תמונות בעמוד

It is not in human nature to forego present honour for future glory. B t power will be given to us who belit-ve, it we ask graco of God, and earnestly study to be conformed to the mind of Christ Jesus, as revealed in the Scriptures. What we want is Humility, Obedience, and Love.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him tho form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and boing found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Beloved,—If you wish to please God, you must let this mind which was in his beloved Son be also in you. It will mortify the flesh, but cause you to rejoice in spirit. It will separate you from evil, and make you to be "a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, prepared unto every good work."

May the words of Jesus sink deeply into our souls, and abide in us; may we also by i'aith abide in Him; and may He dwell in our hearts by faith. Oh, let us earnestly watch, that we hold fast these provisions of grnco; so shall wo bear much fruit, according to the word of the Lord.

Yours over in true Christian love,

The Editor.

NATIONAL FASTING AND HUMILIATION: Cun there be such a thing during this Dispensation'

The Scriptures clearly teach that there can be no action, of a spiritual nature, by nations, as nations, in these days. '1 he Word of God recognises three divisions of mankind at present in the world—viz. the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God. There is now no preferential nation, although the Jews remain a distinct people. England never had such a preference, nor any nation but that of the Jews; and the Jew is at present s;t aside dispensationally;—he has no country, no temple, wherein alone he could sacrifice and worship in the highest sense, as it was prophesied respecting them.

"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a saerifiee, and without an image, and without an ephod and teraphim." (lios.iii.4.)

We get a vivid impression of the disruption of tho Jew from his proper national standing, when we remember that every male of age ought to appear thrice every year before the Lord, in the place where the I ord had chosen to place his name Thus the Jews, as a nation, are shut out from all spiritual action. Broken off, for the present, faith in their rejected Messiah can alone bring them individually into acceptance with God; but when they admit that Jesus is the Christ they oease to be Jews.

The Gentile nations, as such, never were admitted on to any ground of approach to God, in fasting, prayer, worship, or sacrifice. Before the Gentilelormevly could hare any spiritual status, they had

individually to be circumcised and go upon Jewish ground. It is true, there is the remarkable case of Nineveh placed before us in the Bible. That i>, indeed, an instance of general action on the part of a large city of the Gentiles, in which fasting, humiliation, and prayer were effectual to the suspension of the threatened doom. But in this case, there was no putting forth of any claim, because there was no covenant. It was a simple casting of themselves upon the mercy of God—a peradventure of despair.

"Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his tierce anger that we perish not f"

They had, as they confessed, no ground to expect the mercy they received; nevertheless, it was their only hope, and it pleased God to withdraw his arm. Does the English Nation, in times of peril or of pain, humble itself in any such spirit, and ordain fasting and prayer with similar expectations?

In view of the real humiliation of Nineveh, the so-called national humiliations and fastings and prayers of modern times, like so much else, are mere shams. In the first place, in the instance cited there was Faith

"So the people of Nineveh brlieved God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even unto the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything : let them not feed nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one of them from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell it God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not i" (Jonah iii.j

But if any Gentile nation were willing so to cast itself on the undeserved mercy of God, admitting it had no claims or grounds on which to expect the same, there would be still lets reason for hope than in the case of Nineveh. For now the word of Jesus Christ, Son of God, has gone forth :—

"No man Cometh unto the Father but by Me!"

And this coming by Jesus is not mere coming with his people, repeating written prayers after a priest, but a heart-faith in Him personally.

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him."
"With the Heart man believe;h."

But if every individual in a nation had faith, the whole would cease to be of the World, or Gentiles, and would become of the third division recognised in Scripture—the Church of God. Thus, we see that the phrase "Christian nation," in such common use, is a contradiction of terms. All this dreadful confusion has come in through Christians sinfully wooing the World for what it can give. Oh, what a mournful failure! And look at the degrading bondage it has led to! In times of calamity, instead of the World cowering before the power of God, in conscious helplessness, and, perchance, turning to the only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, what do we see? —We see many who profess and call themselvee Christians kneeling at the command of a Worldly

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Government, taking at the hands of that Worldly Government a form of prayer, and repeating it at its command! Degradation most deep!

