Notes on Scripture

The Baskets of First-fruits
Obedience and Sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ
Suffering in the Flesh
1 Peter 4:6
2 Corinthians 5:10
The Antichrist, Properly So Called
The Force of "The Last Day" In John 6
The Allusion in "The Last Trump"
Luke 21 Compared with Matthew 24
Rightly Dividing the Word
The Sermon on the Mount
Form of Prayer
Angels and the Law
Ananias and Sapphira
The Third and Seventh Days
2 Thessalonians 3
The Church of Christ
Difference of ΚΑΙΝΟΣ and ΝΕΟΣ
ΠΑΛΑΙΟΣ and  ἈΡΧΑΙΟΣ, and relation to ΝΕΟΣ and ΚΑΙΝΟΣ
Difference of   ἈΠΟ and ΕΚ
Breaking of Bread, etc.
John 15:7, 16
Mark 11:24
John 6:51, and 2 Corinthians 3:18
Exodus 20
Sanctification and Justification

Notes on Scripture: The Baskets of First-fruits.

J. N. Darby.

<13026E>

That it applies to Israel's possession of the land at any time is plain. The last words of the first verse imply as much: "And it shall be when thou art come in unto the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein, that thou shalt take," etc. Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 23; and Numbers 18:13, fully confirm this. It was a standing ordinance in the land. The spirit of the offering is also clear: a full profession before God that they possessed the things which He had promised to their fathers. Their father had been a Syrian ready to perish, a slave in Egypt, and redemption had brought them out thence, and into the good land of which they were now in full enjoyment. Therefore were they come up to own the Giver in offering to Him the first-fruits. They worshipped and rejoiced in every good thing Jehovah had given them, and this in grace, with the Levite and the stranger.

How all this bears on the way in which the believer now makes the offering is evident. All his worship is but the answer, the reflex, and bringing back to God of the fruit — the first-fruits, if true faith and godliness be there — of what God has revealed Himself to be to him, and of that heavenly joy into which He has introduced him. Such is properly what the Lord calls "that which is your own;" for on earth we are pilgrims, in the desert it is not "ours." The characteristic of piety will be found to be, in scripture, and everywhere, and ever, that the first effect of blessing is turning back to God and owning it there, not the personal enjoyment of it, which, without this, turns us from God. The love that gave it is more present than even the gift. See Eliezer at the well (Gen. 24), the cleansed Samaritan leper (Luke 17), and a multitude of other examples. He who gives is more and more before us than the gift itself. This is the elevating character of divine enjoyment. Then surely we do enjoy it, freely and blessedly, and the stream of grace flows out to the Levite and the stranger — to those whose hearts are in need, and who have not an inheritance in the land we enjoy. It is, then, the return of the heart to God in the enjoyment of the heavenly blessings which are the fruit of redemption. The Christian too can enjoy or so worship when he has the consciousness that heavenly things are his. It is the profession, the open avowal, of this; if he has not this consciousness, neither can he bring his basket of first-fruits. "A Syrian ready to perish" was a thing past. The worship was grounded on possession of the blessing and on a known inheritance — type of sitting "in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." It is not thankfulness for promises, however surely this has its place, but thankfulness that they are accomplished — in Christ, yea and amen. Redemption is owned as an accomplished thing that has put us in possession, though for the redemption of the body we have yet to wait.

354 Indeed, this is the general character of Deuteronomy. It is not drawing near to God in the sanctuary by means of sacrifice, but the people — not the priest merely for them — are themselves in possession, and hence the sentiments towards God Himself, and towards the desolate of men, in the enjoyment of the blessing; for free grace becomes him who has received all through grace. Compare Deuteronomy 16, where even the various degrees of this are traced in the three principal feasts of Jehovah. Hence also the responsibility of the people as to the continuance of the enjoyment of the blessing; for it is in the path of obedience that such enjoyment is known. Deuteronomy is a book of the deepest practical instruction in this respect.

<13027E> OBEDIENCE AND SPRINKLING OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST

The words "of Jesus Christ" apply to both. The whole passage characterizes the position of the Christian with reference to that of the Jew, in virtue of being begotten again to a living hope. (Compare 1 Pet. 2:4, 5, and Matt. 16:16.) Our inheritance is incorruptible — is in heaven. The election of the saints is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, made effectual, not by such earthly deliverance as Jehovah had wrought, but by sanctification of the Spirit: all natural references, by contrast, to Israel's portion, especially as Peter writes to the sojourners of the dispersion. So again, the double character of christian standing before God. It is Christ, not the sealing of a legal covenant, not the blood of bulls and goats. We are set apart, by the quickening power of the Holy Ghost, to the sprinkling of Christ's blood, and the obedience in which He walked on earth — practical obedience. The obedience of Christ differed from the law in every way. Law promises life when we have kept required and imposed commandments; Christ's obedience was the expression of life in love. Self-will — lust — exists in us: law forbids its gratification. If I submit, I am counted obedient. Christ never obeyed thus; He came to do God's will. Obedience was never for Him a bridle put on a contrary will. We need, alas! such a bridle still; but proper christian obedience is the delight of our new nature in doing the will of God, whose commandments and word are the perfect expression of it for us. It is what James calls "the perfect law of liberty." Christ's motive for action was the will and word of His Father; so it is ours as Christians. "Begotten again," for the spiritual Jew, conveyed the idea of a new state, such as Ezekiel 36 presents, and referred to in John 3. The whole truth being now made clear, we know that this takes place by the communication of a new nature in Christ. He becomes our life, being a quickening Spirit. Hence it involves a new position, even His own, as the object of faith now.

