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'minion of ever-ripening authority; the world,
* changed by the Word, as the living epistles speak
• it, bows its rank, and its intellect, and its pride, 1 before the feot of Jesus;—he reigns.'
Oh, that Mr. Punshon, with many other gifted preachers, would search the Scriptures, to see whether these things are so. We declare, most solemnly, that the Word of God is entirely opposed to such doctrine. Liet those who maintain it cite one singlo passage in its favour! The world will never accept the reign of Christ until the awful tribulation (Rev. iii. 10) has passed over it. The gospel has been preached for eighteen hundred years, yet the world is as much at enmity against God as when Christ died! Of course, we rejoice to know that an innumerable company have been rescued from it, and that thousands among the living have obtained salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. But these are no longer Of the world, though in it.
No wonder ministers of the Gospel look complacently upon the world, many, alas ! being ready to meet it more than half way, while they delude both themselves and their hearers with the hopo that preaching can change the world, though the Word says it is 'ruled by the Princo of the power of the air.' Our Lord declares Satan to be the 'Prince of this world.' How can preaching dethrone him? Christ must come forth, as he will, to overthrow the usurper, and put all enemies under his feet. 'What saith the Scripture?' 'There shall come in the Last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as from the beginning of the creation.' (2 Pet. ii 3, 4.)
While we are to go on with preaching/ to the conversion of those who believe, we are to look for the return of Christ himself. The world will become worse, not better, until He comes.
4. Sermon ly Mr. C. H. Spurgeon, "Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit," Jan. 22, 186.5.
Text—'And he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan slnnding at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the firo f Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood by him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thy iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them sot a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by."—Zech. iii. 1—6.
The preacher rightly tells us that Joshua is primarily the representative of the children of Israel, and that the action described sets forth the restoring grace of God, as afterwards to be manifested in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true, too, as he says, that we may very properly take Joshua as a type of all the people of God—first, in their natural condition of sin and faultiness—afterwards, clothed (not with the imputed righteousness of Christ, as Mr Spurgcon says, but) with Christ himself. He is * our righteousness '—we are ' accepted in' him.
The preacher then goes on to denounce, very properly, all who claim to be priests, as descendants of
the apostles, and all their pretensions to priestly power. All believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are by him made 'kings and priests to God.'
Then come some of Mr Spurgeon's sad mistakes He says—' Yet notice where it is that Joshua stands 'to minister; it is before the angel of Jehovah. You 'and I can never stand to minister before Moses, the 'Mediator, under the law ; much less before Jehovah 'himself, for even our God is a consuming fire.' Mr Spurgeon is wrong both in fact and deduction. While Joshua was clothed with his filthy rags the did indeed stand before the angol, who facing Joshua, was a screen betwoen him and God; but as soon as he was divinely clothed 'the angol of ho Lord Stood By.' So with the Christian believer; when he was in unbelief, and consequently in his sins, Christ stood between him and the Holy God. Through faith in the Saviour his defilements are removed—done away with—' the blood of Jesus Christ his (God's) Son cleanseth from All sin.' 'As Ho is so Are We In This Wobld.' This is far above the poor thoughts set forth above by Mr. Spurgeon. Who would not rather have the Word of God than that of man?
Again, the preacher, in setting forth Christian service, is just as contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture. He says, 'Gracious God, I bless thee, 'that I have not to present my sacrifice directly to 'thyself, else thou wouldst consume my sacrifice and 'me with the flames of thy wrath; but I present 'what I have before thy messenger, the angel of the 'covenant, the Lord Jesus, and through him my 'prayers find acceptance, wrapped up in his prayers; 'my praises become sweet as they are bound up with 'bundles of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia from 'Christ's own garden; then I own myself standing 'in him, am accepted in the beloved; and all my 'poor, defiled, polluted works, though in themselves 'only objects of divine abhorrence, are so accepted 'and received, that God smelleth a sweet savour. 'He is content and I am blessed.'
