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Page 1 - 83, "Divine Wisdom Operating Against Apostasy". Belfast, 1928. (Volume 90).


2 Samuel 14:1 - 33

J.T. I was thinking of the working of wisdom as seen in 2 Samuel, so that we might understand how it comes in, in meeting the apostasy at the present time. Beginning with chapter 14 the subject runs on to chapter 20. I understand it is a question of the development of wisdom, in view, typically, of the antichristian uprising typified in Absalom. I thought this would be a suitable chapter to introduce the subject, because it lays bare the motives underlying the return of Absalom. The initiative lay with Joab; it was not that he cared for Absalom -- he did not. His thought was to ingratiate himself with the king, to enhance his own importance. It helps to see that in this section David generally represents what is of God in the Christian profession, rather than Christ Himself. At times he appears as a type of Christ, of course.

Rem. Joab did not really care for Absalom.

J.T. He cared about no one but himself; he was thinking of his own reputation and distinction. He wanted to be in the favour of the king as long as the king was in power. I think that he is a type of those influences that have opened the door to antichristian agents in Christendom, especially in the Protestant area.

Ques. Would you say that they all had themselves and their own glory before them?

J.T. That is right; they did not know what the result would be, that is, the burning of the barley field.

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Rem. The food for the people of God would be destroyed on those principles.

J.T. More than that; it has reference to the Lord -- to the Person of Christ. That is what these antichristian principles are dealing with; that is what they are really at. Joab did not bargain for it; he represents the 'orthodox', but out of selfish motives he opens the door for the admittance of these agents of evil.

Ques. Would the barley field suggest Christ in resurrection?

J.T. Barley implies the firstfruits. I think that in Joab's field it would not represent the whole thought; it would not go beyond Christ as He was here. As cut down and presented as a sheaf (Leviticus 23) it would be Christ in resurrection.

Ques. Would it be what came out here in the Lord's person?

J.T. It was Joab's growing, typically; he was orthodox.

Ques. Would you give us a word as to what is antichristian?

J.T. Well, you can see in Absalom indications of it. He was a very attractive man. He is described here as very fine in appearance; such a man as would appeal to the young -- to the natural mind. There was no one in Israel so much praised for his beauty -- he was praised. Much is made of his head and the hair he grew -- the weight of it.

Rem. It says there was not a blemish in him, he was so comely.

J.T. That would be an indication of the antichrist. He will be a very wonderful man; people will wonder after him. But it was not that he (Absalom) had any attraction for Joab -- he had not. Absalom, however, represents the features of antichrist as they appear now, rather than the person himself.

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Ques. Would you say it was a question with Joab of getting Absalom back without touching the sin question?

J.T. That is the point; the sin question is not dealt with at all in Joab's reckoning. And what you will notice is that he hires an agent, and that a woman having a reputation for wisdom, and he puts words into her mouth. I suppose he typifies those who are in a position today to bring in such men. The woman has no liberty as to what she is to say; he puts the words in her mouth (verse 3).

Rem. In the New Testament language, she is a vessel "to dishonour", 2 Timothy 2:20.

Ques. Had you in your mind the thought of a system -- a religious system that would work on that line?

J.T. What the woman says (verse 14) was intended to be orthodox, what David could accept. Indeed, it is often used as a gospel text.

Rem. True things are not always the truth.

J.T. They get a twist in the mouths of persons who are governed by wrong motives. Paul speaks about serving God in the glad tidings in his spirit. It is not simply in word or doctrine, but in spirit; but that is not in this chapter. The spirit of Joab is ambition, and the spirit of the woman is that of an hireling, and the result is the bringing in of a murderer without repentance.

Ques. In speaking of what is antichristian, is there a certain weakening on the part of David that makes room for it?

J.T. The breakdown of David is the antecedent to this. He is never again what he was before, he is weak -- right in his motives, but weak. I suppose he represents those who are seeking to be for God at the present time.

Ques. Would you connect that with the government of God?

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J.T. Oh, surely. After the breakdown of the church it never, even in the remnant, regains its former greatness or power. What marks the whole position here is David's weakness. It is unaccountable that such a man should be so wanting in watchfulness that all this terrible uprising should occur, he being there with his mighty men. But in the light of the antitype it is intelligible enough.

Rem. I suppose that at the beginning things were held by the apostles in the power of the Spirit.

J.T. John says, "they went out from among us"; 1 John 2:19 instead of coming in they are seen going out.

Rem. Certain crept in unawares.

J.T. Yes, but they were met by apostolic energy; they were not unchallenged, as in later days.

Rem. This line of things leads up to the burning of the barley field.

J.T. Yes; it is very solemn. David is increasingly encumbered, but his weakness was apparent, and Joab saw that his leanings were toward Absalom.

Ques. Would it be natural affection that Joab worked on with David?

J.T. No doubt it was. He went to all this trouble with the woman; he knew how to get at David. There was an absence of righteousness. It was quite right, of course, that the banished should be brought back, and that means should be devised; God does that, but what kind of means does He use? not such as we get here, it must be on the ground of righteousness. Any leanings towards Absalom must be on the ground of righteousness. David, above all men, should have known this.

Ques. Does David represent that which is supposed to stand for God -- the church?

J.T. He does here. We shall see in the following chapters that he acts wisely; he has recourse to the wisdom of God in which he fails here. He fails in

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common righteousness in allowing Absalom to return unrepentant.

Rem. It says in 2 Timothy 2:22, "pursue righteousness".

J.T. That is the first thing to be followed. Whatever feelings you may have, the wise course is to follow righteousness first, but it is coupled with faith and love and peace -- four things.

Rem. These qualities were absent in Joab because he had himself before him.

Rem. He was allowed to continue until Solomon's reign, when judgment was meted out to him, the immediate occasion of it being that he turned after Adonijah.

J.T. Yes; he represents cleverness in the things of God -- orthodox cleverness. This is sure to be coupled with unrighteousness.

Rem. It was a humbling thing in the case of David that he gave way here.

J.T. Very humbling, especially in view of what he represents -- what exists today -- as we have been saying. The very fact that Joab was behind the woman's speech ought to have condemned it in the eyes of a man like David. We are reminded here of our exposure to damaging influence through clever flattery.

Ques. Does this indicate that David had not got right with God?

J.T. Well, it appears that he had not regained the spiritual perception that he had. There is evident a peculiar combination of weaknesses. As already said, this is intelligible in view of what marks the people of God today.

Ques. Looking at it in connection with the government of God, does it go back to Uriah?

J.T. It does, but if we view David as an individual believer, that does not account for his weakness here; he ought to have been stronger, as having judged

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himself. The facts given, particularly Psalm 51, would show that he did. So that while David's personal state has to be taken into account, the true explanation is in what exists at the present time, which is pictured in what is before us in these chapters.

Rem. Psalm 51 seems to indicate that he had judged things, but there must have been some hidden motives, otherwise we can hardly conceive that in full restoration he would have made a mistake like this.

J.T. The explanation is in the antitype, the history of the assembly.

Ques. Would not the original defeat have been "at the time when kings go forth [to battle]"? 2 Samuel 11:1

J.T. Quite so; he should have gone, but stayed at home; hence the breakdown. What we have before us is the moral consequence; but the result of David's sin from the standpoint of grace is Solomon. Solomon is out of view in these chapters; he exists, but he is not in view. What is in view in connection with the work of God is the working out of the thing he represents. Solomon represents the wisdom of God, but the wisdom of God in public display. In the meantime, there is the working out of wisdom in other connections; that is, at the present time, in the face of the awful breakdown in the testimony, God has come in, as we shall see in the later chapters, and He meets the antichristian uprising by wisdom.

As this proceeds we have to accept the solemn fact that He allows the introduction of such men as Absalom, and that this has come about through orthodox persons -- persons holding the truth ostensibly -- those who are professedly true to David, but only in order to enhance their own position. In our weakness true Christians, being governed by natural feelings, give way to them.

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Ques. Would you say that these upheavals worked out the desire in David's heart to build God an house?

J.T. They did; he had the desire to build for God before, but the result is reached in Solomon, who came in on God's part, in grace. In Chronicles we see how David reached the thought of God through discipline occasioned by his failures. But on the other hand we see here how the enemy works on what is natural in us.

Ques. Do you also suggest that the weakness was in regard to natural relationships?

J.T. Yes. Joab succeeded on that line here. Thus we are warned as to the danger of allowing natural feelings in the things of God; through this the door is opened to the enemy. This woman's speech may be taken to represent what is orthodox -- what any person might accept, for it is true that we "are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again". It is true, but it is not the whole truth. In the first book of Samuel we read that the children of Israel drew water and poured it out before Jehovah (1 Samuel 7:6); this represented the people in self-judgment. Samuel offered up a sucking lamb. That involves the gospel. This woman speaks about water being spilt, this is man's state, but pouring it out before the Lord is owning it -- repentance. Christ (the sucking lamb) is the answer, which God accepts. The rights of God are thus maintained. Popular evangelisation, to a large extent, brings back man without repentance. You hear of people being brought back in thousands, but what about the rights of God? What about repentance?

Ques. Does the woman represent that, as one who is supposed to be mourning for the dead, and not anointed with oil (verse 2)?

J.T. Quite so; popular service makes much of appearance, but God is not looking at this. He is looking at man's heart -- what the motives are. The

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whole atmosphere of popular ministry makes room for the man who does not judge himself. Thus material is brought in that Satan can use against Christ.

Rem. God is not fully represented in popular preaching.

J.T. I suppose Joab's field of barley does not go beyond what is orthodox. It is Christ, but not Christ cut down in death and risen. It was Joab's field, and it was near Absalom's.

Ques. Would you not say that one of the great causes of weakness in the professing church is the way in which it has pandered to popular tastes and pleasures, all sorts of music, and even dancing?

J.T. Quite so; this woman represents that sort of thing, I mean popularity in the way of preaching. It is orthodox, but admitting of persons without repentance, without genuinely judging the man that sinned. God will not have this.

Rem. What one feels about the preaching in our days is that it has not got the assembly in view.

J.T. In a true conversion there is joy in heaven. There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, and then there is joy among the saints in his reception; there is joy in the house for others as well as for himself. How many come into fellowship? Unless the converts come into fellowship the result is not complete.

Rem. Joy in the house would be the result of being sympathetic with heaven.

J.T. The joy begins in heaven, and then it has its reflection in the house where the music and dancing are; Luke 15. Take a man like Absalom coming in; look what he does. In the first place there is distance. There he was for two years, he had no communion with David; and then he goes and burns the barley field. He is no product of the gospel; he is the result of the manoeuvres of selfish men, such as Joab, who

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ought to know better. There was no affinity there really. Joab was not thinking a bit of Absalom, he was only thinking of his own aggrandisement. There is no fellowship -- nothing but distance. For two whole years Absalom does not see the king's face, and then he burns the field of barley. Joab is now at his mercy. That is another thing; these orthodox men allow evil-doers, and then they are at their mercy. What can they do today in Christendom? Nothing; they are powerless, and the barley field is being burnt.

Rem. If you have any light regarding the assembly, you will eschew all this kind of thing.

Ques. What are we to do to keep clear?

J.T. We are to see how the wisdom of God works. David is brought to it. As an exile, fleeing from his capital, he is brought to it. We shall see, I hope, how he rises to the mind of God; we shall see how true believers are brought through discipline back to the wisdom of God.

Rem. I was thinking that what should be in view is what God is seeking.

J.T. Exactly. So that the apostle enlarges on the gospel that he preached; he says, "not in wisdom of word", @1 Corinthians 1:17. I think Joab here depends on the wisdom of words. He gave the woman a form of words. "we preach Christ crucified" 1 Corinthians 1:23 that is the preaching that will shut out the man after the flesh. It is not simply the man who repents once; repenting sinners are spoken of (Luke 15); it is continued.

Ques. Do I understand from what you have been saying that in our gospel preachings we want to beware of mere popularity?

J.T. Quite so; and then having right motives in the service; renouncing "the hidden things of shame, not walking in deceit, nor falsifying the word of God, but by manifestation of the

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truth commending ourselves to every conscience of men before God", @2 Corinthians 4:2.

Ques. What do you mean by continual repentance?

J.T. Well, that is the attitude of your soul. It is a habit that becomes more and more effective. The more you get into the presence of God, the more there is to repent of. We do not know the true meanness of the natural heart; there are thirteen things that proceed out of it (Mark 7:20 - 23), and you have got to judge every one of them. Not only because the Lord says they are there, but because you find out they are there; they are not all found out at once, as a rule.

Rem. The sense of it grew with Paul; he speaks of being chief of sinners.

J.T. Yes; he comes to that. He was then chief of sinners, it is in the present tense "of whom I am [the] first", @1 Timothy 1:15.

Rem. "sinners, of whom I am the first" 1 Timothy 1:15 "least of the apostles" 1 Corinthians 15:9 and "less than the least of all saints" Ephesians 3:8 -- that is not boastful talking! I wonder, if one may put it so, how far we have travelled on that line.

J.T. I suppose the apostle Paul was the greatest lover of Christ; no one had sinned so much in his reckoning. As forgiven much he loved much, according to the Lord's words; Luke 7:47.

Rem. A man like that would have a wonderful influence for good; would you not say that others would feel it?

J.T. I think he would convey the idea of repentance and forgiveness when preaching; it would be in his own spirit at the time. It is not simply the words you use; the wise woman of Tekoah used right words to a point, but she would not convey the true idea. Paul said that he served God in his spirit in the gospel of His Son (Romans 1:9); he would convey the thing fully to you if you heard him speak.

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Ques. Would you say that Paul in speaking had the oil? This woman had no oil.

J.T. Quite so; Joab directed her not to anoint herself with oil. The true preacher or other representative of God is anointed, and not only with oil, but with fresh oil.

Ques. What is the fresh oil?

J.T. You do not use the same sermon over and over again. It is very practical; there is always freshness. You may, of course, use the same scripture or subject more than once, but there are new features presented, and in freshness.

Ques. Does not the oil stand connected with another Man, that is, with Christ?

J.T. I think that is what Paul would convey. If you heard him preach he would convey the idea; so that the glad tidings were "on the principle of faith, to faith" Romans 1:17, and the result would be, in some sense, a man after himself. The anointing is for representation of God, and for this Christ must be in evidence, not only in word, but also in spirit.

Ques. Would the fresh oil depend upon fresh experiences which one would have with God? You were speaking of repentance being kept up.

J.T. In Matthew the Lord directs that the disciples were to see Him in Galilee; that would be a long way to go. In Luke He does not ask them to go that way. You may take a book down from your shelf, read a sermon, and commit it to memory; that is not going to Galilee to get it. You get your commission in Galilee. Galilee is the place of reproach; it is not the university. The university is the place of honour. Luke says, "do ye remain in the city till ye be clothed with power from on high" Luke 24:49; he uses the word 'clothed'; that is to say, your habiliments are heavenly. I think that John's ministry applied to the servant would make him forgiving: "whose soever sins ye remit" John 20:23 Luke would say to you, You must

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have the right tone; tarry in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. That is the external appearance you present in your ministry, you are heavenly. And Mark says, Be sure that you believe what you preach. If you do not believe it, how can you expect other people to believe it? Therefore he insists on faith in the things preached; Mark 16. In the end of his gospel he shows how unbelieving the apostles were. He says, Be sure you believe; and so Paul says, "we also believe, therefore also we speak" 2 Corinthians 4:13. But Matthew says, You must go to Galilee; you must get your commission from the place of reproach. You have got to go where the Lord is, and finding Him as rejected you can never hope to be a popular man in the world if you minister Christ. You never seek to maintain a place of distinction among the brethren; you just carry on your work and leave all distinctions to the Lord.

Ques. Do you think that this woman represents an appeal to natural feelings, which often appear in local difficulties?

J.T. There has been a great deal of that, there is a great deal of it. Natural affections, as entering into assembly matters, are sure to make way for unrighteousness.

Rem. That is the way the enemy seems to work in family matters.

J.T. The whole point here is that recovery must be on the wound of righteousness; the want of this was the great failure seen in this chapter.

Rem. I was thinking of that verse, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who has been made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption" 1 Corinthians 1:30. Everything is found in Him.

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2 Samuel 15

Rem. There are a good many here this morning who were not here yesterday afternoon. An outline of what we had before us might be helpful.

J.T. We read in chapter 14 yesterday; the thought being to show how the door has been opened, in the history of the assembly, to the agents of evil as represented in Absalom; the bringing back of Absalom being the result of Joab's desire to advance himself, to ingratiate himself with the king. So that he hires a woman from Tekoah, having the reputation of being wise, and puts words in her mouth to say to the king; all calculated to work on his natural feelings and affections.

The thought was that we might see that in the assembly having been weakened under the general breakdown -- as in David's own personal history -- the sense of the presence of God being weakened, natural feelings obtained largely. These natural feelings were appealed to by those who were in power (such as Joab), with the result that the door has been opened to persons who are antagonistic to Christ, persons who are known to be guilty, as Absalom was, but received back without self-judgment. So that the woman's speech to David was marked by a certain amount of truth; but what truth was there was so presented that it was deceptive. It was accompanied by fulsome flattery of David, because she accredited him with the wisdom of an angel of God. She says twice over that he was as an angel of God, knowing good from evil, etc.; so that we are to be warned against natural feelings and flattery in dealing with evil. If persons seek to gain admission amongst us,

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unrepentant, they are sure to appeal to our natural feelings and flatter us. They will probably tell us that the truth is with us, and the ministry is with us, but we shall have to be sure that righteousness exists, or we shall be deceived. The woman's saying, "God ... devises means that the banished one be not expelled from him" 2 Samuel 14:14 was in itself right, but then she said something which shows she had not the light of God: "and God has not taken away his life" 2 Samuel 14:14, that is to say, God did not require atonement. He would bring His banished back without death; that is not true. There must be shedding of blood: "Without blood-shedding there is no remission" Hebrews 9:22. It is well to notice this in her speech, because it helps us as to the kind of thing the enemy introduces. While the truth may be there, there is something which nullifies it. She says, "For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; and God has not taken away his life, but devises means that the banished one be not expelled from him", @2 Samuel 14:14. She says nothing about the need of repentance in the banished one, or that his life was forfeited. But that life has to go; it either goes in the death of Christ or in the judgment of God by-and-by. And so it has to be applied now in regard to those who are to walk with us. The woman says, "we must needs die" 2 Samuel 14:14 but this is not dealing with the special guilt of the one in question.

Rem. The Authorised Version does not show that very clearly. It is J.N.D.'s translation that helps us. It is, "God has not taken away his life", @2 Samuel 14:14.

J.T. The authorised Revised Version has, "Neither doth God take away life", 2 Samuel 14:14. What Joab put into her mouth was, in this respect, not true; and then she adds: "And now that I am come to speak of this thing to my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid", @2 Samuel 14:15. She insinuates that there is

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a movement in the people that David had to reckon with, to act on his fear. She says further on: "for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad; and Jehovah thy God will be with thee", @2 Samuel 14:17. And then she discloses that it was Joab's suggestion; but all the time David is receiving her thoughts and being deceived by her.

Rem. It seems to be a case of telling the truth to hide the truth, and on the other hand, flattery. They are two very great evils.

J.T. I think they are evils that have to be faced now, for the enemy, as using what is deceptive, is sure to flatter you. It will be conveyed to you that you are a wise man; yet all the time you are receiving what is wrong.

Rem. "Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of it are the issues of life" Proverbs 4:23.

Rem. I suppose we are all in danger of the same thing; we are easily turned to the side of natural feelings.

J.T. David acts on the suggestion, and Absalom is brought back; and now in Jerusalem they have an unrepentant murderer, and he soon shows his hand in violence in burning the field of barley. This chapter gives us a life-size picture of Absalom. It is not now the woman, but Absalom's own actions, to bring about his enthronement. And all this is in the presence of David, so that we are reminded of the weakness there is -- David, representative of what is of God, but even so, liable to be deceived. We are exposed thus, for we are still in the flesh.

Ques. Would you say that it is only the truth that can preserve any of us?

J.T. Someone has just remarked, "Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded" Proverbs 4:23 you have got to watch that, because your natural feelings would be appealed to, if you are to be deceived.

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Ques. Do you not feel that the enemy is trying to bring in these principles of Absalom among the saints?

J.T. Yes; that is what he has been at since the apostles' time. They had been going out -- the antichrists -- but since then they have been coming in; the door has been opened to them. So that, in Rome we have the cage of every foul bird, but in Protestantism we have a tree in which the birds of heaven roost. All is to bring about the great apostasy.

Rem. The serious thing was that Joab helped to bring this about.

J.T. That is the serious thing; he represents the orthodox, but selfish. He may be regarded as representing the great clerical system. Generally the clergy are not free to speak about the Lord as they wish; in principle, words are put into their mouths; words which are more or less true, but each denomination has its own peculiar tenets, which have to be observed. Thank God, there are exceptions, but generally repentance toward God is not pressed, and so the door is opened for persons who do not judge themselves. Thus the enemy acquires agents whom he uses against Christ.

But when God allows crises to come about, what is of Him begins to awaken, and comes into evidence. So that David sends the ark back to the city; he shows that he is not governed by personal motives, he is thinking of what is of God. And in sending back the ark through Zadok and Abiathar, he established in the city a secret system which meant the overthrow of Absalom's system. That is what I think we ought to see in the awakening which has occurred in the assembly. In the ark's presence with the priests and Hushai and those young men, David had a system under his hand, by means of which the whole apostate system should be overthrown. That is to say, the wisdom of God is now beginning to act,

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and that is one of the most interesting things I know of.

Rem. Hushai was characterised by love for David.

J.T. Yes; he was David's friend. David now has, in the very midst of Absalom's system, what will be the means of its overthrow. I think that when an awakening to what is of God comes to light, it is no longer a question of numbers. It is like that which you get in Ecclesiastes, the poor wise man delivered the city. It is a question now of wisdom.

Ques. How would you apply that today?

J.T. Well, it is the wisdom that God works out in His people. They have no public position; they are not known. These priests were not known in Absalom's system as relating to David. They were secret, as it were, but they knew what to do. They were governed by the wisdom of God.

Ques. Was the ark the nucleus around which the system was to revolve.

J.T. That is right; David would place it where it belonged. You place Christ where He belongs, so to speak; He stands in relation to all. And in relation to the ark there were Zadok and Abiathar, Hushai and those young men, so that presently things begin to move. Hushai's wisdom is against Ahithophel, and it prevails.

Ques. Do you mean that this system exists at the present moment amongst the people of God?

J.T. The wisdom of God is at work, and the principles that are going on mean the overthrow of the antichristian world. What is going on today means the overthrow of the antichristian system and the setting up of what is of God.

Rem. "greater is he that is in you" 1 John 4:4; what is of God will prevail.

J.T. That is right, but it prevails in a secret or unseen way. These men were true to David; and they are governed by divine wisdom.

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Ques. Do you think that Hushai would represent the unofficial element? I was thinking of Luke in relation to Paul. He was his friend; he was sympathetic with all that God was doing to His servant and he moved on in an unobtrusive way.

J.T. Just so. Hushai would be governed by his friendship for David in all that he did.

Ques. I was wondering if provision was made for all this in John's gospel, from chapter 13.

J.T. Yes. The disciples are all under commandment; they are not acting for themselves. So that in that section in John's gospel they have His commandments and keep them. There is to be no deviation from the commandments, otherwise everything is sure to fail. The keeping of His commandments would be the proof of their love for Christ. There was also the keeping of His word, which would imply wisdom.

Ques. Is there any point for the present day in David's friend proposing to act for the enemy?

J.T. Of course we have to make allowance for the dispensation. We could not think of anything like dissimulation now. It was to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel. David knew that Ahithophel had wisdom according to man.

Rem. Ittai represents attachment to David in death or in life; it is true discipleship.

J.T. Yes; so that David's challenge to him would bring out the attachment that should mark disciples. David controls everything as to his followers now -- as in rejection.

Rem. He would not be like the woman in the previous chapter, who recognised that death was not necessary.

J.T. He recognised that it was necessary. The brook Kidron represented it. Everything hinges on Christ in type here; so that Ittai and his little ones pass over. David was going out of Jerusalem, and

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passing over the brook was crucial; then there was the weeping and bare feet. Mark, he was going up; there was moral ascent. All these things enter into the position of recovery. Thus we see that the faith which was dormant when David was at ease, shines in adversity.

Ques. Those sent back represent another position. Together do they present the full picture?

J.T. They are two phases of the same thing. Those that are sent back refer to the same people, only in their secret relations with David, but unknown in the apostate world; that is, it is not known that they are related to David. They are in relation to David rejected; so that their position would be regarded as treason. That is our position, if the world knew. Hence the persecution of early Christians, and later by the Romish system.

Ques. How are simple souls to be preserved from being carried away when the enemy approaches through a man like Absalom?

J.T. Well, that is one of the solemn features. The two hundred men in verse 11, who went out with Absalom, went out in their simplicity, but they went out. They are on the side of antichrist.

Ques. Would you say that it is real affection for the rejected king that preserves us from coming under such a rebellious head?

J.T. Ittai represents that side, those who love the Lord Jesus Christ. And John 14 shows that they keep His commandments, as having them.

Ques. Did not those who went out ignore the ark?

J.T. Yes.

Ques. Someone referred to John's gospel, would you say that the great preservative would be what we have in John's writings?

J.T. Yes. "the king went forth, and all his household after him" (verse 16); then it says, "the king went forth, and all the people after him, and

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stayed at the remote house" verse 17. The remote house would point to moral distance between Jerusalem, as coming under the domination of Absalom, and David's encampment. David's encampment is the remote house, which I think points to moral distance between Absalom's sphere and David's. And then it says, "All his servants passed on beside him" so that you have his household, his people, and his servants; and in verse 18, "all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men that came after him from Gath, passed over before the king". These all represent certain elements in the position corresponding with Christ's rejection. It is a question in the history of the assembly -- the antitype. David is rejected here, but his companions represent what we have now. We go back to the beginning and see that the Lord has a system here, but in result this system becomes obscured, and is outwardly in the very midst of the apostasy; but as governed by the commands of Christ, divine wisdom begins to act so that you see the overthrow of what is against Christ. All that gives the position a wonderful importance, and it should be an incentive to us to adhere to the commands of Christ, and not to be governed by our own feelings at all.

Rem. "Ye are my friends if ye practise whatever I command you" John 15:14.

J.T. Exactly.

Rem. Every one who would be added to this system would be tested like Ittai. Ittai answers to the test.

J.T. He represents, as was said, the affection side. It is divinely ordered that we should be tested. In what spirit are you going forth? "Why dost thou also go with us?" (verse 19) that is the challenge.

Rem. Just like Ruth, "Do not intreat me to leave thee", @Ruth 1:16.

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Rem. These Gittites came from Gath. They are rescued from the enemy's stronghold.

J.T. Yes; a remarkable picture of us all. Ittai had no claim; we have no natural claim on Christ. It was grace that met Ittai. And then we read, "And Ittai ... passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him". He is like a prince, that is, a spiritual man who influences others; it says, "and all his men". And then "the little ones" also go with him.

Rem. What underlies such an action is love for the Lord and His people.

J.T. That is right. Everyone is challenged. It is not that it is Ittai alone, he just represents a feature of the position.

Rem. Such a man could be trusted.

J.T. David entrusted him with an army later; chapter 18:2.

Rem. He really baptised his household.

J.T. That is right; but he took all over -- more than his little ones, "all his men" -- he had influence with others, with full-grown men. It is quite right in regard to our households, but how much influence have we with other people? Every one of us has influence, either for good or evil. Ittai had influence for good.

It says further, "And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over; the king also himself passed over the torrent Kidron, and all the people passed over, towards the way of the wilderness" verse 23. The movement is against nature, for there is nothing in the wilderness for nature; it is a striking picture. What you see is the working of the Spirit of God in a crisis. The whole movement is against nature, being marked by deep feelings -- weeping.

Ques. Is that why the Lord allows tests sometimes?

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J.T. I think the evidence of the work of God at any time is passing over the brook and weeping; there is no prospect before you; it is the wilderness. First it is "the remote house"; that is to say, you are cutting yourself off from what you have been going on with. And then there is the wilderness; there is nothing for the flesh.

Rem. They had David's company.

J.T. Yes. "The king also himself passed over". It is remarkable, he did not pass over first.

Ques. Would this represent the night of the Lord's betrayal?

J.T. It is more the awakening to the sense of the position which resulted from that, or what corresponds with it in the history of the church.

Ques. Is the passing over the brook, what our brother calls baptism?

J.T. Yes, I think so. There is a spiritual influence at work; they are all passing over under spiritual influence.

Rem. I suppose nothing short of that will do for the present day.

J.T. In the crisis every one is prepared to do what he can to support what is of God. As weeping, we feel the state of things; God values right sensibilities as to the state of things existing.

Ques. In John 12 the Lord speaks of hating our life in this world, and keeping it unto life eternal. I wonder if Ittai would illustrate that. Is it eternal life?

J.T. Eternal life is in view there; but here it is not the side of blessing that is in view, but hardship. They are facing the wilderness. What I see is that it is a great spiritual movement; they all come under it, they are all moving in the same direction. There is nothing for the flesh.

Ques. Would this at all correspond to going forth to Him without the camp?

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J.T. I think it does. It says the king passed over, and then in verse 30, "But David went up by the ascent of the Olives, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot; and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up". Now we are on the ascent; the allusion is no doubt to the power of the Spirit, and that involves a moral elevation. They wept as they went up, it is very becoming. I think it is a great thing to understand the ascent here. If I am to be in the midst of the public apostate body, I must understand moral elevation. So that I think this section is of immense importance.

Rem. You would accept the position in going into the wilderness. It is a great test to us.

J.T. Then we have the bare feet, and everyone's head covered. You are not now like the men in Absalom's world. He was a very beautiful man; a very fine looking man with a wonderful head product. There was no one like him in regard to the product of his head, mental ability. But here they are covering their heads; they are making room for the headship of Christ. But their bare feet are on the ground. They are owning their true state. Bare feet and covered heads make room for the Spirit's operations, and the headship of Christ, and that, I think, is what has marked the history of the recovery. Room has been made for Christ as Head.

Rem. So that it depends upon what man you have before you.

J.T. Yes.

Rem. Speaking of the head, one thinks of the sin offering. The head of the bullock, and the skin and flesh were to be burned outside the camp; it was hot on the altar. It is a fine word in regard to man's mental ability!

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J.T. The next thing is, "And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators". This was a serious matter. Even David himself recognised Ahithophel's wisdom. Such a man with the conspirators was no small matter; how were they going to meet it? God had to deal with it, and He did, for we read in chapter 17:23 that Ahithophel hanged himself.

Rem. As the hidden wisdom, none of the princes of this world knew it, "for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory", @1 Corinthians 2:8.

J.T. I think that is what we shall see in the following chapters. It begins with prayer. David said, "Jehovah, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness", verse 31. But we have further added here, "And it came to pass, when David had come to the summit ... he worshipped God" -- at the summit. In the recovery God must have His part. He will act for David in answer to his prayer, and you reach the summit of moral elevation, you worship God. What a portion that is for God in such circumstances!

Ques. Did you say just now that this was connected with the headship of Christ?

J.T. I think room is made for it in the covering of the heads.

Rem. That is no doubt why David is spoken of as "David", not as 'King David'.

J.T. That is good. The combination against the people of God a hundred years ago was terrible. All the wisdom of the public body (which in a way was originally from the Holy Spirit, but had now passed into man's hand) was against them, and they resorted to prayer. I believe they reached the 'summit;' that is, the heavenly position.

Rem. It is a great thing, speaking of David's weakness, that he reached God here.

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J.T. That is what I was thinking. He had wonderful hidden resources. I think God allows things to happen, both locally as well as generally, among the saints, to bring us to our senses, and in that way to call forth what is of God. We begin to judge the flesh, and that makes room for God. Now David is awakening, and what is of God comes into evidence.

Rem. So that, as God's government is accepted, He is free to come in for the saints.

J.T. I think He allows things to happen amongst us, so as to bring in what is of Himself. We are brought to our senses. The Lord knows what is there as Peter said, "Thou knowest all things", @John 21:17.

Ques. Do you suggest that it is only at the summit there is worship?

J.T. That is how it stands. The summit is the height of moral elevation in the Spirit.

Rem. And in connection with that there is prayer, showing that from the summit standpoint there is great dependence on God.

J.T. It is not to be different from this now; the whole result depends on the maintenance of these features, humility, bare feet, walking softly and weeping -- all these features should mark a remnant.

Rem. That is what you would look for where Christ is known as Head; these qualities would come out among His people.

J.T. Quite so; all that goes alongside the going up -- weeping and so on.

Rem. I was thinking that, at one of the darkest moments in the Lord's pathway, He could say, "I praise thee, Father, Lord of the heaven and of the earth, that thou hast hid these things from wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes", @Luke 10:21.

J.T. Just so; a very appropriate scripture.

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Rem. You spoke about moral distance -- the remote house.

J.T. I think the position remains the same. You cannot go outside the profession; we do not go outside of that, but there is moral distance.

Ques. Would it be the position suitable in Laodicea?

J.T. The Lord is outside morally. He is standing at the door and knocking in grace, and will go in to any one who opens to Him.

Rem. David had regard for the city, he did not want to destroy it.

J.T. That is right. Sending back the ark corresponds to the believer's recognition of Christ's universal rights now. The Lord knoweth those that are His, and every one who is faithful to Him regards all the saints. Anything short of this is sectarian.

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2 Samuel 17:14 - 29

J.T. It may be remarked that the object of our taking up this subject is to see how the wisdom of God works to meet the current antichristian activities. As already said, David in the main throughout this section represents what is of God in the Christian profession. Sometimes he rises into a type of Christ, but generally he typifies what is of God in the Christian profession. This includes his great failure in chapter 11, and then his want of discernment and exposure to deception in the following chapters, for, alas! even the saints are marked by these things. So that the enemy attacks us, as knowing our weakness in the way of natural inclinations; sometimes amounting to positive sin, but generally exposure to flattery, the saints being sometimes marked by natural feelings. So that Joab, as we had before us yesterday, discerned that the king's heart longed for Absalom. That is, the natural dominated the king's desire; he was not thinking that righteousness should govern Absalom's return. Thus he is exposed to Joab's machinations; and the woman's speech, which Joab put into her mouth, included an appeal, not only to David's affections, but to his vanity. She tells him he is as an angel of God, that his judgment is always right; whilst at the same time he was receiving her wrong thoughts, and being deceived by her. Over against that, what comes out in this section is that, in adversity, what is distinctively of God comes to light. Adversity brings out what is of God in David in every case. Before Joab's appeal to his natural feelings he breaks down, but God comes in in discipline, and this brings out the latent features

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of His work. When we are put into trial and adversity, then it is that what is of God comes to light, so that in these chapters we see how things are balanced.

Rem. The discipline is working for good in that way.

J.T. Yes, the discipline is on God's behalf, as a provision: "For whom Jehovah loveth he chasteneth", @Proverbs 3:12. That is largely the explanation of our continuance in the truth -- the discipline of God. It is to check the natural tendency in each of us, natural feeling and, alas! pride. And so the woman's speech to David included an appeal to his vanity.

Rem. In Proverbs we have the foolish woman with her "much enticement". Proverbs 7:21

J.T. All through Proverbs the foolish woman flatters. The man speaks "froward things", Proverbs 2:12 but the woman "flattereth with her words", Proverbs 2:16.

Ques. Would that be the woman with the spirit of Python (Acts 16)?

J.T. Precisely, but the apostle Paul was not deceived by her.

Rem. The remarkable thing is that here it is a "wise woman", chapter 14:2.

J.T. That would be a wise woman as Joab would reckon, not according to God. She was not building; she was plucking down with her hands; Proverbs 14:1. But the discipline of God, from His own side, saves us and brings out what is of him in us.

Ques. "our God [is] a consuming fire" Hebrews 12:29 would not that be encouragement for us?

J.T. Quite so; but then it says, "fear", too: "Let us ... have grace, by which let us serve God acceptably with reverence and fear. For also our God is a consuming fire", (Hebrews 12:28,29); the fire is necessary. So that the weakness of David comes out, even after the recovery -- after the crisis, as we looked at it this morning. The crisis brought out what was there. David knew God; in every instance

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he knew God, so that he says elsewhere, "Let us fall, I pray thee, into the hand of Jehovah; for his mercies are great", 2 Samuel 24:14. And now, fleeing from Absalom, he weeps, he is barefoot, he covers his head, he prays and he worships God.

Rem. As we were seeing this morning, there was very great gain in that he went "up".

J.T. Yes, it was as he ascended. The latent features of the work of God in him come to light. The mount of Olives shows his lowliness and humiliation. He covers his head, making room for the headship of Christ, and then he finally worships God. But chapter 16 brings out, alas! that after all this experience -- typifying our taking our place with Christ in rejection and recognising the Spirit -- we find him again capable of being deceived. In the history of the saints since the revival, since they have been brought to take their place with Christ in rejection and recognise His headship and Spirit, the flesh remains the same. So that Ziba comes in at once; he has got a deceiving story. It says, "And when David was a little past the summit, behold, Ziba, Mephibosheth's servant, met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred [loaves] of bread"; 2 Samuel 16:1 and in verse 3 the king says, "Where is thy master's son?" 2 Samuel 16:3 Now this is not an Absalom nor a Joab, but it is nevertheless a man governed by the flesh, a covetous man, and his covetousness leads him to slander his brother (as we may say), one who truly loved David; and David is deceived by it. That is the solemn part of it -- exposure to deception, even in such circumstances as these.

Rem. And that after the recovery, after all that has been recovered to us. The position does not maintain us.

J.T. The great revival is indicated in chapter 15, right principles observed, and yet, in spite of that, David is again liable to deception.

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Ques. What do you mean by the recovery?

J.T. The saints recovered to the truth of Christ's rejection here; He is not accepted here and we have got to go over the brook, as it were. And then there is the recognition of the Spirit, in the mount of Olives, and the recognition of the headship of Christ. These are features of the recovery, subjectively.

Rem. And they come to us through men who suffered.

J.T. Then the solemn fact comes out, that in spite of that, you have the capability of receiving slander against a brother.

Ques. Is there anything in the fact that he was a little past the summit when this took place?

J.T. Yes; there is a good deal in it; he was past the place in which he worshipped.

Rem. I suppose that, typically, he had lost the sense of dependence and the sense of worship. Now that he is past the summit he is again subject to this deception.

J.T. Paul says, "For we are the circumcision, who worship by [the] Spirit of God, and boast in Christ Jesus, and do not trust in flesh", Philippians 3:3. I suppose that is what kept him; it is what you go on with. It corresponds with the "summit" here.

Ques. Would you say that after we know what it is to reach the summit, we should be on our guard against the adversary?

J.T. Well, that is the thing; you have no confidence in the flesh. And if you have no confidence in it in yourself, you should not have any confidence in it in others. So that if a man comes to you with a story like this, you ought to ask yourself, "Is it possible that this man has any selfish motives in this attack against his brother?" Why should he say such hard things against Mephibosheth?

Ques. Would Ziba represent someone 'outside', as we say?

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J.T. I do not think he does. He is the servant of Mephibosheth; he was in his household. David knew him.

Rem. David said, "Where is thy master's son?" 2 Samuel 16:3 This would show that he knew something about him.

J.T. Just so. Now the question arises, What has God been working for, what has He brought us out for, if not that we should worship? The Lord disclosed to the woman that this was the end the Father sought. If He has recovered us, surely it is to worship God. And this is to be continued.

Rem. The woman in the chapter you refer to (John 4) was being set up in the Spirit.

J.T. So that Philippians, which contemplates the very highest spiritual experience, also contemplates low conduct in the saints. Paul had to speak to them weeping.

Rem. "Enemies of the cross of Christ". Philippians 3:18

J.T. I think the special application of this incident about Ziba is to ourselves, that is, to those who have taken the position of rejection with Christ; we are still exposed to these same things, though they may come up in a different way. Ziba does not resort to Joab's means, but his effort had the same end in view, that of deceiving David for selfish purposes.

Rem. Ziba came forward at a very critical moment; David did not see through it.

J.T. And as far as the sequel goes, David never got over it; showing that a brother may be slandered in your ears, and although you recover somewhat, you may not recover wholly.

Ques. In connection with those that the apostle was weeping over, they were enemies of the cross. What was your thought?

J.T. They were enemies of the cross of Christ; their God was their belly; Philippians 3:18,19. It was their natural desires they were thinking about, and that is what Ziba was thinking about.

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Ques. Would you say that minding earthly things is, in principle, apostasy?

J.T. That is right; Philippians gives Christian experience -- it is the book of Christian experience; and to mind earthly things is to oppose the truth.

Rem. Mephibosheth uses the expression, "angel of God" in the right sense; chapter 19:27. He does not use it as the woman in chapter 14 did.

Rem. In connection with what you said about Mephibosheth being a spiritual man -- he was ready to let Ziba take all, seeing the king had returned.

J.T. Exactly. The attack is usually on a spiritual man, and if he can be slandered or discredited in the eyes of his brethren, the testimony suffers.

Rem. There is a remark of J.N.D.'s, 'You take care of your conscience and let God look after your character'.

Ques. Would it help us to know who Ziba represents?

J.T. He occupied a menial position, and he was envious of his master. If you find a man who is envious in this sense, you are in the presence of a dangerous man.

Ques. Why does Shimei's cursing come in here?

J.T. Well, that is the next thing; that is the balancing thing. In verse 2 David says to Ziba, "What meanest thou by these?" 2 Samuel 16:2 and Ziba is very quick in replying; but the king is deceived. Over against that you have the attack of Shimei, which balances it. "And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from thence a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera". 2 Samuel 16:5 Now, he is in a very definite position, "of the house of Saul". He is like the Assyrian, God would use him as a rod. And David rises here, for he refuses to allow Abishai to attack Shimei; showing that it is in adversity we shine. David says to Abishai, "Let him alone and let him

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curse; for Jehovah has bidden him. It may be that Jehovah will look on mine affliction, and that Jehovah will requite me good for my being cursed this day. And David and his men went by the way", 2 Samuel 16:11 - 13. You see, he is really being helped by the discipline of God, and he is accepting it.

Ques. Does David rise, in this incident, to be a type of Christ?

J.T. I think it is Christ in us more. Of course, the Lord did submit to what came, in this sense, as from God. You submit to the discipline of God; it was a question now of submitting to God, the time for the judgment of Shimei had not come.

Ques. You were speaking of David's movements as leading up to Olivet; what have his movements in view here?

J.T. It says, "David and his men went by the way". 2 Samuel 16:13 That is to say, he is still in rejection; it is the position of rejection, he does not stop to avenge himself. The thing is to go on the way you have taken -- the way of rejection.

Ques. Is that what you meant by saying that it came in as a balance?

J.T. It was a balance for David. I suppose it is often the way with us, that we can stand abuse and opposition, but the enemy gets the better of us by flattery and deceit. We shine best in adversity. It is humiliating to have to say it, but very few of us can stand prosperity -- spiritual or otherwise.

Ques. What would put us on our guard against all that?

J.T. This chapter ought to! These scriptures are written for our learning. On the one hand you have a picture here of those right in the main, and yet capable of deception, and on the other you see that what is of God in us shines in adversity, and God justifies it. You stand out in discipline. It is often seen in the saints; they are earthly-minded whilst

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in prosperity, but presently discipline comes, and then they shine.

Ques. I was wondering whether the conduct of Shimei was in the nature of railing.

J.T. Quite so; Ziba would be a slanderer, and Shimei a railer.

Rem. "Not rendering ... railing for railing", 1 Peter 3:9.

J.T. Shimei is of the house of Saul. Ziba is not opposed to David, he is simply covetous. Shimei is governed by positive wickedness for its own sake, he is "of the house of Saul". There are those who, like Joab and the wise woman from Tekoah, have personal prominence in view in their movements. Then there are those like Ziba, who are covetous. And then there are those who oppose for opposition's sake; they are out and out against what is of Christ, they are of the house of Saul. They belong to the house that has proved itself to be essentially opposed to David.

Ques. Do you mean that all this is in the profession?

J.T. Yes, it is; there are those who oppose Christ personally, and there are enemies of the cross of Christ.

Ques. Would you say that extreme Modernism would be represented by that?

J.T. It would. You have got to locate where people are; so that Shimei is located for us, he is of the house of Saul.

Ques. Do you suggest that these elements might be found in any of us?

J.T. They might, and if they are not judged they manifest themselves.

Ques. What is the position of a spiritual man in the presence of these railers?

J.T. I suppose Mephibosheth represents such. He is not here at this particular part to answer for

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himself. He is brought up later and he does not attempt to justify himself; he says, "Let him even take all" (chapter 19:30); that is the opposite of covetousness. Besides, Mephibosheth disclaims any right to David's consideration. I think David also represents a spiritual man as in the presence of Shimei.

Ques. How does that illustrate our position?

J.T. You accept such opposition as the discipline of God. The consequences of the sin of the public body still exist, and we are suffering from them, we cannot evade them. I think the spiritual man always discerns the government of God in all that happens. David did here.

Rem. Judge nothing before the time.

J.T. We are having to do with God, and we are suffering from certain governmental consequences, in common with the whole professing body. We are not in the hands of Satan in this; a spiritual man never places himself there, he takes everything from God.

Rem. I thought that David felt in the bottom of his soul that the position he found himself in was due to his initial failure, and therefore, in that sense, from the Lord.

J.T. It makes all the difference whether a thing comes from God or from Satan; David takes it from God. Paul says, "A messenger of Satan" (2 Corinthians 12:7), but nevertheless it came from God. Sometimes God allows Satan to show his malice, but He permits him to go only so far, as we see in Job. Now what comes out in chapter 17 is this great question of wisdom, and there we see how God comes in. "And Jehovah had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel" -- it is what God is doing. He has appointed to defeat what seemed to be the very best counsel; for "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God". 1 Corinthians 3:19.

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Rem. That is the other side of the picture now. You were speaking this morning of the outward side -- reproach, and the inward side -- wisdom.

J.T. What we had this morning was that in these chapters we have a secret system set up by David in the very midst of Absalom's kingdom. This in result meant the overthrow of Absalom's kingdom, as corresponding with what there is now, in the Spirit being here in the very midst of the profession in which there is apostasy. There is a secret order of things in the Spirit, governed by principles, which mean the overthrow of the Babylonish, Laodicean system. You have in this system (chapter 15) two priests with two sons, young men, and Hushai the king's friend; and we read that one of the priests is a seer, that is to say, he can see things. You can see the end of things, you can see through the current maze.

Rem. It is very striking all through Scripture that where two persons agree God comes in; where there are a few, but sufficient to maintain things, in a difficult day.

J.T. Now you see that Absalom asks Hushai to give his advice. Remarkable thing! And he gives his advice, and it says, "And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel". And then is adds, "And Jehovah had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel".

Rem. "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness", Job 5:13.

J.T. It is very encouraging to see God acting -- God controlling all this. It was His doing; He knew how to bring this about. And what you find is that two young men, a maiden, a man with a well in his house and a woman with corn are the agents in it. Now these are all the most ordinary things, but they

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serve to conceal what is of God, so that the world is unable to check it.

Rem. It is interesting to see where the two young men were put.

J.T. That is what I was referring to -- the well. It is interesting to see that the man had a well in his house. He was a man who had things appointed properly.

Ques. Are all these things that you speak of as ordinary things connected with the testimony in reproach?

J.T. That is right. They are moving under David's directions, keeping his commandments; you find in verse 15 "And Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counselled. And now send quickly, and tell David saying, Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him. And Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by En-rogel: and the maid went and told them" All these are very simple things, because God uses simple things, but each of these agents is under divine direction, as we may say, and they are in agreement with one another -- they are in each other's confidence. These are the things we ought to develop.

Ques. Do we look for this sort of thing in a crisis?

J.T. You have the two priests together -- they are in agreement. And the two sons are acting with them. Local difficulties often bring out divergence between the young and the old. It was not so here. And then there is the maiden brought in, showing that in these circumstances young brothers and young sisters are brought into the service with the old, so that the system works perfectly, and the will of God goes through without any pretension or show.

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Ques. Is there any special significance in the well?

J.T. A good water supply is surely an important feature. It is essential to living conditions.

Rem. There would be something spiritual in that house.

J.T. And there was room there, besides the water. But these two young men are in a humiliating position for the moment. There is nothing very distinguished about the proceedings, from man's point of view. These are features of the position; the work of God goes on in these circumstances.

Rem. The men we have been tracing -- Joab and Ziba -- were seeking their own glorification. These men were put down a well, as doing the will of God.

J.T. In verse 18 it says, "Then they went both of them away quickly" There were two of them, and they came to the house of a man who had a well in his court and they went down there, and the woman spread a covering on the well's mouth and the thing was not known. You see, things are in a mystery, but the work of God goes on in such circumstances.

Rem. And the secret system is held in connection with David.

Rem. We want to hold things in connection with Christ.

Ques. The spreading of the covering -- is that the recognition of headship again?

J.T. I think the idea is hiding. Colossians is to teach us how to hide things. There must be publicity in regard to certain things, but there is also mystery; things are hidden in a mystery -- known only to those initiated. The Lord began that principle in His parabolic ministry; parabolic ministry is to hide things. He takes the disciples into the house and discloses things to them. Colossians is a hiding epistle, going out of the world. The power is there,

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and the work of God is going on, but in an obscure way.

Ques. How would that apply today?

J.T. Well, I do not think we should seek any show, any publicity; or to bring the truth down to the level of the natural mind. We should never lose sight of the fact that it is a time of hiding. The merchantman hid the treasure, he found it hid and he hid it afterwards, and so all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in the mystery.

Rem. These two priests seem peculiarly connected with levitical service.

J.T. They are together, and their sons are working and moving together.

Rem. The young men acted intelligently, because they had been at the 'care-meeting', so to speak, with the older brethren.

J.T. Young men are apt to leave things to the older ones. I do not believe in the young men being excluded from the care-meeting. How can they learn things unless they are there? Indeed, every one in the assembly should be acquainted with things that are going on, both brothers and sisters. In principle, every member of the assembly is responsible in regard to the Lord's interests. But then these two young men knew how to hide, they did not talk about the matter.

Rem. Rahab also hid the two spies.

J.T. The principle of hiding is a very great feature in Christianity. "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing" Proverbs 25:2 and "a prudent man concealeth knowledge" Proverbs 12:23.

Ques. Why does the woman come into prominence in hiding?

J.T. She represents the subjective side, what would be general amongst us if we were spiritual; note the corn is ground, it is ready for use.

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Rem. It is an exercise about notice-boards announcing the gospel.

J.T. Well, the gospel should be known: "Wisdom crieth without" Proverbs 1:20. The gospel of the grace of God should be announced in a public way, but when we come to the truth of the assembly, then it is a question of hiding. We must not cast our pearls before swine.

Rem. So that all these principles hold good today.

J.T. These are principles that belong to recovery, that belong to a time following a crisis when the recovery of the truth took place.

Rem. The well was not used to hide these young men from their brethren, but from the enemy.

Rem. Success here depended upon their being concealed.

J.T. You see how all works together; the man with the well, the woman with the corn, and the maid. It is a question of unity -- of confidence, old and young, brothers and sisters, working together to one end. They did not let Absalom know anything. Anything that tends to build up the antichristian world should be renounced.

Rem. These young men were carrying a very vital message.

J.T. That shows the importance of the younger men. The older brethren ought to see that. They have got much more agility, these young men can run. They are much more valuable for such service, as the apostle John says, "I have written to you, young men, because ye are strong" 1 John 2:14. Strength and energy are there.

Ques. What is the force of "all the Levites" going (chapter 15:24)? It seems as if all were in service.

J.T. They were on the "Lord's side" as in the days of the golden calf.

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Ques. What would you say about circulating ministry to Christians?

J.T. The point is not to bring things down to the level of man's mind. You know how to minister, to convey your thoughts to persons who have the Spirit, but you do not want to bring the truth down to the level of man's mind. The Lord says, "ye have received gratuitously, give gratuitously"; Matthew 10:8 thus we gladly share what we have with our brethren wherever they may be.

Ques. What does the ark represent?

J.T. I think it represents Christ as the centre of everything for God, so that you cannot ignore the profession. The ark would stand in relation to all that own Christ, even though it be but in an external way. David sends it back to the city. You do not want to make it the centre of a party, or section of Christians.

Ques. Is not that very great encouragement in preaching? There are thousands of Christians around mixed up in public systems.

J.T. There is only one Christ; you take account of people according to their profession.

Ques. What do we learn from going over Jordan here?

J.T. It says, "Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over the Jordan; by the morning light there was not one of them missing that had not gone over the Jordan" verse 22. It is the thought of safety beyond death, I suppose. In this position David is furnished abundantly; verses 27 - 29. As we were saying about Colossians, it is the boundary; it indicates the boundary where things are safe, where our life is hid with Christ in God.

Rem. "By the morning light" -- I think that is a beautiful expression.

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Rem. And then it says that Absalom passed over.

J.T. He passed over to his ruin.

Rem. The enemy has no power over there.

J.T. No; I think this is the side of the truth that is presented here. All that goes on is to this end.

Rem. It is very encouraging that there is no moment in the history of the testimony that the Lord is not acquainted with; and He has provided against all contingencies.

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2 Samuel 18

J.T. In considering these chapters as types of our own times -- the people of God in the present dispensation -- it should be noted that they do not present consecutive history, but rather different views of the saints, of our position and circumstances; so that in this chapter we have another viewpoint.

We have been considering David as representative of what is of God in the profession, marked on the one hand by exposure to deception through natural feelings and affections; and on the other hand, as a subject of the work of God, seen in times of trial and discipline. So that the work of God in David shines in the exit, or flight, from Jerusalem; it shines there more than elsewhere. There is a thorough acceptance of the discipline of God at the brook Kidron, at the ascent of Olivet, and in the worship of God at the summit. That is one view; it is a most delightful view because it shows what is possible, what God effects among His people.

And then we have still the capability of being deceived; when a true lover of Christ, Mephibosheth, was slandered by his servant, David accepted the slander. Over against that you have the railing of Shimei, who is of the house of Saul, which again brings out the work of God in David, who humbly accepted His governmental dealings.

In this chapter it is a question of conflict; how the people of God act under certain circumstances. We have a picture here of the saints in conflict, not with the external enemy, but internal foes -- a family affair really. So that we see here humiliating things on the one hand, yet in spite of all the triumph of

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what is of God. What I think we should note is, the mixed motives that governed David, which necessarily caused weakness in the conflict, uncertainty and much unnecessary loss of life, a peculiarly sorrowful feature. That is to say, many of the saints of God are unnecessarily damaged and scattered because of the want of definiteness and clearness in the issues, and in those who take the lead.

Ques. You mean that the conflict was unduly prolonged?

J.T. Yes; and then the leadership was indefinite.

Rem. They lacked the clear voice of the trumpet.

J.T. Just so; "an uncertain sound" 1 Corinthians 14:8.

Ques. Why do the sons of Zeruiah come so much to the front here?

J.T. Well, that is to be taken account of; there is nothing said of Joab since chapter 14. Abishai is mentioned, but not Joab. They were hard men, particularly Joab, an ambitious man, and he acquired the lead here, no doubt because of the want of definiteness in those whom God would use. The victories of David in his earlier days were under God marvels of military prowess, but here we have no definiteness, we have indeed the retirement of David from the generalship because the people wished it.

The position at the beginning of this chapter is to be well noted, because we are bound to have conflict, and the issues should be clear, and those who lead should be definite and free from natural considerations.

Rem. I was struck by your remark as to the difference between David in his earlier days, and David in these later scenes. Perhaps you would give us some idea as to what brought about this extraordinary weakness. It starts with his being on the house-top.

J.T. I think his weakness dates from that point -- "when kings go forth" chapter 11:1. He failed in not going forth.

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Ques. Has it something to do with that scripture, "No one going as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of life, that he may please him who has enlisted him as a soldier" 2 Timothy 2:4? Do you think that David had got himself entangled?

J.T. Yes; I think he allowed himself to get into a low state of soul by want of self-judgment, so that God allowed him to be exposed to himself in falling into such serious crimes; and he never recovered from the effects of them as far as the Scriptures show. He never regained his former energy and strength. As I said before, I think it points to the great breakdown in the history of the assembly, so that you never have the same pristine power. Now, in the presence of conflict, that we can never hope to be free of, we are taught here to avoid mixed motives; to be clear in our motives, and to think only for God and not for our natural relationships.

Rem. I suppose we have a picture of it in Pilate, he was influenced by the multitude. They said, "Away with him, crucify him" John 19:15 David was guided by what the people said. His attitude was the more unjustifiable in view of the readiness of the people to be beguiled by Absalom; it shows that their hearts were as weak as water. David should have learnt from that.

J.T. They are not to be relied on. It is not God's way that the people should lead.

Ques. Do you think we should take it to heart that the indefiniteness led to the slaughter of many?

J.T. Yes. David, left to himself, always thought of the people: "He fed them according to the integrity of his heart, and led them by the skilfulness of his hands" Psalm 78:72. He was a typical leader, but here we see failure in that which had characterised him. It is written down for us to see that in conflict we should be free from mixed motives.

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Ques. Is it not most important in assembly matters to get at right principles and right motives?

J.T. And think only for the Lord -- how these things affect Him. Never mind how they affect you, or your children, or other relatives; think of how they affect the Lord, and then the issue becomes clear. You are definite; you are not hesitating.

Ques. The conflict is very testing to us all; it finds out where we are. Would it suggest what we get in Ephesians: "our struggle is not against blood and flesh"? Ephesians 6:12 I was thinking of David at the time he slew Goliath -- what he was to God then! We may be before God very well in our youth, but we may go back as we get older.

J.T. That is right; it will not do to start well and stop. David began well. "Ye ran well; who has stopped you that ye should not obey the truth?" Galatians 5:7. Many young men shine in the conflict, and later become engrossed in family affairs. One has known of cases where issues have been beclouded because certain families were involved. Abishai was unable to see that God was behind Shimei's attack, and so he proposed what would take the matter out of His hands.

Rem. Joab had an official position as chief and captain.

J.T. Well, David marshalled the forces. He was himself supreme. There could be no question about David's rights in the matter. He marshalled the people that were willing; that was right. He took the initiative, but he did not follow it up, and so room was made for Joab. I think this chapter intends bringing to light the character of Joab, and the weakness and folly of David in being so partial to Absalom. David at the outset should have known the damaging influence of family feelings. His brothers were envious of him, "Why art thou come down? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep

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in the wilderness?" they question him; 1 Samuel 17:28. Relatives are not to be trusted; they are, as such, useless in the things of God. But David says, "What have I now done? Was it not laid upon me?" 1 Samuel 17:29 There was a cause, and he took the field in the name of the God of Israel. Well, that is where he missed it here.

Rem. You have touched the weak spot in every one of our gatherings, the lack of definiteness, occasioned largely through natural influences.

J.T. And even although David did not go with the army, it was their business to recognise what he said. And so Joab is exposed; he did not care for either David or Absalom, as the sequel shows. So, that we find certain hard men coming to the front but it is due to the fact that the subjects of the work of God are not wholly available. The door is thus often opened to hard ambitious men.

Ques. Does it show the low spiritual condition of David, that God had to use men like the sons of Zeruiah?

J.T. God is, as it were, forced to use certain ones, because He takes up what there is -- what is available. But why should not the product of the work of God be available? What is the matter? Why should unfit men be in the front? capable in their way, energetic, but unspiritual. They misrepresent God.

Why should any one whom God has fitted to serve hold back? Why should I let others do the work when the responsibility is mine? Why should I not go forward, free of mixed motives -- family affairs? If I do not go forward, I simply leave the field open for unfit men. God will use what is available, for, after all, it is His business.

Rem. And the saints have to accept what they do.

J.T. They have to; although God will ever look after His own interests.

Rem. Paul withstood Peter to the face.

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J.T. There you have a man wholly free from natural considerations. Paul might have said, Well, Peter is an old brother and has been in the Lord's company, and it is not suitable that I should say anything. That would be accepted, no doubt, by the brethren; but he says, "I withstood him to the face, because he was to be condemned" Galatians 2:11. He sacrificed his feelings that the truth might remain with the brethren.

Rem. He saved the position without great loss.

J.T. Quite so; and Peter was evidently helped and the truth maintained. Peter recognised Paul later, as we know, regarding his writings as Scripture; 2 Peter 3:15,16. Paul was face to face with a serious situation, but being free from natural considerations he acted for God and God gave him victory. David never lacked courage; his great weakness was susceptibility to natural influence -- relatives, and others. God dealt with Absalom Himself; David was responsible to be there, but he had accepted the will of the people.

Ques. Who are the people?

J.T. The rank and file of the saints. I am not speaking of them as the assembly. The divine way is leadership in persons qualified. Israel were led like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron; and so also by David later.

Ques. How do you regard Ittai?

J.T. He is in his place; he had no natural claim, but he loved David. What you notice is the prominence acquired by Joab through all this; he even dominates David. David's weakness made way for this.

Ques. You have spoken of natural influence -- I was wondering what you meant.

J.T. Well, influence arising from the consideration of our relatives in the flesh; also special friendships. Love is indiscriminate; the Colossians and Ephesians

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loved ALL the saints -- they were not partial. It is that sort of thing we have to guard against to be clear visioned, so that the issue becomes clear; we know what we are going to do, and we do it.

Ques. What was the issue here?

J.T. It was an uprising against David of one in the relation of son. Absalom represents the present antichristian uprising. The uprising is against David -- not yet against Solomon. It is a most serious conflict; we must perceive the seriousness of it; we cannot allow trifles to interfere with our part in it.

Rem. If you withstand a brother "to the face" he is unlikely to hold anything against you afterwards.

J.T. That is right, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend" Proverbs 27:6.

Rem. There was no hardness on the part of Paul when he withstood Peter; it was in the spirit of Christ.

J.T. Now what you see here in David not coming forward is that the battlefield is badly chosen; it is the "forest of Ephraim" (verse 6), a most unsuitable place.

Ques. The wood devoured more than the sword (verse 8). What is the thought?

J.T. Well, the selection of the battlefield is important. You do not want trees to do damage to people. The forest has not heart or conscience; it is a pity that people should fall by that means. If anyone falls, let it be on account of opposing the truth. There is no clear vision in the forest. And now what you find is that it was no credit to the servants of David that Absalom came into their hands; it was God's doing.

Ques. What part would you have in selecting the position?

J.T. If there is to be conflict you turn to God -- so that the truth should be at no disadvantage in it.

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Ques. Would you say that the leaders were to blame?

J.T. I think that is how it stands.

Ques. How would one recognise a right leader?

J.T. He goes forward definitely governed by divine principles and he has no mixed motives. Through godliness he has moral weight and so influences his brethren according to God.

Ques. And should we not remember that true leaders are a special mark for the adversary?

J.T. Quite so. God provides the leaders. If you look at the book of Exodus you will be impressed with the patience of God in providing two men -- Moses and Aaron -- and God led the people by them.

Rem. They speak to us the word of God, and they have Christ as their object.

J.T. That is what it says in Hebrews 13:7. And then we are told to obey our leaders and be submissive, for they watch over our souls as those who shall give account (verse 17).

Ques. Would leaders come to light in local gatherings, as well as universally?

J.T. I think they qualify locally, as David did. Joab wished to climb to the top himself, for David becomes his servant. Returning to Absalom it says, "And Absalom was riding upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of the great terebinth, and his head caught in the terebinth, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. And a man saw it" verses 9,10. This man, I think, represents the work of God in the midst of all these things. Seemingly it was an accidental thing, and Joab says, "And behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground?" He answers in effect, I have respect for the king; that is the kind of spirit; how different if Joab had been possessed of that spirit! This man says, "For in our hearing

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the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Take care, whoever it be [of you], of the young man Absalom. Or I should have acted falsely against mine own life, for there is no matter concealed from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against [me]". That is a right spirit -- respect for what is said by the king.

Ques. You referred yesterday to Absalom's head and hair; is there any link with that in the way he is caught here?

J.T. The Spirit of God makes much of the product of his head; all that seems to be used in the government of God for his destruction. "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness; and the counsel of the wily is carried headlong", Job 5:13. The power that had carried him failed him -- the mule went away -- "and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth". All this expresses the humiliating judgment of God, as overtaking such a man.

Rem. And in that way it did what David failed to do.

J.T. I think we ought to notice another feature here, the message-bearers. How am I to be a message-bearer? It brings out the desire of the young man to be running, come what may. Ahimaaz wanted to be running: "Come what may, let me run" he says, verse 23. It is a rebuke, I think, to young men who wish to run for running's sake. Ahimaaz had already done well, and now he wants to run again, and he has no message. This is an exposure of what we often see in persons who wish to be active, whether they have a commission or not. Here we have another view of Joab; he is one in responsibility now to give a message, and Ahimaaz says, "Let me run" but Joab -- representing what is right -- says, "There is no news suited to thee" It is a principle that comes out here, that the messenger must be in keeping with

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the message. If God gives a message He gives it to a suitable vessel.

Ques. Would not that apply even in preaching the gospel?

J.T. Surely.

Rem. We have to realise, too, that we are to serve as under the Lord's orders.

J.T. So that Joab here represents one in a position to give a message. He is able to tell, and he has discernment as to the kind of vessel that should take it; but still he lets Ahimaaz run -- there is failure even there; the whole position is marked by weakness.

Ques. What is in your mind in speaking of the messenger being in accord with the message?

J.T. Well, that the work of God is varied; everything emanates from God. Every vessel is to be hung on Christ; Isaiah 22:24. There are different vessels, but each is to be "sanctified, serviceable to the Master" 2 Timothy 2:21.

Rem. Messengers, in the New Testament, are Christ's glory; they are fitted; 2 Corinthians 8:23.

J.T. And then there is another thing, that in undertaking work that is not yours, you discredit yourself. David says, "He is a good man, and comes with good news" verse 27. But when he arrives he does not know anything; he spoke of a "tumult ... but ... knew not what it was"; it is all confusion. And the king says, "Turn aside [and] stand here. And he turned aside and stood still" Now that is a very humiliating thing -- to stand aside as knowing nothing definitely of the matter to be reported. The next thing to note is that the other messenger is a Cushite; he has nothing to commend him, being of that stock, whereas Ahimaaz was of the priests. Here is a man who has no reputation at all, in that way, but he has a message; he knows all about what happened.

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Ques. "Go tell the king what thou hast seen" (verse 21); is there something in that?

J.T. Yes; he was a witness. That is the point the Lord stresses in Luke 24:48 "Ye are witnesses of these things" I must be a witness to bear witness.

Rem. It was not a message that would appeal to David in a natural way.

J.T. No; he made no allowance for David's natural feelings: "The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee for evil, be as that young man" He had a thorough judgment of the thing. Whereas Ahimaaz seemed afraid to tell the truth; though he knew it well enough, verse 20. We must not be afraid to wound people's natural feelings in presenting the truth of God; we need faithfulness. The way the Cushite tells the thing shows that he had a thorough judgment of Absalom, and no one can preach the gospel unless he has a thorough understanding of the judgment of God on that man.

These scriptures are typical of what happens among saints today, in order that we may avoid the evils indicated.

Ques. What is the thought in the "ten young men" in verse 15: "And ten young men that bore Joab's armour surrounded and smote Absalom, and killed him"

J.T. These, I believe, are party men; they carry Joab's armour. Elsewhere we read of Joab's men. You can see what a type of man Joab was from that -- he gathered people round him; there were ten young men. Men like Joab always have special persons to support them. Here they are thoroughly with him.

Ques. They speak well of their leader, but not of Christ; is it not a very serious thing to have a combination among the people of God?

J.T. Quite so; David is not said to have armour-bearers, whereas Joab's armour-bearers are spoken of.

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Rem. It struck me, too, in chapter 20, when Amasa was slain, it says, "And one of Joab's young men stood by [Amasa] and said, He that favours Joab, and he that is for David, let him follow Joab" 2 Samuel 20:11. Joab comes first in his thoughts.

Rem. I think Mr. Darby said he would not belong to a party for the truth any more than he would belong to one against it.

Ques. How can a young man avoid getting under the influence of such a leader?

J.T. I should say, by keeping to the true Leader. There are leaders, of course. It says, "Remember your leaders", but then it adds, "Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and today, and to the ages [to come]" (Hebrews 13:7,8); that is the balance.

Rem. I suppose if we were loyal to the rejected One we should esteem highly all those who are truly serving Him.

J.T. Paul says, "Ye became our imitators, and of the Lord" 1 Thessalonians 1:6.

Rem. So that a true leader would bring them to the Lord.

Ques. Can we be rightly loyal to any one but Christ? People sometimes speak about being loyal to your brethren.

J.T. No doubt what is meant is fellowship; it is more that you are true to the fellowship. We have to respect the brethren; in all I am doing I must see that I do not compromise them.

Ques. Would you say what "mothers in Israel" mean?

J.T. Persons who exercise maternal care over the saints. Deborah does not undertake the place of leadership; she says, "Hath not Jehovah the God of Israel commanded?" Judges 4:6.

Rem. The New Testament does not refer to Deborah at all; it is Barak's leadership (Hebrews 11:32) God leads by men.

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Ques. What is the thought of kings going forth to battle; 2 Samuel 11:1?

J.T. I suppose it refers to times of conflict, when you should not take your ease; as Urijah says, "The ark, and Israel, and Judah abide in booths; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields" 2 Samuel 11:11. What a rebuke to David. He should have been there himself; if he had been there he would not have fallen into sin.

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Divine wisdom operating against apostasy (5)

2 Samuel 19:9 - 43; 2 Samuel 20:15 - 22

Ques. Would you say a little for the benefit of those who were not here this morning?

J.T. We read chapter 18 this morning, which, as you will observe, gives an account of the final stage of the conflict between David's forces and those of Absalom. What developed was, that those responsible to lead were governed by mixed motives. David was indefinite, being prepossessed with his love for Absalom. He was governed by natural feeling and affection, and so was indefinite, with the result that the battlefield was badly chosen and many lives were unnecessarily sacrificed. The command was divided into three parts instead of being directly centred in David, who was responsible, and who, indeed, was best qualified as a military leader.

The battle took place in the wood of Ephraim, and more people were destroyed by the trees than by the sword; this should not have happened. The door was thus opened to Joab, who, as we have already noticed, was governed by personal motives, having his own reputation before him; so that he, through David's weakness, acquired the dominating position.

We noted that these records are not consecutive, as typifying the current history of the people of God, but rather present different views.

What we had in chapter 18 refers to the conflict and the principles that should govern us. The conflict we shall have as the testimony continues. Joab acquired a dominant position amongst them, all due to the weakness of the element that was directly responsible to God, and fitted to lead.

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Then we noted, in the end of the chapter, another feature of our present position, that is, the carrying of messages. The victory, involving the death of Absalom, had to be reported to David, and Joab is now typical of one in a position to give a message. Ahimaaz says, "Let me run" We noted the disposition of young brothers to "run anyway" Whereas Joab had pointed out that the message was not suited to him in that the king's son was dead, but Ahimaaz says, Let me run, and he did run, but he had no definite message, so that when he arrived he had to stand on one side -- a humiliating thing. The Cushite was fitted for the message; although not so fast a runner, he had a message.

Rem. I thought what you said about those who suffered through the trees was important; in a crisis side issues arise, and people are carried away by them.

J.T. Quite so; I think it should be well noted that in conflict the effort should be to avoid unnecessary losses. Losses there must be; if there is opposition to the truth there has to be discipline, but these scriptures show that the effort should be to restrict it -- to reduce it to a minimum.

Rem. So that the spirit in which the conflict is carried on is important, there should be a desire to save the brethren.

J.T. The culminating feature is in the wise woman at Abel, she reduced the loss to one -- the chief offender; chapter 20:16 - 22. She did it in her wisdom. I believe it is in this woman's wisdom that we see the point of all this instruction.

Rem. There is a lesson to be learnt from it.

J.T. I thought that in this chapter we might see that another exercise is in view; it is the 'reconstruction' period. There always has to be such a period after a conflict, because everything is affected. All the people of God are affected in a conflict for the

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testimony, and there has to be a rearrangement according to what has been brought to light. There should be some spoil out of every conflict. So that now it is a question of David's return to Jerusalem, and Jordan involves an exercise in these new circumstances; death has to be accepted. It is stated "Now Israel had fled every man to his tent. And all the people were at strife throughout the tribes of Israel, saying, The king delivered us out of the hand of ... the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land because of Absalom. And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle; and now why are ye silent as to bringing the king back?" (verses 9,10). It was a sorrowful situation, but not a hopeless one, for the chief offender was out of the way. And now David is coming back into his place, so that we have the thoughts of many hearts revealed, showing what has been effected in those who came to meet him. It is the time of readjustment, and we find our places according to what we have gained in the exercise.

Rem. It is very important that in every crisis, although we may not go through it intelligently, yet we should feel we gain something.

J.T. Something comes to light that has to be definitely noted in a crisis, and I think that what came to light in David was his undue attention to natural affection. When Absalom was slain, he referred to him eight times as "his son" calling him "My son, my son" showing how obsessed he was, and that is the secret that God would bring to light. There is always something underneath that comes to light, and David exposes himself in bewailing Absalom so many times as his son.

Rem. Attention was called to the spirit that animated Joab, and the spirit that was shared by the ten armour-bearers. That we should carry a right spirit is a very important thing.

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J.T. I think we noted that the point was that they were his men -- Joab's men; it comes to light in this chapter that he had a band associated specially with him, so that when Amasa was slain, one of Joab's men said, "He that favours Joab, and he that is for David, let him follow Joab" 2 Samuel 20:11; he places Joab before David, showing that Joab was a party man; he had more concern about himself than about David.

Ques. Are you suggesting that new positions are given in this chapter?

J.T. Yes; readjustment is proceeding, and David makes plain that he intends to supersede Joab, but he is not able to do it. That is to say, in the government of God the effect of his weakness stands. Joab regains his place as head of the army. In the end of chapter 20 Joab is said to be over all the host of Israel; that was not David's intent, but he was unable to prevent it -- a very humiliating experience for a king. Nevertheless, what we get here is, one and another coming into evidence in relation to David's return.

Ques. It was said earlier that Solomon was out of sight in all this; I was wondering if things lead up to the bringing in of Solomon later.

J.T. I think all this instruction in connection with the wise woman lays the ground for Solomon's reign. The wise woman of Abel through her wisdom delivered the city; her thought was to save all except the offender. Solomon was governed by that principle (see 1 Kings 3); he would not allow the child to be cut in two; he brought to light in his wisdom the mother of the child. The mother would have the child whole even if given to another. That is the thing to get hold of; your great thought is not to divide the saints; you preserve the truth, but you preserve the saints with it. That brings to light the mother of the child. And for that wisdom is essential.

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Ques. Does not that mean that every feature is to be weighed and considered; you desire to face every phase of the exercise so that everyone may benefit by it?

