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"Now your younger brother is with Mr. Taylor, preaching the doctrine; and some time ago went with him up the country to preach. Many have heard the truth; and here not a few believe. All this is through God's great grace. "Pray for us, as we do for you, that the numbers saved by grace may be many. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. "TSIU KYUO-KWE.
"October 2, 1867."
The Lord bless all who labour in the Gospel everywhere throughout the world.
O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our earnest desire, in His name and for His glory, is— that dear servants employed by Thee to gather souls out of the world, may gather them to Jesus, to "hold the Head," and walk by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us. Amen.
"A FULNESS RESIDES IN JESUS THE HEAD."
"Dear Brother in the Lord Jesus.-Feeling assured that your desire in 'Precious Truth' is to help the saints of God, I write, hoping, as the Lord may lead you, you will help me in the understanding of the passages annexed:
"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die." (Romans viii.) "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified." (John xii. 23.)
"I have received much profit from the expositions put forth in your journal. Praying the Lord to use you abundantly for the glory of His own name in these perilous days, Yours affectionately in Him, G. S., Bristol."
Dear Brother, We are not happy in receiving questions in this way. Our duty, as we apprehend it, is not to receive and answer questions: our duty is to put forth what we believe the Lord has given us for the purpose. If anything hitherto put forth has been used of the Spirit to your help, we shall be glad. Indeed, you say it has been so. Now here arises the evildependence on one another. No sooner have we been blessed through anyone than we turn to that one to help us in our difficulties, instead of telling Jesus, and waiting in faith and patience till He show us by the Holy Spirit in His own gracious manner and time.
But we should do this latter, and then we might receive light the next time we sat at the feet of Jesus with the Word, or the next time we were in the assembly, or on our beds, or walking alone in communion with Him.
Very dear brother,-Don't use the "glass darkly" when you ought to be learning "face-to-face,” “that which is perfect having come." Ask Jesus and wait. "Ye have need of patience;" "we walk by faith;" "ye have no need that any man teach you." Oh, beloved one, how many precious assurances there are to lead us to "cease from man," to the glory of God! While we think we have a need of teachers, the Lord deals graciously with us in our ignorance; but woe to us if we so act after being enlightened! We are jealous with a godly jealousy both for the honour of God and the simple, true-hearted devotement of the Church as a pure virgin unto Christ, to whom with the Father be all glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Now, dear one, look at it in another light. We pity the poor Romanist who asks Mary to pray to Jesus. But if I ask a brother to take my questions to Jesus for me, is it not an evil somewhat akin? Ah, dear brother, the Romanist may have a mote in his eye-some of us taught ones have a beam; may we hasten to remove it!
But you may say "I only send to you in case the dear Lord has already shown you, not that I lean on you." Well, dear one, it is altogether better to tell Jesus and wait. Because
when we have said what we are happy in holding as the meaning, unless the Holy Spirit graciously use our words, they will "A man can receive nothing except it be give you no light. given him from heaven"- -or by a heavenly One, the Holy Ghost. Spirit must deal with spirit. Intellect is powerless. We do not apprehend this clearly enough. We think to receive through our understanding what another has received through the Spirit. There may be an intellectual acquiescence, but this will be partial, evanescent, and do no spirit-good. "Them that honour me I will honour."
But now, suffer us to make one remark concerning questions. We are happy in receiving questions on anything we have said. Because it gives us opportunity of correcting wrong impressions such matters as history, geography, or correct translation— and of re-considering our words. Also, any questions on questions that may be settled by reference to such books as the poorer brethren have not got.
Having already referred to the former of the two Scriptures liberty to do so again. you are in difficulty about (see Feb. 1868, p. 13) we feel at
Death is separation from God, with all that that entails.
The wages of sin is death.
If a believer sin he must suffer death-that is, separation in communion from God, so long as he remains in his sin, not repenting of it and confessing it.
Worldly-mindedness is sin, as well as gross breaches of the moral iaw.
Hence we read of the worldly Christian woman, "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." And so of the worldly church; "Thou hast a name to live but art dead,"— that is, going on in separation from God.
As for your latter question, dear brother, we have no light. We do not remember taking it to the Lord, and cannotfor you.
Do take these remarks in love; we desire "to keep back The Lord bless you, and nothing profitable unto you." Amen. deepen His work of grace in your heart and ours.
AN ALLOWABLE QUESTION CONSIDERED.
