Egypt.
  2. The wilderness.
  3. The land.

The place gives the character to it. The first celebration was in Egypt. There is no remembrance there.

The second was in the wilderness, amidst trying circumstances, in a wretched scene, in great trial. They went three days and found no water. I have to learn lessons there. Many think they are in the wilderness. I wish they were, for there they would have nothing but God. It is a wonderful thing when I truly am in the wilderness, to remember how Christ delivered me; but there is no spring there. I am not beside myself to God.

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Now what a difference when you get to Canaan! There I eat the old corn of the land; there I feed upon Christ in glory.

Thus the place comes in. I am connected with one place or the other. When a soul is established in Christ, the thing to learn is Christ Himself. Therefore in Ephesians Paul prays, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith". (Ephesians 3:17) That is the highest education. That is the second prayer. The first prayer refers to the purpose of God for His people; but it is from the second prayer that comes out the practical expression of Christ in the life here. If you were taken to heaven, the first thing your heart would look for would be Christ. In the brightest scene of heaven itself, you would look for Christ Himself, for the One who brought you into all this blessedness. Nothing gives such comfort of heart. Like Stephen: he was the fulfilment of John 14. He says, There is no place for me here; and Christ says, I give you a place where I am.

Turn for a moment to 1 Kings 10. Here we get the queen of Sheba who, though not so much an illustration of our position as Stephen is, yet came to Jerusalem where Solomon was. When she saw his wisdom, his house, his table, his servants, "there was no more spirit in her". (1 Kings 10:5) Like the apostle she was entranced.

Mark how it is his -- his -- his. All things were personally connected with Solomon. In the Old Testament you get what the natural mind can take in set forth quite plainly. Thus here is one who leaves her own country, where she has plenty and wealth, to see a very wise man. She communes with him; and what is the effect? There is no spirit left in her. I get so entranced with the feast, that I think very little of the things I possess down here. She had plenty of treasure, but she thought no more of it when she saw Solomon. And no one gets clear of

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natural things here, till he gets them eclipsed with what is beyond the brightness of the sun.

When we get hold of a glorified Christ (and the Holy Spirit has come down to tell us of Him) one does not know how, but things drop off, like old leaves pushed off by new. One gets clear of things almost unconsciously. Natural things lose their attraction and interest. A careful historian of his own soul knows his different besetments, and he does not know how to get free from them. But if he gets near Christ, he is set free without his knowing how. Not only am I in the closest relationship to Him, but it is a character of union of a wondrous order; He is the source of all my supplies; I have no head but Christ; I have Christ's parts; I have Christ's mind; I have Christ's wisdom; and nothing will suit me but His place.

Ephesians is the "royal bounty" -- a gift; but I cannot keep it without Colossians. Colossians is participation: it is more experience. The queen of Sheba could leave Jerusalem and go back to her own country. She was not in relationship with Solomon. But I am, and I could not leave the place where He is. True, I have relationships here, but I carry them out with a new power. So we read, "Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28) "Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?" (Luke 14:31) The tower is for protection, not aggression; the army is for aggression. All depends on what material I have. If it is natural it will come to grief. I have to carry on old relations in a new power.

One word more. We read in Luke 18, "Then Peter said. Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them. Verily I say unto you,

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There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting". (Luke 18:28 - 30) That is the answer to chapter 14:26: "If any man ... hate not". You might say that is very severe and ascetic. Now chapter 18, is a most interesting comment upon it. Surrender in itself is not worth anything. For instance, Jephthah surrendered what he chose; it was his own will; but what I have to surrender is whatever interferes with my following the Lord, that is the first thing in my mind. Chapter 14- 26 looks like a very rigid rule; but the Lord gilds it by saying (chapter 18:29), You gain immensely in this present time; you are not a bit a loser by what you surrender. In this feast I have such joy in the Lord that I am no loser.

We have but a poor idea of the magnificent portion God has provided for our souls. This is where we often lose power in preaching the gospel. If we had the characteristic that we have gained something wonderful outside the world, we should have immense power with the world.

The one simple lesson we have to learn is, more of Christ in the place where He is. May the thought rest in your minds, I am here to learn something of Christ, and when one lesson is learnt, you will be passed on to another; and so the heart is made more and more acquainted with Him in the scene that suits Him, and I get so cheered and established in it, that I leave all, and press toward the mark. For when my heart is acquainted with that new scene, when I have seen Him there (I must see Him there first), the moral effect is what Paul gives us in Philippians 3I leave all behind to get to Him.

The Lord grant we may each know more of the blessedness of that scene, and thus be proof against things here -- against the many offers in this scene.

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When a man is looking for advancement here, for improvement in his circumstances on earth, he is not enjoying the supper. The supper has lost its place in his heart. What a thing to have all my joys there! To be in the place where Christ is, to have His festivities in that place, and to draw all my resources from thence!

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SYMPATHY

Hebrews 4:11 - 16; Hebrews 10:19 - 23

Last evening we had what is the Christian's portion, because of association with Christ; the "great supper;" and a new place is what characterises the great supper. "Your life is hid with Christ".

This is a day when there is plenty of phraseology abroad about occupation with Christ. It is everything, if true; but there is often only occupation with Christ for the relief of the conscience, and if so, where does it stop? It stops when the relief is met. But if He is an object to the heart, you will never be satisfied but in association with Him where He is. There is often the use of language without its real meaning being known; but if there is simple occupation with Christ, you cannot enjoy it but in association with Him where He is, and in communion with Him about things here. In Psalm 23, there is lying down first, and then I come forth refreshed for the struggle of life here, and to walk in "the paths of righteousness". I "fear no evil".

Our subject tonight is, what Christ is for us down here; but I must first know Him where He is; if I do not know Him where He is, I shall never find Him with me down here. True, He accomplished everything down here, but you never get settled rest in your soul till you know that God has glorified Him up there. You never find a truly settled soul who does not raise the question. Where is He? Mary Magdalene says, "They have taken away my Lord". The two disciples in John 1, ask, "Where dwellest thou?" It is a remarkable question; the heart is set on the discovery of where He is. It is vain for a man to tell me his heart is on a person, if he is indifferent to where that person is. "If ye then be risen with

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Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth". (Colossians 3:1) That is what my heart wants.

Many a person is looking for Christ's sympathy down here in a sordid way. That is not the way to reach Him. I know Him as the One who has accomplished everything, and relieved my heart by giving me the consciousness that I am before God in acceptance, and that God's heart is at liberty to unfold to me by the Spirit the things prepared for them that love Him. Isaiah says, I do not see them; the folding-doors were not thrown open then. Grace originates in the mind of the person who confers it.

My want is never the measure of it, though the grace covers my need.

In Hebrews 10, we have right to enter into the holiest. The apostle is not putting Hebrews 10, as an advance on chapter 4, but shewing us the history by which we have reached the point we have gained -- GOD. We have got the right of access, and now we are going on to God's rest, to heaven. The mistake of Christendom is that priesthood is to get me into heaven. That is false. The sacrifice has got me in. I enter into heaven; I go to this great supper. Who brought me there? The good Shepherd.

In Luke 15, there are three parables, which are all occupied about one person. The Father could not have embraced the prodigal if the good Shepherd had not gone after the lost sheep; and if light had not worked in the heart of the prodigal he never would have returned to his Father: it was light that discovered the lost piece of money. Grace begins it, grace accomplishes it. I stand on simple grace. I am entitled to nothing, but I count on what is in the Father's heart for me. When I come to discover what is in that heart for me, that is grace. It is an unspeakable comfort to my heart to say, I know He will do something, though what He will do I know not. I would not venture to dictate to

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Him what He should do, but I know my Father's heart.

In Hebrews 10, I have the right of entrance, and I am sustained in that bright place, not by anything of myself, but by that blessed Person who now is there. I have a right to go into the Father's house, and I have the extreme joy of being there in that scene.

Now chapter 4, is the character of Christ's support to me down here on earth. It is no question of sin. Priesthood is for me as a poor feeble person down here. We are going on to the rest, and how are we to get on by the way? Chapter 4, tells us how Christ supplies us as we pass on through this world. The first thing is the word of God; the second, the sympathy of Christ. I could not be sustained here where Christ is not, save by the grace of Christ. I have His sympathy.

In John 11, I find two believers, sisters, suffering from the same affliction, a very terrible bereavement; they both are suffering, but in very different states of soul, and we see how the Lord meets and deals with each. When a soul goes wrong, it is not priesthood that sets him right; it is advocacy; the advocate has to do with sin.

In John 13, the disciples have to learn that their feet are to be washed. The Lord rises from supper -- the figure of the accomplished work of Christ's death. Christ has done one work perfectly, but then He says, I will introduce you to another work; and this is now going on. Peter did not understand this, and the Lord says, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". (John 13:8) There is nothing so easily lost as communion. I might lose it in looking at a picture. I have not lost my salvation, but I have lost simple concert with Christ's mind for the moment.

When the Lord rose to wash their feet, it was as though He said, I am going to introduce you to a

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new work which is not yet completed; and this work you can help Me in. Christ separates us from the defilement we contract along the road, and we can help one another by separating one another from this defilement too. We can have no concert with the Lord without this.

Am I in concert with the Lord's mind? That is communion. I never lose life, or the benefits of Christ's work, but I do continually lose concert with Christ. He says, I wash your feet when you are defiled by things here; I will detach you from that which has detached you from Me. That is the action of Christ's word, to separate us from that which has separated us from Him.

A very little thing separates the soul from Him. One who is in the habit of walking with the Lord feels, when he has lost Him, like the dog which has lost the scent of his master. A faithful dog goes round and round till he finds it. If I do not know intimacy with the Lord, I never know when it is disturbed. If I know the light and joy of His presence, I feel at once when I lose it. It is with the person I am most intimate, that I the most quickly understand the least shade of reserve; so, the more I understand what it is to be intimate with the Lord in any measure, the more I feel when a cloud comes between, when there is reserve, as we see in the Canticles.

But the Lord says. If you come to Me, you will find My word working on you to remove the shade of reserve that has come between you and Me; the first great desire of My heart is that there shall be nothing between you and Me. I will make it My business that there shall be no break in the intimacy. He wiped their feet after He had washed them; the towel is to give the soul the sense that there is nothing between, nothing of the defilement left.

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There are three actions of the word:

  1. When the soul is going astray to recover it.
  2. When I am going right it finds me out; I am read by it, as in Hebrews 4, the word discovers the contrariety that is in me by nature.
  3. To lead me on in communion. I am led along in company with the Lord Himself as the delight of my heart.

If I am not subject to the word, I do not get the Lord's sympathy. See the difference between His way with Martha and with Mary, though both were suffering, and He loved them both; but one was subject to Him, the other was not. Martha had no sympathy. She was not subject. He does not go a step along with her; He stayed "in that place where Martha met him". (John 11:30) He did not advance at all. But when Mary comes to Him, we see His sympathy. He comes alongside of her, as it were. He groans in His spirit. He is feeling what death is. He says to her, I have a deeper sense of death than you have. They were right to feel the death of their brother, but they were to be subject to the Lord in it.

Sympathy is that I feel what you feel. A great characteristic of Christ's sympathy is that He always presents Himself in the character that suits the person with whom He sympathises. Trial does not soften people; sympathy does. This terrible bereavement was used by the Lord as an opportunity to acquaint Mary with the heart she would never lose, with all the depth and the tenderness of the love that could never be taken from her; so that "out of the eater came forth meat". (Judges 14:14)

Weakness is not sinfulness. If a thing is wrong, Christ does not sympathise with us in it; nevertheless His love never ceases: He says, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee". (Hebrews 13:5) But He does not shew sympathy to a person who is perverse: the word must deal with that person. I often ask myself. Does

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the Lord sympathise with me in this? The first ministry of His grace brings the soul to understand, I have considered for you. Is the Lord thinking about me? Yes. What I want is the Lord's grace. I know Him, I belong to Him, I feed on the manna, Christ on earth.

Something may present itself and you may ask Him, Have you some way for me to act in this? Yes, He says, I have. He has some particular way for me to act in every circumstance. Look at the disciples in the storm. If they had faith in the Lord now, they would be all asleep as He is. When He rises up. He puts them to sleep: "There was a great calm". He walks beside Mary, He educates her in this. You are come to a throne of grace. Lazarus is alive again. He had given her a wonderful disclosure; He had acquainted her with His heart.

Jonathan gives all his things to David, but Ruth, a poor woman, outstrips him. Many would give up honours to a great conqueror, but Ruth follows Naomi when she is nothing at all. She says, I have learned a friend in my sorrow, and that friend shall be mine, though she herself has nothing; I will follow her unto death.

In Mary we find the same thing. In John 12, she is in concert with the Lord. She says. The most precious thing I have shall go down to the tomb with Him. A friend in sorrow who has known sorrow, is the greatest friend of all. It is very interesting to see that Mary's suffering was not relieved by meeting with the Lord; (chapter 11.) She discovered what was in the Lord.

The moment I begin to walk in this path I find out all my contrarieties. For the right road there are ninety-nine roads wrong, and the heart is ever inclined to go up one of those roads. When it does, the Lord says, I will send My word after you and draw you out of it, but I cannot go with you Myself;

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I cannot sympathise with you in it. The washing of my feet sets me free from the wrong road, and, the moment I get in the right one, I have the confirmed sense from the Lord Himself, I am with you, I bear you company.

In John 21. He deals with Peter in order to reach communion. If I have not the sense that the Lord sympathises with me, that He is looking after my concerns, I cannot turn round and think of His affairs. If you can, "the God of peace shall be with you" and, "whatsoever things are true ... think on these things". (Philippians 4:8) I am not going in company with the Lord, I am worried about my own affairs; but if I have the sympathy of Christ I shall not be worried, I know that He is thinking about my affairs, and I leave them all to Him.

Peter was the first of the apostles the Lord met after His resurrection; he was forgiven, but he was not in communion. Then at the sea of Tiberias, the Lord says, I will shew you I am thinking of you; and when they came to shore they found everything ready: "a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread". (John 21:9) And He says to them. Come and dine. But there was more than this to be done to restore communion. Peter had no fear of the Lord, yet he was not in communion until he entered into the full effect of the word touching the root from which the failure sprang.

That is the real effect of the word: it is not mere forgiveness, it is much more. The question, thrice repeated: "Lovest thou me?" touches his self-confidence, which is the fruitful source of all our failure and departure from the Lord; and where we least think we should fail, that is the very point where we do fail. If I had been self-distrusting, I should not have brought myself there. Where there is self-distrust the eye of faith rests upon Him who was down here, and who glorified God here, through

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all that bright pathway from infancy to the throne.

The Lord grant that each of us may know better His sympathy as we walk through this evil world. Amen.

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COMMUNION

John 14

The subject for tonight is communion. There is nothing the true heart desires more. And it is not only that my heart desires it, but Christ's heart desires it. This is an immense comfort, and yet it is so little known. We know so little of what it is to be in company with the Lord; walking down here, but in company with Him. It is not only that He is considering for me; but I may be in company with His mind, with Himself. The youngest believer may be in company with the Lord, though he may know very little.

In John 13, the Supper was in prospect, in remembrance of His death. All was in prospect. And now He rises from supper, and begins another work, a new work. He has finished one work, completed it: "there is no more offering for sin"; (Hebrews 10:18) what the supper represented is over, and He begins another work which is going on now. Washing our feet: "the washing of water by the word". (Ephesians 5:26) The Lord did not give His word in this way to Old Testament saints; you do not find Him washing their feet. It is Christ's present work for us; and what is the object of it? That we should have communion with Himself.

The object of His work on the cross was that I should be saved; the object of His present work is that I should have part with Him. Relief to the conscience alone does not satisfy the heart. Where there is affection for Christ, there must be longing for communion with Him; but sometimes we deceive ourselves by thinking we have it when we have not really.

There is nothing so gratifying to the heart, or so touching, as Christ saying, I will make it my business,

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that there shall be no break between you and Me. Christ "loved the church, and gave himself for it;" but more: "that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word". (Ephesians 5:25 - 26) The word comes out in a new way to produce a new and distinct effect. When Peter objected to having his feet washed, the Lord's answer is: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". (John 13:8) "Part " is communion. The object of the work which He now institutes, is by the ministry of the word to detach me from everything here, which causes a shade of distance between Him and me.

Look what the thought of His heart about me must be! It is affecting, entrancing, to think that all day long Christ's thought is, I desire that there should be no break between that soul and Me. And it is not that He tells me to make it my business, but that He will make it His business. So that I can trace this work, this washing of my feet, up to the very heart of Christ; and surely nothing can affect my heart like that! Do you walk along in the sense of His thought: There is to be no break between you and Me? He makes those helpers with Him whose feet are washed.

There are three great subjects which we individually have in communion with the Lord. He has gone to prepare a place for us. This is the individual line. He has got a place for me up there. Besides this there is service and testimony. These have to do with others; they are connected with maintaining His name.

There is the individual enjoyment of a soul walking in communion with the Lord, the eye turned to Him. "Ye believe in God, believe also in me". (John 14:1) Well, what have I communion with Him about? He has got a place for me there; He says, "I am the way". (John 14:6) The moment the soul is liberated by the work of Christ, the question arises. Where is He? So in

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Colossians we read, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth". (Colossians 3:1)

This is the action of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 7, He declares to Stephen where Christ is. The delay with souls consists in their not being clear as to the first work of Christ; for when they are, the question must be, "Where dwellest thou?" and the moment the heart rests on Christ and knows that He has got a place for me there, what an effect it has! It is a cheer to the heart to find there is my communion!

Besides this He makes known the Father. I am made acquainted with the One who owns the place. Heaven in a sense is a strange place; but the Father, blessed be His name, is not a stranger. "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it". (John 17:26) He is the way, and He Himself discovers the power.

We will use the word concert, for the word communion has become so common that we have lost the real meaning of it. The meaning of communion with Christ is that I am in concert with Him. We are together in company, we are in the same line of things. No one can follow the Lord save in communion.

The latter part of the chapter brings out two other things connected with communion: obedience to the word, and that He makes Himself known to the soul -- He manifests Himself. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him". (John 14:21) You are going on the very same line in which He goes Himself. He is telling you the true path to take, and not only that but He says, "I ... will manifest myself to him".

Judas asks. How? And the Lord answers. The Father and I will come and make our abode with

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you down here. The language is incomprehensible in magnitude. If you are not exercised as to it, you will not make much of it. If you are, perhaps you will make more of it than I do. It is the climax of the wonderful position the Lord would have us in, going along in company with Himself, we down here in the world, and He in the bright heavens up there. "Abode" in verse 23 is the same word as "mansions" in verse 2.

We talk of difficulties and perplexities! How little the heart is really in concert, in simple concert, with Christ! He has gone up to the right hand of God in greater power than ever, and He is using the elevation that He has gone to, to effect deliverance for me from all things that would separate Himself and me. Christ delights to have me in company with Himself about these wonderful things, and He uses His word to keep me from everything that would interfere with it. It is not a question of union: it is concert; it is the effect of the union.

Let us turn to a few examples to illustrate this. I may have communion according to my intelligence of Christ. In John 12, we find three persons, all three of whom have a measure of communion. Lazarus is sitting at the table; Martha is serving; but the one who was in simple concert with Christ's mind in the secret of His heart, travelling in company with Him, was Mary. She would take her place in company with Him, and He was going to die! The other two were not in full company with Him. Sitting at the table with Him was a great privilege; serving Him was a great distinction; but could anything equal being in company with Himself as to what He was about to do?

Again, in John 21, the Lord deals with Peter as to how he had failed in following Him. He was the first apostle the Lord met after His resurrection; he saw Him, He had breathed on him, had sent him

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forth, (chapter 20). Peter had no sense of fear of Him, but he was not in communion. A person may do a great deal without being in communion, but he has not the Lord's mind as to how to act. Moses did not get the Lord's mind for forty years. You may have got out of the path, but not out of grace, and you might have a great deal of blessing, and still not be in communion, not in accordance with the Lord's mind. This chapter (John 21) shews how the Lord brings Peter into communion. If we are true to the Lord we shall desire to be brought into it. The Lord says, "Come and dine".

It is interesting to mark that Peter is not restored yet, though he had been breathed on and commissioned. You will find that the sympathy of the Lord precedes communion. He shews the interest He takes in me, before He comes to effect the removal of the thing in me which is a barrier to communion. What barred communion to Peter was self-confidence. His heart was not restored, he was off the line. If we are in communion, we are going on the line. Peter had gone fishing.

It is important to see how a man may be receiving and learning the goodness and truth of the Lord, and still not be in His mind. How do I know when I am in His mind? When I follow Him. "Come and dine" is the sympathy side. Here, the Lord says, all is prepared; here is the fire of coals, and fish laid thereon, and bread; why do you go fishing? If you were in concert with Me, you would see that you had a line of things of your own, and had not consulted My line, like Martha.

Communion is, I know the mind of the Lord; I am in concert with it; though I may be very far from getting into the depths of it. You may say, I have His mind so far. Then act on it. The Lord says to Peter, I must touch the thing in your heart which bars you from communion: "Lovest thou

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me?" And then He adds the true practice of communion: "Follow me". There may be devotedness without communion. Jonathan was devoted, but not in communion. Ruth was in communion: "Whither thou goest I will go". (Ruth 1:16) When I get into communion my heart is called into fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. There is nothing so cheering to our poor hearts down here. The Lord likes me to go His own way, in concert with His own mind, and He enables me to accomplish what His desires are.

There is a difference between sympathy and communion. If I am afflicted or in distress, the Lord comes to me and says, I know what you are going through; I will give you a hand. He shews the interest of His heart for me. That is, "Come and dine". It is the thing that man wants; to think that the Lord is taking care of my interests; it touches my heart.

But some mistake this sympathy for communion; for instance, the sick often do. There is a sense in their souls of how Christ is considering for them in their weak state, and they think that is communion. He may yet have to touch the sore spot of what hinders such a one from entering into His interests; and it is a bitter process in many souls when the Lord touches the thing in the heart that hinders them from going on in His life. The more you go on with the word and in the path, the more will your tendencies be found out. If Abram goes into the land, he will be found out there. If you keep to the Lord and to the Lord's path, you will learn yourself; you will find out the desperate tendency there is in your heart to turn from that path. But that is directing, not correcting you.

There are two actions of the word: correcting and directing. In Hebrews 4, it is directing, while discovering all the treachery that is in your heart, but

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you are meanwhile going on in the path. We do not enough understand the effect of the word. I see the apostle accomplishing wondrous things by the word. Luke 24, is our side of John 20. There the Lord joins the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, and first opens out the word to them; He next appears to them. These two disciples were not two of the apostles; they were ordinary witnesses, chosen; and He expounds the word to them. This is practically the way souls are enlightened now. But after He opens the word to them He appears to them. And this is the practical difficulty in souls.

There is a moment when the soul knows union with Christ. People talk of union, but do not know it. Has your soul ever got a glimpse, by the Spirit of God, of Christ risen? of "the mark" of which Paul speaks? How can you "press toward the mark" if you do not see it? "The mark" is Christ in heaven; He is the goal I am going to. Have I seen it? Practically it is what souls have lost sight of. They do not look for acquaintance with Christ risen. The first thing is the education of the word; the second, Christ Himself must be seen. The word delights the heart, but till the eye of your soul has rested on the Person of Christ, you have not the model for the word to take; there is no formation.

These two disciples received the word, and they saw the Lord; and now they go in the same road with Him. The moment the word has practical effect on me, I am going in the same road with the Lord. When the word is effective, I am in concert with His mind. It was a blessed effect here; their hearts were lighted up with the word; it was God's view of the life of Christ; He taught them God's view of His life. Next they know Him; and now they start off for Jerusalem which was then the centre of His interests. It was too late before to go further; it is not now too late to go all the way back. What a

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beautiful energy produced by association with Christ! It could not be otherwise.

People often use a high phraseology for low things. A man may be receiving blessings from God without being in communion with Him. In Genesis 26, the Lord was very gracious to Isaac; He had really blessed him in the land of the Philistines, but when he left it all, the Lord appeared to him that same night. When the Lord discloses Himself to His servants He proposes to them the character and line of things they are to pursue, and He is with them as long as they follow it. Take as instances Moses at the burning bush; also Joshua, when he met the man with the drawn sword; and Isaiah, when the seraph touched his lips.

If I am in communion with the Lord, even if only a babe, I shall delight in His company. "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance". (Psalm 89:15) There is an allusion here to being in the tabernacle near enough to hear the bells of the High Priest. The Lord delights in my going in company with Him, and is it not delight to me? It is not only that He pities and helps me in trials.

In Philippians there is a different acquaintance with Christ in each chapter. All of us are in more or less trial and difficulty in which we can have company with the Lord. If I tell out all my difficulties to Him, I shall have the peace of God, chapter 4:7; and what am I to do then? "Whatsoever things are lovely ... think on these things". (Philippians 4:8) You could not do this if you were not in peace. If worried by the affairs of life, you cannot display these beautiful traits of character. Unburden then your heart to God; tell Him all; and you will come out in the practical thing with the peace of God; and the God of peace with you.

This is not for any high line of service, but for

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the daily routine of life. I am not worried by the details of daily life, because I have learned what Christ is to me. So that Paul says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". (Philippians 4:13) Instead of being flurried and worried, I come out gracious and considerate to everyone. If not, I am not walking in the circumstances in the power of Christ.

The 3rd chapter of Philippians is in advance of the 4th. Christ is so good to me, that my heart is set on Him; and if it is, nothing will suit me but association with Him where He is. I can count all things for Him loss; and "one thing I do" I am set for the mark. I see Him superior to everything. What marks a man in communion with Christ? He knows Him, he is in fellowship with His sufferings and he is forgetting the things behind. If my heart is set on Christ as my Object, and if I am attracted by Him, if I have found out what He has been to me, I am delighted to be acquainted with Him, and nothing but His path down here suits me. What Naomi was to Ruth when she was a widow, bound her heart to Naomi. When I have found out what Christ has been for me. He is an Object to my heart. I am occupied with Him, I long to be with Him and I desire only to have His path down here. Then what characterises me practically is "forgetting those things which are behind". (Philippians 3:13)

Chapter 2, is higher: it is the mind of Christ. I have communion with Him now about the church; I have got another line of communion. Paul was in them all. Chapter 4, is the lowest; there we get help for ourselves in our circumstances. But while looking for Christ's help you may have communion with Him, and, if you have found the help, you are actually in the manner of life in which Christ would be here in the same circumstances.

He is the One my heart is attracted to; I want to

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be in communion with Him. We may have communion with a person without a word passing between us; there is often communion thus about common things.

One great proof of being in communion is that I am not strait-laced; I can enter into everything, but in a godly way. The Lord was the most natural Person possible. Most surely God has to do with man as to nature -- His own creation. And we read "naturally care for your state". (Philippians 2:20)

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CONSECRATION

Exodus 29

The subject I desire to bring before you this evening is our consecration, and by this I understand not consecration to service, but consecration for service; I desire to look at what consecration to God really is.

I come from God for service. What am I before Him? It is in keeping with what I am there that I shall be here.