J.T. There has to be the resetting of things, and Joab has to be displaced. He has discredited himself. He brought back Absalom, and brought all this about through his effort to push himself forward. And now what you find is that Israel "had fled every man to his tent" 2 Samuel 19:8, and there was strife; it was serious, but not hopeless; for David was coming back to his house. He was on his way back, and he resorted to the provision he had made in leaving the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, in Jerusalem. They could be relied on as representative of the secret system within Jerusalem at the time of the apostasy. They were the undoing of Absalom. Now David is coming back to Jerusalem, and he sends to these two men, Zadok and Abiathar, saying, "Speak to the elders of Judah saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, to his house. Ye are my brethren, ye are my bone and my flesh; and why will ye be the last to bring back the king?" (verses 11,12). Here you have an appeal through the priests; it is a question of recognising those who stand the test -- men who stood well in the most adverse circumstances. Now they are available to David in Jerusalem.

Ques. Does the reconstruction begin with what is priestly?

J.T. I think it must, it is the divine way to begin with the priestly element. I think we have a principle there as to reconstruction -- the recognition of the priestly element. The priests, normally, are pre-eminently free from natural feelings; Phinehas was marked by that as representative of the priesthood; Numbers 25. Freedom from natural feelings is characteristic of priestly service.

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Ques. Would you say that, in regard to the present dispensation, it would mean the truth of the assembly? These men are in agreement on priestly lines to recover the saints in proper relation to Christ.

J.T. Quite so; they are those who recognise the Spirit. Priesthood, in the true sense, refers to those who have the Spirit. Every true Christian has the Spirit, but it is another thing to be marked off as having the Spirit -- to be spiritual. The apostle could not speak to the Corinthians as spiritual. He had to send Timotheus that he might be amongst them as representative of what is spiritual.

Ques. Do you think that, in connection with recovery, we start with the sovereign side, rather than the responsible side? The elders of Judah were exercised about bringing David back.

J.T. Well, the priestly element is taken into account first. Next, those who were near of kin to David; which would mean a more extended state among the saints. David appeals to them, "Ye are my brethren, ye are my bone and my flesh" The line taken is, first the priestly element, and then the brethren -- those that have that relationship with David.

Ques. I was wondering what we have in Judah here.

J.T. Judah represents brethren to David, because he was of that tribe. They would represent the brethren, or those who would respond to that relationship, for after all, all true Christians are brethren, whatever our state may be. The appeal is on that line, "Ye are my brethren"; but the message comes through the priests -- not now through the young men, but through experienced men, spiritual men.

Rem. So that the exercise is taken up on spiritual lines, as coming from the priesthood.

J.T. David did not employ any others. Judah was really the most responsible in the rebellion;

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they were near to David, but it was at Hebron; Hebron was the centre of it.

Ques. Can you reconstruct a meeting after conflict on the responsible line merely?

J.T. I think the thing is to get the spiritual first, and then the brethren. 'Brethren' is a common term; 'priesthood' refers generally in Scripture to those who are spiritual, but when you think of the brethren it includes all Christians, and we can appeal to all on that line.

Ques. Would David in that way seek to restore confidence in the men of Judah, in his grace?

J.T. Well, I think you see his wisdom now; "He bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, as of one man"; that was a great achievement.

Ques. Is it not touching, the appeal to Amasa, one who had been a leader in the opposition, but now appealed to in grace by David?

J.T. And it is on the same principle -- as related to him -- his bone and his flesh. Things have been gotten together firstly through the ministry of the priests, but also on family lines, for after all, that is what God is looking for.

Rem. So that, as you were saying, the real mother of the child, who had the good of the child at heart, would not suffer any damage to be done to it.

J.T. It is a terrible thing to divide the people of God. I think the thing here is that you do not do that, you reach the offender with the minimum of loss; you are concerned to save all the brethren. Save the truth, maintain righteousness, but save the brethren.

Ques. Do not these relationships bring in the assembly?

J.T. They do. That is the point, that these chapters are types; they are not exactly prophetic. Prophecy comes in later, as in Isaiah and Jeremiah. These early books, after the Pentateuch, are to make

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clear to us the history of the people of God in its various phases, and to give different views of the people of God in our dispensation. This section is to teach us how to overcome antichristian rebellion by wisdom. It is a question of wisdom, which is the handmaid of love. And so the great object is to save all the brethren while still maintaining the truth; if the offender has to suffer, let him suffer, but not any others; because saints are generally misled. What came out in regard to Absalom was that two hundred went out with him "in their simplicity" 2 Samuel 15:11; they did not understand the movement.

Ques. Whom do you refer to in the saints? Have you the whole church of God in view?

J.T. Certainly. We are to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3); but we must seek to keep all the brethren. If one has to suffer, let him suffer, as the wise woman points out. Joab would have destroyed the whole city to get the offender, showing that he was devoid of love for the saints, and of wisdom.

Rem. The whole of Judah and Israel come to David in the end.

J.T. Yes, they do; but twenty thousand people fell, when many might have been saved. Differences ought to be settled before they reach public division.

Rem. "Consider those who create divisions and occasions of falling, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learnt, and turn away from them" Romans 16:17.

J.T. The "grievous wolves" do not spare the flock, others would draw disciples after them. Divisions are always thus marked. I am speaking of our responsibility; God allows divisions that the approved may be manifested among us. Now the first movement in answer to David's appeal is on the part of the men of Judah, and they come to Gilgal. It is now really a question of recovery. The reconstruction period implies movement on the part of one and

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another. David is at the Jordan. We have to take every scripture in its own setting. Jordan here refers to death; readjustment must begin there. There can be nothing for God apart from death. So that each has to make up his mind that he is not to carry over his own affairs and interests. But, alas! in spite of the fact that that great principle stands out, such men as Joab and Abishai acquire the dominating position; nevertheless, there is the principle. David is at the Jordan and the men of Judah come to Gilgal to meet him. It is needless to say that these scriptures have a spiritual meaning; they are put down by the Spirit of God for us, because we are supposed to understand what Gilgal means. Gilgal is the rolling away of the reproach of Egypt; worldly reproach was attached to Judah. There never has been a conflict amongst the people of God in which worldly principles and conduct did not appear. At Gilgal this is dealt with. The movement is a spiritual one -- at least in the setting of it here -- and that is the point.

Rem. There is a definite disallowance of the flesh.

J.T. Quite so. It is befitting that we should go to Gilgal; that there should be no reserve, but a frank, open acknowledgment of everything. Then we have Shimei coming; it is a general movement; one and another according to what each has been doing goes to meet the king. There is no hiding of things. So that Shimei comes, and he has one thousand men with him. Well, that is not very hopeful; repentance is not in a company, it is an individual matter. Shimei has one thousand men of Benjamin with him; I suppose he was making a good show to David. Then we have Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants; he has a good show, too.

Rem. It says of Judah that they came as one man; they were exercised individually.

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J.T. Quite so. Jacob had many children and droves of cattle in coming to meet Esau (Genesis 32 and 33); it was a question of making a good show, but making a good show will not do. Ziba was a slanderer, and Shimei the railer, and there is no evidence that they had judged themselves.

Rem. They wanted to save their faces.

Rem. "They shall look on me whom they pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for an only [son]" Zechariah 12:10. That is rather the principle; one had wronged Mephibosheth and the other had wronged David.

Ques. Would the fact of Ziba and Shimei being respectively a slanderer and a railer show how solemn the two evils are?

J.T. Yes, they are very deep-rooted. Slander is the outcome of a very deep-rooted evil, speaking evil of one behind his back; a railer is a man who is dominated by sin; he is not ashamed to speak out in the presence of the person he would attack. There is no evidence that Shimei ever judged himself. He tries to make up for his railing here, and makes a long speech to David, and David says, "Thou shalt not die" God saw to it that he died, for he was put to death by Solomon. What we are in the presence of here is that David is coming back to his house and he wants to show that he is king: "For do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?" Poor David! Current facts hardly proved that he was. He was not king in the sense of moral power, for Joab was too much for him, but he was king in the sense of forgiveness, which is a very important side. David did not really clear Shimei; he committed him to Solomon for judgment later. We must never overlook it that forgiveness is a feature of the kingdom; but it is also said, "By no means clearing [the guilty]" Numbers 14:18.

Ques. What does the ferry-boat mean?

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J.T. I think it is to bring out that it is not death in the primary sense. It is Jordan passable in this way; the thought of death is retained. The next one who comes is Mephibosheth; he does not bring anybody with him. He is alone.

Ques. Why?

J.T. He is solitary in his glory, it seems to me. "He had neither washed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came [again] in peace" He is alone as a lover of David -- as one man that loves Christ. He had been slandered by his servant, and he points that out to David, but David never seems to have gotten over Ziba's story; showing how pernicious slander is. He says, "Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land" verse 29. It is a very poor speech.

Rem. It seems a very strange thing that David did not commend Mephibosheth.

J.T. It does; but it brings out what we are dealing with -- the weakness of things. The Holy Spirit would not mention these things if it were not so.

Rem. Although Mephibosheth was not with David, he shared all the conditions of rejection.

J.T. Yes; it says he was not able to go on account of his lameness.

Rem. He does not seem to have troubled about personal appearance; he has the king in his heart.

J.T. He shows by his attire and demeanour that he feels the absence of the king; he is typically a lover of Christ.

Rem. The Spirit of God vindicates him.

J.T. I think that is the point; the Holy Spirit would not mention all these things save to bring out what Mephibosheth was, typically, as a lover of Christ. And he says to David, regarding Ziba, "Let him even take all"; he did not want the inheritance -- he wanted David.

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Rem. That would be the right spirit for reconstruction.

J.T. Yes. There was one among the saints whom the Lord could call attention to. "Seest thou this woman? I entered into thy house; thou gavest me not water on my feet, but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with her hair ... Her many sins are forgiven; for she loved much" Luke 7:44 - 48. She loved much, as forgiven much. If there is one person that loves the Lord, He calls attention to it. And so Mephibosheth shows here that he loved much, because of the grace shown to him.

Ques. How is it that he was not with David?

J.T. The chapter tells you. It says that his servant deceived him, and he was lame. Zadok and Abiathar and others were active men, but Mephibosheth was a passive witness of love to David; he was appreciative of the grace of David. It must be a great matter to Christ, if there is one in any company who feels His absence. The Lord will call attention to him.

Rem. Mephibosheth vindicated David; there was no self-vindication: "For all my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king; and thou didst set thy servant among them that eat at thine own table. What further right therefore have I?" (verse 28). He was a mourner really; one that truly loved the king.

J.T. The more we come under grace and the sovereign mercy of God, the more sense we have of having no rights at all. What rights have I? It is God's mercy and "His great love wherewith he loved us" Ephesians 2:4. Then we have Barzillai; he came from the other side. He was an old man: "And Barzillai was very aged, eighty years old" I think this passage shows that age in itself does not promote spirituality. He was a great man, and he maintained the king, but he did not have any taste

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for what was in Jerusalem. David, however, had great respect for him.

Ques. Are there any old men spiritually? There are 'fathers', but are there 'old men'?

J.T. I think when it is mentioned that one is very old, attention is called to something else; that you have not travelled spiritually as fast as you have grown old. Barzillai is said to have been a very aged man, and yet he could not go all the way with the king. There are those who think of their age as if years in themselves counted; they only count if they are "in the way of righteousness"

Rem. Paul speaks of his kinsmen who were in Christ before him; Romans 16:7.

J.T. Yes; but they were not such as "Paul the aged" Philemon 9. The name had evidently a spiritual meaning.

Rem. Barzillai might have been a fresher man if he had been on the other side of Jordan.

J.T. Exactly. The Holy Spirit gives him all possible credit. David had high regard for him, but he declined to go to Jerusalem with David. Of course he gives excuses: "And Barzillai said to the king, How many are the days of the years of my life, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am this day eighty years old: can I discern between good and bad? can thy servant taste what I eat and what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? and why should thy servant be yet a burden to my lord the king?" (verses 34,35). He had lost the use of his senses; as we may say, they had not been 'exercised'.

Rem. In the crisis he had been very true, before Absalom was slain; that was a very good thing.

J.T. Oh, excellent! But then, what can make up in the Lord's heart for your absence in His place? No matter how good his excuses were, we find in the end that David was at Jerusalem without Barzillai.

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Ques. What is Mahanaim associated with?

J.T. I think that the setting of Barzillai is that he lived on the wrong side of Jordan; he typifies a Christian who, having the Spirit, as seen in the epistle to the Romans, loves the Lord, but does not accept death in a practical way. He has no taste for heavenly things.

Rem. It is a serious thing not to go all the way.

J.T. It is certainly a serious thing not to have the taste to go. Why should I not have the taste to be with the Lord -- to hear there the holy chants: "the voice of singing men and singing women"? Think of what he is deliberately giving up! To be sure he is furnishing excuses: "Let thy servant ... turn back again, that I may die in mine own city" He offered, however, to go a little way over the Jordan, which was just complimentary to David.

Ques. Did he cease to feed upon the "strong meat"?

J.T. I think so. He was "a great man"; whereas, if he had gone to Jerusalem he would have been a greater man, only he would seem less, outwardly. One lesson to be learnt here is the importance of maintaining a keen spiritual taste. It was a mark of Immanuel: he ate butter and honey that he might know "to refuse the evil, and to choose the good" Isaiah 7:15.

Rem. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is one.

J.T. What is to be added in regard to Barzillai is that what he declined for himself he would have Chimham to have; he thought it would be a good thing for him, and Chimham went in for it.

Rem. There is never any end to conflict; when there is apparently rest, another issue appears.

J.T. No doubt the altercation at the end of chapter 19 made way for chapter 20. It says, "And the words of the men of Judah were harsher than the

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words of the men of Israel" (verse 43); harsh words are provocative. The harsh words of the men of Judah undoubtedly made way for Sheba's rebellion; because it goes on to say, "There happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite; and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no portion in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, Israel" 2 Samuel 20:1 Harsh words imply the absence of consideration for one another. Under such circumstances there was not wanting a man to take advantage of them; he blew a trumpet.

Rem. There could have been gracious words without any compromise.

J.T. Quite so; and there might never have been a Sheba; but he "happened to be there"; it was his opportunity. There is always someone ready to take advantage of the strained relations arising from harsh words.

Rem. "[Let] your word [be] always with grace, seasoned with salt" Colossians 4:6.

Ques. Was there anything in this issue worth contending for?

J.T. Nothing at all. Israel began, of course; they had ten parts in David; they had been making poor use of them. And now they are boasting of it, and Judah is also boasting; the king is near of kin to them; but they had been making poor use of it, too! If all had been really lovers of David, they would not have been at strife; the harsh words and the cleavage opened the door for Sheba and another revolt. So the lesson is, to close our ranks by love and consideration for one another, and to avoid harsh words.

Ques. Would you say that jealousy was at the bottom of it?

J.T. Undoubtedly. And now the revolt of Sheba brings this wise woman into evidence; the whole

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lesson here is in what she does; it is "the wisdom of women" It says in Proverbs, "The wisdom of women buildeth their house" Proverbs 14:1; it is what is subjective. "And a wise woman cried out of the city, Hear, hear: say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee. And he came near to her; and the woman said, Art thou Joab? and he said, I [am he]. And she said to him, Listen to the words of thy handmaid. And he said, I am listening. And she spoke saying, They were wont to speak in old time saying, Just inquire in Abel; and so they ended. I am peaceable [and] faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of Jehovah?" (chapter 20:16 - 19.) She is a wise woman, and she appeals to what is of the old time; she would go back to first principles -- "Inquire in Abel; and so they ended"

Ques. Would you connect that with what was at the beginning?

J.T. Exactly. She would have no innovations; what was at the beginning was enough for her.

Ques. What principle is in it?

J.T. What was said "in old time" She is not dealing with innovations -- with modernism.

Rem. She took a broad view of the situation: it was "the inheritance of Jehovah" that was in her heart.

Rem. At the beginning "they persevered in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, in breaking of bread, and prayers" Acts 2:42

J.T. That is the idea. Whatever light had governed the saints "in old time" she appeals to. Then Joab gives her the facts of the case: "The matter is not so; but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David: give up him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman

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said to Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall. Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king" verses 21, 22. She went to the people in her wisdom: that is what they did in old time, apparently.

Rem. She was a wise woman, for the reason that she knew what was to be done. She promised the head; she discerned what was to be done, though she did not do it herself.

J.T. Quite so. Whilst Absalom's rebellion was general, this is more local. Sheba's rebellion is reduced to what is local. So that I think we have instruction here, as to how to deal with an evil person in any locality. The woman refrained from doing it by herself, she goes to all the people in her wisdom. However influential I may be, I cannot act alone in the assembly. In dealing with sin we must get all the saints exercised about it.

Rem. So that, if we are to consider for the Lord and the Lord's people, we have to go back in wisdom to first principles.

J.T. You must not leave out one in the meeting, because it is a question of bringing in every one, in your exercise. It is the assembly that does it. It has to be the united judgment and action of the assembly; it is not done by an individual.

Rem. I was wondering if the principles that governed this wise woman were acted on in Acts 15.

J.T. Well, I think so; at least the wisdom would be seen there. What comes out is the superiority of those who are dealing with it, to the controversy. Paul and Barnabas went "up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question" Acts 15:2 and on the way up ministered to the assemblies and caused

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great joy, showing that they were above the controversy. And at Jerusalem they were received by the assembly. It is a question of the assembly first. And then the apostles and elders come together to consider the matter (verse 6). The enemy (verse 5) brought the matter up, and the apostles and elders came together to consider it. Peter stood up, pointing out how Gentiles were brought in through his ministry. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke of what God was doing among the Gentiles; what God was doing -- the positive thing. The Judaising teachers were not doing the work of God; it was Satan's work. James confirmed what Peter had said, after which they arrived at the decision. Then the whole assembly was carried in the decision. And so the great thing in dealing with evil is to carry all the saints with you, otherwise you will lose some of them. This woman went to them all in her wisdom, and they cut off the man's head -- they did it.

Ques. This woman was "a mother in Israel": a faithful one who cared for the people of God. Do you put her in contrast to the wise woman of Tekoah?

J.T. I think so; she had the wisdom of God. Proverbs sets them over against each other -- the wise and the foolish. It says, "The wisdom of women buildeth their house; but folly plucketh it down with her hands" Proverbs 14:1. That is what the woman of Tekoah was doing. You can understand that this "mother in Israel" yearned over the saints; she would grieve over the loss of one of them, so she made it a point to go to each one of them.

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Isaiah 7:2 - 15,21; Isaiah 9:6

I have been encouraged to turn to Isaiah, and to these chapters, as indicating how the truth is developed in a remnant of God's people. And when I refer to a remnant I do not mean a part -- a fragment; it is not in this way that the idea is treated in Scripture. In principle, it embraces the whole, for it contains the substance. According to chapter 6 the 'trunk' -- a figure taken from the terebinth -- remains, although felled (verse 13). And thus in the remnant is said to be the "holy seed"; that which is of God in the nature of a seed for productiveness is there, the "holy seed" is said to be the trunk of it. And so chapter 7 takes up the thought and follows it through the immediately succeeding chapters. In chapter 9 there is the recognition of Christ as on their side: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given"

What I wish to emphasise is the development of the truth as involving headship, and the patience of God. Some of us take little account of the patience of God in His dealings with us. We are moved at times by ministry, but we overlook what it has cost God to provide it. Whatever comes to us in the way of ministry, refreshment and edification, is from God. He is constantly taking account of our needs, not only the current needs, but coming ones. So that in view of the continuance of the testimony here, God is now preparing for it. In making this provision He selects His own vessels, and in due course His selection comes to light. We may quarrel with it; this is inevitable if the flesh works, but in result we shall see that God's selection is wise. And so, in dealing with the remnant here He approaches

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those responsible, but He approaches them for their encouragement; "the house of David" is mentioned. True enough Ahaz was of the lineage of David, but I think there is more than that in the reference. God was still standing by that house. "It was told the house of David" that there was a confederacy against him, and he was moved as the trees of the forest are moved by the wind. It is well indeed to take account of evil; it is not wise to ignore it, especially a confederacy. A confederacy is the most potent of all opposition to God; organised opposition is the most serious. And so you find in the gospel of Matthew, which is calculated to meet this, in support of the testimony in the assembly, that the Lord deals with twos. Indeed, this number is employed on the side of evil as well as of good. The evil is met by the good on its own ground. Thus we have "two of you" -- two of the assembly -- as over against two demoniacs, two blind men, etc.

Here the prophet is indicating patience and that, dear brethren, is what I wish to emphasise -- the patience of God; how He will not pass over those responsible; He would treat them with the utmost kindness, giving them all due credit. Ahaz is of the house of David, and his heart is moved; he has no means of meeting the confederacy, which proves that he had not been accustomed to rely on the power of God; but God would assure him of His interest in him. How often it is that we are unable to cope with the confederacy through which the enemy would attack us! Therefore the word is, "Fear not" I want to show that the secret of that lay in Ahaz understanding the headship of these confederacies, for all must turn on this ultimately. "For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin ... and the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son" verses 8,9. What kind of heads were these? Attention is called

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to the persons, and these must be compared with Christ, who is our Head. It is one Head, not two or more.

What you get in the epistle to the Corinthians is the development of wisdom. The way out, in every difficulty, is by wisdom. Now, Corinthians does not give you headship fully, it leads you up to it, I mean collectively. It teaches that Christ is made that unto us: "Who has been made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption"; 1 Corinthians 1:30 but that is objective, that is what He is. He is available to us as wisdom.

But then, as the man must lead, the apostle says, "Christ is the head of every man" 1 Corinthians 11:3. It is an individual matter: before I can arrive at what is collective I have got to know Christ as my own Head. Every brother, therefore, is responsible to come into the apprehension of Christ as his Head. In that fact he has got a certain superiority over his wife -- he is her head, for God would put things right in our households. If things are not right in our houses they will not be right in the assembly, and so Christ is Head to the man. It is man there in contrast to woman. He begins to discover the superiority of wisdom in the ruling of his house; his superiority must lie in wisdom, and Christ is become his Head for that. So that, whatever mistakes have been made, there is a way out, or rather I should say, a way back, for it is ever thus, and the retracing of steps is humiliating. It may be, indeed, that things have been done that cannot be undone, and the government of God goes on, but certainly where there has been deflection, wisdom leads us to retrace our steps. It is in the retracing of steps taken in folly that we show we are learning wisdom; it is humiliating, but wholesome.

And so Jehovah says to Isaiah, "Go out ... thou and thy son"; what the previous history of that

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boy was Scripture does not say, but at this juncture he was such as Isaiah could take with him; he was available for divine use. "Go out now to meet Ahaz, thou and thy son Shear-jashub" -- I can see the prophet on his way; "at the end of the aqueduct of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller's field" -- suggestive places! We are in the presence here of divine thoughts, beloved; a prophet of God with a message in his heart from God, on his way to meet the king in the places mentioned. A matter this of little importance to the mere passer-by, an ordinary matter indeed, a man with his son by his side, but an extraordinary matter to faith. I look at that boy, and I look abroad on the position of Judah; I think of the thoughts of God in connection with Jerusalem and the house of David -- what a picture! I think of Ahaz; what hope is there in him? I look at that boy; what is his name? Shear-jashub(see footnote). It is not here that there is a remnant, or that there shall be a remnant, but that a remnant shall return -- there must be the retracing of steps. Every step taken in folly has to be retraced. Every word spoken in folly has to be undone. Every bit of conduct done in folly has to be owned. A remnant shall return. Am I to be in it? Is there anyone here who has not learned something of retracing steps? Have we all moved out of false positions, false associations? Others are doing it; others will continue to do it. Am I doing it? Am I in the movement? And so I look at the boy, and his name speaks volumes: "A remnant shall return" What about that upper pool and the conduit to it? I am to come into the good of the water; and a 'fuller' means that there is to be whitening; compare Mark 9:3. These all have their voice as to what God is doing.

What does Ahaz think about all this? He has got a word from God, "Fear not" He is encouraged

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of God not to fear. Think of the grace of God in dealing thus with a man like Ahaz! He says to him, "If ye believe not, surely ye shall not be established" verse 9. It must be on the principle of faith; God is appealing to us on that principle. We have part in the returning remnant by faith, and by faith we are established, as of it. God further says to Ahaz, "Ask for thee a sign from Jehovah thy God; ask for it in the deep, or in the height above" verse 11. A sign in the height above, beloved friends! I have no faith in calculations based on historical events; they are no signs, they are not reliable. Look up for the sign in the heights; that is where God begins to act. I look down into the depths, God moved there -- what a sign! Need I ask for more? I want to know something about the heavens, what God does there, and what He has done in the depths. Think of Christ in the heart of the earth! But Ahaz says, "I will not ask, and will not tempt Jehovah" What false piety! Many of us are hindered by false piety; it is the flesh, it is the very essence of unbelief. And so Jehovah says to him, "Will ye weary my God?" How much of it there is! By false piety God and the saints are wearied.

And now God says, "Therefore will the Lord himself give you a sign" Beloved brethren, one would wish to emphasise the wonderful grace of God in moving so infinitely above our poor unbelieving hearts. He says, "Therefore will the Lord himself give you a sign"; it is to be a Babe, for in truth we have to begin small in returning; hence the place children have in this section. "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and shall bring forth a son, and call his name Immanuel" That is the sign; left to Himself, that is the sign that God gives. Are we content with God's way? In bringing in a child, is it not to remind me that I am to begin there, if I am to advance into headship? I look at Damascus and

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Rezin, and I look at Remaliah's son -- political heads; I might write a book about these heads, but what do I know about headship? What do historians know about headship? What do philosophers know about headship? They may pull it down. I might write an essay on Rezin and expose him to the world as a man wanting in political skill or in military prowess, and all the while be utterly devoid of wisdom. One sees books all around, exposing current leaders in this world; the Christian needs them not. The Christian knows what Samaria and Damascus and Rezin and Remaliah's son stand for; he needs not biographies or histories to instruct him that wisdom is not there. He knows that these heads are truly devoid of wisdom. As it says, "The world by wisdom has not known God" 1 Corinthians 1:21 and "That hidden [wisdom] ... which none of the princes of this age knew, (for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;)" 1 Corinthians 2:7,8 They are wiped out as by a stroke whatever they may have been, politically or philosophically, all are consigned to oblivion as wanting in wisdom, the "hidden wisdom" The believer knows it, and the believer begins as a little child. I have got to learn everything; I have got to begin at the bottom. I know nothing, and can but know nothing spiritually unless I begin as a little child. This babe is to be named Immanuel (God with us). That is a great lesson for the Christian to learn; it is on the positive side -- "God with us" It is not yet we with Him, but He with us.

In keeping with what I have been saying, I turn to the verse lower down, "And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] a man shall nourish a young cow and two sheep, and it shall come to pass, from the abundance of milk they shall give, [that] he shall eat butter ... and honey" verses 21,22. He says in effect, I see that this wonderful Babe called Immanuel ate butter and honey, and I must have such food. It is

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a question of food. There can be no development in the things of God -- and that specially applies to the young -- unless there is proper food; without this I shall never have a spiritual constitution. I begin to see this, and then I say, Where am I going to get the food? for outwardly we are in impoverished circumstances. It is a question of getting proper food; if there is not proper food in our meetings, how can the young get on? And so this man, in the light of the food Immanuel eats, sets about patiently to get it. He nourishes a young cow; he understands that milk comes thus, and butter comes from milk. It is through a process involving care and toil.

Dear brethren, we represent many meetings here. What about this painstaking, calculating way of bringing in such food for the saints that they may be built up in constitutions like Christ's? for that is the idea. Anything different must be rejected. For in heaven we shall all be like Him, constitutionally; otherwise, too, of course, but constitutionally we shall be like Him. It is one of the most important features for those who care for the saints, that the young should be built up constitutionally like Christ. The man nourishes "a young cow and two sheep" so that there is abundance of milk, and everyone partakes of butter and honey. The butter is brought about by a process; the book of Proverbs tells us about that: "For the pressing of milk bringeth forth butter" Proverbs 30:33. So that butter, the food of Immanuel, is available; very simple, but very nourishing.

Then we have the honey, which is also the result of great care. It is a mutual thing; butter represents individual exercise. For honey there must be mutual exercise and contribution from everyone in the company. The young produce as the old do. It is a question of production, and wisdom knows how to bring in the mutual element. So that the honey is

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sweeter than the butter; the mutual products are sweeter. A spiritual address is pleasing, but what can be more delightful than the mutual production? Reciprocal affections, as the saints are together in the unity of the Spirit is what should be specially cultivated. "If then [there be] any comfort in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of [the] Spirit, if any bowels and compassions, fulfil my joy, that ye may think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking one thing" Philippians 2:1,2.

There is much in between the passages I read, too much to deal with now, but it enters into the history of the remnant. You get another child called Maher-shalal-hash-baz (meaning 'swift for spoil, hasty for prey' ), a very different child; his name refers to the Assyrian power (chapter 8), but as he reaches "to the neck" he encounters Immanuel. The land is His and the remnant understand this. They are conscious now of support; it is not a babe, it is the active presence of God amongst them; "God is with us" they say (verse 10); they are supported by Him in the presence of the Assyrian and of the confederacy among the mass of the people. God was hiding His face from the apostate nation, but the remnant would have the law and testimony among them: "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait for Jehovah, who hideth his face from the house of Jacob; and I will look for him" Isaiah 8:16,17 And then, "Behold, I and the children that Jehovah hath given me" Isaiah 8:18 Look at that, beloved! being brought under Christ in the relationship of children.

And now they say, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace" chapter 9:6. Their eyes have been opened to the greatness of the Person as thus known, "Unto

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us a child is born" We come to see what He is on our side: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder" Now we have the solution of everything; we have One who is capable of headship; Christ is Head over all things to the assembly. We discern the heads of this world, that they are devoid of wisdom; we are now in the full light of Christ as Head according to God. "The government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace" We have come to apprehend Christ in the greatness of His Person.

He is 'Counsellor'. We take counsel with Him. And He is 'Wonderful'. The things He does amongst us are truly wonderful! As I was saying yesterday, if we were called upon to give our experiences, what a record we could give! but we hold them as Paul did. He kept it secret for fourteen years that he had been in the third heaven. He did not tell everything out; he was greater inwardly than outwardly. This was in keeping with Christ as typified in the ark of the covenant; He was greater inwardly than He was in His external appearance. The unspiritual man makes a show of what he is and has, but the spiritual man is content that his greatness is hidden. He waits for the time of display; he knows that his life is hid with Christ in God, and he waits for the time "when the Christ is manifested who is our life" when we shall "be manifested with him in glory" Colossians 3:3,4. So that we are not here to tell our experiences; it is not the time for this; but they are nevertheless wonderful. It is said of the angel who visited Manoah and his wife that he "did wondrously" Judges 13:19.

'Wonderful' is His name, and this is understood by the remnant. He who is Wonderful has gone up into heaven, but is coming out presently, and we

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shall have part with Him. And so, as I said, we are greater inwardly than outwardly. The Father works in the inner man; Ephesians 3:16. We read also, "But if indeed our outward man is consumed, yet the inward is renewed day by day" 2 Corinthians 4:16. I am not saying that there is not to be testimony, nor that the life of Jesus is not to be seen in us -- in our mortal body, but the inner is the greater: "What we shall be has not yet been manifested; we know that if it is manifested, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" 1 John 3:2.

Then He is the "Mighty God" Jesus is known to us as the Mighty God! what can He not do? What contingency can He not deal with? And He is the "Father of Eternity" Let us worship in our hearts as we think of it -- "Father of Eternity" for that is how it reads. The Man with whom we are identified as rejected is the Father of Eternity. Marvellous expression! And He is "Prince of Peace" -- the Prince of it! Well, that is what is available; that is what the Lord is as known by His people in remnant times. We are thus prepared for Colossians. It is a question of learning wisdom in Christ; first in our houses and then in the assembly, and being governed by it. Colossians prepares us for the assembly; Christ is Head there of the body, the assembly; in Ephesians He is Head over all things to the assembly. The very greatest things are opened up to us at the present time, but it is a question of beginning small and being subject; learning folly, as in Ahaz, and repudiating it, and learning wisdom as in Christ, and walking in it. May God bless His word!

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Pages 84 - 248 -- "Standing by the Cross of Jesus". Great Britain, 1928 (Volume 91).


John 12:31 - 33; John 19:25 - 27

I have it before me to speak to you about the cross. You will observe in chapter 19 it is said that certain ones stood by the cross of Jesus, and I read from chapter 12, having in mind to link on the verses read from that chapter with those in chapter 19. I might, indeed, refer to earlier passages in this gospel, where the cross is alluded to without naming it, as in chapter 3, for example, but I wish to speak of it as specially called attention to by the Lord in chapter 12 -- as the evangelist explains, "This he said, signifying by what death he was about to die" What death? The cross.

What I may remark is that this subject, extensive as it is in the epistles as well as in the gospels, bears particularly towards the western world. The apostle, as most of you will remember, introduces it very early in his first letter to the saints at Corinth. He speaks of "the word of the cross" -- mark the word of it! "The word of the cross" he says, "is to them that perish foolishness, but to us that are saved" 1 Corinthians 1:18 -- that is to say, a class of persons known as the saved -- "it is God's power" (chapter 1:18); and then later he alludes to it, that is, to Christ crucified, in regard to the saints viewed in another way -- "to those that [are] called, both Jews and Greeks" 1 Corinthians 1:24; to them it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Now, as I said, its bearing is towards the west, speaking, of course, from the standpoint of the origin, geographically, of the testimony; not that

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one would stress unduly the geographical thought, but we are bound, in dealing with the testimony of God to follow the Scriptures, and if we do, we must take account of it. The division of the race -- of the families of Noah -- was not accidental. God looked a long way ahead in His governmental orderings. Although He had concealed the church (for "it is the glory of God to conceal a thing" Proverbs 25:2), although He had kept it there hidden for the ages, He always had it in His own mind, and in His governmental orderings He never lost sight of it; so that we find before the testimony actually reached the west, as we speak of it, the Holy Spirit was peculiarly active in the way of limitation. We have to learn negatively as we have to learn positively. In Acts 16, therefore, the apostle Paul was forbidden to speak the word in Asia. The word was preached in that province later, but at this particular juncture he was forbidden to speak it there. And then again he had it in mind to go into Bithynia to preach and "the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them" Acts 16:7 Then, further, we are told that the Macedonian man was seen by him in a vision, saying, "Pass over into Macedonia and help us" Acts 16:9 Thus you see how geographical positions were in view, and so the apostle, concluding that the Lord would have him to go to Macedonia, came westward.

Now what I am saying involves more than may appear on the surface; it involves that, whilst the field is the world which the Lord has acquired a right to by redemption, having already had title to it creationally, and that whilst He commissioned His apostles to go "into all the world, and preach the glad tidings to all the creation" (Mark 16:15), yet He reserved His rights, as I may say, as the Prince of the princes of the Levites, so that no one -- not even a Paul -- was a free-lance; there is no such thought warranted in the Scriptures; the most gifted, the

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most devoted, the most honoured of the servants of Christ is necessarily under His direction. Hence, as I said, the great apostle comes westward, and in all his epistles you will find those addressed are generally Jews and Greeks, and these are the ones to whom "the word of the cross" specially applies. I do not say that the word of the cross is not applicable to anyone in the world; it is, surely; but we have to do with Scripture, and therefore with those sections of the world, and with those races, in which evil is specially developed on the one hand, and, on the other, with those sections that God knew would yield most for the present specific purpose in view of which He is operating. Thus we find in Matthew that Jesus having been born, the magi come from the east. We have to view their movements in a prophetic way, as, I apprehend, what will come about under God in a coming day. The eastern nations, undoubtedly, are in His mind; every one of the sons of Noah is before Him, and in due course they will come and will recognise the king of the Jews: "Where is the King of the Jews that has been born? for we have seen his star in the east" they say, "and have come to do him homage" Matthew 2:2 We may be sure that however dark the horizon in the east is now, the star will again arise to illuminate it, and that that star is a guide to Jesus, the King of the Jews.

But what we find here in John's gospel is not that. What we find is Greeks coming up to see Jesus -- not as having been born merely, but as well known in His public ministry; and they say to Philip, "Sir, we desire to see Jesus" and the Lord says in answer to the desire expressed by them, "The hour is come" -- not that the King of the Jews should reign, but "that the Son of man should be glorified" They approach Philip who, the Holy Spirit tells us, was of Bethsaida -- a Galilean; and Philip tells Andrew, who was of the same city, and Andrew and Philip tell Jesus, their

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minds filled doubtless with the importance of these personages from the west, famed as they were then and as they are today for their philosophy and education. The Lord makes no allusion to that; but He says, "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified" The Son of man is certainly not to be glorified in relation to their renown. Let no one think that anything that comes from them as such can add to the glory of Jesus; let no one assume that "words of wisdom" as Paul says (1 Corinthians 2:4), can add in any way to the glory of Jesus! What do these princes of literature care for Jesus? "None of the princes of this age knew" 1 Corinthians 2:8 the hidden wisdom; Paul says, "the world by wisdom has not known God" 1 Corinthians 1:21. It knew not God, whatever else it knew, and so they "crucified the Lord of glory" 1 Corinthians 2:8! Mark you, it is not simply the glory of the Lord that is in view; it is "the Lord of glory" that is to say, One who officially has the dispensing of glory.

Solomon is the great type of the Lord of glory. What you find in him is ability to speak of things. "He spoke three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spoke of the trees, from the cedar-tree that is on Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of cattle, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes" 1 Kings 4:32,33. We have thus in Solomon one competent to speak of the whole realm of creation; he would bring out in his speaking the glories of it, and so he is a type, as I apprehend, of the Lord as the Lord of glory. Think of what the world lost in crucifying Him! They had cut themselves off from the source of all wisdom -- public and hidden; they had thus written themselves down as fools; indeed the wisdom of this world is foolishness; they have crucified the Lord of glory: "the world by wisdom has not known God" 1 Corinthians 1:21 I speak thus lest we may

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be hankering after what the princes of this world can supply. The word of the cross alludes to them: "to the Jews an offence, and to nations foolishness, but to those that [are] called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ God's power, and God's wisdom" 1 Corinthians 1:23,24

I would address myself to the youngest here. Think of what it is to be 'called'! It is not here exactly the calling as we speak of it, what is eternal -- the calling on high, it alludes to the call that has come into your heart, as we get it in Leviticus; God called Moses out of the tabernacle. It is God, beloved young people, setting Himself in His own abode and calling you out of the world. Have you begun to move out of it? The call means that you cut your moorings and move out. It is to the called that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the call is answered to, you are in line to be introduced into the "hidden wisdom" It may not have occurred to you that there is such a thing as the "hidden wisdom" which God, as it says, prepared before the world for our glory, but God would give you a look, as it were, into that world -- as the Lord Himself uses the expression, "that world and the resurrection from among [the] dead" (Luke 20:35) -- a very different one from this -- one where we shall be, as He says, "equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection" Luke 20:36 One look into that world will blind your eyes to this.

Well now, having said so much about the word of the cross and its bearing toward the west, inclusive of the Jews, I want to dwell on the attractiveness of Christ as presented in this passage, and one would again repeat, so that we may have it clearly in view for our consideration, that the fact that the Jews are in view as well as the Greeks does not weaken the thought that the west is in the mind of God. The word of the cross is to break up -- is to cut at the roots

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of all western so-called learning, civilisation and renown. The Christian has to overcome these things, and it is a matter of no small importance that this comes out in this very gospel, which is intended for our own time. Three times over the Lord is alluded to as lifted up. Naturally we all wish to be lifted up, but in another way -- to be lifted up by worldly things; every unconverted man and woman is aiming at it -- to be lifted up to become conspicuous, to be, as they say, in the limelight in the presence of men. The Lord's own brethren said to Him, "If thou do these things" -- if you have things that distinguish you above others -- "manifest thyself to the world" John 7:4. He says, "My time is not yet come" John 7:6 The time, beloved brethren, for display is not yet, so that instead of being lifted up in that way, the Lord of glory was lifted up ignominiously, and so we read, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, thus must the Son of man be lifted up" (John 3:14); and again here, "And I, if I be lifted up out of the earth, will draw all to me. But this he said, signifying by what death he was about to die" How much are we prepared to be lifted up in that way -- to be "made a spectacle" as the apostle says, "to the world, both to angels, and men ... become as [the] offscouring of the world, [the] refuse of all" 1 Corinthians 4:9 - 13? How real it was to him! "I am crucified with Christ"; "Far be it from me to boast save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom [the] world is crucified to me, and I to the world" Galatians 2:20; Galatians 6:14.

Now what John would bring out is that the work of God is equal to any test that you could bring to bear upon it; that is a point that you will find emphasised throughout this gospel. And another thing is that every bit of the work of God, in whomsoever, is taken account of, whether it be in a Nicodemus or in a Joseph of Arimathaea. In these last days, beloved

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brethren, we are to understand that every bit of the work of God, in whomsoever or wheresoever, is to be taken account of; it is like the precious gold, whatever the surroundings, you can look at it by itself; we are to look at it, as it were, abstractly; we are to take account of it by itself; it is the work of God and it will shine by-and-by, whatever its surroundings are now. And then, as I said, another feature is that, viewed abstractly, it will stand any test you may bring to bear upon it. And that is how this passage is set. The Lord says, "And I, if I be lifted up out of the earth, will draw all to me"; that is to say, in spite of the ignominy, in spite of the disgrace, in spite of the fact that two malefactors were hanged by His side, in spite of the spitting and the shame, the work of God will show itself, it will draw toward Christ. And so it is, beloved young people; if you are true to yourself, you will find that the work of God in you will draw toward Christ. "I myself with the mind" says the apostle, "serve God's law" (Romans 7:25) -- not that I ought, but I do it; "He that has been begotten of God keepeth himself, and the wicked [one] does not touch him" (1 John 5:18); "and he cannot sin, because he has been begotten of God" 1 John 3:9. It is important to learn how to take account of things abstractly in that way, to see them as they really are. There is that in me that abhors the cross, there is that in every one of us that abhors the cross; it is a scandal to us, but if I recognise the work of God in me, it does not abhor the cross, it glories in it. I am to identify myself with that, regarding it as myself. And so the Lord says, "I will draw all to me" It is, as I may say, the test as to whether I am born of God. If I judge myself in the light of God, I shall not abhor the cross, I shall boast in it.

Now I want to show in chapter 19 how certain ones stood by it, "And by the cross of Jesus stood" etc.

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John is the only one who presents this feature. Just contemplate for a moment what this scene was. What terrific opposition! All the forces of evil were concentrated there, directed against that blessed Man as He hung there on that cross. Evil from every direction pressed in there, shame and spitting were common, taunts were common, and yet the Holy Spirit is able to say, "And by the cross of Jesus stood his mother, and the sister of his mother ... and Mary of Magdala" What a trio! They are not here seen as standing "afar off" as elsewhere, they are standing by the cross of Jesus! How delightful to heaven, and how delightful to the heart of Jesus! And there was another there whom Jesus loved standing by. Note that word. How is it with us? How is it personally, how domestically, how is it in our business arrangements, how in our public comportment, how is it in regard of the word of the cross and the cross of Jesus? These beloved women were standing by, and the one whom Jesus loved was standing by.

Then you see how the Lord honours those who stand by. It says, "Jesus therefore, seeing his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, says to his mother, Woman, behold thy son" Was He not positionally equal to that honour? He was, for he was standing there; they were both standing there. And so the Lord says to the one whom he loved, "Behold thy mother" The Lord confides in the one who stands by. Is it here for nothing? Is it a mere historical reference? Not at all. It is to encourage us now as standing by, so that the Lord might confide in us, and in confiding in us might commit to us what is most precious. Could anything be more desirable than to have such a charge committed to us by Christ as hanging on the cross? "From that hour the disciple took her to his own home" Would he ever forget those words from the dying Saviour? Would Mary ever forget them?

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Never! They would be bound together spiritually as no other two could be, and all because they were both standing "by the cross of Jesus" It is a most blessed thing to be confided in by the Lord. I know of nothing to be coveted more, than that He should confide in one.

You find at the end of the gospels examples of the Lord's confidingness. I refer, for a moment, to Matthew; you will remember how the Lord sent a message to His brethren by a sister, and I would remark, if you will allow me, that certain current references amongst us to sisters tend to divert them from their real calling and service. The Lord would, as it were, elevate them in their own minds as regards His service. We often say, 'Even a sister could do that'; but what is verified at the endings of the gospels is that the sisters are marked off as confided in, and so in this case the Lord sends a message to His disciples saying, "Go bring word to my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me" Matthew 28:10. It was His message -- a message of immense importance; so much so that the enemy moves at once to counteract it: "And as they went, behold, some of the watch went into the city, and brought word to the chief priests of all that had taken place ... they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, Say that his disciples coming by night stole him [while] we [were] sleeping ... and this report is current among the Jews ... until this day" Matthew 28:11 - 15 They tell a lie. As light radiates in these devoted women, Satan's effort is to counteract it. You may be sure that every movement of this kind the enemy will seek to counteract by a lie. I mention this because of the solemnity of the currency of a lie. If a lie becomes current, it is apt to be crystallised and regarded as traditional, and traditional truth, so-called, is often a traditional lie. And so the lie continued, as Matthew says: "current among the Jews until this day" Matthew 28:15.

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And then in this gospel, need I comment on the wonderful message which was sent to the disciples, again by a woman? What is so touching about it is that she assumed not to be directly sent to the disciples. It says she "comes bringing word to the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and [that] he had said these things to her" John 20:18 She delivers her message in a most comely way; she had the light before the others. And then here, as I said, there is the principle of confidingness on the part of the Lord in those who were standing by the cross. Is it not an incentive to draw near to the cross, not only to hear the word of it, but to boast in it? As we do this, we may be assured that we shall prove that the Lord confides in us. So John is entrusted with the Lord's mother.

Then another thing with regard to John is that it says, "But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he who saw it bears witness, and his witness is true, and he knows that he says true, that ye also may believe" John 19:34,35 He was a witness of the blood and the water that flowed from the riven side of Christ. He was such an one as could speak of it, as having seen it. Now that is another great matter. There are two ideas in the thought of witness, one is that I am competent, as having seen the thing, and the other is that I am called upon to bear testimony, or witness. And so, beloved brethren, as standing by the cross, we shall be witnesses of much; we shall not present things merely as having heard, we shall be able to say, "I know" We were speaking lately about the public assembly -- that the first speakings in it were marked by certainty. The assembly of God should indeed be marked in that way -- not only by order, but by the things that are said: they "found the eleven, and those with them, gathered together, saying, The Lord is indeed risen"; Luke 24:33,34 there was certainty as in it.

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The others were also speaking with certainty, saying that He was made known unto them in the breaking of bread. I refer to that in connection with this chapter (John 19) -- that there is certainty in the one who stands by the cross; he says, "and he knows that he says true"; John 19:35 he was a competent witness. And so it is that as standing by the cross in these last days we shall have communications, we shall see things, we shall become aware of their certainty, so that we can speak as the oracles of God. "If any one speak -- as oracles of God" 1 Peter 4:11. And so John could speak with authority; as he says in his epistle, "We know that the Son of God has come" 1 John 5:20 But it all arises, as I said, from being near the cross, the cross of Jesus.

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Exodus 25:8,9; Leviticus 1:1,2

J.T. I thought we might look briefly at the tabernacle as presented in Exodus and Leviticus this morning, and in Numbers this afternoon, so that we may see something of the largeness and elevation morally of that in which God dwells, and how it is inclusive of the universe; and then that as dwelling in it, He calls out of it. In Leviticus, it is not only that He spoke out of it, but He calls -- the latter thought underlies the assembly. He forms those who are called, not only out of the world, but in relation to that in which God is. Not only did the people need to be delivered out of Egypt, but they needed to be delivered out of the smallness of human thoughts, however extended -- deliverance out of mere national or local feeling, into the greatness of the realm in which God has placed Himself and in which He lives. It is only as we hold ourselves locally in relation to the whole divine system that we see things aright. So it occurred to me the Lord might help us in the consideration of the subject, in a brief way, great as it is; that, delivering us out of the world, He would also deliver us out of the smallness of our own thoughts. Thus we are on a higher plane in chapter 25 of Exodus than we are earlier. Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the elders of Israel were taken up, and they saw the God of Israel and what was under His feet. Thus we get an elevated view, and then that in which God would dwell and is to be known. Whatever may be the responsibilities locally, our thoughts are never to be less than that which is presented in relation to God.

Rem. That would lead to enlargement of thought on assembly lines.

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J.T. That is what I had in mind; divine thoughts all centre round Christ and the assembly -- not the assembly presented locally, but in its universal bearing.

Rem. Your thought is that the more we take in the universal bearing, the more we shall be governed in our local setting.

J.T. Place the universal thing first. We have to consider for all in any local exercise.

Ques. Would Colossians bear on it -- to be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding?

J.T. Yes; the full knowledge of His will; and so Ephesians emphasises the will -- the good pleasure of His will, the mystery of His will, and the counsel of His will; the will of God is stamped on all. And then follows that which is, as it were, fixed in the way of unity. In Ephesians 4 the apostle, a prisoner of the Lord -- or in the Lord, as it is -- enjoins that the saints with all lowliness, and meekness, and long-suffering, should bear with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit. "[There is] one body and one Spirit, as ye have been also called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all"; Ephesians 4:4 that is to say, there is a universal system of things marked by unity. The unity of the Spirit pervading it has to be kept in all lowliness and meekness, forbearing one another in love. It is thus that these general epistles teach us to move on in the testimony in practical unity in relation to the whole.

Ques. Have you any thought as to Moses getting the pattern on the mount?

J.T. It is to suggest moral elevation. You get an extended view; not only have you specifications, but you have what is seen on the mount. The disciples on the mount of Transfiguration were taken

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up to see; they had heard much, and seen much, below, but there was that which was to be seen on high.

Naturally our thoughts are very near the earth, and always tending to be local. Undue local feeling is selfish feeling, whereas the extended view from the elevation enables us to see with God, and that in which He dwells.

H.H. It is in the local position that we are tested as to how far we are working these things out with our brethren.

J.T. Quite. That comes out in Numbers, where there is not only speaking out of the tabernacle, but speaking in the wilderness, where we are set up tribally and family-wise in relation to all this, each having his own appointed place in connection with his family and his tribe. But Exodus is the extended view, so that we may see where God is, that in which He is, and that in which He displays Himself.

C.C.E. Your horizon is rather limited on the plain, and therefore the mountain gives the idea of an extended horizon.

A.H. The tabernacle was said to be a representation of things in the heavens. Would that correspond with the mountain?

J.T. Quite. It is not only that it is that, but it is seen on the mount, it is seen from the elevated position. First, the God of Israel is seen, and what is under His feet, and they ate and drank there. God would impress us not only with what He can be to us in delivering us and instructing us severally, but with what He can be to us on high, how He would make us feel at home there. But then afterwards Moses and his attendant Joshua go up alone in order that Moses should get a view of that in which God would be displayed, and in which He would dwell.

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A.S.L. Did Moses see on high the entire system as in the thought of God and then come down and put up a miniature of it in the wilderness? It is a remarkable expression; it says, "the figurative representations of the things in the heavens" Hebrews 9:23 I thought that would convey that he saw the whole thing in all the extent of it with God, and then was instructed to go down and make according to the pattern thereof.

J.T. That seems to be it. No one but Moses could set up the thing; for he saw it. We have only the specifications. After it was set up, of course the others saw it. Patterns or models of it now can at best only be founded on specifications.

A.S.L. And they are only patterns or figures of the things in the heavens; Moses saw the thing in all its extent.

J.T. He not only got the specifications, but he saw the pattern, its oneness -- it is in the singular.

A.S.L. So in Hebrews the heavenly things themselves must be purified by better sacrifices. He saw what represented the heavenly things themselves.

C.C.E. Do you think he saw the divine idea embodied in one whole?

J.T. I thought so; the divine idea presented as one whole.

Ques. Does Ephesians give the elevated view?

J.T. Yes; only there it is more a domain. The tabernacle is a structure. The tabernacle is really more the end of chapter 2.

H.H. Do you think of the holy mount in regard to the elevated position?

J.T. It is a great feature of the gospels. Luke says there were those who were "eye-witnesses of and attendants on the Word" Luke 1:2 That is a question of what is spoken, but the mount of Transfiguration refers to what was seen. "There are some of those standing here who shall not taste death until

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they shall have seen the kingdom of God" Luke 9:27 or, as in another gospel, "the kingdom of God come in power" Mark 9:1 Whatever view it may be, it was what they saw, and that was intended to impress them. Those three disciples, therefore -- Peter, James and John -- had a unique place, as Moses had. There would be not only what they heard, but what they saw.

H.H. It is an abiding system, would you say, and we need to be elevated in our hearts and minds in order to take it in?

J.T. I thought that; and we need to have the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of God to take the thing in, otherwise, although holding together by a sort of mutual agreement, we shall be simply so many churches and so many parishes in practical independency.

Ques. Does the universal idea govern the local?

J.T. The universal is the thing presented. Exodus, therefore, is on a higher plane. We are dealing with something seen on the mount, of which the pattern is presented, and then specifications are given. One man, at least, with Joshua, had the thing as seeing it, and that would necessarily govern him in all his ministry. Whatever anyone might say to Moses about the specifications of the tabernacle, he would always revert inwardly to what he saw; and in all that he had to say to the people he would convey to them that there was something that he saw, that is to say, there is something more than can be conveyed in words. Christianity is not in word only.

Ques. It is seeing, is it not?

J.T. Yes. There is the impression made on the mind by what is seen. Entering the holiest we apprehend God as in Christ, and Christ as He is before God.

Ques. Does the apostle emphasise that in Corinthians "Last of all ... he appeared to me also"? 1 Corinthians 15:8

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J.T. Quite. There you come to a very important thing, because the Lord is presented there as risen and seen by those who were prominent in the testimony -- a very different thing from seeing Him here in the flesh. He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve, after that seen of five hundred brethren, then of James, then of all the apostles, and last of all seen of Paul. The Lord intended that there should be something known in those in the way of impression by what they saw -- something that would give colour and character to their ministry.

Ques. Have we not often to change our attitude in order to see? It says in Revelation 1:12, "And having turned, I saw".

J.T. That refers to change of dispensation, I think; John had been occupied with what was in keeping with the present dispensation; he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, we read.

Rem. In the first epistle of John it says, "We have seen with our eyes; that which we contemplated" 1 John 1:1.

J.T. That bears on what we are saying. There was what was seen as well as what was heard, so he couples the two, "That which we have seen and heard we report to you, that ye also may have fellowship with us" 1 John 1:3 It shows how Christianity is infinitely above the mind of man, for however much acquainted man may be with doctrine he could never have the impression of what was seen.

Ques. Does the extended view begin with the contemplation of the Person?

J.T. Well, I think so. "We have contemplated his glory" John 1:14 it says in John's gospel. There is no doubt there is something akin to the elevation in the mount of Transfiguration for all of us. If we are attentive to the Lord, He would give us the extended view. No ministry can give it to us, but ministry conveys some impression that sets you in movement towards it.

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C.C.E. Do you think ministry conveys the impression of one who has seen?

J.T. I think that is so. You are impressed by the fact that there is someone who has got something you have not, though you may follow all he says; but you would like to get it.

Ques. Would Ephesians 1 fit in here: "being enlightened in the eyes of your heart"?

J.T. Yes; "so that ye should know" Ephesians 1:18 It is all to one end. And then the second prayer (chapter 3) comes in, that ye might be strengthened by the power of God in the inner man. God works in the inner. There may be much in the outer -- clearness of doctrine -- but it is the inner man finally that tells.

A.S.L. Would seeing in this sense consist in the conscious knowledge of things? The sense that a brother has something you have not got would mean that he has got the thing in his soul.

J.T. Yes; so John's epistle is to bring that about. "These things have I written to you that ye may know that ye have eternal life"; 1 John 5:13 that is conscious knowledge.

Ques. Whom would Moses represent as having this extended view?

J.T. I think he represents authoritative ministry in that particular view; ministry first comes to us in an authoritative way. You are impressed that there is something there beyond mere words.

A.S.L. "I will come ..." Paul says, "and I will know, not the word of those that are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power" 1 Corinthians 4:19,20. That is it, is it not?

J.T. Quite.

Rem. The Lord Himself spoke with authority and not as the scribes.

J.T. That is right. In each case He spoke of what He knew. "We speak that which we know, and we bear witness of that which we have seen" John 3:11.

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Ques. Would it be Christ as the apostle?

J.T. On that line.

Ques. Do you suggest that it is open to us to go up to the mountain characteristically?

J.T. I think so in a way, but of course the apostles had a special place. "That which we have seen and heard we report to you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is indeed with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" 1 John 1:3. That, I think, indicates the peculiar place the apostles had as seeing things. Christianity has come in, therefore, in an authoritative way in vessels who had not only heard but had seen. Hebrews says, "and has been confirmed to us by those who have heard" Hebrews 2:3 But there is more than that. Hebrews does not emphasise apostolic authority in the apostles, because Christ Himself is there as the Apostle, but in the apostolic epistles we have authority in persons who both heard and saw.

F.W. Would it have reference to the foundation work -- what was initially conveyed to the church?

J.T. Christianity was brought in in that way.

F.W. There seems to be a distinction between Moses at the end of chapter 24 and the verses we started with today: "And they shall make me" Do we come in more distinctly there?

J.T. The people are brought into it when it says, "And they shall make me a sanctuary" but all the responsibility as to the pattern was on Moses.

Ques. So we go back to the apostle Paul for the pattern?

J.T. Yes. In 1 Corinthians 3:10 Paul says, "as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation, but another builds upon it. But let each see how he builds upon it"

Rem. So the apostle's ministry takes us there.

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J.T. In Ephesians the foundation is of the apostles and prophets, but in Corinthians Paul speaks of something he had laid.

F.W. Is there not a moral thought for us that we should appreciate what God in His sovereignty has given us in the way of light now, even as in the early days they were governed by the apostles, and as the Israelites were governed by the light Moses had?

J.T. It is a question now as to what the Spirit says to the churches. That may be very little or it may be much. Certain conditions necessarily interfere with or modify what the Spirit says -- the state of the instrument, for instance; but whatever the Spirit is saying is to be attended to. The bearing of what He says will always be in regard to the foundations, in regard to what there was at the beginning. There may be much that is corrective in it, and no doubt ministry now is in the main corrective, for the state of things is so weak that there is not much scope for opening up the mind of God -- the things of God -- but nevertheless if the Spirit is speaking, He is to be heard; what the Spirit says is the point to pay attention to.

A.H. Do you think the Spirit comes in with Bezaleel? It says he was filled with the Spirit, and he shows the people what to do.

J.T. That is good. He represents that which is employed universally in the structure, and everyone is brought into that.

Ques. In the verses read it is not only the seeing, but the being shown; it says, "I will shew thee" Does that involve God's sovereignty?

J.T. Yes, quite; it was the showing of the thing then because it was still future, but all has come out now, and there is nothing to be added; it is the filling in; the foundation is laid. In Zechariah 4 the thought is that the one who lays the foundation finishes the building; according to the ministry of

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the Spirit in a day of small things, in the days of Zechariah and Haggai the beginning and end are brought together. It is all a question of what Christ is doing, but each one may have his part in it.

Ques. How would you say the injunction to build a tabernacle would come to us; is it passed on to ourselves?

J.T. In the way of providing material, I think. What has been called attention to is, "they shall make me a sanctuary" and that brings us all into it.

Ques. Is that the Spirit's work?

J.T. It is the Spirit's work through each of us; hence the importance of being enlightened to see the divine scheme, so that we are working with God, not working merely locally, that what we are doing locally has a bearing on the whole. It is said of Jonathan that he wrought with God; 1 Samuel 14:45.

Ques. Does not God in this way secure His own glory?

J.T. Yes; He brings us all into it, and hence the importance of getting the thought of God -- seeing what His mind is in the way of pattern, and specification. Exodus makes a great point not only of what was shown to Moses, but also of what was actually made; "and he made" "and he made"; every item is given in review, not only as shown, but as made. Things are to be constructed and finished.

Ques. Would gold, silver and precious stones be the Spirit's work in contrast to wood, hay and stubble?

J.T. Yes; that which stands the fire.

Ques. Do you suggest that every saint should be engaged in this work?

J.T. Certainly; "They shall make me a sanctuary"; the word 'sanctuary' mentioned before dwelling reminding us that we are to be holily

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engaged; we are not to bring our natural minds into it. The holiness of the sanctuary is one of the great features to be emphasised.

Rem. So that we provide conditions for the divine presence: "that I may dwell among them"

J.T. That is right -- holiness. Peter says, "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy ... pass your time of sojourn in fear" 1 Peter 1:16,17 Our natural minds are not to be brought into the thing. "The stranger that cometh near shall be put to death" Numbers 1:51 refers to the natural mind.

Rem. We are each given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ; Ephesians 4:7.

J.T. The supply is all given, and given bountifully.

Rem. Right construction and right building must be the outcome of right seeing. How do we come into the seeing?

J.T. It is by the acquirement of the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The Lord opens the understanding. "Think of what I say" Paul says, "for the Lord will give thee understanding in all things" 2 Timothy 2:7. That means the whole thing -- nothing left out; there is nothing you may not get understanding about; hence the great importance of turning to the Lord in matters. He will never leave us in the fog or puzzled. Every part of the divine system will be opened up to us to understand; He will give us understanding in all things.

Rem. We have to consider the light that Paul brought in.

J.T. Paul is the architect; he is the only one that uses that word: "As a wise architect, I have laid the foundation" he says (1 Corinthians 3:10); that would be in relation to the whole structure; for the architect does not simply have the foundation in mind, he has in view the entire building. Timothy fully followed it up, so that the apostle could entrust him with it. "The things thou hast heard of me in

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the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men" 2 Timothy 2:2. I suppose Paul would not have passed over the elder brethren at that time if they had been available, but he took up a young man because evidently Timothy had followed the thing up and was trustworthy; he was an available vessel. There was not only light with Timothy, but affection; he cared "with genuine feeling" how the saints got on. And then, he also paid strict attention to what Paul said. If you have what Paul said and love in your heart for all the saints, you are fit to be a builder.

Ques. Do we see in Luke 24 how the Lord works in bringing the two back to the centre? Is that an illustration of how He works now with us?

J.T. Yes; that is true. The Lord brings them back to the centre, and then shows Himself to them, and opens their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. The understanding of the Scriptures, according to the Lord's subdivision of them there, is of great importance to the builder.

H.H. Paul knew all about the heavenly system, did he not -- he had been in the third heaven?

J.T. His ministry for fourteen years had all been influenced, no doubt, by that view, although he had said nothing about it, and he would not have told them, but that necessity called for it; but no one who heard him could fail to be impressed, I am sure, with the sense that there was a man who had seen something. He had kept it a secret for these fourteen years, but the fact that he had not told anyone does not mean that it had not impressed them. Then we see the way the Lord takes to keep us, as having such light -- His disciplinary measures. The apostle having received the impression, and seen the things, when he came back to earth there was given to him a thorn in the flesh to buffet him that he might not be exalted above measure; as he got the impression, so

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he got the thorn in the flesh; the thorn was a ballast to his ministry; it was in that way balanced, so that he was not exalted above measure. It seems to me that the Lord's disciplinary measures balance us, so that we might be here, forbearing one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit. That is what God has before Him. If we have the light He would balance us.

H.H. So that suffering would come in in some way to make us correspond to the light.

J.T. Yes; some limiting thing, so that the saints really get the thing with God. We may discredit the light unless we are lowly in the dissemination of it.

C.C.E. Paul could only correct such a state as that at Corinth as having been where he had been.

J.T. I think that. He said, I cannot go there, I can only write to them, and of course my letter cannot convey what I could convey personally, but I shall send Timotheus, for he is my child in the faith; he is like me, so that they would have in their midst, accompanied by the letter, a reflection of Paul: "who shall put you in mind of my ways [as] they [are] in Christ" 1 Corinthians 4:17 That is the thing that confirms the truth.

Rem. Timothy was a product of his ministry.

J.T. Yes, quite.

Ques. Would what you say of the apostle Paul equally apply to the apostle John? He was shown the things, and he was to testify what he saw -- the book of Revelation being the outcome of the things that he saw.

J.T. There in Revelation you have a seer. The thought of the seer is one who sees. In apostolic ministry it is not only seeing, there is also the hearing. There are things heard as well as seen, both eyes and ears are brought into play in the apostles.

Ques. Would you give us a word about the materials?

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J.T. I did not intend to speak of that, but the gold, silver, and brass, and all the different materials are most instructive; and each has its own meaning. The order is: gold, silver, copper, blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goat's hair, rams' skins dyed red, badgers' skins, acacia wood, oil for the light, and spices for the anointing and for the incense of fragrant drugs, onyx stones and stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate. Each item has its own meaning as pointing to the richness, the variegated richness of the dwelling -- all coming through and working out in the affections of the saints. God is so delighted with man brought into relationship with Him, that He would secure all the materials of the system in which He is to dwell through their intelligence and affections. It is very wonderful! God could bring about all these things Himself, but He does it through the saints.

F.W. They were apparently all found with the people; they did not come from heaven.

J.T. Not exactly, but they refer to the work of God in the saints.

F.I. Was the material given intelligently as the result of the elders being ennobled when they saw the God of Israel?

J.T. Yes; but I think it dates back to Egypt. God includes in the material every bit of His work, for He begins to work in us from the very outset; our repentance and our conversion are the fruit of His work, and that brings joy in heaven. Every bit of the work of God in us from Egypt onwards is taken up.

Ques. Would it be a similar thought to Luke 8, where certain women "ministered to him of their substance"? Luke 8:3

J.T. Yes; that is in Luke 8, but in chapter 7 you have a woman who is a sinner who is a child of

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wisdom; and "wisdom is justified of all her children" Luke 7:35 the Lord says, and then brings her in and sets her forth as a model -- "Seest thou this woman?" Luke 7:44 He says. There is something to look at -- small, but a model of love; she is a child of wisdom, and the Lord filled her treasures. The Lord fills the treasures of all the children of wisdom; they are rich people, so that in the next chapter they minister to Him of their substance. I think that shows that what God surrounds Himself with is the fruit of His own work in His people. He loves man in the abstract, and now that Christ has come in He loves them in the concrete. Man is there in Him; there is One in whom He has found His delight, and He is bringing in an order of man in whom He finds delight, hence the value that He attaches to His own work coming out man-wise, as it were, in our intelligence and affections. He surrounds Himself with that. God dwells as to His own infinite essence in light unapproachable, and we cannot say anything as to that, but we know something about what has come out, and what He has brought about by His work as it comes out in us. We know about that and that is what the scripture is dealing with. Beyond that we do not know; there are things that we know nothing about, but we do know these things. The Holy Spirit is given to us, as John says, that ye might "know all things" 1 John 2:20.

Ques. Do you see the heave-offering in that woman in Luke 7?

J.T. Yes; she loved much; that is a good deal to say. The Lord loves to have someone in every locality to whom He can direct attention in that way -- "Seest thou this woman?" Luke 7:44 He says. It is as much as to say, There is my thought.

Ques. Why does the gold come in first?

J.T. God is emphasising that things must be of

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Him; although they come through the hearts of the saints, yet they are of God. The whole scene inwardly is marked by what is of God; it is all of Him.

Ques. Would you connect the gold with the delight that is found in Christ?

J.T. Yes; it was in Him it came out; God has visited His people; Luke 7:16. John says, "Ye are of God, children" 1 John 4:4 The silver is the next thing -- redemption; there can be nothing effected save by redemption. Copper would signify that everything is according to divine judgment; God has not left it to man; everything is according to His own judgment. All these things have their own meaning. Blue means that heaven takes the pre-eminence; heaven comes first with God.

Ques. What difference do you make between purple and scarlet?

J.T. Purple is related to suffering; the whole thing is marked by suffering. It is a combination of the heavenly and the earthly colours -- blue and scarlet. Then the earthly comes after that; scarlet is earthly glory. I suppose purple is a type of suffering and imperial glory; it is not only royal, but imperial. The Lord is King of kings; 1 Timothy 6:15.

F.W. You made a remark that the sanctuary came before the tabernacle. "They shall make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them" What had you in mind as to that?

J.T. The idea of holiness. The word for 'tabernacle' is 'dwelling'. The dominant word in the whole section is that God would dwell, but He notifies that they were to make Him a sanctuary. The apostle has that before him in Corinthians -- the temple of God is holy.

F.W. "Holiness becometh thy house" (Psalm 93:5); not only righteousness, but holiness.

J.T. That is the way it stands.

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Ques. Is your thought that the builder would have to bring material?

J.T. Yes; you are concerned about supplying material; and every one of these items should appear in every saint -- every one of them. Then it goes on to the fine twined linen. This is not merely linen, but byssus, Egyptian cotton, the point being, I believe, the fineness of the yarn or texture. Things are to be very fine. The textile used was to be very fine, indicating delicacy of sensibility and feeling. There is nothing coarse, or rough, or uncouth in the house of God. There is to be delicacy of feeling. It was seen in perfection in the Lord -- the fineness of His feelings and thoughts and affections. Then it goes on to the goat's hair, which is the very opposite to that. When you have to do with sin it is not a question of fineness or delicacy of feeling, but of denunciation; there is to be no compromise with what is evil, but rigid separation, not minding whether you hurt people's feelings or otherwise. Thus within it should be all delicacy and consideration and courtesy to each other -- to brethren, and indeed to men too, but when it comes to sin or a question of unrighteousness there is to be nothing but the strongest denunciation of it, however much people's feelings may be hurt.

Ques. Is that the prophetic side of things?

J.T. It is much like that. John's clothing was camel's hair. The goat represents a separate type of man; he goes by himself, and is a man who is known of God. We have been referring to these details as regards material, but the general thought before us is the sanctuary and the dwelling. The book is most elaborate in the way it works out the completion of the thing, not only the completion of it in detail, but the setting up of the whole. Nothing is left to Moses' imagination or ingenuity; all is of God.

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A.S.L. "See that thou make [them] according to their pattern which hath been shewn to thee in the mountain" Exodus 25:40 -- this is repeated frequently.

J.T. It is.

Ques. What were the utensils?

J.T. They were the things to be used in the service, especially what was in the holy place. Then God owns the work by coming in Himself to dwell, and then Leviticus is, He calls out of that. It is not simply that He speaks, but He calls, and that is what indicates the assembly. The call was out of the tabernacle.

Ques. Do you mean that the call was out of Egypt to the tabernacle in the wilderness?

J.T. The tabernacle was set up in the wilderness, and the call is out of it. I think the call may be seen in Romans and Corinthians.

Ques. Is it making choice?

J.T. It is rather God making Himself heard to those who are at a distance. In Corinthians we are said to be "called saints"; so that we do not come by choice. It is a question of God's call. It is a great thing to see that God calls; He calls out of this wonderful system.

A.J.G. Does Paul bring that to bear upon the Corinthians when he says, "Consider your calling" 1 Corinthians 1:26?

J.T. Yes. There is what they were called from; they were called from among the poor, from among the little-esteemed, the despised in this world, but they were saints by God's calling.

Rem. We are said to be called to the fellowship of God's Son.

J.T. We are called to that.

Ques. In reference to our calling, is it to show us the greatness of our conversion?

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J.T. It is not that so much; the point is where God is when He is calling, and what He is calling us to.

Rem. We are called to that system.

J.T. Yes.

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Numbers 1:1 - 3,16 - 19; Numbers 10:33 - 36

J.T. It is evident that, as in Exodus, we have the dwelling, that in which God is with us -- dwells with us, so Leviticus gives us how we are to be with Him, hence the call out of the tabernacle, or tent of meeting, as it should read; then how those who answer to the call are to be with God -- the terms on which we are to be with Him.

Then Numbers is the public position, how we are to be for God and in connection with the latter the love shown in the divine way of being with us in all the vicissitudes of the wilderness journey -- the love, patience and grace that shine in the divine manner in the wilderness, so that the book is really, as we might say, in the wilderness. I believe the original title, at least a certain title given to the book, was simply, "In the wilderness" The book opens with God speaking in the wilderness, He speaks out of a tent, but it was in the wilderness. And so the numbering is said to be in the wilderness of Sinai, and the first movement is from one wilderness to another; chapter 10:12. Thus we are with God, or rather God is with us in circumstances in which there is nothing for the flesh; and in connection with this, we have military units and orderings involving local responsibility; so that while the love of God is put to the test, and answers to it perfectly in these circumstances, our love is also tested, for the wilderness brings out where we are, and what we are.

Ques. Is Leviticus the terms on which we are to be with God, so as to be for Him according to the book of Numbers?

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J.T. Well, that is right. The second verse (Leviticus 1) begins the subject of the terms: "When any man of you presenteth an offering to Jehovah, ye shall present your offering of the cattle, of the herd, and of the flock" Leviticus 1:2 That leads on to what may be regarded as the divine requirements, the terms upon which we, from our side, are to be with Him, to approach Him. The requirements, while they take account of, and make provision for the majesty of God, also make provision for the minutest work of God in His people; the youngest and weakest is provided for as well as those who are most advanced. But one's thought was to dwell, not on the terms, but rather on the fact that God called out of the tabernacle; and then in Numbers to point out how the love of God comes in, typically, in the way in which He accepts the circumstances of His people, accommodating Himself, as it were, to them; so that He told David, who was minded to build Him an house, that He had not dwelt in a house since the day that He brought up Israel out of Egypt, "even to this day" but had walked in a tent, and in a tabernacle; 2 Samuel 7:6. He had never had, as we may say, such accommodation as David had in mind to provide for Him; but He points out to David that He had accepted what there was; He had walked in a tent, for note, it is a matter of walking, not dwelling merely; there was very little restfulness in it; He walked in a tent with them and in a tabernacle. The allusion is to Numbers, to bring to our attention what divine love is as with us now, bearing with us, and putting up with all sorts of things, and yet finding its way to be with us. Numbers, therefore, opens with the speaking in the wilderness -- out of the tent, but in the wilderness.

Ques. Is that exemplified in the pathway of the Lord Jesus with His disciples?

J.T. Well, I think we have it indicated there.

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"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14); and He put up with much. The patience and grace of the Lord with His disciples help us to understand how He bears with us now. We must all be aware of how much He has to put up with in us and what poor accommodation there is.

H.H. The epistle to the Corinthians would be on that line -- the love of Paul to the saints, and how he put up with things in them.

J.T. Yes, I think so. The apostle was representative there of divine love; he says, "If even in abundantly loving you I should be less loved" 2 Corinthians 12:15. "But be it so" he said; he accepted it.

H.H. We are more familiar with the thought of the wilderness in connection with our individual path here; but what you are referring to is more the church's position in the wilderness; the exercises that are in that connection.

J.T. That is right. The earlier instructions here are to preclude any unnecessary inconvenience -- the workings of the flesh; every precaution is taken in these early chapters anticipative of the working of the flesh, to preclude it. These chapters should be read in that light -- the divine foresight and forethought in order that the workings of the flesh should be shut out.

F.W. When you speak of the wilderness, do you mean God's ways with us?

