« הקודםהמשך »
WHAT DO YOU WANT? Every Boui that has not got salvation is in need of it. People will not believe their necessity; they say, Do not bother us with your religion : we have got something else to attend to. It takes all our time to get a living; and besides, we are not a bit worse than anybody else. In fact, the reader may be ready to tell in..he (or she) knows plenty of religious people who do many things he (or she) would be ashamed of. Let me say at om-e, my present object is Not to speak to you about religion. Salvation is one thing—Religion, quite another. What I desire to press upon you, my friend, is—that, sooner or later, yo.i will want to know the way of salvation. There are but few who ale able—still fewer who are faithful and simple-hearted enough— to tell you. You had better look at it Now.
The plain declaration of Scripture is this, "If thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and slialt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the do;,J, thou shall he saved." (Rom. x. 9.) Well, say you, what if I don't': Hear the words of the Son of God: "Ho that believeth on th" Sim hath everlasting life; lie that believeth nut the Son shall not sec life, but the wrath ofOod abidcth on him." (John iii. 36, IS7.) This is not said to frighten people into religiousness; it is a solemn declaration of fact, and is stated hen1 to arouse your earnest attention. I repeat, making what I first said personal, If you have not got salvation, you are in need of it. I beg of you to get the question settled. To allow it to pass by, is to continue in unbelief; and the sentence, as above, is already pronounced by Him who alone could save you!
Do you ask me, Who is this Lord Jesus in whom you wish mo to believe? That is a sensible question. It is the most desirable thing you can ask. Do not rest till you get a full and satisfactory answer. It is because they do not know Jesus, that people perish. Do listen whenever you hear Christians tell about the Lord Jesus Christ. If people perplex you about keeping tho Sabbath, or breaking it—if they bother you about tectotalism and reformation, and religious associations, you may very well turn a deaf ear to them all. But if you can find any willing to tell you about Jesus, listen to them with your whole soul's attention. Ask them to explain all they know about Him. It is a living person you want to enquire about. Who is this Lord Jesus? What was He? What did He do? Where is Ho? Who saw Him? What is He doing? Shall I ever sco Him? Can Ho save me . How can Ho save me? Oh, never givo over asking till you are fully satisfied.
I can reply briefly to these questions; but it is a never ending theme. Do not bo content with the little I can say about it.
Jesus, tho Son of God, (in eternal union with tho Father,) tho Creator of all things, came into this world more than Eightccn-hundied-and-sixty years ago, in the likeneas of sinful men. While He was here, He was occupied in teaching men the will of God. He Only could mako the mind of God fully known. One thing He stated expressly—namely, that the thing needful to a right understanding of iiodifitiu.it, belkf, faith in the Son—Himself, Jesus. We never can understand God or His ways till we trust in Jesus. According to mere reason, faith in the Son may not seem necessary to an understanding of tho Father, but It Is absolutely so. When the Saviour was upon earth, Ho was not only occupied in preaching and teaching, but lie went about doing good; and lie commanded all Hit followers to do the .same! How unlike the socalled great men of this world, who arc ever seeking to get something for themselves! Jesus tho Saviour was all benevolence— always (jiving, taking nothing! Ho fed the hungry, healed the sick, poured blessing's upon the poor. Ho was, as indeed He Is, the Divine Man—full of excellence, altogether lovely. Will you not believe in Him? Will you not trust Him? But, above all, Ho gave Himself over to death and judgment for the sake of all believers. Yes, He became our Substitute and Sin-bearer, enduring all the judgment of God on account of sin, instead of those upon whom the wrath of God must otherwise have rested. Hence the force of his own words, which I have quoted. If you believe in Jesus, God will never have a word to say to you about wrath; tho Saviour endured it in your stead. If you believe not, the wrath of God abidcth on you.
You may say, you do not understand how this can bo. Let
me remind you that God's provision for salvation is, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." He never saj s wait till you ui>derstaiid the v.ork of salvation. Tn truth, it is a mystery beyond our comprehension. But 1 declare it to you, as one who believes, and who, through faith, knows cvory word of the declaration to be true.
