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not only with the foeling of our wants, but also in the spirit of
But we must not judge each other in this matter, or lay worship. The Lord prayed—"Sanctify them through Thy truth, down a rule. If a believer says—"I do not love these things Thy word is truth."
I feel at liberty to have them in moderation." Well the Lord When we come together for prayer, it is into a position looks for all in grace --not from law. If we are happy in laying apart from the world—to God. The Word
of God has a sepa- down our things at His feet, He smiles approval. rating, or sanctifying influence. By the Word of God, also,
Then, again, it is one thing to keep a few of those things faith is quickened, and by the Spirit's application of the Word which were bought before conscience was exercised, and quite wo are taught what to ask for, and how to ask.
another thing to buy them after we have been enlightened, as Our brother does indeed say, a portion of the Scriptures may there may be felt a difficulty in disposing of things so obtained. be read. It seems to be referred to, however, rather as an
May we all say to ourselves-What would Jesus do ? "Put allowable incidental, than a most desirable thing. We hope ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” he will allow us to press it, as very needful, whenever possible.
These “ Hints," also, seem to take it for granted that women may pray audibly in the presence of men. This is tantamount D., ISLINGTON.--" Will you please consider the following to saying—that the woman may lead the man! But “God is questions in a letter from a brother ? "At our Bible reading not the author of confusion."
last evening the questions, as to the age at which the Saviour "I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy began to teach (1), and how long He taught (2), and at what hands, without wrath and doubting.” (i Tim.)
age He died (3), were brought forward. Have you studiod “I suffer not a woman to
, usurp anthority over
this? If so, please give me any light you may have."" the man, but to be in silence.” (1 Tim.)
[Dear Brother,-Question (1) is settled in Luke ii. 34"And
Jesus began to be about 30 years of age." Is it not difficult to permit women to lead in prayer without Question (2). If John's Gospel is consulted, it will be found endangering their sometimes " usurping authority," for may that the Lord Jesus was present at Jerusalem 4 passorers, being not a sister, by degrees, come to feel that she has got to do crucified on the occasion of the last. This would give 3 full something--something for the man! Then we have the man
years. It is thought that He was about half a year ministering dependent on the woman!
the Word before the first passover : if so, then the whole This matter of order is very simple if dear ones only appre- period of his ministry would be 3 years, or thereabouts. For hend that Christians assembling together make an assembly, or church, and the word is express “Let your women keep and xii. 1.
the 4 passovers in John, you might refer to ii. 13; v. 1 ; vii. 4; silence in the churches.” If prompted to pray (as doubtless Question (3). Consequently, the dear Lord (who for our they will be) let them pray in silence.
sakes became man) died in his 34th year—"cut off out of the In every assembly, however small, the woman represents the land of the living,” though“ no guile was found in His Church : the man represents the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Head mouth." of the Woman is the Man, even as Christ is the Head of the
It is needful to beware of the dates at the tops of some Church. In the presence of the man, therefore, the woman is Testaments. The practice of dating from the birth of our to be subject, even as the Church is subject to Christ.
Lord commenced about A.D. 600, and it is supposed a mistake
of 4 years was made-that it started from the fourth year OUR CORRESPONDENTS AND OURSELVES. Address Letters for the Proprietor, to 335a, Strand, London, W.C.
instead of the first year of our Lord's life. Now, in some
Bibles the reckonings are made from the first and in some from THE WORD “CHRISTIAN."-S. B. writes_“I hold to the
the fourth year. We have two before us (Bagster and Barnes): name 'Christian,' because from the peculiar word used called' The second, to be consistent, ought to call the present year
the first places the crucifixion at A.D. 29, the second at A.D. 33. (not kaleo, but chreematizo.) In other passages it seems to me
1872 ! it was Divinely given.”. (We perceive Doddridge thinks with you in this matter, and
Those who see the date A.D. 33 placed against the crucifixion we have looked at the passages he refers to as justifying his
have been led to infer that the Lord Jesus was 37 years of age opinion that “the word denotes to be named by Divine appoint- date affixed should be a.D. 29, yet on consulting 6 copies only ?
at that time, remembering the error of the four years. The ment." They are interesting, but we cannot give an opinion. It is sufficient for us that the Holy Ghost takes up and uses the put it A.D. 29, the rest were A.D. 33 !] word. Surely, we can hold the two things--that Man gave the word, but it was according to the will of God. man said of have because he is a brother and needs it?"-On page 10 of
A BROTHER asks ;" Can a Christian claim anything I Jesus-Nazarene ! but they only fulfilled the will of God. Man has called us Christians, but we may be very sure it is
our last we read~" They can demand nothing, but must look the special purpose of God.]
by faith to the Lord to lead a Barnabas or a Stephen to relieve
them." A correspondent writes :"Dear Brother, - Is it right to BScripture only
APTISM, its PLACE and MEANING, considered in the light of have one's portrait taken? Is it right to have pictures ?