J.T. Well, the ways of God come out in the wilderness; His ways with us are but the means of His showing His patience, how long-suffering He is, and how ready to accept the inconveniences of the wilderness. Caleb and Joshua entered into that; they came to see what marked God's ways with the people, and they were content, and accepted the long period of journeyings imposed upon the people on account of their own wills. So that I think the ways of God with us -- with His people -- viewed collectively,

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only bring out the love that underlies all; as we read, "In all their affliction he was afflicted" Isaiah 63:9. He entered into what they went through. Perhaps you had something else in your mind?

F.W. I was only trying to focus the thought of the tabernacle in the wilderness. In Exodus there seems to be a different setting of the tabernacle -- more the Ephesian, the assembly side, would you say?

H.H. Psalm 68 refers to God arising and His enemies being scattered, then verse 7 might have a bearing on what you are saying, "O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness" Psalm 68:7

J.T. You get two beautiful touches in the type. Paul refers to one of them, "a spiritual Rock which followed [them]" furnishing drink and refreshment, "now the rock was the Christ" 1 Corinthians 10:4 The rock went behind, and the ark went before; that is to say, all the pioneering work, involving the severest conflict and drudgery, so to speak, belonged to the Lord. The allusion, I suppose, to the rock which followed them gives the thought of water-carrying -- a sort of drudgery; divine love expressing itself thus. In Numbers 10 we find that the proper position of the ark was in the centre, the divine intent being that Christ should be honoured among the people, and that all should serve Him; He was to be in the very midst of the armies of Israel, surrounded by them. Instead of that, however, He breaks through the ordinary rule and goes before. It is a very remarkable thing that there is nothing said previously about the ark going before, showing how divine love reserves its own liberty. It acts from itself; as the Lord did when He sat at table, then rising from supper He laid aside His garments. Love would act thus, and He sets an example to us, that, instead of in any way preserving dignity or honour we may rather accept the drudgery. The whole idea of the system that

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exists around is built up on the honour that is put on the servant, whereas the divine way is to give that up, to relinquish all that for the good of others and to accept the drudgery.

Rem. We all need grace to move on that line.

Rem. The spirit of the apostle was, "ourselves your bondmen for Jesus' sake" 2 Corinthians 4:5.

J.T. Yes. So he insists that the servants were the property of the saints, "For all things are yours" even the great servants, "whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas" 1 Corinthians 3:21 - 23. The honour of Christ -- the place which belongs to the ark -- is preserved when the early instructions in the book are observed, that is to say, the recognition of the twelve. The idea is that lie has that which, as actuated by love, is flexible.

F.W. I do not quite understand your reference to the ark and the rock.

J.T. I was pointing out that in Numbers 10 the ark leaves its own normal place, which was in the midst of the camp guarded by military organisation, a priestly organisation, and a levitical organisation -- all concentric circles, so to speak, but the ark inside. Now when the time for movement came, we have the order of the movement, and then it is said that the tabernacle is taken down in its own place, but nothing is said about the ark; whereas in the verses read (35 and 36) the ark goes before -- it takes the lead, to find out a resting-place for the people.

F.W. What do you understand by that?

J.T. It is divine love in Christ taking on the most onerous and menial work -- first going before and finding a resting-place in the wilderness where there was no way, no path, and then the rock following, which is another thought; that rock they all drank of, it says. It is as if the Lord were carrying water behind them. The drudgery, the menial character of the service is in view. There was no actual rock, but

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He provided it; it followed: "the rock was the Christ" 1 Corinthians 10:4

F.W. "And have all been given to drink of one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:13); is that a similar thought?

J.T. The reference to the Rock, the rock which followed them, is a menial one, whereas in 1 Corinthians 12 it is the cup of blessing that is undoubtedly alluded to. We have been all made to drink into one Spirit. The reference in chapter 10 is to the menial character of the thing -- the Rock that followed them.

Ques. Was this "resting-place" provisional? It says the ark went before them in a three days' journey to search out a resting-place for them.

J.T. Yes, it was leading on; it was, as you say, provisional, because, whenever it happened, Moses said these words, "Return, Jehovah, unto the myriads of the thousands of Israel"

C.C.E. Do you think both these movements have been exemplified in the Lord's goodness to us during the last century? He has gone before in His gracious way to provide a resting-place for us, and then there is His wonderful grace in providing refreshment for us; I wondered whether we could make that application.

J.T. I am sure we can; it is very practical. If we see what divine love is in thus adapting itself to us, to our needs, we are reminded of the earlier instructions; that if the conditions described do not exist, the corresponding gain is not realised; hence we have the twelve princes, and the numbering is to be with their cognisance. Verse 16 should read, "These were those summoned of the assembly, princes of the tribes of their fathers, the heads of the thousands of Israel" Numbers 1:16 It appears it is not simply that they were summoned, but that they were responsible, being such as could be summoned.

C.C.E. The thought would be that they could be called upon for consultation and such like.

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J.T. Yes; and then their responsibility always stood in connection with the tent of meeting, so that they were always liable to be summoned; they were such as were summoned. Anything that might come in to prevent them responding to the summons would bring to light that there was something wrong.

E.S.H. Would the care-meeting be something of that character?

J.T. I think so. The Lord expresses His mind in the summons; He indicated that not only were the persons responsible, but they were known, they had been summoned before, they were tried men. But the thing represents state in the saints rather than persons; the Lord has those known to Him on whom He can lay His hand.

E.S.H. Does Matthew's gospel provide for this, do you think?

J.T. Well, I think it would. Matthew at the end presents the Lord acting in the capacity of a king. He sent a message to His disciples, "Go bring word to my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there they shall see me" Matthew 28:10. Then in verse 16 we read that the disciples went into Galilee to the mountain which Jesus had appointed them, and when they saw Him they did Him homage. Now John tells us that the Lord said to them, "I will see you again" chapter 16:22. That would be from His side. When it is a question of simple privilege and affection going out, it is from His side, "I will see you" but when it is a question of legislation, and the responsibility laid upon us, it is a question of our seeing Him, "There they shall see me" and they did see Him, and when they saw Him they did Him homage -- there was respect; there was reverence.

F.W. Did they get their commission in the end of the chapter from that point?

J.T. Yes. But then He says, "All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth" Matthew 20:18 That was to be

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taken notice of; they could not go anywhere else for power; it was all in His hands. Now He says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" Matthew 28:19 That was a big order! That would throw them back on themselves, as it were -- what they were to do. How were they to do this? They certainly could not do it of themselves! But then the Lord puts it on them to do it, and the more He puts on you, the more dependent you are; but you know where to go; He says, I have got all power; you know where to go to get help.

Now these men who were summoned were like that; they were in the place of responsibility, and Moses could call upon them at any time.

Ques. Is it necessary to go to Galilee for that?

J.T. I think it is; if you go to Galilee, that means you have interest in the thing, because you feel the need of going there; and what can you do by yourself?

In Luke the Lord puts no such obligations on us, nor in John, or Mark, but He does in Matthew, because it is a question of our being made "princes ... in all the earth" Psalm 45:16 so that the Lord can call upon us, and summon us.

In Numbers 16 Moses summoned some, but they refused to hearken; that is where the rebellion came in.

Rem. "A vessel ... serviceable to the Master"; "Be strong in the grace that [is] in Christ Jesus" 2 Timothy 2:21,1. Would that cover what you were saying?

J.T. I think so, the vessels are meet for the master's use. But these twelve men would represent the responsible element, and of course all are responsible. But the summons is a very serious matter. You have to give up your own thoughts when you are summoned, for something is to be said to you; the Lord has something to say.

Ques. What were they summoned for?

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J.T. Oh, for various things. The exigencies of the wilderness required that they should be called upon to assemble and give their counsel. If anything happened in any of their sections, it would be a matter for them all. The local question arises in regard of each one of them.

Ques. Do you think that if we were conscious of our responsibility that our ears would be attentive to the summons?

J.T. If anything happened in your locality you would be wise to respond to the summons. After all, it is a general matter.

H.H. "The angel of the assembly" Revelation 2 and 3. Does that touch on it at all?

J.T. I think that is the idea -- the responsible element.

E.S.H. Does that scripture: "Princes shalt thou make them in all the earth" (Psalm 45:16) show that any local matter is to be viewed in relation to what is universal?

J.T. I think that is right. They were treated as one whole. The number twelve denotes flexibility; the Lord has what He can use. There is no number, perhaps, more easily divided than twelve; its parts are many.

Ques. What do you say it denotes?

J.T. Flexibility in government, in administration.

H.H. Do you mean it would not be the judgment of one merely, but more like a jury, something they could agree upon amongst themselves?

J.T. Yes, and the Lord has such a vessel, such a flexible number, as it were. He could use one; He can subdivide the number, and yet all stands in relation to the total number, so that any subdivision of the number used stands in relation to the whole. He can subdivide and use every part of the total.

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Ques. "If two of you" Matthew 18:19. Would that suggest two of the whole agreeing in regard of the Lord's interests?

J.T. "Two of you" means two of the assembly.

Ques. Did the Lord subdivide the number when He took up Peter, and James, and John with Him into the high mountain apart?

J.T. Yes, quite; it was a fourth of the number.

C.C.E. The Lord is prepared for any emergency.

J.T. That is what I thought. In the book of Revelation you have the fullest conception of it -- a hundred and forty-four thousand. Whatever men may have in the way of empire, or cabinets, or administrative machinery, here is something that the Lord has. The winds are held up till the "bondmen of our God" Revelation 7:3 have been sealed in their foreheads -- "[the] seal of [the] living God"; Revelation 7:2 and John says, "I heard the number of the sealed a hundred [and] forty-four thousand sealed out of every tribes of [the] sons of Israel" (Revelation 7:4); that is to say, God has multiplied them and He is to have a wonderful system of administration, flexible in the last degree, so that it is all under His hand; He can use it at His pleasure, and divide it according to His infinite wisdom. Well, we want to be in that, to be available for it.

Ques. Do you think that the local exercises are in that way preparing us for the universal administration?

J.T. It would seem so; so the thought would be to be available to the Lord as a unit, as any part of the number, or in any subdivision of it, but in relation to the whole. Then another thing that arises is the question of confidence. This administration at the present time is carried on over a wide area, involving many modifying things, such as national prejudices and local prejudices of various kinds, and distance, so that the question of confidence comes in prominently,

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as to whether we can accept what has been done at a distance from us.

C.C.E. How is this confidence fostered?

J.T. They were the tribes of Israel. It says, "Take the sum of the whole assembly of the children of Israel, after their families, according to their fathers' houses, by the number of the names". They were of one parent stock, though divided up into families, and the pedigrees were to be declared. It says in verse 18, "and they declared their pedigrees, after their families, according to their fathers' houses" -- one fountain, one parent, one source, and the pedigree brings out that I belong to that. The pedigree is to be declared, meaning that there is genuineness; we are all of one family, notwithstanding many modifying things; we are that and we hold to it, and it underlies confidence. I do not see how the fellowship which is proper to the assembly is to be maintained apart from confidence.

Ques. All partaking of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4); is that the point?

J.T. Quite.

C.C.E. The world works on the principle of a central authority.

J.T. The situation in our day is that we have no king to command at all. "The locusts have no king, yet they go forth all of them by bands" Proverbs 30:27. Colossians and Ephesians are the furnishing epistles, particularly Colossians, which brings in "love in [the] Spirit" Colossians 1:8 -- "love ... towards all the saints" Colossians 1:4 Love in the Spirit is love unaffected by natural predilections and preferences; it is pure, and it is universal -- for all the saints -- hence you have confidence; if anything is done, say in Australia, or in South Africa, or anywhere, you have confidence, and you leave it there.

Ques. Is the truth of the one body behind it in any way?

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J.T. That is the thought, otherwise, we are just so many communities with a sort of unwritten understanding, which is not the unity of the Spirit at all. What God would hold us to is the unity of the Spirit, and that is a subjective thing.

H.H. We have to be built up in our souls as to what the assembly is in order to feel our responsibility in relation to it.

J.T. We are notified at the very beginning here that the scene in which we are is contrary; we are not going to have any help from it; it is in the wilderness. The book of Numbers begins with that, so we must make up our minds at the outset to be tested to the utmost limits of our capacity, and that throws us on the Lord. It is no small matter to move in such a scene, even physically, with a large number of people, and to maintain the principles of God. The tabernacle, so to speak, is standing in the midst all the time, so how are we to hold the truth of the assembly, that in which God dwells, and yet be separate and definite in our local setting -- how is it to be done?

E.S.H. Do you suggest that if family relations and affections amongst brethren are developed, there would be more confidence?

J.T. Yes, for there would be the consciousness of common parentage, as it were, and being of the same family. After all, Israel were sons of one man. The pedigree establishes that fact for each one; it establishes the fact that I belong to the family.

Ques. Would that correct the tendency to question what is done at a distance?

J.T. I think confidence would enable us to rely on what was done at a distance; we must come to that.

Ques. Would it be on the line of love believing all things?

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J.T. Just so, that is right; "believes all things, hopes all things" 1 Corinthians 13:7

Ques. Would this confidence tend to maintain the normal conditions to which you refer in the early chapters?

J.T. Well, I think that confidence is one of the greatest features, calculated to guarantee the fulfilment of the early chapters -- our belonging to one family, and each showing his pedigree. Anything contrary to that later would be called in question. If I have established my pedigree, I have established and avowed my relationship to the saints as one of the brethren and am under obligation to love them, and that is wherever they are, whether local or elsewhere.

Rem. It is striking that the pedigree and the father's house are thus brought together at the beginning of this particular book that takes up the local settings of things.

J.T. It is so; the thing comes down to the standard of the father's house; first the tribe, and then the father's house; the family thought runs right through, so that we can have it in the smallest number -- the father's house, or we can have it with the whole twelve tribes. The family thought was always to be maintained, hence when they went up to Jerusalem three times a year, the family thought would ever be present.

F.W. Why do you think the order is changed in the naming of the tribes? According to the instructions the tribe of Gad comes in earlier, but in the record of the carrying out of the instructions the order is changed and he is nearly last.

J.T. Everything here is in divine wisdom; there would be some good reason for it, but what it is I do not know. You notice that as a rule Reuben is mentioned first, but in the order of march, Judah comes first. Reuben represents the responsible side,

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but Judah is the sovereign side; on the line of the responsible side God may alter things and put another before you.

Ques. Would you say the maintenance of the family thought produces confidence?

J.T. That is what I have been trying to enlarge on: "we are brethren" as Moses insisted. At the very beginning of Exodus we have a sort of key to the whole of these instructions; I refer to the combination of light and love in Moses and Aaron. When Moses returned from the wilderness after forty years, he had the light, but Aaron had the love. God says to him, Aaron is coming to meet you, and he will be glad to see you, and when Aaron met him he kissed him. The love side is seen in Aaron, he was the brother, and he was the Levite. "Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother ... And also, behold he goeth out to meet thee, and will be glad in his heart" Exodus 4:14 So that you have in the meeting the combination of light in Moses and love in Aaron, and these go together.

Ques. Like Paul the apostle and Sosthenes the brother?

J.T. Very much like that; Moses has the light, and Aaron is the spokesman -- the brother is the one who speaks; these two things run right through.

Ques. Would both be seen in the breast-plate of the high priest?

J.T. Well, the saints were all there in the heart of Christ. He never loses sight of one of us. According to our scripture He has us here under His eye for administration, to be summoned at any time and to be used according to His pleasure, whether one or two or three. You can divide twelve into twelve units, but all under His hand and all serving in relation to the whole number.

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Ques. Would you say a word as to these men here covered by the expression, "heads of the thousands of Israel ... expressed by their names"?

J.T. I suppose the name expressed what they were. If you think of the 'brother' you want to think of him in relation to the work of God in him; you do not want to think of him in any other light; you are sorry if you have ever done so. The epistle of John shows us how to regard the brethren abstractly, how to take account of them according to the work of God in them, disregarding all else, for really and truly we are of no value except in that measure. The abstract way of looking at things is most important as underlying our relations to one another.

E.S.H. Does it prove the work of God in us, to thus view the saints?

J.T. I think love would do that; love would think the best of another. Our prayers are to cover the whole field; if you think of this brother and that brother, how are you to take account of him as he comes before you, how are you to think of him? Well, what marks that man? The epistle of John would teach you to regard him in the light of the work of God in him.

A.S.L. John says not only that he that is begotten of God does not sin, but that he cannot sin.

J.T. It is only as you view a brother abstractly you can say that.

Ques. Would "head of their fathers' houses" Numbers 17:3 suggest the thought of influence, and hence there would be confidence?

J.T. Yes, indeed. They were really princes, meaning that they were spiritual men, men of moral weight and influence. Thus we see that God's rule is through influence; it is a question of the influence you exercise among the saints.

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A.S.L. Would light in Moses and love in Aaron be combined in one -- should both be in us?

J.T. Quite, they present one person really. It is remarkable how effective the two were as they went to Pharaoh; first they gathered the people together; that is a great thing in the combination -- ability to gather the people together -- and as gathered together they tell them what will happen. Aaron conveys to them the wonderful things that had come through Moses -- the intervention of God for their deliverance. These early chapters of Exodus are a key to all this instruction as to how you are to gather the people together. It is easy to scatter them -- but Moses and Aaron gathered them together so that they worshipped God; and they did worship God, according to the early chapters of Exodus.

A.S.L. Is there such a thing as having done with the wilderness once for all, leaving it definitely behind for ever, so that you have no further experience of it?

J.T. To leave the wilderness for us is a wholly spiritual thing; it can only be by the Spirit.

A.S.L. Is there such a thing as being able to look on the wilderness as a thing of the past? I might leave it perhaps in a measure in spirit, perhaps in a large measure, but have not I constantly to come back to it? I have heard it stated that if one was getting on normally, one would have done with the wilderness. My reply was that if I had done with the wilderness I should not require the manna.

J.T. The manna ceased when they entered the land, but the truth is that the two things go on concurrently; the one is what I am here as in my ordinary circumstances, and the other is what I may enter by the Spirit; I can only say I am in the land by the Spirit; I can only say I am in the land if I am in it. When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan and went into the land, they had done with the wilderness, but with us the wilderness and the

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land run on concurrently. And then the land as presented in the type as entered by the tribes, is not heaven for us as we shall enter into it by-and-by; it is heaven as we may know it now, so that you have the conflicts and the victories preceding possession. The boundaries of the inheritance allotted to the tribes are very irregular; they were not in straight lines, as they will be by-and-by according to Ezekiel; then they will run east and west in straight lines parallel to each other. There will be no testing as to the limit of one's inheritance, it is perfectly defined, but in Joshua the boundaries are very irregular, running into one another, in one instance a tribe finding its inheritance inside another. All that is to test and bring out how much we can bear with one another, so that love is developed.

A.S.L. We get conflict with enemies, too, in the book of Joshua.

J.T. That is not future, it is the present time.

Ques. Have you any illustration in Caleb and Joshua, who trod the wilderness after they had entered the land?

J.T. They were morally there all the time. The land was in their hearts. Caleb said, I am just waiting to get to it. It was love that led them to go back and walk with the people all those years; only the type fails, because we can enter into the land at any time by the Spirit now. It is a question as to whether we are able to abstract ourselves from ordinary wilderness conditions down here to be in the realm of the Spirit. It is the power of the Spirit; it is not a question simply of faith, but of the Spirit.

A.S.L. Would it be going too far to say that in whatever measure we may have got across, and enjoy what is in the land, it is impossible to be entirely outside wilderness conditions so long as we are here?

J.T. I think so, except for a very little moment. Paul referred to his going there fourteen years previously

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-- that is exceptional. No doubt he had frequent visitations, for ecstasy was no uncommon thing in the early days, but I am afraid it is very uncommon now. Ecstasy is abstraction from normal conditions here to be with God. Paul said, "Whether we are beside ourselves, [it is] to God; or are sober, [it is] for you" 2 Corinthians 5:13 Apparently he had the power to abstract himself at any time.

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Proverbs 9:1 - 3; Proverbs 14:1

My exercise is to speak about wisdom, but wisdom as seen in her building. We have to read, I need not say, the Old Testament in the light of the New. In this, as in all else, it is what is new first.

The New Testament, therefore, leaves us in no doubt as to what the book of Proverbs alludes to when it personifies Wisdom. In the letter to the Corinthians the subject is touched on. The position, the environment, and the antecedents of the saints in Corinth made it opportune that this subject should be introduced there. Being Greeks, they were conversant with the subject of wisdom, but it was largely, if not altogether, a matter of word, a matter of literary or oratorical composition. It was not the wisdom of God. What remains of it, certainly, is simply of that character, and the apostle expressly says that his preaching was not of that kind; he preached Christ crucified; the Jews had sought a sign, and the Greeks wisdom, but he had preached Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Greeks foolishness; but to those called, both from among the Jews and the Greeks, Christ was the wisdom of God; 1 Corinthians 1:22 - 24.

It is with this in view that the believer opens the book of Proverbs. He has the key in that he has Christ, and Christ crucified. Being of the called of God (1 Corinthians 1:9), he is to be instructed in the wisdom that is of God; he is to be made conversant with the hidden wisdom -- not simply that which was ordinary, as seen in the creation, but that which was hidden, which God "predetermined before the ages" as he says, "for our glory" chapter 2:7. Thus we are effectively

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lifted out in our mind, as, indeed, being possessed, further, with the spirit of wisdom, we are lifted out of the world of man's wisdom, which is folly, and introduced into what was before the ages, specially intended for us, "predetermined ... for our glory" We look there, beloved, for our classics; we find there the divine storehouse of wisdom. None of the princes of this world knew it; had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen, and ear not heard, and which have not come into man's heart, which God has prepared for them that love him" 1 Corinthians 2:9 It is not His thought that these precious things should go begging, that they should be spoken to unappreciative ears; they were to be presented to, and to be the possession of those who love Him, so that their houses might be filled with treasures, and they thus made independent of what man presents, however elaborate; for however much man's products are the result of patient research, they are but folly. "The called" those who love God, are in possession of God's wisdom in a mystery, that hidden wisdom -- things "revealed to us by [his] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God" 1 Corinthians 2:10 Think of that! The Spirit who dwells in us searches all things, even the depths of God.

And so we are thus able to look at this book of Proverbs, and to understand a little of the personification of wisdom. It was with God; it was not simply called into being as the necessity arose; it was there in reserve before ever the earth was, before the heavens were prepared, when there were no depths, before the particles (as the word may be rendered), the very dust of the world, as it says, were made -- not only before these particles were brought together and welded into one, but before they existed, wisdom was there. Then when God began to move in relation to that which has proved to be, and was designed to

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be the theatre for the display of His love, wisdom was there.

What one is inclined to say is this: that the Lord Jesus as the Son of God is presented to us in relation to this creation in a mediatorial way. The form or means He took are left undisclosed, but it was by Him God made the worlds. He was the 'nursling' of God's love, or His artificer, as it is otherwise read; whether it be the one or the other, it refers to what Christ was. He was employed, "by whom also he made the worlds" Hebrews 1:2. Stupendous statement, indeed, directing our minds to the vastness of the divine operations and to the great Mediator of them; thus all was performed by wisdom! We read, "He spoke, and it was done" Psalm 33:9. That brief statement discloses to us that the operations were the result of the divine mind, that it was designed. All was by Christ. It says, that "without him not one [thing] received being which has received being" John 1:3. There was the Word bringing out the mind of God, so that these worlds (as they are called) which are before our eyes were brought into being by the word of God. "By faith we apprehend that the worlds were framed by [the] word of God" Hebrews 11:3. The heart follows Jesus. That, however, is not building, but framing; things being set up in perfect relation and poise so that they continue. It is a question of the mind of God apprehended by faith. He intended it to be a testimony; it was not a mere scaffolding, although it is that; it was intended to be a testimony, and it is a testimony, for "their voice is heard, their line is gone out through all the earth, and their language to the extremity of the world" Psalm 19:3,4. The divine mind was behind that; it was intended to stand out as a witness, throughout the history of our race: "For from the [the] world's creation the invisible things of him are perceived, being apprehended by the mind through the things that are made, both

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his eternal power and divinity" Romans 1:20. They are apprehended by the mind, so that men are without excuse as having minds. Thus we see the far-reachingness of the creation and the place wisdom has in it.

But then there was the building, and it is with this we are concerned for the moment, because it comes down to ourselves. We are not particles. The physical system may have been made -- as indeed Proverbs 8 would indicate -- of particles, brought together by wisdom, but the material for wisdom's house is not constructed of these; the material is the saints of God. Wisdom has now under her hand that which answers to her -- not dead matter, not lifeless particles, but living stones. And so it is wisdom's house; she has builded it. Here, you will observe, it is the past tense, "Wisdom hath built her house" we are directed, therefore, to the past. If "God bringeth back again that which is past" (Ecclesiastes 3:15), so does faith, so does love, in us. As emerging from the darkness of current religion, we require that which is past, and that too which continues. And so this book furnishes us with instruction as to wisdom's building.

What building there has been in this world! As one said, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built?" (Daniel 4:30); and as others said earlier, "Come on, let us build ourselves a city and a tower" Genesis 11:4. What builders there have been! But who is ready to contemplate wisdom's structure? Attention is called to wisdom and what she builds. It is all her own; she is entirely without obligation to man. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, repudiated in the strongest terms any of man's material or aid; he had no need of these, he was independent, of them; he neither resorted to the eloquence of men, nor to the literary skill of men; he taught wisdom, indeed, and spoke it, but it was the wisdom of God in a mystery. So that wisdom's house is all her own; she

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has borrowed nothing; she has hired nothing; she is under no obligations to the princes of this world, nor to the learning or the architecture of this world. She shows it in her ways that it is all her own. "Wisdom hath built her house"; it is hers. She is jealous over it, as I may say, she is exclusive in regard of it; she will have no extraneous matter in it. The material is all her own, the architecture is her own, and the building is all her own -- it is her house. The pillars are hers, they are hewn out. They are not cast, as of metal; they are hewn, they are original, they are permanent, and they are complete, for there are seven of them. Whether it be strength, or beauty, or ornamentation, they are perfect; nothing need be added; she has left nothing unthought of. She has killed her beasts, they are hers; she has mingled her wine, it is hers; it is her own mingling, what a flavour! Have we tasted it, beloved? Mingled by her -- how perfect is the blending! And she has furnished her table -- mark it is her table.

Thus you see how wisdom stands out in her majesty, in her independence, and then in her bounty -- in the bounty of the slaughtering of her beasts, in the mingling of her wine, and in the preparation of her table, and all this is presented to us, both old and young here, as accomplished, as the work of wisdom, and as available to the votaries of wisdom -- those who answer to her call. She sends out her maidens; she crieth upon the highest places of the city; she would have us to hearken and to come and partake of her bounty, and to live in these things. Believers are the family of wisdom, nourished, cherished, and cared for, under such a hand. It is the way the Spirit of God would impress upon us that nothing can be added to what God has effected; nothing is unthought of; no right desire is left unsatisfied, nor unmet, in this arrangement.

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Well, that is how Christianity began. It stands over against the foolish woman, for, as might be expected, it was countered, as the chapter shows. She is clamorous, but she knows nothing. Think of that humiliating statement by the Spirit of God! She is clamorous, she has much to say, but she knows nothing! Whatever form she may take, religious or social, she knows nothing. She stands out as the enemy's counter to wisdom's institution, and we are warned. She flatters with her mouth, as we read elsewhere; she embraces all the folly of current religion; she includes all the folly of sensational entertainment; she sits at the door of her house; brazen there, she is clamorous and invites those who go right on their ways to what is stolen. What she has got is stolen. It may be that she clothes herself with that which seems to be of God, for she has nothing of her own. "Stolen waters" she says, "are sweet" and what is in secret -- "bread of secrecy is pleasant" Proverbs 9:17; but the dead are there. Let the young be warned! She embraces all that goes on in the way of entertainment in this world, but folly is her name. She knows nothing, and the dead are there, and her guests are in the depths of hell. She is in that environment. Well, that is how matters stood, and how they stand from the divine side.

But I wish now to say a little in a practical way as to building, for we are brought into it, as to what is going on; chapter 14 refers to what is going on: "The wisdom of women" as it should read, "buildeth their house" It is a question again of wisdom. It is the same word exactly as is used in chapter 9, only in chapter 14 the word is in the plural, as our translators tell us, conveying the fulness of the thing. What came out at the beginning is the same as exists today in the Spirit. The wisdom seen in the building at the outset is still here. Wonderful fact! It lies in the Spirit. "If any one of you lack wisdom" we are

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told, "let him ask of God, who gives to all freely, and reproaches not" James 1:5. It is not that He has to give it out of heaven, for it is all here. The epistle to the Ephesians presents things on their highest level, and so the prayer in chapter 3 alludes to God as doing exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, but it is according to the power that worketh in us; nothing more than that is given, nothing is added. The truth is God has added nothing. Did He need to add anything from heaven, it would imply that He had omitted something, that He had failed to foresee what might be needed, through some exigency yet unmanifested. But God saw everything, so that if He does anything for us, it is according to the power that worketh in us. When Moses complained of his heavy task, he implied that God had omitted something, that He had failed to gauge what Moses would be required to do! But God says, No! I have furnished you abundantly, and if others are to share the charge with you, you will have to share the power that you have with them. There is to be nothing added. It is a question therefore of God reckoning that He has here the means of help in abundance. It is according to the power that worketh in us; so that if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not. What He gives is here in the Spirit.

Now, this is where the lack lay at Corinth. I refer to this epistle because it is that in which this very subject is worked out initially. In Colossians we go further and get the mystery, "in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge" Colossians 2:3. They are all here. Marvellous fact! The obtaining of these things, according to Colossians, is by the comfort of love: "That their hearts might be encouraged, being united together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the [full] knowledge of the mystery of God; in which are hid all

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the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge" Colossians 2:2,3 They are hidden there. They are available to us. The apostle combated for the Colossians, and for all who had not seen his face in the flesh (may we not include ourselves?) for this very thing.

Ephesians goes beyond this. It is not simply that the wisdom is hidden in the mystery, but that "now to the principalities and authorities in the heavenlies might be made known through the assembly the all-various wisdom of God" Ephesians 3:10,11. Think of that being actually here! That the assembly has become the lesson-book in regard of the all-various wisdom of God to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies. Were they not intensely interested in the display of wisdom in the physical creation? They were: "The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" Job 38:7. They were intensely interested in it, but as yet the hidden wisdom had not come out, as yet the wonderful material of living stones, of men made to live through Christ, had not come in. Wisdom saw them, for Proverbs 8 is really all one piece; it is anticipative; it anticipates the incarnation and the bringing in of men to the habitable parts of the earth. That was what wisdom had before it. His delights were there with living men, for these men are builded together by wisdom, and in them, as thus builded together as the assembly, the principalities and powers in the heavenlies see the working out of the all-various wisdom of God.

That is Ephesian Christians normally, and I think that answers to the wisdom of women in chapter 14. The reference is a subjective one. It is not simply wise women acting, but "the wisdom of women" that is to say, the wisdom that operates now in the assembly by the Spirit -- it is that wisdom. That which wrought in Christ in the building in chapter 9 now works in women -- a symbol, as I said, of what is

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subjective as answering to the Man. The work that goes on day by day, week by week, and month by month, and year by year in the saints is the wisdom of women that builds their house. And over against that wisdom you have folly. In chapter 9 we have the great objective system set before our eyes. The product of wisdom and all that is to be carried on in the light of that; but in chapter 14 it is the filling in, and it is a question of our responsibility, hence it is "their house" So that every one will be tested in regard of what he is building; what he builds will be tested; hence it is, "But let each see how he builds" 1 Corinthians 3:10 It is a question of wisdom. The question that had to be asked at Corinth was, "Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?" 1 Corinthians 6:5 Is not that question ever present, beloved, in every little company of the people of God? "Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?" Why all the confusion? Why all the fog? One wise man, although poor, delivered the city; Ecclesiastes 9:15. It is a question, therefore, of a way out, for an impasse is never contemplated; wisdom has no such thought; there is always a way out, which is available in every difficulty; hence it resolves into this -- in every difficulty in our localities, in our meetings, Is there not a wise man? It is a reproach that it has to be asked, but it has to be asked. The book of Ecclesiastes shows that the poor wise man delivered the city by his wisdom; it was not by his strength, or by riches, for he had none, but by his wisdom; and thus we see that wisdom is love's handmaid.

Love will plan a way out; it turns to God, and God gives the wisdom, so if anyone lack it, let him ask of God. The wisdom that comes from God, that comes from above, "first is pure, then peaceful, gentle, yielding, full of mercy and good fruits, unquestioning, unfeigned" James 3:17. It thinks for God. And so the

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wisdom of women, it says, buildeth their house; the building goes on. But 'folly' (and what is folly but the natural mind working in the things of God), it says, "plucketh it down with her hands" She uses both her hands; it is remarkable the assiduity with which folly works. How one sees at times that not a stone is left unturned to defeat the work of God; it is most humiliating! She plucketh it down with her hands, that is to say, she enters into it with both hands, the will is in it, the will of the flesh, for "the mind of the flesh" (even in a Christian) "is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, for neither indeed can it be" Romans 8:7. Hence the need, dear brethren, for the disallowance of all selfish and personal feelings, sectional feelings, partiality and hypocrisy, that wisdom, the wisdom of God working through us -- the wisdom of women, as it is called here -- should continue to build. Let the building go on; it is going on, but it is a question of wisdom. "The wisdom of women buildeth their house; but folly plucketh it down with her hands"

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1 Corinthians 3:9 - 12; Ephesians 2:19 - 22

J.T. The Old Testament always helps in illustrating truths, and this particularly applies to the truth of the foundation of the assembly. We have fundamental ideas emphasised in Exodus in connection with the tabernacle, and in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles in connection with the temple; these books greatly help to elucidate the truth relative to the foundation of Christianity. In Chronicles we have a general idea of "Solomon's foundation" without much as to the material or the actual formation of it; whereas 1 Kings enlarges on the actual building, the material used in the foundation, the length of the stones and how they were hewn apart -- sawn. These books, as I said, help us to see how that which is general, as presented in Matthew 16, becomes concrete. In Exodus the idea is connected more with the individual in type, each board having two tenons set in sockets of silver. Outwardly, in the court, the fundamental idea is brass. When Peter made his confession in answer to the Lord's inquiry, the Lord said that He would build His assembly on that foundation, that is, on the confession of Himself as the Christ, the Son of the living God. But we have to go to the epistles and to the types to see how the thing becomes concrete -- how it actually takes form, so that it becomes practical to us. The idea of the foundation is largely theoretical with many saints, and it would be an immense help if we could see the practical side of it; the concrete side in the epistles is seen in the apostles -- in what they did.

That is in a general way what I had before me. I mention it so that the brethren may anticipate the inquiry. Every believer should himself be able to

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give some account of what he is resting on, in a practical way, whether it is on the brass, or the silver, or the stone.

J.J. What epistles would you connect with these three ideas -- the brass, the silver and the stone?

J.T. I think the brass and the silver for the foundation is in Romans; God's judgment against sin to begin with, in the brass, and the work of redemption involving His love in providing a sacrifice; these come out in Romans. The stone is a formation; not, indeed, as regards the Lord, but as regards ourselves; He is not a formation, He is the Rock -- "on this rock"

J.J. Would that be Ephesians?

J.T. Yes, I think Colossians and Ephesians lead on to that.

G.M. What did you mean as to the saints being theoretical in regard to the foundation?

J.T. That there is very little application of the thing in one's experience as to what one is resting on, at least as I observe, and there is corresponding weakness and uncertainty. The brass supporting the pillars in the outer court points to the judgment of God against sin, as corresponding with the brazen altar, where the offerings were made and in connection with which all the slaughtering took place -- the rivers of blood that flowed. It is well to take the thing as it is and picture what a terrible scene it was. The impression intended to be conveyed is God's judgment of sin, so that one learns the Lord at the brazen altar, and the sacrifices offered thereon point to the Lord Jesus as meeting all that, as bearing the wrath of God. One thus learns, to begin with, to rest in that -- that sin has been dealt with and dealt with publicly. One's public position, therefore, is secure, being founded on the known judgment of God against sin; and then further, as relating to the testimony of God, you know something about His love in redemption:

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"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption which [is] in Christ Jesus" Romans 3:24,25. It is His righteousness, but His love enters into it.

Ques. Do we see the thought of the righteousness and the love of God in the sockets of silver?

J.T. That is what I thought. You begin to see that God Himself has provided the sacrifice; He has done it and you become more confident. You are thus fit, not only to be a public witness, but to support the testimony. The boards stood upright, they were made standing up, it says, but they were not standing up according to nature, but in the sense of redemption. One can lift up one's head in that way in the sense of redemption.

Ques. Is that why you get the boards put together and the bars to hold them in position before you get the mention of the gold?

J.T. There is then that which can support what is of God; the gold is what is of God. God Himself begins to appear now in the believer; the love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit binds us together -- alluding to the bars. Gold is more the love of God, God Himself is there.

J.J. Does the thought of the foundation involve the displacement of a good deal that is not in accord with it? Is that why the thought of the foundation is known only theoretically amongst us, because we are not prepared to accept the principle of displacement suggested in the sacrifice -- what the sacrifice removed?

J.T. One has to learn to judge oneself in the light of the brazen altar -- of what occasioned that, and it is that self-judgment that makes room for what is concrete in the way of foundation.

Ques. Would you say that those mentioned at the end of Romans are seen as supported by the things that you have been mentioning?

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J.T. As mentioned in chapter 16. Exactly; they were commendable, they were typically boards.

Rem. They are saluted as knowing something about the brass and the silver.

J.T. You salute such an one -- a board, so to speak; you salute one who is standing up for the testimony of God in any locality; and that is the idea in Romans and Corinthians. Later on Paul saluted the brethren (Acts 21:7); he saluted them and passed on.

A.C. Would the teaching of Romans 3:21 be connected with what you have said? "But now without law the righteousness of God is manifested, borne witness to by the law and the prophets"

J.T. Well, that is just the point. You come into correspondence with what is set forth in the metals used in the tabernacle. As you advance in Romans, you advance from brass to silver and from silver to gold; the gold is to be sustained. The silver supports, it was a support to the thing -- all rests on it. That is what is called objective -- Christ in death redeeming us; all that is supported, and in virtue of that I support what is of God. It is as redeemed, and having the Holy Spirit that I support what is of God; that is how the tabernacle becomes understood; I form part of it.

Ques. Would it be right to connect the thought of faith with brass and silver?

J.T. Yes; that is the great feature of the early part of Romans; you come into everything by faith. But then the second part of the epistle is the Spirit.

J.J. So those mentioned in chapter 16 had learnt the principles of Romans.

J.T. I think they had; they represent the teaching of the book, they were those whom the apostle could single out in Rome; he had never been there, but they were those who stood out as representing

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what he taught; he salutes them -- twenty times you get that.

P.L. Would you say the wonderful affinities which divine love produces between brethren are suggested in the greetings?

J.T. Yes; you see the different qualities in these persons; each has his own quality; each is marked by some particular feature as the evidence of the work of God.

J.J. Would you say that in 1 Corinthians 3 where they were saying, "I am of Paul" and another, "of Apollos" that they were not really in accord with the foundation?

J.T. They were not; what the apostle is aiming at is to set aside at Corinth the partisan spirit. You cannot have the truth of the tabernacle worked out in such circumstances. It has often been noted that the Corinthians had written to Paul about several things, but they did not write about the one thing that troubled them most, and that was the most damaging, that is, the spirit of partisanship -- the spirit of division; that was what they were suffering from, and it is that which he begins with: "Now I exhort you, brethren ... that there be not among you divisions" 1 Corinthians 1:10

Ques. In the beginning of the Acts you see them standing up boldly; is that the truth of the foundation?

J.T. I think so, they were assured of their position.

Ques. Do you think we may be looking within too much, and that there is too much introspection with us, rather than looking out towards God's side of things?

J.T. I do not quite think that; I do not think there is enough introspection; not that you would make people legal, because too much of it would make them legal and self-occupied, but John's epistle is

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intended to bring about self-examination, so that you should find out just where you are, what is the extent of the work of God in you, what foundation you are on. If you are on the foundation of righteousness, that is, that you have learnt the truth of God dealing with sin, well, that is good, but do not be content with that; go further, get the idea of the silver, then you go on to the foundation as underlying the whole structure, not only for your own soul, but for the whole structure. Chronicles gives the general idea of Solomon's foundation, that is, for the whole structure. The authorised version is not quite clear. In 2 Chronicles 3 the idea is the fundamental principles. The New Translation renders it, "this was Solomon's foundation" 2 Chronicles 3:3 The idea is the fundamental principles on which the structure was to be reared up, so that immediately that is mentioned you have the question of measurement. It is more abstract than Kings, because Kings gives you actual material and the foundation. But you want the two things; the one is really objective, a sort of balancing truth, and the other is subjective -- the actual thing wrought into you.

G.M. How would one calculate in regard to those measurements?

J.T. The idea of measurement is most important. An architect necessarily must have measurements. In making his plans he must have measurements; he works on that principle; and it is on that principle that the builder works from the architect's plan. Now that is more like Chronicles; it is the abstract idea, Solomon's foundation, and then there is a list of measurements, whereas 1 Kings is more the builders taking the thing up and building, like this passage in Corinthians: "as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation" Paul not only drew the plans, but he started the thing; he gave them the lead; the whole thing is before his mind, and he gave

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them the lead as to what to do. He says, No one can lay another foundation; the one I have laid is the one, and it is Jesus Christ.

J.J. Would you connect Matthew 16 with the idea in Chronicles, and Corinthians with Kings?

J.T. Quite.

J.J. That is very helpful to distinguish.

J.T. You find in 1 Kings that there is a great deal more said about the glory of Solomon and his kingdom before the building than in Chronicles. You get a full account of the magnificence of Solomon's regime before you get the building in Kings, because, as it would appear, where you come to actual building, actual work, it is well to be imbued with the sense of the greatness of the wisdom and the glory of Christ, so that you take up your work aright. It is in Kings that you get the mother of the child determined, and that wisdom enters into the building.

J.J. What was your thought in regard to the measurements?

J.T. It is the idea in Chronicles, corresponding, as has been remarked, with the Lord's general proposal that He would build; it was still future. He would build on a certain foundation, on a Rock rather, but we do not get the actual thing until we come to the epistles; I mean it is not dealt with. We get it in the Acts, of course, but the doctrine is seen in the epistles, and there it is what the apostles are doing, and what you may be doing, and what I may be doing. It is what is going on all the time. Hence the importance of 1 Kings, that we should be imbued with the greatness of Christ, His wisdom, the glory and greatness of His kingdom, and the resources; these all come in before you have any building in 1 Kings.

Rem. What you say suggests that if there is to be any building, we must take account of the plan.

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J.T. Well, that is the other side. Solomon's foundation is the idea in Chronicles.

J.J. The Corinthians were not working according to the plan in bringing in other names.

J.T. And they are defective not only as regards the dimensions, but as regards the material.

J.J. Why does the apostle link the thought of husbandry with it?

J.T. It is an agricultural term -- another thought that goes with building: "Prepare thy work without, and put thy field in order, and afterwards build thy house" Proverbs 24:27. The field necessarily goes with the building, because you draw the material from the field.

J.J. Would it bring in the thought of growth at all?

J.T. One is an agricultural idea, and the other is architectural.

Ques. Is the building in relation to the saints generally, or does it relate to ourselves?

J.T. Well, as I said, Exodus would begin with the individual -- the board with the two tenons set in silver, an individual idea -- then so many individuals bound together, not in the foundation, but above, with the bars. The foundation is all of a kind, but in an individual way; the silver, too, is in an individual way, for each board was set and stood on its own foundation.

Ques. You were saying that in 1 Kings the greatness of Solomon is presented before the material is brought in. Would you tell us why the apostle in 1 Corinthians speaks of Jesus Christ and Him crucified first?

J.T. There is the clearing-away principle, as our brother was remarking, a sort of excavation work going on in the soul in the light of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It is a most humiliating thing for the flesh, but you have to accept it. But then in the

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same chapter Paul goes on to speak of the Lord of glory, that is Solomon's in 1 Kings, and he points out that while he is unable to speak of it as he would wish, yet he does speak of it; he says, "But we speak God's wisdom [in] a mystery, that hidden [wisdom] which God had predetermined before the ages for our glory" 1 Corinthians 2:7. I think there you get an inkling in a way; he could not enlarge on it in the epistle to the Corinthians because of their state, but it is there; the idea of the Lord of glory is there.

Ques. Would the reference to Jesus Christ and Him crucified indicate that there was a deficiency in the apprehension of the brass?

J.T. Quite. There was certainly a deficiency in every way amongst them, that is, from the subjective side. They came behind in no gift; they had light enough, too, but they were deficient as regards what the Lord teaches in Luke 6 -- the digging deep; that is where the deficiency was. It is in the digging that you strike rock.

Ques. Would the sockets of silver present what one might call the positive side of the death of Christ?

J.T. I think so. There are two tenons. There is nothing of that kind in the foundation of brass outside under the posts; it is the general thought of God dealing with sin. But when you come to the sockets there are two, pointing, not only to righteousness, but to love. The idea is witness, I think -- witness to you of redemption; you have got that witness in your soul. The Holy Spirit is a witness to you, as a matter of fact.

Ques. Would the silver suggest what was in the heart of God in movement towards us?

J.T. I think it does; it is God coming in in redemption -- the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; "whom God has set forth"; Romans 3:25 it is God doing it now.

Ques. Would you say the brass clears the ground, and silver brings in what is positive?

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J.T. Quite. I think that the excavation to make room for the thing is what is needed as seen in Luke 6. The Lord had been unfolding wonderful things -- objective truth, but He says anyone hearing and not doing is like a man who builds a house on the sand without foundation. That was really the Corinthian state.

Rem. Everything seemed to be objective with them.

J.T. Just so; so that in the bringing in of Jesus Christ and Him crucified in the beginning of chapter 2 he was aiming at the state of division amongst them; they were not really resting on the foundation at all. He begins to exhort them in regard to that, and then he asks, "Was Paul crucified for you?" (chapter 1:13.) Redemption was not really known in a practical way by them.

Ques. Would you say they did not understand Romans 3:25? If they had taken in verse 24, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption which [is] in Christ Jesus" that would have been a solid foundation, would it not?

J.T. It would, indeed. That is the idea in the silver of the tabernacle -- each board resting on that.

Rem. You do not get the love until chapter 5.

J.T. No; you get the love, however, before you have the question of sin in you dealt with. You have sins dealt with, then you have the love of God by the Spirit, and it is by the presence of the Spirit really that you are enabled to accept the truth relative to sin in you.

Ques. Is that why the apostle says in chapter 1, "to all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called saints"?

J.T. In regard to 'called', that is they were called out, it was not simply that they are designated saints, but they were called; he calls them to be that.

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Ques. In suggesting this chapter in Corinthians, is it your thought that we should be exercised as to building?

J.T. You see how you are brought into it, and the kind of thing; what the foundation is when it comes to a concrete matter. Matthew 16 is Solomon's foundation, undoubtedly. Much is considered in 2 Chronicles 3; there is what is shown -- the site of the temple, where the foundation was to be laid corresponding with the revelation made to Peter. Then it goes on to say, "This was Solomon's foundation" 2 Chronicles 3:3 which means the fundamental things that he was to be governed by in building, so that a list of measurements is then given. That in a general way is Matthew, but when you come to the concrete it is what the apostles did, and so you have here what Paul laid, "which was Jesus Christ" he says. But then, when you examine what he says elsewhere you find that his preaching at Corinth was the Son of God. "The Son of God, Jesus Christ" he says, "who has been preached by us among you (by me and Silvanus and Timotheus), did not become yea and nay, but yea is in him" 2 Corinthians 1:19 That was how he preached. Whatever text he might use, whatever he might say in his preaching at Corinth, he would convey the idea of the Son of God. But then he would also convey that that Person was a man altogether different from any other man, Jew, Greek, or Barbarian -- a new order of man altogether. When you come to the concrete, you get the idea of an order of man different from yourself; that idea comes into the soul; and that is what Paul is dealing with here, and there is nothing to be added afterwards different from that.

Ques. Would you say that the apostle's teaching at Corinth was in accord more with the Matthew idea?

J.T. Always. Solomon's foundation could never be out of view in any of the apostle's teaching, so

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that in Ephesians it is "built upon the foundation of the apostles" -- not Paul only, but all the apostles -- "and prophets" showing that the prophets had part in it. That conveys to us how extensive the thing is -- that the ministry of the twelve and of the prophets who laboured with them was taken up with the foundation.

Rem. What I had in mind was what you were referring to -- the presentation of the Son of God.

J.T. Precisely, and so the apostles would all aim at that, although we have not many of their sermons; the only sermons we have of the twelve being Peter's in the early part of the Acts, but we have several of Paul's. What the others preached we are not told, but we are told that they were in the foundation, and that the foundation was theirs; in Revelation, as the city comes down it shows us that each was different, because each is described by a precious stone.

Rem. I take it that John falls back on the presentation of the Son of God.

J.T. Well, quite, he gives you the Son of God, but he also emphasises the order of man that is there.

J.J. It is remarkable that Paul likens himself to an architect and also to a builder, which the Lord really was Himself, but there is only one foundation.

J.T. There is only one foundation -- Jesus Christ, but when you come to the concrete it is what the apostles did.

P.L. The truth of the foundation is connected with the Person; His qualities as man came out in the building.

J.T. His qualities as man enter, too, into the foundation.

P.L. Then in detail, are they not connected with the building?

J.T. I think so. The question of our building is in connection with that; but sonship in us underlies

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the order of man, that is to say, the order of man is the Son in manhood; that is what I understand. But you get the idea of the Son of God: "We know that the Son of God has come" 1 John 5:20. But then the spirit of Antichrist would deny that Jesus Christ has come in flesh, showing that antichristian teaching sets aside the truth of the new order of man. But it must all be founded on the Son coming in -- what He is here as man.

Rem. In connection with the other aspect of the building, its being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, it says, "Jesus Christ himself being the corner-stone"; but here He is referred to as the foundation.

J.T. The corner-stone is Jesus Christ Himself; that is not connected with the apostles' ministry there, but the foundation is.

Rem. Is the corner-stone the apex of it all?

J.T. Yes, it is the thing that crowns all. It is an ornamental idea as well as a binding one. It is Jesus Christ Himself.

Rem. So the foundation and the top-stone are the Lord Himself.

J.T. Exactly, only the top-stone is not connected with apostolic ministry, it is Himself, that is to say, it makes room for all that should come in later, and the finish, so that the reference to it in Zechariah 4 is that the hands of Zerubbabel had laid the foundation-stone, and his hands should put on the top-stone, the corner one; it is one work and the top-stone is the end. It is in a day of small things that that is brought in, so it would indicate that the top-stone is the Lord Himself coming in to be it.

Rem. It is not exactly Jesus Christ Himself in Corinthians.

J.T. No; here it is more to establish the order of man than the Lord's own personal part. Jesus Christ Himself brings the Person in -- He brings Himself in.

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Ques. Is that why in Proverbs 8 Christ is referred to as having that unique place with Jehovah before ever the foundations of the earth were appointed, and then it goes on to speak of the habitable parts of the earth?

J.T. It would appear that there are two meanings given by the critics for that word 'nursling' (verse 30), one referring to the thought of affection, the other translated 'his artificer'. Either one may be right; either one is suggested there. The nursling of His love would be a sort of diminutive thought, expressing one who is the centre of affection, but if it is artificer, as it may be, we see how far-reaching it is; but all is in wisdom.

Rem. That is why I thought the building was in view in the thought of the artificer.

J.T. It is very touching that it is Jesus Christ Himself that is the head of the corner. It brings the Lord in in a very personal way, not only in regard to what He is as expressing an order of man, but in a personal way, as the crowning thought. The headstone is laid by Zerubbabel with shoutings, crying, "Grace, grace unto it!" Zechariah 4:7 It is in that way that the top-stone is honoured peculiarly.

P.L. So that "I Jesus" is to crown all that is put on.

J.T. Just so, and He says, "I am the root and offspring of David, the bright [and] morning star" Revelation 22:16 that is to the assembly. The root of David would be John's gospel, the offspring would be Matthew's gospel. The assembly understands, so that He is hailed and invited to come in and will thus be the crown of all. The crown of all is known and admired in the affections of the saints and adored and given that place.

Ques. Do you connect Jesus Christ Himself with the Father's revelation in Matthew?

J.T. Yes.

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Rem. You emphasised the thought of digging a moment or two ago; is your thought that we should be exercised before the Lord individually, so that we might really reach the thought that there is one Man before God?

J.T. Well, it is spade work to start with; it is rough work, but most essential if we are to have any solidity to our building.

Ques. Why is the foundation of God mentioned in 2 Timothy?

J.T. There again you have what is akin to Solomon's foundation; it is the foundation of God.

Ques. What do you understand by that expression?

J.T. It is what God has brought in through the work of Christ; it is what God maintains here by the Spirit, and that remains. Whenever God works in any individual now he is brought back to that, so that in Ezra, in the recovery, they did not begin with that, they began with the altar, and very rightly, for in recovery there will be sacrifice. You arrive at the foundation in that way. The people of God are already there, but in recovery you begin to sacrifice; you give up things and offer sacrifice to God, and God protects you, because "fear was upon them" Ezra 3:3. God being what He is must protect the altar, and the protection enables you to go on and build on the foundation; you make progress. That is the point in 2 Timothy, and that stands, and the believer leaving what is evil comes to it.

J.J. What is in the apostle's mind here in bringing in the gold and the silver and the precious stones?

J.T. It is in order to warn the saints; he says, "But let each see how he builds upon it" -- as if each believer were to have part in it; as it says in Proverbs 14:1, "The wisdom of women buildeth their house" which would apply in every local company. That kind of wisdom would never bring in wood, hay, stubble -- the sort of

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material which is seen all around in evangelical Christendom; they attach importance to bulk and show of no intrinsic value -- reports as to the number of converts, the amount of money contributed to missionary work, big churches. All these things are conspicuous; it is bulk, but all that will go in the fire.

Rem. The other -- gold, silver and precious stone -- is more quality.

J.T. That is what God is doing; He is exercising His people in regard to quality; it is very much better to have a little of good quality than to have bulk that will go in the fire.

Rem. So the excavation precedes the foundation.

J.T. And you do not want to bring in that rubbish (what is excavated) again and put it in the structure.

Ques. Is it on the line of encouragement that it says, "Yet the firm foundation of God stands" 2 Timothy 2:19

J.T. That is the point; it is the 'firm' one; you go back to that.

Rem. The building today is not on the line of public show, but on the line of hidden wisdom. It would take form in the souls of the saints.

J.T. Just so; you are concerned about quality; although you may have only a few, you want them right.

Rem. What the Lord was here among men was not on the line of public show, but what was entirely according to God.

J.T. Quite. When the Lord is introduced in Luke, He is introduced as a babe; and then as baptised He is praying; that is the kind of man you want, and heaven is delighted with Him. It is not a question of bulk, but of intrinsic value. So John introduces the Lord as the Lamb. The Lamb is a diminutive thought, but intrinsically precious; you do not want to get away from that, you are content with that.

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Ques. Would you say a little about the gold?

J.T. The gold is what is supported. I think it is more a question of what is of God.

Ques. Is that true individually before the boards are put together?

J.T. No doubt that is one idea. What is of God is to be presented to man, but the idea is first laid hold of individually as the love of God shed abroad in the heart.

J.J. Ephesians and Corinthians give the temple.

J.T. It is 'temple' in Corinthians, the kind of thing, not the complete thought; indeed, the truth in the Corinthians is in its local setting; how things are carried on locally, and so it is, "ye are [the] temple of God" (1 Corinthians 3:16), whereas in Ephesians the truth is in its general setting; it is universal, and so we grow to a holy temple in the Lord, looking on to the millennium.

Ques. I suppose it is as we are in the light of what is universal -- the building as the dwelling-place of God by the Spirit -- that we shall work it out locally?

J.T. Just so. It is well to see that both Corinthians and Ephesians have what is general in view; but Corinthians works out to "all in every place" but then it begins locally, whereas Ephesians takes everything up from the standpoint of what is universal. "[There is] one body, and one Spirit, as ye have been also called in one hope of your calling" Ephesians 4:4 The truth works out in a universal way, as you love all the saints.

J.J. The temple in Ephesians is not a characteristic thought, whereas in Corinthians it is.

J.T. In Ephesians it is what we are growing to. In Corinthians it is to deliver the saints from any central idea; there is no centre such as Jerusalem every local company has enough to go on with. You have the character of the thing, however few you may be. Ephesians is having the building so

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that we are growing to it. They were not said to be growing to it at Corinth; they were it characteristically. In Ephesians you grow to it.

Ques. Do we reach this by way of Peter's ministry?

J.T. Yes. Peter's ministry dovetails with Paul's; you reach the same point, though perhaps on a lower level -- universality, and life, and independency in regard of what had previously held you religiously on earth. The saints were living stones; they were a holy priesthood, and they offered up spiritual sacrifices; Peter says you are all these.

Ques. Would you say a word as to the bearing of the position in Ephesians on the local setting?

J.T. Well, you are local, but as is shown in the Acts, Ephesians is reached by way of the "upper regions"; Paul reached Ephesus on the upper level. Apollos was at Corinth, that is, he was holding the lower level -- if you understand what I mean -- as the testimony of God here in the presence of men; having been taken up as a sinner, justified, and made a board, I am sustaining what is of God here in the presence of men; that is Corinth. Ephesus is on the upper level. According to Ephesians I have come down from heaven morally to be here as a heavenly man, as the sheet came down to Peter. The testimony comes down from heaven and is to be caught up there again to remain.

Rem. Like the man who came from Baal-shalisha; 2 Kings 4:42.

J.T. Just so, from another world altogether. But Corinthians is that I am here where I had sinned, where I was once a wicked man, but I am converted and I am known to be converted, I am known to be changed, I have the Holy Spirit, and I am bearing the testimony of God, where I am well known. That is the idea. Whereas viewed from Ephesians I am another man altogether, from another land, so that Ephesians enters into the position of Corinthians,

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and if you come in on that line you will adorn the testimony on earth.

Rem. In Ezra's day it was the seventh month before the altar was set up and sacrifices offered.

J.T. The altar was set up first and then the building.

Ques. "The day shall declare [it]" 1 Corinthians 3:13 What is the day referred to? Does it bear on the Christian period or have we to wait for that?

J.T. That is future, but a crisis often corresponds with it. The day of God, and the judgment-seat of Christ are anticipated where there is spiritual discernment, so that in the case of anything happening in a locality that may be complicated, there may have been a dark state of things in that locality for months or years, and then God allows something to happen that brings out what is there and things are exposed. I think the saints ought to be ready to take account of that.

P.L. "To-morrow will Jehovah make known" Numbers 16:5.

J.T. That is a good illustration of it, and so the staves of the princes having been laid up overnight, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi budded and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms and yielded almonds; every one is to take account of that; life came in overnight in its order. So that when God allows a crisis in a gathering it is that the approved may be manifest. That ought to be taken notice of, and if we have eyes to see, we may see it.

Ques. Would it be in the way of encouragement?

J.T. It is very encouraging that there are some that are approved. We want to look out for them; we do not want to condemn the just with the wicked.

Rem. You would give your hand of fellowship to such?

J.T. Certainly, for what God is doing is making manifest the approved.

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P.L. It is in the house that he who invites says, "Friend, go up higher" Luke 14:10; it is there, is it not, that testimony is given to what will take place in that coming day? It is as Son over the house that He brings everything to an issue.

J.T. That is right. When there is subjection to the Spirit things may come to light. There is no doubt that the Spirit being here things do come to light, and each gets his place. Wickedness is exposed, if there has been wickedness.

J.J. The fire is mentioned here three or four times.

J.T. The judgment of God finds its objects, but this, doubtless, looks on to the end when there will be final judgment of everything. As Paul said, "Do not judge anything before [the] time, until the Lord shall come, who shall also both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and shall make manifest the counsels of hearts: and then shall each have [his] praise from God" 1 Corinthians 4:5.

P.L. Does building cover all true service, whatever we do, whether in testimony, shepherd-care, or by influence?

J.T. I think it does. To put it in a simple way, love builds; "the wisdom of women buildeth their house" Proverbs 14:1 That would be love acting wisely. The wisdom would be the subjective thing; it is not men, it is women; I am influencing my brethren in whatever I am doing; that is the idea, so that everyone has part in it.

Rem. In connection with the Corinthians it is said of them, "Ye are [the] temple of God" 1 Corinthians 3:16 that was irrespective of their condition; the Holy Spirit was in them.

J.T. You cannot ignore condition; but if the Holy Spirit were not there, you could not have the temple.

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Rem. You were referring to Romans earlier, "Being justified freely ... through the redemption which [is] in Christ Jesus" Romans 3:24

J.T. That is subjective; but it is already received in the soul, and becomes fundamental and subjective.

Rem. The things that are spoken of are in contrast here -- brass, silver, straw, hay, etc.

J.T. They seem to be; the gold, silver, and precious stones refer to what is of God, what abides.

Rem. The words used in the New Translation seem to suggest definitely on the one hand what is of God, and on the other what is of man.

J.T. Yes.

Ques. Why is gold so prominent a thing in the temple?

J.T. Because the whole point of God's intervention among men is that He might be known and witnessed to.

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John 4:19 - 24; Philippians 3:3; 2 Samuel 15:30 - 32

You will observe that in the passages I have read from the New Testament we have the worshippers of God alluded to, and I wish to show how these appear in a day such as is described in 2 Samuel, the Old Testament, as ever, serving to illustrate in the way of type and shadow what is presented in substance in the New. In the New Testament we have the substance, so that the result of this dispensation is seen in the heavenly city as coming down from God out of heaven having His glory; and, as measured, it is solid; it is a cube; it is not an abstract thing.

Christianity is substance, all emanating from the Head -- from Christ. There was a demand for this throughout the Old Testament, and so in the coming in of the Lord Jesus as a man we have the substance; and the body, which may indeed be regarded as the substance now, is of Him. So that I selected the passage in 2 Samuel deliberately, as illustrating how worshippers of God appear in our own times -- times which correspond with what 2 Samuel presents in the section from which I have read -- times in which the public vessel of the testimony of God has failed, as of old David failed personally, and brought down upon himself, his house and his kingdom, these lamentable things which these chapters in 2 Samuel depict for us. We are in like circumstances, and the question in my mind in speaking to you now is, how is God to have His part? That He should have His part is obvious, and no Christian would deny it theoretically; but how it is to come about is not so clear.

We speak of the worship of God, meaning that He has His part, but Scripture rather stresses

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worshippers of God; it is a question of the persons, so that immediately I speak of the matter I have to inquire as to whether I am among the worshippers of God. John's gospel therefore fits in, calculated, as it is, to secure for God in a day of small things and brokenness what is His due. That gospel has a way of bringing in things without always naming them, though sometimes, as in this case, the thing is formally named. The woman brought in the subject. In the preceding chapter the Lord Jesus is said to be loved of the Father as the Son, and that all things have been given into His hands. Amongst these "all things" necessarily, is the service of God, involving what is due to Him. The Old Testament had indicated that there should be "a minister of the sanctuary"; Hebrews 8:2 it was indeed a prominent feature, and what comes out in regard of the one who represented this, namely, Aaron, is that he, as first introduced to us, is called "the Levite" He was the brother of Moses -- his senior by three years. We have no record as to how he acquired the distinction of being the Levite; it is not simply that he was of the tribe of Levi, for Moses was also, and he is not called the Levite. Aaron is called, not simply a Levite, but the Levite, which spiritually means that he had acquired the way of denying what is natural, preferring what is spiritual. That is what is said of Levi: "Who said to his father and to his mother, I see him not" (Deuteronomy 33:9); he on one hand could take his sword and smite his brother when the truth required it, and, on the other hand, present sweet incense to the nostrils of God.

Now John's gospel presents the Lord according to this; it does not stress the official; it shows that the service of God was there before the time for the Lord's entering upon it officially; "for John was not yet cast into prison" John 3:24 we are told, as if attention was called to that. Our Lord was already the Levite,

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He was already cleansing the temple, He was already possessed with the zeal of the house of God, it was consuming Him, so that, according to the end of chapter 3 everything is formally given into His hands; He had, so to speak, qualified. This has not reference exactly to what He was divinely, but to what came out in Him as a man here, as I may say, spontaneously. It was His Father's house, and He was moved, and consumed with zeal as the Levite to have it cleansed, for it was unfit in its then condition for the holy service which it was in His heart should be rendered to God.

And so this woman is undoubtedly guided, unknown to herself, perhaps, to bring in this subject -- a most unlikely person, for what is to be of God in a day of brokenness and corresponding religious pretension is sure to come out in connection with unlikely persons. God goes out of His way, as it were, to bring in persons whom the religious mind of the day would repudiate; He slights what is in religious prominence and distinction among men. He is not dependent upon men with all their education and training, antiquity and public show; He shows, not only that He has no appreciation of them, but that He can do without them, as He says to the wicked, "What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant into thy mouth?" (Psalm 50:16.) That is God's word for unconverted people essaying to be His ministers. He needs them not; He says, "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee"; Psalm 50:12 He has infinite resources. Such is God's holy independence of man in regard of His service.

And so in His ordering, a poor Samaritan brings in this subject. She is marked, indeed, by current ignorance. She talked about her fathers worshipping; she said nothing about herself. It was well that she did not, for until then she was no worshipper. But she talked about her fathers worshipping in a

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certain place, a habit which is very common. Where do you worship? people ask. The Lord says in effect, It is not a question of place, it is a question of sate. I am just dwelling on this for a moment as governing the whole subject of the worshippers of God. It is "neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem" There was a great difference of course between the Samaritan mountain and Jerusalem, and the Lord will never let go any distinction that God makes. If I look abroad at Christendom and take up the great religious bodies, I certainly am bound to make distinctions, for God does. The Lord makes a great distinction, for salvation was of the Jews. It is a question of the mind of God here, not of the state of the Jew, and there was much to be said in favour of the Jew as compared with the Samaritan, and no true intelligent Christian would deny or ignore what is to be said in favour of any person or body here; the Lord would put this woman in her place. If I am dealing with souls associated with what is grossly wicked, I should not fail to tell them; it is for their good, as you find in the addresses to the seven churches. The Lord has a word for each of them, and He does not fail to tell them of the extreme wickedness where it existed. But there were great distinctions, and we find that the Lord in every address commended what He could. And so here. But then what He wants to say is that the worshippers of God must worship in spirit and in truth. The whole religious system around us is brushed aside as at a stroke in regard of this. He says, Worship does not consist in place, in buildings, in what is material; it is a question of spirit and truth.

Now, I want to point out briefly that the Lord is not speaking here of the Holy Spirit; He is speaking of spirit in contrast to what is material. What underlies it is the fact that "God [is] a Spirit" and that He has placed in man what corresponds with

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Himself. Man is spirit, soul and body, and if I am born again, as the Lord teaches earlier, "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" John 3:6 that is the kind of thing it is; that is to say, not only have I got a spirit as over against what I am materially, but that is augmented in that in my whole being morally I am born anew, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit; so that whilst every man has a spirit, he who is born anew is in principle spiritual, which could never be said of the natural man; he is that in principle and he begins to think spiritually; and, inasmuch as that in him called spirit relates to God, what he is as born anew thinks of God. The gift of living water is a further and immense addition to that.

Now all this underlies what the Lord is teaching -- that I have a spirit; as being born anew I become spiritual in principle, but I have also living water which springs up. My own spirit does not spring up of itself, nor does that which is born of the Spirit of itself spring up, but the Spirit of God coming into the believer, on the ground of redemption, becomes in him a spring, and that spring has reference to God. And so the Lord here, as already the Minister of the new sanctuary, is bringing out the great principles that govern the worshippers of God; they are constituted spiritual. The Father had been seeking them; the Minister of the sanctuary knew it, and He is bringing them in, so that they worship Him in spirit and in truth; He seeks such.

I want now to go on to Philippians to enlarge a little on the thing as it was at the outset. This (John 4) is the light from the Lord's own lips, governing us as worshippers. The apostle, in writing to the Philippians, classifies the worshippers. There were those who were not that, and these were dangerous. They were dogs -- persons who prowl about, unclean; they were evil workmen, possibly nominal Christians, showing that workmanship is not everything, for

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one may be working evilly; and then finally, the concision -- people who do not go all the way -- concision, not circumcision; and this enables the apostle to bring in his thought. He says, "We are the circumcision, who worship by [the] Spirit of God" It is not now a question simply of worshipping in spirit, it is a question of the power to worship. We have to give an account of ourselves. No truly spiritual people will advertise, but we may be asked questions, and so here you have the apostle giving an account of himself and of others in regard of this subject; they were worshippers, but of what kind and by what power? He says, "We are the circumcision" that is to say, we go the whole way spiritually. Now I would plead for this -- going all the road. Circumcision means that you go the whole way. The Lord is calling for that. The number will be reduced as you go forward undoubtedly. The apostle goes on to speak later of persons who walk, but they were the enemies of the cross of Christ; he referred to them weeping -- persons who did not go all the way, but rather were enemies of the cross.

Now that enters into a multitude of things -- difficulties locally. There are those who profess to be helped, to be repentant, but they do not go all the way. They expect others to meet them; they say, Why do you not come and do this, and recognise this and that? That is not the circumcision, that is concision; you are only going half the way. I am to beware of you; if you do not go all the way, you are a danger to the saints of God, and you are classified with the dogs. I am not speaking disrespectfully of anyone; there are the dogs, the evil workers, and the concision -- these are dangerous. The circumcision go all the way, every bit of the flesh relinquished, nothing is spared. With Saul, although nominally at Gilgal, he spared Amalek and the sheep and the oxen: "What [means] then this bleating of

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sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of oxen which I hear?" 1 Samuel 15:14 Amalek was a very refined man; he went "delicately" and he is a polite man. Ah, beloved, he is a dangerous man. Saul in sparing Amalek did not go all the way; he missed it, and he lost the kingdom.

We have to think with God. The apostle thought with God; he knew what God required for His worship, so he says, "We are the circumcision, who worship by [the] Spirit of God, and boast in Christ Jesus, and do not trust in flesh"; no confidence in the flesh. If we boast at all, we boast in Christ Jesus. We do boast, to be sure, but not in ourselves, nor in the flesh, but in Christ Jesus. If anyone thinks of boasting in himself, let him compare himself with the apostle, for he had occasion to boast, but he had come to see that boasting was in Christ Jesus and in Christ Jesus alone; he went all the way. He was a worshipper of God; he did not worship by material things, he worshipped by the Spirit of God; that was the power. True enough he worshipped in his own spirit -- in spirit -- instead of material things, but the power by which he worshipped was the Spirit of God. If you heard Paul speak to God you would understand it; he would not speak in an unknown tongue; he would not trust to mere words; he would pray with the spirit, and he would pray with the understanding also; he would sing with the spirit -- his own spirit -- and he would sing also with the understanding; he would give thanks with the spirit and with the understanding. This you would hear in Paul, a worshipper of God. What a lead he would give in a meeting! How one would defer to him in any meeting as a worshipper of God! You would get a conception in your soul of what he thought of God. He says, If I think of God, I am beside myself. Think of God, beloved, coming out in Christ, coming near to us in love! And so we worship

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Him in spirit and in truth, that is to say, the truth has reference to God coming out in Christ and also to my being in Christ.

Now coming to the passage in 2 Samuel, which indeed I had chiefly before me, we see a man who knew what to do in a crisis. David is not told what to do here. In these books which speak of David we sometimes find he is a type of Christ, but very often he is a type, as in this case, of those in whom God is working at the present time. It is of this latter I wish to speak. I do not wish to speak of him here as a type of Christ, but as a type of those in whom God has wrought. The work of God always shines in adversity; it is humbling to have to say it, but this book particularly teaches us that when we are in prosperity -- even in spiritual prosperity -- we are always in danger. It is in adversity, in the discipline of God, that the work of God shines, as is seen in this book, and in no place do we see this more prominently than in this chapter.

I deal with it now, because it may help some of us, if not all, as to how to give God His part, His due, in a day of disaster, for it is a day of disaster. Sometimes as we move along, we think of our meetings as growing and everything being orderly -- right hymns chosen, right words used in the giving of thanks, and so forth, and we almost assume that we belong to a system of things by ourselves that God can own. But that is an entire mistake. We are in circumstances that are most humiliating, and we cannot get out of them. We are in the midst of a Christendom divided into a thousand fragments, in some of which, most, alas! Christ is dishonoured. It is not that one wishes to speak against any, but everything in Christendom is my responsibility, from Rome down. Can I get out of it? I cannot. I may get out of it in spirit, as we see here, by ascending. David got far beyond the reach of Absalom in his soul in this

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position, but Absalom was in Jerusalem nevertheless, or coming to it. The kingdom was in revolt. Can I ignore these things? No! If I am with God, I accept them.

There is nothing now that God can own publicly. David sent the ark back; he would not take the ark, he would not assume to represent what God owned in a public way. The ark belonged to Jerusalem, and Jerusalem was about to be captured by Absalom. You see the spiritual intelligence, the features of Christ in that. He sends the ark back; he sends the official priests back, and now he ascends, see verse 30. That is what we want to understand. The way out is by ascending. "But David went up by the ascent of the Olives" But how ascend? With tears and head covered, and barefoot. I acknowledge in all these things that my feelings are moved; as Paul says, "I tell you even weeping" Philippians 3:18 as he thought of those who were the enemies of the cross. Head covered, what does that mean? It meant for David that he had been devoid of wisdom in his conduct; he had not only sinned, but he had been devoid of wisdom; he had been woefully astray in regard of wisdom and he covered his head, and his feelings were moved, and his feet were bare. Was not God delighted with him? He was, beloved. He was acting suitably, humbly; he was owning things as they were, but he was finding an outlet. What is the outlet? The outlet is in heaven. Hence you notice the repetition here of going up. He went up, he went up, and he went up until he reached the top. It was spiritual power in secret; spiritual power in the full acknowledgment of the position.

Now what I have said is for us. This passage in 2 Samuel 20 is for us in the present time. It is to show us how God has His portion in a day of brokenness and disaster. David goes up and he reaches the top. Before he reaches the summit the word comes

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to him that Ahithophel is among the conspirators. Ahithophel refers to that which has the reputation for wisdom, that which once was, as it were, in the service of Christ, but, alas! is now in revolt. One might enlarge on it; that which had a reputation amongst the saints of God for wisdom and actually had part in the service for God is now on the side of revolt. We are rapidly reaching the time when the whole profession will be in revolt; it is well nigh here. It is appalling, the rapidity with which the revolt against Christ has spread and is spreading, but here is a spiritual man; he prays to God; he says, "Turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness" He reckons on God. Is there any other way for us? Shall we not be overwhelmed with the rebellion and revolt save as God comes in for us? and is He not coming in for us? He is. Have we no incentive to pray? We have. What happened? Ahithophel was utterly defeated in his counsel, and he went and hanged himself. We can count on God to make a way for us, both locally and generally, however powerful the opposition, and David knew the power of Ahithophel; but God was more powerful, and He turned that wisdom into foolishness, for "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" 1 Corinthians 3:19 But it does not always for us turn into foolishness; many of us go by it. But it is when it is turned into foolishness (and God knows how to do that) its power is broken. We can reckon on that.

