Obrazy na stronie

June 1, 1869.


If we should happen to address any who have thus experienced what the world calls progress and advancement, we have only to appeal to their hearts and consciences for confirmation of these remarks. Such too well know what it is to look back with envy, as it were, upon the trials and afflictions of the keenest kind, and at the time of apparently overwhelming weight, because under such trials and afflictions they were so specially and peculiarly “helped of God.” Oh, what but this experience, dear reader, that led David, under the dejection of the 42nd Psalm, to exclaim, “O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember Thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar” (Psalm xlii. 6). Without doubt those spots had witnessed aforetime some very special and unspeakably blessed interpositions of the Lord's hand and manifestations of Éis divine favour. And where is the dear child of God who has not more or less in remembrance his “ Bochims and his “ Bethels”? Ah, reader, but for some of these there are those who in after experience would not know what to do. Under a felt present desolation of heart and deep depression of soul, there has been the falling back upon divine unchangeability, a covenant ordered in all things and sure, with the plea, " And Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good;" “Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope." But to pass on. "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth

The mind of the Psalmist is now led on from the review of the past to the contemplation of the future. He looks to the word of the Lord” respecting him; and by this look he is cheered and comforted. He feels a holy and devout persuasion that the Lord will abide by him, uphold him, supply him, nourish him, and at length will bring him off“ more than conqueror through Him that hath loved him.” David has no confidence in himself. He calculates not upon grace received or strength in store; but his heart reposes in the alone confidence of what God has been-is—and has covenanted to be. Volumes are contained in that brief utterance, “THE LORD will perfect.” Ah, yes, there is no ground for hope, or trust, or confidence, in anything short of this. Here is the grand centre.

, This is the pivot upon which (so to speak) the vast machinery of redemption and salvation turns. It is with the Lord. It is “ of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." Oh, who that knows some little of the human heart has the slightest confidence in himself? “It is not my light, nor my love, nor my zeal, nor my strength-no, nor my experience,” says such an one, “is the ground of my hope, of my holding on or holding out; but it is wholly and solely of Him who has pledged Himself never to leave nor forsake. He has encouraged me to hope in Him, to look to Him, to depend upon Him. He was never known to lie. He has more at stake than I.

I am His property–His possession. He has covenanted to stand by, to strengthen me, to defend me; and has declared that He will bring

me,” &c.

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me finally to His heavenly kingdom. He has said, 'My shoes shall be iron and brass, and that as my days so shall my strength be.' He has comforted me again with the assurance, The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.' Past deliverances are but proofs and evidences of His power and ability and willingness to save, and pledges of what He will be and do in time to come.

Therefore, venturing upon Himself, and in nowise looking to creature wisdom or strength, I hopefully exclaim, 'The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.'

“Yes, I to the end shall endure,

As sure as the earnest is given;
More happy, but not more secure,

The glorified spirits in heaven.' Dear reader, here for the present we leave the subject. 4, Harclock Park, Southsea, May 13, 1869. THE EDITOR.


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THE BODY OF CHRIST. “My substance was not hid from Thee.” Here is Christ's material part spoken of as a substance. In Psalm xl. we have the same thing: “A body hast Thou prepared me”-a material body, human nature—that God was to inhabit; a substance in which God was to tabernacle here below, as our Emmanuel. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and so here David, in our text, speaks of this wonderful Person, the God-Man, “My substance was not hid from Thee;" for after the lapse of 4,004 years, the Christ of God was to appear in the body prepared for Him.

Now this body, the material substance, represented the mystical body, which is His Church, as you will see in Eph. i. 23, and the figure referred to in our text; and here you have this substance in a twofold point of view : first, as the material body; second, as the mystical body.