A.-With regard to the word "household" in Rom. xvi. 10,11, you will see it is in italics; the word "friends" or "acquaintance" would supply the meaning as well. So that the phrase "Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household" means those who form his circle of friends; and is very different from the expression in the 5th verse-"Greet the church in their [Aquila and Priscilla's] house." In the former case, no open door for gathering to the Lord is contemplated; but in the latter there is an open door. [This question arose from the perusal of an article in this journal, which referred to gathering in our own houses to the Lord.]
"IT IS I."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD-
[Several well-printed circulars have reached us, from a brother, J. B. of Salisbury, containing much truth, for which we are thankful. Among other things they press upon Christians' attention the iniquity of mixed assemblies. In two of them, however, our brother seems hardly to apprehend our high calling, as being a heavenly people. Our brother has pressed us to make this remark, because he earnestly desires scrutiny. In these circulars, he invokes this nation as-" Dear England!" "England, arise !" " might of truth!" &c. Britons, arise, and show the
We believe we have been led by the Spirit a little further than our brother, and place the following Scriptures before him and the reader, praying the Lord's blessing.]
Now, seeing that the bulk of the people of this land are still in their sins, we cannot admit the Scripturalness of such language. We are, alas! reminded of the more appropriate heaven:" that is to say, the laws we obey, and the Therefore, "our conversation [or citizenship] is in exclamations of our Lord-"Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe privileges we possess, and the duties which devolve unto thee, Bethsaida!" Privileges increase responsibility:upon us, are not earthly, but heavenly. I can pray they are not in themselves cause for exultation.
"for kings, and for all them that are in authority,
The proper expectation of the Jew was an earthly kingdom-a king to reign on the throne of David. (Ps. cxxxii. 11.) Throughout the Gospels reference is made to this, the Jewish hope. God cometh not with observation," that is, outward "The kingdom of show, (Luke xvii.) so as to strike the natural mind. Only born-again ones saw the kingdom (John iii. 3); that is, they, and they only, like Nathanael, perceived in Jesus of Nazareth the King of Israel, and, bowing down in spirit before Him, "entered into the kingdom." (John iii. 5.) Hence the Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees-"The kingdom of God is within you [or, in your midst], "—that is, the king was among them and His subjects, too; now, a king and subjects make a kingdom. (Luke xvii.)
For the establishment of the kingdom, all the people of Israel were looking, and very naturally and properly-the fleshly Jew for earthly splendour, the spiritual Jew for the restoration to Israel of the glory and favour of God. So that, even after the resurrection it was the great hope of the disciples themselves "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts i.)
The Jew sealed his iniquity by the rejection of God's Anointed, who is still despised and rejected by them, and they will complete their sin by ultimately accepting in His place the Great Antichrist, or Man of Sin, whom they will worship as God! Nothing will then remain but instant judgment, and that Wicked One will be destroyed by the brightness of the Lord's coming. Then will be fulfilled the prophecies relating to the (2 Thess. ii.) Messiah's carthly reign.
In the meantime, a place in a higher kingdom is offered to believing Israel (and with them, all among the Gentiles who believe on Jesus, or accept God's King by faith.) For Him-the crucified Jesus "hath God highly exalted, and given Him a name which is above every name," having seated Him at His own right hand, and crowned Him with glory and honour.
solemn question for every one is-Does my heart say, Jesus my King?
Thus Faith apprehended Him as God's King when He was on earth, and faith-and faith onlyapprehends Him as God's King now. And the
By faith we know Him as
Vol. I. for 1865-6-7 now ready, cloth lettered, 3s.
J. B. BATEMAN, 22, Paternoster-row, entrance in Ivy-lane.
Printed by JOHN EVANE, 335a, Strand London.
"He that hath an Ear to Hear, let Him Hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." Published by J. B. BATEMAN, 22, Paternoster Row, and SMART & ALLEN, 2, Londonhouse-yard, Paternoster-row.
No. 39.-VOL. II.]
JUNE 1, 1868.
DEARER THAN LIFE.
THIS is what the Church is to Jesus.
"Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it."
Oh, the amazing grace of the Son of God! to set His love upon us, whom He knew would return it so
little-that is, while we are down here.
And it is because we were dearer to Jesus than life that the Father loved Him. (Oh, what love for us!) "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life for the sheep."