<13028E> 355 SUFFERING IN THE FLESH

The will of the flesh is the practical principle of all sin. Will is not obedience to God, and hence is sin in its very principle, but being the will of the flesh shews itself in the flesh's lusts. It does not turn towards God, but the contrary, and does turn towards what the flesh desires. It is the acting of the nature at enmity with God's. Suffering in the flesh is the opposite of this will, or acting of the nature. This is applied both to Christ and to us; but in the case of Christ it is applied to His death. (See 1 Pet. 3:18.) Rather than be disobedient in anything, and perfect in obedience, from the divine surrender of all will in Psalm 40 to take the place of obedience, He goes on to death, as man's weakness, Satan's power, God's wrath, and was obedient through all these, and in the former passed through both the latter rather than not obey. He was perfect in obedience, not sparing the flesh in anything, and died to sin once; that is, He went on to death in its fullest forms, rather than withdraw from doing God's will, or have one of His own. His nature* died rather than He would have a will or aught but God's will. Thus sin found no inlet or place. An apple served to lead Adam into sin; nothing could lead Christ into it. Not only He had never any sin, but He went through everything that could induce will, and all failed to lead Him into it. He suffered in the flesh. Sin was baffled for ever, and totally — the whole proof gone through, and nothing served to introduce it; all possible trial is over, for He has gone through it in weakness, as to His human nature. He has thus rested from all further question of sin, He has a divine and eternal sabbath as to it. How blessed! On the earth He had not. He had always victory over it — never let anything but obedience in His heart — proved He had a nature contrary to it, on purpose to obey, and nothing else. This was perfection, and the rather because He was tempted; but it was not a sabbath or rest. Between Him and His Father, in the exercise of love in obeying, He had joy, but till He died, (οὐ πέπαυται) He had not rest from it. This has, as a great principle, its application to us. "He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin," is an abstract principle. When the will of my flesh works, I have not ceased from sin; but when, by the power of the Holy Ghost, I act entirely and feel entirely in the new nature, and the flesh has no will allowed, nor a thought belonging to it has entrance, because I am full of what the Spirit gives me, and obey in the delight of obedience, though suffering as regards man, in that I have ceased from sin. As sin is in the flesh, it may be in us a question of degree. It is partial, temporary, perhaps, in its realization; but the principle remains ever true, and suffering (that is as far as suffering) in the flesh, sin has no place in me, my thoughts, mind, and moral being. The flesh is not changed; but if I only suffer in it, it in me then has no operation as to will. It is important that scripture truth — perfect moral truth — should be given us unmodified in its own truth and nature; because then we can see what it is, and judge the comparative degree of attainment. Besides the spirit is refreshed by the thing itself. We have the same thing in John's epistle, who never introduces the modifications resulting from the adverse action of the flesh or any hindrance. The difficulty of the passage in Peter is its abstract nature. The point important to hold clear is that it is Christ's death that is spoken of in His case though, of course, all His life was consistent with it.

{*From Morrish edition.}

<13029E> 1 PETER 4:6

1 Peter 4:6 refers to verse 5. Christ is ready to judge the quick and the dead. Good news of promise were addressed to those now dead, that they might be thus judged; but not for that only, but that through grace they might live in the Spirit. In respect of their human position in flesh, they were to be judged for the deeds done in the body, but, if they received the message, live spiritually to God. Their being judged shews clearly, I think, that it is no preaching to spirits, that they might be judged for that. Read, it has been preached. It was preached to those now dead. It must be remembered that Peter is writing to the strangers of the dispersion or scattered Jews. Christ has suffered. They are suffering among the ungodly, no longer doing the will of the Gentiles as other Jews were. Now Christ, being exalted, is ready to judge. The Church has only to be complete and caught up for Him to do it. He is exalted and ready; and if He comes and judges the quick among whom they were suffering, His authority to judge extended to the dead also who had received promises (compare Heb. 4:2) that, if they did not live in the Spirit to God, as the believing Jews had to do now without a rest or present Messiah according to promise, they might be judged as responsible men in flesh.

357 He had made a previous statement to the same purport in respect of those who were in the time of Noah. The Christian Jews were now a little flock; so were the spared in Noah's time. They had Christ only in spirit (a trial and reproach for a Jew who spoke of Messiah's being come); and so had Noah. (Compare chap. 1:11) But what was the effect of their rejection of Noah's preaching? Their spirits were now in prison, a proof that the Lord knew, as he says elsewhere, to deliver the godly out of temptation, and reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished. So the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks, in contrast, of the spirits of just men made perfect. It would be a strange thing, if those of whom it was said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man, but his days shall be one hundred and twenty years," should be the only ones selected to be preached to afterwards. But this by the by.

<13030E> ON 2 CORINTHIANS 5:10

I find nothing in scripture which speaks of manifestation to brethren. The question is apt to connect itself very closely with the state of the conscience. It presses on it when there is anything from which it is not entirely purged before God. There may be a conviction that God will not impute without the conscience being de facto pure or purged. When purged before God or practically pure in walk (though this, as the apostle says, does not justify), the soul is not anxious about being manifested at the judgment-seat, because it is manifested to God now. This is of great practical importance.

358 The passages on the subject are these. They will be seen to be of two classes.

Romans 14:12. So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God, connected with verse 10, We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. So 2 Corinthians 5:10. For we must all be manifested (appear) before the judgment-seat of Christ to receive the things done in the body.

1 Corinthians 4:4, 5. For I know nothing by myself (no evil of myself); yet am I not hereby justified: he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and shall make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Romans 2:16. In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men according to my gospel.

This is one class of texts. The other here follows: —

Matthew 10:26. Fear them not, therefore, for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and hid that shall not be known.

Mark 4:21. Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel or under a bed, and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested, neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

Luke 8:16-18. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel or putteth it under a bed, but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed, therefore, how ye hear, etc.

Chapter 12:1, 2. Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known.

Three great principles are here presented. First, the great general truth, that man can keep nothing secret, though it may seem so, and can conceal nothing: all must be in light; God must have the upper hand, and light shall prevail. Secondly, that we are to give an account of ourselves to God. And thirdly, that we are not to fear the secret machinations of men, but to fear God and bear witness according to the light given to us. When I say man can conceal nothing, it is scarcely absolute enough. There is nothing secret but that it should be manifested.

359 This is a very important principle. It maintains the authority of God as light. For could anything be withdrawn from this, it would escape His power and judgment, and evil be maintained independent of Him. It maintains also integrity of conscience.

In the second point, our personal responsibility to God is maintained in everything. Each one shall give an account of himself. We may be helped by every vessel of grace and light in the Church, but man cannot meddle with our individual responsibility to God. Each one shall give an account of himself.

The third point maintains confidence in God, in presence of what might seem otherwise a wickedness which was of a depth with which it was impossible to deal, and for which christian truthfulness was no match.

All this is to maintain the conscience in the light before God. Where there is anxiety as to manifestation before the brethren, shame before men has still power over the heart and will. Self-love and character govern the mind. We are not in the light before God, nor has sin its right character in our eyes, because self has yet its power and place.

All is to be brought into the light, all thought of concealment rooted out and destroyed in the heart; but God will not maintain the influence of men and reputation by presenting a manifestation to them in the word, which is exactly what falsifies the moral judgment; and He does not. If the heart is comforting itself with the thought it will not be known, He breaks through the heart's deceit relentlessly, and says it will be known: everything hidden shall come to light. He does not neutralize His own authority and destroy the purity of moral principle, in saying it will be known before your brethren in that day.