How do I get preparation for service. By consecration. Peter tells us there is "a holy priesthood", and "a royal priesthood". The first is to God; the second for man. I must be a holy priest before I can be a royal priest; I must be in before I can come out. I first get the sense of what I am before God in Christ, and of what Christ is to God; I have communion with God's thoughts about Christ (it is not here communion with what Christ is occupied with; that is connected with us individually); and then I have to learn how I am fitted to act for Christ down here.

I cannot represent what I do not know. Moses took forty days to get an impression, and then he came out with his face shining. The Lord came "from God". How different we should be in everything if we came from God! It is not going to God; that is not the question here. It is very right to go to God, that is prayer; but when you come back from Him, that is the thing. After preaching, when I go to the Lord I may find that a good deal of self has come in, though I may have been in His mind in the desire to serve Him.

Here there are a bullock and two rams. The bullock was the sin-offering. Every saved person believes

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that Christ bore the judgment of his sins. If not, he is not clear of the sense of judgment. He died "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God". (1 Peter 3:18) His work was not only to get me out of hell, it was to bring me to God. The prodigal was not only out of the far country, he was brought into the Father's house. The thief on the cross was brought to God. The Lord says to him, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise". (Luke 23:43)

There were two rams to represent Christ, Aaron and his sons are a figure of the church, and in verse 15 they are identified with the sacrifice. The whole ram is Christ gone up to God, "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father". (Romans 6:4) He is there in all His own excellency, in the perfection of His accomplished work; He has gone up to God as a sweet - smelling savour; and I am not only out of judgment, but in the sweet savour of Christ to God. It is a wonderful thing. This is where the Spirit puts me in the epistle of John, "As he is, so are we in this world". (1 John 4:17) How blessed! Is He the Father's delight there? So am I. Is He welcome there? So am I. Is He without a cloud there? So am I. His love perfected in me.

You will never be fit for service till you are clear with God. What proved that Job was clear with God? When he prayed for his friends. When freed as to himself be can intercede for others. But must I not think of my poor soul? By all means. Do not think of anything but your poor soul until your poor soul is settled. But when it is settled think of Him who settled for it. And who settled for it? CHRIST. Now think of Him.

Noah was saved by the ark. When he came out from it on the earth he offered a burnt-offering. The sweet savour of it, which is a figure of Christ, went up to God. Man was not any better, but God says, I will look on man differently now: "I will not

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again curse the ground any more for man's sake". (Genesis 8:21) The burnt-offering is connected with resurrection: the ram went up whole. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God". (Romans 5:1) Is it because we know that Christ died? No, but because He is risen, and at the right hand of God. You will never get rest in your soul till you know Christ as the burnt-offering to God; and that now, in this place, on this earth, where I was an alien and a wanderer from God, I am placed in the moral state in which Christ is at the right hand of God; in every moral feature that belongs to Christ!

The first ram is Christ gone up to God. That is what I am before God; I am not only relieved, but I am enjoying Christ, and in His sweet savour. The second ram is consecration, and brings us as priests to God. I am in a new enjoyment now, in a new order of things entirely: a holy priesthood. I have not to do with the royal priesthood yet; that is service.

Are you consecrated? Often you hear the expression used, 'consecrated for service'. It is what it is to God. I am brought into the most blessed thing. I am made to participate in what God has in Christ! It is a wonderful moment of joy. And I am made conscious too, not only that I am accepted in the Beloved -- that is the first ram, but of what I am myself made by Christ -- that is what the second ram is. To me, it represents what the church is in Christ; not only the sense of what God has in Christ, but the sense of what I am in this blessed One. It is a great thing to find out what I am with God; not only accepted in the Beloved, but what I am as being of Christ to God.

In verse 20 blood was put on the ear, hand and foot. Every thing connected with the avenues to the soul of man is under the grace of God. All is unto God, consequent on the blood. Then there is the oil.

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That is sealing. The full thing is the sense in my soul not only that I am accepted without a charge, but also that I am anointed, sealed with the Holy Spirit. I "have an unction from the Holy One". (1 John 2:20) I am on new ground. I can enter into the Holiest. I have not got there by any carnal ordinance, but by the blood of Jesus; and I have boldness to enter; I have a right to be there; I have not only access, but I have boldness to enter that bright scene; and this not by any carnal power, but by the Spirit of God. I am sealed. The great moral, effect is, I have to do with God. I am on a new footing altogether.

We read, "Thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration: and one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the Lord: and thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the Lord". (Exodus 29:22 - 24) Here we get the meat-offering and the peace-offering. This is contemplation. It does not say you appropriate this. When you come to appropriation you feed. Here it is contemplation. It is put into the hands of Aaron and his sons and waved. Thus we contemplate Him.

Saints lack this contemplation too much. What more delightful occupation for the heart, than to get God's, thoughts about the Person of Christ? In the margin, consecration is to 'fill the hand'. What fills your hands? Is it any work that fills them? These hands which once did their own pleasure are now filled with the wonderful excellency of Christ I The fat was found in His death; they could not get at it but by death. All the excellency of His death is offered to God. The meat-offering is His life; in

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death the excellency fully came out. What fills your hands going to visit the sick, or to lecture. Or to do any service? Is it the excellency of Christ? If when I go to visit or to speak to souls I have been thinking of politics, I shall not be of any use. I am coloured by what my mind has been dwelling on. But if the Lord is before my soul in His wonderful excellency it does not matter how I speak. Something comes out that is suited to meet the souls I am with, for I am looking at Christ.

The third thing is the wave-breast. "And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aarons' consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the Lord: and it shall be thy part". (Exodus 29:26) This is, I suppose, intercession. This is what Christ is to God for us.

Then comes appropriation: "And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place". (Exodus 29:31) In the peace-offering the right shoulder was the priest's part, but in the ram of consecration, it did not belong to any one; it went up to God, as we see in verse 22. It is beyond me, as it were. I do not appropriate it. I contemplate Him with delight of heart, and I am brought to this, to be one entirely given to God, a priest to God. But in verse 31, I feed on Him; I am appropriating Him, and thus acquiring vigour of soul. That is the value of food, to give vigour and strength. And, as I appropriate that blessed One, I am in the excellency of His accomplished work at the right hand of God; I am in company with Him. As in Colossians: not only am I a believer, but I participate of Christ; I have great things in connection with that blessed One.

Now we will look at some examples of this, to make clear to us what is the effect of consecration. I am suggesting that you should search for yourselves. Suggestive teaching is the most helpful of all

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teaching, for it suggests to a person the very thing he requires, and thus he is helped.

Let us first look at Isaiah 6. We here see in the prophet an example of the defect that is in every one, until he is rightly with God. Isaiah was a converted man, a distinguished prophet and servant, but the Lord says, as it were, You cannot go; you are not right with me, and until you are right with me you cannot be right for me. He was not clear in the presence of God; he was not, we may say, a priest to God. He was not able to travel into the presence of God and say. Not only am I placed here without a cloud, but I know Jesus here. I participate with Him. That is the second ram. But when the seraph touches his lips, look at the effect! It is, "Here am I; send me". (Isaiah 6:8) Now he is ready to go, and he comes from God. That makes all the difference. The Lord needed no preparation for service; He always came from God; He never left heaven. It makes an immense difference about everything if I come from God.

Next turn to Psalm 73. Here is a pious man looking at things here in this world, but he has not himself been to God; he is not a priest; he is not until he goes "into the sanctuary". Note, it is a change of place, not a change of opinion. It is a wonderful thing to change your place; to go into the sanctuary and to find that, instead of being repulsed, you have wonderful acceptance there. See what comes of it! What an effect it had on him! What a sense he got of God! "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" (Psalm 73:25) He says, "I am continually with thee". (Psalm 73:23) I will "declare all thy works". (Psalm 73:28) It is a wonderful thing to get near God; the psalmist was fit now to look at things here.

In Philippians 4, I have got the peace of God. What did you do to get it? you ask. I did nothing. I only went in to Him, and I got His peace. I got a token of being near Him. If you got the idea of

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what consecration is, you would see how you are fitted practically to act in circumstances down here. I do press this on your hearts, that if you want really to be according to Christ in anything down here, come from God.

Look at Moses in Exodus 33. Moses is in the mount with God. On descending he finds the people are in a terrible state on earth. He says. That is a contrast to the state I was in! I was in a glorious place; I was practically enjoying being with Christ; not only have I a right to it, but I was enjoying it. He comes out, and he is master of the occasion. He did not get a word of direction, but he does everything for God: he "took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp". (Exodus 33:7) How did he know that was the right thing to do? He came from God, and so he knew the thing that suited God. When I am in contemplation of Christ I am imbued with the virtues of Christ; and I come out from the presence of God to reproduce them in my own walk.

The question as to everything now is. Do you work from God to man? Philanthropy works from natural benevolence to man; but I am to come from God to man; I am sanctified to obedience. Christians and philanthropy are so often found together; but the moment a Christian drops to the level of philanthropy, he is nowhere.

The gospel is sometimes used in that way, as the best thing for man; but if you come from God, your desire will be to bring the poor soul into what delights the heart of God. An evangelist is one sent from God to fill up vacancies in the heart of Christ. They are not all in yet; you must sweep the house till you find them; you must search the world round. You work from the heart of Christ. If you have not love for poor souls, you do not know the heart of Christ.

When the Lord came down from the mount. He

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met the very worst state of things possible. He came from God, and entered into all the need here. Contrast does not affect us if we are walking simply with God. Paul was up there in the third heaven. But it was not by any abilities of his own that he was brought into that scene, and he had no abilities of his own up there. When he came down he got the thorn. And he says, I do not understand this; take it away. He wanted to use his natural abilities. But the Lord says, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness", (2 Corinthians 12:9) and he finds that what was small in the eyes of men is blessed with God.

Look at Psalm 84. Here again it is first God, then man. "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee". (Psalm 84:4) That is in a scene where there is nothing to hinder the flow of praise. Then it is "blessed is the man whose strength is in thee". (Psalm 84:5) That is his state. "Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength". (Psalm 84:6 - 7) Paul had to find out that it was not enough to have enjoyment; what he wanted here was strength. You do not want strength if you are not weak. You do not want strength if there is no opposition. The soul enters into the region of light and glory, delights in God, and now comes down to the valley of Baca, and makes it a well; comes down to be useful to man. How can you serve God if you do not know Him? It is the one who most knows Christ that best opens out the perfections of that blessed One. What a marvellous thing that God should let me see what Christ is to Him! In His presence the soul discovers the wonderful perfection of Christ in the sight of God, and shares in them too. We have "fellowship ... with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ". (1 John 1:3)

In the gospel of Luke I see very particularly that before every thing the Lord is in prayer; not to get

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something from God, but He looks at everything as it was with God first, and then He comes into this scene. He comes out from God, but He never really left Him.

Look at Anna in Luke 2. Here again it is God-ward first. Her continual occupation was with God: she "served God with fastings and prayers night and day". (Luke 2:37) And then she comes from Him to speak of Him "to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem". (Luke 2:38) Where do you come from?

Look at Joshua 5. Here is actual preparation for conflict. Inside with God first; then you come out as a heavenly soldier.

In Ephesians it is, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith". (Ephesians 3:17) I get acquainted with that blessed One in the presence of God. He is God's delight, and He is dwelling in my heart. That is a wonderful thing! It is not doctrinal, it is practical, this blessed Person dwelling in my heart. Then come down to practise it: I "beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called". (Ephesians 4:1) Or, as in Romans, "I beseech you.. by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice". (Romans 12:1) You are put up there first, and come down from these wonderful things to all the various circles, the details of daily life, as masters, servants, children, parents, wives and husbands.

The Lord grant that each heart may be led into it. It is an immense cheer to the heart to understand in a little measure that I can enjoy what Christ is, He who is the delight of God's heart. And the place He is in there is my place before God; and He has not only put me without a cloud there, but made me participate with Him as a priest to God, so that I can enjoy it myself, and can come out to act for God in this world.

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WORSHIP

John 4

The full character of worship was not known in Old Testament times. The word worship often means only homage; but if I really adore a person, relationship to that person only enhance the character of the adoration. There is worship in the Psalms, but nothing is known of relationship in them, therefore the worship of the Psalms has not the character of this worship.

Until you are established in your soul, you cannot make God an object. Christendom has lost the idea of worship. We hear of a house of worship, and the question. In what place do you worship? There may be sincere worship in a so-called 'place of worship', but that is not the character of worship. There is a great difference between godliness and worship. Godliness is the sense of what God is. In worship I am bowed before Him, I worship in the sense of having to do with One with whom I am in the closest relationship. It is not simply that I am bowed before Him, but that my heart is bowed in adoration to the One to whom I am closely related: "The Father seeketh such to worship him". (John 4:23)

We find a contrast to the fourth chapter of John in the second chapter. In the second we get man's utter failure. Both the natural state and the religious state of man is a failure: at the marriage feast the wine is out, and when the Lord goes into the house of God, instead of finding there worshippers for God, He finds it a place of merchandise.

But in chapter 4, we find the Lord stating two things: first, what you will be, you do not want wine; for "whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; " (John 4:14) you are put into an entirely new state. Second, you "worship the

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Father". "The Father seeketh such to worship him". (John 4:23) And it is an entirely new order: "neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem"; (John 4:21) it is not connected with any antecedents; it is a new order of things. God takes a new kind of character: that of the nearest relationship. My heart learns that the Father really seeks that I should be in this adoration, conscious of how close I am to Him, absorbed, detained by an object that controls me. And the nearer I get to the blessed God, there is not only a sense of His majesty, but a sense of the relationship in which I am to Him in all the unfolding of His glory.

This was not so in olden times, and the defect in the present day arises from people not understanding the character of the worship that belongs to us now. It is not that I lose the homage. Homage is to a sovereign, and that is not lost. But I render all this homage to One to whom I am in the nearest relationship: to the Father. You do not get the right character of worship now if you do not connect the relationship with the homage.

There is a danger of calling low things by high names. A prayer meeting is sometimes called a worship meeting. There is nothing higher than a meeting for worship. It is not only that we are gathered there, but we understand what we are there for. You come into the presence of God to be occupied with Him. One who thus comes must know he is a child. If I do not know I am a child, I cannot worship the Father. Priesthood comes before worship. In hymns people sometimes lose the idea of worship in praise. There is praise in worship, but if it is merely praising for benefits, that is not worship.

In Psalm 103 the first verse is in a higher key than the second: "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name". (Psalm 103:1) You are thinking of nothing but Himself. The second verse drops down to praise: "Bless the Lord, O my soul,

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and forget not all his benefits". (Psalm 103:2) You are occupied with the things you receive from Him, and not simply with what God is in Himself. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name". (Hebrews 13:15) I do not want to lose the lower thing, but I must not miss the higher.

We read at the end of Luke: "And they worshipped him ... and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God". (Luke 24:52 - 53) What is the difference between these two things? Praise is very simple; it is because He did so-and-so for me; that is very happy work. But the force of the word bless is eulogise. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ". (Ephesians 1:3) It is not only the sense of what is due to Him, but that you are in close relationship to that wonderful Person.

Again, in 1 Corinthians 14, we read; "And so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth". (1 Corinthians 14:25) How little we have of that now! It does not say that such an one was converted; but that, "convinced of all ... judged of all", he reports that "God is in you of a truth". Not only was the Spirit of God there, but there was the activity of the Spirit of God. How much we have lost that! how feeble we are! how little our souls are brought into the sense of His presence! What trifling and self-will can be maintained in the presence of the Lord! People say now sometimes, 'We do not need speaking', which shews how little they are in the mind of the Lord. It was the prophet speaking by the Spirit of God that brought this out; there was homage to the greatness of God's presence among His people.

Where does worship begin? and what really is the place connected with it? In Hebrews 10, we find the right of entrance into the holiest, and the condition

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of the person that has a right to go in: he has "no more conscience of sins". That is the character of the person: he has no more conscience of sins; it does not say consciousness. Conscience of sins is a sense that God has a claim on me because of sins; but the purged worshipper knows that God has no more claim on him because of sins. It is a wonderful character of perfection. You approach the holiest, and find your proper place of worship. You have the right of entrance. No more conscience of sins -- do I not do them? That is another question. Here it is not a question of consciousness, but of conscience: God has no more remembrance of sins. I, a worshipper, can come into the presence of God and say, The worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins. "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel". (Numbers 23:21)

It is an immense comfort to the heart to get hold of this. My Father is well pleased. God looks comfortably at me. He says in terms, I have never lost the efficacy of the work My Son has done; I have not a single feeling about you but love. You have boldness to enter.

People sometimes say, I am afraid I shall lose it. I ask. Did you ever find it? Do not talk of losing a thing until you find it. Hebrews 10 shews that if we do not know entrance we must be imperfect all through. Here it is simply the right of entrance, not yet the character of worship; it is not here what you are doing, but you have a title to go in to the very holiest scene where the most devoted Jew could not go in from fear. Tradition says that the high priest had a rope about him when he went in, in order that if he died those without might draw him out again; when the smoke of the incense went up, they knew he was alive.

But now everything that was against me is put away by the blood of His Son. I do not look to the blood to clear me when I fail. It is the ashes of the

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red heifer that have done that, as we see in Numbers 19, not the blood; and this is a much more severe process. The blood is grace; the ashes bring to my remembrance by the Spirit of God what the Son of God went through for that self-indulgence and those trifling gratifications I have so lightly given way to. The ashes in the running water sprinkled on the unclean person is the Spirit of God bringing me to the sense of the judgment executed on Christ for my sin, and what it cost Him, and I repudiate not only the thing I have done, but the nature which did it.

The apostle says. We have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way";(Hebrews 10:19 - 20) not a carnal way. We come in on new ground entirely, by the Spirit of God. People talk of losing it, and you may lose sight of it; you may wander from it; but theright to it is established, and if you recover what you lose it is only to get back where you were before; you get nothing new.

Light detects; that is its first action. People are often so pleased with being an object of light, that they stop there. They say, I know I am a Christian. Is that all? If I am searched by the word that is not all. The light first acts on me; it first exposes what is contrary to Him, detects it; and then I can be occupied with what is in the light, with God Himself, "In the light, as he is in the light". (1 John 1:7)

Nothing can be more wonderful for the soul than to have a right to enter into a scene of perfect holiness. The first thing that Moses was told to make was the ark of the covenant and the mercy-seat; and yet the most pious of the people never got to it. But in Romans 3, we read, "Whom God has set forth a mercy-seat". (Romans 3:25) God's first thought in Exodus is effectually carried out in Romans for the poor sinner.

If you have once tasted of being in the holiest of all, you are never happy till you are there again. It says, "Awake, thou that sleepest";(Ephesians 5:14) you may have

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got very dull and you may have been asleep and inactive as the bride in Song of Songs 5 -- an example of one asleep, one who misses carrying out her feelings into practical action. There is nothing more important than to carry the feelings I have into practical action. Feeling is worth nothing if not carried into effect: "I sleep, but my heart waketh". He withdraws Himself to teach her the value of Himself, and, when that is learnt, she finds Him in His own proper place.

In Deuteronomy 26, there is nothing about the right to enter; but we get that which really interests the soul in connection with what God's grace is. In verse 1 you get dwelling in the land, not only that you are come to it. Is the holiest of all the same as Canaan? you ask. The holiest of all is the moral position we occupy before God; the land is the place; it is another scene, and I am in it. Where is the holiest of all? In heaven! That is the moral side of it. The apostle in Hebrews takes up the figure of the tabernacle. He says to them. If you want a priest you must get Him where He is. He has passed into the heavens. What a sense is awakened in the soul! I am there in the sense of adoring homage to One who is in the closest relationship to me: and the more my soul is drawn out in the sense of the greatness of that blessed One, the more I have the sense that I am related to Him.

Hebrews 10 gives me my condition. I am fit for God, and suited to Him. Deuteronomy 26, tells me the nature of the place which is given to me -- it is a land of milk and honey. I have the sense of being in a wealthy place; I rejoice, in every good thing which the Lord my God has given unto me. I begin with God, and go down to everything connected with me. What do you think the prodigal felt when he was brought into the Father's house? Did he not feel that he had got into a wonderful place? His

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condition was "a Syrian ready to perish", and now he is actually brought into this wealthy place!

Then there are the first-fruits, verse 10: the going up of the heart to Him. I am come into this wealthy place; it is not a question of getting there. That is not worship. What would you call worship? To worship I must draw near first. When I draw near, if there is anything on my conscience I am sure to find it out. I find what stops the road, the action of the word on a person who is dull prepares him to draw near. And having drawn near I have a sense in my soul of the most ineffable acceptance with God, and that the Lord Jesus Christ maintains me there in perfect fitness for that scene. And what is the character of the worship? I am adoring the Father in spirit and truth.

If a hymn is given out to excite the feelings, the worship drops down at once. If to express all the purposes of God's grace to me, my heart is in perfect tune with it: "making melody in your heart to the Lord". (Ephesians 5:19) "In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee". (Psalm 22:22) For this we have to get the full character of worship. The Father seeks it. We have to do with Him to whom we are now brought. There is not only the ineffable sense that I am placed entirely suited to the eye of God; but, while adoring the Father, the heart conscious of relationship, I know the character of the place, and what it is to me; I lay down my basket and worship.

The second prayer in Ephesians is the result of a person knowing he is in this blessed place. Being there I pray for the present results of being in it. Chapter 2, is the result of the first prayer -- or knowing the counsels of God in the heavenly places. And what does he pray for then? For the present result of that knowledge. Here the Father is the great point. It is to "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ". I am adoring the blessed God in the consciousness

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of the relationship which subsists between us.

It is a great thing to feel how ignorant we are, to know how very far behind we are. When we look at the Lord's concluding words of His disciples, "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them", (John 17:26) do they not cheer our hearts? The love He had to His Son? Have you the sense that the Lord is teaching you the love wherewith the Father loves Him?

If you had how could there be on you any traces of vexation or disappointment? You would be overpowered instead of disappointed; you would be surprised at the wonderful bounty of that heart that delights to express itself as fully as it can in every form and in every way. The glory is the measure of everything; the glory is the expression of His own satisfaction.

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;" (Ephesians 3:17) that He may take a room in your heart. As He says: "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him". (John 14:23) This is the highest divine thing I can have in this world, and this is the result of knowing the place I am set in in Christ. But it is not only that I know the place, but I know the love of the blessed One who brought me to it; the love that passeth knowledge. The proof that I love Christ is that I keep His commandments. If I really love Him I do the things He likes me to do; and the Father loves me, and They come and take up Their abode with me. When Christ dwells in the heart by faith, I am brought into the length, and breadth, and depth and height; and I know His love which passeth knowledge; and am filled unto all the fulness of God. "Unto him be glory .. throughout all ages". (Ephesians 3:21) There is worship!

How imperfect the servant of God feels in any attempt to set forth such a subject!

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SERVICE

Philippians 2

Now we come to the subject of service down here while we do not lose the bright scene above. That is the place of retirement from which we are made ready to come forth as servants. We come from God. The failure in service is that people very generally do not come to it from God. But for all effectual service we must come from God, and therefore place service after worship. I come from the joy of the Lord: "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". (John 20:21) He was sent into the world, and so are we. We must be out of it before we can be sent into it and each one is sent with a special vocation, a special mission.

There are three kinds of service:

  1. Moral influence.
  2. Any kind of acts.
  3. Gifts.

There may be service where there is no acting at all but moral influence: "Shine as lights in the world;" (Philippians 2:15) that is not doing; it is moral influence. We have all orders of service in this chapter, whilst in Ephesians we have more especially gifts.

The first thing to consider is, what is service now? If we look at the service of the tabernacle, it was different altogether from what it is now. Service now consists in my being sent out as Christ's deputy to carry out in this world what Christ is. I am placed according to divine grace in the same state as Christ is in heaven at the right hand of God; and I am sent into the world as He was.

Next, what does service aim at? State. A true servant is one who will "care for your state". He does not merely do a work for you to satisfy his own

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conscience, but, as the apostle says, "That I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state". (Philippians 2:19 - 20) The thought conveyed in the word naturally is that of one who like a relation will care for your state; like a mother with a child, they were on his mind, and the thing before him was their state.

This gives an immense idea of what service is. It is of a new character, and the Lord opens it out in John 13. That is the first time in which service comes out as a ministry of the word. It is not confined to gifts; it is entirely connected with the state; it consists in removing the thing that interferes with communion. If I wash your feet it is to remove what interferes with your communion; so if I do not know your state I cannot know what interferes with your communion. This gives a new character to service altogether; it is considering for the state of others.

The mind of Christ (chapter 2) is the highest state in Philippians, whilst in chapter 4, you cannot do without Him in all the difficulties of the world. Your occupation with Christ is to the end to get help from Him. How am I to get on here? I look to Him, and, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". (Philippians 4:13)

But in chapter 3 it is very different. Christ is the object of my heart: it is Himself I want, not merely His help. Many think they are occupied with Christ when it is only help they want; but if I am occupied simply with Christ I, of necessity, seek association with Him where He is. That is the mark of real occupation of heart with Christ Himself. It is preposterous for a man to tell me he is occupied with Christ if be does not seek association with Christ where Christ is. Look at the disciples in Acts 1"Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" (Acts 1:11) Look at Stephen (Acts 7): "Being full of the Holy Spirit, having fixed his eyes on heaven, he saw the glory of

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God, and Jesus". (Acts 7:55) The heart has got its proper course; the heart has got its proper place. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth". (Colossians 3:1) Heaven is in contrast to earth.

Many a person says he is not worldly, who is very earthly. You might live on top of a mountain and enjoy yourself, and, though you would not be worldly, you might be very earthly. If you are not heavenly, you are earthly. "Set your affection on things above". (Colossians 3:2) If I am occupied with Christ in the place where He is, I am occupied with His interests where He is not.

Be honest as to what is the character of your occupation with Christ. One child says, I cannot do without my mother. Another child says, I cannot enjoy anything without my mother. We cannot do without Him in daily life, and thank God for it; but, if He is simply my object. He is my 'mark'. The moment I see Him, I have got the mark; the very meaning of the word 'mark' is something that I see; and the heart that is occupied with Christ as its object soon finds out that Christ is its mark.

The 'mind' of Christ. What was His mind? He was a servant all the way down. He says, I am not counting what it will cost Me; I am going to serve; and I go down, down. I become a Man, and then I go down as low as a man is to be found, to the very lowest point in which a man could be found; and that is death. This is service. He "made himself of no reputation". (Philippians 2:7)

We have seen that there are three kinds of service, the first of which is moral influence. Everyone has moral influence either for good or for evil. I may not necessarily be doing anything, but I may be so simply according to the mind of Christ that I am really serving Him. The whole body is full of light when the eye is simple, as the Lord says. The eye is

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the light of the body. When it takes in the light simply, the whole body is luminous; no part is dark. He says, I do not ask you all to preach, but I do ask you all to be living exponents of Me morally on earth. It is not what you say or do, but what you are. The whole body is to be full of light. And you cannot be the exponent of anything if it has not had effect on yourself.