Hence, if one is called, being unmarried, and has strong movings of spirit to be a servant, let him take special heed to Paul's advice-the advice of a true servant-on the subject of "marriage," contained in the Seventh chapter of the First Epistle to the church of God at Corinth. When a man marries, he surrenders, in a measure, his freedom; he must thenceforth care for his wife as his own flesh. He takes duties which he must not neglect. He is directed to "give honour unto the weaker vessel;" "to provide for his own;" and he will naturally "care for the things of the world how he may please his wife." Hence Paul says "I would have you without carefulness, that you may serve the Lord without distraction."
While, therefore, "Marriage is honourable in all," it is "not expedient," especially to those who have movings of spirit to the Lord's service. Not only so, but "trouble in the flesh" (1 Cor. vii.) is faithfully forewarned. Well, is Jesus "Dearer than Life"?
PHILADELPHIA THE CHURCH OF CHRIST'S LOVE.
"I HAVE LOVED THEE."
OF unspeakable importance is it, that the Church of God throughout the world should realize the love of Christ resting, in blessed smiles of satisfaction, upon it. Man's approval may be withheld; indeed, we are certain not to have it. How many little assemblies are looked down upon by others as a poor contemptible people, contented with holes and corners! But
"Blessed are ye poor "" (Luke vi.)
Thrice-blessed, indeed, if Jesus says that He loves us ! And this He does say to the church at Philadelphia.
"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
Bless the Lord, the number of humble assemblies gathering together in the name of the Lord Jesus, (without any human leader,) has greatly increased of late years. Alas! that there should be any, who, in the pride of their hearts, can inwardly despise and look down upon such assemblies. Ought not such despisers to learn from the above words of the Lord that the time will come when they will, with admiration and approval, look up to those whom they now look down upon from their self-given altitude, calling themselves Jews, the favoured of God?
de it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numb. xxiii.)
Dear one in the Lord, we do wish--do we not ?to be of the number of those of whom the Son of God says-"I HAVE LOVED THEE!"
And we do earnestly desire that all believers everywhere may seek to be taught of the Spirit what is the mind of the Lord concerning Philadelphia and conform to it. Do we not? Let us, therefore, read the Epistle to Philadelphia together, and let me tell you, as I have this opportunity, what I think the Spirit has shown me. But, I entreat you, dear one in the Lord, to receive all that we say as the word of man only. Say in your heart-"Lord, is it so ?"
I. THE NAME.
1. In the first place, does not the name betoken
the special visible characteristic of this church? "Philadelphia" means Brotherly Love. We rejoice to think that this is increasing in our midst. Is it so in yours, beloved? At your prayer-meetings is a lively interest shown and expressed in the circumstances of the members, individually? do you come together to "bear one another's burdens" to the throne of grace, and "to cast those burdens upon the Lord"? Are your meetings really in all simplicity, liberty, and love, as the children of the one family of God? Do you bear with one another, when things are done or said in the assembly which seem to you to show a want of subjection to the Holy Spirit of God? Do you seek to "wash feet," or do you brandish the rod, forgetting that the use of the rod devolves upon the Head of the family?
Then again, are the sick and the aged really cared for among you-visited, comforted, nourished? the unemployed prayed for that their faith may not fail, and are they spoken for to others? the needy ministered to? the wilful, the worldly-minded, and the young watched over, their fleshly tendencies noted and arrested by timely united prayer?
If so, beloved, then, so far, is the name Philadelphia deserved by you, and especially if, in addition, you mourn over and appropriate the failings of believers everywhere as your failings-the failings of the One Body.
"As touching Brotherly Love, ye need not that I write unto you, for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." (1 Thess. iv.)
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another As I have loved you." (John xv.)
Thus Philadelphia is the "Church of Brotherly Love," which makes it (with other good features about it), the Church of Christ's love also.
II. "LITTLE STRENGTH.
In the second place, let us note the three things of which the Lord approves in Philadelphia.
Have you, my fellow-believer, asked the Lord to show you, by the Holy Spirit, the meaning of this? I have, and trust you will. Do so noc.
A LITTLE STRENGTH, --- AND HAST KEPT MY WORD, -AND HAST NOT DENIED MY NAME."
The very fact of our craving visible resources shows that we lean on them, and in proportion as we lean on our visible resources the Lord withdraws Himself, and then, that which comes to pass is this
Much outward strength--little inward grace: Little outward strength--much inward grace. As is seen in comparing Philadelphia and Laodicea :
'Behold, I have set be
fore thee an open door, and no man can shut it:
for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not
that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire," &c.
