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THE CHURCH-THE WOMAN:
dwelling in your hearts, to “have mercy upon you as We again entreat you, therefore, to rely upon the miserable sinners?" Is it not cruel ingratitude thus to safety you have in Christ Jesus, and no longer discontemn your Father's manifested love?
honour his finished work and priceless love, by bowWe need not dwell upon your next paragraph, for ing your hearts to the traditions and superstitions of if you are wrongly crying separately to Father, Son, men. and Holy Ghost, you are equally in error in your prayer for mercy to the Holy Trinity. We pass on to that which follows.
“ Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our fore. "fathers ; neither take thou rengeance of our sins. Spare us, good
In a previous paper, entitled “Eve and the Bride Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious of Christ,” I was led to present the truth, taught in blood, and be not angry with us for erer.”
the Ephesians and Revelation, of the Church of God Here is another sample of the thorough misappre- being the Bride of Christ, “the Lamb's Wife;" and hension of the Christian dispensation constantly that this mystery of Christ and the Church was foremanifested by those who compiled your Prayer-book. shadowed in Adam and Eve. [See page 129.] We allude especially to the thought of vengeance for Now in Genesis i. we readthe sins of our forefathers.
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bone and flesh of In God's dealings with his earthly people Israel, he my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken does indeed visit the sins of the fathers upon the
out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his children.
mother, and shall cleave unto his wife ; and they shall be one
flesh." We do not enter into the question here of why that should be so. Enough for us that the Lord has so re- In Eph. V., when referring to Christ and the vealed his ways towards that people, and that he has Church, the Holy Ghost uses much the same lannot so revealed his ways towards us.
guage as to the Church's origin and gives the same A believer in Christ Jesus is delivered from his old reason for Christ's cleaving to her: standing before God, and he will never suffer vengeance “No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and for his own sins, much less for the sins of his fore- cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: for we are fathers.
members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this
cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be That beautiful promise is fulfilled in us who
joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh"believe :
Adding, that we might not suppose he was re" I will put my laws into their hearts and in their minds will I ferring to the earthly unionwrite them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.' (Heb. x. 16, 17.)
“This is a great mystery ; but I speak concerning Christ However little this is understood, because of the and the Church.” traditions of men, yet, happily, God is true, and the Now we remember that the Eternal Word (to fact for us is even according to His word.
whom be glory for ever) left Father when He came We may remark, however, that this merciful forget- forth from God, and left Mother when He forsook fulness, on God's part, of sin and iniquity as such, does Israel, of whom, according to the flesh, Christ came. not prevent him from chastening us, as our faithful With this people He had a place by birth, when Father. He will deal with us down here in chasten. "made of a woman, made under the law;' and a ing, because we are sons. (See Heb. xii. 7.)
place, too, that He might have kept, had He so willed, We are, therefore, to pray to God our Father for or had it pleased Him to have asked angels of His manifestations of his loving-kindness. But the Holy Father. But “the Seed of the Woman” forsook all, Spirit never leads us to cry to him as to the God of both Father and Mother that He might cleave unto vengeance. Vengeance is for enemies, not for sons. the Church.
The last part of the sentence quoted from your [The nation of Israel, in this character, seems to be Litany is, however, even worse than the first.
presented to us in Rev. xii. as a Woman crowned Only think of the confusion involved in those with twelve stars, who gives birth to a heavenly words
man-child.] “ Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people whom thou hast redeemed ** with thy precious blood, and be not angry with us for ever.”
With regard to the words “they two shall be one
flesh,”—at present, our life (our eternal life) is hid How can the Lord be angry for ever with those with Christ in God:"—the rib, the Church, is not yet whom he has redeemed with his own precious presented out of the Second Man. This will be when blood ?
he comes, “the Lord from Heaven," The sacred word declares that
“Who shall change our vile body and fashion it like unto “ The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all His own glorious body, by the power wherewith He is able to sin.”
subdue all things unto Himself." And in a thousand ways forgiveness is assured to Then will that be true to sight and feeling which you as those redeemed by that precious blood. is true to faith now-Moreover you are not only forgiven, but also
“They Two SHALL BE ONE FLESH." “ Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God
At present it is a spiritual oneness —“baptized by through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. v. i.)
one Spirit into one body;" Then it will be a visible
oneness : "When we see Him we shall be liko Him, buildings, paid pastors, &c. But the Lord has for we shall see Him as He is."
not said so. On the contrary, He has given the “Like Him,'' _a body like His—which could assurance of His presence as the one thing to be manifest itself to mortal eyes, “the doors being rejoiced in by those gathered in His name. The shut,” and then "vanish out of their sight:” and yet true woman delights, not in circumstances, but her possess flesh and bones, as they saw Him have. Such Beloved. will be the bodies of the saints " when we are like
“My Beloved is mine, and I am His." Him:"-"they two shall be one flesh.”
