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not only with the foeling of our wants, but also in the spirit of worship. The Lord prayed—" Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy word is truth."
When we como together for prayer, it is into a position apart from tho world—to God. The Word of God has a separating, or sanctifying influence. By the Word of God, also, faith is quickened, and by tho Spirit's application of the Word we are taught what to ask for, and how to ask.
Our brother does indeed say, a portion of the Scriptures may be read. It seems to be referred to, howevor, rather as an allowable incidental, than a most desirable thing. We hope he will allow us to press it, as very needful, whenever possible.
These " Hints," also, seem to take it for granted that women may pray audibly in tho presence of men. This is tantamount to saying—that the woman may load the man! But "God is not tho author of confusion."
"I will thereforo that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." (1 Tim.)
"I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over
the man, but to be in silnnco." (1 Tim.)
Is it not difficult to permit women to load in prayer without endangering their sometimes "usurping authority," for may not a sister, by degrees, come to fuel that she has got to do something—something for the man! Then we havo the man dependent on the woman!
This matter of order is very simple if dear ones only apprehend that Christians assembling together make an assembly, or church, and tho word is express—" Let your womon keep silence in the churches." If prompted to pray (as doubtless they will bo) let them pray in silence.
In every assembly, however small, the woman represents the Church: the man represents the Lord Jesus Christ, tor the Head of the Woman is the Man, evon as Christ is the Head of the Church. In the presenco of the man, therefore, the woman is to be subject, even as the Church is subject to Christ.
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The Wonn "christian."—S. B. writes—"I hold to the name 'Christian,' because from the peculiar word used—' called' (not kaleo, but chrectnatizo.) In other passages it seems to me it was Divinely given."
[We perceive Doddridge thinks with you in this matter, and we have looked at tho passages he refers to as justifying his opinion that " the word denotes to be named by fjivine appointment." They are interesting, but we cannot give an opinion. It is sufficient for us that the Holy Ghost takes up and uses the word. Surely, we can hold the two things—that Man gave tho word, but it was according to the will of God. Man said of Jesus—Nazarene! but they only fulfilled the will of God. Man has called us Christians, but we may bo very sure it is the special purposo of God.]
A correspondent writes:—"Doar Brother,—Is it right to have one's portrait taken? Is it right to have pictures? I am looked upon as too scrupulous. Am I too scrupulous, dear brother-' Tho word of Truth says—'Set—set your affections on things above,' 'I shall be satisfied when I awake in His Likeness,' 'We seek a city,' Yours affectionately in the dear Lord."
J You havo doubtless seen a remark or two in our last upon this subject. May we all keep consciences exercised in the Word, as is your conscience; may we desire, "as strangers and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" It is true, piotures or works of art are not a "lust of the flesh," but are they not "a lust of the eye f" And if so, does not the Word in 1st John apply f "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, tho love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and tho lust of the eye, and the prido of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passoth away, and the lust thereof: but he that docth the will of God abidelh for ever." The Word of God regards tho believer as practically made-up of what he is going on with from day to day. May we all be going on with that (in motive and conduct) which will last for ever.
But we must not judge each other in this matter, or lay down a rule. If a believer says—" I do not love these things: I feel at liberty to havo them in modoration." Well the Lord looks for all in grace —not from law. If we are happy in laying down our things at His feet, He smiles approval.
Then, again, it is one thing to keep a fen of those things which were bought before conscience was exercised, and quite another thing to buy them after wo have been enlightened, as there may be felt a difficulty in disposing of things so obtained.
May we all say to oursulves—What would Jesus do r 'Tut ye on the Lord Jesus Christ."
P., Islington.—" Will you please consider the following questions in a letter from a brother ?' At our Bible reading last evening the questions, as to the age at which the Saviour began to teach (1), and how long He taught (2), and at what age Ho died (3), were brought forward. Have you studied this? If so, please give mo any light you may have.'"
[Dear Brother,—Question (1) is settled in Luke ii. 3—" And Jesus began to be about 30 years of age."
Question (2). If John's Gospel is consulted, it will be found that the Loid Jesus was present at Jerusalem 4 passovers, being crucified on the occasion of the last. This would give 3 full years. It is thought that He was about half a year ministering the Word before the first pagsover: if so, then the whole period of his ministry would be 3i years, or thereabouts. For the 4 passovers in John, you might refer to ii. 13; v. 1; vii. 4, and xii. 1.
Question (3). Consequently, the dear Lord (who for our sakes became man) died iu his 34th year—"cut off out of the land of the living," though "no guile was found in Hi] mouth."
