« הקודםהמשך »
Neither violence nor fraud was to be contemplated for a moment, nor means of escape sought; yet many of them doubtless were civilised, and even refined men and women, who had been brought into slavery by the most cruel means. Their consolation was, that though in earthly bondage, they had the freedom of heaven, and Christ was with them using them to his glory where they were.
But that the true-hearted child of God might not err in this matter, the Holy Spirit has given us the epistle to Philemon, wherein we learn that Onesimus, a slave, having escaped from his master, Philemon, A Christian, was sent back again to his owner by Paul after he had received the word of life from him. Thus we have the Christian Apostle of the Gentiles sending a Christian slave back to a Christian master. It is very true that Paul intreats Philemon to receive Onesimus no longer as a slave, but as a brother. But th i Apostle makes himself a petitioner in the case. He desires that the loved one may have liberty ; but there must be no constraint. They are all the subjects of grace, and therefore grace must be appealed to as the only guide for them all. Paul would not have been acting in grace had he failed to send back the slave and had he not begged for his release. He would equally have mistaken the mind of the Lord had he taken the attitude of command instead of that of request. So, too, Onesimus would have failed had he asserted and maintained any supposed natural right to liberty. And certainly Philemon would have been a transgressor against the law of love had he stood upon his legal claim to possess himself of his bond slave.
In short—the mind of our Lord is that even where there is the grossest wrongdoing, his people are never to seek to restore the right by violence. The Christian calling is essentially that of long-suffering, gentleness, patience, love—love even towards our enemies. This is not a mere question of abstract doctrine, but one with which almost every Christian has to deal practically; and, alas! how commonly failure results. 80 that, sad to say, many of the clergy are promoters of violence, when their passions, as men, are stirred by questions of national importance. It has been so in America of late. The sanguinary conflicts there, which have added to the long list of man's iniquity, have been fostered and embittered by those who have thrust themselves before the world as followers of the all-suffering, gentle Jesus. It is most grievous to see the same spirit in this country in many who hold the place of pastors.
Let it not be supposed, however, for one moment that we could advocate the perpetuation of Slavery. It is altogether unnatural. We have not an atom of sympathy either with Slave-taker or Slave holder— the whole system is utterly abhorrent to all who have a spark of divine love. The horrors which have been practised upon the Negro race are a burning shame to the world—but God has not entrusted us with the sword of vengeance. It is utterly impossible for man to rectify the evil by force. And to Christians we say emphatically—every attempt of yours to accomplish its abolition in that way is directly
Opposed to the counsels and teachings of your Master. "Vengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith the Lord." The " day of vengeance" will overtake the world soon enough; but it will be the " day of the Lord." There will be bloodshed then, more than enough to gratify man's lust for it. Meantime, the only weapon committed to us is the Sword of the Spirit, the word of God. Where that does not prevail Christians are powerless as to aggressive means; they must Endure and Wait.
We will not dwell on the sad scene presented at the meeting referred to. May those who took part in it have grace to see how deeply they have grieved the Holy Spirit. Wo believe the speakers were betrayed into the utterance of thoughts which calm reflection must have caused them to condemn and sorrow for.
But we have one other point to allude to. That which led to the exhibition of the sinful passions of the natural man on the occasion in question, was the consideration of the sad news of the assassination of President Lincoln. The assembly was anxious to express its abhorrence of the fearful crime spoken of. Now, if Christians were but faithful to maintain the plain teachings of their master, there could be no need for any gathering of Christian men to proclaim their detestation of murder in any form. We ought, every one of us, to be living protests not only against the crime of Cain, but of every exhibition of his mind and spirit.
Ah! brethren and sisters in the Lord, wo have need to watch over and Keep Under the old carnal nature, which is left to us, yet for a little while, although we have the new nature. Remember that in us, that is, In Our Flesh, dwelleth no good thing. It is hard to believe this, but if it was true of Paul, it must be of us also. The word for us is—I' Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have No Confidence in the flesh."
THE CITY OF CONFUSION,
(Isaiah xxiv. 10.)
A FAITHFUL WORD FOR CHRISTIANS.
THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD.
