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KAHAB, TEE HAELOT.
Theologians of the Schools—such as seek to make Scripture conformable to their thoughts of propriety and the traditions of men—are sorely puzzled
.about Rahab, the Harlot. A woman of the most depraved character, a harlot, and of a nation of
.idolaters,—one who, moreover, in the very act of screening the messengers of Joshua, manifests such a
lack of moral rectitude as to utter repeated false
'hood for the sake of misleading the pursuers! Such is the person whose faith is presented to us as a bright example, both in the Epistle to the Hebrews and the general Epistle of James.
How can these things be? says the Reasoner. Surely, exclaims one, God's moral law was suspended in favour of Rahab! Doubtless, remarks another, this woman had been a harlot, but must have forsaken that course of life before receiving the messengers! These, and such like speculations, are seriously propounded by men who take a foremost place as christian teachers!
Yet the truth is very simple. What saith the scripture?
"By Faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that bclievid not, when sho had received tho spies with peace."— Heb. xi. 31.
"Was not Rahab, the harlot, justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and hud sent them out another way P For as tho body without the spirit is dead, so faith, without works is dead also."—Jas. ii. 25, 26.
The point to recognise is Faith !—faith manifested in works. In Rahab's case, it was not a mere profession of belief in God; Her's was a living faith. What she did, was proof of what she believed. She made full confession of faith, too; and her testimony proves that she was indeed actuated by faith only, in protecting God's people. Look at the narrative. This is what she believed :—
"Sho said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that tho torror of yon is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of tho land faint because of you. For we have hoard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what yo did unto the two kings of the Amorites that were on tho other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom yo utterly destroyed. And as Boon as we bad heard, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you; for the Lord your God, he is Ood in heaven above, and in earth beneath."—Joshua xi. 9 — 11.
This was precious testimony; but something had to be done: and the harlot's faith was equal to the occasion. While her countrymen were seeking to oppose God's purposes, she not only bowed in faith, but did all she could, in active accordance with the designs of the Lord.
She was a great sinner; but she believed God, and made her faith manifest by her works. Thus she obtained salvation. Her immorality never comes in question. Nor is it ever palliated ; on the contrary, in every Scripture where she is referred to, her vile calling is distinctly set forth. It is always— Rahab, the Harlot. Why is thus? Is it not evidenco of the most powerful kind, that faith obtains
salvation in spite of sin? that God accepts living faith without first requiring a change in the character of the believer? After salvation is given, God does, indeed, look for conformity to his mind in all respects. That is quite another thing. What Rahab's history shows us is—that faith brings a sinner to God, just as she is, without any stipulations whatever. It is so with the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ now. If there be real faith, we shall see evidence of it; "by their fruits ye shall know them." But salvation is given to the believer as a free gift, however vile a sinner he may be, without any conditions either as to present or future conformity. Hence the need of so many instructions and exhortations in the word of God to the believer. Faith is very ignorant, and has to be taught of God. Faith, has, however, wonderful perception as to the fitting way in which to manifest itself to God. But the person who has faith may perhaps have such dull moral perceptions, in consequence of a life of sin, as not to perceive very quickly the divine call to rectitude.
Thus it was with Rahab. She lied to the pursuers; the lies came readily to her lips—there seems to have been no hesitancy, no struggle. Morality was dead in her, but Faith was alive. This is the thing to note—the triumph of faith!
BAPTISM AND BKETHEENISM.
"Mnason" writes as follows:—
"Of the many rightminded Christians who witness and deplore the divisions which exist and mar the testimony of '' the Brethren," but few have had the opportunity of tracing these sorrowful results to their real causes. Respecting Baptism, from the very firBt there has been division in the camp. This was early felt to bo a hindrance to a visible expression of unity, and in order to meet the difficulty a compromise was made. . . Think of the demoralising effects of such a compromise, and the inevitable and often unconscious duplicity of spirit it engenders. . ."
