BEHOLD THE MAN
by Jim Flanigan
MESSAGES FROM MULLER
by George Midler
by D. Ogden
by A. D. Thropay
ASPECTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE BELIEVER
by B. Currie
by J. Glenvllle
PAPERS ON PROPHECY
by W. W. Fereday
ASSEMBLIES UNDER PRESSURE TO CHANGE
by E. G. Parmenter
MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by R. Watterson
BEHOLD THE MAN
(Meditation in Luke’s Gospel)
by JIM FLANIGAN, (Belfast)
8. His Introduction
The introduction of the Lord Jesus in the nation was two fold. There was an introduction in Judea and there was an introduction in Galilee. The first was by John Baptist to the multitudes gathered at the Jordan River. The second was our Lord’s own introduction of Himself to the congregation in the Nazareth Synagogue. Between these two events lay the temptation in the wilderness. The introduction by John Baptist is not recorded fully by any of the Gospels. Luke, with Matthew and Mark, records only the exhortations and warnings which prepared the way for the coming Messiah. John alone records that historical, memorable moment when Jesus was pointed out as the Lamb of God, Sacrifice and Sin-bearer.
John Baptist, as well as warnings and exhortations, did announce glad tidings to the people. Such is the meaning of the word "preached" in Luke 3.18. It is our word for evangel, evangelist, evangelism. There were two voices heard on that great day of introduction by John. There was a voice from the wilderness (Luke 3.4), and there was a voice from heaven (Luke 3.22). They were in holy harmony, those voices, introducing the Blessed One, Saviour of men and Son of the Father. "This is He," cried the last of the prophets. "My beloved Son," says the voice from the heavens.
Jesus immediately leaves for the wilderness, full of the Spirit. In the power of that same Spirit He returns after the temptation, to Galilee, teaching in the synagogues of Galilee until He came to Nazareth, His home town. It was His custom, His habit, to be at the synagogue every Sabbath day. The building would be full. Noisy crowds would make their way to and fro, exchanging the traditional greeting "Shabbat Shalom." Now every adult Jewish male had the right and privilege to read the Scripture portion for the day, and on this day, our Lord assumed this right and stood up to read. The attendant handed Him the book, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. In quiet composure He unrolled the scroll and found the place. We know it now as Isaiah 61. He read but the first verse and part of the second and in the midst of that second verse He abrupdy concluded the reading, rolled up the scroll and returned it to the attendant. He sat down and the eyes of all present were fixed upon Him The formal introduction of Messiah to the nation was about to be made and they would not like it.
Our Lord’s opening comment was an amazing one. "This day is this scripture fullfilled in your ears." How often, on earlier Sabbaths, this same portion had been read to them, but never with a comment like this. Words of grace followed and as they listened and wondered, they whispered one to another "Is not this the son of Joseph?" But what of this scripture which was even now being fulfilled? How intensely interesting it is to remember that even then as our Lord handled and read the scroll of Isaiah an exact copy of Isaiah’s prophecy was already being preserved in an earthenware jar at Qumran, some 65-70 miles away on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. There it remained hidden until AD 1947, divinely preserved for us from perhaps two hundred years before that public reading in Nazareth.
The glad tidings of Isaiah 61 announced a gospel for the poor, deliverance for the captives, sight for the blind and healing for the crushed and oppressed. Of course that meant that for a person to avail himself of such glad tidings, there must of necessity be an acknowledgement of poverty, of bondage, of blindness, and of bruising. Sin indeed had done all this to the nation and to every individual. A true acknowledgement of this would produce brokenness of heart in the penitent. This broken heartedness is in the text of Isaiah 61, but it is omitted here in the account of the reading in Luke 4 (see JND and RV and others). Did our Lord deliberately omit it because in His congregation there was no evidence of such brokenness of heart or repentance?
But whether they felt, it or knew it, or not, this was their moral condition. They were blind, bankrupt, bondmen, bruised by sin. And now the Redeemer had come. All they needed was in Jesus of Nazareth, but their hearts were too proud and too haughty to acknowledge either their own condition or His power and ability to save.
He knew that they would reject Him. Yet in grace He had announced the acceptable year of the Lord and had not read to them of the day of vengeance. He had not come to bring in a day of vengeance. He had come to save, if they would have Him. But if not, then the day of vengeance would come later. Our Lord reminded them of the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. There were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s day, as there were many lepers in Elisha’s day. But it was the Gentile widow of Sarepta and the Gentile Naaman who came in for the blessing. The men of Nazareth were filled with wrath, and in rage they rose up and led Him out to the brow of the hill on which their town was built. They would have cast Him over the precipice, but He passed through the midst of them and, rejected in Nazareth, He made His way to Capernaum. Was their response on this day of introduction but a foreshadowing of another day, and the brow of another hill, where, three years later, they would crucify their own Messiah?
And so He has come. Messiah long promised and long awaited has come. But alas! He is unrecognised, unwanted, and rejected, even in the introductory days of His ministry. We shall though, muse upon His continuing compassion for those who despised Him, and in patience we wait, with Him, for that day when He shall come again, to he glorified and to be admired in all them that believe (2 Thess. 1.10).
Messages from Muller
These are notes of addresses given by the late George Muller
Paul’s Letter to Philemon — Paper 2
Ver. 4—7. "I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother."
This is what the Apostle Paul writes with regard to the spiritual state of Philemon, and a high commendation it is, a most blessed man of God he was; and yet one says, He had slaves! Yes; he had slaves. But then we have always to keep this before us, that the having slaves at that time was not connected with such awful cruelty as the slavery of modern days. Many of these people were idolaters, and there were many things connected with slavery which were quite wrong. Yet ordinarily speaking, we have no reason to believe that there were the cruelties of slaveholders of modern days. In most of these instances where we read the word servant it means slave, those who belonged to the master; but in not one single instance is there a hint given how wicked you are, how cruel and abominable your conduct. If the love of Christ constrained them to set all free, the apostles would have rejoiced in it; and when these slaves had the opportunity of becoming free, they were to accept it thankfully and not reject it.