And now let us consider this with reference to God's prescience, and by this I mean His foreknowledge. This substance, though not in existence, was yet known to God—“known unto God and all His works from the beginning." All things are naked and opened to Him, all things are before Him. This body was not a casualty, a contingency, but prepared. Here is the prescience of God; and, if the material body was known unto Him, and prepared by Him, so the mystical, the spiritual body, the Church of God in Christ, just as if you had existed then, so certain are all things with Him-no casualty, no contingency, no uncertainty, but all fixed, predetermined, appointed, and concerning His Church, cause and effect; all originating in His own will. Next, you have this “

"substance in its formation. “My substance was not hid from Thee;" when it was formed in secret. Here we have the secret counsel of God's will when this substance was formed, and, as the apostle says, created in Christ Jesus, according to divine purpose, foreknowledge. This is the secret place where all the elect are hid, formed in secret, set up in Christ before all worlds, hid with Christ in God. The Psalmist speaks thus: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Now, what is this dwelling-place? The place

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where many of you are, where you have a dwelling-place; otherwise you can have no abiding. This secret place is the hiding in Christ, in electing love, adopting grace. Have you found out your hiding-place? You had a right and title to it when you were formed in secret. In Prov. viii. we see the Church's hiding-place. There we have the setting up of God's Christ, and in Him all the elect of God: “I was with Him," &c. "But, further, we have this formation spoken of as to its creation in Adam—"and curiously formed." Said the Lord to Adam, “Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.' Human nature is only dust as to its material part. Now, this refers to both creations; for all spiritual souls created in Christ, and chosen in Him before all worlds, are materially formed in Adam.

And now let us consider this creation and God's satisfaction with it, not only as a whole and complete in Christ Jesus, but even in its unperfect state ; and I would call your attention to this word. There is a vast difference between unperfect and imperfect. The Holy Ghost here speaks of the Church as unperfect, but not deficient. Like a building in erection, perfect as far as it goes, but unperfect as respects its completion. So the Church of God, un perfect with regard to numbers, but perfect as in Christ. Ye are complete in Him. The Colossian Church, individually and personally, was complete in Christ; but as a Church, manifestedly and collectively, they were not complete in numbers. Some were not called, some not born; therefore the body was unperfect, incomplete, unfinished. For instance, you and I were not born; all the Church of God was not then brought into being-were not yet made to pass through the burning fiery furnace of this world, which some of you have found it, according to God's own declaration : “I will bring the third part through the fire.” The wicked go into the fire of hell, and there remain; but God's saints go through the fire of this world, and that is hell enough. God's people are to have no stripes hereafter, but they must pass through the torments of a time-state in a sinful world; but they shall pass through it, and come out of it, and enter into an eternal rest, where they shall know no more woe, and enjoy everlasting bliss. God's Church is complete in Christ, but not as to numbers. As far as it goes it is complete, and so far God is satisfied; and this point of divine satisfaction is a very blessed point. Can you realize it? God satisfied with you, personally and individually! Now, this is, and must be, a matter of divine revelation; for if you view yourself aright, as a lost, ruined sinner, how is it possible you can think God satisfied with a wretch like you—a polluted sinner, a vile thing like you? I say, how is it possible that God can be pleased, satisfied with such an one as you feel yourself to be ? Oh, say you, “it is God's work in a precious Christ that satisfies Jehovah. Then He is pleased, and it is God's work in Christ to be satisfied with me, notwithstanding all I have done.” Now, must not this be a matter of divine communication, to reveal to a soul that God is satisfied in Christ with a sinner, because He is satisfied with Christ, and views all His people in Him? Why, this it is to receive the Gospel, to be gospelized, to feel and find God a Father, and, having once found Him, to be assured He will never cast away a soul that He is thus satisfied with. God can challenge Satan in this matter. He never had, and never shall have, a child of God.

Now, I do think this is to look at the foundations of Zion—to mark well her bulwarks—to count her towers—to walk about Zion, as some of you have done aforetime, no doubt. But let us consider this substance in connexion with divine decree. All salvation comes out of decree; no



