September/October 1962

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Contents

A-Millenialism
Wm Bunting

Outlining the Book of Revelation
Samuel Jardine

The Church
J.W. McMillan

My Conversion to God
Frank Knox

“Religious Education” in Schools
the late Franklin Ferguson

From Faith to Faith
Hudson Taylor

Three Calls in the Song of Songs
the late T.D.W. Muir

Ministry Required at our Conferences
D. Ross

Quotes

His Great Plan


A-MILLENNIALISM

By Wm. Bunting.

IS THERE A NATIONAL FUTURE FOR ISRAEL?

Is there ,a future for Israel as a nation? The A-Millennialists confidently affirm that there is not. What saith the Scripture? Has God not a glorious future in store for Israel? If He has not what becomes of the numerous Bible prophecies of worldwide national blessing for the sons of Jacob?

The main arguments of the A-Millennialists are:—

  1. That these promises are to be understood spiritually.
  2. That many of them are being fulfilled in the Church in this present age.
  3. That others which picture a golden era for the nation will be fulfilled in Heaven.

Regarding the first of these arguments, it has already been pointed out in our papers that the spiritualising method as employed by A-Millennialists does violence to every canon of sound interpretation. “Scripture,” as Stanton has said, “is to be understood in a normal, grammatical, literal fashion” ; that is, of course, unless the Lord clearly indicates otherwise. As another has said- “When the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense.” The literal fulfilment of hundreds of prophecies in the past proves the absolute soundness of this fundamental principle of interpretation. Of these we can here consider only a few, as follows :—

  1. Prophecies concerning individuals. See for example Deut. 32. 50 (Moses); Jos. 6. 28 (Rebuilder of Jericho); 2 Kings 7. 1, 2, 17-20 (a “lord” in Samaria).
  2. Prophecies concerning great cities. See for example, Ezek. 26 and 27 (Tyre); ch. 28. 20-23 (Sidon); Luke 19. 42-44 (Jerusalem).
  3. Prophecies concerning mighty nations. See for example, Gen. 15. 14 (Egypt); Isaiah 13 and 14 (Babylon).
  4. Prophecies concerning Israel—their bondage in Egypt (Gen. 15. 13); their deliverance from Egypt (Gen. 15. 14); their forty years of wandering (Num. 14. 33); their conquest of Canaan (Jos. 1. 2. 3); their apostasy (Deut. 31. 16); their seventy years captivity (Jer. 25. 11, 12); their return from captivity (Jer. 29. 10); their present dispersion and spiritual blindness (Luke 21. 24; Romans 11. 25).
  5. Prophecies concerning the Physical Universe (Gen. 8. 22; 9. 12-17; Isa. 54. 9; Ps. 148. 4-6; Jer. 31. 35, 36).
  6. Prophecies concerning the first Advent of Christ—His birth, life, sufferings, death, burial and resurrection. These are too numerous to be listed. Liddon in his monumental work, “The Divinity of our Lord”, states that there are in all over 300 of them.
  7. Prophecies of the last days (1 Tim. 4. 1-3; 2 Tim. 3. 1-5; 2 Peter 2 and Jude’s Epistle).

Now, all these prophecies have been, or are in the course of being, literally fulfilled. When God made them He meant just what Pie said—nothing more, nor less, nor different; and those to whom they were made rightly so understood them. How then in the face of some of the plainest statements of God’s Word dare we or anyone else say that prophecies relating to Israel’s destiny will be fulfilled in any manner other than literal?

It is true that these prophecies are during the present Church parenthesis held in abeyance. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that since Christ’s rejection by the Jewish leaders in Matt. 12 and 13, all merely natural relationships have been disclaimed by Him (Matt. 12. 46-50), that the offer of the long-looked for kingdom in glory and power has been withdrawn from the favoured nation (Matt. 21. 43), and that the kingdom is now in mystery form. That is, it is veiled and so is not visible nor in outward display, for how could it be publicly manifested seeing the King has been wickedly refused His royal rights, cast out and crucified? (Matt. 21. 33-43). Hence our Lord’s parabolic teaching of the kingdom in Matt. 13 is described in verse 11 as “mysteries”, which Ilis rejectors could not understand (vv. 11-15), and the chapter furnishes us with the special characteristics of the kingdom as viewed in that aspect. Hence also His words in Luke 17. 21, “The kingdom of God is within you”, with which compare Rom. 14. 17 and 1 Cor. 4. 20. This aspect of it was something entirely new and undreamed of by His disciples. Naturally it was difficult for them to become reconciled to the view that the kingdom had now assumed a new and hidden form. Even after Christ’s resurrection “they asked Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1. 6).