The body is the Lord's possession (and in this sense He chastens it), is a member of Christ and is a light here for Christ -- an exhibition of the grace of Christ. How often is it anything but that! How the fashionable attire shews that He is not there! Christ has been rejected from this world, but He would have thousands of bodies shedding forth His light. All light in the world comes from the Sun. We are to be like the moon borrowing all our light from our absent Sun, and shedding it forth here where He is rejected. The outside is indicative of what is inside. As the psalmist says, "he setteth himself in a way that is not good;" and the spring of this is "he abhorreth not evil". (Psalm 36:4)

In Luke 11, we have the body full of light, and in chapter 12, the Lord turns to His disciples and shows what the light is; and here there are two negatives: no fear and no care. And what then? The positive: "Seek ye the kingdom of God". (Luke 12:31) And then, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning". (Luke 12:35)

There is no fear: "Fear not those who kill the body". (Matthew 10:28) Stephen did not fear them who kill the body; and his body was luminous. If there is no fear of man, there will be confession of Christ. That is the practical action from it.

Then as to no care. It is not no toil, but no care. "Consider the ravens". The raven goes to roost at night without a single care on its head; but it is not a lazy bird. Toil is good, it never does any one harm, but care corrodes. Toil subdues a person. As the psalmist

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says, "He brought down their heart with labour". (Psalm 107:12)

"That ... Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death". (Philippians 1:20) What service can there be in death? That Christ may be magnified. The body is to be illumined with divine light. In a prison or a desert island you might be this. The angels see him, though none other does. In a scene where God's Son has been rejected there has been the most wonderful defeat ever met with by Satan; a defeat achieved by the presence of the body of Christ on earth. Christ has gone, but instead of one body there should be millions now on earth, of which the angels can say as they look down. All those luminaries down there are exemplifications of the grace of Christ!

Peter says that unbelieving husbands may be "won by the conversation of the wives". (1 Peter 3:1) This shows us the character of light in domestic life. "Without the word be won by the conversation of the wives". (1 Peter 3:1) There is moral influence, the moral influence of a meek and lowly spirit. A man may say when he comes home, What an extraordinary difference between the bustling world and the life I have to do with here! Now all have the opportunity for showing a meek and lowly spirit. It is interesting to see that it is always the highest kind of service which is within the reach of everybody.

The second kind of service is any kind of acts. In Romans 12, acts and gifts are put together. We get the practice suited to the teaching, and now, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice". (Romans 12:1) Read verses 6 to 8 and you will find seven things including every act of service. The seventh is, "Shewing mercy, with cheerfulness". (Romans 12:8) That is within the reach of all, and it is the highest. It is far higher in its moral character than the first gift -- prophecy. I should rather have the seventh without the first than the first without the seventh.

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We read in 1 Corinthians 12, "Yet shew I unto you a more excellent way". (1 Corinthians 12:31) That way we find in the following chapter: charity. Charity is the nature of Christ, and it is necessary for the highest gifts. The most useful machine will not get on without oil. If a man with a gift has not the nature with which to use the gift, people are hindered and tried by him. Charity is more negative in its character than positive. It begins with oneself, not with others. The saying is, 'Charity begins at home', and it is true; it begins with number one.

I must have two things before I can do acts of service:

  1. The nature; charity,
  2. I must know the state of the person whom I desire to serve, and must think of it.

I keep the state of the patient's health before me. If you indulge a child you increase his selfishness. I have to consider his state and to check his selfishness.

You find, as a rule, that women are more effective than men in service, not to numbers, but to individuals. When they get into a company, I doubt it; but they are most useful in visiting, and to individuals. See the united service of Priscilla and Aquila! A servant knows little if he thinks he never got help from a woman in the Lord. I respect God's order. Angels are looking on at the church, and the woman is to have power on her head because of the angels.

I do not lose my enjoyment in my gift because I have not the precise gift that another person has. Everyone ought to feel, I am sent into the world by God, and I have to serve Him in it. I am not sent merely to be a master or a servant, but to be a missionary of Christ. If God puts me into different social positions, such as a slave, a master, etc., this only conduces to my service to Him, as the banks of a river define its course. But if I put myself into them, I run dry like a canal.

In Romans 12, we have the responsibility side of

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the gifts; therefore it is not only the gifts, but it comes down to acts of mercy. But in Ephesians 4, we get gifts from the Head of the church to His body, gifts from an ascended Lord, gifts from heaven, and they are to be true to their source. If I get a gift from a certain scene, that scene marks it, and here the gift comes to me, not from any one on earth, but from One in heaven. The gift of an evangelist comes from heaven, and therefore it must have a heavenly aspect. You get it from heaven, and you should maintain the colour of whence it came. If the gift is in keeping with its character, it is in keeping with an ascended Lord. It is not a question of only getting souls out of the world; the evangelist has a divine mission to carry light into the darkness, and he must remember where that light came from, and give it out according to where it started from. All is for the good of the church, and you must go back to where you started from to get power for the gift. A pastor knows the state of souls, and ministers to that. A prophet brings the word suited to the state, though he may not know it. This is the most effective ministry. A teacher does not necessarily know the state.

You ask. How would a person know his gift? I believe that in some distinct way the Lord makes it known to your heart. When Christ revealed Himself to Paul, He says, "For I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;" (Acts 26:16) and in Colossians 1:23 - 25 he says that two ministries had been committed to him, a ministry of the gospel, and a ministry of the church. If the gifted one comes forth as Christ's minister, the ministry connects itself with Christ, whatever it is.

If I have found the silver piece the question is, What have I done with it? I answer. He must be joined to the Lord where the other nine are. I do

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not say go to any meeting, but come to Christ. A step in the right direction is often dangerous, for people are satisfied they have done a good thing and then are inclined to stop there. They say, perhaps, that they are out of system, or that they are looking for the Lord's people. I answer. If you find the Head in heaven you will, soon find His members here. If you know what belongs to Him you will know where to be here.

The first sphere of interest that occupies every true-hearted person is the church, when it comes to a question of serving Christ. I do not find anyone clear as to judgment who does not make the church the first object of his attention. The church must be my object because it is Christ's object. Where shall I find Christ's heart? In John I read, "Love one another as I have loved you". (John 15:12) In Ephesians, "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit". (Ephesians 4:3) It comes before domestic relations. If you fail in the church, you will surely fail at home.

We read, "The Spirit and the bride say. Come". (Revelation 22:17) There I am looking simply at Christ, and my heart says to Him, "Come". Then I drop down and say, "Let him that heareth say. Come"; (Revelation 22:17) and then I go out to the utmost bounds of the earth as I say, "Let him that is athirst" -- not satisfied -- "come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely". (Revelation 22:17) Where do I come from with these blessed invitations? I come from saluting the heart of Christ. I salute the Morning Star. I say first to Him, "Come". Then I turn round, and go out to the utmost bounds of the earth; I long that all should come. "Whosoever will", let him come.

The Lord grant that each one of us may be so faithful to Christ's heart and interest here, that we may know what suits Him, down to the very lowest, smallest, minutest interest connected with ourselves in our daily circumstances.

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DISCIPLINE

Hebrews 12

I place discipline after service, for in the very service itself God makes the servant fit to carry it out. A person is first disciplined for service, and then in the service he is made fit by it for the character of it. God has not servants ready made. He makes them fit for His own service in connection with the race they have to run. The word 'chasten' is the same as that used in Ephesians with respect to bringing up the children: it is nurture. We attach too much the idea of severity, of retribution, to it.

In service there are three kinds:

  1. Moral influence.
  2. Works.
  3. Gifts.

In moral influence the body is light, and this is a testimony to God. For instance, the wife in 1 Peter 3the husband to be won without a single word.

The subject before us this evening, discipline, is almost too large a one to grasp; but, as the Lord enables me, I will just point out the principal lines God works in from passages of scripture.

God has us in hand all through from babyhood. Look at Moses. You get the character of what his life is to be from the very first; when a babe in the ark of bulrushes. We read, "the babe wept". He was a man of sorrows all through his course, and a man peculiarly cared for -- an object to God all through. Even when a babe God had a thought about him, and in the same way God never takes His eye off you (I am not speaking of conversion), He has had you in training all through. He has a

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different line of things for every one, and each of us has been sent into this world for some special mission. It is not a question whether it is great or small; it may be only a flower to shed fragrance; though this is really the greatest of all.

There is nothing higher than moral influence; "thy whole body ... full of light;" (Matthew 6:22) and this, of the highest moral order, is within the compass of all. The apostle Paul speaks of it in Philippians 1, as the very highest thing to attain to: "Christ shall be magnified in my body whether by life or by death". (Philippians 1:20) What works are there in death? None, but to be an exhibition of what Christ was.

In Psalm 78, it says: "He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheep-folds: ... he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance". (Psalm 78:70 - 71) The great thing to remember is that everyone has to be taught, to be prepared. You do not come forth ready to hand for God's service. Man has not instinct as animals have; he requires to be educated in natural things; and if he has to be educated for common things, how much more for God! How much more does he need to be suited to His hand! And it is not mere education of mind, but the vessel must be made and prepared by God for Himself.

There are two great lines of discipline. The first is scourging -- a thorough breakdown. A man will never get on until he gets a thorough breakdown. It is not a question of being true, but of being broken.

Look at Jacob. God wrestles with him, for he is not broken down yet, though he has been twenty years in Syria, and has come back to the land, and now God wrestles with him to break down his will. All of us have to be broken down. It is very happy when it is not because of failure like Peter. He was broken down when he found by failure what a wretched creature be was. Jacob had been twenty

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years in banishment; he was a deceiver himself, and he was ten times deceived: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". (Galatians 6:7)

But when he is broken down, he gets the blessing. What a blessed thing! He is fit for blessing now; he was not before. Look at this very active man. When the sun was up that man halted. At the rising of the sun -- the very thing that would call out all his latent energies -- he has to halt. I am crippled, he says, I cannot go on; I am a crippled man. He is sensible of his own inability. A broken man is a blessed man. It is most acceptable in God's sight. It is not that He likes my suffering, but He makes me suffer in order to bless me. The blessing is more than equivalent to the suffering; much more. Jacob, though he halted, had the right side of the thing. I am crippled, he says, but now You will bless me.

Turn to Genesis 35:8, where there is discipline of another order. We get discipline under different heads. In Genesis 35, the discipline is of the order of Hebrews 12. Jacob has at last come to the right spot, Bethel. Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, dies. The last remnant of his mother must go. It is the oak of weeping. There is discipline of this kind now, in order to be more fit for service.

Afterwards he loses Rachel and Joseph, the two he cares for most. These two, God says, I take from you, and the result is that his is the most distinguished death-bed we read of in Scripture except Stephen's. He has the threefold blessing, the wonderful combination of being a worshipper; of having no hope as to earth; and of being free to think of others. He says, "As for me ... Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan". (Genesis 48:7) I have not a link to earth. God is his object, and his heart is so free that it can flow out to others. He blessed the children of Joseph, and declared the mind of God for them.

Moses is another interesting case. It took forty

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years to break him down, though at the start he made a very great sacrifice for the Lord. He was brought up as Pharaoh's son, but he chose "rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a Season". (Hebrews 11:25) You might say. That man will get no discipline; he does not want it. But no; he thinks he can do the work of the Lord in a human way, and he must get forty years of discipline, in the wilderness, and after that he is quite timid about himself, too timid indeed to speak. Now the Lord starts him as His servant, and another kind of discipline comes in; for he is disciplined for a servant and as a servant; the discipline is in the service to fit him for the service; and it continues all through his course; his own family find fault with him; the people murmur against him; one thing after another until at last he dies on mount Pisgah, and does not go into the land at all.

God says, I want to get rid of every shred of the flesh in you. That is the object of discipline. He purges on the principle of "we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake". (2 Corinthians 4:11) In service you are sure to find some kind of pressure on you. It may be on your body, and often is; or it may be persecution; but you will hardly ever have an interesting field of service before you, unless you are crippled for it. "He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit". (John 15:2)

Look at Jonah the servant of God. First he is a broken man, and then he is a man made fit for God to use. Jonah at first tried to evade God's path; he was afraid of it, and he was brought into the depths of the sea. The thing you are trying to avoid you will fall into. If you strive with God He takes from you what you want to keep. Samson's wife told his secret to save her father's house, and her father's house was burnt. God brought Jonah out, but it is as a man who is sensible of the plight he has brought

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himself into. People think they learn that when they learn Romans 7; but long after Romans 7, you may have to learn that you are worth nothing: a dog, like the Syrophenician woman.

Jonah comes up out of the sea, and the Lord says to him: "Arise, go up unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee". (Jonah 3:2) Is he done with discipline now? No; there is a new kind now: the gourd dies. This is to make him more fit for God's service. The Lord uses it as an occasion to acquaint him with His heart. He says. You felt for that gourd; do you not think I feel for the people? The moment God explains His mind we hear no more of it. Peter was self-confident; he said he would follow the Lord to prison and to death, and he broke down from fear. People break down when they are most self-confident. In the end Peter died for the Lord. What kind of discipline is that? The entire clearance of everything. Stephen was thus disciplined in the very act of dying; those stones, as one has said, liberated him from the last shred of the flesh; and he goes into what Christ's work has won for him.

In Hebrews 12, the object of discipline is that we may be partakers of God's holiness. In the Father's discipline we suffer in all circumstances. In the Lord's chastening we suffer in the body; the body is the Lord's. There are two lines of discipline: the first is, that you must be broken before you can serve truly; the second is the discipline which fits you for running the race. There are four kinds of suffering in discipline. The first of these is governmental. For instance, a man suffering in health, on account of his ancestors. In this suffering the person knows it, because he gets sympathy from the Lord. The Jewish remnant suffer because of what their fathers did, and they receive the sympathy of Christ. They inherit the penalties of the nation, and that entitles

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them to Christ's care, and they participate in the wonderful sympathies of Christ's own heart. A man may suffer governmentally who has a poor weak constitution on account of his ancestors; he may suffer in health, property or the like.

The second kind of suffering is of a painful character. Christ chastens us because of our indifference in calling to mind His death. How do I know that I am suffering for this? I believe that, if we are suffering on account of levity at the Lord's table, there will be a sense of reserve on the Lord's part. Would not a child know if its parent rebuked it? If I suffer for levity at that sacred moment when my heart ought to be occupied with Christ's sufferings on my behalf, I get censure. The Lord has a controversy with me, which He would not have were my suffering governmental, for then I should on the contrary get His sympathy.

The third kind of suffering is for my profit, and then I get God turning that suffering to good account for myself, to help me on in the race. When you get rid of the gourd like Jonah, or of the nurse like Jacob, you get on better. It is God's way to help you in the race.

The fourth is when you are actually suffering in the Lord's service, like Epaphroditus in Philippians 2"For the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life". (Philippians 2:30) You get honours for this: "If any man serve me, him will my Father honour". (John 12:26) John in Patmos, Joseph in prison, are instances of this. Here suffering is not for having done anything wrong, and not to enable them to run the race, but simply for serving the Lord. You may get a cold in service or an illness of any kind, and the Lord will use it for an opportunity of making known to you how much He thinks about you; so that instead of its being lost time when you are shut up in your room, you will find it is a time when He will give

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you communications from Himself which make it worth getting that cold or that illness. Paul, when he was shut up in prison for the Lord's service, was given communications of His mind, and when you are suffering in body for His service you will find that He has communications to give you which will make you praise Him for the suffering.

There is some suffering which is retributive. God never remits what a man deserves, though He may meet him in it. When the thief on the cross is converted, he does not get off the gibbet. He is going to paradise truly, but that does not remove the judgment that is on him here; his legs are broken; it but sends him the quicker to heaven, but still he had to bear it. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". (Galatians 6:7) If you expose yourself indifferently to climate you get ill. If you are unkind to a person. Some one will be unkind to you: "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again". (Matthew 7:2)"He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption". (Galatians 6:8)

In Hebrews 12, the apostle accounts the race as a practical thing. Self-denial is not self-vexation; it is denying yourself the thing that you like. If you would like to say a sharp thing, do not say it; deny yourself. That is the true mark of a person that is broken, denying himself the thing that he likes.

In Peter we read, "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 hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God". (1 Peter 4:1 - 2) I have a new study now. Everything that is put aside in the cross I am not to allow in me; the old thing is not to be allowed to work in me; I have a new thing in me, the rose, and that is only fit for the sunlight. What am I to do with the briar? I am not to allow it to grow at all.

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When a man is thoroughly broken he never forgets that he is. The way to break in a horse is not to wound his mouth, but to bring a pressure on the nerves, and the whole system yields to the pressure; every nerve is under hand, and he has the sense that he is controlled, not wounded. To carry this out, I deny the flesh. The flesh would like that, then I will not have it; I cease from sin. It may be some pet inclination: I should like to go to some place. Shall I gratify it or deny it? Peter gratified his inclination, and the devil was in it. He did not see the devil in it, but he was there. "Stolen waters are sweet". You may say, I was led there providentially; but you may always be afraid of the thing that proposes gratification; the foolish woman proposes something that pleases.

In running a race every single thing of the flesh hinders, and must go. Whether it be a river or a wall, or anything that comes in the way, I must go the road that Christ went, like a dog following his master. Whatever the difficulties of the race may be, I can go through every single thing that opposes me, because He went through it; He has gone before. You are never right in the race if you do not start in this way. Give up everything of self-gratification. I am not occupied with the suffering, I am occupied with a much more wonderful thing, I am going on with divine enthusiasm in this wonderful pathway that is marked out for me.

In running the race that is set before us, there are two things to be laid aside. The first is every weight; the second is sin. The first is outside; the second is inside. Is it any particular sin? No; it is not your besetting sin, but sin is there, ready to come up. It ought, not to come up, and therefore God helps us. "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin". (Hebrews 12:4) I have not died yet, and sin is there; it is what is in the flesh.

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If you ask. What weight am I to put off? I cannot tell you. Begin to run, and then you will soon find out what clogs you. God keeps us and chastens us all through. It is nurture. He is not hard. He wants us to be partakers of His holiness. How do I know it is this kind of chastening? It is if I am exercised about it. It is "unto them which are exercised thereby". (Hebrews 12:11) I am looking to the Lord about it. I ask Him, What is this for now? I am exercised as to it, and, "afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness". (Hebrews 12:11) It is a remarkable passage.

It is because of the hindrance in me that I get the chastening. I am put in possession of the fruition of righteousness. It may be the nurse to Jacob, or the gourd to Jonah, or Jerusalem to Paul. Whatever it is, it is taken out of the way; and if we are exercised we get the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Jerusalem is gone; Paul's heart was set on it once, but it is gone now, and he longs to depart; his heart is set on Christ; it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

We run the race looking unto Jesus, therefore there must be faith. That is the actual support I have; everything depends on faith. People in the right path have light, plenty of it, but not faith; therefore they turn to human arrangements. Lot was in the right path, and the ten spies, but they had not faith. You may be in the place of light and not have faith, and, if so, you will be always attempting to get the clue through the arrangement of circumstances. The man of faith uses circumstances, but is not influenced by them. Exercise makes the heart turn more to God.

The only power in the race is faith. Chapter 11, is not examples of faith, but traits of faith. The heart understands what a wonderful power it is set on. I may have to die on the road, but it only finishes the race for me.

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He adds, "Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children. My son despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him". (Proverbs 3:11) These are two things very important. I am not to despise the chastening, like a duck in the rain, indifferent to it, braving as it were everything; neither am I to "faint when ... . rebuked of him", like a hen in the rain, which is a miserable object. I am neither to be miserable nor indifferent, but thoughtful and exercised.

The Lord lead our hearts practically to know what It is to be under His hand, and to answer to His desires for us. Amen.

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TESTIMONY

John 17; Ephesians 4

These two scriptures contain a very different character of instruction. The first, John 17, is the Lord's mind about us; the second, Ephesians 4, is our responsibility in connection with knowing His desires about us. It is direct responsibility in Ephesians 4, entirely our own responsibility. It does not give the motive, and is not the side which affects the heart, as in John 17. Here the Lord is going away, and He is thinking of what we are to be on the earth where He is not; He looks up to heaven, and expresses His desires for us.

It is interesting to mark the difference between Paul and John. Paul connects us with Christ in heaven; John declares Him in the present scene. In John 17, the first thing is, how we are to answer to Him here; how we are to know our true place. It describes a person who is in the testimony, which is our subject tonight.

What is the testimony? The testimony, in one sentence, is that Christ's body is here while He is in heaven; it is fed and nurtured by Himself, in His state and spirit, but His place in heaven is its place also. Now if you are in the testimony you are a witness, and a witness, or a soldier, is one who adheres to it; he is not ashamed of it, he is a soldier of the cross; he comes out a new person in the clothes -- the uniform -- of it. Practically Christ's state and Christ's place together form my uniform, give me a heavenly aspect until He comes or sends for me.

To be in the testimony, it is not a question of whether I feel I am saved. If I do not, of course I cannot be in it; but to be a witness or soldier I must be fitted for it. Figuratively speaking, a man must be

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enlisted as a soldier, he must be admitted to the ranks; and, when he is, he does not appear in plain clothes; he has a new character, and is not ashamed of it. So I am not ashamed of my calling.

The first thing is that Christ's state at the right hand of God is my state here. The Lord has been in this world for us; He is now in the presence of the Father. His state there is my state here.

The second thing is that He sets me as Himself in the presence of the world. If you visit the poor, or preach the gospel, or whatever you do, do not go in plain clothes; go as a soldier, as a witness for Christ. What practically hinders the testimony is that people go into the world without this uniform on; they go forth, not as here for Christ, but for the good of man. You ought not to be ashamed of your colours, of your calling; you must not lose your place for Christ when you preach the gospel; you are not here objectively to serve man, but for Him. The excuse made is that we must come down to souls. If you do, you have lost the testimony. Christ never did, though He was the most genial of men. A slave may bring glory to Christ; he may "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things". (Titus 2:10) Does he give up the colours? No, he maintains them.

It is said, the unity is broken up. Am I therefore to give up the colours? The true remnant always clings to the colours. It is no question of how feeble we are, or how scattered and broken; but do not give up the colours; do not give up the truth that should characterise you at this time; do not give up what is in the heart of Christ. There may be only one man left of a regiment, but he has the colours; and that is what the remnant is. You cannot arrive at the true action of the remnant unless you first know what the testimony is in itself. There is no use in calling on a person to advance if he does not know what to advance to. True, we shall have difficulties

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to contend with; but, however feeble we are, let us not give up what is dear to the heart of Christ.

In John 17, we have the expression of the heart of Christ, and it is a summing up of the truth connected with testimony; whilst in Ephesians 4, it is our direct relationship. In chapter 13 the Lord is going away from the earth. In chapter 14, He tells of the coming of the Holy Spirit. A divine Person has come down to earth and is residing here. There is nothing really less believed in than this, and the very levity we witness every day shows that people do not believe in such a thing. As to His presence there is nothing to show. In Old Testament times there was. There was then no appearance of God without a glare; but now there is nothing for sight. Why? Because flesh is ignored and not appealed to at all. Faith is appealed to. The Holy Spirit is unseen, unknown, and practically repelled.

In chapter 14: 26, the Comforter is sent by the Father in Christ's name. His presence is connected with Christ's name here on earth. We are left in the world in this lonely condition in the absence of Christ, but we are not left uncared for, the Comforter is sent to us from the Father. But in chapter 15, we are not only lonely and in solitude here, because the Lord has gone away, but we are opposed; we are hated by the world, and then we get, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father (Christ sends Him now) ... he shall testify of me". (John 15:26) Thus we get the testimony, because in the face of the opposition the testimony comes out; and the testimony is not of the church but of Christ: "He shall testify of me".

When we come to look at the church, when we consider the component parts of this wonderful structure, how mixed up they are with levity and unbelief! Only the living members have got power,

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for power is only to faith. But, amidst all the failure, it is an immense thing to know that the Lord's mind has not altered about the church because of the general break-up. I look to the Lord to get real moral power to stand up for Him where He was rejected, to wear the divine uniform. I come out in a divine uniform to stand for the Lord in the place where my Lord stood for me; and the more we are for the Lord, the more we co-operate with one another. It is a wonderful fact in the church of God, that the nearer we get to God, the nearer we get to Christ, the nearer we get to one another; and the more we find that we are bound up in the bundle of life, the more we co-operate with one another.

There are three things in John 17 connected with the heart of Christ:

  1. What He gives.
  2. What He is doing or has done.
  3. What He desires.

John did not get orders to write this till long after the break up of the church; not until after Paul had written 2 Timothy. The Lord's mind and feeling about the church had not altered because the church had not acted according to its responsibilities here; and so He tells us of His reserves. In warfare the reserve is the spare forces and ammunition; it is the base of operations; it tells us what the heart of Christ is. The most wonderful thing for me as a soldier of the cross down here is to know what backs me, the base I have.

The first thing is eternal life (verse 2). This is not only a new state or a new condition, but it meets everything. Eternal life is given. It is not a life that can enjoy earthly things at all; its characteristic is that it puts me in a new position and brings me into another scene of interest altogether, to what is natural to me. The apostle Paul lost his sight; he

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was blind to everything here for three days. When he got the Holy Spirit he got his sight back: "If any one be in Christ, there is a new creation". (2 Corinthians 5:17) But as to things here, we groan inwardly, like a bird in a cage. This body is to be kept under, in order to be according to His pleasure who wrought redemption for it. People condemn Wesleyans, whilst they are really often doing the same thing themselves, that is, trying to improve the old nature, and not seeing that the man in Christ is an entirely new thing. If we would let the Lord choose for us. He would choose circumstances, climate, friends, relations, everything, for our ultimate benefit; but this is not eternal life. We must rise out of all this, and soar away to the realms of divine glory; we must rise up into acquaintance with God.

It says in John, "He breathed into them, and says to them. Receive the Holy Spirit"; (John 20:22) and in Romans we get, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". (Romans 8:2) What is the difference between an unconverted man and this? It is that Christ lives in the latter; so that he can. say: "The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God". (Galatians 2:20) It is a wonderful thing to start with. People have a very faint idea of what eternal life is, but we are not in the full enjoyment of it yet -- of "the end everlasting life". The body is not swallowed up of life yet; but Christ is our life; and, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory". (Colossians 3:4) We cannot measure the dimensions of it. People talk of final perseverance in connection with eternal life; but it is the height of it that is before us, not the length.

The second thing which he gives is "the words"; "I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me" (John 17:8) -- the actual communications of God's mind. It is not simply that I have got a new character

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of existence, a capacity to enjoy God, but I have got another thing: I have got intelligence.

Thirdly, He gives us the counsel of God: "I have given them thy word". (John 17:14) What is the difference between these two gifts? The words are the actual communications of His mind; the word is the counsel itself.

The fourth thing He gives is the glory (verse 22). "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them". (John 17:22) This is not His essential glory, it is the glory He was entitled to as a Man. Thus there are four things which He gives, and these four form the base of operations. Is that the way you are going to face this world?

