Having noted in the previous article the sway of the antichrist, we now shall consider another event of transcendent importance. Notices; of it are found in the prophets, as well as parts of the New Testament scriptures. It is generally designated as the great tribulation; but if the subject is closely examined it will be seen that thus is but one feature of this fearful time of trial through which those upon the earth in that period will have to pass. In fact there will be a time of unexampled trouble, both for the Jews and the Gentiles: and we propose in this article to collect some of the information which scripture affords upon this subject, as well as to show who are the saints that will have to pass through this burning fiery furnance.
1. Jeremiah 30 v 2 - 9 when read in context, shows that the time of trouble is for the Jews. Three things are evident from this scripture. First, that Israel (as we have seen in a previous article) will yet be restored to their own land; secondly, after this - - or after the restoration of many - - there will be a time of unparalleled trouble; and thirdly, that then will be their final deliverance and blessing. The connection of these three things fixes the period of their tribulation, and shows that it will be after their return to their own land, and before the appearing of the Lord. If we now turn to the prophet Daniel we find a similar testimony, i.e. after speaking of the actions of the antichrist (Dan. 11. 36-45) in chapter 12. verse 1 he speaks of this coming time of trouble. Again we find that, when in their own land, and in connection with the works of the antichrist, and after the Lord has raptured the church, and before His appearing, the Jews will pass through a time of trouble such as never before.
The Lord speaks of the same thing. Forewarning His disciples, in answer to their question, "When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?" He says, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house", etc. "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath-day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened". (Matt. 24. 15-22; Mark. 13. 14-20.) This scripture is extremely important on many accounts. It connects the tribulation spoken of with an event foretold by Daniel, and with the antichrist, and also reveals the cause as well as the period of this unexampled trouble. (See Daniel 12. 11 with 9. 27.) Now connecting the several scriptures given, we learn that after the restoration of the Jews, exposed again, as in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes (See Dan. 11. 21-31), to the hostility of the king of the north (Syria), the Jews for protection enter into a covenant with the first "beast" - - the head of the revived Roman empire. It is to this Daniel refers when he says, "And he" (i.e. the Roman prince) "shall confirm a" (not the, but a ) "covenant with many for one week;" i.e. for a week of years - seven years. But we are further told that "in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease". (Dan. 9. 27) By the covenant which this prince had entered into with the Jews, it is evident that he had undertaken to protect them in their religious observances; but now, in association with the antichrist, he is false to his treaty - orders the daily sacrifice to be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate to be set up (Dan. 12. 11) in the holy place. That is, an idol is set up in the temple (Read 2 Thess. 2. 4. and compare Rev. 13. 11-17.) It is to this our Lord refers in the passage we have given; and He gives the setting up of this "abomination of desolation" as the signal of flight for the godly remnant who will be found at that time in Jerusalem. Thereon a decree will be issued to the effect that all are to worship the image that has usurped the place of God, and together with this the time of tribulation will commence - raging with unheard of fury against all who refuse to obey this decree, and indeed against the Jews as such, and extending, as we may see further on, through out the whole world.
In the mercy of God this fiery trial is limited to the half week, and will therefore last three years and a half. This is the forty and two months, or the twelve hundred and sixty days, so constantly mentioned in Revelation. This coincides with the testimony of the two witnesses (Rev. 11.) and the divine judgments—the woes— therewith connected; and during this period also the devil cast down to earth, vomits out his great wrath against the remnant of the woman's seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus. (Rev. 12. 9-17.) And it is he, the dragon that gives power unto the "beast" that inspires all the actions of the head of the Roman empire, and of the antichrist against the people of God. Combining these things some idea may be formed of the unequalled character of this tribulation. It is satanic both in its source and energy, containing every element of suffering which Satan's malignant hate can invent and compound; but it is used by God to chasten the Jewish nation for their crowning sin in the rejection of their Messiah. If we add, that even I he godly subjects of it will have no sense of God's favour, though His Spirit is working in their hearts, we shall in some degree understand the words of our Lord. "Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be". This tribulation, as already said, specially affects the Jews. The passages cited from Jeremiah and Daniel apply to them, and the reference of our Lord to Daniel, besides other indications in His discourse, leaves no room for doubt that He also had the same people in view. The past history of the nation, and the awful guilt they incurred in crucifying their Messiah, will help us to understand both its reason and object, while at the same time it is a consolation to remember that in every instance where it is spoken of, it is speedily followed by the deliverance and blessing of God's elect remnant.
2. Besides "Jacob's trouble", we read also of THE great tribulation. This is recorded in Revelation seven (Read, vv 1-3.) Accordingly one hundred and forty-four thousand are sealed out of the twelve tribes. God's spared remnant of Israel. Thereon we read "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb", (vv 9 & 10.) It is concerning this multitude that one of the twenty four elders asked John, "Who are these arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which come out of Great Tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (VV. 13, 14.) Now we are only stating what everyone acquainted with the original readily admits, when we say that it should be read, "out of THE great tribulation". This immense multitude have been brought through it, and are in the scene before us a saved and rejoicing host. We have consequently a plain proof that there will be not only unparralled trouble for the Jewish nation, but also, and probably about the same time (it may be a little before) a similar period of tribulation for the Gentiles — "all nations, kindreds, and people, and tongues". This would seem to be the same event as that of which our Lord speaks as "the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Rev. 3. 10.)
As to its source and character, little if anything is revealed; but it is sufficiently accounted for by the fearful state into which the world will be plunged after the removal of the Body, the Church, and by the fact that the "beast", who will open "his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven", will have power 'over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world". (Rev. 13.5-8.)