It is needful to bewaro of the dates at the tops of some Testaments. The practice of dating from the birth of onr Lord commenced about A.d. 600, and it is supposed a mistake of 4 years was made—that it started from the fourth year instead of the first year of our Lord's life. Now, in some Bibles the reckonings are made from the first and in some from the fourth year. We havo two before us (Bagster and Barnes): the first places the crucifixion at A.d. 29, the second at A.d. 33. The second, to be consistent, ought to call the present year 1872!
Those who see tho date A.d. 33 placed against the crucifixion have been led to infer that tho Lord Jesus was 37 years of age at that time, remembering the error of the four years. The date affixed should be A.d. 29, yet on consulting 6 copies only 2 put it A.d. 29, tho rest were A.d. 33 !]
A Brother aslcs;—" Can a Christian claim anything I have because he is a brother and needs it ?"—On pago 10 of our last we read—" They can demand nothing, but must look by faith to the Lord to lead a Barnabas or a Stephen to relieve them."
BAPTISM, its PLACE and MEANING, considered in the light of Scripture only To which is added " Remarks on the raeanmp n! the Greek words haptn and Baptizo." Price Id. (12 copies. Is. poet free.
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*' BE AT PEACE AMONG TOUBSEI.VEB."
(1 Thess. T.) Too often does the enemy, that Old Serpent, the Devil, lead us foolish pilgrims "to fall out by the way." He "wrestles" to do this, in order that he may mar our testimony, for who will hear those who are known to quarrel among themselves?
"The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James iii.)
Would I he used of the Lord in sowing to the glory of God? Let me "Follow peaoo with all men;" and let saints generally "look diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; [as those do who strive] lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble them, and thereby many be denied." (Heb. xii.) Strife is defiling, (is it not ?) because as defilement spreads by contact, so those in contact, or fellowship with us, will generally tak» tides with those who strive—and so the strife spreads to them, amd "thereby many are defiled."
"Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." (James.)
"If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ys be not consumed one of another." (Gal. T.)
—That is to say, the testimony and spirituality of those who strive is brought to an end.
In order to the maintenance of peace among us, it is very needful to take heed to that word of the Lord Jesus to us, His sheep—
"If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear, take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of one or two witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let bim be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." (Matt, xviii.)
From this I am taught, that I am not to go and talk about a brother's wrongdoing to a third party, but first to go to him, and seek, by divine grace, to bring him to repentance. Unless I can go to him, and talk it over with him, in the spirit of meekness, with a view to his amendment or our mutual reconciliation—I must maintain absolute silence. If I gain him—there is an end to the matter; if I do not go, it is, then, confined within my own breast, and "charity covereth a multitude of sins."
How perfect are all Thy ways, Lord Jesus!
Disagreements often arise from mistakes, which, on a personal interview, are cleared up.
How quick we are to come to conclusions! "to judge from appearances!" how slow to make allowances! And then, instead of taking the matter to the
Lord in prayer, and then to the wrongdoer in private, we mention it to others—who at sinfully receive it! "Now there is utterly a fault among you." (1 Cor. vi.)
May we henceforth, when a report of another is retailed to us, have grace to say immediately— "Have you been with that to my brother?" — And if the answer is—"Well, no; I have not," then let us say—"Then I cannot receive it."
We have just heard of a brother who had grace to conform to this word in Matthew xviii. When a complaint was being made to him against another, on one occasion, he suddenly stopped the complainant, and, drawing his arm under his own, he exclaimed, "Let us go to him at once!" But the other was not prepared for this, and before they reached their destination, he pleaded some excuse,—and there the matter ended!
"The north wind driveth away rain; to doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue." (Prov. xrv.)
"Lord, who Bhall abide in thy tabernacle f who shall ascend into thy holy hill P
"He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor tahcth up a reproach against hit neighbour." (Psalm xv.)
"Whisperers, backbiters," are among the sinners enumerated in Romans i. If I retail anything I have not proved, in the way directed by the Lord in the above passage in Matt, xviii.—it is a shame unto me. ■
"We do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find yon such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as you would not: lest there be debates, onvyings, wraths, strifes, backbiting, whisperings, swellings, and tumults." (2 Cor. xii.)
That which is "whispered" is sure to be carried, by some one or other, to the individual whispered about,—and then—what an animosity will spring
Turn we to another aspect of the subject.
"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity''!