Everything will be in the light: thank God; it is for the blessing, and for the joy too, of every upright soul.

It is not necessarily simply in the day of judgment that this takes place: the Lord may deal with it now. "Thou didst it secretly," says God by Nathan to David; "but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun."

Thus the bringing of sin to light and judgment may be here from the hand of God. Men are chastened of the Lord that they may not be condemned with the world. 1 Cor. 11.

360 One passage remains, demanding more particular notice — 2 Corinthians 5:10 — "For we must all be manifested before the judgment-seat of the Christ, that each may receive the things done by the body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad."

I would first say, to remove what obscures the passage, that I am satisfied that the passage is general, and embraces all men. I cannot conceive how the context can leave a shadow of doubt on this point in any mind. It ought not. It is not a question of the time of appearing, but of the fact. Secondly, it is very important to remark that as regards the saints there is no calling in question their righteousness. The manner of their arrival before the judgment-seat, and their state in arriving, clearly shew this, as well as the declaration of the Lord (John 5) that they shall not come into judgment. But how do they arrive on high? "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am there ye may be also." Christ comes Himself to complete His work of perfect grace in bringing us there. In that state we "wait for the Lord Jesus Christ [as] Saviour, who shall change our vile body and fashion it like his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself." (Phil. 3:20.) We shall be already like Christ, conformed to the image of God's Son, bearing the image of the heavenly. He who sits to judge according to His righteousness, according to what He is, is our righteousness.

The judgment of the saints begins when righteousness and glory are complete, when we are the same as Christ — Christ in them by grace.

What immense gain will our manifestation now be to ourselves! We shall know as we are known. If now, when perfect peace is possessed before God in a purged conscience, the Christian looks back at all his past life before and since his conversion, what a lesson of grace, patience, holy government for his good, that he may be partaker of His holiness — of care against unseen dangers, of instruction and of love, will his new history afford the Christian! How much more, when, freed from the very nature which produced the evil in him, he knows as he is known, and can trace now perfectly God's ways with him! It will immensely increase and enhance his apprehension of what God has been for him, and of His patient perfect grace and purpose of love. It is surely a solemn thing, but of immense price and value to us. It is all wrought out in the conscience, as we learn from Romans 14:12. Here it is the fact.

361 Remark the true effect on a right state of mind as here described by the apostle. First, not a thought of judgment as to righteousness has any place whatever. The judgment-seat only awakens that love which thinks of those still exposed to it. "Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." Secondly, it is realized so as to put him who realized it responsibly in the presence of God. Now "we are manifested to God." Oh, what a healthful and blessed thing this is for the soul! The rest is a mere effect readily hoped for — "I trust that we are manifested in your consciences." The other considerations produced a conduct proper to have this effect; but if a man was before God it was of little matter, it did not affect the soul, save in the desire of others' good and Christ's glory. This double effect will certainly be produced in any such manifestation before others, and we then shall as certainly desire nothing else.

The shame of a nature we have left will not be there then; the just judgment of evil will. I say this, however, in respect of the present condition of the soul. Anxiety on this point is a proof that the soul is not wholly in the sight of God. There it disappears because we are wholly there. Scripture never brings in the thought of brethren as concerned in this manifestation, and could not; but it does maintain, in the fullest way, manifestation in the light, so that if the heart reserves anything — has not brought it wholly out before God, it should be ill at ease. We certainly are perfectly manifested to the Lord, consciously I mean (for we always are so), and to ourselves. If it be for His glory that anything should be known to the saints also, we shall not regret it then; but our proper full manifestation is certainly to God, and in our own souls. All that is needed to verify the government of God will, I doubt not, be made manifest. All that has been through evil sought to be hidden, so that the heart was false — the counsel of the heart evil, will be brought to light; but where men have walked in the light, the counsels of the heart, however man may have judged them, will be made plain; for in that day God will judge the secrets of men's hearts. His grace and His government may have wrought all this in this world, and some men's sins and good works go before to judgment, but those that are otherwise cannot be hid.

My answer then is, that the brethren are never, and can never be those, manifestation to or before whom can be the subject of the revelation of scripture — everything being brought into light is. God is light, and the light manifests everything; He will bring every secret work into judgment. Further, as to responsibility, our thoughts are directed to God and to the judgment-seat of Christ. But all that is needed to display God's ways and government, and His approval of His saints, will surely be brought out, as the passages quoted clearly prove. The saint loves the light, as he loves and blesses God for the grace which enables him to stand in it, and makes him meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the saints in it. This, though doubtless imperfect, is, I believe, the true scriptural answer to the question. Where the thought of shame is introduced, it is referred entirely to the presence of Christ, and regards the service and work done for Him. (1 John 2:28.)

<13031E> 362 THE ANTICHRIST, PROPERLY SO CALLED

I am still inquiring as to Antichrist, but I had not overlooked the difficulties. It has been taken for granted among those who expect a personal Antichrist, that he is the civil head of the Roman empire. This I question. Without doubting in the least that there will be such a blasphemous Gentile power, it seems to me that the Antichrist is another power, of which the scriptures are even more full; the vessel of evil, religious energy, rather than that of evil public government. At least, two such manifestations of power we find in Revelation 13, for the second is a beast, as well as the first; that is, there is a second temporal power co-existent with the public imperial power, which has the throne of Satan. The first beast had risen, like previous beasts, out of the sea, that is, out of the tumultuous floating mass of population — the Gentile world. But the second beast came out of the earth, that is, out of the formed arrangement of God's moral providence — the sphere where the dragon and the beast were worshipped, and all heavenly association was blasphemed. In form of power, this second beast was like the Lamb; but his speech was like the dragon, or great hostile power of Satan: a religious, though blasphemous, character of evil at work within the sphere where Satan rules. Such a relationship will be found to be Jewish. It is the religion of the earth, not of the dwellers in heaven, and is Jewish in character — a power in the earth ostensibly connected with divine things, falsely, and verified in the sight of men by the exhibition of judicial power as of God. Revelation 19 speaks of the second beast, as the false prophet.

363 The Antichrist is not spoken of by name, save in the Epistles of John, where his character is religious, not secular — apostate and heretical activity against the person and glory of Christ and the essential doctrines of Christianity. He denies the Father and the Son. He does not confess Jesus Christ come in the flesh. He denies that Jesus is the Christ, which seems rather Jewish in its connection and evil, rather than the denial of the revelation which constitutes Christianity. Antichrist, in a word, is characterized by religious energies of evil in connection with Christianity and Judaism.