The apostle Paul commends Philemon on account of the blessed state spiritually in which he was. He says "I thank my God," and this particularly with reference to the 5th verse, "hearing of thy love and faith." This was a subject for praise and thanksgiving in the heart of Paul with regard to Philemon. This is rather a remarkable expression, "faith and love towards the saints." You can see what that means, that he had love; but what is the meaning of this, that he had faith towards the saints? Did you ever think of this? It is deeply important that we seek to search into the meaning of what we read in the Divine testimony. The meaning of it is evidently this :— looking upon them with faith, seeing in them that they are the children of God, treating them as such, as the children of God. Whenever we are enabled to look on one another as the children of God, whenever we are enabled to see Christ in one another, that is exercising faith towards one another. He also prayed that God would help him further, and from this we should gather instruction, that as Paul prayed for Philemon we should pray for each other. This was the subject of his prayer,—"that the communication thy faith may become effectual, by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." This in other words means,—My dear Philemon, I pray that thou, having received faith, might go on; that this might energize thee, might become effectual in thee, and give thee yet further and further strength to acknowledge everything that is good in any of the saints. And he adds to his praise this in the 7th verse: "For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother." What a high commendation of this dear man! Evidently he was one in a position of comparative wealth and prosperity, and he says "we have great joy" because on account of the holy, godly walk of this blessed man of God, Philemon, the hearts of the saints were refreshed.
Do we the children of God aim after this, viz., that we become a spiritual refreshment to the saints, that the saints are refreshed by our godly life? After this we have to aim. Giving way to our natural tendencies, to our temper, and to other things which are hateful to God, we do not strengthen the hands of our fellow disciples; but when we seek to do those things which are according to the mind of God, we strengthen each other’s hands in God. In bringing glory to God, we also help on the life and deportment of other children of God. Just as it is with regard to any army; if one regiment acquits itself well, the other regiments are strengthened thereby; and if one regiment turns its back on the enemy, the other regiments are weakened thereby. So is it with the Church of God.
— (to be continued).
by David Ogden (Luton, England)
Verses 3—6. HIS CHARACTER AS RULER. Seen in Relation to His Fitness — Moral character.
In verse 3, it is INWARD PURITY that is in view, as there is a QUALIFICATION REQUIRED. Character is examined. One is to come into the Holiest, there is the right of presence and position, a man is to come where God is, and holiness is an essential prerequisite. This is demonstrated in the book of Leviticus especially in 10.3 and 16.2. It is amplified in Isa. 33.13 "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire." It is encapsulated in Habakkuk 1.13. "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity." The idea of Kingship is seen here, as Priesthood is in the next clause, since the Priests stood daily before the Lord. Here is seen too, rule and representation. A man is not only going to ascend, he is actually approaching into the Holiest. The word "stand" is literally, "maintain his place." This was a position which Adam failed to hold, Aaron lost on death and Abraham only maintained on occasions, (Gen. 18.22). There were men who were privileged to commune with God but there is only One who completely fulfils the conditions at, and for, all times. Verse 3 summarises the age old cry of Heaven and earth, "Who is worthy?" The search for a morally fit man occupies scripture. Psalm 15.1 asks, "LORD, who shall abide?" and the request is for communion. God asks in Isa. 6.8. "Whom shall I send?" and the thought is commission. The search widens in Revelation 5.2 as the need for a worthy one is paramount and the requirement is for an executor of judgement. The search is over in Isa. 61.1 when the exhibition of victory is seen and the cry goes up "Who is this who comes . . ."
If INWARD PURITY is required in verse 3, then Verses 4 and 5 show INWARD BEAUTY for here the QUALIFICATION IS STATED. The tripartite nature of man is scrutinised. Firstly, the positive aspect is observed, "He that hath clean hands" — This is Manward — What I have done. That would cover the summarised commandment expressed in Matthew 22.7 "and thy neighbour as thyself." Isa. 1.15 speaks of failure in that respect "Your hands are full of blood." Next, "And a pure heart" — This is Godward, for God looketh on the heart. Here the other half of the Lord’s summary is notable: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Then comes the negative, "who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully."
The emphasis in the first part is the attitude of the soul to the things of earth where there must be no succumbing to pride. In the second there is the outward expression of a corrupt inner control. There must be no double dealing.
Scripture frankly records failures by even the best, let alone the worst, and we are no different today. David’s hands were stained with Uriah’s blood. Abraham and Isaac lied in respect to their relationship to their wives. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom and Naboth stands for ever as the story of a man who died because of covetousness and false witness of others. What a contrast to our glorious Lord, who ever delighted to do the Father’s will. He is not only the Blessed man of Psalm 1, but the Man of God’s Presence of Psalm 15. One version of the latter part of verse 4 reads "nor directed his affection to empty desires instead of to God." How easy it is to be distracted from heavenly things, yet we have One who could say, "I was not rebellious neither turned away back Isa. 50.5, and again, "with my whole heart have I sought Thee" Psalm 119.10. Truly, His is a Perfect Manhood: He did no sin, 1 Peter 2.22; In Him is no sin, 1 John 3.5; He knew no sin 2 Cor. 5.21. Body, Soul, Spirit, He is absolutely spotless. It is not that He did not sin. He was absolutely incapable of sinning, since there was nothing in him which could respond to sin, yet as Man he perfectly understands, "in all points tempted as we are yet without sin" or, "sin apart", Heb. 4.6.
Apart from reminding us of the Lord’s complete fitness to ascend the throne and be in the very presence of God, as Mediator, Priest, and Advocate, these verses have a practical lesson. Holy service demands holy priests. For His highest work, God chooses His best. Moses and Aaron were both Kohathites, of the section of the Levites who carried the Holy vessels of the Tabernacle on their shoulders. The books of Leviticus and Numbers in particular, emphasise the fitness of the priest for Holy service, and we are spiritual priests (1 Peter 2.9). The Ark was delayed in its return, and this is the story behind the setting of the Psalm, because one unfitted presumed to trespass in a matter in which he had no right. It is irrelevant to say that he meant well. He was unfit. There is an absolute necessity for a right approach to God for believers today and that highlights the gracious work of our Advocate and High Priest. However, Scripture stresses a fitness in the things of God, not what I think, but what He says. The work and office of an elder is one example. May God grant that we be absolutely holy in our motives, methods, and manner of life.