Then David went on to the top, to the summit of the mount. What mount? The mount of Olives, the place of the Spirit of God. It is the power of the Spirit; Olivet generally signifies that. It is only thus that I can ascend, and in ascending and reaching the top to worship God.

It is worshippers thus indicated, as I believe you will agree, that God is seeking. Do not speak of worship, speak about worshippers -- it is the persons

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God seeks, and David is representative here of those who worship God. You see in him what is comely and befitting in a day like ours; and so we have the covering of the head -- the refusal to claim anything in the way of wisdom, the baring of the feet -- the acknowledgment that we really deserve death, to go back into the earth; and then the weeping -- moved in our feelings in regard of conditions, and the result on the summit that we worship God. And then Hushai comes, a friend, one who, as the sequel shows, became the means of the overthrow of Ahithophel and of Absalom. That is the way, and one hopes that we may all learn it a little, and that God may have His portion in these our days, for His name's sake.

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1 Kings 19:5 - 8; Matthew 26:21 - 30

J.T. I have been thinking today about the Lord's supper as being representative of food, as it is also a memorial of the Lord. It occurred to me that perhaps it is less understood as food than it is as a memorial. Luke presents the memorial, having in mind that the Lord would be absent and that He should not be forgotten -- that there should be a means of calling Him to mind and thus giving Him place as Head. He therefore makes much of order as such -- the hour and placing; "when the hour was come" the Lord "placed himself at table" Luke 22:14 we read. This bears out the instructions of 1 Corinthians, where we have the same idea advanced and enlarged on in chapter 11, indicating how the supper is to be eaten, and our behaviour in it, lest we should attempt to partake of it in an unworthy or unsuitable manner. But Matthew, being the administrative gospel, has in view that it should be food, so that we should be sustained spiritually in the assembly; he therefore stresses the idea of eating, saying nothing about the memorial, but he records the going to the mount of Olives, as if the eating were to give spiritual strength for that. In the challenge as to the betrayal and also in introducing His supper, the disciples were eating; see verses 21 and 26. "As they did eat" and "as they were eating"

F.W.J. In Mark it says, "Take, eat"

J.T. The word 'eat' is questionable there. In verse 22 of Mark 14 He gave it to them and said, "Take" the word 'eat' may be there, but it is doubtful. Possibly it was added by some editor to make it uniform with Matthew, but according to the New Translation it is just "Take"; and it does not

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say 'drink', but "they all drank" Mark 14:23 so it is quite evident that Matthew leads in stressing the idea of eating. I believe that the non-eating of the passover and occupation with other things throughout the week would weaken it, because it was "as they were eating" He introduced it. Unless we keep the feast of unleavened bread, which is a continuous thing, we are hardly equal to this particular food.

F.W.J. The passover and the Supper took place on the same occasion.

J.T. Yes, they did, and the one ran into the other. I think the feast of unleavened bread as a continuous eating prepares for this special thing, and, apart from the keeping of this feast, there may be a certain remembrance of the Lord, but certainly no increase of spiritual power through eating.

F.R.S. What would answer to the keeping of that feast through the week for us now?

J.T. It is called "unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth" 1 Corinthians 5:8 which involves what has come out in Christ in a general way. The passover and the feast of unleavened bread stood in relation to the people of God in the types as going out of Egypt, and as in the wilderness, and as entering the land; so in each position we need that food; each position requires it.

F.W.J. That does not connect itself with coming together, does it?

J.T. No, it does not. In Corinthians it is introduced in chapter 5 in view of dealing with evil.

F.R.S. Is it the constant application of the death of the passover lamb?

J.T. It is the beginning of our spiritual history. The lamb was roast with fire, and was to be eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. "For also our passover, Christ, has been sacrificed" 1 Corinthians 5:7 is an objective thought. It refers to God dealing with the Lord directly as our representative. Later, at the consecration of the priests, you have the idea of boiling; there was the

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boiling of a certain offering (Leviticus 8:31), which is indirect action of fire. The fire is indirect in boiling; in roasting it is direct. The direct action of God against sin is in the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread corresponds with that in us; but in the Lord's supper, it is not the Lord dealing with sin; death is there, but it is more in the sense of boiling; it is food of another kind -- food that a priest needs. You have already eaten of the passover, but we need to apprehend Christ in love giving Himself for us; it is not so much His bearing the judgment of God as His giving Himself for us. Christ has died for us in love; that supports you in the partaking of the Supper, and it adds to your strength.

Ques. Why do we get the eating only with the passover, and eating and drinking with the Supper?

J.T. Well, I think that in the passover as the Lord partook of it there were both; only in the primary institution there was nothing said about drinking, but in the gospel of Luke there is the passover cup as well as the cup of the Lord's supper, and it was of the passover cup that the Lord said He would not drink again till the kingdom of God should come. He partook of the passover cup.

Ques. Does that infer that His joy in connection with Israel is deferred?

J.T. Yes. And when He does drink it again it will be in a "new way" It is only in connection with the passover cup you have the word 'wine' mentioned; it is never mentioned in connection with the Lord's supper.

Rem. We mention it in our hymns sometimes.

Ques. Why did the Lord not partake of the cup in the Supper?

J.T. It was for them. He did not die for Himself, nor did He pour out His blood for Himself, it is for us; but as coming in by the door into the fold He was on Jewish ground, and acted as a Jew should.

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You can understand that, but He did not die for Himself. "My blood, that of the [new] covenant, that shed for many for remission of sins" could not have any application to Him.

Ques. Why 'many', and not all?

J.T. Well, I think that the word 'many' was wider than Israel. "Who gave himself a ransom for all" 1 Timothy 2:6 but the covenant is not as wide as that, it is for God's people, those who were in direct relation with Him. As the Mediator between God and men He gave Himself for all, but that does not mean that all come into the covenant. It has more the aspect of the blood of the covenant; the passover cup is not the testimony to the love of God.

Ques. The passover is not commemorative, is it?

J.T. At the beginning it was a reminder as to how God took them out of Egypt, so it was to be held yearly. But as applied to us, it is not commemorative at all; it has a spiritual significance only, meaning that it is the state of soul we are to be in. That is the thought.

Rem. That has to be maintained as a constant exercise.

J.T. Yes. So that many fail in the appetite that is necessary for the Lord's supper for the reason that the state of soul is not there; the feast of unleavened bread is not kept up. The Lord's supper goes beyond milk, although the youngest believer may have part in it.

Ques. Is not sincerity and truth put in contrast to malice and wickedness?

J.T. Quite. You can understand these being pressed on the Corinthians as those other evils were present there.

Ques. In Luke 22:20, it says, "In like manner also the cup, after having supped"; does that mean the passover supper?

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J.T. Yes. The word 'sup' does not refer to drinking specially, it refers to taking the passover supper. It may sound paradoxical, but really we have to eat to eat. Even physically it is sometimes so; one is so very weak that it becomes necessary to build up an appetite with delicate food so as to be able to take strong food.

Ques. "Solid food belongs to full-grown men, who, on account of habit, have their senses exercised for distinguishing both good and evil" Hebrews 5:14. Would that be on the line of discernment?

J.T. Yes. So you get in Isaiah 7, "Therefore will the Lord himself give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and shall bring forth a son, and call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good" certain food is necessary for that.

F.W.J. In taking the passover, it is exclusive. They ate the bitter herbs with it, but nothing else.

J.T. Yes.

Ques. Is the mount of Olives an end to be reached?

J.T. I think so. The fact that it is found in Matthew and Mark only teaches us, I think, that the eating enables us to reach it.

Ques. What is the idea of the mount of Olives?

J.T. Spiritual elevation and strength are suggested in the mount; olives usually in Scripture are a type of the Spirit.

F.W.J. Does it go beyond resurrection and touch ascension?

J.T. I think it does. We are raised "through faith of the working of God, who raised him from among the dead" (Colossians 2:12), but then we are "quickened together with him" Colossians 2:13 so that we are in the power of that life. That life is ministered to, I think, in the Supper. We read of Elijah that in the strength of that meat he went forty days to the

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mount of God; 1 Kings 19:8. It is a question of the support there was, and God taking account of the fact that he needed that. There is the double action, too -- he ate twice.

Ques. What would that imply?

J.T. I think the first meal gave him strength to take the second. That at least is the kind of thing you get in a spiritual sense.

Ques. Does it create appetite?

J.T. Yes, I think in the sense in which we are speaking of it that eating creates appetite.

F.W.J. In regard to food, does John 6 come in at all?

J.T. It does indeed, only there it is a question of life, but it is on the same line. The sign in that chapter is the feeding of the five thousand, and the teaching is based on that. There it is, He has come down and given His life; it is the most perfect, in a way, of all the chapters. His flesh and His blood speak of a dead Christ as having come down. He came down to die, so that one may eat and live, for His flesh is truly food and His blood is truly drink.

Ques. Is that what we do at the Supper?

J.T. John 6 is another line. "If any one shall have eaten of this bread he shall live for ever" John 6:51: then he that eats and drinks has eternal life. It is a question of eternal life there, but it runs parallel with the Lord's supper. The Lord's supper is "This is my body": it does not say 'my flesh'.

F.R.S. Would you explain that a little?

J.T. His body is that in which He carried out the will of God even unto death; it is the food that helps me to carry out the will of God, to be subject to His will. In John 6 the blood as separated from the flesh is the end of that order of man altogether -- the total ending of that order.

Ques. Has the loaf the assembly as the body in view as well as Christ's own body?

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J.T. I think so. It has in 1 Corinthians anyway; the idea of the body is that there should be a vessel here for the will of God, but the flesh and the blood in John 6 allude to the ending altogether of that man, so that life is terminated after that order. But the body of Christ as food is to prepare for a vessel here for God's will, and the cup to prepare a vessel for God's love -- God's will and God's love. These are wonderful things!

Y.Y-L. The Lord says in John 6, "The bread withal which I shall give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" What is the idea of that?

J.T. The universal bearing of it. He had nothing less than that in view; it was not simply for Israel, it was there for anyone: that was the bearing of it, but only the eater gets the good of it; eating brings you into it. John 6 stands in relation to the gospel, for eternal life is announced in the gospel; the chapter shows how you come into the proposal of the gospel, but the body is a question of a vessel. God had a vessel here in Christ, but in the Supper I am looking at Him as dead; He died to carry out the will of God.

Y.Y-L. When the Lord broke the bread and said, "This is my body" He was not referring to the loaf, but drawing attention to His own body.

J.T. Quite. The loaf is undoubtedly a figure of His own body. It is that in which the will of God was carried out to the utmost limit. In Matthew and Mark it is not for us; that is Luke, which is to show that He loved us in doing it; but Matthew and Mark is more that it is the vessel of God's will. He is forsaken in both these gospels on the cross, but He is not forsaken in Luke or John. In the first two gospels it is a question of the will of God being carried out to the utmost limits; "take eat"; I feed on that; it develops a vessel for the will of God.

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Rem. In Corinthians you have a wider application than in the gospels.

J.T. You have an application of it there to the doctrine of Paul; the gospels laid the basis for that, but in Corinthians it was intended to be available as a figure of the assembly as the body of Christ; it is remarkable therefore how the gospels prepare for the epistles. It is only as apprehending Christ's body as here for the will of God that I can be in His body as composed of the saints. How can I be in the body of Christ if my will is active? I may claim to be in it, but I am not in it.

Ques. Does that not take you out of your individual position?

J.T. Yes, I am merged in one body, but what underlies that is that I am subject to the will of God. God does not dwell in that which is lawless. I cannot be in that which expresses Christ if I am lawless.

Rem. And the Corinthian truth would be the inlet for us.

J.T. Quite. You really begin with the epistles, if you understand the gospels.

Y.Y-L. The great moral reason God had in bringing about the body was that His will might be continued. God does not do anything without a moral reason.

J.T. That is right; hence you cannot conceive of anyone who understands the truth of the body insisting on his own will in the assembly; it is utterly incompatible with the assembly, and this food is to enable me to be strong enough to disallow my will.

Rem. So it says of Elijah he rose up and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights.

J.T. Quite; the question of food is most interesting and important, for how can we be sustained without it? Many, I am afraid, live on light, but we cannot really do it; there can be no growth without food. Much is made of food all through Scripture;

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the first chapter of the Bible emphasises it -- the vegetable -- and then, when God puts greater responsibility on man, as with Noah, He introduces flesh, which indicates a principle, that God supports us according to our responsibility, and the greater responsibility of Matthew implies that they were to be nourished accordingly. Men were evidently vegetarians before Noah.

Ques. Why is the mount of Olives connected with the singing of the hymn?

J.T. I think it shows in this gospel that there is power to move on after we partake of the Supper. In this gospel and Mark we are told they went to the mount of Olives, but not in Luke or John, for I think these two gospels, particularly Matthew, bring in the idea of food as supporting us so that we are able to go beyond the mere light. Many partake of the supper as a mere matter of light, and go away without having received one atom of strength more than they had, whereas the idea is that we get strength. It is the strength of a meal for a given period. We eat daily, but Elijah ate only once in about six weeks -- forty days -- which suggests the idea of food carrying you through a period. In the assembly's history, I believe the Lord's supper is intended to carry us through week by week.

Ques. So you would not leave out the Luke aspect of the Lord's supper as a memorial?

J.T. They go together; we need them together. The memorial is that I bring the Lord in, He is present, so that He becomes Head. But there is not a word of the memorial in Matthew, there it is that I might be equal to the greatness of the occasion if the Lord comes in.

Ques. What do we eat in relation to the Supper?

J.T. It is His body. We have to distinguish between His flesh in John 6 and His body.

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Ques. Does it connect itself with "Lo, I come" a "body hast thou prepared me"? Hebrews 10

F.R.S. Is it all that was seen in the pathway of the Lord here -- the meat-offering side?

J.T. Yes, but it is now seen as separated from the blood, the life is out of it; and why? Because of the will of God and because of the love of God -- the two things go together.

Y.Y-L. We have often spoken of His love as nourishing us.

J.T. Yes, but the thought of the will of God nourishes us. The greatest lesson that man has to learn is, "Thy will be done as in heaven so upon the earth" Matthew 6:10 How is it to be done on earth? As we see it in Christ's body and appropriate it as available to us. It is complete identification with that.

F.W.J. Does the flesh stand for a condition, whereas the body is a vehicle?

J.T. Yes, exactly; the one is a condition and the other a vessel. The condition (flesh and blood) is terminated for ever, but the vessel remains, and the idea of it is continued here in the saints.

Ques. Does Hebrews 10 help us, "By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ"?

J.T. Yes, that is it; it is the will of God.

F.R.S. I suppose the body is that in which the life could be laid down.

J.T. That is the way it is put in John, but here I see a vessel in which the will of God is carried out, but I also see the love of God; so the two things come in, "this is my body" and "this is my blood that of the [new] covenant" In order to come into the love I must be in the will of God. The will of God is morally first, so that I might be in the love of God. All the difficulties among us are because of not appropriating the body. The unleavened bread is simply a question of being transparent and true in all our relations, but

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the body of Christ is a question of being true to Christ who went into death.

Ques. Why is the blood separated from the body?

J.T. Because of me. The cup is the love of God coming into your heart. The two things go together -- the will of God and the love of God. You have a constitution now that is vigorous and able to take advantage of what the memorial effects. The memorial brings Christ in now according to what He is, not according to what He was. How am I to know a Person who can come in through closed doors without opening them? I need a spiritual constitution for that -- to join Him.

F.W.J. So that in the Supper you do not think much of the precious life of Christ on earth, but you have your communion with Him where He now is.

J.T. Well, you call Him to mind as He is; the eating involves what He was here in His death, for really it is as dead He is before us. Many of us do not touch that at all because of want of spiritual energy; we go away as we come. True enough, the Lord owns our coming as acting in light, but there is more than light needed to build up our constitution. There is not a word about His supper while He was here during the forty days till He goes up to heaven, for it is a question of His being in heaven away from this earth that is the setting of the Supper. But when He came into their midst, He said, "Have you here anything to eat?" He did not specify it, that is to say, He will have part in what you have; what have you here in this locality? As risen from the dead He partakes of what we have, but it is not His supper.

Ques. Does the eating bring glory to Him?

J.T. The Supper is His provision; it is all from His side.

H.H. In His supper would you say we remember Him where He was?

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J.T. It is a dead Christ you are occupied with; that is the WAY He is to be remembered. Who is to be remembered? The One who has gone, and is now absent. There is not a word about His supper while He was here during the forty days; if it was a matter only of recalling His death, it would have been as suitable then as afterwards, but it is not that -- it is remembering Him who was dead. The symbols of His death form the memorial, but the memorial is of the One who is absent.

F.W.J. So that the Supper would hardly be in place while He was here on earth, but He instituted the Supper in view of His going away.

J.T. Yes. The food at the beginning of the week carries you through, but the feast of unleavened bread is for the seven days.

F.W.J. And the latter is kept in our houses.

J.T. Yes, it is more individual.

Y.Y-L. Do you not think that if, from force of circumstances, the Supper is not taken by us, there is a kind of unexplainable feeling of loss?

J.T. Indeed I am sure that is so.

Y.Y-L. You feel starved, though the Lord can make it up to you. But unless we see to it that there is an appetite and real relish for the Supper, we suffer.

J.T. So you begin your week on the one hand with this food, bringing to your soul the thought of the will of God in One whose delight it was to do it even unto death; and, on the other hand, that in that coming He has brought the love of God to you and made it available for you. That brings in a vessel suitable for administrative action in the assembly. In the strength of that food Elijah went to Horeb, the mount of God, and in the strength of it I go to the mount of Olives with Him. It does not say He went; "they went out to the mount of Olives" It is a mutual movement, meaning I am fit for it; I am fit to take that way with Him.

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F.W.J. So in that way when we drink of the cup the soul is more intimately linked with God in connection with His love than with the loaf?

J.T. Yes, I think so. The Lord is more personally before you in the loaf, "my body"; but the cup is the new covenant, and the new covenant is God's covenant, so that the Lord now, as it were, retires, and God is in evidence.

Ques. How are we affected during the week by the food we partake of on the first day?

J.T. You are carried through in assembly character as the anointed vessel, the vessel of testimony. So all that comes out in 1 Corinthians in chapters 11 to 14 bears on how we are here in the assembly. It is an immense thought that I belong to that vessel. How am I to be equal to it save as partaking of that food?

F.W.J. Does that bring in chapter 10 -- the thought of the table?

J.T. That is to deliver me from worldly associations. Chapter 10 is preparatory; it is a question of fellowship. I must be in accord with the Lord's death and I must be consistent and true to the fellowship of His death, even although the eye of my brethren is not upon me.

Ques. Would you say that the sphere of our service during the week is largely determined by our entrance into privilege?

J.T. Yes, it gives colour to it; the mount of Olives gives colour to you -- the heavenly touch. Then you are looking on to another first day, and thus your weeks go on.

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Ephesians 4:4 - 6

In reading these verses, well known to most of us, I have in mind to speak about the unity of the Spirit, and I wish to remark at the outset that it stands connected, as I hope to show in the passage, with a fixed order of things. A fixed order of things has always stood connected with God's testimony. The principle appears at the outset in the heavens and the earth; there was stability connected with them, which stability could not be affected by anything occurring on the earth's surface or through man as placed upon it. Much is made of the foundations. Wisdom had to do with them, and as laid "the morning stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy" Job 38:7. A stable order of things was in view, so that in the Old Testament, at least, the earth is referred to as established for ever; God "built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which he hath founded for ever" Psalm 78:69. And so in introducing man upon it, God had a stable order of things in which His testimony was set -- not, indeed, that it was set in man, but nevertheless it was there, and there permanently, so as to be referred to. As man veered from his orbit there was always that which was stable and which God never failed to refer to as needed.

Now I wish that this may be laid hold of at the outset, for unless it is we shall be unduly uneasy, whereas God would have us to be assured. Hence in view of dark days we are told that the "foundation of God" stands sure, that is to say, there is stability, and stability in connection with which the testimony stands.

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Now, having said so much in regard of what is stable and to which I hope presently to return, I wish for a moment to speak of the great vessel -- Paul -- through whom those words which I have read have come to us. You will remember that in chapter 3 of this epistle he speaks of himself as "prisoner of the Christ Jesus" He was a prisoner, but not of the emperor; he was a prisoner of Christ Jesus. We can understand how restful he was as such; the Christ needed him for other work than that which he had essayed to do in making his way to Jerusalem. He was moved somewhat obviously by undue affection for his nation, and such undue affection can never make for the unity of the Spirit. Anything bordering on national feeling must be inimical to the unity of the Spirit. The Spirit is above and beyond all such feelings; and so we find with this great vessel that the Holy Spirit witnessed to him in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited him.

It is important to note the words the Spirit of God uses, and the use made of the word 'city' in connection with Paul's ministry is of immense importance in the testimony. Elders had been appointed in cities and this was not for nothing, for we find that freedom was found in them for the Spirit, that through them even this great vessel could be reminded of what was ahead of him. Cities are areas of population to which God intended primarily to pay special attention. In the book of Proverbs (chapter 1:21) we are told that wisdom lifts up her voice "in the chief [place] of concourse" God in His consideration for men sets His testimony there. It is not only that it is there, but it is superior in organisation and power to man's organisation.

And so we find that the Spirit of God witnessed to Paul in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited him. You can see therefore the importance of maintaining the divine order in cities so that there should

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be room for the Spirit to bear witness, not only in any given city, but even in a general way, as in this case. His face was turned to Jerusalem, whereas Christ's activities were in the West and He had used the apostle, as he himself tells us, from Jerusalem, and round about to Illyricum; Romans 15:19. In the power of Christ he had witnessed in that immense region bearing towards the West -- the great Grecian system. But now his face was towards the East, towards Jerusalem, and so as he disregarded the testimony of the Spirit in the cities, he was taken prisoner in Jerusalem. The instrumentalities of the imprisonment and the fact that he appealed to Caesar are of small moment; he was the prisoner of the Christ for the Gentiles. In chapter 4 he tells us that he was the prisoner not of the Christ, but "in the Lord"; that is to say, he was not a felon, he was a prisoner in the Lord, as the better reading plainly states. Thus he is consciously, as you may say, able to appeal to these beloved Ephesians, and he appeals to them first in regard of their calling. He intended it to be a leverage in their souls; he intended that they should be touched by the wonderful place they had in the divine purpose; that they were to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering. And then he brings in another thought, "Using diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace" You see the word 'unity' here opens up for us an immense range, and, in referring to the Old Testament as to the fixed order of things, I wish for a moment to show from it how this fixed order of things, that is to say, a moral system of things in connection with men, took form and became established as marking the Israelitish economy. And for that reason I specially call your attention to Joseph, as one who may be regarded as supremely suggestive, typically, of this great principle of endeavouring to

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keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.

I refer briefly to the introduction of the elements of unity. They sprang from Jacob. There were twelve sons born of several mothers, and in Genesis 37 the Spirit of God introduces the generations of Jacob. He had in mind to develop, in these generations, this great principle of unity; but only Joseph is given to us in that chapter, and many chapters intervene before we have the generations of Jacob, for the reason that the unity of the Spirit in the principle of it became sadly interfered with, so much so that the Holy Spirit drops the thought and fixes our attention on one of the sons of Jacob. Presently the murderous state of the others came to light; rivalry and envy culminating in hatred marked the ten. But in the presence of this, we have introduced in Joseph the sure means of the establishment of the unity of the Spirit, and so in relating his first dream he tells us that his sheaf stood up and the others did obeisance to it, that is to say, in the midst of this state of things you have power, a power to stand up -- a great principle throughout Scripture; for, as the unity of the Spirit is outwardly interfered with, the only hope is in the ability of someone to stand up.

I need not remark how this applies to the Lord throughout the gospels, both morally and in the power of life, as He rose from the dead. And so as we proceed in the history of Joseph we find that he brings about unity with the most marvellous skill going through the most excruciating sorrows and trials, he emerges therefrom into lordship and brings about in his brethren the unity of the Spirit in a most marvellous way, so that now the testimony moves on out of Canaan, not a unity of agreement to differ, but a unity of affection brought about under the influence of Joseph -- a unity, as we may say, in priesthood, so that Jacob is carried down into Egypt

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by his sons; and they were all there, and their sons.

Now I wish to say here, so as to make the matter clearer, that this is how matters began in Egypt. Lordship is established, and unity brought about under the influence of Joseph, and then the light of God covering their whole history, poured out into their ears from their father Jacob. What a picture! If it be a question only of the light of God coming to us, is that not an incentive to unity? For it is as the tribes are brought together in the unity of affection that the mind of God is opened up to them and they are blessed. Can we afford to forfeit these things by the intrusion of elements of discord and dislocation? Can we afford to trifle with these things? Think of what is in the heart of God for us! And so, as I said, you have a marvellous opening up in Jacob, the father of the twelve sons, of the mind of God, and then a blessing for each of them. "This is what their father spoke to them; and he blessed them: every one according to his blessing he blessed them" Genesis 49:28. So that they are in Egypt possessed of the mind of God in unity, and blessed.

Now all this, I may further add, makes room for ministry, and so the book of Exodus opens up the great subject of ministry. I am endeavouring to show you the great importance of unity, the unity of the Spirit. Think of the depths of the book of Exodus, of the wonderful provision made in the training of Moses and of Aaron for the ministry! In chapter 6 the Holy Spirit gives you the genealogy of the sons of Jacob until he arrives at Levi, for it is now a question of the ministry. The unity of the tribes has been secured. Can we afford to lose ministry from God? What should we do without it? And so the book of Exodus opens up to us the ministry, and from the ministry the sanctuary, and in connection with the sanctuary the establishment in type of a fixed order of things, for the tabernacle was a pattern,

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we are told, of things in the heavens -- things that are beyond the reach of dislocation by human or satanic effort. It is founded on the immutable basis of redemption.

I want to show further how this great moral system (corresponding with Ephesians 4:4 - 6) is pictured, vaguely it may be, in the typical books. First, we have one Lord. It is true that we have lordship in Joseph, but that was from the divine side "God" he says, "sent me before you to preserve you a remnant in the earth" Genesis 45:7 God acted from Himself apart from the people in setting up Joseph. But I want to speak of lordship in connection with Moses, for that is what we have to do with as entering into the mediatorial system which God has set up. Joseph was not lord in connection with a fixed order of things, Moses was, and he acquired that place on moral grounds; and so I would appeal to young people here for a moment as to how you regard Christ. What is He to you? You may refer me to Acts 2 and say, God has made Him Lord and Christ; but what have you made Him? You cannot make Him Lord and Christ in heaven, and you cannot make Him Lord and Christ over all things, but it is for you to do that in your own soul in regard of yourself. Hence in the epistles of Paul we have, "To us ... one Lord, Jesus Christ" 1 Corinthians 8:6 "Jesus Christ our Lord" 1 Corinthians 1:9 etc. It is said of Moses that he was "king in Jeshurun, When the heads of the people And the tribes of Israel were gathered together" Deuteronomy 33:5 that is to say, he acquired kingship in their affection, hence it came out, as we are told in Exodus 14, "the people feared Jehovah, and believed in Jehovah, and in Moses his bondman" Exodus 14:31 The Holy Spirit enlarges on that for us in saying that they "all were baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Corinthians 10:2); they came under him there was one Lord, and the one act of faith attributed to them is that "by faith they passed through the

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Red Sea" Hebrews 11:29. There was "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" The unity was developed in connection with that. In the altar set up by Moses and in the breastplate of the high priest you see unity in affection; and then finally, in the ordering of the tribes in relation to the new system, what came out was a change in the relative position of the tribes, that is to say, there was a test for them and they stood the test, for Judah had the first place.

Now you see how God forecast, as worked out morally in the souls of the people of God, the establishment of a moral system that was to stand -- a stable thing. There was one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and in relation to that the unity of the tribes. And then as we might expect, there is the assertion in the book of Deuteronomy, "Hear, Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord" Mark 12:29; the unity of God is seen.

Now I come back to my scripture (Ephesians 4), so that you may see how simply the matter stands, and I would refer for a moment to the body. He says, "[There is] one body" Bearing in mind what I have said, you will see how this stands in the Acts in connection with the second concentric circle spoken of -- "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" I want to show you how that concentric circle does not refer to Acts 2 directly, but to Acts 9; that this fixed order of things that is before us here refers to what has come about under Paul, not what was at Pentecost, great as that was. And so you find in Acts 9 that Saul sets out breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. The Holy Spirit wishes to bring into evidence what the Lord can do. It was a question of the disciples of the Lord, and so the chapter develops for us what the Lord was to His people, and in the exercising of that power in regard of His people, in defence of His people and in providing for them, the great truth of the body comes to light, "Why dost thou persecute me?" Acts 9:4 There

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it is! But then before we have the thing formally named we see it working out among the saints. It is a principle generally in Scripture that a thing is present before it is named, and so in the chapters that follow we have the working out of the principle of the body in circumstances that were opposed to it, and that militated against it, that is to say, Jewish feelings versus Gentile feelings.

Now I want you to take notice of this, because, as I have already remarked, national feelings and sympathies, and local feelings and sympathies are inimical to the working out of this great principle of the body and of the unity of the Spirit. Hence in this chapter you find how the barriers are broken down, as I said before, in a moral way in a man like Barnabas -- a man for the moment, a man who had been surnamed by the apostles, "son of consolation" a man who although himself a Jew, a Levite by birth, could take account of what God was doing elsewhere, and who can appreciate it, and who can link things on in a living way; he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit, we read. He was identified in a practical way with what God was doing elsewhere, and he links all together.

And now you find that at Antioch such conditions of unity existed that the truth of the one Spirit stood out. I have been speaking of the Holy Spirit witnessing in cities, but I wish to dwell for a moment on the exercise of His function in Antioch, so that we may see what we may miss by disregarding the unity of the Spirit. We find there men like Barnabas mentioned first, and Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, and Manaen, foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. They were men from different parts of the world and from different stations of life, but they are all together ministering to the Lord. They were in Antioch, in the assembly there and the Holy Spirit speaks. I refer to it briefly so

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that you may see how the one Spirit operates in relation to unity, practical unity, amongst the saints. "Separate me" He says, "Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" Acts 13:2 So that the one body is the first thing mentioned; it is a question, when I come to it practically, of myself. "[There is] one body, and one Spirit, as ye have been also called in one hope of your calling" The body is composed of believers who have the Spirit. How do I stand in relation to them? That is how it works. How do I regard them? Am I prepared to lose any of them? Can I afford to lose any of them? These are questions that I have to ask myself in the presence of God. At Antioch were they prepared to do without Barnabas and Saul? No! they did not wish to let them go, but the Holy Spirit demanded them, and they released them; they let them go. Need I say that Barnabas and Saul were loved? They were, but they let them go, laying their hands upon them. There was on the one hand the evidence of loving confidence among these brethren, and on the other, entire submission to the Holy Spirit. There is thus presented a beautiful picture of practical unity among saints, and the presence of the one Spirit operating in relation to it.

I need not go further. I would particularly emphasise the body; "There is one body" It is worked out in Corinthians from the Lord's supper. Before it is introduced in its local bearing, we have it in its general bearing and that is, "we, [being] many, are one loaf, one body; for we all partake of that one loaf" 1 Corinthians 10:17 Now that is worked out as from the body of Christ, for the passage (1 Corinthians 10:16) says, "The bread which we break, is it not [the] communion of the body of the Christ?" 1 Corinthians 10:16 The body of Christ is given to us for food, as the Lord Himself said, "Take eat: this is my body" Matthew 26:26 If I feed on that I shall not give place to the natural propensities of my own will, for I

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shall see that He took that body to carry out the will of God. I can never be in the one body practically, according to God, save as eating His body, and so it goes on, "We, [being] many, are one loaf, and one body; for we all partake of that one loaf" 1 Corinthians 10:17 Let us be consistent with what we are doing! Much has been made of the Lord's supper; we may well thank God for every bit of light and instruction accorded to us, but let us think of Christ's body to be eaten. "Take eat" He says, "this is my body" Matthew 26:26 As I do that, I cannot reserve anything; all has to go to make room for that, and in making room for the great features of Christ as doing the will of God, and witnessing to the love of God down here, I fit into the one body. We get that truth consolidated in chapter 12. The apostle says, "For also in [the power of] one Spirit we have all been baptised into one body" 1 Corinthians 12:13 So that in the mentioning of the body first in this great system -- a fixed order of things -- I begin with myself; how am I in that?

Then I go to the Spirit, then on to the calling, and then I find myself surrounded by the kingdom, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" as it is developed in Acts 9 and 10. Then I find, "one God and Father" It is not now, "Hear, Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord" Mark 12:29 but it is, "To us [there is] one God, the Father" 1 Corinthians 8:6 You see what a fixed and blessed state of things we are connected with, and it is immovable; it is as fixed as the ordinances of the heavens and the earth; it cannot be moved. God has done it, but I am in it. I begin with myself in regard of it -- my relation to the body. It is a question of my relation to my brethren, and apart from attention to this there is no possibility of keeping the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.

May God bless the word, dear brethren, to us at this time.

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John 6:1 - 13

I have in mind to speak about food, and to point out that those who may shine in service for the Lord in other relations often fail, often come short in the way of supply of food for the Lord's people. This 'sign' in John 6 introduces the subject of spiritual food in this gospel; it fits in here in the teaching of the book, and from it the Lord develops His teaching on this subject, dwelling as He does later on, on the kind of food that is essential to life -- that we may have life, and that life may be sustained in us. It refers to the condition which the Lord took. In treating of the Supper in this connection the Lord speaks of His body as 'food', not as 'flesh and blood'; He says, "Take, eat: this is my body" Matthew 26:26 The Spirit of God is careful and designing in the choice of words, and so when He quotes the Lord as using the word 'body' He means 'body'; the Lord is not dealing with the condition of flesh and blood but with the vessel. He is referring to that which had been prepared for Him, in which He was to carry out the will of God, and He has in mind in referring to it thus as food, that those who eat should be vessels for the will of God. It is not only that those who eat are to be subject to the will of God, but we are to be vessels of it.

The one who is particularly called a vessel in Scripture, namely, Paul, began with that, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Acts 9:6 So the Lord in speaking to Ananias says of him, "This [man] is an elect vessel to me" Acts 9:15 We understand this in one who was to disclose to us the mind of God as to the assembly; so in Matthew and Mark the Lord alludes

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to His body as food: "Take, eat" He says, "this is my body" Matthew 26:26 But He refers in this chapter not to that but to the condition He had taken in flesh and blood: "for my flesh is truly food and my blood is truly drink" (verse 55). "He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal" (verse 54). It is a question of the condition which the Lord took, or I should say more correctly, of that which He became here, for in John it is a divine Person become flesh. As a divine Person become flesh, He took up a condition which was laid down in death -- perfectly sinless and holy, yet He laid it down in death. It was the expression of all the grace of heaven, but He laid it down; and it was that we might learn the end of it in ourselves, that the condition has been ended vicariously in Him.

The condition -- manhood -- is retained, for the Son of man ascends up where He was before. He laid down His life that He might take it again, but in another condition, not now flesh and blood, but in another condition in which we share, or have part, as eating the food furnished. Thus we see His condition in manhood is one thing; the eating of His body is another, and the taking of the Lord's supper is food. He expressly says in Matthew, as also in Mark, we are to eat: "Take, eat: this is my body" Matthew 26:26; and to drink the cup, saying, "Drink ye all of it" Matthew 26:27; all Christians are appealed to in that way -- no one should omit to drink of it. The Lord was to be here, on the one hand, as a vessel for the will of God, and on the other as an expression of the love of God; and so we have to eat and to drink. John is not dealing with the assembly as such, he is concerned about life, and so it has a very direct application now, because there is so little life in evidence among the people of God. This sign is to bring out that the Lord is taking account of the need that exists, and that whatever you or I do, He Himself knows what

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He will do. It is what He will do. "He himself knew what he would do"

Now what I would point out is that He changes His position radically before this subject is introduced. The chapter, as you observe, begins with, "After these things Jesus went away beyond the sea of Galilee, [or] of Tiberias" There can be no doubt about the location; we have the two names given by which that sea was known, and it is not simply that He went across the sea, but that He went away beyond it, and this happened after certain other things had occurred. These other things had taken place in Jerusalem; chapter 5. Jerusalem stood for the recognised religion of the day, the accredited religion of the world, and I would point out in this connection that the emphasis in John is laid on the Jews; the scribes and the leaders of the people are mentioned, too, but the emphasis in John is on the Jews as the opposers of Christ. In the synoptic gospels it is more the leaders of the Jews who had the responsibility. The Lord in Matthew 23 deals unsparingly with them, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" Matthew 23:13 There it is not a question of the Jews, but of the leaders of the Jews. There are corresponding leaders at the present time, and their teachings are leavening the mass.

John takes account of the masses; he contemplates light as having been presented to them -- the most wonderful light, but they have rejected it. It was a reprobate condition; it is not simply prominent leaders, but a reprobate, apostate condition of the masses; and that we have to deal with now. The evil teaching, which in various forms has been current for well-nigh a century past, is no longer peculiar to certain leaders, it is permeating the masses. So that we find a condition in the masses that is opposed to Christ. Hence John begins with the light, "In him

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was life, and the life was the light of men" John 1:4. He is careful to add that John was not that light, and he goes on to say that the light shone in darkness; it was a condition, "and the darkness apprehended it not" John 1:5 The masses, as I said, are darkened, and the light is no longer permeating them; they resist it.

You find in John generally that individuals as such get blessing, corresponding to our own time, and so chapter 5 brings out what I have been saying. The Lord was in Jerusalem; God was lingering there providentially, notwithstanding the guilt of the city, as He is today in Christendom; He is lingering over the profession. The Lord appears in the midst of these things, and by His word He raises up an impotent man. In answer to Him the man says, "I have not a man, in order, when the water has been troubled, to cast me into the pool" John 5:7 In the midst of all that profession there was not a man, not one with sympathies according to God, one who would care for such a person as that. Doubtless there were many there of repute, Gamaliels and the like, but the impotent man says, "I have not a man ... to cast me into the pool" John 5:7 In the midst of all that, there was no one with the sympathy, the compassions of God to meet need, and so the Lord appears and He Himself meets the need, and heals the man. It is on the sabbath, and in so doing He interferes with the symbol of the current religion, and for this we are told the Jews persecuted Jesus because He had done these things on the sabbath day! Think of the condition among the masses -- the Jews -- that would persecute a man who did such a work as to say to a poor, impotent man who had lain there for thirty-eight years, "Take up thy couch and walk"! John 5:8 Think of the condition there that would lead the Jews to persecute Him!

As they converse with the Lord in their opposition He says to them, "My Father worketh hitherto and

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I work" chapter 5:17. What precious light! What a precious fact! And now they persecute Him not only because He relieved the poor man on the sabbath, but because He also said that God was His own Father, "making himself equal with God" John 5:18 There we see the work of God made the occasion of persecution; they sought to stone Him, to kill Him, because of it. Nevertheless in John 5 the Lord proceeds to point out the great question of life. They sought to stone Him, yet in presence of all that hatred and opposition the ministry went on. How marvellous!

Then after all these things He "went away beyond the sea of Galilee" He has turned His back now on the religious system. Are we prepared to follow Him out of the accredited religion of the world where He is persecuted to go with Him far away beyond the accredited area of religious pride into despised Galilee? There we shall find Him with the food, invested with all divine administrative authority. He goes up into a mountain, we are told, so that the picture may be complete. That is what He is doing today. He is on high and His disciples are with Him. What a place, beloved! Outside the leavened masses, of all the accredited religions of the world, to be in the place of reproach, but with Jesus on the mount! He sat down, for what He is doing today He is doing deliberately, and His disciples are with Him. What a position! How willingly one would change the most exalted position on earth to be found sitting with Jesus on the mount!

And then the crowd came, for whatever men may be saying or doing God is working. "My Father worketh hitherto and I work" John 5:17 The work of God goes on and will go on, but the position changes; it is no longer the place of reproach, but the place of moral elevation, and we are with the Lord who is conducting the work of God Himself. He knows what He is going to do. The crowd comes, and now He says,

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"Whence shall we buy loaves that these may eat?" For this is the question that tests us. The position is clear, the privilege accorded us unmistakable, being with Him, but we are to be tested. He says to Philip, "Whence shall we buy loaves that these may eat?"

I want now to speak for a moment of Philip and Andrew, so that those of us here who have in some way served acceptably and effectively, may see how easily we may become defective in regard of food. Philip and Andrew are two servants intended for our object lesson in this sign. They appear most honourably in chapter 1; Andrew, you will remember, found Simon, for he was one of the two who heard John the baptist speak and who followed Jesus and abode with Him that day. He found his own brother and brought him to Jesus -- a most admirable service; then we are told that Philip was found by the Lord Himself. He had a most honourable experience, the Lord Himself having found him, and then he finds Nathanael and brought him to Jesus; so that both these servants shone in service. But now what about this test? Whence shall we buy bread for these? We may move on in our path, we may have light and be serving effectively and the Lord be with us, but presently we come up against what seems to be an impossibility. What are we going to do now? The Lord will humble us. Unless we are humbled under His hand we shall get out of His hand and be useless. So His way is to humble us, and He knows how to do it; He does it here in proposing this test, "whence shall ... these eat?" What about this? What about this large number of hungry people? Whence shall we buy loaves for them? Well, Philip says on commercial lines, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one of them may take a little. To his mind it was an impossible thing. He was exposed. He had been

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doing well, but now he is found wanting. Then Andrew joins in the conversation and says, There is a lad here with whom there is some possibility, but it is very small; he has five barley loaves and two small fishes. He too has missed it. Now this is most searching in the Lord's service. Here are a number of people hungry and needy. How is their need to be met? Both of these men were of the city of Bethsaida, which was, I think, an evangelical place, and no doubt they could have preached eloquent sermons. They could have preached well to these people, but after having preached to them they would have sent them away without any food. It is one thing to preach well, but quite another to minister food. Food is a very essential thing; it is a very concrete thing. Philip, by his words, admits that from his point of view it is an impossibility to meet the need; Andrew is a little better he says, "There is a little boy here" Thank God for him! His name is not given; he was a little boy, but he had something. It shows that the unlikely one, the despised one, may have something, while the accredited one may be lacking. The lad had five barley loaves and two small fishes; that was what Andrew said.

These two prominent men are seen standing out as found wanting, when tested. They appear again later on in chapter 12 when the Greeks come up to see Jesus. One tells the other about this wonderful thing -- these Greeks, these renowned men, philosophers and orators, who have come up to see Jesus. Philip and Andrew are greatly interested, and they together tell Jesus. The matter was of especial importance to them. Sometimes we hear conversations about some notable person in the east of Europe who has received a tract and read it with interest. Thank God for that! But God is no respecter of persons, He is no more interested in the distinguished

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person of the east than in some insignificant person in this country; the former, like the latter, is only one of the millions of people on the earth whom God would save. The Greeks have come, Andrew and Philip say, and the Lord says, "Except the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, it abides alone" John 12:24. If the Greeks are to be saved it must be on the same ground as all others, on the ground of the death of Christ. He must fall into the ground and die, otherwise He will remain alone.

Well, so much for Philip and Andrew! Worthy men surely, and apostles, but the Holy Spirit would bring them as examples before us that we might understand how the work of God is actually carried on, how it is effectively carried on. In them as seen here we learn figuratively. But there is the little boy with five barley loaves and the two fishes. He has got that, he has them in possession. He had something positive. We are not to despise a day of small things; that was what Andrew was doing; but the Lord takes the five barley loaves and the two small fishes and blesses them and gives them to the crowd. Now I may mention here what many of you know, perhaps, that in the best manuscripts the food is not said in this gospel to be handed to the disciples to be distributed; it is given to the people directly by the Lord, and that is what is going on now. It is as if the Lord were saying to us that if we are not available, He will do the thing Himself, for it must be done and He can do it, and He is doing it. But He will not discard us altogether; for though we may not know how to get the food or to administer it, we can at any rate make the men sit down (verse 10); and that is an important service, though very simple. I apprehend that spiritually it refers to the setting out of divine principles in order that men may be regulated and set in position so as to receive directly from the hands of Christ.

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The accredited religions of the world know nothing about things being received from Christ. The sacerdotal system means otherwise; it means that it comes indirectly, that I have to be ordained at the hands of certain persons, and that I become officially qualified to take from Christ and hand what I have received from Him to the people. This miracle is to set that aside. In the synoptic gospels there is the thought of receiving through the hands of men; I admit that, for the disciples elsewhere had this honour, but, as I said, it is not so here. What we may do is to make the men sit down. I apprehend that is about the most any of us are doing at the present time; it is a question of getting men into position where they can undisturbedly receive directly from Christ, and that is a great service. "Make the men sit down" There is nothing said here about companies, for John keeps the church out of view. Not that he would not love to bring it in, but his gospel is intended to humble us; it is intended to impress us with the poverty that exists -- the want of life, of love, so as to bring out that the Lord is working and will work, and that He will take you up, if you can do anything. Possibly you can do this, you can make the men sit down, and He will give them the food.

"There was much grass in the place" (verse 10). Where did that come from? It did not come from the disciples; the grass comes from God; it is the evidence of life on the earth, the power of life subjectively. It is a sign of life, that life is there. At the creation it was dry land that appeared first, but then the grass grew on it; it was the 'sign' of life, that life was there. It does not say here they sat on the grass, as we read elsewhere, but that there was much grass there -- a witness in the circumstances of the life-giving power of God. So they sat down and they ate of the barley loaves and the fishes, and they were

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sufficed. This is a wonderful picture as to how the Lord is caring for His people, and will care for them.

Then there is another service we may do, and that is to gather up the fragments. Those are the two things we are to do. In the other gospels they are not told to do that, but they do it; but in this gospel they are so wanting that the Lord has even to tell them to do it -- to be careful about things so that nothing be lost. "Gather together the fragments which are over and above" He says, "that nothing may be lost" and they gathered up twelve baskets full. They were handbaskets, suggesting, I apprehend, that they were portable. In Matthew you have larger baskets where the four thousand were fed -- seven of them -- which refers to the Spirit, but handbaskets are portable ones, meaning that the Lord will give us the opportunity of administering if we are willing to take it up. It is a question of what we are willing to do, for the divine thought remains, and it is wonderfully preserved here -- the divine thought of the administration of the twelve. There are the baskets, twelve of them; so that we see there is a service of love for twelve -- the twelve denoting flexibility, that it is a number which in the hands of the Lord He can manipulate.

But how can He manipulate save as we are available in love? That is the point, I apprehend, of the twelve. The result of His work is that I am not only subject -- humbled -- but that I can be taken up and used at His pleasure. That is the idea in the twelve handbaskets. So the Lord can carry on the divine thought to the end, and He has those to His hand whom He can thus employ. The baskets are there if you are ready to use them. So that we may be enabled as in subjection and knit together in love to deal out food. One takes it to oneself; the Lord would end as He began, not so much with quantity as quality, and He is doing it, and this gospel is

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intended to bring it about. The ministry of John is to humble us, and in humbling us to edify us and build us up, so that we might be prepared to do a little to meet the current need. May the Lord bless His word to each of us.

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Matthew 16:15 - 18; Acts 19:1 - 7; Song of Songs 3:6 - 11

I wish to say a little about the assembly, and the features whereby it is recognised. I have selected the passage of scripture from the Song of Solomon so as to call attention to these features, for we are not called upon to answer any question of this kind save as the answer is spiritually obvious. The scripture does not deal in puzzles; its questions suppose ability to answer in those questioned. I began, therefore, with Matthew 16 as the passage in the gospel that formally introduces the assembly. What it is may be gathered from the Lord's remarks to Simon; He says to him as answering his question, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona" He refers to him by the name he bore in his responsibility. In the corresponding passage in John's gospel, the Lord says, "Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas" (John 1:42), Omitting that he was 'blessed' as such; it was what he was naturally, but in Matthew the Lord addresses him by the name he bore in his responsibility, and says that he was 'blessed'; Simon, the son of Jonas was blessed. He was blessed in that he was so favoured as to receive the revelation from the Father in heaven about Christ.

It was an immense favour, and would stand in relation to Simon in his responsibility while he remained on earth. No one had that particular favour; others were blessed in other connections, such as Mary, the mother of our Lord. She was blessed among women; that particular advantage would never depart from her in her path of responsibility here. Again, the woman who anointed the Lord in Simon the leper's house was specially distinguished,

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so much so that whenever the gospel was announced she was to be mentioned; what she had done was to be made known. She had a personal distinction that was peculiar, but no one had a distinction like this, which was attributed to Simon. "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed [it] to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens"

We have thus a man standing out in responsibility, but blessed, and it describes those of us who form the assembly in its public character; the assembly as it is seen in us as in flesh-and-blood conditions. The truth of the assembly at Corinth is an example. It was composed of men and women, old and young, who had believed in Christ, who had been baptised and in consequence received the Holy Spirit, but still remaining in their position in this world as responsible to God. Romans provides the material for the assembly from this point of view. The believer in Romans is Simon Bar-jona, blessed; it is the same person, of the same parents, the same family links, in the same place, but a disciple, baptised and possessed of the Spirit of God -- a changed man, a blessed man, as I said, but still the same individual. Indeed, we see it illustrated in Simon the leper; he was not a leper then, but he had that public character; it was Simon the leper; Jesus was at his house, and the woman of whom I spoke anointed the Lord's head in that house. Although a leper, he was responsible, and the fulfilment of that responsibility is in part seen in that he entertained the Lord; he had Him in his house and in that house the Lord's head was anointed by the woman of whom I have spoken.

Now Romans contemplates the believer from that angle. He has got his body, which he can use as a sacrifice; it is the same body in which he sinned, but by the Spirit it is now in his control; it is dead in regard to sin; the Spirit in it is life in view of

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righteousness, and he presents it to God a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is his intelligent service. The aggregate of believers viewed thus, being "one body in Christ" Romans 1:5 in any town, are treated as the assembly. They are still in responsibility, but in a collective sense, and God regards them not only as His people, but as His assembly -- a body subject to Christ and in which the Holy Spirit is free. He maintains what is due to God there; He insists upon the keeping of the feast of unleavened bread; and by the presence of the Holy Spirit His responsible people are "temple of God" Whatever others may think of them, that is what they are, for the Holy Spirit dwells in them, and moreover they are the body of Christ; they are regarded as "the Christ" In them the features of Christ are exhibited in any city or place in which they may be, and in them the presence of God is known.

An exercised person comes into one of their meetings, and there is ministry. The women are silent, they are suitably attired, their heads are covered; the men are in subjection; they wait upon one another; they give place to the prophet because his ministry is the most desirable and profitable, and so one may discern in that company of persons in a particular room or building, in a particular street, that God is there, that God has got a footing, a place where everything is morally right; even the order of creation is not violated. Now that is what marks the assembly of God, and I take Simon, the son of Jonas, being blessed, as descriptive of those who form it.

Then the Lord goes on in the passage I read in Matthew to say to Peter, "I also, I say unto thee that thou art Peter" not 'thou shalt be called Peter', as in John's gospel, but "thou art Peter" and the meaning of the word 'Peter', as you all know, is simply 'stone'. From this point of view Peter is

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not regarded as having a responsible history, but as spiritual, he is a stone. He was constituted that by his confession; it refers to what he was spiritually. Of such material the assembly is built. It is the other view of it, not what it is locally in responsibility here, although greatly affecting what it is in responsibility, but nevertheless it is a wholly spiritual thing, composed of persons who are viewed as spiritual. Now unless we make the distinction in ourselves severally and in the saints generally, we shall not arrive at the truth of the assembly, nor shall we recognise it. We shall be liable to regard companies that are not really of it as of it, and we shall be unable to see how the assembly is to be the eternal companion of Christ. It is from the standpoint of Peter, that is to say, what is wholly spiritual, that the assembly is to be the companion of Christ in heaven and the vessel of God's glory eternally. The responsible side will pass away, for in the new creation "there is no Jew nor Greek; there is no bondman nor freeman; there is no male and female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" Galatians 3:28. It is from that point of view that we form the assembly, as in the purpose of God. It is an immense thing for us to lay hold of.

Now I read the passage in Acts 19 just to illustrate these two features. You will observe that it says, "While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper districts, came to Ephesus" Now Scripture is exceedingly accurate in the words and phrases it makes use of. God was pleased to work in Corinth in an extensive way, whereas there was little or nothing in Athens. It suggests to us an answer to a question that often arises Why is it that there is nothing for God in such and such a large centre? God knows! There was indeed some result at Athens, but very little; whereas the Lord says to Paul as to Corinth, "I have much people in this city" Acts 18:10 Why He had them He does not say; He had

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them! It certainly was not on account of the lack of ministry at Athens, for Paul was there and preached there, but he was directed to remain at Corinth. He had indeed a vision in the night so that he should know -- that he should be thoroughly acquainted with the mind of God regarding the work in that city.

There was much people there, and God would have them, and so in entering Corinth from Athens it says that Paul found Aquila and Priscilla there. Now that is not an accident; they were assembly people representatively in its local character. Twice it is said that they had an assembly in their house. Paul lodged with them. It says also that they were tent-makers; they were of the same craft. It is calling attention, you see, to the humility of the vessels, and corresponding indeed to the smallness outwardly of the assembly; there was nothing in it to appeal to the man after the flesh. It was a question of 'tents', not great ecclesiastical structures as in the world; they were "tent-makers" -- of the same craft.

Now that is the introduction to Corinth, and the apostle remains there some eighteen months ministering the word of God. It was a question really of the tabernacle, and so it was the word of God. It was what was prefigured in the tabernacle, that in which God is known in this world, and so it was the word of God. At Ephesus it was more the word of the Lord. Paul leaves Corinth and goes to Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla, and he leaves them there and goes to Jerusalem. Presently Apollos arrives at Ephesus and is instructed in the way of God more exactly by Aquila and Priscilla. They did not do it in a public way; they took him aside to do it; but they did it. The perfecting of his instruction was most important, for he was a great vessel. Now we are told that Apollos was at Corinth -- he left Ephesus, commended by the brethren. He was there in regard to the responsible body; he was mighty in the

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Scriptures; his ministry was to continue, and thus to preserve what Paul had planted. It represents a continuing ministry for the maintenance of the assembly in its responsible character here. God is greatly concerned about that, and Paul was concerned about it, but we may say it was the charge for the moment of Apollos. It was while Apollos was at Corinth that Paul went to Ephesus. It is a tribute, I think, to the sense of responsibility of the apostle, for the care of all the assemblies was upon him, and he was comforted doubtless by the fact that Apollos was at Corinth.

It says that Paul came by "the upper districts" to Ephesus. We are now on another line which corresponds with 'Peter' -- the material, for God knew what was at Ephesus. He did not tell Paul that He had much people there, as at Corinth, but we may be sure that Paul had divine guidance. He arrived at Ephesus and found certain persons who were believers, but knew only the baptism of John. They represent many at the present time, beloved friends, persons who believe, but have not had a full gospel. There are many like that, for there is much defective teaching abroad; much teaching which comes very far short of the truth, but then there is light in it, and God has respect for those who walk in that light; they are true to the light they have got. "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye had believed?" he asks first of all, for now it is a question of what is wholly spiritual, and if you have not got the Spirit you are not material for the building.

Well, they had not heard of the Holy Spirit, and He tells them about Jesus, quoting John as saying to the people that they should believe on Him. "When they heard that, they were baptised to the name of the Lord Jesus" They were ready for fresh light. I commend that to all here; if you have been true to the light you have, you will be ready for something

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fresh; you will not refuse it; you will accept it. They accepted what Paul said to them, and were baptised to the name of the Lord Jesus. This would take them wholly out of the world and would introduce them to all that is set forth in that name -- to that which is wholly spiritual. I cannot tell you all that Paul said to them, but elsewhere he says, "Having heard the word of the truth, the glad tidings of your salvation; in whom also having believed, ye have been sealed with the holy Spirit of promise" Ephesians 1:13. You may be sure that a touch of what is heavenly was conveyed to them in that gospel; there was something in it of "the gospel of the glory" as well as the gospel of their salvation, for in the epistle to the Ephesians, salvation means not only from wrath to come, but also from this present evil world. It is from the place, and baptism means that. Then they received the Holy Spirit, and thus there was spiritual material for the assembly at Ephesus.

Well now, I just go one point further to show you the bearing of all this. In writing to them he says, "Ye are no longer strangers and foreigners, but ye are fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the corner-stone" Ephesians 2:19,20. I want you to take note of the place "Jesus Christ himself" has in this structure. 'Himself' -- it is very touching, especially in these last days. I take it that the foundation of the apostles and prophets refers to their ministry; it was not for show -- foundations are not for show. The apostles never made a show of what they were doing; what they were concerned about in laying the foundation was solidity and permanency -- material that would stand the test. It is a great tribute to them that the Holy Spirit says that the structure was on their foundation.

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But what about the 'corner-stone' -- Jesus Christ Himself? That is to be seen. Christ is known in the assembly. It is said of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, "Her husband is known in the gates" she is a type of the assembly. The idea of the 'cornerstone' suggests what is seen; it binds all together and it is ornamental. What it means practically to a spiritual person is this, that Christ is to him everything; that he thinks of Christ "Jesus Christ himself"; there is no mediator between Christ and the assembly; it is "Jesus Christ himself being the corner-stone" Ephesians 2:20 The book of Revelation contemplates distance, in view of the failure of the public body, but not so Ephesians; Christ is head there.

Now I go on to the Song of Solomon just for a moment to outline these features. The question is asked, "Who is this, [she] that cometh up from the wilderness Like pillars of smoke?" It is not here 'leaning upon her beloved', as later on; it is a question here of herself; what she is as the subject of the work of God; what she is as spiritual. What are these "pillars of smoke"? They indicate, I think, that she had to do with God; that she had offered sacrifices. I suppose the allusion is to the smoke of the sacrifices on the altar in the tabernacle. But nevertheless she is not soiled by the grime of the wilderness or by the dust of it; she is not damaged by it; on the contrary she is, as it says, "Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all powders of the merchant" She does not bear a mark of the wilderness. She is perfumed; she is not a child of the wilderness, she is not like Hobab, who preferred to stay there. She has come out herself; it is not a question of Moses supporting her, she is coming out herself. She is also perfumed with myrrh -- the fragrance of suffering love. She comes up answering perfectly to Christ, "perfumed with myrrh and frankincense With all powders of the merchant"

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She has acquired all this at a price; it is a question here of what she is; what she has acquired and how she is using her acquirements for Christ.

And now Christ has something that He can call His own. "Behold his couch, Solomon's own" He is restful, beloved brethren, where these conditions are. The virtuous woman in Proverbs had much, but all was to glorify her husband; everything there indicated what he was, and so we get here, "Behold his couch, Solomon's own" as it should read. That principle began at Pentecost when nobody called anything he had his own; it was a question as to what was at the disposal of Christ. Am I at the disposal of Christ? The more spiritual I am, the more I am at His disposal; the assembly is Christ's -- something that He can regard as His own; "My assembly" He says.

Then there are the men of war to defend that. They were expert in war, threescore of them round about Solomon's couch, each having his sword. The idea is collective; the number is given, but each has his sword. Each is ready for alarm in the night. They are expert; they can discern an alarm. If an alarm is sounded, they are ready to defend what belongs to Christ. Of the church it is said that Hades' gates shall not prevail against it.

And now Solomon -- Christ -- is free to provide something for himself. He "made himself a palanquin of the wood of Lebanon" We are now on a high plane, for it is a question of the dignity of the saints, as indicated in the wood of Lebanon. He made it for Himself. No doubt it refers to that on which He is borne by others, but He made it. "Its pillars he made of silver, its support of gold" And now, instead of someone coming up out of the wilderness, there are "the daughters of Jerusalem"; they are not daughters of the wilderness. Many of us come into fellowship as those who have escaped

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from the world, but are content to remain in the wilderness and do not want to go into Canaan -- to take up the heavenly calling. "The midst thereof was paved [with] love" we are told, not for the daughters of Jerusalem, but "by them" as the better rendering puts it; it is what they were doing. It is menial work to pave; you have got to get down to pave; they paved with love -- what fine material that is! And then there is the appeal to the daughters of Zion: "Go forth, daughters of Zion" Thus we work back you see from the wilderness to the full purpose of God. Of ourselves it is said that we "have come to mount Zion" Hebrews 12. It is the principle on which we stand, beloved brethren, as we read, "God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love wherewith he loved us ... has raised [us] up together, and has made [us] sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus" Ephesians 2:4 - 6. Zion represents sovereign election; God refers to it in that way: "Here will I dwell, for I have desired it" Psalm 132. There is nothing safer than to fall back on the sovereign mercy of God. He loves us to be in that position, and He loves to recognise us in it. It is there that we get "great love" and there that we get "rich mercy"; in the light of that we are, so to speak, "daughters of Zion" A daughter signifies a subjective result of the light presented. The daughters of Zion are called upon to go forth and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals and in the day of the gladness of his heart. All this refers to the affectionate recognition of the saints of the official glory God has conferred on Christ. "His mother" no doubt alludes to Israel as brought to this in a future day. The action of the woman in the house of Simon the leper foreshadows this. She anointed the Lord's head. She, however, represents more those who form the assembly. The answer to

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the question, "Who is this?" (Matthew 16) is obvious if you are spiritual, and so the Lord asks such a question here with regard to Himself. In Mark He is "the Christ" in Luke He is "the Christ of God"; but in Matthew the addition is made, "the Son of the living God" It is a question of revelation, and so the evangelist adds the result in Peter "Thou art Peter" that which underlies the constitution of the assembly, making it a wholly spiritual thing; each member of it is, as it were, 'Peter'. This is the result of light in the soul as to Christ, which you have by the Spirit of God. You can only be in the assembly by the Spirit.

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Numbers 1:1 - 4, 16 - 19; Numbers 3:1 - 6

J.T. Numbers takes up not only what was inaugurated at Pentecost, but more particularly what developed in relation to Paul's ministry -- that is, the formation of local companies, and provision for their maintenance. In Acts 11:21 we read that through the preaching of those disciples who were scattered abroad, a large number believed and turned to the Lord at Antioch, and Barnabas, representing the princely element which Numbers develops, comes down from Jerusalem and exhorts them to abide with the Lord, and then it is said "a large crowd [of people] were added to the Lord" (verse 24). Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to seek out Saul, who having come with him taught those in the assembly at Antioch during a whole year, so that the disciples stood out there as those known to be Christians; there was a public relation between them and the Lord as Christ, not simply as the Nazarene, the rejected Man, but as the Anointed.

I think that Numbers may be rightly regarded as leading on to that particular juncture in the course of the testimony -- in wilderness conditions; there we get what God says in the wilderness; it is really what God is to us in the wilderness. We are told here that it was in the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 1:1), in that wilderness; the speaking was in the tent of meeting, but the leading thought is the wilderness, that is, the saints referring to their local settings, are found in adverse circumstances. It is in our local settings that we encounter the wilderness. God intimates that He would speak to His people in their locality; He speaks in the tabernacle, but the leading thought is that He speaks in relation to their public

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circumstances, as taking full account of these, and making ample provision for them, so that no outward circumstances can be more than God has taken account of, and moreover, made provision for. So that what follows is to bring out the care the Lord takes. Moses and Aaron are allied in the service, but with them are others, as it says, "Ye shall number them according to their hosts, thou and Aaron. And with you there shall be a man for every tribe, a man who is the head of his father's house" (chapter 1:3,4) -- evidently a man qualified as having weight -- a man who is the head, not merely one appointed to be such, he is that, "the head of his father's house" Numbers contemplates the moral qualifications. Before the man is taken up in an official way he is already head of his father's house, that is, he has moral weight, as though to call attention to the need of men of weight. These elements must be present -- that is, Moses and Aaron and those who are heads locally. No meeting is of any account really unless there are such; it is a question of what the man is.

Rem. He has not taken that place; the saints recognise him as that.

J.T. He is that. Take a man like Gideon for instance; he acquired a place of influence in his father's house so that his father is carried with him in what he did. It was a very courageous thing to throw down the altar in his father's house, but he did it; he became the head. It is a well-known story, but a very important one. It says in Judges 6:25 - 27: "Take the young bullock, which thy father hath, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the Asherah that is by it; and build an altar to Jehovah thy God upon the top of this strong place in the ordered manner, and take the second bullock, and offer up a burnt-offering with the wood of the Asherah that thou shalt cut down. And Gideon took

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ten men of his servants, and did as Jehovah had said to him" It was a question of his father's house, where he was to acquire a place. It was the second bullock, but a mature one; it was seven years old; it was called young, but it was mature. Young brothers do not acquire influence merely through their knowledge, but through their actions.

Ques. Does the second bullock indicate sovereignty?

J.T. Yes; God is acting on that principle; it is not a question of age, but a question of God speaking to him, but he was marked by no mere youthful energy. The bullock was mature -- seven years old; it was youthful maturity; but the bullock was his father's, and the altar of Baal was his father's, but he had acquired power in his father's house; that was where he was known. His father stood up for him (verse 31), that is to say, Gideon carried the local element. There is no hope for the meeting unless there be that sort of thing -- moral weight through actions of this kind.

F.W. Do you think that he would leave the first bullock for his father?

J.T. I believe taking "the second" means that the first was passed by.

Ques. You were referring to the action of young brothers; they would not actually supersede, would they?

J.T. Sometimes God has to supersede older ones; He does not like to do it; He would never supersede anyone unless such action is necessary.

Rem. You would leave room for the other brothers to come in?

J.T. The father would come in. It was the effect of Gideon's moral weight.

Rem. Elder brethren sometimes feel it when they are superseded.

J.T. Brethren show what they are made of, if God is pleased to pass them by in connection with

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certain services; if they are subject, they see it and are prepared to go with it. It is a mature act -- seven years is not youthful in a bullock; but it is called youthful here, no doubt to combine the thought with maturity.

Ques. Would the altar of Baal suggest that God had been entirely displaced from that house, and hence the need for the second bullock?

J.T. Exactly; there was great need of some change coming in; there was nothing for God there. Here was one who before ever God said anything to him, so far as Scripture goes, was threshing wheat to hide it from the Midianites. There is a brother doing things on his own initiative. God came there and saw what was going on. Gideon saw what the enemy was at.

J.V.W. What he was doing there was really for the good of the brethren. He was doing it in secret, but in view of the brethren.

J.T. That is right. He was doing it in the winepress.

Ques. Would the seven years be suggestive of the necessary time in the father's house -- the period of experience?

J.T. Just so. He had been there the whole of the time, and knew what was there.

H.E.F. What was your thought of the winepress?

J.T. It suggests suffering, I suppose.

J.H.B. What does the house of Gideon's father represent?

J.T. The locality; the angel, we are told, "came and sat under the terebinth that was in Ophrah, that [belonged] to Joash the Abi-ezrite" Judges 6:11; that was the locality; and then as to the man who had proprietary rights there, God is displaced in his house, there is no room for God. It is a question of moral weight and power.

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Ques. And that is where one has grown up?

J.T. That is the idea. He has grown up in the place. He has secret relations with God. The gospel of Matthew shows how the local brother should have secret relations with God. The Lord insists on these relations with God first. "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who sees in secret will render it to thee" Matthew 6:6. That is how it begins.

Ques. Is the thought that the principles set forth in the book of Numbers -- the wilderness book -- are to be maintained when the people go into the land, even in a day of break-down? was that your thought in going on to Gideon?

J.T. I only referred to Gideon as bringing out principles connected with being head in his father's house. The two things go on together -- the wilderness position and the position of the land. The position of the land is not local at all; it is a question of what is spiritual, so that you apprehend it with all the saints in Ephesians; that word in relation to "all the saints" (Ephesians 3:18) is not local; there is only one body. "Until we all arrive" Ephesians 4:13 -- it is a question of the whole; what is done is in relation to all the saints.

Ques. Is that why the whole of the people were delivered through Gideon?

J.T. Quite. The land and the wilderness go together. The wilderness refers to the formation of local companies; whereas the land has reference to saints viewed spiritually as a whole but the wilderness is the place where the testimony is to be rendered, and God says, as it were, I know that, and I am speaking to you there. He spoke from heaven according to Peter -- (2 Peter 1), but here He speaks in the wilderness, among the saints, but in the place of testimony. It is as though God speaks to us in

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Cardiff or Bristol. He is speaking in the place, intimating that He knows what is to be contended with in the place, and is making provision for it.

Rem. Moral power is what Paul insists on at Corinth; "I will know, not the word ... but the power" 1 Corinthians 4:19.

J.T. These heads of houses are important because they represent the local formation. It goes on to say in verse 16: "These were those summoned of the assembly, princes of the tribes of their fathers, the heads of the thousands of Israel" That is the kind of people who are summoned, whom God calls upon. So whatever appears in a locality God holds those heads specially responsible. They have to give an account.

E.R. What is the distinction in the thoughts of "princes of the tribes" and "heads of the thousands"?

J.T. I think the expression "princes of the tribes" means that they were men of dignity; they were also men of means; chapter 7 shows what they will do with it; they have spiritual wealth. They could act together; they were too great to be selfish -- to be party-men; they were not local in that sense; they were great men spiritually, so could act together as in chapter 7, setting forth the Ephesian side as resulting from what they were as heads of families. The point is that each was the head of his father's house.

Ques. Would Gideon be one who was called to give an account of what he had done?

J.T. Yes. It says further, "Moses and Aaron took these men who are expressed by their names" They are expressed by their names.

Ques. Would their names set forth what they were?

J.T. Very likely. No doubt each one has its meaning.

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Ques. Is there any suggestion of this in the angels of the seven churches?

J.T. There it is more what is representative; the angel is the responsible representative; there is no indication of any princely qualifications. The overcomer would be the prince, I think, but whether the overcomer -- the prince -- is there or not, the responsibility is there.

Rem. The expression "heads of thousands" would suggest great responsibility.

J.T. What is alluded to in 'princes' here is spiritual power and weight; the responsibility is therefore where it should be, in persons of spiritual power. The angel of each assembly being addressed implies that the responsibility is there, whether the prince is there or not. We cannot avoid responsibility. Sometimes in a locality there is not a prince there is scarcely any spiritual formation at all, but the responsibility remains. The angel represents a principle rather than a person. Everyone in Ephesus was responsible; that is the idea of an angel, not any one person, but all the persons. If any one says he is not responsible, he is not a Christian at all; at any rate he cannot be recognised as such. Here the point is that the responsibility is put on shoulders that can bear it. The question in every locality is, are there such spiritual men, men with weight?

Ques. Is there any point in there being "a man for every tribe"?

J.T. It would just represent the thought of administration; there were twelve of them.

Ques. Is there not a tendency sometimes to select in our minds a certain rather prominent brother, and think or speak of him as a responsible brother? You would not go with that?

J.T. Well, it is more a question of a person having the qualifications; being "head of his father's house" is a question of moral weight. The

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'prince' is a man of means, as is fully set out in chapter 7. There they are all going on similar lines in each case. They are able to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3); that is, each has the same appreciation of Christ.

Ques. Is it open to each one of us to be a prince?

J.T. I think it is to every one that acquires some weight. The intent of Matthew's gospel is to make princes -- persons who can influence others according to God -- men of spiritual means. The Lord enjoins them to make disciples. You cannot do that unless you are the thing yourself -- you are to be the model yourself; it requires power. It is not merely preaching but making -- a word not noted very much. It is a question of what you can make; that means you are the thing, and it is recognised by others.

Ques. Did Matthew himself move on that line?

J.T. I think so. I suppose like Barnabas he had means; he made for the Lord, according to Luke, a great entertainment; it was a princely act. He knew what the Lord would wish, so the kind of people he invited were such as the Lord would have.

Ques. Was that an example of making disciples -- these disciples who were called Christians at Antioch?

J.T. Those disciples who spoke to the Greeks at Antioch preached the Lord Jesus, and the converts "turned to the Lord" and Barnabas "exhorted all with purpose of heart to abide with the Lord" and then it says, "and a large crowd of people were added to the Lord". Acts 11:21 - 24 It is a question there of the extension of the kingdom, the maintenance of the authority of the Lord in the kingdom; it is not the assembly, but, as I have said, the extension of the kingdom. Now what does the Lord do with them? They are "a large crowd" Sometimes meetings grow to a large crowd, they are in character nothing very different to a crowd; and are not yet set in order in the assembly. A crowd would never represent an

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assembly; but to set a crowd that was added to the Lord in assembly is the thing, so Barnabas and Saul teach for a whole year "in assembly"; they teach the crowd so that they should learn to be "in assembly" Instead of being a "large crowd added to the Lord" they became an assembly; they are the first to be called Christians; they stand in a known relationship to Christ. It is all the outcome of the teaching of these two men for a whole year.

Ques. Is the thought in your mind to promote this kind of exercise with us?

J.T. I think the saints have to be put into order. What Numbers contemplates is an ordered condition of things in the wilderness. If the meeting becomes very large, you do not get what answers to Numbers, nor what was at Antioch. Luke always follows up in his gospel the order that Paul introduces and confirms it. He says the Lord told the disciples to make the multitude sit down in companies by fifties; that is assembly formation, not kingdom formation. The kingdom may have millions, but you cannot have millions in an assembly. It is a question of a small number standing intelligently in relation to one another, and in relation to Christ as Head. Numbers is for that purpose.

Ques. Is that why Levi is brought in in chapter 3 as presented to Aaron?

J.T. As presented for the maintenance of that. You get "the generations of Aaron and Moses"; but there is not a word said in the chapter about Moses' family; it is more to call attention to a generation from that combination -- that spiritual combination -- because the history begins in Exodus with that combination; it is a question of Moses and Aaron meeting on the mount of Jehovah, and Moses passing on to Aaron all the words which Jehovah had communicated to him, and Aaron speaking the words to the people. It is a combination of light and love.

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Here we get Aaron and Moses; Aaron is put first; the priestly element is combined with another thing, with authority -- light.

E.R. In the first chapter it is "Moses and Aaron took these men" (verse 17).

J.T. There authority is the leading thought, and the priestly element is added.

E.R. What does it suggest in the light of what we have been speaking of?

J.T. That is more what the Lord will do at any time. The heads of the tribes would be the spiritual element representing what is in each locality. Moses and Aaron represent what God had -- what was in Christ; it is always available, but is the prince always available in local formation?

Ques. Would verse 5 suggest God's thought?

J.T. There you get the names of the men, but before you get that you get the fact that they were heads.

Ques. Did you say that Moses and Aaron represent light and love?