The fact that Israel is at present set aside, however, does not at all mean that God’s rejection of the nation is final or irrevocable. Were this the case, was not our Lord morally bound to say so to the perplexed disciples in Acts 1? What He said was, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power” (v. 7). “The times or the seasons” of what?—of the “restoration of the kingdom to Israel”, which was the subject about which they had just asked Him, as we have seen. Israel is rejected, but only temporarily. “God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew” (Romans 11. 2). His immutable decree is that Israel will be regathered and become the centre of divine administration and blessing upon the earth. “And so all Israel shall be saved : as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob . . . For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11. 26-29).

(To be continued, D.V.).

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Outlining the Book of Revelation

S. Jardine, Belfast.

“MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT.”

Chapters 17 and 18.

THE Spirit of God has enlarged upon the seventh judgment in the series of Vial judgments, and His treatment of the subject continues through chapters seventeen to nineteen, verse four. We cannot overlook this special stress that marks the final plague attendant upon the pouring out of the Bowls of the wrath of God. John is given an appropriate escort, one of the Angels of the last plagues, to view the calamity which is to fall upon the great Harlot that sits upon many waters. The Seer is introduced to a scene of drought and barrenness suited to the religious system which in symbol here appears. His deepest feelings are stirred for “he wondered with a great wonder”; we shall dwell upon the causes of the Apostle’s amazement.

1st. He saw the symbol of Impurity, “The great Harlot.” Here was the complete antithesis of a pure Bride, for Christ’s Church has divinely given fitness for her Holy Bridegroom (ch. 19. 8; Eph. 1. 3-5), but John sees what is a complete travesty of that lovely conception. It is natural that he should be filled with amazement as he looks on what is impurity and disloyalty when they have reached their vilest limits. In scriptural usage fornication and kindred figures represent idolatry, worldliness and departure from God and His ways. Reference to Hosea 3 and 4; Jer. 3. 8-10; James 4. 4 will put this beyond question. The vast system known to us as the Roman Catholic Church in its coming final development answers most accurately to this description. She has departed from the simplicity which is in Christ, to introduce by a series of accretions over the centuries a complicated order of worship, which includes the worship of Mary and the use of images and pictures. How revolting this would be to the mother of Jesus, erroneously called by Roman Catholics “the mother of God.” She knew herself highly favoured of God in that she should be laid hold of to become the mother of Christ’s humanity, that perfect humanity into which Deity came to reside. (Luke 1. 30-35). The “true worshippers” need no intermediaries in their approach to the Father, save the Great High Priest Himself, and they need no help or assistance, in their sanctuary exercises other than that supplied by the Spirit of God (Heb. 10. 19-22; 13. 15; Romans 8. 26; John 4. 23; 1 John 2. 4, 5).

In contradistinction to the words of Christ, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18. 36), we see a religious organisation vast and intricate thoroughly wedded to the world, its wealth and ways. While the Jezebel character of Rev. 2. 18-24 is in evidence to-day, the changing vesture of Christendom declares that the day of “the great Harlot” is at hand, when all elements of pseudo-christianity will find rest in the bosom of so-called “Mother-church”, but rightly denominated “Mystery, Babylon the great.”

2nd. He saw the Seat of her authority. The Harlot sits upon many waters (v. 1) which is explained in v. 15 as meaning “peoples and multitudes, nations and tongues”, and indicates the universal character of her rule. The removal of the true Bride from earth will open the way for the unification into one powerful system of the mass of Christian profession, the influence of which in the civil and political world is illustrated in our context. Again we do not wonder that John was amazed. Roman Catholicism to-day has impressive solidarity which has deceived many. It has what Protestantism so obviously lacks, a centralised government with undisputed control from the Vatican, while its general teaching is accepted and practised without regard to either its scripturalness or its reasonableness. It is enough that it is “the teaching of the church.” Thus the blindly led devotees of this false system have a mechanical and artificial unity which is not the unity of the Spirit. It is not the outcome of being centred in Christ the Head, but in the substitution of the Church’s authority for His. In the second half of the week, the woman will be carried by the scarlet coloured beast which has the seven heads and ten horns, which only serves to emphasise her presidence over the nations, which in the scarlet beast form will have achieved unity, so that for a brief period both political and religious oneness will be known in the western world (Rev. 13. 3, 13).