2. What He is doing: "That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves" (John 17:13) and, "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them". (John 17:26) I cannot delay to put them all in order, but as we go over the beautiful divine narrative, it cannot but elicit divine melody in your hearts. "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me" (John 17:26) I think what it is to know that love down here! No man "goeth a warfare any time at his own charges"! (1 Corinthians 9:7)

3. What Christ desires: His chief desire is that we should all be one. This desire is the most characteristic. His desire is not unity merely, but all of one mind, of one accord. There is no thought more cheering to the heart than to think that in heaven there will never be a clash of judgment; there will be variety of service, but no variety of opinion; and there would not be now, if it were not for the world in us. The moment I differ from a brother, the world is very strong in either me or him, or in both. If it were not, we should be of the same mind. We are not to agree to differ, that is not the testimony. I cannot accept it, though I suffer from it.

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It should be the same mind, same judgment, perfectly joined together. He desires that we should be one as the Father and He are one. We all know that where there is no congeniality of mind, there is always grating of the affections. Different dispositions go together; different tastes do not. Tastes must agree. As we sing, 'All the mind in heaven is one'.

The Father and the Son never had any difference; it is profanity to think of such a thing. We are very far from this oneness, but we are not going to give it up on that account. This desire is the greatest.

Then there are two others. There is the negative side: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil". (John 17:15) This gives great confidence in praying for sick saints.

Then in verse 17 we have the third desire: "Sanctify them through thy truth". (John 17:17) These two last, to be kept from the evil, and to be sanctified through the truth, promote His chief desire -- that they should be one. A person who desires to keep the testimony is kept from the evil; and the positive side of it is, he is sanctified through the truth. Sanctification is of a very large character: "Sanctified through the truth". The truth is the knowledge of the Father. Thus it is a question of relationship. Two things effect sanctification: 1, I belong to another generation altogether; 2, that the One I belong to has gone out of this world: "The world knoweth us not".

If we really saw what is the manner of His love, we should take courage because of it. As the Lord gives one heart, one has confidence in Him to encourage others, and in company with his fellows such an one can say. Come on; let us be more sanctified. And so we contribute to His great desire, that we should be one. In this day there is a great cry for

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unity; everything is to give way to unity. That is a wrong statement; it loses the divine character of unity. Romanism makes great boast of unity; and the Evangelical Alliance is simply an effort to obtain unity by agreeing to differ. That is not the unity of John 17. There we are united by the Spirit of God; it is the character of the unity between the Father and the Son. What is abroad in Christendom is the false declaration of this great thing where apostasy will spring up.

How can I promote the unity of John 17? By being kept from the evil, and sanctified through the truth. We are sanctified after a double manner. The more you are in the power of these two, the more you will help those you serve. You must not desert the colours because they present Christ; you must not desert the ranks -- truth. The saddest thing of all is the cry for unity -- brotherly love, without consideration for Christ. I am prepared for that cry every day; we meet it on all sides. But unity without Christ is not unity according to God's mind.

The more we get hold of what Christ's desires are, the more we discover our own responsibility. We are responsible according to what our resources are. I see what He gives, does and desires, and my responsibility flows from that.

In Ephesians I find that I am a member of the body of Christ. What a wonderful position! What a holy calling! The body is here, but its place is not here; its place is where His is. That is the calling: He "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places". (Ephesians 2:6) If you want to know its characteristics believe in it. Thus will you have Christ dwelling in your heart by faith, that ye "may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge". (Ephesians 3:18 - 19) You cannot get any further. "Now unto him that is

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able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us". (Ephesians 3:20)

Have you a cloud on your soul? Do you think if you knew something of your place in heaven you would have a cloud on your soul? Never! You were dead when Christ raised you; that mighty power came down to the extremity of man's weakness! The soul is touched with the magnitude of divine power! And I must know the power first, in order to walk in it.

We have a place in heaven; we are members of the body of Christ; we are bound together by one Spirit; Christ is the Head in heaven. We are the body on earth. The earth is not our place; heaven is our place; we are Christ's body on earth. Be true to your life, then. You must begin from above. If you do not, if the first circle is defective, you will be defective in all. This is where all the practical difficulty lies. If you find a man defective respecting this great purpose of his existence, he is defective in every circumstance of his life down here. The first circle is not my family. Do I neglect my family because I have got this circle? No; I attend to it better: I act like Christ in it.

There is nothing so practical. I have a place in heaven, and I come down here and find my place in the body of Christ. Some say. Keep a little bit of the world in order to win the world. If occupied with service, you are like a person standing on a shore, and landing people on it. If you are obliged to be a little bit in the world in order to help people out of it, then I say you give up your uniform. The nearer you keep to your uniform the better. You are a heavenly man; the place that belongs to you is heaven; you are a heavenly man set in Christ's body on earth. You must have on your uniform, and not come out in plain clothes. That is the great

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point of the Spirit of God: "He shall testify of me", (John 15:26) and the great opposition of Satan is against the body of Christ on earth. I must let it be known to whom I belong. The great moral meaning of the uniform is, I am a heavenly man. You ask. What am I to do? Go to the Lord, He will lead you out; you will be drawn out of the world without knowing how. It is not a question of getting out of it, but of practically learning the place of the glorified Saviour. "He shall testify of me". (John 15:26)

The first mark of this is "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit". (Ephesians 4:3) The great opposition of Satan is against the body of Christ. Do you really believe that His body is on earth? What gives you a depth of interest in a person? Because he is a member of the body of Christ. Has your soul got a sense that His body is on earth? Few know more than that it is broken up. But you will never be right if you do not go back to the original, and maintain it.

The Lord give us to know His delight in seeing us faithful to Himself in a scene where He was so faithful to us.

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THE REMNANT

1 Samuel 7, 2 Timothy 3, 2 Timothy 4:1 - 8

The first mark of an enlightened soul is that he sees how contrary to God are the things with which he is mixed up; and we may trace the same thing working in the church, that is working in the world. The scoffer says. Where is the promise of His coming? The professor says. My Lord delayeth His coming.

The first action of light is that which doth make manifest. It is a principle with God that He does not give truth to a person unless he seeks it: "He that seeketh findeth". People can be on the very same ground, and go on outwardly with saints, who are not there in faith; therefore, when a time of pressure comes, instead of helping, they are in the way; they contribute weakness instead of help; they have no vital power. Lot was on the right ground but not in faith; he was entirely guided by his sense; and in the end he suffered from it; while Abraham had faith and got the blessing. There is a path: the Lord says, "I am the way". (John 14:6) A mariner cannot do anything without the sun; he must know his bearings. In Timothy things had got very difficult, but Paul still says, "The Lord stood with me". (2 Timothy 4:17)

We find these two things in Scripture: that we get deliverance where we get comfort. These two go together: "He delivered me, because he delighted in me". (2 Samuel 22:20) Thus I overcome all my enemies. I have not only the comfort of the Lord's presence, but He is at my right hand. Whenever you are fed you are guided; the manna and the cloud always go together. The Lord said to the disciples, "Have ye any meat?" (John 21:5) that is. He challenges them. The soul that is not walking with the Lord is not receiving from Him. He delights to impart. The soul that is walking

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with Him is always in the sense of receiving from Him.

The church has fallen from its original position, but the testimony remains the same. A perfectly novel thing is introduced, unique and marvellously grand, exceeding anything seen or expected among men. Christ is in heaven but His body is on earth, and that body is the wonderful divine illustration of His beauty now on earth that He is not here. Our hearts weep over the ruin and disaster of the church of God; but are we going to hang down our hands? No. The epistle to Timothy was written to him who was at Ephesus. What did the true ones of the Lord do when awakened to a sense of the declension and ruin? One thing always characterised the remnant: they never gave up the cardinal truth; and God grant that it may characterise us. Though reduced, it may be to one person, there is no surrender by the true remnant of the truth which is to characterise the period. The colours of the regiment are the last thing that are parted with. Never surrender them.

We read in Isaiah 6, of "a tenth" that was to be left, a remnant that was to be preserved: "as a teil-tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof". (Isaiah 6:13) There is nothing outward, nothing conspicuous; it is the outward thing which is the great trammel in the present day. What people want is usefulness, something to show, without devotedness. It is like the pharisaic element, which was the great hindrance to our blessed Lord when He was on earth.

The support of the remnant is, "I know thy works". It is substance, but no leaves. There is nothing conspicuous; no eye sees it, but the substance is there. The first time the Lord came into the temple. He was met by an old man and an old

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woman, Simeon and Anna; one a sample of energy, the other of condition; both of them cleaving to the things that belonged to God. She "departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day". (Luke 2:37) She set forth the condition of the remnant of that day; and it is very useful and interesting for us to see what her base was. It was clinging with pertinacity to the last remnant of what belonged to God on earth. Is that the thing which you desire should characterise you, clinging to what belongs to Christ on earth?

The last thing the Lord met with when He was leaving the temple was a poor widow, casting into the treasury her two mites, giving all her substance to what was dear to God on earth. That was real devotedness, for she gave her all. What is the good of anything if it does not produce effect? There is no value in intelligence if it does not produce action; what is of value is the orderly acts of a vigorous constitution, not the convulsive efforts of an excited mind.

See what was the character of the remnant of that day! Are we going to surpass it? What is really our course of action? Christ's body is here maintained by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, but there is nothing to see. In 1 Timothy there was something to see. The church was to be seen then: "The pillar and ground of the truth". (1 Timothy 3:15) Now there is nothing to point at. My father in Christ could not point me to the church; it is all in ruin. What is to be done? Am I going to give up the truth that Christ's body is here? In this state of things what can I do?

Now Samuel is in keeping with the present state of things. There I find opposition, confusion, and no power whatever; but there is the invisible power and dependence on that; there is dependence on God. Samuel brought in this. He was the last

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deliverer of the people. Between Joshua and Samuel there had been the judges. The people had got mixed up with their enemies and were in bondage to them, and God had come in with deliverers in the judges. These judges used means which were not at all creditable: the knife, the hammer, the ox- goad; every kind of expedient, instead of the simple ram's horn (Joshua 6), was used. Now a new order comes in with Samuel; he returns to the first order, he returns to trust in God. The invisible power of God marked the beginning of the period in Joshua's time, and Samuel returns to this invisible power; not through any human expedient, but through prayer and fasting.

The church is Christ's body on earth, sustained by an invisible power; for though the Lord is not here, the Holy Spirit is here. Therefore, amidst all the ruin, I return to the first thing, to simple dependence on Him; and, if it is real, I get the effect of it, I get a token from Him. The Holy Spirit is here to maintain Christ's body in everything according to the mind of Christ. In Ephesians 4, the first thing is, "Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". (Ephesians 4:3) If I fail in this, I fail in everything else. The Philistine in the land is what hinders the testimony now; people are baffled and overcome, although on the right ground: they are weakened there by the thing that hinders the testimony, ecclesiastical laxity. It is not immorality -- that would carry no weight -- but ecclesiastical laxity.

There is plenty of usefulness, but it has usurped the place of devotedness. Men can commend the former; but the heart of Christ values the latter above everything. I am not speaking against usefulness, but what is in vogue is more a convulsive activity which gains reputation among men than the real service which is the result of a vigorous constitution. People have so little really to do with

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God that they live on reputation; so much so that many would be found who would doubt their own conversion if you were to say to them. You are not converted! There is a pharisaism in this day, which, while adhering to the service and usefulness which commends in the sight of men, disregards the weightier matters of unworldliness and devotedness.

There have always been two companies on the same line; both of them are on the right ground, but one is on it in faith, the other only in sense. Thus was it with Abram and Lot. Both were in the land, on God's ground, but one was the man of faith, the other the man of sense. Thus too with Moses and Aaron. They were brothers, and had the same truth, and were together in the service of God; but when one, the man of faith, was up in the mount with God, the other, the man of sense, was making a molten calf. Thus was it again with the twelve spies; all of them went together to see the land, and all testify to its goodness; but ten of them say that though there never was a finer country it is better not to touch it. Whatever comes in with determination to crush the true thing for Christ on earth, that is the Philistine. The great hindrance to the testimony in the present day is ecclesiastical laxity. It crops up everywhere; we are hindered and embarrassed by it.

We learn clearly in the word of God what we ought to do -- what is the counsel of God. The first thing, as we see in Samuel, is separation from false gods; but it is not all. One of the things we suffer from at the present moment is a belief that separation from systems is the testimony. It is the first step to it, but it is not everything; it is only a means to an end. The testimony is, that the blessed One has gone from the scene, and has left us here to maintain His interests on the earth. We are called, not only to separate from systems, but to introduce in marked lines and colours the life and ways of that blessed

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One, rejected from this scene; we are called to the maintenance through the Holy Spirit of the beauty, ways and works of Christ here on earth, in spite of every adverse influence.

"The children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth", (1 Samuel 7:4) but they are not in the testimony yet. Then there is prayer and fasting. There is never real prayer without fasting; and by this I mean not fasting from food, but from your own will. That is a much greater thing than fasting from food. There are but few people who confess their will; many confess their faults, but few confess their will. I am not under God's hand until I confess my will; then instead of giving the flesh an opportunity to act, I refuse it.

We read, of the ten virgins, that five "went forth" with oil in their lamps. There was moral advance.

God has called us out and given us light not merely for ourselves, but that we may hold the light for others. We should be found at the very front of God's people clearing the road. When we are in the testimony we are holding the ground by the power of God; we are met together in the Lord's name in dependence of the Holy Spirit.

The children of Israel say to Samuel, "Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us". (1 Samuel 7:8) They are not in the testimony yet; they were not holding the land by the power of God. Samuel then "took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt-offering wholly unto the Lord". (1 Samuel 7:9) That was the sense of acceptance. If I am not in the sense of acceptance, I am not without fear. They had first poured out water and fasted. That was the line of separation; there was now no support from the flesh, the next thing is, I am accepted with God. Paul could never have stood his ground if he had not been in the sense of acceptance. He can say, "The Lord stood with me", the Lord delivered me. There is nothing more encouraging

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than this. The Lord says, "I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it". (Revelation 3:8) Samuel was as true to this invisible power in the day of ruin as Joshua was in the halcyon days.

We have to abide confidently in the fact that the Holy Spirit is here to maintain for Christ according to His mind; that He is here to bind together in the bond He Himself has made. The remnant reverts to the beginning but what we have to do is simply to hold fast in the midst of the ruin in dependence on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is here, and Christ's body is here. Are you true to Him outside everything here? Are you depending only on Him? Have you no ostensible means of any kind? What has brought us to the pass we are in, is looking for every kind of support from man. We are to be outside the human thing, we are to be cast on God; we are to be dependent on a power which is invisible to natural sense, but well known to faith. We are embarrassed by numbers who walk by sense, who are looking for something that commends itself to man's judgment, who are not counting on God. Samuel counted on God, and he set up a stone, an Ebenezer, an enduring monument of His succour.

In 2 Timothy we see the terrible character of the thing, and we see also how a person ought to act in such circumstances. In chapter 3, Paul sets forth his inward experience: his "manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience". Then his outward experience: "persecutions, afflictions", (2 Timothy 3:10 - 11) which came upon him. And then, for Timothy's perfection, he adds the Scriptures. He goes on in chapter 4 to say, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ"; (1 Timothy 4:1) at His appearing He will take into account the way you have been acting for Him during His absence.

They "went forth to meet the bridegroom". (Matthew 25:1) What characterises the Spirit and the bride is that they

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are ready for His coming; they say to Him, "Come". You cannot call Him to come with an honest heart if you are not right with Him. If you are embarrassed or hindered, if the dust of the wilderness is on you, rub it off; prepare for His coming. We ask Him to come back to a world that rejected Him, but we ask Him to come back to hearts ready to receive Him. It is not that two or three say. Come, but let all say. Come; and then let him that is athirst he who is not really delivered, not really happy, let him come. We ask the Lord to come, and now we turn round and ask you to come; and to the utmost bounds of the earth, Whosoever will, let him come.

A wonderful path is before us. The Lord grant we may be faithful to Him in it, for His name's sake Amen.

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THE TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

John 16:1 - 15

Next to the importance of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth is the presence of the Holy Spirit upon it; but there is a great difference between the presence of the Two. Only faith could recognise the Lord Jesus Christ, though He was visible to the eyes of men, but the Holy Spirit, though recognisable to faith, is not visible to sight.

No one in this room can doubt for a moment that the Lord Jesus Christ was once upon earth. It is as much a fact to faith at this moment that the Holy Spirit is on earth now. Faith can recognise this.

It is impossible to convey the gravity of this truth. Nothing makes the soul so unbelieving about any truth as acting unbelievingly about it; but, while many admit that the Holy Spirit is here, they do not act as if He were, and consequently they produce a kind of infidelity about it in their own souls. I say, I believe the Lord is coming; then I will not insure my life, for such an act would compromise my faith. But if you say, I do believe that He is coming yet I shall insure my life, then you surely weaken your faith in that truth, by making your act contradict your faith. In the same way if I admit that the Holy Spirit is now present, I must act as if He were present. Take the very common instance of a boy at school: if he thinks the principal is in the room he will generally act in a very different way to what he will if he thinks he is not. So a great deal depends on my faith in a truth. There is a general admission that the Holy Spirit is here, but I believe souls have weakened their faith in the fact by acting as though He were not. Have I in my soul the sense that the

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Holy Spirit, a divine Person, is present? My natural eyes could not bear to see a divine Person, but I say I believe the Holy Spirit is now present to faith. It is not now a question of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ upon earth, but of that of the Holy Spirit; it is a question of the simple fact that He is come down, and of what He effects now that He has come down.

The first thing I wish to make simple is, that it is as much an article of faith to own that the Holy Spirit is come down, as it is that the Lord Jesus Christ once came down. It is a distinct descent from heaven. He came down from heaven, and He has never gone back again.

Now those who admit that the Holy Spirit is the One who converts hearts to God during the absence of Christ, often do not see that the Holy Spirit is here to witness to Christ. It is often asked. Where is the testimony? I answer. The Holy Spirit is the testifier. In John 14:16 - 17 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". This is all about themselves, for their own comfort. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father in the name of Christ; sent by the Father to us, in the name of Him who had been here and had gone away. Surely the Holy Spirit comforts my heart in the absence of Christ. He is the Comforter. I cannot conceive anything more wonderful than to be able to say of a man walking down the street. That is a temple of the Holy Spirit! God is doing a greater thing on earth now with man than He has ever done before. He has called His Son to His own right hand in glory, but meanwhile His body is on the earth. He can say to Saul, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou

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me?" (Acts 9:4) But this is not all. TheHoly Spirit is sent down from heaven to form this body on earth. God, as it were, says to man, You have rejected My Son; but now, if you believe on Him, I will not only forgive you all your sins, transferring you into a new state, but I will set you up on the earth in the very Spirit of My Son. It is not the millennium at all; it is living Christ on earth, on the very spot where He was rejected; living Christ. My heart is turned to Christ through grace, and now I am set upon the very spot where I was a rejector, not as an improved man, but as an expression of that Christ whose I am. God says, I will set you up on the earth in a new style; I will make you perfectly happy there, apart from those things which minister to the natural man. You do not find a natural man happy without suited circumstances, but here is a man, Paul, who has 'nothing' and who is yet "always rejoicing". In the very spot of Christ's rejection man is set up in a new fashion, and in that new style he is able to say "always rejoicing;" or, as the Lord expresses it in His own prayer; "That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves". (John 17:13) And in John 15, "That my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full". (John 15:11) A benevolent man says, I will make this man happy, I will improve his mind, I will ameliorate his circumstances and thus make him a different being. While God announces. In the very circumstances in which he is, I will set him up, and make him superior to his condition, to his position, to everything, for the kingdom of God is within him.

To give you an example of this I turn to the book of the Acts, which is a book of principles. In the third chapter I find a man lame, who is laid daily at the Beautiful gate of the temple. He cannot enter in. He is a powerless man, and a craving man. Suddenly a change comes over him. What is that change?

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He is found in a new power. He is "walking, and leaping, and praising God". (Acts 3:8) Are his circumstances altered? Not at all I But his state is altered. Do you think that, if an infidel of the present day were confronted with a case like this, he would not be confounded? I never speak to an infidel of mercy, of forgiveness; I speak to him of power. When in Mark 2 they began to upbraid the Lord and revile Him as to the forgiveness of the sins of the poor palsied man. He only answered them with, Then I will show you another thing: "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". (Mark 2:10 - 11) And they were all amazed at the power of God, saying, "We never saw it, on this fashion". (Mark 2:12) Here is a wonderful change: a man is found carrying his bed instead of lying on it, as we have it to the church of Philadelphia: "Thou hast a little strength", (but the word ought to be power). (Revelation 3:8) And again, "I have strength for all things in him that gives me power". (Philippians 4:13) It is the wonderful magnificence of God's grace! Here is man set up in power in the very place of his defeat. It is not that he is an improved man, but that he is set up in an entirely new fashion. It is the finish to the work of the cross. It is not only that Christ has died, but that He has gone up to God's right hand, and that from thence He says, I have not only died for your sins, but I have obtained the Holy Spirit for you. Do you know that you, individually, are set up in the power of the Holy Spirit? No one here, of course, doubts the fact that He has the Holy Spirit, but are you walking in the power of being indwelt by Him?

It is, then, the testimony of the Holy Spirit that I now wish to speak a few words upon. The Lord states in John 15, "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even

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the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me". (John 15:26) The other side of the truth connected with the presence of the Comforter as sent by the Father, that which gives us power to cry, "Abba, Father", as we read in Romans 8, I do not wish to touch on here. I just call your attention to the fact that in John 14, He is sent by the Father as the Comforter to the hearts of His people, whereas in chapter 15, He is sent by Christ from the Father's right hand in glory to witness to Him on the earth during His absence and rejection. It is this side of the truth I wish to look at. And the more I think of it, the more I feel that saints have lost the sense of it. I believe a flash of lightning would affect people more than the presence of the Holy Spirit does; the former would affect their natural senses. I do not wish to affect your natural senses, but I do seek to address myself to your faith.

The Lord says, "He shall testify of me". (John 15:26) The Holy Spirit has come down, not only for our comfort, but to testify of Christ. Now, do you ever consult the Holy Spirit about the testimony of Christ? Is it the Holy Spirit who is the great source and leader of the testimony as to means, as to ways, as to persons? If you believe that He is present, do you consult Him as to all this? There is a prayer we very often make use of: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ"; thank God, we all know something of that; "and the love of God"; of that too we can say we are not strangers to it; "and the communion of the Holy Spirit";(1 Corinthians 13:14) how much do we know of that? A man would not have the unblushingness to state that he had walked down the street with a great sovereign, or that the sovereign had done so with him, if it were not true; but we talk quite lightly of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and how much do we know of it?

I wish to impress on you the simple fact, that the

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Holy Spirit is sent down to earth on two missions. Just as a man may have two distinct relationships; he may be a father, and he may also be a master; so the Holy Spirit has two distinct duties on earth, if I may say so; blessed be His name that I can speak so simply about Him.

It is not everything that a man is able to say: I preach five hundred sermons in the year, and get in thousands of people to hear me. So you may, but the question is whether the Holy Spirit is with you. Another will tell me of there being no one to hear him of there being great opposition in such a place; indeed, if you persist in going to them, they will only put you out. I answer. They may put me out, but they cannot put the Holy Spirit out. I dwell upon the fact that He is here to testify of Christ. But how shall I know His testimony? What will He do? Chapter 16, supplies me with what He will do. There I get two distinct marks of what the testimony of the Holy Spirit is.

But first I will say a word as to how Christ is opposed.

This blessed One had come down to earth -- never was there such a thing as the Son of God come down from heaven -- became a man, glorified God on the earth and died for man, but He was rejected and cast out. Then He said, "I will build my church" -- the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. But this is not all. The Holy Spirit has come down, and we are all baptized by one Spirit into one body -- the body of Christ. There is a great deal of disorder in the church, but He has not gone away. Now what is the sin of Christendom that has brought about all this disorder? It is ignoring the fact that the Holy Spirit is, dwelling in the church. Positively a great many godly people pray for Him to be. Sent! The pope is set up by multitudes as the vicar of Christ upon earth; every one of us here refuse that; but, though

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numbers refuse the wrong one, they do not find the right One, the Holy Spirit.

Whatever God is most set upon is that which is most opposed by the enemy; it was so from the beginning. In the garden of Eden Satan came in and perverted the word of God. And in the day of the priesthood, when fire came down from heaven "and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat", (Leviticus 9:24) what form did the opposition take? Immediately the sons of Aaron "took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord". (Leviticus 10:1) They added their own fire to that which came out "from before the Lord". They said, God has sent down fire; we will help Him by adding to it. I see this around me every day. A man may have the very best intention, but he is adding to the Holy Spirit. Oh, but you answer, it is not that; it is only helping on the work, only adding to the influence. Add to it! This is the sin of the day. It is raising the question, Is the Lord among us?

When the children of Israel got into the land of Canaan, in the very moment of victory one man took a goodly Babylonish garment and a wedge of gold, and hid them in the earth under his tent. It was all perfectly secret; it did not compromise any one; no one knew of it; he could not hurt any one by it. He was tempting God, as if He would not find it out. God, then, cannot bear this; and He will not go on with them. Satan's temptation was that God would take no notice of the sin. It was tempting the Spirit of God. Other passages I might turn to as instances of tempting God, and trouble in consequence, such as Uzzah; but I go on to Acts 5, where we find it as a principle affecting the church. Here not one could say that the Holy Spirit was not there. But at this very time I find two people, with what motive I cannot think, who, having some land,

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sold it and brought part of the price and laid it at the apostle's feet. Two things are brought out in this scripture. These two were seeking reputation; it is hard to see why, for the church was not a place of distinction at that time. Like Achan, who sought to enrich himself at God's expense -- for everything in Jericho was God's -- so now these two seek to exalt themselves in God's house. And what does their action prove? It proves that the thought of their heart is. We do not believe God is here. How does Peter meet it? "Why has Satan filled thy heart that thou shouldest lie to the Holy Spirit? Why is it that thou hast purposed this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God". (Acts 5:3 - 4) And when the wife comes in three hours later, having had time to consider her course, his words are still stronger: "Why is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?" (Acts 5:9) It is Satan's masterpiece. When a man is found working for his own distinction in some form or other, the while he is professing to work for God, he is tempting the Spirit of the Lord. Here two were found to agree together to act as if He were not here; and now it characterises the church's action, as though He were not here.

What is the testimony according to the Holy Spirit? It is composed of two parts. First, as it exposes the world: "When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment". (John 16:8) Second: as it discloses the glory of Christ -- Himself and His things.

Jude refers to some who "separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit". (Jude 1:19.) This word "sensual" would be better translated "sensational"; they depart from the Spirit ground, and act upon that of man and nature. There is no more dangerous thing. Nothing has more weakened the power of the truth in the present day than this very thing; I refer to what is called "revivalism". I am obliged

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to speak plainly. I believe no one adopts revivalism in his preaching but he loses the power of the Holy Spirit; he is sure to fall into human ways and means. There is an immense departure in the present day from simple acting in the power of the Holy Spirit. Then when difficulties come in, troubles as to discipline, and other things, there is not one mind, there is no power. Why? Because you have been adding strange fire to the fire of the sanctuary, and the consequence is that now, when you want power, you discover that God is not with you. What was at the root of the action of Ananias and Sapphira? Self-exaltation. I believe if there ever were belief in and acting on the truth of the presence of the Holy Spirit, that He would undertake the arrangement of everything in the church -- would bring the right person, the right evangelist, to the place where He needed him to witness for Christ. I once heard of an evangelist who was strongly persuaded that he should go and preach the gospel in a certain place. He went unasked, and on arriving there was told that there would certainly not be any one to hear him. Still I must preach tonight, he said. And he did preach, though no one came to hear him; he delivered his message, and a man listening outside the door who had not courage to go in, was converted. Here was a man led by the Spirit, and used by Him. I have not a doubt that if we were conscious that the Holy Spirit is here, we would not do a single thing without His direction, any more than a note would come out of a pianoforte if it were not touched.

