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Who is Jezebel of this dispensation? Is she not the unconverted who have, by collegiate process, got He-not a mere principle-because the Lord says, "I into the place of teachers? Mark you, she is a person gave her space to repent, and she repented not." All, who are going with academical machinery will theological professors and ministers. have unconverted men (more or less) in the place of Of course, some of the sects take more care than others to keep
"Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved unconverted men out. But an academical course canthem unto the end" (John. xiii. 7.) not be held as of prime consequence without ALL being exposed to the evil. We were recently shocked at hearing of the appointment to the position of a college professor of a clever young tutor who was well known by his father, family, and friends to be not in the faith! If you hold Hebrew, Greek, and Mathematics as prime requisites, you cannot keep out of the (so-called) ministry naturally able, but unregenerate men. Indeed, how many are destined to it, and trained for it, as a living, without any question of a change of heart! Thus, the mere booktaught (i.e. Jezebel) have supplanted the Holy Spirit! Remember, that sins against the Holy Ghost are specially condemned in the Word. Hence this threatened "tribulation."
"If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John, xxi. 22).
And so we are tarrying-not for death, but till come, in bodily presence, from the highest heavens down into the air, the lower heavens, and we are "caught up to meet the Lord in the air;" wo are tarrying till He appear-appear to sight-who really is always with us, blessed be His name!
4. This being so, beloved, may you and I know the place of nearness-like John, on Jesus' breast, as one whom Jesus loves.
Each of us, as individuals, oh, how dear to the Lord! and all of us, as the Church-oh, how dear to the Lord!
"Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it" (Eph. v.) Thus is the Church like John the Beloved-stamped, or named, Grace-rejected-waiting-beloved. Even so.
THE "HOUR OF TRIAL" COMETH. "I will cast them into great tribulation." (Rev ii.)
To the Editor of PRECIOUS TRUTH.
"DEAR BROTHER,-While I can speak of the joy your journal has afforded me and others, I must also mention (not for myself only, but for any of the Lord's dear people I am acquainted with)-that there have been recently some statements hard to be understood in the light of Scripture. You speak of adulterous Christians being CAST into the TRIBULATION, while those who are found faithful and blameless at Christ's coming will enter uninterrupted [unimpeded, unopposed] into
the presence of the Lord.
It was not said-Adulterous Christians will be understood the tribulation of the Jewish Remnant, cast into "the tribulation;" by this term is usually referred to by our Lord (Mark xiii.19,20), and pictured
"I cannot say you are wrong, but the Apostle Paul says-forth (further on in the Revelation) as the Woman We (which I understand to mean ALL) which are alive and remain shall be caught up at the Lord's coming.
"As the remarks you made are so searching almost alarming-I pray that the Lord will guide you in the matter, s80 that if your meaning has been mistaken, you may make it plainer. Yours in Him, even Jesus our Lord, W. J. C."
Oh, that dear ones, everywhere, may become enlightened as to this abomination of adultery with present in the midst, as their All-in-all! to teach Jezebel, and turn unto the Lord, cleaving unto Him, them by the Holy Ghost, "whom God hath given unto all them that obey Him." (Acts v.)
These last referred to are the Lord's "servants "called so by Him, and therefore true believers engaged, more or less, in work for Him. But they are also living in adultery with Jezebel. In the January number we were much led out concerning Jezebel.
whom the Dragon tries to overwhelm with a flood [of persecution]. (Rev. xii.) The Church will be with the Lord while that is going on upon the earth.
Nevertheless, if the Lord Jesus Christ solemnly threatens tribulation, let us receive, as little children, what He says. But then the threat is uttered on a condition, and that condition is-"unless they repent."
Lord's word by Jonah was-
"Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jonah iii.) Surely this was no unreal threat. Of course not. But Nineveh repented, and God stayed His hand. and was again threatened through the prophet It is true, Nineveh relapsed into great iniquity; Nahum, and subsequently destroyed, 300 years after Jonah's time. Nevertheless the first threatened judgment was completely avoided by a timely repentance, to the praise of the mercy of God.