3rd. John saw the success of her activity. This too, is calculated to have heightened the wonder that filled his mind. Looking beyond the dazzling coloured garb and brilliant ornaments of this woman, John saw a golden cup in her hand full of the foulness of her fornication. She has succeeded in seducing high and low, rich and poor (17. 2; 18. 9). The influence of the superstitions of ecclesiastical Rome is truly an amazing spectacle. It is hard for those with an open Bible to understand how men and women of average intelligence accept the claims and pretensions of this system. Think of the obvious contradictions of her historical background, her relics, miracles and presumptious lording it over the consciences of the people in matters such as oracular confession and the farce of purgatory. These are accepted because of the voice of the church. Traditions of men are accorded equal weight with the Scriptures, while its demands for money and good works as necessary to salvation have such a ready response in human nature that her success is certain not only in this day, but in her hey-day yet to come. The survival of this mammoth religious organisation through dark ages, until in our own times she is already bidding fair to absorb the divisions of Christendom that are clamouring for unity at almost any price, has much to say to the lover of the Lord and His Word. Here is substantiation of all He has foretold. His purposes are being fulfilled in every realm and the time of His coming is at hand. One thing, however, is certain that whatever compromises may be made to ecclesiastical Rome she will remain integrally and fundamentally the same, the great Harlot, Mystery, Babylon the Great. Other causes for John’s wonder we hope in the will of God to consider in our next paper.

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THE CHURCH

 

AN OUTLINE OF BIBLE TEACHING

By Dr. J. W. McMillan, India.

5. Oversight in the Local Church.

NO organisation can exist for any length of time without some kind of officers to carry out special functions, and a church is no exception. In particular, there must be those to act as spiritual guides, those who can “take the oversight” or supervise the activities of the church.

In our opening chapters we mentioned that the Lord Jesus used the word “church” on only two occasions : but on at least two other occasions He clearly referred to it under different names. The first of these is found in John 10. 16. The second we shall refer to in Chapter 8. In John 10. 16 the Lord is comparing and contrasting Israel, which He describes as a fold, (one nation), and the church, which He describes as a flock, drawn from many folds or nations, but with Himself as its one Shepherd. After His resurrection He recommissioned Peter, the disciple who had denied Him, and told him to tend, feed and care for His lambs and sheep. In other words, the chief Shepherd commissioned Peter and the other disciples to act as His undershepherds. Peter himself shows us this very clearly in 1 Peter 5. 1-4, and here describes himself as a “fellow-elder”, addressing other elders in the churches to whom he was writing. The churches are thus to be guided and ruled by elders, whose qualifications are clearly set out in 1 Timothy 3. 1-7 and Titus 1. 5-9.

In the first local church at Jerusalem the apostles themselves formed the first body of elders. They had companied with the Lord Jesus Himself and were obviously those best fitted for the work. But very soon we find James, the Lord’s brother, prominent in the church, and when the matter of the circumcision of Gentile converts led to controversy, it was the apostles and elders who met to discuss it, and it was James (an elder, not an apostle) who finally suggested the solution (Acts 15. 1-29). As churches multiplied through the preaching of the Word, the apostles or their representatives usually appointed elders from among them (Acts 14. 23), but, at the end of the apostolic period, Paul was led to put into writing the qualifications for this vital service, so that those coming afterwards would know the kind of men to be recognised for this work (1 Timothy 3. 1-7).