3. The question now occurs, whether the church will be found in the tribulation? If not, who are the saints that are seen in it? Those who have read the earlier articles in this series will be already furnished with the answer; but as the subject is important, and there may be some who will only see this present article, it maybe advisable to recall the Scripture teaching on this point. In the first place it is abundantly clear, that the church will be raptured before this period. Thus we find in Rev. 19. that the beast and the false prophet (the antichrist) are taken and destroyed at the Lord's appearing (vv. 11-21). In 2 Thess. we learn that the Lord will consume that wicked one (the antichrist) "with the brightness of His coming". But we are taught in Colossians that "when Christ, our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory". (Col. 3. 4. ) In the Scripture (Rev. 19.) it is also said that "the armies which were in heaven followed Him" (the Word of God) "upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean", (v. 14) and verse eight states that the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. The saints (the church) in both of these Scriptures are represented as coming WITH Christ, and it is undeniable that they must have been caught up to be with Him previously. The structure of the book of Revelation shows the same thing. "Write", said the Lord to John, "the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" — after these. (Rev. 1. 19) The first chapter contains what he saw; the second and third, the things which are — the church dispensation; and the rest of the book deals with the things after the church period has closed. Immediately after the third chapter, the twenty-four elders are seen in heaven sitting upon thrones, clothed in white raiment, and with crowns of gold on their head (Chap. 4. 4.) Who are these? Their crowns speak of kings, as their dress reveals their priestly, character, and points back to Rev. 1. 6. They are therefore saints, and are translated to heaven BEFORE the commencement of the tribulation.
But it maybe asked, Who are the great multitude which no man could number of Rev. 7., who are distinctly said to come out of the great tribulation? Now if the elders symbolize the church — not excluding the saints of past dispensations — it is clear that this multitude cannot point to the same class. The elders are in heaven, and this redeemed multitude are upon the earth; and this distinction helps us understand who they are. They are, as described, a vast number of Gentiles brought through the tribulation into blessing, and will therefore enter with Christ upon the glories and blessings of His millennial kingdom; no, they are to have a special place under His sway. "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light upon them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes", (vv 15-17.) The other branch of the question remains, Who are the saints seen in the tribulation? They are God's elect remnant from among Jews. This is readily seen from Matthew. 24. It is of those in Judaea our Lord speaks (v. 16.) They are to pray that their flight might not be on the Sabbath (the seventh) day (v. 20.) — a direction that would have no significance except for a godly Jew under law; they are warned against false Christs (vv. 23,24) — a warning which would scarcely be understood by Christians who know that Christ is at the right hand of God; and finally, the elect are not gathered until after the tribulation, &c, and the appearing, as we have seen the church will appear WITH Christ. Indications of the same character could be collected if necessary from Revelation; but we have already shown that the elders in heaven prove that the church could not be on the earth during the tribulation. There is abundant evidence to show that they are godly Jews, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who will be cast into this burning fiery furnace, which is to be heated "seven times more than it was wont to be heated". Their sorrows and cries during this time of unequalled anguish are traced and expressed in many of the Psalms. Believers of this dispensation are "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God: and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come". (1. Thess. i. 9, 10) For it is to them that our Lord addresses these words, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth". (Rev. 3. 10.)
VITAL VERITIES (11)
by E. W. ROGERS
The Atonement — Part 3
Yet thirdly, it was the
INFLICTION OF DIVINE WRATH
upon an innocent substitute. If the contemplation of man's crimes makes us abhor ourselves who once were among them who concurred in that foulest of deeds, and if the contemplation of the devil's malice with its resultant defeat fills our hearts with mingled indignation and boasting, surely this aspect of the Cross must melt our hearts and moisten our eyes. For He who was the object of that wrath, forsaken of God, and on Whom fell the sword of judgment was none other than His only Son, the Man who was His equal, the darling of His heart, His chiefest joy.
What it cost God to inflict the punishment on Him none can tell, nor indeed can any tell what it was for Him to bear it.
Listen to the words: "The Lord caused to meet on Him the iniquity of us all"—or as an alternative reading "The Lord caused to fall on Him the punishment of us all." He became surety for another, and in result "smarted for it." Against Him were the words uttered "Awake, O Sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is mine equal, smite the shepherd."
The Psalmist had said "I have been young and now am old, yet have I never seen the righteous forsaken." Here, however, is the only perfectly righteous man that ever lived "forsaken of God." Well may the cry be raised "Why"?
Note such passages as these; "It pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, etc" "Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; Thy terrors have cut me off. My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" And yet once more: "The kings of the earth stood up and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel had determined before to be done."
Why was this? Because the Lord Jesus had voluntarily taken the place as substitute, and God had certain irrevocable claims against the sinner which justice demanded should be met. As substitute, therefore, He met those claims. It was in the heart of God to spare the sinner, and therefore He accepted the Substitute and poured on His only Begotten Son what the sinner deserved that he might go free.
That "God so loved the world that He gave His Son" is a truth only to be surpassed by this that He loved the sinner sufficiently to give Up (Rom. 4. 25; 8. 32) His Son. There is much difference in GIVING and GIVING UP.
Such a theme might well occupy space and pen much longer, but we must forbear.
Yet there is the fourth aspect of the matter. In certain circumstances the infliction of punishment upon a substitute is not proper, but grant that
THE SUBSTITUTE IS PERFECTLY WILLING
and desirous that it should be so, it is a glorious example of self sacrifice and disinterested devotion to the welfare of others. Such was the case with our Lord Jesus.
Frequently do we read in the New Testament "He gave Himself"— a voluntary self-surrender. Behold Him enquiring of the mob "Whom seek ye?" Having obtained their answer, He says "If ye seek me let these go their way." What is that but self-surrender? Note His loud cry on the cross; not the groan of a weak, dying man but the triumphant cry of a victor followed by a voluntary yielding up of the ghost. Witness His deliberate bowing of His head when the work was accomplished. All this tells of a definitely intended, purposed, voluntary act.
It was the accomplishment of the words before uttered: "I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep." He saw the wolf coming, and, rather than allow the sheep to fall victim. He met the wolf, and laid down His own life for the sheep. Not that He was overpowered. "No one taketh it from me: I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down: I have authority to take it again: this commandment have I received of my Father."
There are, however, other features which should not pass unnoticed. And first we may notice that the death of Christ was the subject of
ETERNAL DIVINE COUNSELS.
Peter speaks of "the lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world." Early believers were saying "Of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." Seeing that the Church was elect before the foundation of the world it follows as a necessary corollary that the death of Christ must also have been a thing predetermined before the world's foundation, since apart from it there could have been no church.
The introduction of sin into Eden did not take God unawares. No sooner was it brought in, that God revealed that He had in mind and in store the Man who would effectively remedy the damage wrought, and that in such a way as to glorify Himself and to secure for man far greater blessings than those he lost.
Further, the death of the Lord Jesus was ...