In view of the wrath of God which is coming upon the children of disobedience, as shadowed fort in the Revelation, the present calamities endured by the World are trifles For the unconverted, of high or low estate—whether in attendance at places called chapels and churches or not, —to think they can, by some modiflcation of self-indulgence, and saying Amen to certain prayers, please God, and remove his hand fr m pressing on the nation, is not less monstrous than it would be to proclaim a general rejoicing that the great judgments are not yet poured out, notwithstanding the Lord's plain declaration that they soon will be!

That individual Christians may fast privately, for spiritual reasons, we learn from the practice of the early disciples of Christ. The Apostle Paul said— "I keep my body under." To allow anything more than this, is to incur the danger of putting works before faith.

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Allusions to the office of intercessor, which the Lord Jesus Christ has undertaken for his people, are very rare in the Scriptures. Intercession brings in the thought of distance. But the believer's true place is that of nearness to God. It is in the epistle to the Hebrews that the Holy Spirit, by the Apostle Paul, after reviewing the object of the Levitical priesthood, and declaring the priesthood of Christ to be infinitely higher, and in every respect more perfect, assures us that—

"He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. vii. 25.)

Whenever there is a felt need of the intercession of our Great High Priest, true Christians may well be re-assured by the recollection that "He ever liveth to make intercession for them."

It is unspeakably blessed to be of the heavenly people whose Head is the possessor of an unfailing priesthood; one who maintains them and their cause before God perfectly. Who is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him. Who can tell the joy of knowing that we have one in the presence of God, who is our Saviour, Friend, and Great High Priest. But then we ought to remember that the intercession of Christ for his disciples (all who believe in him) has been made, and is already completely accepted. He has prayed the Father for ue; see John xvii. Therefore it is that we are carried forward by the Holy Ghost from Heb. vii. to consider in the following chapter the more excellent ministry of our Lord.

"But now he hath obtained a more excellent ministry, try how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises" (Heb. viii. 6 )

That is to say,—not only is the priesthood higher, and infinitely more perfect than that which began

with Aaron; but the covenant also is far better. For whereas the old covenant brought in a continual reminder of sin, and only made manifest the failures both of the priests and the people—the new covenant, of which Jesus is the mediator, has made an end of sin, and has established the subjects of that covenant before God for ever in sanctification.

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know tho Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness; and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Heb. viii. 10—12.)

This promise to earthly Israel, which will be fulfilled in Millennial days, is true of the heavenly people (christians) now. Our Lord has not only saved us from death, and given us life, but he has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Nor does the blessed work end here:—He has brought us into the presence of God our Father as perfect ones.

All this is most fully brought out in Heb. ix. and x., especially in the latter chapter. In due time Jesus had said, in act as well as in word—

"Lo, I come, to do thy will, O God. •••*•• By the

which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once." (x. 9, 10.)

After this we are shown the inherent weakness of the Levitical priests and their sacrifices, and then, in contrast, it is said—

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever (never to be repeated), tat down on the right hand of God." (x. 12.)

Behold, then, this perfect consummation! The eternal sacrifice, (i. e. of eternal duration as to its efficacy) completed; Intercession fully accepted; Mediation effectual and established; and the Great High Priest seated on the throne of God!

But this is not all—

"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified "! (i. e. all those who are saved through the faith in His name.] (x. 14.)

What next, as to walk on earth? The will of God written in our hearts, and Bins remembered no more! Then what follows?—

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; Let us drnw mar with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (i. e. by the word ot God.] (x. 19—22.)

This is our condition and calling, as "accepted in the Beloved," though yet waiting as strangers and pilgrims on earth.

While living in this range of God's revealed word —and the Lord would have us to abide in it—our affections are drawn out towards God :—" We love him because he first loved us." It is "fellowship with the Father and the Son." For such as continue in practical conformity to the will of God, the pefioi of Intercession has passed; we are, by faith, in the Father's house. We may, alas! practically fall from this—some never attain to it —then it is precious to know of Christ's unfailing Intercession.

"My little children, these things [the things of 1 John i. and following chapters] write I unto vou, that ye sin not, [as children of God «e ought to hate and avoid sin]; and if any [christian! man sin, we have an Advonnte with the Father. Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins :" &c, (1 Jphp ii. l, 2.)

Thus it appears to us, that Intercession or Advocacy, as presented to Christians in Scripture, is ever in connection with practical failure in walk, and consequent distance from God (i. e. as to consciousness.) All believers have had need of Christ's intercession, and may have again. But it is far better to know our Great High Priest as the one who maintains us in nearness to God, than as having to intercede for us when aught of sin is resting upon the conscience, which, while it endures, practically keeps the child at a distance from the Father.

