November/December 1992

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by Jim Flanigan

by George Muller

by William Blane

by A. D. Thropay

by J. Burnett

by E. G. Parmenter

by John Glenville

by Nelson MacDonald




(Meditations in Luke’s Gospel)

by JIM FLANIGAN, (Belfast)


The story of Mary of Nazareth is a delightful one. It is the story of what divine sovereignty can do with humble piety in the outworking of heaven’s purposes. Mary, who thinks of herself only as a submissive bondmaid, is forever blessed because of her passive yieldedness to God’s will and the favour of God bestowed upon her.

She lived remotely, in Nazareth of Galilee, far removed from the sophistication of Judea and the theological centre in Jerusalem. Nazareth was a town of ill repute. Could there any good thing come out of it? (John 1.46). But in the midst of the squalor of it all Mary lived tenderly pure, and the eye of God was upon her as a vessel suited to the divine purpose.

It was Gabriel who visited Mary with the heavenly announcement. Gabriel, whose name means, "God is mighty"; Gabriel, who had touched Daniel centuries earlier and had talked with him about the coming of Messiah the Prince; Gabriel, who had so recently conveyed God’s mind to Zacharias; the same Gabriel now comes to Nazareth and to Mary. His salutation is very beautiful. "Hail, thou favoured one! the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women . . . Fear not Mary . . . thou hast found favour with God" (Luke 1.28-30 JND).

His message to the virgin was an astonishing one. She was to conceive and bear a son. His human name was to be "Jesus", Jehovah-Saviour. He would be the Son of the Highest; the Son of El Elyon the God of Melchisidec of Gen 14. He would inherit the throne of David and reign over the house of Jacob in an everlasting kingdom. It was all reminiscent of Isaiah 9.6, "A child born . .. a son given … the government upon His shoulder… His name wonderful… Prince of peace… of His government no end, upon the throne of David".

Notice that both Zacharias and Mary say to Gabriel, "How?"  For Zacharias, the promise of a son seemed too late. For Mary the promise of a son seemed too early. But there is a difference as they question Gabriel respectively. With Zacharias it is the "how" of unbelief, of incredulity and doubt. It is a failure to trust God’s promises and God’s power. With Mary it is the "how" of a trusting believing child, asking in simplicity for an enlargement of the divine message. Zacharias is accordingly rebuked and is stricken deaf and dumb for his unbelief. Mary however, is further blessed with a more full and detailed account of what God was about to do. God delights in the trust of His dependent people and He ministers to them in proportion to that trust.

Mary’s child was to be conceived supernaturally, outside of the order of nature. The Holy Spirit, the power of that same El Elyon, the Most High, would come upon her and overshadow her, and her son would be the Son of God. Heaven was bringing Mary into the divine plan. Her Child would be the Seed of the woman. She was to be that virgin mother of prophecy. It was a big thing that was being asked of Mary. A virgin mother? The people of Nazareth would never believe her story. Nor indeed would Joseph, apart from divine assurance. Mary must have been aware of what the future held for her. Misunderstanding! Scandal! Slander! Cruel insinuations of immorality from those who were themselves immoral. Mary must have, in that moment, anticipated it all, but in beautiful submissiveness she simply says, "Behold the bondmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word". Gabriel, content, departs from her.

In such circumstances, when God is peculiarly working, godly souls are inevitably drawn together. Mary journeys in haste to the hill country, to the house of Zacharias. Mary salutes Elizabeth. Elizabeth blesses Mary. They rejoice together. Elizabeth has, in holy discretion, hidden herself for those five months. Hidden in hill country the two women converse about God’s things. How beautiful a scene is this. An old woman and a maiden with kindred interest in what God is doing. Luke’s Gospel abounds with godly women. It has been likened to the Beautiful Gate of the temple that opened onto the Court of the Women. Here are two of these women, communing together, morally and spiritually on a higher plane than the world around them, and elevated in their thoughts far above the thinking of the men of Judea and Galilee.

Mary’s song has been preserved for us, enshrined in the Word of God, and called by many, "The Magnificat". It was Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s blessing. Notice how Elizabeth calls Mary’s unborn Child, "My Lord"! What devotation is this, and faith too, perhaps greater than that of Zacharias, her priestly husband. Mary’s song ranks great with the Psalms. It reveals her heart and her character, and her deep knowledge of God and His Word and His purpose. She sings of might and of mercy, of holiness and of reverence, of love and of power. She sings of the nation, of the fathers, and of the covenant. In it all she magnifies a Saviour God who exalts the lowly and humbles the proud.

For three months these kindred spirits dwell together. What holy converse there must have been! What exulting and praise! Until they part, anticipating the imminent birth of the forerunner, and the advent, six months later, of the Messiah Himself. The incarnation! Of both forerunner and Messiah it is said, "He shall be great" (Luke 1.15). "He shall be great" (Luke 1.32). But the forerunner will one day exclaim, "He must increase; I must decrease" (John 3.30). He who cried, "Behold the Lamb," would rejoice to have us "Behold the Man."

Messages from Muller

These are notes of addresses given by the late George Muller

Jealousy for God in a Godless World

"I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts."
—1 Kings 19.10,

We have especially, dear Christian friends, to notice that we are to be jealous for God; for His honour and His glory, and not for our own honour and glory; not for our own reputation and name, not for our party, our ecclesiastical position, nor even for our particular religious notions. The spirit of that holy man of God, John the Baptist, when he said, with reference to the Lord Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3.30), should be aimed after by us. The more we are willing, like him, to go down in our own esteem, and in seeking our own honour, the more we are fit to be used by the Lord; and He will also see to it that we are honoured by Him, because we seek to honour Him (1 Sam2.30).

As in everything, so in jealousy, or zeal, for the honour of God, our adorable Lord Jesus is to us the perfect example, whom we have to set before us, and whom we have to seek to imitate. But in order to be able in any degree to imitate Him, we have,—

1.  Through faith in Him to obtain spiritual life; for we are naturally "dead in trespasses and sins." We have therefore, naturally, no desire whatever to seek the honour of God : yea, are unconcerned about it when He is dishonoured. But when we have become the children of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus, and are thus reconciled to God, and have our sins forgiven, we begin to seek to please God, seek to honour Him, and desire that others, too, should honour Him and please Him.