It was a necessary course. There was no other way by which the end in view could be reached. "He must die" stands as the first of four imperatives concerning Him who "must be raised," and Whom the "heavens must receive" and Who later "Must reign." If to Nicodemus the Lord had said "Ye must be born again" it was necessary further to emphasise that, in order to the accomplishment of this, "The Son of Man must be lifted up." Let the reader take note of such words in Luke 24. as "behoved," "ought" and "must" and recall that they represent but one Greek word which simply translated is MUST.
Yet we may ask wherein lay the necessity? Why "must"?
One answer may be given, viz.: Sin, but this answer when analysed divides itself into three parts.
(a) Plainly He must die because of God's character—He is holy—He cannot by any means clear the guilty—He cannot wink at sin. It is an outrage of His law and government, and punishment must be brought upon the evil doer, or His substitute for He CANNOT ignore sin.
(b) Again: because also of His word. Types and prophecy had all foreshadowed the death of the coming one, as the remedy for earth's disorder, and apart from this historical counterpart the types would have been meaningless and the prophecy would have had no proven validity. But God had forecast that so it should be, and for that reason He MUST die.
(c) And yet again: because also of His heart. In His heart was golden love, warm and constant for His rebellious creatures, and He longed for their good to be established on a righteous basis. "He loved the world." "He wished all men to be saved." And if the flood-gates of that love within His heart were to be opened, and the rivers of mercy were to flow free and boundless to whosoever will, His Son MUST die. There was no alternative.
Oh! wondrous necessity, which brings us to yet another feature.
The death of the ...
LORD JESUS WAS SUBSTITUTIONARY
This is so well known that it is hardly necessary to emphasise it, but perhaps the eye of an unsaved person will peruse this page, and in case it should be so we may be permitted to emphasise it: the fact is that Christ died, and the explanation of the fact is that it was for the good and eternal blessing of sinners. "Christ died for the ungodly" said the evangelist. "Christ died for our sins" explains the teacher. "Christ loved me and gave HIMSELF for me" says the individual believer. The word "for" is the keyword of all.
This is not the place to speak at length of the various Greek prepositions which are used to denote specific aspects of the death of the Lord Jesus as a substitutionary sacrifice, but the reader may examine Romans 8. 32; Matt. 20. 28; 1 John 2. 2, and Rom. 4. 25 to discover there are in each of these verses different prepositions employed, each with its own distinctive shade of meaning, a careful study of which will be well repaid.
Remark further that the death of Christ is ...
UNIVERSAL IN ITS SCOPE THOUGH RESTRICTED IN ITS APPLICATION
The evangelist may intelligently preach "Christ died for the ungodly." That there is efficacy to cover the needs of all is true; that it is only applied in the case of each believer is equally true, else how is it that the doom of unbelievers is to experience eternal punishment themselves in Hell?
FAITH INDEED IS THE ONE CONDITION
It is the reversal of man's distrustful attitude in Eden. God requires that man shall change for He has not changed. Man at the beginning disbelieved and distrusted God, and thereupon brought in the ruin which now prevails. God says, if that condition for the individual is to be altered his attitude of unbelief and distrust must be abandoned, and be replaced by faith and trust.
This is the sole condition.
IT IS THE DEATH OF CHRIST WHICH EFFECTS ATONEMENT, AND NOT HIS LIFE.
Had that Sinless man lived here a spotless life and returned to heaven minus death He would have left the world, not as He found it, but the awful added responsibility of having given evidence of what man's life here should be, yet affording no power to man to achieve the ideal, nor making any provision for the failure which He thereby threw into relief. His life would have been as the Tabernacle's Veil, keeping man from God and God from man.
"THE EPISTLE BY JAMES"
by E. R. Bower.
Chapter Four. A Living Faith Evidenced by conduct
vv. 1-10. "lusts" (v. 1) — pleasures; "desire" (v. 2) — covet earnestly; "cannot obtain" (v. 2) — are not able to obtain; "ye ask amiss" (v. 3) — ye ask with evil intent; "consume" (v. 3) — gratify; "ye adulterers" — omit; "will be a friend" (v. 4) — wills to be a friend; "dwelleth in us lusteth" (v. 5) — abides in us eagerly longs after you; "lift you up" (v. 10) — exalt you. James is inveighing against things which were already all too evident to him. He saw how little the boasted fruit was evidenced in general behaviour. His readers were running both with the hare and with the hounds. Note the parallel of 1. 5-11 with 3.15-4.10; 1. 5 with 3.17; 1.6 with 4. 3; 1.7 with 4. 3; 1. 8 with 4. 8; 1. 9 with 4. 10. In 1. 5-11 there is perfection in temptation through the prayer of faith; followed by humility in temptation. Here we see the contrast—imperfection through faithless prayer; followed by pride and its resultant war, sin, double-mindedness etc., James might well be of the O. T. prophets as he thunders, "Ye adulteresses" cf. 2 Cor. 11. 2. Dr. F. B. Meyer wrote, "I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other; and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we could reach them. I now find that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other; and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower; and that we have to go down always to get His best gifts." "God . . . giveth grace to the humble." What a field for the reflective mind! Dr. Andrew Murray says of the double mind, "There is no pride so dangerous, because none so subtle and insidious, as the pride of holiness. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is its lack of humility."
vv. 11-12. See Matt. 6. 21-24; 7. 1-5; Lev. 19. 16-17. The Scriptures are censorious in their view of the backbiting, gossiping, tongue, and yet we suffer this diabolical sin in ourselves as
individuals and within our church life. See Ps. 15. 1-3; Prov. 11. 9; 2 Cor. 12. 20; 1 Pet. 2. 1-3 and many more Scriptures that are condemnatory of the irresponsible tongue. Again James expands a former word, "Be ye doers of the Word (1. 22) and this leads us on to vv. 11-17, "To him that KNOWETH to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" — and James again is very forthright. Works is a doing; doing is a matter of relationships within two spheres — that of the 'world' and that of the church; a submission of everything to the will of God. Prov. 27. 1 is seen here — "Boast not thyself of tomorrow......"