Let us contrast Scripture with the above.—'For by one offering he Math Perfected For Ever them that are sanctified... .And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more... .Having thereforo Boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated For Tjs, through the veil, that is to say his flesh; and having a high priest over the house of God; let us Draw Near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.' (Heb. x. 14, 17, 19, 20, 22.)
This is very different. The Christian is shown to bo perfect in Christ, and is accordingly invited into the holiest; and whenever he realises his standing by faith, he may 'draw near' boldly. Of course, if a Christian has sin upon his conscience, and has not confessed it, he cannot draw near with a true heart, and consequently cannot draw near at all. If we see a brother in such a case, let us remember that 'If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' We are thus consoled about him, and are confident that he will, sooner or later, be restored. Meanwhile, it is our duty to wait upon such an ono in love, and seek to wash his feet with the water of tho word. (John xiii. and xv. 8.) How grievous to hear a Christian talk such nonsense as that of having ' his prayers wrapped up in the prayers of Jesus.' Let Mr Spurgeon look at the words of his Lord—such, for instance, as John xvi. 23, 'Verily, vorily, I say unto you, Whatsoever Ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give you.' Again, 'I say not unto you that I will pray the Father; for the Father himself lovoth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.'
In page 52 of the sermon before us thero is much unscriptural teaching, but our space forbids any attempt at analyzation. In page 53 there is a happy conception put out.
But on turning over tho leaf we come to an assertion not at all in keeping with the Word of God. The preacher says, speaking of the temptations of Satan, 'Whenevor I get depressed in spirit, or the 'liver is out of order, or the head aches, then comes 1 the hissing serpent, "God has forsaken you; you 'are no child of God; you are unfaithful to your 'master; you have no part in the blood of sprink'ling,' and such like things. You old rascal! if 'you say as much as that to me in my days of • health, when my blood is leaping in my veins, I 'shall be more than a match for you,' &c,
This is grievous! So Mr Spurgeon has confidence in flesh and blood! Now we can understand our brother's many mistakes. How different is the 'Word.' 'Rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.' 'Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,' and so forth. We commend to any who heard or have read this sermon the passage at Eph. vi. 10—18. Let them contrast the language of inspiration with Mr Spurgeon's utterances to the prince of darkness.
At pp. 56, 57 we find a sorry dissertation on the advantages of Calvinism as compared with Arminianism. This is not preaching Christ; the Bible knows nothing about 'isms,' neither ought the followers of the Good Shepherd.
At the foot of p. 57 we find some forcible and well-chosen expressions by which Satan is answered as to the unsightly condition of 'the brand plucked from the fire.' Again, at p. 58, there is a happy description of the believer as accepted in Christ, but altogether inconsistent with, nay in contrast with, what the preacher had stated in the former part of the sermon. There is urgent need for Mr. Spurgeon's hearers and readers to 'prove all things.' i , ^
* And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Forbid him not; for he that is not against us is for us.' (Luke ix. 49, 60.
We have here a very important lesson; alas! how often forgotten by Christians. There is a tendency in us all to doum evoryono wrong 'that followeth not
with us,' and if we yield to the promptings of the old nature, we shall desire to forbid such to labour in the name of Jesus. Notwithstanding the above unmistakable injunction, believers have, ever since the church was founded, been seeking to put down those who 'followed not' with them.
If such an inclination or practice could ever be justified, surely it was when our Saviour was upon earth. There would seem, indeed, to have been something very defective in the one whom John found using the name of Jesus, without companying with those whom the Lord had called to follow Him. To forogo personal association with the acknowledged disciples of the Master, and apparently to stand apart from the Lord himself, would seem to human judgment most censurable, and the exercise of ministry under such circumstances quite out of place, and to be forbidden. Yet the Lord says, 'Forbid him not; for he that is not against us is for us.'
It is noticeable that he who had thus interfered was John the beloved. It might have been love for Jesus and jealousy for his name that thus guided the judgment of the disciple who was usually so quiet and gentle, and so glad to lean upon his Master. But however prompted, the judgment of even the most approved disciple must always prove a failure until he take the Lord for his counsellor. John's decision which seemed so sound, and which still commends itself to perhaps the majority of Christians, has to be absolutely reversed when submitted to heavenly wisdom. 'We forbad him,' says John, 'Forbid him not,' says the Lord.