2.  This zeal for God allows of an increase or a decrease in ourselves; and it will be found to increase, in the measure in which our own hearts are practically entering into the loveliness of the nature and character of God. We have therefore to seek for ourselves to become more and more convinced of the graciousness of God, of His love, His bountifulness, His kindness, His pity, His compassion, His readiness to help and bless, His patience, His faithfulness, His almighty power, His infinite wisdom; in a word, we have to seek to know God, not according to the views of men, or even according to the notions of Christians generally, but according to the revelation He has made of Himself in the Holy Scriptures, in order to have our hearts filled with love to Him, so that we may be earnestly longing to honour Him, and seek to stir up others to honour Him.

3.  Our Lord Jesus knew the Father perfectly: He came out of His bosom. Moreover, as the perfect Man, the Servant of the Father, He meditated day and night in the Holy Scriptures (Ps. 119). The more we, the children of God, meditate in the Holy Scriptures, the more perfectly we shall become acquainted with the true loveliness of God, and the more shall we therefore ourselves seek to please Him, and the more shall we seek to stir up others to acquaint themselves with Him, that they may please Him.

4.  There never was a time when it was not true regarding the world what the Apostle John says, "The whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5.19). Hence the deep importance that all the children of God in this godless world should seek to bring honour to God, live for God, be as lights in the world, manifest their zeal for the glory of God. In seeking to do so they may meet with many difficulties, but God will help them and strengthen them, if they pray to Him for help, and expect help from Him. They may find themselves sometimes almost alone, or quite alone, in their path in seeking to glorify God, as was the case with some men of God of old; but the more alone, the greater the importance to live for God, to seek zealously His glory, and the greater the reward of grace at last for doing so. Sometimes also it may appear as if we thus lived and laboured in vain for God; but the testimony of the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures is the very reverse; for it is written, "Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15.58). Again, it is written, "Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Gal. 6.9). As we are drawing nearer and nearer the close of the present dispensation, spiritual darkness, departure from the Holy Scriptures, and consequent ungodliness, we have reason to believe, will increase more and more, though coupled with a form of godliness (see 1 Tim. 3.1-5); therefore the path of a true disciple of the Lord Jesus will become more and more difficult; but for this very reason it is of so much the more importance to live for God, to testify for God, to be unlike the world, to be transformed from it. If we desire that thus it may be with us, it is needful that we give ourselves to the prayerful reading of the Holy Scriptures with reference to ourselves. The Bible should be to us the Book of books; all other books should be esteemed little in comparison with the Bible. But if this is not the case, we shall remain babes in grace and knowledge.

And now, beloved fellow-disciples, how many of us are in heart purposed to live for God, to be zealous for God, and to be truly transformed from the world? We have but one brief life here on earth. The opportunities to witness for God by our life will soon be over; let us therefore make good use of it. Let none among us allow his life, nor even a small part of it, to be wasted, for it is given to us to be used for God, to His glory, in this godless world.

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by William Blane

Part II

The glorious Gospel will effect
The gath’ring in of that Elect
Which, long before time had begun,
God did foresee would trust His Son;
And whom He therefore did destine
To be conformed by power divine
Into His image, and to be
His "glorious Church," from blemish free.
But this, though known and valued much,
Doth not the great Atonement touch.
True, ’twas the special treasure sought,
But, for it, all the field was bought.
"Christ loved the Church," and in His love
Did for her die, that she above
Might be the partner of His throne.
But she is not the fruit alone
That from the "Corn of Wheat" doth grow,
Which He on Calvary did sow.
Think of the souls before the flood
Who trusted in the Living God—
Of Abr’am and the saints of old
Who died in faith, as we are told—
Of Israel’s thousands who foresaw
The End of all their shadowing law—
Of nations, tribes, and kindreds who
Have lived and died and never knew
Of Revelation’s glorious light,
With whom the judge shall do the right.
Then, death takes half our race away
In infancy and childhood’s day;
These, through th’ Atoning work, are His
Who said, "Of such the kingdom is."
Then let our minds reach on before,
Till times of tribulation sore
Shall overtake the sons of men,
And see the grace of God e’en then
In sealing thousands as His own;
Then, turn with John to yonder throne—
See gathered there from every land
That countless, white-robed, praising band,
Who, in the Tribulation great,
For God and Truth their lives did hate.
Then think of the millennial bliss,
When Christ shall reign in righteousness;
A thousand years of peace sublime
Shall be enjoyed in every clime.
Then, on the merits of His blood
He shall the whole creation flood
With waves of blessing, rich and free,
For He shall reign from sea to sea;
And then, as now, for every breath
All shall be debtors to His death.
And when that scene has passed away,
And all is one eternal day—
When gathered is that myriad throng,
Who through the Cross to Him belong,
From Adam to the latest one
Who’ll trust the work on Calv’ry done,
"The travail of His soul" He’ll see,
And satisfied His heart shall be.
And as to all eternity
He leads that shining company
From fount to fount of pure delight,
‘Mid still increasing glory bright,
Where He shall to their gaze unfold
Those glories which have ne’er been told;
For ever at each fresh display
Of love, and grace, and glory, they
Shall fall adoring at His feet,
Forget all heaven in worship meet,
And gladly to His glory own
That, through the Atoning work alone,
They have a title to be there,
To see Him, and His glory share.
The cherubim of dreadful ire,
The seraphim with Mercy’s fire,
All angels, the Archangel too,
Shall reap eternal blessing through
The’ death of Christ. For while therein
They see God’s estimate of sin
And fear, they also there can see
His love revealed beyond degree;
Which firmer confidence inspires,
And tunes all heaven’s unceasing lyres,
In loftier strains than e’er before,
To swell His praise for evermore.
The Father who receives the lost,
The Son who paid in blood the cost,
The Holy Spirit of all grace,
Who leads them to their resting-place—
The great eternal, triune God,
The Source from whom Life’s river flowed,
The Goal to which its course doth tend—
Beginner of all things and End,
Finds in th’ Atonement such a rest
As seraph tongues have ne’er expressed.
God’s perfect bliss shall ever be
Around His shining throne to see
His ransomed through the Cross enjoy
Pleasures for aye without alloy.
To all creation—land and sea—
Each blade of grass, each flower and tree,
To fish and reptile, fowl and beast,
And to mankind (deserving least)
Each dawning day fresh blessing brings
On Mercy’s long-enduring wings;
And every drop of dew and rain,
And ray of light and sheaf of grain,
And universal blessing giv’n
To guilty man by gracious Heaven,
And all the pleasant things of earth,
Proclaim the great Atonement’s worth.
But for th’ Atonement who can tell
Why earth is favoured more than hell?
Why fallen man such good receives,
While fallen angels nought relieves.
But all these blessings are no more
Than earnests of what lies before.
Creation now sin’s bondage owns,
But, hopeful for redemption, groans,
And waits the time of joy and peace,
When sin and sorrow, all shall cease.
To earth O what a joyful day!
The long-felt curse shall flee away,
And all creation, free, shall raise
One universal shout of praise.
The mountains and the hills shall sing,
The woods with joyful voices ring;
For Nature all afresh shall bloom;
And earth primeval bliss resume.
The raging sea, hushed to a calm,
Shall murmur a millennial psalm,
And all its inmates peaceful be,
Alike from fear and hatred free:
While man to man, from shore to shore,
"Know ye the Lord," shall say no more.
And when the righteous King of Peace
Proclaims Creation’s sweet release
From all the curses of the Fall,
‘Twill to His death ascribe it all,
And, joyful for a thousand years,
Shall reap what He has sown in tears.