Chapter Five. A living Faith EXERCISED by Persecution.,
James, looking about him, sees the 'would-be rich' among the brethren and uses the familiar O. T. phrase, "Go to now" (4. 13) — and did his readers think of Gen. 11. 3, 4, and of the 'cities' that they themselves were building? Did they remember how God answered their "Go to" with His own? Widening his vision, James saw the oppression of the poor by the rich. Already he had warned against the dangers inherent in riches (1. 9-11) and had condemned the obvious partiality shown to those who were wealthy or, as we might say today, a cut above them. (2. 1-4); he saw, as we see, the allure of 'money' — not only by the 'world', but also by those who professed the Name of Christ. The apostle Paul also say this inordinate love of money as the root of all evil. (1 Tim. 6. 17-19). James says again, "Go to now, ye rich men . . .". Did he recall the words of our Lord in Luke 21. 20, and anticipate the horrors of A. D. 70?
vv. 1-6. The tenor of these verses is against 'stored-up' and ill-used wealth, and the Jewish reader was reminded of his duty under the Law (Lev. 19. 13), accused of self-indulgence and self-gratification; of looking after No. 1 first; and then of the 'last days'. See Matt. 6. 19-34, "No man can serve two masters ... ye cannot serve God and mammon" is a verse conveniently overlooked by many, but its precept remains true, and the behaviour of a so-called affluent society endorses it. The Pharisees 'who were covetous' — blind leaders of the blind — did not, or could not, see the impossibility spoken of by the Lord. (Luke 16. 14); See 1 Cor. 6. 10; 2 Tim. 3. 2; Luke 12.15 etc.,
vv. 7-9. In 1.3, James said, "The trying of your faith worketh
patience" and here also he stresses the need for endurance for the Lord was coming, indeed His coming was very near. How much more so today! James emphasises the truth since 4. 11-12 is repeated in thought—"Speak not against one another" for the judge standeth before the door"—the unseen Listener. See Matt. 7.1-5.
vv. 10-11. Opening his letter with an exhortation to endure under trial and temptation, James now refers to the prophets as examples of those who endured. Cf. Heb. 11. 32-40. Job is cited as an example of patience rewarded; he saw the "end of the Lord" that He is very pitiful and of tender mercy. In the words of a hymn, "Jesus knows about our struggles." The crown of life is promise to the overcomer (1.12; Rev. 2. 10; 3.11.)
Our Lord and our Redeemer is coming again. "He has left us here for one purpose — the purpose is not to get us ready for heaven; our readiness is Christ — but to witness to the world that Christ offers salvation, and to witness against the world that rejection brings judgement", As with with those who, when judgement threatened, remained outside the ark (Matt. 24. 36-39), just so the coming of the Lord is for many not a present expectation.
vv. 12-15. How James must have saturated himself with the words of his Lord! Time and again he has referred to the Sermon on the mount, and here it is to Matt. 5. 33-37. See also Lev. 19. 12. A plain 'yes' or a plain 'no' is indicative of a certainty of mind. There is no double-mindedness in this kind of answer. Prayer is the antidote to the trouble (affliction, hardship) we experience. See v. 10 and 2 Tim. 2. 3. Singing is the corollary to cheerfulness, or being of good courage, e.g. Acts 27. 25. Prayer and anointing heals the sick and the weary. See Mark 6. 13; Luke 7. 36-50; John 12. 3-9. Vvs. 14 and 15 have been subjected to much perversion on which we need not dwell here. The passage can be paraphrased, "Is anyone sick? He should call for the elders of the church (assembly) and they should pray over him, and pour a little oil over him, calling on the Lord to heal him. And their prayer, IF OFFERED IN FAITH, will heal him, for the Lord will make him well: and if his sickness was caused by some sin, the Lord will forgive him." Our Lord Himself set the precedent for the forgiveness of the sins of the sick when He was called upon to heal them. How often is it that we hear our Lord say,
"Thy sins be forgiven thee." Anointing with oil is not the cure; the energized prayer of a righteous man is the channel but it is our Lord who heals. The oil is, perhaps, a symbol, although in the story of the Good Samaritan it seems that the oil was used to alleviate the pain of the wounds and bruises. We know, of course, that oil is usually associated with the Holy Spirit, and with consecration or dedication. We see this in the Law, particularly in connection with the anointing of the priests, kings and prophets. There are two essentials here. Firstly the sick person must have the faith to be healed; secondly, the elders must offer prayer in the certainty of faith.
vv. 16-18. Not 'faults', but transgressions; a stumbling aside (see, v. 19). "Open confessions" it is said, "are good for the soul". On the face of it, this prayer for one another is communal or assembly prayer — all for each, and each for all. "Energized prayer, effectual because it is fervent, is operative for physical and spiritual healing. Instancing Elijah as an example of effectual fervent prayer, James brings such prayer within the grasp or the ability of the ordinary man, woman or child. What Elijah did, we can do — "He that believeth in Me, the works that I do shall he do also . . . whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in Me." (John 14., 12-13). "Fervent prayer creates and strengthens the faith required for divine power to be granted to us."
vv. 19-20. Physical sickness has been covered by the prayer of faith, but what of spiritual sickness? The answer is not much communal or assembly prayer, although that is still necessary, but rather that of an individual concern and a face to face confrontation. This is the work of the shepherd. But what is "saving a soul from death"? (Cf. Heb. 10. 38-39). Within the context of 1.1 where the twelve tribes are addressed, James is speaking to his brethren as Jews; within the context of 2.1 he is speaking to his brethren in Christ. Thus in these early days when the letters from the apostles were addressed to the synagogues, i.e. Acts 13.5; 14.1; 18.4; James 2.2. the possibility is that the letters were heard by the converted and by the unconverted. Another point of view is that James was upholding the Law for a restored Israel. See Deut. 32. 46-47. Hebrews 3.12 reads, "Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. .." and goes on to speak of those who died in the wilderness. The Apostle Paul, quoting Isa. 6. 9-10, says, "The heart of this people is waxed gross and their ears are dull of hearing ... they ... understood ... and shall be converted, and I should heal them." Israel had wandered far from the truth. Such conversion would indeed hide a multitude of sins and bring the sinner back from his wandering. ,
The theme of this forthright epistle is undoubtedly that of works, but only to the proving of faith, for without works faith is lifeless. Works are the manifestation of what faith is all about. To know how to do good, and yet fail to use that knowledge is sin.