Our correspondent then adds a very able and conclusive argument against infant baptism, showing that those who contend for its sufficiency, do of necessity deny the need of faith in the members of the Body of Christ!!" Mnason " remarks—
"If a servant of God baptize, without either command or example in the word of God, the infants of parents, one of whom, at least, is christian—does he baptize on the faith of the parent or without it? which f If he reply, on tho faith of the parent, then here is a soul, on his theory, introduced into tho Church or Body of Christ on the faith of another. But if he say, without faith—then, according to this view, here is a soul introduced into the Church, or Body, without any faith at all 1 Why, then, preach the Gospel t"
We await a further communication, as promised.
"Thou Shalt Call His Namb Jesus."—We love to associate the voluntary humiliation of the Son of God, with the sweet name, Jksus. For our sakes he became a babe and bore an earthly name;—or, let e.ich believer say, for my sako!
"Tlu re is a name I love to bear,
I love to sing its worth;
The sweetest namo on earth."
GOING INTO COURT WITH A BAD CAUSE.
All who know anything of proceedings in courts of law, are aware that many a case is brought before the judges of the land, respecting which it is well known beforehand what their decision will be. Persons sometimes insist upon defending cases which are utterly hopeless. Any one having a knowledge of law would have settled the question for them, by simply stating what the law requires. But in defiance of advice and warning, such persons persist in standing before the judgment seat, and bring upon themselves inevitable shame and humiliation. Greater folly than this, is, however, committed by those who call themselves Christians, without having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Judge of all the earth has pronounced beforehand His judgment about mankind. The Lord has declared in his word that the result is the same, whether judged by the law of conscience or the law given by Moses:—
"That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God." (Rom. iii. 19.)
This is the solemn truth. Our natural condition is, that of being already under judgment, waiting to be cast into outer darkness, because we are sinners. Scripture presents the case thus,—
"Without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." (Eph. ii. 12.)
In spite of this clear revelation, men persist in thinking they have a good case, with which to stand before the Judge! They will trust themselves and their doings. They go to church or chapel, sing hymns, repeat forms of prayer, listen to long sermons, and persuade themselves that God will accept them for their religiousness! From time to time they have fearful misgivings that all is not well with them ; but they shut their eyes to such unwelcome declarations as we have quoted from the scriptures, soothe their souls to sleep again, go on hoping they will attain to holiness and heaven at last, and—die in their sins.
Is there no remedy? Yes, indeed, there is. The Lord says, tl I have found a ransom." Many submit to the just sentence of God about sins, and gladly accept the terms of the ransom. Yes, all who receive God's truth, and bow in faith, owning, as Saviour and Lord, Him whom the world rejects, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God—these are the ransomed ones, redeemed by blood, the precious blood of Christ. Doomed they were, like the rest; by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Nothing less than the sacrifice of Christ could save them. But this atonement is of sufficient worth to ransom all mankind, if all would but trust in Him.
Are any of our readers among those who are not wholly trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation? In vain you say, you believe he is the Saviour of sinners, if you are depending in any measure upon your own religiousness for salvation. Forgiveness and life eternal are extended to those only who heart and soul, trust ia Jesus. We pray you be warn ed in
time. Do not go into court with a hopeless case. Do you really believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? This is the one momentous question upon which everything hinges as to eternal happiness or misery.
"He that believeth on him is not condemned : but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John
Think, oh, think, of that solemn word in Heb. ii. 3.—
"How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?"
At the present time, perhaps more than ever, it behooves Christians to consider the addresses sent to the Seven Churches of Asia. (See Rev. ii. and iii.) When those epistles were first delivered through John the beloved, it is pretty evident there was but one Church in each place named. Sectarian division had not yet been established. Each Church is therefore admonished according to its general charncl eristics of declension, apostacy, admixture, falsity, deadness, faithfulness, worldliness. But he that hath an ear to hear, is to hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches. Thus we see, each individual believer is expected to take up all the admonitions, warnings, and encouragements sent.
