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In Ephesians, the fulness of the Church's privileges, as the body of Christ, her connection with Him, and the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations,” in which all the counsels of God, for His glory, are unfolded. In Colossians, the fulness which is in the head for the body, and the solemn warning not to separate practically from this standing of union with the Head, through allowing a show of humility to glide into the bosom of the Church. In Philippians, the Apostle's experienceof what Christ is to the Christian; as sufficient for all things, whatever his position may be. His immediate sufficiency, even when the Christian should be deprived of apostolic support; and the walk of the Church in the unity of grace, in unity maintained by grace, when the spiritual energy of her human leaders should be wanting. It is a precious epistle in this point of view. In Thessalonians the hope of the Church in the freshness of her affections; and the mystery of iniquity ending in the manifestation of the man of sin; a mystery notwithstanding which, the Church is called to maintain this hope and her affections. In Timothy and Titus, what may be termed ecclesiastical care for the maintenance whether of truth or of order. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, the Church had been seen seated as a body in the heavenly places. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the faithful are viewed as journeying in weakness upon the earth, and Christ is consequently seen apart, for them, in heaven, in contrast with the earthly figures of it given to Israel. This gives rise to a glorious unfolding of the person

of our Lord, as God the Creator, as man, and as the Son over His own house, the Creator of all things, and lastly, very fully as High Priest; after the order of Melchisedek, as to his personal rights; after the likeness of Aaron, or rather in contrast with Aaron, as to the present exercise of priesthood. This leads to the unfolding of the life of faith, the faith common to all saints; and to the final separation of the believing Jews from the camp of earthly religion, as having "come to the heavenly Jerusalem. James sets before us that girdle of practical righteousness, which restrains the natural tendency of the hǝart to abuse grace; and the last dealings of God with the

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twelve tribes (as in Jonah with the Gentiles) when the light and perfection of a new order of things eclipsed that old order to which those tribes had proved unfaithful. In Peter, we find the Christian a pilgrim on the earth, placed in this position by the power of Christ's resurrection, according to an election which is not that of an earthly people, but unto eternal life.

This was addressed to the Jews of the Dispersion (Peter was the apostle of the Circumcision), and was particularly adapted to them, setting them free from the idea of an earthly establishment, to be pilgrims, through grace, on the earth, in view of an incorruptible inherit

THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER is written in the prospect of his departure, and of the flowing in of evil. It exhorts them to press forward. On the one hand, it gives the picture and the assurance of the glory of the coming kingdom, in its heavenly aspect but manifested on the earth; on the other hand, the corruption which would degrade and swallow up Christianity; and the consequences of this in judgment. Peter never represents the Church as one body in heaven, as Paul does; he views her, or rather her members, as on the earth; and they are pilgrims there. The exact correspondence of every detail with this point of view, even in the manner of presenting the glory (2 Peter i.), manifests a perfection which proves its divine origin. Jude admirably unfolds all the features of the apostasy; its beginning and its results; recording that which we should otherwise have lost, the solemn prophecy of Enoch; proving how clear was the testimony of God before the food—God, who is unchangeable in purpose from the beginning to the end. John presents us with all the features of the Divine nature; first of all as manifested in Jesus; and then as characteristic of the whole family; a safeguard against every pretension, which, not having these features, would seek to pervert the faithful; and the means of strengthening and establishing the faithful by the development of these qualities of the nature of God, with whom, if light be in them, they have communion; and in whom, if love be in them, they dwell, and He in them. This is true of every believer in Jesus.

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This love was manifested in Christ's coming down into the earth; and was perfected, by setting us, in full enjoyment with Him, in His own place above. Philemon, and the two lesser Epistles of John, shew us that if the mystery of God is revealed to us by one Apostle, and the nature of God set evidently before us by another; if they lift us, up to the height of His counsels and of His being, they can—and the Christianity they preach can—be occupied with the interests of a runaway slave and his master, and with the anxieties and practical difficulties of an excellent lady, and a kind and worthy brother, as to receiving persons to whom Christian love might open the door, but who brought not the doctrine of Christ. They shew us, that that love which dwells in God, which is the very nature of God, which is manifested in the glorious work of Christ, that wisdom, which ordains all mysteries for His eternal glory, disdains not to provide, with perfect delicacy, for the difficult relationships between a master and his slave; nor to manifest the tenderest solicitude with respect to the details of life. This love, in the perfection of wisdom and grace, links the fulness and the perfection of God with every emotion of the human heart, with every circumstance of our life in this world; and sanctifies a people who are to dwell with God by the revelation of what he is, and fits them for His presence by creating pure affections, and by making a holy love the spring of their whole life.