"Be ye doers of the Word, and hearers only, deceiving your own selves" for the coming of the Lord draweth night."
The Ministry of the Risen Lord
by The Late J. B. Hewitt, Chesterfield
2—THE MINISTRY OF RESURRECTION
John 20. v. 11-18
The Revelation to Devout Love
The writers of the Gospels present the truth of the Resurrection of Christ not only to confirm faith but to cheer the heart. There is progress in the development of truth in the "order" of the Gospels. Matthew closes with the account of the Resurrection, to emphasize His Sovereignty; Mark, the Ascension, to establish His Sinlessness; Luke the promise of the Spirit, the Lord effects our Salvation; John the Second Coming, to encourage His Saints. '
John 20 portrays the Day of His Power; demonstrated (v. 1-10); venerated (v. 11-18); communicated (v. 19-23); appreciated (v. 24-29), and propagated in the Gospel message (v. 30,31).
Here is the revelation of the Living Lord (v. 1-10) as All Supreme; to the Loving Heart (v.11-18) as always sympathetic; to His Longing Church (v. 19-23), as always Sufficient, to His Lapsing Followers (v. 24-29) as an Assuring Friend, and in the life giving message (v. 30,31) as an Almighty Saviour.
The supreme proof of the Resurrection, the thing that makes it not only credible but inevitable, is the person of Jesus Himself. The risen Lord by His appearances banished the sorrow of death, sanctified the home, consecrated work and defeated despair.
"The Revelation to Love" (v. 11)
Mary had a sorrowful heart and she knew the tenderness of the Lord and her sorrow was turned into joy. In Mary is personified the love and devotion of one who owed everything to her Lord, and who knew it.
"I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me" (Prov. 8.17).
Love's Affection (v.11a) "she stood without weeping". Forlorn, forsaken and desolate, Mary weeps. Her all had gone into the tomb with Jesus and He was gone. Earlier she said "They have taken away THE Lord" but now she says "My Lord". How she adored Jesus, do you?
Her weeping was intense and audible; and even the sight of angels in the tomb did not check it.
Love's Attention (v.11b) "she stooped down and looked in" and "seeth" or "beholdeth" as in v. 6, a long contemplative gaze. Mary had nothing in all this world, but the Saviour, and she thought Him dead. She gazes in bewilderment and sees "two angels, one at the head, one at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain". They remind us of the Cherubim on the Mercy Seat (Ex. 37. 8, 9). Later she saw Jesus as the gardener (v. 15), and then as the Saviour (v. 16). Her devotion is simple and beautifully expressed by the words she used of Him — "my Lord" (v. 13). It was that love first sought the lost Lord; and in answer to love He also first revealed Himself (Mark 16. 9).
Love's Anxiety (v. 13) The vision and the inquiry of angels were unable to surprise or to rouse her. In reply she says, "they have taken away my Lord". She pays no further regard to their presence; she makes no petition for their help. They don't satisfy her, she wants her Lord.
This was the one burden of her thoughts, to all else she is blind and deaf. She turned with arrested, lingering gaze, there was Jesus standing.
Love's Attraction (v. 14, 15) Her tears and sense of loss might explain her mistaken identity— the gardener. Jesus understood her tears, "why weepest thou" and would undertake to meet her need. She sought for a Person and not for a thing, seeking for some relief to her suspense. She is rewarded and soon her sorrow will be dispelled. She hears the voice of the Good Shepherd, her own name pronounced in a familiar tone. Joyfully she exclaims "Master". But Mary's faith was immature. What she craved was her Lord's body, if need be, dead (v. 13-15).
Love's Assurance (v.16,17) Her request (v.15) brought a full revelation of her lover and her Lord. In v.15 the Lord sympathises with her, now He satisfies her heart — "Mary". He awakens her true self, as in former days. The blinding veil of a self-chosen grief is torn off, and she expresses her new-born faith, with the accent of Galilee — "my master". She thinks that she can now enjoy His restored Presence as in times past, but there is a prohibition (v. 17). Now she would "cling" to His body to His physical presence. She is entrusted with a message and assured of a new relationship. Fellowship towards which Mary reached would be established as abiding by His Ascension. The Resurrection appearances of the Lord brought the disciples assurance. John was convinced by His clothes, (v. 1-10); Mary was convinced by His voice (v. 11-18), the disciples were convinced by His wounds (v. 19-23), and Thomas was convinced by His grace (v. 24-29). May we join in his adoration "My Lord and My God". The message is not "I have risen", but "I ascend". The revelation was in part a promise as well as a fulfilment. The Lord's work was done; but its import had to be progressively apprehended by men. Mary learned that day something of His Priestly Sympathy — "Why weep". His victory, "I ascend". Our dignity — "His brethren", and His Deity, and Authority, "My Father, My God".
Love's Announcement (v. 18) Mary was the first to see Jesus after His death (Mark 16. 9), a humble obscure woman who had nothing to distinguish her but her forgiven heart, and no claim at all but her love. She is commissioned and signally honoured at first messenger of His resurrection, she joyfully obeyed. She must have been thrilled that once again she was engaged in service for her Lord, and the beginning of far higher service that would not cease.
Have we lost the thrill of the Victorious Lord and His soul emancipating message? W. H. Griffith Thomas writes, "Armed with a threefold message — (a) To a world under condemnation, we proclaim the atonement of Christ; and (b) To a world in bondage to fear, we proclaim the resurrection of Christ; and (c) To a world at enmity with God, we proclaim the ascension, intercession and return of Christ. This is the full and glorious gospel!" In times of depression and despondency may we like Mary turn ourselves (v. 14) and see our Lord as the Conqueror of Death — His victory (v. 1-10); the Comforter of Hearts — His Sympathy (v.11-18); Calming our Fears — His Centrality (v. 19-23); Confirming our Faith — His Authority (v. 24-29) and the Communicator of Life — His Ability (v. 30, 31).
The Revelation to Penitence (Luke 2434; Mark 16.7; 1 Cor. 15.5).
As far as we can work it out, the second appearance of the Lord Jesus was to Peter. The Lord meets the yearning heart of this penitent defeated apostle.