In contrast with that which existed when John wrote, namely, an undivided Church in each place—thoughtful Christians are now bewildered by the claims of a variety of Sects, most of them in measure guided by the Word of God, but overruled by traditions and arrangements of their own, the result of confused thoughts about Divine order and the speciality of the present dispensation. Now any faithful enquirer, simply desirous of conforming to the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ, (especially if such an one be waiting for the Coming of the Lord,) eon scarcely fail to detect which of the Seven Churches is most approved by the Master. Then comes the question, Am I in that condition of things? In vain he examines the various denominations to find the characteristics which meet with Divine approval, discerned in the address to Philadelphia, In Popery, he sees the worst features of Pergamos and Thyatira. In Anglicism, a fusion of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, and Laodicea. In almost all other denominations, with great variety of shades, amalgams of Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea, with a slight admixture of Smyrna. Of all the Sects, the Plymouth Brethren are nearest to the standing of Philadelphia, but tainted with the failures of Ephesus and Laodicea.
Dear Reader, Why should you not stand on clear Fhiladelphian ground? Listen to the Message to that Church—' 'I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and Hast Kept My Word, and hast
NOTnENlED MY NAME . . Because THOU HAST KEPT THE WORD
Op MY Patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the face of the earth. Behold, I come quickly ; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."—Rev. iii. 8, 10, 11.
These are precious words sent from the Lord Jesus Christ after his glorious Ascension. Addressed originally to the Church at Philadelphia, they are for any Assembly of Believers which maintains personal faithfulness to Jesus Christ and his Word as their one object How different are the messages to the Churches of Sardis and Laodicea in the same chapter 1 to the former, (having a name to live but dead) the Lord threatens to come as a thief, unwelcomely taking them by surprise. While of the latter he says, he will reject it with loathing and abhorrence: "Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will 6pue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." This is a fearful warning to religionists who are not in "the faith."
But let us return to the address to the faithful church. There are two or three points to which we wish to direct the attention of all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity."
Let us assume that two or three Christians wish to be in the attitude of the Church which was in Philadelphia; and resolve, by the grace of God, having carefully waited upon him in prayer, to be nothing but Christians. On coming together there should be much prayer and earnest study of the New Testament Scriptures (consideration of Old Testament truth should follow later; otherwise the remarkable character of the present dispensation may not be
Been Bo clearly.) After awhile, the "two or three" will begin to Beo the true, simple, Scriptural structure of an assembly of believers or Church. We may anticipate their deliberations, and the resultB of them, as follows:
I. As to the Ruling and Guidance of Christ by his Word and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost, given to every believer, is the Active guide of all who submit to his sway. Our Lord leads or guides, but it is by the Holy Spirit. He said before he suffered, wheu promising this priceless gilt—" When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, Me will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me, for he shall receive of Mine, and shall show unto you."—John xvi. 13, 14.
The Lord rules by the written Word, the Scriptures. Ho guides by the Holy Spirit. Thus our gracious God has perfectly provided for us. But—
II. To experience the blessing of this divine provision, Faith must be active. It is in vain for us to say we believe in the sufficiency of the Word and the Spirit if we practically set aside their rule of guidance. That which is written in the Scriptures we should conform to, and the leading of the Holy Spirit wo should seek and follow. True Christian life cannot be separated from these influences. They should pervade private life as well as thu services of assembled believers. But with respect to the latter, our Lord when speaking of the Church, or glorious Assembly, [church simply means assembly,] which he was about to build, tays *' Where two or three are gathered together in my name There Am I in the midst of them." (Matt, xviii. 20.) We are to be content with this fact as the foundation blessing,—namely, Christ in our midst when assembled in his name. We are to accept this, not as a mere theory or doctrine, to read about and pass over, but when met in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our faith must own—"he is there." The result will be, that in all our doings we shall seek to be subject to Him. Does one desire to give out a hymn of praise? it should be his joy first to pray inwardly (in spirit) for permission and guidance j and so with respect to everything done in the assembly.