What efforts will be made by many to retain
the services of a favourite pastor ! and what Let us now consider the Church, waiting for this annoyance, rising to anger at his ingratitude, if redemption of the Body. If we are to be manifested he persist in leaving them? Alas! that it is so. as the Woman, let us walk now by faith as the Woman.
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols."] 1. A special characteristic of the woman is self- The good Lord work graciously in all our hearts, insufficiency-dependence-dependence on the man. and lead His people to prefer those circumstances of Knowing this, the Lord Jesus has graciously assured outward weakness which tend to keep us walking, as the Church of His constant presence, that being the assemblies, by faith in the Son of God-for if we most comforting fact for a woman to know. Indeed, associate blessing with numbers or the presence of a the Lord has specially alluded to the weakness, in gifted brother are we not carnal, and walk as men?" point of numbers, in which spiritually-minded be- Let the reader note that the church of Philadelphia lievers may expect to find themselves. I believe the —the only one of the Seven churches with which the Lord will keep His dear ones in small assemblies, if Lord finds no fault-is characterised as having "little they are watchful of His will, in order to accustom strength,”—a true woman. (Oh, to be “blameless them, as the Woman, to lean on Himself.
before Him in love," and found “blameless at His Any “two or three" members of the One Body coming.") While the church which is furthest gone and the Head form an asserably or church. into corruption (Laodicea) is the one which has They may feel, in addition to their weakness of most of what the world calls good and great. (Rev. numbers, weakness of gift. Well, let them rejoice iï.) in the Lord, and prefer the dependence of the Woman Was not the falling away insensibly from depento anything approaching the self-sufficiency of a man. dence on the Lord, the character of the failing in the His strength is perfected in our weakness, because Church of Ephesus ? when weak we lean on Him, and then-oh, how we
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou are upheld!
hast left thy first love." (Rev. ii.) Let churches know there is a special safety as well And yet to this church was given most fully, in its as a special assurance of blessing to the two or epistle, this blessed mystery of Christ and the Church. three gathered together in Jesu's name.” For when
Beloved, our safety does not lie in the possession numbers increase, (although we rightly, rejoice in of high truth (like the Ephesians,) or those who can sinners saved and saints induced to walk by faith in teach it (like the Corinthians); but a true desire to the Lord's presence, still
, we have learnt the tendency “ cleave unto the Lord with purpose of heart," as to rest in a plenitude of spiritual gifts, rather than Barnabas (that “good man, 'full of faith and the in the blessed presence and perfections of the Head. Holy Ghost'') exhorted those who were first called
Another thing, besides increase of numbers, which Christ-ians. "If in any degree or manner we cease to greatly endangers an assembly's really continuing cleave unto the Lord, in that degree do we fail to to walk as the Woman-dependent on the future bear that holy name-indeed, we "deny" it. This Husband and present Lord, is--the presence and con did not Philadelphia. tinued ministry of specially gifted brethren. But, it may be said, Are not spiritual gifts from the Lord? Yes; but not necessarily for single assemblies only; Ghost has given commendation to gatherings in
Has the reader sufficiently noticed that the Holy they may be of such a special character as to be believers' houses ? suitable for the edifying of the Body” in general. (Read Eph. iv. 11–16.) Hence such servants may
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus
who have for my life laid down their own necks, unto whom well be watchful for doors of ministry elsewhere, lest
not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Genthe saints who love them learn to lean on them. I tilos. Likewise greet the church which is in their house." am referring here to such eminently gifted teachers (Rom. xvi.). as Apollos.
Here Aquila and Priscilla are at Rome. The [In looking at the systems of Christendom, we see same practice of gathering in their own house be these two things notably lost sight of. There we lievers to the Lord is alluded to in the 1st Epistle to behold a continual straining after large assemblies, the Corinthians, when they seem to have been s: on the avowed principle that small assemblies are not Ephesus-certainly in Asia. self-supporting, and are not to be favourably re- “ The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscial garded, because they get into debt and difficulty ! salute you much in the Lord, with the church which is in the Such assemblies take it for granted that blessing house." (1 Cor. xvi.) must come through an expensive machinery of In Philemon's house was also a church
"Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, ties are expressed. In these days of confusion and unto Philemon, our dearly beloved and fellow-labourer, and to evil, believers may well avail themselves of the freeour beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to dom with which the Lord has made us free--free in the church in thy house, grace to you, and peace, &c.”