It was so, it is so, and, oh, how pleasant it will be, when—our pilgrimage over—we can no longer "fall out by the way" but shall for ever "dwell together in unity!" with our Jesus, Prince of Peace, blessed be His Name!
May we breathe more of the atmosphere of , heaven now.
"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ." It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that west down to the skirts of hia garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion : for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." (Ps- exxxiii.)
Note, beloved, to what brotherly union is compared. It is as "precious ointment " and as fertilizing "dew." It ascend* as a grateful fragrance before God—and it descends, as dew, in blessing upon man. God is pleased, and man is blessed, by brotherly love continuing.
"For thy pleasure they are, and were created." (Rev. iv.)
And shall not we be so, too? Then, as regards blessing to man—
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye hate love one to another." (John xiti. 35.)
SIN AGAINST THE HOLT GHOST.
Many of us have had difficulties on this subject. Let us together look at the Scriptures on it, and may we learn therefrom. First, it may be
remarked, that the subject is very solemn, because of the almost invariable severity of punishment that follows tin against the Holy Ghost, whether committed by the believer or by the unbeliever. (The italic* in the texts show the crime and its punishment.)
"But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the
devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said if
I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God
is come unto you Wherefore I say unto you, All
manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speakcth a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him : but whosoever speakoth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." (Matt xii.)
As the Lord Jesus is no longer on the earth casting out devils by that Spirit which was given without measure unto Him, surely this sin of "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost" can no longer be committed. How near some infidels, who have lived since then, may have approached it, God only knows.
"And the Lord said, ' My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; . . . I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." (Gen. vi.)
"By which [Spirit] lie [the Lord Christ, the Word} went and preached unto the spirits [now] in prison ; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuflering of God waited in the days of Noah, [" a preacher of righteousness," 2 Pet. ii.] while the ark was a preparing." (1 Peter.)
"Many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets: yet they would not give ear." (Neh. ix.)
"But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them." (Isa. lxiii.)
"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumciBed in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted F and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been the betrayers and murderers." (Acts viL)
Do not these Scriptures show that resisting the Holy Ghost is resisting the words of God as presented by prophets or preachers ?—resisting, and generally with persecution?
This sin the unregenerate in enlightened lands ever have committed, and can, alas'. commit still.
"Of how much soier punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and bath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith ha was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance bclongeth unto me, I will recompense, Baith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people." (Heb. x.)
While the two former seem to be sins in the unregenerate, this is the most serious form of sin against the Holy Ghost that could be committed by a believer. The word in the original means—" To offer a contemptuou* outrage to." * Doutless, the sin of apostasy is referred to. The Apostle Paul was writing to the Hebrew Christians, whose special danger was that of being induced, through fear of fiery persecution from their own countrymen, to deny their faith in Jesus as the true Messiah. Paul himself (as the unregenerate Saul of Tarsus) had been used of Satan to make many commit this sin.
"I verily thought with myself that I ought to do manv things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which, thing I also did in Jerusalem :and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, 1 gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.'" (Acts xxvii.)
While the apostate "trod under foot the Son of God," it is not said that he blasphemed against the Holy Ghost. No ; the sin he committed, grievous as it was, was not the unpardonable sin. "Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him." The apostate did "despite to the Spirit of grace," not "blasphemy." That is, he acted in malicious defiance of the voice of the Holy Spirit, who called aloud to him, through conscience and the Word of God, not to count his life dear unto him, —to die rather than put His Lord to an open shame.
Such a sin, though pardonablo in respect to the life to come, was not in this life :—
"For if wo sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." (Heb. x.)
As in the case of Ananias, the only thing that could follow "doing despite to the Spirit of grace" was judgment in this life :—
"Peter said, — * Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost';' . . And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and gave up the ghost." ( Acts v.)
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man dejUe the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Cor.)
Not that the Holy Spirit Himself ever acts in punishment; for "all judgment is given unto the Son."
"Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith tho Lord. And aijain, The Lord shall judgo his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb. x.)
This latter word shows that the sin contemplated is one -which could be committed by Christians—his "people."
This is further shown by the word in the verse before the above—"sanctified." In what sensecould an unbeliever be sanctified by the blood f Those, therefore, who regard these strong passages in the Hebrews as meaning something which could not be done by one who had been truly converted, do greatly err: do they not? They regard these passages as inserted to frighten us into cautiousness!
Paul says "if we sin wilfully, after that we," &c. He does not exclude liiinself, even; but he rejoiced to know whose grace was sufficient to keep him from falling.
