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“ROB ROY” IN THE HOLY LAND, The following letter to the Secretary of the Open-Air Mission from the Honorary Secretary (the well-known “Rob Roy" of the press), now on a six months' tour in Egypt and Palestine, will be read with interest by the members and friends of the mission :-
“ Tell Hum, Sea of Galilee, January 24th, 1869. “DEAR SIR, -Perhaps you may have seen from my letters in the Times, or the Record, what a very delightful journey I have been enjoying. In many respects this tour is entirely unique; and I cannot imagine any mode of travel, or any place for travelling in, more intensely delightful. I have carried my canoe all the way with me quite uninjured, I have thus had access to parts hitherto unvisited, and have, I think, made important discoveries, all tending directly to verify the blessed word of God in its minutest particulars. Perfeot health has also been granted to me all the time, and splendid weather. I have had to go through heat like the tropics, and the frozen air round snowy Hermon. I have had storms of wind and thunder, and gales on the water. Yet all of them came just when it was best for seeing the country under different aspeots.
“Other adventures also I have had, and you will see in the Record and the Times, in letters I sent yesterday, an account of the attack upon me by the wild Arabs of Heuleh, who fired on me, and with bludgeons and spears jumped into the water and finally captured me in my boat. But I carried my point even with these, and went to the spot I started for; and after all no harm was done, while I have the satisfaction of knowing that • under fire 'I am as cool as possibly can be.
“But the charm of course of this journey is the sacred land it leads me through. Much as I enjoyed my former visit to Palestine, nearly twenty years ago, I was then too young and inexperienced to know and to see and to feel what now is impressed on me day by day. Besides that, I had then a companion, and it is far, far better-especially in tours of this kind, where deep sentiment is aroused, and the heart communes in secret—that no one whatever should interrupt its quiet thought.
“Just think, for instance, of my first day on this lovely lake of Gennesareth. I sat in my Rob Roy, in the centre of the northern part of the lake. The hills on shore were about three miles off on either hand. The air was balmy, like the finest June day in England. The sun shone, but veiled by a delicate tain fleecy ouds. The water was blue, and without a ripple. The sounds of sheep bleating and streamlets gurgling were the only music: and there I read in my Testament John vi., following every incident by actually looking at the places mentioned. Finally, I went to the spot where the Apostles started in their boat, and I rowed the 'twenty-five or thirty furlongs,' which they had toiled through in the direction of Capernaum.
“Then again, yesterday, the scene had entirely changed. A thunderstorm gathered far off with distant rumblings, low but deep; the clouds mounted on high, the rain poured down in torrents, the wind rose to a gale, and my little canoe was tossed on the raging waves. To get ashore from this was not easy, and to save my boat I jumped into the water, and so got her to land on this rocky beach.
Sitting now in my tent, when I raise my eyes they light upon Gergesa, and the place where the demoniac was healed. I have already
been across to see if I could make out the place where the herd of swine ran into the sea.
“But everything I have seen and probed to the bottom has always turned out at last to be in complete accordance with the Bible. Yes, dear sir, it is not a 'cunningly-devised fable' that we are living by. Christ's religion is a reality-a dreadful reality-dreadful to many, but sweet and charming to some.
"I have had many opportunities of speaking or preaching in the openair to schools, to groups of men and women, and to individuals to whom I have given tracts.
“Those who are privileged to visit this land have a talent trusted to them, which they will have to answer for. We can indeed know and receive the Lord without living in the towns where He lived, or walking on the ground He trod. It is in a spiritual manner we must know Him, and not after the flesh.' Paul knew Him in both ways; and he distinctly tells us he did prize His natural knowledge of Christ, obtained by having seen Him with the eyes of his flesh; and rested on the knowledge by faith, which all of us may have without coming to Palestine.
“Still it is indeed a glorious thing to have seen this country. Here, where I am spending a week, the Lord of glory passed three years as a
I am just now encamped in a ruined city. Under my feet are its black stones, but no one can tell its name. It is one of three or four thought to be the ruins of Capernaum; but the best authorities are entirely at variance as to the sites of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum; and yet all these must have been within two or three miles of this spot. Now Tyre and Sidon are well known. Is not this a most curious confirmation of Christ's words of woe, that these three towns should not even be known as ruins, while for Tyre and Sidon it is more tolerable even now? “I trust you have been going on well in the Mission.
Perhaps you may read this letter at your next meeting, and give my Christian remembrances from Galilee to all the members of our society.