Beloved, is your place of meeting a small one, and are your numbers few? Then you are like Philadelphia, possessing "little strength." Don't look upon
"I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open and covet what other Christians have; but "wait on door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast
the Lord; be of good courage; and He shall strengthen your hearts: wait, I say, on the Lord." "He will withhold no good thing from them that walk uprightly."
Having "little strength," however, must not be confined to little outward strength, in respect to numbers and means. It means no confidence in them. A church may be comparatively large and wealthy; but if its confidence is in the Lord, then it is Philadelphia. It is strong in the Lord-not in itself. Its strength is that of the true woman-weak in herself, but strong when leaning on the arm of the Beloved.
But while "little strength" spiritually may be possible with large external means, it is doubtful if they are often united. The Lord knows the danger
"How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
"And the disciples were astonished at his words.
how hard is it for them who trust in riches to enter into the
Suppose, from the increase of numbers, for instance, a larger place of meeting is thought to be desirable. Or, suppose, from the members in fellowship residing somewhat apart, an additional little place of meeting is thought to be needful. Well, what would Philadelphia do? Would it not say"Dear Lord, we look to Thee; give us what we "think we need, if it be to Thy glory. Not our
“will, but Thine be done."
how is Philadelphia to judge that it is a door of the Now, suppose a place in which to meet offers itself, Lord's opening? The first question would be-Has the Lord provided the means hindering provided the means the rent were £40 a quarter? Can it be said that BEFOREHAND, in His own gracious way? Suppose the Lord has opened the door unless the rent for the first quarter is provided before the church goes in? Surely not?
It is the special duty of the Head, the Lord, the Husband to provide-to provide for the Body, the Church, the Spouse. Shall we, therefore, take future liabilities upon us for the Lord? we? who " are not our own," and may be called away to-morrow? Oh, this is a grievous failure.
thing in the future? We can only reckon on one Again. How can any of us reckon on any thing in the future-and that is, the coming of the Lord. Suppose, then, the church be caught away just before the end of the quarter-would it not be a slur upon our testimony? If the building rented belong to a man of the world, let us desire to be beforehand, in such a case? It would be a special opportunity of precious testimony.
Let us not provide by worldly shifts of our own, such as giving "bills," or promises of payment, for materials and work done; engaging to meet rent when it becomes due; borrowing money on interest, and mortgaging the property to secure the principal to the lenders, &c.
"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
In this passage is vividly shown that having and trusting generally go together.
It also be noted that the Lord does not refer, in the above passage, to the increased difficulty of a rich man believing unto eternal life (though that may be true.) He speaks of "riches" those who were on the ground of being God's people from "entering into the kingdom"-that is, apprehending and going on with that new and divine order of things at the head of which Christ is. Or, in other words, if we possess riches we shall be in danger of walking by sight, not by faith.
Now, what is dangerous to the individual is also dangerous to the assembly. Hence it is that the dear Lord, "who hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence," (Eph. i.) sees it best to keep us in little companies and with slender (yet sufficient) resources. May we fall in with the will of God concerning us, and be content to have "little strength."
"Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Heb. xiii.)
Not content to stand still spiritually-no. But"content with such things as ye have." Spiritually speaking, as assemblies, let us press on; let us desire to see the work of the Lord going on in our midst. But let us be careful not to hang grace on bricksand-mortar, money and men. So shall we please the Lord, like the church at Philadelphia, by having
"A LITTLE STRENGTH.
Now let us ask the Lord to show us what "opening the door" means. Surely it means—
A WAY INTO BLESSING.
3. "HE THAT OPENETH, AND NO MAN SHUTTETH." As the church is added to by the Lord, additional places of meeting may be felt to be needful. Well, the Lord goes before the church which has " "little strength," and "opens the door," and the church has just strength enough to follow-and that degree of strength is all that is needful.
Blessed it is to wait, and to be kept waiting, till we see the Lord Jesus going before. To follow Him is the path of safety and blessing to His dear sheep.
If a church feel itself rather straitened for room and means, let it wait upon the Lord, who will give all that He sees needful for His own glory and its usefulness. But sometimes we suppose something to be needful (of the nature of temporal means) which the Lord sees to be not so. If, therefore, it is kept from us, it is the very best thing for us. Let us beware lest, in our impatience, we do not press forward before the Lord.