God is not unmindful of His servant’s duty and devotion, so it is observed that in verse 5 comes a reward — blessing, and righteousness. The God whose intrinsic character is Righteousness and who ever delights to bless, is going to give to His faithful servant of His very self. Note the wording is "the blessing", and it is the "LORD," Jehovah, from whom it comes. Thus it is the blessing which springs from a covenant relationship. He blesses us, (Eph. 1.3, 1 Peter 1.3,4), but how much more has He blessed his Son, (Psalm 110.1, Phil. 2.9-11). John, in his writings lists thirteen things which the Father has given the Son. He is truly "the God of our Salvation" but here is seen the answer to the cries of His beloved Son as prophesied in Psalms 22 and 69.
Although verses 3 and 4 can only be truly fulfilled in One alone, nevertheless verse 6 would show us that as He is so ought we to be, as we approach unto Him in daily communion and in His service. We should ever remember that God has not only a throne unto which we can approach with boldness (Heb. 4.16) but His Son instituted a remembrance feast where we come at His request to remember Him. He has also established a gathering ground, a place where His honour dwells (Psalm 26.8) even as it dwells in Heaven itself. We are to be a seeking people and a willing people. We often fail to come up to His standards but the title God of Jacob (AV margin) reminds us that He is a Faithful God. It is not Israel, "Prince with God," but Jacob, the supplanter, what he was, which is used here. The verse will be true of the faithful remnant of Israel in Millennial days. Mr. Darby’s marginal rendering "that seek Thy face in Jacob" would speak of the nations gathering to God through the witness of restored Israel (Isa. 60.1-9).
—to be concluded, D.V.
by A. D. THROPAY (California)
a. The Gifts of Christ. 4.11.
—And He: The He is emphatic. The One who fills all things and only He is the One being referred to.
—gave: (didomi) A common word in Greek which means to give as a gift.
—some: (tous) this is the Greek article in the plural. In English, we use the article "the" for singular and plural. The gifts mentioned here are viewed as the people themselves. Every believer has a spiritual gift from God. As they use this gift, they are themselves a gift to God’s people.
—apostles: (apostolos) to send one forth on a commission as a representative of the One sending that person. An apostle possessed many other gifts besides being an apostle. They usually had the gift of healing, Acts 5.12-16; miracles Acts 13.8-11; prophecy Acts 27.25; languages (tongues), Acts 2.4, 1 Corinthians 14.18; Signs, wonders, and mighty deeds, which were their badge, II Corinthians 12.12. Paul was the last chosen apostle. I Corinthians 15.8,9.
—and some (tous) prophets: Those who receive direct revelation from God by faith regarding present or future events, and accurately relate it to others. Compare the apostle Paul in Acts 27.25 "Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me."
—and some evangelists: (euangelistas) This word describes one who proclaims the Gospel. It is used only three times. Acts 21.8; II Timothy 4.5.
—and some pastors: (poimen) This word is used in the Greek N.T. eighteen times. It is translated "shepherd" seventeen times. A shepherd is one who tends and feeds herds or flocks. This is the work of the elders, overseers, or bishops. Acts 20.17 "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church." Acts 20.28 "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
—and teachers: (didaskalos) Those who set in order, explain and make clear and plain the truth of God as revealed to the apostles and prophets and recorded in the scriptures.
b. The purpose of the gifts.
—For: (pros) With a view towards. This word is used to indicate the purpose for the gifted men in verse 11.
—the perfecting: (katartismos) The noun is used only here. "A fitting or preparing fully." (W. E. Vine) "full equipment." (Expositors) The verb is used for making fit, complete, perfect. Matthew 21.16; I Thessalonians 3.10; repairing a net, Matthew 4.21; Galatians 6.1.
—of the saints: Gifted men are divinely appointed to equip other saints for service. The word saint means a "holy one." Every person who is saved is called a "saint," or a "holy one." This is because God has chosen to display His own character through each person who trusts in Him.
—for: (eis) unto, with a view towards, or directed towards.
—the work: (ergon) business or employment.
—of the ministry: (diakonias) service. The gifts mentioned in verse 11 are to equip or prepare all saints with a view to their becoming occupied in the business of serving others. Such service is to be done in love. Galatians 5.13 ". . . by love serve one another."
—for: (eis) unto, with a view towards, or directed towards; thus stating a further purpose.
—edifying: (oikodome) The act of building.
—of the body of Christ: The ultimate goal of the persons gifted in verse 11 is to build up the body of Christ. This body is composed of all who are born again. As a person is equipped and serves others, the body of Christ is built up. It is built up in strength, durability, size, wisdom, and Christlikeness.
—till: this verse will give a statement as to how long gifts will be necessary: It is giving a statement as to the goal of the gifts.
—we all: Paul includes himself in the group that will and must benefit from another’s gift and service.
—come: (katantas) To come to, arrive at.
—in: (eis) unto, into
—the unity: (henotfcs) As verse 3. These gifts are the means by which God will produce the ultimate "oneness," and "agreement" among believers that is mentioned in verse 3.
—of the faith: (pistis) A strong conviction of belief which produces trust, confidence, and reliance.
—and of the knowledge: (epignosis) Exact or full knowledge; full experimental knowledge. It expresses participation of the knower in the object known. (W. E. Vine; Expositors).
—of the Son of God: These gifts will be necessary until we all (that is, all believers) arrive at oneness of confidence in the Son of God as well as come to know Him on a one on one, experiential basis.
—unto: (eis) indicates motion towards, reaching if unhindered. Christ’s goal regarding these gifts is that the body of Christ might become. . .
—a perfect: (teleion) Full grown, mature, complete (as I Corinthians 2.16; 14.20).
—man: This refers to the entire body of Christ. (Compare verse 16).
—unto (eis) the measure: (metron) the measure is that which is used for measuring; a standard. The Lord Jesus Christ is the standard. See verse 7.
—of the stature: (helikia) This word means either height or age, depending on the context. In this context, it means height.
—of the fulness: (pleroma) That which fills up; The entire contents; complete attainment.
—of Christ: The measure of the height of the fulness of Christ is: "the sum of the qualities that make Christ what He is. (Expositors).
WHEN THE QUALITIES OF CHRIST ARE THE CHARACTER OF THE BELIEVER, THAT BELIEVER HAS REACHED MATURITY. IN THE MEASURE THAT ALL BELIEVERS HAVE THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST, WE HAVE UNITY.