“I shall soon have finished this tour; but I can never, never forget its sacred delights. Nor is it other than pleasing to God that we should be thankful for having such sights as I have witnessed. When the two disciples of John followed Jesus, He turned and asked, "What seek ye?' They said, “Master, where dwellest Thou?' He said, “Come and see.' Gracious words these! I, too, wish to know where He dwells, and He says to me, Come and see.' Yes, and where He dwells now I shall also see ; nor can I suppose that even in Heaven the redeemed followers of Jesus will cease to remember, or to speak of with interest, the very
hills and rivers and plains and cities which, during this very delightful journey, I have had the great privilege to visit.
“ Yours faithfully, “Mr. G. Kirkham,
“ JOHN Mac GREGOR. “Open-Air Mission, 11, Buckingham Street, Adelphi, W.C.”
In the midst of much exercise of mind, it is possible that hope may languish, and comfort be reduced to a low ebb; yet the Divine Life may still be advancing, and the soul growing in humility, deadness to the world and the mortification of her own will, as the sap during winter retires to the root of the plant, ready to ascend and produce verdure and beauty on the return of the spring.
HEAVENLY SECRETS. Most DEARLY BELOVED IN THE LORD.—Your warm epistle arrived safely this morning, and has been read and re-read with very much spiritual pleasure and inward delight, and I have no doubt resting upon my mind, that when you were writing it, you could say with our mutual brother Peter, “Lord, it is good to be here.” Well, it is good to be where our Beloved is pleased to reveal Himself, and to make known to us the everlasting love of His grace-heart and mercy-heart. He then tells us that He knows the thoughts that He thinks toward us, and we believe every gracious word that proceeds out of His mouth, and we can feelingly sing,–
“How precious are Thy thoughts,
And captivate my soul:
Can ne'er be known beneath the skies." But when we shall have left the stage of time, when we shall have finally retired from the busy scenes of time-life, earth-life, flesh-life, and sin-life, when we shall be called upon by our Beloved to quit the dungeon of this world, we shall be ever with the Lord, and everlastingly like the Lord.
“A taste we have whilst in the vale;
Streaming through Jesus' pierced side." The inhabitant of that spiritual land shall not complain of earth-sickness, sin-sickness, flesh-sickness, or world-sickness. And the people that dwell therein shall be eternally forgiven their iniquities. "The Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters" springing up from His wounded heart, and streaming forth from His pierced side. There can be no communication of ocean-love, but through atoning blood. The great love wherewith our covenant God loves us finds no way of reaching us but through the agony and bloody sweat of our Kinsman-Redeemer; and, although this mysterious and deep love took its eternal rise in the heart of our God and Father, there was no possible way for it to be conveyed to the lower parts of His earth, but through the channel of our Bridegroom's blood. The hidden life of God was revealed in the Vine of the Father's right-hand planting, and the fruit of covenant love was only to be found upon this choice Tree, which grew in the midst of the paradise of God; and this Vine must be bled to death to redeem the life of the Church, and the fruit of this spiritual Tree of life must be stripped from its branches, in order to make wine to cheer the heart of God and man. Thus He was made "naked and bare to clothe His bride, and He was “ dried up like & potsherd," that the “potsherds of the earth" might become “vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory.” Hence from the death of Jesus sprang the life of His people ; from the wounds of Christ arose the healing balsam of the Church. He died that we might live. He“
was crucified through weakness,” that we might rise in the resurrection power and glory of His Godhead. * In that He died, He died unto sin once; but
in that He liveth, He liveth unto God : " therefore " For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” For know ye not that “ our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed.” As the body of sin is destroyed, the body of purity, the spiritual body of Christ, alone remains indestructible; hence “I live; yet not I (in myself]; but Christ liveth in me.”