respect of times, places, numbers, and ministries,Our impression in reading this salutation is that and gather to Himself, — Philemon and his wife Apphia had been moved by
“ Holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and the Lord to open their house to certain saints, and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, that Archippus was a servant of the Lord who felt a increaseth with the increase of God.” (Col. ii. 19.) special call to minister there. This impression is confirmed by a passage in the Epistle to the Colossians, We have seen much reason to rejoice that the in or near which city it is probable Philemon lived, Lord is bringing His Church into the same blessed because of the reference to Onesimus as
condition it was in as described in Acts ix.
one of them.” (Col. iv. 9.) In that Epistle, the Colossian “ Then had the churches rest throughout all Judæa and church is charged thus
Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the
fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were “Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry thou hast multiplied. And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.” (Col. iv. 17.)
quarters.” Here is a servant referred to, and evidently not So we, in these days, have rest from those perseusually assembling with the church in Colosse, cutions which have swept over the Church. We are because that church receives a message for him; | being editied. or built up, in our most holy faith, clearly, therefore, having a comparatively humble adding to faith much knowledge. We apprehend service (speaking after the manner of men) in Phile- Jesus as our Lord and our God--who is now walking mon's house; and he is to be exhorted to fulfil it.” | amidst the golden candlesticks (his assemblies) as
The next and last reference to a church in a One with eyes of fire and feet of melting brass, and house, is that in the house of Nymphas.
at whose Judgment Seat we must all give an account “ Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, the Lord,” but we walk " in the comfort of the Holy
of ourselves. Not only so—"walking in the fear of and the church which is in his house." * And now, beloved, what does the Spirit, through clete, or, as the word is also translated, Adrocate.
Ghost.” The Holy Ghost is the Comforter-Parathese passages, say unto us?
He advocates to our souls the claims of Jesus, as our That if a brother and a sister, with others, meet Saviour, Lord, and God. By means of the Word of to the Lord, as a church, in their own house, there God, the Holy Ghost comforts us with thoughts of is liberty so to do; but neither that, nor anything all that the Lord Jesus Christ is, has done, and will else, should be done, without a full impression that be to the Church, and the Church to Him. By Him, it is the Lord's will, after much united prayer, too, we cry, Abbá, and worship the Father. We are searching of the word and their own hearts. If thus " walking in the comfort of the Holy Ghost." opened 80, it will be a door of the Lord's opening, and
And what else do we see in this Acts ix. ?-the let them be assured, no man can shut it, or shut out multiplication of assemblies. " Then had the blessing, for Jesus is there. 2. That if a brother and sister in the Lord are hear of assemblies, weak in numbers, rising up
churches rest—were edified_multiplied. And we do 80 led to gather souls in their own house to the Lord
around us. a neighbouring assembly or assemblies are not to be
And what then? Why, Peter, as representing disturbed with thoughts of the oneness of the Body the higher spiritual gifts given for the edification of being broken (!) or of the impropriety of two tables, the Body and the service of the saints, is introduced but they are to lovingly acknowledge them, and to us by the Holy Ghost—"passing throughout all " salute" them, and rejoice to hear of any gathering to the Lord in weakness of numbers, knowing that blessing must over flow forth to those who have faith but with those servants of the Lord who possessed
This was the practice not only with the apostles, to be cast upon the Lord. 3. That the oneness of the churches in the Word, the refreshing
water of the Word-precious truth.
special spiritual gifts for watering the churches with is nothing like a confederation of assemblies, but Take for instance Apollos. Unarmed with apostolic, love—"the bond of perfectness"—the tie of unity. or any authority, yet he was greatly used for blessing. For the Holy Ghost shows us not only Colosse salut- Doubtless the unity of the Church in the early days, ing the church in Nymphas' house, but the church in
was maintained by this facility of ministry, in all and Aquila's house saluting Corinth.
