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ing man. He was meant to be a being with whom God could dwell, and the ideal man of the Divine mind is now actually realised as the crown and glory of Christ's redemption. The responsibility of those to whom this sublime truth has been manifested is very great. We are bound as God's witnesses to declare by the living voice, and the press, and by every other means in our power that man as such is only mortal, that immortality is to be found only in union with Christ, that the kingdom of God is to be established in the world at the pre-millennial advent of our Redeemer, and that a purified universe without sin, or pain, or death is the glorious goal of the eternal purpose of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. If the responsibility which these truths impose upon us is great, the honour of being entrusted with them is also very great. Let us be honest, true, brave, generous. The time of service is brief, the reward of faithful service is great; and whether the glorious consummation be near at hand or far off, it will be a peaceful satisfaction to us to feel that we have done something, in the name of the beloved Master, to call the attention of our fellowmen to the bright and blessed THINGS WHICH ARE BEFORE."
EDITOR, Conference Address.
CHILDREN AND SONS. IN N the original of the Christian Scriptures, and in relation to
believers in the Son of God, the terms tékvov and viòs have each a distinctive significance. The former is used in its ordinary sense, as denoting derivation and a relationship arising from derivation. The latter-in accordance with a Hebrew usage-is employed as a term of quality or characteristic. But, in the received English version, these distinctive uses are not shown. The terms mentioned are treated as being strictly synonymous. Hence, the phrase τέκνα θεού is frequently translated “ Sons of God;” and υίόι θεού is repeatedly rendered “ children of God.” And by this interchangeable mode of translation, the distinctive information and instruction intended by the inspired writers, is obscured, and from the English reader, is concealed.
1. True believers in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, are called “children of God”—Téxva Otoū. They are called so because they are begotten or born of God. On this subject, the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the writings of the apostles of Christ, is explicit and complete.
a. In the record of John, as relating to the days of our Lord's humiliation, we read thus: “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power (a right or title), to become children of God (Tékva 0Ū), even to those believing in His name. They
did not become children of God in the days of His humiliation: but, at a subsequent time, and consequent on His death* and resurrection, they were born of God : as it is written, in continuance of the record concerning them, in these words: “Who were born (éyevvýdnoav) not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Here, the apostle testifies of an accomplished fact. Before he wrote they had been born of God --had become children of God; to which state and relationship they had before been entitled.
b. The same apostle, in his first epistle, bears a corresponding testimony concerning true believers in the risen Son of God :
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we children of God (vūv tévva Otoū équer), and it hath not yet been manifested what we shall be, but we know that when He shall be manifested, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” “Every one that hath been born of God (yeyevvnuévos ek toū Okov) doth not commit sin; † for his seed (the seed of God) abideth in him : and he cannot sin,t because he is born of God.” “Every one believing that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him."
c. In unison with the above, the apostle Paul testifies, saying, “ The Spirit itself also beareth witness with our spirit that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” And he thus teaches that, the heirship of believers in Christ, to the future inheritance of immortality and glory, in the kingdom of God, arises from, and is founded in, the present fact of their being, actually and acknowledgedly, children of God; as having been begotten of God.
2. In the testimony of the Holy Spirit, those are called “children of God''-τέκνα Θεού; are also called
sons of God'
* Our Lord has shown and illustrated the reason why none could be born of God previous to his sacrificial death. He did so when he said, “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
+ In the above text and its context, the apostle treats of sin in its most evil form and degree: and of his intention so to do, he gave timely notice in the original, thus : Πώς ο ποιών την αμαρτίαν, και την ανομίαν ποιεί και η åpapria ¿otiv ávopía. Every one committing the sin, also committeth the lawlessness: and the sin is the lawlessness (chap. iii. 4). A paraphrase will illustrate the passage and its intent, thus : Every one committing the sin, which is now to be treated of, also committeth the lawlessness of which you are already informed : and this sin is that lawlessness. And from this unpardonable sin the children of God are preserved: "being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding Word of God.”
viót coû: and this latter appellation is given to them as denoting the nature and qualities of that reality which they have derived from God, in the way of divine emanation, and of a new and inward genesis. The appellation is also given to them as signifying the characteristics and conduct proper to them as those who are begotten of God. And, further : it has its characteristic application to them, as they shall be manifested in their consummated state of immortality and glory.
a. “God is spirit.” And that inward reality which the children of God have derived from Him, in the way of a new genesis, is, in its nature, spirit: as our Lord has contrastively said, " That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”
b. God is holy and righteous. And that which is begotten of Him in his children-being personified, and called " the new man —is declared to be, “according to God, created in righteousness and true holiness."