to be continued.

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by A. D. THROPAY (California)

Paper 9

III. A Resting Place For God

A. God’s household — verse 19b

B. The foundation — verse 20a

C. The Chief Corner Stone, Jesus Christ Himself — verse 20b
B. The frame — verse 21
A. God’s habitation — verse 22

We are members of the immediate family of God. God desires that His family should have a place to live. This house is called a Temple.

B. The foundation — verse 20a

—And are built: (epoikodomethentes — aorist, passive particle of epoikoidomeo) "To build upon." The passive voice indicates that it is another person (God) who built them upon the foundation.

—upon: (epi) Resting upon. With the Genitive case it emphasizes contact. (Dana and Mantey)

—the foundation of the . . .: The genitive is variously understood. (1) Genitive of apposition = "consisting of …" (2) Genitive of possession = "belonging to …" (3) Genitive of origination = "laid by . . ."

—the Apostles and Prophets: Note that there is one article with two nouns. "The omission of ton (the article) before propheton (prophets) does not necessarily identify the Apostles and Prophets as one and the same persons; … It indicates, however, that they both belong to the same class." (Expositors) So Darby, etc.

Those people who are saved and who belong to the immediate family of God, are built and resting on the very same foundation on which the apostles and prophets rested. In fact, it is the same foundation which was laid by them.

—Jesus Christ Himself: These words are placed in such a way that they may go with what has just been previously stated as well as with what follows. (1) Jesus Christ is the foundation that has been laid by the apostles and prophets and upon whom every believer rests.

Cp. 1 Corinthians 3.11 It is not only truth about Him, but He Himself that is the foundation. (2) Jesus Christ Himself is also . . .

C. The Chief Corner Stone—verse 20b

—being the Chief corner stone: or "The Headstone of the corner." This is the most important stone. It is the stone on which the entire structure rests and depends for its existence. Compare Isaiah 28.16 where the foundation and the chief corner stone are the same. "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tired stone, a precious comer stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste."

B. The frame—verse 21.

—In whom: We are not only built UPON Him as the foundation, but IN Him as the uniting bond between the stones.

—all the building: (Some manuscripts omit the article. Thus the Revised Version translates it, "every building." However, the context favours the King James Version. Also, even if the article is omitted, the law of the article would allow the KJV translation). The Temple of Solomon is likely in mind.

—fitly framed together: (sunarmologeo — This word is used only here and in 4.16) In the passive voice, it means to be fitly joined or framed together by another’s power. The structure is progressively closer and firmer together. When Solomon ordered the building of the temple, every stone was hewn and shaped prior to placing it in its position at the temple site. There was no sound of a hammer or any other tool at the temple site. All stones were fitly framed together in their proper position. I Kings 6.7 says, "And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building." God places us in the building where it pleases Him.

—groweth: (auxano) To grow or increase as a result of having life. Used of plants, fruit, etc. See Matthew 6.28. The stones in the temple are "living stones." I Peter 2.5

—unto: (eis) With a view towards. This indicates the incompleteness of the temple at the present time.

—an holy temple: (naon) An inner temple consisting of the two sections, the holy place and the holiest of all.

—in the Lord: This refers to the Lord Jesus. As the Lord of the temple, He oversees the building process and maintains its holiness.

A. God’s habitation — verse 22

—In Whom: Again referring to the Lord of verse 21. THE SON

—ye: Referring to the readers of this letter.

—also: (kai) This word points to the dignity of the present position. They were not excluded. They were included as well as all other believers.

—are builded together: (sunoikodomeo) In the present tense and passive voice this word means "are being built closely together with." The previous context would indicate that this has reference to the fact that believers from among Jew and Gentile groups are built together, united in the same temple.

—for: (eis) unto, with a view towards

—an habitation: (katoiketerion) A permanent dwelling place or living quarters. Contrast Revelation 18.2, "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." This word is only used in these two places in scripture.

—of God: In contrast to the great Babylon of man’s religion, the home of demons, this spiritual temple composed of all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, is the dwelling place of GOD himself. THE FATHER.

—through: (en) Literally, "in." As the element of the life; each living stone is surrounded and engulfed by the presence and power of. . .


NOTE: The Trinity is actively involved in the building of God’s temple as well as in our access to the Father (verse 18).

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Lessons from the Life of David

By J. Burnett, (Dunfermline, Scotland)

2(a) — David and his Family

The previous paper concluded by indicating that we would continue by considering David and his relationship with three members of his family circle: viz. his father Jesse, his brother Eliab and his son Solomon. We shall highlight practical lessons from the first of these.


In 1 Sam. 17.20 David is described in a three fold way — A SERVANT; A STEWARD; A SON.