Let mo entreat you not to consider this question as an abstraction, ;:-a doctrine. Tho Lord Jesus is not only the risen Man; lie is the living (Sod: Hi- knows the secrets of aH hearts. While this life endures men may harden themselves in unbi lief, ami treat Him with scorn, as they do. But, in a day soon to come, "every eye shall see him." He will shortly bo seen coming to this -world, which has so long reji eted Him, "in ]iow, r and 'jr. .it elery,"' "'anil then shall all the kindreds of the earth wail because of Him." "We shall all stand before tin-judgment scat of t'nrist." He will judge All. Death will be no refuge, as .inn,, men vainly hope, lie will judge both the living and the dean. Then will the unbelieving hear that word of li arful import, Iiki'.uit!
There will be another judgment for those who trust the Saviour during these days of his rejection. On these He 'will bestow blessings and rewauls, to endure for ever and over. This -will be salvation indeed.
Such is the unspeakably important issue of the question—Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ'! Are you doubtful whether you believe in Him or not': If so, I will ask you another question. Do you lovo Him': Give over thinking of an abstraction. Do you lovo Him personally, the risen Jesus': You perceive that, for faith to be effectual, the Ittart must be stirred. What Scripture demands is, confession with the lips, and belief in the heart ; belief in the Lord Jesus, once dead, now in resurrection life and glory. If such is your belief, you must love your Saviour: you cannot help it. If you do not love Him, it is because you do not believe; you are yet in your sins. Oh, think of His lavished love on ruined sinners. Believe in Him, and live for ever.
In faithfulness, I must tell you, if you believe, you ought to bo baptised. The command of Jesus to His disciples is, "Broach and baptize." The Lord said again, "He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; he that believeth not shall bo damned."
19, Sherbomc-street, Downham-road, N.
THE CITY OF CONFUSION,
(Isaiah xxiv. 10.)
FAITHFUL WOBD FOR CHRISTIANS.
8. MINISTRY—(Continued from our last.) Yet wo have no desire to press or censure unduly either the Clergy or Christians who ' sit under them.' The majority have been trained up in the belief that the various denominational systems as they exist, are more or less in accordance with the word of (rod, and that the only question for a believer to decido is, ' AVhich is the best?' Doubtless it must seem a heinous piece of presumption on our part to declare them all wrong. But this is the only possible result of a spiritual search into scripture, provided the searcher be free from bias. We can only say, dear christian reader, we have no personal object to serve. Search for yourself. It i3 to our Lord each one of us will have to give account.
For the Clergy we desiro to express the deepest sympathy. The majority have doubtless accepted their appointments in perfect integrity of heart, and it requires a mighty effort of faith to withdraw from such a position. We believe our gracious Master regards them most tenderly, and yearns over them most lovingly even where faith is weak, and tho natural mind leads them to cling to the ' things which are seen,' rather than give up all in faithfidness to Him who is unseen. But, oh, what rejoicing thcro is where faith triumphs! where pure love for tho Lord responds to his touching appeal, ' If yc love mo
keep My commandments!' Dear Christians, there have been— such there are—who, preferring to honour the counsels of Him ■who died for them, have quiotly abandoned clerical dignity and emoluments—have chosen to ' deny themselves, and take up tho cross daily, and follow Jesus.' And what amazing power for good there is in such an act! Thus to walk in the footsteps of Him who ' steilfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,' thero to suffer many things,' and to be rejected and crucified—is to bo a ' a living epistle ' indeed, ' known and road of all men.' No power of language can preach such a sermon as that. We are speaking the truth in love, yet know that it will generally be unwelcome; but must testify tho truth.
If Christians believed in the presence of the Lord in tho midst of any two or three believers, they must own practically that the first place, the Headship of the assembly M His. Heb. x. 24—25 is pretty conclusive as to Christians gathering together without any mere human leader: 'Lot us consider one another to provoko unto love and to good works; not forsaking tho assembling of ourselves together as tho manner of some is; but exhorting ono another, and so much the more as yo sco the day approaching.' Gathered round the Lord himself, His presence being as real to faith as when ho presented himself in tho midst of his disciples after his resurrection. He will lead his people by the Holy Spirit indwelling them, in worship, in prayer, and in opening up tho Scriptuics. Ho is faithful, and ever honours faith. 'Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!' If wo own his presence, and place ourselves in absolute dopendenco upon his guidance, and 'have no confidence in the flesh,' ho will raiso up Teachers and Pastors. Theso, however, aro secondary blessings. If we hold to the Lord himself and His Word, we may well bo content. Read Paul's address to tho Ephesian elders, in Acts xx. 32—34 ; after warning them of dangers from without and within, he says: 'And now brethren, I commend you to God and the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands (his own hands) have ministered unto my necessities, and them that were with me.'