As already said, one part of His testimony is to expose the true state of things with regard to the world. How then can I use worldly means in serving Christ? I cannot let a worldly man help me to preach, or in any kind of service. I am a witness to the world of its sin. I can only say to it, I stand

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against you. It is not a question of converting souls; the moment a soul is converted it ceases to be of the world. But as to the world, I need no statistics to prove to me its sin; I have a better proof than that can give me; the Holy Spirit is the witness to me of it: "Of sin, because they believe not on me". (John 16:9) I can convict you of the very worst sin if you do not believe on Christ.

The very first time that Paul came into Europe, Satan attempted to help him in his service: he testified to his being the servant of the Most High God; but, when Paul would not receive his help, he immediately set to work to oppose him; that very night Paul and Silas were in the inner prison and their feet fast in the stocks. The prince of the world says, Let me help you. I do not care how small the help you take from me, or what the character of it; but if you refuse it altogether, you shall have my opposition.

But it is not only "of sin, because they believe not on me", (John 16:9) but also "of righteousness, because I go to my Father". (John 16:10) If it is sin here, it is righteousness there; the sin of the one proves the righteousness of the other. The world may do its worst in its opposition to me but I have a power that makes me superior to it. True it has power, but there is another power. It may put Paul in prison, but the prison begins to rock. The world may say to me, as it did to Paul in Philippi, I will do all I can to get people to come to hear you preach. I answer, I do not want your help, I have a power that is superior to yours, and that power is dead against you.

The power that God first gave to man in the days of Noah was a power that was downward not upward. It was the power to suppress evil. And what did they do with it? They suppressed God's Son! "Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father". (John 16:9 - 10) He is not here.

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That is what is against the world. And the fact that the Holy Spirit is here proves that there is in the world a greater power than the world, and that its prince is judged.

The testimony of the Holy Spirit to us is, "He will guide you into all truth: ... he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you". (John 16:13 - 14) He shews us heaven. "All things that the Father, hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you". (John 16:15) I have lost the world, but I have got heaven.

Well, in conclusion, I can only say, that if the heart does not receive as a matter of simple faith the fact of the presence of the Holy Spirit now upon earth, all the teaching in the world will not give it. The Lord grant to each one of us to act more simply in the faith of I believe that He is here. Recognising Him here, I walk in the path of power.

Surely no greater subject can occupy our hearts than this on which we have been dwelling a little. If we delight ourselves in Him, He will delight us individually, will make our hearts glad with the cheer of His love, and lead us on in the power He has given us of maintaining His name on the earth.

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WHAT GRACE EFFECTS FOR EVERY BELIEVER IN CHRIST

Psalm 32; Acts 9:1 - 17

This psalm gives us the prophetic history of grace, and the passage in Acts an actual example of what grace effects for every believer in Christ. This is the gospel -- the good tidings of what God's love is to a ruined world. The question is, what does God propose, what does He offer? I believe many children of God could not tell. They have some idea of it no doubt, but, to use a figure, they are like a man who has ordered a coat, but it is not made yet, and he has not got it on. I am at liberty to use this figure, because of what the Lord did to Adam and Eve before turning them out of the garden. He made them coats of skin, but not only so. He clothed them -- they had the coats on. They had to leave the garden, but before they did so they bore upon them a mark of God's intention to set man up in a new style in the very place where man had disgraced himself. So with the prodigal; not only was the robe made for him, but it was brought forth and put on him. This is the great lack in many souls; they have not got the coat on; they are not in the enjoyment of the completed thing. With God all is finished and perfected -- "Himself hath done it" -- but many believers in Christ have not apprehended the completeness of what has been done, and therefore do not take a new course here.

The great distinction between Christianity and all false religions is that while all can hold out a prospect of something good in the future, Christianity proposes something magnificent at this moment, on the spot. If you are merely thinking of what there will be by and by, then you have not the

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coat on. No, I am made suitable to God down here in the place of my ruin and misery and shame. There is nothing extraordinary in my being in God's favour in heaven. Where everything will be according to Himself; but the gospel sets the man who departed from God and ruined himself in the favour of God and the conscious enjoyment of what God has provided for him on this earth -- the place of his ruin. The gospel does not stop with extricating a man from the misery of the position he was in, but sets him up in a new style in the same place. But you may say, 'We don't see those who have received the gospel in this new style'. Very likely, and that is just why I have given you an example from scripture -- Saul of Tarsus -- of what the grace of God does for a man now .

I divide the first seven verses of this psalm into three parts. Verses 1 and 2 are the first part: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile". (Psalm 32:1 - 2) Here is a blessed ray of divine light coming down into this world, and what it announces is blessing to the man who is forgiven, not to the man who works. (See Romans 4:6 - 8) If you have got that ray you find you are forgiven. The wonderful truth from God at this moment is that if the greatest sinner on this earth were brought into the glory of God, instead of being consumed, he would find a Saviour there. "There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared". (Psalm 130:4) But there are two things in the portion of Psalm 32 quoted in Romans 4. It says not only that God forgives your sins, but also that He will not impute sin to you. He forgives you what you have done, and He does not impute to you what you are. Many a person might be able to say, 'I believe my sins are forgiven', but if I ask him, 'Is sin imputed to you?'

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he would hesitate to say it is not. Such a one has not the coat on; it is only being made. But through the work of Christ, God can be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus". (Romans 3:26) He sent His own Son, who came to do His will and to remove every hindrance out of the way, so that God might righteously receive you and me. Hence, when we get a figure of the gospel in Luke 15, we have it expressed by three parables -- the shepherd going away after the sheep that was lost, the light shining on the piece of silver, and the father coming forth and taking the prodigal in his arms. If Christ had not come and cleared the ground the father could not have received the prodigal.

Turn now to Acts 9, to compare the example with the prophetic history. Here we have a very remarkable man -- Saul of Tarsus -- one of the most religious and best conducted men that ever lived, a man who could say, "I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day";(Acts 23:1) and what is he doing? He is so full of hatred to the name of Christ, and so determinedly opposed to the church of God, that he persecutes it even outside Jewish territory, and is now on his way to Damascus seeking to destroy the Lord's people. Look at God's action towards this man, who was afterwards to be the greatest evangelist as well as the greatest servant of the church (he combined the two, which was a remarkable thing.) Suddenly there shines round about him a light from heaven -- what for? To confound him, to announce the terrible guilt of his condition, to destroy him? No, but to announce that his iniquity is forgiven and his sin covered. Think of the light of God's own glory shining round this ruthless persecutor, and he prostrate before it; but instead of hearing the denunciation of a holy God for the course he was pursuing, the words he hears are, "I am Jesus" (Acts 9:5) -- it was the Saviour who

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spoke to him. There was not a word of the wickedness of what he had been doing -- only this, that the One he had been persecuting was his greatest Friend. He is so touched by it that, trembling and astonished, he asks, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6) Is there one in this room who has not yet turned to the Lord and said, '"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6) I see that, instead of confounding me in the midst of all my folly and thoughtlessness of Thee, Thou art my Saviour'.

Let us look now at the second part of the psalm, which refers to a matter of great importance. "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long ... I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin". (Psalm 32:3 - 5) This tests whether you have really believed the first part. If you really believe, you are cleared of everything by God; you can confess to Him. Nothing is concealed; but you have such a sense of His perfect grace that you wish to have every single thing out before Him. If you have any reserve, it proves you do not believe in the first thing -- the forgiveness. You are like a young man whose father offered to pay all his debts, but the young man is ashamed of some of the debts incurred by gambling, or other disgraceful ways, and he has not sufficient confidence in his father's grace to confess them. He suffers a double loss; he is not perfectly clear of the debt, and he has a reserve with his father. If there is a lurking fear on account of some secret thing in the bottom of your heart, you have never yet fully seen that wave of divine light which tells you, 'I will forgive you what you have done and I will not impute to you what you are'.

Turn again to Acts 9, to see the example of this second part. Saul of Tarsus goes into the city,

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according to the Lord's word, and there for three days he neither eats nor drinks. What is he doing? Mark this particularly. Here is a man who could not charge himself with any misconduct, who had lived a blameless life, who had nothing that he was ashamed of at all, and yet for three days he was so absorbed with the sense of what he was in the sight of God, and that nothing could free him but the blood and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, that he can think of nothing else. He had to learn how he could be cleared of everything, though he had done nothing! What was behind all? A bad will -- not bad conduct. A man who considered himself spotless was confounded before God to find out that "in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing". (Romans 7:18) It was not his conduct that so astonished him, but that spring of wilfulness and insubordination and contrariety to God which is in the heart of man. I believe I have seen it in amiable souls who had not much of the nauseousness and evil that is in this wretched world, but who have been brought to the brink of despair when they discovered the dreadful root of enmity and opposition to God that was in their heart. These three days of Paul's fasting answer very much, I believe, to the three days that transpired between Exodus 12 and Exodus 15. A man has, practically speaking, to go through three processes in his history with God: he is first cleared -- forgiveness, then broken, and then polished. What is broken? His will. His conduct is changed, but his will is broken. Nothing brings a man so low as this, and with many it takes a long course of years. Moses was forty years having his will broken; Paul's was broken in those three days and three nights. His heart was broken afterwards when he saw the end of everything desirable here; Jerusalem refusing the gospel, the nation given up, etc.

We turn again to the psalm to look at the third

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and last part of the history of grace, and I would to God that every eye in this room were anointed with eye-salve to see the wonderful way in which a poor soul is started afresh in the very scene of his former misery. "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters .they shall not come nigh unto him". (Psalm 32:6) When we come to the example we find that this is the very thing said of Saul -- "Behold, he prayeth". The soul has confidence in God and can turn to Him when one believes that God has cleared him from everything.

A person may say, 'I see what you say of that grace, and that it is immense, but how am I to get it?' I believe there is nothing more marvellously grand than the simplicity of the way in which a soul gets grace. It is by a look. I will explain what I mean. You all know the history of Eve; how she turned her back upon God and His word, and thought she would try what she could do for herself. People have a habit of talking slightingly of her, but the fact is, many a woman would be very proud to be like her, and such a woman would be greatly praised in our day. She had everything to commend her in the eyes of men. She saw that the tree was good for food -- she was a good housekeeper; that it was pleasant to the eye -- she was a woman of taste; that it would make one wise -- she was an extremely intellectual woman. What more could be desired in the eyes of men? Every one will speak well of you when you do well to yourself. But, all the while she was disobeying God and turning her back upon Him. So Saul was in the highest repute among men, a man of unblemished character in the eyes of his fellows; but in the sight of God he was the chief of sinners: God takes him up as a pattern man, to show us what grace can effect. Saul is found praying. Prayer is looking to God, and this is the

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way a man gets grace -- by a look. How did the prodigal find grace? By going the opposite way his mother (Eve) went. Eve, in the midst of everything to indicate the greatest consideration on the part of God for His creature, went away from God; the prodigal, surrounded by ruin and want, without any one to care for him, says, "I will arise and go to my father". (Luke 15:18) He was converted; one ray of divine light had shone in upon his soul. Then he made a blunder; he composed a prayer, and would tell his father what to do -- "make me as one of thy hired servants". (Luke 15:19) When he really got to his father, only half the prayer was said. Nothing shows more perfect confidence in God's goodness than that I do not tell Him what to do, but leave it to Himself. I lay all my case before Him, I would not dictate to Him, but, like Hezekiah l leave Him entirely to do what pleases Him. Grace originates in the mind of Him who confers it, and no one forms a conception of what grace will do touching anything. Peter (Acts 12) could not have told anyone how God would get him out of prison, but he went to sleep quite satisfied that God would do something. Paul and Silas (Acts 16,) could not have told how God would deliver them, but they were quite happy about it. If I have a sick child I can go to God in my grief, tell Him all about it, and leave it with Him. If I have not perfect confidence in His goodness, I shall likely tell Him what to do. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

"Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him". (Psalm 32:6) This is what I may call the completion of the spiritual coat. It is not that there will be no trials, and troubles, and difficulties here, but that he will be placed in such a position and in such power as to be always superior to them. This is prophetic, no doubt, but we have the example to

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corroborate it. We find Ananias saying to Saul, " ... receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit". (Acts 9:17) What sort of man is he now? I leave it to you to describe what sort of man he is -- I could not. His moral stature is so great -- it, is gigantic. Who can touch a man filled with the Holy Spirit? They may maltreat him as they did Stephen, but he is above all their rage and violence, the floods do not come nigh to him. So Paul could say, ".The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work". (2 Timothy 4:18) I feel ashamed when preaching the gospel that I can so little describe the magnificence of the position in which grace sets a man on this earth. I am sorry I cannot show you brighter examples of it among men, but I can show you one from Scripture. If all the force and enmity of this world were to come in one great accumulation and bear upon a single person, as it did upon Stephen, he can still rise above it. If you believed this, would you think so much of the petty pleasures, amusements, and advantages of this poor world? Nothing so demonstrates the thorough insignificance and vanity of man in himself as that he can turn away from the greatness of what the gospel confers to trifles of a day.

I would enlarge, for a moment, on this. Turn to John 4. Here we find the Lord speaking to the woman of Samaria - a woman in a very degraded position, afraid of her fellows. The Lord met her where she never expected Him, and what does He say to her? "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:13) - never, either here or hereafter; it does not begin when you go to heaven, but now. The poor woman, though she only understood the Lord in a natural way, saw what a great thing this would be and what a position it would put her in even naturally. "Sir, give me this water", she says, "that I thirst not, neither come

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hither to draw". (John 4:15) I have often stood in the street and asked myself if I really believed that 14th verse of John 4 - it "shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life". (John 4:14) In Eden the blessing was outside; in Palestine it was outside; but the great difference and superiority of the grace now is that it is in you, in the small compass of a man. The Lord not only removes every pressure that was upon men, but He changes the man himself, gives him a new start. Do I mean that you will never have troubles and temptations? No, you will have plenty of temptations, but through grace the temptations, coming from without, will only establish the greatness of what is within. A man might like a piece of land, or a yoke of oxen, etc., but when he learns that the spring is in him, he does not need those things, he can be quite happy without them. People speak of superiority over trials, but I say, have you got superiority over yourself, over the things that naturally affect you? You can never know what it is to have power to deal with circumstances till the power has acted in yourself.

I ask you to look at what God offers, the table which He provides and garnishes. There is no happiness here but may cease, no friendship but may be altered, but there is one thing that abides and with which the Spirit of God feeds the soul - Christ Himself, at God's right hand. In the world you have the enjoyment of that blessed One who relieved you from all your misery and who now feeds your soul with the joy which sustained Himself down here. Before that you were trying to warm yourself with sparks of your own kindling, do not turn your back upon the wonderful position in which God can place a man. I am sorry I cannot show you more examples of it; I am sorry that I am not a better example of it myself. But there was a time when I was quite sure of heaven, and yet so miserable in

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this world that I should have been glad to die and get away to heaven. Now I think of the streams of blessing coming down from above, that makes me happy in spite of this wretched world.

Do you think that being "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 13:9) was confined to Paul? Not at all. I believe you do not get a case in the Acts of a man who was converted who was not set up in a new power. Would that every soul here knew this. People would wonder at you. They would see in you a new kind of man altogether, whose happiness is not derived merely from the things he sees around him, but who has in him inexhaustible resources.

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THE MYSTERY

Colossians 2:1 - 10

We see in the opening verse of this chapter how earnestly the apostle desired the truth he was bringing before them to be apprehended in power by the saints to whom he was writing. He was most anxious that they should know it. He says, "What great conflict I have for you"; (Colossians 2:1) it is a strong word. There was something standing in the way; there was something hindering their apprehension of it. And, on his side, it was not a thing that it was easy to present to them; so that he could speak of his own feelings with regard to the matter, not only as even a conflict, but as a "great conflict". And this truth that caused him so much anxiety was the mystery.

I have been surprised to find how little people know what the mystery is, and yet it is of the utmost importance that they should know it. The reason why the apostle so desired the saints at Colosse to know it was because he saw that they were exposed to a snare. Now people often think that they know enough truth, but nothing protects from a snare but truth in power. The Colossians were in danger of religiousness of a twofold character: one, which appealed to the mind, we should call rationalism at the present time; the other, which affected the body, we should call ritualism. The danger of the saints, then, was a compound composed of these two things, which affected both mind and body.

The flesh comes before us in Colossians, but the flesh in a special way. There are three great intrusions of the flesh. In Corinthians it is levity: there it is, I am saved, but now I will do as I like. In Galatians it is, as in the reformed churches, making the law the rule of life. But in Colossians it is quite

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different. Here it is a religious man. I cannot dwell upon the subject now, it is not my object to do so; I do not wish to dwell upon the bad side, for it is our great and precious privilege to maintain and know the good, and the more I do that, the more I ward off the bad.

What I wish then to bring before you this evening is the mystery which the apostle was so anxious that the Colossians should enter into.

Possibly very many of you could give a very clear definition of the mystery, who yet may not have reached to "the full assurance of understanding" (Colossians 2:2) it: "Full assurance" here does not mean that I am sure of it, but that I understand the weight of it. And the word "knowledge" does not mean simply knowing a thing, but possessing complete knowledge of it. If we have this, we shall never be drawn aside from it to the false thing, to religiousness in man.

It is astonishing the way in which religiousness will come out; it even may in the singing of a hymn. I often used to wonder at that word to Timothy: " ... put the brethren in remembrance of these things"; (1 Timothy 4:6) it seemed to me astonishing that the apostle should need to warn against Romanism a church that held the very highest truth. But the very worst thing comes from spurious sanctity. Nothing does so much damage to the real thing as a counterfeit of it; it deludes souls into the belief that they have got the real thing.

Now if a Colossian listened to the reading of this epistle, he would say: 'Is the apostle really so interested about us? The least thing then that we can do is to be interested about ourselves, and seek to understand what he has written to us'. And any here tonight who do not know it, I desire that you may lift up your heart to God and say, 'Teach it me'. As to any who do know, I am sure they desire to know more. For myself I feel every day how little I

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really enter into it. It is a truth that will affect me in everything as I understand it.

If we turn to the beginning of the epistle, we read: "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints". (Colossians 1:3 - 4) Now from this we should have thought the Colossians in such a good state that they would not require to be watched over with this great anxiety. But it is like a good physician, who might say, 'You are in very good health at the present moment, but still I am exceedingly anxious about you, for there is a terrible epidemic going, and I fear it for you'. God always deals with His people in this way; He gives us truth as preventive of evil. He gives us a summer before a winter, that we may be prepared for the dark days. That is. He gives us special truth to preserve us from a danger thus impending, just as God gave Elijah a double portion of food before his forty days' journey. Thus the Colossians were exposed to the snare; and as the apostle feared their falling into it, and wished to guard them from it, he opened out to them the truth of the mystery.

Before passing on to this, I would first say a word on verse 23 of the first chapter. Here we find, as every student of Scripture knows, that there are two ministries: one, the ministry of the gospel; the other, the ministry of the church, which is the mystery.

First, as to the ministry of the gospel. It is purely and entirely individual. On the other hand, that of the church is entirely corporate. Now if souls only go as far as the ministry of the gospel, they never reach the corporate thing at all. Christ is preached; the good tidings of salvation through His blood is proclaimed, all which Christ did for me. If I take David and Jonathan as an illustration of it, I find

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that Jonathan has received a most wonderful benefit. from the hand of David. He was in a state of fear until he saw the head of Goliath in the hand of David; but then he enjoys his saviour David, who has removed the cause of his fear. He is now set in the state of David. David's victory is his victory. To all intents and purposes he is as David. In type, "As he is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17) -- surely a state which cannot be surpassed.

Now I believe, and I speak it anxiously, that there is a lack in the way in which the gospel is preached. I delight at the way in which God blesses souls, but I feel that it is more the Goliath side that is known, than the David side, if I might so say.

Now God's thought is to set up a soul in a divine contrast to the misery in the spot of his misery. Nothing can satisfy the heart of God, but that the soul shall be set up to His own satisfaction in the spot where it was in utmost misery. No language can convey it, no human tongue can tell it; but nothing can satisfy the heart of my Father in heaven but that I should be here, in this scene where everything tells the tale of my departure and distance from Him, in the very joy and blessing in which He is Himself.

Souls often understand grace without understanding love. I must say one word about love. Love delights in its object, and it must remove everything that bars it from its object. Now love as to natural beings goes out to what we call its 'ideal'. God too has His standard. He cannot find it in us, but we read that we shall be "conformed to the image of his Son". (Romans 8:29) So that now we can say with the apostle "As he is, so are we in this world". (1 John 4:17)

But souls are not ready to go on to the immensity that is involved in the doctrine of the body of Christ, of the mystery, because they are not clear about the first ministry, that of the gospel. There is not a particle

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of relationship between Jonathan and David; there never was, though David was his saviour; there is no mystery there, therefore all we can learn in them is only the ministry of the gospel; there is not a shadow of anything more.

But in the gospel God has not only saved us from our fear, but He has placed us in power and blessedness in the very spot of our misery. See how He addresses the woman of Samaria. Does He say, 'When you get to heaven it will be all right with you?' No! but here in Samaria! Here you shall have a new character; here you shall go on in another way; here you shall be a new kind of person altogether; here you shall "never thirst"; here is the place in which "he that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". (John 7:38) The Lord Himself was so delighted with the Father's work that He had done for this poor woman that when His disciples brought Him meat He could not eat.

Again, in Mark, we find Him as the perfect servant. Is it an unclean spirit? is it a fever? is it the leper? is it the palsy? He can relieve the human family of everything that afflicts it. But in chapter 5, it is something more. He says: 'I will not only relieve this poor man of his sufferings, but I will bring him out in a new way in the very spot of his sufferings'. "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee". (Mark 5:19) And he departed and did so, and all marvelled. I just mention these two cases that we may have a more magnificent idea of the ministry of the gospel.

Now as to the other ministry, that of the church, of the mystery, Paul says he speaks of that "according to the dispensation of God" (Colossians 1:25) which was given to him. The first thing about it is, that it was a secret, a "mystery" from the beginning of the world. Yet

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all the way through the Old Testament there were glimpses of it. Just as the father of a family, who has a secret that he is bound not to disclose, yet now and then cannot help giving a hint of it, so at different times, all through the Old Testament, we get glimpses of the mystery. No sooner was creation completed than Adam and Eve foreshadowed it. Then Abraham sent for a bride for his son across the desert. Next we find Joseph, and Asenath united to him in his rejection and separation from his brethren. Then Moses with a bride in Midian. And then David and Abigail. And when the Lord Himself was upon earth, He gave many hints of the same. He could tell of the man seeking goodly pearls, and finding "a pearl of great price". Is that your idea of the church? Have you the thought that there is something so lovely on earth that a pearl of great price is a picture of it? Do you go about the world with the feeling that, in the midst of all this evil, and tumult, and upheaving, there is something so precious to the heart of God in it? You answer, 'Yes'. Then you believe in the mystery.

But I have not told you what it is. I turn to Matthew 22:44 where it is written: "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool". 'But there is nothing about the mystery there', you say. No, nothing; but still there is a great point in it, which if you do not understand you will never understand the mystery. It is that Christ has been rejected from the earth.

There was one thing that Satan was always set against, and that was Christ being upon the earth. No sooner was He born into this world, than the king of the Jews commanded all the infants under two years of age to be slain, in order that God's Son might be swept off the face of the earth. And eventually, Jew and gentile united to put Him to death.

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Thus they turned Him out of the earth; and God says to Him: "Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool". (Matthew 22:44) Mark the opposition to Him. They will not have Him here! Now turn to Acts 7:55, and read the words for yourselves to get the power of them into your souls. "But he, being full of the Holy Spirit looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God". (Acts 7:55) That is all I want now. The believer on earth sees his Saviour in heaven! God grant that every one of us may see Him there too!

Now what did the Jews do to Stephen, for saying this? They killed him for it. Peter had proposed to them that Christ should come back to them, but they will not have Him. And now, the rejection being a completed thing, Christ having been rejected both on earth and from heaven, comes the time for divulging the secret.

And what is it? That though Christ Himself has been rejected, His body is on earth. That is the secret! Would you not feel differently about everything if you believed it?

We never get it described until now. We find it first in Acts 9:4 "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" It is not belonging to Me, or part of Me, but Me. In that little word is conveyed the fact that Christ is here. If a man struck me on the foot, I should not say, 'He has struck my foot', but, 'He has struck me'.

But this is a subject that is sure to be opposed. People cannot bear the fact that the body of Christ is here. They will stand anything else, but they will not hear of this.

In the epistle to the Ephesians Paul speaks of it as a great mystery, and turns to Eve to illustrate it, for "she was taken out of Man"; (Genesis 2:23) in like manner "we are members of his body". (Ephesians 5:30) Thus the secret is

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divulged, and I pray you to get hold of it -- this fact that the pearl is here, that the treasure is hidden in the field; and that this is Christ's one delight on earth, His one interest.

Now let us turn to 1 Corinthians 12, to see how this body is constructed. We read: "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit". (1 Corinthians 12:12 - 13) This is how it is formed.

But I must here dwell for a moment on the fact that no one can understand the formation of the church unless he believes that the Holy Spirit is here residing on the earth, in the house of God. I do not think that people generally believe this, though they believe that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in believers individually. Now in Acts 2 we read that on the day of Pentecost He first filled the house where they were sitting, then He filled all those who were there also. When He had thus filled those who were sitting there, the house was not any the less filled, was it? Certainly not. It is the Holy Spirit who has come down from heaven who baptises all the members into one body. And it is just as easy for Him to connect a saint in Australia with me, as the one sitting next to me. You will never comprehend the formation of a body unless you believe in the ubiquity of the Spirit.

In reading Psalm 139, we find these two subjects in connection: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me". (Psalm 139:7 - 10) We also have the formation

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of a body -- these two subjects together, though not referring to the church.

There is therefore evidently no geographical limit to the Spirit of God. It is no difficulty to the Holy Spirit to bind souls together, however remote from one another. Hence if "one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it". (1 Corinthians 12:26) For instance, a man hurts his finger, and at once he stops walking and looks at it. He might as well have gone on walking, for his feet were not hurt. 'No', he says, 'but my finger is, and I cannot go on'. But, you argue, I cannot act to a brother in Australia as l can to one near to me. True; and therefore in Romans and Ephesians, where the brother near you is spoken of, he is called your neighbour. The man in Australia cannot be your neighbour, but he is none the less your brother.