Now, shall the Church do less than Nineveh? Shall She be impenitent in view of the Gentile City in sackcloth ? Nay!
shrink not, for the Lord delighteth in mercy, and has uttered this and similar threatenings that His people may be spared-the ordeal of fire!
"The fire shall try every man's work" (1 Cor. iii. 13).
The truth ministered from the Scriptures by the Lord Jesus now, before He comes, is water. (Oh, what a shocking sign when the application of water is uncomfortable! and is repelled!)
"Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephes. v. 25, 26, 27).
This is what He is doing continually-"cleansing and sanctifying the church with the washing of water by the word." Now the words of a threat are like a dash of cold water-startling, but not hurtful. Being startled, shall we run from the water? Nay.
Now, dear brother, "washing" can only be done with the will of the one washed. And suppose
some of us will not be washed? or when we are washed, we turn again to the mire of men's traditions? or worldliness? or wilful adultery with Jezebel? What then?
Purged we must be-by one process or the other? Which shall it be? Water or Fire?
The Water of the Word or the Fire of Tribulation? In the desperate wickedness of that old heart which "is deceitful above all things," we may choose the mire-may build up "wood, hay, stubble"-may feel it uncomfortable to be deprived of our much-loved surroundings-creeds, systems of worship, religious machinery, man-ministry, and, worst of all, that woman Jezebel"-painted syren! But in God's sight these surroundings are-filth.
"That which is highly esteemed among men is abcmination in the sight of God." (Luke xvi.)
Purged off it must be. Then let it be by waterthe "washing of water by the word." When we are purged we are responsible to go on and keep so. "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Rev. iii.)
But you have a difficulty, dear brother, in holding this Scripture concerning "tribulation" at the Lord's coming, because of 1st Thessalonians which says "we which are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air." Now when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians there was no such evil in their midst as there was at Thyatira; on the contrary, he is full of praise and thankfulness at their walk. He says they were ensamples unto all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia." We do not hold the rod over good children; do we? Therefore is it that we do not read in this epistle of "tribulation " concerning the Church.
It is true, in the 1st epistle to the Corinthians we are assured we shall be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye;" but, then, Paul also speaks of a sinful one, desiring that his "spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Saved from what-if there is nothing to be saved from? We
may be changed in a moment, and yet, having to pass upward, through the Great Red Dragon and his hosts, woe to us, if they find anything in us, unrepented of, unconfessed down here!
Lord's presence that Satan is cast out from the It is not till after the Church has arrived in the heavens; for he continues to be the Accuser of the the Jewish Remnant till overcome by Michael, See Daniel x. 20 and Rev. xii. 10, 11. "prince," or guardian angel of the Jewish nation.
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old
serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. xii. 7, 8, 9).
Then, consider, dear brother, the Lord's word to Philadelphia-(precious assurance!)—
will keep thee from the hour of temptation [trial], which "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. iii. 10).
You and I are anxiously desirous, are we not, dear brother, that the Philadelphian state of things shall prevail all around us-why? That all dear ones may be "kept from the hour of trial." Then there is an hour of trial"-only, as it were, an "hour"
to which ALL who are not found in Philadelphian simplicity and purity will be exposed! If not, where is the meaning of language? We cannot be “kept from" something of which there is no danger!
Oh, this is a sweet assurance of immediate joy at His appearing! May we earnestly labour and pray for the whole Church of God!
As to Satan and his hosts being used in the "hour of trial," to afflict any who are found in adultery with Jezebel at the Lord's coming-we would ask, Who have always been God's instruments of judgment to His own people ?—The Wicked.
"The Wicked, which is Thy Sword." (Ps. xvii.) And so, when Jesus took our sin and was "smitten for our transgressions"-who was the Sword? was it not the Wicked One and those who were "of their father the Devil?" It was their hour and the power of darkness."
"Awake, O Sword, against my Shepherd, against the Man which is my fellow." (Zech. xiii.)
Now where evil is held not practically-but only doctrinally-as in Pergamos, the Lord does not threaten tribulation; his word of warning is—
"Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them [the individuals who hold the evil doctrines] with the sword of my mouth"-the word of God used piercingly. (Rev. ii.)