In the Apocalypse, the Spirit of God, after having given, in an admirable review of the state of seven Asiatic churches, the elements of a perfect judgment with

respect to every state in which one connected with the Church could be found; after having at the same time encouraged the faithfulness of those who had ears to hear, by promises of blessing from above, specially suited to the difficulties of these several conditions; after having declared that these blessings are prepared for “him that overcometh” in the conflict, which the declension of the Church brings him into a declension which had already commenced in the days of the Apostle, in their leaving their first love, and which will end in compelling Christ to spue out of His mouth those who

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bear His name); after having thus furnished the Christian with all that he needs in the midst of the difficulties presented by the state of the professing. Church; and having revealed the judgment of Christ with a perfection, and a circumstantial adaptation which are most admirable, the Holy Ghost then lifts the veil, to shew where all this will end in the judgment of the world. He reveals, first of all, chastenings in outward things; then more directly upon man himself; afterwards, all the features of man's dreadful apostasy, the diabolical organisation of his forces against Christ; and, at length, the judgment which will break forth at the coming of Christ himself, the King of kings and Lord of lords. This judgment making way for an administration of blessing and happiness (Satan being bound), which will only be interrupted by his being loosed from his prison, to try those who have enjoyed this happiness, and thus to bring on the final judgment of the dead, and the eternal state in which God will be all in all. This is the methodical and complete development of that which Jude, 2 Peter, and 2 Thessalonians had made known to the Church in its moral elements.

At the close of the book the connection of the Church in Heaven with Christ, and with the times of blessing enjoyed under the reign of Christ, are more particularly unfolded.

There is another striking feature of the perfection of the Apocalypse, which may be added here; that is, its moral unity. The standing of the Church is indeed defined in the opening and concluding paragraphs, by the expression of her own sentiments; but there is never throughout the book, one thought connected with the living communication of grace from the Head to the members. It is a prophetic book of judgment, first of all that of the Church, seen in its responsibility upon the earth. In the chapters which speak of the Church, there is promise, threatening, warning, judgment of its condition, revelation of the characters of the Son of Man, everything connected with responsibility. The Head, the source of life and knowledge to the body, is not mentioned in these chapters. After the judgment

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of the Church comes that of the world; a judgment increasing in severity, up to the destruction of the Wicked One. In this part of the book is found all that the faithful need, in order to understand the ways of God, and to discern the path He has marked out for them in these perilous times; but never Christ the living source of grace: everything is in its right place, for it is the work of God.

The New Testament presents us then, from the manifestation of the Man Christ in humiliation on the earth, up to the eternal state when God will be all in all, with the full development of all the ways of God, and of what He is in Himself, in order that man may joy in Him, know Him and glorify Him: that the believer

be kept through all the difficulties and dangers of the way, by the wisdom and the admonitions of God; and that he may understand His wisdom and His infinite love. Man could not have composed this as a whole, could not have foreseen the necessity for each part. One feels in it the energetic spontaneity of life, that is to say, of the Spirit of God. But take away one single part-when we possess the whole--and the breach is immediately felt by one who has seen and appreciated its completeness. The perfection of the whole is manifested, as in everything which God has made, from the insect which sports in the air, to the admirable details of the body of man, united to a mind which can be taken up with God, and, through grace, express Him in His countenance even, and in His ways. The Word is not a shapeless mass, it is the complete body of the revealed thoughts of God. More perfect even than man to whom it is addressed, because more immediately divine, it expresses itself in man, because God will introduce man into it; but it is God who expresses in it all His thoughts. Yes, man who would be wise, does not understand this body, because he does not perceive it; he judges one of its members according to the little pitiful history of ecclesiastical weaknesses and contentions, the most pitiful of all contentions. The things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned. Divine perfection shines forth at every page for him who is spiritual; and the unity of the

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