We read that David rose up early in the morning. That day he was set on visiting his brethren to seek after their welfare — thus he woke early that particular morning. Spiritually this depicts a young man who in the full bloom of first love was attending to the things of God. Before him lay a life of service for he was destined in the counsel of Divine Purpose to "serve his own generation by the will of God." There is something good and healthy and wholesome about all this. This is not a man giving to God the dregs of life, having yielded to the world the best years of his life. In Psalm 92.14 we read that those who are planted in the house of the Lord will STILL bring forth fruit in old age — the word "still" is important and gives us to see that the process of fruit bearing had begun early and not in old age itself. Not that we would lightly esteem the autumn fruits of life because very often they prove to be the sweetest and the choicest. Nevertheless habit must begin at the dawn of one’s spiritual experience. What we are in old age will be determined by what we were in the morning of life for it is then that the course is set.

Many young people are understandably concerned about their education, career, their desire to marry and have a family etc. Above all this we would beg of any young believer reading these words to give the Lord His rightful place and never allow the things of earth to squeeze out the interests of God. It has been said, "Before you were saved it was a matter of Heaven or Hell: after you are saved it is a question of Heaven or Earth." The saintly R. C. Chapman of Barnstable once said in a similar vein, "Before I was saved I was afraid to DIE, but after I was saved I was afraid to LIVE."

Let us ensure that we spend the rest of our time not according to the lusts of the flesh but according to the will of God. The following words impressed the author as a young believer,

"Oh’ for a will to will God’s will And then to will is well The willing will that wills God’s will Within God’s will will dwell."


Again we read that he left the sheep with a keeper. This is another feature of great beauty which marked young David. Knowing that he would be absent for a season he ensured the few sheep would be in safe hands.

What promise and potential there was in David especially when we remember that God had in mind a far greater responsibility for him in relation to the people of God. Thus was the Lord testing him.

(c) AS A SON

Finally we learn in the same verse that David did as his father Jesse commanded him. The lesson is — the man who has never learned to submit will never be fit to lead. David did not argue or question his father’s wish. He simply obeyed the voice of Jesse. Here once more David was being proved. The family home was becoming a training ground for David where precious lessons were being learned that would stand him in good stead for days to come.

Before leaving this, please note that he is called the son of Jesse on two occasions. 2 Sam.23.7, "These be the last words of David the Son of Jesse." In Psalm 72.20, "The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended." It is important to note that these references are to the end of his life. David never forgot he was the son of Jesse always remembering his upbringing, the simple source from which he sprung. We have nothing to be proud of and do well to remember the hole of the pit from whence we were digged. Many years ago a well known Irish brother said, "Go Slow, Keep Low, Don’t Blow." Timely words indeed.

(to be continued)

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A Prophetic Perusal

by E. G. Parmenter (Barton-on-Sea)

3. The Rise of the Man of Sin

Consequent upon the fall of man (Gen. 3) there was introduced a world system at the head of which is Satan, who purposed in his heart to attempt all the functions of God. In His wisdom God is permitting Satan to work his system, to attempt the ambition in his heart and to manifest increasingly his authority. But Satan’s dominion is limited, and any direction of the governments of the world which he exercises, is by "Permission from God"

Under the restraining hand of God, Satan is now in authority over an unregenerate world; and the unsaved are unconsciously organised and federated under his leading. As to the Satanic system — Satan is its governing head.

Three times the Lord Jesus referred to Satan as the prince of the satanic system

  • John 12.31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out".
  • John 14.30 "Hereafter I will not talk much with you; for the prince of this world cotneth and hath nothing in me"
  • John 14.11 "Of judgment because the prince of this world is judged."

Satan is revealed as the recognised head of this world system—

  • 1 John 4.14 "Because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."
  • 1 John 5.19 "And we know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in the wicked one."

Satan is set forth as having direct control of the physical well-being of his subjects. In Luke 13.16 we read of a woman bound by Satan, ‘lo these eighteen years.’ At the same time he is able by special permission to gain access to the people of God. In Job 1 & 2 God said to Satan, ‘behold all that he hath is in thy power only upon himself put not forth thine hand.’ Luke 22.31 ‘Simon, Simon Satan hath desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee …’

All that is in the Satanic system is summed up like this — "The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world", 1 John 2.16. Satan’s system is wholly self centred; and without any thought of God. Satan (though proposing to supersede the Almighty) is not omnipotent but his power and the extent of his activity are immeasurably increased by the co-operation of his host of demons.

Satan is not omniscient: yet his knowledge is greatly extended by the combination of his wisdom and observation of his subjects.

Satan is not omnipresent:— but he is able to call up an unceasing host who are so numerous as to be called legion.

Satan’s motive is to become "Like THE MOST HIGH" The object of worship. He is working to this end, promoting a condition of society where he will be received as supreme. The increasing irreverence and lawlessness toward God is the sure preparation of the forthcoming manifestation of himself as predicted in Dan 11; 2 Thess. 2; Rev. 13.

The satanic ideal is an improved social order. The satanic message is reformation and self development. Satan in his imitation of the Most High is working toward a universal kingdom of morality and peace upon earth, a moral and cultured people who will be devout worshippers of himself. A programme, resulting in a brotherhood of man with himself on the throne, drawing men from their reverence of God, that they may acknowledge and worship him, obtaining at last publicly and openly worship as God by the world.


Dan. 2.27-49 records The Dream of Destiny. With the exception of the feet all is now history, the 10 toes of the image refer to 10 kings as Daniel in his interpretation indicates, "in the days of those kings", the kingdoms of the 10 kings will be democratic in their rule, that is government by the people. Such will have the strength of the iron and the brittleness of the clay, but as iron and earthenware just do not mix together, so a democratic form of government is always nebulous.

Dan. 7 is a continuation of what we have in chapter 2. This dream is given to Daniel. Of the four beasts which Daniel sees, attention is focussed on the fourth beast which has 10 horns, these are interpreted as 10 kings (v24). So in the end time we can expect 10 nations to come into prominence, each one with its own recognised ruler. Events of the present time are interesting to follow because we are seeing with some rapidity, nations coming into prominence with a desire to co-operate with each other.