In 2 Thessalonians 2 it is a wicked religious, and not a mere secular power which is spoken of — its impious, then its seductive, character. Verse 4 is moral opposition and insult to God, rather than the object of deference, who was publicly on Satan's throne. It is the active personage, with Judas' title, who opposes all divine authority — the man of sin shewing himself as though he were God; the contrast of Christ, who was God, and yet was the man of obedience. His presence too is according to the energy of Satan; and as Christ in truth of righteousness to such as should be saved, so he in deceit of unrighteousness to such as should be lost.

In Daniel 11:36, etc., is the king, and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, etc.; that is, we have the same qualities and acts, and yet he honours the God of forces, and honours and increases with joy a strange god. So that it would seem that the haughty rejection of the true God and self-exaltation is not inconsistent with being servant of a false one, really slave to the enemy — an old lesson learnt all through human nature, and never learnt. Self-exaltation is not supremacy. I apprehend, or am inclined to think, that this self-exaltation will be, specially in result, in Judea against God; but my difficulty lies just there, because in Daniel 7 the little horn seeks to change times and laws (that is, I apprehend, the Jewish order), and this looks like the power of the Antichrist, while the little horn there is uncommonly like the first beast (that is, its last head). The difficulty is in apportioning the parts where both work together. The process seems natural, painful to say, the apostasy denying the Father and the Son, and that Jesus is the Christ. This throws them on Judaism (which was always the mystery of iniquity in principle), and thus on Antichrist, who at last throws off all in self-exaltation, and makes them, during the last half-week, worship a strange god, and the tribulation takes place. It seems to me that the deepest troubles in the Psalms (I do not speak of the cross) come from what has a Jewish character, not an open enemy, but a companion or familiar friend, ungodliness and strife in the city. The self-exaltation is moral character, not public power unless in his own sphere. This self-exaltation would be his own apostate setting up in Judea; but, finding it convenient for himself, and it being the work of Satan, he forces all to recognize the Roman Emperor, which for Jews is apostasy. It would be the old Josephus' question, save that saints who flee or bow take the place of sicarii.* It is a kind of suzeraineté.** This false Christ in the east making head in the interest of the western emperor against all, and deceiving the Jews by satanic power in the east, he wields all the power of the empire; he joins the recognition of the western emperor to the satanic deception of the Jews, his own people probably. The little horn of Daniel 7 certainly seems the more general power, which, while local (like Bonaparte, in France), governs the whole beast.

{*'assassins,' a gang of bandits who opposed the Roman rulers.}

{*i.e. 'overlordship.'}

<13032E> THE FORCE OF "THE LAST DAY" IN JOHN 6

As regards John 6 the Lord is, to me, evidently substituting a blessing in resurrection to any royal Jewish blessing. Owned the prophet, and refusing to be king carnally, He goes up alone on high, and the disciples are sent away alone, toiling on the sea (a Jewish remnant strictly), and arrive as soon as He rejoins them; but He is fed upon in humiliation and death, in the interval, and hence to such the blessing comes in resurrection: he (that is, the believer) will be raised up in the last day. Jesus will not bless him as come down here before giving him his portion where He is gone up in the power of everlasting life The last day is in contrast with their present blessing as king. The last day is never the day of the Lord, save in the vague sense that it embraces all the closing period, which is its true force. He does not come and set up the Jews, but the Father draws, and a man comes to Him, and the way He blesses him is in the power of eternal life, raising him up when the close of all this busy and rebellious scene arrives; that shall be his portion in the last day, not Messianic security now.

<13033E> 365 THE ALLUSION IN "THE LAST TRUMP"

1 Corinthians 15:52

After all the grave and wise speculations on the last trump, I strongly suspect it is merely an allusion to military matters. Somewhere in Josephus' War, and perhaps in other books, we have the order of the breaking up of a Roman camp. At the last trump they all break up and march forward. Now, I acknowledge that scripture interpretation is not to be borrowed from without; but I have seen only tortured linkings with other passages within. I am content to take the general idea of the last public call of God relating to the Church, and leave it there. But what suggested the image, I suspect, was what I say: just as κέλευσμα, in 1 Thessalonians 4, beyond controversy, is a similar military term used to a similar purpose. Matthew 24:31 ("And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet"), I have not the smallest shadow of a doubt, applies to the assembling of the Jews (elect, as in Isa. 65) after Christ is come.

<13034E> LUKE 21 COMPARED WITH MATTHEW 24

As to Luke 21, it is much more historical because it opens out, as revealing the Son of man, the period in which Israel is set aside and not counted in its history, or what concerns the Gentiles. Hence the Spirit records no inquiry of "the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age," but the general history in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, from verse 9 to verse 19 inclusive, we have the state of things from after the Lord's death until the encircling of Jerusalem by the Roman armies, and no mention made of the abomination of desolation, and verse 20 gives the reply to the question of verse 7, founded on verse 6. The statement accordingly says nothing of the tribulation such as never was, but that vengeance then comes on the people and city that all may be accomplished. This still continues, and will continue, Jerusalem being trodden down, till the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, in the close of the Gentile dominion begun in Nebuchadnezzar. Then the fact is revealed of the state of things at the close of the dominion of Gentile power — signs in sun, moon, and stars; on earth, distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring (the last expression shewing, I think, that the words are employed figuratively, though there may be possibly portents also); men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven (the sources of the earthly state of things) shall be shaken. And then shall they (not "ye," but they, these proud rebellious Gentiles*) see the Son of man coming in a cloud.

{*In Matthew is given the full development of Jewish dispensation, and this so much so that I could not apply any of the statements in Matthew 24 or the like to Gentile circumstances; whereas Luke explicitly opens the door, and brings them into the scene, as may be seen in the close of chapter 21. Whence also, I believe, he introduces "all the trees," the fig-tree being the specific emblem of the Jewish corporate nationality.}

366 Such is the prophetical revelation, which presents, it seems to me, little difficulty. The exhortation which follows may suggest more; at the same time it offers some remarkable helps as to the use of expressions. For example, "this generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled" (verse 32) proves necessarily, either that "generation" must be taken in an extended sense, as in Deuteronomy 32:5, 20, and as in other passages, or that "all" could only apply to the establishment of the state of things at the setting aside judicially of the Jewish people, because we have the treading down of Jerusalem for a long continuous period revealed. Hence we have to seek the guidance of the Spirit for the application of the passage, there being an incipient accomplishment at the destruction or treading down of Jerusalem, its desolation, vengeance, etc., which subsists still, and a far fuller one at the close preceding the coming of the Son of man. Hence the Holy Ghost records here an expression which may apply to both: "Know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." I do not doubt that this had a certain accomplishment in the absolute suppression of the Jewish order, but no fulfilment; and that the kingdom of God will be established by the coming of the Son of man after the signs of verses 25, 26. Note also, that this passage precludes the possibility of the application of "the coming of the Son of man" to the destruction of Jerusalem, because we have already had the long treading down consequent on the encompassing with armies. The full natural application of verses 28-31, then, is to the close, when, these signs having taken place, the full deliverance of the Jewish faithful will take place. So verse 35 has a limited application to Judea or Palestine; but it is evident to me that there is the larger application of the coming of the day of the Lord on the whole earth. It is the day that is spoken of. Verse 36 seems to me also to refer absolutely to the character of a Jewish remnant (though, in a still better sense, it will be true to the Church); but in its proper application it is the escape of judgments then, and standing before the Son of man when He takes the kingdom.