J.T. Yes; Moses represents light; a great deal more is said about Moses than about Aaron; Moses' history is given from his birth; the parents are mentioned; Aaron was born before, but not a word is said about him in Exodus 2. Miriam was considerably older, but her birth is not recounted, showing that Moses was the leading thought, and so God would work with him for eighty years, and then He sent him back to deliver the people. But Moses says, "I am not eloquent" Exodus 4:10 and God answered, "Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well" Exodus 4:14 -- that is to say, Aaron represents the secret history not recorded. That is the Levite; nothing is said about him before; but there was a development that God took account of. "Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also behold, he goeth out to meet

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thee; and when he seeth thee he will be glad in his heart" Exodus 4:14,15. God knew Aaron and what was in his heart, and Aaron went out to meet Moses, and "he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of Jehovah who had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him. And Moses and Aaron went and gathered all the elders of the children of Israel; and Aaron spoke all the words that Jehovah had spoken to Moses" (chapter 4:27 - 30); and the people worshipped. That is at the beginning of all (Exodus 4), presenting the generations of these two men. The priestly generation is mentioned in Numbers 3.

Ques. Why do you connect love with Aaron?

J.T. Because he kissed Moses; the man who kisses is the man who loves. Aaron was glad in his heart as seeing his brother, showing he had affection. It is not that Aaron had more love than Moses; in the sequel it is far otherwise, but Aaron stands for a principle there.

Ques. Does it indicate that these relations should always mark the priest and prophet?

J.T. They are perfectly combined in Christ, but are they combined in you and me? In the generations of Moses and Aaron you get the names of Aaron's sons; but two of them died; it is solemn to think of it; two died before the Lord because they offered strange fire.

W.H. You mean it is Aaron who speaks in what is local, although from light?

J.T. The love side comes in to bring about liberty of affection; Aaron speaks. Corinthians would correspond with this; the apostle associates a brother with him (1 Corinthians 1:1); the question of authority is linked with the affections of a brother. Not that Paul was not a brother, but it is to bring out the principle that should work out in us. The danger

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is that we may have light but not love; God wants to maintain the balance.

Rem. You cannot well have the love without the light, can you?

J.T. Mary Magdalene had love; Peter and John had light, but they went to their own homes; but Mary remained and got the message. Love never fails; even if it be associated with ignorance, it never fails. In the generation there should be the combination of these two things, but there was not because two of them died.

J.H.S. What is represented by these two men dying?

J.T. It is a solemn fact that we may be found presenting strange fire; they did not get it from the altar.

Rem. In drawing near to God I suppose it is either advancement and growth, or else it must work the other way.

J.T. Quite. We may so easily bring in what is strange in approaching God -- "strange fire"

Now you see "Moses and Aaron took these men who are expressed by their names and gathered the whole assembly together on the first of the second month. And they declared their pedigrees after their families, according to their fathers' houses, by the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, according to their polls. As Jehovah had commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai" Numbers 1:17 - 19. The declaration of pedigree is the next important feature. With regard to fellowship (to bring it down to ourselves), it will not do simply to say that we are Christians; that will not do. There are those who accept on that ground, but we have to inquire into the pedigree.

Ques. Inquiring as regards suitability for reception is on that same line, is it not?

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Rem. In addition to inquiring as to the pedigree of the one applying for fellowship there should be the testing of the pedigree of those outwardly priests. In Ezra's day the children of Barzillai -- though he was a man of very great note in the testimony -- forfeited their priesthood because they could not show their pedigree (see Nehemiah 7:63,64).

J.H.B. Would you say a little more about inquiring into the pedigree of those desiring to be received among us?

J.T. We want to be sure they have the Holy Spirit. They are to be identified as of the priestly family. You may be regarded as exclusive in doing this, for there are those who do not do it, and they simply disqualify themselves from having any part in the testimony of God; they write themselves out of the book of Numbers.

G.W. Is that what Nehemiah had before him when he said the gates were not to be opened till the sun was hot?

J.T. Exactly. Everything was to be in the open.

Ques. To put it practically, how would you ascertain whether a soul desiring to break bread has the Holy Spirit?

J.T. There should be the fruits: whether they can say "Abba, Father"; the fruits of the Spirit are given to us, and we should certainly be able to observe by watching whether a Christian has the Spirit, and not only that, but whether his associations are right. You must watch for his associations.

H.E.F. Would you get the declaration of the pedigree in 2 Timothy 2?

J.T. I think so. You are qualified by departing from iniquity and calling upon the name of the Lord, and then, as it says, "If therefore one shall have purified himself from these" -- from vessels to dishonour -- "[in separating himself from them], he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified, serviceable to the

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Master" 2 Timothy 2:21 But it is "have purified himself" from vessels -- that is, from persons; not only from a system, but from persons who are disqualified.

H.E.F. And then, "Pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart" 2 Timothy 2:22 Would that be it?

J.T. That is the result. Before that is the injunction that you "flee youthful lusts" No one can do that but by the Spirit. One may regulate his conduct for the sake of propriety, but that is not what is meant. He can only flee youthful lusts by the Spirit. It is by the Spirit that I put to death the deeds of the body. One may be able to regulate oneself outwardly for the sake of propriety, but what is meant is what one does by the Spirit.

Ques. Those who have been brought up in the meetings have only had a short distance to come, have they not?

Rem. Nehemiah points to those who went up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

J.T. They had a long way to come. I should suppose they had given up a great deal, and that makes moral fibre that greatly adds in the formation of the assembly; persons who have learnt to judge sin, and encounter opposition, are suitable material for it. In Matthew 16 it says of the Pharisees that the Lord "left them and departed"; then He raises the question as to the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. You may leave it outwardly and carry it with you. Do not take any back with you, or you will leaven the company.

Ques. Is there any point in the Levites being given to Aaron and then presented?

J.T. The thing of great importance is the journey back. What young people want to see is that there is the journey into fellowship; if it is not really taken, they do not become an addition to the company at all. The idea is that everyone who comes in

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becomes a contribution. The man at the gate of the temple in Acts 3 had never walked in his life, he had never stood up, but Peter took him by the right hand, and the man leaped up, stood and walked; there was spring in him. That man was not going to be a burden on the company; he learned to balance; he is not going to lean on that brother or this, but he is able to stand himself, like a board in the tabernacle. The boards were made "standing up"; it is not a question of leaning on other people. The unity of the Spirit is another thing, but before you come into that you must stand up. Then he walked, too. That is a man with the Spirit. Then Barnabas is an example of one who was able to make contributions; what marked him at the outset was material contribution; Acts 4:37. Those who come into fellowship should be as those who contribute, not as weights.

W.H.H. Peter was formed after the pattern of Moses and Aaron; he was a pedigree man.

J.T. I have thought sometimes in connection with cases of reception that we are liable to make mistakes because we are not great enough to discern spiritually what is there. To the disciples at Samaria Simon Magus would be a burden. I have no doubt that Simon would get the right hand of fellowship of certain so-called 'brethren' today. I can understand some regarding him as a fine addition to the company, but Peter says, "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter" Acts 8:21. He was not converted at all. What is needed is discernment.

E.R. Paul and Barnabas bring contributions.

J.T. Yes; in bringing spiritual experience. That is the idea.

Rem. We should each be contributors to the assembly, and the more we contribute the more spiritual wealth we shall acquire.

J.T. Quite. In Acts 4 we see what was current in the company; those who had land sold it, and

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brought the price of what was sold and laid it at the feet of the apostles. A person coming into fellowship ought to see what is current among the saints and see right ways and practices. Barnabas saw that, and did the very best thing; he sold land too, and brought the money and laid it at the feet of the apostles. In coming amongst the saints he was like them; he did what they were doing.

Rem. He was called the son of consolation.

J.T. The apostles had discernment; they knew. It says the apostles called him Barnabas. They gave him the surname of "son of consolation" in anticipation of what he should be.

J.H.B. In chapter 9 it was Barnabas who took Saul and brought him to the apostles. What would that represent?

J.T. It would show that he was advancing spiritually; he began with material things. We should be reminded that material things are not to be despised if devoted in a spiritual way. He was a spiritual man, so his money was of value. Simon's money was of no value; I am not referring to its material value, but it was of no value in the assembly. Peter says to him, "Thy money go with thee to destruction" (chapter 8:20); he would not have it at all, but Barnabas's money was a sacrifice with which God was well pleased. He advanced from that; he was an unjealous servant and so he brought Saul forward, one who was to be greater than himself.

J.H.B. Would you say in that case that he was like one of the princes in the first chapter of Numbers, and Saul was like one who had declared his pedigree?

J.T. Yes; and Barnabas knew his pedigree.

Ques. Is it not a matter of importance that those applying for fellowship should be seen by spiritual persons?

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J.T. I think it is. We so easily let in material that will be damaging to us. Quality should be the first thing.

Rem. There should be right desires as to spiritual things. We should be on our guard as to mere additions; we should all like them.

J.T. Mere additions may be very damaging to the testimony. The Lord speaks about the proselytes and He says, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye compass the sea and the dry [land] to make one proselyte" Matthew 23:15. That kind of thing would show a party spirit, a tendency to make a show of numbers. What the Lord wants is quality; He wants numbers, of course, but He wants quality.

Rem. There is oftentimes a question of the one applying for fellowship being kept waiting.

J.T. If he is the right sort he will wait too; he will not force himself. On the other hand we should not keep a believer waiting if his case is clear.

Rem. He is prepared to prove his pedigree.

J.T. Quite; and he has to do so. Here it says that they did it; "They declared their pedigrees after their families, according to their fathers' houses"

Ques. What about "twenty years old"?

J.T. It refers to having the Spirit; you arrive at manhood; it is not a question of having experience, but of having the Spirit. In comparing it with thirty years old -- the age of levitical service -- that is a question of spiritual experience.

Rem. In regard to the numbering of the people, it seems that ability to go to war is taken account of.

J.T. That is a question of confessing Christ; it does not require great experience to confess Christ. No one can say that Jesus is Lord save by the Spirit. You can qualify if only you have confessed Christ.

Ques. Is that the way we bear testimony in the enemy's camp?

J.T. We are to confess the Lord wherever we may

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be, but make sure that it is by the Spirit -- not the mere use of words, but from the heart.

Rem. David reduced the age of the Levites taking up service to twenty.

J.T. Because their work would be service in the house of God; they would not have to carry the tabernacle any more; 1 Chronicles 23. You can do these things much more easily with saints around you than when you are in the enemy's land. When you carry the testimony in the presence of opposition you need more power.

Rem. Referring to Barnabas as one of the princes, it is said, "He was a good man and full of [the] Holy Spirit and of faith" Acts 11:24. We like to see those princes among us.

J.T. That is the thing; if you want to get the thing, be the thing. Moses and Aaron taking these men suggests the present activity on the part of the Lord Jesus. "So he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai" (verse 19); it is all in "the wilderness of Sinai" that is to say, in the presence of divine authority. Sinai represents the authority of God, but then it says the Levite is given to Aaron and his sons -- that is to say, the priestly generation, the priestly element took control of this; it is not a question of being controlled by Israelites, but by the priests. So Paul asserts that they were the servants of the saints: "Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas ... or life, or death, or things present ... all are yours" 1 Corinthians 3:22. The Levites here were to keep the charges.

Ques. Is this in connection with the priestly side?

J.T. Yes. They would be under the influence of the priests in that. Take a man who exercises gift, the saints are greater than he. The disregard of this is what built up the clerical system.

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Luke 4:22; Acts 14:1; Luke 24:33 - 36

It is because these scriptures refer to speaking that I have read them, wishing to remark on the importance of speaking, not only as to what is conveyed, what is said, but also the manner of the speaking. I am thinking of the quality that the Lord would develop in these days, the quality of the ministry and of the testimony in general.

I have in mind in making these remarks the Lord's words in Matthew 12, in commenting on His own personal service and testimony; He refers to Jonah and to Solomon as typical vessels of Old Testament times, times in which, as it may be remarked, nothing was perfect. It is said that the law makes nothing perfect, whereas Christianity involves what is perfect; and whilst God in Old Testament times bore with what was not perfect, He is less disposed to do this now for the reason that He has brought in what is perfect, "That which is perfect is come" 1 Corinthians 13:10 And so He said, "Ninevites shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, more than Jonas [is] here" Matthew 12:41; what He referred to was there. The Ninevites had a remarkable testimony presented to them, but the message was not enhanced by the vessel -- a matter worthy of note, for the divine intent is that the ministry should be enhanced by the minister and not detracted from.

And so on Jonah much care had been expended. One is often impressed with the care and attention paid to the vessel so that the message should not be in any way impaired by it. But in the case of Jonah, his spirit and viewpoint were on a much lower plane than that of Jehovah; he complained against God

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and said he did it justly; he knew that God would be gracious and merciful, but he was not equal to his knowledge. The book of Jonah is a remarkable part of the Old Testament as covering a specific testimony and a specific place; both the testimony and the place and the vessel are carefully specified. The Lord alludes to all this in saying, "Ninevites shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, more than Jonas [is] here" Matthew 12:41 That is what I want to call attention to -- the quality of the new thing, what was there in Christ.

And so the Lord goes on, referring to the queen of Sheba. "She came" He says, "from the ends of the earth" Matthew 12:42 The Ninevites did not have to move. Jonah went to them; it was grace. Remarkable testimony! But the queen of Sheba moves; she came, the Lord said, from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. She had not seen him, she had heard; the tidings of his fame had reached her, and she moves. She came to hear his wisdom, and the Lord says, "And behold, more than Solomon" -- having the quality in view -- "[is] here" Matthew 12:42

Now those remarks of the Lord indicate the quality of the thing that was presented to the Jews, for Matthew has the Jew in view -- his responsibility. So the Lord sets before us the quality of that which was presented, what it was that was presented; and having brought that in, He has brought in a standard, a perfect standard, and I believe that His mind is to maintain that standard. If there be deterioration, as there has been to a lamentable degree, God would bring us back to the perfect standard. In Matthew we find a greater than Jonas, a greater than Solomon is here. Luke, without saying that, presents the Lord's service, so that we might say it. He presents it in such an unmistakable form that we recognise its superior quality. A great infidel once said that Luke

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was the most beautiful book ever written. If he said nothing else that was true, that was true; it is indeed most beautiful; it is "the work of an engraver" Exodus 28:11 The picture in chapter 4 is so presented, and in such a setting, that any eye that is at all keen for what is beautiful morally, sees it there.

The picture is in Nazareth, as you will remember. The Lord was accustomed to go into synagogues, according to Luke. We have much more about the Lord's ministry in synagogues in Luke than in any of the other gospels; no doubt so as to allay in His approach with the testimony any religious or other prejudices in the Jews. So on this occasion in His own town, He entered into the synagogue, as was His custom, and the roll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, and He read it, and then sat down and the eyes of all there were fastened on Him. His attractiveness as ministering is presented. Such pictures, as I said, in Luke are frequent, but this is unique. He sat down, and the eyes of all were fastened on Him. It is to bring out the commanding attractiveness of what was there; not to pay tribute to the people, or call attention to their state, but to the commanding attractiveness of Christ in service. And then He began to speak, saying, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your ears" Luke 4:21 There was a present fulfilment of the wonderful scripture He had read. Then it says that they "wondered at the words of grace which were coming out of his mouth" It is the flow of grace in the words; the grace of the words.

Peter later (John 6:68), denoting what was in Him spiritually, refers to the "words of life eternal" He refers not only to what was coming out of the Lord's mouth, but what He had. He is speaking in a spiritual way; it was not a question of outward adornment in Peter's mind (a spiritual person appreciates this, of course), but he goes deeper. Hence John

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occupies us more with what is in Christ. Like David as he took Zion, he builds 'inward'. It is the inwardness of the thing that John presents to us, so that Peter says to the Lord, "To whom shall we go? thou hast words of life eternal" John 6:68 Not only what He was saying, but what He could say. We must think of what Christ can say, not only what He has said. "Thou hast words of life eternal" John 6:68 We know where they are; Peter tells us where they are. You may have to ask the Lord about them. The Lord loves to be inquired of; Peter says, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" John 6:68

John says that Christ was full of grace and truth. The source of the thing is there and nowhere else. "We have contemplated his glory" he said, "a glory as of an only begotten with a father, full of grace and truth"; and, "Of his fulness we all have received" John 1:14,16 With John it is not so much the outward effect, but what was there substantially in the Lord's Person, and there to be received. "Of his fulness we all have received, and grace upon grace" John 1:16 But, as I said, Luke presents the picture, and it is of all moment in the testimony to be right externally. Do not put anything in the way of people in what you present to them to arouse prejudice. Of course, the truth has to come out, and it does come out in this passage, occasioning, alas! murderous opposition; but before that you have the perfect picture of the gracious features of Christ as ministering. Although it did not permanently affect those who witnessed it, they wondered at it; they wondered at the gracious words that were coming out of His mouth.

I want now to show in Acts how the testimony is carried forward. In the passage I read (chapter 14) Paul is said to be the chief speaker. His speaking is emphasised. In chapter 3 we have quality alluded to, but it is more the kind of persons exhibited in Peter and John. They went up together to the

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temple at the hour of prayer. The Beautiful gate of the temple is brought into view, but this was superseded by Peter and John. Peter said, "Look on us" it is a question of what God was now presenting -- the quality of the persons. Peter with John said, "Look on us" as if God would call attention at that juncture to what was there, in connection with which He was now working.

They went up to the temple at the hour of prayer, which was the ninth hour, the hour of prayer being the incense hour -- God's hour! You will all remember how Zacharias was offering incense in the temple at that hour, and the people were praying without, when Gabriel came in; but the quality of the service was poor, for although the priest was serving, "in the order of his course" Luke 1:8 and the people themselves were praying, yet Gabriel did not find things as they should be; they were not right. May I not comment on our prayer-meetings? One loves to think of the hour of prayer; it is like the evening oblation, it is that in which God has something marked by the fragrance of Christ. These two were going up together at that hour, and they say, "Look on us" Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I have not; but what I have, this give I to thee: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean rise up and walk" Acts 3:6 These are his words; but we have not only words but action, for Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. It is the quality that you see, the thing was there that men could look at, representing what God presented in connection with His work, representative of Christ.

Now in chapter 14 it is a question of speaking pre-eminently, although it is said they entered together. Of these two servants much could be said; they went both together into the synagogue; that was not accidental; it is a word by the Spirit; they entered together. Is there nothing in that? It is

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the manner of the ministry, that they were both together; not a bit of rivalry, not an atom of it they were co-workers. One of them says, "Whom I serve in my spirit in the glad tidings of his Son" Romans 1:9 It was not only what he said, but how he said it; his spirit was in his service. It is an immense thing to be able to express divine affections in ministry. Here are two thus marked. The Lord had sent the disciples out by twos. In this dual representation the Spirit had more scope to express Christ. Two are always better than one. There was reciprocal affection and interest in these two men: "they entered together into the synagogue of the Jews" Is it a mere physical reference? Not at all, it is a spiritual reference, and so we read, "and so spake that a great multitude of both Jews and Greeks believed" One would love to have heard them!

And so, as I said, the chapter calls attention to Paul's speaking. Here, too, in this same chapter we get another lame man -- a remarkable instance of the work of God at Lystra; he heard Paul speaking. It is not now, "Look on us" but the speaking; he heard Paul speak. And Paul saw him and saw that he had faith, and we read he heard Paul speak. Need I say that he paid attention; he had never heard speaking like that. The populace proposed to make a god of Paul, and called him Mercury, because he took the lead in speaking. One can form some little conception of the character of Paul's speaking. There must have been some representation of his Master, of that exhibition at Nazareth, in the manner and expression and words and grace of the apostle. Evidently he took the lead in speaking. They wanted to offer sacrifice to him because he did so; and the reason why he did so was because he was qualified, because of his spiritual intelligence divinely given, which exceeded that of Barnabas, and Barnabas recognised it. At this juncture there was not the

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slightest evidence of any rivalry between these two great servants. But the speaking did its own work, the speaking, according to the record, had its own blessed effect. A great number, both of Jews and Greeks, believed.

To the lame man Paul cried with a loud voice, "rise up straight upon thy feet" Acts 14:10 We do well to take note of that, for one of the most important things in our time is the ability to rise up and stand upon one's own feet. One is of no value practically in the assembly until one has learnt balance, being able to stand, to stand upon one's own feet. I did not mean to refer to that, but these are realities that are to teach us how to be material for the assembly of God.

Now I go on to the end of Luke because the passage there has in view what I have been speaking of; it is a question of what they were saying. You will all remember how it is said of the remnant in Malachi that they spoke often one to another. We are not told what they said, but it does say that they did it often, and that they spoke to one another; and the Lord hearkened and heard. The Lord was interested, because that is the idea of hearkening. Much conversation goes on amongst the people of God that does not move heaven in the least degree, heaven is not interested in it. In this case the Lord was interested, and He said, as it were, That is worth taking note of, for that is really what is meant by "a book of remembrance" Malachi 3:16 What they were speaking of was in keeping with the mind of God, and so He took note of it.

So Luke develops this thought of speaking. In the last chapter he takes up the thought of the public assembly. He tells us that two of the saints were going to Emmaus and the Lord drew near and went with them; and two words are used; it is said they conversed together, and the Lord refers to their discourse, that is to say, we may be able to discourse

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about things, and converse about them, and yet have our backs on the assembly -- a very solemn thing! "What discourses are these which pass between you" the Lord said, "as ye walk, and are downcast?" Luke 24:17

One of them, I suppose, would make a speech covering what had happened concerning the Lord that he was cognisant of, and the other would follow on and make another speech. The Lord heard all that, but there was very little power in it. It was not such a discourse as you get from Paul, because he says, "I have believed, therefore have I spoken" 2 Corinthians 4:13 They were not believing. The Lord said, "O senseless and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" Luke 24:25 The prophets believed what they spake. Speaking without faith is valueless. And so the Lord said, "O senseless and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken... and having begun from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" Luke 24:27 What speaking that was! A discourse indeed, causing their hearts to burn!

Well, that is how Luke presents the thing; he is leading up to the public body, the public assembly, and what they were saying in it. The Lord, as we know, went as far as the two were going, and turned in with them, and they recognised Him in the breaking of bread. They said, "Was not our heart burning in us as he spoke to us on the way?" Luke 24:32 They set out that night for Jerusalem, and arriving there found the eleven; for that is what I want to come to -- they found the eleven. Some of you young people may not have found the eleven. You think that you have to be found, and that all the finding belongs to others, but it belongs to you, and until you begin to find things you will never have them. "Seek, and ye shall find" Luke 11:9 the Lord said. So these two found the eleven and those who were with them. The eleven represent authority, the authority of the Lord Jesus.

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That is one thing of great importance for young people seeking assembly relations; be sure to find that which Christ has accredited, not simply that you have found those who have the truth, but those who are accredited by Christ. These eleven apostles represented Christ. They were together and there were others with them. There was thus a company answering to the mind of God -- the assembly. I should not care to be with that which God has not accredited. We are to seek God out in what He is taking account of, and in all that is being done by Him in every locality. You want to find what God accredits, and it is to be found; as I said before, you have to seek it, and when you seek it you will find it, and when you find it, you ought to identify yourself with it.

These two found the eleven and those who were gathered together, saying, "The Lord is indeed risen and has appeared to Simon" And then they told how He was recognised, or made known to them in the breaking of bread.

Now I want to dwell on this particularly in closing, because it is most important. One thinks of this brother and that brother, what they say severally, and we know what they say and how they say it. Now what were those gathered, as seen here, saying? They were saying something very definite: "The Lord is indeed risen and has appeared to Simon" You know there is much that is indefinite said and the effect is indefinite. I am referring now to our readings. If things are said indefinitely, the impression is indefinite and it vanishes, there is nothing built in, nothing abiding. The public assembly is a place in which things are said definitely and certainly. It is not a debating society. If I have something from the Lord, I do not need to apologise for saying it; it is what should be said, and it should be listened to. And so they were saying, "The Lord is indeed

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risen and has appeared to Simon" They were speaking definitely and they were occupied with grace. I believe in these things we have the leading features of our dispensation -- the great fact of the resurrection, and the great fact of grace. The risen One appears to the erring one. Is that not grace?

What an immensity is told in what they were saying, reaching down even to us. Who of us does not regard as full of grace that simple remark, "and has appeared to Simon"? Not to Peter, for Luke is too accurate for that, it is to Simon. Who of us is not a Simon -- an erring one? They were not commenting on Simon's cowardice. How much could have been said about that! But they were not saying it, they were saying that the Lord had appeared to him -- a very different matter; they were speaking about grace. The public assembly should be marked by that, by speaking about grace, for this is the dispensation of it. Luke presents grace, and they were speaking about it; it is worth speaking about.

Then the last thing is the breaking of bread. There has been a great deal said in recent years, thank God, about the breaking of bread. If the Lord cause His people to speak much about anything, you may depend upon it He has something in it. In Luther's time they spoke about justification by faith and corresponding features of the truth. Later on other things were spoken of, and later still other truths, amongst these the breaking of bread. I believe we shall go on speaking about that right to the end; certainly we shall if we take the apostle Paul's example in Acts 20; he spoke till the break of day. He discoursed before the breaking of bread, and he conversed with the brethren after the breaking of bread until the morning, being ready to depart on the morrow. How much are we gaining from this speaking? Here they said the Lord was recognised or made known unto them in the breaking of bread.

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That is what they said; and as they were saying these things Jesus Himself stood in the midst. Is there not much in that, beloved brethren? As they were saying these things the Lord stood in the midst, as if He would say, I am delighted with that kind of speaking. The Lord loves to hear His people converse together about these matters, about the breaking of bread. Ah, He does. "As they were saying these things, he himself stood in their midst, and says to them, Peace [be] unto you" as if He would confirm them in what they were saying, and indicate to them His pleasure in the subject of their conversation.

I need not proceed, but much might be said as to our conversation, what we say, for there are many idle words, and there is much spoken and written that profits but little. If I think of a brother who ministers, I like to think of him as speaking for Christ. In the chapter I cited in Matthew 12 the Lord makes a point of words. He says, "Every idle word which men shall say, they shall render an account of it in judgment-day: for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" Matthew 12:36,37 Hence the importance of keeping our mouths, so that profitable things only may proceed out of them. I believe the cloven tongues of fire mean that corrupt things should be nullified; that the tongue should not have the poison of asps under it, that it should not be an unruly member, but that it should be a member under the control of the Spirit of God. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Hence the importance of controlling our tongues and keeping our mouths, and particularly that when we go to the house of God there should be no indefinite speaking, but that there should be definiteness with us -- five words with the understanding rather than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. It is the five words with the

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understanding, something contributed to the house of God, that is needed. In going to the house of God our words are to be few; we are not to be silent, but let what is said be to the point; it should contain something for God. "I have believed, therefore have I spoken" 2 Corinthians 4:13 That is what is in view in Luke and in 1 Corinthians. The public body should be representative of God very largely by what is said in it and how it is said.

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Pages 249 - 318 -- "Spiritual Development", Great Britain, 1928 (Volume 92.)


Zechariah 4

J.T. No doubt most of us know that Zechariah, as well as Haggai, helped the builders on the return from the captivity. Zechariah is thus, while a prophet, representative also of the Christian in a practical way -- one who could not only convey the mind of God, but show how to apply it.

This chapter deals with the Spirit in His activities, in our own time -- a day of small things. "As a man that is wakened out of his sleep" Most of us will, no doubt, discern that this has a present application, for most of us are as persons wakened out of sleep in order to see what God has here to carry on and maintain His testimony. As wakened, and seeing what God has, we turn away from man's machinery for the carrying on of the work of God.

Ques. What do you mean by practical?

J.T. You will remember it is said of Zechariah and Haggai that they helped; see Ezra 5:1,2. They prophesied to the Jews, and then we read they began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem, and with them were the prophets of God helping them. They were with the builders and helped the builders. They went forward and participated in the practical side for the service of God.

It will be observed that, in the New Testament, the foundation is said to be that of the apostles and prophets. The Lord Jesus said that He would build on a certain foundation; but when we come to the epistles, the foundation is by the apostles and prophets. At Corinth, Paul said that, as a wise architect, he had laid the foundation there, and every one was

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to take care how he builded on that; that is the practical side. The lampstand in this chapter was all of gold; it was not what was of man. There is much laid under tribute now nominally to carry on the work of God that is not of gold, but the very opposite, so that Christians, as waked out of sleep, need to see that the work of God must be carried on by means divinely provided. Indeed, it is as of God ourselves that we are to have part in it; as John says, "We are of God" 1 John 4:6 and elsewhere, Paul says, "of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who has been made to us wisdom from God" 1 Corinthians 1:30 That is a matter of light for us, and as beginning with it, our safety lies in disallowing all that is contrary to it. It is better to have a little that is genuine than much that is adulterated. I suppose there was much going on at Corinth that would be otherwise, inasmuch as there were leaders of parties there with their partisans, and that would open the door for material described as "wood, hay, stubble" which would not stand the divine test. Although they had written to the apostle Paul about several things that exercised them, they omitted the things that stood in the way of their prosperity, and these were local division, and party feeling. They did not write to him about these. But that is the first thing he mentions in writing his letter, when he comes to criticism of what there was at Corinth. Hence the work of God was necessarily hampered there, and the door opened for extraneous material; so the apostle calls attention to the divine test that should apply. Anything that could not stand that would be burned up. Having gone over the ground thus, he wishes them to know that they are not to let their hands hang down, notwithstanding all that; they were to labour, and their labour would not be in vain in the Lord; 1 Corinthians 15:58. Labour otherwise is sure to be in vain. "Gold, silver, precious stones" 1 Corinthians 3:12 represent the good material.

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Ques. What relation has the gold to the golden lamps here?

J.T. Gold usually alludes to what is wholly of God, particularly righteousness. In Scripture it is, in general, a type of what is of God.

Rem. It seems connected with the oil here.

J.T. Yes, with the oil and the olive trees, so that the things of God may be maintained independently of what is of man. If we think of the candlestick -- the lampstand -- it must, in our own dispensation, allude to the saints as of the assembly, and we have to take it up in that way -- that all is of God. The foundation is laid stress upon in Corinthians, but every one is to take heed how he builds.

In 2 Chronicles 3:3 we have Solomon's foundation. We have to understand what Solomon's foundation is. He began to build on mount Moriah, which means "shown by Jehovah" It is not something that man arrives at by study, but by being shown. In Matthew 16 the thing was shown. Peter says, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" Matthew 16:16 Jesus answered, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens" Matthew 16:17 God Himself indicated the thing. That is the general idea underlying the foundation; the site is shown. We have Solomon's foundation and the measurements of it. In Matthew it is the Christ, the Son of the living God -- Peter's confession; but in the epistles it is what the apostles have done. There has been practical work, so that in Ephesians it is the foundation of the apostles and prophets. In Corinthians, the foundation was laid by Paul. It is more than being shown now; when the foundation is laid, you have something concrete for God. At Corinth it took the form of "Jesus Christ" I think Solomon's foundation is the general thought, like Matthew 16, but local conditions would bring out certain features of it, so that what the

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apostle stresses at Corinth is that it was Jesus Christ. Referring to his actual preaching he says, "The Son of God that was preached"

The prophet here is a sort of type; he says, "And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep" I think that is an allusion to the time in which there is an awakening; it does not refer to the beginning of things. It supposes a lapse: "they all slumbered and slept" Matthew 25:5 Then there is an awakening, which leads us to see what God has. Man has built up much, but what we see now is the means that God has of doing things. If we are wakened, it is to see what God has; it is not that the candlestick is restored, for we hear nothing of it after Ephesus; Revelation 2. No doubt it was lost in Thyatira; the Lord does not put on the remnant there the burden of maintaining the public testimony; but no one who loves the Lord would want to stay there; he would go back to the beginning, to see what the vessel was that God used to disperse the light, and he would desire to walk in the light of it, though not pretending to be it.

Although a day of small things, the divine thought was still effective; Zerubbabel had laid the foundation, and he should finish the house. The work is all one piece. Now the point is the finish. It is the same hand that lays the foundation that lays the headstone, crying, "Grace, grace unto it" That is very encouraging, because the finish is going to be with victory.

God has His own way of wakening people. We have been as persons who have been asleep. The sight had been lost of what God had, and what is of man was set up instead. The Reformation called attention to much, but one wonders whether the candlestick was seen then, whether the idea was laid hold of. It may have been, but men did not act on

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it. In a later day the awakening was to that, and particularly to the Spirit. God has the same means for carrying on His work that He had at the beginning. It gives it a dignity in our minds when we see that we are labouring at the same thing that the Lord and the apostles laboured at.

Zerubbabel is a type of the Lord. He is like the Lord in His authority; he is the governor. You find him in Haggai specially referred to as the governor. The Lord, who is the governor of the universe and the upholder of it, is content to be governor to such small things. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, but in the meantime He is content to be governing a few of us. The governor and the priest go together. "Who hath despised the day of small things?" The Lord has not; He is content to be the governor of a few feeble people who have no place in this world. Each of us has to be submissive to the governor. He is the priest on His throne; He has authority, but He is sympathetic.

Ques. What is the objective in the work?

J.T. The topstone, I think. "He shall bring forth the head-stone with shoutings: Grace, grace unto it" That is the end in view. Then in verse 9 it says, "the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; and his hands shall finish it" It is a great thing to see that we are at the finish, and that it is to be in accord with the beginning. It lies in the Spirit; the quality is the same; the supply of oil is not going to run out; we have the unlimitedness of it. The setting of these two books is in Ezra and Nehemiah; these were the circumstances in which Haggai and Zechariah ministered.

There are things brought to our attention that we do not understand. Understanding is more a faculty than something acquired in the way of knowledge, so it says, "The Lord will give thee understanding in

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all things" 2 Timothy 2:7 The understanding comes after the thing is presented to us objectively. As you are awake, the Christ shines upon you, and you have understanding. We read in Proverbs, "Through wisdom is a house built" That is the general principle. "By understanding it is established" Proverbs 24:3 you see how the thing is carried out; "and by knowledge are the chambers filled with all precious and pleasant substance" Proverbs 24:4 In Luke 24 the Lord opened their understanding, in order that they should see that all the Scriptures were centred in Him.

If we had heard the apostles ministering when they laid the foundation, we would have been impressed by grace. Take any of the sermons in Acts, beginning at chapter 2. Acts gives us the manner of apostolic service. We see, therefore, how grace marked their ministry, and we want to be so characterised now. It is a day of small things; there is no promise that there will be anything else; but they are to be small things of quality -- that is the idea. The Lord is much more concerned about that than about volume. At Corinth the danger was bringing in big things. A cartload of hay is not worth very much; you might buy it for a sovereign or two. Many attach great importance to quantity; but if you set a match to the hay, where is it? With gold it is not a question of quantity, but quality. "The gold of that land is good" Genesis 2:12 You may depend upon it that, as at Corinth, where party spirit is rife, there must be quantity to justify it. As party spirit is rife, there is much made of what is going on. In Christendom they have to make a showing, hence there is room for wood, hay, stubble. These things do not stand the test. You see quantity everywhere -- huge buildings, large numbers of people, show of every kind. You may bring that nearer home; but it is a question of show. The secret of it is party feeling -- sects. But God shows you what things mean. The prophet says, "What

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are these, my lord?" That is the kind of man who will get instruction. You want to find out how things work. The angel says, "Knowest thou not what these are?" That is a challenge. Why are you ignorant? It is a wholesome thing to be challenged like that. What you see in the prophet is that the angel is talking with him. That is another beautiful thought in this book; the angel is talking with him; it is a mutual thing. There is no official dignity about the angel, so that the prophet is free to ask questions. That is the difference between the clerical system and the mutual system. The assembly is based on mutual relations, whereas human religion is almost invariably hierarchical. It is those who raise the question who get the answer. I think that things which the Lord graciously accords to us are on that line -- the very opposite of the hierarchical system. The ground is mutual. There is room for what the Lord would give, but the ground is mutual. He "talked with me" In Acts 20, after the Lord's supper, the apostle conversed with the brethren. We may be sure that there was much inquiry and much light. Inquiry brings out the understanding -- the knowledge of the working of the thing. "And I said, No, my lord" It is a good thing to be able to say that you do not know; that is the secret of getting knowledge.

"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts" Now we have come to something very specific; it has to do with the builder of the assembly; then it would work out in a practical way in those who would be building. That brings in another matter, and that is, the idea of representation -- that whilst we may have part in the building, the building is the Lord's, and thus the word is for all who are actively engaged in building. The building is the Lord's, and the work is carried on by the

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Spirit of God. You want to do everything that you are doing by the Spirit of God. If you are visiting a saint, preaching the Word, attending a Bible reading -- you are to be exercised to do it by the Spirit of God. The prophets of God were helping the builders. Things were very small, the difficulties very great, but they went on building.

We want to have the conscious knowledge of things. When the Lord was twelve years old, His mother went a day's journey and did not know that He was not in the company. She was theoretical; it was mere theory with her; there was no idea of consciousness. We talk much about the Lord coming to us; but is it mere theory, or is it consciousness? They travelled the whole day, and thought He was with them. That is the state of many gatherings. The Lord may not be there, and yet they talk about Him as if He were there. These prophets -- Zechariah and Haggai -- were practical men.

In the minor prophets we are reminded of the resources of God. Our eyes are opened, as were the eyes of Elijah's servant, to see how many are on our side. That is a sort of background. We are going on with small things, because that is the government of God on account of the failure of the public vessel; we may as well accept it; the Lord accepts it, and has continued to be our governor notwithstanding. "The government shall be upon his shoulder" Isaiah 9:6 -- that is, of everything; not of a few of us. "Thou hast a little power" Revelation 3:8 It is the same kind of power they had at the beginning. Note how the Lord keeps the assembly in His mind. The remnant in Philadelphia represents His mind as to the assembly. The terms indicate that it is the assembly He has in His mind.

In verse 10 there is another thing: "They shall rejoice ... and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven" Now that is a very solemn matter, because the plummet would mean

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that everything will have to be regulated by what He has in His hand. "Those seven" would allude to the eyes of the Lord. In the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth, there is intimate divine knowledge. Of course, God knows everything, being God; nevertheless He assures us that by the presence of the Spirit He has first-hand knowledge of everything that exists on earth. When men built the tower of Babel, God came down to see what they had built; so too He came down to Sodom. Now in connection with the presence of the Holy Spirit He has come down and has first-hand knowledge of everything. The plummet is the standard whereby everything is to be tested. That is a very serious consideration, because He has not changed His mind one iota from the day of Pentecost to the present time.

John's writings are to bring in the things without calling them by name -- that the things should be present; he emphasises that. John brings out the temple: the Lord calls it His Father's house, and cleanses it. Then you have the temple of His body in chapter 2; "the house" in chapter 8: the Son abides in the house. The things are there, but not officially. What Ephesians represents to us is a fixed order of things from God's side. The unity of the Spirit exists; he bases the unity on the fact that there is "one body, and one Spirit ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all ..." Ephesians 4:4 That is a fixed order of things that can no more be interfered with than the universe. There is this -- the unity of the Spirit. Now my responsibility is in all lowliness and meekness to keep that in the bond of peace. That is how the thing stands. Then the gifts are brought in, and they are for the saints, "until we all arrive ... at the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ" Ephesians 4:13 So Zerubbabel here may also represent those who are responsible to carry on the work, and who have received gifts from Christ in

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heaven. Be assured that what was laid at the beginning is to be finished. The Lord will wear down by discipline the extraneous thing that is in us until all the stones fit. There is the positive building to bring us up to it, and the discipline to remove what would hinder. Christ is God's ideal, and He is working to that. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the whole earth" 2 Chronicles 16:9; it is a universal matter. The work of God is universal. It is carried on here, but it is the same as what He is doing elsewhere; it is all one piece. Nothing escapes the notice of God in this moment; we are in the presence of the Spirit here.

Rem. In 2 Chronicles 16:9 the eyes of the Lord are said to run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of them that fear Him.

J.T. Yes; here it is more for search; nothing escapes Him. You have a further inquiry in verses 11 and 12, and again the prophet owns his ignorance. Then the angel says, "These are the two anointed ones" (sons of oil) "that stand before the Lord of the whole earth" There I think the allusion is to spiritual maturity in the way of adequate testimony here. It is not a question of a very great number -- two -- but you have adequate testimony, in mature stability, to the Lord of the whole earth. That is what God is set for, to have a testimony to Himself here. What is of God is presented, and the testimony is to Himself. God is going to be represented by sons. You see it in the Lord Jesus. In the early chapters of Luke, you have the infantile idea in John the baptist; he was filled with the Spirit from his infancy, but he was not then a "son of oil" He was in the desert until the time of his showing to Israel; he had to go through his training to attain maturity; then he begins his ministry. In chapter 3 he says, "Offspring of vipers, who hath forewarned you to

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flee from the coming wrath?" Matthew 3:7 Do not flatter yourselves that you are the sons of Abraham; there must be repentance. You see how mature he was. Then others began to inquire; his ministry touched their consciences. Ministry has no value unless it touches people's consciences. He says to the people, "He that has two body-coats, let him give to him that has none" Luke 3:11; to the tax gatherers, "Take no more [money] than that which is appointed to you" Luke 3:13; to the soldiers, "Oppress no one, nor accuse falsely, and be satisfied with your pay" Luke 3:14 He had a just idea of what was due at that time; it is an application of spiritual maturity in ministry; he represented God at the moment. That ministry leads to imprisonment; Herod added to all his wickedness, in that he shut up John in prison. Then the Lord comes in praying; that is the attitude of spiritual maturity. We are told that He was about thirty years of age -- attaining His maturity; "and praying, that the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form as a dove upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I have found my delight" Luke 3:21,22 I think that is the idea of the son of oil -- maturity in testimony here. "[The] Spirit of [the] Lord is upon me" Luke 4:18 There is an adequate witness for God here in maturity. God is bringing that about now -- a representation of Himself. He would have His service maintained in spiritual maturity.

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Zechariah 6:7,8; Revelation 2:1; John 1:35,36

I had in mind to speak about divine walking. It will be remembered that God, having placed man in the garden of Eden, came down in the cool of the day, His voice being heard, as we read, "they heard the voice of Jehovah Elohim walking in the garden" Genesis 3:8, so that, at that very early period of God's relations with man we have this feature, and it runs through the Scriptures, as we find with Enoch and with Noah that they walked with God.

What I have in mind, beloved friends, is to show that this walking involves what is judicial -- it involves government, then that it involves grace. I hope to speak of the subject in these two relations; and I have touched on it in Zechariah first, because in his prophecy the former idea is somewhat stressed, particularly as to these symbols of divine government -- horses. You will observe that there were four chariots with their horses in this chapter. The idea is introduced in chapter 1, and, as we have been occupied, in this book, already today with the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4) -- the medium of God's direct action -- I wish, for a moment, to dwell on the medium or mediums of His indirect action. Both activities on the part of God bear upon the testimony. In the presence of the Spirit here, we have the medium of direct action, but, in the existence of government, although in the hands of those who know Him not, God has agencies of indirect action, but, nevertheless, of immense importance to us as standing in relation to what God is doing directly.

So I have selected this final chariot -- called "the bay" here -- as the power with which the assembly has had to do, with which, indeed, our Lord Jesus

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Christ has had to do. It will be known that, in the gospel of Luke, John the baptist's ministry is given to us in a historical setting, and the name of the Caesar is given -- Tiberius Caesar -- and all the governmental dignitaries of the time; chapter 3:1. These are not regarded, in Luke, as adverse, specially. They are regarded as adverse (at least, Herod was) in Matthew, but Luke presents them in relation to the testimony. They had their place in the government of God, and although symbolised by the horse, meaning that they have neither conscience nor heart, yet they are amenable to external pressure, and God has, not only in the presence of the Holy Spirit here, but in the presence of angelic power, His forces for operation. He has never withdrawn these forces from the area of the testimony, and so these creatures, although wanting in conscience and heart, are amenable to external pressure, and even to guidance and control. As a horse is kept in by bit and bridle in contrast to a man, so these powers are amenable to God through external pressure, and hence He forces them into His service with a view to the preservation of the testimony here.

So this fourth chariot, with its bay horses, representing what is strong, what is energetic, symbolises for us the great empire which, more than any other, has had to do with Christianity, first with our Lord, then with the apostles, and finally with the assembly as left here. These essayed to walk to and fro, and they were allowed to do so. The rise of that empire was not by divine initiative. The kingdom of God is by divine initiative; it was not 'Lo here' or 'Lo there' as in the great leaders of Rome; it did not come by observation. It came in as a babe, and so the Lord says, "The kingdom of God is in the midst of you" Luke 17:21 It was there unobtrusively, unpretentiously, but, nevertheless, there. It was there, as I said, by divine initiative, and symbolises the divine intervention

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in grace; whereas this chariot essays to move. The initiative was of man. It was man's greed and lust for power, but God took it in hand and controlled it, and the ordering came from Him; so that He permits this great power to walk through the earth. The great roads in this country and throughout Europe, and throughout the East, are all a standing witness to the meaning of this verse. They betoken arteries of walk, so that the legions find a way to traverse the earth, to march through; but as under God; beasts though they were, they were under God, and they continue. The powers that be, we are told, are ordained of God, and they are to be respected: "for it bears not the sword in vain" Romans 13:4 We pray for them; we are enjoined to do so. They are ordained of God for our good, and so they walk through the earth in the way of ordered government, in order that there might be peace, so that the people of God might lead "a quiet and tranquil life in all piety and gravity" 1 Timothy 2:2

Well, now, having said so much about the walk of these horses, I desire to proceed to speak about the Lord in this same judicial character. You find Him, in the book of Revelation, walking, not then as the vessel of grace, but, as we are told by the apostle who turned to hear or see the voice, as in the character of the "Son of man" The Son of man is very different from a horse; it is He who came into this world as cast upon God from the very outset of His being here. No external pressure, indeed, in His case: "My food is that I should do the will of him that has sent me, and that I should finish his work" John 4:34 He is the Son of man. It is in His hands that judgment is. However much it may appear to be in other hands for the moment, yet all judgment has been committed to Him. Judgment is in His hands, because He is the Son of man.

Now, here in Revelation He is seen clothed with a

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garment reaching down to His feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. No longer that beautiful Form for love to outline, as in Canticles. It is not that. It is judicial. The outline cannot be traced here. He is not presented to affection here; He is clothed down to the feet with a garment, and His affections are pent up -- they cannot flow out. His hair is like wool; there is the experience of an elder, qualified to judge. "His feet like fine brass" Revelation 1:15 and "Out of his mouth a sharp, two-edged sword" Revelation 1:16 and "his voice as the voice of many waters" Revelation 1:15 This is no indirect action; this forebodes direct action, but judicially; and so, in addressing the first assembly, He presents Himself as He "who walks in the midst of the seven golden lamps" Walking is deliberate.

We have running spoken of in Scripture, both in a good sense and a bad sense. We hear of many running to and fro, referring to the present time -- to the rapid means of travel, but walking is deliberate, and so the Son of man is seen here, walking -- not through the earth, but in the midst of the seven golden lamps, in the midst of those who have the responsibility of the testimony, but who have failed in it. A most solemn picture! His eyes are like a flame of fire, and as He walks about amongst the candlesticks nothing escapes His notice -- no thing or person. He is dealing, beloved friends, judicially. Nothing is passed over, and so, in these seven letters or addresses to the assembly, He pronounces the results of His inspection. Let no one for a moment assume that He can escape these eyes. He sees all; and not only so, but what He sees that needs to be judged He has a means of dealing with. He is the Lord, beloved friends. "Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?" 1 Corinthians 10:22 -- a most serious matter. He deals with us directly as in the Revelation. It is direct action. He has a sword; He has the means by Him to deal with us.

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What I wanted to come to, however, is divine walking in grace, but I thought it would be helpful and perhaps needful for some of us to be reminded that there is judicial action at the present time. The history of Christendom is the result of this direct action of the Lord. Faith observes it. He has the means by Him of dealing with everything that is contrary to Him in the sphere of profession. He will deal with all presently, but at the present time this direct action progresses. "On this account many among you are weak and infirm, and a good many are fallen asleep" 1 Corinthians 11:30 is an example of this direct action of the Lord. That was at the beginning of it. Judgment has begun at the house of God, and if it has begun at us, "Where shall the impious and the sinner appear?" 1 Peter 4:18 It may be needful that, in a particular way, attention should be drawn to this -- the Son of man in His judicial garb, walking in the midst of the seven golden lamps.

But I wanted, as I said, to speak particularly of His walk in grace. I believe that the present recovery of the assembly, the recent recovery of many of God's people is due, in very large measure, to the indirect action of God, for He has wrought governmentally among the nations; and then, too, it is due to the direct action of God in the midst of the profession, with the end in view that there might be a walking in grace -- that we might know what it is to walk as He walked. It says, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that announceth glad tidings, that publisheth peace" Isaiah 52:7 These are not feet going to and fro through the earth; they are the feet presented to us by Luke and John. I do not know of anything more attractive than the presentation of Christ by these two evangelists from this standpoint. Luke dwells, as if loth to leave the subject, on the feet of Jesus.

Jesus had come in of Himself -- His own feet has

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carried Him. It was a deliberate undertaking; it was a deliberate walking in answer to Herod's challenge. Herod desired to kill Him, but He could say, "Go tell that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and accomplish cures today, and tomorrow ... but I must needs walk today and tomorrow" Luke 13:32,33. How much that must implied! I must walk, and so, in that holy walk, in which grace was exhibited in every step, He arrives in the Pharisee's house; Luke 7:36. He is invited by the Pharisee; He always accepted invitations. His walk, beloved, was in a thorny way. He knew full well there was nothing congenial in that house, but grace led Him to enter it. His walk was in that way. His feet had carried Him in, and the woman of the city arrives. She understood; she washed His feet with her tears.

One thinks of that moment of feeling. What depths of feeling those tears bespoke! Tears bespeak feelings within. They denote nothing external in the way of beauty; they rather disfigure; but they denote depths of feeling within, and those depths were there. These feet had carried grace to her. Grace had touched her to the very depths of her being. She washed His feet with tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Every hair of that head was precious; but she devoted them to the wiping of those feet, and she kissed them. It was no mere formal act. She kissed them "ardently"; the Lord's own comment is, "She from the time I came in has not ceased kissing my feet" Luke 7:45 There were depths of feelings in her tears; there was depth of affection in her kisses. She had not ceased to kiss His feet. Would that our hearts could be moved thus! Depths of feelings! Superficiality, alas! is what marks the people of God even at their best, and I would not exclude myself. One is humbled about it. In meetings such as these, we are moved for a moment, but the effect passes away. What about tears? What about depths of feeling as

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the down-stooping of Christ comes home to us in power? As the apostle says, "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" 2 Corinthians 8:9 Those feet carried it to that poor soul, so that she was no longer poor; she was rich. Those who love Christ are made rich, and so, finally, she anoints those feet.

This would give support and energy in consequence of that holy service rendered. Do you not think the Lord was refreshed? He was, beloved. He drank of the brook by the way. That was refreshment to Him, untold. He says, "Seest thou this woman?" Luke 7:44 Then He goes over all that she had done to Him, and His comment is, "She loved much" "her many sins are forgiven" Luke 7:47 As Christ had come to her, so He governed her, and so she ministered to Him. Thus it is that Luke gives us the feet, and so does John; hence, we find that Mary anoints them in John.

In Matthew and Mark He is anointed on the head, for it is a question in these gospels of His official dignity. We do well to notice that -- that there is One, officially -- there is one Man set up in heaven in whom all offices are vested. Every office is vested in Christ, so that Matthew and Mark relate that He is anointed on the head, while Luke and John record that He was anointed on the feet. We need both. The first two refer to His dignity -- His official dignity, the second two refer to His personal greatness -- Luke, what He is morally, John what He is personally. So that the woman, as Luke presents her, anointed Him as He comes into the world -- in His service, in His walk; Mary, according to John, anoints Him, as He goes out of the world; John 12:3. He came in as having those beautiful feet on the mountains -- publishing peace, and as anointed He walked to carry grace to men. In John He goes out. He is anointed six days before His burial.

I turn now to the passage I read in John 1. I desire specially to convey some impression to you of

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John, as I have sought to do of Luke. You find John the baptist "looking at Jesus as he walked" He did not come into this world, in any sense, to take His ease; it was a question of movement, and so, beloved, if we are recovered to the truth it is a question of movement. It is really in movement that light radiates, and so you find in this chapter that, as the Lord is seen moving, all those who are drawn to Him begin to move. It is the radiation of light. I think it is in movement that we begin to radiate the light that comes into our souls; it is not in settling down in a locality. The nearer we are to God the more universal we are, and the more ready to move, to walk, not to run to and fro, hither and thither, but to be deliberate -- to have a purpose.

And so the Lord walked, and John looked upon Him and said, "Behold the Lamb of God" The idea of the walking is brought in. It is a divine Person here -- "the Lamb of God" and so you find, throughout this chapter, that those who were drawn to Him, walked, they moved, as, for example, Nathanael. When Jesus saw him coming to Him He said, "Behold [one] truly an Israelite, in whom there is no guile" John 1:47 Light radiated there. There is an expression of something under the eye of God -- "Truly an Israelite"! One would covet to be that; that it should be seen in one's walk, in one's movements, that we are not seeking after the things of this world, that we are not going to that city to trade and to get gain; but that our motives are pure, that they are unselfish, that they are governed by love, and that thus we answer to the Lord's estimate of Nathanael, "[one] truly an Israelite, in whom there is no guile" John 1:47 It says of the Lord, He did not walk in Jewry. There were dangerous places. He walked no longer openly among the Jews, for they sought to kill Him. He selected His area; but He walked.

How one would love to trace those lanes of Galilee

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around Tiberias where those holy footprints might be seen, as He walked, as His love carried Him hither and thither to meet human need and to bless. In chapter 12 we find Him in Bethany; His journey is finished, and He is found in the house of an intelligent lover, for Mary of Bethany represents an intelligent lover of Christ. She kept the box of ointment for the occasion, and so she anoints His feet; and He goes on those six days before the Passover in the power of the anointing -- in the refreshment of that worship carried to Him by an intelligent lover. Such was the walk of the Lord Jesus. His feet carried Him to death.

I mention all these things so that we might see what recovery is for. If we have part in it, it is that we might take up this, dear brethren, that we might walk. It is no matter of self-gratification. It is a matter of deliberate care for others, and of sacrifice; so that the walk of the Christian, as recovered, becomes expressive of God, hence, John presents the living water as available here. He presents the believer as possessing it, so that it flows out as rivers; and in the Revelation, "He that will, let him take [the] water of life freely" Revelation 22:17; that is to say, from John's point of view, the thing is to be available -- the thing is to be here. It is to be manifest, and available to need. "He that will" etc. It is the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit in the vessel in which He is. All this is bound up with a holy, deliberate walk, so that what men need is carried to them. It is made available to them, and thus there is a tangible representation of God in these last days.

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2 Samuel 5:1 - 10; 2 Samuel 15:25 - 32

J.T. I thought we might look at the subject of worship. It requires close attention, in reading these books, to discern when David is a type of a believer and when he is a type of Christ. In his going up to Jerusalem with his men, he is more a type of the Lord; but abiding at Ziklag, as he did, and then at Hebron, is what enters into the experience of the believer. The early chapters of this book correspond more with what was at the beginning of our dispensation, whereas the fifteenth and succeeding chapters correspond with what is at the end. There is the idea of going up in each; and indeed, the worship of God is not on the level of what is current around in the way of religious observances, but is in moral elevation. David, in the first chapter, is seen abiding at Ziklag; then in chapter 2 he inquires whether he is to go up. In chapter 5 it is David and his men going without any inquiry; they went to Jerusalem. That would indicate spiritual movement. The former would lead to Romans and Colossians; the latter would be Ephesians. God seems to value the desire to move on. The going up in chapter 15 is in very different circumstances. David had failed, and disaster had come to his house, endangering the kingdom.

Ques. Did you say that in chapter 5, David was more a type of Christ?

J.T. I thought so, only he has got men. The movement is more spiritual than by commandment.

Ques. What had you in your mind as to the difference between going up by commandment and going up by the Spirit?

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J.T. David abiding at Ziklag would allude to the believer's entering into the teaching of Romans. All was lost, and all was restored or recovered. It says he abode there for two days -- as a testimony -- and there you get the spirit of Romans in the way of overcoming evil with good. Instead of glorying over the downfall of Saul, David laments over it; he laments the death of his enemy. The man who came to tell him about Saul's death assumed that David would be governed by natural feeling, but he was not; he was typically a believer in the good of the kingdom. Much place is given to his words and actions to call attention to what had happened at Ziklag. Here, in the presence of men, we are to manifest the spirit of the kingdom, overcoming evil with good. That adjustment has to be seen in a practical way before any thought of ascent comes into question; it is in the thought of superiority over evil that going up comes in, but David does not do it of himself; he inquired of the Lord. In the history of the Christian, it is most important that he should be in subjection in his movements -- not only in his ordinary affairs, but in his spiritual movements; in these he should also be under control. He may have power to do things, but he does not do them, because he is under control. It is thus we fit into the assembly. We have to learn that however much spiritual energy we may have, we have to be under control. The way was clear for David to move, for Saul was dead, but he did not do it without inquiry. "Whither shall I go up?" and the Lord said, "Unto Hebron", 2 Samuel 2:1. That involves certain limitations which are wholesome; they make room for others. Moving up is spiritual; it is not physical. What happened at Ziklag is more a witness to what the power of God is; evil is overcome with good. Christ has brought that about in the kingdom; He brings it about in every believer; it works out in the believer heaping coals

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of fire upon his enemy's head, because that is the quickest way of bringing him down. The coals of fire are giving him food and drink. That is the testimony before man. So I think you will see the importance of the two days at Ziklag, as showing that the exercise was completed. It was on the third day the messenger came, and the messenger was in keeping with his message. He thought David was such an one as himself. He expected a reward for his tidings, but he met death instead. The desire in David to go up is spiritual.

Ques. Do you mean his lesson was so well learned that he would not go up without counting on the Lord?

J.T. He does not come into the full position at once. Then the lesson that has always to be learned at Hebron is that there is something which was morally before the world -- something morally greater. Hebron was built before Zoan in Egypt. God has something in His mind that morally supersedes the world. John the baptist stood for much, but the Lord was before him. So at Hebron we learn what takes precedence of the world. It is not only that the world is bad, but whatever there is in it is inferior to what the mind of God is. Hebron was before the world in that way.

Ques. Is that the purpose of God?

J.T. Well, I think you are going on to it -- the hidden wisdom which God had determined before the world; you begin to see that there is that. Paul could not speak much of it to the Corinthians, but it was there.

Ques. Did I understand you to say that there are movements that are the outcome of commandments, but that they should lead on to movements that are the outcome of spiritual instincts?

J.T. That is what I understand. I apprehend that, in heaven, we shall move not merely under

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commandment, but in spiritual intelligence. Having put down all rule and authority, the Lord hands over the kingdom to the Father. It will be headship then; the mediatorial kingdom seems to cease. He hands the kingdom over to Him who is God and Father.

Ques. What is Hebron?

J.T. It is like Colossians, where you begin to see that there are things that morally supersede the world. Christianity is morally before the world. Christ is Head of all principality and power; His Person is before us; He created all things; they are by Him and for Him. Though He came in historically later than some of the things mentioned, yet He is personally and morally before them all. He is the beginning of the creation of God; He is before all things. That is the idea. He is morally before all as man, as coming into manhood; all things have to give place to Him. In everything He must have the pre-eminence. You begin to see that in Colossians. There is the wisdom of God; wisdom is made a point of. "In all wisdom and spiritual understanding" "[so as] to walk worthily of the Lord ... strengthened with all power ... unto all endurance and longsuffering with joy" Colossians 1:9 - 11

Rem. You mean, in Romans not only is the ground cleared, but in Colossians you come into that which was long before the breakdown?

J.T. Yes, and what underlies that is the personal excellency of Christ when He was here. The excellency is there, and you begin to see it; He must take the precedence, because of what He is morally. What He is morally comes in in testimony. He is morally before all because of what He has been here. The mystery of God includes the saints. God is not arbitrary in what He is doing; He brings in what is morally superior. Moral excellency comes out in testimony.

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Ques. Do you mean, as in Hebrews, that He learned obedience by the things which He suffered?

J.T. Yes, and many other things go along with that. Heaven's approval of Christ was not expressed until he was thirty years of age. It was always there, but it was to be shown before the universe. God has given a position to Christ, not only because of what He is as a divine Person, but because of what He has been here. He has qualified for the position. That is how headship comes about. So that, in Colossians, philosophy and vain deceit are put against not holding the Head. Following the Lord in the gospels, you feel that He must have the first place. In Matthew and Mark, He is anointed on the head -- not by God, but by the one that is there. That is how you come into deliverance from the hierarchical system around. It makes it very simple, and yet very grand. You are now delivered from your own side, and led on into things. This kind of deliverance we are dealing with now is very rare amongst Christians. Deliverance by the commandments you begin with -- what God has said. That must be recognised, although you do not understand the bearing of it. The command is imperative; you are careful for the commandment, and people are delivered from what is evil through it; but when we come to what we are dealing with now -- seeing the greatness of His Person and the moral excellencies of Christ, being led on by that, you never go back.

Ques. Do you think Colossians is on the line of Luke -- the moral excellencies of the Man?

J.T. Yes, Luke is to support Paul's ministry; but Colossians is the Son of the Father's love and includes John's side. Everything in Luke is carefully noted -- Christ as a babe, then as a boy, then as a man; there are the three distinct stages. Then, when He is about thirty years of age, you get heaven's

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recognition. If you follow these chapters, you will be in agreement with that; and you will also be led on to see that He is worthy. Heaven would know who He was, yet it is on account of the qualities that were found in Him as a man that He is the Head in Colossians. What have I found? Philip says to Nathanael, "We have found him, of whom Moses wrote in the law, and the prophets, Jesus the son of Joseph, who is from Nazareth" John 1:45. He had found someone. Nathanael was not ready for that; he took note of Nazareth. It shows how difficult it is for people to get delivered; they light on something that is under reproach. So Nathanael is detained by Nazareth. Why did he not think of Moses writing about this Man hundreds of years before, and of the prophets? It was the thought of Nazareth that occupied him. So now things under reproach are noted. Philip did not turn away from Nathanael, however; he says to him, "Come and see" It is not, what about the brethren, but what about Christ? When Nathanael begins to move, the Lord says, "Behold [one] truly an Israelite, in whom there is no guile" John 1:47 That is the way the thing works. The Lord had seen something morally great in Nathanael's movements, and He speaks of him correspondingly. God's world will be marked by names indicating moral excellencies, Christ being supreme; Christ is all, and in all. Nathanael comes to the Lord, and He calls him "truly an Israelite" Nathanael says, "Whence knowest thou me?" John 1:48 The Lord knew him before he moved, but He gave him no name until he moved. Nathanael says to Him, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel" John 1:49 He began to see the excellency of what was there. The Lord says, "Thou shalt see greater things than these" John 1:50 The idea of movement runs through that chapter. After the Lord is seen walking, He sets things going, so that Andrew finds his brother Simon and brings him to

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the Lord, and the Lord looks on him, and gives him a name.

David reaches Hebron under direction, but now he and his men go against the Jebusites. This is a military movement in chapter 5; David here is a type of the Lord; he is going to establish himself in what would have a universal bearing. Although the great lesson of Hebron, of what is before the world, is there, yet it is limited; David then only reigned over Judah. Now he is anointed over all Israel, and the thought is universal, in agreement with Paul's ministry. He would take Zion, which I think alludes to the hearts of the saints in relation to the purpose of God. David and his men go there. Ephesians is further on than Colossians, because there you have the length and breadth, and depth and height. It is a question of what is inward. The apostle prays to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He would strengthen His saints by His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ should be there in a universal way. So in verse 9 you have, "So David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward" I think "the blind and the lame" allude to the state we were in but the Lord takes possession of us. The blindness and decrepitude of the people of God distress you when seeking to serve them. The enemy counts on the blind and the lame to keep David out, thinking that David cannot overcome such. But the gospel is intended to enlighten, so that the light is what is needed. I think it leads to Christ obtaining undisputed sway in the hearts of His people.

Ques. Is that why Paul says, "For I would have you know what combat I have for you"? Colossians 2:1

J.T. Yes; he builds inwardly. That is where John's gospel comes in. It is not a question of physical, but of spiritual elevation; it is upward and inward in John's gospel; so that the culmination of

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John's gospel is "where the disciples were" John 20:19 the doors being shut. But Jesus came in; He was there in the midst. Then a week after, the disciples were again within; it is a question of what is spiritual.

Ques. Why are you laying stress on what is spiritual?

J.T. Because there is so little of it; it is such a scarce feature. We have our meetings, and the order of things which has to be respected, but spirituality is a rare thing -- the ability to abstract oneself and to go in.

Rem. That remains, however, for us in a day of brokenness.

J.T. Yes, and I think chapter 15 shows you how we reach it here. Take a look at the number of churches in this country, then look at brethren. We are apt to forget the conditions; they are most humiliating. Chapter 15 shows how spirituality manifests itself as dealing with and acting in those conditions; see verses 23 - 32. It would produce a state leading to worship, and God will not accept worship on any other ground. We have David's feelings moved -- he wept; without those feelings there is but little for God. What God looks at is the heart. When the Lord has undisputed sway in your heart, He leads you in; you have nothing outside to hold you back. The weeping is feeling the disaster that had come about. The Lord Himself wept. David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, although he felt the conditions. The commandment concerning the ark had been given to carry it again to Jerusalem, because you do not want to be a party. Although you may have to be separated from many that are brethren, you still regard them as brethren for they are all held in that connection from God's side. David sends the ark back to the city. You do not claim to be the church. What you have is inward,

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without any pretension. You have the things, but you feel it would be uncomely to pretend to have them, because others are not with you.

David's tears prefigure spiritual tears, not tears of repentance; tears occasioned by the disaster that had come in. It is affecting to think of the readiness with which the people followed Absalom and Sheba. This chapter is a type of the weakness of things amongst us. David, as he ascends, is almost a type of Christ; he reaches the summit, and worships God. It is told him that Ahithophel is among the conspirators; he can do nothing but pray; he prays to God to defeat his counsel. Then he goes farther up, reaches the summit, and worships. As being spiritual, you feel all the workings of Satan; you are not indifferent to them. We need not be in Rome or in the Anglican system to see these workings; Satan will try to get a foothold among us. Ahithophel was a man of great reputation, one of David's counsellors; such a man becoming a tool of Satan is no small matter. The more spiritual you are, the more concerned you are in regard to the forces against you. There may be no time or ability to write books against infidels, but there is time for prayer, and this is the most effective way of meeting evil. David turns to God. He says, "Jehovah, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness" In writing to the Philippians, Paul alludes to persons who were enemies of the cross; he spoke of them weeping. He knew what they could do. They were men of ability, no doubt.

I am sure it must be delightful to God, if He sees a few of His people emerging from all the confusion and reaching the summit of moral elevation. It is the ascent of the mount of Olives -- it speaks of what is spiritual -- the Spirit as power, so that Paul says, we "worship by [the] Spirit of God" Philippians 3:3 There is no other way of worship.

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Worship in spirit and in truth comes in in 2 Samuel 15; they did not have the temple or the ark; it had been taken back into the city. The woman in John 4 made much of place; with her it was no question of feeling how things were; she had no thought that the ten tribes were torn away from Judah and out of view altogether. The Lord said, "[The] hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth" John 4:23 That is what you see in David here; he has left the place of worship, but he has the spirit of it. What is popularly called worship, being connected with religious show, material buildings, etc., is not worship in the true sense at all.

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Luke 7:1 - 16

The evangelist Luke, in presenting the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, selects such circumstances as render the gospel attractive. He carefully avoids being offensive, although ever stating the truth as needed; he avoids stirring up any prejudice. "By any means" he would present God as "saving some" So that I have selected these two incidents in our Lord's ministry which particularly set out this side of Luke's narrative.

The first scene is laid in Capernaum, the second one in a city called Nain. The Lord had said many things in the audience of the people, and when He had ended all His sayings He entered into the first town, Capernaum. It was not accidental; the Lord had a purpose in entering into Capernaum. What you find is that attention is not called to the bad things of that town, although it is elsewhere a type of the world. Here it represents the world in one feature of it, that is as set forth in the epistle to the Romans; chapter 11:15. The world is there said to be in reconciliation -- a term that many of you here, perhaps, do not understand -- and for the benefit of some, who perhaps may not understand, I may say that it is provisional reconciliation. "For if their (i.e., the Jew) casting away [be the] world's reconciliation" Romans 11:15 God regards the world thus, as Christ is Head to "every man"

God thus withholds His severe judgment of it. He would in this way give it every possible advantage. He has come into it in Jesus who was here as man; He is on the side of man, and man is regarded on that line by God in that Jesus is a Man. He is not only the mediator of Christians, but the mediator of all men. He represents all men, and God withholds

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His severe judgment of the world so that no one should be prejudiced or deterred in turning to Him. He says to you, virtually, "I am not imputing trespasses to you in that my Son has become your mediator. I can offer you forgiveness of sins" He in no way intimates that it can be said of anyone that he has no sins, but God is not imputing sins. Jesus suffered for them on the cross.

Jesus, in becoming our mediator, died. He gave Himself a ransom for all. You thus see, as Jesus is before God, how differently God regards men. His attitude toward men is that of a Saviour-God who would have all men be saved; it is that of grace, not imputing trespasses, and this will continue during the accepted time, during the day of salvation. "Behold, now [is the] well-accepted time: behold, now [the] day of salvation" 2 Corinthians 6:2 Simon the Pharisee, as we see later on in this chapter, is regarded by the Lord from his own estimation as a fifty-pence debtor. His own reckoning is accepted. Sins are not being imputed; if you reckon them yourself, good and well. It is the time of forgiveness, and in the Lord's coming into Capernaum He had these thoughts in His mind.

Luke tells us that there was a Gentile soldier there -- the centurion. He represents the power of Rome, but the evangelist says, in effect, "There were the very best relations existing between this Roman soldier and the Jews; they were not at daggers-drawn" Jewish elders are ready to be sent by him, and then you find that this Roman officer has a servant, and he is on the very best of terms with him. There was no 'labour' issue; the servant "was dear to him" If employers and employed were on such felicitous terms, the world would be attractive. At any rate, we may make due allowance for all that its supporters may say; we grant them everything; we grant all that you may claim for it. But this servant is sick, and evidently about to die.

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You may have the very best political conditions, the best social conditions, the happiest family relations, and yet sickness unto death stalks through the land. We grant you all that you claim if you are in this world. God is not stirring up any prejudice; He wishes nothing to interfere with your thinking about Jesus. So the centurion hears about Jesus; who told him I cannot tell you. You have heard about him many a time. It may be you have been conscious of your need many times, but as yet the healing power has not come into your soul. The centurion is urgent, for he is in trouble. He is not asking for himself personally; he is asking for another, and that his servant. What a master he was! How little of the military there was in him! How little exaction! The truth is that the centurion had light in his soul; he had heard about Jesus. Light had come to him and light had entered into him. Many others had heard about Jesus.

Who is there in this land who has not heard about Him, but into how many has light about Him entered? It is when the light enters and need is created that you begin to move, that you become concerned. The illness of the centurion's servant is but a type of need, and the urgency with which he sent to Jesus shows that he had found out that there was One who could meet that need. As I have said, he had heard about Jesus. Is it not so, beloved friend, that need exists in your soul? How many of you here have not confessed the Lord? How many of you here have the same exercise? You are conscious of being a sinner, of having soul need, not need in body. If one were to come here in this town tonight with some panacea for the healing of the body and advertise himself, he would get attention. People are much more concerned about their bodies than about their souls, but the gospel is for the salvation of your souls. The body will be attended to (the bodies of the

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believers will be raised, they shall have bodies of glory), but for the moment what is needed is soul salvation, deliverance from soul trouble, soul anxiety. And so I am using this servant's physical condition as a type of your soul's need.

Now you will observe how this centurion's case is related here by the evangelist Luke, so that you might have light as to what to do. He first sends elders of the Jews to the Lord. Did he not respect the Lord? Why did he not go himself? This passage tell us why; he says, "I am not worthy" -- he had such a sense of his own unworthiness and of the worthiness of Jesus, features which are sure evidence of a work of God in him. As soon as God begins to work you begin to feel how unworthy you are; you feel, 'Why, I am not fit to go within His view'. Peter said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man" Luke 5:8; Luke tells us that, too.

This centurion had such a sense of his own unworthiness that he says, 'I will send others who seem to me to be more worthy' -- the elders of the Jews. There is not a word of reproach about the Jews here, and they go to the Lord, for these elders were interested. There are many like that, I doubt not, who have gone to the Lord about you. It may be your father or mother, or your friends, and that He is interested in you through them. The elders say to Jesus, 'He is a worthy man', not a hated Roman; nothing of that kind. It is in this sense a beautiful scene. 'He is a worthy man, he loves our nation'. At that time the nation was still owned of God. What corresponds with that today are the Christians around us; do you love them? They say to the Lord, "he loves our nation and himself has built the synagogue for us" The Lord valued that. Even if you carry a plate of bread and butter round to the saints, during a meeting, the Lord takes notice of that. Any little thing that you do for the Lord's people is

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taken notice of. Why are you doing it? Why do you come here? Why did that man love Israel? Surely because God was working with him. Why did he build a synagogue? Because of his interest in the people of God. So the elders of the Jews tell the Lord of these things.

Well, now, the Lord is moved, and went with them, and He is here tonight. Do you think this gospel meeting is an accident? Not at all; the Lord has a hand in it. There have been many prayers about it, and you were mentioned in them. This gospel meeting belongs to the great work that the Lord Jesus is carrying on in this world. It is ordered of Him, and He is here tonight. I am not speaking theoretically; I know that He is here to be available for you. Are you going to avail yourself of Him? He is here to help you. Whatever your soul need is, He is ready to relieve you. The Lord "went with them" Matthew gives an account of this incident; he compares the centurion's faith with that of the Jews, and quotes the Lord as saying, "but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth" Matthew 8:10 All Luke does is to paint a beautiful picture about the faith of a Gentile. There was nothing like it in Israel, but he has not a word to say against the Jews; they are the people of God to him. Like the great servant of whom he was a companion, it was "the Jew first"

So the Lord comes with them, and the centurion sends his friends as the Lord drew near to his house. He had friends; note there is not a word of discredit; it was quite right under these circumstances to have friends, for a man like that deserved to have them. If there is any little leaning in you towards the people of God, you have friends. You have more friends than you know of. This man's friends were available to him, and he sent them to

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meet the Lord. He puts a wonderful speech in their mouths. As far as this passage goes the Lord and the centurion never met. Matthew says they did, but all that we get in Luke is mediation. It is blessing at a distance on the principle of faith, and that is the present position. You do not need to move from your seat to get the blessing, and this is exactly what the centurion understood, for faith always has intelligence. "Lord" he says, "do not trouble thyself"

There you see a state of soul in a man which would not put anyone to trouble at all -- a fine exhibition of the work of God. But then the Lord had taken on the trouble without any solicitation. "Now is my soul troubled" John 12:27 He says, and He prays to the Father, "If thou wilt remove this cup from me" Luke 22:42; but it was the will of the Father that it was not removed from Him. He drank that cup that we should not drink it. He had taken on that trouble -- the cross in all its infinite bitterness and distance; He was forsaken of God there. Who can depict it, the trouble that the Lord Jesus took on Himself to carry out the will of God -- to be our Saviour, that we should be forgiven and saved?

