March/April 1988

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Contents

EDITOR'S NOTE

CHRIST IN THE APOCALYPSE
by John B. D. Page

ISAIAH'S PORTRAITS OF CHRIST
by J. Flanigan

FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
by J. B. Hewitt

NO SELF-SEEKING
by W. W. Fereday

THE GREAT TRIBULATION
by Ernest Barker

DO WE NEED TO RE-THINK OUR MISSIONS?
by Jim Jardine

TALKS TO YOUNG BELIEVERS
by John Ritchie

THE PRESENCE OF GOD
by J. B. Currie

WHEN THE REAPING TIME COMES
by George Muller

THOUGHTS OF CHRIST
by Eric G. Parmenter

HYMNS AND THEIR WRITERS
by Jack Strahan

QUOTES


EDITOR'S NOTE

HE THAT SHALL COME, WILL COME, AND WILL NOT TARRY

(Hebrews 10 :37)

Another milestone in our pilgrimage has passed! The path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The valley may be dark and long. The storm clouds may gather, the valley be filled with tears, but 'tis true "the glory shines before us!" He whose glory was to Paul light brighter than the noon day sun will soon burst upon our sight. Not as He will to Israel and the nations as the "Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings" but as the "Bright and Morning Star." Did He not say, "I am the Root and Offspring of David and the Bright and Morning Star" and He added "Surely I come quickly."

The darkness deepens. Satanic activity increases. The world staggers to its doom. Evil men and seducers wax worse. Wickedness increases as in Lot's day. The love of many waxes cold. Many openly deny the truths they once professed to love. The gospel that is preached is so often "another Gospel." The saints are discouraged, disallusioned, divided, depressed, despised — but

"BEHOLD HE COMETH"

This blessed hope illumes with beams most cheering the hours of night!

LOOK UP!

"Therefore let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breast plate of faith and love; and for a helmet the hope of Salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him."

May I wish all my readers Gods richest blessing throughout the remaining days. Thank you for all your prayers, which God has graciously answered in raising me up again.

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CHRIST IN THE APOCALYPSE (22)

by JOHN B. D. PAGE

THE CELESTIAL CITY (3)

The Lamb in the City

Reading : Revelation 21.9 to 22.5.

It was in the heavenly city that the seer saw the Lamb finally. Christ is designated as such seven times in this paragraph and, in this millennial setting, He was seen in connection with His "wife" (21.9), His "twelve apostles" whose names were engraved upon the city's twelve foundations (21.4), His "book of life" inscribed with all the names of those allowed to enter the city (21.27) and so forth. But interestingly, the fourth and central occurrence reads, "the Lamb is the Light thereof (21.24), signifying that He Himself is the sole source of the city's illumination.

Between the first mention in Revelation of the Lamb in the fourth chapter and these last references to Him in the book, the scene is the seven years of tribulation (chs. 6-18), being the interval between the rapture of the Church and Messiah's coming with power and great glory to set up His kingdom on the earth. A glance at these intervening Scriptures, not necessarily all, to the Lamb reveals certain aspects of His character and activities during that appalling period.

Transported in thought to the tribulation, still future, John saw people terrified by the "wrath of the Lamb" and some cried for the rocks to fall upon them whilst others hid in mountain caves for shelter (6.16ff). In contrast to the gloom and darkness of that terrible time of divine indignation on the earth, there was glory and brightness in heaven when a vast concourse of martyrs drawn from all nations, who had responded to the godly Jews' preaching of the gospel of the kingdom "stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes", and they cried with a loud voice attributing their "salvation to ... God... upon the throne and unto the Lamb"(7.9ff,14).

At Satan's expulsion from the atmospheric heaven to the earth after the lapse of three and a half years of the tribulation, there was not only joy in heaven at the kingdom being potentially Christ's but also for the martyrs who "overcame him by the blood of the Lamb" (12.9-11). This demonstrates the efficacy of the blood of Calvary, extending beyond this age of grace, for victory over Satan and, as indicated earlier, for salvation (7.14).

Looking again, John saw that "the Lamb stood on Mount Zion" in the midst of a redeemed company of Jews. In spite of gross immorality and wickedness around them, they had kept themselves undefiled, having the sole purpose in life to "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth", and they are described as "the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb" (14.1-5, R.V.).

At the close of the tribulation, seven years filled with human tragedy and divine vengeance, a confederacy of ten kings, likened to ten horns for their power, "Shall make war with the Lamb" and in spite of their military might, "the Lamb shall overcome them'. Victory is assured for the Lamb, because He is about to be "Lord of lords, and King of kings" upon the earth (17.14).

These cameos of Christ depict Him not as the Lamb suffering at Calvary but as the Lamb, vested with sovereign power, exercising His authority over His opponents and showing mercy to the repentant.

An interesting link is found between the first mention of the word "lamb" in the Old Testament and John's use of the word as a title of Christ. As the aged patriarch Abraham trudged up Mount Moriah, his young son Isaac, directing his father's attention to the fire and the wood, asked him, "Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" In reply, Abraham said, "God will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt offering" (Gen. 22.7ff, R.V.), which was a striking answer. If the pronoun "Himself had followed immediately the nous "God" for emphasis and forming part of the subject for the verb "provide", then Abraham's response to the question would have applied only to the immediate provision of a lamb for sacrifice on Moriah. Significantly, the pronoun "Himself follows the verb "provide", being part of the predicate of the sentence, and so Abraham spoke prophetically of God providing Himself in Christ as the Lamb.

"Where is the lamb?", asked the lad. Dispensationally, the answer came centuries later from John the Baptist who, seeing Jesus coming to him, proclaimed to the crowd around, "Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1.29). The definite article used with the word "Lamb" identifies the Person as the fulfilment of the patriarch's prophetic utterance whilst the words "of God" following the proper noun "Lamb" indicate that the Lamb is of God's providing as foretold by Abraham. Remarkably, this first mention of the Lamb in the New Testament reveals the purpose of the divine provision — that of sacrifice, the scope of which extends beyond the bounds of Israel even unto the world.

"Where is the Lamb?", we may repeat. In reply, keeping to the writings of John who is the principal user of this Christological title, the Apocalyptic seer said, "I behold, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain,..." (Rev. 5.6). The Lamb, no longer dying in the midst of thieves and malefactors at Calvary, is now alive and exalted, standing in the midst of celestial beings in the heavenly sanctuary.

