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revealed. To sum up. The taking away of the Church, and the apostasy, were first necessary; and then this man should present himself as an apostate Jew, and the power of Satan would be displayed in Him.

Now, this Satanic influence was for those who had rejected the truth. Of the Thessalonians to whom he had given these explanations respecting the day which they had fancied was come — the apostle thought very differently. God had chosen these brethren beloved of the Lord” from the beginning, for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, to which He had called them by Paul's Gospel (and that of his companions), and to the obtaining of the glory of the

e I do not say that his first appearance will be the apostasy of Judaism. I do not think it will be. He will present himself to them as being the Christ, but according to the hopes and passions of the Jews. But afterwards will be an apostasy even from Judaism ; as had partially been the case in the days of the Maccabees - a fact which the Spirit uses in Dan. xi., as a figure precursive of the time of Antichrist. He is from his first appearance an unbeliever and the enemy of God, an apostate as to the Church, and denying that Jesus is the Christ.

We are taught positively by John, that the rejection of Christianity and Jewish unbelief are united in the Antichrist.

It appears that apostasy with regard to Christianity, and Jewish unbelief are connected and go together; and afterwards Jewish apostasy, and open rebellion against God, which, causing the cry of the remnant, brings in the Lord, and all is ended. Now, the apostle (ii. 3, 4) presents the complete picture of man's iniquity, developed when apostasy from the grace of the Gospel had taken place. He exalts himself even to the making himself God, without touching the Jewish side or the manifested power of Satan. These verses show us the man of sin, in result of the apostasy which will break out in the midst of Christendom. Verse 9 begins to teach us in addition, that the coming of this wicked one is also in immediate connection with a mighty display of the energy of Satan, who deceives by means of marvellous works and by a strong delusion, to which God gives men up; and of which we have spoken in the text. It is man and Satan here, with enough to show its connection with Judaism in the last days (even as the mystery of iniquity was linked with Judaism in the days of the apostle), although it is not the occasion of giving the detail of the Jewish development of the evil. We must look for these details elsewhere, where they are in their place - as in Daniel. The Apocalypse and 1 John, furpish us with the means of connecting them. We do but allude here to this connection.

Lord Jesus. How different was this from the visitations of the day of the Lord, and the circumstances of which the apostle had spoken. They were numbered among those who should be the companions in that day of the Lord Jesus Himself.

There is nothing very particular in the apostle's exhortations. His great concern was the explanation which we have been considering. He prays that God, and the Lord Jesus Himself, who had given them the sure and everlasting consolations of the Gospel, would comfort their hearts and establish them in every good word and work.

He asks for their prayers, that he may be preserved in his labours. He could not but expect to find men unreasonable and at enmity, for faith was not the portion of all.. It was only a case for the protecting hand of God. With regard to them, he counted, for this end, on the faithfulness of the Lord. He reckoned also on their obedience, and prays God to direct their hearts towards these two points, of which we have spoken when studying the First Epistle; the love of God and the patient waiting with which the Christ waited - the two points in which the whole of Christian life is summed up, with regard to its objects, its moral springs. Christ Himself was waiting - sweet thought! they were to wait with Him, until the moment when His heart and the hearts of His own should rejoice together in their meeting.

It was this which they needed. On the one hand, they had believed that the dead saints would not be ready to go and meet the Lord; on the other, they had thought the day of the Lord already come.

The enjoy ment of the love of God, and peace of heart in waiting for Christ, were necessary for them.

This excitement into which they had been led, had also betrayed itself in some among them, by their neglect of their ordinary labours, "working not at all, but being busy bodies," intermeddling in the affairs of others. The apostle had set them a very different example. He exhorts them to be firin, and to withdraw from those who would not hearken to his admonitions, but continue to walk disorderly and in idleness; not, however, in

such a manner as to treat them as enemies, but to admonish them as brethren.

It will be observed here, that there is no longer the same expression of the energy of communion and of life, as previously (compare iii. 16 with 1 Thess. v. 23). Nevertheless, the Lord was still the Lord of peace; but the beauty of that entire consecration to God, which would shine forth in the day of Christ, does not present itself to the apostle's mind and heart as in the First Epistle. He prays for them, however, that they may bave

peace always and by all means.

The apostle points out the method by which he assured the faithful of the authenticity of his letters. With the exception of that to the Galatians, he employed other persons to write them, but he attached his own signature, in order to verify their contents to the Church; adding the prayer of blessing.

Job xxxv. 6 -11.

If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto Him?

If thou be righteous, what givest thou Him? or what receiveth He of thine hand ?

Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.

Ry reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry : they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.

But none saith, Where is God my Maker, who giveth songs in the night;

Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?





An attentive consideration of the Epistle to the Romans and that to the Ephesians, will afford us some interesting light on the question of the position of the believer in Christ. The whole question of our place in Christ is viewed under a different aspect in the two Epistles. I would briefly consider this. The doctrine of redeeming grace may be viewed in two ways. God's own purposes as to His children in glory, may be developed on the one hand, or the condition of man pourtrayed, and met by grace visiting them in mercy to deliver them on the other. The Epistle to the Ephesians follows the first of these methods, the Epistle to the Romans the second.

In Ephesians, we have at once the saints blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ placed in the blessed image of God before Him, and adopted to be His children. Redemption itself comes as a means in the second place. The knowledge of the mystery — the gathering together in one all things in Christ — and our sealing as heirs till the redemption of the purchased possession follows. The Romans, after some introductory verses, commences by the description of the dreadful state in which fallen man was, unfolds the depravity of the Gentiles, the hypocrisy of those who pretended to moralize, and were personally no better; and, finally, the sad condition of the Jews, who if they had the law, broke it. In the third chapter, at the close, grace meets this state. But this leads to the consideration of the work of grace, in each Epistle, in a different way.

To speak first of the Ephesians. The sinner is seen

dead in trespasses and sins - walking, doubtless, in them, but, before God, wholly dead. But even here this is not the first object presented. As the first chapter presents the position in which the saint is placed, so the second, the work which brings him into it. With this view, what is first brought before us is, God's power toward us manifested in what was wrought in Christ. God had raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His right hand, far above all principality and power, above and beyond all created glory, not only in this age, but in that to come, where all hierarchies will be in their true glory and unclouded elevation, but He above and out of them all. Divine power in its exceeding greatness had brought Him from death up there.

As the origin of our life is before all worlds (John i., 1 John i.), so our place before God is out of and above all worlds and creature powers. It is to be remarked here, however, that Christ Himself is first looked at as already dead. The whole work is thus of God; for Christ being dead, is looked at of course as man, and this wondrous power is exerted, and He, as man, is at God's right hand. Then the saints are brought before us, Gentiles or Jews, as alike children of wrath by nature, and are seen once utterly dead in trespasses and sins, quickened together with Him, and raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. The whole is entirely God's work. We are created again. It is not living men who have to be dealt with, who are without law and under law, must die in Christ, and are set free by death. They are found dead in sin, and we get the perfect full blessing of the work, because it is entirely God's. Man is for nothing therein, for what has he to do with creation? He is created; all that man, i.e., the believer is, is God's work. Hence, also, remark, we have peace, making nigh, reconciling, exalting to sit in heavenly places in Christ, but not justifying, because it is a living, responsible existing man who has to be justified before God. But we have Christ exalted, and ourselves exalted in Him. It is God's work in Christ and in us, not our being justified before God.

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