—That: (hina) "In order that;" "to the end that." This verse is going to state the goal for the gifts given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ There are three reasons for spiritual gifts.
- Spiritual Maturity — we henceforth be no more children: (nepios) Literally, "that which does not talk." Hence, an infant; a little child. The purpose of spiritual gifts is that believers might mature to the point where they will be able to speak with intelligence about God and the scriptures.
- Spiritual Calmness — tossed to and fro: (kludonizomai) Literally, "To be tossed by the waves." It means to be controlled or agitated by the waves. Metaphorically, "to be agitated mentally" like the waves. (Thayer) Knowing God, is the antidote to mental agitation.
- Spiritual Stability — and carried about: (periphers) "To carry around." To be carried in circles.
—with every: (panti) or "by every"
—wind of doctrine: The various teachings of deceivers are likened to wind blowing a small boat in all directions and causing waves to toss it back and forth.
—by: (en) "In." Paul is going to describe the element or atmosphere in which this teaching occurs.
—the sleight: (kubeia) Primarily, "dice playing," then, "deception," "Fraud."
—of men: (anthropos) Used of men or women. There are fraudulent people, deceivers, who confuse people by their smooth talk, apparently good living, and keeping the rules and commandments as they believe those they are trying to deceive understand them. While outwardly appearing honest, they present false information by inference and half truths which can confuse a person who does not know God intimately. This information may be false teaching or half , truths about situations or other people. For their doctrine and methods, please study Romans 16.17-20, II Corinthians 11.3-14, Titus 1.10-11, II John 1.7, II Peter 2.1-3. Revelation 2.4. For how, we should treat such people, please read and study Romans 16.17-20, II John 1.10.
—and: (en) "in," is used in order to point out the sphere in which this deception occurs.
—cunning craftiness: (panourgia) Literally, "all working." They do any and everything in order to accomplish their ends. Hence, "unscrupulous conduct." (W. E. Vine); "treacherous deceitfulness." (Expositors) They believe and practice the slogan that, "the end justifies the means."
—whereby: (pros) "with a view to"
—they lie in wait: (methodeia) "A deliberate planning or scheme."
Primarily, "to pursue a plan." It is the same word translated "wiles" in chapter 6.11, when referring to the "wiles of the Devil." These are people who learned their lessons from the Devil himself and practice his method to trip people.
—to deceive: (plane) Passive word, "To stray from the right path," "to err." Their scheming is designed to cause Christians and other people to wander from the path and stumble other believers. They consciously attempt to change the thoughts and actions of others without the other person realizing it. They are crafty in identifying and manipulating a person’s existing motives and directing the resulting behaviour toward a predetermined end. The deceivers themselves appear innocent. Their entire life is a lie!
—But: (de) in distinction from being deceived and acting as deceivers do, the purpose of God’s gifts is so that the believer who is equipped by God’s gifted men will be. . .
—speaking the truth: (aletheuo) This word in includes the ideas of "living, loving, following and confessing truth." (Expositors).
—in: (en) the element or atmosphere in which the truth is expressed.
—love: (agape) A sacrificial attachment based on reason, selection, and choice from seeing in that person a need for love. This person loves the unattractive in spite of, not because of. He loves regardless of what is done or not done by the other person. His speech is in the best interests of the persons with whom and concerning whom he is speaking at all times. Unlike the deceivers, he does not gossip about others under the pretence of really being concerned about them.
—may grow up: Returning to the picture of the body (verse 12).
—into (eis) Him: Emphasizing the believer’s oneness IN Him. It does not say "unto Him" as if He were an object apart from us. Our growth is not "towards Him" but "into Him" recognizing our union in Him more and more.
—in all things: (panta) That is, In all points at which we grow; in all that belongs to our growth.
—which is the Head, even Christ: We grow upward and outward, into the fullness of our Head.
—From whom: (ek hou) Out from whom.
—the whole body: He is the source of growth for each and every member.
—fitly framed together: (sunarmologeo) The present participle indicates a continuing process. The passive voice indicates that God is the One doing the joining. "To join closely together." "Evermore acquiring a deeper and truer contract of part with part." (H. G. C. Moule).
—and compacted: (sunbibazo) Present passive participle again indicates that the process continues. "Knitting together; making to coalesce; compacting."
—by: (dia) through, by means of. That is, the Lord Jesus does the above using. ..
—that which every joint: (haphe) "a junction made for the conveyance of life and power." (Moule) Every believer is one of these junctions. Compare Colossians 2:19.
—supplieth: Literally, "of the supply," That is, "every joint of the supply." Believers are joined to the Head and are channels to supply life to grow, from the Head (Christ) into the body.
—according to: (kata) This supply is "In accord with, being measured by"
—the effectual working: (energeia) "power in action; operative power; efficient energy."
—in the measure: (en metro) that is, "in keeping with," "proportionate to," the capacity or size.
—of every part: God supplies every part according to its own capacity.
Each believer feels God’s operative power in the measure that he/she can handle it.
—maketh increase: (auxosis) growth, increase; that is, from Christ.
—of the body: Its entirety. As the whole body of believers are compacted closer together by every joint of supply, the body grows.
—undo the edifying: (oikodome) "the act of building up"
—of itself: God uses each believer to build up other believers in the body, so that it will be self sustaining as our physical bodies are.
—in love: This mutual building process can only occur in the sphere of love.
Aspects of The Holy Spirit and The Believer
by B. Currie, (Belfast)
No. 4(a) — Filled with the Spirit
There are fifteen references in the NT to this subject. Three of these are in the OT sense wherein people were filled with the Holy Spirit temporarily and for a specific purpose. The filling was not universally available for all who belonged to God. These three refer to John the Baptist, his mother Elizabeth and his father Zacharias; Luke 1.15, 41, 67.