9. Meetings.—A careful study of the Epistles to tho Corinthians will clearly show the mind of God as to the way in which Christian assemblies should be conducted. All who assemble together are thero taught to bo in subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ, tho Head of the Church, ever present with them, and guiding all subject ones by the Holy Ghost. He will use whom ho will, even as he gives gifts, 'dividing to every man severally as he will.'
This is so contrary to the systems of religion men havo been constructing for centuries, that tho reader may have difficulty in receiving it. Yet tho one question is 'Wrhat saith the Scripture?' Read Acts ii.; you will thero find the true church at its very commencement, in all its freshness and simplicity of construction. Look at verses 41, 42 : 'Then they that gladly received his words wero baptized, 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.' Tho chapter concludes with these words. 'The Lord added to tho church daily such as should be saved.'
In these few sontences we havo a perfect presentation of God's order ot things for Christians, viz.: 1. Tho reception of tho word of truth; 2. Baptism; 3. Continuance in the Apostles' doctrine ; 4. Christian fellowship; 5. Breaking of Bread (the Lord's Supper); 6. Prayers. All that is hero stated any two or three Christians aro competent to carry on. Anything added to it of man's invention (or changes made to suit his thoughts about what is best,) must entail positive loss.
We do not expect these truths to bo generally received. But tho question for each believer to ask himself or herself is, 'Am I going on with that which is wholly of God? Have I decided lor God and the word of his grace, to tho rejection of all else ■"' Ho assured, dear reader, there is deep significance in the spread of tho knowledge of tho Lord's promised return. The sound has gone forth, 'Behold tho Bridegroom cometh.' He would have us, in all simplicity, waiting and watching; not seeking
to build up systems of religion, nor going oir with worldly thoughts of improvement, but looking for that full and perfect deliverance which Ho himself will bring. 'We know that when ho shaU appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as ho is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as ho is pure.' (1 John iii. 2.) In tho meantime, tho word for us is, ' Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here wo have no continuing city, but we seek ono to come.' (Heb. xiii. 13, 14.) The camp of Israel consisted of all who were called to be God's people ; but when evil came into their midst, Moses pitched the Tabernacle, the hcly place, outside the camp, and all who desired to be true worshippers separated to him, and went outsido the camp. This is the figure used in the above scripture, and is specially adapted to the present times. Tho camp—that is the entire mass of those who take the ground of being God's people—has become a ' City of Confusion,' tho Babylon of Rev. xviii. Dear Christian reader, we have shown you the ' Way Out of It.' Can you not find two or throe content to gather around the Lord in a room of your own, or in any convenient place? God will own you, and 'add to the Church.' Once more wo repeat the Lord's gracious assurance,' Where two or three are gathered together in my name, There Am I in the midst of them.'
In conclusion, let us own the hand of our Saviour God, in bringing many together for mutual edification over the scripture, and for prayer. We believe that bible meetings and prayer meetings are producing wonderlul and blessed effects. The way in which believers assemble themselves in these last days, simply as Christians, for prayer and study of 'the word,' is proof of the unsatisfying character of denominationalism, with all its aids, appliances, and organizations. No doubt, many who attempt to teach, and many more who undertake to lead in prayer, are sadly ignorant of God's ways. But most of those who read and pray aro men of faith, and the Lord owns them. . Blessed be his name, he will own whatever is of faith— and ' whatever is not of faith is sin.' Wre, therefore, earnestly exhort our brethren and sisters in tho Lord, (whether or not you have faith enough to give up your sectarian standing,) to seek frequent opportunity of meeting earnest followers of tho Lord Jesus Christ, however few in number. Bo teachable, bo prayerful, depend upon tho Holy Ghost to ' guide you into all truth.' If yon do not know of such meetings, invite Christians to your own houses. Anywhere, anyhow, Meet.