But, as I said, you see the beautiful state of soul that this man was in; he knew that the Lord could heal his servant at a distance. Note how Luke lays the basis for the present dispensation; it is the Lord operating from heaven so that His word is as effective in China as it is in the Argentine; it is effective everywhere. He sits on high; He need not come. He only needs to speak the word. How many words He is speaking tonight! He selects this one and that one, and He speaks the word, and persons are healed. Are you ready for Him tonight? It is a question of His word. The centurion says, "I also am a man placed under authority" Did he want to tell the Lord that he was a military officer? Not at all; he was consciously unworthy of even meeting the Lord on

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the road. How fit he was for the gospel! He was of those who are truly unworthy in their own estimation, and who have a great appreciation of the worthiness of Jesus. He says, "I also am a man placed under authority" He had soldiers under him. "I say to this [one], Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my bondman, Do this, and he does [it]" There were excellent relations existing between them, and now he says, 'Lord, that is exactly your position; all you have got to do is to say the word'. How simple it was! Anyone about could see that the Roman officer was under authority, and that all Caesar had to do was to communicate with the general officer above the centurion, and the command would be passed on to the centurion, and through him to the lowest in the rank, and there would be no question about it; everyone understood the Roman military order. When Jesus heard these things, He turned round (an unusual thing with Him) to those who followed Him, and He said to them, "Not even in Israel have I found so great faith" When they that were sent returned to the house, they found the servant was healed.

Now what have I said all this for? Not to interest you in an historical event, but that you might be healed. That centurion has passed away -- he was saved, surely, for he had faith. They have all passed away. This event was not recorded for them, it was recorded for you, that you might be saved. Why not? The Lord has spoken the word. It is a question of faith. The great point here is faith. The gospel is "on the principle of faith, to faith" Romans 1:17

Now I will just say a word about Nain. I have been speaking of the world in its political order and in its social relations. It is, you might say, attractive to live in; but whilst you may live in it a few years, sickness comes, and death, and to die without Christ, however felicitous the relations here are, is to spend

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an eternity of misery. Man can do nothing to modify the conditions for the lost in the eternal state of things. This next town is called Nain. Luke would make full allowance for the attractiveness of the world. I suppose the ordinary meaning given for the name of the town is true -- it is a pleasing, beautiful place. I do not know that it is mentioned elsewhere -- I think not. It is brought in here in relation to this work at Capernaum and gives another view of the world. Beautiful scenery, beautiful to travel in, every prospect pleases. But now what about death? If you take a train, or a motor, or a boat, and go anywhere you like, you are confronted with death. You will see graveyards, you will see funerals, you will see undertakers, and other mortuary things, notwithstanding the physical beauty, even notwithstanding the fine cities that are built, the fine buildings in them; giving all credit to these things, as represented in Nain, there is a man carried out of this very place. Carried out! Carried in triumph like a Roman general returning? No, carried out to his grave. Have you faced this matter, young people here? You say, 'This belongs to old people'. Not at all; this was a young man. The gospel is largely for the young; for the old, too, but there are few old people converted, comparatively speaking. As you become old you become hardened; it is while you are young that the gospel would appeal to you. "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth" Ecclesiastes 12:1 Your time may be gone; you may not live to be an old man or an old woman. The percentage of deaths is largely among the young; very few live to a great age. Your time is coming, and you will be carried out. Things here were all right outwardly -- a lot of people at the funeral, and there was sympathy there, but what availed it? There was a man in his coffin; what about him? We are all passing on. I do not want to paint a dark picture; it is a necessary

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picture. Was this young man saved? I do not think so, there is not a word as to his antecedents. There is no indication that he belonged to the family of faith, but he belonged to this race. He was a young man, and that is what Jesus has become -- He has become a Man. He had regard for this man, although dead, and He touched the bier.

Now I am coming to resurrection -- not that I wish to dwell on that, for I wish to impress the solemn fact upon the young that, however attractive the world may seem to be, yet the coffin is awaiting you, and you will be carried out of the gate presently, and after death the judgment, we are told. But the Lord Jesus raises the dead. He has not only power to heal a sick person, but He has power to raise the dead. And so He speaks to the young man; He says, "Youth I say to thee, Wake up" And the dead sat up. He was actually dead, but death has no power in the presence of the Son of God. He is declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection of the dead; Romans 1:4. The young man arose and began to speak. Anyone who comes under the touch of Christ has something to say. How one likes to hear them speak! They have an experience that few have. We read, "And he gave him to his mother" She was a widow; she is a picture of humanity in its destitution, for however fair the place is, death is there with all its devastating power.

You may go about to see the mountains and the lakes, but every family has its record of death's work. This widow represents that. She was a widow and he was her only son. The Lord had compassion on her. Your soul may be destitute, without any relief. Turn to the Lord, He is available to you, He has compassion on you, for the delivering of the son back to the widow is but a suggestion of the way He would relieve any destitute heart. He relieves by

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coming into it; He comes into it Himself. You find here that fear seized on all, and they glorified God. What was their conclusion? That a great prophet had risen up and that God had visited His people. It is the great end of the gospel; not only is a prophet risen up, but God Himself has visited His people. God has come in Jesus. May God bless His word.

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John 20:21 - 23; Luke 24:46 - 49; Mark 16:15 - 18; Matthew 28:10, 16 - 20

I have read from the four evangelists, having in mind that if we are to have the whole truth in connection with any subject, we must take them all into account. My subject now is "Qualification for Service and Testimony" and I desire to dwell upon it in its general features, to the end that, as in service and testimony here, we should be "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" James 1:4 It is within our reach to be thus perfected. The apostle had it in mind in writing to the Colossians to "present every man perfect in Christ" Colossians 1:28 I am thinking, for the moment, of service and testimony, and I wish to dwell on John first, because John is particularly intended for our own times. I apprehend that we approach all the evangelists now through him as being the last of the writers. All has to be considered in the light of the latest communication, and, in regard to this question of representation of Christ, John qualifies us in the most exalted way. I think we get the highest and most spiritual touches from him as one who was intimately conversant with the Lord; as one who had, in a peculiar way, liberty of access to Christ.

Before he mentions this matter of representation in service, he speaks about the message which the Lord sent to the disciples through Mary Magdalene. She herself is qualified before the message is entrusted to her. The chapter dwells at length on her, presenting her as running, that is to say, in accelerated movement; and then we find Peter and John also running; but Mary is, according to the record, more spiritual than either; not more intelligent, perhaps, but more spiritual. She remained at the sepulchre, we are

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told, weeping -- that is to say, she was marked by deep feelings -- an impressionable person. Persons of great intelligence are not always as impressionable as persons with feeling. She had the feelings, and so the Lord takes account of all this, and manifests Himself to her, showing that feelings (the outcome, of course, of affection) are honoured; as Paul said to Timothy, "remembering thy tears" Tears are ever the token of feelings -- the token of ability to be impressed, and so the Lord manifests Himself to her; adjusting her at the same time, impressing her with the fact that relationships, henceforth, were to be heavenly, not earthly. He had not yet ascended to His Father, He said, and so must not be touched; and in saying this, He sent her to His brethren with the message, "I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God" John 20:17 Cannot we see, beloved brethren, that she was impressed, and being impressed, she was impressive -- that the message was delivered not only in word, but in spirit?

But then, great as the message was, and great as the messenger was (for she was equal to it), it does not say that it caused joy. What caused the disciples to rejoice was the sight of the Lord. That is to their credit, for John always emphasises what refers to Christ personally, and so the Lord confirms that, saying again, "Peace [be] unto you" Luke 24:36 -- the peace and joy of seeing the Lord. They rejoiced; and their joy was to be confirmed. And then He says, as if to honour all that (there is nothing said about perturbation with them, as in Luke), "As the Father sent me forth, I also send you" and in saying this "he breathed into [them]" It is a question, beloved, in John, of a personal transaction, of having to do with Him, or of His having to do with us, not mediately, but directly; and so we have this most extraordinary occurrence, "he breathed into [them]" It was the impartation to them of His own blessed

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Spirit. Think of that! He says, "Receive [the] Holy Spirit" There is another feature, implied ability, divinely given, to receive; so that the transaction is perfected. His act was to breathe upon them; their part was to receive. To receive what? "Receive" He says, "[the] Holy Spirit" It is not a question of the sealing of the Spirit. I mean, that is not what is in view. It is a question of our having personally to do with the Lord, or He with us. It is not, as it were, an administrative act on His part. Administration is what He received from the Father and shed forth at Pentecost. It is a question of a personal transaction of a most intimate nature, and of the disciples having to do with it intelligently; so they received it.

So that you see, beloved brethren, John would set us up here in the midst of the present state of things, as those who are having personal transactions with Christ. Think of the character that it imparts -- not simply in what we say, but in what we are. It is a question of the spirit that animates us -- the kind of spirit -- no less than the spirit of Christ but holy -- Holy Spirit; and then He says, "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted to them" So that, as the sins are owned, I can forgive, and as forgiven in the spirit of forgiveness the sinner is set free. He has come into practical contact with the Spirit of Christ. He is encouraged.

Now, I do not go on to the retaining of sins, although it is an important side of our position to know what to retain, for God is not to be trifled with; and notwithstanding that it is a day of small things, where divine principles are held, sins are retained when this is necessary. It is not a question here of gift or apostolic authority. They are regarded as disciples. The Lord would constitute us as disciples qualified to forgive, by imparting to us His own spirit. It is the spirit of the thing, and if in that

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spirit -- the Spirit of Christ -- a sin has to be retained, it is most solemn. No one, in the spirit of Christ, will retain a sin against any, until all possible means have been used to bring about conviction and self-judgment. It is a service of liberation to the children of God, that they might be free, like ourselves, to enjoy Christian privileges.

I go on to Luke. I want to show that the dispensation, although it is about to close, is to maintain its original character. It is not to be belied; and so the Lord, in Luke, works through our understanding. It is not here a question of the Lord breathing into us, but of working through our understanding; through ministry; through the breaking of bread; through the interpretation of the Scriptures; through the opening of our understandings that we might understand the Scriptures -- that He might qualify us to be witnesses of the dispensation of grace; so that at the end there is really no change. He says, "Ye are witnesses of these things" It is not here that they were witnessing, but that they were qualified to speak of certain things, because they saw them. It is a question thus in Luke of competency to bear testimony through becoming acquainted with what is to be testified to. It requires an understanding, and this the Lord gives. Paul says, "the Lord will give thee understanding in all things" 2 Timothy 2:7

The Lord is graciously helping His people, I believe, on these lines, working through our understandings by ministry; opening our understandings that we might understand the Scriptures, and dividing the Scriptures as He does, into the law, the prophets, and the psalms. One needs, at the present time, to take note of these features. We are rightly to "divide the word of truth" so that the saints may be instructed, and qualified to witness as knowing the things; the Lord says, "ye are witnesses of these things" but being a witness of the things is not enough,

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beloved. Having the doctrine, being able to present the facts of the gospel, is not sufficient. It is important to have the facts, to be witnesses of the facts of the things, "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3 It is important to be able to present the facts; but we need more than that if we are to represent this dispensation. We need power from on high. The Lord says, "Do ye remain in the city till ye be clothed with power from on high" It is the kind of power -- the Spirit of God, of course, but it is power from on high -- different from any power by which religious activity is carried on by man in this world. And you are to be clothed with it. Clothing is a public thing -- that I am manifestly serving in the power from on high. It is the idea of elevation.

And He says, "I send the promise of my Father upon you" It is what is external here -- the public evidence that my service is in power from on high, and I am free from all national feeling. "That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem" It is not to honour Jerusalem. Far otherwise! No more than it was to honour the conduct of Saul when he was converted. It was the magnitude of grace. It is to call attention to the magnitude of grace, that the testimony should begin in that wicked place; but it is to all nations. I am imbued with the love and grace of Christ in dying, and then in rising, so that in Him these things should be presented to men; but I am carrying on my service, you are carrying on your service, clothed with power from on high. You are not limiting it, but maintaining the character of the dispensation as unalterable. Let us never lose the sense of what the dispensation of God is. This is not only the doctrine of the thing -- it is the thing itself, which is to continue, and is never to be lost sight of.

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I will proceed to Mark, and I want to show that which is not included in John and in Luke -- that all is to be on the principle of faith -- that I am acting from sources outside of man or man's ken -- that I am treading a path that the vulture's eye hath not seen, nor the lion's whelps have trodden. So that in the service I am not only to preach to all nations; but I am to go "into all the world" that is how it reads. That requires activity, energy; but it requires more than that; it requires a power in me to resist the world. Think of what the world is; think of what the world is as developed in the wicked one! So He says, "Go into all the world" Nothing inviting in that! It means conflict, for the world "lies in the wicked [one]" 1 John 5:19 It is not the world as in John 3, which God loved. No, it is not that. It is what Samaria was to Elisha. After he went through the exercises mentioned (2 Kings 2) with God, requisite for service, he went to Samaria from Carmel. What was Samaria? The centre of wickedness -- the city of Ahab and Jezebel. To go into that means suffering; but that is the world in Mark. "Go into all the world" Do not make any choice.

We are not to select our spheres -- to pursue the line of least resistance, as they say. It is all the world that has to be faced if we are to be of any use. Not to preach the gospel to it; but to preach the gospel to all the creation. It is a question of the Creation. Have you ever thought of that -- the creation of God? Is the creation of God anything to Him? "For thy will they are and have been created" Revelation 4:11 it is said. The creation is for the pleasure of God. "The whole creation groans together and travails in pain together until now" Romans 8:22 Is that nothing to God? It is, beloved. We groan within ourselves; but we are already in possession of the firstfruits of the Spirit. We look for a complete deliverance of the creation, and so we prove the world's opposition, in preaching to the creation. As Paul says,

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"which have been proclaimed in the whole creation" Colossians 1:23 Well now, what marks believers in this gospel is that they are immune from satanic power. It is not here a question of God's kingdom attracting them. It is a question of what they are inherently as men of faith. The point here is faith. "He that believes and is baptised shall be saved" whoever he is. He belongs to the creation of God. He leaves the world behind him -- he is baptised. No one is saved who is not baptised.

Baptism, in its true sense, means that I leave the world behind -- I break with it. The world is a moral system -- the creation is not. This wicked and moral system has degraded the creation. I leave it. I have come into the light of a faithful Creator, who is, withal, the Father, as made known in Christ. I am a believer. I am baptised. He that believeth and is baptised is saved -- he leaves the world. Baptism means that I leave it definitely. I break with it. I am saved; but more than that. "These signs shall follow them that have believed" -- not those that preach, but it is those that believe. "In my name they shall cast out demons" etc. It is a question of what those of faith are able to do. It is a question of our being in this world superior to it -- knowing what it is; facing it, but knowing that we are possessed of a power enabling us to overcome it; that I can go into it and be superior to it -- that is Mark. I do not take these things up literally. It is a question of what we are spiritually. The power of demons -- satanic power. Deadly things -- it may be serpents or disease. All these things are overcome in Christ's name by those who believe. Think of what God has in the world in those who have faith!

I now go on to Matthew, and finish. What you find in Matthew, beloved brethren, is that the Lord sends a message to His disciples through a woman; not that "I ascend to my Father, and your Father,

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and [to] my God and your God" John 20:17 but "Bring word to my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there they shall see me" If I am to be of any service, I have to seek Him out. He has all power in heaven and on earth. If I want to serve I must find Him. I must take a journey. I must not be light and trifling; commit things to memory, as if anything would do in the service; no, we must take the journey to find Him. "There they shall see me" Not that I shall see them. They will need Me, and if they need Me they must seek Me out; and so they go to the appointed place -- a mountain -- the place of strength, and they see Him. He came up to them. If we think of John it is not a question of going to see the Lord -- He says, "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice" John 16:22; but in Matthew I have to go and find Him; He came up to them, but they saw Him first. You say, "Is not the Lord looking out for me?" Well, He wants you to come and find HIM. You must go and find Him out if you are to serve. You must take the journey. He has wonderful things, and you cannot get them anywhere else. They are worth going for. "They worshipped him" The position is that of the King. He has the things. You must go if you are to get them.

Another point before I close. The most solemn thing in Matthew is that as the women were going with the message, the soldiers went to the chief priests and told them what had happened, and what did they do? They took counsel together how to meet what God had done, and in so doing they formulated a lie. They said to the soldiers, ye "Say that his disciples coming by night stole him" Matthew 28:13 They bribed them, and secured them against possible consequences. They went "and did as they had been taught" Matthew 28:15 and so the lie continued, it was perpetuated. We have to face the condition of a system of things in which a lie has been formulated, and passed on,

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so that it is continued. The most wicked lies about Christ have become standardised in the profession, and they continue. It was when the women left with the message that these soldiers left, and the lie was formulated. It says, "The eleven disciples went into Galilee" -- to the place of reproach. We can only hope to meet the situation indicated by taking this journey.

The Lord came up to them, as they went to Him, and He says, I have all power in heaven and on earth. You go and make disciples of all nations. It is the most extraordinary command of all -- it is not to preach, it is not to remit; it is to make disciples. What can you do with that? How can I make a disciple if I am not one? It is a question of spiritual influence. Think of this, dear brethren: "Make disciples of all the nations" How can I do that? Only by being the thing myself. I must go to Galilee, so to speak. I must take that journey; I must find the Lord there; and so I apprehend Him as the all-powerful One. He says, "All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth. Go [therefore] and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" The nations were thus to be brought into a wonderful sphere of things. We know something of it -- the light of the revelation of God. They were to be brought into that. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have enjoined you" It is a question of authority in Matthew, and a moral power in the ministry so that they can influence others to become disciples. The Lord adds, "Lo, I am with you all the days"

I thought that in putting these four features together in our souls we might hope to represent God in some way in these last days, and so be effective to the children of God and to all men, and to all nations. May God bless His word!

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Acts 2:1 - 4; Acts 8:14 - 17; Acts 10:44; Acts 19:1 - 6

J.T. I thought of these scriptures in Acts relative to the Spirit. I was thinking that this subject would fit in with present exercises, wishing at the same time to point out the dispensational features of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Firstly, as connected with the twelve and their service at Jerusalem, and then as coming upon the Gentiles -- it is presented as the direct action of the Spirit Himself in chapter 10; then coming through Paul's administration in view of the assembly, in its universal bearing.

Ques. What about chapter 8 in connection with Peter and John?

J.T. I was connecting that in my mind with the position of the apostles at Jerusalem, the provisional service of the twelve. You will observe it is not simply the apostles, but "the apostles who were in Jerusalem"

R.D.H. So Peter and John are seen representatively there?

J.T. Yes. It would emphasise the grace of God that came in in their ministry. God, in tender consideration for the Jewish feelings, recognised the priority of Jerusalem to Samaria. Acting still on the line of the promises in patience, God made allowance for Jewish feelings. I think we may be reminded by that fact of the importance of patience, how we have to exercise patience in our service and testimony. The continuance of the testimony at Jerusalem was the extension of the patience of God. But the coming of the Spirit on the Gentiles as such in the tenth chapter was aside from Peter. Peter is there, but the Spirit acted directly, whilst Peter was doing something else. While he was preaching, the Holy Spirit fell on those who were hearing the Word.

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E.L.M. Is there the thought that it was an extension of what was already given, that this comes in, or was there something in addition? The giving of the Spirit in chapter 2 had the Gentiles in view, and individuals came into what was there, but is this something additional?

J.T. I think that up to chapter 10 it is what was there. The Samaritans received what was at Jerusalem, but it is not so presented in chapter 10. The Holy Spirit is acting directly -- sovereignly. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is clearly an administrative action. The explanation was that Christ being by the right hand of God exalted, and as receiving of the Father the promise of the Spirit, "he has poured out this which ye behold and hear" Acts 2:33 The Spirit had been promised to the disciples; the Lord said, "I send the promise of my Father upon you" Luke 24:49 It came to them and flowed through them.

Ques. Does not the Lord emphasise the priority of the Jew in the word which He expressed to the woman of Samaria, "Salvation is of the Jews" John 4:22

J.T. Quite. Chapter 8 is in keeping with that. He had said to the disciples as gathered in Luke 24, "And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you" Luke 24:49 It was to them, and what was there flowed out through them. But there is the upper line -- not exactly the line of administration, from heaven to earth, but the action of a divine Person here, so that we have in chapter 9 the light from heaven and the voice from heaven, and in chapter 10 the sheet from heaven. It is not now a question of something administrative, but of heaven superseding what is at Jerusalem; heaven first recognising Jerusalem and then superseding it. The first is the patience of God to the Jews, but the second is heaven superseding Jerusalem, so that the light is from heaven, and the sheet is from heaven, and the Holy Spirit, whilst He maintains the link in Peter's ministry, comes on

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the Gentiles directly, apart from Peter's administration. They are credited with hearing the Word -- not simply what Peter was saying; Acts 10:44.

E.L.M. The movements of a divine person as having come from heaven are seen in chapter 10?

J.T. Yes. He is now moving Himself: "It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us" Acts 15:28 The distinction has now come out. Peter received the keys. Peter is recognised according to the commission he received from the Lord, but that did not imply the gift of the Spirit. The Spirit is now acting by Himself, so that whilst Peter spake the word, He fell on those who heard it. It is now a question of what the Spirit was doing. From this point the inner and the outer become more pronounced. The outer is after the inner, whereas the inner was after the outer in the second chapter. That is a remarkable thing. From this point the inner takes precedence. God is dealing with hearts now; what is inner must come before what is outer. He gave the Spirit on the ground of what was inside. Paul said later that God revealed His Son in him.

Ques. Would you say that was the reason why in Acts 2 they had to repent and be baptised and receive the remission of sins before they received the gift of the Holy Spirit? In chapter 10 the Spirit fell on them.

J.T. Yes, Acts 2 is the outer first. "What shall we do?" "... Repent and be baptised each one of you ... and ye will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" But here it is "the heart-knowing God" Acts 15:8 -- God acting from His own knowledge. God is dealing with things Himself, not through others. The Lord had distinguished between the witness of the Spirit, and that of the twelve; John 15:26, 27.

Ques. Was it because they were Gentiles?

J.T. Yes, because they were what the prodigal typified, that is to say, the Gentile receiving the best

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robe. While God is patient with Jerusalem, the ministry there was not on the same level. It was mediate; it was God acting through others, but now He is acting directly.

Ques. Might I ask how you view the two wave loaves in Leviticus 23? Was the assembly in view?

J.T. I think they only fit in with the Jewish side. In Leviticus 23 the feasts go on from the Jewish side to the end -- to the feast of tabernacles, embracing God's thoughts for the Jew, but in connection with the assembly. The two wave loaves would be a witness; they were baked with leaven. They do not represent the assembly in its heavenly calling, but rather in its position here provisionally in the way of testimony. Leaven is there, but it had ceased to operate; they were baked, showing that the truth had been laid hold of by the saints and worked out privately. They were brought out of their homes. The result was according to Christ as seen in the wave sheaf. It was worked out; the leaven was there, only it was not operative. The assembly seen in Paul's ministry is not exactly typified there. The two wave loaves are brought out at the end of fifty days. It would show how thoroughly the thing had been wrought out in their private exercises. The Holy Spirit had come in as cloven tongues as of fire and sat upon each of them.

Rem. That gives point to chapter 10, being very distinct.

J.T. I think it is well to see that. In chapter 8 you have "the heart-knowing God" Acts 15:8 Philip preached to the Samaritans and they believed. One of them believed, but his heart was not right. It remained for Peter to come down and expose it. The Holy Spirit is not given here directly; it is given through apostolic means. Peter discovered the state of Simon; he acted as a doorkeeper; he was able to discern Simon's state by what he said. A man who wanted

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to buy the power exposed himself. The apostles could go by what they saw and heard; God acts as knowing men's hearts.

E.L.M. Are things today on the principle of the heart-knowing God? Do believers get the Spirit on that line?

J.T. They do. You are having to do with God directly; that is the feature of the dispensation. The apostle Paul, of course, had his place, but he commends us to God and the word of His grace, so the gift of the Spirit stands in relation to that. It is a question of the heart-knowing God. It is not now a question of what we do, but of what God knows. Of course God uses His people, and in this we must be guided by what we see and hear; and we must do things as governed by Scripture.

Ques. Is that why, when the apostle writes to Timothy, he says the Spirit speaks expressly?

J.T. There you see the Holy Spirit is contemplated as having liberty in the house. God could speak expressly; the conditions enabled Him to do so. Perhaps we might see how this enquiry leads to the free action of the Spirit in the house among the saints. In Acts 13 the Spirit asks for Barnabas and Saul, but the means He employed in speaking is not stated.

Ques. Is the Spirit engaged in what is heavenly? You were contrasting the administration side with what the Spirit is doing.

J.T. I think that is right. The light from heaven and the voice and the sheet imply we have now arrived on the upper line of the Spirit; in chapter 10 the Spirit is acting of Himself; not exactly as from heaven to earth, but a divine Person as here acting Himself, and necessarily acting in relation to the light from heaven of chapter 9. You are now in the light of heaven, as replacing Jerusalem; all the Holy Spirit is doing now is in that relation; He is

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taking the people of God out of earthly relationships into heavenly relationships.

Ques. Is that the line on which the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts?

J.T. Yes, it is in that connection. Romans lays the basis for Ephesians.

Ques. Is that what you get in chapter 13, the Holy Spirit separating Barnabas and Saul for the work at Antioch?

J.T. There you come to an example of what this is leading up to. You have the light from heaven and the sheet from heaven. Now the Holy Spirit is operating in that connection. Hence the parable of the prodigal teaches us that the best robe is brought out and put on him. The best robe is Christ where He is now, as He is in heaven. The best robe is that which is entirely outside what is on earth. It is greater than anything that ever was at Jerusalem, or ever will be. It is brought forth; that is the action of the Spirit now, in that you have light from heaven and the sheet from heaven. You have the divine mind brought down in the sheet, and the best robe necessarily stands there. It is the effect of the present ministry of the Spirit.

Ques. In that way we are living in a dispensation where things come from heaven?

J.T. Yes, and the prodigal is himself the house in principle -- not that any one person could be the house. The mention of the house in Luke 15 is to show that the music and dancing were there. It is what the Holy Spirit has formed here -- something entirely heavenly.

Ques. What part has the prodigal in the composition of the house?

J.T. He represents the idea of the house, the Gentile as having the best; he is clothed with the best robe. "Bring out the best robe ... and let us eat" Luke 15:22,23 He represents what God has now. It is not

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something that began at Jerusalem; it is entirely a heavenly thing. So that the word to Saul is, "Why persecutest thou me?" "I am Jesus" Acts 9:4,5 That is, He intimates that what Paul persecuted was Himself.

Rem. The Lord had this moment in view in Luke 15.

Ques. I was wondering what part the Jew had. You have spoken of the prodigal -- the Gentile; but where does the Jew come in to form part of the house?

J.T. I think the house of God as it is contemplated in Luke 15 is the house set up under Paul. It necessarily includes the Jew. The epistle to the Ephesians includes both, but the Gentile has the first place.

J.H.T. When Peter refers to the heart-knowing God, does he not immediately give priority to the Gentiles -- "we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same manner as they also" Acts 15:11? He places the Jew second.

J.T. That is good. Then you see in Luke 2 he speaks of the Gentiles. When Simeon took the Child in his arms he said, "A light for revelation of [the] Gentiles and [the] glory of thy people Israel" Luke 2:32 So that the Gentiles come in first. Certainly in a moral sense they do. As regards the order of the truth here, first you get the Holy Spirit in the Lord's words to Saul, and directly God conveys His mind on any matter, His operations all bear on that. So that the sheet coming down is to remind us that there is something coming out of heaven and going back into heaven. That is in keeping with the best robe. It is something brought forth, and all that we get in the chapter is to show the practical working out of that, so that the operations of the Spirit as in chapter 10 are in relation to the body. You have generally a thing in Scripture before it is named. I think we see from chapter 9 onward the thing itself working out, so that after Saul is converted, it is no longer the assembly

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in Jerusalem, but the assemblies in Judaea and Samaria; they had rest and were edified and increased by the comfort of the Holy Spirit. There is the working out of the thing that is already intimated to be there. The doctrine of the one body would come out in due time.

J.H.T. Have John 14, 15 and 16 a relation to these things?

J.T. I think so. The Holy Spirit in John 14 - 16 is the Holy Spirit as a divine Person in the saints collectively rather than in the individual believer. As we arrive at chapter 13 we see what has come about -- a state of things in which the Holy Spirit is free to act by Himself. It is what He is doing.

Ques. Are we to suppose that until the apostle Paul's day, there were any Gentiles received into communion with the apostles -- until chapter 10?

J.T. So far as we know, none were received.

Rem. The thought of Luke 15 would hardly be set forth until Paul's time.

J.T. That is how it stands. What came out after Peter preached to Cornelius was, the Holy Spirit fell upon them that heard the Word. Then certain of those scattered entered into Antioch and preached to the Greeks, and a great many believed. There was no special vessel present; it was simply those who were scattered. It says they turned to the Lord. Then it is said that the assembly which was at Jerusalem heard of this, and they sent out Barnabas. In chapter 8 there is nothing said about the assembly; it is a question of the apostles which were in Jerusalem -- that is to say, it was the administrative side, centring at Jerusalem. In chapter 11 they sent out Barnabas, to go as far as Antioch; it says he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit. The work of God in Jerusalem is linked on vitally with the work at Antioch. It is the working out of the principle of the one body, and Barnabas having

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come, he urged the believers "to abide with the Lord" Acts 11:32 They had believed on Him, and now he urges them to abide with the Lord; it would be a question of their becoming acquainted with Him -- not only submitting to Him; and so it is stated that much people "were added to the Lord" Acts 11:24 That was so far a linking of what was at Jerusalem with Antioch. Then Barnabas and Paul remained, teaching in the assembly for a whole year.

Ques. That would be the first recognition of the company publicly. There is a development through these two great vessels.

J.T. Yes, that is how it stands, so as to promote general unity. You see how the need in Judaea called forth their love. Agabus prophesied that there should be a famine. A famine occurs, so they sent up gifts by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. There were vital links being promoted and fostered, linking the work among the Jews with that among the Gentiles.

Rem. There was a self-contained assembly at Antioch.

Ques. Do you think in that way making room for the Spirit would enable assemblies to move together?

J.T. Yes. I thought we might see how the unity of the Spirit, a universal thought, was arrived at in the beginning, the beautiful touches indicating how these links were maintained between Jerusalem and Antioch.

J.McM. Is that in view of the day to come -- universal administration?

J.T. No doubt the assembly is being fitted for that. You see how practical it was. The coming in of Barnabas, "a good man" and then his unjealous seeking out of Saul as a fit man for the work. Then money was sent to Jerusalem by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. There were thus links established in the power of the Spirit.

Ques. Were they working out the truth of the

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one body practically? I was wondering whether the truth of the one body came from the Lord Himself.

J.T. The body was there, but now you see the thing working out. Then we get what it was locally. "There were at Antioch ..." It has a local setting now, not a general bearing only, hence it is what is "in Antioch in the assembly that was there"; it is the local thing. They ministered to the Lord and fasted there.

Ques. Is it difficult to arrive at in a day of confusion, in a day like this?

J.T. That is what we are at now, to see how the thing works. The truth of the one body is entirely practical. The way is to begin with yourself. How do I stand with the brethren? How did Barnabas stand? Barnabas was in favour in Jerusalem and in Antioch. Wherever he went he was in favour.

Ques. Would his counsel be contributory to the working out of the truth of the one body?

J.T. I am sure it would. As thus in favour you are now fit for the assembly in a practical sense.

E.L.M. Would he be one in the good of the best robe?

J.T. That is the idea exactly. The prodigal was clothed, but it is worked out here. We see the heavenly robe at Antioch.

Rem. If you move with the Spirit, you will be acceptable to your brethren. Does the practical side come out in that way?

J.T. That is how it works. I begin with myself. At Antioch there were men that were well off; the prophet says, There is going to be a famine. Now how do I stand in relation to that? Those that were well off determined to send, which also they did. That is how I am standing with the brethren. If I am well off in this world's goods, I show that I belong to the body in that practical way. I am

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serving people whom I never saw, who were racially opposed to me. I am practically in the body.

Ques. Would the case of Lydia help? "If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]" Acts 16:15

J.T. Yes, you have a fine example of it there. She is particularly interesting as she appears at Philippi, the gateway to Europe. Lydia opened her house to the apostle; that is how she stood with him. How do I stand with the brethren? What do they state about me? It was for the apostle to say how she stood. After his release from the prison he entered again into her house.

E.L.M. I was thinking about those who had means. The question was, "Why persecutest thou me?" Acts 9:4 Here they are sending to those they have never seen; instead of persecuting you are giving.

J.T. Quite. What one is exercised about is that we should get beyond the mere doctrine. You see how practical everything is. You begin with yourself. How do I stand with the brethren? It is not, How do they stand with me, but how do I stand with them? It is for them to say. We being many are one body in Christ. The body is a question of my relations with the brethren. The truth of headship does not come in until you have the body. We being many are one body in Christ. It is a question, therefore, of the brethren in relation to one another.

Ques. Would it be a right thought that the body was there from the second chapter and is worked out subsequently?

J.T. Yes, but it is not formally alluded to until Saul's conversion. The Lord said to him, "Why persecutest thou me?" Acts 9:4 I apprehend it as that in which Christ is expressed. It must be spiritual. It is a heavenly Christ that is seen in it, not simply a Christ provisionally related to Jerusalem. So the importance of seeing that the Lord's supper in

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Matthew and Mark has in view a vessel, a body. The body of the Lord is spoken of there as food, so that there should be a vessel here for Christ. Where we are enjoined to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace, the body is mentioned first: "[there is] one body" Ephesians 4:4 What about the one body? For me practically it is a question of the relation in which I stand to the brethren. How do they regard me? At first Paul had a very bad standing with the brethren. Ananias thought very little of him. The Lord had to put Ananias right about him, telling him that a great change had come about. Saul soon acquired a great place with the brethren. The Lord might have told him all, but He did not; He said, "Enter into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do" Acts 9:6; it was a question of his getting a status with the brethren. It is very interesting to see how Paul acquired a place with the brethren. I am not in the body according to God until I do. If a great man like Paul had to commend himself to the brethren, I have to do it, because they were there before me. How can I be an expression of Christ in relation to the brethren if I am not in accord with them?

Ques. Would you say we start with a sense of self-judgment?

J.T. Yes. While believers are thus set in vital relation with each other as in the body, they are in direct relation with divine Persons. God is a living God, and if I have the Holy Spirit I have to do with God, so there is constant relationship with the living God. Think of being in relation with God every moment of the day! That is Christianity.

E.L.M. There would be no difficulty about any of us if our hearts were right.

J.T. What we have been saying shows how real and practical the presence and operations of the Holy Spirit were at the beginning.

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2 Timothy 1:7 - 14

I was thinking, dear brethren, of that feature of the truth that we may call the inner feature. I have in mind, as illustrative of it, the record in 2 Samuel 2 of the capture of Jerusalem by David. The Old Testament is designed to illustrate for us, in God's mode of illustration -- which is better than any we can devise -- the truth of the New Testament; so that the truth is not only presented spiritually in the New Testament, but is illustrated spiritually. Thus the servant is wonderfully furnished so as to be independent of what man, as such, may present or devise.

Many of you will remember that, in that record in Samuel, Joab, David's captain, is omitted. His service is recorded in Chronicles, whereas Samuel, or the writer of that book, occupies himself solely with David's own exploit; that is to say, we have presented to us, in type, the direct work of Christ in our hearts. Not what is done mediately, but done directly, as if, in this book, he would take charge of the work Himself, all else depending on it. And so you will find, in the endings of the gospels, stress is laid on the Lord Himself; as we read, "He himself stood in their midst" Luke 24:36 It was not a representative, although He does operate through representatives. And so David, we are told, took the stronghold of Zion and called it the city of David. First it is stated it was the city of David, meaning that it had already acquired that character; a city which was marked as belonging to David. It is God's way that things are, and then they are named, so that the city -- for it was a city within a city -- is called by that name; it was evidently peculiarly David's city. In Chronicles we are told that Joab rebuilt the rest of the city;

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that is to say, the outer or governmental part -- Jerusalem, the great capital, from whence light and government radiated in Israel; but within that there was, as it were, another city called the city of David.

Now these are two great features running right through Scripture; that is, the inner and the outer. I want to speak of the former, for unless we understand the inner, however much light we may have, however much order, we shall not rightly represent God. And so it is added that "David took the watercourses" -- a term significant enough spiritually. For inner operations the watercourse is most essential. And then it says he fortified the citadel and built inward. There is the idea of a fortified sphere, making another most important side to our position, for if we value the inner working of Christ in our hearts -- and the sphere of His operations is our hearts -- if we value His building, His working there, we shall be concerned to preserve it intact, and hence the idea of fortification.

I am not now referring to fellowship, although fellowship does involve defence, corresponding with walls. Our fellowship is a defence, but I am not speaking of that, although fellowship may be spoken of as involving the inner and the outer. The outer is marked by death; as it is said, the fellowship of the blood of Christ, and the fellowship of the body of Christ; 1 Corinthians 10. We should have in mind what that means, and I refer to the Old Testament. In the outward appearance of the tabernacle, everything, I may say, as one looked at it, as it is described in Exodus, reminds you of death. The court of the offerings (when the law was complied with) was a veritable shambles. We are so accustomed to the terms that we take in little of what was there. It was death, and death in volume. Besides that, there were the second and outer coverings. Besides the actual slaying of the offerings, there was the standing

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presence of the coverings indicative of death, that death had taken place. The outer covering denoted that death had taken place, the offerings as slain denoted that death was taking place. So it is that Christianity outwardly, as presented in Scripture, is marked not only by the fact that death has taken place, but that it is taking place. There is nothing inviting in that for man naturally. It is repugnant to him; he avoids it. But then, inside the sanctuary, as you know, there were other things; although the testimony of death entered in, there were other features, positive things. Outside, everything pointed to the judgment of God, what was due to God. Inside there was evidence of what was of God in a positive way -- the things made of gold. And there was what I may regard as answering to the fellowship of the Spirit -- the curtains of fine linen. What was inside touches on what I have in mind.

And so David built inward, and as you value what is thus effected, you fortify it. As I have been saying, fellowship is fortification -- an outer one. The kingdom is a fortification, but that is God's matter. Fellowship is our matter. Fellowship implies that I am brought into a partnership with others. John speaks of it as fellowship with one another, whereas Paul treats of the character of the thing, the fellowship of the Son of God, of the blood of Christ, of the body of Christ, of the Spirit. It is thus our sphere, and it implies defence. But then there is the inner thing. As I said, David built inward, and as I value that, I fortify.

Now I hope you follow what I am saying, for it is of the very last importance in view of the mode of the enemy s attack. The constant tendency is to reduce the level, the standard, and so we find, in John's gospel, from the beginning to the end, stress is laid on what is inward. So you find, as an example, that the two who followed Jesus (chapter 1) abode with

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Him where He abode; and then as regards the individual, you will see in the woman of Samaria how stress was laid on what was inner. "The water that I shall give him" says the Lord, "shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life" John 4:14 Then in John 7 you find living water flowing out from within. The inner thing is stressed throughout, and so in chapter 20, the final chapter (chapter 21 is an appendix) and the greatest, the disciples are in a certain place, and the doors are shut. There is a sense of something positive being there. What was there, beloved? They had just received the most wonderful message -- heavenly light.

Mary Magdalene came to them in a most ordinary way, without any pretension. She told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her -- that He was ascending to His Father and their Father, His God and their God, they being His brethren. They had that light. Things were being presented spiritually. The possession of that light necessitated protection. The fortification was that the doors were shut; mark -- doors; it is a spiritual thing, referring to each of our hearts as the sphere of Christ's operations, involving most precious things, the most precious light. And are they not a guide for us? Yes, beloved, they are, and this is what I have in view, that we might all be on our guard at the present time as regards what we have received, what we have heard, and that our doors might be shut; that we might be free from fleshly intrusion, and thus be ready for the Lord to lead us inward into the holy and eternal things of God.

Now I bring forward this scripture in Timothy to enforce what I have said, and I want to point out that there is a particular relation between 2 Timothy and John's gospel. You will observe that the apostle here refers to himself as such in regard to the promise of eternal life. Now John begins with life almost at

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once; he speaks about the life being in Christ -- "in him was life" and then he adds, "And the life was the light of men" John 1:4 In the spiritual operations of God he brings in the positive -- the source of light in life. The life was there first; God had promised it before the world began, we are told. I have no doubt that what God promises is in answer to desire -- in this case, anticipated desire, the desire for life. But then the promise took form; it took form in a substantive way; the life was in Christ down here. He was it, and as in Him down here, it was the light of men. He had anticipated it in view of becoming a Man; He dwelt in the habitable parts of God's earth, and His delights were with the sons of men (Proverbs 8); now He is amongst them, and being here as the life, the light radiates.

I wish now to show you from this chapter in Timothy how this life works out in man; how that as in Christ it was "the old commandment" The apostle John says in his epistle, "I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment, which ye have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye heard" And then he says, "Again, I write a new commandment to you, which thing is true in him and in you" 1 John 2:7,8. Now, dear brethren, I would say this, that what tests us is the new commandment. Many shelter themselves under the old commandment and say it suffices. Well, John says, I will not take that away from you. It is the word which you have heard. We have all heard things; we ought to hold to them if they are of God. John would assure those to whom he wrote that he would not detract from what they had heard, which they had from the beginning. But he says, "Again, I write a new commandment to you, which thing is true in him and in you because the darkness is passing, and the true light already shines" 1 John 2:8 And so the question with me is,

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Is this new commandment verified in me? Is the darkness passing from me? Is the true light now shining in me? For it is a question not only of what is true in Him, but in you and me. Thus I would stress that, whilst we should hold tenaciously to what we have heard, which was from the beginning, we should not put that between us and the new commandment. This latter refers to the work of God in us.

And so Paul here speaks of life as a promised thing, and that he was an apostle in relation to that remarkable feature -- the promise of life. Life is a substantive thing; it is not a theory. Many may theorise upon it, but the thing is there; it is substantive. It has come within our range in Christ, in a Man; and by the work of God it is in the Christian. The apostle Paul had that in view, for he says here that life and incorruptibility have come to light -- have been brought to light in Christ.

Now I want to speak briefly about Timothy in regard to all this, and what is to be said first of all about Timothy is that, although evidently he is the best and most advanced, yet there was a weakness, as we may see in the history of David in the latter half of 2 Samuel. He there typifies the work of God in the people of God, but throughout you have marks of weakness, yea, of sin. This is a humbling fact; we have to admit it; but having referred to that, I wish to speak of what was in Timothy. The chapter greatly stresses what was in Christ. You will notice how many things were in Christ; that is the balance to what I am now emphasising. It is a most steadying feature in our days to hold to what is in Christ. What is in Christ is fixed; it cannot be disturbed by any condition in us.

But, as I said, I want to speak of what was in Timothy, so that we may inquire how much this inward work is proceeding in us. The apostle speaks to him in the most endearing terms. One covets

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being so lovable as to draw forth expressions of affection. Again we are reminded of John, for he was the one whom Jesus loved. Timothy stands out here in a like position. He was a feeling kind of man. There are very few of us, I fear, who have spiritual feelings. Tears denote feelings, and so the apostle called to mind his tears. He was a lovable brother. The first thing spoken of as in him is faith. "Calling to mind the unfeigned faith which [has been] in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice, and I am persuaded that in thee also" 2 Timothy 1:5

Now, beloved brethren and sisters, what about this? I do not wish to occupy you unduly with yourselves; but remember that the new commandment is that which is true in Christ and true in you. The new commandment is a present thing; the true light now shines. Now what about this faith? Hear again John, for John insists on believers being believers. It is a question of unfeigned faith, faith of a tried kind, faith of a hereditary kind, faith that has come down through two generations. It is a known faith. There is only one faith, but that faith takes different forms in different persons, and certainly this was a very unusual kind of faith -- a faith that had come down through two generations, and was now in the third. The apostle was persuaded that it dwelt actually in his beloved child Timothy; it dwelt there -- it was in him. It is the first great feature. Faith, beloved brethren, takes us out of this world into God's world, and I want every one to look into himself to see whether it dwells in him.

Well, the second thing is gift. And what you will observe here is that it needed rekindling. There was no question about its being there. It is called "the gift of God which is in thee" 2 Timothy 1:6 In how many of us is there gift lying dormant? In Timothy, wonderful brother though he was, gift was lying somewhat dormant. And so the apostle urges him to rekindle it, to stir it up.

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And what a wonderful history his gift had! So with every gift, not only is it a spiritual thing, but God prepares the vessel for it and then places the gift in it. This gift to Timothy, we are told in the first letter to him, is connected with prophecy, and it was conferred by the presbytery, showing that the mind of God went before in regard to this brother, and the gift was confirmed by the elders, by experienced persons.

It is a question of its history, and of its quality; I do plead for quality. God is much more concerned about quality than about quantity. The apostle here refers to the gift which was in Timothy by the laying on of his hands. It was connected with Paul; it had come through the one whose precious ministry was being given up on every hand, that which stands for the very highest quality. At that time it was being surrendered. Whole provinces were turning away from Paul, and he urged on Timothy that he had gift by the laying on of his hands, and that it was not to be dormant.

Thus I would urge the stirring up of gift, whatever it may be. It is a question of what you have; if you have got the thing in you it should come out. Rekindle the gift of God in you; it was a veritable gift of God that came by the laying on of the apostle's hands, a special quality, specially designed, and it should not lie dormant; it was too valuable, too precious, and so is every spiritual gift of God. So I would urge on the young brethren, and on all, to look in to see what we have -- what may have marked you in earlier days -- whether it is now dormant, when the need is so great.

Well, there is just the third thing, that is, "the good deposit" Timothy is enjoined to keep the good thing by the Holy Spirit, "which" says the apostle, not dwells in you, but "dwells in us" And here I come to unity -- to the inner thing in its universal

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bearing. Let the good deposit, for that is the word, be kept by the Holy Spirit. The determined and inveterate efforts of the enemy are directed to rob us of this. And I would inquire how much we know about keeping things by the Spirit. We have the Collected Writings, the Synopsis and much more precious ministry from God, but that is not what is alluded to at all. In this particular epistle, "books" are valued. The apostle enjoins Timothy to bring "the books, especially the parchments" 2 Timothy 4:13; but he is alluding here to something very different. He is alluding to the Spirit that dwells in us. Well, let us face that; what do we understand by keeping the good deposit by the Spirit which dwells in us?

As I said, the efforts of the enemy are strong and persistent, in order to rob us of the good that is in us by the work of God. We certainly should be able to tell what is good. It is sad to see so much uncertainty among the people of God about this and that. The truth is, there is a great want of exercise, of using our senses; we are to exercise these so that we may discern between good and evil; so that we may not be found putting good for evil and evil for good. The Lord supplies us with the example: "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good" Isaiah 7:15. Now of the good thing I am not to let one whit go, but I am to keep it by the Spirit. I am to keep the good thing by the Spirit which dwells in us. It is the presence of the Spirit in a collective sense. The same Spirit that dwells in you dwells in me.

I am concerned, as others are, about the inner thing -- the inner work of God which alone can keep us at the present time. However much light we may have, apart from this inner thing we cannot be representative of God in this world.

May God bless His word!

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Pages 319 - 451 -- "The Assembly Marked by Intelligence". Scotland, 1928 (Volume 93).


1 Corinthians 10:15; 1 Corinthians 11:17 - 22; 1 Corinthians 12:28 - 31; 1 Corinthians 14:20 - 25

J.T. I have been thinking of intelligence. In this section of the epistle to the Corinthians it is viewed as essential to the assembly. Some of us have been looking at the idea of being together in Acts, but the recurrence of the word 'assembly' or 'church' in this section is to be noticed, for what is required is not only that we should be together, but together intelligently, if we are to realise what is alluded to here -- the assembly. It would be observed that in chapter 10 the assembly is formally alluded to as a definite entity in this world standing over against the Jew and the Greek. It is 'the assembly of God'. In approaching the subject in verse 15 of chapter 10, the apostle uses the words "intelligent persons" Such are in view, not simply believers. Not that all believers are not of the assembly, but it is persons thoughtful and instructed who are contemplated. To be in the assembly according to God we have to be instructed and thoughtful. It is that in which God is to be known, and our very attitude, indeed, our very sitting, and the time at which we arrive, and what we say, all come under review; it is not only that we are together, but how we are together. What you get in the beginning of the Acts was that they were all together in one place. That is something to be noted -- that no one should be absent. Then those who believe were together; that is, in heart, not necessarily in one place, that is to be noted, too. It is a company of believers. First they were all there, and then, secondly, they were believers, marked as

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being together -- one. But this epistle is to show that whilst we all might be in one place, and all believers, we may not be there according to God. The assembly is that which is for God's wise and holy purposes here, and for that it requires us all. He has not converted us for nothing. He converted us, He saved us, but He has left us down here for a purpose, and that purpose is linked up with the assembly as a vessel. He has not given us the Holy Spirit for nothing. He intends us to be in the assembly.

W.S. The Corinthians were lacking in respect of how they were together?

J.T. That is where they were lacking. It does not appear that there were many absentees; if there is partisanship, the likelihood is that people will come out, therefore it is not a question of being there, but of being there in a fitting manner. The Lord said He had "much people" in Corinth before they were converted at all, so apparently there were many in the assembly there; there is no evidence that they were staying away, but they were not behaving themselves rightly in the meetings. They were not there intelligently. The point is, therefore, how you are to be there.

Now chapter 10 is more what we are as outside in our everyday life. We are not viewed as together there, but as in everyday life, for these three divisions are to be reckoned with -- the Jew, and the Greek, and the assembly. You have to meet the brethren in the offices, and in the workshop, or wherever it may be, as well as the Jews and the Greeks, and you have to be on your guard that you do not cause them any offence or occasion of stumbling. That entity you have to consider as here in this world in ordinary life and walk. In chapter 10 you are dealing with what is public. If you went to an idol house, or a public house, or a picture house, or kept bad company, others might do the same. The Greek would

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say you are doing that, and the young Christian would say you are doing that, and why should not he do it? And he would go further perhaps than you would go. But here in this world you are to be on your guard that you do not give a lead to anyone in the wrong direction, and particularly to those in the assembly. No offence means no occasion of stumbling. It is not that you cause hostility, but rather that you give them a lead in the wrong direction.

F.M. The principle of fellowship always regulates with regard to the assembly.

J.T. That is the point; in chapter 10 the word is used; it is not used afterwards in the epistle. After the assembly is convened it is not so much fellowship. It is in everyday life that the fellowship is more in evidence. In everything that I do I recognise the principle of fellowship, I am involving all the others that are in fellowship. Of course, the fellowship exists as we are together. I speak of the bearing of it as treated in Scripture.

J.S. Would chapter 10 mean that you are true to the fellowship you have entered upon?

J.T. That is the idea exactly. It is when others are not looking at you; at least when you think they are not. I may do something, but then they may be looking at me, and if they are not looking at me they may hear about it.

Rem. That would involve the manner of life. Paul speaks of it in that way.

Ques. Would the Lord's table spoken of here preserve us from what is suggested?

J.T. Yes, I think that is the thought. The first thing is fellowship with one another. Then the Lord's table is a question of the Lord. You have to reckon with the Lord. The idea of fellowship is that you involve the saints in what you are doing. You cannot say that the Lord is in fellowship, but we are in fellowship with one another. He is Lord, and it is

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His table, and we are not stronger than He. Even if you may overcome the saints, and elude them, you cannot elude the Lord. That is important, I think, as regards chapter 10. I am under the eye of the Jew and the Greek and of the assembly, and I am obligated not to do anything that would give them offence, or give a lead in the wrong direction.

W.S. What would answer to the Jew with us?

J.T. It is the religious person around. At that time the Jew was distinctly in opposition to the testimony. He would still be represented by the religious man though not in the same way today. The Greek would represent the educated man, the ordinary man of the world. There are thus three entities and we are under their eyes.

Rem. You mean that individually we should be exercised as to that.

J.T. I do. It is a question of having a right thought. It is not a question of pointing out the assembly now, but it is a question of having a right thought. You are under the eyes of the people of this world, and you are under the eyes of the saints, and you must be on your guard not to mislead any one.

Ques. What does it mean by saying "not seeking my own profit" 1 Corinthians 10:33?

J.T. He was not selfish. You might do something to advance your business, and by so doing you might compromise the fellowship, and you might deceive somebody in that. That person might go further. The apostle was not thinking of himself in his service.

The assembly is looked at in 1 Corinthians 11 as convened. Chapter 10 has allusion to us in our ordinary occupations; chapter 11 has allusion from verse 17 onward to the saints as together, so it is a question of how I am there.

Rem. These are the Lord's commandments in relation to what was established at the beginning.

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J.T. Yes, quite. So from verse 17 onwards in this chapter it is the saints as together and how they are there. Being together is not everything. As a of fact you may be together but it may be for the worse. It is a solemn consideration, that I actually be in the assembly for the worse and not for the better. The Lord is greatly helping us, I believe as to getting together, but then, how are we together? In no sense am I to be there as a mere spectator in no sense am I to be there on partisan lines, that is, in the recognition of any brother or brothers being in special relation to me. If I am there in special relations with any brother or brothers, I am not there according to God, but I am there "for the worse"

Ques. Would this have in view what we get in the Psalms? "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

J.T. Yes. It is in view of dwelling together in unity. I am not thinking of any brother there as in special relation with me. Chapter 12 shows that God has set in the assembly certain ones, gifted ones and these are to be recognised; but I am not in special relation with any of them, however gifted. On the day of Pentecost they were all together; Spirit sat on each of them.

F.M. Is the truth of the body a help to us?

J.T. Every member is essential. My hand specially linked up with my eyes; that is the principle, it is linked with my eyes but not specially.

Rem. That would be seen in the first chapter: "with all that in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" 1 Corinthians 1:2

J.T. Quite. It is not calling upon the name of any brother. One says "I am of Paul"; you see how definite he was; another says "I of Apollos"; and another "I of Cephas" 1 Corinthians 1:12; possibly a Jewish

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believer. Another says "I of Christ" He is distinct from the other three in that he is of Christ, but then one would want all the others to be of Christ! More than that, these Corinthians actually sat down and ate together in these coteries! Think of one having his meal in relation to some leader!

Rem. Do you get the principle in that scripture quoted, "all that believed were together and had all things common" Acts 2:44?

J.T. Yes, you do. You can see the grossness of the error in Corinth. You can picture to yourself the scene that would be witnessed in their meeting, in regard of which the apostle writes across it, "it is not to eat [the] Lord's supper" He brands it; it is simply that it is not it. God cannot have party feeling.

At the present day there is a movement towards contraction because the churches are becoming empty, alas! hence they want to reduce expenses and for convenience. That is all. There is no change in their hearts. It is a mere necessity of their own; it is not the necessity of love or of righteousness. The spirit of division is the great thing that the epistle was written to correct.

W.S. You would say that the real trouble had not become the exercise?

J.T. Apparently not. They did not seem to have any thought about the terribleness of parties or sects among them. That it should have actually entered the assembly convened is dreadful!

F.M. Would Numbers 10 correspond with this? When the trumpet was blown they were to assemble to Moses.

J.T. Yes. They were all to assemble at the door of the tabernacle unto Moses. Then certain ones were to assemble according to certain blasts. That chapter is in keeping with this epistle.

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Rem. It is a great thing to see that the Lord gets His place first. We are called to the fellowship of God's Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ques. Do you think the Spirit brings before us unity and not division?

J.T. He does indeed. We being many are one loaf, one body; for we all partake of that one loaf. That should exclude party feeling.

Rem. If I have a party before me, what I do is I take my own supper.

J.T. Yes, in relation to your leaders. In that case Christ is not your leader; the party man is. It shuts out Christ.

Ques. Do you think that each one of us has to give Christ His right place as an object individually first, and then the brethren can be seen in their order?

J.T. Well, I think the order is that we come together to meet the brethren first. The Lord is absent, and therefore the necessity for intelligence in what you are to do. You expect the Lord to come; but the point is to whom will He come? and to what will He come? You are concerned that the conditions are such as He will approve. The emblems denote that He is not here, but, as called into mind, He comes. Then the point is, to what will He come? Luke 24 tells us that He came while they were saying certain things. They were saying what was perfectly relevant and suitable. They were saying that "the Lord is indeed risen and has appeared to Simon" Luke 24:34 They were also saying that He had made Himself known to two of them in the breaking of bread. Now you must take these things and analyse them, spread them out, as it were, for they are capable of great expansion. "The Lord is indeed risen"! Luke 24:34 How much you could say about that! "And has appeared to Simon"! Luke 24:34 How much you could say about that! In spite of all that Peter had done, the Lord appeared to him! And they are saying the Lord was made

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known to them in the breaking of bread. Thus if you take these things in Luke 24 you can see the kind of thing the Lord respects. Then we read as they were saying these things Jesus Himself stood in the midst. Himself! And He said, "Peace [be] unto you" Luke 24:36 He does not complain. But suppose that He came in here, and found these coteries as in Corinth, what would He say? Well, it is here, for Paul says what the Lord would say.

Ques. Would you say these two meetings, Jerusalem and Corinth, would show very different states?

J.T. Quite so; and you see how delighted the Lord was to come in to the former. Jesus Himself stood in the midst, and He said, "Peace [be] unto you" Luke 24:36 Then He shows them His hands and His feet. It is as if He were to say to them, that they were saying the right things. It is the public assembly that is in view, so He refers to His feet and not to His side. In John He refers to His side. The feet denote grace. It is God in grace, and that is what the public body should testify to, that God has come in in Christ, that grace reigns, that He travelled all the way to Calvary and died that we should be saved. It is what He had done for them, for He worked and He walked. Then He says, "Handle me and see" Luke 24:39 It is the place of verification. The assembly of God is not a place for speculation, it is not a debating society, but it is a place of confirmation. If you are saying anything, you are saying what you know, for He says, "ye are witnesses of these things" Luke 24:48; that is, witnesses in the sense that they have seen them; but if I go to this meeting at Corinth, and hear these Christians, what I hear is not for verification. Some of them are possibly educated men, but not much better than those at Mars Hill. There we might hear one leader talking to his followers about one thing, and another talking to his followers about another thing. I come out saying that God is not there.

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There is no verification in that and I am left puzzled. God is not the author of confusion.

Then the Lord says, "Have ye anything here to eat?" Luke 24:41

If He had asked that at Corinth, what would they have presented to the Lord? Each had his own view of things, and if they had presented that to the Lord He would not have accepted it. At Jerusalem they gave Him part of a broiled fish and of an honeycomb. They did not have to go far to get it -- they had it there. They gave Him part of it. Thus it was a question of His having part in what they had. He ate it before them, and then He proceeds to call attention to the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the Psalms -- the Old Testament scriptures. And what an opening up that was! And as He went over the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the Psalms, He says, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved the Christ to suffer, and to rise from among the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations" Luke 24:46

Ques. Why do you emphasise the part?

J.T. Because the Lord would have part with us in what we have spiritually. He graciously takes part with us; He so values what we have as we are right with God. In John we have part with Him, but in Luke it is that He has part with us in what we have got. I always feel that we should have something He can have part in.

The apostle goes on to bring in Christ (verse 23) in the presence of all this. "The Lord Jesus in the night in which he was delivered up, took bread" etc. He passes the whole thing before their eyes. It is what Christ did on the night in which He was betrayed.

Rem. So you would say that a condition of things like this, bringing the Lord in, is to be coveted.

J.T. Yes, bringing the Lord in. "I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you" 1 Corinthians 11:23

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So right down the chapter he goes on in the most solemn way to warn us against any misbehaviour when we are gathered together, because any misbehaviour is in relation to the body and blood of the Lord.

Rem. So the Lord will not come in where His rights are not maintained.

J.T. He disciplines us so that we should not be judged with the world. He will not come in, but not only that, He will send sickness "On this account many among you [are] weak and infirm and a good many are fallen asleep" 1 Corinthians 11:30

Ques. For what cause?

J.T. For their conduct. For not having discerned what was before them in the Lord's supper.

F.M. Do you think that the Lord's portion comes first in Corinthians before you have any divine manifestations in regard to ministry?

J.T. Yes. I think that the Lord has His portion, then you have, as in Luke 24, the opening up of things. He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. I think that is the order here. Chapter 12 is the opening up of the use of gifts -- spiritual manifestations. They had written to the apostle about spiritual manifestations. I am not to be independent in the use of them. A man might make it an excuse to be out of order, that he had a gift, but gift is to be regulated by the truth of the body.

Then you see He has been into death, because the emblems are the emblems of Christ's death. If I am discerning it, it has a reflex action on me, that I should be a servant to the will of God. That brings in the question of ministry in the next chapter. How can I be of service in the assembly as a gift unless I am in accord with the will of God, which is expressed in the body of Christ? The body becomes therefore food; "Take, eat, this is my body" Matthew 26:26 It is food, but

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food that I might be a vessel like it. In Matthew and Mark it is His body, but in John it is His flesh. In Matthew and Mark His body is a vessel, a vessel for the will of God. How can I be a vessel of service save as I am in accord with the Lord's body, discerning it? And it is on this that all the instruction of chapters 12, 13 and 14 hinges.

Ques. "This is my body" Matthew 26:26 and then in John 6 it speaks of "my flesh"; what is the distinction?

J.T. John 6 is the condition He took. In John it is "the Word became flesh" John 1:14 That is condition. So He lays down that condition, He lays down His life. It is a question of going down. He came down to give His flesh for the life of the world, so that it is food. It is rather for life in John 6 than that I should be a vessel for the will of God. "He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal" John 6:54 But in Matthew and Mark there is nothing said in the institution of the Lord's supper about remembrance or a memorial, but what is said is that it is food. It is not 'my flesh' but "my body" it is a question of a vessel.

Ques. Would you connect that body with the vessel fulfilling the will of God?

J.T. In both of these gospels -- Matthew and Mark -- you have His body anointed by the woman; she anointed His head, but He says, "In pouring out this ointment on my body, she has done it for my burying" Matthew 26:12 It is a vessel for the will of God and she discerned His body, so to speak. She had true instincts.

Rem. In partaking of it one would have to curb one's will.

J.T. You do; it is a question now of what you are for God. You know how to control yourself and you are subject. You do not use your gift as a child would a toy. Thus you measure your words. Elijah was sent to the widow of Sarepta, and he finds her. As he reaches the city she is at the gate, gathering

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sticks. So Elijah says, "fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel" 1 Kings 17:10 That is the idea. She was under divine command, and so the idea of a vessel is introduced. These chapters are to make me a vessel, so that if I bring something to God, or to the saints, I bring it in a suitable vessel.

R.S. We would learn in the presence of the Lord Himself that He was that holy vessel that would carry out every divine thought while He was here in this world.

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Acts 14:8 - 10; Acts 3:1 - 11; 1 Chronicles 28:2 - 6

I was thinking of the way in which Scripture speaks of the feet of believers. Every part of the body of the believer, of a man, I may say, is used to represent some spiritual thought. One might speak of any one of these members, but I have selected the feet of the believer with a view to dwelling on the import of their use in standing, in walking, in running, and in leaping. These words are all used by the Spirit. One spiritual man referred to his feet as hind's feet; another is alluded to as dipping his foot in oil; again, we read of the beautiful feet of them that bring glad tidings; and again, it says God keeps the feet of His saints. So you see how wide is the use made of them in Scripture as figurative of spiritual things. One might indeed refer to God's feet, for they are referred to in a figurative way, speaking of the place of the soles of them in Ezekiel, and that brings one down to the holy subject of the feet of our Lord.

In the gospel of Luke, and in that of John, He is specially viewed in this relation. You will remember how in Luke He is anointed on His feet. It was by one who had profited by the grace which He carried, for that is the allusion. We read of God riding upon a chariot and flying, for He can do these things, but in approaching man, and in undertaking the great work of redemption, it is a question of His feet. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet!" Isaiah 52:7 It was journeying, one step after another, every step telling its own tale of divine solicitation for man. Now we are enjoined to walk in His steps, every one of them being precious, every one spelling divine interest in man's welfare, and in man's salvation.

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They were beautiful. Each of those steps was followed with divine interest, and so faith in the woman of the city, recorded by Luke, discerned in those feet that they had carried all the way to her what she needed and more, infinitely more. As a lover of Christ she followed the feet that carried Him to where she was! She was a woman of the city, a term which has its own significance.

In chapter 8, a man comes out of the city naked. He did not abide in a house but lived in the tombs. He would represent what the city means, what modern cities mean. The woman in chapter 7 is spoken of as a woman of the city, but now she is of another, and her feet will tread its streets. In that city she will be a trophy of Christ -- a lover. The inhabitants of it shall all be lovers of Christ. Here she was now in the house of one hostile to Christ, but she followed those feet; she anointed them with myrrh, and she wiped them with her hair. The Lord goes over the ground of her actions in addressing Simon, for every action of hers was delightful to Him. "Seest thou this woman?" Luke 7:44 She loved much. Not that she said it; she said nothing with her lips, but she spoke volumes by her actions. As our Lord Himself in the type of the Hebrew servant declared plainly that He loved, so she declared unmistakably that she loved. But I am speaking of the feet and how she regarded them. We can only understand the subject of our own feet aright as we understand the subject of His. They were anointed with myrrh, for it is a question in Luke always of intelligence, intelligence reached through a moral process. It is as if she understood that those feet were treading a suffering path, and so it was, beloved -- a suffering path. It is, as we often sing, 'With thorns and briars overspread, where foes and snares abound'. It is that, and he who ignores it will be disappointed; hence arises the necessity for the anointing, the dipping

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of the foot in oil, for otherwise you will grow weary. But it is for the true believer in the wilderness "Garments fresh and foot unweary" (Hymn 76) That can only be said of those who have the Spirit; as was said of Asher, he could only be viewed as triumphant in his walk as having dipped his foot in oil. So also with the great daughter of Asher (Anna -- Luke 2) of whom we have often spoken with pleasure; she was unceasing in her activities. No weariness there even in old age! Her very age is given to us that old brothers and old sisters might take courage, and be fresh and energetic as at the beginning. She departed not from the temple, serving in fastings and prayers night and day. She was active; she was walking in the temple with agility; she was truly one who was an overcomer in her day with regard to her feet.

Now, having said that much, which I am sure will be commendable to you in regard of Christ, I wish to call attention to the apostle Paul's dealings with the man impotent in his feet at Lystra. In the verse before the one I read, you will notice that they preached the gospel. A fine testimony that! "There they were announcing the glad tidings" Acts 14:7 One might well ask if it be so here. There they announced the glad tidings and there was a man at Lystra impotent in his feet, that is to say, he is the kind of man now that is to receive the blessing; it has a spiritual reference. It is a man who sat, "[being] lame ... who had never walked" Acts 14:8 and the apostle Paul looked on him, we are told, and saw that he had faith to be healed. The apostle did not give him that faith; for faith is the gift of God, and God evidently had been there before Paul. God knew Lystra and all that town before Paul, and He knew this man who had been sitting impotent in his feet. Seeing that the man had faith to be healed, the apostle Paul said with a loud voice, "Rise up straight upon thy feet" He says it with a loud voice, for things are not to be whispered in

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announcing the gospel. The Lord Himself sets the example in that respect. You find him crying out at one time so as to be heard, and you find Peter lifting up his voice on the day of Pentecost, so we have here a loud voice as if it were urgent. "Rise up straight upon thy feet" That was the word. Whatever word comes in the gospel at the outset it is intended to convey an impression that it is to give character to the convert. If it be the jailor, it is "thou ... and thy house" Acts 16:31; the house was to give character to him. Similarly here the word is, "Rise up straight upon thy feet" Those feet are to be used. God needs them. The man sprang up, we are told, and walked. What was in the apostle's mind was that he should stand straight upon his feet. What kind of brother is he going to be? Will he be one who will lean as a partisan upon some chosen leader amongst the saints? No, not that! Paul implies plainly that it is not to be that. The man was living in a dark idolatrous town, where religious leaders brought forth garlands and sacrifices to the apostles. How great the need was of a man who could stand straight upon his feet for God in the presence of all that! It was no small thing to stand against that tide; for it is seen first in idolatrous adulation of the servants of God, and presently in murderous opposition. It is the swaying of the natural mind by the wind of satanic power, now to the right, and then to the left. How great is the need of one to stand straight upon his feet, not to be swayed this way or that, but to stand upright, and then walk and leap if need be! That was in the apostle's mind. I am speaking now of the idea, the impression conveyed in the apostle's preaching -- he would have there a man who could stand upon his feet straight.

Now I do not go further there. You can see readily what this man at Lystra was spiritually, what material for the house, for the tabernacle as it were!

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You will remember how the boards of the tabernacle were made standing up -- a most extraordinary thing, a thing that must be understood spiritually. The scriptures deal with spiritual things, and you need not go to them for instruction with regard to human crafts, or with regard to human science, for they deny any such information. They are occupied with spiritual things. The boards were made standing up! They were at least fifteen feet high, but I dwell on that one point that they were made standing up. The exigencies of the testimony require men standing up and not sitting down at their ease. Thus the Lord, as He appears in the midst of His own, is always standing, after He rose from the dead. It is a time for energy, availability for God's service.

Now in chapter 3, you see a similar thought, only with enlargement. The man who lay at the Beautiful gate of the temple is intended to be a type of one coming into fellowship. The other is, too, but the man in chapter 3 gives us a fuller development of the thought. The gospel is not preached to him exactly, but it is rather what is presented to him, for him to see with his eyes, for it says, "Look on us" In the other case Paul looked on him, and saw that he had faith. It was Paul making a selection of material, and looking on him saw that the material was there, and he laid hold of it. In this case, however, it is not that. It is the person who comes in seeing what he is coming to. We ought to see what we are coming to. The question is, 'Is it worth your while?' It is not God laying hold of you in an arbitrary way; it is a question of whether it is worth your while. The divine fellowship does not go begging. There is nothing like it, for it is the best. Others are delighted with it, millions have been in it and have proved it. A few days before three thousand had been converted and were baptised; they received the Spirit, and were added; and they continued stedfastly in the apostles'

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teaching and fellowship. They saw that the thing was accredited of God; they were not patronising it. It was accredited of God, and they continued in it. They did not bring anything into it of their own; they made no proposals of their own; the terms were all God's terms. Peter formulated the terms as representing God, and they gladly received them, were baptised, and came into fellowship. They continued in the fellowship of the apostles. They left what they had been going on with for Christ, for the apostles represented Christ. It was the apostles' teaching, and the apostles' fellowship.

Well now, this is a sample man; he is not received in a crowd. He is received by himself. He stands out in the light before us so that we can see him. He is at the Beautiful gate of the temple, something the natural mind would take account of. He was very familiar with it, for he was there daily, and had sat there for forty years a lame man. You can understand how often he must have looked around those buildings, but what he sees this day is two men coming up. They had been fishermen by occupation, but look at them! They are coming up together! That word 'together' has its own meaning here. They were coming up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour, and that hour must have touched their hearts. The ninth hour! The one in which the Lord Jesus had died! The hour of prayer! There never had been a prayer uttered like the prayer that had been uttered a few weeks before on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" Luke 23:34 The hour of prayer was the hour of incense; it was a time for God. But there never had been such a time for God as the moment when Christ died, having prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" Luke 23:34 These two men knew it, and they were going up to the temple at that hour, and here is this man. Peter says, "Look on

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us" You will say, 'Do not occupy us with the saints', but the Holy Spirit is wiser than we are, and He occupies us with them. He occupies us at other times with them to cause us to humble ourselves, and to show us what the flesh may do in us. But here it is two men moving in the power of the Spirit at the hour of prayer. Think of what they were to God as they moved! Peter says, "Look on us" and he took the lame man by the right hand; it was a question of helping the man. Give him every possible advantage! So Peter takes him by the right hand and lifts him up saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean rise up and walk" Then his feet and ankle bones became strong, and leaping up he stood and walked. Are those feet and ankle bones not needed? Yes, they are needed. It is a question of fellowship, and what you find is that he leaped, he stood and walked. The other man was told to stand upright, and he leaped and walked. This man is told to walk, but he stands first. Why is that? It is the finding of your balance. It is that you should walk by yourself, to be no longer a babe held by the hand. I am of little value spiritually until I find my balance. I will lean this way or that way unless I find it. The man stands first, and then he walks with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God. If you start walking or leaping before you find your balance, you will come to grief. Find your balance first. That is an absolutely essential experience.

Then he held Peter and John; it is a question of fellowship, for he recognises what these men set forth. He is in fellowship, and he knows how to hold administration on the one side, and family relationships on the other. That is balance; and if you learn these two things, you will not be carried away by anyone. So this man was a wonderful testimony standing by the apostles in their persecution. He stands out as a testimony to the power of God.

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Now I come to David for a moment. It is not now a question of young brethren but of old ones. Sometimes old age means a loss of balance, a loss of foot power, of leg power, and of eye power -- a loss indeed of the senses as they should be used. These things are common, not only in material things, but in spiritual things. One is exercised that in old age he should retain freshness. It is a good exercise, and God will respect it in us all. The whole chapter shows that it was a very great occasion. Our spirituality is tested by great occasions; can we rise to them? Here is an old man who assembled all his princes and mighty men, and who stood up on his feet to address them. In 1 Kings we have a very different picture; there we see a decrepit old man with little or no heat, apparently insensible to the machinations of his son Adonijah who sought the kingdom with his coadjutors! But not so in this book. This is the spiritual side. Possibly it comes in after he is revived by the word of Nathan. This is the David of God's mind. It is God intimating to us what he values in an aged saint. It is a great occasion. The great men of the kingdom are present as I have said. He assembled as we read "all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the princes of the divisions that ministered to the king, and the captains over thousands, and the captains over hundreds, and the comptrollers of all the substance and possessions of the king, and of his sons, with the chamberlains, and the mighty men, and all the men of valour unto Jerusalem" 1 Chronicles 28:1 Is David able for the occasion? There is a great occasion coming for us -- the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him. It will be a wonderful time, a great assembly of grandees! And we shall have part in it. In the same way, today, relatively, every time we come together in assembly it is a great occasion. One feels how little appreciation we have of the greatness, of the dignity

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of the assembly. Now look at David here. It says in the verse I read, "And king David stood up upon his feet and said, Hear me my brethren" He stood up upon his feet! The word 'feet' might have been left out and we should have understood, but the Holy Spirit never uses a word without a meaning. It means the very thing I have been speaking about in the book of Acts. It means that David retained his balance. He has his faculties; he has his balance and he finishes with these. He is an old man but he stands up on his feet. He is not leaning this way or that way. What a history his has been with many currents of evil flowing hither and thither But through it all he stands upon his feet. At times, indeed, he gave way to his sorrow, but not now. He is now standing upon his feet. What a word to brothers and sisters advanced in years, if I may speak respectfully to them. It is fine to see an old brother taking his share in the responsibility of the testimony and not depending on others, not handing his conscience and responsibility to others but holding them for God, maintaining his balance. Look at this special feature of David here What is he occupied with? The house of God, God's chief interest on earth. We are left here in our old age to be engaged with the house of God. David says, 'I would have built it, I desired to build it, but God would not allow me'. He was a subject man. It is most important to be subject in old age as in youth. The desire of his heart was to build God an house, but he was denied the honour. It is a very fine moral trait, if an old brother gives way because the will of God is that a more suitable one is brought forward, and David is delighting in it, for he says, 'I know what it is to be chosen; I know God has chosen Solomon; I was chosen, too'. He knew what divine choice meant, for regarding himself, he says, 'God chose the tribe of Judah, and He chose my father's

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house, and He chose me from all my father's sons because He liked me'. Precious instruction! to be conscious of being a chosen one! And if I have been chosen, why not let God choose another? It is His privilege. Can I deny that privilege to God? Can He not choose another? It is an excellent thing morally for an old brother to pass away with a recognition of divine choice. David is standing upon his feet, being balanced, and able to say that God has chosen Solomon, and he is satisfied.