(Continued from our last.) t
How different from men's poor interpretations are our Lord's gracious designs as He has Himself expressed them! Will you henceforth go on with the commonly received thought of believers and unbelievers assembled at the same time and place for judgment, all remaining in uncertainty of their final doom till that dread day? There is not a single Scripture to justify such teaching as this. The order of events to come, as foretold in the Word of God, is as follows—
First, the coming of the Lord for all who have believed in Him during the day s of his rejection, i.e. during the whole period of the present dispensation, from the time of his ascension. This assembly is ' The Church,' 'The Bride,' or 'The Body of Christ.' It is formed of all who have fallen asleep in Jesus and all believers who are alive on the earth at his coming. These last will be translated (as was Enoch). The former will be raised in heavenly bodies, equally happy and glorious. Christians have difficulty in believing this pro-eminent and glorious place given to them, as being associated with Christ, the King of Glory; but this is because they look at what they are in thetnttlves, instead of what they arc in Him. Bead Rom. iiii. 'Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.' Kow we know that mere reason cannot receive this, and unbelief raises a thousand difficulties; but the only question allowed by faith is—Has God said it? See how enquirers according to the natural mind are answered on this subject in 1 Cor. xv.
The present dispensation will close with this marvellous gathering of the taints in glory. Then the prominent place on earth will be restored to the Jews. 'For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignc ant of this mystery, lest yo be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened unto Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; and so [after that time] all Israel shall be saved; as it is written,' &c. (Horn, xi 25.)
> But that which will immediately follow the translation of the Church will* be the commencement of the ' Day of Tribulation' on earth. This is spoken of in all prophetic Scripture, both in the Old and New Testament. Hear the Lord himself: 'Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of tho world to this time [tho timo the Lord was foretelling], no, nor ever shall be [afterwards].' Matt. xxiv. 21. A description of the day of vengeance occurs in the latter part of Rev. xiv. and in many places in tho Old Testament. After this solemn event, the Jews (Israel) will receive the full blessings promised to Abraham and his seed. They will be exalted above all tho nations of the earth. 'For out of Zic-n shall go forth the law, and tho word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' (Isa. xi. 3.) The Lord Jesus Christ will come to the earth, and having executed judgment on tho nations, (see Mutt. xxv. 31 — 46,) will reign with his saints a thousand years. During this period of happiness for mankind, Satan will be chained in the bottomless pit (Rev. xx 2); so that the human race will bo freed from his temptations, and the reign of Christ will bo a reign of righteousness. At the end of this period called the " thousand years," (commonly spoken of as the Millennium,) Satan will be loosed for a season, and will go foith to tempt the nations, and many will rebel against God (Kov. xx.
7 10); firo from heaven will consume them, and Satan will
bo cast into the lake of fire, to bo tormented fcr ever. Then will take place tho final resurrection and judgment—the judgment of condemnation. The great white throne will be seen, and the dtad, small and great, will stand before God, (Rov. xx. 11—lo,) and whosoever is not found written in tho book of life will be cast into tho hike of fire.
Dear Christian Reader,—If you are really a believer in Jesus, You will never bo summoned to that great white throne for judgment. Before that judgment day you will have been a thousand years already in glory with Christ, reigning with him over tho earth. The foreknowledge of all this is given to you for your comfort and joy during the present period, in which you are called to "walk by faith, not by sight."
To refuse to believe this glorious truth is to dishonour your Lord, who has graciously revealed it, arid to lose unspeakable present happiness. Rejection of this testimony will probably also entuil loss in glory; but it will not imperil your Salvation. But, oh, dear fellow Christian, think of tho baseness of refusing the messages of Him who loves you so perfectly, and who gave himself for you!
Any other interpretation of prophetic Scripture than here set forth, you will find involves contradictions, doubts, and fears. Scripture interprets Scripture, if we ' rightly divide the word of truth.' Difficulties may arise, but if wo believe and wait upon the Holy Spirit, all will be made clear. Let us not be disturbed by such words as—'We must all appear beforo the judgment seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror ol the Lord, wo persuade men,' &c, (2 Cor. v. 10—11.) The Apostle is here speaking in general terms of a certainty which applies to all. In ordinary conversation we might say of a number of persons and ourselves—' Wo are all going to business.' It would by no means follow that all were going to the same business! In like manner, ever)- human being will have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. But for all who believe in him, it will be a judgment seat of reward.