Once again we quote the words—' provoke one another to love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so Much The More As Ye See The Day AitroachIno.' Surely those who are watching can see the day approaching!
Baptism and the Lord's Suiter we would fain offer a few remarks upon, but space will not permit; separate papers on theso subjects may be had 'of the publisher of this journal. We would, however, press these two ordinances upon the solemn attention of believers. Though in no way essential to salvation, love to the Lord requires our faithful observance of them. As soon as a person has faith in tho Lord Jesus Christ, he or she ought to bo baptized. Wo believe a Christian has no claim to bo received into fellowship until baptized (if scripture-teaching on tho point be regarded). As a follower of Jesus he should not permit his conscience to rest until he has conformed to the plain command of his Saviour. Receiving into fellowship is another question. Assemblies must deal with it in the presence of the Lord, guided by the 'Written Word' and the Holy Spirit's interpretation thereof. If each Christian chooses faithfulness to his Lord in preference to every other consideration all will be plain enough. After baptism thero should bo complete fellowship with Christians, in Prayer, in Praise, and in tho Breaking of Bread, i.e., the Lord's Supper. Wo gather from Scripture that the early Christians came together on the first day of tho week for that purpose, but there is no rule. Love to our Saviour cannot bo very strong, if once a week be found too froqueut to ' show the Lord's death till he conic'
If our hearts are true to our Master when he comes he will find us as to walk and fellowship outside the 'City of Confusion.'
(To tho Editor of Precious Truth.)
Highgate, August, 1865.
Dear Brother—As one who for moio than 20 years has testified against " Visiting Boards " and "Notice Boards," as dishonouring to the Holy Spirit; and who has avoided mixing himself up with either " side " in " the present distress;" and who yet feels that among "Brethren" only is true liberty of Ministry and of worship Ssripturally recognised, I may be allowed to thank you for your valuable and opportune publication.
Those who call such as seek to gather Christians together (or rather that Christians should lie gathered) in twos and threes "robbers of churches" do not know that the Greek and context Acts, xix. 37, imply " robbers of heathen temples;" they are therefore to be pitied and forgiven.
When you speak of "water baptism," do you mean "baptism in the nanioof the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," or "baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus?" There is much "cause of stumbling" in not keeping theie things in mind.
I quite agree with you, and have always urged, that "Brethren" make too much of "the Table." This arises from the Clerical Element having been so strongly developed in many of the dear early Brethren. It is simply Popish! Of all places, the Lord's table is surely not the place of judgment! [Self-judgment is quite another question.] We eat and drink judgment if we discern not the Lord's body 1 Cor. xi. 28, 29; and what is that body? 1 Cor. xii. 27 says 'Now ye are the Body of Christ and members in particular.' Jesus, then, as the Head, and his Members, as the body are to be discerned. Lphes. i. 22, 23. 1 Cor. viii. 12. &c, &c.
Let us not sin against Christ I 1 Cor. viii. 12.
With love, and in patient waiting, yours to serve,
S. C. H.
OUS COBRESPONDENTS AND OURSELVES.
R. S., Kennington.—Consider Acts, chapter x. verses 43 —48. Cornelius and those with him, having heard the word of life from Peter, believed, were saved, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. "Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water, that these should not he baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as wo? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of tho Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days." Suppose Cornelius and the rest had made answer, " We have received salvation and the gfift of tho Holy Ghost, and thcreforo consider water baptism quite useless; we consequently decline to accept it, either as a privilege or a command." Would Peter have had fellowship with them in their unfaithfulness? Would he have listened to their invitation to tarry certain days? Would he be setting up a new sect by declining intimato association with those who set at naught the plain command of their Saviour? We trust the reflections wo have suggested will entirely dispose of your difficulties. It is not a party question at all, but ono for each individual conscience taught of "tho word" by the Holy Spirit. The matter to bo determined is not "who mmj I break broad with '(" hut who shall I have true, loving, Christ-like fellowship with? You say, you see three water baptisms—viz. that of "John," "The Twelve," and of "Paul." This puzzles us greatly. We can see but two baptisms by water—First, that hy John, which was introductory, or tho sign of repentance— and which came to an end as soon as Jesus commenced his ministry. Second, that ordained by our Lord, which is ttie sign of our baptism into His death.