Now Satan sought to extirpate Christ from the earth; but in the very place from whence He has been rejected are now found multitudes of saints to represent Him, baptised into one body by the Holy Spirit. Romanism has sought to give an exhibition of this unity by insisting on a liturgy which shall be the same and in one form and the same language all over the world. This was the work of the natural mind certainly; but there is no greater enemy to the church of God than the natural mind. So we find in Revelation that the direst enemy of Christ is that which is professedly the church of God.

The Holy Spirit has two actions, upon earth. One is. He comforts the saints; the other is. He stands for Christ. And many know Him as the Comforter who know nothing of Him as the One who "shall testify of me". (John 15:26)

If we turn now to Ephesians 2, we find a point of immense interest. Many a one who accepts the truth that we are bound together is not dear as to what is

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bound together. It certainly is not the bad thing in us. It. is the good thing that is bound together; it is the new nature which we have received from God. "Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father". (Ephesians 2:18) The Jew in nature is done with, and the gentile is done with; but He makes of both one new man, and all are united together, and to Christ the Head. The special position of the church through all eternity will be that it is united to Christ. In chapter 5, we read, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones". And this, he adds, "is a great mystery". (Ephesians 5:29 - 30)

This is the whole point: not only has Christ done the greatest work for me, but He has put me also in the closest relationship to Himself. He is my Head. I cannot, then, use my own head; the blunders we make are all from using our own heads instead of following His guidance. As to the nature of the union the marriage tie falls short; it is a relationship that all types fall short of. I can only say that Scripture states it, and so I believe it. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are 'hid' in it. My hand writes something; you ask, 'How did you get that?' I answer, 'From my head'. What a wonderful thing it would be if we could say of everything we did, 'I got that from Christ; He alone is my Head'.

I do not believe we have the least conception of what a wonderful place we are set in; rivers of water flowing from us; not getting anything from this poor world, but, on the contrary, contributing to it (this individually), while corporately I participate in the wisdom, grace and glory of that blessed One who has brought me into this place on earth; for the glory of our corporate position is that what belongs to the Head belongs to each one of the members. As an individual I never enjoy anything until I have practical

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possession of it. But as a member of Christ's body, I can say I have a place in heaven. I may not be enjoying it, but still I have it.

If we turn to 1 Kings 10, we find a scripture which explains this. You remember that the queen of Sheba came all the way from her country to see king Solomon; and when she beheld all his riches, and glory, and magnificence, "there was no more spirit in her". (1 Kings 10:5) Now I turn to this passage merely by way of contrast; and I ask what is the difference between the church's relation to Christ, and the queen of Sheba's relation to Solomon? The queen of Sheba was there only as a spectator; she was so entranced with all she saw that there was no more spirit left in her. But does that convey to us the church's position? No; the church is a participator, not a spectator. If the queen of Sheba could have understood that she was allied to Solomon as closely as his own body to his head, do you think she would ever have gone away from Jerusalem? Certainly not.

Thus I get a test by which to discover whether a person really knows the mystery. If they know what it is to be members of the body of Christ, they are satisfied with nothing short of Christ's place. The church can have no other place but where Christ is. A person sees the mystery if he sees that he can have his joys, his pleasures, in no other place but where the Head is. God has made us complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power.

So that in dealing with a soul I first seek to portray to him the greatness of God's grace in putting a sinner in a place of freedom from all fear, of salvation from his enemy; and, when he is clear as to that, I tell him that he is a member of the body of Christ. He thus not only rejoices in His work, but he participates in all that He is.

One word more. Practice corroborates even a divine theory; therefore, if what I have stated is the

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truth, the practice will confirm it. Now we find the practice in chapter 3. First, we are to set our minds "on things above, not on things on the earth". (Colossians 3:2) It does not say in the world, many a man is earthly who is not worldly. The earth is in contrast to heaven; the world, to the Father. And then we read farther on, "Christ is all and In all". (Colossians 3:11) Christ is all, He is everything; it does not leave room for anything else. Then, I say, this truth as to the mystery would affect my life in everything. For instance I might write a letter rather sharply, and then ask myself, 'Would the Lord write that letter?' If not, then do not send it. We have a Head in heaven, who would use us just as we use our hand.

Lastly: ".Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus". (Colossians 3:17) I believe that is the testimony -- to do everything in His name. Nothing ought to be more delightful to us. Just as any affectionate husband or wife would say, 'You need not tell me to do such or such a thing; I delight to'. Do everything in His name: our furniture, our dress, no matter what it is. I am delighted that He has not imposed anything less upon me. I know that nothing can carry such virtue and blessedness with it as doing everything in His name.

I can only add, that I do not know anything that has had a more vivifying effect on my own heart than the fact that the Lord has an object of delight and interest and love upon this earth, and that He has called us to share His interest and delight and joy in it.

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TO MEET THE BRIDEGROOM

Matthew 25

There is an important statement in Revelation 22:17: "The Spirit and the bride say. Come". It is connected with the whole book of Revelation, which was given to John when everything was ready for Him to come. The Holy Spirit, sent down to testify of Christ on earth, at a certain moment invites Him to come. True, things have developed since that time, but here it is stated that the Spirit, and the bride in company with Him, invite the Lord to come. He is "the bright and morning star". (Revelation 22:16) The answer to that is. Come! John speaks of "the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ". (Revelation 1:9) The Lord is enduring the whole state of things here, and His saints are spoken of as having "kept the word of my patience". (Revelation 3:10) Again, "The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation"; (2 Peter 3:15) He waits in patience.

There are two things I wish to consider: ..first, what the Lord's return is to Himself; and, secondly, what it is to us.

The church has lapsed from this hope, because the servant said in his heart, "My lord delayeth his coming". (Luke 12:45) He did not preach it, he said it in his heart. The ten virgins went forth rightly, but they stopped on the road; the bridegroom did tarry, and they all slumbered and slept. Inactivity ensues. This was always the case when the church had lost a true sense of the coming of the Lord.

It is the principal charge against the church of Ephesus. They had lost their first love, were asleep, had dropped down into inactivity. "I sleep, but my heart waketh". (Song of Songs 5:2) They had love, but not that first love which is characterised by the Object that commands my attention wherever I am -- at my work, in my

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family. "Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty". (Psalm 45:10 - 11) You preferred me to your own: that is first love. Not what He can do for me, but what He is to me. It is a personal affection for the blessed Lord; it is saying to the Lord, like Ruth to Naomi, "Intreat me not to leave thee". (Ruth 1:16)

In John 13, He Himself makes provision for unbroken intimacy between us and Him; if subject to Him, He will never allow a break. He will take care that there is no interruption between my heart and Him while I am down here.

Now the cry comes: "Behold the bridegroom". This woke them up. "Go ye out to meet him". (Matthew 25:6)

The cry began about fifty or sixty years ago. It caused great alarm at first, because of the sense of the reality of having to meet the Lord. I do not want now to speak of fear, but to cultivate the delight of seeing Him, so that one would shape one- self to it, as a wife, expecting her husband's return, seeks to have everything in order for him -- everything as he would like it -- and is not afraid of his reproach.

Some speak of the Lord's coming because everything here is in confusion, and say He will settle it. But I want to settle myself first, to be divested of everything that is unsuited to Him before He comes. The apostle says, "That I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ". (2 Corinthians 11:2) I covet to be a servant like that. He says, "I am jealous over you ... for I have espoused you to one husband". (2 Corinthians 11:2) How his one thought is to have them for the Lord's own eye.

The coming of the Lord is connected with the fact that He is rejected from this world. "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool". (Psalm 110:1) The more simply I own that blessed One who was refused a place here, the less can I belong to the place where He is refused, I cannot get my rights: nothing can be set right till He, whose right

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it is, is come -- until His foes are made His footstool. Nothing can be complete till He comes. He is rejected, waiting, expecting. I pray that I may enter into His own feelings in coming back. I believe, if I were more in His confidence. He would tell me what He feels about being refused His rights here, and how He looks for the day when He will come. "Henceforth shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven". (Matthew 26:64)

2 Peter 1:19 gives us what His coming is to ourselves; it is the dawn of day to us, it is the day star in our hearts. But we want to be more like friends to the Lord -- to know His feelings, like the heavenly company in the Revelation, who give thanks because He has taken to Himself His great power, and has reigned. Here it is the day dawn, but, before the day, the Star arises in our hearts, the morning star in Revelation, "the bright and morning star", the prelude of the day. I can remember, in old coaching times, the long dark nights and the effect upon us all when some one would sing out, "The morning star!" -- the prelude to the day. It is the actual prospect of the Lord's coming before the day comes, the harbinger of the day in our hearts.

Nothing has done more harm than the way in which people talk of the Lord's coming, without seeking to put everything straight in themselves. This has led to the infidelity about it: "Where is the promise of his coming?" (2 Peter 3:4)

Peter puts it very solemnly: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up". (2 Peter 3:10) All here is going to be burnt up; everything here must go. This has a wonderful moral effect.

Not only am I looking for that bright moment

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when I shall see the Lord, but also I know that all here is to be dissolved; I am practically set free from all that would detain me. There is not a word about the millennium here; it is skipped over. I am to be connected with the Lord; and what manner of person am I to be? Like a balloon, which not only requires gas to carry it up, but also all the cords and grappling irons must be loosened, to free it from the earth. Monks are like those who try to loosen the cords, but it will not go up without the gas. Peter gives the day star in our hearts, but he says, 'Remember everything here has to go' -- the grappling-irons, etc. -- all will be burnt up.

1 Peter 1:13 speaks of the coming of the Lord as it affects the flock: "Gird up the loins of your mind; be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation [or apocalypse] of Jesus Christ".

One thing I desire to cultivate in the heart: What it is to see Him! "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord". (1 Thessalonians 4:16 - 17) All heaven is for it! He descends from heaven with a gathering shout -- a voice; the angelic host supporting; the trump of God announcing the amazing fact that He is returning. The dead in Christ rise first. Every believer -- not the church only, but every believer -- every one caught up in that momentous rapture!

In Ephesians we do not get the coming of the Lord at all; there Christ is in the heart. But the more we know what that is, the more we long to see Him -- the One who has done everything for us, who is gone back to heaven to make a place for us, who is cheering our hearts along the road with His own

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company. And the greater the correspondence between your soul and Him, the more you want to see Him; the greater the communication, the greater the longing, as we all know with absent friends:

'The draught which lulls our thirst,
But wakes our thirst anew'.

The Lord tells His disciples, 'In that day you shall know what union is'. If my heart is true to Him, my heart would break if I lost Him. This is Song of Songs 5:6 - 8, or like Mary Magdalene: "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". (John 20:13) Disciples cannot comfort her, angels cannot pacify her, till she sees Him. He says, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God". (John 20:17) The whole thing dawns upon her. She is quite changed. She finds out that she is associated with Him. He was everything to her; the world was intolerable without Him; but the sense of union with Him alters everything: "Ye in me".

It does not come out fully till the epistle to the Ephesians, because Paul gives the counsel, John the nature. Sit down for half an hour, and tell me if your soul has got hold of that? There is very little to see, but a great deal to get into. Very little is told to Mary Magdalene, but she went off quite tranquillised. A little bit of divine light had shone into her heart, and now she can bear to be absent from Him, because she knows how she stands in relation to Him.

Paul says, 'I long to depart'. Paul has been eighteen hundred years with the Lord; it is the next best thing to seeing Him. I desire that we should cultivate affection, and what satisfies affection; and if you do not know your relationship to Him, you cannot have any activity of affection. Paul has not yet seen Him as He is. "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming". (1 Corinthians 15:23)

Nothing is finished or complete till He comes.

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"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself". (Philippians 3:20 - 21) These are the advantages. It suits the heart that nothing should be perfect till He comes.

Our politics, all that concern us, belong to that country from whence we look for the Saviour. The Jews looked for Messiah, but it is a Saviour for whom I look -- One I expect great benefits from. I look for the One from whom I have already received incalculable benefits. What more, then? Much more. He is going to change this vile body, and make it like unto His own glorious body, "according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto himself". (Philippians 3:21)

When He comes, the first wave of His power will traverse the whole earth, to call up the dead, from Adam onward, first. Then the living saints will be caught up. His first act is to liberate all His own. Like a mighty victor entering a besieged city. His first act is to let out all His own family. All will spring up in glorious bodies, like His own.

If I turn to James, he looked at it as relief from the pressure of this world: "Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh". (James 5:7 - 8)

Again, in 1 John 3"Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth

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himself, even as he is pure". (1 John 3:2 - 3) Those who are now sons of God are expecting to be like Him when they see Him. Therefore he that hath this hope in Him is chaste now, separate from the world now; he seeks to be fit for Him. John looks to be ready for Him; he says, 'I drop this: it will not suit Him'. The bride going to see Him must have everything suitable to Him. She says: 'He is coming home today; everything must be ready for Him as He would like it'; there must be the loins girt, the first love, the first works. There must be watching; that is the character of first love -- not asleep. He "commanded the porter to watch". (Mark 13:34) The watcher does not go to bed; he is watching all night; he is expecting Him to come. This is the real desire of the heart. It is the place of the servant.

Again in chapter 2: "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming". (1 John 2:28) He exhorts them in order, that he, that is the servant may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. It is not the people there; it is the servants. Oh to be servants like that I seeking to do the work well, that we may not lose the full reward; that we may not be ashamed of our work; that we may be able to count on a full reward! Paul says, "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ". (2 Corinthians 11:2)

Now I want you to carry away an impression of the immense blessedness of seeing the Lord. "The Spirit and the bride say. Come". (Revelation 22:17) If your hearts are right -- your lamps trimmed -- I am not afraid but your feet will be right. Practically it is the king's daughter, all glorious within. "She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework", (Psalm 45:14) everything done stitch by stitch.

The one thing to cultivate is the desire to see Him

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as He is. And where is my heart, if practically sensible of being united to Him, and enjoying every expression of His love and interest in me down here, if I am not longing more and more to see His face? He counts on our love. He says, "I am the bright and morning star". (Revelation 22:16) He counts on being that to our hearts.

"The Spirit and the bride say. Come". (Revelation 22:17) Then comes activity. I turn round to him that hears and say: You are not saying. Come; say. Come. I cannot be isolated at such a moment. If I see a brother or a sister not saying Come, I turn and say, 'I wish you to say Come'. "And let him that is athirst (the anxious one) come". (Revelation 22:17) Then my desires reach out to every one, I become widely evangelical. If you have not found out the streams that make glad the city of my God, come and drink, of the water of life freely. The whole earth is swept while I am looking after everything that belongs to Christ, because I want to have everything ready for Him when He comes.

And now, how do you gain affection? By being occupied with what Christ is to you, by learning His interest in you. A parent does not ask his child to love him, but he gains the love by the way he seeks the child's welfare. The Lord seeks my true interest; He thinks of me; He serves me. He is reserved to me if I walk unworthily of Him. His love desires my perfection. Abraham going up mount Moriah learns Jehovah-Jireh. You cannot speechify about affection, or argue a man into it, but you can promote in your soul a deeper acquaintance with Christ's interests in you, and your heart will get more enlarged in the knowledge of His love. It is thus we become devoted to Him, so that we look for Him, longing for that day when we shall see His blessed face.

'Thus the wish grows deeper, stronger,
Friend of friends. Thy face to see'.

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LIBERATION

Joshua 3

The first great question is. What is Jordan? What does it represent? What is the antitype?

One very important thing in connection with it is, that if you do not know the antitype you never understand the type; nothing has been a more fruitful source of mischief than trying to explain the type without knowing the antitype. Thus those who do not understand Paul's teaching can never interpret the Old Testament. The apostle puts his own teaching in 2 Timothy 3, alongside Old Testament scriptures.

Now, as to the Jordan people say, 'Jordan is a type of our natural death'. If so. What, I ask, is Gilgal? Why, it must be purgatory, for Gilgal comes after Jordan! You see at once the inconsistency of the interpretation. If you understand Paul's doctrine, you will see that Ephesians is the antitype of Joshua. I may add that an important principle in connection with this subject is, in practice never to be below the type.

Now let us turn to the chapter before us, and see what the type is.

It is a type of the truth that we are dead with Christ. It is not the Red Sea. You do not know the Red Sea and the Jordan at the same time; antitypically they occurred at the same moment, for Christ died but once; and these are two aspects of His death. In the Red Sea He meets all the enemies: that is the aspect of His death towards God. At the Jordan it is its aspect towards me.

Now what do we learn at the Red Sea? It is a very important history, but I do not dwell on it now. I will only say that the Red Sea is where Christ in

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His death removed every atom of the offensive thing from before the eye of God; there every power was overcome, it is not merely the blood screening from judgment. In Exodus 12, the people have the sense of being sheltered from judgment by the blood, but at the Red Sea the whole thing is judicially removed from the eye of God for ever. The old man has been crucified at the cross, that the body of sin might be destroyed; hence the Egyptians seen today are to be seen no more for ever. It is not Egypt. Egypt is the place where the judgment was. The Egyptian is the person on whom the judgment came. That is in figure the old man; that brought judgment on the place, and that is gone completely, as we get in Psalm 108, "There was not one of them left". (Psalm 106:11) That is what God has done for the people, and they are brought to God.

Romans 3, answers to Exodus 12; Romans 5, gives more the idea of Exodus 15; everything is clear. Christ is risen from the dead; not a single disturbing thing is left; all of it is gone from the eye of God, and therefore there is peace. There was never peace till Christ rose from the dead. People think it very dreadful to say so, but how could there be peace until the battle was over? I do not say there was not victory; victory is when you have overcome the enemy, but peace is when you have silenced him. All our enemies are sunk like lead in the mighty waters. He entered into death that "he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil". (Hebrews 2:14) If you do not understand the Red Sea, it is no use going on to the Jordan.

Jordan is another aspect of the death of Christ; it is our death with Christ, while the Red Sea is His death for us. The thing I learn in Jordan is that I am carried over, through Christ's death, to the place where Christ is, by the Spirit of God. If I were dead I should be happy, I should go to heaven; but the

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question is. Can I get over before I die? That is the entire question, and it is the important thing that belongs to us, and not to the millennial saints. God does not deal now with the man that has rejected His Son, but He changes the rebel into a member of the body of Christ; while in the millennium the rebel will be turned into a subject, because the King will be here. The King is not here now. What then does God do? Through divine grace He changes him into a member of the body of Christ.

There will be no Jordan in the millennium, and it will not be necessary to get across then, because Christ will be here. The great thing now is to get across to the place where Christ now is. Would you like to go? Well, you are across, though you have not found it out. Christ would not have it otherwise than that we should be with Him where He is. It would not be enough for Him that we should only be clear in the sight of God and rejoicing in the victory. No, He would have us in the place where He is. But you could not get into the place unless death had come in.

Death has come in; in Jordan we die with Him; it is not there that He dies for us. Thank God, He has died for us, and done the work perfectly to the satisfaction of the heart of God for ever. He has never any question about me, never. He never sees me in the flesh again. Alas, I may go back to it! But woe betide me if I do, because God must judge the root of it in me. That is the trouble a believer has now -- not merely to be forgiven what he has done, but that the root may be judged. Peter was forgiven for a long time before the root was judged; and that is restoration. "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean", (Ezekiel 36:25) not forgiven only, but cleansed. The root must be judged. But, you say, it may spring again. Yes, but the least likely bit to grow is the one you dread.

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There is another thing in Exodus 3:8. God says, "I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey". That was the purpose of God concerning His people, and that purpose Christ has accomplished. Have you a doubt about it? It is accomplished. He has done it perfectly. Some one may say, I never knew it. Why? Because you never cared for it. But do you think God does not care whether you have it or not? It is the deep delight of His heart that you should enjoy it. Joshua and Caleb could say, "If the Lord delight in us then He will bring us into this land". (Numbers 14:8)

Did you ever consider in the case of the prodigal son, who it is that delights to bring him in? Why, it is the father. It is the delight of the father, then the delight of the prodigal. It is the father who says, "Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry" (Luke 15:23) - let him share the joys of my house. The fact is, beloved friends, and it is a wonderful thing to say it, God never had one to share the joys of His house until the prodigal came; not one. Not one could He have till Christ came. The thief on the cross was the first sample brought up to share divine joys in company with the Son of God. Who can deny it? But, you say, were there not many saved before? Yes, but never brought into the place in company with Christ, because Christ was not there. Think of the delight with which He said, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise". (Luke 23:43)

I desire to call your attention to the fact that God never had a people to share His joys till now. Hence He says to the servants, "Bring hither the fatted calf". (Luke 15:23) The fatted calf was the thing reserved, and reserved until the guest came. Who is the guest? The poor sinner brought in by the Son; that is the guest - the lost sheep brought in on the Shepherd's

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shoulders, and by the power of the Spirit working in that same prodigal. The Shepherd had given His life for him, the Holy Spirit had accomplished a divine work in his soul, and the Father was waiting to receive him with unspeakable delight. "It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad". (Luke 15:32)

That is what answers to the passage I have read in Exodus. God would bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey. But Moses never did; it was Joshua who brought them in. What is the antitype? First the gospel is, that the joys of heaven are made known to me, a sinner here upon the earth, by the Holy Spirit come down from heaven. "The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit". (Romans 14:17) The gospel is that I am delivered from Egypt, and I have the Spirit sent down from a glorified Saviour to light up my heart with the joys of heaven, the joys of the Father's house, until I come home. Thus the Spirit comforts me until I come home. That is the gospel. Now I come to the church.

Well, not only is God's Son up in heaven, but God has brought up His own to enjoy heaven now. We are not there fully yet; but the point is, we can come to the spot now where Christ is; that is, in spirit. As we sometimes sing:

'In spirit there already'. (Hymn 56)

or, as we sang just now:

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

Have you got the right of entrance there, and have you ever been there? That is the question.

I ask then first. What is your title? We have a right to be there because Christ has cleared away the whole thing that hindered. You may say, I see that, but I have never enjoyed being there. That is

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true perhaps, and I go with you in that and say, 'Would that I enjoyed it more!' Still, the fault is not with God; it is our own. A person may not enjoy it, but there it is for him. Whether he does enjoy it is practically to be known by the way he is at his work. I say to a working man. Would you like to go home? Oh yes, he says, that is what I long for. I never see a man well-ordered who has no home. A Christian is not right if he has not a home. Where is his home? Up there above -- 'In spirit there already'.

You get the idea in Psalm 23"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters". (Psalm 23:2) It is refreshment, and therefore it is said, "He restoreth my soul". (Psalm 23:3) He invigorates it. It is not, 'Whene'er I go astray'; that is not the right thought. This restoration is to help you on, to invigorate you. It is like a man going to rest at night at home in very happy circumstances, and in the morning he goes forth cheerfully to his work; or like a person going out warm on a cold day -- that is exactly the idea. It is the delight of God to have us there, and the Spirit come down leads us there.

It must surely greatly interest me to see the delight the Father has that the prodigal tastes the joys of His house. That is the gospel -- a wonderful thing. But when I come to the church, and know that Christ, cast out of this earth, has been raised up to heaven and seated on the right hand of God, I understand how the purpose God had before Him has been brought about: that His people should now, through the Spirit and death with Christ, travel there and enjoy the very spot where He is. This is greater still.

Have you ever been to this place? Would you like to go there? Will you go there? That is the question raised, and that I want you to answer. "Wilt thou go with this man?" (Genesis 24:58) What! leave all my associations

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here, kindred and every tie, to go with Him? Yes! Rebekah has heard such an account concerning Isaac that she will go to him where he is.

You could never be satisfied with or enjoy the mere relation of the facts. How could you? Suppose I tell a boy at school, who has never had a home, to go to such-and-such a place and he would find it his home. He might say, I was never there. The fact is, he has no idea of a home, and has no power to fix his heart upon it. He has neither father nor mother; he is an orphan. It is not that he can be as happy at school as at home, but he has no tie to a parent, or he would be glad to go home; it could not be otherwise. It matters not how happy the school may be, or the things here. The question I put to my heart is, "Wilt thou go with this man?" (Genesis 24:58) If you had found out the preciousness that is in Christ, would you not long to go to the place where He is?

I know what some say, 'Can we not have Him with us here?' That is like Orpah; she kissed her mother-in-law, but she would not go with her. She could not leave her country, she did not love enough; Naomi was not indispensable to her. If the Lord were indispensable to me, this Joshua 3, would be the delight of my heart. You say, 'Would you go and leave everybody and everything?' Yes! But do not say, beloved friends, 'leave everybody'; because, mark the practical effect, you would come back to them a better man if you had crossed over. If you went over there, and entered into what belongs to you there, you would come back a better man. In Colossians a man is told not to be bitter to his wife; but in Ephesians, where he comes from heaven, he is told to love his wife "as Christ also loved the church". (Ephesians 5:25) You see how great that is. It is an advantage to all, because he comes back to resume his ties and fulfil his obligations in a better way.

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There are three reasons for our crossing over: first, the delight the Father has in having us there, and the delight of Christ in having us there; and, secondly, our delight in being with Him; and a third is, it is what suits us, because we have a heavenly nature. No place else suits us, because we are like exotics. We have got into the sunlight, and it suits us. I say, 'I can enjoy myself now!' I come home from business cares, from being always on the alert, all the day long, and now I relax myself, I am at ease; around me all suits me.

But there is another thing I have already alluded to, and it is this: if you do not go over, and do not become acquainted with Christ's circumstances there, you can never demonstrate Him down here. I can understand a person saying, 'I do not know how to do this'. You may be a very good wilderness man, but not a heavenly one. He is not a thorough Frenchman who has never been to France. You may be a redeemed man running on to heaven, but that is not being in heaven. An Ephesian is one coming from heaven. He is not only raised up, but he knows he is raised up, to the spot where Christ is; he has by faith crossed over to heaven, and now comes back from it; and yet still is in the place where Christ is in spirit, though not yet in body. But He will "change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Philippians 3:21) Then, in body too, we shall be with Him for ever.

Let me dwell a little on the subject, to explain what I mean. If I die, I shall go to heaven; I may have a happy death-bed; but I call that dissolution. Now I am going to use a new word, which I trust will make it plain. I call Jordan liberation. I call actual death dissolution.

I trust I have stated to you plainly that God has

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accomplished it all; and if I am not enjoying it, it is because I do not care about it; and, in practice, God does not cast His pearls before swine. There is nothing more pernicious practically with ourselves than exhibiting more affection than is valued. If you value it. His word to you is, "I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me". (Proverbs 8:17) It is not that it is not there for all alike, but you do not enjoy it because you do not value it. If you valued it, you would be in it, for "He that hath to him shall be given". (Luke 8:18) It is blessed truth I am telling you; but of what use is it telling it to you, if you do not care for it, do not value it?

Now, I will explain. You know what a happy death-bed is. I have seen a person so really filled with the sense of the blessedness of being with Christ in heaven, that there was actual delight at the thought of being released. That is dissolution. The last tie and the greatest is broken. The greatest tie is the one you cling to most; it is the hardest thing to get rid of. There is a saying, that if you had twenty-one links to this earth, and twenty of them were broken, you would stick to the last harder than all the twenty. Dissolution is that the links are all worn out, and a man gets a brighter sense of what it is to go.