But where there is evil-this dreadful evil of adultery with Jezebel-then "the wicked is Thy sword."
Pray the Lord, dear brother, over this matter, and search the Scriptures for yourself. Who am I? only a "brother and companion in tribulation."
Let us abide in Jesus; then shall we find Him a "strong tower" through "the hour of trial which shall come upon all the world." Amen.
[The following letter has been addressed to a brother in London who a short time ago "accepted a call" to preside over a church, as its pastor. May the Lord accept the effort as a labour of love to His dear Name.]
"A GOOD MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST."
"If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister [Greek, deacon] of Jesus Christ,
nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine." DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD,
FROM this passage we learn that if a believer is "nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine," and "puts the brethren in remembrance of these things," he is "a good minister of Jesus Christ." I need not tell you, dear brother, that the word "MINISTER" simply means servant serves another. DEACON, primarily, means the same one who "minister," that is, "servant; in John ii."His mother said unto the servants (deacons), Whatsoever he saith unto you, do."
as we read
Thus, in a general sense, all of us who believe may cherish the desire to be "good deacons [that is, ministers, or servants] of Jesus Christ." At home, abroad; in business, in the assembly; writing a letter, eating and drinking, speaking to sinners, and lying down to rest-it is sweet to cherish the sentiment-Jesus my Master.
"One is your Master, even Christ." (Matt. xi.) From this it follows, that while we are all brethren with regard to each other, we may well feel that, as regards the one Master, we are all servants.
"Whatsoever he saith unto you, do."
That all of us are called to be servants, may be a certain place to a certain people, exposes "a good The acceptance of a position to preach or teach in also evident from that other wordminister of Jesus Christ" to a second evil also. He Lord would have him doing other work-but he is is not only limited to certain work when perhaps the also bound to a certain place when perhaps the Lord would send him to another! Now, if the angel of south," how can he if he has engaged to meet the the Lord say to Philip, "Arise, and go toward the have a sudden call, or perceive it to be his Lord's will that he should go somewhere, how can he, when people of Samaria? So, now-a-days, if a servant him? the people in the big building will be looking for
"Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so (John xiii.)
I am. ""
May you and I feel ourselves servants of the One Master, and desire to be "good deacons of Jesus Christ," prepared for every good work.
Now if we be, all of us, at the Lord's disposal, He may call us at one time to one thing, and at another time to some other thing. Thus I may be called at one time to preach the Gospel; at another time, to visit saints; at another time, to speak in the assembly. In the first case, I shall be doing preaching-work (work of an evangelist); in the second, elder-work (or pastor-work); and in the third, leading (in prayer or praise) or teaching (in the Word).
It may be that I am more frequently called to one kind of work than another say, for instance, preaching; but that does not make me an evangelist, because the Lord may call me to other work tomorrow. But if I accept a position to preach the Gospel, I may be sometimes so engaged when the Lord would have me teach saints. We know many brethren, but we know of none who have not, or may not, be taken up of the Lord, or called, at some time or other, to do each of the three different kinds of work referred to above-preaching, shepherding, teaching or leading in worship.
You may say, dear brother, -But some brethren not this constitute them teachers, or preachers, or are more gifted for one thing than another, and does pastors, as the case may be?
I cannot admit the assertion or the inference. I do limit the operation of the Spirit to the bounds of recognise differences of natural ability; but I cannot natural ability! (If you feel interested in this subject call these differences spiritual gifts, and I dare not of "gifts," I would take the liberty of suggesting your perusal of the last seven, numbers of a little monthly periodical called "Precious Truth." It is an important question. The ordinary doctrine of gifts" does land us in discriminatible ministries; that is, visibly-pastors, preachers, teachers; and if-if we have them, you and others might well say-Why not call them so? But, dear brother, in the numbers mentioned the Scriptures are referred to to show that in this, "the last time," the only under the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head.) ministry is that of the Spirit through the Word
between you and me just now, dear brother, which is this that all service is carried on in communion However, to resume the thread of the subject with the One Master, whose will, being perceived, is fulfilled by us, with His all-sufficient grace, and that the church has nothing to do with appointing or whose will, being perceived, is calling to His service.