Rev. 17 pictures a great religious power in the end of time under the figure of a harlot which will greatly influence the 10 nations and for a while will direct the course of these 10 kings.

Dan. 7.8,20 reveals that among the 10 horns, another little horn i.e. a remarkable personage, is to arise.

Rev. 6 tells of the loosing of the seven seals, the first of which produces a horse with a rider. The horse as a prophetic figure always denotes conquering power. The first seal has a specially interesting character because of the peaceful time which it foreshadows. A rider on a white horse is seen to go forth conquering and to conquer i.e. he has a career of astonishing and continuing success.

Dan. 7.8,20 relates that three of the 10 kings dispute the authority of this statesman. He uproots them, giving a display of his power, consequent upon which he will either reinstate them or replace them, in that way he will have established his authority over the 10 kings.

With the winds of divine judgment restrained, until the servants of God have been sealed in their foreheads (Rev. 7). There will be a period of calm and prosperity which will be increased by the political measures of this little horn, the rider on the white horse. A treaty will be made with the many Jews at Jerusalem (cf Isa 18.1-7). He will confirm this treaty for a period of seven years at which point the seventieth week of Daniel 9, those last all important 7 years, will have their commencement.

This remarkable personage who will be unique in his character, time and undertakings is the little horn of Dan. 7; The ‘desolater’ Dan. 9.27; The ‘wilful king’ Dan. 11.36; The ‘man of sin’ 2 Thess. 2.4-8; The ‘rider on the white horse’ Rev. 6.2; The ‘first beast’ Rev. 13. He will be the last Gentile world ruler and the most God dishonouring. His reign is prophesied in detail in Dan. 11.36-39. Whose mouth speaking great things. Whose look is more imposing than others. He will make war with the saints. He will have a colossal disregard for God. A hatred of the true Messiah, and to him Satan gives all the glory and power he first offered to Christ (Luke. 4.5-6).

In Rev. 12 we have a graphic picture of Satan in conflict with Michael and their respective armies of angels, resulting in his banishment from heaven. In great wrath that his time is short he will pour forth his wrath on earth, and there will commence great tribulation. It will be at this time, midway through those all important 7 years, that Satan will give to the man of sin, the first beast, his power and his throne and great authority (Rev. 13.2).

The first and most important thing to be stated is "that one of his heads was as it were wounded to death and his deadly wound was healed". This might well mean, that Satan will attempt to imitate, in the man of sin, that which was the supreme miracle of the Christ, His death and resurrection.

The effort is plainly effective — v3 "All the world wondered after the beast", and after they wondered they worshipped v4. First they worshipped Satan who performed the miracle. Then they worshipped the beast saying — who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? v4.

The terrible blasphemy of the man of sin seen in 2 Thess. 2 is here more vividly pictured, and for 42 months, the last half of the seven years, he will be permitted to continue and by overwhelming supernatural power and wisdom he will gain authority over all in the Satanic system "excepting those in the Lamb’s Book of Life" Rev. 13.8.

Rev. 13 in its 2nd part presents another mighty person who is called a beast and later appears as the false prophet Rev. 19.20. He exercises all the power of the first beast, but his mission is not to attract attention to himself. He co-operates by gaining worldwide worship and the authority for the first beast. Whose deadly wound was healed. He compels loyalty to the first beast:

  1. Fire is called down from heaven
  2. He deceives the people by means of miracles.
  3. He suggests they make an image to the beast which he makes to live and to speak, compare Matt. 24.15.
  4. He will establish a union of all people in trade, imposing a death penalty upon them — and by all these means he furthers the interest of the first beast.

Then there will be upon the earth that travesty of the holy trinity, a counterpart of the Godhead.

  • Satan — Anti— God.
  • First Beast — Anti — Christ,
  • Second beast — Anti — Spirit.

The future world ruler who is to appear on the earth heading up a 10 Kingdom confederacy, with superhuman power, ascribed to Satan, will be the climax of all satanic exaltation and opposition to God. This last and greatest of earthly rulers, from his position of unsurpassed influence, speaking great words, manifesting great wisdom and great miracles performed by himself and by his prophet will be accepted by God. The people will first marvel and wonder, then they will worship at his feet and at last in mad devotion they will challenge the universe to produce his equal. "Who is like the beast?" So the man of sin will appear as the culmination of all the counterfeit methods of Satan, he will rule the world.

This programme of Satan (permitted in the purpose of God), will only be for a moment: For the resistless coming of the Ancient of Days, will unveil all this deception, and banish all the enemies, and bring in His own long predicted and glorious reign of everlasting blessedness.

The Devil’s — Superman, Statesman, World Magnate, Constituted head of a vast, popular, but false religious system deceiving them that dwell on the earth, is only such, until He come whose right it is to reign, our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the page of scripture and of eternal history two men stand out as exact opposites.

  • The Lord Jesus — The man of righteousness.
  • The Man of Sin — The culmination of all wickedness.
  • The Lord Jesus — Humbled Himself.
  • The Man of Sin — Exalts himself.

Jesus declined when they would have made him a king. The Man of Sin takes the place of a king and will exalt himself.

  • The Lord Jesus — was rejected, crucified
  • The Man of Sin — accepted, acclaimed and worshipped.

‘In all things He must love the pre-eminence’

—(to be continued)

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by John Glenville (Saltash)

Owing to the fact that the university presses of Oxford and Cambridge were jointly publishing The Revised English Bible, a thorough reworking of the New English Bible of 1970, the London ‘Times’ dated 23rd September, 1989 used the above title for its second leading article regarding the principles of Biblical translation.

This editorial finally averred that "the new translation must make its way in what has always been a ferociously competitive part of the market place". If I am permitted to utilize William Cowper’s words "God’s most Holy Book was never meant, was never used before" to be merely a chattel of common commerce; rather, indeed, an instrument for our "common salvation" making us wise to this noble goal.

However, it is para. 7 of ‘The Times’ article which concerns the present writer: "it will surprise large numbers of people living north of Watford to learn that "thee" and "thou" are antiquated forms of address reminiscent of the vocabulary of 19th century clergymen" to which one might add, the West Country, too.