To which is added "Remarks on the meaning of
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No. 37.-VOL. II.]
[One Halfpenny. “ BE AT PEACE AMONG YOURSELVES." Lord in prayer, and then to the wrongdoer in private, (1 Thess. v.)
we mention it to others—who as sinfully receive it! Too often does the enemy, that Old Serpent, the
“ Now there is utterly a fault among you." (1 Cor, vi.) Devil, lead us foolish pilgrims "to fall out by the way.”
May we henceforth, when a report of another is He "wrestles” to do this, in order that he may már retailed to us, have grace to say immediatelyour testimony, for who will hear those who are
“Have you been with that to my brother ? ' known to quarrel among themselves ?
And if the answer is—"Well, no; I have not,” “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that then let us say—“Then I cannot receive it." make peace.” (James iii.)
We have just heard of a brother who had grace
to Would I be used of the Lord in sowing to the glory conform to this word in Matthew xviii. When a of God? Let me “ Follow peace with all men;" complaint was being made to him against another, on and let saints generally “look diligently lest any man one occasion, he suddenly stopped the complainant, fail of the grace of God; (as those do who strive] and, drawing his arm under his own, he exclaimed, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble them, “Let us go to him at once !" But the other was not and thereby many be defiled.” (Heb. xii.) Strife is prepared for this, and before they reached their defiling, (is it not ?) because as defilement spreads by destination, he pleaded some excuse, -and there the contact, so those in contact, or fellowship with us, will matter ended ! generally take sides with those who strive--and so
“The north wind driveth away rain ; so doth an angry counthe strife spreads to them, amd “thereby many are tenance a backbiting tongue." (Prov. Ixv.) defiled.”
Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall ascend “Where enrying and strife is, there is confusion and every into thy holy hill ? evil work.” (James.)
"He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and “ If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that yo be speaketh the truth in his hoart. He that backbiteth not with not consumed one of another.” (Gal. v.)
his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a -- That is to say, the testimony and spirituality of reproach against his neighbour.” (Psalm xv.) those who strive is brought to an end.
“ Whisperers, backbiters," are among the sinners In order to the maintenance of peace among us, enumerated in Romans i. If I retail anything I have it is very needful to take heed to that word of the not proved, in the way directed by the Lord in the Lord Jesus to us, His sheep
above passage in Matt. xviii,- it is a shame unto me. “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him
“ We do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. For his fault between thee and him alone : if he 'shall hear thee, I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear, take and that I shall be found unto you such as you would not : lest with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of one or two there be debates, enryings, wraths, strifes, backbiting, whisper. witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall ings, swellings, and tumults.” (2 Cor. xii.) neglect to hear them, tell it to the church; but if he neglect to That which is “whispered” is sure to be carried, hear the church, let bim be unto thee as a heathen by some one or other, to the individual whispered man and a publican." (Matt. xviii.)
about--and then-what an animosity will spring From this I am taught, that I am not to go and up! talk about a brother's wrongdoing to a third party, “Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth." but first to go to him, and seek, by divine grace, to bring him to repentance. Unless I can go to him, Turn we to another aspect of the subject. and talk it over with him, in the spirit of meekness, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to with a view to his amendment or our mutual recon- dwell together in unity"! ciliation-I must maintain absolute silence. If I gain
It was so, it is so, and, oh, how pleasant it will be, him—there is an end to the matter; if I do not go when-our pilgrimage over-we can no longer " fall it is, then, confined within my own breast, and out by the way,” but shall for over "dwell together charity covereth a multitude of sins.'
in unity!" with our Jesus, Prince of Peace, blessed How perfect are all Thy ways, Lord Jesus !
be His Name! Disagreements often arise from mistakes, which,
May we breathe more of the atmosphere of on a personal interview, are cleared up.
heaven now. How quick we are to come to conclusions! " to judge from appearances !" how slow to make allow-dwell together in unity!
"“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to's ances! And then, instead of taking the matter to the "It is like the precious ointment upon the boad, that ran down
SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST.
upon the beard, even Aaron's beard : that went down to the
Do not these Scriptures show that resisting the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion : for there the Lord Holy Ghost is resisting the words of God as presented commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Ps. cxxxiii.) by prophets or preachers ?-resisting, and generally
with persecution ? Note, beloved, to what brotherly union is compared.