Sincere Repentance (Mark 14. 72) Did he recall and use the words of Psa. 130. 1-4? What would he give to unsay those words of denial. He would have loved to hear one word of pardon from His Lord. The word and the look of the Master broke his heart and he wept bitterly (Matt. 26. 75).
Thought, sorrow and action were seen in his change of life See him running (John 20. 4), in contrast to following afar off and sitting at the world's fire (Matt. 26. 58; Mark 14. 54). Peter never expected the Resurrection and the sight of his Master again.
The Saviour's Remembrance (Mark 16. 7) The Lord was not content with a passing look of sorrow upon the wanderer. He had a personal interest in him and a special message for him "and Peter" (Mark 16. 7). That message would assure him of the unchanging love of his Master.
Sweet Restoration (Luke 24. 34; 1 Cor. 15. 5). A veil is drawn over the third appearance of the Risen Lord. He saw His erring and sorrowing servant alone first and saved him much embarrassment (Psa. 32. 5). We have no record of Peter's deep contrition for it is too sacred to mention, but he was graciously restored (Psa. 23. 3). There is a jubilant note in the message of the two who returned with the good news to the saints (Luke 24. 34). Peter is retored privately as a disciple then publicly as an apostle (John 21. 15-19). Like Peter we can know the forgiveness of the Lord for our failure.
SIGNS OF THE END (1)
By The late W. J. M'Clure.
(These articles appeared in 1918 in the Believers' Magazine. How much more relevant now!)
All attempts to fix dates for the second coming of the Lord Jesus have resulted in failure, bringing that precious truth into reproach. The time set by such calculations came and passed, but the Lord did not come. This has led some to regard a truth which, of all others, should be dear to the believer, as if it were purely a matter of speculation, and they therefore leave it alone. Very likely this was the very thing at which Satan aimed, in the setting of dates for the Lord's coming again.
Now, while many have gone astray in this respect, care is needed lest we go to the opposite extreme, and fail to see the signs, which are multiplying on every hand, which indicate the nearness of His appearing. To read aright such signs as God may give regarding the nearness of the end of this age, and to fix a date for it, are as different as truth and error. Some ninety years ago*, the Lord was pleased to restore to the church the long lost truth of the personal return of His Son as His people's hope (1 Thess.1.10). Then, like the midnight cry, it awakened, as out of a sleep, many of the people of God, so that they began to look for the speedy coming of Christ, as promised in the Word. Could we have talked with any of those dear men, and asked them if they thought that ninety years would elapse ere the Lord would come, we cannot imagine their answer being in the affirmative. No; they truly expected that His coming was very near. It may be said by some," If these Christians thought that His coming was imminent ninety years ago, may it not be that others, fifty or more years hence, will still be waiting for the realisation of the hope?" This is most unlikely. We now have clear evidences of the nearness of the end of the age, that they did not possess. The signs which we desire to point out had not materialised, when the precious truth of the Lord's coming first opened up. to us. Our object in these Short Papers is, to briefly point out some of these signs so that we might be stirred up to look for His return— which must precede their fulfilment—not as an event of the distant future, but as something near at hand.
(* i.e. the 1820's. — Ed.)
We get a word in Matt. 24.33, which has literally to do with God's earthly people Israel, after the church has been caught away, but the principle of it we can apply to our own case. "Even so also, when ye see all these things, know that He is nigh, even at the doors" (R.V.). So, as we read the conditions described in the Epistles, as marking the end, and find them prevailing all around us, may we read aright their meaning, and be taught to act as God would have us amid such conditions .
SIGN I.—THE APOSTASY OF THE PROFESSING CHURCH.—In the seven letters to the Churches in Rev. ii. and iii., we have an inspired chart of the church's testimony on earth, from the days of the apostles until the coming of the Lord. Just as the mariner, sailing along the coast, consults his chart, on which are marked the lighthouses, capes, headlands, and bays, and learns thereby just where he is, so the Christian, who has learned to read aright the Lord's messages to the seven churches, can approximate as to where he is, in regard to the progress of the dispensation.
The Philadelphian stage was reached when the Lord restored the truth of His return and the simple gathering to His Name. Now, surely the Laodicean, or closing stage, is reached. Laodicea is not charged with the gross things named against Thyatira. The professing church of the present, makes much of Morality, Temperance, Civic Righteousness, National Righteousness, etc. It is self-complacent; its language is, "I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" (ver. 17). Surely in respect of material things, it has reason to speak thus. In no period of its existence has the professing church been so rich in societies, associations, guilds, leagues, and circles for carrying on its work, as now. Indeed, its wealth of machinery enables it to get along without God, for when it is saying that it has "need of nothing," the One it professes to serve, is seen standing OUTSIDE the closed door. And those inside don't seem to miss Him. Indeed, His presence would be disconcerting, for there is too much among them that He would have to deal with and to judge.
—to be continued.
The Threefold Secret of Blessing
by the Late Thomas Newberry (of the Newberry Bible)
There are three great principles of realised blessing and of manifested glory as set forth in the dedication of the House of God in 2 Chronicles 5. 6-14 (which please read before reading this article).
I. All our spiritual Blessings for Time and for Eternity are Founded on Atonement.
V. 6: "Solomon, and those "that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude."
As though all were too few and small to show forth the inestimable value of the sacrifice of Christ which those offerings forshadowed! Indeed, its priceless value is beyond all human estimate. No mind but the mind of God, no heart but ' the heart of the eternal Father, will ever be able to fathom its boundless depths, and reach its wondrous heights.
Hence, too, we begin each fresh portion of time, in imitation of the spirit-taught disciples, by meeting together on the first day of the week in remembrance of it, and of Him that offered it.
II. Giving the Lord Jesus His own proper place—central and pre-eminent.
"JESUS IN THE MIDST."
V. 7: "The priests brought in the ark of the covenant unto His place."
In time and in eternity, the place which the Father gives to the Son is the centre. In the bosom of the Father, as the centre of Divine affections; in the midst of the throne, as the centre of universal empire; and in the midst of the Church, as His proper and rightful place on earth.
In the midst of the Church universal as walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands; and in the midst of the Assembly of disciples gathered to His name. Not in His Name merely, but TO or UNTO His Name; that is, to His person.
When the Lordship of Christ is owned, every question is easily settled as to the Church and its discipline; and when the Lordship of Christ is recognised and submitted to in the Assembly, the blessing is unbounded.