Two words are used to describe these guides: one is presbyter or “elder”, a word which emphasises the fact that spiritual maturity is needed; the other is “bishop”, which means an overseer, superintendent, or supervisor. They are the “undershepherds” of the flock of God. Their service and that of the deacon or servant, which we shall consider in the next chapter, are the only two mentioned in connection with the care of New Testament assemblies. The three-fold division into “bishops, presbyters and deacons”, adopted by the Anglican Churches, is a second or third century innovation, while the Popes and Cardinals of the Church of Rome are of even later origin. These New Testament bishops did not do all the preaching in the churches : as the names used to describe them indicate, they were leaders on account of spiritual maturity and they were the “over-seers” who saw that everything was carried out in an orderly way. There was no suggestion in those days of a distinction between “clergy and laity.” And while we read that the apostles were one of the “foundation gifts”, needed only in the infancy of the church (see Ephesians 2. 20), there is no suggestion anywhere that elderhood was only a temporary expedient. The Scriptures rather indicate that even to-day it is God’s plan that His churches be guided by them. Notice too that the word is always used in the plural: in the local church at Philippi, for instance, there were “bishops and deacons” (Philippians 1. 1). The idea of one man being in charge of a church has no warrant in the Word of God.

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MY CONVERSION TO GOD

By Frank Knox, Belfast.

“He that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3. 18).
 
I love to speak of Jesus—that Name how sweet it sounds,
Oh, tell it out ye faithful to earth’s remotest bounds;
I love to speak of Jesus and what He’s done for me,
’Twas in the year 1905, September twenty three.
 
I do remember well the day when out on pleasure bent,
I got an invitation to a meeting in a tent;
So just to please the person I decided to go in,
No love for God or Christ had I, for I was dead in sin.
 
I was careless and indifferent whene’er I entered there,
But ere that meeting ended I was almost in despair;
John, Chapter 3, and verse 18, was the text the speaker chose,
When scenes of death and judgment before my vision rose.
 
“Condemned already,” fearful words, they fixed me to the seat,
Struck terror to me when I thought ’tis God I have to meet;
Four weeks I struggled in the dark, and light I could not see,
I longed to know how to be saved, and from my sins be free.
 
I then left Belfast City for the County Donegal,
And the God of Grace was with me, and He overruled it all;
For whilst engaged at work one day a letter I received,
And as I read its contents o’er, I on the Lord believed.
 
H-A-T-H—those letters four were simply underlined,
I just took in what God had said, and made His promise mine;
Now many years have gone since then, and Christ remains the same,
Eternal life He gives to those who trust His Blessed Name.
 
And so I came to Jesus while standing on the roof,
And in this good old Bible I have the blessed proof;
While passing through this wicked world of sin, and woe, and strife,
He that believeth on the Son HATH everlasting life.
 
Saved by the blood of Jesus, kept by His power alone,
This my glorious privilege—seeking to make Him known;
And when I see my Saviour I’ll praise His Blessed Name,
For the love that stooped to save me from sin and death and shame.
 
Oh, sinner trust in Jesus, He’ll make your life anew,
And then at home in glory you’ll praise the Saviour too;
Yes, you and I together, in heavenly mansions bright,
Will bless the Lord that saved us from hell’s eternal night.
 
Oh, sinners don’t reject Him, but trust Him now to-day,
Hast thou not travelled long enough the broad and crowded way?
In grace He waits to save you from dark impending doom,
And take you home to be with Him in His eternal Home.
 
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life”—John 3. 36.
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“Religious Education” In Schools

By A. R. Jones, Corby.

For something like 90 years now, the people of this country have been under obligation to send their children to schools for a basic education. Today the law of the land states that all children between the ages of five and fifteen shall receive full-time education. This is common knowledge—but there are other aspects of this that the people of God would do well to consider in view of the fact that most of our children receive instruction under the State system of education. These facts may not be so well known.

Under the Education Act of 1914, schools were divided into two classes—voluntary and county schools. The voluntary schools are usually those schools owned by one or another of the systems of Christendom. In these schools, teaching of “religious education” is in accordance with the creeds and dogmas of the denomination owning the school. In many rural areas, these are the only schools near at hand and believers are forced to send their children to them. In the county schools, teaching is in accordance with a very wide “Agreed Syllabus” which, in fairness it must be said, gives the believing school teacher ample opportunity to make sure his children know the gospel message.

There are, however, some very strange things taught in the name of “Religious Education” in schools. Each day, by law, must start with a “collective act of worship.” This is usually, though not always, taken by the headmaster or senior member of staff. As these people are not necessarily believers, men who are often spiritually dead are giving teaching to boys and girls who are at their most impressionable age. The writer actually heard the following said in a morning assembly—“God keeps a record book in heaven like your school reports and all your deeds are recorded. If the report is good you go to heaven and if not then you do not go to heaven.” Again, in the classroom, there is no guarantee that the children of believers will be taught by Christian teachers. A young believer in our local assembly was taught that one could believe nothing of the Scriptures prior to Moses.