Gospel, the word of God simply says—“ How shall he preach unless he be sent ?" If a brother among us With regard to evangelist-work, or preaching the is very frequently sent with a word from the Lord to the unsaved, God be thanked; let him have the special sympathy, presence, and prayers of his brethren. But let him not feel wholly bound to a certain place, where on an hour's notice. And let him not accept for then he will not be free to serve the Lord elsea
position to preach regularly, for if he do, the people will reckon on hearing him, and man-homage will be the result. But, on the contrary, let him be careful to leave the way clear for the Spirit to use other members of the body to the glory of God, remembering that "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to
No sooner has a servant been specially used in the work of preaching the Gospel than Satan manoeuvres, through our carnal understandings, to get such an one bound to a certain spot and a certain people! And what is the result? Inevitable hindrance to the Spirit and worship of man; and then, barrenness, haughtiness, and a fall. If bound at all, let us be, like Paul, "the prisoner of the Lord;" let not Satan bind us with cords of subtle and specious expediency!
Do not say, I beseech you-" Our church is such a size, and composed of such a class of people, that they must choose a human president."?
Ah, dear brother
"That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." (Luke xvi).:
Shall we tie the children's hands lest they touch the fire? Is that God's way? Nay. Let them learn to rightly behave and rule themselves in the church of God-but there can be no self-rule where there is no liberty. Can there?
"A human president!" Ought not He to preside who hath said-"Wherever two or three [or two or three hundred] are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." If He be with us, cannot we trust Him to order the meeting for us? Yes, indeed, say Faith and Love.
"Dear Lord, we would delight in thee,
And on thy care depend;
To thee in every trouble flee,
Our safe unfailing friend.
souls to Jesus. Well, when they gather, as the CHURCH, to Him in the midst, what more have you to do? Cannot you leave the responsibility of the sheep to the Shepherd, yourself a sheep? Will He not care for His own?
Oh, dear brother, that you may retrace your steps! Or rather--"Give Him the glory due unto His name"-His name, as "Son over His own house, whose house [or household] are we." (Heb. iii.) Suppose you have been used, with others, to bring
cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members "No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." (Eph. v.)
large. Never mind; fear not. A brother tells us The church with which you are connected may be he knows a church numbering 450 which is walking in this liberty with which God maketh His people free, blessed be His Name! And this is the attitude into which He is bringing His dear ones everywhere -because
"He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." Oh, dear brother-to be "workers together with God"! It must be so-or the reverse!
"He that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad!" "God forbid !"
To return, then, I am convinced, the most Christwith the One Master, the upturned-eye of our spirit honouring way is to go on in communion as servants ever saying
"Lord, what wouldst THOU have me to do?"
Then will He have all His work done-done by His grace-done by whomsoever He will. And our sweet experience will be—
"THY SERVICE IS PERFECT FREEDOM."
While we are to know and feel ourselves Christ's servants, it is quite clear that He must know the work He wants done, and the servants by whom He would do it.
Now if an assembly of believers choose some one to do certain work for them, he clearly becomes their "servant-minister-deacon". There is only one species of work that is laid upon the church as a body, and that is-"to care for the poor." Each church is therefore justified in selecting certain brethren, and requesting them to disburse its bounty to the poor.
Let this be repeated. The church has power to choose servants-ministers-deacons for temporal work; but it has no power to choose Christ's servantsministers-deacons for spiritual work.
Neither the church (nor any one man) has power to choose or appoint pastors, preachers, or teachersthat is, "good ministers of Jesus Christ." If it does so, they become the servants of the church; it does not follow that they are the servants of Christ. For how can one man make another man's servants? If one man cannot make another man's servants, how much less should man make God's servants?
The Church is as the Woman, the Spouse. Shall She make servants unto her Lord, in the presence of her Lord, without her Lord's permission? Surely not. On the contrary, how graceful to leave all to her dear, dear Lord, who doeth all things well!