Nevertheless, these strong passages in Heb. vi. and xi. may refer to a form of sin that can hardly be committed now. They certainly cannot refer to ordinary backslidings, as we might term them. For backsliders are "renewed to repentance," and are recovered to the church ; whereas these passages regard the sinner as beyond recovery in this world.
Is not this difficulty solved by tho following view? A believer who apostatized in the Apostle's days actually went over to the Lord's murderers! and joined with them who cried "Away with such a fellow from the earth!" Now this is an aspect of apostasy which cannot be committed now, but which could be committed at the time Paul was writing, and by the people to whom he was writing—^ Hebrews of Jerusalem and Judea.
Let us not explain away these passages, but refer them to the circumstances of those to whom they were written. How far "despite" can bo done now "to the Spirit of grace," cannot be defined. But we may well apprehend that, in proportion to the "wilfulness" of sin will be tho subsequent darkness and difficulty of renewal.
[It is true, John alludes to "a sin unto death," for the forgiveness of which we are not to pray. But does not this mean, that where we discern severe chastisement to be needful, in consequence of wilful sin, we are not to pray for such chastisement to be withheld? The dear Lord show us all these things.]
iv.—QCBHCH. "Quench not the Spirit; despise not prophesyings." (1 Thess.)
This is an exhortation to Christians, and, surely, cannot apply to the unconverted.
In the first time of the Church, before the word of God was completed, the mind of the Spirit was made known to the assembly through the gift of prophecy, ■which gift might be sought for and secured.
"Desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." (1 Cor. xii.)
Those who had the gift of prophecy might perceive or receive truth from the Spirit, and, from some fleshly feeling, "quench" the impulse to speak:
and, consequently, the mind of the Spirit would not be made known!
Of course, now, in "the last time," the condition of things is altered, but the principle remains. We should now gather together to the Lord Jesus, and muse until the fire burnt, (Psa. xxxix)—till we, who have "an ear to hear," receive a word by the Spirit from the Scriptures, by which word our worship may flow forth in utterance, or truth flow forth to the assombly.
Now if I repress the utterance of that which I perceive would be to the glory of God and tho good of souls, I "quench the Spirit," though not in exactly the same sense which Paul means in the above exhortation to the Thessalonians, and that because I am not a "prophet."
Doubtless, if a believer stifle a true impulse to testify to the unconverted, of "sin, righteousness, and judgment to come," it may rightly be regarded as "quenching" the Spirit. But the above exhortation, we may well apprehend, has a primary application to our conduct in the assembly, because of the other exhortations with which it is joined :— "Despite not prophesyings."
We may sometimes have to listen to a brother who has little education or natural ability, or he may have the special fault of being too wordy, and we shall be in danger of " despising," either him or his words. This we are oxhortod not to do. May we bear with one another, even as Christ bears with us, and the Holy Spirit, too—poor, wretched things, that we all are.
It may be that the Spirit is seeking to minister to the less educated (humanly-speaking) by one of their own condition; then, shall I "despise" the Spirit's work? By no moans. If I perceive that what is being said is not for me—does not enlighten or lift my soul up—then, let me sit, quietly "holding the Head," (Col. ii.) knowing that "He doeth all things well."
"Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Kph. iv.)
These words remind us of those other words concerning Israel :—
"How often did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!" (Ps. lxxviii.)
Alas! like that people, how have we failed!
"And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness." (Acts xiii.)
And the Holy Spirit is suffering our maimers now —our worldliness and lustfulnoss, our wanderings in heart and spiritual stupidness. And so did Jesus—
"O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer yon'(" (Mark ix.)
May all of us, then, be veiy watchful not to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God." Amen.
Messenger (not Anoxl) Of The Church.—Some of our readers may have noticed that Epaphroditus is styled "your Messenger," in Phil, ii., in reference to the Philippian church. The original wordjiowever, is not "Angelos," but"Apo»tolo»."
HAVE WE ANT "OVBB TJS IN THE LOBD'P
"Plymouth, Jan. 17, 1868. "Dear Brother,—Since I read your remarks on "Gifts," I have been much struck with two portions of the Word, namely—Romans xii. and 1 Thess. v., which have perplexed me. In the latter passage we are exhorted to 'know them that labour' among us, and are 'over' us in the Lord, and 'admonish' us, and to 'esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.' Peicious Truth is exceedingly precious to my soul, and it has weaned me from men, and I do not want to think more highly or give them the honour that is not due to them, but to the Lord. I have written to ask you if you feel free to express what you believe to bo the mind of the Lord about these two portions? Yours truly in Christ. W. J. C."