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes [in times past] were far off, are made nigh by the hlood of Christ." (Eph. Ii. 13)

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and bath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Eph. v. r, 2.)


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These two characters are apparently introduced very incidentally into the sacred -narrative ef the Trial and Crucifixion of the Li>rd Jesus Christ. Barabbas and Simon are not by any means voluntary actors, but are brought in per force, without any reference to their own wills, and take no part essentially' neoessary to the development of the chief issue. Nevertheless, they doubtless fill important parts in the solemn scene, and what those parts were the Holy Spirit will teach the humble, patient, trustful reader of the Word.

We see Baeabbas—a murderer and a robber, and one who had stirred up sedition—-bound and powerless, fearing the. worst, yet not beyond hope of reprieve. Now, how truly was all this the case with Satan at that moment! a robber, a murderer, one that "perverted the people," and that from the beginning. Not alone was Barabbas in his sedition; neither was Satan without cotnp ers. Again, when Satan went to our Lord in the wilderness, hoping to worst the glorious "last Adam," he found himself paralyzed and powerless in his presence. For the first time, Heaven and Hell saw a perfect Man, completely proof against all the subtleties . of Satan. Indeed, in some sense, the Lord "bound" him, too; and the proof was, the liberation after he came forth from the wilderness of those who had been bound by Satan, that is, the delivering of those who were possessed of devils. This appears in Mark i.: and «JIatt. xxU. , , .

How can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil hiB goods, exoept he first hind the strong man F and then he will spoil his house."

(This was virtually re-accomplished, in a still mote glorious .sense, by our Lord's death and rwsurrection, though Satan's reign is yet permitted, but soon actually to come to an end.)

Like Burubbas, Satan kuew his sentence, and from the fact of the presence in the world of the •'Holy One of God," had feared being "tormented before the time "—just as Barabbas was fearing a violent and premature end of his bad career. Nevertheless, Satan, doubtless had hopes of a reprieve—a further prolongation of power—a temporary deliverance from fear. ThiB could only come to pass, however, by a deliberate preference by the Jews of him and of his rule to that of their rightful King. To this point his energies and subtleties were consequently directed. Deep, though short-lived, was his triumph, therefore, when they cried out-w

"Not this man, but Barabbas!" Had the contrary been the case—if, when the Messiah came unto his own, his own had received Him, there could have been no reprieve for Satan, no preferential liberation of Barabbas; for Christ must have reigned in righteousness, monarch of the earth; He could not have divided the kingdom with Satan. Then would have taken place, that which will happen when the Lord takes to flimself his great power, and reigns King of the Jews—sinners will be cut off and Satan will be bound and in prison; and will there remain all the period of the millennial reign of Christ on earth. (Rev. xx.)

Turn we to Simon, the Cyrenian, whom we are convinced prefigures believers in general, as to their original condition in tho world, and their course and character as new creatures in Christ. Simon means he "that hears or obeys;" now of believers it is truo that faith has come "by hearing," and they have "yielded the obedience of faith." As having a Jewish name but of Gentile residence, he is a fit representative of believers, both from among those who "were nigh" and those "who were afar off." We shall see he is always introduced outside the Holy City and the land to which pertained the promises, showing the distinctness of our calling from that of earthly Israel, and he settles down (Acts xi. and xiii.) still further away from the land of his birth, the sin-cursed land of Ham, in which region Cyrene was. It is so with the believer; while he is not "under the law" nor on Jewish ground, as regards earthly promises and blessings, he is still further off from his original condition, as born in sin, having been "translated from the .kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son," and that people for whom.his King and God cherishes such purposes of grace must b& nearer and dearer to him than his father'-8 house-rthe world—just as Antioch. Simon's residence.as a Christian, was much nearer Judea than Cyrene, the place of his birth.

Not individually, but as one of the race, Simon the i Cyrenian waa uapUoated, in -the ..rejeotioa taud esoci

Let us now tarn our attention to the main lesson associated with the person of Simon the Cyrenian—* that which is derived from the contemplation of him in the act -of cawwng the cross after Jesus^ -The cross represents rejection, contumely, suffering, "burdens for Christ's sake, borne after the Lord's manner; in faith following Him up the mount whither he has gone. In Simon's case, he was compelled to bear the cross; the World, in the person of the soldiers,, laid it on him; and the Christian must expect burdens, from the World and the dislike of worldly christians. and that in proportion to the spirituality and zeal of his walk. "If they have persecuted me, they wilt also persecute you." But we are encouraged tQ patiently endure it: "If we suffer with Him, we shall be also glorified together."