How little did John expect such a reception of his report! he doubtless looked for a full approval from Jesus, or he would not have been so forward to recount the incident. May we meekly accept the lesson. We are called to 'patience' and 'longsuffering;' our plain duty is to refrain from interference with any who preach Christ. We may, in love and gentleness, point out, that personal 'fellowship with the Father and with his Son' is far above labour. But even in cases where there is the neglect of these higher teachings of the Holy Spirit, and there is a walking apart from the Lord, yet if they are working in the name of Jesus, 'Forbid not.'
Let any, however, who decline the personal guidance of Christ, and the fellowship of those who 'call upon the Lord out of a pure heart,' reflect that, though they are not forbidden to labour, they get ifo word of approval from the Master. Much less can he commend such as continue in association with hypocritical professors in these last days, 'having the form of godliness but denying the power thereof.' The Lord may permit such to go on in service, because His ' gifts and calling are without repentance.' He has, moreover, a right to their labours. But what says the Master of one who engaged in service without personal communion with himself and his disciples ?' Forbid not; for he that is hot against its is for us'! This is the best that can be said; such an one is not against us! We are not to expect— 'Well done, good and faithful servant' in such a case.
REPORTS OF SCRIPTURE MEETINGS. 'Search the Scriptures —(John v. 39.)
(rawstobne Meeting Room, No. 47, Rawstorne-street, Goswell
road, Wednesday, April 19, at half-past Seven.)'
John viii. 20—24.
'Jesus spoke these words in the treasury, as he taught in the temple.' It was remarked by a brother present, that, in the divinely-appointed place of gifts was God's gift, his only-begotten; but how little man valued the Gift and all He brought with him to give! He brought bread, and fed the multitude, but the multitude walk no more with him when he proceeds to speak heavenly wisdom; he brought light, and gave it to the man who had been blind from his birth, but the Jews put out of the synagogue all who admit him to be the light of the world ; he brought life, and raised Lazarus, and they were ready to send Lazarus back again to the dead; and at last they slew the gift himself,—all God's gifts in one! On this occasion he is giving wisdom, and they take up stones to cast at him!
1 Then said Jesus: I go my way.' Christ's way, "said a brother, was to the Cross, and thence to glory, whence the believer looks for him again, to take us to be with him in the glory. Yes, remarked another, Christ had first to taste of death, and abolish it for all them that believe.
'Ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins.' This 'seeking' for Jesus was supposed by one brother to indicate the posture of the Jewish nation, who still profess to look for the Messiah, but are, like their forefathers, who rejected the Nazarene, dying in their sins. An enquirer wished to see how the text 'Seek and ye shall find ' could be reconciled with this passage ; to which a brother remarked that where seeking was done in faith and according to knowledge, (i.e. God's Word) it would be blessed, but where it was prompted by ungodly fear or was flowing in an unscriptural direction, no blessing was to be expected. 'When once the master is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without and knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us: he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence you are.' This no doubt expresses the 'seeking ' of those who, when the Lord has taken his church up from the earth, are left behind to ' the tribulation which shall come upon all the world to try them ^that dwell upon the earth.' (Rev. iii. 10.) The same 'brother considered that when truth has been thrust before a man, as it was before these Jews, he might afterwards 'seek ' in fear, not in faith, and die in his sins.
A remark was made that it was difficult to define faith. Faith is the reception of Christ into the heart, and these scriptures were referred to as tests—' Faith worketh by love,' ' We love Him because He first loved us.' Therefore if we love Christ we may be sure that we believe in Him and are saved by him.
'Ye cannot come.' Dying in their sins, it is impossible for the unbelieving to stand in the presence of the Holy One.