"Where is the Lamb?" for the last time we ask. Turning to the seer's last vision for answering the question, the Lamb is in the celestial city, descending from heaven. John knew that, in his day, all sacred cities had a central square where the temple stood on the site of supreme honour, to which pilgrims wended their way for worship. Upon entering the city's square ("street", A.V.), which was of translucent pure gold, the seer remarked instantly, "I saw no temple therein" and, for this unusual feature, he gives the reason, "for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (21.21ff). His interest was not in the temple and its courts as buildings but in the sanctuary as the abode of God, which is the significance of the Greek word naos used here. Interestingly, in view of this last occurrence of the word, never again will the Lord be enshrined in a sanctuary, into which neither priest nor worshipper could enter. But this sanctuary is identified as the Lord God and the Lamb, whose presence will pervade the whole city and unto whom there will be unrestricted access.

Upon the millennial earth below, there will be the temple with its courts in Jerusalem (Ezek. 40.6 to 41.26) and the holy of holies of that edifice will be filled with the glory of the Lord (Ezek. 43.5). As the Lord's dealings with Israel differ from those with the Church and as Israel does not enjoy the close relationship with the Lord as the Church does, there will be unlimited access for either priest or worshipper during the kingdom age.

Returning in thought to the heavenly city, J. N. Darby in his hymn may well express the worship that will be ascribed by the glorified saints to the exalted Lord:

'Praise the Lamb!' the chorus waking,
All in heaven together throng;
Loud and far, each tongue partaking,
Rolls around the endless song.'

(To be continued).

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ISAIAH'S PORTRAITS OF CHRIST

by J. FLANIGAN (Belfast)

"THE ROCK"

On the historic 14th May 1948 a little group of leading Jews in Palestine was engaged in a struggle of words.

On the afternoon of that day the new Israel was to be born and the declaration of sovereignty was to be broadcast to the world. But there were problems with the wording of the proclamation. Some of these Jews were atheistic; they would refuse to sign the document if it contained any mention of the Name of God. On the other hand, some of them were devoutly religious, orthodox, and they would refuse to sign if the Name of God was not included on such an historic paper.

The proclamation was due to be read at 4 p.m. After 2 p.m. they were still locked in argument. Then came the compromise. After the solemn declaration of the independence and sovereignty of the new Israeli State, the statement concluded with the avowal that it was "with trust in the Rock of Israel" that the signatures were penned to the document.

Each individual in the group chose his own interpretation of "The Rock of Israel". The orthodox among them correctly saw it as a Divine Title. The atheists viewed it as describing Israel's military might and national rock-like determination. That such a dilemma should ever have arisen, in such a place, and at such a time, is sad. That such a compromised solution should have been necessary is tragic.

The promise given in Isaiah 28.16 of a tried and tested foundation Stone is very precious to the believer. It will be precious to the remnant of a future day. For them the promise was initially intended. When the unbelieving Nation shall have made its covenant with death; when, in the days of Antichrist, that unholy alliance is trusted as a refuge, and fails; and when the waters of judgement shall sweep away that refuge of lies like an overflowing scourge; in that day Jehovah will lay in Zion a sure foundation for the remnant of His people. In the midst of judgement there will be salvation, just as in the deluge of Noah's day the ark was lifted safe above the waters.

But the believer today is already resting on that same Rock. The assembly, whether locally (1 Cor. 3.9-11), or in its widest form (Matt. 16.18), is built on Christ. And so too, is the individual believer, (Matt. 7.24). We have come, prematurely, but in the purpose of God, into the enjoyment of that sure foundation. Just as we have come, beforehand, into all the privileges and blessings of a Covenant which has yet to be ratified with the Nation in a future day, so have we come, before them, to an appreciation of the Rock of Israel.

However, it is important to notice that in the scriptures referred to, Matthew 16, and 1 Corinthians 3, the builders are not the same.

In Matthew 16, (first reference to the assembly, the ecclesia) Christ Himself is the builder. He is the Son of the Living God, the Christ, and as such is the firm Rock upon which He, personally, will establish the new assembly. He says, "I will build My Church". Every stone built into this, upon Him, and by Him, is a living stone (1 Peter 2.5). There is no inferior material. The building cannot fail. Not all the powers of the Satanic kingdom can prevail against it. It must endure. It cannot be divided or destroyed. It is universal, mystical, spiritual, eternal, unassailable, impregnable, invincible and indestructible. It takes character from the Builder Himself, Who is also its chief corner Stone, elect and precious.

The local assembly is not so. Though also built on Christ it must be distinguished. Here it is men who lay the foundation; and it is men who build. Local building is our responsibility, and as with all else that is committed to man, there is the inevitable failure. We can rejoice when gold and silver and precious stones are built in; this is

how it ought to be. But wood and grass and straw there is almost sure to be when the human builders become careless.

The fire will ultimately discern it all, but let us even now be diligent. Let us build quality into the local testimony. Let us jealously guard the work. The questionable methods of modern evangelism; the lightsome attraction of musical innovations; the fleshly appeal of intellectualism; these are shoddy workmanship. Such does not augur well for the soundness of the building. Let us beware the alarming looseness of attitudes towards the denominations of Christendom; the increasing tendency to occasional and casual reception to the assembly; the apparent failure to recognise the unique separateness of the assembly; and the trend towards "Outreaches", "Training Centres", "Organisations", and "Associations", which are "extra" to the assembly. These do not help towards solid, reliable building of a local testimony to His Name.

Let us be true to our dignity as builders, feeling the weight of the responsibility committed to us. Let us build according to the character of the Foundation Himself, that which has the approval of His Word. Let us clear away the rubbish (Nehemiah 2.14), and build that which, in our several localities, will be according to the pattern and for His pleasure and glory.

"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid . . . Jesus Christ But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon". (1 Corinthians 3.10,11).

There are several other interesting aspects of the Rock. Christ is not only the Sure Rock upon which we build; He is also the Sheltering, Shadowing Rock, in which we hide from the storm (Isaiah 32.2). He is the Smitten Rock from which we drink (1 Corinthians 1.4); and He is the Stumbling Stone over which many will stumble and perish (1 Peter 2.8). One day He will be the Smiting Stone, crushing the final form of Gentile world power (Daniel 2.34), and grinding to powder those proud sinners who refuse to fall upon Him for mercy (Matthew 21.44). Ours is the blessing of being steadfastly built upon the Rock of Israel.

What blessing indeed, that those who were but poor Gentile strangers are able to sing with Israel's King David, "O Jehovah, my Rock, and my Redeemer". (Psalm 19.14. JND).