The purpose of this article is to reveal to believing parents the sort of teaching that their children might well be getting in school, though I should add that I have had fellowship with some fine Christian schoolmasters. Believers would do well to make discreet enquiries as to the sort of teaching their children are getting and if they are not satisfied they would be advised to exercise their legal right to withdraw their children from sitting under such dangerous teaching in a way which they would not tolerate outside. This is a right not generally exercised probably because people are unaware that it exists. All parents have to do is to write to the head teacher of the school, making request that their children should be withdrawn from all religious teaching and practices in the school, and their wishes will be complied with.

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FROM FAITH TO FAITH

 

AN INCIDENT IN THE EARLY LIFE OF HUDSON TAYLOR

AT Hull my kind employer, always busy, wished me to remind him whenever my salary became due. This I determined not to do directly, but to ask that God would bring the fact to his recollection, and thus encourage me by answering prayer.

At one time as the day drew near for the payment of a quarter’s salary, I was as usual much in prayer about it. The time arrived, but Dr. Hardey made no allusion to the matter. I continued praying. Days passed on and he did not remember, until at length on settling up my weekly accounts one Saturday night, I found myself possessed of only one remaining coin, a half-crown piece. Still I had hitherto known no lack, and I continued praying.

That Sunday was a very happy one. As usual my heart was full and brimming over with blessing. After attending Divine Service in the morning, my afternoon and evening were taken up with Gospel work in the various lodging houses I was accustomed to visit in the lowest parts of the town.

After concluding my last service about ten o’clock that night, a poor man asked me to visit his wife, saying she was dying. I readily agreed and on the way to his house asked him why he had not sent for the priest, as his accent told me he was an Irishman. He had done so, he said, but the priest refused to come without a payment of eighteen pence, which the man did not possess, as the family was starving. Immediately it occurred to my mind that all the money I had in the world was the solitary half-crown, and that it was in one coin; moreover, that while the basin of water-gruel I usually took for supper was awaiting me, and there was sufficient in the house for breakfast in the morning, I certainly had nothing for dinner on the coming day.

Somehow or other there was at once a stoppage in the flow of joy in my heart. But instead of reproving myself, I began to reprove the poor man, telling him that it was very wrong to have allowed matters to get into such a state as he described, and that he ought to have applied to the relieving officer. His answer was that he had done so, and was told to come at eleven o’clock the next morning, but that he feared that his wife might not live through the night.

“Ah,” thought I, “if only I had two shillings and a sixpence instead of this half-crown, how gladly would I give these poor people a shilling!” But to part with the half-crown was far from my thoughts. I little dreamed that the truth of the matter simply was that I could trust God plus one-and-sixpence, but was not prepared to trust Him only, without any money at all in my pocket.

My conductor led me into a court, down which I followed him with some degree of nervousness. I had found myself there before, and at my last visit had been roughly handled ... Up a miserable flight of stairs into a wretched room he led me; and oh, what a sight there presented itself! Four or five children stood about, their sunken cheeks and temples all telling unmistakably the story of slow starvation, and lying on a wretched pallet was a poor, exhausted mother, with a tiny infant thirty-six hours old moaning rather than crying at her side, for it too seemed spent and failing.

“Ah,” thought I, “if I had two shillings and sixpence, instead of half-a-crown, how gladly should they have one-and-sixpence of it.” But still a wretched unbelief prevented me from obeying the impulse to relieve their distress at the cost of all I possessed.

It will scarcely seem strange that I was unable to say much to comfort these poor people. I needed comfort myself. I began to tell them, however, that they must not be cast down; though their circumstances were very distressing there was a kind and loving Father in heaven. But something within me cried, “You hypocrite! telling these unconverted people about a kind and loving Father in heaven, and not prepared yourself to trust Him without a half-crown.”

I nearly choked. How gladly would I have compromised with conscience, if I had had a florin and a sixpence! I would have given the florin thankfully and kept the rest. But I was not prepared to trust in God alone without a sixpence.