I visited a poor woman on her death-bed, who had a large family. I said something to her about them, but she replied, 'I could not turn my attention to them now. I could not be disturbed now from the delight I have in the prospect of soon being with the Lord'. She was ready for dissolution.

I believe there are hundreds who are really over Jordan in spirit, who have never accepted Jordan -- never accepted liberation. They have learned they have a Saviour in the glory, and know the perfect satisfaction they have in the scene of light, because of their Saviour there, but they have not accepted Jordan, that is, their tie to the earth is not cut. You

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say, 'What should I do if every tie here was cut?' Well, that is the proof that you have not liberation; and if you say that only your natural death can do it for you, you are making liberation less than dissolution. In a spiritual death-bed you are still in the body; in a natural one you leave it; and yet I say the former is the greatest. Paul says. To God I am beside myself, lost altogether. That is what Jordan is; that is what liberation is. It is not merely that I ought to be, but I am loosened to everything by the commanding attraction of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the delight of heart I have to go to the place where He is. The known welcome that awaits me in that scene enables me to say, I must stand loose to all here. That is not when we come to a death-bed, but when in the prime of life, and surrounded with everything here that the scene can afford to make one happy in it; when I have found out that I can cross over, that I am over, I know that it is better to be there.

How? Turn to the antitype; just read one verse showing this in Ephesians 1"That ye may know ... what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places". (Ephesians 1:18 - 20) That is the power that has taken me up with Christ; the same power that has brought Christ up has brought me up. Is that a known thing? If you have not known it, you cannot enjoy it. You may say, as in Peter, 'I am in the pathway'. Yes, following His steps, and you may be suffering for righteousness' sake, and watching against the power of the enemy and the like. That is all very blessed, but that is the wilderness, and this is a different thing altogether. I am not dwelling on that side now; I am trying to set the other before you, and to lead you to delight in it,

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and to see the delight the Lord has in having you where He is.

Turn now to Luke 2:29. "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace ... for mine eyes have seen thy salvation". That is dissolution, not liberation; Simeon is going to die. I hold liberation is that I am cleared by Christ's death from every tie to this world, and I have gone up to the spot where He is, and come back again to resume every tie in a new power. If I did not get over I could not do it. What power do I come back with? A heavenly power. Do you think that is an extraordinary thing? But if you know the Father's heart, and Christ's heart, you cannot for a moment doubt the reality of it. Christ is raised up by the mighty power of God. Now, the members of His body are brought up by that same power. All are raised up -- all.

You may say, I never enjoyed it. Perhaps not, but it does not make it the less true. A child when he is born has five senses; it is a long time before he knows he has them, but it is none the less true. A child may be born a prince, but he does not know it; and this is like many Christians. But the worst part is that they do not care to know it. When the apostle is writing to the Ephesians, he lets his heart flow out, for they were in a fit state to receive what he had to impart. Hence he says, "After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you". I want "the eyes of your heart" to be "enlightened". (Ephesians 1:15 - 16) I want you to know these things, for you are in a condition for it.

Simeon's case is a happy death-bed; but it is not liberation. There is a perfect sense that all is cleared, but he wants to go away, and not to come back again. Liberation is; I am going clean away, but though I go away thus, I shall come back again a new kind of person, in a new power; a new person influenced by the place where I have been.

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Look now at Stephen. "But being full of the Holy Spirit, having fixed his eyes on heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God". (Acts 7:55) I say, beloved friends, that is liberation. He had not a single regret; he gladly gave up everything -- everything for Christ. He went to the other side before he died; he was perfectly over. Christ had gone in and cleared the way for him. If the way had not been cleared, he could not have gone over. It was a new thing which was never opened out before. Heaven opened to a believer for the first time. Now Stephen is brought into liberation. And this is true for us all. How? By the Spirit of God, who abides in me down here. I do not say we all have visions like that, but we have the thing. This is the opening of the new line, if I may so speak, and all must go by it some day; but what I want you to know, and what I am seeking to get definitely before you, is that we may go over now. Do you enter into the delight the Father has that you should enjoy the place where Christ is? As a believer in the work of His Son, He sends down the joys of heaven by the Holy Spirit to you here -- that is the fatted calf; and now in spirit He will have you come up to the place where the joys are. Therefore in the prayer in Ephesians 3, the apostle says, "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man". (Ephesians 3:16) That is the answer to Deuteronomy 26. "And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: and he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey". (Deuteronomy 26:8 - 9)

Thank God, I can go over now. It is my right, and it suits me to go, and I have preponderating reasons besides this. I know it is the delight of the Father's

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heart to have me there. I have the sense that I am in the very scene now where my Lord is, and there to get properly qualified for His service. What is my duty now? The bride's duty: to set forth that blessed One on the earth where He is not. How do I get qualified? By having to do with Christ's things where He is. That is the difference between heaven and the wilderness. In the wilderness Christ supports me in my circumstances; in heaven I am in His circumstances.

I am in the wilderness always in one sense; but I have to stand for Christ here, and I stand here in the power of the Lord.

In Psalm 22, I see that there is nothing against me that Christ has not met, and overcome for me. In consequence of this, Stephen can stand superior to everything here. The holiness of God has been maintained by the work of Christ, and now, if I take the order in this psalm, I see how he meets all the power of evil. First, there is the reproach of the people. Stephen is superior to it. In the power of Christ, the power that put him up there, he is superior to the power against Christ here. He is a heavenly man, he is above his circumstances and standing for Christ; and as to the reproach of the people he is superior to it. What about the bulls of Bashan -- ecclesiastical power? Superior. What about bodily weakness -- being brought into the dust of death? Superior. What about the lion -- Satan? Superior. What about the horns of the unicorns -- death? Superior, superior to them all! As to his murderers, so superior that he could kneel down and pray for them. He was there to set forth a rejected Christ upon the earth in His own power. He is over Jordan; he had liberation before dissolution.

Let us turn to another example in Philippians 1. "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire

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to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you". (Philippians 1:23 - 24) Paul longs for dissolution, but still he is quite ready to stay; but he says to be with Christ is "far better". You say, perhaps he was never there. Yes, he was in paradise as "a man in Christ". How did he get there? By his own death? No, Christ's death had relieved him of all the encumbrances connected with the flesh; "whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell". (2 Corinthians 12:3) He was set so free that he could rise up in the Spirit to the very spot where Christ is. He would like to remain there, but it was needful for the Philippians he should remain here, and he says, "I know that I shall remain". (Philippians 1:25)

Now turn back to Joshua for a moment. You understand now, beloved friends, what I feel in speaking on a chapter like this. I say that we all ought to be delighted, we all ought to be ready to leave everything here to go over there. What if you get happy in the Lord? Yes, when you are happy in the Lord, what comes into your mind? I do not think when you are thoroughly happy in the Lord that either the greatest mercy or the greatest sorrow comes into your mind. That is what comforts many a one who is really over in spirit, but who has not accepted Jordan.

I want you to accept Jordan. That is liberation. I am over through Christ's death. Through my own death I shall get to heaven when I die. But the question is. Can I get the power to reach there now? I say you ought to be glad to hear that you can. Like as to a schoolboy I say, Would you not like to go home? His parents might be constantly sending him favours at the school, but do you think all these would satisfy him? No, he says, I would rather go home. That is the very spirit I want you and all to have. I thank God I can go home because of Christ's death; I am not waiting for my own death. I can

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go over yonder and get qualified now; otherwise it is no use trying to act for Christ here. I say if you have not been over you have not the real thing, you do not know how to go on in testimony for Christ. Not all the books in the world will teach children how to behave; it is the way they are brought up at home, it is the associations they are in. And so with you; it is by beholding the glory of the Lord, you are changed into the same image.

"Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you", (Joshua 3:10) says Joshua. That is exactly what Stephen finds. The power that put him up there, that power enables him to stand superior to the whole force of the enemy here. He stood unswervingly against all his foes, and that not merely as a stone wall, but with divine feeling; kneeling down, he prayed for the men who were battering him to death.

What is it to have the power of Christ? Where do I get it? By going up there. In Ephesians 1, the power comes to put you up there; and then, after showing you that place (and in Ephesians let me add, it is not so much the joy of it as the benefits of it), you come down in the third chapter with the power that is now in you. There you get power, never-failing power; but this power is little entered into. Where do the gifts come from? From that same place, and oh, what a place it is!

One thing more. You will find in dissolution as well as in liberation that there is not a drop of water. The waters rose up very far from the city Adam; there was not a drop to be seen, all was clear.

Now the feeling I have myself is this. If I knew liberation better, I should meet death better. I have no doubt many a soul finds, when the question of dissolution comes, the moment of death, he knows he is not over. But I say that by grace I am over. I am in liberation; I go over to be qualified, and I

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come back here a new kind of person. I do not think there is a single practical thing in the epistle to the Ephesians you can do if you are not a heavenly man. You have not the requisite power else. How else could a man love his wife "as Christ also loved the church"? (Ephesians 5:26) You might be an extremely amiable, devoted and affectionate man, but it is another thing to love as Christ loved the church. You have not the power for it, hence your best love is unlike Christ's love to the church. How could these words be addressed to any man, except one who came with Christ's power? Every other practical thing is just the same. We are to love one another as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. If I turn to Romans I find a different thing altogether. There, "love is the fulfilling of the law". (Romans 13:10) But in Ephesians it touches everything; wives, children, servants, and all. Not a word about children in Romans, Peter, or Hebrews. Not a word about these for a wilderness man. Only in Colossians and Ephesians do you get the children mentioned. Why? Because here you have come up to God, and you can take in the whole scope of His grace. In Romans you are a delivered sinner on the earth, and your family is not touched on. In Peter the wives are mentioned but not the children.

Oh, the immense blessedness of having this power, when we come to the practical side of our lives as Christians here! For this I need to keep my heart more fixed upon the place where Christ is. Nothing will draw my heart there like dwelling on the delight the Father has that I should be there, and the delight of the One who has brought me there. There I learn the blessedness and the freshness of His love, and there I become qualified to stand for Him in the place where He is not.

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QUALIFICATION

Joshua 5:10 - 12

Gilgal follows immediately the crossing of Jordan, the antitype of which is in Ephesians 1. By the power of God we were brought over when Christ rose from the dead. Then we all went up with Him. We do not know it perhaps. Born princes, as I have said, are sometimes a long time before they find out what they are. So we are sometimes a long time before we find out that in God's mind we were over when Christ rose.

After Jordan comes Gilgal. First I will notice the difference between Gilgal and Marah. Marah is in Exodus 15:23и Marah is when you enter the wilderness; Gilgal when you enter Canaan, which is typically the heavenly places. One is in the wilderness and the other in heaven. All turns upon this. Marah is drinking death, the bitter water of the Red Sea. Christ has gone through death for us, and cleared us of everything; we take our place in the wilderness, and now comes suffering in the flesh, clearly not suffering for sin, for Christ has cleared all that away. It is important to understand the difference between Marah and Gilgal. Every Christian knows something of Marah. He could not be a Christian without it.

In 1 Peter 4, we read, "As Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin". (1 Peter 4:1) That is Marah. The cross is the tree thrown into the waters, and they are sweet because the cross is there. This is the antitype of the passage in Exodus: "Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind". (1 Peter 4:1) For instance, I go into a room, and see something on the table that I would like to appropriate, but it is not mine, and I do not. I walk out of the

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room instead. Well, I have ceased from sin. It would be sin to take it, and I did not take it. I suffered in the flesh; I ceased from sin. It was not that there was no sin in me, but I have ceased from it; I have drunk the bitter water made sweet through Christ's death.

Let me however say this: the wilderness to me is a very different thing from what it was to Israel. To them there was nothing in it to allure them. They could only have tempting things before them by thinking of Egypt. But there are plenty of things around me to tempt me, because I am in the same place, and perhaps doing the same business, as before I was converted. What was Egypt to me yesterday is the wilderness today. Yesterday I had the world with its order and rule to depend upon; today I have nothing to depend upon for a single moment but God.

I will illustrate the difference. There is a man selling apples at the corner of the street, and some ruffianly man comes and overturns his stall. What does he do? He calls a policeman. That is Egypt. But now he is converted, and he is no longer in Egypt, but in the wilderness, and selling his apples at the corner of the street as before; and the same wicked man comes and knocks down his stall again. Well, what does he do now Does he call the policeman? No, he commits it to his Father; he says, 'I must bring in death upon the flesh now instead of gratifying it'.

Now this is very different from Israel. In Egypt they could have the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but not in the wilderness; while I have them all around me. Therefore Peter says, "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul". (1 Peter 2:11) And it is important to understand this difference. You are perhaps a person of unblemished character, but that does not give you immunity from suffering; you do suffer, but it is from the open attacks of Satan,

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not the covert ones; that is, you suffer from Amalek, the enemy of the wilderness. Amalek came out and fought against Israel in the wilderness. He is not the enemy of Canaan.

Romans does not take you out of the wilderness. There we read, "ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body". (Romans 8:13)

In Hebrews we are running on to heaven, but not there yet, nor do we get to the ground where we can stand for Christ. It is not that you are not on ground where you can be a real christian, conduct yourself rightly, and resist evil, but then it is another thing altogether when we come to Canaan. So it is in the history of Israel. There was Pharaoh the enemy in Egypt, Amalek in the wilderness, Balaam when they left the wilderness. It was after the wars with Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og the king of Bashan, that Balaam appeared. Balaam's object was to draw them into association with the world. Then comes Jordan, and now I am a dead man; man is gone, and I am on the other side. Balaam could not do me any harm in the land; I am dead there through Christ.

We have come now to another ground, and the only ground where we stand for Christ. If you ask, 'What is the difference between the wilderness and Canaan?' I reply, 'In the wilderness Christ supports me in my circumstances, but, in Canaan I stand in His circumstances'. Nothing can be clearer. We cannot now know Christ on earth. As the apostle says, "Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more". (2 Corinthians 5:16) Now we are in heaven, and our first lesson is that we are united to Him there, and, like a faithful spouse, bound to represent that blessed One to whom we are united, in the place where He is not. That is the thing we are called to, and every true heart says, 'That is the very thing I would like'.

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The result is that though I am in the circumstances of the wilderness, I am above them. I will illustrate this simply. Here is a poor woman with many children, struggling on, and the Lord helping her, and she thanking the Lord every day for His mercies to her, and for His care; her heart bounding with delight in the prospect of the eternal rest that is coming; and while thus travelling on through the wilderness, one of her benefactors comes in one day, and proposes something of a worldly nature to her, something of a worldly advantage. But she replies, 'No, I cannot accept that'. She is thus above her circumstances; she is standing for Christ now. But what is the result? That benefactor has become opposed -- perhaps bitterly opposed to her. But she is unmoved. She says, 'I will stand for my Lord'. I am getting through the wilderness because He stands for me, but now I stand for Him. Through Him I am across death, and on the other side, risen with Him.

Now I turn to Colossians 3, to explain Gilgal. The Colossians were intelligent and nice Christians. This is clear from what the apostle says, "We give thanks to God ... since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints". (Colossians 1:3 - 4) In chapter 3, he says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth". (Colossians 3:1)

I do not think we have, properly speaking, the old corn of the land here; there may be allusion to it lower down in the chapter, in "the peace of God ... to which also ye are called in one body". (Colossians 3:15) That is the corporate thing; but here it is individual. I am risen with Christ; but in Ephesians I am not only over Jordan, but I learn what will fit me for Christ here. I do not get that in Colossians at all. If is what we get in Ephesians. There the almighty power of God carries me over; there is not a word

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about me -- not even my conversion. It does not touch my side at all, except as to my state, dead in sins; it is God's side. Well, now comes, "If ye then be risen with Christ ... Set your affection on things above". (Colossians 3:1 - 2)

There are only two places for blessing, earth and heaven. Often a person may not be worldly, but he is earthly; then he is not heavenly. "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead". (Colossians 3:2 - 3) You do not get that in Romans. There it is, "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead". (Romans 6:11) Here man is gone altogether; this man is the practical difficulty in the way of acting for Christ; you must not bring in this man at all. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal"; (2 Corinthians 10:4) carnal is not merely evil, but fleshly.

Now we come to Gilgal, and I will now try to explain what it is. "Ye are dead", says the apostle; then "mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth". (Colossians 3:5) It is not merely bringing death upon a thing as it arises, but now the whole thing is rolled off, the reproach of Egypt is rolled away; that is Gilgal. It is not only that you are dead, but you roll off the reproach of Egypt. I not only put off the bad things, but I put off the flesh, the whole thing. I have entirely done with that man. It is a most wonderful, thing to you, if you really know it practically.

See what a practical difference there is between Marah and Gilgal. In Marah you do not allow the working of the flesh; and you must continue that in all your Christian course, not allowing the flesh to work. But in Gilgal it is more; the whole thing is rolled off. "Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice", (Colossians 3:8) etc. A person carefully educated perhaps would not have these, but he has others. Well, all must be put off, and this on the ground that you are dead with Christ. I am not to have one bit of what belonged

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to the old man. I am disencumbered of the whole thing now, and I am occupying new ground.

You may say it is very difficult to understand it. In one sense it is difficult, and you never can understand it in a natural way. Our meetings are often spoiled by trying to bring out natural sentiment; nothing of human sentiment call help a Christian; God does not want man's mind.

You ask, 'How am I to know the difference between a natural sentiment and a spiritual thought?' Why, in this way. You will find a human sentiment is exciting in its character; a natural thought or sentiment elates you, while a spiritual thought gives you the impression of the greatness of it. You are subdued with the greatness of it. A human sentiment, excites you, just as in a revival meeting, but there is sure to be depression after it; whereas the effect of the mighty power of God in the word has the result of making me long to be alone, that I may know the virtue of what my ear has listened to and my heart has rested on. That is a very different effect.

Still I can understand the difficulty; we are but poor creatures, and have all been affected more or less by beautiful sentiments, and we know the exhilarating effects they have had on us; but we also know that they do not last. It is "as the crackling of thorns under a pot". (Ecclesiastes 7:6) But the divine has a subduing effect, and yet it lays hold of you, and it shows the blessedness of divine teaching. Still we know how difficult it is to keep clear of excitement. For instance, suppose a meeting is in a low state, and some one gives out a hymn of an exciting character to raise the tone of it. There may be a thrill for a moment, but it is soon over. It is mere excitement. There is no excitement in the divine circle. There is a sense of the divine, a sense that the blessed Lord claims me; it is not the expulsive power of a new affection, but of a

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new Person. It is a very blessed thing, but I am not a bit elated by it; on the contrary, I am sensible of the weight, of the blessedness of it. In one sense it puts me out in order to take possession.

At Gilgal I am a new man. I am entirely apart from the activities of the natural man, amiable or not; Christ is all. There must be nothing of myself -- no human activities at all. Of course there is the vessel still. The vessel is the body, and the body is the Lord's and He can use it. But Christ is everything. This is a very practical, thing, and I love the subject, because I believe that if the soul gets hold of the difference between Marah and Gilgal, it gets a wonderful lift. I often think what a relief it would have been to me had I known it sooner. I have got rid of the old thing, and now I am coming on to learn what suits Christ.

But you may say, 'Still the old thing comes back again, and what are we to do with it?' John 13 just answers that. In Colossians 3, you get standing, in John 13, state. The Lord there says, 'I will wash your feet, for "if I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". (John 13:8) I have gone into heaven, and I cannot have you there with Me unless you are clean, for nothing that defileth can enter there'. It is not merely forgiveness; it is removal of defilement. Not forgiveness only, but I am washed -- washed and wiped, that there may be no sense of defilement. You cannot be in heaven with the sense of defilement. Peter was very devoted, and had great love for the Lord, but he was not in communion, for if you are in communion there will be no reserve between you and the Lord.

In Hebrews you get into the holiest, but there you feel the perfect One has had to be "rent" to let you, the imperfect one, in. But supposing I fail now. Here John 13:8 comes in. The Lord says, 'I will wash your feet, so that there may not be a shadow

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of reserve on your heart touching that thing in which you failed'. The action, perhaps, may be rapid or slow; you will generally find that it is in proportion to the depth of the offence; the deeper the offence, the slower generally the recovery. In Numbers 19, we have the ashes of the red heifer, and the running water -- the Spirit -- for applying them. The ashes are the token that judgment has been here. Has been, not is, it could not be ashes if it were here now. Ashes are the token of accomplished judgment. And what does it bring to your soul? The knowledge that Christ has borne the judgment of God for that bit of self-gratification in which you indulged. It had disturbed your communion. Would that we were more sensitive as to this!

But let me add one thing: you cannot disturb communion unless you first have it. You may have affection for Christ, and yet may never have joined Him in the new place where He is, and therefore you have not communion with Him. It would have broken the disciples' hearts not to have joined Him where He was going; He had so won their hearts that separation from Him would have been unbearable. They would have said, like Ruth, "Intreat me not to leave thee". (Ruth 1:16) But I have not to say this, for He tells me He wants me to be with Him, blessed be His name! And yet how loth we are to get into the new place, how content to have no part with Him! Although not a shadow of sin is left; in the eye of God the root, the whole thing, is judged in the cross. It is not that I am forgiven; that which I deserved He bore, and I am clear; but it is only in the new place that I can "have part" with Him.

I have said so much upon Gilgal because of its importance; it is just this, that the old man is left outside. When a man is enlisted, he is brought to the barracks, and, once within the gates, he leaves behind all the old things which belonged to him as

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a civilian; he is turned into a new kind of person. He drops the dress, and walk, and the tastes he had in former times, and he is brought within the barrack gates, in order to be fitted for the king's army. That is what Gilgal is; we are brought inside the gates.

Let us see then, what the barracks are. First of all, we are in the new place; the old thing is gone in the death of Christ -- it is all left behind. We are dead with Him, and now raised up. and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. I am not going to have, in this new place where I am, any of that which I had before.

How is this effected practically? We get an instance in Paul, when he says, "Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood". (Galatians 1:16) It is not the question whether it is good or bad. People draw distinctions and talk of what is good. What does Paul say of it in Philippians? "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ". (Philippians 3:7) He not merely gave up his sins, but he gave up his righteousnesses too. He was glad to give them up for the righteousness in Christ. He says, I would be found "not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith". (Philippians 3:9) Not my sins, but "mine own righteousness"; all that was gain to me as a man; it is gone, and I come out on a new principle -- to do everything in the name of Christ. Thus I am qualified.

You do not get Ephesian walk in Colossians. You get a good deal of what is very nice; but the saint is going on to, and looking to be prepared for, the walk which you get in Ephesians. Do you say, 'This is too high for us'? The fact is, we have all missed the mind of God; we have been calling low things by high names, assuming Ephesian walk where there is no Ephesian walk at all.

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You may be on your way to heaven, as in Hebrews; that is the wilderness walk. But Ephesian walk is standing for Christ here, above my circumstances for Christ, like Stephen; or like the woman I have already spoken of, not only beautiful in her wilderness character, working her way through it, but when the test comes, proved to be superior to her circumstances, and able to stand for Christ. She got the power for it by going up to the Christ's place. If Stephen had not gone up, he could not have acted here in the power of Christ. That is the power Paul speaks of when he says, "That the power of Christ may rest upon me". (2 Corinthians 12:9) I get it by going up; it is mine, but if I do not go up, I have not got it. Hence it is, "Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites". (Joshua 3:10)

Well, now, we are inside the barrack gates, and the first thing we come to inside is the passover. Here the recruit is to be fitted for service for the Lord, and the first great qualification is to learn what the love of Christ is in bringing me there.

Do you say, 'Could I not learn that on earth?' No, you could not learn it in the same way. On earth you are surrounded with all the hindrances, like a man at his daily business. It is not in the press of business that he learns what a happy home he has. It is when he comes home, and sits in the circle of his family, that his heart deepens in the sense of his happy home, and of what a highly favoured man he is to have such circumstances. This was not the thing before him in the pressure of business; it is not there that he can enjoy the love of his home. Well, now, when do I enjoy Christ's love? When do I learn His heart? When I am there in the scene of unspeakable delight, with the sense, 'There is not a cloud above, not a spot within'. What occupies me there? I dwell on the love that brought me there,

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and the manner of that love too. There is nobody who knows anything of the heart but can affirm that it is so. When you are at ease in your circumstances, you enjoy the love of anybody most. Suppose you think of a parent's love to his child; it is when he is in happy circumstances he will have the greatest sense of it. When the child is ill, he is full of interest and anxiety about it, and sympathises with it to the utmost degree; but when does he enjoy that child most? when it is ill? No, when it recovers -- when it is quite well. And so God says "He will rest in his love". When? When all is over; when all the work is known; He will then "joy over thee with singing", (Zephaniah 3:17) because there will then be nothing to hinder the heart from going fully out. Thus it is in the passover, in the land, that we get the deepest sense of the love of Christ.

Now turn to Exodus 12. Here we have the passover in Egypt. I want you to see the difference between the passover in Egypt and the passover in Canaan. I often adduce this to shew what a difference a place can effect. It is the same feast, and yet they are quite different. There were no bitter herbs in Canaan; in Egypt there were.

The passover in Egypt is, typically, what Paul went through in the three days after his conversion; he was feeding on the death of Christ, tasting in his soul the sense of what Christ passed through when He bore the judgment due to him. In this passover I am sheltered by the blood, and feeding on the sacrifice. That was what Paul went through in those three days; he learned what Christ went through to set him without a cloud in the brightest glory.

How often at the Lord's table we hear only of our sins having been put away. Well that is the passover in Egypt. The Lord's supper is to call Christ to your remembrance, not your benefits. You cannot lose your benefits; but it is when you are most in

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the enjoyment of the benefits that you most dwell on the Benefactor who brought you into the benefits.

At the passover in Canaan we are on heavenly ground. It is like Deuteronomy 26I am brought up to the place, I am put on a new level -- not on the level of Adam, but on the level of Christ. What am I thinking about now? I am thinking of the love of His heart in bringing me to this wonderful position, and calling me to remember what He did for me, and to sit at His table in remembrance of Him. Nowhere should we get such a sense of the love of Christ as at the Lord's supper, when we see how that love led Him to go through death for us. Paul could say, 'His work has cleared away everything, and now I can go up alongside of Him. I know what He went through for me, and now I want to be where He is'. I believe, beloved friends, the more deeply I get acquainted with that realm of glory where He is, the more my heart will revert to what that blessed One went through to bring me to that blessed position. See what they do when they are there with Him in the Revelation: "And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power";(Revelation 4:9 - 11) and again, "for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation". (Revelation 5:9) Crowns are not pieces of metal; they are the sense that I have reached the summit, and that there I can fall down before Him and say, 'I owe all this to Thy death'. Hence you get in Ephesians, "That ye ... may ... know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge". (Ephesians 3:19) That can be only known by a person in heaven; I am there, and I am remembering

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how I got there. He went down to death for me, and "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". (John 15:13) "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8) -- sinners, mark! not friends. And the further I go on, and the more I know of the place where that love has brought me, the greater will be the sense I have of it.