367 In Matthew 24 the Lord passes over all the times of the Gentiles unnoticed, and speaks only of Jerusalem, as though under judgment recognized of God, so far as to be the object of His thoughts and dealings. Verse 14 only takes the broad fact that the gospel of the kingdom should be preached to all the nations (a thing not yet accomplished to the letter), and then the end should come. I judge then that, while the whole reply will have an accomplishment at the close, there was sufficient in the early part to guide the saints between the Lord's ascension and the destruction of Jerusalem; but that its fulfilment will yet take place, to the end of verse 14 being general, and from verse 15 being absolutely and exclusively the last half-week of Jewish tribulation.

There is a point which, I think, has not been duly borne in mind; it is that the unfaithful servant will, for the judgment, pass over into the time of the Son of man's judgment, so that what is called the Church may go on, in whatever apostasy of condition, into the state of things which takes place when the body of the faithful is gone. Laodicea is threatened with being vomited out of the Lord's mouth, but when it is vomited is not said, if it be taken for literal judgment. I am disposed to think Judaism will play an active part in connection with the apostate Church, and that there will be an astonishing amalgam; though, besides that, the Church form may continue until destroyed by the horns and the beast.

<13035E> RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD

To the Editor of the" Bible Treasury."

Allow me to make a remark on "Rightly dividing the word of truth," the first article in your number for May (1858). In the general principles and spirit of the article I cordially agree and judge it to be most timely. But the path of wisdom is a narrow one — one which the vulture's eye has not seen. And there is a point in the paper in which the word does not seem to me to be rightly divided, or rather, that is attributed to the passage (2 Tim. 2:15) which is not in it.

368 It involves, I am satisfied, very important consequences in spiritual judgment, or I should not perhaps have noticed it. I am not aware that I differ from the writer in general practical result. It is a point which has been a good while on my mind, and, while hesitating whether it was God's will that I should formally notice it, the article of which I speak gives, by its statement, direct occasion to do so. The point I refer to is in the following passage: "According to all this Timothy is here told of a house that he has to leave,* and not (as the first epistle had told him) of a house in the midst of which he was to 'behave' himself." I find no direction whatever in the passage to leave the house — no trace of such a thought, but other directions given which exclude the thought. And this is evident in the change of language which the article introduces into the scriptural phrase, "We are, therefore, to purge ourselves from it, and not strive to purge it." Now the passage does not tell us either to purge it or to purge ourselves from it. I admit that the thought of purging it is wholly foreign to the passage: no such thought is presented to the believer to guide his conduct. But he is not told to purge himself from it, but to purge himself from the "vessels to dishonour." "If a man shall purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel made to honour, fit for the master's use." A vessel where? The master of what? "The foundation of God standeth sure. The Lord knoweth them that are his." No matter what the confusion and evil, there is divine security; "and let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity." There is the unchangeable character of human responsibility, whatever state the nominal or real church may be in. But there is no direction to depart from the house. It is not said that we are to purge ourselves from it, but from the vessels to dishonour, which are not it. If Christ be the master of the house — whatever vessels are in it — how can we? Whatever consequences may be drawn, the first and essential point is to hold fast the word itself. I am satisfied the point is not an unimportant one, and that the truth gives more true separation and departure from iniquity than any misapprehension of the word of God can, however upright in purpose it may be.

Faithfully yours,

ΟΥΤΙΣ.

{*The italics are the author's.}

<13036E> 369 THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

The multitudes were present, but the discourse was addressed to His disciples. This, chapter 5:4 clearly shews. If Luke 7:1 be compared, the facts appear pretty clearly. There it is said, "Now, when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people." The moral bearing of the fact is more important. The sermon on the mount characterizes the Lord's teaching in Israel, as introducing His doctrines. At the close of His ministry He has to denounce their rejection of it. Hence, here, as has been remarked, He begins with blessings, and in chapter 23 closes with woes. It will be observed that in the close of the preceding chapter, the power displayed in His ministry, and its effect in attracting the people from all quarters, had been stated. He preached the good news of the kingdom. In the sermon on the mount, He lays down its principles, describes the character of those who would enjoy its privileges, and gives positive directions for the government of their conduct. Meanwhile He was in the way with Israel, judgment awaiting them, if they did not agree quickly on the way. Hence, also, moral principles and precepts, not redemption, are the subject of the discourse. If this be understood, it is easy to perceive why the direct application of the discourse is to those who had received His word, and were entering into the kingdom, though as laying down the principles of the kingdom announced to all, all — at least those who had ears to hear — among the multitude were concerned in its contents. It may be remarked that in Luke the disciples are more formally distinguished — " Blessed are ye poor, for yours," etc., and hence woes are added. Just as in Matthew 3:7 the Pharisees and Sadducees are denounced, in Luke 3:7 the whole multitude. While this address was continued to Israel by Him who had the ministry of the circumcision for the truth of God — in a word, until Jesus was rejected — men were under trial, and, though God knew all things, were not treated as finally rejected; but the death of Christ, and we may add, the resisting of the testimony of the Holy Ghost, has closed the history of that trial, and the fig-tree is judged for ever to be fruitless and unprofitable. It did not then become so, but was proved to be so; and in Israel this was proved of every child of Adam, so that a new creation, connected with the Second Adam, risen and glorified, was needed. Hence we know fully the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

<13037E> 370 FORM OF PRAYER

We have the positive direction of Scripture to speak to one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; but psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs mean compositions rhythmically and metrically arranged; so that I judge that the use of such compositions is scripturally authorized. I would add that I think the spiritual mind will detect at once what is really given of the Spirit in such compositions and what is not, even when merely added to make up the measure or rhyme. Moreover, also, those who believe in the action of the Holy Ghost, as the true and only power of blessing, look for the liberty of the Spirit of God, not bondage — liberty in everything that is of Him for edification. The binding to a form of prayer is not this; but the exclusion of hymns is not that liberty either. Only it is to be sought that hymns should be really composed under His influence, and not mere human poetry.