To talk was impossible under these circumstances, yet strange to say I thought I should have no difficulty in praying. Prayer was a delightful occupation in those days.

“You asked me to come and pray with your wife,” I said to the man, “let us pray.” And I knelt down. But no sooner had I opened my lips with, “Our Father who art in heaven,” than conscience said within, “Dare you mock God? Dare you kneel down and call Him Father with that half-crown in your pocket?” Such a time of conflict then came upon me as I have never experienced before or since. How I got through that form of prayer I know not, and whether the words uttered were connected or disconnected I cannot tell. But I arose from my knees in great distress of mind.

The poor father turned to me and said, “You see what a terrible state we are in, sir. If you can help us, for God’s sake do!” At that moment the word flashed into my mind, “Give to him that asketh of thee.” And in the word of a king there is power.

I put my hand into my pocket and slowly drawing out the half-crown, gave it to the man, telling him that it might seem a small matter for me to relieve them, seeing that I was comparatively well off, but that in parting with that coin I was giving them my all; what I had been trying to tell them was indeed true—God really was a Father and might be trusted. The joy all came back in flood-tide to my heart. I could say anything and felt it then, and the hindrance to blessing was gone—gone, I trust forever.

Not only was the poor woman’s life saved; but my life, as I fully realised had been saved too. It might have been a wreck—would have been, probably— as a Christian life— had not grace at that time conquered, and the striving of God’s Spirit been obeyed. I well remember that night as I went home to my lodgings, my heart was as light as my pocket. The dark, deserted streets resounded with a hymn of praise that I could not restrain. When I took my basin of gruel before retiring, I would not have exchanged it for a prince’s feast. I reminded the Lord as I knelt at my bedside of His own Word : “He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.” I asked Him not to let my loan be a long one, or I should have no dinner next day. And with peace within and peace without, I spent a happy, restful night.

Next morning for breakfast my plate of porridge remained, and before it was finished the postman’s knock was heard at the door. I was not in the habit of receiving letters on Monday, as my parents and most of my friends refrained from posting on Saturday, so that I was somewhat surprised when the landlady came in, holding a letter or packet in her wet hand covered by her apron. I looked at the letter but could not make out the handwriting. It was either a strange hand or a feigned one, and the postmark was blurred. Where it came from I could not tell. On opening the envelope I found nothing written within; but inside a sheet of blank paper was folded a pair of kid gloves, from which as I opened them in astonishment, half a sovereign fell to the ground.

“Praise the Lord,” I exclaimed—“four hundred per cent for twelve hours investment—that is good interest. How glad the merchants of Hull would be if they could lend their money at such a rate.” Then and there I determined that a bank that could not break would have my savings or earnings, as the case might be—a determination I have not yet learned to regret.

(From “The Growth of a Soul”).

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THREE CALLS IN THE SONG OF SONGS

By J. C. Russell, Australia.

SEPARATION “Come away” (Ch. 2. 10); “The winter is past” : all that winter speaks of, its deadness, barrenness, figures of an empty fruitless life when in unconverted days we walked “according to the course of this world” (Eph. 2. 2), is past. “The rain is over and gone”; so the clouds dark with judgment and the fear that with the wrath of God abiding on us as unbelievers (John 3. 36), we could have been taken away with His stroke (Prov. 1) are gone. Now ours is an unclouded sky, for “having been justified by faith we have peace with God” (Rom. 5. ). “Herein is love not that we loved God but that He loved us” (1 John 4. 10). “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8. 35). “The flowers appear on the earth”—lovely promise of fruitful days, the beauty and fragrance of early faith. “The time of the singing of birds is come.” A new song is put in our mouth (Psalm 40. 3). “Come let us sing unto the Lord.” “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord and spake saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously” (Exodus 15. 1). “The voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” It is the plaintive cry of the lovely turtle dove, the first bird to herald spring. New hopes, a new outlook, and heaven the goal, now are mine. A blessed a living hope it is, sure anchor of the soul. Soon the figs will redden and the vines are all a blossom. So COME AWAY, leave earth and its laughter and tears to reality. Now we have new life, let it grow; nurture and feed it, and fruit will surely come.