When none lifts hand or foot without Him. Not only not' acting contrary to His will, but not acting without his will. None daring to give out a hymn, read a chapter, speak or pray, with out having first caught His eye, and obtained direction or permission from Him.
Now that the Lord Jesus is away, the Holy Ghost is not setting up a democracy, but maintaining the Lordship of Christ, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Him.
Some seem to act as if they thought that having got rid of the "one man ministry," every one is at liberty to do what is right in his own eyes. Hence the spiritual poverty of many Assemblies. Better be under the tyranny of one man than of a dozen or a hundred or a million. As a remedy for all this, let the ark be brought into this place, let the Lordship of Jesus be owned. "Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all."
III. Harmony and fellowship in the Spirit.
V. 13: "As the trumpeters and the singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking Jehovah . . . then the house was filled with a cloud, even the House of Jehovah."
Thus was it also at Penetcost. A solemn responsibility rests on those who profess to lead the worship of God's saints, that no chord of discord should be struck, but that all should be harmony and unity; that every word should be so distinctly uttered that all may hear, and that no sentence should be spoken but such as all might have fellowship with.
Where there is unity in the Spirit the glory comes in, and there is no room for the flesh; but where the flesh has its place the glory is shut out, and the Spirit is quenched. Then the more fleshly are the more prominent.
The Three Great Principles.
The first principle is represented by Calvary, where the Sacrifice was offered to God.
The second by the Mount of Olives, whence the SON ascended to the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high.
The third is Pentecost, when the SPIRIT descended to baptize into one body the members of the risen and exalted Lord, and to form them into an holy habitation for God and for the manifestation of His glory.
May grace be granted to each of us to own "the Lordship of Christ."
The Joy of the Lord (1)
by The Late William Hoste
Perverseness has ever been a characteristic of man. In the beginnings of Judah's judgements we read, "In that day did the Lord of Hosts call to weeping and to mourning, and to baldness and to girding with sackcloth: and behold, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine: let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die." (Isa. 22. 12,13). But the unless men will turn to God with true repentance, how can He cause His judgements to cease?
Later, when the restored remnant of Nehemiah's day were called to joy and feasting: behold, sorrow and morning. Does God say weep? men feast! Does He call to feasting? they weep! But the Levites exhorted the people to take comfort. "This day is holy unto the Lord your God, mourn not nor weep.....for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8.10). There is much to depress God's people to-day, as then. There are weaknesses and failures, the Sanballats and Tobiahs to oppose, besides the peculiar circumstances of the hour. But, amid all, "the joy of the Lord is our strength." This is usually taken to mean that joy in the Lord makes us strong. And that is surely true. We are indeed commanded to "rejoice in the Lord alway" (Phil. 4. 4). But we need strength to do it. It is only as we enter into "the joy of the Lord," that the joy of the Lord enters into us. It was precisely with his disciples' joy in view, that our Lord desired to communicate His own joy to His disciples. "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15.11).
When the good shepherd was carrying the lost sheep on His shoulder rejoicing, it might have been slaughter or sacrifice. But animals are quick to catch the tone of a human voice, and the glad note of the shepherd's joy would inform its instinct, that all was well. And had it understood the meaning of "Rejoice with Me, I have found My sheep which was lost," it could have argued, "Since my shepherd sets such store by me, as to invite others to rejoice with him on my account, and he calls me his sheep. Certainly he never will let me perish."
To the prodigal, the father's kiss meant forgiveness; and the best robe and fatted calf supplied his immediate needs. But the father's joy went further still, and assured him of permanent restoration to all the privileges of the home. He was no mere passing guest, but a son of the house. It gives great assurance and comfort to each forgiven sinner to learn, that he is the subject of "joy in the presence of the angels of God." Yes, the Father has prepared a feast up there, on our account. They have "begun to be merry" in the Father's house over us. Surely, then, we can well be merry too. And the joy of heaven thus shared by us will prove our strength indeed, even amid depressing scenes.
"How deep, how full, the joy of Him
Who sits upon the throne!
The joy, the gladness of His heart,
In calling us His own."
MY CONVERSION AND CALL (9)
by the Late S. H. Moore
"Testimony and early experiences"
I count it a privilege to be able to share with you a little of my experiences regarding the Lord's dealings with me in earlier life, Which I trust will be a blessing to all who read.
Although labouring for the Lord in S. Africa for over 51 years, I was born in N. Ireland, one of a family of eight and brought up in a Christian home.
Our parents sought to bring us up in the admonition and fear of the Lord, so I knew from my earliest days that my greatest need was God's salvation. As a result of constant attendance at Sunday School and Gospel meetings I heard the Gospel regularly until the great truths of, Ruin by the fall, Redemption by the Blood and Regeneration by the Holy Spirit became familiar to me. I didn't know then that the Good seed of the Word thus being sown in my young heart was to bring forth an abundant harvest in days and years to come.
For sometime it was evident to me that a work of grace was going on in my youthful heart, but as well, an intense conflict.
In my own bedroom on the 23rd November 1923 at the age of 17, after returning from a Gospel meeting the awful struggle came to an end. Just then, the Holy Spirit, through the truth of John 5 v 24 revealed the finished work of Christ to my soul. "He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life". From God's blessed Word I had the assurance that I had "passed from death unto life".
My immediate desire was to share my newfound joy with others — often I put tracts in my pocket intending to pass them on but I'm afraid very often I carried them home again, so I decided if I was going to engage in this work, I would need to carry them in my hand, which I did.
About two years after my conversion the Late Mr. John Hutchinson asked me to open the Gospel meeting for him one evening, I said, "Oh Mr. Hutchinson I couldn't do that, ask my Uncle Henry, he could do it well". He said to me, "I didn't ask your Uncle Henry, I asked you". So although most reluctant to do so, grace was given. From this simple beginning I had the urge to take part in the public proclamation of the Gospel, at the same time, carrying on with my secular employment, which at that time was with my brother who was in the Transport Haulage business.
After some time this proved unsatisfactory as very often when I had arranged to take a Gospel meeting, I was perhaps 30 or 40 miles away. So in due course I changed to the oil business and was in charge of Munster Simms Depot in Newry—my home town. So having fixed hours I was able on many occasions to share in series of Gospel meetings with others.