There will be no unbelievers judged at that time. It may bo
that some who will stand there, will have no reward to receive,
bocause of their unfaithfulness utter they believed in Christ
Yet they will be in absolute possession of the gift of perfect
Salvation, for they will be in glorified bodies be/ore they come
to that judgment seat: 'Kvery man's work shall be made
manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be
revealed by fire ; and the fire shall try every man's work of
I what sort it is. If any man's work abide which ho hath built
| thereupon, [upon the true foundation,] he shall receive a
| reword. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer
toss : but tie himselj shall be saved; yot so as by fire.' (1 Cor.
[ iii. 13 — 1.5 ) Can anything be more explicit I'
[The development (if this subjuct, viz., deliverance from the 'City of Contusion,' we purpose continuing from month to month.]
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
J. S. J., Crewe.—Wo deeply sympathise with you in your bereavement. How gladly we remember that Our Lord is the tiood Shepherd. In such a ca*e as yours all hope must be in him, and He rostoreth the soul. When lie has healed the wound, we shall be glad to hear from you respecting your Scripture meeting.
R. B., Milford.—We are cheered by your kind remarks, and thank you for your valued efforts to spread the knowledge of Precious
J. 11.. Barnsbury.—We appreciate your remarks, and the spirit in which you have written. Respecting our brethren in the Lord, who as members of His body are faulty as to walk, we have nothing to say—" Charity cover&th the multitude of sins." But as to Christian teachers, the very same love which would screen them as undistinguished individuals, must bo unsparing in rebuke when as teachers they are unfaithful—otherwise Charity would be perverted to the injury of the Church, and the dishonour of Christ. We desire that our little paper should become generally known. Then, let it stand or fall. May it perish the day in which we "shun to declare the whole counsel of God." Accept our sincere thanks for your valued advice and kind promise of support. Be assured any of your communications shall have our careful and prayerful consideration.
Rugby.—One signing himself "a weak disciple if one at all" asks our prayers; we pray for him heartily. His letter distresses us; would he could open liis heart and give us his confidence. He may safely do so. He complains against himself, that, as a preacher, he has not enough love for precious souls, that his motives generally are selfish, that he is all sin and weakness. The answer to this is, Look off self, look at Christ—Get your AffecTions set upon him, and all the rest will come right. Gather a few earnest Christians together for combined prayerful Btudy of the Scriptures. Believe in the guidance of tke Holy Ghost, and by earnest prayer place yourselves under His guidance. Then look at the word of truth boldly, accept what you are taught, and Act rr
H. M.—Sends us a " Skeleton Key to Leviticus" published at 51, Gt. Marlborough Street. He says, "These are circulated among tile needlewomen. Are they Scriptural P" We think this "Key" would provo useful to intelligent, enquiring Chriutians—but we should not think of placing it in the hands of tho unregenerate. We notice the writer says "Moses and Aaron represent Christ, King and Priest." We thirk this is not quite accurate. Moses was used of God to make his will known to tho Children of Israel, and W.ls accepted as a mediator for them, &c. But, Jehovah himself reigned over his people. He was their King.
"Tracts by the Rev Wm. Parks, 13.A.," which we hope to notice in our next.
To CoitHEsroxDKNTs.—We invite enquiries tending to the elucidation of scriptural truth. Controversial questions should be avoided entirely, if possible.
Letters for the Editor to be addressed to 335, Strand, W.C.
r|*HE SCRIPTURAL CONSTITUTION of a CHRISTIAN CHURCH. JL Small Tract Id. Is Oil per 100.
Printed by Joun Evanp, 385a, Strand, YS*.C.; and published by Job Cai Dwell, 335, Strand, London, W.C. and Hall & Co, 45. Paternoster Row, E.C.
"WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURE?1 '-(Rom. iv. 3)
Job Caudwcll, 33S, Strand, W.C.] iRtfistend fur trantmiuim Abroad.
A Letter To The Christian Readeb.
Is it well with you? How will you answer me that question? "Where will you look for evidence? It may be you are in a period of calm—that you have found an oasis in the desert. I pause not to ask of what character this is, though it behoves you to examine it thoroughly. But if you are in enjoyment of a temporary rest, you will doubtless reply to me at once —All is well.