The English language has never entered the portals of the Divorce Court for the purpose of divorcing the second person singular, to which it is indissolubly wedded. Consequently the usage of "you" and "your" in addressing Deity is tantamount to acknowledging the worship of a plurality of gods.

It has been observed in Gospel meetings that during the opening and closing prayers the ears of the hearers have been regaled (or rather assailed) by a repetitive banal barrage of "you" and "your".

If the preacher were a novice then he could be helped and suitably instructed. Sadly, the preachers are either overseers of many years standing, or able brethren acting in defiance.

Incidentally this defiant attitude is insidiously creeping into other areas of assembly life, which are not within the province of his current article. Now this is the language of the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches, held in Canberra, 7th-20th February, 1991, e.g. "your presence" "your friendship" "you yourself and much more of that like.

Understandably they "worship they know not what" (see John 4.22), and if this now occasions alarm amongst some of our evangelical friends, what foreboding is thereby engendered when assembly overseers lack the saintly intelligence to distinguish ‘Thou’ and ‘You’.

Even ‘The Times’ secular editorial puts us to shame. Did not the Lord Jesus Christ say that "the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light"(Luke 16.8)?

Unless this rot is not peremptorily stopped assemblies will continue to be undermined and the sad haunting lament of Isaiah 59.14 echoed, "for truth is fallen in the street" — not the street leading to the common market place, but "through one street" (Acts 12.10) which leads to where many were gathered together praying" (vl2).

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by Nelson MacDonald (Scotland)

The Lord Jesus exhorts us in Matt. 11. 29 to "learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart:" He is meek and will not give offence, He is lowly and will not take offence. One has said, "Learn to know Christ, thou needest no more obtain, But if thou knowest Him not, all knowledge is vain."

Matt. 11.29 — Learning to Know
1 Peter 2.2 — Longing to Grow
Matt. 13.3 — Labouring to Sow
Ephes. 4.1 — Living to Show
Phil. 3.20 — Looking to Go.

In Knowing Him:

  1. we know the Inscrutable — John 17.3
  2. we hear the Inaudible — 1 John 1.1
  3. we see the Invisible             — 1 John 1.1
  4. we touch the Intangible — 1 John 1.1
  5. we believe the Impossible — Heb. 11. 1,6

It is amazing to know that God has revealed Himself to us in all His fulness. He is:

  1. the God of Eternity — none can CHANGE Him,
  2. the God of Omniscience — none can COUNCIL Him,
  3. the God of Omnipotence — none can CONQUER Him,
  4. the God of Omnipresence — none can CONTROL Him.

In Psalm 139.5, we read " thou-hast beset me behind and before, and hast laid thine hand upon me."

"Behind me" — that’s the past,
"Before me" — that’s the future,
"Thine hand upon me" — that’s the present.

No wonder v 6 reads, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is high, I cannot attain unto it." It is a tremendous thought to be in and controlled by, His hand. Deuteronomy 33.3 has often been a comfort to the saints of God. "Yea He loved the people: all His saints are in Thy hand: and they sat down at Thy feet; every one shall receive of Thy words."

"He loved the people"
— Loved by His heart
— the place of Affection,
"His saints are in Thy hand"
— Locked in His hand,
— the place of Assurance,
"sat down at Thy feet"
— Learning at His feet,
— the place of Accumulation.

The following poem about His hand was a blessing to the writer and he took the liberty of adding a little heading to each verse.

Powerful Hands — John 10. 27-30.
We are in His hand, that mighty hand, which flung a universe in space,
That guides the sun and moon and stars, and holds the planets in their place.
Physician’s Hands — Mark 1.31-34, 41,42.
We are in His hand, that skilful hand, that made the blinded eyes to see,
That touched the leper, cleansed and healed, and set the palsied sufferer free.
Practical Hands — John 6.10, Matt. 19.13.
We are in that hand, that loving hand, that lifted children to His breast,
That fed the hungry multitudes, and beckoned weary hearts to rest.
Pierced Hands — Psalm 22.6, Zech. 12.10, John 19.34 We are in His hands, those pierced hands, once nailed to Calvary’s cruel tree, Where there in agony and blood, He paid the price to set us free.
Priestly Hands — Luke 24.50, Mark 16.19, Acts 1.11.
Those hands still outstretched to bless His people, wayward feet to guide,
Till dawn shall break and shadows flee, when He shall come to claim His bride.
Pure Hands — Psalm 24.4, Job 17.9.
Then in those saint thronged courts above, from every clime and land,
With wondering joy we’ll look on Him, who kept us safely in His hand.

What a comfort to know Him and the serenity, security and authority of HIS HANDS.

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by W. D. Halliday (Zambia)

I wanted above all things to be an engineer at sea; on my mother’s side our folk were fishermen living at Portrush, and I suppose the liking for the sea stemmed from that. My greatgrandfather was lost at sea off the Skerries as he and other fishermen went to assist a schooner in distress on which his brother was a member of the crew. Through lack of work in that area my grandparents, with their small family, moved to Belfast towards the end of the last century.

I was born after the first world war. My father had been a prisioner throughout the war and returned a physical wreck, but was able to drive a tram to provide for his family. He was always in and out of hospital and it was a common sight to see him wear the blue uniform of the U.V.F. Hospital. He died in 1930 when I was just eleven years old; I missed him a lot as he was a very kind and loving father.

With the bread-earner no more we moved into a very small house the rent of which Mother could afford from the small war pension which she got. I was anxious to get a job to have money to enable me to enjoy the world and go to sea; eventually my worldly desires began to be fulfilled when I got the job in the Sirocco Engineering Works, Belfast. God was in this as work was hard to find. I soon entered into all that men in such places enjoyed, but one day as I spoke to a man by the name of John Jackson he promptly told me that I was a sinner going to hell. I did not resent that as I knew it to be true. With my up bringing in a God-fearing home I believed that from my childhood. I always dreaded death and there was a lot of it during the depression years. Mother always insisted that we go to "church" which was an exercise I loathed. We had to attend Sunday School too. In those days the teachers were saved men and women and I am sure they taught us the gospel and prayed for our salvation, but, sorry to say, I had never taken it in and thought that to reach heaven, one would have to be good and attend "church". That perhaps is the reason we called Christians "good living people". Not wanting such things I settled for a life of pleasure and at the end of the day take what was coming to me. But on being told so emphatically that I was a sinner going to hell I could not get rid of the thought. I was afraid to die and find myself in hell.

