Imágenes de páginas

all that regards the glory of His name, according to the measure in which we are concerned in it. The conflict is carried on with a tender and freed spirit, having only His glory as the object, both in the Church and the individual walk. But thus one understands that God works, and that He does not forsake us, and thanksgiving is always mingled with the prayers we address to Him.

Paul felt his dependence on this blessing, and he asked for a share also in their prayers, that God might open

his mouth, and that he might proclaim the gospel as he ought to do.

Now, we are in a hostile world, in which hostility is easily awakened where it does not already exist openly, and in which offence is quickly taken, at things wherein, perhaps, we neither saw nor intended evil. We must take away the occasion even, from those that seek it, and walk in wisdom with respect to them that are without.

How clearly the within and the without are here distinguished. Those within, whom God acknowledges, His family, His church-they are His own. Those without, they are the world, those who are not joined to the Lord. The distinction is plainly marked, but love is active towards them that are without, and being itself in the enjoyment of communion with God, it is careful to do nothing that might prevent others from enjoy

ing it.

But there was something more: they were to redeem the time. The natural man, taken up with his own affairs, and disinclined to serious things, gave Christian love little opportunity to set grace and truth before him and make him care for his own soul, thus serving the Lord and using time in His name.

The heart of man cannot always escape the influence of surrounding circumstances, which bear witness to his heart and conscience that he is under the dominion of sin, and already eating its bitter fruits here below; circumstances which bring to his conscience the remembrance of a too much forgotten God, which speak with the mighty voice of sorrow to a broken heart, glad, at least, to have a resource in God, when his hand is pierced by the broken reed on which he leant. God Himself acts upon man by these

circumstances, and by every circumstance of life. One who is walking with the Lord, knows how to avail himself of them. Satan may, indeed, deceive a man, but he cannot prevent God at all times from speaking to the heart. It is a happy thing so to walk with God that He can use us as His voice, when He would thus speak to poor sinners. Our speech ought always to be the expression of this separation from evil, this power of the presence

of God which keeps us inwardly apart from it; so as to make that power felt by others; and, that in all the questionings which arise in the heart of man, wandering out of the way in confusion and darkness, and even leading others astray thereby, we may know how to give an answer which comes from the light and conveys light.

Tychicus was to carry the testimony of the interest which the apostle took in the welfare of the Colossians, and of his confidence in their interest in him. Paul bears witness to the love of others, and to their concern also in the progress of the gospel, and the prosperity of the faithful.

Marcus, who had formerly drawn back from the toils of the work, receives a testimony here on the apostle's part, and a still better one later (2 Tim. iv. 11), for he had made himself useful to the apostle himself. Such is grace.

The secret of the interest Barnabas took in him, comes out here, he was nearly related to him. This dear servant of God was from Cyprus. The flesh and Judaism find their way everywhere. The power of the Spirit of God is requisite to raise us above, and set us beyond, their influence.

Demas receives no especial testimony. The apostle conveys his greetings, but is silent as to himself. Only in the Epistle to Philemon is he named as a fellowlabourer of the apostle. Afterwards he forsook Paul. He was a brother — the apostle admits his claim, but says nothing; he had nothing to say. “And Demas," for Paul's style, is terribly cold.

We may observe that the Epistle to the Ephesians was written at the same time, and sent by this same Tychicus. The one “from Laodicea” is, I doubt not, one that they

It is very pos.

were to receive from that assembly, written by Paul, and by which the saints at Colosse were to profit; possibly the Epistle to the Ephesians, which he may have communicated to the Laodiceans. Be this as it may, all that is said, is, that it was one of which the assembly at Laodicea were in possession, and by no means that it was directly addressed to them: rather the cont

ry. sible that a letter, or a hundred letters, may have been written by Paul to others, which it was not in the purposes of God to preserve for the universal Church; but here there is no proof that a letter had been written to the Laodiceans. Tychicus was the bearer of two, he may have been the bearer of three, one of which differed only in some details of application which might serve to confirm the Colossians without being in the main another divine communication for other days; but, I repeat, it does not appear to be so from that which is said here. It might be said a letter from Laodicea," because it was there, instead of a letter to Laodicea, but it is not the usual mode of expression. We have seen that the letter to the Ephesians is another communication of the Spirit of God. It has been preserved for us. We do not know whether that from Laodicea was the same, communicated by them to the Christians of that city; or another, which they were to send to the Colossians (a Church in their vicinity) and which — adding nothing to the divine revelations — has not been preserved

for us.

It appears that Christians were not very numerous at Laodicea. The apostle salutes the brethren there. There were some who assembled in the house of one Nymphas; they were not in a case to have a letter addressed to them in particular; still the apostle does not forget them. But that which he says here is an almost certain proof that the apostle had not addressed any epistle to them. He would not have sent greetings through the Colossians to the brethren in Laodicea, if, at the same time, he had written a special epistle to the latter. The case is plain enough; there were brethren at Laodicea, but not in great numbers, and not in that distinct position which gave rise to an epistle. But this little assembly in the house of Nymphas was not to be forgotten; it should profit by the epistles addressed to other assemblies more considerable than itself, and whose condition required an epistle, or gave occasion to write one, which epistles were transmitted to Laodicea, according to the apostle's order.

With regard to the epistle to the Colossians, it is not supposition. The apostle commands them expressly to have it read in the assembly at Laodicea. The latter had also received another epistle from some other assembly, and the Colossians were to profit by it in the same manner. The two assemblies, which were near each other, were mutually to enjoy the spiritual favours that were granted them.

The apostle does not forget individuals even. Archippus receives a solemn exhortation to take heed to the ministry which the Lord had committed to him, and to fulfil His service.

The apostle had not seen these assemblies (ii. 1).


“I have been weaker ever since that illness. You remember the long long deep slumber into which I sank, out of which none could rouse me; out of which none thought I ever should rouse -until you came: that was a wonderful sleep! As I lay there, I saw the vast bundle of my sins ; too large for me to lay hold of, or to carry. I was troubled and uneasy ; but one said to me 'Never fear! the scape-goat with his strong, broad back, has carried them all away into a land not inhabited. This calmed ine. The Lord Jesus Christ is the scape-goat, is He not ?"


No. XII.


Prov. viii. 22-31.

The Divine Counsels were all laid in Christ, before the foundation of the world. The Son of the bosom was brought out in counsel then; and all the purposes of God had their foundation in Him, in the person He was preordained to be, and the place He was pre-appointed to fill.

We read this in Proverbs, viii.

“ The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, was I brought forth, while as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens I was there, when He set a compass upon the face of the depth, when he established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment, when He appointed the foundations of the earth, then I was by Him (as) One brought up (with Him), and I was daily (His) delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth, and My delights were with the sons of men."

What a message does this Scripture bring to us from the eternal ages! It tells us of those infinite

which were before creation, in ways most wondrous and excellent. How exact and special is Wisdom's account of herself in that passage! The chief part of the dust of the world


1 When the fulness of time came, as we know, the Son assumed flesh : perfect God and perfect man, without confusion of the natures, yet in the unity of the one Person—and as the Christ, He went through His blessed wondrous, history in life, death, resurrection and glory.

« AnteriorContinuar »