It may be, however, that just now you are in trying circumstances, that you are weary with the journey, and ready to faint. Beloved, Look at Jesus. Think of him at the well of Samaria 1 He was there in the heat of the day; he was hungry; his disciples had gone for-food, and had not yet returned. lie was thirsty, for he asked the woman of S.imaria to give him a drop of water to drink. He was tired; "Jesus being weary with Am journey, sat thus on the well." Oh, how inimitably touching are the words of the narrative. The Son of God, hungry, thirsty, and wayworn! He was the Lord from heaven, and could have commanded the stones to be made bread, and the water of the well to rise up to his parched lips. But there he sat, patiently waiting, careful only to do the will of his Father! And what was the Father's will just then? That he should show us a perfect pattern of patience and rail/notion, and that just as he was—weary, and worn, and famished—he should have his heart made glad, and his soul satisfied by ministering to the deep need of a poor sinner woman! "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." Beautiful, glorious, heavenly Lord! His words and actions of tenderness, grace, and love, bow our hearts in worship now; how overwhelming will be our joy when we see Him face to face!
Dear brother or sister in the Lord: this lesson is for us, each of us. When our own souls are most tried, it is just the time in which we are best fitted to minister to others. Oh, the golden opportunities we are losing of being dispensers of blessing! We may have neither money nor goods to give; words of consolation and Truth are often far better and more welcome. But, oh, we must ourselves minister to those who need. Do not let us be satisfied any longer with the dole of charity distributed by deputy, best part of it frittered away ere it reaches the needy, altogether lacking the blessing which should go with it, and which would return abundantly multiplied to our own hearts. Oh, be up and doing. Jesus sent out many a messenger, but above all he came himself. He had his Father's work to do, and lit did it Himself!
Oh, lot us imitate Jesus; then will it be always well with us in the highest degree.
But it M well with you, beloved. Indeed, it is well with you whatever your trials, however stormy or calm your way. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose." You do love God—it may be a very weak love—it is altogether unworthy as a response to that love of his which prompted him to give Jesus. But you believe on the Son, and therefore cannot help loving both Him and the Father. You are " called according to his purpose"—His unalterable purpose—and that is, unmixed blessing. All is well. Ever yours in our adorable Lord Jesus Christ,
"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in tho bond of peace."—Km. iv. 3.
Much thought has recently been devoted to this subject, and a large amount has been written with a true-hearted desire for the restoration of that which it is assumed has been lost. This interest in Christian Unity has been excited because it is seen to be most lovely in itself and entirely in accordance with the mind of our Lord.
But the great mistake generally made by Christians on this subject is—that they seek to effect that which is supposed to be called for in the passage quoted, by combinations, concessions, and arrangements of their own devising. This course might do if the object were to bring about Bodily Unity, which, in truth, is the thought in most minds, though they would fain persuade themselves they aro striving after the unity of the Spirit. To thoso who have not deeply considered the subject, it is indeed marvellous that we should be set to " keep the unity of the Spirit;" because, at first sight, this would seem to be beyond our power. Mere human reason might jump to tho conclusion that our province would be to keep tho unity of the body, looking to God to keep the unity of the Spirit. What we have to be convinced of, however, is this—In tho sense of Preservation the unity (both of the body and the Spirit) is for ever perfect; for we are " baptised by oneSpirit into one body." Every member of the body is Kept by the Holy Spirit. The unity of the Spirit is a fact; we have neither to create it nor to combine to effect it. Now the Lord Bays to each believer—Keep this unity; hold it, cherish it, keep it. Look at the context—
"I beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
In this passage it is entirely a question of individual walk and conduct, not a matter of combination at all. Thus, if there be but one Christian following the Divine exhortation here given, he is keeping the unity of the Spirit. Though every other member of the body upon earth should continue in perversity and self-will, he will be in accord with the mind of the Spirit, which never changes. The lessons of Scripture are bcautifully simple, though in wisdom most profound. When Christians conform themsclres Individi'ali.y to the mind of the Spirit—to that extent, and in that way only, is it given them to "keep the unity of the Spirit."
To put the matter in another way: Suppose all Christians were to embrace Popery; would that be to keep the unity of the Spirit? We know it would not. If all were to become either Anglicans, Weslcyans, Independants, Baptists, or Plymouth Brethren—would it follow, as a consequence, that they would endeavour to "keep the unity of the Spirit?" Nay, we know it would not.