The conversation then diverged from the subject in hand to a very useful gathering up of the light of Scripture on the power of Satan over all who continue to walk according to the flesh, and his extreme vigilance and subtlety in attempting to hinder the work of grace in the Christian.
(union Hall, St. John's-square, Clerkenwell. Lord's Day Evening, April 23, 1863.
The Christian meeting held here eaeh Lord's day evening has at present under consideration the epistle to the
* Meetings for the spiritual investigation of the Scriptures are also held at the above room each Saturday evening at Half-past 7 o'clock, and each Lord's Day Afternoon at 3 o'clock. We shall be glad to hear of and report other Scripture Meetings conducted on the principles laid down in the answer to our Correspondent, "James J. J., Crewe."
Hebrews, the portion on the above-named occasion being Heb. iv. 11—16. It was observed that there were three kinds of rest for the believer. First, the rest given to him in salvation. Secondly, the rest obtained by taking the yoke of Christ. Thirdly, the heavenly rest reserved for him in the Father's house. That which is presented in this fourth chapter of Hebrews is the second-named condition of rest, which the believer is exhorted to labour to enter into, words which seem to involve a contradiction. But the truth is that in bearing the yoke and burden of Christ (thus labouring) we are enabled to enter more and more fully into God's thoughts about real rest—nay, more, wo participate in the enjoyment of God's rest—' For he that is entered into his (God's) rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.' The believer ceases from all those works which self originates, and rests in the finished work of Christ, realising God as working in him to will and to do, and himself as but an instrument.
'Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.' The believer ought not to seem to come short of it.
The meeting proceeded to consider the important verses which follow, but pressure upon our space renders us unable to give more than this very inadequate notice.
COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL BY
(Written expressly for this publication.)
In the Gospel given us through tho instrumentality of the 'disciple whom Jesus loved,' thero are strongly-marked characteristics which attract the spiritual Christian to a frequent perusal of its pages. Its grand themes aro Light, Love, and Truth. These are seen in the person of Christ as woll as expressed in his doctrines. This sacred narrative also gives preeminently a constant manifestation of the power, as well as the grace, of God, shining forth in his Beloved Son.
But there is also a special difference between John's Gospel and those written by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In these last three the stream of Salvation is, as it were, point up until after the actual crucifixion of Christ, whereas in tho book before us, the broad River of Life flows out from the third chapter to 'whoever will.' John gives us at the beginning of our Lord's ministry his teachings based upon aceomplisfxd redemption, as though he had actually suffered for sin. This is not so in the other Gospels. In Luke xii. 50, for instance, we hear the Lord saying ' I have a baptism to bo baptised with, and how am I straitened until it bo accomplished.'
The Disciple whose joy it was to loan on the Saviour's breast seems to havo been drinking in the deepest spiritual truths, while the others were more taken up with tho wonderful works of Christ and His doalings with tho Jews in the then state of things. Doubtless John went very much with tho others whilo events were in progress. But afterwards, when writing an account of those occurrences and doctrines which impressed themselves most deeply upon his own soul, ho shows us how that the Lord, from tho very outset of his ministry, taught that the lifting up of tho Son of Man on the Cross would bring Salvation to all who should believe in Him. He records to our great joy that the Saviour himself brought in tho Stream of Mercy, which God was free to extend only as a consequence of tho work of the Cross, though that work was not in fact accomplished, until tho end of His course. Enough that Christ had said,' A body thou hast prepared me, Lo, I come to do thy will, 0 God.' This work was done; it was determined in tho counsels of God ; and the Lord acted upon his predetermined sacrifice making the promise as effectual as though the cup of wrath had been drunk. 'He had power on earth to forgive Sins.' Bearing this in mind, let us open the first chapter, and may wo meekly learn of tho Holy Spirit.