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FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS

by J. B. HEWITT, Chesterfield

(49) SALVATION

Salvation is possibly the greatest evangelical theme in the Bible. It is of infinite proportions, the most inclusive word of all. It gathers into itself all the redemptive acts and processes — as redemption, propitiation, grace, forgiveness, justification, sanctifi-cation and glorification. It is described as great (Heb. 2.3), common (Jude 3), eternal (Heb. 5.9; Isa. 45.17; 51.6), with eternal glory (2 Tim. 1. 10). Salvation of God (Jonah 2.9), ascribed to God (Isa. 12.2), and the supreme mission of the Lord Jesus (Luke 19.10).

INTRODUCTION. Taking a telescopic view of this subject we note the following :— Pre-eminently thought by God as to its origination (Jonah 2.9; Acts 28.28). Peered into by prophets in their investigation (1 Peter 1.10). Plainly taught in man's ruination (Gen. 3.6, 8; Tit. 3.3-8). Patiently sought in man's reformation (Gen. 3.7; Tit. 3.5). Purposely taught in Christ's Incarnation (Matt. 1.21; 1 Tim. 1.15). Perfectly wrought by Christ's propitiation (Rom. 3.24,25; 1 John 2.2). Persistently fought by Satan's opposition (Mk. 4. 15; 2 Cor. 4.4; 1 Thess. 2.18). Precisely brought by grace in its manifestation (Tit. 2.11). Personally possessed by faith's appropriation (Acts 16.31; Eph. 2.8). Eternal in its duration (Isa. 45.17; Heb. 5.9) and permanently ends in glorification (Phil. 3.20,21).

RUIN — THE WHY OF SALVATION. Man is domineered by the Devil (Eph. 2.2; 1 John 5.19). Is an enemy, ungodly and a sinner (Rom. 5.10,6,8). He is far off, and in darkness (Eph. 2.13; 4.18, 5.8). Man is ruined spiritually; he is dead (Eph. 2.1). He is ruined mentally; in the dark, blinded by the god of this age (2 Cor. 4.4), needing the light of the Gospel of Christ (2 Cor. 4.5). Ruined morally, he is degraded (Eph. 2.3; Tit. 3.3), he needs emancipation (Col. 1.13). Ruined totally (Rom. 5.6; 1 Cor. 5.910) he needs deliverance (Heb. 2.14,15). Ruined eternally, he is doomed unless he trusts Christ for salvation (Rom. 5.8, 9; John 1.12; Acts 4.12; 2 Thess. 2.8,9). Luke 15 portrays man's lost condition; Like the "sheep" — naturally lost (vs. 3-7), iniquity or the inherent tendency of the heart. The "silver" helplessly lost (vs. 8-10), sin missing the mark. The lost "son" wilfully lost (vs. 11-24), transgression, disobedience to law.

RANSOM — THE WORK OF SALVATION. Job 33.24; 1 Tim. 2.6. This great salvation is the greatest manifestation of God's power to deliver (Acts 26.18; Eph. 1.19,20). It was planned by God before the world began (2 Tim. 1.9; Eph. 1.4; 1 Peter 1.20). It was purposed in the coming Christ; Jesus is His saving name; (Matt. 1.21; 1 Tim. 1.15; 2.6; 2 Tim. 2.10). Provided by the blood, the death of Christ (Matt. 20.28; Acts 20.28). He gave His life a ransom for us in order to save us (Eph. 1.7; 2 Cor. 5.21; 1 Pet. 1.19). We have been purchased by His precious blood (Acts 20.28; 1 Cor. 6.20).

Procurred by the Resurrection of Christ (Acts 2.31,32; Rom. 4.24,25; 10.9; 1 Cor. 15.3,4). Salvation is not something but Someone (Psa. 27.1; 62.2; Isa. 12.2; Luke 2.30).

REPENTANCE—THE WAY OF SALVATION. Mark 1.4,15. This was presented clearly by the Saviour (Matt. 4.17; Mk. 1.15; Luke 13.3,5). It was preached continually by the Apostles (Acts 2.38; 3.19; 11.18; 20.21). Repentance is indispensible to salvation. It is commanded by God (Acts 17.30). It is the first step in the souls return of God. (e.g. Manasseh a proud, godless, wicked man repented (2 Chron. 33.1-20).

RELATION — THE WONDERS OF SALVATION.  Salvation is not confined to what takes place at conversion. God's salvation covers the past, includes the present, and embraces the future (2 Cor. 1.9b,10).

THE PAST — SAVED FROM THE GUILT AND PENALTY OF SIN. Luke 7.50. The tidings of salvation. (Acts 13.26). It is universal in its offer. Irrespective of nationality, position or condition (Mk. 16.15; John 3.16; Acts 10.34; 20.21; Rom. 1.16; ICor. 1.24; 2 Tim. 1.9).

The truth of salvation; an eternal salvation (Eph. 3.11). A common salvation, meaning it is for all, none are excluded (Jude 3). A powerful salvation (Luke 1.69, 77,78; Col. 1.13,14). The terms of salvation. Faith in the Saviour (John 1.12; 3.36; 5.24; Acts 4.12; Eph. 2.8,9). The time of salvation (Luke 19 : 9; 2 Cor. 6:2). "Now is the day of salvation. This very moment. It is a present and personal salvation. It brings deliverance from sin, wrath, the Devil and external death (1 John 3.5; Rom 5.9; Heb. 2.14; John 3.36).

THE PRESENT — SAVED FROM THE POWER OF SIN. Rom 5.10 — Through the present life of Christ in heaven (Rom 6.6, 7,14). Saved daily by the Intercession of Christ (Rom 8.34; Heb. 7.24,25). Saved from sin's government as well as its guilt (Rom. 6.18,22). Saved instrumentally by the Scriptures (Jas. 1.21; 1 Pet. 2.2; John 17.17, 19; Psa. 119.9). Experimentally by waiting on God (Psa. 27.4,5; 37.7; 40.1; Prov. 20.22). Saved by the contemplation of Christ (2 Cor. 3.18).

THE FUTURE — SAVED FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN. Rom. 13.11; Phil. 3.20,21 The Lord Jesus is the Captain of our salvation, bringing us to glory (Heb. 2.10). The Author of an eternal salvation, we can never be lost (Heb. 5.9). When He comes to the air for us, He will save us from sin within, and from the presence of sin around us. This is announced to us "nearer than when we believed". (Rom. 13.11). It is appointed for us, and will be realised when we meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 5.9).