This sin the unregenerate in enlightened lands It is as “precious ointment” and as fertilizing "dew.”
ever have committed, and can, alas! commit still, It ascends as a grateful fragrance before God-and it descends, as dew, in blessing upon man. God is pleased, and man is blessed, by brotherly love con- * Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be tinuing
thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God,
and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he “For thy pleasure they are, and were created.” (Rev. iv.)
was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto And shall not we be so, too? Then, as regards the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Venblessing to man
geance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord.
And again, The Lord shall judge his people.” (Heb. x.) “ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John xiii. 35.)
While the two former seem to be sins in the unregenerate, this is the most serious form of sin against the Holy Ghost that could be committed by a believer.
The word in the original means—" To offer a con. MANY of us have had difficulties on this subject. is referred to. The Apostle Paul was writing to the
temptuous outrage to." * Doutless, the sin of apostasy Let us together look at the Scriptures on it, and Hebrew Christians, whose special danger was that may we learn therefrom.
First, it may be of being induced, through fear of fiery persecution remarked, that the subject is very solemn, because of from their own countrymen, to deny their faith in the almost invariable severity of punishment that Jesus as the true Messiah. Paul himself (as the follows sin against the Holy Ghost, whether com
unregenerate Saul of Tarsus) had been used of Satan mitted by the believer or by the unbeliever. (The to make many commit this sin. italics in the texts show the crime and its punishment.)
"I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many
things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow thing I also did in Jerusalem : and many of the saints did I doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said .......
if | priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice I cast out devils by the Spirit
of God, then the kingdom of God against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, is come unto you. : ... Wherefore I say unto you, all and compelled them to blaspheme ; and being exceedingly mad manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities." the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto (Acts xxvii.) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of
While the apostate “trod under foot the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him : but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this God,” it is not said that he blasphemed against the world, neither in the world to come.” (Matt. xii.)
Holy Ghost. No; the sin he committed, grievous as
" Whosoever As the Lord Jesus is no longer on the earth casting speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall bo
it was, was not the unpardonable sin. out devils by that Spirit which was given without measure unto Him, surely this sin of “blasphemy Spirit of grace,” not “blasphemy.” That is, he acted
forgiven him." The apostate did“ despite to the against the Holy Ghost” can no longer be committed. in malicious defiance of the voice of the Holy Spirit, How near some infidels, who have lived since then, who called aloud to him, through conscience and the may have approached it, God only knows.
Word of God, not to count his life dear unto him,
- to die rather than put His Lord to an open shame. " And the LORD said, 'My Spirit shall not always strive with
Such a sin, though pardonable in respect to the man, for that he also is flesh; ... I will destroy man whom life to come, was not in this life :I have created from the face of the earth.” (Gen. vi.)
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the “By which (Spirit] Ho. [the Lord Christ, the Word) went knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifiee for and preached unto the spirits (now) in prison ; which sometime sing, but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in which shall devour the adversaries.” (Heb. 1.) the days of Noah, ["a preacher of righteousness," 2 Pet. ii.] while the ark was a preparing.” (1 Peter.)
As in the case of Ananias, the only thing that “Many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against could follow "doing despite to the Spirit of grace" them by thy Spirit in thy prophets : yet they would not give was judgment in this life :(Neh. ix.)
“ Peter said, 'Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart “But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore ho to lie to the Holy Ghost ? .. And Ananias, hearing these was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” words, fell down and gave up the ghost.” (Acts v.) (Isa. lxiii.)
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted ? which temple ye are.” (1 Cor.) and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been the betrayers and murderers.” (Acta vii.)
Not that the Holy Spirit Himself ever acts in and, consequently, the mind of the Spirit would punishment ; for "all judgment is given unto the Son." not be made known! “ Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith
Of course, now, in “the last time," the condition the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a of things is altered, but the principle remains. We fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. x.) should now gather together to the Lord Jesus, and
This latter word shows that the sin contemplated muse until the fire burns, (Psa. xxxix)—till we, is one which could be committed by Christians-his who have “an ear to hear," receive a word by the “people."
Spirit from the Scriptures, by which word our This is furthershown by the word in the verse before worship may flow forth in utterance, or truth flow the above "sanctified.' In what sense could an forth to the assembly. unbeliever be sanctified by the blood? Those, there- Now if I repress the utterance of that which fore, who regard these strong passages in the Hebrews I perceive would be to the glory of God and the good as meaning something which could not be done by one of souls, I “quench the Spirit, though not in exactly who had been truly converted, do greatly err: do they the same sense which Paul means in the above not?