Look again at the Scripture before us, just as it stands: Nothing can be more evident than that the question raised is not what we Are, or should seek To Be, but, (in accordance with God's purpose,) what we should individually Do.
Then, if we consider the question of Union; what is the basis of true fellowship? It is the mind of the Spirit made known to us through the Written Word. Here we have a true foundation. Any mere compacts between Christians have always failed, always must fail, and deserve nothing but failure. If the Lord had not provided uuity,we might have been excused for seeking it in our own way. But unity is, and ever will be maintained. What we are set to do, is to "keep" it. The way to do this is clearly shown us.
With respect to creeds and sectarian divisions, these are produced by pride or ignorance, perhaps invariably an union of the two. We do not mean to be offensive in saying this. There are very few Christians, if any, against whom this charge may not be made. We are all sadly ignorant. '• If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knowcth nothing yet as he ought to know." (I Cor. viii. 2.) And as to pride, we little understand our own hearts if we do not detect pride lurking there, however much we maystrive to subdue it.
There is but one remedy for all the mischief experienced through sectarian divisions: namely, a return to the Written Word, with a sincere desire to learn of the Holy Spirit, and then to Do, each one for himself or herself, the will of God. We assure dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, that if they meet together over the Scripture, with true purpose of heart, they will find there the perfect and only ground of unity.
To avail ourselves of the gracious provision made, we must, however, practically carry out the lessons the Lord will teach us. We must be lowly, meek, longsuffering, forbearing, loving, gentle, kind, peaceful. And then, when we are thus conformed to God's thoughts about keeping the unity of the Spirit, we may expect to be scorned and laughed at as weak and foolish, not
Notwithstanding all the disputation about churches, it is very plain that our Lord in addressing any one church in any place includes Am, believers in that locality. This is always true, by whatever servant he sends the message. Paul's epistles to the various churches, and also those in the Revelation, are each directed to Christians in a specified place. There is no such thought in Scripture as churches differently constituted. A denominational church ought to be regarded by the faithful as an impossibility. Looked at from on high,—(and it is as taking our stand with Jesus in the , heavenlies that we ought to regard everything on earth,)—we should look upon believers as simply members of The Body. In the full realisation of the I union of each believer to the glorified Head, the Lord | Jesus Christ, we should pity the folly of regarding '• a I church" in any other aspect. We have heard Christians speculate about the difficulty they would have, supposing the Lord were to send an epistle to "the Church in London," in deciding where it should bo delivered. There really ought to be no difficulty or doubt on the subject. A faithful servant would read it, or cause it to be read, in every assembly or congregation owning the lordship of Christ. This is proof that, as a fact, all believers in London do form but one Church.
Beloved, however perverse Christians may be in giving themselves separate names, titles, organisations, — calling themselves Societies, Associations, Bodies, Sects, Confederacies—ists, isms, and schisms,—Scripture is quite unbending, and will insist upon it we are One, a perfect unity. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Now comes the question. What kinds of divisions, for temporal purposes, are necessary or justifiable ? Primarily, difference of locality was the only Scriptural ground of division. If all Christian assemblies were simply meetings of Christians, such as described ia "the Acts" and in Paul's Epistles, each regenerate person would, immediately on receiving the word of life and making profession of faith, be baptised, and then company with the assembly of believers nearest to his place ot residence.
But heresy, apostasy, tradition, and every kind of confusion having been brought in, Scripture plainly recognises and enjoins the principle of separation as to felloicship. We cannot be sufficiently thankful for the Second Epistle to Timothy, as a safe guide in all inquiries on this important subject. When Paul wrote that letter, division, strife, and apostasy had already made rapid strides. "Wolves were not sparing the flock " and "perverse teachers were at work drawing away disciples after them." What are the faithful ones to do in such circumstances? The answer is plain— "separate from evil." "Let every one that namcth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (2 Tim. ii. 19.) What were they to do then? form a new church? Nay, the word of God could not teach that; it would be departure from divine principle to do so. Therefore, in the epistle referred to the case is fully met thus :— "Flee also youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.n (2 Tim. ii. 22.) "We are to separate from everything that dishonours our Lord (ver. 19) and seek and enjoy fellowship with the faithful, the righteous, the lovinpr, the peaceful, and the pure-hearted of the flock of Christ. We shall still be part of the one Church; that great Body which includes many with whom we cannot have fellowship while they walk unfaithfully and dishonour our Lord. Is the reader ready to say, We shall have but few companions? Indeed that is what we must expect. But oh, how unspeakably more blessed to be with a faithful few and our Lord in the midst, than with the showy multitude, the majority "having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof"!