Later He will restore the preserved of Israel (Isa. 49.6). The redemption of the body is anticipated by us (Phil. 3.20,21; Rom. 8.18-23). As to the past, we are saved by the sacrifice of Christ (Heb. 9.26). Presently we are saved by His Intercession in heaven (Rom. 8.34; Heb. 7.25; 9.24). Any moment now the last aspect of salvation will be completed (Heb. 9.28; Rom. 8.23; 1 Cor. 15.51-54).

Numbers 21.1-9 is a good illustration of salvation. Verses 8,9 is the turning point. Any one who looked upon the serpent on the pole, lived. Their salvation was SIMPLE — only a look; EFFECTIVE — when he looked he lived ; it was IMMEDIATE — when he looked, it was EXCLUSIVE — no other remedy; INCLUSIVE —- for everyone who looked, and it was PERSONAL — it was when HE looked. All this was TYPICAL — (John 3.14,15), and CERTAIN (Acts 4.12).

Make an acrostic on S.A.L.V.A.T.I.O.N. and find nine things from the teaching given in this manuscript.

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NO SELF-SEEKING

by W. W. FEREDAY

It was really contemptible on the part of James and John (with their mother) to ask of the Lord right and left hand places in His kingdom (Matt. 20.21). He had just spoken to the twelve disciples of His impending agony. His language was most explicit. "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him; and the third day He shall rise again." Why had they not understood these plain words? He was on His way just then to a cross, not to a throne. The fact is their minds were so self-centred, and so occupied with worldly ambition, that they paid no proper heed to what He said. What an insight into the human heart is here! Yet those men were true believers in the One whom men despised and the nation abhorred (Isa. 49.7). Neither reader nor writer of these lines is one whit better than James and John. Self has many insidious forms; and when self fills our thoughts, a deep moral gulf is created between us and the Lord we love, and His words lose all their meaning to our hearts.

The request of Zebedee's sons is the more distressing and repulsive when we recall what the Lord had promised but a little before to the whole apostolic band. In reply to Peter's enquiry "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?" the Lord replied, "Verily, I say unto you, that ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Thus thrones had been actually promised James and John at the Lord's coming again; but such was their condition of mind that even this amazing promise of grace did not satisfy them. They must needs have thrones superior to all the rest of the disciples! Mary the Lord's mother never presumed as the mother of Zebedee's children did.                     '

The Lord refused to pledge Himself as they wished (leaving all such matters to the Father) but He promised them the honour of suffering for His sake—honour indeed, however poor flesh may shrink from it. James was the first of the twelve to be martyred (Acts 12.2), and John had a long-drawn-out life of trial and suffering for his Lord. Rev. 1.9 tells us how sweetly John learned his lesson. Writing to his fellow-saints from his exile in Patmos, he describes himself as "I John, your brother and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus" (See R.V.). As the last of the Apostles he was unquestionably entitled to special veneration, but he claims nothing now. His pride and ambition have gone. No desire remains for exaltation above others; he is just our brother and fellow-sufferer for Jesus' sake.

May the Lord keep us spiritually so near Himself, and so teach us His own fathomless grace in all that He has endured for our blessing, that all self-assertion may be banished from our lives.

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THE GREAT TRIBULATION

WILL THE CHURCH PASS THROUGH IT?

by ERNEST BARKER

Part  3—The Seven-Sealed Book

The next suggestive reason why the Church will not pass through the Great Tribulation is undoubtedly the most important, and perhaps the most unanswerable. The consideration of this will necessitate a fairly close examination of one of the most soul-inspiring chapters in the Bible, namely, Revelation, chapter 5, which opens thus :— "And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back side, sealed with seven seals."

It is possible that the book mentioned in this verse contains the title deeds of earth, whilst it is quite clear that the seven seals by which it is sealed are vitally connected with the terrible judgments which, in God's time, will be poured out on this guilty world.

Among all the inhabitants of heaven and earth, only One is found worthy to open the book and to loose its seals, namely, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the ever victorious One, who, as the Lamb of God on Calvary, prevailed over the powers of darkness so completely as to reveal His worthiness to open the book, and to loose the seals. Immediately afterwards He is seen in the midst of the throne as the Lamb once slain. Surrounding the throne are four living creatures, and four and twenty elders, and these, are; engaged in singing the sweetest song ever sung. It is described as the New song, and it will ever be new as the strains echo and re-echo through heaven's courts. Shall we listen once again to the grand words :— "Thou art worthy . . . for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."

It is generally conceded that these four and twenty elders either include or represent the Church, and indeed it could scarcely be otherwise for who but the redeemed can sing the song of redemption? And let us remember that this heavenly company is not composed of one particular people or nation but they represent all parts of this world which God loved, and for which He gave His Son. Let us also bear in mind that whilst these four and twenty elders are engaged in singing the new song the book is entire with its seals unbroken.

Now, when is the first seal opened? Not in chapter 5, but in chapter 6. It is exceedingly important that we observe this fact seeing it conveys the inevitable conclusion that before the divine judgments overtake this world, the redeemed are already with Christ in heaven.

Let us now tabulate the facts, and endeavour to see the proposition in its true perspective :—

  1. The book is in the right hand of Him who sits upon the throne.
  2. The book is sealed with seven seals, which are unbroken, and which are vitally connected with the terrible judgments which will be poured out upon the earth.
  3. The four and twenty elders either include or represent the Church which is gathered out from the four corners of the earth.
  4. These four and twenty elders are in heaven, around the throne, previous to the breaking of any of the seals.
  5. The record of the breaking of the first seal is in chapter 6.
  6. It therefore follows that, before any of the awful things occur which are recorded in Revelation 6 and onwards, the Church is safely housed in glory.

It may be said in answer to all this that the events in Revelation are not always recorded in chronological order. This is no doubt correct, but the question of chronological order does not affect the point at issue; The incontrovertible fact remains that, when the book is seen intact, the redeemed are with Christ in heaven—therefore they must have been translated previous to the breaking of the first seal.

Naturally, there are many perplexing questions which arise in the consideration of this great subject. It would indeed be strange if it were not so.

The Sounding of the Trumpets.

One of these difficulties relates to the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15.52, 1 Thessalonians 4.16, and Revelation, chapters 8 to 11.