each assembly, of certain gifted servants whose praise These gatherings in believers' houses were not existing in bye places, but in large cities in which and joints" of the body, it seems to me, by whose
was in all the churches. They were special “bands there were already churches. No fears of irregulari. “ passing about throughout
all quarters”, assemblies The term used in these places is “church,” not "saints ;" were kept in communion with one another-not in and cannot be construed to mean “family,” but “ assembly," confederation, and by whom, as well as the resident for all the purposes of an assembly"worshipping God in the elders, the Lord ministered nourishment to the body. Spirit, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and showing forth his death in the breaking of bread till He come.” " Ecclesia " is the
Archippus is given to an assembly, to watch over word used in these four places, which means "assembly of the the sheep, become acquainted with them individually, called-out,"
and feed them. Apollos is given to the Body, to be
a blessing to the churches. Sometimes Apollos gets standpoint as a teacher. The judgment-scene he in the way of Archippus; keeps in an assembly too refers to is that of the nations upon earth, at the long. It
grows in numbers under his glowing minis- Lord's coming to the earth. This revelation he had try; and the walk of faith in the Lord is endan- received from the Lord's own lips, and in that gered. Of course, no rule can be laid down ; we passage we see judgment does turn--not on faith, servants must seek to be so in communion with the but I'orks. Lord as to be quick to discern his will; and may it be
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the our great desire to be nothing, that Jesus may be all holy angels with him, then shall be sit upon the throne of his in all.
glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he What did Paul long for in contemplating visiting shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his the Church of Rome ?--going as an Apostle witả sheep from the goats ; And he shall set the sheep on his right
hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say tu authority? No; but as a teacher and a brother.
them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established ; That is, that I For I was an hungred, and ye yare me meat :” &c. may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both James would also well remember the Lord's teachof you and me.” (Rom. i. 11-12.) • That I may come unto with joy by the will of God, and
ing on another occasionmay with you be refreshed.”
“Jany will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart Sometimes servants may be found in the providence from me, ye that work iniquity.” of the Lord ministering to “two or three," when it Thus, with regard to the judgment of the nations would be more agreeable to their natural wishes to upon earth, and the Jews with them, faith is not be serving two or three score or hundreds. But oh, called in to decide, but works. it is of prime importance that the churches be kept
As holding the Jewish hope, and addressing those walking in a full dependence on the Son of God, who who had got no higher, it was natural that James loved us and gave himself for us, (not in a confidence should take Matt. xxv. as his standpoint. He in the flesh.) This practical confidence in Jesus, therefore sayspresent to bless His saints, like other virtues, must be
"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the tested and proved and exercised.
law of liberty.” Sectarianism may offer insuperable difficulties to That is, the law of love, in contradistinction from true servants getting a free intercommunion with the what he calls the “ royal law," the kingly command Lord's people; this does not alter the fact, as to what given by God, when He was "king in Jeshurun," the Lord's mind is. And some may think the thought -“Thou shalt,”' &c. we here put forth calculated to encourage busy- James continuesbodies.. Well, the Lord is our keeper. “Letters of
“ For he shall have judgment without morey who showed no commendation were found needful to servants mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” passing about.
With these Apollos himself was Though left at liberty to act from love rather than provided. (Acts xviii. 27.) “Let no man think more law, James would have believers to understand they highly of himself than he ought to think.”
not delivered from the consequences of The Lord give us understanding in all things; inaction. As "Judge of all the earth," the Lord at and grace to walk as the Woman—rejoicing in our
his coming to the earth will look for and demand dependence upon His blessed self: to whom, with that species of conduct which will justify, in the face the Father, be all glory now and for ever, Amen. of all the earth, His bestowment of mercy upon
such as will receive it. To those who will be rejected in that day, God's dealings in merey with some, and in judgment with them, must be justified
by the production of genuine fruit, and so, every Such is the question which has startled many a mouth shall be stopped. When earth is the scene Christian reader of the Epistle by James, and that of judgment, WORKS must be produced--something because it seems so contrary to the teaching in the that an earthly people can take cognisance of—someRomans:
thing that can be seen. This was James's sphere of " Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith with discernment, as a Jewish believer and a teacher of ont the deeds of the law.” (Rom. iii.)
Jewish believers. And so he says,
- Can faith save Before examining James's question, let me first him?" remind the reader of what has been advanced upon But Paul's standpoint being the Church, the One some of the special features of his epistle and upon Body, called out of the world, to be a heavenly people, his standing as a believer and teacher.
for ever associated with the Lord Jesus Christ in His The passage in James's epistle in which occurs this heavenly glory, to the eternal rejection of those who question
now hold a place and power in the heavens, that “ CAN FAITH SAVE HIM?"
apostle regards that which justifies sinners now in is a reference ,
to future Judgment, but not the "Judge the view of angels. Satan knows that God has stipument seat of Christ” for the Church in the heavenlies, lated all to faith—"to him that believeth.” When which was enlarged upon at page 189. That, as faith is discerned in the heart, the holy angels rejoice I have shown in our last number, was above James's and the Accuser is silenced.