The remaining twelve references are divided into two in that seven use the verb ‘to fill’ and five use the adjective, ‘full’. In that order they are Acts 2.4; 4.8,31; 9.17; 13.9,52; Eph.5.81; then Luke 4.1; Acts 6.3,5; 7.55; 11.24. Note also that every reference, apart from Eph. 5.18 is recorded by Luke. We shall deal with these under the following headings:
- 1. Exemplification
- 2. Exhortation
- 3. Illustration
- 4. Implication
There was only ever one Person who was constantly and continuously full of the Holy Spirit and that was our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke records of Him. ‘. . . Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost…’ 4.1. It is the perceptive eye of the diagnosing doctor who also records in the next chapter (5.12), "behold a man full of leprosy". The only One who could deal with a man full of leprosy was the Man full of the Holy Spirit. The life of the Lord Jesus exemplified a life filled with the Holy Spirit and for us it means that if we are filled with the same Holy Spirit we shall display the features of Christ. Hence, the fruit of the Spirit shall be fully manifested in the life of one who is so filled.
The exhortation to be filled with the Holy Spirit comes in Eph. 5.18 where the apostle uses the imperative mood and thus commands, "… be filled with the Spirit". The present tense is used signifying that this is to be the continual experience and not an isolated incident, in the life of the child of God. Since this is an exhortation to a believer it cannot be experienced prior to salvation and must be distinct from salvation. We should also note that no one is ever exhorted to be indwelt by, sealed with or baptised in the Holy Spirit. These are matters which are totally under the control of God alone.
In the verse the contrast is with being ‘drunk with wine’. Such a state would leave us free from any self control. However we are to be controlled, but not by self. We are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and this happens when we are "filled with the Spirit". It is not that we receive more of the Spirit — we either have or have not a Person. The truth is that we permit the Spirit to have more of us and there is no compartment of our lives that is shut to Him. He should be constantly and continually in total control of the life of each child of God.
How is this manifested? The context of Eph. 5 makes it clear that a Spirit filled believer will:
|(i) be separate||v 7-14|
|(ii) walk circumspectly||v 15|
|(iii) be understanding||v 1|
|(iv) not be drunk||v 18|
|(v) sing in the heart||v 19|
|(vi) give thanks||v20|
|(vii) be submissive||v21|
In the Acts there are five occasions when men are distinctly said to be "full" or "filled" with the Holy Spirit, and each was for a different purpose.
|(i)||4.8||Peter for||SEARCHING PREACHING|
|(ii)||6.5||Stephen for||SOLVING PROBLEMS|
|(iii)||7.55||Stephen for||SORE PERSECUTION|
|(iv)||11.24||Barnabas for||SHEPHERDING PEOPLE|
|(v)||13.9||Paul for||SOLEMN PRONOUNCEMENT|
We shall consider these and related matters in the next paper DV.
—(to be continued)
by J. Glenville (Saltash, England)
- "We hear you holidayed abroad,
- The Lordly Day you quite ignored:
- Nearest assembly fifty miles!
- Is just a part of Satan’s wiles."
- "Alas tis true, we must confess,
- But where were you nevertheless?
- You thought to tour the British Isles,
- The first Lord’s Day brought tears, not smiles.
- Unhatted women, oh! how cute
- The one in the red trousered suit,
- That one who just escaped your gaze
- While your eyes were fixed on ‘Power Praise’
- Recall hymn number one seven five,
- Again the dead are made alive?
- Or ‘Let’s Praise’ in hymn one two six
- The sightless see, the lame man kicks.
- Sing Songs and Hymns of Fellowship’
- "Release my tongue" not seal my lip
- (Pour eight six); i>ut one nine seven
- Promise about to fall from heaven:
- And Mission Praise hymn eighty eight,
- Suspect two thousand years too late
- But rise, the Dance has just begun,
- All four hymn books unite in one.
- Clap hands! lute, cymbals, tambourine,
- Not Lord’s Day morn? Just Hallowe’en!
- What did you spy in vestibule?
- Not in the Hall—’twould break the rule.
- Young sisters gathered old kit bags,
- Concealed inside were their glad rags.
- Did you take a peep? That’s cheating!
- Jeans! Wear them after the meeting"
- In sunny climes sisters relax,
- How elegant to lounge in slacks!
- On Alpine skiing in the snow
- Skirts are unsuitable you know,
- Or popular ice skating rink
- From wearing skirts girls really shrink
- Vacations here, or else abroad
- Demand the glory of the Lord.
PAPERS ON PROPHECY
by The Late W. W. Fereday (written in 1897/98)
Paper 2 (b) The Resurrection of Life and The Resurrection of Judgment.
Let us examine briefly John v. 28, 29. The principal difficulty lies in the expression "the hour." "The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation(judgment)". Some think this shows all to take place simultaneously. Not so. The expression "the hour" is often used in Scripture in an extended way. Of course the context must always decide when we are to take it so. Here nothing can be more plain or simple. In this very context it is used in this way. In verse 25 the Lord says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." These are unquestionable the spiritually dead— those who are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2. 1). Such heard the voice of the lifegiving Son of God when He was present on earth and passed from death unto life; but is this work all over? Blessed be God, no! Sinners are still hearing His voice; "the hour" runs on still. This removes the difficulty with regard to verse 29. If "the hour" of verse 25 spreads itself over nearly two thousand years it is not hard to believe that the same expression may cover one thousand years. Moreover, the Lord speaks plainly of "the resurrection of life" and "the resurrection of judgment." He distinguishes them expressly. Surely He would not have spoken thus if all rise together. Consequent the passage, over which so many stumble, instead of being an insuperable difficulty is really one of the simplest proofs of a special portion for those who have eternal life in the Son of God.
We will now turn to Dan. 12.2. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." This, I am fully convinced, has no reference to the resurrection of the body at all. The words "them that sleep in the dust of the earth" are not usual as applied to the dead. The whole context must be carefully looked into to get the mind of God in this place. Chap. 11.36-45 speaks of the antichrist and his doings in the glorious land. Chap. 12.1 shows it to be the epoch of Israel’s terrible tribulation, followed by their final deliverance. Then we have the words I have quoted. I believe them to refer to the ten tribes of Israel. The two tribes only will suffer in the land in the latter-day crisis, and are alluded to in the first verse. There will then be a movement among the ten tribes—a rising up from their long national humiliation—with a view to taking possession once more of the land of their fathers. But only some will enter into blessing. The rebels among them will be purged out, utterly rejected by God. This is what is before us in Dan. 12. 2. This national waking up is spoken of as a resurrection in several other places in Scripture. The following passages among others may be consulted: Ezek. 39. 1-14; Isa. 26. 19; Rom. 11. 15.