Thus, if you go into those chapters, you see what a man is who can maintain his balance right to the end -- standing upon his feet. Then David says in reference to God, among many other things, "Thou art exalted as head above all" 1 Chronicles 29:11 If you recognise that, you will have no complaint as to what God has done; it is in perfect wisdom, it cannot be improved upon. So David dies, full of days, riches and honour, and his life is written down by three great men, Samuel, Nathan, and Gad. Such was the value of that life! It says, "The acts of David the king first and last" 1 Chronicles 29:29; and these last ones are the finest of all.

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Acts 2:1 - 4; Acts 8:14 -17; Acts 10:44; Acts 19:1 - 7

J.T. These four scriptures seem to furnish the facts relative to the coming of the Spirit, and if we are to understand the Spirit's presence here and His operations, I think that we need to understand these four scriptures. What is perhaps to be noticed in the first instance is that there was that present, those present, upon whom He could come. Their being together in one place, and His sitting upon each of them would point to the intimate knowledge that existed of the state of those persons. There is not only what they received but what they saw and heard. There is the sound that filled the house and the appearance of cloven tongues: "There appeared to them parted tongues as of fire and it sat upon each one of them" and they were all filled, calling attention to the idea of the capacity of the vessel. The incident is to be regarded in relation to all that preceded, particularly to what is related in chapter 1, that is to say, the kind of persons who were thus visited divinely.

Rem. What is suggested in the parted tongues of fire?

J.T. I suppose there was that there then in which God would reach all men, as the sequel shows. "We hear them speaking in our own tongues the great things of God" Acts 2:11; and in the speaking there would be that present which would deal with the flesh -- fire. There was present not only the means of communication, but the means of dealing with all that would be contrary to what would be spoken. In these languages of which a list is given, much that was corrupt was spoken. According to Romans 3, the speaking of

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man is corrupt; the poison of asps is there. All the vocal organs are alluded to in that chapter, calling attention to the corruptness of things amongst men. The Christian is to have no corrupt communication proceeding out of his mouth.

Rem. So the fire was necessary to deal with the source of all that.

J.T. Well, I think that.

H.S. That would be in contrast to the Spirit coming down on the Lord in the form of a dove?

J.T. Exactly. There was nothing in Him to deal with, but instead infinite complacency. The Spirit as a dove abode upon Him; that was in keeping with the voice from heaven announcing heaven's pleasure in Him. Here there is no voice, no articulation, but a sound, as of a rushing mighty wind, meaning that it was powerful, that which would deal in an unseen but in a felt way with all opposition. The operations of the Spirit are thus in connection with faith. I suppose the wind and faith go together. A cloud received the Lord out of sight, and so the faith period began; and the coming of the Spirit is in connection with that. Faith and the Holy Spirit go together. The power is in the form of wind. One of the great means by which God deals with things is the wind. The sound was there and it filled the house. That is where it should be heard -- in the house. It is a token that there should be irresistible power to deal with evil; fire to deal with it in a purifying way, wind to overthrow. Thus we have unmistakably an order of things here (the house where they were sitting characterising it) in which God would speak. He would use men to speak apart from corruption and there should be power to enforce what was spoken.

J.S. Would that be seen in the Spirit descending like a mighty rushing wind and filling the house?

J.T. I thought that. "And there came suddenly

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a sound out of heaven as of a violent impetuous blowing and filled all the house where they were sitting" That is the first thing, a sound out of heaven, heaven intervening powerfully. It is not here a question of our relation with God as a family, but heaven coming in administratively; as of old in connection with the ark in the holy place, God was armed with means of enforcing His will. What we are connected with is a system of things in which heaven asserts itself. It is heaven's sound. Then the power accompanying that was a rushing mighty wind. It is power to fill the capacity of the whole house. As the Lord in John 20 came where the disciples were, so the Spirit comes in this way where they were gathered together; and so as to note each individual there, there is the appearance to them of parted tongues of fire sitting upon each of them. Every one there has his own value and importance he is to be an agent of the Spirit. Thus an impression is conveyed to them to remind them of what is to mark them, the speaking and the fire.

C.L. Why is it referred to as the baptism of the Holy Spirit in chapter 1?

J.T. It means that while each one is an individual in the system, yet we are all merged in it. The baptism of the Spirit is a positive thing. As it says, "In [the power of] one Spirit we have all been baptised into one body" 1 Corinthians 12:13

W.S. You said there was individual fitness for it. That would be seen in that it sat on each of them.

J.T. Yes. It is as if the Spirit came in restfully. Sitting conveys that thought. It is not a temporary, but a permanent thought.

J.S. Do you mean that the Spirit carries with Him the power of permanency?

J.T. Yes, quite. It is a permanent state of things. The Lord had promised that He should be with them "for ever" The sitting on each of them indicates that they were fit for that. There was complacency.

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Rem. That would seem to be in keeping with the thought that they were sitting in the house?

J.T. Yes, and all together. Any absentee at this point would mean deficiency. They had all been intended for this: "He that has wrought us for this very thing [is] God" 2 Corinthians 5:5 We should always bear in mind that we are wrought upon for the assembly, and we ought to be there. He needs us there. It was a time when God was going to do some great thing, and they were not absent; they were all there, all together at this particular time, "when the day of Pentecost was now accomplishing" It is a reminder of the importance of being in our places in the assembly. Absentees only interfere with the divine thought.

Rem. And everyone is necessary in his place there.

W.S. No one could take the place of another.

J.T. No. The Holy Spirit coming on each has some particular thought. There are no duplicates amongst God's people, for each one has his own distinct feature.

C.L. Was it your thought that each vessel is filled according to the measure?

J.T. Yes, according to the divine intent in each. It is the "crowd of names" in chapter 1. The number was 120. Each one had a distinctive character, for your name means what you are spiritually.

J.C. It is important to note that they were all with one accord in one place.

J.T. Just so. The first chapter shows how thoroughly that was so, and for that reason is a great study, showing the work of Christ in each of them. One would be concerned to be with the brethren not only bodily, but as the apostle Paul says to the Philippians: "that ye may think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking one thing" Philippians 2:2 That is what underlies unity. Thus there is nothing to disturb. We are enjoined not to grieve

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the Spirit, nor to quench Him. You have in Galatians that the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. The Spirit is thus hindered.

J.S. Do you think that when Nicodemus comes to the Lord that He takes up this subject with him? That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

J.T. There, of course, it is not the gift of the Spirit, but the effects of His sovereign action in new birth.

Rem. I notice the Lord terms it earthly things.

J.T. Yes. New birth belongs to that. They need to be born anew for the millennium. It is a sound from heaven here, a light from heaven in chapter 9, and a sheet from heaven in chapter 10. We are to be prepared for the heavenly thing. The point to notice here is that not only did He sit on each of them, but they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them to speak forth. They were filled. You have the idea of vessels or a vessel. It does not say that the house was filled with the Spirit, but with the sound. They -- that is persons -- were filled with the Spirit. They spake with other tongues, but it is as the Spirit gave them to speak. They had already learned to let the Spirit have His way.

W.S. There would be no confusion in this chapter; everything would be done in order in their speaking together.

J.T. It would not be another Babel, but rather the very opposite. There would be understanding, as it says later "we hear them speaking in our own tongues the great things of God" Acts 2:11

C.L. The communications of God would be bound up with it?

J.T. Quite. We have been speaking of what marked the assembly, how these same people earlier were speaking about the Lord being risen, and about

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His appearing to Simon, and about the breaking of bread. Now they are speaking in another connection. It is not here the assembly exactly; it is the saints who form it in their attitude as ready to communicate the mind of God to all men, that is, the great things of God.

J.S. In that way they would be conveying the mind of heaven as being taken possession of by the Holy Spirit.

J.T. Yes. Instead of speaking about the great things of man as at Babel, for that is what they had in mind when they said, "Let us make us a name", they speak the great things of God. In Babel the conversation would be about this great thing they were doing. It is like the newspapers and other writings of today; they are all occupied with great men and their exploits on earth. The theme at Mars Hill was the news of the day; it was about this great one, and that great one, whereas here they are speaking about the great things of God. It is a plain intimation of what should occupy us. It is not a question now of the exercise of gift, although it was the gift of tongues, nor is it preaching, but speaking the great things of God.

Ques. Would that be what Paul means when speaking of the mystery of godliness, "justified in the Spirit"?

J.T. Yes. It came out in Christ personally and so here. God is justified in the Spirit. What He is is now coming out, so that all nations can hear it. "Seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world". Peter and John going to Samaria may be taken as representing this great administrative action of God in its provisional relations at Jerusalem. Samaria had to learn that whilst God was acting in this wonderful way it was depending on Jerusalem. How careful God is in acting on a certain line to keep to that line. We have to see the line upon which He

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is acting. He will not be diverted from it until the tent of the testimony moves. So long as the cloud remains at a certain place the tent is there, and so the testimony is there. The cloud indicates the mind of God, and God was patiently waiting on His ancient people the Jews, and this wonderful intervention by the Spirit was His last great overture to them. It is the greatest evidence one can get of His patience. We won't move God one iota; if He is moving on certain lines, He will stay there until, in His wisdom, He changes.

W.S. It is like John 4 -- salvation is of the Jews.

J.T. Exactly. God is holding to His own line, and when He changes, we must change with Him. But He will not be moved from it until His own time comes. This passage shows that we have to follow the movements of the cloud whether it be a year, a month, or a day. The people were not to move until the cloud moved. Even regarding this great gift of the Spirit, intended for all, God conserves it, and keeps it in relation to Jerusalem for a while. We have to learn to be patient with God. Thus in connection with Peter's action it was the apostles who were in Jerusalem, and not simply the apostles (see verse 14); it was God acting from that centre yet. We are reminded, and it often checks our wills, that God will not be moved by us.

J.S. I was wondering if Peter was identified with the whole company, with all the apostles. He stood up with the eleven.

J.T. It is a levitical touch. Elsewhere we were remarking that while the Lord told the apostles to go to all the nations and baptise them, yet that would not abrogate the levitical principle they were to be governed by. Whilst the mind of God is that the gospel should be carried to all the nations, yet those who are in His service must wait on divine directions. You cannot go where you please. As a Levite of God

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you are under the prince of the princes of the Levites, and you have to wait on directions; so in detail the apostle Paul was sent in a westerly direction. He was not sent in an easterly direction, for God knows the field better than any of us; and in keeping with this, I think, Peter shows in his first preaching that he was under levitical directions. Instead of standing up with all those there -- 120 -- he stands up with the eleven, that is to say, with the gifted ones, those who had commissions. It is to remind us that preaching is in that connection, that the assembly does not preach or teach, nor is the responsibility of preaching or teaching left with it, but with persons qualified. In setting up this great system for men, God has furnished it with everything; and the more we look into it, the more we see that there is nothing wanting to make it successful. The gifts are there for the work of the ministry. Of course, the assembly is to be in fellowship with them in every way, so Peter stands up with the eleven.

Rem. You mean that it would not be right not to have someone responsible for the gospel?

J.T. Yes. He stands up with the eleven. The others were also there, and they would preach in their time. They would not all preach at once in the same place; they would go hither and thither at the Lord's direction, but it is quite obvious that Peter had the position of leader in the service.

God was operating in relation to Jerusalem, but chapter 7 intimates a change. Stephen saw the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. "Son of man" means there is to be a change in relation to Jerusalem, but God still went on in patience, making His mind known before He puts it into execution. God waits still longer and we must not force His hand but pursue the line He is on. So the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard of the work at Samaria and they sent down Peter and John.

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Rem. They knew the vessels that would be helpful.

J.T. Yes. There are those qualified to lead and to rightly represent God in what He is doing, and you can see how right the choice was, because Peter detected Simon. I have no doubt that Philip and the others thought that Simon was converted, that he was a genuine case. He gave out that he was a great man; he was baptised, and continued with Philip, but Peter discovered that he was not converted at all, that he had neither part nor lot in the matter. That is a great service, for a man coming into fellowship in that connection would be a useful tool in the enemy's hands. God allows things to happen and brings things to light. The apostles Peter and John prayed for those who had believed and they received the Spirit, and Simon seeing this says, 'I would like to be able to do that'. But he is discovered. There have been those who have tried to buy divine privileges, and there are those today who give out that they can do this and that, but they are deceivers. So Peter says, "Thy money go with thee to destruction ... Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter" Acts 8:20,21 That was an important service. The Samaritans might say, 'we do not want to recognise Jerusalem. Why should we? We have believed what Philip preached to us and that is enough for us'. But that is leaving out God. We must pursue the line God is on. The time will come when God will give the Spirit directly without Peter and John, but at the moment God is doing it in this way. It may be very humbling to national feeling and pride, but it is wholesome.

Rem. When Stephen speaks it says that they were unable to resist the wisdom with which he spake.

J.T. Yes. He was full of the Spirit. But this chapter 8 is very important as showing that we are to be subject to what God is doing. We are to see

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what God is accrediting and move with that. We must not go before Him.

W.S. I was wondering whether you would say something as to why God kept on at this period so long as He did.

J.T. I think it was to show His patience. The patience of God is one of the greatest things. How patient He was with His people the Jews! In the light of this you may reckon on it today. As for the Samaritan believers, it was wholesome for them to bow to it. The Lord had said that salvation was of the Jews; the Samaritans never had any status. They were foreigners, they were not Jews at all. It is a good thing to have our national pride broken down, because a national spirit is a very naughty spirit in the things of God. It is inimical to the work of the Spirit of God.

Rem. God knew that they were not ready for the sheet or the light, and so He went on in patience.

J.T. When you come to chapter 10 it is formally stated that the Holy Spirit is given, but quite apart from Peter's instrumentality. He is doing something else. While Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit fell on them that heard the word. Now God is acting Himself directly. Peter is conveying the mind of God, but the Holy Spirit comes in directly from God.

Rem. It comes in now in relation to the hearing of the word.

J.T. Yes; in relation to the heart, for it is the heart-knowing God. It is not in relation to any confession of faith; it is what they heard. They were listening to the word. This is historically the reception of the prodigal. The prodigal gets the Spirit directly from God. It is not the administrative act of anyone.

Rem. It says the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

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J.T. That is energetic action. It is the same word in Luke 15, where the father fell on the prodigal's neck.

Ques. Would Acts 10 suggest that we are taken out of all national feeling, and introduced into that spiritual system you were speaking about?

J.T. Yes. That is it. "Who have received the Holy Spirit as we also [did]?" Acts 10:47 It was not inferior to the manner of coming in to the Jewish system; that is, they are not beneath the Jews. The Samaritans had to learn their inferiority to the Jews, because they had been rivals wrongfully. If you are a rival against what God is accrediting, God will not let you off. He will make you own to that. It is for your blessing that you should own it, because God will not be diverted from what He has accredited. If you set it aside, you will have to come back and own it, because really it is disregarding God.

Ques. Would you carry that principle to the present day?

J.T. Yes, I would. Where God is working something of the flesh will come up to compete with it. God accredits what He is doing and those whom He sends; He stands by them as the apostle says, "That through me the proclamation might be fully made" 2 Timothy 4:17 He stands by the vessel, and those who oppose that vessel will have to come and own it, else they will suffer.

Now you see a new movement in chapter 11, for the Gentiles are let in. The cloud has moved. They were scattered; that is the government of God, and the government of God always acts in relation to what He is doing. They preach in Antioch and tie hand of the Lord was with them.

Rem. Cornelius sent for Peter. It would not be natural for him to do that.

J.T. No. The Lord prepared Peter to receive him. All these things are encouraging, for they

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show how God works governmentally in connection with what He is doing directly, so that the way should be cleared.

H.B. Would it be seen in Philadelphia? "I will cause that they shall come and shall do homage before thy feet and shall know that I have loved thee" Revelation 3:9

J.T. Yes, it is applicable, exactly. Those who are rivals will have to own that He loves them. It is before thy feet, it is not before my feet. We leave those who are rivals with the Lord, and that is what He will do.

In chapter 19 it calls attention to the importance Paul attaches to the Spirit in the work at Ephesus. Paul's hands denote, I think, the dispensation as a whole. It is his ministry in relation to the assembly that stamps the dispensation. It is not provisional, for the assembly is a permanent thought. The building is not much alluded to at Jerusalem. Peter and the twelve are not occupied with it. It is Paul. True enough it is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.

Ques. In each of these passages the thought of baptism is mentioned, but in chapter 10 they had not been baptised?

J.T. They had the Spirit before; but the Jew had to be baptised first; the Gentile did not. He already has the Spirit so that the Gentiles were in the church before they were in the kingdom -- the external thing. It is to show how the love of God did not wait for any external ordinances but gave the Spirit. Love will overstep all these things, for it is necessarily greater than these things. It is a heart-knowing God who gave them the Spirit.

Rem. The Gentile had not been connected with anything.

J.T. No. I think that God was so delighted with the prodigal that He waited for no formalities. He

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ran to meet him. If He stood still, it would mean that he had to be baptised, but the father ran to meet him, and that was unusual. He disregarded formalities as head of the house. Were he to have considered for his own dignity, he would have stayed in the house until the son came back into it, but love overlooks all these things, so the father ran to meet him, for love is the greatest of all. You can never limit God.

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Acts 19:1 - 7; Genesis 6:14; Exodus 25:10

The thought of divine material has been on my mind in regard to this meeting, and I would desire that we may understand the kind of material that God is now using. God is operating in a positive way, and the question arises in view of this great fact as to whether one is available for Him, not exactly in the way of service, but as material usable in His present divine operations.

You will remember that this subject appears in Matthew's gospel, and also in whom it appears -- in Peter. In chapter 16, the Lord, taking notice of Peter's acknowledgment of Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God, said, "Thou art Peter" The time had now come for this feature to appear, so the material shows itself, and immediately it shows itself the Lord names it -- "Thou art Peter" He used a word that signifies what is durable, for what was in view was that there should be a building, and that the material should be of an enduring kind. It was such as was needed, and what I wanted to show, beloved friends, in reading the passage in Acts 19, was that this material must be capable of adjustment, for apart from such capability it must be rejected. And so what you find in these twelve men at Ephesus is that they were ready for adjustment. They needed it. They may not have been aware that they needed it, but directly the need was pointed out they recognised it. They were disciples of John the baptist -- evidently apt disciples -- and it is a matter of deep interest that in at least three cases we have disciples of John ready for adjustment. Had they not been ready they would have missed the greatest possible advantage. The first instance

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is in chapter 1 of John's gospel, in which we read of two of John's disciples who stood with him and who heard him speaking. There is not the slightest evidence of their being dissatisfied with John, who was the greatest of teachers up to that time. He was a marvellous man, filled with the Holy Spirit, we are told, from his infancy, and was in the deserts -- not simply in the desert but in the deserts -- until the time of his showing to Israel. He was thus inwardly formed, as you can understand, built up in spiritual instincts, having the Holy Spirit from the outset; and then the influence of the deserts where he experienced the wearing down of fleshly tendencies, for after all he was a man of like passions to ourselves, but the results of these immense advantages soon showed themselves in the manner of his presentation of Christ.

You are all aware of the emphasis laid on his testimony in John 1, "This is the witness of John" John 1:19; attention is thus called to him and the manner of his witness. He says, "In the midst of you stands whom ye do not know ... the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to unloose" John 1:26 He had a true estimate of himself, and great man though he was, yet he recognised the presence of the greater. It is the principle of giving way to the greater that is so presented in him, and so in keeping with this principle, he discerns, in seeing Christ coming to him, the One who takes away the sin of the world. John says, "I knew him not" John 1:31 but he discerned Him as he saw Him coming to him; he perceived that there was the One who was coming to him figuratively to die. John discerned that kind of movement. Very few of us -- one owns it -- are conversant with a movement like that, for it was a movement towards death. You can understand the bearing of it; you see the accompanying feelings, the accompanying expression. What a voice there is in it! When he saw Him coming to

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him, that is to say figuratively, He was coming to die, John says, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" John 1:29 There can be no dealing with sin, beloved brethren, in greater or smaller measure save this way. Argument will never deal with it; contentions will never deal with it; it will remain after the contentions, and arguments, and discussions. It is a movement towards death and there is life in that movement, necessarily life, and John perceives it -- "In him was life, and the life was the light of men" John 1:4 It was the radiation of the light of life, for there was life in the One who was moving. It is the movement of life towards death. That was the solution of the difficulty and so he named Him "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" John 1:29 Dealing with sin is in that way; there is light in the movement, and the One in whom it shone in perfection is named the Lamb of God, the suffering One, for it is suffering. The only way out, the only solution, the sure solution is that way. There is light in that movement, and what brilliancy in that light shone over the dark scene as that holy One moved towards Jordan! Then John says that he was told by the One who sent him to baptise with water, that upon whom he should see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same was He who baptised with the Holy Spirit. Nothing was said about the movement to John. It was a question of the coming of the Spirit upon Christ. John himself discerned the light in the movement. The light appeared in darkness and the darkness apprehended it not, but not in John's case, and you may be sure that any movement of that kind will be discerned by those who are the subjects of the work of God. It will shine for them.

Now, that is how John presented Christ, and two of his disciples the next day stood with him. Whatever they may have heard from him with regard to

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Christ, they still stood with John. John was not a party man; he sought no followers and is a model in that way, but still these two men stood with him. It is a most dangerous thing to be counting those who stand by you. You do not want men standing by you in a partisan way; God will stand by you. You ought to stand by Christ and the testimony. So John said, as he stood and the two disciples with him, and as he saw the Lord walking, "Behold the Lamb of God" John 1:29; and the two disciples followed Jesus. They were ready for adjustment, they needed it, for great as their teacher was, great as their light was, they needed more, and their readiness for it led them into the greatest privilege. Had they been blind, or deaf, or disregardful of John's remark, see what they would have missed! But they were not, and when Jesus saw them following, He turned and said, "What seek ye?" Not 'whom' seek ye, but what. A very fine challenge! and their answer is striking. You may ask, Why did they not refer to the Son of God or to the Lamb of God? They had heard of those titles. They spoke according to their exercises. What were their exercises? They had had a wonderful teacher but they are ready to take another teacher, and the Spirit of God interprets what they said, 'Rabbi', which signifies 'teacher'.

And so with Apollos, another striking example; he was mighty in the Scriptures, a man of eloquence in his day; he arrived at Ephesus, but missed Paul, the great apostle. But he found Aquila and Priscilla there, and he is ready to be adjusted even by them. They "took him to [them] and unfolded to him the way of God more exactly" Acts 18:26 He was ready for the adjustment.

Now these cases, beloved brethren, I bring forward because they represent material; they represent what God can use. Apart from capability for adjustment one must be rejected or left in a negative

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position, until one comes to it, for God will not accept anything but what is suitable to Himself. He is God, and He has His own thoughts, His own desires. He knows what He needs and He will have that. He will not be diverted one hair's breadth from it. Be what we may, He will have that, so that the question is -- are we to be left negatively, or to be used positively in what God is doing?

Before I proceed to Acts 19, I want to go back to the Old Testament, so that we may see how God names His own material. He might have told Noah in time of the flood to build a vessel giving him a specification with the dimensions and so forth, but He mentions the kind of wood. I am referring to wood now as the well-known type in Scripture of the humanity of Christ. It is a very interesting study in Scripture, and so this wood, mentioned here only, unquestionably alludes to Christ. We may not be able to tell just what species of wood it was, but that is a matter of no moment, for Scripture deals with these things spiritually, and what it means spiritually in unquestionable -- it means Christ. It is quite obvious that Noah knew the kind of wood to get. "Make thyself" God says, "an ark"; not 'make me an ark'; but "make thyself an ark of gopher wood" It is for Noah, it is a question of headship. Noah had appeared as answering to the mind of God; as one who represented Christ from that side, one who understood that the things of God were valuable and precious, and that they must be preserved; as the Lord Himself said, "not one of them has perished but the son of perdition" John 17:12 Becoming man and taking His place here in this world in testimony, every living thing was in His mind; every thought of God was in His mind. It is that kind of thing; you cannot afford to lose one; you arc great enough to embrace all. You see how great that is spiritually, and hence you immediately find cells in the ark, that

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is, small compartments and storeys, first, second and third, and the light at the top; and above all, the dimensions were three hundred cubits long. This represents great size; you see it is a large vessel even now it would be considered a large vessel. What God values is largeness of heart, ability to embrace all that is of God. And then the stability of it! It had to be pitched with pitch inside and outside. You can understand how all this speaks figuratively of the mind and heart of Jesus and how all was carried through intact, nothing lost, but all that belonged to God is carried through on to resurrection.

Such is the gopher wood. It is such a feature that the apprehension of it would save us from valuing lightly one of the least of these His brethren. "Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ has died" Romans 14:15 -- the weak brother. Are there not conditions tending to destruction of the things of God? Are the conditions among us living or dying conditions? You want living conditions. These you find in the ark. There is not a word about any death occurring there -- all is carried through. All came to Noah into the ark. Now, that is the gopher material that God would use at that time. Is it not needed at this time? The people of God, the thoughts of God, the principles of God, have all to be cared for in living conditions, not in dying conditions. There are things ready to die, so we have to be on the outlook for the gopher, that kind of humanity which refers to Christ, but has its counterpart also in us. It is the kind of thing that would preserve what is of God and save it from death.

I turn now to the passage in Exodus where we get the shittim wood brought in. I want to dwell on this point so that you may see how God in His operations specifies the material; it is available, for God never makes any requirements that cannot be complied with -- never. In Exodus directly the people entered

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the wilderness, they murmured. The water was bitter (Marah), and they murmured, and it says that God showed wood to Moses. Apparently it was not there to the natural eye. It is a question of divine showing. Things have to be shown. I wonder if we have all been shown this wood. God showed Moses the wood; he cast it into the water and the water became sweet. Can you understand what an enquiry there would be as to that wood? Do you think that the house of Israel passed that by? Surely not! At least if there were spiritual ones there, they would make enquiry. It was shown. It was not simply shown to Moses for himself. What was shown in the case of Peter's revelation was shown for us. I desire that you would take that in -- how this idea of material is shown. And then as we arrive at the idea of God's operations, God's building, He says, "Make an ark of acacia-wood" You say it is a growth of the desert. Well, no doubt. It is known to those who are subject. In the chapter I refer to (Exodus 15), as the wood is shown to Moses and cast into the waters, he makes an ordinance and puts it upon Israel that they should be subject. It is a question of subjection to God. Where subjection to God is, this wood will be. It is called shittim wood here. I am not saying it is called shittim wood in chapter 15. I am speaking of subjection, and as I was saying, it is a growth of the desert. It is a growth in believers in the desert. I am not now referring to what Christ was here. I need not say that primarily it is a type of Christ. It is a type of Christ become man, but there it was: "Make an ark of acacia-wood" as if it were there. Do you think you would have known it had it been there? How many of us understand the humanity of Christ -- the kind of humanity thus typified?

Now look for a moment at this wood, what it was used for; besides the ark the boards of the tabernacle

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were made of it. Have you ever thought of the size of them? They were at least fifteen feet long, and two feet three inches wide -- large boards. I do not believe they were patched -- two put together. We have to apprehend them spiritually. And then there were bars running through the tabernacle made of this wood. One of the main bars ran between the boards through the entire length of the tabernacle, possibly forty-five feet long. Now, take that in spiritually, the kind of thing that this wood was used for. How pliable, how durable, how strong it was! These features have to be apprehended as presenting the kind of material God is using. Well, I see it in Christ. I have been speaking of the boards, alluding to the saints, and the bars, but look at this material as in the ark -- Christ Himself. The ark -- two and a half cubits by one and a half, by one and a half -- a small chest or box. We thus see in type that wonderful thing, the humanity of Christ, that blessed, holy humanity -- "That holy thing" as the angel said, "which shall be born" Luke 1:35 As the Lord came into this world, He was surrounded by a holy atmosphere, no unholy thought, no taint of sin. But look at the outward smallness. You see the wonderful capability of the blessed God coming into manhood, and yet characterised by such smallness. That is the idea, infinitely great inside but very small outwardly. It is not now a huge vessel like the ark of Noah, but a small chest or box. Think of that! It is divine love here below, content to be nothing in man's estimation, content to be the servant of all, for the Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many. As He said to the woman at Sychar, as He sat down just as He was, no effort to alter His appearance for He was weary: "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that says to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living

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water" John 4:10 That is the ark. That is the kind of material that God is looking for, and He got it in perfection in Christ. But it is still to be found, and God is using it. Paul says, "Other foundation can no man lay besides that which [is] laid, which is Jesus Christ" 1 Corinthians 3:11 All the material used must be of that order. The ark, besides being small, was said to be the glory of God, and the strength of God, and it went before the people to search out a resting-place. It is a question of divine love showing itself in one being content in smallness, if by being small you can serve the saints.

In the book of Numbers which contemplates the love of God active among His people -- a wonderful study -- it is God speaking in the wilderness out of the tabernacle. It is divine love come down into our circumstances and content in them in order to serve us; and so you find in the ordering of Numbers the ark has the central position, but when the people move it leaves that position; it moves from its place of dignity and takes the most menial place, going three days' journey before the people to seek out a resting-place for them. The ark went before -- a type of Christ -- and the rock followed them -- a type of Christ. It is divine love in the wilderness; that is the book of Numbers. Think of what that holy vessel was to God, that in which typically His love was expressed in every circumstance of the wilderness! Divine love finds its place among the people of God in lowliness in order to serve. Love will never fail it will go down in order to serve. "By love serve one another" Galatians 5:13 That indicates the kind of material that God is using. Do you want to be that? I do. I do not want to be here negatively letting God pass on without me. I want to be active in what He is doing in it livingly. I want to be available in the building; I hope everyone does; I make an appeal to you.

And so these twelve men at Ephesus represent the

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kind of material that enters into the great structure that is contemplated in the epistle to the Ephesians; and the Spirit of God goes over the ground and shows that they had been instructed of John and had been baptised unto John's baptism. But Paul says in effect, 'that is not enough; the great point now is the Spirit; John did not give you the Spirit'. And so now whatever your instructors may have been, and there are many instructors today, none of them can give you the Spirit. There is much imperfect teaching, too, and so the apostle here in view of the great structure that was about to be reared up insists upon the Spirit. He said, "Did ye receive [the] Holy Spirit when ye had believed?" It is not primarily a question of the doctrine or what you know or who your teachers have been. The point is, "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit?" Well, they had not even heard of it. They did not even hear that there was any Holy Spirit; and then Paul goes on to tell them that John indeed preached the baptism of repentance, but he said, there was One coming after him, a greater than he, even Christ. And when they heard that, they were baptised to the name of the Lord Jesus. Now you see how the material shines -- they are ready for the adjustment. When they heard that, they were baptised not in the name of the Lord Jesus here, but to the name, that is to say, they are so intent on getting all that is in that blessed Man that they are baptised to Him. Can you afford to miss that? They could not afford to miss it, and so they were baptised to the name of the Lord Jesus, and Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. The presence of the Holy Spirit in those days was a very positive thing. They spoke with other tongues and prophesied; and then we are told that the number present was twelve. After that the apostle laboured in the synagogue for three months.

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This seems linked with the twelve who had received the Holy Spirit; that is to say, such material was there. God proceeds where He has the material. And then the apostle taught in the school of Tyrannus for two years, showing how God builds as the material is present. There was readiness for adjustment, to take on fresh thoughts, and to take on the mind of God for the moment in these twelve men, and so they became the nucleus of the great structure at Ephesus.

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Ecclesiastes 5:9; Luke 8:15 - 18

I have been thinking, dear brethren, of substance, the substance that is acquirable, to use the figure implied in these scriptures -- tillage of the ground, for it is the divine thought that we should be thus enriched. There are two senses in which believers in Christ may be regarded as rich. The first is what may be called objective riches, riches that are available, but not always availed of. The Corinthian believers were of this class; their wealth was of this class; they were enriched in Christ, in all doctrine, in knowledge, in gift, but they were very poor subjectively, that is to say, they were unintelligent and unpractical in regard to the new commandment that is spoken of in the first epistle of John. You remember that there the apostle speaks of the old commandment, that which was from the beginning, "The word" he says, "which ye heard"; that is, all that had come out in Christ. There was substance in Christ. In Him was life we are told. It was not only that He spoke of God -- He did -- He declared God; all that was from the beginning, but besides what was spoken, there was the substance there. The life was there. Life was subsistent there, and it shone; it was the light of men. All that is involved in what was from the beginning, the old commandment; and the apostle says, "I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment, which ye have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye heard" 1 John 2:7 That must not be lessened or weakened in any way. The Corinthians had it. There was the presentation of the truth to them for a period of eighteen months at least; the truth in its objective features was presented, and they

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heard. They were enriched thus; all was in Christ and perfectly secure in Christ, and available there but not availed of to any extent by them. They were defective in regard of the new commandment, and so John, to show the two sides, immediately proceeds to say in his epistle, "Again, I write a new commandment to you, which thing is true in him and in you" 1 John 2:8 That could hardly be said of the Corinthians; and the apostle John confirms that remark by saying, "because the darkness is passing and the true light already shines" 1 John 2:8 What is true in Christ is true in the saints according to the new commandment, and thus the saints are enriched not only in Christ but in themselves. Not that one would in the least occupy the saints with themselves unduly, but it is necessary at times, in order to see the truth in its completeness, to look at the saints as the work of God. And so the word was, "Which thing is true in him and in you" 1 John 2:8 Need I add that the coming in of the Holy Spirit to a Christian or to the assembly involves immense riches? It is not only what He is personally but what He is potentially in a Christian. He is everything potentially, and the more room that is given to Him the more we consciously possess wealth, for He is the earnest of the inheritance.

Well now, I want to speak of the 'ground' as that which is figuratively the saints viewed from the subjective side; we are, as it were, the field which the Lord has blessed. You remember how Isaac smelt his son Jacob. He smelt him and he says, "See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which Jehovah hath blessed", Genesis 27:27. That was potential, for there was very little yet in Jacob. It took time to work out, but it was all there in principle. And so it is as we receive the Spirit of God the potentialities are immense, but they have to be worked out. Hence we get this passage in Ecclesiastes, "the earth is every way profitable"

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The king himself lives of the field; he is dependent upon it, or as it may be rendered, "the profit of the land in all respects is a king addicted to agriculture" That is the alternative reading, meaning that if the full result is to be acquired from the field the king himself must be addicted to its cultivation. So the profit in every way, whether for the Lord Himself or for us, hinges upon His taking up the agricultural occupation, and, dear brethren, He has done so. Cain was a tiller of the ground. He was a tiller of cursed ground. Man was never cursed, I mean man as such; individuals were, and are, and shall be, but in the abstract, man was never cursed. Christ having become man, man is held now not as cursed but as blessed, as indeed is suggested after the flood: "I will no more henceforth curse the ground on account of Man" Genesis 8:21. And so the Lord Jesus speaks of Himself as a tiller of the ground. "Man acquired me [as bondman] from my youth" Zechariah 13:5, He says. You see, dear brethren, the place He takes, and now as king He is addicted to agriculture. It is as if all depended subjectively on His attention to it, and you may be sure that there is no slackness. It is not now simply that He is a bondman acquired to till the ground, but He is the king. We have to contemplate the words of Ecclesiastes as the words of the king in Jerusalem, and if the king takes to agriculture, you may depend upon it he has the means to work the land, and no device will be ignored that would tend to bring out its best results.

Now, the confirmation of all that you will find in Genesis 1, in that the earth comes out of death figuratively. God said, "Let the dry [land] appear" (Genesis 1:9), and He named it, but in naming it, it was to bring forth, that is to say, there was potential power in it to yield all that was necessary for man -- the herb bearing seed and every tree bearing fruit. All was to come up out of it, as the Lord Himself

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says, "The earth bears fruit of itself" Mark 4:28. There is in it power. All this is a question of the saints typically; and so on the third day, which is the day of resurrection, the earth emerges from the deep, and is named, having all its potentialities in the way of fruitfulness. But on the fourth day you have the sun, moon and stars, that is to say, a fixed order of things above, upon which the earth was intended to be dependent, for whilst there may be that in it innately for fruitfulness yet without the heat of the sun and the rain from heaven there can be no results. You see thus that Christ in heaven, the king, is in control, and so the rain comes down and the dew to the end that there should be the full result; as the apostle Paul said speaking literally, God "did not leave himself without witness, doing good and giving to you from heaven rain and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness" Acts 14:7

You see thus, beloved brethren, how the Lord is in control. The land is His; the earth is the Lord's, not only on creational ground but on redemptive ground, and so the question is of evil in us, for when I come to the antitype I have that which is not in the earth, namely, will. I am conscious of that in myself. You can understand, therefore, how the king in taking to agriculture is obliged to resort to severe measures. "Prepare thy work without" we are told again, "and put thy field in order" That is the Lord, and He is never slack in those matters, for it says, "Afterwards build thy house" Proverbs 24:27. There can be no material for the house until the field is set in order for Himself, that is to say the wealth of the field and the order of it, and then the house, and not until then. It is futile to talk about the house, the order, and comfort of it and the joy of it in family relationship, unless the field is attended to; and so the Lord, as I said, has taken to agriculture. He has to resort to severe measures

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so that the earth should become fruitful, so that all that is in it may come out of it. What you find in God's land is "store corn" meaning that which is carried over; it was not grown that year, and there was plenty of it. The land has to be fertile and the Lord sees to that, hence the discipline. Sometimes He has to allow the wild beasts to enter upon His territory -- a terrible thing -- but He much prefers to deal directly. I would rather have sickness and poverty in temporal things than to have the enemy devastating the land -- dividing the saints. David says, "Let me fall, I pray thee, into the hand of Jehovah, for his mercies are very great: but let me not fall into the hand of man" 1 Corinthians 21:13 If a saint die, it is the Lord; if a saint be sick, that is the Lord; if a saint be poor, that is the Lord. "I rebuke and discipline as many as I love" Revelation 3:19. And again, "For this cause many among you [are] weak and infirm and a good many are fallen asleep" 1 Corinthians 11:30. It is the Lord, for He has taken to agriculture; and He will have fruit, and if there be fruit we shall get our share of the results. The husbandman must be the first to partake of the fruit, but others also partake of it. It is right that He should have the firstfruits -- the firstfruits belong to God always.

All this challenges our hearts. It may appear that the Lord is exacting, but is He? As Elijah arrived at Zarephath, the widow woman was at the gates; she was active. God had commanded her to maintain the prophet. She is evidently the first one he meets. She is at the gates of the city. True enough she is governed by thoughts of unbelief, but she is active and ready for adjustment. She was gathering two sticks. She had a little of the fruit of the land, a little meal in a barrel and a little oil in a cruse. She had it, but had it unintelligently and in unbelief, but she had it, and Elijah says, "Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel" 1 Kings 17:10.

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He might have said, 'Bring me a little water', for that was what he needed, but the point was the vessel. If it is to be served it must be served in order suitably. She goes to get the water, and he says, "Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thy hand" 1 Kings 17:11 She was a worker. Two features of the Christian in this service are that we are vessels, and we are workers. But see the test for faith! She says, "I [am] gathering two sticks ... for me and my son that we may eat it and die" 1 Kings 17:12 Such unbelief! What is the fruit of the earth for? It is to sustain man here that he should live. But then God would have His part in that, and the prophet, representing Him, demands it, and in demanding it, he causes light to come into her soul, that the barrel of meal should not run out, nor the cruse of oil fail, until God should come in, and it says that she and he and her house -- not her son only, but her house -- lived for the full year from the 'little' that she thought she had. Thus, while God demands His rights from us, His firstfruits, He shares bountifully with us. What wonderful partnership that woman proved -- she, and he, and her house lived for a year on the 'little'. It was the fruit of the ground. And so it is, that the Lord looks for that. It is a question of what we have in any locality, and what is the result of the tillage.

We see in the parable in Luke that the word is sown by the Lord Himself, "a wholly right seed" Let no one deny the principle here in the precious seed sown that the light has come to us in purity, but how easily we develop in degeneracy. As was said of old, God planted Israel a noble vine. In time she degenerated into a wild vine. What is nature in us but wild will -- degeneracy? The beginning excellent, noble, the seed wholly right, but the development degenerate; these are solemn facts, beloved brethren, for every one of us. Are we not exposed

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to the danger of degeneracy in spite of the precious holy seed that has been sown? And so in this parable in Luke the Lord explains to His disciples about the good ground. Bear in mind that I am speaking about agriculture figuratively -- the good ground, as the Lord says here, "an honest and good heart" Luke 8:15. Now that is not in man as he is naturally. There are thirteen evils that flow out of the heart of man naturally as recorded in the gospel of Mark. It is not therefore man naturally that is in view here, but ground divinely wrought, "hearts purified by faith" as Peter says. Only such hearts are 'honest', only such hearts are 'good'. They are a divine product It is in such hearts that the Lord is operating, and so here the word is received honestly, with a purpose, and acted upon. It says, "That in the good ground these are they who in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" They keep it; it is treasured. Now, dear brethren, what about all this? What about the word of God as the good seed? Has it continued developing as you received it? Has it been kept? I often think of Mary the mother of our Lord, as the typical representative of soul history as Luke gives it; what you get with her is that she kept certain things and pondered them in her heart. And what a wonderful culmination in a woman of soul history it was when she stood by the cross of Jesus when He was on it, when all the forces of evil were against Him! She stood by the cross of Jesus. What is needed is soul history, continuing as we begin, keeping the word, and bringing forth fruit with patience. Now what is interesting about Luke, about this particular instance is this: he does not give the hundred fold in the Lord's explanation of the parable, but he gives it in the parable itself. In the parable we have the full result in the hundred. In Matthew we have an hundred, sixty, and thirty --

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reducing numbers. In Mark we have the ascending numbers, thirty, sixty and a hundred, and both are given in the parable and in the explanation of the parable, whereas Luke only gives the number in the parable, that is to say, the full result of the seed sown. In the explanation of the parable that number means patience -- one of the greatest things there is. The prophets are the witnesses of God's patience. He rose early and sent them, and He sent many of them. Marvellous witness to the patience of God! And so here the greatest result in the fruit is patience. "Let endurance have [its] perfect work" James 1:4. "Ye have heard of the endurance of Job and seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is full of tender compassion and pitiful" James 5:11. We must exercise the utmost patience in our dealings with one another, for it is in that that the fruit lies, according to Luke; I mean to say that the thing is continued, for the fruit in Luke is the answer morally to God. It is what God is in Luke, and so here the seed is "the word of God" I keep the word, and I bring forth fruit with patience. Do we not need to be reminded of this, beloved? "Have patience, therefore, brethren, till the coming of the Lord" James 5:7 That is the limit of it; it will not be needed after that, but it will be needed every moment till then. It is not that I am simply patiently waiting, He is patiently waiting too, it is the patience of Christ. "The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of the Christ" (2 Thessalonians 3:5), and as John says, The "kingdom and patience in Jesus" Revelation 1:9. I am waiting, I should be; it is not only that I am patiently waiting, but I am patient with the brethren. I am patient in tribulation; I am patient in everything I have got to contend with; it is a question of bringing forth fruit to God. "The signs indeed of the apostle were wrought among you in all endurance" (2 Corinthians 12:12), says the apostle. And so the patient

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soul sees the end of the Lord, and what an end it is -- pitiful and of tender mercy! In time even Job gets his rings from the brethren, but I may have to wait for that. If I am under discipline, God will bring about the rings; it is for the brethren to give these. God brought Job into a state where his brethren gave him rings. There was then no longer any doubt in his mind as to their love for him, nor was there any doubt in their minds that he was worthy. We have to become lovable. It is not a question of expecting love; it is a question of inducing love and to induce love I must be lovable. God made Job lovable and he was a marvellous man. God brought him to it, and when he was brought to it his brethren surrounded him and gave him rings, and money for support, for he needed it. He was impoverished spiritually, but now he has a token of affection in the rings, and he has the money to support him. Then he becomes wealthy, for he had more cattle and more sons and daughters at the end than he had at the beginning of the divine tillage. Need I say that God took that man, that land in hand and brought about these results? He alone could do it; and He is doing such work still. Let us then be patient, so that we may see the end of the Lord. Let us not deprive the Lord of His end. He is very pitiful and of tender mercy and He works to bring about His desire in every one of us, so that we may become morally lovable, as was said of the Lord Himself, "The disciples rejoiced therefore having seen the Lord" John 20:20. That should surely mark every one of us to some extent that the brethren are glad when they see us. It is the fruit of the work of God.

Thus the Lord has taken up the work of agriculture; He is working it out for a full result. He will have a full result, for, as Scripture says, the king Himself is dependent on the field. In keeping with

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all this we have here the light of the candle which is set on a candlestick so that every one who enters in sees the light. There is no more darkness or uncertainty; things are seen as they are. There is nothing hidden; the light is there. So "Take heed therefore how ye hear"; now it is a question of hearing aright, and treasuring the result you have acquired; "for whosoever has, to him shall be given; and whosoever has not, even what he seems to have shall be taken from him" Luke 8:18. That is the setting of things in this passage. May God bless His word to us.

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Philippians 2

J.T. The need for unity seems to exist in the most spiritual of the assemblies. They needed it at Corinth, but it was also needed at Philippi, and at Ephesus. Taking up Philippians we see how it is needed in an assembly that is in the main acceptable; it was wanting in unity. At Corinth the dislocation was serious, so that the apostle addresses the saints immediately on the point, using the word 'exhort'. There was not simply a want of unity, but actual division, actual cleavage among the brethren there. They had not mentioned the matter in their letter of enquiry to him, but he takes it up at once. There were actual party leaders at Corinth. It was not so at Philippi; still, the need for unity was there, so the apostle approaches the matter on the assumption of certain things already existing -- "comfort in Christ" "consolation of love" "fellowship of the Spirit" "bowels and compassions" -- a good and excellent platform on which to take up the matter of unity. I thought we might see, as the Lord may help us, that the mind of Christ implied the kind of humanity that came into evidence in Him, and which is to be reflected in our relations with one another.

A.N. To meet the condition with the Corinthians he brings in the cross; but here in Philippians it is more the features of the new man.

J.T. That is very good -- the mind of Christ. I had thought of it in connection with the different woods that are mentioned in Scripture, as typical of the kind of humanity or manhood that was seen in Christ; we may thus see how unity is only possible according to God, as that order of man is amongst us.

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You have the idea of unity peculiarly presented here in Philippians, based on these things assumed to be there, "that ye may think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking one thing" It is not so much for the moment what we say to one another, but it is going deeper than that, it is what we think. The emphasis is on the word 'same'. "Joined in soul" culminates in unity, so he says, "Thinking one thing"; first the same thing, then one thing.

A.N. It would not be merely external, but internal.

J.T. Having brought in these things, which culminate in unity, he proceeds to say, "[Let] nothing [be] in the spirit of strife or vain glory, but, in lowliness of mind, each esteeming the other as more excellent than themselves; regarding not each his own [qualities], but each those of others also" All these things would imply the most practical unity, because it is internal unity, it is what is inside, so to speak. Saying all these things, he then brings in the mind of Christ (verse 5).

I thought that gopher wood, of which Noah's ark was made, being the first wood that is mentioned as used for building, suggests the greatness of the believer in his mind and affections; he is concerned as to the saints, that all should be preserved. The feature with Noah's ark is that it is inclusive of all that is of God, embracing every living thing.

A.N. That is the thought of preservation, is it not?

J.T. Yes; you want to carry all the brethren along, you do not want one to be lost. The ark of Noah, as constructed of that wood, is suggestive of the inclusiveness of the mind and heart of the saint, who is of the order of Christ. He does not want to turn anyone aside, he wants to carry everyone through.

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Ques. Is your thought that it is only in the Spirit of Christ that we can do so?

J.T. Yes, I think that is how this epistle works out. It is the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The gopher wood is just mentioned once, but it is enough. "Make thyself an ark of gopher wood" Genesis 6:14 that is to say, it is for yourself. You are thinking of the saints, you love them and value them, and you want them all, you do not want one to be lost. Hence the size of the ark, with its varied compartments and storeys, was large enough for all. It is largeness of heart and mind in the believer personally. If I am in accord with the ark of Noah as a type of Christ, I shall be concerned that all the saints are carried along in the things of God, that none may be lost for the testimony. My mind will be wide enough, my heart large enough, to include all the people of God, and as much as in me lies, to hold to them and keep them, that no one may be turned aside.

Ques. Do you associate the assembly with the ark?

J.T. The Lord carries things through in it, but I am thinking of the reflection in me, in relation to the brethren, of the idea seen in Noah's ark of gopher wood -- the concern that none of the people of God be turned out of the way. I shall make straight paths for my feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. They are precious to Christ, even the weak brother is precious; Christ died for him; everything that is living has to be carried through.

Ques. So your heart would be great enough to embrace all the saints?

J.T. Yes; and not only in a general way, but in detail. Because as a matter of fact very few of us have to do with them in a general way; the greater number of us have only to do with a few locally where we live. Nevertheless the idea of the ark of Noah should be ever present -- that not one be lost.

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Ques. "Using diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit" Ephesians 4:3 -- is that the thought?

J.T. Yes; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit is a universal thought in Ephesians.

Rem. You have the same thought stated in Corinthians.

J.T. Ephesians generally deals with things in their universal bearing, whereas Corinthians is local.

Rem. "Give heed to thyself and to the teaching; continue in them; for, doing this, thou shalt save both thyself and those that hear thee" 1 Timothy 4:16

J.T. That is right; that is a word particularly to anyone who is ministering; you want not only to enlighten people, but to save them, and so the apostle laboured that the elect might obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. He did not want one missing. That is a serious thing, because there are those within your range that you may help; certainly you ought not to hinder, mislead, or stumble them in any way.

A.A. It is significant that the one who was exercised about preservation made straight paths for his feet, and became a preacher of righteousness. Would that indicate the way you would preserve the saints today?

J.T. Yes. The idea of 'walking' began with God. He walked in the garden in the cool of the day. Then it is said of Enoch that he walked with God. In walking with God, you learn how to keep your steps. Then it goes on to say that Noah walked with God.

Rem. In one way the gopher wood would speak of that which is built into the assembly of Christ.

J.T. Yes; it is that side of things which would embrace all the saints, and as far as in you lies, would carry all through. Judgment may come, discipline may come, the government of God may come, but you hold to things; you are not shaken by what happens, you want to carry everything

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through, that nothing may be lost. You see it with Paul on the ship, how concerned he was that all should be saved; Acts 27:31. It was a very exercising time, but they all went through -- in a very humiliating way, but nevertheless "it came to pass that all got safe to land" Acts 27:44

A.N. Do I understand you to mean that the first part of this chapter is really what devolves upon us all on the line of seeking to preserve; that what Noah did, we individually should do?

J.T. That is what I was thinking. The value of the saints is apprehended. We shall see in Timothy and Epaphroditus how they regarded the saints; they cared with genuine feeling about them. It is quite right to say that God values them, He alone values them aright; but we ourselves have to value them. They are worth saving, and we embrace them in our minds and hearts.

Then I think the next wood confirms that, namely the wood that Abraham obtained in order to offer up Isaac. It is the kind of thing in me to which judgment can be applied effectively. There is a difference in Scripture between wood used for construction, and wood for fire. The construction side is perhaps more attractive than the kindling side. How much can I accept in the way of discipline for the sake of the saints? The fire has to be applied.

Ques. You are connecting the second wood with the stoop here?

J.T. Well, the Lord had that in mind, to become obedient to death, even the death of the cross. The kindling wood alludes to the humanity of Christ as capable of going into judgment -- immune from it personally, but capable of going through it.

Rem. In Ezekiel the vine is kindling wood; Ezekiel 15:4.

J.T. Well, that raises another point. The importance of reading Scripture in the context. There are

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things that are no good for anything but to be burnt, but wood that is used for sacrifice is a very different thing. It is intrinsically valuable; it is a question of the humanity of Christ. He would take the condition to which judgment could apply. It could not apply to Him in the form of God, but it could apply to Him as become man, and that is the force of the kindling wood in Genesis 22. The wild vine is not that at all, it is a worthless thing to be burned, not for sacrifice, but to be got rid of.

A.N. While we have the line of preservation answering to the gopher wood, what comes out in Christ is that He became "obedient even unto death, and [that the] death of [the] cross" On the line of preservation you have to be prepared to sacrifice.

J.T. You have to do that. To help the saints and to keep them you have to be prepared to die. That is what comes out in Isaac.

A.N. Did that come out in the prophecy of the high priest, "It is profitable for you that one man die for the people, and not that the whole nation perish" John 11:50?

J.T. Yes. Then the Holy Spirit adds, "And not for the nation only, but that he should also gather together into one the children of God who were scattered abroad" John 11:52 If He had them all in His mind for preservation He had to die for them. To gather into one -- unity was in His mind, the unity of the children of God. The going down is in the ark of shittim wood. The shittim wood is not said to have been used for kindling, so far as I know, nor was the gopher; each has its own meaning. We are not told what the wood was that Abraham obtained, simply that it was wood; but we can understand that if Christ is to be offered up in sacrifice to God, He must become a man, and that I think is the meaning of it. Isaac bore the wood, and he calls attention to it; here was the wood, but where was the lamb? In John's gospel

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you have the wood -- "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" John 1:14 and when John the baptist saw Him coming to him, meaning that He was coming to die, he says, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" John 1:29 The wood and the lamb were both there. Become man, He was the wood and the sacrifice in one Person. He could not be a sacrifice save as being a divine Person; but actually to become the sacrifice He had to become man, so that judgment could apply. The bearing of that in the believer is that he accepts the judgment. Whatever the governmental dealings of God may be, he goes through them with the people of God; not only to suffer for them, but to suffer from God in relation to them, because the government of God may imply discipline. It may not apply to me directly, but I am in relation to the brethren, and I have to go through it with them, and be the first to go through it, because that is the idea in Christ.

A.A. The apostle says, "Beside those things that are without ... the burden of all the assemblies" 2 Corinthians 11:28 Is that the acceptance of discipline?

J.T. Yes. He accepted all that was coming on the assemblies; he was the first to feel it.

A.N. That is a very remarkable principle. It comes out in Ezekiel, who went through experimentally all that the people were passing through, in view of their preservation.

J.T. You see it also in Isaiah; he walked naked and barefoot. That was a sign, but it indicated the dealings of God.

Rem. John 13 would give the principle, "Having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the end" John 13:1

Ques. Would not Epaphroditus set forth some of it, he had a longing desire for the saints? Does not the latter part of the chapter show two men in whom the beautiful features of the first part are carried out?

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J.T. Yes, what is presented in the early part of the chapter is seen in these two brethren, Timotheus and Epaphroditus.

The different woods greatly aid us, I think, in seeing the phases of the humanity of Christ as they work out in believers. The next wood that is employed is the shittim wood, which is seen more especially in the ark of the testimony. In Noah's case it was, "Make thyself an ark of gopher wood" Genesis 6:14 whereas the word to Moses was, "They shall make me a sanctuary ... and they shall make an ark of acacia-wood" Exodus 25:8, 10 Then we have the dimensions of it, showing that that feature of the humanity of our Lord is seen in the smallness of the circumstances into which He entered in love, as indeed we see here -- He took a servant's form. It is a question of love showing itself (the ark of the covenant is from God's side), how God can come into small circumstances, in order that love should reach us and be active toward us where we are.

W.A. Would that answer to the Babe in Bethlehem's manger?

J.T. The ark is not exactly a type of Christ as a babe, it is a question of love active. The ark is called the "glory of God" and the "power of God" It presents Christ as seen in John's gospel. It is there as the Holy Spirit descends and abides upon Him that you have Him here active. You do not find there the Lord as come into Old Testament circumstances, nor is He governed by the levitical rules as in the synoptic gospels. He does not wait for John to be cast into prison; it is a question of the exigencies of love, which required that need should be met at once. You meet the need at once; love will never fail. Hence the Lord does not wait for John to be cast into prison, He starts at once, as it were, and the first thing is, He "takes away the sin of the world" John 1:29 The second thing is that walking, He becomes

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the centre of gathering. So, while I think the Word become flesh implies the infancy of Christ, what is in view is not that, but the humanity of Christ here available to love.

A.A. What is suggested by the shittim wood being overlaid with gold?

J.T. The idea was to set forth God.

Ques. Would these different woods come to light in local gatherings, through the various exercises that are brought to fruition there in the people of God?

J.T. Yes. When you come to the ark of shittim wood, it is a question of how small you can become, in order that love may show itself. In the ark of Noah it is how large you are in your mind and heart, how many you can embrace of the people of God. In the ark of the covenant it is how small you are, in order that love may reach every one of the people of God; because you have to become small to reach the saints in love. "Less than the least of all saints" Ephesians 3:8

Rem. "Ourselves your bondmen for Jesus' sake" 2 Corinthians 4:5

A.N. Do you have the shittim wood in this chapter?

J.T. I think it is becoming apparent, "Subsisting in the form of God ... emptied himself, taking a bondman's form" It is as being found in the likeness of men that He becomes kindling wood to go through the judgment; but the 'bondman' is less than that.

A.N. It is remarkable how all these thoughts are set forth in Christ personally, and if there is to be anything on that line in us, on the line of preservation, prepared to sacrifice, everything must flow from Him, we derive from Him.

J.T. So that the kind of humanity that shone in Christ works out in each of us; in a minute way, of course, as compared with Him, but nevertheless it is there. I think of all the saints and, as far as in me lies, embrace them in a practical way. For that I

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have to go through the judgment; for that I have to be small.

A.N. The ark itself, in order to serve in love, went three days' journey into the wilderness to search out a resting-place for the people.

J.T. That is how it works out in Numbers. It may help to point out that the word to Moses in Numbers is in the wilderness. The Lord speaks to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 1:1), meaning that God takes account of us as there. Whatever the circumstances may be, and they are trying -- God knows they are trying, but He says, I am taking account of you just where you are, and what I am going to say has reference to you where you are. It is love taking account of us in adverse circumstances. In Leviticus He speaks out of the tabernacle. While taking account of us in our wilderness circumstances He says to us virtually, 'I have my own principles, and I can never move away from them. I have my own thoughts in Christ, and these thoughts must stand. I am speaking to you in relation to those thoughts, nevertheless I am thinking of you where you are'.

H.H. It is in the wilderness where the saints have to be preserved, where we get the opportunity of sacrificing ourselves in relation to them, and our affections flowing out to them.

J.T. That is how it stands in Scripture. Love is put to the test in wilderness circumstances -- it is tested to the utmost. So you find the people murmuring; the circumstances were too much for them but they are not too much for God. They were too much even for Moses; he gives way under the pressure of the circumstances in the wilderness, but love in God never gives way. So in chapter 10, when they make their first great move, the question was, who is going to lead us? Evidently Moses had not a right idea of God's love and care, because he solicited the

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aid of his father-in-law, a child of the wilderness, to be eyes to them in the desert; he did not know what the ark could do. He had understood the instruction in regard to the ark, that it was to be enthroned in the centre of the camp, and honoured there; he knew that, but he did not know that love could go beyond that -- he did not know the extent of love. The thing is to know love. John says in his epistle, "Hereby we have known love" 1 John 3:16 Had Moses known love, he would have known that God would see to leadership; He would find a way for them. Hobab refuses to go, and then the ark goes out of itself -- love never fails. It moved out of itself and went before them, to seek out a resting-place for them.

A.N. Moses learned it through experience, for when he came to the end he said, "Yea, he loveth the peoples; all his saints are in thy hand" Deuteronomy 33:3.

Rem. You have typically Christ personally. John looked at Jesus as He walked.

J.T. That is the beginning of it; and then in chapter 13, "Having loved his own who were in the world" John 13:1 -- it is a question of the wilderness -- He lays aside His garments. It is remarkable how John alludes to the wilderness, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness" John 3:14 etc. It is love applying to our circumstances. "Having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the end" John 13:1 Then He lays aside His garments, as the ark of old went out before the camp, and He stoops and serves.

Ques. In mentioning the different kinds of wood, do you bring these in to show the different traits of the holy humanity of the blessed Lord?

J.T. Yes. The Holy Spirit loves to bring forward "the things concerning himself" Luke 24:27 in the Old Testament. Divine thoughts are presented livingly there.

Ques. Does not the apostle, going on with his exhortation, suggest the thought of the gopher wood

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coming out in the saints working out their own salvation?

J.T. Well, I suppose the idea would be that they would mutually care for one another. "Your own" is collective; they were to go through as an assembly without the immediate aid of the apostle. God worked in them to this end.

A.N. Going back to your opening remark, all these three features would be necessary to the maintenance of unity. If there is to be unity amongst us, each one must have the thought of preservation, how the whole is to be preserved. In doing that you have to sacrifice yourself, which is the kindling wood. And then what comes out in the ark is One who came in lowliness to serve the people, even in the tiniest detail. If unity is to be reached practically, it must be by the maintenance of these three principles.

J.T. I have no doubt the ark is really foreseen in the Hebrew bondman. What you get in him is first ascending love -- "I love my master" Exodus 21:5; then horizontal love -- I love my wife; and then I love my children, which would be descending love. It is love for God and love for the brethren. That I think is really what the ark means. He would not go out free; it was a question of love. It greatly helps to see that the ark of the covenant was overlaid with gold -- it was God coming out in these small circumstances; the love of God was thus seen here.

Ques. Does Paul himself lead the way here, when he exhorts Euodias and Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord?

J.T. Yes. I suppose these were two sisters. Where disunion characterises a company locally, you will find there are probably two who are specially affected. It does not appear that these two persons were party leaders, but I think that even two sisters, if they are in disunion with one another, are sure to

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find sympathisers, and so cleavage would take place.

Rem. Paul was an example in the way he showed his care for the saints at Philippi. He would see to it that the couplings of the tabernacle were there, the loops of blue and the taches of gold.

J.T. Quite. The idea of the shittim wood becomes a very interesting subject. Whilst the ark was small outwardly, it was infinitely great inwardly. Then there were boards, pointing, I suppose, to responsibility. They were probably fifteen feet long, and about two and a quarter feet wide. Now that calls attention to something very important from the standpoint of responsibility, showing that this kind of wood can be wrought out to the acceptance of very great responsibility. They are ten cubits high, which I think alludes to that -- ten by one and a half. While there is much on the line of responsibility, they are greater even than they seem to be. There was even more power than was required for the responsibility resting upon them. Then you have bars made of the same wood running through the entire length of the tabernacle, showing the possibilities of this wood; how it works out in one's influence extending throughout the entire length of the divine system. There was one bar that went right through from end to end between the boards. That calls attention, I think, to this holy humanity as working out in the saints by the Spirit, how extensive it may become, how influential it may become, yet on the other hand how small it may be; it can accept the smallest circumstances.

A.N. That is very interesting. We shall have to be prepared to view the boards of the tabernacle in a more practical way than we have been accustomed to do in the past; we have thought of the boards being of the same material as the ark, and quite ready just to accept it as a doctrine, without seeing that the shittim wood is always true to its character on the line of service.

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J.T. And how anyone may become universal and practically unifying in his influence. But all that must flow out of the acceptance of the smallness. What it was I do not know; the acacia wood is well known, but the size of the boards would indicate a remarkable kind of wood. We have to apprehend it, I think, spiritually rather than literally.

A.N. You said responsibility was more than fulfilled?

J.T. Ten cubits by one would have meant the fulfilment of responsibility, but inasmuch as it was one and a half wide, the responsibility was more than met. We are really greater than we seem; there is more than is used up, so to speak, in the fulfilment of responsibility. A half obviously means that there is something more.

A.N. "The righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled" that was the ten cubits long.

J.T. Yes, but that is not all. The eighth of Romans goes a good deal farther than that.

A.N. I thought of the prophet's widow who had a pot of oil; she would be able to fulfil her responsibilities; she was to pay her debts, and to live on the rest.

J.T. And even living on the rest does not go the full length, because sonship in Romans 8 -- the Spirit of adoption -- goes farther.

Ques. When you speak of the smallness of the circumstances into which the ark entered, do you refer to the limitations that sovereignty makes?

J.T. The ark refers to Christ only, but it reflects itself in us. The Lord came into manhood, where He was wearied with His journey, where He asked for a drink of water, yet He says, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is ..." John 4:10 God Himself was there, and so He says later, "Before Abraham was, I am" John 8:58

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Ques. Would you say a word on the dimensions of the altar?

J T. Christ was crucified in weakness -- five would denote that, but He lives by the power of God; three is a symbol of the power of resurrection.

Ques. Why should it be of shittim wood?

J.T. It is on the same lines on which we have been speaking; that into which the Lord came, becoming man, and not only so, but "crucified through weakness" -- a very remarkable expression "yet he lives by God's power" 2 Corinthians 13:4 The altar was anointed seven times, because it had to go through the sufferings. It is a type of Christ, not only as capable of accepting judgment, but as the One who went through it, sustaining its whole weight.

As has already been remarked, Timotheus here served to illustrate what the apostle had in his mind, one who was "like-minded" It is very interesting to get a model to which attention can be called as exceptional -- no one like him. "For I have no one like-minded, who will care with genuine feeling how ye get on" He is set over against others, within the apostle's reach, who alas! sought their own things, not the things of Jesus Christ.

Rem. Paul and Timothy would be of one mind, joined in soul.

J.T. Quite. There must have been very precious unity between them. Then Epaphroditus was a link between Paul and the Philippians, "Your messenger, and minister to my need"

A.N. You have all these kinds of wood exemplified at once in Epaphroditus: "My brother, and fellow-workman, and fellow-soldier"; you get the idea of how he sacrifices himself; "your messenger" is a bit of the shittim wood, ministering to the wants of the apostle.

J.T. Then he goes on to say, "For the sake of the work he drew near even to death, venturing his

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life that he might fill up what lacked in your ministration towards me" Epaphroditus was concerned, not about himself in his illness, but because the Philippians heard of it; he did not wish them to suffer grief. Besides, for the sake of the work he drew nigh even to death, venturing his life to fill up what they lacked in their ministration to the apostle. Thus in this devoted, unselfish brother we see the qualities of Christ of which we have been speaking working out in a striking way.

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1 Samuel 6:7 - 15; 2 Samuel 6:12 - 15,17

I was thinking, dear brethren, of the word in Hebrews, "Let us go on [to what belongs] to full growth" Hebrews 6:1 We are prone to hover round what belongs to the beginning; yet important as fundamentals are, we are enjoined to go on to the things that belong to full growth -- to perfection. This resolves itself into what we commonly speak of as exercise; what is before me is not the beginning of an exercise, but the end of it. Enoch represents the end of an exercise, one that covered hundreds and hundreds of years from Adam, so that he is spoken of as "[the] seventh from Adam" Jude 1:14 He represented the full result of that period, fraught as it was with much history, and he prophesied. He saw the Lord coming with "his holy myriads"

These books of Samuel furnish us in a special way with the great principle of growth maturing. Stunted growth is a most objectionable thing, whether it be in the lower orders of creation, or in man, or above all in a spiritual sense. We find, therefore, in this first book, the great principle worked out in Samuel himself -- a life-size example of growth to maturity. You will all remember the exercise out of which he sprang, Hannah, his mother, being one of the great spiritual landmarks of Scripture. It was a long, painful, but patient exercise, culminating not only in Samuel, who she determined should be the Lord's, but in a note of worship, the like of which it is hard to find. Not only did Samuel appear, but this remarkable tribute, which we have in chapter 2, issued forth from this intelligent, godly, holy woman's heart to God. Then she had the joy of seeing the development, the growth to perfection, of the son whom she

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devoted to Jehovah. It is said of him that he "ministered unto the Lord before Eli" 1 Samuel 3:1 It is said, too, that he "ministered before Jehovah ... girded with a linen ephod" 1 Samuel 2:18 One thinks of the need of this in the young as taking up ministry, and it is right that they should, however young; the fresh, living lispings of the young Christian are delightful to God. But in Samuel we see how quickly the element of sobriety marked him. As a boy he ministered to Jehovah, arrayed in a linen ephod. Then it further says that in this state he "grew before the Lord" as if the young are reminded that it is not a question of what we are before others, for as we make any start at all in a priestly way we are exposed to the temptation of resting in that, and clothing ourselves with it, whereas it is to be for God; whatever prosperity you have is for God, and so it is said that Samuel grew before the Lord. Then it is further said that he "grew on" as if no circumstance was allowed to hinder his growth; even priestly privileges, and priestly ability, and priestly sobriety do not divert him at all, they rather aid him; he has the Lord before him. He grew on, and in the growth finds favour with God. It is a fine moment when a young man or woman is made conscious that he or she is favourable to God, that God is pleased. It is a very fine experience, but one that is within your range, beloved young people. Then the corresponding fact, he was in favour with men. Then further, as if God would honour that, and show how He values steady growth before Him, He communicated to him His mind. It is said that the word of the Lord was scarce in those days; it was rare. The more rare it is, beloved (we speak of our meetings being dry, nothing for God, nothing fresh), the more the urgency that I should seek to be a vessel. Why not? The Lord is looking for such. He has got plenty to say to His people, but few through whom to speak. The word

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of the Lord was rare; but then there was a Samuel, he was growing on, and the Lord in time called him, spoke to him, and deposited in him His mind. Think of that, to have the mind of the Lord for any given moment! That is not beyond our reach. It is a question of taking account of the need, and aspiring to meet it, and God will help you. The mind of the Lord is conveyed to this young man, and again it is further said that he grew. He grew until it became known from Dan to Beer-sheba that he was a prophet. God sees to it that you acquire a place in His service; the saints own it, it cannot be denied. Then finally there is a beautiful touch; the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel. This was a much greater thing even than His mind. Hitherto it was the word, now it is the Lord revealing Himself. Precious thought, that I am brought into direct touch with the Lord Himself! He revealed Himself to Samuel, it is said, by the word of the Lord, and then not one word that Samuel uttered fell to the ground.

In this book there are several life-size pictures; a dark picture, alas! in Saul, but bright pictures in Samuel, David and others. But it was not only these things I had before me tonight, but to show the beginning of a spiritual exercise, not now in relation to my own growth, but in relation to Christ. It is one thing that I should grow up before God and become matured spiritually, but it is another thing to see how I am exercised in relation to Christ, for I need not say that God is not going on with me or with any man, He is going on with Christ, and His great thought is to have us moving on with Christ. That is what I desire may be the result of this word, that we may set out more to move on with God in relation to Christ.

We find in the course of the instruction here that the ark is taken captive. The wife of Phinehas is sorely distressed, she is a sufferer with the people of

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God governmentally. It is not her matter specially, but she has spiritual feelings, and she has to suffer with the people of God in the awful disaster that has befallen them. Her father-in-law is dead, her husband is dead, but "the ark of God was taken" 1 Samuel 4:11 -- that was the one thing on her heart as she died. A terrible exercise, but not for nothing, not to be forgotten. She had written the mind of God on the face of the people in her last word. 'Ichabod' is negative indeed, but negative things are necessary things. Every pious heart in Israel afterwards would take that to heart. "The glory is departed" 1 Samuel 4:21 It is well when we know things as they are, and live not on theories but on facts. The wife of Phinehas announced a fact, a negative one indeed, but necessary to be known; she died saying, "The glory is departed from Israel; for the ark of God is taken" 1 Samuel 4:22 If one could get the ear of every saint of God in the varied religious systems of this world, one would like to call attention to this; what about the glory in your system? What about the Spirit of God? What place has Christ there? God has awakened many, and is awakening many to the fact that He is not there. So this word from the wife of Phinehas is a most important one, and the beginning of the exercise -- "the glory is departed" 1 Samuel 4:22 There is nothing for your soul where the glory is not. If Christ be not there, leave it; it is a negative thing.

But spiritual sensibilities are of the utmost importance in this matter, and so I turn to these two milch kine. They were not barren, they were fruitful, they had calves; they had sensibilities, and we learn from the lips of the Philistine diviners that this is what is needed now. Under God, they outline His mind. It is a question of spiritual sensibilities, whether as discovering that the ark is taken, or that you would desire to have it back, and for this you have to deny natural things. The systems of this world, beloved friends, provide for nature. They would provide for

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the calves, they would abhor separating the mothers from the children. But the picture here is a denial of nature; as one may say, the very first movement of the soul in regard to Christ viewed as the ark is a question of spiritual instinct. The calves are shut up at home; what will these kine do? Where will the ark go? If you allow it a place in your instincts, it will lead you in the right way. Where will you go? You have no question. You are not hampered by the darkness around. These kine moved on, lowing as they went, showing that they were not insensible to nature, but they went against it. There is no possible hope for any child of God to get clear of this world's system, unless he makes up his mind to go against nature. Nature will not help you, it is against you in these matters; it is the Spirit of Christ that will lead you. You may not be fully intelligent about it, but it is a question of instinct.

How did they go? They went towards the way to Beth-shemesh, his own border. There is that, beloved, in this world which Christ owns as His -- His own parts. The Philistine diviners understood that the ark belonged to a certain part. Will the kine go that way? Yes, typically they are denying nature. They are lowing indeed as they go, but they are going, and they are making towards Beth-shemesh, moving to that land to which the ark belonged. They went, it says, by the "one high way"; the word 'highway' is properly "one high way" for there is only one. There are those who tell us that each of these so-called denominations is but another way to the one end. It is a lie; there is only one way, and that way is taken by these milch kine; they are moving on the line of the denial of nature and natural principles, they are taking the one high way. You will all remember how the Lord in Mark's gospel was "in the way" and others followed Him in that way; in fact He is the way, and so in the Acts 'the way' is

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a synonym for Christianity -- "the way" was evil spoken of. But these much kine were on it and on no other.

That is the beginning of the thing positively. I am moving now according to my spiritual instincts in regard of Christ; I am going the right way. But I have to suffer. There is no glory for the flesh at the end of this way; do not look for it. You are honoured in being in it, and you will find the end to be what Jesus found. It is His way, it is the shining way, the more excellent way, it is the way of love, of spiritual instincts, but nevertheless the way of death; not death indeed as a penalty for us, for He bore the penalty, but death to the flesh and to the world; and you have to make up your mind for it. Is it not worth while? See the company you are in, beloved. "Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried" Ruth 1:17

These milch kine went on, and they came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemeshite, and there they stood. They had reached the end, and what now? The new cart becomes wood for a sacrifice. As some of us have been seeing today, wood is a symbol of that kind of humanity that is now manifesting itself here and which is capable of going through death. The cart was used for the wood, and the kine as sacrifice.