<13038E> ANGELS AND THE LAW

It seems clear from Psalm 68 that the display of external glory of fire, etc., on mount Sinai was by the ministration of angels. This was the solemn sanction given to the law and its promulgation. Compare the details, Exodus 19:16-18. This is fully confirmed by Deuteronomy 33:2. Compare Hebrews 1:7, quoting Psalm 104:4. 2 Kings 1:10, and 6:17, afford analogous examples of Jehovah's making His ministers a flame of fire. So even in the bush, when there was, as to its form, an angelic manifestation of God, the bush burned with fire. Moses spoke with the angel in the bush. What is particularly referred to in the passages we are considering is that the angels were the immediate instruments through which they received the law, the manifest glory which gave it its sanction. Not that they spoke or personally addressed the people. Josephus (Antiq. 15 C. 5 s. 3) says, τῶν μὲν  Ἑλλήνων ἱεροὺς καὶ ἀσύλους εἶναι τοὺς κήρυκας φαμένων, ἡμῶν δὲ τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν δογμάτων, καὶ τὰ ὁσιώτατα τῶν ἐν τοῖς νόμοις δι᾽ ἀγγέλων παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ μαθόντων. That is, the functions of ambassadors are treated as akin to those of the angels, or divine legates. The character of authority attached to the law was angelic, not the incarnation of God Himself whether speaking on earth or from heaven. In Josephus, as we have seen, Herod uses the word angel as God's ambassador to prove the sacredness of their persons, the Arabs having killed his. This is merely cited to shew the Jews' apprehension of it. Galatians 3:19 is, in sense, being enjoined through angels by the hand of a mediator. Εἰς διαταγάς, in Acts 7:53, is "at," "by occasion of"; as, "they repented at the preaching of Jonas," by occasion of, through the means of. The passages quoted from the Old Testament make the character of their intervention pretty plain. The whole of the first two chapters of Hebrews is to shew the superiority of the Christian revelation to Judaism by that of Christ to angels, first, as a divine person, and, secondly, in the counsels of God as to the exaltation of man.

<13039E> 371 ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA

I see no reason for saying Ananias and Sapphira were not saved. The analogy of the apostle's reasoning, in 1 Corinthians 11:30-32, would lead rather to suppose they were. But it is a mistake to call this dealing with the world. It is God judging in the midst of the assembly and that He surely does, even to death, as 1 Corinthians 11, above cited, and 1  John 5:16, 17, and James 5:15 distinctly shew. 1 John 5:16, 17, I think, teaches another truth — that there are cases where the charity of the Church is arrested in its outward gracious nature, and takes the form of indignation against evil. So with Christ: "he looked about on them with anger, being grieved at the hardness of their hearts." Perfect love, when forced to take its holy character, or rather to make its holy character prominent, is intolerant of evil, and especially of certain forms of evil, such as a base slighting of God, or pretension to deceive Him under fair forms, or heartless hindrance of blessing to others under the forms of piety. The action of God in this way within the assembly is judicial.

There are cases where discipline is in the course of progress, and might terminate (Job 36:7-12) in death, but where the intercession of the saints may be the means of blessing, and in the administration of God's government in the Church on earth, may avert the threatened evil. As regards this government, the sins would be forgiven and the life of the faulty person spared, the soul being set right. (Job 34:23, 24.)

But there are cases which are not such as can draw out this charity which pleads for the offender, but according to the Spirit, indignation against him as guilty of it. This was the case with Ananias and Sapphira. Peter speaks with just zeal and horror of what they have done, and the action of God, being full in the Church, was judicial on a sin which was unto death. God may and does deal sometimes providentially in judgment with the world, though it is not the time for making His judgment adequately express His sense of right and wrong. And yet it is the time in which, as regards His active full dealing with the world, His grace is in full exercise, and not judgment. Grace characterizes the epoch. But His relationship to the world has nothing to do with Ananias and Sapphira. Although the principles of scripture lead rather to the supposal that Ananias and Sapphira were not lost, yet the very principles we have seen laid down in scripture shew us that the act took them out of the active exercise of the Church's charity. It is only in this the Church pronounces anyone saved. And when God's judgment thus comes in, the case is by it taken out of any thoughts of the Church in charity, and she has nothing to say.

<13040E> 372 THE THIRD AND SEVENTH DAYS

Numbers 19

Of the use of the third day and the seventh day in Numbers 19:12, I should not give any very dogmatically certain interpretation, drawing its meaning more from the experiences pointed to by the figure than from directly scriptural proofs. "Third" is little used in scripture as a number to which meaning is attached; it is, however, somewhat as that which is beyond two. Two seems to import completeness by corroboration in witness; the third more than enough, and hence, also, what leaves the previous state whose witness is complete. It is here used, I believe, only as a division of seven.

But the moral bearing I apprehend is this. The red heifer was a provision for defilement in the way — hence introduced into the Book of Numbers, not in Leviticus. Its use was not to found communion by blood (though that groundwork was first laid and perfectly laid, in that the blood was sprinkled seven times there where Jehovah was to meet the people), but to restore communion interrupted by defilement. The sign (the ashes) of sin having been consumed long ago, was put into running water, and the unclean sprinkled with it the third day. For two days he lay under the uncleanness — must feel it as such. There was no haste in restoration to communion till the privation of it, and thus the uncleanness of sin, was felt. Then in the water (the application by the word in the power of the Holy Ghost), the sense that the sin which interrupted communion was put away before God was given, after the full witness in the soul of the evil. The man was brought out of it in the sense of the grace that put it away, and that cleansed from it; and connected the sense of sin, not with the bitterness of lost communion, but with the grace that had put it away: giving a deeper and more justifying sense of it in connection with grace, making us judge it with God in grace; not in the sense of being, as to enjoyment, without Him, and the Holy Ghost a reprover. Still this is not communion; it is not the soul occupied with God without the conscience having to be exercised, but the conscience in exercise, though now no longer a bad one, but in a renewed sense of grace and goodness. Judging the evil thence, one is in a sense purified, but not so as to be peacefully in communion with God; enjoying Christ for His own precious excellences, which we do in communion. When the full work is wrought; when this purifying is complete, and grace in respect of sin is fully entered into, then communion is entered into, which leaves sin and all thoughts about it behind. The grace that has purified in making us judge sin according to grace makes us now enjoy grace without any more thinking of sin — in a word, enjoy God. Communion is restored, and in the full acceptableness of the offering of Christ understood and enjoyed. I enter into the presence of, and communion with, God — sin, as the subject of my thoughts, being wholly left behind. This is the seventh day. All is complete.