In the teaching of the apostles, this new and spiritual nature is treated of as being a superadded principle or constituent of personal existence, and as being in a state of active moral antagonism with the evils of the flesh : and the children of God are said to be constituted of “spirit, and soul, and body: ” but
, . false brethren, hypocrites, are described as being “psychical (tvxekoi), not having a spirit.' d. As contrasted with “ the works of the flesh,
"" the fruit of the Spirit " is shown to be, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (or fidelity), meekness, continence.” Such is the fruit of the fruit-bearing life of Christ in his saints. And the inward presence and practical prevalence of these spiritual qualities was contemplated by the apostle when he wrote the words :
As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
e. The relations of the Holy Spirit to the children and sons of God are many and various. These relations are made known in the testimonies of the apostles : and the mention of a few of those testimonies will suffice as reminding those who believe and know the truth :—The Holy Spirit dwells in the saints, as in His temple. He bears witness with their spirit, that they are children of God. And “ because they are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” As dwelling in the sons of God, he maketh intercession for them, according to God. His indwelling presence is their power of prayer and of spiritual worship. By Him they are led in the ways of holiness, righteousness, and love. By the Spirit of God they are sealed unto the day of redemption. And by His abiding presence in them, the sons of God shall be perfected at the resurrection of the righteous.
f. Attention has now been directed to the truth that, the “children of God” are those who have been begotten of God; and that,
they are called "sons of God,” because that, by a new and spiritual genesis, they have been made partakers of a spiritual nature, the moral qualities of which answer to the moral perfections of God. And it may be desirable that illustrations of the latter usage should be presented, as follows:
The children of God, as the subjects and possessors of divine illumination, are called “sons of light and sons of day.” In our Lord's explanation of his parable of the wheat and the tares, he says, “ The good seed are the sons of the kingdom ”-oi vioi ris Baoileias. That is, the properties of the kingdom are in them ; which properties are,"righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” And in his reply to the Sadducees, our Lord testified concerning those who shall be counted worthy of the resurrection from among the dead and shall then be immortal—that, they
are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." Being now sons of God, they inwardly possess the principle and properties of the resurrection of life. The resurrection life of Christ is in them. Their present state is embryonic; and they shall be brought forth immortal. The divine scheme of evolution shall be consummated at “ the manifestation of the sons of God." Mannamead, Plymouth.
W. MORRIS, M.D.
OCCASIONAL EDITORIAL NOTES. NEARING God and serving idols (2 Kings xvii. 33) is an odd
mixture of religions which in their nature are incompatible. They are mutually destructive, and the weakest must die. We must be either one thing or another. Consistent loyalty to opposing claims is impossible. “ Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. (Matt. vi. 24.) “If the Lord be God, follow Him; if Baal, follow him.” (1 Kings xviii. 21.) If secular honour and popularity be the objects sought under a cloak of zeal for the Gospel, sooner or later the sham will be exposed, and the pretender will neither have the smile of the world nor the approval of God. The policy of Naaman in having some Israelitish “ earth” to pacify his onscience when he bowed to Rimmon to please the king (2 Kings . 17-18) is not an example to be followed, but a piece of selfish xpediency deserving contempt. I imagine that when Elisha said o him, “ Go in peace,” he said to himself, “ This Syrian general s no doubt a brave man, but he does not understand high religious rinciple. Let the poor mortal go in peace and enjoy his military ay and his honours at Court. That is his object!"
Ghosts!-Superstition, fear, and sometimes terror and even men tal derangement, have resulted from a belief in the existence of these imaginary things; I say things, for “ disembodied souls” of men do not haunt the earth. It is cruel and even wicked to tell lying ghost stories to poor women and children. I pity the sensitive among the young upon whom these legends have such a painful effect. I well remember the time when it was simply distressing to be alone in the dark. I owe the ghosts a grudge for their unkind treatment of me in feeble childhood. Parents ! do. not alarm your beloved children with stories about these pagan phantoms; but tell them about the good Shepherd who by night as well as day keeps His eye upon the dear lambs of His flock !
NEARLY allied to this subject is that of eternal suffering, which has terrified children without number, and made life a crushing burden to multitudes of adults. The number of persons driven to madness, on the one hand, or to infidelity or atheism, on the other, by this appalling falsehood is only known to Him who knows all things. If it were known to men it would blanch the cheek and appall the heart of the strongest. O that Christian teachers in pulpits, Sunday schools, and day schools, had there eyes opened to the atrocious libel upon the character of God, involved in the statement that He subjects any human being to endless torments ! How fervently we wish that the Sunday School Union, and the Religious Tract Society would purge their publications of this shameless doctrine !
“HIDDEN ONES.”—Yes, there are such ; many of them. “The. Lord knoweth them that are His.” There are quiet, retiring, lowly followers of Jesus of whom the organised Church knows nothingthe Lord's violets, concealed from public view, and revealed only to the careful student of the Christian life by the fragrance of their modest piety. They are found in obscure nooks and corners, in thatched cottages or mud huts in country lanes; or in attics or cellars in great towns, whence the incense of their heart-worship ascends to heaven with acceptance because they themselves have already been accepted in the Beloved One. It may be that this simple piety flourishes in a room next door to a demoniac who makes the air tremble by his ribaldry and blasphemy. It is of no use to deny the Divine Sovereignty. Facts are excellent exponents of doctrine. How comes it that a thin partition is all that separates a lowly loving child of God from a boisterous and odious child of the devil ? I almost envy these hidden ones. It seems so poetically attractive to get away from the perpetual tumult, and to live alone with Christ. But this looks selfish. I wait until an hon