A man who has many sons and daughters will see strifes and divisions among them; some may rebel and go right away from the rest of the family. Others, though remaining in the father's house, may be very undutifu! children. Two or three perhaps grow up loving one another dearly; and manifesting gentleness and kindness to all. These become a little fellowship apart from the rest, having thoughts, desires, and purposes in common, seeking, above all, to be obedient to their parents. But notwithstanding all quarrels and separations, the family is one; nothing can alter that. Even though some were to give themselves new names, they cannot lose their common parentage. Do the two or three true-hearted, loving ones, consorting together more or less exclusively, disown their wayward or rebellious brethren? Nay, they love them, and strive in every righteous way to make all happy, in true family union.
Thus it is with the Church. All who arc loving, faithful, and true, are prompted by the new nature, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to seek in fellowship the practical realisation of that unity which is established unalterably through faith in Jesus Christ, the one glorious Head. While many, alas! walk in ways of their own choosing, and seek to slake their spiritual thirst out of "broken cisterns which hold no ■water."
Here, then, we see the principles upon which our Lord would have us Bet. But then we must be careful to apply them to consciences instructed in the word of God and kept in exercise before the Lord. If we look at verses 20 and 21 of 2 Tim. ii. we shall see what is true motive for separation. *' In a great house there aro not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and sonr.e to dishonour. If a man therefore purge [separate] himself from these he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified [set apart] and meet for the Masters use, prepared unto every good work."
Is this what we desire? Do wo wish to be set apart for the Master's use? If so, wo must separate from all who are careless of his honour. Our most
intimate fellowship, communion, and fellow-service, must be with those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.
Yet in the present confusion, there is a general kind of fellowship we may have, more or less, with all believers, because of the oneness of the body, and because we must love all in the Lord, and seek the welfare of all. Practically, we consider prayer meetings, Scripture meetings, &c. to afford valuable opportunities for such universal fellowship with believers. But even here—indeed always—we must act carefully, in the consciousness of tlus abiding presence of the Lord. At some of these meetings, those who venture to lead are manifestly ignorant of the revealed will of God and his unalterable purposes. Such persons offer prayers which cannot be granted. Others pray in the fall vigour of their carnal minds. Indeed, the spiritual are frequently and most deeply grieved at promiscuous prayer meetings. There must be earnest closet-prayer for guidance here, as in all cases of doubt and difficulty. We believe a conscience kept in exercise will frequently compel withdrawal. There is great need that meetings for the spiritual study of Scripture should be deemed essential, in connection with meetings for prayer.
RELIGION-WHAT IB IT P
This may seem a very needless question; yet, how very few could give a just reply to it. People talk about "natural religion "! There is no such thing in existence. Then, as to Christian religion—what is it? Oh, how many human definitions one might enumerate of Christian religion! and all of them, more or less, vague and unsatisfactory. Christians go on with their various notions of religiousness, most of them being of a very traditional and superficial nature, and think these serve for religion. How few can give a sharplydefined and prompt exposition of the true meaning of religion! There is, indeed, but one religion; there wals another, viz., "the Jews' religion." What was that? Not mere sentiment, but practical obedience and active service; and these characteristics are preserved in the very highest degree in the religion given to Christians. —" Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James i. 27.)
This is the only definition of true religion furnished in the New Testament. People think religion is the one thing required of them; whereas it is only one of many requisites in the child of God. 'Ihe first claim upon us is faith ; and this must be preserved throughout our earthly pilgrimage: "we walk by faith, not by sight." Then, when the glory and work of the Son of God are revealed to us, we become worshippers; we have become spiritual, and "the Father seeketh such to worship him." We are also called to fellowship with Jesus, and, in measure, to be co-workers with Him. Moreover, our affections are to be "set upon things above," from whence also we arc to "look for the 'Saviour."
But after enumerating all these, we find relitjion has to be added. Religion is the practical manifestation