The life of the first Adam is a life of enmity against God, but the life of the Second Adam is a life of warmest friendship with God; the life of the flesh is a life of distance from God, whilst the life of the Spirit is a life of nearness to God; the life of nature is a life of defilement, whereas the life of grace is a life of purity. Flesh-life is earth-life, sin-life, worldlife, and death-life; but Spirit-life is heaven-life, divine-life, holy-life, lovelife, light-life, grace-life, and glory-life. These lives and livings are
contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do” with the naturelife " the things that ye would” with the grace-life ; for "that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Therefore said one, “Uphold me with Thy free Spirit.” We find that whilst “ to be carnally-minded is death,” “ to be spirituallyminded is life and peace.” But the carnal mind is never spirituallyminded, and the spiritual mind cannot possibly be carnally-minded. Nature cannot rise into grace, grace cannot descend into nature. The natural heart beats earthward, the spiritual heart throbs heavenward. The earthly mind is taken up with the moveables and vanities of the timestate, whilst the spiritual mind is engrossed with the immoveables and the vital realities of the heavenly state. Hence the life of the flesh is mortal life, but the life of the Spirit is immortal life. The first is a backward life, the second is a forward life--they lead in opposite directions, they live in contrary atmospheres, they associate with different companies. But, as the two lives are in the same person, and the “two manner of people" dwell in the same clay tent, the one is materially affected by the other. When the fleshly life is feasting, the spiritual life is fasting; when the natural life is rejoicing, the heavenly life is mourning; when the horizon of the first is clear, the heavens of the second are covered with a dense cloud ; whilst the one is singing nature's song, the other is sighing to realize grace's melody. Thus when our Esau-nature is up, our Jacobnature is down; and the Lord says, “By whom shall Jacob arise ? for he is small.” He is small, and he knows it ; he is weak, and he deplores it; he is empty, and he feels it; he is dark in mind, and he mourns on
account of it. But Jacob's God says, “ Fear not, thou worm Jacob!” Oh, how timely are his fear-nots! How sweet are the words from His all-gracious lips! How soul-satisfying are the smiles of His face ! How heartcheering are His looks of love! How mind-animating are the earnests of our eternal harvest! How perfectly contented are we when He speaks Himself into our new heart! How we have all and abound when He manifests Himself unto us! How we glide out of time into eternity, and retire from earth and self, when we feel the almighty drawings of His love, the powerful constrainings of His grace !
“Then we hold such sweet communion
With our Saviour, Brother, Friend;
We well know that vital union alone will ensure real communion; therefore it is exclusively upon the ground of relationship that we enjoy holy intimacy and blessed fellowship with the Lord our own Beloved. Family secrets are sacred to the family, so that its members only know the love of the Father, the blood of the Son, and the blest communings of the Eternal Spirit. But we are well assured that
“ True religion's more than notion,
Something must be known and felt;" for in eating Him, we live by Him : and in “seeing Him who is invisible,” we are enabled to endure the buffetings of Satan, the reproaches of men, the scorn and derision of the false Church, and the in, placable hatred and defilement of our sin-polluted heart. Strength equal to our day is promised us by Him who cannot lie; by Him
· Whose heart is made of tenderness,
Whose bowels melt with love." With Jesus we are one; from Him we shall never be separated; with Him, in Him, and by Him, we shall ever dwell. He is the home of our heart, the dwelling of our soul, the bower of our mind, the seat of our rest, the source of our joy, the spring of our delight, and the river of our pleasure. Indeed,
“He's all that's good and great,
All that I can admire;
And all my soul's desire.” Can you not join me in saying, “This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend ?" To you I know He is “the chiefest among ten thousand,”. yea, “the altogether lovely.” And what He is to you in the glory of His person and the perfection of His work, He has made Himself to be by the blessed revelation of His own Spirit. You can only know Him so far as He is pleased in holy sovereignty to open up and to unfold to your spiritual mind His eternal excellencies and unfading glories. He can only appear beautiful, glorious, and precious to the spiritual heart. The natural heart is enmity against Him; the carnal will is opposed to Him; and the child of the flesh runs in a way that is counter to the Lord's narrow way of life, secluded path of blood, and hidden way of holiness. “They that are in the flesh cannot please God,” for they are continually running in a way not “cast up” by the Lord. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.” As joined to the Lord and one Spirit,” the time past sufficeth us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles; and as led by the Holy Ghost we see an end of all perfection in the flesh: and “the life that we live in the flesh (not by the Hesh) we live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and
Himself for us." In Him we find the creature-bond to be broken, the natural tio to be snapped asunder, and all fleshly relationships to be made null and void. Sin and sinning, in Him, recede from our view ; the world and its so-called pleasures are banished from our sight, and love, blood, and salvation form the theme of our heart, constitute the delight of our spiritual mind.
Hence it is no marvel if we be looked upon by the religious world as most strange and eccentric. They know not what we are, they cannot tell where we live, they are in the dark as to what we feed upon, they are in utter ignorance respecting the source of our joy and the centre of