T. S., Crewe.—We gladly own the loving spirit manifested in your letter. But, dear Brother, you have written in haste. You say we aro wrong in stating that the "Plymouth Brethren," "The Brethren," or " Brethren," (which you will) have given this separate designation as marking themselves off from the rest of the Church of God. We may be technically wrong. It matters not, however, whether you give yourselves a separate title or whether you adopt one which others have given you. Vou say " your lot is cast among these people,"
and in your letter yon expressly identify yourself with them ns
a party. Speaking of what is done among you, (pardon u»
for paraphrasing your sentences,) you say, "the tracts We publish prove we do not give ourselves a separate designation" Do you not see you are self-convicted 'i You take upon yourself to answer our strictures upon the Body or Bodies known under tho several titles above enumerated; but you really i establish what we have asserted. If you did not belong to a Party, you would not he offended by charges made against a party. Our words would make no impression upon you Christians who do not sny We, when '" The Brethren" are spoken of, are not at all annoyi d by our remarks upon that denomination. Be sure, my dear brother, that if the Siiol1
pinches it is because ire wear it. You say, " Though yon do
not acknowledge yourself one of us. we at Crewe acknowleds."' you as a brother in Christ with nil the saints in every plac that call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." The first part of this sentenco is virtually contradicted by the last. You know very well that, as members of the body of Christ, we are as ready to own you as you ns. Not only so, but if our gracious Lord were to lead us to Crewe we could have full fellowship with you as members of the Church of God, at the same time that we should repudiate your
party standing. You call us to account for upholding
the simple title of " Christians." We are just as free to use
the terms "Saints" or " Brethren"—but, in consideration of
the special appropriation of these by Brethrenisms, we, in
general speaking, prefer the other Scriptural term, because it is
, that by which all parties are known. We thus take upou us,
1 in common with all believers, " reproach for the name of Christ;"
1 we bear our part in the common burden, and own ourselves no
better than the rest. You quote against us Gal. vi. 1. In
this you make a common mistake. The thing spoken of in that Scripture is, the duty of restoring an individual overtaken in a fault. We would gladly and humbly do this for you, dear < brother, if needful; or, at least, we would seek grace to do it, if we knew of any fault in you. But it is quite a hopeless thing to seek to restore a Confederacy. May the Holy Spirit enable you and all tho dear people of God to see tho distinction we have endeavoured to point out.
C. P., East Movlsey.—Your third letter is received, with thanks. Lack of space only prevents our answering you in this number.
J. B., Leicester.—May your act of self-devotion be entirely of faith. In that case, you noed not reckon up your resources beforehand. Commit all to the Lord. Read Matt. xix. 29.
A letter without a signature and marked private.—We cannot notice correspondence of that kind. . /-
NOTICES. To Correspondents.—We invite enquiries tending to the elucidation of scriptuial truth. Controversial questions should be avoided entirely, if possible. Letters must bo sent before the 15th. Letters for the Editor to be addressed to 335, Strand, W.C. g^^ To facilitate f:e obtaining of Precious TnVTH, packets will be sent put.t Tree to any part of the United Kingdom, by remitting, in advance, as follows :—Two copies for 2d., Vive for 3d.. Ten foe Sd. Cash in advance. Address—Job Caudwe'.l, 83j, Strand, London, WC. or
Scott & Allan, lot), Sauchiehall-street, Glasgow.
Published in a Tract form,
^rpiIK CITY OF CONFUSION, and the Way out ol It.* A Faithful JL Word for Christians. Id.
riMIK SCIUPTUllAL CONSTITUTION of a CHRISTIAN CHUflCH. _L Small Tract. Id. Is 6d per lOd. Job Cuudwell, 335, Strand.
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done to the Lord in faith, you will thus be dispenser* of much ble-siiifr.
Printed by Jon* Evans, 335a, Strand, W.C; and published fir him by Job Caudwell, 335, Strand, Undon, W.C. and Scott 8c Allan, 101', .SauchichaU-Btrect, Glasgow. Friday, Sept. I, Iscj.