Concerning the passage in Eom. xii.—to save repetition, let me refer you to page 240 in the Oct. Number of last year. Upon the remarks there made, nothing further is given us to add here. But concerning 1 Thess. v. wo have been led out a little.
The Lord, by the Holy Spirit, graciously "ground" us, dear brother, in the Scriptures given to the church in "The Last Time." You have, perhaps, read an article under the heading, "The Last Time" in the January number, for which article we thank the Lord.
The Scriptures of "The Last Time," (that is, the epistles of Jude and John, and the Revelation,) are as directly and primarily addressed to you, and me, and all Christians now living, as was the epistle to the Ephesians directed to the Christians in Ephestis, &c. It is clear, therefore, to me, (bofore the Lord,) that wo must be careful how we tako exhortations and statements written to the churches in the first time, (or apostolic time,) and apply them under our altered circumstances.
Now, in the Revelation, dear brother, we are brought face to face with the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is now in close association with His churches— walking in the midst of the seven goldon candlesticks. And what does He say unto us? He directs each of us having an "ear to hear," to hear what the Spirit saith, and the Spirit speaks to us by the Word of God. Thus I apprehend for myself, that it is God—and God only—with whom I have to do.
It may happen that I am in fellowship with a dear brother who, walking closely with God, has been taken up and used to my soul's blessing, (and that perhaps, frequently.) But does this make him to be "over" me in the Lord? Nay. . Such an one may feel himself to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ; he may know that the Lord has graciously used him in certain work, and his hope may be that He will do so again. But what is my brother's consciousness to me? my faith rests on my Lord, and I receive all from Sim.
My brother referred to loves his Master, and desires that His Master may be glorified. At the same time, he feels that He can do nothing of himself: and that, -unless his Master says "Do this," he dare not lift a finger to do it!
Thus, all is (or should be) done now, in this, "the
last time," by the Lord in the midst, by the Spirit
in us each, through the Word of His grace—and to
Him be all glory, now and for ever.
But the ordi nary thought of "gifts" is, that of
something lodged in one or more of our number, for which we are to be thankful. This may seem to be a little matter; but a little tiling brought near the eye will hide the sun! And so this thought of "gifts" has more or less hidden the Lord; for do not some of us come together as it were, to wait on supposed gifts, rather than to wait on the Lord v so that if a certain brother is not present we are disappointed!
Let us all walk equally by faith in the Son of God, all equally look to the Spirit, all equally delight in the Word, all equally keep the body under, and we shall all feel delivored—fully delivered—from leaning on one another. Then shall we be fit and ready for the Master's use; we shall welcome opportunities of fellowship with saints anywhere; and we shall rejoice to follow the Lord, into any little meetings of "twos and threes" that He may open around us, for prayer, worship, or searching the Scriptures. To this happy condition of "walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Ghost," may we all be brought—that so we may be each and all taken up and used to the Lord's glory and each other's good.
Of course, during the first time, or apostolic age, it was all very different. Then—the Lord had deputed to the apostles that authority which He hoLls now alone; and tho apostles, in their turn, gave a measure of their authority to others—elders. If you and I had been members of the Thessalonian church when Paul wrote to it, we should doubtless have felt bound to reverence those "over us in the Lord"— the ciders—in the absence of an apostle, just as we should justly reverence Paul in the bodily absence of the Lord.
But now, just as certainly as the apostles were in the church once, so just as certainly is the Lord in the Church now. John "tarried till" He came; and when He came, John departed.
Just as, by the presence of an apostle, a church would feel fully provided for; so, in the spiritual prosence of the Lord in the midst, and the actual presence of the Spirit in each one (who is not walking after the flesh), and the possession of the Writtea Word, surely the church is fully provided for note. Yes, indeed.
Not only authority, but gifts were visibly existent in the Church in the first time; but the only thing now is the ministry of the Spirit, in the presence and under the control of tho Lord the Head.
Thus, I apprehend for myself before the Lord, that there are none towhomweshouldlookasadmonishers, —that there are none "over us" now—no undershepherds, who have a specific work to do for us, for which we have "to esteem them highly."
When the Lord Jesus was upon earth, He was the One Master and all believers were brethren. ( Matt. xxiii.) But the time came when "He ascended up on high, and gave gifts unto men." (Eph. iv.) These "gifts,"—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (or elders), and teachers—were Masters in the Lord's absence — "ambassadors for Christ ... in Christ's stead." But the time came wheniZ* descended again