At that time of my apprenticeship I helped to look after the air-compressors and repair pneumatic machines and tools so I was able to go around the firm without being asked any questions. On one of my walks I found myself in the boiler-house where our late brother Tommy Maxwell (Matchett St., Belfast) worked. He was talking to John Jackson and John asked him if he had ever spoken to me about my soul. I had always kept clear of "good living people" so I never went close to Tommy. I was now in a different mood and on many, many occasions after that I went to Tommy who faithfully told me God’s way of salvation and the outcome if I refused it. I trembled at the thought of being in hell and many a sleepless night I had as I thought of dying without Christ. I was in no way passive, but put up my arguments and tried to make out that Tommy in his own way could enjoy the world, but he was endued with spiritual wisdom. During one of our chats he told me that he had been speaking to a brother the previous evening and had mentioned me to him. He told me that the brother said that he would go home immediately and pray for me. I thought this was most serious when someone who didn’t know me should go to his home to pray for me. Tommy had noticed my deep concern and was seeking the prayers of the Lord’s people. Even though I was in distress and my concern was being seen I was still unsaved. One morning as I travelled to work on my bicycle I realised my pleasure seeking life was taking me to hell. Immediately thought if that be the case it is time I got clear of the things which I am going in for and enjoying. I had no idea how I was going to change. I was one of the "boys" and certain things centred around me. But God continued to deal further. I had acknowledged that my sins were taking me to hell and that my pleasure seeking life was hindering me from going to heaven and was taking me to hell. On such a confession the Holy Spirit — then I knew nothing of His workings with sinners — brought before me: "Whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have eternal life." I did not know it was the Word of God. It is possible that I learnt it in Sunday School or in day school or perhaps Tommy Maxwell had quoted it to me. Those words never left me, day and night they were in my thoughts. I had never been to a meeting, and had never heard the gospel preached. I am sure, too, if I had been invited to a meeting I would not have gone. One day in May, 1938, as I stood upon the roof of the air-compressor house beside the water-coolers, over looking the river Lagan and the Albert bridge I cried to God to accept me. I believed: "Whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have eternal life." It was afterwards that I learnt that those words were found in John 3.15. I determined that I would tell no one as I was sure I would never be able to keep it and had no desire to be laughed at by my pals and others. So I was silent. I did not know the extent of what had taken place nor the word of 2 Cor. 5.17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." I was a new creation and it was being noticed by the world. One by one the men who brought their pneumatic tools for repair asked: "Have you changed your way of living?" I had to admit that it was true. So the word got round and then my close companion in the works came round for a smoke and he offered one to me. I refused, "Why", he asked "have you changed your way of living?" and on confirming that I had he immediately said: "You should have told me." That rebuke I have never forgotten. I did not know Rom. 10.9. On telling my workmate at the compressors he said: "Thank God for that." I had never liked him and tried to make things difficult. The news spread quickly through the works and most gave me one week and it would be over, others six weeks and the end would come, and one man gave me six months. Weeks, months and years have passed and I still thank God for saving me out of a wicked sinful world and putting me in Christ. I was saved in May, 1938, but have no idea which day it was as I did not know that people remembered such dates to tell later while relating their testimonies. I know it was in May and it was a beautiful sunny day that God in His wonderous grace saved a poor sinner like me through the sacrificial death of His Son on the cross. I had no trouble in believing, I did not know that such a problem existed, I simply accepted the word of John 3.15. My first Saturday evening as a Christian can still be well remembered. My companion was a professional footballer playing for Liverpool and as it was the off-season he was at home; and as arranged I called at his home early on the Saturday to make arrangements about our meeting and going out for the evening. He suggested that we go to the picture house, I said: "no". Then he said that we could go to the "Chapel Fields" to the boxing and again my answer was "no". So he wanted to know what was wrong and asked if I had got "good living" and I admitted that I had. He had often stood at open-air meetings, but I walked on and waited for him. He suggested that I call at six and we would go for a walk. As I was going to meet him I saw him and his father going to the tram and that was the end of the companionship.

I went down into the city alone, but unknown to me, I was ruined to the world. The lights of the cinemas and other places of amusements attracted no more. I walked through the streets not knowing one believer apart from the two who had spoken to me.

I started going to the Mission Hall on the York Road connected with the "church" where I had been sprinkled when a baby and confirmed and I was around twelve or thirteen. I knew of no where else. I attended meetings conducted by the late W. P. Nicholson in the Cripples Institute, Donegall Road; he confused me a lot as he had a number of ways a person could be saved and as I was saved none of the ways he mentioned I got into doubts, and wondered if I was really saved. One day in the works I was speaking to a brother called Sammy Shields — the late father of Mrs. McNally of the Bloomfield Assembly — when a man reared in a Christian home came along and with a sneer on his face said how that "the birds of a feather flock together". Immediately Sammy Shields replied "Yes, we know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren." (1 John 3:14). Immediately all doubts went, I was assured of my salvation from the Word. I knew that I was really saved because I did have a real love for a people I had never been attracted to before. I went on my way rejoicing. I settled down with the Christians of the Mission Hall and with them I went out on to the streets for open-air meetings and this was a very big trial. To stand in front of people whom I knew and to stand in the centre of the ring to tell how I got saved was an exercise that did not come easy to me, and as I had a good strong voice I was called upon often to speak. I can’t say that I looked forward to that evening in the week but I went. There was an open-air meeting each Saturday evening facing the Midland Station, York Street and I kept away from that until I was so convicted that I walked to the place in a blizzard and never missed that meeting for sometime afterwards. The Christians in the Mission Hall were very missionary-minded; and it was in October of 1938 that I told the Lord that I was willing to go to Africa if this was His will for me. That exercise and promise never left me.