My knowledge of His love grows in the way in which a tree grows, higher and deeper; the higher the tree grows, the bigger the trunk becomes, so that the trunk is always the thickest part of the tree. And so the first acquaintance I have had with the love of Christ always has the largest and deepest place in my soul. That is what He did for me, and that is first love. The farther you advance, the more that deepens. Look at a tree; which part is the thickest? That which grew first. Thus the first thing I was acquainted with as a believer was the love which led Christ to go down to death for me. Can I get any lesson now better fitted to qualify me than that? No. Well, what shall I do? I will stand for Him here. It is love for Him that makes me stand for Him. I am made a soldier in a moment. I say, you have touched my object, and I am sensitive to a degree. It is not a question of who has done it, but that you have touched Christ. I sometimes illustrate it by shewing how a hen acts with her brood. She is one of the most timid of animals, but let a dog approach her brood -- she is a soldier in a moment, and no dog will face her. She is transformed in a moment, by simple affection, into the most valiant of beings for the object of her affection; if you ever saw it, you would never forget it. Thus if I have a heart for Christ, I must stand for Him, and I cannot do anything unbecoming His name. I could not do a thing that would in any way compromise Him.

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The second thing we find after Gilgal, inside the barrack gates, is that the manna ceased, and they ate the old corn of the land. I am not going to say much on that, though it is a subject of much interest. The old corn was not till Christ "sat down". It began when the Holy Spirit came down, uniting us to Christ, and thus connecting us with the old corn of the land; but we have manna all the way up. This is the comfort for a person who touches manna at all. As a poor sinner he has had the pardon of his sins, and he feeds on Christ's death, and now he has the manna all the way; and this is true of every believer.

The old corn of the land is another thing; it is not what Christ was upon the earth, but what He is in glory. Would you not like to feed on Him thus? Would you not like to know what He is now? I feel humbled when I think how little I know of what Christ is at this moment. If I did, I should be sure to do the right thing in the place where I am.

The simple exposition of the two is this. Manna is what He was; the old corn of the land is what He is. Surely every true heart that has known what He was, must long to know Him as He is. Thus the apostle speaks in Philippians: "That I may know him" -- that is, as He is -- "and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death" (Philippians 3:10) that I may know Him where He is, and then come down here to suffer for Him. You may say this is vastly beyond you. Well, if you admit that, it is humbling, and you cannot boast. A child may say, 'I have finished that book'; but the teacher says, 'You have not got to the end yet, you have to learn much more'. So it is with us -- we often think we have learned all when we are only at the beginning. In one way there is nothing actually new to learn, because what we have to learn is what we already

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possess. We have to grow in it, and to learn on; and if we do not, we are not enjoying it.

Any person who knows anything about history, knows that many of those who were born princes, were a long time before they found out what it was to be princes, and often called themselves princes before they knew what it meant. I often think that is the way with us. We talk of our position and of being here for Christ -- like an army in review. Where do you get the right idea of it? I must learn it in His presence where He is. That is the only way to learn it. And you come out having fed on the old corn of the land, your heart impressed with a fresh sense of His love, and of His power also. You must know union before you can have power, and you can only know it in the place where He is.

To stand for Christ is what we are called to do; and thus it is that we are prepared and qualified for it.

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CONFLICT

Joshua 5:13 - 15; Joshua 6:1 - 16

Here we have a type of the heavenly warfare, and it is important for us to understand, because the child of God is never out of warfare. If you look along the line you will see this is the case. There is Pharaoh in Egypt, Amalek in the wilderness, Balaam when you leave the wilderness; and in the land there is the greatest force of the enemy -- the seven nations arrayed against the heavenly position.

In the world, Satan is against even a poor sinner. For the apostle says, "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not". (2 Corinthians 4:3 - 4) Pharaoh overcome, you get into the wilderness and find Marah; you drink death, you are sustained by Christ in that place. But then Amalek comes out to fight, to intimidate you, to dispute the fact that you are to take this position. Here you will find two things: one, the intercession of Christ to support you; and the other, if I may use a familiar expression, that you show fight. Joshua took men and went out to fight Amalek; and at the same time intercession was the real help.

Let me give you an illustration. The Lord said to Peter, "Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not". (Luke 22:31 - 32) There was intercession; not for his salvation -- he was saved: it was that his faith might not fail. But was Peter ready for the fight? On the contrary, he trusted himself to the high priest's house, and was pleased, when there, to find a fire. But the devil was there too. They did not see the devil, but he was there to prevent Peter from being a dependent man. That was not the heavenly

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battle. Satan seeks by all these snares to keep us from the place of dependence, which is the wilderness.

Now go on to Numbers 21. There the people are outside the wilderness; and here you find a great many believers now, really established in grace, knowing what God has done for them and in them, having life in Christ, and the Holy Spirit in them, as in John 3 and 4 The brasen serpent was on the very edge of the wilderness; the people are outside, as to state, and thinking perhaps that all will be plane sailing now, when Sihon king of the Amorites comes against them, and they fight him, and the Lord delivers them. That was a battle, but it was not a heavenly battle. They are now out of the wilderness and going on to Canaan, and they have this desperate battle on the way. Like a man in Hebrews; he is going on to heaven, but not there yet. A saint soon discovers if he is going to heaven; but there is such a thing as being in heaven and going on to it at the same time. "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood", the apostle says, "striving against sin". (Hebrews 12:4) That was death -- martyrdom; and I have no doubt at all that many devoted men of God, have had their battles this side Jordan. They suffer greatly, but they seek a religious position here; like the two and a half tribes, who wanted a place to settle in on this side of Jordan.

What we discover practically in this is, that we are not to acquire in these battles; though we conquer in the place, we are not to occupy the place. On the other hand, when I come to heavenly battles, all I gain is my possession -- my right. To illustrate my meaning, Luther was backed up by the Elector of Saxony, and as a result he had a status here. But that is all wrong. If you establish a religious system in the world you are all wrong. You must not acquire possession where you win the battle, unless it is on the other side of Jordan.

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Consequent upon these great battles, another terrible foe arises; that terrible foe is Balaam, and many a strong man has fallen down through him. What is Balaam? Balaam is Satan acting on the susceptibility of your nature. You are invited out to some social party, and you accept it because it suits you naturally, and you are led away. Most of the unsuited marriages result from Balaam. If your natural predilections lead you into a circle, or class of society, where those predilections are gratified, that is the snare of Balaam. I dread the word 'social', for I know what a host of mischief lies under that word. First, people are invited out, and that brings them into worldly associations with their attendant follies. Look at children, where do they pick up the notions many of them have? At school, from their companions. It is surprising what things people learn in company with others. If you were across Jordan, a dead man, you would not be invited out, for a dead man would have no interest in the things here. If I have taken the place of being dead, I have got greater happiness on that side Jordan than I can possibly have on this. That is the point. It is not assuming anything, but the things here have no interest for me.

I am sure I am addressing those who, if invited to partake in some kind of amusement, would find it no amusement at all, and why? Because they have higher pleasures. Like the queen of Sheba, it is the better things which enable me to surrender the things here. It is of no use denouncing them. I have done it myself, but I have found it was useless. You may relieve your conscience, but you will free no one from them in that way. Let them get the better things, and the others will drop off like dead leaves; just as with a child, if you want to take a dangerous thing out of his hand, you offer him something bright. That is the superior thing, the eclipsing

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power. I have said to myself before now, 'That is a thing I can never give up'; but it dropped off when I got the better thing, and I did not feel it because I had heavenly joys. Just as in the case of a certain shrub, the old leaf does not fall off until the new one is formed. It is what I call the expulsive power of a new Person. It is not a thing now, but a Person. A person contains much more than any amount of things can contain. There is great variety about a person. And there is endless variety in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we knew Him better, and studied Him more, we should be constantly making fresh discoveries of His worth every day.

We come up, then, into the land, and here is the proper Christian conflict, which is really to bring out the heavenly Christ on earth. Do you say, 'I am not up to that battle? I was never in it, it is quite beyond me?' Well, I say, are you set for it, or, would you like only to look at it? A good many people like to see reviews, as they set forth the idea of a battle, and I am afraid that is too much the way in which the warfare in Ephesians is read; it is only a review to many, not the real conflict.

Well, what is the conflict for? It is to be a heavenly man; we have a heavenly country. Israel contended for the land. The crusaders are to me a very interesting people, because they risked their lives in order to get the holy land out of the hands of the heathen and the Saracen; they died for it, and their wars were called 'the holy wars'. The idea was good, but it was carried out wrongly. The idea was to get space for Christ upon this earth. What would be the right thing then? The right thing is to get moral space for Christ. They fought to get Palestine for Christ. Our conflict is to stand here as heavenly men for a heavenly Christ.

It is not Christ in humiliation we are to present,

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but the heavenly Christ. What does Paul say? "Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more". (2 Corinthians 5:16) It is the Man in the glory we are to present. It is the corn of the land I am to feed on. Therefore we go to the battle. If I take the antitype, I am to be "strong in the Lord and in the power of his might". (Ephesians 6:10) That is the corn of the land. I am to set forth a heavenly man in every circle and relationship here. In the practice of Peter's epistles you get nothing about the family, nor in Romans. Why is this? Because there you are not high enough. You are there a delivered sinner on the earth. In Ephesians you are a heavenly man, so you can come down to the lowest point. It is the height at which you are that enables you to come down, and with the power that belongs to that exalted position. He has passed into the heavens, and not merely into them, but He is higher than the heavens. Hence everything is to be done according to this position. That is the wonderful character of Ephesian practice.

Nothing can be plainer than that the conflict is to bring out a heavenly man, in the several circles in which you are found on earth. I count seven circles in which you are found on earth. I count seven circles in the Ephesians; but no matter how many there are, read Ephesians 4 and 5, and you will find there is not a single thing there that could be carried out but in heavenly power.

Paul says, "That I may know him", (Philippians 3:10) that is as He is now. And I ask, would you not like to know Him as He is now? Do you think it would content a devoted wife or child, to be able to say, I knew my husband or my father ten years ago, but I do not know him now? Why, we never heard of such a thing. Yet that is really the way some think of Christ. They know Him as the Saviour who died here, but

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they do not know Him as He is now -- the glorified Man.

'But', you ask, 'who is up to it?' I go with you; there. I know how little I am up to it; but I cannot shrink from what God has called me to; I cannot shrink from Philippians 3"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings". (Philippians 3:10) Again, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord". (Philippians 3:8) That was not salvation; Paul had that. True, He is my Saviour, but the grace of God is so large that it would lead you on from that, to know Him as the Head of His body, the church; and when you come to know Him as your Head, oh, what happiness!

And now what you are called upon to do is to display that One upon earth, and therefore there is conflict. Satan urged man to the climax of wickedness -- to put that blessed One upon the cross. Man's first sin was to turn his back upon God; for his second, there is no cloak -- he turned God's Son out of the earth. I think people are not sensible enough of this. They do not walk. about with the sense of it upon them. They admit the first, but not the second. And now what God has done is this: in His wondrous grace. He says, 'I have chosen you before the foundation of the world that you should be holy, and without blame before Me in love. You are members of the body of Christ, and I want you to display Him here upon the earth'. What is all the teaching for? What is the point aimed at in ministry? "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature and fulness of Christ". (Ephesians 4:13) That is not something hereafter. Speaking to the gifts, Paul says. You are to work on in order to reach this. You answer, you will never get people to it. Well, do not stop working on to it.

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That is the end of all teaching; and if the end of teaching, it is also the end of warfare.

You find in Ephesians 6"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel". (Ephesians 6:19) That is, not the gospel merely, but the mystery of the gospel. What Paul wanted really, was to give out this truth: Christ, the heavenly Christ; that is the conflict. To me it is affectingly interesting. Do not you see that when Satan had brought man to the climax of wickedness, to refuse God's Son on this earth, and God had raised Him up to His own right hand, God brought out that Christ's body was here; and we members of it, now belonging to the place where He is, are to be the expression of Him down here in the very place where He was refused. Do not you see that all the force of the enemy must be directed against that? Well, that is conflict.

But God has His object, and He will support His own in maintaining it. And I am sure it is a great comfort to us to know it is God's object to maintain for Christ here, and if I know that, I need not fear any opposition. I say it is no matter who opposes; I have God's object before me, not my own will. But there will be bitter opposition. Yes, what is God's object has always been opposed by Satan. Open your Bibles anywhere you like, and you will find it so. You will find that what is God's object at the moment is what is most opposed; nothing is more striking. When God sent His Son into the world, who opposed Him most? Why, the Pharisees. Those pious men who stood up for the keeping of the law in its strictest sense, those before whom other men bowed down because of their piety -- these were the men who opposed Christ. The Pharisees opposed Him when here, and the Sadducees when He had left the world.

Who would have thought that those who were

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the sticklers for the law, the strictest and the straitest as to religion, the Jews, should be the ones to oppose the Lord! so much so that when the Lord cures a man on the sabbath day, they declare He is not fit to stay here. Can you understand the inveterate unrelenting character of the opposition against what God's heart is set upon? Paul was left alone; all men forsook him; but the Lord stood by him. And Paul was not a bit baffled. Read what he says to Timothy in his second epistle to him. He wrote that epistle after being thus forsaken, and you will see he is not discouraged. On the contrary, he tells Timothy to commit the things which he had heard "to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also". (2 Timothy 2:2)

Well, this is the conflict; and if you get into it, you may have tough battles to fight while standing for the Lord, or moving on as a heavenly man, for Satan is a relentless foe. If we read Peter or Hebrews, we see that the saints there written to had the devil to contend with, but not as here; it was as "a roaring lion". The desperate character of Satan's opposition in heavenly places is that it is invisible.

Turn now to the chapter before us. The first thing we need is a great power: we are to be "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might". (Ephesians 6:10) This word is borrowed from Ephesians 1. It is the "exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe". (Ephesians 1:19) Now I have got it, and I am to be strong in it. "There stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him. Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said. Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come". (Joshua 5:13 - 14)ииии Joshua is not going to battle by himself. Here One appears to him, who comes to encourage him.

Here is the captain of the host -- with a drawn sword in his hand. This is the type of the Holy Spirit. "When the Comforter is come ... he shall

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testify of me". (John 15:26) That is the object of our conflict. This passage refers to Christ in the glory, not when on earth. When He went up to heaven the Holy Spirit would testify of Him on the earth. What I am dwelling on now is not the conflict, but the support we have in it. The Holy Spirit is come down here, to be with us, in order to maintain Christ's interests here. How wonderful this is! But the church has failed as a witness, and why? I will tell you. The church very soon joined affinity with the world, and the Holy Spirit would not help it in coalition with the world. He is against this world, for it has rejected Christ. The Holy Spirit is here to maintain the interests of Christ, Of late the truth has been recovered that the Holy Spirit is here for this purpose. And I press on you, beloved friends, that in Christ's service we are to be independent of the world. If the world would aid me in preaching the gospel, I should not accept it. Would you? I say, I cannot have it, for I have a greater power, which is against the world.

Well, that is what I start with. I start with this great power that will not co-operate with the world. You might as well expect fire to co-operate with water, as to expect the Holy Spirit to co-operate with the world. The Holy Spirit is here branding the world with sin; how then could He co-operate with it? He convicts the world of sin like a criminal in the dock. The criminal may not own it, but he is nevertheless convicted. I do not want to read the newspaper to know how wicked the world is. What tells me how wicked the world is, is that the Holy Spirit is here. That is enough. His presence here declares the sin of the world. Because Christ has been rejected, the Holy Spirit is here maintaining for Him. So I see the whole world is a moral desert. I feel that we have lost the sense of this, and that the real cause of all the breakdown is that the church

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has lost dependence on the Holy Spirit, that wonderful power with which it started.

In John 15, the Lord tells us how the world hated Him, and that it would hate us. We may feel. Why should the world hate us? It is a bitter thing when we are trying to do them good, to bring to them the highest kind of benevolence -- the riches of Christ -- that they should hate us. What is the reason? It is because Satan would not have Him. You cannot account for the enmity unless you understand that the devil's hatred to Christ is at the bottom of it.

Well, what a wonderful thing it is for Joshua to be able to say, 'I am not going to war in my own strength!' As a great general comes out with his commissariat, his ammunition and his reserves, so Joshua comes out; he is not going to war at his own charges.

So we may say we have the power: "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might". (Ephesians 6:10) Our attitude is that we are not going to give in. We are to be like what is called in war 'the forlorn hope'. That gives us the idea, though it is an unhappy name. The forlorn hope is a number of men who venture to make a breach in the fortress, even if it cost them their lives. They take their lives in their hands in order to succeed, and so they are called a forlorn hope. There is no hope for them at all unless they succeed, but they generally do succeed. In our case I do not like the title, but that is really our place; we venture as it were to make the breach, but it is with sure confidence, because we have a power not our own; we know the opposition we are going to meet, still we go cheerfully forward, and we succeed.

Now I turn to what is against us; that is in chapter 6 in type. I have already said how very important it is that we should know Paul's doctrine, for if we do not, we cannot understand the type;

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and the value of the type is, that in your practice you must never be below it. You may say you are not up to the antitype, but the antitype alone can explain the type, because it is spiritual. The antitype of Jericho is wicked spirits in heavenly places. (Ephesians. 6.) It is not a city. The type is a city, and the idea of a city is a concentration of everything found in this world. Exeter would not be a city, if it had not a cathedral in it. Liverpool was not a city some time since because of this. It did not comprise within itself every organisation. When speaking of some countries we speak of the city. We talk of Paris as representing France, because the city is the concentration of the country. So it is here; Jericho is the type of this opposition -- this organised resistance. The thing they saw before them was a city walled up; no probability of getting possession. The conflict with us is to represent Christ here; and the force against us is typified by this city; and you cannot, beloved friends, have too great an idea of the character of the opposition that there is against you.

A good general never underrates his foe; and one great cause of failure with us is that we do not properly estimate the world's opposition. I believe it is a great thing when the soul has the sense of the inveterate character of the opposition to Christ. It is a wonderful help, because it keeps you so on your guard. You read of battles, and generally, in a case of failure, you will find that the general underrated his foe. I say, do not underrate the world's opposition. I always find that the man who has most of Christ is the one who has the keenest apprehension of Satan. I do not mean common fear, but that he foresees the danger. "We are not ignorant" the apostle says, "of his devices". (2 Corinthians 2:11) It is his wiles we have to contend with, and that is the dangerous character of it. If I see a man coming to knock me down I see what he is about. But now it is Satan's wiles; like

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the spring-guns in former days; a person walking along on the grass touched a secret, hidden spring, and the gun turned round and shot him. That is like the desperate character of the warfare I have to contend with. He is an invisible foe; he does not show his face. He is a desperate foe, who knows everything about me, and knows how to touch me in the very point where I am weakest, and it is my weak point he works on, but he does it with his wiles. That is the kind of foe I have to deal with, and his great object is to prevent me from being a representation of Christ.

You may preach justification by faith; that will be tolerated to a great extent; but if you teach about the body of Christ, you are sure to be opposed. Mind, I do not say, do not do it; but if you do, I promise you you will be at war. If a Christian would have an easy path, let him have nothing to do with the church at all. That is what I have heard. If you would have a smooth and easy path, have nothing to do with the church. You may preach the gospel, and have easy times comparatively; but if the church is your interest, you will have many a sorrow.

Now having dwelt on these two things -- the power for us and the power against us -- I trust you will, beloved friends, work it out like the Israel of that day.

We will now go on to the characteristics of the warrior. There are two; and you get them both in the type and in the antitype. In Joshua the first was the armed men; and the second, the trumpeters. So in Ephesians 6, we find armour and prayer -- armour for Satan and prayer for God. Armour against Satan alone succeeds. Prayer is, I am always depending on God, never independent of Him. Independence is when a man does a thing for God of his own will. Uzzah was independent when he put his hand to the

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ark. Who told him to do that? You say he did it for God. But it was contrary to the word of God. He was independent. Independency is a worse sin than what is called carnality. The latter is a disgrace to you; but in the former case you have attempted to do something for God, called it by a fine name perhaps, and done the very thing that God did not want you to do.

I will now just touch on the armour. I am not going through it, although it is very interesting, and Satan wants to spoil it if he can. First, be girt about with truth; next the breastplate of righteousness; be honest and upright. But that is not all. You may have these, and now Satan may say, 'I will work you up and make you lose your temper if I can'. Now you have spoiled it all, you have lost your temper. Your feet should have been shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We have often witnessed this.

Beloved friends, it is sad to a degree, that the man who may be most right is often most intemperate, because he is so indignant with wrong. But "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God". (James 1:20) You may be indignant, but not on your own account. You get chafed with evil, and then you lose your temper because there is a point not armed; you are not "shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace". (Ephesians 6:15) Then there is the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. There are several different parts in the armour, and none is aggressive, but all are protective excepting the last. The last is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". (Ephesians 6:17)

We find an interesting thing in Peter: a woman can win her husband without the word; that is, by the effect of the word upon herself. Even that would not be aggressive; it would be what she is through the word. I would press on you the importance of

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having the armour on. There is nothing perhaps in which we fail so much, even in our families, as in being without the armour. There is no place where we are found out so quickly as in our own families, because they know our weak points well. The great thing is to be armed. If invulnerable, I am invincible.

Take an illustration. If I were a child, or a wife, in a worldly family, I would be in complete subjection to the father or husband. That is, I would surrender my liberty to any extent, but my conscience to no extent. If he said, 'You are not to go out of this house any Sunday', I could say, 'Very well, you shall be implicitly obeyed'; but if he said, 'You must go to such-and-such a place on the Lord's day' -- one which would compromise my allegiance to Christ, I reply, 'No, that involves my conscience, and that is for God; that you cannot govern. You can have the right over me to any extent, but over my conscience, never. I could not go there'. You can surrender your liberty to any extent, but your conscience to no extent. For instance, you should never join in their amusements. You lose power the moment that you do. I know it is not easy, it goes against the grain, I have learnt that, even in talking in the train; I used to do it, but I never do it now, I sit in silence. They may think me a stupid sort of man, but I cannot help that. By and by I get my opportunity, and I can have my say for Christ. But you must thus keep armed; if drawn away, you cannot present the gospel to your company. There will be no ring in it; no divine power.

If you are a child in a worldly family, do not join in their social gatherings; but be ready to carry a message, do anything you can for them, be the most ready to serve in the house -- the man-of-all-work if you like. Your place up there above is a divine, heavenly one, and yet you are to be down here in

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the character of Christ, really meeting them in all their requirements.

That is the way the Lord was here. He never went anywhere to please Himself, but to do others a service. I am speaking now of the heavenly walk; that is beyond the wilderness walk. The difference between the heavenly walk here, and the walk in the wilderness, is that, in the heavenly, you are always superior to your circumstances.

My former illustration of the poor woman whose benefactor became her enemy through her faithfulness will apply here. You could not account for the enmity unless you saw that it was against Christ; and the more distinctly she is for Christ, the more distinct is the opposition. You cannot account for it in any other way.

The second characteristic is the habit of dependence upon God, and there, as in Ephesians, the climax is reached. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me". (Ephesians 6:18 - 19)

One thing more I must say is, that the greatest thing to mark you is patience. We all know how we need this when we are opposed. When there is great opposition, then is the time we especially need patience, and here, too often, we fail. Patience is a wonderful thing. We see it here. For seven days they went round the city, and it must have been a very irksome thing for them; not a shout is heard till the seventh day. What a wonderful sense they must have had of the word of God and dependence upon Him! Like a child in a worldly family, they were depending on God. They go round the city seven days, and on the last day seven times. Patience, wonderful patience. Nothing keeps a man in confidence in God like patience. We see nothing like this in our

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day. I believe we do not trust God enough. I believe the incident given in Samuel at the close of that period is an encouragement to us. God came in, in thunder, at the very close. Joshua was in the beginning. God brought out Samuel in the very close. And we have the same God. It is said, God thundered, and there was a great discomfiture.

I close with one remark on another scripture, and that is in Acts 16. Here we get an instance showing all the principles brought out, and I commend it to your attention. It was the first time Paul came into Europe, and I believe the Spirit of God sets forth here what was specially needful in Europe. In Europe the church first accepted the countenance of the world. But the book or the Acts is a book of principles by which we have to travel every day. In Joshua we see the route we travel and the principles brought out.

Paul is called in a vision to go down into Macedonia to help them, and he goes, and does not meet a man. This was number one nonplus. Patience was needed. He expected a man, for a man appeared to him, not an angel. Then he goes to a place where women were accustomed to pray, and here he has to wait, and at length a woman, who did not belong to the place at all, but to Thyatira, her heart being opened, attended to the things Paul said, and being baptised with her household, she says to Paul, "If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there". (Acts 16:15) There is nothing about a Macedonian yet; but he goes into her house and stays there; and Satan seeing him in this apparent dilemma, sends him one of his instruments, a woman possessing a spirit of divination, and she says, 'I will give you countenance'. Accordingly she follows them about many days, and cried saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God which shew unto us the way of salvation". (Acts 16:17)

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Look at the patience of Paul: for many days he bears this, but at length he will stand it no longer, and commands the spirit to come out of her. He refused to be countenanced by Satan, and what was the consequence? There was not a power in the place which was not down upon him, and the most striking and the most awful thing about it is, that the very Satan who a few hours ago was proclaiming him the servant of the Most High God, is the one that now rouses the people to destroy him. The whole town is roused against him -- populace, magistrates, lictors, police -- to put Paul in prison, and Satan seems to win the day. Satan might have been exulting perhaps, but it was done in the most illegal way, to use no stronger term. It was the most unjust thing ever done to a man who had done no wrong to put him in prison, and then to make his feet fast in the stocks. But he did not lose his courage or energy. On the contrary, at midnight he is praying and giving thanks to God, quite as content as if he were at home. What would you have thought if you had passed by that prison? I often think if we had patience to walk about in simple confidence in God, now He would interfere for us and deliver us. What a wonderful thing to have that confidence! Little Paul knew, shut up in prison at the silent hour of midnight, when everything was quiet, how God would interfere for him -- that a great earthquake would come and shake off all their chains, and throw every door open. The jailer, who had retired to rest in his indifference, is at last awakened up, and springing in calls for a light, brings out his prisoners, and falling at their feet says, "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30) I take it that he was the man Paul was sent for. He is the first man of Macedonia we read of. What a change! How the populace must have felt next morning when they heard that Paul and Silas were the guests of the jailer!

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I believe that even now if we really stood for the Lord, He would bring something remarkable out in the spot where we had stood for Him. I could tell you of spots where He did. God prepares a table for us in the wilderness in the presence of our enemies. Do not you think He gives us manifold more in this present world? I believe it most implicitly. Why do not we know it? We do not believe in it. We do not walk on in simple, blessed patience, waiting, in confidence in God. He will make a table for us in the presence of our enemies, and what a wonderful table was here! Why, the tables are turned completely. Why? Because they believed God; they knew He would support His own object, and that He would stand by them as long as they stood in simple confidence in Him.

Well, I trust each one of our hearts will be moved into more faithfulness to Him. Some here are young; you have not entered the battlefield yet. Well, it is everything for a person's heart to be led out in simple affection for the Lord. If it is, he will soon be round in the conflict for Him, maintaining for a heavenly Christ in the very spot where He has been rejected.