If the passage teaches a general resurrection at the end really, how can the words "many of them" be explained? Will not all rise again? Moreover, the epoch is a serious obstacle. It is the Lord’s coming to put down the man of sin and deliver Israel in order to the setting up of the millennial kingdom. Consequently, if the resurrection of the dead, saved and lost, is shown here, then all will rise before the millennium—at least a thousand years—before the Great White Throne. This conclusion will not suit any school of interpretation so far as I know. If the verse be read as setting forth, in a figurative way, the national reviving of the tribes of Israel, all is simple and clear.
Now a word or two as to John 6. 39, 40, "And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." This is often triumphantly urged as disproving any special portion for the saints of God. Let us look at it carefully. The Jews had in their minds two "ages," or dispensations—(1) that of the Law; (2) that of the Messiah’s kingdom. They believed one would give place to the other in due time. This was what was in the Lord’s mind in Matt. 12. 32 when in speaking of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, He said, "It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, neither in that to come." That is to say, neither in the age of the Law not in that of the Messiah. This helps considerably to an understanding of John 6. The term "the last day" means not the last day in an absolute sense, when time will give place to eternity, but "the last day" of the period preceding the kingdom of the Messiah. Christianity is a kind of parenthesis in the age of the Law.
(to be continued D.V.)
Assemblies Under Pressure to Change
by Eric G. Parmenter (Barton-on-Sea)
The author recently read an article entitled "Women in the Church" which drew attention to Christian women in the assemblies who had to divide their lives into two separate compartments. At work they were entrusted with a classroom full of difficult teenagers, or a ward full of sick patients, or a department full of employees, and yet when they went to the prayer meeting they were not allowed to pray out loud, and they could not choose a hymn in the open worship meeting. The writer continued "It has been a welcome step to allow women to pray in the prayer meeting and choose a hymn in open worship, but this does very little to address the major issue of women in the church. It is time for the men to climb down from the platform and agree that the leadership gifts in the New Testament—like administration, teaching, preaching and discernment are not labelled men only, but are for the whole body. That is the real issue."
The current trend that has surfaced shows the influence that the feminist movement is having upon assemblies and is indicative of departure from the truth in both belief and behaviour.
In its earlier days the cry of the feminist was, "who knows what women can be when they are finally free to become themselves".
Apparently women were not themselves before feminism took the stage, and now they are themselves what is the result? Single and separated mothers have become the norm, there is a recognised link between dominant mothers and homosexual sons. Lesbianism is promoted as an alternative way of life, called a sex preference, and this depraved sinful practice is militantly campaigned for to make their ungodly life-style socially acceptable. Unisex, outright insubordination, divorce and the rejection of Biblical truth have all followed in the path of feminism and women are demanding a more articulate leadership role in society and those same demands are invading assemblies.
Christendom generally finds itself impotent to cope with these developments and have buckled under the pressure and many denominations are allowing women to function in leadership roles and public ministry. This wind of change has not by-passed assemblies and today elders are confronted with problems to which solutions must be provided and answers given.
The issues have become clouded in a permissive and feminist society leading to some illogical reasoning, as subtle and insidious arguments are put forward and a re-interpretation of scriptures are suggested in support of a more public role for christian women in the assemblies.
The present trend for audible participation by women in the gatherings of the saints is a direct result of the influence of the feminist movement, the spirit of which is never satisfied, its nature inherent with rebellion and is a contributing power to apostasy.
Are the scriptures biased against women? This is a question that has been raised by feminists and suggestions have already been put forward to alter the wording of the Bible. Among the changes for a feminist edition of the Bible, is the substitution of all masculine words, these they want replaced with their neuter or feminine designation.
There are degrees of feminism and Christian women may not endorse extreme feminism all the way but it is undeniable that the evil presence and impact of that worldly philosophy is making inroads into God’s assembly, often by means of a group of feminist sisters who campaign for a more public part in assembly activities and elders are found totally unprepared for what is happening and ultimately succumb to the insidious arguments.
The only reliable guide available to elders, as to all believers, is the word of God and where there is a genuine desire to know the God’s will in matters of assembly practice it will be clearly found in what is written therein.
The plea for the liberation of the sisters finds its source in departure from God’s word. Positions are occupied by women in which they take the man’s place which reveals a misunderstanding of Bible teaching and often leads to a denial of scriptural truth.
In His divine wisdom God ordained headship and leadership to be vested in the man. This is substantiated by the teaching of the Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul as both appeal to the book of Genesis regarding the relationship of the man and the women.
Genesis chapters 1 and 2 emphasise the difference of the sexes. Genesis 1 is viewed from the Creator’s standpoint and Genesis 2 from the standpoint of human relationship. These chapters which open the Bible emphasise that both man and woman bear the same divine image, but equality does not mean that the sexes are interchangeable and that their roles in marriage or in the assembly are totally interchangeable.
When God created the woman He departed from His previous ways in creation. The woman was made from a different material, for a different purpose and at a different time. She was made from man, for man and after man. Her primary function was to be a "help" which included the ideas of support, sympathy and strength to the man. God did not intend that the woman should substitute for the man, the purpose of God in bringing the woman in after the man indicates that the man was to have priority which carries with it the implications of authority, and the cumulative conclusion that is drawn from the New Testament is that the method and timing of the woman’s creation emphasises her subordination to man. The authority of the man in creation is seen in that God brought the animal creation to Adam to name them. In like manner God brought Eve to Adam and he called her "woman".
Having priority in creation, man’s headship, responsibility and authority is established in relation to the woman and is clearly stated in the New Testament 1 Cor 11.8-9, 1 Tim. 2.13. Both the apostles, Peter and Paul in their writings observe and maintain the sexual distinctions, positions and conduct of the man and the woman both in the home and in the assembly.