FAITH SAVE HIMP
w Blessed be God! we who have faith have also
We believe it was not until some years afterwards because we know that our having faith justifies that Christians met in the same simple way at Plymouth, God in giving to us eternal life and justifies us in and other places in the West of England. It is therethe view of the powers in heavenly places. But in fore evident that any pretension to being the original faith there is no merit; it comes by hearing, and party, or the supposed presentment of the unity of the there is no merit in the creature believing the body, as urged by Mr Darby and his followers, is Creator.
utterly wanting both as to fact and spiritual reason. Thus, James, looking at justification at a judgment It may be well to state also, that Mr J. N. Groves scene on earth, naturally insists upon the importance was in his lifetime quite opposed to Mr Darby's arbitrary works, as justifying, before all, the bestowment of proceedings, and wrote most lovingly to warn the latter of mercy to some.
of that which has most sorrowfully come to pass in the "What profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, this, Mr Dorman justly says,
erection of his system of spiritual tyranny. Respecting and have not works ? can faith save him? If a brother or
“It is an immense sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you ecclesiastical ramification, which is everywhere subject, say unto them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled ; and in all things, as to its order, doctrine, and discipline, notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are to Mr Darby's decrees ! enforced by a ubiquitous, unneedful to the body; what profit ?" (James ii.)
seen spiritual supervision, from which as there is no Not to the supposed case of distress, but to the escape, so is there no appeal” ! one who said he had faith, and who, having oppor- We will not dwell upon so sorrowful a theme. Our tunity of showing it, neglected to show it, and to do only object in speaking of it here, is to warn believers, that which could be produced in evidence at the that they suffer not themselves to be robbed of the liberty Coming of the Son of Man in power and great glory. wherewith Christ has made them free. “Even so faith (of such an one) if it hath not works is dead,
Far better to be weak than strong. The Lord Jesus being alone."
“ Behold I have set before thee an open door and The whole passage was a searching word to those
no man can shut it, for thou hast a little strength, and Jews who said they believed Jesus was the true hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." Messiah.
It may also be pressed on nominal Rev. iii. 8,
There is a danger of falling from the happy consciousworketh by love,” to God and man.
ness of the potency of the name of Jesus, and the power of his word.
Many who have experienced the strength of the Lord NOTE.-It has been feared that I jeopardise the in the time of their weakness, have, alas! resigned that inspiration of James's epistle in these two articles happy state to become strong in their own devices. upon it.
Such will soon know how great has been their loss. Not at all.
“ Behold I come quickly : hold that fast which thou hast that Is not Apostolic inspiration spoken of thus in none take thy crown." John's Gospel ?
Thus saith the Lord ! "He (the Comforter, the Holy Ghost) shalt teach you. Dear fellow pilgrims—Wherever there are two or
“He shall bring to your remembrancé whatsoever I have said three of you meeting in the name of Jesus—surrender unto you." "He will show you things to come."
your liberty to no man, neither to any confederation of “He shall take of mine, and shall show unto you."
The Lord is faithful. Suffer him to bring you Jamos teaches truth which he was taught by the through in weakness that he may be glorified in you.
2. Cor. xii. 10. Lord Jesus Christ; and in his epistle is no truth See 1 Cor. iii. 21-23. Gal. ii. 4-5. unfolded by the Holy Spirit subsequent to Pente
“Christ's precious blood was shed,
His body bruised for sin ; cost. Now, as be truthfully and fully presented the
Rememb'ring this, we break the bread, Lord's moral teachings under the remindings of the
And, thankful, drink the wine. Holy Ghost—therefore his epistle is inspired.
Lord, let us ne'er forget,
Thy rich, Thy wondrous love ;
Our endless song above.
O may Thy love constrain
Our souls to cleave to Thee !
And ever in our hearts remain It may interest many readers to know that the resto.
That word, “Remember Me." ration of "Breaking of Bread,” according to the simplicity of the early days of the Church, was first brought
“REJOICING IN TRIBULATION." about some forty years ago in Dublin. The instruments
Essex, March, 1867. specially used by the Lord were Mr J. N. Groves and MY DEAR FELLOW-SUITERER, -Since the arrival of your Mr Bellett, both of whom now sleep in Jesus, after welcome letter, I have been hindered in giving you an account having fulfilled a greatly honoured course down here. of my affliction. In my fifteenth year the God of love laid It was the first named of these beloved saints who sug
His afflicting hand upon me. At the first, I had bad legs,
swollen very much and very painful, so that for some weeks I gested that Christians should again meet simply in the could scarcely walk across my room. I then took to my bed, name of Jesus, as of old, and show forth the Lord's and took somo medicine, which pained me from head to foot, death in breaking of bread, till He shall come.
and blisters came upon my hands and feet, some of which
Rev. iii. 11.
PURE AND SIMPLE.