The distinction, briefly, appears to be as follows :—The first two might be termed trumpets of blessing, and will form part of the three-fold summons which will be heard when the Lord comes for His own. The trumpets mentioned in the book of Revelation might be designated trumpets of judgment, with which, I suggest, believers will have nothing to do. It is quite true that in 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul refers to the last trump, and as far as believers are concerned, it will be the last. It is not at all improbable that the writer had in his mind the three trumpet sounds which were heard so frequently by the Roman soldiers, the last of which was the signal for them to march forward. There is also a suggestive link between this last trump and the trumpets which were used in the camp of Israel, recorded in Numbers, chapter 10. One trumpet was to be blown for the gathering together of the princes—the heads of Israel. An alarm was sounded when the people were to start on a journey. Then comes this significant verse:— "But when the congregation is gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not blow an alarm." When the Lord returns for us we shall hear the trumpet sound, though, happily, it will not be an alarm but the signal of a glorious final "gathering together" of all His beloved people who will meet their Lord in the air, and will see Him, not by faith, but by sight.

A further difficulty concerns the first resurrection, mentioned in Revelation 20, verses 5 and 6.

There are two resurrections yet to take place, and only two. They are (1) of the just, and (2) of the unjust. The resurrection of the just will presumably take place in two parts, namely, (a) when the Lord descends from heaven (when the saints of the church age will be raised, and probably the saints of the Old Testament dispensation), and (b) at the end of the great tribulation period, when the martyrs of the tribulation will be raised. This is called the "first resurrection." The resurrection of the unjust will take place at the end of the thousand years which will comprise the Millennium, as notified in Revelation 20.11 to 15. Our Lord's reference to the two resurrections is in John 5.28 and 29.

(to be continued)

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DO WE NEED TO RETHINK OUR MISSIONS?

by JIM JARDINE, Brazil

Back in the year 1912 Roland Allen, an Anglican clergyman, shook the ecclesiastical establishment when his book "Missionary Methods, St. Paul's or Ours?" was published. It was a book which changed many of the preconceived notions current with respect to missionary work. Our purpose in this article is not to consider what Roland Allen had to say. His question, however, is just as relevant at the end of the 20th century as it was at the beginning: Missionary methods, Paul's or ours?

In recent days the missionary methods adopted by those associated with "assemblies" have come under attack. There is indeed what the late F. A. Tatford called "a pressure for change."* Missionaries increasingly are being encouraged to "make their needs known" while commending assemblies are being encouraged to assume full support for their workers and to guarantee that support. Each assembly as it guaranteed such support would have a large or total say as to the work in which the missionary was engaged, where he worked and many other aspects of his life. This is plausibly presented as 'partnership in mission.' I have no doubt that behind this is the idea (not yet ripe for presentation) of greater control by a central missionary body. This could be brought in as being the help of 'experts' for assemblies who have little knowledge of overseas conditions. It should be noted that none of the missionary service groups of English speaking lands has given credence to these ideas. Indeed they have been strongly resisted in some quarters. However, it is my personal impression that the eventual formation of a "Christian Brethren Missionary Society" is far from impossible if pressures on existing service groups have no effect. Another development has been the entrance to some foreign fields of what are in effect missionary societies although associated with "assemblies". These to a greater or lesser degree control workers and finance.

As we seek to place current challenges within a scriptural framework it is not enough to say; "but we've been doing it like this for over 100 years." The question which must be asked by each new generation is: "What was the model that Paul and his fellow workers left to us as recorded in the inspired Scriptures?"

By "model" we do not refer to what could be called incidentals. The fact that Paul travelled by ship does not mean that we cannot travel by plane. Paul used pen and ink, we can use typewriters and word processors. There are more sophisticated means of communication available today -than ever Paul experienced. Yet we do believe that the New Testament lays down spiritual principles and practices that are as binding on Gospel service today as they ever were.

When we look at Paul's missionary career we become aware of two essential prerequisites for such service. First of all we note that he had a specific call from the Lord {Acts 26.15-20). This was to be "a minister and a witness . . .to the Gentiles (nations)" (vs. 16-17). Each one of us who knows the Lord has a specific call with regard to our life and witness—whether it be in Belfast or Bangalore, Baltimore or Brasilia. As we look to Him who died for us we are . compelled to ask the question that Paul asked : "What shall I do Lord?" (Acts 22.10) He will reveal it to us, perhaps over years, and having received 'the mightily ordination of the pierced hand' may we never look back but go on in full confidence to do what ever He has called us to do. In addition we read that Paul left for Cyprus with the wholehearted commendation of his brethren. W. E. Vine has commented: "It was those who were exercising spiritual responsibility in the church at Antioch to whom the Holy Spirit said: "Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13.1,2). They it was who "committed them to the grace of God for the work" (14.26 R.V.). And when Silas went forth with Paul, they were "commended by the brethren to the grace of God" (15.40)"». The word 'commend' simply means 'to give or deliver over' and of course the missionaries were delivered over to the Lord and His grace. Who better to look after them?

It is a solemn responsibility for a local assembly to commend a brother or sister for overseas service. It was the occasion of prayer and fasting in the assembly at Antioch and when the Holy Spirit chose His servants He chose the best the assembly had to offer.

Commendation does not mean control by the commending assembly. Dr. David Gooding says: "The church certainly 'committed them to the grace of God for the work'. That does not mean, of course that the church virtually gave Paul and Barnabas permission to 'go out as a missionary'. No one did that for Paul except the risen Lord. Nor does Luke say that the church sent them out, rather he says that the Holy Spirit sent them out (13.4). And certainly the church at Antioch exercised no control over their movements on the field. The momentous decision, for instance, to bring the gospel over to Europe (16.8-10) was taken by the workers on the field in direct response to the Lord's direct guidance"§. The Lord controlled directly the movements of His servants who sometimes worked on their own (as Apollos) or sometimes in voluntary co-operation (as Paul with Barnabas, Silas, Timothy and Luke). We look in vain for organised missionary societies or any distant control whether it be by field director or assembly elders in a far off land.

Of course the commending assembly will pray and maintain a vital interest. The elders will be ready to give advice if called upon to do so, but they will leave the control of the servant to his rightful Master.

It is logical that if the servant of God leaves the path of righteous moral conduct or imbibes false doctrine then the commending assembly would, sadly, have to withdraw its commendation but no right of command is ever given to it with respect to the servant's movements or work.