Vcr. 1, 2.—' In tho beginning was the Word, and tho Word wits with God, and tho Word was God; tho same was in tho boginning with God.' What a mysterious commencement! To mere reason it ia quite unintelligible. The spiritual mind, however, discerns tho profound truth, that Christ, who is hero epoken of as tho ' Word,' was the expression of God before he camo in tho likeness of men; just as, when he 'was made flesh and dwelt among us,' ho was manifested as 'the brightness of tho Father's glory, and the express image of his person,' and 'upholding all things by tho word of his power.' Wo are, therefore, taken back to 'the beginning' of the time whsn the Creator said ' Let there bo light, and there was light.' It was Christ, tho ' Word,' who was the utterance of Almighty Power. 'God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom ho hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also ho made the worlds.' This exactly accords with what follows:—
3. 'All things were made by him (Christ), and without him was not anything made that was made.' Wo are thus his creatures, every one of us, and owe him obedience and worship.
4. 'In him was life, and the life was tho light of men.' He was and is the sourco and fountain of lifo and light. Hitherto, howovcr, the world hud not known him. Hence tho world was in spiritual darkness.
5. 'And the light sliineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.' Christ the expression of God, and the Bon of God, had at the first brought life and light into the world. Satan had introduced darkness and death. Since the transgression of Adam in Paradise, God had made himself known ' at sundry times and in divers manners'—but the world had continued to listen to tho seductions of Satan, disregarding the testimonies of God; so that when God determined to make himself fully known—he came into a scene of darkneBS, deep spiritual darkness, and the darkness comprehended him not.
6. 'There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.' (This name signifies the grace, gift, or mercy of the Lord.)
7. 'The same camo for a witness, to bear witness of the Light (i. e. Christ), that all through him Might believe.' Tho mission of John signified that God's mercy was ready to flow out;—Christ was tho manifestation of that mercy. The messenger sent before him had to announce and point out the promised gift. Ho was sent to bear witness of tho Light.
9. 'That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' Ihis is a solemn fact. The natural light, which lighteth every man that comoth into the world, is of Christ. Every kind of light is derived from Him. Yet we find thousands who have come under the sound of tho gospel, preferring what they call 'light of nature' (by which they moan, their own reason)—and ignoring Christ, attempting to approach God without Him. To reject the Christ of God, is to reject the Light of God, and God cannot be approached by those who abide in darkness. Just what tho sun which shineth by day is to tho natural man, Christ the Son of God is to the Spiritual man. The sunlight enables us to walk safely. By its aid also we contemplate and understand the works of God as seen in naturo ; so it is with Christ and those who live by Faith. But one who is born blind does not understand the glorious effects of sunlight. You may describe them to him but he does not comprehend your meaning. Thus it is with tho Soul of Man—Ho is born with his spiritual eyes closed. The light shines but he sees it not; he hears of its wonderful effects in the souls of others, but heeds not. Yet if he will'only believe in the ' true Light,' his eyes are immediately opened; ho sees, and glorifies God. But the very sunlight which cheers and blesses tho natural man, is of Christ. The sun which shines in in the heavens, is but an instrument for diffusing heat and light. It was called into being and is maintained by the Son of God. 'That was^tho true light' (Christ 'the Word') 'which lighteth every man that comoth into the world.' It is Ho who by the instrumentality of the heavenly body gives light to every man.
10. ' He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.' Sin had so thoroughly marred God's creation, Satan had so completely estranged the hearts of his creatures—that when the Son of God, tho veritable Creator, stooped, in wondrous grace, to man's estate— 'the world knew him not.'
^ 11. * He came unto his own, and his own received him not.' J\ot only did tho world at largo reject him, but God's chosen
people Israel did the same—the nation which God had selected to be his own peculiar people, to whom ho had given blessings innumerable, to whom he had made himself known, to whom he had revealed his counsels, to whom he had promised tho Messiah, foretelling them of his birth, lifo, and death. In ovory respect, as to his rights over thom, they were his ; but when ho came to his own they ' received him not.' Of course, as wo have said, he had an absolute claim to all creation. The world was his own, and was responsible to receive him. The poople of Israel were, however, pre-eminently his; but neither the world nor Israel would have him—' His own received him not.'