They regard these passages as inserted to exhortation to the Thessalonians, and that because frighten us into cautiousness!
I am not a "prophet." Paul says “if we sin wilfully, after that we," &c. Doubtless, if a believer stifle a true impulse to He does not exclude himself, even ; but he rejoiced testify to the unconverted, of sin, righteousness, and to know whose grace was sufficient to keep him from judgment to come,” it may rightly be regarded as falling.
"quenching" the Spirit. But the above exhortation, Nevertheless, these strong passages in Heb. vi. we may well apprehend, has a primary application and xi. may refer to a form of sin that can hardly to our conduct in the assembly, because of the other be committed now. They certainly cannot refer to exhortations with which it is joined : ordinary backslidings, as we might term them. For
“ Despise not prophesyings." backsliders are renewed to repentance," and are recovered to the church ; whereas these passages regard has little education or natural ability, or he may have
We may sometimes have to listen to a brother who the sinner as beyond recovery in this world. Is not this difficulty solved by the following view ? be in danger of despising," either him or his words.
the special fault of being too wordy, and we shall A believer who apostatized in the Apostle's days ac- This we are exhorted not to do. May we bear with tually went over to the Lord's murderers ! and joined with them who cried “ Away with such a fellow from
one another, even as Christ bears with us, and the the earth!” Now this is an aspect of apostasy which Holy Spirit, too-poor, wretched things, that we all cannot be committed now, but which could be committed at the time Paul was writing, and by the the less educated (humanly-speaking) by one of their
It may be that the Spirit is seeking to minister to people to whom he was writing--the Hebrews of Jeru- own condition ; then, shall I " despise" the Spirit's salem and Judea.
work?. By no means. Let us not explain away these passages, but refer
If I perceive that what is them to the circumstances of those to whom they my soul up-then, let me sit, quietly, " holding the
being said is not for me—
8-does not enlighten or lift were written. How far “
despite can be done now Head,” (Col. ii.) knowing that He doeth all things " to the Spirit of grace," cannot be defined. But
well." we may well apprehend that, in proportion to the “ wilfulness” of sin will be the subsequent darkness and difficulty of renewal.
“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed [It is true, John alludes to “a sin unto death,” for unto the day of redemption.” (Eph. iv.) the forgiveness of which we are not to pray. But does These words remind us of those other words connot this mean, that where we discern severe chastise- cerning Israel :ment to be needful, in consequence of wilful sin, we are not to pray for such chastisement to be grieve him in the desert !” (Ps. lxxviii.)
“How often did they provoke him in the wilderness, and withheld? The dear Lord show us all these things.]
Alas ! like that people, how have we failed!
" And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners “Qrench not the Spirit ; despise not prophesyings.” (1 Thess.) in the wilderness.” (Acts xiii.)
This is an exhortation to Christians, and, surely, And the Holy Spirit is suffering our manners now cannot apply to the unconverted.
-our worldliness and lustfulness, our wanderings In the first time of the Church, before the word of in heart and spiritual stupidness. And so did JesusGod was completed, the mind of the Spirit was made "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you ? known to the assembly through the gift of prophecy, how long shall I suffer you ?" (Mark ix.) which gift might be sought for and secured.
May all of us, then, be very watchful not to "grieve “ Desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." the Holy Spirit of God.” Amen. (1 Cor. xii.) Those who had the gift of prophecy might perceive readers may have noticed that Epaphroditus is styled your
MESSENGER (NOT ANGEL) OF THE CHURCH.-Some of our or receive truth from the Spirit, and, from some Messenger," in Phil
. ii., in reforence to the Philippian church. fleshly feeling, “quench” the impulse to speak : The original word, however, is not "Angelos," but“Apostolos.”