Another factor which should be noted is that commendation does not imply a guaranteed salary. We read of Paul earning money to pay for his own expenses and those of his fellow workers (Acts 20.34). We read of the assembly in Phillipi giving generously for the support of the workers (Phil. 4.10-18) but we look in vain to find any notion of guaranteed support from any assembly whether it be Antioch in the case of Paul, Lystra in the case of Timothy or any other. Paul didn't write around giving details of personal financial needs. We find his philosophy in Philip-pians 4.19: "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus". Thousands of the Lord's servants have gone out "for His name's sake . . . taking nothing from the Gentiles" (3 John v. 7) and the Lord of the Harvest has provided for them just as abundantly as Boas did for his labourers in a past day (Ruth 2.14). To the worldling or worldly believer such a system seems madness but to those who have just a little faith God has been proved time and time again never to fail.

This doesn't mean that assemblies and individual believers are 'let off the hook' financially. Those who have of this world's goods can have no better investment than to dedicate their wealth to the preaching of the Gospel at home and abroad. However, as to the worker, his responsibility is to look to the Lord and Him alone for his needs.

Thus we see that a call from God and the commendation of the local believers are essential for the missionary. Essential too is that he learns to walk with God looking to Him for guidance and support. This leads not to chaos but, as in Paul's day, to the work being done as the Holy Spirit desires. When 'new ideas' for missionary support and control are mooted (in reality some very old ideas heated up and served as new) we should remember that while they might represent the advanced thinking of so called 'missionary statesmen' they find no support from the plain teaching of the Word of God.

REFERENCES—

* 'Tatford, Fredk.A. That the World May Know Volume 10 'The Islands of the Sea' Bath : 1986 page 439.

» Vine, W. E. 'A Guide to Missionary Service' in Collected Writings Vol. 5 Glasgow: 1986 page 305.

§ Gooding, David 'The freedom of those who preach the Gospel' in Freedom Under God—Report on Echoes Day 1985 Bath: 1985 page 11.

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Talks to Young Believers

by JOHN RITCHIE

GROWING LIKE HIM

It is a common saying, that "we become like those whose company we keep." This is true in the highest sense, of those who "keep company" with the Lord Jesus. They become like Him : they reflect His character. As they walk in His company, day by day, "with open face beholding His glory," they "are changed into the same image" (2 Cor. iii. 18). As they listen to His voice, and follow in His steps, others take knowledge of them that they have "been with Jesus." Thus it was with Moses, after he had been forty days and forty nights on the mount, alone with God. He came down among the people, his face shining with the glory of God. Others saw it, and knew where he had been. So it is with some now. When you meet them, there is something so Christ-like about them. Their words, though few, are full of blessing; their very spirits savour of the presence of God. We know easily where they dwell, and whose company they keep. Like ships bearing spices from afar, their savour points them out; they do not need to advertise themselves. The same principle holds good of our companions. We become like them. What a blessing many a young believer has found in a truly godly companion! One who lived near to God, and whose aim in life was to lead others into "the secret place." Seek such a companion, dear young believer. But there is another side to this. A carnal, worldly believer can drag a spiritual one down to his own level, if he keeps company with him, and how often this is done. How many once-bright and happy saints; have been led into backsliding, through keeping company with foolish talkers, and light, flippant professors? Shun the company of such, and seek the companionship of Christ. When you go a stranger into a new situation, be careful what companions you choose.

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THE PRESENCE OF GOD

by J. B. CURRIE (Japan)

The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, present various expressions of God's Presence among men here on earth. The portrayals of the Divine Presence, when properly understood, have the salutary effect of showing the believer what is expected of him, practically, as he serves the Lord day by day even in such an age of wickedness in which we live.

There are six expressions of God's Presence among men which, with some attention to detail, will yield spiritual profit to any who would be exercised thereby. These well known representations are as follows:—

(1)  The Garden of Eden — (Genesis 3).
(2)  The Place called Bethel — (Genesis 28).
(3)  The Tabernacle in the Wilderness (Exodus 25-40).
(4)  'Solomon's Temple' — (1 Kings 6 & 2 Chronicles 2-7).
(5)  The Person of our Lord Jesus — (The Four Gospels).
(6)  The Church of God — (1 Timothy 3.15).

In each of these instances the one especial characteristic emphasised is that of perfect holiness. A thrice Holy God in manifesting His Presence among men does so in keeping with His own Holy Character.

THE GARDEN OF EDEN

Both in Genesis 3 and in Ezekiel 28 the unmistakable demands of holiness are seen, first of all, in the expulsion of Adam and Eve who, because of their disobedience to God's Word, proved themselves incapable of continuing in that place of holiness. The second instance is an even greater example of the effect of that holiness upon sinful creatures. The awesome beauty of the Garden only serves to heighten the terrible fate which overcame the proud Lucifer. Personified as 'the King of Tyre' he is spoken of as 'the cherub that covereth' (vs. 12 & 14). The dignity and position of this mighty being created to stand in special relationship to the Throne of the Almighty did not preserve him once iniquitous pride was found in him (Ezekiel 28.15; 1 Timothy 3.6).

THE PLACE CALLED BETHEL

In the night vision received at Bethel the Presence of God was again portrayed. Jacob's heart was filled with a godly fear so that he was caused to cry 'How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God (v. 17). He who had fled in terror as the result of deceitful dealings was impressed with the holiness of the God with whom he had to do. That impression never left Jacob for the rest of his life. How becoming is that fear of offending a holy God so that it regulates every aspect of the human state.

THE TABERNACLE AND SOLOMON'S TEMPLE

In the detailed plan given by God for the erection of the Tabernacle as well as in those details of the Temple in Solomon's day, further expressions of Divine Holiness are to be seen. The High Priest of Israel, in his Tabernacle service, wore 'holy garments — for glory and for beauty' (Exodus 28.2). On his head was the mitre with its golden plate. The inscription on that plate, 'Holiness to the Lord', together with the rest of the garments, was calculated to cause all engaged in the Tabernacle ritual to do so with the thought of God's Holiness always before them. The 'fire from the Lord' which instantly devoured the irreverent Nadab and Abihu (Numbers 10) and the fatal leprosy which was Uzziah's punishment (2 Chronicles 26.19); Isaiah 6.1) show the tragedy of that irreverence which handles the things of God when out of fellowship with Himself. On the other hand, Solomon's prayer of dedication at the opening of the temple, reveals a humility of spirit which was most acceptable to the God Who was to dwell in that temple (2 Chronicles 6,7).