TO ONE WHO LOVES THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN SINCERITY.
Beloved,—You will gladly listen to what I bring you in the name of our Lord; though to many, I find, the proclamation of the whole Truth is very unwelcome. It is a great while ago since the request was first made to a prophet of God— "Prophesy to us smooth things." The spirit which actuated the unfaithful Israelites of old is, however, rife among Christians. An unsparing declaration of God's mind operates now, as it always did.
In the first days of the present dispensation, "the word" was not as honey to the taste of all. Let us contrast two cases. When Peter and the rest of the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, accused their hearers of the wickedness they had committed—these were pricked to their heart, and said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" They owned their error, enquired for the remedy, and obtained it. When another audience was before Stephen, and he laid against them the solemn charge, "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost," these were cut to the heart, and gnashed on him with their teeth. Moreover they cast him out and stoned him. Yet these were religious people!
Blessed be God, there are many in our day who will listen to the Truth, though it pricks. The divine word soon heals them. But, alas! what a multitude find themselves more grievously wounded by "the Sword of the Spirit"—continually cut to the heart, yet obtain no healing balm for their wounds, because they stubbornly resist the Holy Ghost. Beloved; be sure that mere words of man, mine or any other, are (concerning the truth as it is in Jesus) powerless to hurt. Those who wince under what is written in this paper, are those who need to be either pricked or cut; and the word of God does it. Let the puncture, however, effect ite purpose, and the member soon becomes whole. As to those who are only willing to listen to exhortations adapted to their prejudices, and made like the sound of "a pleasant song"—I can only say, They are in the Lord's hands, and he will deal with them. For my own part, though earnestly intent upon "speaking the truth in love," my only care is, to make known the mind of the Lord.
When of old, the man of God had cried against the altar at Bethel, it was a prophet who tempted him from the path which God had appointed! He had fulfilled one part of his mission and would have completed it faithfully but for his brother prophet. Solemn warning! Christians, alas! mislead one
another. They entice one another from the way in which God would have them to walk. They say, "Turn aside; rest and be comfortable with us; wo also are of the prophets." "What harm is there" in this, that, or the other? Satan is transformed into an angel of light!
Beloved; We must answer all with—"It is written." When our Lord was tempted of the devil, having fasted in the wilderness forty days, tho devil said to him, "If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread." Jesus was "hungered," he needed the bread; what objection could be made to the proposal? the natural man would say, "None whatever." But "Jesus answered him saying, It M written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." So with the other temptations. There is much in each to commend it to mere human judgment. Satan exerted all his subtlety when dealing with our Saviour. In every case Jesus defeated the foe with, "It it written"! Let us imitate our Master, and bo armed with an "It it written," with which to repel every invitation to unfaithfulness.
Oh, my Brother, my Sister, Think of the immeasurable consequences of the present fight of faith. Think of " the crown of life," "the hidden manna," "the white stone with a new name," "the rule over tho nations," "the Morning Star," the owning of thy name by Jesus before His Father and before his angels, Jesus making those "who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie, to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that he has loved thee!"
The "Lord Jesus," the "I am," the "Alpha and Omega," "the Beloved," saith to thee—" Behold, I come quickly! hold that fast which thou hast, that thou lose not thy crown. [He does not say, that thou lose not thy life !] Him that overcometh will I make a Pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God ; and my now name." Moreover, He saith to thee—" As many as I love I rebuko and chaston: bo zealous, therefore, and repent [i.e. turn from all that is contrary to his mind—and do whatever is pleasing in His sight;] Behold, I stand at the door and knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me." [Now at this present time, while you are yet a pilgrim.] "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne."