HAVE WE ANY COVER US IN THE LORD "P something lodged in one or more of our number, for
which we are to be thankful. This may seem to be Plymouth, Jan. 17, 1868.
a little matter; but a little thing brought near the “ Dear Brother,-Since I read your remarks on " I have been much struck with two portions of the Word, eye will hide the sun! And so this thought of namely-Romans xii. and 1 Thess. v., which have perplexed
gifts " has more or less hidden the Lord; for do me. In the latter passago we are exhorted to know them that not some of us come together as it were, to wait labour' among us, and are
us in the Lord, and on supposed gifts, rather than to wait on the Lord! admonish' us, and to esteem them very highly in love for so that if a certain brother is not present we are their work's sake.' PRECIOUS Truth is exceedingly precious to my soul, and it has weaned me from men, and I do not want
disappointed! to think more highly or give them the honour that is not due Let us all walk.equally by faith in the Son of God, to them, but to the Lord.° I have written to ask you if you all equally look to the Spirit, all equally delight in feel free to express what you believe to be the mind of the Lord the Word, all equally keep the body under, and we about these two portions ? Yours truly in Christ. W. J. C.” shall all feel delivered-fully delivered—from leaning
Concerning the passage in Rom. xii. to save on one another. Then shall we be fit and ready for repetition, let me refer you to page 240 in the Oct. the Master's use; we shall welcome opportunities Number of last year. Upon the remarks there made, of fellowship with saints anywhere; and we shall nothing further is given us to add here. But con- rejoice to follow the Lord, into any little meetings of cerning 1 Thess. v. we have been led out a little. “ twos and threes” that He may open around us,
The Lord, by the Holy Spirit, graciously "ground" for prayer, worship, or searching the Scriptures. us, dear brother, in the Scriptures given to the church To this happy condition of "walking in the fear of in " The Last Time." You have, perhaps, read an the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Ghost," may article under the heading, “The Last Time” in the we all be brought that so we may be each and January number, for which article we thank the Lord. all taken up and used to the Lord's glory and
The Scriptures of "The Last Time,” (that is, the each other's good. epistles of Jude and John, and the Revelation,) are as Of course, during the first time, or apostolic age, directly and primarily addressed to you, and me, and it was all very different. Then-the Lord had depuall Christians now living, as was the epistle to the ted to the apostles that authority which He holds Ephesians directed to the Christians in Ephesus, &c. now alone; and the apostles, in their turn, gave a It is clear, therefore, to me, (before the Lord,) that measure of their authority to others—elders. If you we must be careful how we take exhortations and and I had been members of the Thessalonian church statements written to the churches in the first time, when Paul wrote to it, we should doubtless have felt (or apostolic time,) and apply them under our altered bound to reverence those "over us in the Lord ". circumstances.
the elders in the absence of an apostle, just as we Now, in the Revelation, dear brother, we are should justly roverence Paul in the bodily absence brought face to face with the fact that the Lord Jesus of the Lord. Christ is now in close association with His churches, But now, just as certainly as the apostles were in walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. the church once, so just as certainly is the Lord in And what does He say unto us? He directs each of the Church now. John "tarried till ” He came; and us having an "ear to hear,” to hear what the Spirit when He came, John departed. saith, and the Spirit speaks to us by the Word of God. Just as, by the presence of an apostle, a church Thus I apprehend for myself, that it is God-and would feel fully provided for; so, in the spiritual God only—with whom I have to do.
presence of the Lord in the midst, and the actual It may happen that I am in fellowship with a dear presence of the Spirit in each one (who is not walking brother who, walking closely with God, has been after the flesh), and the possession of the Written taken up and used to my soul's blessing, (and that Word, surely the church is fully provided for now. perhaps, frequently.) But does this make him to be Yes, indeed. me in the Lord ? Nay.
Not only authority, but gifts were visibly existent in Such an one may feel himself to be a servant of the the Church in the first time; but the only thing nox Lord Jesus Christ; he may know that the Lord has is the ministry of the Spirit, in the presence and graciously used him in certain work, and his hope under the control of the Lord the Head. may be that He will do so again. But what is my Thus, I apprehend for myself before the Lord, that brother's consciousness to me? my faith rests on my
there are none to whom we should lookas admonishers, Lord, and I receive all from Him.
- that there are none “over us" now-no underMy brother referred to loves his Master, and shepherds, who have a specific work to do for us, for desires that His Master may be glorified. At the which we have “to esteem them highly." same time, he feels that He can do nothing of him
When the Lord Jesus was upon earth, He was the self: and that, unless his Master says “Do this,” One Master and all believers were brethren. (Matt. he dare not lift a finger to do it !
xxiii.) But the time came when “He ascended up Thus, all is (or should be) done now, in this, " the on high, and gave gifts unto men.” (Eph. iv.) These last time," by the Lord in the midst, by the Spirit " gifts,”—apostles, prophets, evangelists
, pastors (or in us each, through the Word of His grace-and to elders), and teachers-were Masters in the Lord's Him be all glory, now and for ever.
"ambassadors for Christ ... in Christ's But the ordi nary thought of “gifts” is, that of stoad." But the time came when He descended agais