III. Then there comes for consideration another thing. Our Lord Jesus Christ says—" If ye love me keep my commandments." Now the Lord's first commandment to the believer is—" Bo Baptised." (Mark xvi.) His first and only command to the unconverted is—" Believe in Me." In sending forth his Gospel messengers, the Lord puts the two things together; he says— "Breach and Baptize." But it is only to those who hear and believe that the preacher enn say—" Be Baptized." "Ho that believeth and is baptized shall bo saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned."* Baptism is our Lord's first command laid on tho believer." And, in a certain sense, a Christian is not left to his choice in the matter, because the Lord says to his servants—" Baptize." After Peter had preached to Cornelius and his household, and they believed, " He commanded them to be baptised." Of courso there are thousands of Christians who never do submit to this ordinance, but it is generally through false teachers or blind guides who themslves do not submit. All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are saved. There is no doubt about the salvation of unbaptized believers. It is wholly a question of faithfulness to him, who has bought us with his own precious blood. Bo we desire to be obedient to him P That is the question. *'If ye love mo keepmy commandments." "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." These are tho Master's words.
Prom the timo our Lord, after his resurrection, sent forth his servants to preach and baptize, baptism is always presented in Scripture as administered before receiving the beliovcr into the church or assembly, to possess the privileges of its members. "Then they that gladly received his word were Bai-tized ; and the same day there were added about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the Apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts ii. 41, 42.) Here then is the church, as the Lord set it up. Believers are first baptised; they are then henceforth an assembly of worshippers, receiving and exercising ministry, and celebrating the Lord's Supper.
IV. Though looking for obedience to be shown by baptism, it is not justifiable to use the term "Baptist" for a sectarian purpose. Moreover, we see clearly that sectarian assemblies cannot be built upon the Lord's simple model. Christians have
* Any inquiring believer may obtain a full explanation respecting the significance of baptism by consulting a small pamphlet "Baptism, its Place and Meaning." (Job Caudwell, 335, Strand. Price id.)
no right to mark themselves off by different denominations. It matters not whether they make doctrine or personal ministry the ground of sectarian difference. It is totally wrong. Look at the Lord's word by Paul to the Corinthians—" Now, I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the sain e tliinp, and that there be No divisions among you... everyone of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and" I of Christ. Is Christ divided'( was Paul crucified tor your1 or wire ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Cor. i. 10, 12, "IS.) This is conclusive. Nothing can justify the adoption of any other name than that of Christian. Those who would bo faithful must stand apart from those who are unfaithful. This is a rule laid du wn in Scripture, tho adoption of which makes our path plain.
V. What results from taking this ground? We can hold communion with all believers who are content to meet as such. At Scripture and prayer meetings Christians may be received without question. Ignore their sectarianism, and gladly meet theai as brethren and sisters in the Lord. But in coming together as a Church, owning the Lord's presence in our midst, we must entreat those who sock fellowship to be obedient to hiB commands. For wo understand by fellowship,—true community of interest—where there is one Lord, one united love towards Him, and a practical recognition ot His new commandment. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. As I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John xiii. 34-^35.
Do not be persuaded, dear christian reader, that this is impossible. Do not listen to those of whom we are prophetically warned as characteiizing the last days, "having the form of godliness, but Denying the power thereof : from such turn away." 2 Tim. iii. 5.
In conclusion, we do not invito Christians to a hasty adoption of that which is here presented. There should bo earnest prayer for guidance and wisdom. Pray the Lord to open the door. Pray that those who put their hand to the plough may not look back. There must be the spirit of self-sacrifice. What is done must be done in faith, with a single eye to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let it never be forgotten that from time to time, as efforts have been made, either by individuals or by sections of the Church, to get back to Scriptural standing, shipwreck has almost invariably been made through personal ambition. Christians havo abundant cause to feel greatly humbled by all their failures; and such as would be faithful now must be humble. We believe that Meetings numbering from about 20 to 40 will be far happier, more faithful to ono another and to the Lord than where 200 meet together. Yet circumstances diner. The Lord must be our counsellor in every case. We cannot have rules. With the written word in our hands, the Holy Spirit to guide, and Jesus in the midst, ministry, in the way of preaching, need have but secondary place. Spiritual teachers however are to be attended, the Lord's gifts in them to b» recognised, and his name to be praised for all such. But those who are ordained by our Lord to ministry, must remember his rule—the greatest is to bo servant of all. Anything like dictatorship on tho part of such must not be thought of. Let the most gifted be the meekest in walk and conversation. Let there be nothing like confederacy. Let all bonds of union be of the Lord's providing.
BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS SENT US.
"The Temptations and Sympathy of Christ "—(8 pp. One penny, E. Allen, 31, Edgware-road)—Contains some »ery happy thoughts respecting divine sympathy, and under what conditions we are to expect it. It is calculated to help the spiritually-minded Christian.
"Baptism, a Point of Practice and a Sign in Theology"—(18 pp. Two pence, W. Yapp, 4, Old Cavendish-street)—presents the truth on this subject, but would be better for a little more fervour. "It is good to be zealously affected always in good."
"On the Qualifications for Religious Enquiry "—(20 pp. Tltree pence, J. Nisbet and Co)—Shows the incapability of the carnal mind to j udgc of the inspired word.
"On the Imprecatory Psalms—their dispensational place and value " (23 pp. Two pence, J. Nisbet and Co)—Calculated to be very helpful to Christians generally.
"The nature and constitution of a Christian Church—(11 ppWilkins and Ellis, Derby. W. H. Brown, 34, Paternoster-row) —Ably contrasts the truth of Scripture with the traditions of men.
"The Armourer"—A monthly Protestant publication.—The Editor is fighting an earthly warfare with carnal weapons 1 tie has much zeal, but it is not according to knowledge. May he be led to consider Col. iii. 3, and Heb. xiii. 13, 14. It would be a happy thing if one so earnest should be led to see the mind of God respecting this dispensation,—how that believers in Christ are not of the world—that they are here only as strangers and pilgrims, having nothing to do with governments, save to submit to them as "the powers that be."
"Spiritual Worship, a lay discourse "—(61 pp. R. Hardwicke, 192, Piccadilly)—A powerful, because Scriptural exposition of the errors of ritualism, official priesthood, and earthly temples. These things are faithfully contrasted with true spiritual worship.
Received.—"Beware of false prophets."
OUR CORRESPONDENTS AND OURSELVES.
FAITH, ITS SOURCE AND ORIGIN.
W. B. S., London.—We heartily thank you for your letter, and bless God for the sweet Christian spirit manifested therein. Respecting Eph. ii. 8, bear with us if we state again our clear conviction that the argument of this scripture is "Ye are saved by God's grace—it is all of Him, and not of yourselves—it is through faith, which has no merit or deserving in itself—not of works, which would imply morit, lest any man should boast." This rendering is consistent with all scripture. Look at Eph. i. 12, 13—" That wo should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ. In whom yo also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also after that ye believed, ye wero sealed with that Holy
Spirit of promise." Consider what faith or belief is. It is
not an act, as you seem to suppose. In itself it is quite passive, though when genuine it always leads to action. In faith itself there is no manifestations of will. It is little, if anything, more than a cessation from resistance. God proclaims, by his servants, the word of life, the gospel of Salvation. There is wonderful power in that word, far beyond our comprehension. Yet some resist it and die in their sins: others resist a long time but are broken down by it at last; others gladly receive it at once. What said our blessed Lord on this subject? "When anyone heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth not, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy reeeiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for awhile: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns, is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world and the deoeitfulness of riches, choke tho word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the word and nnderstandeth; whioh also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." (Matt. xiii. 19—23.) There is nothing hore to support the theory of faith being given;—on the contrary, we are shown that where faith does not spring up, it is because of hindrance arising from Satan, the fear of man and the world, with its cares and
riches. Your quotation from Psalm ex. 3, does not admit
of the forced construction put upon it. The original does not even say shall be willing, but " Thy people willing in tho day of thy power." "Thy people will bo willing" is just as true a translation. But even admitting the shall be, it is merely a prophetic declaration. Tho reason why they shall be willing is clearly given in the context, so that we are not left to our own speculations about it, "The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power," &c. This is it:—The Israelites will be willing when they see Jesus. Now they are unwilling because he offers himself only by testimony to faith. "Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus camo. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord, But he said unto them,
except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." This is in effect what the Jews say now. How did Jesus deal with Thomas i He presented himself to him and said, "Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust into my side, and be not faithless but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God." Thus will it be with Israel. We cannot finish without giving the Lord's comment on the above. "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed
are they that have not seen, and have believed." Respecting
John vi. 44, see our letter to Mr Parks, M.A., of Openshaw; see also our reply to W. Shorter. We shall be glad to hear from you again if you demur to what we have stated.