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

The greatest expression of the Divine Presence is not to be found in a place but in a Person. It is not without significance that our Lord Jesus spoke of His Holy body as a Temple' (John 2.19). What these 'holy places' did to a degree, the Lord Jesus, possessed of all the attributes of Godhood in their completeness, did in perfection. He manifested God in all His Holiness. In spite of more modern revisions the words of the King James version are still to be preferred in 1 Timothy 3.16. 'God was manifest in flesh.' That expression of the very essential character of God given by the Lord Jesus during His short sojourn among men was one of unchanging and unchangeable holiness. The effulgence of beauty and glory as seen in the Person of Christ our Lord is more than enough to stir up within each one of us a deep seated desire for a walk of reverential fear and humility.

THE CHURCH OF GOD

As far as the believer of the present age is concerned that expression of holiness which never ceases to cause wonder and amazement is 'the church of God'. That God would deign to manifest something of His character in the gatherings of His people, which we refer to as 'the local assembly', staggers the imagination. In places where rebellion and sin of the grossest kind flourish, such as in first century Corinth, the saints of the assembly are told, 'ye are temple of God — and the temple of God is holy (1 Corinthians 3.16,17). To this end then, Paul, when writing to his younger fellow worker, does so that men 'might know how they ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is church of the Living God, pillar and stay of the truth' (1 Timothy 3.15).

Four of these manifestations of God's Holiness are expressly called 'House of God'. When God applies such a title to the local assemblies of His saints it underlines the heavy responsibility we have as believers, young and old alike, to so conduct ourselves that our walk and our talk in every way reflect that 'holy calling' wherewith we have been called. In practical terms it means that every brother and sister in every assembly and in all aspects of personal living must give heed to the words of the Psalmist. 'Holiness becometh Thine house, O Lord, for ever' (Psalm 93.5).

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WHEN THE REAPING TIME COMES

(An Address given at Bristol by George Muller, in his 92nd year)

"In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withold not thine hand." That is, "Use any and every opportunity which the Lord is pleased to give thee; seek to redeem the time, for thou hast but one life here on earth, and that a brief line—a very brief one as compared with Eternity; therefore make good use of it," Oh, the blessing that results from attending to this! On every occasion, under all circumstances, after we have sought the Lord's blessing and are in a proper state of heart, let us drop a word for Christ here and there and everywhere, and after we have spoken it, bring it before God again, and again in prayer.

When the reaping time comes, and we find ourselves in glory, that child for whom we prayed will be found there! That aged cripple whom we met incidentally on the road, and to whom we spoke, will be in Heaven. That person in consumption whom we visited every day for a long time, and who gave little or no heed at all to what we had to say, will be found in glory, having at last laid to heart what we spoke so many times to him, and though we had no information about it, God blessed our word. Oh, the multitude of instances we shall find at last, when our work, labour, or service has, contrary to natural expectation, been blessed!

I was once standing here about sixty-two years ago, preaching the Word of Life, and after I had done I was cast down because my words seemed to me so cold, so dull, so lifeless. And not till three months after did I hear that through that very address abundant blessing had been brought to nineteen different persons.

And precisely thus we shall find it in our labour and service in the end. Often and often it appears to us that the many opportunities made use of have been lost. Yet it will be seen that all was owned of God, all put down in His book of remembrance; our labour, after all, was not in vain, and the reaping time has come.

But let us carefully see to it that when the reaping time comes there will be something to reap because we have been labouring. If there be no labour, if there be a careless, thoughtless walk, without prayer and crying to God mightily, then let us not be surprised if when the harvest time comes there is no reaping as far as we are concerned. But as assuredly as there has been the crying mightily to God, as there has been the sowing, as there has been the laying out of ourselves for God, most assuredly we shall reap.

"For thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that." We are ignorant of what God is about to do, because He does not tell us if at this particular time He will own our labour and service or not. Therefore, our business is at all times to seek to lay out ourselves for God, for, as I have stated before, we have but one life, and this one life is a brief life.

"Or whether they both shall be alike good," God may bless, not merely at one time, but both times. In the morning the work may be commenced, in the evening the Holy Ghost may deepen it, and God may bring double blessing out of our poor, feeble service.

Oh, let us seek to attend to this precious exhortation!

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THOUGHTS OF CHRIST

(for the busy Housewife) No. 4

by Eric G. Parmenter, Clevedon

The devotedness and perfectness of the Saviour's character and all that He manifested in His words and ways down here, were but the issues of His being what He essentially was, "The Holy One of God", He was both inwardly and outwardly pure and perfect. From His birth up He could say, "I delight to do Thy will, 0 my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart".

When He submitted Himself to the death of the cross, when that perfectness was presented for us at Calvary, and reconciliation and peace was effected, God calls us to rejoice in His beloved, to enjoy fellowship and communion in His own joy in Christ, and in the quietness of our own souls to feed on Christ in an atmosphere of joy and peace: God delighting to minister unto us what He has been enjoying from all eternity, Christ in all His perfections. Thus the way is opened to us for sorrow to be turned into joy and the cry of helpless despair to be exchanged for the voice of thanksgiving.

Surely, the Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad. He has given to us the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness. What abounding grace on God's part! He wants us to enjoy with Him the peace of communion and to appreciate the excellence of Christ in the perfection of His sacrifice.

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HYMNS AND THEIR WRITERS (44)

by Jack Strahan, Enniskillen

"LAMB OF GOD! OUR SOULS ADORE THEE"

JAMES GEORGE DECK (1807 — 1884)

James George Deck was born of a godly Huguenot family at Bury, St. Edmunds on November 1st, 1807. His father, John Deck was the postmaster there. His mother was a godly woman whose burden in life was the spiritual welfare of her family. She believed in prayer and adopted the practice of regular setting aside time each day to be alone with God and pray for the family. Her prayers were answered and she had the unspeakable joy of seeing all her family of eight children led to Christ and consecrating their lives to His service. One of her daughters, Mary Jane (Mary Jane Walker) became the authoress of several well-known and good hymns as, "I journey through a desert drear and wild", "Jesus I will trust Thee, trust Thee with my soul", "O spotless Lamb of God, in Thee" and "The wanderer no more will roam".

James George Deck, as a young man, studied in Paris under one of Napolean's generals and at the age of 17 went to India as an officer in army service. While there, God spoke to him in a very definite way, teaching him the sinfulness and need of his own heart. He resolved to do better, and drew up a code of good resolutions, signing it with his own blood. He soon found, however, that he had not the strength to keep it, such was the weakness of the flesh. In 1826, Deck returned to England after a severe attack of cholera and later in the same year, through the instrumentality of his sister Clara, came under the ministry of a godly Anglican clergyman and was brought to Christ for salvation. He was then 19 years of age.