The Word was being read and at every opportunity I talked about the Scriptures. Our late brother Tommy Foster (Albert-bridge Road and later Bloomfield) worked in the Sirocco Works and he was well taught in the Word and at lunch time he helped us with the Scriptures. He knew what he believed and was most firm, and with no uncertain sound taught me the proper way of gathering and his teaching made my position in the Mission Hall and Sunday School most untenable as I knew that I was in the wrong place. I was eventually put out of the Sunday School by the clergyman for teaching that confirmation would never take a person to heaven. I was realising at that time the clergy were not preaching the truth of the gospel and spoke to them about it. Once there were two visiting clergymen who did preach the gospel and faithfully warned sinners to flee from the wrath to come. They were saved men, no doubt, but in the wrong place like myself. I commenced looking around for a Scriptural place to meet, but sectarian names turned me away. So not being able to find a place without a name I decided I would try the "Brethren" the last ones I wanted to be with. I had no idea how to go about entering in that hall in Adam Street; if I had mentioned my concern to my two brethren at work they would, no doubt, have helped me in my quest for a Scriptural gathering place. However, I introduced myself to the late Robert Gordon and he took me to Adam Street. On that Lord’s day morning a brother ministered from Matt. 18.20 and I thought that was all they had to talk about and I did not go back for a number of weeks. I was fighting against going to Adam Street as I knew the cost of separation unto Himself. The Holy Spirit was at work and I could resist no longer. I went back and one Lord’s day morning waited and had a chat with the brethren. I told them that I wanted "to join the Brethren". The late Mr. David Jemphrey in a most gracious manner instructed me "more fully in the ways of the Lord". Shortly after that I was received into the assembly in May, 1940.

I should say that I had been in certain organisations, but resigned, knowing that as a Christian I should not be one with the ungodly in societies and so severed my connections with the world. My break then with the religious world was the final act of separation. I was most unpopular, but I did not mind as I was "bearing His reproach outside the camp", Heb.13.13.

My exercise to go to Africa never waned and each morning I disciplined myself to rise early to spend an hour in the Lord’s presence to ascertain His will as to my going to Africa. I felt so unworthy of such a calling and I wanted to be sure of His will in such an important step. Many were the times I heard His voice from the Scriptures which I accepted. Psalm 2.8 spoke to me: "Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance." Isa.45.1,2 let me see that when it was His will for me to go "the gates shall not be shut: I will go before thee." These were some of the Scriptures used to let me see His will; but one was always with me, Isa. 55.2, "Your labour for that which satisfieth not." That made me most unsettled and I was determined to do what He wanted of me. Many were the times I sought further confirmation as I felt so unworthy and He was most gracious to give me further confirmation from His Word. The waiting time was long and the war was raging through Europe and other parts of the world. I went to the village work in the summer months and when Johnny Walker got saved he and I went into the city centre each Saturday evening for a gospel meeting. The open-air meetings held at Fountain Lane for a number of years were commenced through our going there. At the works we had an open-air meeting close to the entrance at the lunch-hour. So in this way I was exercised about the gospel and enjoyed being a witness for my Lord.

Now being gathered unto the name of our Lord Jesus Christ my going to Africa would be much different as there would be no Mission Society involved. I knew the Lord’s will and that He would open the way for my going to serve in that land. Eventually I picked up courage to mention my exercise to the elders of the assembly, they listened attentively but did not rush to commend me to the work, nor did I harass them; but eventually they did and I set sail for Africa on June 12th., 1946. Alone, I set out with confidence that it was the will of God for me. I left all that I had and went wholly depending upon God. He was with me and directed every step which I took to get me to Dipalata. My contact with Dipalata was due to my attending meetings in Albertbridge Road, Gospel Hall conducted by the late James Geddis. I decided to have a chat with him and he put before me the need of the place where he had lived and laboured. I felt that this was the place for me, and after forty-six years in the African work I am still satisfied that I did the will of the Lord.

I sailed on a troopship to Durban, South Africa. The voyage took three weeks and from Durban I got a train north to Johannesburg and another to Bulaway, S. Rhodesia now Zimbabwe. At Bulawayo I met an American brother who had just come down from the interior and on hearing where I was bound for asked how I was going to get there. I confessed that I did not know, but would take a train to Ndola. He gave advice to send a telegram to Mr. Jim Caldwell who had moved out to the railhead but he did not know his address. He gave me the address of the Lorh family in Chingola and off went the telegram asking J. Caldwell to meet me coming off a certain train at Ndola. The American advised me to break my journey at Livingstone to give the telegram time to arrive and find J. Caldwell. So on the appointed day on the arrival of the train there was a man looking at names on baggage and he stopped with me and introduced himself. He took me to where he was building and I slept in a grass hut until he took me to the Lorh home in Chin-gola where I stayed until brother Lorh got transport for me to the Zambezi river. That was a long, long journey along two tracks through hundreds of miles of forest. We slept rough but eventually arrived at Chitakoloki and with help from there reached Dipalata. One sees how God worked for me and every step was guided by Himself. I should add that my telegram arrived at the Lorh home just when J. Caldwell called to visit them. He was building over thirty miles away, and forty miles from Ndola.

My wife and I were married in 1950 and have had a very happy life together serving the Lord in Zambia. Our only regret is that life seems to be have been very short and we trust that all we have done had been for His glory. We are not as fit as we once were but we will try to carry on in His will to see some more saved and more assemblies established to bear testimony to the Lord and the saving grace of God.

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Made for thyself, O God!
Made for Thy love, Thy service, Thy delight—
Made to shew forth Thy wisdom, grace, and might—
Made for Thy praise, whom veiled archangels laud;
O strange and glorious thought, that we may be
A joy to Thee!
Yet the heart turns away
From this grand destiny of bliss, and deems
‘Twas made for its poor self, for passing dreams;
Chasing illusions melting day by day;
Till for ourselves we read on this world’s best—
"This is not rest."
Nor can the vain toil cease,
Till in the shadowy maze of life we meet
One who can guide our aching, wayward feet
To find Himself, our Way, our Life, our Peace.
In Him the long unrest is soothed and stilled,
Our hearts are filled.
O rest, so true, so sweet!
(Would it were shared by all the weary world!)
‘Neath shadowing banner of His love unfurled,
We bend to kiss the Master’s pierced feet;
Then lean our love upon His boundless breast,
And know God’s rest.

—F. R. Havergal

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