W. Shorter, Notting-hill.—We gladly own the gracious spirit in which you reply to us, and willingly examine all you urge. With respect to the answer we gave to your former question No. 1, we have only further to remark, that just as what you call historicalevidence has the effect of eliciting belief or unbelief, about the ordinary affairs of the world,—so the testimony of the word of God operates upon the Soul. It is quite as foolish to say that belief is given in the one case as the other. We do not ask you to take our dictum for this—What saith the Scripture ?" Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." The proper translation from the Greek, viz: "The faith cometh by hearing," &c, is even more forcible. Why not accept such a plain statement as this? You are wrong to suppose that the office of the Holy Spirit is hereby ignored. The Scriptures were written by his inspiration—and there is spiritual power in the divinely given word, effectual to the conversion of souls. Moreover, the Holy Ghost indwells every true servant of Christ; and it is in his energy the gospel is preached unto salvation. It is thus the Holy Spirit works to save sinners. The quotation you make from John xvi. 7, does not apply to the question at all. What the Lord Jesus there says, is spoken to believers. It was expedient for him to go away, that he might send the Comforter. What for? To comfort his disciples, to guide them into all truth, to glorify Jesus by receiving of his and showing to them (believers) j also to reprove or convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. There is nothing said here about the conversion of sinners. Our Lord's purpose in the chapter before us is the building up of believers. You ask us to read the 14th and 16th of John's Gospel. There is not a single word in these Scriptures to support your position. From John xiii. 31, forward, the Lord is dealing with believing disciples, establishing them with his counsels and promises. There was no need to preach to them the Gospel of Salvation ; they had already received it. Jesus testifies of them to the Father—" I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me." It is a common mistake among some Christians, to suppose that all Scripture is written for the conversion of sinners; whereas, in fact, but a comparatively small portion is given for that purpose. The great volume is furnished for the guidance, comfort, and blesssing of believers. It is needful to understand this if you would
enter into the mind of God. You next lead us to 1 Thess.
i. 5 :—" For our gospel came not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost." This is exactly confirmatory of what we have stated. Paul's proclamation of the Gospel was effectual because of the gifts and utterance of the Holy Ghost working in him. He had not only the mighty word, but also the Holy Spirit. What has all this to do with your supposition of faith being given to sinners? Paul does not say the Holy Ghost gave faith to his hearers. On the contrary, his testimony is, "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word
of God." As to the reply we gave to your question No. 2,
you own its force and must needs be content with it. If you will raise enquiries in an unscriptural manner, we can only seek to answer you as our Lord Jesus did the Jews about the tribute money. What you now write does not touch the point at issue. The subject you propose is suretyship; and with a view to show us that we do not entertain correct thoughts about it, you desire us to consider the fact that God always was the seeker of sinners from the time of Adam's fall in Eden. What has that to do with the question f We really must ask you to
write more appositely. Let us say, we are quite convinced
that you and many who reason as you do, are truly desirous of ascribing to God all the glory of Salvation. Your object is right, but the way in which you seek to do it is wrong. The truth is simply this. God has spoken to us through a sent servant, in power of the Holy Ghost. We wlio believoare able to say, There was such power in the testimony that we dared not resist it. We gladly own it was all of the goodness of God that the word of Salvation was effectual to onr regeneration. "Of his own will begat he us through the word of truth." To Him be all glory and praise, for ever and ever.
FOE WHOM WAS TUB BLOOD SHED?