In 1829, Deck married Alicia Field, daughter of Samuel Field, an evangelical clergyman and in the following year returned to India. There he boldly witnessed for Christ among his colleagues with the result that a number were brought to a saving faith in Christ. In 1835, Deck returned again to England having, for conscience sake, resigned his commission. His exercise then was to enter the Church of England as a minister but while staying at the home of his father-in-law in County Devon, an incident happened which changed the whole course of his life. The occasion was the christening of his second son when there were some present who questioned the scriptural authority for such a practice and this caused Deck deep exercise of heart. He searched the scriptures but nowhere could he find any basis for "baptismal regeneration'. Nevertheless, it was contained in the "Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England". What was he to do? Having left the army to enter the Church of England, he now saw that the teaching of this church was not supported by the word of God. In his dilemma he referred the problem to his wife and her clear reply, "Whatever you believe to be the will of God, do it at any cost," gave him guidance as to his path. Deck continued to search his New Testament and very shortly afterwards joined the fellowship of other like-minded believers gathered to the precious name of the Lord Jesus.

Deck began to witness for Christ and preach the gospel throughout the county of Devon. Many believed, and he taught them from the word of God the truths of believers' baptism and regularly gathering to remember their Lord while awaiting His return from heaven. After some fourteen years of active service for the Lord around the towns and villages of the West country, Deck suffered a breakdown in health. A complete change was recommended by his medical advisers and in 1852, James George Deck, his wife and family of eight children sailed for New Zealand. The Decks arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, aboard the ship 'Cornwall' in the latter part of 1852. They purchased land and as a family settled in Waiwera near to Motueka in the Nelson province of the South Island. Shortly after their arrival, Deck's beloved wife Alicia died and was laid to rest in Motueka cemetry. Deck remarried in 1855 and five more children were born, but shortly after the birth of the fifth baby (Martin Luther) his second wife and her new-born baby both died from a severe attack of measles.

Though times were difficult, Deck's faith in God stood firm. He faithfully witnessed for Christ in this new land of his adoption, at first in the Motueka district and then more widely throughout New Zealand. For over 30 years there, he preached the gospel and taught the word of God. Though there were many difficulties there was much fruit and little assemblies were raised up to. the Lord's name. Shortly after their second bereavement the Decks, as a family, moved to the city of Wellington in the North Island and lived there for several years but in the early 1870's, Mr. Deck's health started to fail and he returned to Motueka. There he died on the 14th August, 1884, and three days later, his body was laid to rest in the Motueka cemetry on the foreshore.

Deck's influence for God as an evangelist and teacher remains still in evidence in the West country of England and even more so throughout New Zealand. Nevertheless, it is as hymn writer and poet that he is best remembered. His compositions extended over a period of many years though most of his best hymns were written in the years 1838 -1844 when, as a young man in his thirties, he preached the gospel around Devon and Somerset. Some 101 of his hymns and 65 of his poems were collected together in his "Hymns and Sacred Poems" and published in 1876. In its preface Deck says, "I have sought rather to render the hymns scriptural and true in their tone and character, than to please the natural ear and taste by an attempt at poetic composition".

Deck's hymns were written mostly for believers and breathe a deep spirit of worship. Many of them are particularly suited for use at the Lord's supper and include such favourites as,

"A little while, our Lord shall come"
"Abba, Father!, we approach Thee"
"Lamb of God! our souls adore Thee"
"Lamb of God! Thou now art seated"
"Lord Jesus, are we one with Thee?"
"Lord, we would ne'er forget Thy love"
"O Jesus Lord! 'tis joy to know"
"O Lamb of God, still keep me"
"O Lord, when we the path retrace"
"The veil is rent, Lo! Jesus stands"
"We bless our Saviour's name"

The hymns, "Lamb of God! our souls adore Thee" and "Lamb of God! Thou now art seated" were written by Deck in 1838. They originally appeared as two parts of one hymn and were entitled, "The Lamb of God". Each part had four verses.

Part 1
"Lamb of God! our souls adore Thee,
While upon Thy face we gaze;
There the Father's love and glory
Shine in all their brightest rays:
Thy almighty power and wisdom
All creation's works proclaim;
Heaven and earth alike confess Thee
As the ever great "I AM".
 
Son of God! Thy Father's bosom
Ever was Thy dwelling-place;
His delight, in Him rejoicing,
One with Him in power and grace:
Oh, what wondrous love and mercy!
Thou didst lay Thy glory be,
And for us didst come from heaven,
As the Lamb of God, to die.
 
Lamb of God! when we behold Thee
Lowly in the manger laid;
Wand'ring as a homeless Stranger,
In the world Thy hands had made;
When we see Thee in the garden,
In Thine agony of blood;
At Thy grace we are confounded,
Holy, spotless Lamb of God.
 
When we see Thee, as the Victim,
Bound to the accursed tree,
For our guilt and folly stricken,
All our judgement borne by Thee, —
Lord, we own with hearts adoring,
Thou hast loved us unto blood:
Glory, glory everlasting,
Be to Thee, Thou Lamb of God!"

This hymn is suited to the Lord's Supper. Its singing directs hearts in the footsteps of the Saviour — from the Father's bosom to the manger at Bethlehem, then to the garden of Gethsemane and onward to the tree at Golgotha. In its second part, the hymn traces further steps — upward to the Throne and onward to millennial glory. Throughout it seems as if each step on that unparalleled pathway is punctuated by the cry, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"

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Quotes

O WORSHIP THE KING.

Except the LORD watch,
Except the LORD keep,
In vain do we search
And forfeit our sleep.
The LORD is our keeper
He sees from above,
Rejoice then O weeper
And rest in His love.
 
In vain do we turn
To man for our aid
And painfully learn
The error we made.
The LORD is our Helper
We certainly know,
A haven of shelter
When stormy winds blow.
 
We praise Thee, O Thou
Preserver of men,
Thy goodness bestow
Upon us again.
Thou source of all blessing,
The endless supply
Of mercy unceasing,
To Thee do we cry.
 
Thy bountiful hand
Will always provide,
Thy wisdom has planned
Our footsteps to guide.
O Infinite Giver
Of solace unpriced,
All things and forever
Have reached us in CHRIST.

J. M. Jones (Toowoomba).

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