<13041E> 373 2 THESSALONIANS 3

2 Thessalonians 3, like 2 Timothy 3, does not contemplate public church discipline, but private duty. If no one else so acted, I ought. The Church might, for a time, neglect its duty, be in so low a state as to be unable to carry it out; but I am to act on the Apostle's precept if it be so. I add excommunication by the Church is not the only discipline exercised, or to be exercised, towards saints. A case may arise when I should not maintain free intercourse with the saint, and excommunication by the Church not be called for. Such preliminary faithfulness may prevent excommunication being necessary: of course, scripture is to guide both. Excommunication for everything is a proof of weakness. At any rate, no direction for the Church supersedes individual duty, founded on the directions of the word of God. Nothing can meet an individual responsibility. It acts between us and God.

<13042E> 374 THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

I would re-state what I have said once before in the "Present Testimony," and used in testimony, that the difference between the Church of Christ in Matthew 16 and the Church of God elsewhere is correlative. The Church of God would have Christ for its rock: God founds it on Christ. Christ does not found His Church on Himself, or the confession of Himself, but on the Father's action — as by the revelation made to Peter. Those constitute Christ's Church who are given Him of the Father — out of the kingdom of the Son shall be taken all those that offend and work iniquity, and the rest shine forth in the kingdom of His Father.

<13043E> DIFFERENCE OF ΚΑΙΝΟΣ AND ΝΕΟΣ

Καινός is new in the sense of not having existed before, in contrast with old preceding it; νέος is new, fresh, young (which καινός never means), in contrast with subsequent prolonged existence by which a person or thing becomes old. What is old, was once (unless external) νέον; if it disappears and another thing takes its place, this is καινόν.

Thus in Matthew 9:17 (twice); Mark 2:22 (thrice); Luke 5:37-39 (four times); wine is called νέος, that is, fresh, not yet old. Again, in Luke 15:12, 13;  22:26; Acts 5:6; 1  Timothy 5:1, 2, 11, 14; Titus 2:4, 6; 1 Peter 5:5; various forms of the word are used in the sense of "young" or "younger." In 1 Corinthians 5 it is "a fresh lump." In Hebrews 12:24 it should be, not the, but "a new covenant," διαθήκης νέας. It is a fresh covenant, and just beginning, it is one yet to go on and become developed. It is not here in contrast with the old, which is exactly the point in Hebrews 8:8, 13, where the new covenant is designated καινή (as in every other such mention of the New Testament), and the apostle reasons, "in that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old." That is, here it is new, as contrasted with the old. The attentive reader may remark that this determines the force also of Matthew 26:29, and Mark 14:25, "until that day when I drink it new." It is not here, wine not yet grown old, which would be νέος, but wine after a new sort or of a new kind. It is not the old wine at all. Whereas, in all ordinary cases, οἶνος νέος must not be put into old skins, but into new, ἀσκοὺς καινούς, skins which had never been used before. So καινός is used of a new tomb, piece of cloth, a garment, report, commandment, doctrine, song, name, city, earth, heaven, creation, all things. Hence in Ephesians 4:22-24 they were to be renewed, ἀνανεοῦσθαι, in the spirit of their mind. A young man was to be produced, which was to grow on and up in them. But in fact, as to the καινὸν ἄνθρωπον, which they were to put on, it had in no sense existed before. It was, according to God, created in righteousness and holiness of truth. In Colossians 3:9, 10, they had put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new, τὸν νέον, a young life and conduct which is to go on. Still, in fact, though viewed here as the young man, it is by the power of God a newly formed thing (τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον), renewed into knowledge after the image of Him who created it. That is, though it be a young and in that sense a new life in which we live, it is not a modification of the old. The renewal is the production of a new thing in which we are formed according to the image of God. This is quite in keeping with the two epistles: Ephesians maintains the contrast of a new creation with the old; Colossians, the practical new life in which we live, though care is taken to shew that this is an entirely new thing, formed of God, while in Ephesians we find the wholly new man is a young fresh path of life, as regards the practical spirit of our mind.

<13044E> 375 ΠΑΛΑΙΟΣ and  ἈΡΧΑΙΟΣ, and relation to ΝΕΟΣ AND ΚΑΙΝΟΣ

Παλαιός — more "the former," ἀρχαῖος  - "ancient, antique." You could not say ἀρχαῖος ἄνθρωπος in the sense of παλαιός.  Ἀρχαῖος  is opposed to νέος but cannot be so absolutely to καινός. But ἀρχαῖος can be neither νέος nor καινός. It may be opposed to both: so may be παλαιός. It is contrasted with καινός, but it is not the νέος  - what now begins. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 ἀρχαῖα  are things which have been of old, a long time; we have a new system or creation. So in Matthew 13:52: they are things καινὰ καὶ παλαιά, the old scribe knowledge, and other new things.

<13045E> 376 DIFFERENCE OF   ἈΠΟ AND ΕΚ

Ἐκ has the force (not merely of "out of" but) of "from," as well as ἀπό. The difference, however, is according to the meaning of the words: ἐκ, out of, that is, from going into; ἀπό, aloof or away from. Thus ἐκ, in John 12:27; Hebrews 5:7; James 5:20, etc. It is a question of saving from, or from going into, this hour, death, etc. Again, ἀπό in Matthew 1:21;  6:13; Luke 11:4; Acts 2:40; Romans 5:9. The former supposes a state of circumstances, a condition, into which the person might come, but into which he did not come; while the latter supposes some persons or circumstances adverse to their interest, not allowed to act upon them or produce the effects of their malice, or which took them away from them. With ἀπό they are looked at as hostile existences; with ἐκ it is a state, as even ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστ., from among the dead. They are not hostile persons or things; being among them is a state. So ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ is a hostile power. Luke 1:74 is a state in which they were or might be. So Romans 7:24 is the state in which he was; not a hostile power apart from himself. Romans 15:31 means hostile persons. In 2 Corinthians 1:10 ἐκ is used again because it is evidently a state: so Colossians 1:13, though "out of" the power of darkness might be better here. In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 it is ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς, as wrath is not a condition but a hostile power of another. In 2 Thessalonians 3:2 it is from unreasonable and wicked men. This is evident. In 2 Timothy 4:17, I believe it would have been ἀπὸ τοῦ λέοντος, but ἐκ στόματος, into which he seemed to be getting — a state he would have been in. 2 Peter 2:9 is more directly out of it when they are in it; at any rate, it is a state of πειρασμοῦ. So in Revelation 3:10 the faithful are kept from getting into this state, preserved from getting into it, or, as we say, kept out of it. For the words here answer fully to the English "out of" and "from." "From," as to place, is the creation of distance from a distinct object, as they went from Jerusalem to Jericho; they put a distance between him and the city. "Out of" means ceasing to be inside and into. With ἀπό it is always a distinct object from the speaker or person spoken of; while ἐκ implies a state he is or might be in.