If we call or regard certain brethren as elders, or
teachers, or evangelists-then shall we begin to depute to them certain duties, instead of looking to the Lord to work by whomsoever He will. Our attitude will no longer be
"Here am I, send me." (Isa. vi.)
Our attitude of soul will be
There's Brother So-and-So,-use him. And the effect upon brethren so regarded will beThat they will be busy in certain work because the church (as much as the Master) expects it of them!
"His servants ye are to whom ye obey." (Rom. vi.) If I do certain service at the church's call-then I am the church's servant.
Of course, when there were higher servants in the Church, they could, and did, make lower servants. Thus apostles or their deputies could choose or appoint elders or pastors. But as there are no higher servants, there can be no lower-that is, in the sense of a visible rank, or order.
The general ministry of all believers was the ultimate thought and intention of the One Master concerning us. Consequently believers were early and continually exhorted to it, in order that so the Church might be prepared to walk by faith, and not by sight, when the time came that all visible ministries should be dropped. (See 1 Thess. v. 11; Heb. x. 25; Col. iii. 16; Eph. v. 19, &c.)
There are those who say-" According to your views, the Epistles to Timothy and Titus are no longer of any special use." Nay; they are most useful to all as many as desire to be "good ministers of Jesus Christ." The great value of these epistles is that they present to us the inner life of a servant as expressed to a servant. Do I desire to do elder-work and deacon-work, as unto the Lord and not unto men, then I receive explicit directions, for my private guidance, concerning the aged and younger widows, the slothful who will not work, the servants, and the rich, &c. I am exhorted to blamelessness, hospitality, vigilance, to be quiet, peaceable, "not given to wine, not greedy of filthy lucre," &c. Or to do preacher-work-then I read "Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ," &c.
Or to do teacher-work-then I read-"If a man
purge himself from these [profane and vain babblings], he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use,' Now, "of the things which we have spoken this is the sum :-
The Holy Spirit has graciously taken the responsibility of "leading us into all truth." And He will lead us, if we are really willing to be led of Him. May we be preserved from leaning unto our own understanding. That is a blessed assurance of the Lord Jesus Christ
"He that will do His will shall know of the doctrine."
That you and I may have (more and more) a will to do his will, as given to us in His word, and not our own will, to the glory of God, is the prayer of Your fellow-" deacon of Jesus Christ,"
That all of us are called to service.
will lead His true servants to preach the Gospel and That the church (as a body) has nothing to do but to leave all to the Lord, by faith and prayer, with the single exception of choosing deacons for the poor. I need not excuse the length of this epistle, the subject is so very important, it being to the glory of
"These words are to the disciples who are in Jesus Christ: My desire is that through the blessing of our heavenly Father, richly bestowing his great grace, you may enjoy peace, and be preserved from sickness and calamity.
"Your younger brother has heard, through Mr. Taylor, the salutation of his brothers and sisters in Jesus our Saviour, and their words of exhortation thanks; these words he will remember as if engraven and comfort. Your younger brother sends many on his bones, and written in his heart. For he feels that although many hills and seas may intervene, and though personally unknown by sight, yet in very truth we are as the hands and the feet of the selfour heavenly Father may strengthen your faith, that same body. Therefore, he ever prays for you, that while sojourning here may enjoy unspeakable grace, be able to walk to the and hereafter the bliss of life everlasting.
"When formerly your younger brother, at the direction of Mr. Taylor, went to Mr. Nicol and Mr. Williamson, at the city of Siao-sæn, in the prefecture of Ziao-hying, to preach the doctrine of truth, and unexpectedly, was ill-treated by the Mayor of Siao-sæn, and punished with beating, he thought this truly is not real disgrace; though deeply painful, there is joy in it. For he remembered the words of Holy Writ spoken by Jesus, 'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;' and likewise the Scripture, therefore, despise not thou the chastening of the 'Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth; Almighty: for he maketh sore, and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole.' These passages made him feel that, though weak, he must bear all with patience. He likewise remembered the words, Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about,' &c. (Heb. xii. 1-5.)