The district around my own home was continually on my heart. In the early 1930's I built a hall for Sunday School and Gospel work. A number of the leading brethren in our own Assembly helped me with the erection of this hall which was a great joy to me, many heard the Gospel and trusted Christ.
On a number of occasions I was approached by older Full-time Workers-Godly men — Dr. Matthews, Mr. John Hutchinson, Mr. John Hagan etc., if I wouldn't think of quitting my job and go full time into the Lord's work. My answer to each was the same — "I have an exercise, but I don't know where".
At that time there were about 40 full time workers in the North of Ireland and I did not want to add to the burden of having to be supported. So I continued working while my heart burned with the passion to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, longing to warn and exhort men and women to flee from the wrath to come.
Around this time Bro. Bertie Douglas with his wife arrived home from Venezuela. I heard him a few times giving a report of his work there, I was interested and felt perhaps this was where the Lord would have me go. I mentioned to Bertie what was on my mind, he gave me every encouragement, however God had other plans. Bertie had been asked to speak at a Sunday School tea meeting, but in the meantime he got flu. However he did not want to disappoint so he spoke at that meeting, got a relapse and in a short time went to be with the Lord. Needless to say this was a great blow to me, but I continued working and preaching. As I look back now, how wise the Lord was! I perhaps, in my inexperience was looking to man and not depending alone upon the Lord, however He knew my exercise, so as I've said I continued waiting upon Him in prayer, preaching and working.
The chairman of Munster Simms, Mr. Frederick Greaves was a Godly gentleman and gave me a free hand if I wanted a few hours off work for anything. I did not abuse this privilege, but as the late Mr. John Hutchinson to whom I have referred did not have a car I often drove him around to wherever he wanted to go. He was one man who gave me great encouragement—a true friend and Spiritual guide. On one particular day we were going to a funeral together, as we were driving along, he said to me," I had a letter from Willie Bunting in S. Africa, when we come home again I will show it to you" which he did. After mentioning different matters regarding the country, its need etc., Willie finished his letter by saying, "Have you no young men there that you could spare"? That one statement seemed to come straight to my heart. I folded the letter, gave it back to him and said nothing. He later showed it to Mr. John Hagan, an elder in the Newry Assembly, his comment was, there's the door open for Sam now if he would only go.
A short time later I asked Mr. Hutchinson if he had replied to brother Bunting's letter yet, he said he had not and asked me if I had any thoughts about it, I said, yes, I was having serious thoughts. He told me if I was sure it was the Lord's will for me to go to S. Africa that he would go with me to see the elders of a number of Assemblies (5 in all). We did this, and when we explained matters there was not one dissenting voice. When leaving for S. Africa I got the right hand of fellowship, and was commended by these five Assemblies—Gransha, Newry, Banbridge, Shanaghan and Drumlough. Mr. Hutchinson's word to me at that time was—in my leaving, he would be loosing one of his best friends, but at the same time encouraged me in every way to go.
Well after that, as one would expect, things started moving. First of all I felt I should try and find someone suitable to take over my job. The Lord directed me to a young Christian man who was quite happy to take over and who turned out to be very satisfactory. Mr. Greaves letter when I was leaving, was a great encouragement to me also, among other things, he said he was very sorry loosing me but as he had this interest at heart too he could not stand in my way from serving a Higher Master.
When news got around of my going to serve the Lord in S. Africa, that year at the Easter Conference in Belfast, Captain Hill who was the acting Chairman mentioned it publicly to an audience of around three to four thousand people, He also asked me to rise to my feet so that all could see who Sam Moore was.
Later that year I got married — another big step — to Norah Mabel, who was also at that time exercised about going into the Lord's work. By that time preparations for leaving were well in hand. We eventually left the Homeland towards the end of August 1936 and spent two weeks in England before leaving London on the Union Castle Ship. After 18 days at sea we duly arrived in Cape Town, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us to serve Him there.
We were met by Mr. Bunting and Mr. Young who fixed us up with accommodation. After having been shown around the Peninsula, we soon got started into the Good Work.
Our first long series of Gospel work in the tent lasted two months, from there we moved a little further for another two months, during these fruitful four months over 60 professed to be saved — truly it was a time of visitation. One evening I baptized 27, three weeks later another 17 and at intervals, more. Our work has been mainly among the Non—European community.
The first 10 years in the country we saw ten new Assemblies established. The Lord was working, we were only the instruments He choose to use. My practice was, open up a new district with the Gospel—see souls saved—teach the new converts—plant an Assembly, then move onto another area and start again. The Assemblies planted in those early days, we are thankful to say, are still functioning, some quite large, with well over 100 in fellowship.
It gives me great joy to look back over the past 51 years in this country and others such as the Rhodesias, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, America, England, Scotland and of course Ireland in service for, and with the Lord—the best of Masters. — The record is on High.
I urge upon all who read these lines to go in for serving the Lord with all purpose of heart, there's is no higher ambition.
The Tree of Life
Lord in Thee we taste the sweetness
Of the Tree of Life above;
Taste its own eternal meetness
For the heav'nly land we love.
In eternal counsels purposed,
Food of heav'nly life to be;
Fresh and ever new are yielded
Fruits of life on that blest Tree.
Varied fruits of richest flavour
Offers still the Tree 'divine;
One itself, the same for ever,
Every precious fruit is Thine;
Fruits that now our souls have tasted
By the Spirit from above,
While through desert lands we've hasted;
Fruits of perfect, endless love.
Never lonely, never lonely while the Saviour's by my side,
Never lonely, never lonely while the Shepherd is my Guide,
All the journey He is with me in His presence I abide,
Every day my heart is singing with the blessings He is bringing,
I am never, never lonely when the Lord is by my side. '
JESUS IS GOD (John 1.1)
"In the beginning was the Word"—eternal existence. "And the Word was with God"—distinct personality. "And the Word was God—absolute Deity.
There is a divine Person—One who is God. He has become flesh, and the writer, associating others with himself says, "and dwelt among us." In that lovely little parenthesis he further states: "and we have contemplated his glory."
What a wonderful thing incarnation is! It brought a glory within the range of human contemplation that had never been seen before.
He is the brightness, or effulgence, outshining of God's glory.