Beloved, You can only overcome by faith: Faith kept in exercise. Faith, not in men's words and devices, but in, "It is written." Faith manifested in personal love to Jesus, and intimate, holy fellowship with him. Let him "dwell in your heart by faith." How prone we are to forget that we are in a scene of spiritual warfare! Carnal weapons will not avail us. "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For wo wrestle not against flesh and blood, [though the tempter often comes against us in human form,) but against principalities, against powers, againstthe rulers of the darkness of this world,against spiritual wickedness on high." Satan is above you, and he is stronger than you. If you do not accept divine provision for the conflict, he will get many an advantage over you. I pray you consider the perfect equipment Christ has provided for you; see Eph. vi. 10—24. Estimate the value of His strength, and the armour provided for you in that Scripture Put it on, and do not cease to wear it. Divinely equipped, you can indeed stand. Thus may you be found by this Lord at his coming. He will come soon. How precious are those words in tho last chapter of Revelation, "Behold I come
quickly," "Behold I come quickly,
and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." "Surely,
I come quickly." May you and I be always ready with the rejoinder as it is written—" Even so,, come, Lord Jesus."
Waiting that bright and happy consummation,
PLYMOUTH BRETHEEN-THE BRETHBEN-OB
When we issued our second paper on "the Plymouth Brethren," our purpose was to have left the subject there. We have, however, received so many communications touching their unhappy disputes, and, moreover, so much misrepresentation has been published respecting them, especially by a certain Dr. C. and a writer in the Sword and Trowel —that for the Truth's sake we are constrained to offer some further remarks. What particular name each section of the Brethren should be called by, we cannot discover. Originally, no doubt, the believers who came together upon the ground now occupied by these denominations, were recognised among one another simply as "brethren." But it is now common with many of them to speak and think of their party as, "the Brethren," "the Saints;" while by other bodies of Christians and the world they are generally known as "the Plymouth Brethren," without any divisional distinction.
With regard to the principal rupture produced among these (once united) bodies, some years ago, it seems, the leading brother at Plymouth was betrayed into an unfaithful use of Scripture. He began to teach what was certainly heretical; but it was covered
up with so much cleverness, that many might read his writings without detecting the snare. Yet Christians who compare what they hear with Scripture, could not fail to discover it. (Alas! that this duty is so little attended to, notwithstanding the warnings of Christ, and the experience of eighteen hundred years.)
Then ensued the manifest failure of Brethrenism as an institution. Plymouth ought, according to Scripture, to have been left to deal with its own heresy. In the days of the Apostles, the Church at Ephesus did not interfere with Smyrna, nor Pcrgamos with Thyatira, neither Home with Corinth, nor Corinth with Colosse. The Lord admonished each assembly apart. To the same Lord Jesus Christ should the cause at Plymouth have been committed, if the evil remained unjudged by the members of his body in that place. Instead of this, the leaders of the confederacy in London assumed jurisdiction in the matter. Nor did they stop there, but (as we understand) proceeded to propound an anticipated difficulty to assemblies of "the Brethren" in various places: namely—"On the supposition that Plymouth failed to put away the heretic, would any member of that Church be received elsewhere to communion?" It is not surprising that some of the assemblies so addressed declined to reply to that question. Of these the Bristol meeting, using a chapel called Bethesda (as we are informed), sent an answer to the effect—that should such a case as that suggested, occur with them, they would seek guidance from the Lord to deal with it.
Hereupon it seems the dictators in London decided to put away all meetings who would not at once concur with the demand made upon them to pronounce beforehand upon a difficulty which might never arise. Absurd as this reads, we believe we have given but the simple facts. Only think of a christian conclave in London, based upon, no one knows what, assuming power to put away assemblies in the gross, not only in London, but in Bristol, and other places! Thus, it seems, was brought about the first great division. The separatists henceforth excluded all who did not hold their views, and gave them the designation of " Bethesda," or "the other side"—while those put away, denominated the other party "exclusives." Oddly enough, there are many dear christians in both camps who know little or nothing of the nature of the middle wall built up between them. The young "exclusives " are led to think^the " Bethesdas" all heretics; and the latter must of necessity look upon the "exclusives" as sad fanatics—but the cause of division few are able to tell. There have been other ruptures. The chiefs of the London " exclusives" have since sat in judgment upon matters concerning '' The Brethren" at Guernsey, and we know not where besides. There is no end to ecclesiastical pretension when once the anti-scriptural principle of confederacy is admitted.
One circumstance connected with these matters we must not pass over. The extra-judicial conclave in London on one occasion (probably oftener) were nonplused for want of scripture on which to base their proceedings; whereupon the conscience of the meeting was appeased by reading from the 2nd Epistle of John, as follows: — "For many deceivers are entered into