I cannot dwell in detail on these beautiful types, but you will observe that this spiritual instinct links on with "intelligent service" The Levites take down the ark. How they came to be there we are not told. In truth it is but the development of spiritual understanding in the Christian. At this point, as life is laid down, you apprehend that you are part, a veritable part, of the service of God. Who are the Levites? Every Levite is a first-born one; a most extraordinary thing. There is no other family like it. You cannot possibly have an ordinary

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family with every one in it a firstborn; only of a levitical family could it be said. At this point, as life is laid down and sacrifice is made, the Levites come into view, and the ark is attended to.

Now this is a point reached; and I want everyone here, especially the younger people, to note that there is a great stone here. The writer of the book -- it may have been many years later -- tells us that it was still there when he wrote. It is a landmark. Do you understand what a landmark is in spiritual history? Many of us here do; as we look back upon our histories, some of them extending a long way, there are many things which have caused us shame, but this stone is not a landmark of shame, it is a landmark of spiritual glory, where you learned to die. Think of learning how to die! It is the living who die according to God. You see it in Jesus perfectly. In Matthew and Mark He utters a loud cry, and the centurion says, "Truly this man was Son of God" Matthew 27:54 He died in the power of His divine life, He laid down His life with a loud cry; He was not exhausted. In Luke He dies similarly; He is called by the centurion "a righteous man" It is not an ignominious death; morally it is a death of glory. A landmark in our lives in some little way is to learn how to die, to die for the testimony. As John says, "Hereby we have known love, because he has laid down his life for us; and we ought, for the brethren to lay down our lives" 1 John 3:16 That is a landmark indeed. If you can look back in your history when you first did that, it is the great stone, as I may say, in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemeshite.

Many years now elapse in this great exercise, and many are involved in it. We have a man in the hill looking after the ark; it remained many years in Kirjath-jearim. But the exercise goes on. I would now speak to older brethren. Let us not assume that the exercise is finished. A great many years, a century

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perhaps, have elapsed since it began; it is not completed. It has an end to it, and we want to have part in the finish, and hence I turn to the second book of Samuel. Second books, I believe, in Scripture are confirmatory books. First books bring in the great principles, but second books from the same authors are confirmatory, and certainly this is so in Samuel, whoever the writer may be. I was speaking of a life-size picture of David in the first book. The second book is David going up. The first book is what I might call horizontal experience, like the epistle to the Romans; the second book has to do with older Christians, more matured, they have learned to go up. In the beginning of the second book, David is three days at Ziklag, and he exhibits a fine spirit towards his enemy -- Saul. He has overcome evil with good. What are any of us worth morally for God here, unless we learn to overcome evil with good? The first chapter of the second book is a fine tribute to David from this point of view; he is a type of a Roman Christian -- a Christian who has become established in the truth according to the epistle to the Romans. He is morally victorious over his enemies. He speaks finely about Saul and Jonathan, even putting his thoughts into poetry, which was to be written in the book of Jasher -- the book of the upright, a fine book to be in!

Then he enquires as to whether he shall go up. We are now treading on heavenly ground, beloved. The end is to be a heavenly end -- a glorious anticipation. It is a question of going up, not of going down. There has been much descent in our time, masses of our brethren turning aside like a deceitful bow. Let us not descend to the level of current religion around us. We are beset by the danger, but the antidote to it is to go up. David says to the Lord, "Shall I go up into one of the cities of Judah?" 2 Samuel 2:1 And at the word of the Lord he goes up to Hebron.

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I cannot dwell on that, but I come to chapter 6, wherein is the full development of the exercise of which I have spoken. David hears that God has blessed the house of Obed-edom on account of the ark. He sees now that the blessing of God stands with those who care for Christ. Let us take that to heart. The blessing of God stands with those who are caring for Christ, with those who are concerned about Christ.

But David at first missed the great point which had been the culmination in chapter 6 of the first book -- the Levites taking down the ark. He attempts to bring the ark up first of all on a cart. Our concern should be to link on with the exercise of the past, with the highest note of those who preceded us, and to move on from there. David missed the Levites out altogether, and he provided a cart and oxen. Not a word about milch kine, he missed even that. You see the low level he was on in endeavouring to bring back the ark. Let us see to it, beloved brethren, as to whether we are guilty in this respect. It was no question of a choice of milch kine, but of mere oxen -- common current ideas. Oxen were used for all kinds of purposes, but not milch kine with their calves left behind. That was a spiritual touch, but David forgot it. So his cart and his oxen are not at all used of God, not owned of God. They are of the commonest kind; indeed oxen are so far removed from spirituality in type, that they stumbled, will was at work. This is sure to be the case where we are not governed by right principles and right instruments.

But David learned his lesson. The proof of a man's spiritual stamina is that he can learn his lesson, and own his fault, and learn from it. David learned that the cart would not do, that the oxen had stumbled, and now he is bringing the ark back, recognising the blessing of God in connection with it,

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and the Levites are carrying it. He has come back to the highest note of his predecessors. I wonder if we understand this? It is "Higher and higher yet" (Hymn 427).

They make six paces in their journey. I want you to notice the growth of exercise, and the maturity that goes with it. I believe we are drawing near to the close of this wonderful time, and the seventh step is the most important one, the one after the sixth. The seventh will be the completion of the thing. David here is thoroughly restored, a spiritual man, and lest there should be a mis-step, he offers an ox -- a type of Christ now, not ordinary oxen, but a select one, as I may say; not now an ox to tie to a cart, but to offer as a sacrifice -- the perfect, steady step of the Lord Jesus, the walk of Christ. It is the Christ of the gospels. In Luke and John it is a question of steadiness of step. The Lord, six days before the passover, is anointed on the feet, as if prophetically, Mary discerns that those feet were to carry Him the full length -- that is to death -- which indeed they did; thank God! He laid down His life of Himself in John, it was His own act. And what a journey! He says, "Father ... I have completed the work which thou gavest me that I should do it" John 17:4 "I lay it down of myself" John 10:18 He had authority to do it, and He did it. He walked, as I may say, to the very grave. No one could take His life from Him; what a perfect walk it was! So David in the type offers an ox to God, as if to say, I am afraid of myself, I want to keep my eye on Christ and see how He took the last step.

Now let us not miss what we have gained. Let us have the full reward, let us reach the end, let us reach the finish according to God. It must be spiritual, it must be according to Christ, for God will have nothing less than that. The anointing of His feet in Luke and John are examples of faith. Faith is occupied with His feet.

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Then David offers prosperity-offerings, meaning that there is prosperity. Thank God for it. But what is prosperity for? Not for us to glory in, beloved, but for God. David offered fatlings. That is what I consider the end. It suggests a mature Christian moving on in the exercise to its completion. Then it says that David danced with all his might, clothed with a linen ephod. What a sight! The king of Israel, the greatest of his time, taking his place as a humble worshipper in the presence of the ark of God. There was sobriety in it, it was no mere religious zeal; as Paul said, "I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but utter words of truth and soberness" Acts 26:25 Such was David. And he brought the ark into the place which he had prepared for it in the city of David.

I want to leave this impression with every one here -- the great importance of going on, growing to perfection, going on with the exercise that is already begun, and is nearing its completion -- the exercise in regard to Christ -- to the end.

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Acts 5:19 - 21; John 6:67,68; Luke 8:49 - 55

The subject in these scriptures -- life -- is a very extensive one, and is found in a multitude of other scriptures. Its first mention in the Bible is in Genesis 1, on the third day of the creation, as we know it. We have there life in vegetable form, and on the sixth day we have life in the especial form in which it is known in man -- what we speak of as human life.

These features of life, treated throughout Scripture, all point to the incoming of Christ in whom life was. It was in Him as a source, so that the evangelist John, after stating the deity of our Lord in the most absolute terms, begins by saying, "In him was life and the life was the light of men" John 1:4; not simply a light to men, but the Light. And then it says, "There was a man sent from God his name John. He came for witness that he might witness concerning the light" John 1:6,7 Such is the character of this light, and the darkness into which it came, that witness had to be rendered to it; attention had to be called to it, and then it adds, "He was not the light" John 1:8 The true light is that which came into the world shedding its light on every man. It is not discriminating any more than the sun is. The sun shines on all kinds of men; it has no respect of persons, or nations, and so it is that this life in Christ becomes light to men -- to men, whatever their nationality or colour, or status in life; this light shines on all. It is indiscriminate. That is the true Light; a word that has to be noted.

Now I want to speak of it, beloved brethren, first of all as to what that Light was here among men, for that is what is alluded to. It is what it was here in the Word become flesh. It was a delightful life to

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God. It was fragrant in every way to Him, so that in this passage in the Acts, the angel opens the doors of the prison in which the apostles were, and says, "Go ye and stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life" Words in Scripture have to do not only with the thing in a general way, but in detail. We find in the Old Testament David is an illustration of this. All his actions were written, as we learn in the first book of Chronicles, but in Samuel we have his words -- "the last words of David" Much stress is laid on words spoken by men who had faith -- not corrupt communications; the Christian understands that no corrupt communications should proceed from his mouth. It is said, "And in whose spirit there is no guile" Psalm 32:2 and "Neither was guile found in his mouth" 1 Peter 2:22 And so the men of faith spoke. Take a man like Moses, too; the book of Deuteronomy is a record of his words; not what he was told to say as in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, but what he said. "These are the words which Moses spoke" Deuteronomy 1:1. And so with others; Jephthah, for instance, "uttered all his words before Jehovah in Mizpah" Judges 11:11 a reminder of how our words should be uttered; this should be as before the Lord. We have to give an account of them to Him, and it is said, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" Matthew 12:37 How important, therefore, that right words should be uttered. We have, as I said, of David, "These are the last words of David" 2 Samuel 23:1 The Holy Spirit has recorded them, and then we have in the first book of Chronicles, "the acts of David the king, first and last" 1 Chronicles 29:29; we are told that they were written by such men as Samuel, Nathan and Gad.

We have thus beforehand the divine thought as to the life of Christ here in men who foreshadowed Him, and not only foreshadowed Him, but, in some degree had His Spirit. Moses had the Spirit of Christ;

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David had it also, and so too the prophets. "The Spirit of Christ" as we are told, "which was in them". 1 Peter 1:11 Thus words and actions of men of faith were precious to God. And so in every way was the life of Christ precious to Him. The Sadducean authorities at Jerusalem jailed the apostles because they were witnessing to this precious life, and so heaven moves and opens the doors and releases the ministers, and enjoins them to "go ye and stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life" "This life"; it is, as I may say, the eternal present, for it remains in all its fragrance before God.

Now, I want you, beloved, to dwell on this in its universal bearing. But while the Scriptures do not contain all the words they contain enough to preserve and guard the truth, to be, as it were, banks between which the river of God, living, sparkling, life-giving, and refreshing, continually flows. We have from the pen of John, the loved disciple, that if all the things that Jesus did were written, the world itself would not contain the books. So that on God's part while there is no limit to what might be recorded, yet, what is written, need I say, is the most perfect, the most complete, the most forceful, the most searching in every respects of all books. In fact no book is worth the name save as based on the Bible. But it is not an attempt to be exhaustive, nor will any true minister of Christ attempt to be exhaustive; the truth is that the subject is inexhaustible; and so the Bible is not exhaustive, it is just enough; it is like the dimensions of the ark of the covenant, which was two cubits and a half, a cubit and a half both in breadth and in height. While you look at the ark you are reminded that there is something more, a half that way, a half this way, and a half the other way. Every way you look at it you are reminded that there is something more; as when the queen of Sheba came up and saw Solomon's grandeur and glory, she said,

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"The half was not told me" 1 Kings 10:7 What her eyes had seen exceeded all that she had ever heard; and so it is, that every time you read Scripture, every time you hear about Christ, you are impressed that there is something more; what is written is only to suggest to me what there is; so also as to the blessed Spirit of God; although a divine Person, He is called "the earnest" So you see we have the thing as it were in sample, awaiting the time when God will bring us into the inheritance in all its fulness and blessedness. We, as believers, have to do with divine Persons, having been baptised to the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit. Now what does that mean? It is not in the name, but to the name. It is not protection only thus revealed; I am introduced to all that is presented in God. As John says, speaking of this very subject of life, "That which we have seen and heard we report to you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship [is] indeed with the Father and with his Son" 1 John 1:3 "These things write we to you that your joy may be full" 1 John 1:4 This then is the message that "God is light ... but if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another" 1 John 1:5,7 We are thus introduced, dear brethren, into all that there is in God -- all that there is in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Spirit, with the result that we are to be filled unto all the fulness of God.

Well now, coming back to the words of this life, they are not all in the Scriptures; as I say, they all lie in the Spirit. We read that none of Samuel's words fell to the ground, and we may be sure, beloved, that none of the words of Jesus shall fall to the ground. We are sure they fell into good and honest hearts of men and women, for that is where they fall; they find a home there; they form character there; they produce life there. That is what they do, for the light that was in Him becomes life in us. That is the principle in spiritual things,

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that the light coming in, where there is faith, becomes life. We have an illustration of this in John 2. There were six waterpots empty, and the Lord told the servants to fill them to the brim, and they did so; and He said, "Draw out now" and what was drawn was wine. There was a change -- the light coming into the soul where there is faith becomes life, and in time it becomes light for others, and hence the continual extension of light; the darkness is passing and the true light now shines. The true light is true in Christ and true in us; it is not only what is in Christ, but what has become life in me by the light that has shone into my heart; and this life becomes light to others as it shines out in me.

And so the apostles were enjoined to "go ye and stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life" Peter and John and James and all the others were to do this. They said much more than is written down in the Acts. If all the sermons preached by these three men, by Paul in his long, patient devoted life, by Barnabas, by Timotheus, and the countless devoted men since, had been written down by the Spirit of God and put together, what a record we should have! There would not be repetition. The apostles did not repeat each other, nor does any true brother or minister of Christ repeat others. He preaches what the Lord gives him; it is a question of what he gets by the Spirit of God. But take all these together and yet I do not believe you would have all the words of this life. The presentation of it goes on; it covers the dispensation. It is a question of what is ministered in the power of the Spirit; but that is not what I had before me; it was what the life itself was, what it was to God as here in this world, as John says concerning it, "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes ... and our hands handled concerning the word of life" 1 John 1:1 It is not only what Christ spoke, but what it said

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about Him -- the words of it. The words which convey it, and all of them were to be spoken. One would covet being able to speak a word to convey something in a living way of that life. One would have to go over the details of the different gospels to give you an idea. Really all I can do now is to mention this great subject; it is vast, it has to be looked at in all its features; the life of Jesus -- what it is in Matthew; what it is in Mark; what it is in Luke; what it is in John. Beloved, let the words of it come into our hearts; let them germinate there, and we shall become like Jesus: "That the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body" 2 Corinthians 4:10

I want to come now to John 6, just to say a word about the words of eternal life. "The words of this life" refer to Jesus as here; "words of life eternal" have to do with the blessing that God has purposed for us, that His love has devised for us, for men. We want the words of that, dear brethren. Who of us would not earnestly seek to get something of these details? The expression 'eternal life' is one of the most familiar amongst the people of God. It is a relative term. It stands over against natural life with its limitations; limited by a few years with every one of us, with its sorrow, with its untold sorrow, with its plagues, with its weaknesses and its end in death. Eternal life stands over against these as a divine gift; as that which God promised before the world began. Think of that! That which God had in His mind for us in giving His Son. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish" John 3:16 -- meaning that we are perishing, the healthiest of us are perishing. It is not a question there of judgment, but of perishing. It is the state we are in. God wants us to live in an everlasting way; eternal life is not only a vital principle in me, but an order of things, an environment in which all is of God; where

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there is neither decay nor death. It is the characteristic blessing of God; and John opens it up to us as the gift of God -- the great blessing of God. As the Lord says, "I give them (my sheep) life eternal, and they shall never perish" John 10:28 It is a gift. Now that is the general idea of it. Then there are the details of it. They are known through the words of it. All I want to do tonight is to direct you to the One who has them. There was a drift away from Christ, recorded in this passage, for the reason that He was speaking things which were spiritual. He says, "The words that I speak to you, [they] are spirit and [they] are life" John 6:63 Hardly any of us is capable of listening much to spiritual things. Here they turned away from Him. Many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him because of the spiritual things He was saying; because He spoke words that were spirit and life. He was saying, "My flesh is truly food and my blood is truly drink. He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, dwells in me and I in Him" John 6:55,56 "Hath it" -- not shall have it, but hath it. He was saying also, "He also who eats me shall live also on account of me" John 6:57 The natural man says, 'How can this man give us His flesh to eat?' They were unspiritual; the natural mind will lead us to turn away from Jesus in the very presence of the most spiritual communications, the most essential ones, too. And so those things become a dead letter to us. You will find as the Holy Spirit introduces Himself with living power, it is a question of being spiritual. It stands over against the natural, the carnal mind, as you see in the saints at Corinth, and so they were shut off for the moment from spiritual communications. Paul says, "We speak wisdom among the perfect" 1 Corinthians 2:6 to "men, who, on account of habit, have their senses exercised for distinguishing both good and evil" Hebrews 5:14 that is the kind.

Turning to Luke 8, the child was dead; for introduction

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into life is a question of God's sovereign action. She had come to the age of responsibility, for she was twelve years old. This case presents the Christian as living from the outset of his relation with God in responsibility. He is made to live by the power of God. We may say that forgiveness comes first and justification, but in the mind of God the believer is to live from the very beginning, by the reception of the Spirit, for the Spirit is life; the Spirit is life in view of righteousness, and moreover the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. God would have us in that blessed state; not only forgiven and justified, but in actual life; enjoying life and peace. God loves us, and He would have us in a living condition from the very beginning of our responsible relations with Him. The Father raises up the dead and quickens, so the Son also quickens whom He will. He says here, "Child, arise. And her spirit returned, and immediately she rose up" The Lord put out the sentimental people, and when I refer to them, I refer to my own heart. I am naturally sentimental. We are naturally full of feelings that are against the Spirit of God, and so the Lord puts them all out. They had derided Him, knowing that the child was dead. He knew the fact as well as they, but He could say, "She has not died, but sleeps" All were weeping and lamenting, but natural feelings, however right, only interfere with divine power, and so the Lord put them all out. Is it not important that we should shut out those natural feelings and sentiments? If we do not, we shall not live; we shall not live practically; so the Lord puts them all out, and in putting them out, He brings in Peter, and James, and John, and the father and mother of the child. Now Peter, James and John, not only represent spiritual feelings and intelligence, but also certain principles. I believe Peter represents the government of God, the administrative side which restrains and

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orders things; and John and James bring in the love side, the family side. The father and mother represent parental responsibility. These features involve the environment in which life is developed. Then we have the Lord Himself, who is the resurrection and the life. He is going to make the child live. All is in a spiritual setting; it is not simply that the child is raised up, but that she is raised up in this setting in a spiritual environment. That is what you want and so the Lord says, "Child, arise" -- 'maid' is not correct here -- it is "child" according to the better version, because it is a question of being of the family. She is a child, but a child made to live. He says, "Child" taking hold of her hand. It is a question of His power. He has power to quicken. "For even as the Father raises the dead and quickens [them], thus the Son also quickens whom he will" John 5:21 He takes her out of death, and He commands that something should be given her to eat, that is to say, that new fresh life is to be sustained. John 5 is the quickening power of Christ, and John 6 is the food by which the life is sustained, and Christ Himself is the food by which the quickened believer lives; spiritually the 'something' is Himself. The One who quickens me, is the One by whom I live. I eat His flesh and drink His blood. "He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal ... As the living Father has sent me and I live on account of the Father, he also who eats me, shall live also on account of me" John 6:56,57 The One who quickens is also the food. What we get in the verses read in Luke 8, is the young, fresh life which God intends should mark all the saints now. It is specially developed in the epistle to the Colossians.

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Luke 24:50 - 53; Genesis 9:1,2; Genesis 12:1,2; Genesis 35:9 - 15

I have been thinking, dear brethren, of blessing, and I have selected the passage from Luke first of all, because of the bearing of that gospel. It has to do with the public position of God's people at the present time. John has to do with what we are inwardly through the work of God, but Luke deals with what is outward, and with which God can identify Himself morally, and so Luke works out his subjects in moral connections. He addresses what he has to say to one person, showing how God in grace takes account of each of us. It comes home to one that one person should be thus an object with God, and so you find throughout Luke illustrations of divine operations in individuals, all in connection with what is moral -- I mean in connection with public conduct -- what we have been as men and women here in this world; no matter how marked by ingratitude, or how dishonouring to God, yet God blesses us.

And so the saints, thus blessed, as gathered together, are seen in this gospel from this standpoint. Two of them had been on their way home after witnessing much of all the things which had happened. They had now turned their backs towards Jerusalem, towards the centre where God was about to carry on His testimony of grace, but they are followed up in spite of their unbelief, and then they return to Jerusalem. It is not that they are carried back as by a great shepherd, but there is a moral process in them; their hearts were made to burn; and they were addressed as "senseless and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" Luke 24:25 The Lord went right into their house with them, and being at table with them, took the bread and blessed it and broke

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it, and as He broke it, they recognised Him. Their recovery was a question of state, brought about through a moral process; their movement away from Jerusalem indicated a bad state of soul. At first their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. That was in keeping with the state they were in. Then their eyes were opened so that they recognised Him. When the two recognised Him they returned the same hour to Jerusalem. They went back sixty furlongs. When they arrived at Jerusalem they found the eleven. What they did was they recognised Him, they returned, and they found the eleven. They justified wisdom. What Luke brings out is that "Wisdom is justified by all her children" Luke 7:35 and this justification comes out in the way of movements and actions according to light received. It is not what we are told to do, but what we do as the outcome of light vouchsafed to us.

Now what was the company doing when these two reached them in Jerusalem? They found the eleven and those that were with them "gathered together" and they were saying certain things which had reference to Christ and that fitted in at that moment, not irrelevant matter. Our conversations ofttimes in our meetings are irrelevant, but here they were speaking together of things that referred to the then circumstances. People reaching things morally deal with known facts. They are saying, "The Lord is indeed risen and has appeared to Simon" Luke 24:34 Perfectly relevant! It is not 'Peter', but one who has had a history, and a history that dates back to the moment he got that name Simon -- Simon son of Jonas. It was the name attaching to him as a responsible man in this world. He has been a sinner; as convicted he said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord" Luke 5:8 That is one of the finest things that he said about himself. It was not simply that his state was sinful, but he knew it by his conduct. He

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had sinned. Even after he was converted and after he had been appointed an apostle he denied his Master. But now there he is, one of the eleven, an apostle, sitting there. These two who had been away had come back, and they find him with the others. The Lord had appeared unto Simon the sinner, he who had denied his Lord. His presence with the others was a wonderful testimony to the grace that was active in Christ risen. We need to keep this in view for we all are exposed to the power of sin. Simon's heart was no worse than mine or yours. Thus the remarks being made were perfectly relevant, they were practical, they were suited for that company. And so as we are together we are to converse about the things that convey an impression of Christ, and one of the greatest expressions of grace is, that the Lord Jesus, after He rose, selected Simon to appear to -- "And has appeared to Simon" Luke 24:34

That was what they were saying, and so these two also say something, and what they say is suitable, too; it fits. It is a public matter, and our conversation should be such as should be in testimony. The epistle to the Corinthians deals with this, the importance of saying things with the understanding and with the spirit, even if only five words, but it should be applicable to the moment. So the two told what things were done in the way, and how He had been recognised by them in the breaking of bread. The breaking of bread is a public thing. Its meaning should be understood. They understood it; they were speaking about it. The part that they contributed was that He had been known to them in the breaking of bread. It was no theory, it was a fact. They were relating facts that had a bearing on the public position of the assembly. And then the Lord came as they said these things and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace [be] unto you" Luke 24:36 Then He says, "Ye are witnesses of these things" Luke 24:48 that is to

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say, witnesses in the sense of having seen them. It is one thing to be a witness, it is another thing to bear witness. I may witness many things of which I say nothing. We are able to speak of the things that we see, and of the things that we know. The public assembly, beloved friends, should be marked by these features -- that you are speaking of what you know.

Then the final thought is that He led them out; they were a company that He could lead, and they do not go any further than the point which He intended they should reach. He led them out as far as to Bethany, because in Luke it is a question of God, and God bearing witness here publicly, and we must not go beyond the point that He has intended for us. One of the most important things in regard to the public position is to know how to be regulated by divine limitations. At times we may get depressed in thinking of the untold millions of men and women in the world to whom the gospel is not presented, and this extending backward now nearly 2,000 years. The explanation largely is divine limitation; God knows everything and He is not neglectful. And so while the Lord says, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations beginning at Jerusalem" Luke 24:47 yet He leads them out as far as to Bethany. He reminds them at once of leadership and limitation. He is to be Leader, and He leads on that principle. The field of testimony is the whole world; all the nations in Matthew and Luke, all the creation in Mark. We must on no account set aside levitical principles; those who preach are necessarily subject to the Lord's leading, and order, and government. The Lord knows the good soil from the bad; He knows where to send His reapers, so as to get fruit, hence we find that such an one as Paul could say the Spirit suffered us not, "having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia" Acts 16:6 These are levitical touches.

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Well, I do not dwell upon that, but only to show you the conditions of blessing -- that they are moral -- and the final test is, can I submit to divine limitations? Thus it was He led them out as far as to Bethany and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. To understand the blessing is to understand the gospel, so that the Lord has a company He can lead, and who are subject to divine limitations; and they know what to do. They virtually say, we see what the Lord means; He wishes us to go back to Jerusalem. He did not take us very far away, fifteen furlongs off (not more than two miles) and then they went back to Jerusalem, and were there in the temple daily full of joy, praising and blessing God. There was thus in Jerusalem a positive testimony; not what they said, but what they were -- they returned with great joy, praising and blessing God. A wonderful contribution! They returned to Jerusalem and were there the expression of Christ. It is in movement in relation to divine limitations -- the commandments of the Lord -- that the blessing continues, and that we are consciously blessed, for "obedience is better than sacrifice, Attention than the fat of rams" 1 Samuel 15:22 Obedience brings in the blessing of God, the consciousness of divine favour.

Now, having said that much, I want to review briefly these few scriptures in Genesis. Genesis is full of references to blessing. It speaks volumes as to what is in the mind of God. I selected these three passages only. The first has reference to government, which, as you can see, fits in with what I have said, but it belongs more particularly to the gospel of Matthew, as that gospel deals with government; hence it is "Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham" Matthew 1:1; son of David first, then son of Abraham; it is a question of government, hence the king is mentioned first. Then the Gentiles come up from the East enquiring

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for One born king, pointing, I may say, to a coming day when the East would come in for the blessing. The Greeks (John 12) do not ask for a king; they would see Jesus, but the Magi from the East ask for a king, He who was born King of the Jews. I have no doubt that that is an allusion to a coming day, when the East shall come in for blessing in Christ, not as the Son of man but as the King of the Jews. The Jews have the first place in the future.

Now, the gospel of Matthew, as I said, is government and blessing in that relation. Some of us may not have any idea of having part in the government of God, but we have. We are told we shall judge angels, and so we should learn to judge and govern now. In order to govern, one must begin with oneself. He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city. The ruling of one's own spirit is the first thing. Noah failed in this. He was unable to rule himself. He planted a vineyard and became drunk. He lost the sense of government while he was drunk: so that, to govern, I must judge myself; I must rule my own spirit, if I am to be blessed in relation to government. One could say a great deal about chapter 9 of Genesis, for not only is Noah blessed but his sons are blessed, and they are to multiply, and all the creatures of the earth are to be superintended by them. Man's hands and features are calculated to enhance his position in government, but we have to be blessed in relation to it, so that we may do it as God does it. We are not to be arbitrary in it. One is blessed in order to be a part of the great vessel of administration which the gospel of Matthew develops, for the assembly is the vessel of government at the present time. The trespass of an unrepentant brother is to be told to the assembly, and it is said, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on the earth shall be bound in heaven" Matthew 18:18 If one does not hear the assembly, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

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The assembly was thus to represent God here in government. This blessing of God, as seen in Noah, extends down to our own time. It is based on the burnt-offering of Noah. The state of things set up by God then goes on. Intelligent Christians understand it, God sends rain and fruitful seasons so that men's hearts are filled with food and gladness. The rainbow is the sign of the covenant God made with Noah to this merciful end.

Now in the next passage (chapter 12),you have the blessing of God in connection with the purpose of God. I am blessed in relation to His government, and blessed too in relation to His purpose. He says, "I called him (Abraham) when he was alone, and blessed him" Isaiah 51:2 Here He says, "I will ... bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" First, we are blessed in connection with the purpose of God, and then we are to be a blessing. Many of us are content with the first part and leave out the second part -- that we are to be a blessing. God has left us down here to be a blessing and so in John's gospel, I apprehend, we have this in view. The woman of Sychar got the idea from the Lord's words, that she was to be a vessel. The Lord says, "The water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life" John 4:14 The believer is thus blessed. He has received from Christ the living water; he worships God. Like Abraham he is privileged to set up his altar and call upon the name of the Lord. One of the first things Abraham does is to call on the name of the Lord. He is called alone and blessed, and as blessed he worships God, and then he is to be a blessing. That is the second part of my position as seen in Abraham. I am called out in relation to the purpose of God; I am blessed, but I am to be a blessing. I am a vessel possessed of living water and I worship God, and now from me rivers of living waters are to flow out. I am a blessing. What do

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you think of the magnitude of that, beloved brethren? As the Lord said, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this he said concerning the Spirit which they that believed on him were about to receive" John 7:37 - 39 Think of the magnitude of the blessing! Rivers flowing out from one man.

I pass on to Jacob. There I am blessed in relation to the house of God. It is in connection with Jacob that you have the house of God first mentioned, and Jacob used the word, as you will see, in this passage that I have read; for God had been down by him and had spoken to him; and he called the name of the place Bethel. I wonder if all here have been able to give a name, as it were, to the house of God; if we have realised it in this definite way. It is one thing for God to give names to things, and another thing for a believer to name them. You will find a principle in Scripture that the thing is there before it is named. The believer names them as in the power of the Spirit he understands or realises them. Jacob comes back from Padan-aram and it says the Lord appeared to him. After the long experience of discipline, God appears to him and blesses him. Before he left for Padan-aram he had been in the house of God. The form of it then was that God was on the top of the ladder and Jacob at the bottom, and the angels were ascending and descending on Jacob; that was his first apprehension of the house of God -- the ladder of communication, but distance. Now we must not be content with that apprehension of the house of God. If we do, we shall stay away from the meetings without much of a bad conscience. We shall assume that we can get things at a distance, but God would not go on the principle of distance, He would have us come near to Him. But when, after years of discipline, you come back to the same

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spot, you find yourself nearer to God. He comes right down to where Jacob was -- no longer an angel, no longer a ladder, no longer messengers on a ladder, it was God and Jacob. God Himself standing by him; Himself come down. It is implied in the gospel of Luke -- God Himself come down to be near us and to speak to us. And then He goes up from him; "God went up from him, in the place where he had talked with him" Jacob thus sees the house of God. It is no longer God at a distance but God near by us in His own house, and so now Jacob sets up a pillar and anoints it, and not only that, but he pours oil upon it -- a drink-offering. It is not simply that I am anointed, that I have the Spirit, but I am consciously pleasurable to God, I am conscious that God has pleasure in me. You will remember the parable of the prodigal, how, when he came back, the father fell on his neck and kissed him; but then he ordered the best robe to be brought forth, and arrayed him in it. He is delightful now. He is in figure arrayed in a heavenly robe. The love of God is one thing, but the work of God makes me entirely pleasing and delightful to Himself. Now Jacob got this apprehension, so he pours a drink-offering on the pillar, meaning that God has had refreshment in the occasion. How is it in our minds, dear brethren? What part has God in us individually and in our meetings? He was delighted with Jacob as returned to Bethel. Jacob was now equal to the place where God appeared to him as by him there and from thence He went up. Then Jacob erected a pillar, poured a drink-offering upon it and anointed it, and then named it. In the first instance, the house of God was to him "a dreadful place" That is chapter 28, but in chapter 35, this is the house of God; not 'This is none other', but this is the house of God. Jacob called the name of the place Bethel, and he meant it. He is conscious that God has pleasure in him there.

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Now that is being blessed in relation to the house of God and we need, dear brethren, to understand it if we are to be in this divine setting. If we have to do with the government of God in the assembly, we have to be conscious of divine blessing, and if we are to be a blessing, in relation to the house of God, it must be in the consciousness of being divinely blessed. And so Jacob is the one with whom the house begins. Isaac smells him and says, "The smell of my son is as the smell of a field which Jehovah hath blessed" Genesis 27:27 That is an essential idea which has to come out of it. In chapter 49 every one of the tribes are blessed, and yet the most serious things are said about them. There we see the extent of things and hence they are all blessed. God sees to it that all are blessed. Every one of us is blessed according to His blessing. Each one has his own distinctive blessing. In Deuteronomy 33 the tribes are blessed in relation to the work of God, so that there is not a blemish mentioned in that chapter. All the tribes are blessed entirely from the standpoint of the work of God -- not by Jacob their father, but by "Moses the man of God" Deuteronomy 33:1 The man of God would take account of what is due to God; he takes account of the work of God and we are blessed according to that, being viewed from that standpoint -- that is of the work of God in men. May God bless His thoughts to each of us.

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John 14:15 - 17, 25, 26; John 15:26,27; John 16:7 - 14

J.T. These passages treat of the Spirit, a divine Person here, under the title of Comforter -- another Comforter -- as with the saints and in them, to render them independent of the world. The Spirit of truth, as He is called in this section, is particularly important in view of the error we have to encounter at the present time. This scripture is authoritative and like the banks to a river. The Spirit is the truth and in a substantive way, so that we not only have the truth in an objective sense, but in a subjective way; He is the Spirit of truth. I thought that we might first dwell on the fact that He is here on the ground of the love of the saints seen in keeping the Lord's commandments. "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will beg the Father and he will give you another comforter" it says. In dealing with error and darkness not only have we the authority of Scripture but we have the Spirit of truth, so that we are found free from the general breakdown in a positive way.

J.M'L. Would that be in view of what was to come out further after the Lord had gone?

J.T. Yes. The Lord was the truth here Himself. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Ques. What is the object of our having the Spirit?

J.T. The first thing here is His presence -- that He is with us and in us as another Comforter -- a divine Person here, and that is a great fact and an immense stay in view of the changing conditions -- godly men and women passing off the scene who have stood for God, and younger ones coming in.

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R.G. He is the power in us and it says, "Ye shall be my witnesses" Acts 1:8

J.T. We are coming to that, but first of all the earlier verses relate to His presence. What he does is further stated in verse 26 and twice in chapters 15 and 16. But the great fact of His presence here is what I thought should be laid hold of, His presence here in the changing conditions that mark the whole dispensation -- one generation passing away and another coming in. You are made to feel the losses, the voids created by one and another passing away. They held things for God, and the Spirit of truth, another Comforter, is present at the Lord's solicitation. It is to those who love the Lord and keep His commandments that He came, and it says, "He abides with you, and shall be in you" The first thing the Lord would impress upon us is the fact of the Spirit's presence.

Rem. That is a divine Person here.

J.T. That is right, and another Teacher, another Comforter to those who, as having known the Lord, love Him and obey Him. They are not to be deprived of Him. That is a fact to be borne in mind; they were deprived of the Lord's presence in this scene, but He enlarges in these chapters as to the Spirit's presence, on the ground of their love and their keeping His commandment. Another Comforter would come at His solicitation from the Father who should abide with them and be in them. I think the first thing is to lay hold of that fact in the light of the absence of Christ, and of the changing conditions.

D.G. You mean we should be dependent on Him, and make room for Him and all that comes in.

J.T. That is what would result from the recognition of the fact that He is actually here. It is a great stay to the heart to begin with.

D.G. It is important that there was a company here that He could come to.

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J.T. That is the first thing of all. "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will beg the Father, and he will give you another Comforter" Then it adds, "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him nor know him; but ye know him, for he abides with you, and shall be in you"

R.W. It is a sweet thought that the Lord speaks of another Comforter. He had been really a comfort to the disciples here, now they would have another Comforter, one to comfort them!

J.T. The word 'Comforter' means that He is the One who takes charge of things just as a solicitor takes charge of your affairs better than you can do it yourself.

R.W. Is it not to comfort your heart?

J.T. It is not quite that thought. The affairs of God and the affairs of the saints are in the hands of One who looks after them unfailingly, and perfectly. Whoever may come and go, this Person remains. He is here for ever and He abides, and, abiding with them, He would be in them in that intimate way. He is here in a more intimate way, really, than the Lord was. He is here in the saints; that is the manner of His being here.

R.W. It is dependent on our love and obedience.

J.T. Yes, that is what it says.

Ques. Is it the same thought as "if any one sin we have a patron with the Father, Jesus Christ [the] righteous" 1 John 2:1

J.T. It is the very same word.

Rem. It is suggestive in that way of one taking charge of our affairs.

J.T. As we have One on high looking after our affairs so we have the Holy Spirit here. It is a remarkable thing that the first thing is that it is on their account. He is here on account of the saints, because it is a question of love -- God showing His

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love for the saints, His care for them. He is not sent here on His own account, or His own interests.

Rem. It is dependent on an answer to the movements of Christ here.

J.T. Well, it is very touching that He puts it on the ground of their love to Him.

R.F. Does it suggest tabernacle conditions?

J.T. It does. Tabernacle conditions are in view in this chapter. The Father and the Son come in to abide with us under certain conditions, that is to say those who keep the word of Christ. Keeping the word is being in accord with the expression of God's mind. What was said on the mount to Moses was an expression of God's mind translated into an abode. What Moses saw on the mount was translated into a material abode and a tabernacle, only it is not only the actual words but what Moses saw. The antitype of that is what Christ was here. He "tabernacled among us" That is to be discerned spiritually, but the specifications of the tabernacle correspond to the Lord's teaching. So He says, "If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him" John 14:23 The tabernacle is seen there. The word enables us to provide conditions for God to live in, and it is brought down to the smallest limit, one person. Through keeping the word of Christ there are conditions in which God can abide.

No one but Moses really could construct the tabernacle. No one can make a model of the tabernacle. You see pictures of it, and even models of it, but you cannot construct it from that. We have the specification, but that is not enough.

Rem. Love to Christ would be the evidence that the material was there.

J.T. That is the idea exactly; the material was furnished by the people, but no one but Moses could construct the tabernacle. He only had the pattern.

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So that making the tabernacle according to the specification is like a man who has not the Spirit of God nor an apprehension of Christ by the Spirit, trying to carry out divine injunctions. He cannot do it.

Rem. Christendom is the result of that.

J.T. Exactly. It is an attempt to have divine conditions according to specification, but they miss the spirit of the thing -- the pattern shown on the mount, and that is a spiritual apprehension. Only one who has the Spirit of God can provide conditions for God.

Ques. Did David see what the temple was to be as well as have the specifications?

J.T. Yes. He had the pattern "by the Spirit" Solomon did not have that, but David had it. David was the head.

Rem. Solomon built it according to David's specifications. The pattern is one whole; you must have the idea as one thing.

R.F. Is the thought here that it is His pleasure to dwell there? I was thinking of Exodus where it says, "Make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them" Exodus 25:8

J.T. That is what He had in mind. "But will God indeed dwell with man" 2 Chronicles 6:18 that was what was in His heart to do. But the question is, could man provide conditions? So having brought the people into the wilderness He brought them to Himself, and He discloses His mind with regard to them -- what He intended them for, the love that He had for them; for He would do His best for them. He proposes therefore conditions on which they were to be with Him, and then He takes Moses and the elders up the mount so that they should see Him. It is not specifications first; it is to see God. So they saw the God of Israel, and it was under His feet as it were work of transparent sapphire like the body of heaven

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for clearness. They got an impression of God and His living conditions up there. Think of what these are! Think of getting a view into heaven and seeing what conditions God lives in! That is the idea. Then Moses and seventy of the elders of Israel are taken up, and they see this and they eat and drink; they are made perfectly free there. Perfect love casts out fear. Then He takes Moses up and shows him the pattern of the tabernacle, and then gives him the specifications of it. Then Moses comes down and the people were to supply the material, but Moses was to build it, because he had seen the pattern.

Rem. The Spirit came at Pentecost when they were all together in one place.

J.T. That is exactly what happened. They were all together in one place; that is, as if God were to say, 'Are you all here, because you are all essential to what I have in mind?' No one is to be absent. If God has converted me, He has converted me for a purpose, and I am essential to that purpose.

J.J.G. Would you say that this is the first time that these conditions had appeared on earth?

J.T. Yes; all that preceded Pentecost was merely typical. They were all together in one place and they heard the sound from heaven, "and it filled all the house" Acts 2:2 They were all there and the house was filled with the sound from heaven, and there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire which sat on each of them. God reminds us that He takes account of every one; every one is severally taken account of by Him. The greatness of Pentecost is worthy of the most careful study. It indicates what God had in His mind. Every believer is essential to what is in His mind.

Ques. What is the difference between the Spirit as a dove, and as tongues of fire?

J.T. The first has reference to the personal excellence of Christ. There was nothing to disturb the

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Spirit either actively or potentially. It is like the perfect holy oblation in its evenness, meaning that there was nothing to disturb the Spirit of God -- nothing in the least degree. He finds a resting-place there. Noah's dove went out and found no resting-place for the sole of her foot. That is typical of the Spirit till Jesus came to earth, then the Spirit comes in a bodily form and abides upon Him. But at Pentecost you have potential disturbance in the fact that those on whom He came were in a mixed condition, that is to say, sin dwelling in them as in us; they were men of like passions with ourselves. Though the Lord had wrought with them, and cleansed them, and prepared them for this, yet the parted tongues of fire points to conditions that have to be dealt with by fire. It is especially in our tongues. You can see in Romans 3 what kind of communications issue from our tongues naturally. Thirteen different things the Lord speaks of in Mark 7 as proceeding out of man's heart, and these things come out largely through the vocal apparatus. The Christian is to be rendered wholly free from all that. There is to be no corrupt communication issuing from his mouth, and the fire secures that for God.

Rem. Do I understand that what is first on your mind is the fact of the presence of the Holy Spirit, then the conditions necessary for that presence, and thirdly the functions of the Holy Spirit?

J.T. Yes. So that the first great thing is His presence in verses 15 - 17. Of course that would include what we were speaking of at Pentecost, then verses 25, 26 give what He does. "He shall teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all the things which I have said to you" We have His function: He teaches us all things and brings to remembrance all things the Lord said. Teaching all things necessarily makes us independent of man's teaching.

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Ques. What is the difference between the Father sending and "Whom I will send"?

J.T. First He is sent as asked for by Jesus; then the Father sends Him, as He says, "in my name" that is verse 26, showing that the Father thinks of the name and honour of the Son -- a striking illustration of the unity of divine Persons. From that point of view His office would have to do with what came out in Christ involving His name, so that He "teaches all things and brings to remembrance" as it says, "all the things which I have said to you" It may be argued by some that the gospel is the record of all that the Lord said, but it is only what is necessary as an authoritative statement that is written. The gospels are by no means all that He said. In making a book God has never had volume in mind; it has never been His thought to enlarge beyond what is necessary in what is written. All that is necessary is there, not all that could be there. This very gospel reminds us that the world itself would not contain the books that could be written. No man could write the life of Jesus; only the Spirit of God could do that, and it is an authoritative record; there is enough in it in the way of authority. As regards volume, there is that which lies in the Spirit, and it is beyond anything that man has any conception of. The Holy Spirit is here to bring to remembrance, as the Lord says, "all the things which I have said to you"

Ques. Is the thought in the giving of the Comforter that a divine Person only is adequate to the pattern as seen in the Lord Himself?

J.T. Yes. And He only could bring to remembrance all that the Lord said. Even if you take an ordinary man, how much he says from the time he begins to speak till he dies! But then, think of the ministry of the Lord! The Bible does not profess to record all these words.

Ques. Is the authority because He is Son of God?

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J.T. Yes; what is written is authoritative, and we can appeal to that. The Lord appealed to it. But there was much in the Old Testament that was not written. Take, for instance, the ministries of Elijah and Elisha; neither of them wrote books, but think of all they said for God!

A.A. You refer to the written word being like the banks to a river?

J.T. Yes. It keeps the thing within divinely appointed limits. The Holy Spirit operates within those banks, so to speak; so you can always refer to the Scriptures for authority. The ministry of the Spirit, however, is going on all the time. He is always operating in relation to what is written, and He brings out much more than is written.

Ques. Could you speak to the Father and the Son by the Spirit only?

J.T. Yes. By the Spirit we cry "Abba, Father" and no one can say Jesus is Lord save by the Spirit; and if you think of the ministry from Paul's time onwards, what a volume there is that is not written at all! But it is built into the saints by the Spirit.

Rem. "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies" Revelation 2:7 Is that what is going on?

J.T. That is the thing. Notice it is in the present tense. What the Lord said is written down in these messages, but what the Spirit says is not written down it is "what the Spirit says" Revelation 2:7

Rem. So that we have something living constantly presented to the saints as a result of the Spirit being here?

A.A. What lies between those banks is not stagnant water, but flowing water?

J.T. That is a great thing to see.

A.A. Would you refuse anything outside the banks, these being the limits?

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J.T. The Holy Spirit would enable us to give a right and proper application to what is written. The enemy could say "it is written" but he did not give a right application. The Lord gives a proper application of the Scriptures.

Ques. Thus all ministry can be tested by the Scriptures?

J.T. That is the value of them. The New Testament scriptures were not available at first. The written word came in many years later; the thing itself was there first.

Rem. I was thinking that when the roll was read (Luke 4), the Lord gave the sense.

J.T. But remember that you are not ministering Scripture, but ministering Christ. You get the basis of your ministry in the Scriptures, and you are kept within bounds, but your ministry is Christ.

Rem. Would you say, speaking of one generation passing and another coming in, that the features of Christ would be in each one?

J.T. It shows the fulness of the thing, the wonderful volume of what lies in the Spirit. There are no two Christians alike.

Rem. I suppose that what was in the previous dispensation was that the traditions of the fathers had displaced what was according to the truth.

J.T. Yes, largely. They did have some things that were true. They could tell for instance where the Lord should be born. They understood them to a point.

Ques. In what sense was it that the Lord said they knew the Spirit?

J.T. Because the Spirit was there in Christ with them. He came down there. John the baptist saw Him come. The Lord credits them with this knowledge. He should be in them and with them, as He says.

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Rem. The Spirit that displayed Christ for the Old Testament saints is the same Spirit that is come now.

J.T. Quite. What the Holy Spirit says in the Old Testament is given a present application by Him.

Ques. Would you link up with the Spirit the thought of comfort and testimony? Is not that the thought in chapters 15 and 16?

J.T. That is right. He brings to our remembrance what the Lord said. The Lord says later, "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from with the Father, he shall bear witness concerning me" There you have the Holy Spirit as peculiarly occupied with the Father. He comes forth from with the Father, showing that He is competent to make known all the Father's feelings and affections with regard to Christ. If you want to get a right view of Christ, get what the Father thinks of Him; and the Holy Spirit in this passage (chapter 15:26,27) is occupied with the Father particularly. It should read "from with the Father" I do not know why the 'with' should be left out in this last edition. It is a strengthening thought, and you may be sure you get the Father's thoughts and feelings about Christ in the witness of the Holy Spirit. The disciples had been with Him from the beginning and could bear witness to what they saw, but the Holy Spirit is with the Father, and He is the best judge. The Holy Spirit coming out in that way gives the Father's feelings and thoughts, which is the highest witness as to Christ.

Ques. Does "whatsoever he shall hear he shall speak" mean that what is between the Father and the Son about the saints, and what the Father thinks about Christ, the Holy Spirit communicates?

J.T. That is right. It is what He hears as communications given to Him.

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Ques. Is it by the Spirit that we get the Father's feelings and thoughts of Christ?

J.T. Surely. It is a great thing to be free; free from natural thoughts, free to sit down and let the Holy Spirit make suggestions to us. We might get impressions from Him. He has come out from with the Father and now He has first knowledge here, because he is in the saints. He knows everything intimately, and His thought is to bring us into intimacy with the Father and the Son -- a wonderful thing to be brought into! If you are able just to let yourself go, and be free from natural things and let the Holy Spirit make suggestions to you about the Father and the Son and about Christ, you get enlargement.

Ques. Would you say that a great point is that affection for Christ is preserved here in the assembly?

J.T. Quite. That is a great feature. Sometimes you hear people say there is nothing new now since those whom God used in the last century to recover the truth fell asleep; but that is only to slight the presence of the Holy Spirit, because He is here in the saints, and you get things coming out constantly. It may come through a sister. She may only make a remark, but it is spiritual, and some brother takes it up and enlarges upon it.

Rem. So there should be no difficulty in locating the Spirit.

J.T. He is the Spirit of truth. You feel you are in relation to what is true; you are sure of the thing. You have a right estimate of everything.

Rem. The assembly is always passing through phases, therefore there must be a fresh ministry to meet it!

J.T. Yes, and there is nothing speculative about it; it is by the Spirit of truth. It carries conviction. Now what you get in chapter 16 is the same Spirit still who witnesses of Christ in the most perfect way

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as having been with the Father, but He brings into this world a demonstration of certain things that are of the utmost importance to the saints -- a demonstration of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. This being brought in is of immense advantage to us. It is not only spoken of in Scripture; it is not only something written but it is something shown, something illustrated that you can take account of.

Ques. Is the demonstration of sin in the lives of the saints?

J.T. Well, it is what the Holy Spirit brought about at Pentecost. The issue had been between the Jews and Christ. The presence of Christ here made the issue, and God decided it. How did He decide it? By the gift of the Spirit! He brought in a demonstration of sin; the Jesus that was put on the cross was God's Son, and the Jews did not believe on Him; the presence of the Holy Spirit here was a demonstration of that. And so of righteousness; the man they considered a malefactor was received up into heaven. He was with the Father. And of judgment, because the prince of this world was judged. The issue today is between the saints and the world, as it was then between Christ and the world, and the Spirit is the answer. The presence of the Spirit here in the saints is the undeniable witness to the fact that God approves them and condemns the world.

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2 Samuel 7:1 - 14; 1 Chronicles 28:11, 12

I am thinking, dear brethren, of the continual necessity of adjustment; for even when we are prompted by the most praiseworthy motives we are continually in need of it. God, having brought in a standard in Christ, never withdraws His eyes from that standard, having it in view for everyone, particularly for us, so that we should be presented perfect, and should all arrive at the full-grown man. There are the two thoughts; on the one hand the responsibility of those who would minister to us, whether Paul or others, to present every man perfect in Christ, and on the other hand that everyone should arrive at the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, having in view the standard God has before Him that all should arrive at. The need, to say the least, is that we should not be babes; some are that; some were that when Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians. It is normal to be a babe when one is converted, but there should be steady growth to manhood. It is to abnormal babes that the word, that we should be no longer such, comes. Every normal babe is delightful. What is normal is always pleasing in the things of God, and so you find that the Lord was always normal, whether as a Babe, or as a Boy, or as a Man. He was always as normal, delightful to God. Abnormal never refers to Christ but, alas, generally to us. And it is such a class that is especially in view, when the word is given that we may be no longer babes tossed and carried about by every wind of that teaching which is in the sleight of men, in unprincipled cunning with a view to systematised error. All undergrowths are peculiarly exposed to this jugglery, and we are warned of it so that we

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should not be amongst that class -- that we should be "no longer babes"

So I take David as illustrative of what I have in mind. He is governed by the most worthy motive. He had advanced; indeed this book and the first book of Samuel are intended to show the normal progress of the believer in David's growth. You will remember how he is seen in the beginning of this book; the link between first and second Samuel lies in Ziklag. David had been at Ziklag at the beginning, he was there for two days. It was for him a place of soul history, for he had gone through the most excruciating sorrow there. I am speaking of him now as a type of the believer. He is also a type of Christ, but I am not speaking of him from that point of view now. There he wept till he had no more power to weep in the awful disaster that befell him in the burning of Ziklag and the taking of his wives by the Amalekites; but there it was that he overcame on moral lines. Weeping alludes to feelings, feelings occasioned by distress or sorrow, but he encouraged himself in the Lord his God. There seemed to be no other there, though his men were about him. They had been devoted to him, but they thought to stone him. It was a crisis, but David passed through it with God. He was equal to it. He encouraged himself in the Lord his God -- the Lord his God. He was shut up to God. We are of little account on those lines until we go through this -- until we are shut up to God to emerge out of a crisis by encouragement in the Lord as one's God. It is the Lord his God. From that point he proceeds morally to priesthood, and he begins to formulate laws and ordinances which were to remain in the kingdom. One of them is the great principle established in the epistle to the Romans of overcoming evil with good, the heaping of coals of fire on one s enemy. "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he

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be thirsty, give him water to drink; for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head" Proverbs 25:21,22 It is the principle of overcoming evil with good. See 1 Samuel 30:21 - 31.

So David reached that point, and in the beginning of this book he is two days at Ziklag going over in his soul the history suggested by the place. The two days allude to experience in the way of testimony to one's soul. On the third day a messenger arrives from the battlefield of Gilboa to tell him of the death of Saul, his enemy. It is extremely sorrowful that there should be enemies amongst the people of God, that enmity should exist among themselves; that there should be enmity between the world and the people of God is to be expected. The world hates us, but that there should be enmity actually existing within the circle of the people of God is a sorrowful consideration. But, alas it is a fact. And this great principle stands by us in that respect, that the way to overcome is by heaping coals of fire upon his head. What are these coals of fire? "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink". Proverbs 25:21 So David, instead of being elated by the tidings of the death of his enemy, mourns and bewails the death of Saul. "The shield of the mighty was vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, [as] not anointed with oil" 2 Samuel 1:21 Saul had been anointed with oil. Whatever he was personally, the anointing oil of God was on him, and David respected that. His wail in that first chapter is a standing witness to his moral triumph, overcoming evil with good. So he begins to ascend from that point. So do we. We shall never ascend morally save as we learn this great lesson that we can never hold enmity in our hearts against a brother; and if a brother has enmity against me, I am to overcome it with good. How can I overcome it with good if I am not possessed of the good as having gone through the experience of Ziklag? I have come to the knowledge of God in Christ, I have

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encouraged myself in Him. He is my shield. "By thee I have run through a troop; By my God have I leaped over a wall" 2 Samuel 22:30 the psalmist says. It is the knowledge of God. So he says to God, "shall I go up"? 2 Samuel 2:1 God says, "Go up" God invites him now into elevation. Any other elevation would mean a crash sooner or later, that is, the mounting of my own will into prominence. David says, "Shall I go up into one of the cities of Judah?" God says, "Go up" "Whither shall I go up?" "Unto Hebron" 2 Samuel 2:1 It is as if God were to say, "You have vindicated me in man's world, now I will invite you into my world" Hebron is a type of God's world. It was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt. It is a city of note in history; it represents God's order of things before man existed. David had glorified God in man's world, and now God invites him into His world. Do you want to go up? How can I go into God's world save by His direction or invitation! The invitation is the epistle to the Colossians in Christian language. We are to leave this world; we have decided to leave it behind us, and we want to go up. I wonder if everyone here wishes to go up. It is on the line of purpose. David is dependent and subject, so God says, "Go up"

And so he went to Hebron, and remained there seven years and six months. The six months seem to be a sort of addition, a necessary experience beyond the ordinary limit of seven, so that he should become thoroughly acquainted with the place, and with the wisdom that was before the world -- that he should be conversant with these. As it is said in Colossians that in the mystery of God "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge" Colossians 2:3 These months seem to be a sort of finishing period in that school, the school in which the wisdom of God in a mystery is taught, not the wisdom of the Greeks -- but that wisdom that is before the world, that God

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had prepared before the world for our glory. Would you not like to have more of that wisdom? Then in the Corinthians the apostle goes on to say, "Eye has not seen, and ear not heard, which have not come into man's heart, which God has prepared for them that love him" 1 Corinthians 2:9 What about those things? I can well afford to stay those extra six months to get an extra knowledge of them. Seven years and six months! That is his period of education in that wonderful city, a city that links on with a past eternity, and enables him to look into a future eternity. The past is the hidden wisdom that God prepared before the world for our glory. What a place of learning, beloved, Hebron is!

Well, David had gone through that school. He progressed out of that school, and from there he went to Jerusalem, as we read in that chapter. He is in the light now of the epistle to the Ephesians, as we speak, an Ephesian Christian typically. You will remember how in this fifth chapter to which I am alluding it is said that David built inward. That refers to Ephesians where we are strengthened by the Father's Spirit in the inner man: "That the Christ may dwell through faith in your hearts; being rooted and founded in love, in order that ye may be fully able to apprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that ye may be filled [even] to all the fulness of God" Ephesians 3:17 - 19 He built inward; so David thus is the type of an Ephesian Christian, whether as a type of Christ Himself or a believer, David is here on Ephesian ground, and he is conscious of it. He is dwelling in a house of cedar, and his enemies are subdued, and now he is thinking of God. The ark of God dwells beneath curtains! His motives are right. He is thinking of God and you say that surely now he needs no more instruction, no more adjustment! Well, let us look at this chapter.

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Even Nathan the prophet thought David was all right, and he was possibly the most spiritual man in his day. He says to David, "Go, do all that is in thy heart; for Jehovah is with thee" And the Lord says, as it were, to Nathan that night, 'I have something to say to you with regard to David'. God speaks to Nathan that night; it was an urgent matter. David had right motives, but he did not understand his own service fully; he thought the whole matter was in his hands, but it was not. No doubt each of us gets his service from the Lord; as it says, "To each one his work" Mark 13:34 Not all the work! This applied even to Paul. He had his work. Each of us has to know, therefore, what his work is. Well, David's was a wonderful work. I need only mention that, but it was not given to him to build the house, and he had to learn that. He had to learn, great though he was, king of Israel, and with right desires, that notwithstanding all that, there were limitations to him, hence the message from Nathan. It says, "It came to pass that night that the word of Jehovah came to Nathan saying, Go and say to my servant David"

Now I want you to look at that. David had developed in the ways of God and had done much. But who is behind all this? God says, "I took thee from the pasture-grounds, from following the sheep, to be prince over my people, over Israel; and I have been with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are on the earth" God had done it. Whatever reputation you have or I have, God has given it. It is a most wholesome lesson. It is a lesson of adjustment where it is least expected to be needed. We are to learn that everything proceeds from God and that whatever one is, it is because God has made one that, and it is because God loves His people. Whatever ability one has, one has it because God loves

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His people; He is thinking of them and this puts the servant in his place, and it makes him see that whatever he is, he is it because God loves His people and will have them serve Him. So God goes on to say, "And I will appoint a place for my people, for Israel, and will plant them" God is thinking of His people Israel. It is a much greater thing that the people of God should be ministered to and fed, than that any one of us should be conspicuous.

Thus God sets David down in his place as one raised up to be ruler; but a man of war should not build. He has to learn his limitations. God says in effect, 'You talk of building me an house!' But "I will build thee a house!" 2 Samuel 7:27 So David sat down in the presence of the Lord. "Who am I, Lord Jehovah" 2 Samuel 7:18 he says. He had learned his lesson. He makes a beautiful speech to the Lord, but he says not one word about building the temple. We all need to learn that lesson, to understand in the presence of God what the mind of God is. After all, the very best motives are not sufficient; we must know what the mind of God is. God says, as it were, 'You have to consult me as to who the builder is to be!' It is entirely unsuitable for a military man to build a family abode. So he gives David to understand that the builder is to be his son; a very great lesson to learn! We have to come into the apprehension of the fact that the son is over the house, that He is the one who builds the house as knowing the heart of God; He knows the Father and what is suitable for the Father's abode. He has come forth from the Father, being Son, and knows the Father's abode in heaven, and knows therefore what is fitting for the Father upon earth.

And so God says to David, "When thy days are fulfilled" Now look at that; a very important suggestion for every one of us! There are not only limitations to our labours but to the time of them;

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the kind of labour is limited and the time of it is limited. All this is a most wholesome thing. We have been remarking today that one generation passes away, and another succeeds it. Men who seem indispensable in the testimony of God pass away, and elderly sisters too; we have to make up our minds for that. But as one generation passes away another comes on. Thank God for the one that is coming! David says, "Jehovah has given me many sons, he has chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of Jehovah over Israel" 1 Chronicles 28:5 And He said unto me, "Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts" 2 Chronicles 28:6 He is to build the house. Are we not, may we not, be deceived as to our own importance, as to whether God may not be bringing in a better generation? He can do it. I speak for the encouragement of the young people. It is within the province of God to do it. He may be reserving the best to the last. David's days are to be fulfilled and another generation is to come. So He says, "Thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father and he shall be my son" That is what God does. Solomon is to come in. He is to be God's son, for He says, "I will be his father and he shall be my son" The truth is, beloved, that many of us never pass over into sonship in our experience. We retain our military ability and rest in it, or our levitical ability and rest in it. We are reminded here of God's selection of a son; that if there is to be anything in the way of building a house we must pass over into sonship. We are limited otherwise. "It is he who will build me a house"

Now I want to show in the book of Chronicles how David was adjusted. His aspirations were verified,

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and he became perfectly restful in accepting the adjustment. If you look at chapter 28 you will see that he collected all the great persons of his kingdom as he was about to pass away. I speak now to the elder brethren and sisters, as to how God would have us pass away out of this world. I do not know a passage in Scripture so full of encouragement, and example and stimulation, as this one and the next one. What you find is that David, after collecting the grandees of his kingdom around him, stands up on his feet. No decrepitude there! No sign of old age, as you will observe in the second verse! "And king David stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren" 1 Chronicles 28:2 What does he say? He indicates in this speech that he has learned his lesson, that he is thoroughly adjusted, for he proceeds on the line of choice; he says, as it were, 'God has been acting, in view of the building, on the line of sovereign choice'. Whatever desire you may have, whatever aspiration you may have in the service of God, remember this that every bit of service is on the principle of sovereign choice, and sovereign appointment. It is God who is stamped on everything.

So David says, speaking to his brethren, "I had in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of Jehovah and for the footstool of our God, and have prepared to build; but God said to me, Thou shalt not build a house unto my name" 1 Chronicles 28:2,3 You see how he has learned his lesson. Would that we all might learn it, as we pass on, we who are young especially, to be thoroughly in the mind of God, and to see that it is a question of divine selection, and divine appointment in every detail of the work of God. It is God in all. "That God may be all in all" 1 Chronicles 15:28 That is the great end in everything. You do not want to put that off until you see it by-and-by but now. And David proceeds to tell what God had said to him through Nathan:

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"Thou shalt not build a house unto my name for thou art a man of war, and hast shed blood. And Jehovah the God of Israel chose me out of all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever ... . And he said to me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts; for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father" 1 Chronicles 28:3 - 6 Now I am speaking to the elder brethren and the elder sisters. What a model this is! To pass out at the time appointed of God, for this is the way it stands according to Simeon, "Lord now thou lettest thy bondman go according to thy word, in peace" Luke 2:29 All is a matter of divine ordering. David says, He chose Judah to be the prince and chose me out of all my father's sons to be the king, and He chose Solomon out of all my sons to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord... and He chose Solomon to build His house and His courts. Think of all these choosings so that God is all in all! In the future the Lord Jesus, having put down all rule and authority, hands back the kingdom to Him who is God and Father, that God may be all in all. That is finality, beloved! Are we to wait to see it to know it? We are to know it now -- that God is the beginning of everything and the end of everything; God all in all.

David goes on to say in the next chapter that God is head over all. Here he is standing upon his feet, and he is saying these things as a man with experience of God. He has learned his lessons, and they are written down here for us that we might pass out as he did. So God honours him. He gave him a pattern of the house by the Spirit. That is a wonderful recompense to a man with such desires. He did not give it to Solomon but He gave it by the Spirit to David. He had the Spirit, as he says elsewhere "The Spirit of Jehovah spoke by me, And his word was on my tongue" 2 Samuel 23:2 Here he has a pattern of the temple in all its parts by the Spirit. He is a spiritual

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man. It says in the passages we read, "Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of its houses, and of its treasuries, and of its upper chambers, and of its inner chambers, and of the house of the mercy-seat" You see what a knowledge he had; he was a spiritual man, and God honoured him; so that although every one of us is limited, yet God honours us as we have right desires. He honoured David by giving him the pattern by the Spirit. And it was the thing in detail, so that he had the whole thing before him, although he never saw the structure. He had a view of it in a spiritual way. David did not see the thing reared up, but he had the pattern by the Spirit. He had it before Solomon had it. He passed it on to Solomon; hence where elder brethren accept their limitations, God honours them by giving them His mind, a prophetic view of things, so that they have the honour of passing on to their younger brethren what God will do later. And God will continue to work until that great and holy city comes down from heaven -- the new Jerusalem -- and thus the work proceeds.

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Romans 8:15; Ephesians 4:6; 2 Samuel 7:14, 15; 1 Chronicles 29:1

I have in mind, brethren, to speak about our relation with the Father and of His love and care for us, and so I began with Romans 8, which marks the believer's first recognition of his relationship with God as his Father; and I read Ephesians where we have "one God and Father of all" as the end of the experience and enjoyment thus begun. Much of importance might happen from the time of the believer's birth till the time when he says, "Abba, Father" but one thing we have to guard against is that no damage should occur to the infant between the time of birth, or as we may say, the beginning of God's work, and the time when he says "Father" Much damage may occur; oftentimes defects occur in the constitution which remain, and which necessarily hamper later growth, and the moral beauty and perfection which God intends in each of us as His sons. Attention is required until the time of maturity. But when the believer can say "Abba, Father" he is on new ground.

You will all remember the great occasion in Abraham's house when Isaac was weaned. His mother was concerned; she had spent, we may be sure, all the ability she possessed in caring for and nourishing her infant, and as the weaning time arrived, Abraham made a great feast. It was a great day in the house. The Lord said, "Abraham exulted in that he should see my day, and he saw and rejoiced" John 8:56 I have no doubt he saw in that weaning something of Christ, and this is what the Lord alluded to. The child was weaned and Ishmael mocked. But the thought of God had been reached. There was a son in the house,

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but he must not be there with a "wild ass of a man" Genesis 16:12 Many young ones acquire the "wild ass" feature; and so, in true motherly instinct, Sarah says that the bond-woman and her son must go; they are not to inherit with her son. You see how much may happen in the infancy or early days of believers, and hence the care needed. I believe that Sarah alludes to maternal instincts in the assembly, that is, care over each, that there may be nothing of Ishmael -- the "wild ass of a man" Genesis 16:12 There are wild asses and domesticated asses in Scripture. We have the record of an ass speaking with man's voice, forbidding the madness of a prophet. The domesticated, such as Balaam's ass was, may become the mouthpiece of God to rebuke evil, but Ishmael was a wild ass of a man, and our young must be carefully guarded against that kind of influence. The Galatian Christians were seriously damaged by it and countless numbers are today. So that in Romans 8 it is said, "Ye have not received a spirit of bondage again for fear" We have not received that spirit; we have received the "Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father" We are consciously and intelligently in relationship with the Father.

I wish now to illustrate from Solomon what I have in mind. I hope young believers especially will follow what I have to say, so that they may know the interest that God has in them from the very outset. Solomon is taken up, representing one in relation with the father as adopted. God said of him "I will be his father, and he shall be my son" So that although Solomon was chosen, he was not adopted as he was born; but he was loved as he was born. I need not say that God could not adopt what He could not love; He adopts what He can love; and certainly He cannot adopt the man after the flesh. There is that which is of God, and God, I may say, loves one, not only in the general sense in

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which it says God loves the world, but He loves what is lovable. God loves what is lovable, as we get Moses saying, "Yea, he loveth the peoples" Deuteronomy 33:3 "When Israel was a child then I loved him" Hosea 11:1 He was lovable. And so it is that God loves you, and He adopts what He loves; and so with Solomon. He is called Solomon by his father, meaning 'peace' or 'peaceful', and I may say a young man or woman is of no practical value until he, or she, becomes "a son of peace" Luke 10:6 All the troubles among the people of God arise from those who are not sons of peace -- like Absalom.

Well, as Solomon was born, and peace marked him prophetically, God comes in and indicates as to him more than peace, he is lovable. These are the traits of the initial work of God in us, and the greatest care is required lest damage happens between that and the time when the believer should say, "Abba, Father" God sees the end from the beginning, and so Solomon as a child is loved by Him, and he was called Jedidiah because of the Lord. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" John 3:6 and "God is a Spirit" John 4:24 But then adoption comes in; the believer gets the Spirit of adoption whereby he cries "Abba, Father" Every believer should be assured that he has the Spirit of God. "Ye have not received a spirit of bondage again to fear but ye have received a Spirit of adoption" God has marked me off and sealed me; He has anointed me; He has given me the earnest of the Spirit in my heart; I have received the Spirit of adoption, and I cry "Abba, Father" God has worked in me, and now I am come into the region of family relationship; I am consciously in sonship, having liberty to call God, Father. That is the great line in Solomon. As David is before the great assembly in 1 Chronicles 28, he "stood up upon his feet" and said that he had had it in his heart to build a house for the Lord, but he was a man of war and had shed blood; but as divinely instructed he

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says, "God has chosen Solomon" to build it. He dwells on the thought of sovereign selection, for he has now arrived at it. It is a great day when one arrives at the realm of sovereign purpose, and everything, beloved brethren, in God's realm is on the ground of sovereign choice. God has chosen us in Christ "before [the] world's foundation, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love" Ephesians 1:4 And so David says, "Hear me, my brethren; ... for he has chosen Judah to be the prince; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father" 1 Chronicles 28:2 - 4 God has very good reasons for choosing. He chose David because He 'liked' him: "Among the sons of my father he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel" 1 Chronicles 28:4 God Himself says, "I have found David ... a man after my heart who shall do all my will" Acts 13:22 But then David says, He did not choose me to build a house. Not only does He choose one to be king, but He chooses His workmen -- and every man has his work appointed to him; and so David goes on to say, "And of all my sons, (for Jehovah has given me many sons,) he has chosen Solomon, my son" 1 Chronicles 28:5 The sons were all given to him, David says, but Solomon alone is chosen to build the house of God. And he says, He has taken him to be His son. Solomon was adopted.

Now I want you, young people, to understand this great period of spiritual history -- the period of adoption. In that passage in 2 Samuel 7 God says, I will be his father; not only is He in that relation, but He will do the part of a father; Solomon would lack nothing of all that a father could do for him. "If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the sons of men"; note it is the rod of men, and the stripes of the children of men. This is the discipline of the young, so that they are preserved; as it says, "Who is the son that the Father chastens not?" Hebrews 12:7 We are dealt

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with as His sons. He is the Father of spirits, and as subject to Him we live. And so now we are consciously and intelligently in adoption, and under the Father's care and discipline, and times of discipline may be severe. 'Stripes', I apprehend, may be more or less according to the divine choice, but there are the two -- the rod of men, and the stripes of the children of men.

Well now, proceeding in 1 Chronicles 29, I want to show you how much fell to Solomon in early age. Some of us assume that certain work may be done by the elder brethren only. God intimates plainly that it is His province to select the workers. Age has its own value, but it may be blemished as in David's case; at any rate, God must be allowed to choose. David bowed with all his heart and said, God has chosen Solomon, my son. Solomon was a very young man, about twenty -- certainly not much more; anyway, David says, "Solomon, my son, the one whom God has chosen, is young and tender" Did the Lord not know that he was young? He did. He knew every day of that child's life, every moment of it. No one knew better than Jehovah how old Solomon was, and David knew. He was his father's son, tender and beloved. May we not learn from this what divine sympathy with the young brothers and sisters is? Are they to be kept always in the nursery? God has chosen them; He knows their age. "Solomon, my son, the one whom God has chosen, is young and tender" and yet the work given him to do was great. What is the work? A palace is to be built. The palace is being built now, and all those young people are needed, but they are young and tender; they need much care. One generation passes away and another comes, and God has the tenderest consideration for the young generation. Think of the magnitude of the work resting upon their shoulders! Being young and tender, they need

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every possible attention and consideration; they are not to be given to understand that it is not for them, but rather that the work is theirs and it is great. We see in Timothy a young man, one who shed tears, one marked by feelings, and who cared for the saints, accepting the burden laid upon his shoulders. And if you read Paul's second letter to him, you will see a father's heart coming out to one whom he regards as his "beloved child" He says, "God has not given us the spirit of cowardice, but ... of love" 2 Timothy 1:7 The work is great, and so David said, "this palace is not to be for man but for Jehovah Elohim" Think of the magnitude of such a palace! Hence, so as to have part in the work, "To each one of us has been given grace according to the measure of the gift of the Christ" Ephesians 4:7 Then there is the solemn warning. "Let each one see how he builds" 1 Corinthians 3:10 Hence the need of dependence on God. Solomon prayed for wisdom and God gave him wisdom. I would impress upon all the magnitude of the work, so that we may be equal to it and engaged in it. It is to be completed; the top-stone must be laid on. And so God gave Solomon wisdom, largeness of heart and riches.

But I want to show just in closing how we reach the idea of the greatness of God, as seen in the passage I read from Ephesians. In Ephesians 4, in relation to the unity of the Spirit, we have a fixed order of things, beginning with the body -- a very remarkable fact, for instead of beginning with God, the fixed order of things begins with one body, which means the saints. "One body, and one Spirit, as ye have been also called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism" Ephesians 4:4,5 These things exist. They are a fixed order of things before God, and immutable as the heavens and the earth are. And finally, there is "one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all" Now you see how the believer, beginning with "Abba, Father" develops

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into the full knowledge of God, and finds a fixed order of things, over which and in which He is throughout. "One God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all" In this blessed order of things I am as fixed as the stars in the heaven. I know my relation to Him and nothing can disturb that; it is most steadying. I begin to take account of the one body as being connected with that great system; then the Spirit, then the calling, and then the kingdom, and then finally the universal circle. I believe we can travel a long time before arriving at this, but if we apprehend these circles, we move on in relation to the fixed order of things in which we are, and our position being thus fixed, as I said, we are assured and restful. It is a relation of love, the Father's love, pervading all. He is the source of all, and all is through Him and for Him. In final result "God may be all in all" 1 Corinthians 15:28. The Son Himself takes a place of subjection to Him who has subjected all things, that God may be all in all. We reach now this fixed order of things pervaded by love by the Spirit. Our Lord Jesus Christ is now engaged in bringing about this grand 'end'; when it is reached "He gives up the kingdom to him [who is] God and Father" 1 Corinthians 15:24 The blessed state of things which God has ever had in His heart to effect is thus reached. God is over it as Father, and all are eternally blessed in the realm of His love.