12. 'But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.' Though neither the world nor the nation received Him, individuals did. Neither the world nor the nation are in tho least altered; to this day they refuse to receive him. But Ho whom the Masses reject, individuals receive. While tho multitudes aro hurrying down the broad road, refusing the true light, and hasting into tho blackness of darkness for over, the few, comparatively, (though in the aggregate an innumerable company,) are taking sides with the rejected Christ.
'To them gavo he'—and to them gives he—' power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.' What an amazing truth' power given to become sons of God! And the qualifications on our part? Belief in the name of Jesus, Son of God! Children of wrath have power given them to become sons of God! Tho power given by Jesus, through faith in His name!
13. 'Which wore born, not of blood, nor of the will of tho flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.' It was not that men willed to be re-created in holiness, but that God willed to recreate them. Flesh, (i. e. tho natural man) had become thoroughly corrupt in its desires, and any spontaneous manifestation of its will was, and is, always oxereised in enmity to God. It was 'not that we loved him, but that Ho loved us.' That which God demands from tho natural man is acquiescence. God gives His gift, His own dear Son, His agent of Mercy. Will man have Him? True, tho natural man requires a new birth. Christ will take care of that, provided only the man will receivo Him by Faith.
(To be continued, 1).Y.)
'If we say we have no sin wo deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.' (1 John i. 8.)
'Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remainoth in him: and ho cannot sin, because he is born of God.' (1 John iii. 9.)
None but those who are taught of the Spirit can hope to understand how it is possible for these two Scriptures to apply to the same persons. Can it be true that if 'we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,' and yet that, being born of God, we do 'not commit sin'? Yes, indeed, it is assuredly true of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Christian ought to see clearly that he is a double person—(we use such an expression because of the iniperfectness of human language). As being still in a body of sin and corruption, he has a depraved nature; yet as to his standing before God, all that is abolished. Through faith in Christ he is dead to sin, and stands in resurrection-life 'accepted In the Beloved;' and, in truth, only waits the visible manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ, when he will be instantly changed into his likeness, as we learn in the same epistle—' We know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.' (1 John iii. 2.) This fact is true* to faith even now—to sec Jesus is to be like him—whenever we see Jesus with tho eyo of faith we are like him, Then it will be absolutely, gloriously, for ever true—'We shall be like him.' 'He will change these vile bodies, and fashion them like unto his glorious body.'
But in his experience in everyday life the believer is prone to forget his standing in grace—to lose sight of the fact that his is a heavenly, not an earthly citizenship—that here he is only a stranger and a pilgrim. Then the old corrupt nature gets the upper hand, the dead thing is resuscitated, the new nature is hindered, the spirit groans. Now God, who abounds towards us in all wisdom and prudence, as well as love, sees well, for the trial of our faith, to leave us awhile in this double condition of being. He would have us, by watchfulness, prayer, and self-denial to keep down the dead thing—to mortify the body, and thus let the new nature always triumph. The true believer is, however, ready to own, when in the light of God's presence, that he has failed, has sinned; and this brings in the way by which he gets rid of hi9 burden. Thus, the Holy Spirit, by the ApoBtle John, after telling us that' if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,' immediately adds, 'If we confess our sins he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' This is not so much a fresh forgiveness as a re-assurance of it, for the same chapter, ver. 7, has previously assured us that 'the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from All sin.' The full efficacy of this we had as soon as we received 'the Word of life.' Of this we are abundantly assured in many Scriptures.
Thus, the true Christian is a forgiven, cleansed, justified, adopted child of God, and having had imparted to him a divine nature (2 Pet. i. 4), being born of God, he cannot commit sin, as stated in the second text under consideration. Yet the old man, or old nature, being left, it is equally correct to speak of the individual as a sinner. For though, as we have seen, he is a double person, he is also an unit. The Christian as an entity does sin and feels all the sorrow consequent upon it, until he gets into the presence of God by faith and confesses his sins, whereupon he gets a renewal of forgiveness and a cleansing from all unrighteousness. But the Christian as born of God does not commit sin; his new (divine) nature has no part in the sinfulness and failures of the man, though it groans under the weight of them; and so far from evading the responsibility, it is by the promptings of the new naturo only that the individual is ready to confess to God.