‘Christian’ feminists make a good deal out of Galatians 3.28 "neither male or female" stating that Christianity recognises no differences in nature between men and women now that they are "in Christ Jesus" but such reasoning is altogether out of context. In reading through Galatians 3 we observe there is no reference to the relationship of men and women, its thrust is inheritance of the blessing promised to Abraham and his seed. From this standpoint Paul argues that identification with Christ brings all into the blessing of the inheritance whether male or female (cf verses 26-29). If v 28 means what the feminist would want us to believe it means, the abolishment of all sexual differences and social distinctions, it stamps the writings of Peter and Paul with inconsistency and calls into question the inspiration of scripture (cf Eph 5.22-23, 6.5-9, 1 Pet. 3.1-7, 2.11-19). The apostle Peter looks at a domestic situation in 1 Pet. 3.1-7 and confirms that there are differences between husbands and wives. He exhorts the wives to "submit to their husbands" but never tells husbands to submit to wives, he exhorts husbands to be considerate and treat their wives with respect "as unto the weaker vessel". In making reference to the holy women he commends Sarah when she called Abraham Lord, — a title declaring Abraham’s authority and Sarah’s obedience to him. This line of teaching is in perfect harmony with Paul’s teaching on the subject cf Eph. 5.21-33, Col. 3.18-19.
Paul writing to the assembly of God at Corinth insists with all clarity on the distinction of the sexes and maintains positively the truth of headship vested in the man which is to be acknowledged in the assembly.
The uncovered head of the man, who is the image and glory of God is complimented by the covered head of the woman by which means she signifies her submission to the authority of the man, and her acceptance of the man’s governmental responsibility as ordained by God. When a woman appears uncovered in the assembly gatherings she is saying in effect, that she does not recognise the man as her visible head and therefore there is no need for submission to the man as head nor to his governmental authority. The principle of head covering is in no way cultural. It is creatorial, Paul refers back to creation and God’s principle established at the beginning of human history, which he follows with a reference to angels who are the heavenly observers of the submission of the woman and the godly order of the saints in the assembly of God.
The crucial point in the instruction on the subject of headship, coverings and the respective positions of the man and the woman is the apostle’s appeal to the order in creation and the universal practice of the assemblies of God 1 Cor. 11.7-10,16 and not as is often suggested, the social and cultural conditions in Corinth.
In the domestic sphere the word submit is not applied to husbands anywhere in the New Testament. The concept of headship without directing responsibilities cannot be submitted as the meaning of Paul’s use of the word "head". What the apostle teaches is clear — the husband is to be head of his wife in exacdy the same way as Christ is the Head of the Church. Headship involved directing, superintending and guiding and this is to be demonstrated in a sacrificial spirit of love (cf. Eph. 5.25).
Headship has been pointed out by some as-meaning "source" and by so doing removes any connotation of authority, but it would be difficult to understand what the apostle was driving at in 1 Cor. 11 if that was a true interpretation, for God would be the source of Christ (ie) Christ is derived from God as a source. Such an interpretation surely would be counted heresy and a denial of the eternity of the Son. The N.I.V. which has been given prominence of place in some assemblies, is appealed to in the support of the woman’s uncovered head. In a footnote on 1 Cor. 11.4-7 the N.I.V. advocates that the long hair of the woman is the only covering required in the assembly, which has resulted in some teaching that the long hair fastened up on the top of the woman’s head forms the covering. A careful reading through the passage makes it evident that the apostle has in view two coverings, one which is permanent, her long hair and one that is temporal, that is put on for the assembly gatherings. The word used for the woman’s long hair as a covering is not the same word as that used in v 5-6 and the point is, that as the hair represents the proper covering of the woman in the natural realm, so the veil is the proper covering in the assembly, for the covered head of the woman expresses her acceptance of the governmental headship of the man. This is anathema to the ‘Christian feminist, which explains the growing campaign for the liberation of women in the assemblies, but as Paul concludes, there was no such custom of women uncovered in the assemblies of God.
The feminist will no longer accept that along with the woman’s place of subjection is the prohibition against her taking audible part in the public gatherings. The inspired apostle’s instruction in 1 Cor. 14.34-35 is for the women to be silent in the assembly. Here there is no reference to women chattering, the context is abuse in the matter of prophesying and speaking in tongues. In the Corinthian assembly, order and speaking to edification were not priorities (v26). Speaking in tongues without interpretation was unprofitable and Paul clearly states in those situations the tongue speaker must remain silent (v28) the prophet who is speaking is to stop when the spirit of prophecy comes to a second prophet, "let the first hold in peace" (v30). The women are commanded to keep silent in the assemblies for it is not permitted unto them to speak (v34).
In all three verses the verb is the same and is the opposite to another verb used over twenty times in the chapter "to speak". Clearly then the women are to keep silent, they are not permitted to speak. The prohibition is expressed in this forcible way to remove all possible doubt of what was in the apostle’s mind. They are not allowed to ask one question in the public gathering of the saints but are to wait until they are at home, for it is a shame (i.e. disgrace) for women to speak in the assembly. The apostle’s further treatment of the subject in 1 Tim. 2.11-15 has made ‘Christian’ feminists most irate because of the severe restrictions imposed on women regarding public ministry. The modesty expressed in the woman’s clothes and conduct (v9) is to be extended to her attitude in the assembly. When teaching is being given she is to learn in silence with all subjection (vll) no place is given to the woman to teach, raise questions or answer back publicly "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to unsurp authority over the man" the clear meaning of the prohibition is that for a woman to direct a man in the assembly would be to commit an act of violence, in the sense that her activity violates the order of creation. To go back to v 8-9 this silence applies equally to the corporate prayer meeting. Paul asserts that the "males" are to pray in every place. It is suggested by some when the apostle continues in v9 "in like manner also that women…" he is referring back to leading in prayer, for that interpretation to be viable the grammatical construction would demand the inclusion of the verb "to pray" with the conjunction "and" so the verse would read "In like manner also that women pray and adorn themselves". The choice of expression the apostle uses by the Holy Spirit is "I will therefore that the "males" pray and the women adorn themselves", that is, the adornment of the woman is to be keeping with the exercise of prayer by the males.
The conclusion from the New Testament is quite different from the aspirations of the modern ‘Christian’ feminist and altogether contradicts the statements that are being read out to assembly gatherings by some elders encouraging sisters to take audible part in the meetings. Leadership, Preaching, Teaching and audible Praying in the assembly is labelled "men only" in the New Testament and the instruction of an all wise God for the woman is for her head to be covered, expressing her subjection and to learn in silence expressing her obedience.