J. R., Charles-street, Edinburgh.—We ought to receive truth in the way it is given to us in the Scriptures. The death of Christ was, we believe, of sufficient value to atone for the sins of all mankind, (see 1 John ii.) The efficacy of his sacrifice is however during this present dispensation extended only to those who believe in Him. We cannot see in what sense it can be affirmed that Christ died for an unbeliever. When, in the Epistles, Christ is said to have died for all—the word is addressed to believers only. According to Scripture order, Christ is proclaimed to the world as the Saviour of whosoever believeth in him. Those who receive him by faith, are afterwards taught how their salvation waseflected—namely, by their sins being laid on Jesus, and his endurance of judgment and death in their stead. Thus the Christian only can say, " He loved me and gave himself for me." The death which the Lord Jesus Christ has abolished for the believer, is the death which passed upon all in consequence of sin, A Christian who walks by faith never dies. It is not said of the Martyr Stephen that hedied,but that hefellasleep. The separation of body and spirit is deliverance, for a true hearted believer. See Rom. viii. especially v. 13. A worldly minded Christian will have to experience something of what death is—becauso he has not through faith realised death with Christ—and has not mortified the flesh. There will therefore be the pang of separation from that which has been cherished. We quite agree with you that it is frequently very difficult to explain Scripture language. Yet the Lord does enable us to help one another. But, after all, each one should seek to bo taught of God. Wo must search for the tpiritof the written word—" The letter killeth,the spirit maketh alive." Look at the word which says " Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." The natural mind says, How can this be? while those who are spiritual understand it very well, and know the power and consolation of it. So with the comments on John to which you allude. Read them again in connection with the Scripture we have referred you to. The
latter part of your letter is fully answered in our reply to W. L.
in No. 8. We do not know any simple meetings of Christians
In Edinburgh, though we trust there are such. Pray the Lord to guide you into fellowship with two or three believers content to meet in his Name.
J. M. D., Wioan.—Loving thanks for your Christian sympathy and help. It gives us true joy to hear of your love in the Lord and faithfulness in keeping his word. The tract on the "Scriptural Constitution of a Christian Church," was not written for'' PreciousTruth,'' but having remodel led the matter.we have inserted it. Touchiiigyourrcmttrksaboutbaptism.all the testimony cf Scripture goes to show that it is required as an evidence of faith, and is a sign of that which has been accomplished through faith. The act of immersion itself effects nothing; all it confers is, such blessing as is consequent upon obedience Re-consider the subject. The sum of it all is, the Master has said, Do it.
W. G. W.—In our remarks on Mr Spurgoon's sermon No. 3, it would have been better to have said " a person had been put away by the Brethren on the charge of teaching nonconfession." It certainly did not occur to us that the charge might be untrue. We are sorry, indeed, that our inadvertence
seems to have caused you pain. Do we rightly understand you that your teaching was "tho non-necessity of confession to men?"
W. G., Hereford.—Wo are much cheered by your very kind and loving letter. What a glorious proof we have of the Divine Power of the word of truth, that by it so many souls are knit togethor in lovo who are strangors to one another in the flesh! Many thanks for your efforts to spread the knowledge of our little work. May the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth, dear brothor, and use you for blessing to many of tho flock of Christ.
J. H., Jun., Monks Eleiqh.—Do not be surprised, dear brother, that Christians reject the testimony of Precious Truth. When the Lord Jesus Christ, "The Truth," wa» upon earth the majority of believers would only listen to Him up to a certain point, and then went away and "walked no more with Him." Respecting the title of our little paper, It is set up as our standard—it is what we contend for. Our first number more fully expresses the thoughts wc have about it.
Touching our Lord's words, "This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled," Luke xxi. 32—they apply to the Jewish people. The expression generation is thought to apply sometimes to the entire race. Much that was prophesied by the Lord Jesus in Luke xxi. and similar passages, respecting the Jews, has yet to be fulfilled. That generation has therefore not passed away. Though they are persecuted and scattered through all lands, yet we see them wondrously preserved as a distinct race. They have yet to experience much suffering and sorrow; but their gracious Messiah will come
again and restore them. See Rom. xi. 25, 26. We shall be
glad to hear from you again, if you require further explanation.
NOTICES. To Our Friends.—We should like to occasionally publish a List of Agents for Precious Truth in large towns, and ask our friends to acquaint us with the names of Booksellers who are likely to holp our circulation.
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