decree, no mercy. Says the Psalmist, “In Thy book were all my members written.” Thence a matter of decree: the names of the family all enrolled in the book, one day to be called over. What if your name should be left out? Did you ever think of that? Did you ever contemplate the consequence ? Left out? The family called over, but your name passed byno enrolment, no call. But, oh, the blessedness of having an interest in divine decrees! Jesus rejoiced, and called upon His disciples to rejoice, that their names were written in heaven, and therefore, as interested in divine decrees, were saved with an everlasting salvation. Hence, all that came in as a hindrance—the introduction of sin, the fall of man, the power of evil-only rendering Christ's work necessary; the Church saved in the Lord by omnipotent power, nothing short; and this exercised on behalf of the elect, and that because their names were found in the Lamb's book of life. And, oh, how the sight of it melts the heart, satisfies the soul humbles it at the feet of Jesus, and makes it ashamed of all its transgressions. So, you see, God is not content-if I may so say—with being satisfied Himself; but He will bring His people to the same point, and make them satisfied, too, and that by a knowledge of divine decrees. “In Thy book were all my members written.” Now, nothing short of this will satisfy you—to know your name is in the book. Oh that God would graciously extend this knowledge, so that ye may be divinely persuaded that when your material part is dropped into the grave, you shall awake to find you are eternally blessed in the presence of God! Now, we must consider this formation with regard to divine order having been created, continued, or in continuation fashioned. We turn to the marginal reading, which throws a little light upon a somewhat obscure clause in our text: “What days they should be fashioned." Here is divine order observed in bringing out manifestively divine decrees, what days each of the elect should be formed—that is, appear in a substantial body, in a time state--and this for the purpose of being called in grace to know the Lord. Now this points out God's order; so you could not have been born two hundred years ago.

The Church was fashioned day by day, but it was matter of divine ordination what days they were to be fashioned; and this is God's daily bread, His food, His joy, His support, made for His glory, brought into the world day by day. It was a matter of divine ordination what days Abraham should appear, Isaac, Jacob, and what day you and I should appear; for God has as much care for the little ones as for the great ones of the family, for the vessels of small quantity as of large quantity. He has chosen out the way of each and all, yea, and sits chief, ordering, ruling, regulating the days of their unregeneracy-what days you should live without Him, trampling His truth under your vile feet, seeking your peace and blessedness from every or any source but Himself. All those days numbered that you should run so far and so long from Him, and then what days you should be cut down, laid open with that sharp two-edged sword that divides the joints and marrow asunder. What days God should show you up your desperately-wicked black heart; that you were a rebel against Him, that you hated His truth and His saints, that you despised them in your heart. Oh, my friends, it is profitable to review those days when God interposed-broke into the midst of those very days with grace; for we did nothing to merit it; we were far off from Him -helpless, hopeless. But what days we were to be fashioned were known to Him—what days we were to have a new nature, and be born again of the Spirit.



One word more upon this wonderful “substance," which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. They had no existence as a whole, and yet as a whole were all known to God. The Divine Architects saw the whole building complete before a stone of it was laid. Not a soul was in existence, except in the divine mind, but all fashioned according to divine purpose. How fashioned ? when fashioned ? 6. Created in Christ Jesus," when as yet there was none of them. These are great truths—some may call them speculations; but they are matters of divine experience, personal realization, matters of divine revelation, given to man by divine favour. But the wickedness of man disputes with God, and holds that light which God esteems precious. What mercy, then, if you have been taught to value that which once you despised, and to love that you once hated! Verily, you can say, - What hath God wrought!"

J. A. W.

PRACTICAL HINTS. " And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem they that were the circumcision

contended with him," fc.-Acts xi. 2-18. We are taught in these verses that it is wrong for Christians to contend so earnestly for non-essentials, instead of talking on points in which all who love the Lord Jesus Christ can agree. These Jews found fault with Peter for eating with the Gentiles. And how often do we fancy we see little inconsistencies in our fellow-Christians, when, if we heard the matter explained, it would most likely be brought out quite to our satisfaction, as in the present case !

The next hint we may take is, what is so delightful, but so little practised, viz., that of the Lord's people recounting His dealings with them to one another. “Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them” (ver. 4). We are all attention to hear about each other's worldly concerns, but so slow to open our mouths respecting the weightier matters of the soul. The heirs of such an inheritance as ours should love to talk of the things of the kingdom; this would stir us up to greater activity in the service of God, and rouse our sleeping faculties to speak the praises of His matchless love, and wonderful care of His dear children." How many of us have been disappointed when we had hoped to spend a little time in soul-communion with a fellow-pilgrim, to find, when our meeting together was over, there was little or nothing of our conversation upon which we could look back ith pleasure! "The

“ These things ought not so to be.” In days of old “they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels ” (Mal. iii. 16, 17). We pass on to the 18th verse, "When they heard these things, they

“ held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." This should teach us to rejoice when we hear of the new accessions to the kingdom and grace of God, and cause us to glorify Him on their behalf.



The strongest believer of us all is like a glass without a foot, which cannot stand one moment longer than it is held.

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