THE CITY OF CONFUSION,
(Isaiah xxiv. 10.)
A Faithful Wobd For Christians.
(Continued from our lust.) It is because this grand and consoling fact—the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter—is not believed, that tho Scriptures are so little understood. How can we seek the guidance of God's Holy 8pirit—how is it possible to expect it— if we start with unbelief ia his declared presence P Oh, that Christians would rely upon tho precious assurances of tho Lord Jesus Christ! Look at his words—' But the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall
teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.' Again, 'Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear shall he speak, and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.'— (John xvi. 13, 14, 15.)
, Beloved, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, is come, and he is ready to guide you into all truth; will you accept his guidance f Alas! instead of praying for this, Christians are continually crying to God to send his Holy Spirit! What should we say of a disciple who, when the Lord Jesus Christ was upon earth, had prayed to God to tend his Son to save us? Yotthia is precisely a parallol to the prayer of the Christian who now asks God to sond the Holy Ghost! Need we say that this unfaithfulness does not drive God's Holy Spirit away from us? No; 'Ho is faithful,' though Christians so sadly fail, lie it is by whom every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is kept in perfect security, as to the ultimate safety of his soul, 'until tho redemption of the purchased possession.'
Do you ask what you lose by disbelieving the Spirit's presence in all who believe? We answer—the fulfilment of those gracious promises of our Lord which we have already quoted from St. John's Gospel; and more than that. Look at what is stated in 1 John iv. 17: 'Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; bocauso as He is, so are We In This World." Dear Christian Reader, Do not expect to understand this, or to experience the comforting presence of the Comfohteh—expoct not to be guided into All truth, if you deny that the Holy Spirit is in you. 'We walk by Faith, not by sight.' Faith only can realise the blessings of communion while wo remain on earth. Would you know more of Christ and the blessings he has prepared for you? would you enjoy the fullest foretasto of* the precious fruits of the neavonly Canaan ?—own the positive indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and be in subjection to Him.
Wo have shown clearly by the Word of God that every believer ought to realiso the assurance that 'God for Christ's sake hath forgiven' him. (Gph. iv. 32.) This is absolutely true. Tho precious blood of Christ has brought the believer perfect pardon, and perfect cleansing from All sin. Yet there is a kind of forgiveness we need daily. Because we dwell in bodies of sin, and have dooeitful hearts, and are tempted of the devil, we get defiled by the way—we sin. 'If we say we have no sin we docoive ourselves, and tho truth is not in us.' (1 John i. 8.}
Now, mark, what is the Divine remedy for this condition of things. Are we sent back to tho cross, as is generally taught P Nay, the blood of Jesus Christ brings pardon at Once and for Eveh!' What saith the Scripture r" Do let that decide us. Pray read the verse next to the one quoted above; 'If wo Confess our sins, ho is faithful and just to forgivo us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'
Do remember this, dear Christian reader, and Act upon it— You are a child of God, having all the privileges and all the blessings of a child; you will never lose your sonship, for you are held secure by God's Holy Spirit. Thereforo, when you have erred, go and freely and fully confess to your heavenly Father whatever you have done, said, or thought, which you know to be contrary to his mind. In seeking to do this, thero may be need of much contrition—much breaking down of tho natural will, and if you have acted wilfully there will be sorrow when you remember you have grieved the Spirit of God. But your God and Father is not only loving and kind; He is faithful and just to forgivo when you confess. Yes, you may, as a believer in Christ, plead the very justice of God as the ground of your forgiveness. But remember, you are dealing with God, who is holy, and knows tho thoughts of the heart! How different is this divine provision to general and formal confessions of sinfulness as practised by professing churches! Look at tho words which one sect puts into tho mouths of those who follow its guidance: such as—' Oh, holy, blessed, and 'glorious Trinity, three persons and ono God; have mercy 'upon us, miserable sinners.' 'Remember not, Lord, our