MY CONVERSION AND CALL (24)
by R. Watterson (Brazil)
The greatest privilege any child can have is to be brought up in a Christian home; and that privilege was mine. I cannot remember the first time I heard the Gospel, nor my first day at Sunday School; as long back as memory goes, I knew I needed to be saved, and could have told anyone how to get saved. But that knowledge soon produced complacency.
For some years I was unperturbed. Deep down in my heart was a feeling that I was sure to be saved. After all, I knew the way of salvation; my parents and many others were praying for me, and those prayers would surely be answered. Others might be in danger, but I could get saved when I wished. Or so I thought.
Thank God, that complacency was shattered. In the summer of 1952, seemingly routine events were used to awaken me, and caused me to become alarmed about eternity. It all seemed to start when my elder brother took me to a Gospel meeting, in the kitchen of our brother Mr. Matt Doey’s house near Coleraine. I went to that meeting, angry because I had promised to go, but as the late Mr. McKelvey preached the Gospel, fear gripped me. Not many days after, someone (I never knew who it was) gave me a Gospel tract one night in Portrush; he then gave one to my companion, who slowly and deliberately tore it up and threw it in the man’s face. I went home, deeply troubled, and read the tract. About 50 yards away, the brethren were on the green at the Town Hall, preaching in the open air. I could hear the preacher’s voice, but was unable to distinguish the words; I was too far away. And my trouble deepened.
It was at that time that I heard of Gospel meetings to be held in the Hall in Portrush. The late Mr. T. Wallace and Mr. H. Paisley were to preach, and for the first time, I longed for the meetings to start. I would have given anything to be saved, but in spite of all that I knew, I couldn’t understand it. But I was determined not to miss the opportunity at the Gospel meetings.
By Thursday of the third week, however, all hope was gone. I was convinced that there was no salvation for me; I had sinned too long, and too much. I can still remember the feeling; one of sad, solemn resignation. I would be eternally damned, and rightly so.
It was then the miracle happened! God saved me. The meeting was just starting, and a hymn was being sung; its words were used to let the light into my darkened soul:
- "I seek no other argument, I want no other plea;
- It is enough that Jesus died, and rose again for me."
That was the beginning of days for me. The series of meetings ended, but I found delight in the assembly meetings in the Hall. I thank God still for the godly overseers in that assembly who cared for my soul. I owe very much to the faithful example of my own father; it made lasting impressions on my young mind. I can never forget my indebtedness to Mr. Jack Dawson, for the teaching so faithfully passed on to me, mostly in private. I believe I would never have stood on a Gospel platform, had it not been for Mr. Robert Mcllroy, who practically forced me to go with him to preach. The evangelistic spirit of Mr. Herbie Wylie, was another indispensable part in God’s training for work here in Brazil. These men are all at home with the Lord they served so well, but I still thank God for them, and for others also, whose names space forbids a mention.
A recollection of those days, however, would be incomplete, without a reference to one of the younger brethren in Portrush, who was to become my closest friend. Every Saturday afternoon, profitable hours were spent with Redmond Blair, studying the Scriptures, and praying together. Later, following his initiative, more and more time was given to tract distribution and open air Gospel preaching.
The increasing involvement in the Lord’s work, seemed to come naturally, and by the late fifties, I was engaging in series of Gospel meetings while still in secular employment. Those were happy days, but I still recall with a special joy, a series of Gospel meetings in a rented hall in the village of Liscolman. Those meetings were shared with our brother Mr. John Hawthorne (we were both in secular employment at that time), and God was pleased to move in salvation.
It was at that time that the conviction, that I should go to Brazil, was growing. I fought against it. I never wanted to leave Portrush; the assembly there was everything to me. Yet the conviction grew, until I was ready to acknowledge before God that I was willing to go. But I was fearful of making a mistake.
One Lord’s Day afternoon, in prayer, I confessed to the Lord that the only thing that was keeping me back was the fear of running unsent; I wanted to be sure that He was sending me. Rising from prayer, I went down to the Hall, and one of the brethren was already there. His first words were to ask me when I was going. Surprised, I enquired what he meant, only to be asked: "Are you the only one in Portrush that doesn’t know that you should be going abroad with the Gospel?"
Shortly afterwards, I approached the brethren, to tell them of my exercise, and to ask their advice. They had been expecting that for some time, and with their unanimous commendation, plans were made for going to Brazil. At that time Mr. John McCann was at home for some months in Ireland, and he was able to guide in those details. In February of 1960, a farewell meeting was arranged in the Hall in Portrush, at which the late Mr. Edward Allen, and a number of brethren from Portrush and neighbouring assemblies ministered the Word of God.
That was over thirty years ago. The men who taught me the precious truths of Scripture, relative to the assembly, are no longer with us. But they were faithful men; men who received the truth, and preserved it and passed it on intact. May we, in this dark hour so characterised by change and departure, follow the noble example left us, value the heritage we have received, and hold fast "till He come."
GOD’S SHUT-IN ONES
- Not in the limelight which so many share,
- "Tis pleasing to the flesh to labour there;
- The secret place is not so keenly sought
- Where God’s "Shut-ins" the choicest wreaths have wrought.
- The clamour for the platform oft bespeaks
- The glory that the occupier seeks;
- Enamoured by a crowded atmosphere
- Who restless wait, and lend a boredomed ear.
- A lonely furrow many a pilgrim ploughs,
- In sweet content, adoringly he bows;
- An unseen fellowship to him is more
- Than all the honours earth could on him pour.
- "Shut-ins" learn God in no uncertain way,
- Lessons which doth the loneliness repay;
- It is the school that gives the flesh no place
- In sweet communion at the throne of grace.
- The school in which one touches unseen things,
- And counts but naught the mirth of earthly Kings;
- To have the heart find satisfaction sweet
- Sitting like Mary at the nailed pierced feet.
- Then happier far to be a "Shut-in one,"
- In fellowship with God’s Beloved Son;
- Than being in the public eye
- Gaining the praise of men that soon must die.
- Soon shall the Shut-in ones unfettered be,
- And in the unsullied light of Heaven see
- Rich gems which nothing shall their lustre dim,
- Fruit of their toil in secret done for Him.
- —R. Hull (Belfast).