To such as take up the cross the* Lord will be ever near, and his grace is ever sufficient; for u; Doubtless, the Lord feels for us, as He did for Simon, but " as our afflictions abound, our consolations shall much more abound." "Let us therefore go to him outside the camp bearing his reproach," knowing that "our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Oh, how thankful we shall be in the glory for every burden laid upon us down here! 1 hough it was grievous at the time, yet how must Simon have rejoiced afterwards that he had the special honour, though against his will, of fellowship with the- Lord in his sufferings. ^n

Thus we see in Simon, the Members, by anticipation, called into participation of suffering with the Head; but dh,"how slight as compared with Hit deep, deep affliction! Simon had no part with the Lord in the shame and" spitting, the mockery and the buffetting: the pain of the thorns, the scourge, and tho cross: at Calvary, where the 'wrath of God, against sin must be endured, Simon vanishes. K©« lieving ones were utterly unable to endure with the Lord. In Gethsemane they slept, in thepresence of the officers, they fled, in the hall of the'migh priest the Master is denied, and at the cross a few women and one young man stand afar off, and" though before He dies two of them draw near, it isonly when fellowship is no longer possible, and to hear Him cry, with a loud voice, "It is finished!"

Oh, that we may realize~tbat special acquaintance with the Lord which Simon obtained through bearing the cross after Him! He heard and saw him lament over the daughters of Jerusalem—"Weep not for me f weep for yourselves and your children." Oh, how these words of wondrous pity—of deepest synl« pathy for others' woes, crowding out the. keenest suffering in Himself—must have fallen on the heart of Simon! how they revealed the Divine Man before him! Did he think much of his hardships after that? Nor shall we, if the same blessed example is steadily realized by faith.

fixion of the Lord Jesus; and were not we " sinners of the Gentiles" verily guilty, in the persons of Pilate and the Roman soldiers? and during our unregeneracy did we not endorse their guilt by not grieving over it? "He was despised and rejected of men," (not of the Jews only,) and the unparalleled guilt lays still at the World's door.

As further bearing out our thought that Simon represents believers in general, it is interesting to trace him in Acts xi. and xiii. at Antioch, where himself and others are first called "Christians:"

"Now they which were Mattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the church which was in Jerusalem ; and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch." (xi. 1 9- 22.)

"Now .there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon (that was called Niger), and Lucius (of (Jyreno), and Manaen (which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch), and Saul." (xiii. 1.)

©ur judgment is that as "Simeon " is only another way of writing "Simon," (for Simon Peter is written "Simeon " in Acts xv. 14,) and as the plural "men of Cyrene" is employed with reference to those whom the Lord used in this work at Antioch, but only one, (Lucius) is so designated, that therefore this "Simeon that was called Niger" is "Simon the Cyrenian." But why called u Niger "? why is the old designation dropped P Is he not introduced by the Spirit with everything new about him, compared with what it was with him when he was brought into our view as the "stranger coming out of the country"? He is located, not at Cyrene, but at Antioch; he is of new people, "Christians"; ai d the Spirit records his new name "Niger." Christ being Lord in his own house, re-names whom He wiflTarfd may1, as in this case and that of John and James (whom He called "Boanerges,") give no reason for the' act. It is true that Simon might have been "re-named by the Church; but the fact of the' Holy Spirit here appropriating the name seems! to indicate that it was quite of the Lord. NoW-"Niger" means Black. If Christians had been led' so to call Simon it might have been on account (as we may suppose) of a deep swarthiness of complexion, being a native of Africa, in which continent Cyrene was; but doubtless the Lord had a higher and spiritual reason, and if we are right, that Simon prefigures believers in general, as called from outside Judaism to bear the cross and follow Jesus, what a beautiful harmony between this new ''frame given to him who typifies the Church and that which the Church says in the Song of


, ■ - ii- - . , r

"I am Black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the teuU of bl«dnr, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am Black, because the sun hath looked upon ine. , ■ . ■

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We desire in christian love, and in the spirit of meekness, to offer a few thoughts for your solemn consideration before God, r> specting your "Book of Common Prayer," and matters connected therewith. Many of you will b ready to reply—" We are well acquainted with the defects existing in that boo1*, as well as in our church arrangements, and we live in hopes of seeing them reformed." We are thankful that such is your desire. Notwithstanding, we think, if you will patiently look into the whole matter with us, praying to God that the "Holy Ghost" "the Comforter," "the Spirit of Truth," may lead us into all truth—the examination will surely result in profit to your souls. First, as respects Ministry. We have already, in previous numbers of this paper, offered some serious remonstrances concerning your Bishops. The script res plainly show how that their political and lordly standing completely contravenes the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Holy Ghost by the apostles.