MEDITATION:— “Come with me” (Ch. 4. 8). This is the call to communion to the spouse, the affianced bride. It is Love’s call : “Look from the top of Amana and Shenir and Hermon”—from the lofty heights of the mountains. It was Samuel who dwelt at Ramah, which means ‘the heights.’ From there he went forth in circuit to serve God. How vital to be shut in with Him before going out to men! See Moses with the shining face bringing God to the people after he had been in the mount alone with Him. We must rise above earth and see things from the divine standpoint if we would truly serve Him. The Bride sought him in the city but he was not there; in the field, but specially on the mountain, was his place. “Every man went to his own house. Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.”

On the mountains He will show the secret places of the lions’ dens and the hidden places of the leopards. There are divine secrets to learn of His eternal counsels, foreknown before the foundation of the world—secrets that reveal the outward course of Christendom, “the kingdom of heaven in mystery” (Matt. 13); the great mystery of that inward work, the calling of the Bride (Eph. 5); the mystery of Israel’s blindness (Romans 11). These we enjoy till the heavens open and He steps to the air to gather His spouse, and then openly to show God’s purposes for earth. These things can only be learned as we commune with Him alone in the secret place (Psalm 91. 1).

OCCUPATION:— “Come ... let us go” (Ch. 7. 11). This is the voice of the bride. She has learned his mind. She is now stirred to activity, she has heard His command, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” She remembers His promise, “Lo I am with you alway”, and so with zeal and energy she desires to go forth, “Into the field”, for “the fields are white unto harvest and the labourers are few.” The field is His. He has bought it for the sake of the treasure in it (Matt. 13). “Let us lodge in the villages”— away from the large cities there are villages that need the gospel. A grand occupation for young men and women to go forth with tracts, visitation and open air witness. “Let us see if the vine flourish.” Some portions of the vineyard may need help, perhaps the little foxes have broken and are spoiling the vines. The hedge may need repair, the vines need pruning, the vineyard may require to be dug again, and to dung it (Luke 13. 8). There are so many small assemblies needing help, sound ministry, faithful shepherding. What a sphere opens up for ministry. Shall we once again listen to His voice. “Come away”; “Come with me”; and hearing it, respond and say, “Let us go forth.’’

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MINISTRY REQUIRED AT OUR CONFERENCES

By D. Ross.

THE times are getting darker as we near the end of the age, and as the darkness thickens, the more need there is of holding the Head—Christ—and His written Word.

There is scarcely a foundation truth but is held loosely by most professors. Ruin of the whole race, salvation wholly of grace, as well as eternal punishment, are almost gone. Many of the young talk of these and other fundamental truths as the illusion of their old-fashioned ancestry.

The weekly Lord’s Supper, baptism of believers, gathering to the NAME, universal priesthood of believers, ministry by and in the Spirit alone, security of saints, Second Coming of Christ, failure of the present dispensation like its predecessors, heavenly portion of the Church, oneness of the Body of Christ and the sufficiency of the written Word and the living Christ, are either repudiated or lost sight of nearly by all. These, and other important truths require a powerful and fresh presentation.

It also is sad but true that many of the saints of God become thoroughly inoculated with that respectable but insidious poison—worldliness, and, by many, persistent efforts are made to appear important, attractive and great, by such gee-gaws as money can buy, and many others get defiled by the leaven of Herod, which is politics—the efforts to substitute human rule for His whose right it is to reign in righteousness.

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Quotes

 

    His Great Plan

Lord, can it be my destiny was planned
Before the lofty firmament had spanned
The empty spaciousness of Heaven above:
And was I then the object of Thy love!
Before the starry galaxies arrayed
In lustrous light Thy mighty power displayed;
Primeval darkness sped at Thy command,
And myriad stars far vaster than the sand
Of endless shores the restless waves had lapped
Had Timeless Deity traced out and mapped
My solitary course through Time!
Amid the milling millions of mankind
Did Conscious Deity search out and find
An abject object, Love divine could mould
And fashion, burnished like the most fine gold,
Display in it the features of His Son,
His Flawless Fellow, Heaven’s Beloved One!
Ah! Lord, this sinning heart can bear no more,
Nor dare I further Thy great plan explore.
Before such love, eternal and profound,
I cast myself before Thee to the ground,
Before such love, unique, sublime!
 
JOHN CAMPBELL, Larkhall.
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