"Jesus called the twelve and said unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise Lo>dship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But »o shall it not he among you, $c." (Mark x. 42, 43.)

The spirit of this scripture was reiterated by Our Saviuur continually, and shines out in all the sacred epistles, which were given after His ascension. But wo will not dwell upon this point now, as we are conscious that most of those who are spiritual among you, blush for the anomalous position of the men who exercise a Gentile Lordxhip over you. For the present, therefore, we leave the "Bishops of the State," and turn to your every-day ministers—the priests. Priests? Why Priests? Do not think we are questioning the name without seeing a most weighty issue involved in its assumption. If you will refer to 1 Cor. xii. you will find an enumeration of divinely given christian ministries. Speaking of gifts in the various members of the body of Christ, the Church, we are there taught that—

"God hath net some in the church, [simply as members of the body,] first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, then gilts of heaung," &c. (v. 26.)

Here we have ministry of various kinds, as it should be exercised, to the extent of gifts now given, in any assembly of true believers. ''Diversity of gifts, but the same Spirit." Look carefully and prayerfully at the whole chapter, and you will see to what end gifts are given, also how they are to be exercised. But Eph. iv. 11 enumerates most completely, our Lord's gifts in the way of servants or ministers, thus—

"When he [Christ] ascended up'on high, he led captivity captive, and gave girts unto men. • * * And he gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers."

In the epistle to Corinthians, ministerial gifts in

the midst of true christians gathered to the Lord, are in contemplation. But in that to Ephesians, the whole "work of the ministry" is considered. Therefore, we have in addition to ministries which are exercised within the assembly, outside ministers also, namely, Evangelists, who go forth into all the world to preach the gospel—and pastors, whose office, when rightly understood, is much exercised in visitations from house to house.

Now, is it not remarkable that the constructors of Anglicism, have discarded every name by which the Head of The: Church in that epistle to the Ephesiana distinguishes His sent servants!

Thus it is, however. Those who exercise authority among you neither recognise the Lord's right to appoint, nor even to name, ministers who ore called His servants!

Bishops. PriestB, and Deacons! These are the orders established by the religion of the State. Kishops, as Lords, are in opposition to scripture. Doacons, according to the word of God, were appointed primarily to serve tables, and were not officially for spiritual ministry at all. Priests belong to a past dispensation!

Of course, the titles of Bishops, Priests and Deacons are found in scripture. But the characteristics of those who hold these titles among you are thoroughly unscriptuml: a candid appeal to the New Testament cannot fail to show this. And we must ask you again to reflect, that the ministerial designations, and as far as possible the gifts also, given by our Lordnamely, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, have been entirely discarded by your rulers. Nor is this all. They have not only taken up titles which, though found in scripture, are now misapplied—but they have introduced a list of dignities, tor which there is no sanction whatever in the word of God. Arch Bishops, Arch Deacons, Deans, Canons, Vicars, Rectors, Curates, and we know not how many more!

Now, all these inventions are built upon a manmade Priosthood. However great or small the office held by your clergy, (exc ptiug the deaconate,) the holder thereof must be a priest! This, therefore, is the keystone of the whole edifice of the Church of England (so called.) We wish the proposition to bo clearly understood. It is held by your church ns essential to effectual ministry, that the man be an ordained priest! Let us, then, seek to know what our God has rovealed respecting Priesthood. There are three priestly orders of God, as made known in the scriptures. First, that of Melchisedec, which belongs to Our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood, which was given exclusively to one family and tribe—called of God to offer sacrifices, to make atonement for the sins of the people, and to wait upon the service of the tabernacle.

The third order of priesthood we purpose to examine hereafter.

It was, and is ever, impossible to take the priestly office, or receive it at the hands of men, unless expressly called of God. "No man taketh this

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