<13046E> 377 BREAKING OF BREAD, ETC.

I regard all pretence in any to priesthood, save that which can be attributed, and which in scripture is attributed to all saints, as the principle of the apostasy in its present form of development and the denial of Christianity. Judaism had priests, because the people could not themselves go directly to God where He revealed Himself; Christianity has none between God's people and Himself in their worship, because Christians are brought to God and have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. To set a priest to go for them as one nearer to God is to deny the effect of Christianity. Besides, priesthood has essentially to do with intercession, or sacrifice and offerings: and in the Lord's Supper there is no sacrifice, nor is it intercession. The whole idea of priesthood on earth is to be rejected, therefore, as utterly contradictory both to Christianity and the act of breaking the bread.

But, on the other hand, it is a mistake to think we partake by breaking the bread or that we break it. The whole force of the thing consists (as to this point) in our partaking of already broken bread. It is His body broken for us that we take and eat. We are not the breakers of His body, properly speaking. So that, I apprehend, the true partaking of the Lord's Supper is after the bread is broken. The breaking of the bread now is of course a necessary accident to such participation, but is no part of the communion at all. And every one acquainted with scripture on the point knows that "blessing" means simply giving thanks, and not consecrating the bread. See 1 Corinthians 11:24, and compare Matthew 26:26, 27; Mark 14:22; and Luke 22:19. So in Luke 9:16, the miracle of the loaves and not the Eucharist, He blessed them and brake; in John 6:11, 23; Mark 8:6, 7 (also Mark 6:41), the terms are united; in Matthew 14:19 He blessed, and in chapter 15:36 gave thanks. In 1  Corinthians 14:16 we find incontestable proof of what indeed the previous passages can leave no doubt on a reasonable mind. "Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned, say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?" Blessing is blessing God, a giving of thanks. So the apostle says in chapter 11, "the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks," and in 1 Corinthians 10 "the cup of blessing which we bless." Matthew and Mark, speaking of the bread, say, He blessed; and speaking of the cup, say, He gave thanks. In Luke it is simply, He gave thanks. Thus, the blessing which precedes the breaking of bread is a giving of thanks; and in this, of course, all join, as in every thanksgiving, though one may utter it. Every saint is essentially competent, though in a large congregation godly order of mind may leave it to such as may have justly earned the respect of the body; yet, as the feeling of priesthood is readily slipped into, I should think it desirable that it were not always one. The breaking of the bread is in itself no religious act; it represents the putting of Christ to death, and, as an outward act, it was consummated by wicked men. But the Lord did break it in the last Supper, shewing it was a dead Christ they had to feed on; and hence he who gives thanks breaks the bread. The communion comes after and is on a broken body. The breaking is the killing of Christ, and, though absolutely necessary as a figure, because His death was absolutely necessary and is the very point shewn forth, yet the act of doing it is no religious part of the thing which one has a privilege in doing. And as to pouring out the wine, it is done no doubt often, but is no part of the Lord's Supper at all. The wine is, in the institution, supposed to be already in the cup, still pointing to the great fact, that the communion refers to an already dead Saviour. The blood is out of the body — "my blood which is shed for you." The act of pouring out would not represent death, because the body is not thus represented, and hence it is not referred to at all. The already shed blood is given thanks for or blessed, as already poured out: "the cup which we bless," etc. There is the breaking of the bread as significative of the breaking of His body; but this is preparatory to communion.

It is this consideration which shews the terrible import of the Roman Catholic doctrine as to the Eucharist, and how Satan has taken them in their own wisdom, and, so to speak, mocked them. The laity are deprived of the cup and are consoled by what is called the doctrine of concomitancy; namely, that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus are in the bread (indeed in both species). But if the blood be in the body, and not shed and separate, there is no redemption. It is shed blood, not blood in the body, which is the power of redemption; without shedding of blood there is none. This confirms the view, taken above, that it is a body already broken, and blood already shed, of which we partake. Thus, though the bread must be broken, as it was by Christ, by him who gives thanks, this is but preparatory, and forms, strictly, no part of the communion; and, as representing the putting Christ to death, it is no part of the holy service itself, though needed to shew that it is of a dead Christ we partake. It is of no living existing Christ, but of a dead Christ, and there is none such.

379 Remark further, how this sets aside transubstantiation and consubstantiation; for no such Christ exists as that celebrated in the Eucharist. As in the Passover a slain lamb, so a dead Christ is represented there and shed blood; but there is no dead Christ now. He is alive again for evermore. As risen with Him, we remember the sorrows and sufferings which gave us a place there. That atoning death is accomplished and passed, and sin is put away for us, and we are alive with Him for evermore. I would just add that the expression in 1 Corinthians 10:16 has no reference to one or to many, but to what Christians do in contrast with Jews and Gentiles. The apostle is treating the question of idolatry. Jews were partakers of the altar, Gentiles drank the cup of demons. What we (Christians) partake of is communion with the sacrifice of Christ. We are identified with the sacrifice, we cannot be with the cup of demons too.

<13047E> JOHN 15:7, 16

In speaking of abiding, it will be remarked that when final exclusion is spoken of, it is never "ye" but "a man;" when "ye," it is responsibility and privilege and not exclusion. The union is viewed as ostensible and fruit-bearing on earth. It is not the Church viewed as in heaven in its union with Christ. In that union as such we are perfect. There there is no pruning nor planting a vine to bring forth fruit nor casting fruit. The branches here spoken of may be so united; some are, no doubt; but it is not in this point of view they are looked at. The Lord speaks of Himself and of the branches of the vine already, when He and they were on earth. In Church-union the head is in heaven perfected there. We have to look then for responsibility, fruit-bearing, and privileges suited to that. Verse 5 speaks of one's abiding in Christ and Christ in him, but first of abiding in Him because it is responsibility. Christ then abides in him practically and he is fruitful. So Ephesians 3:16, 17. Verse 5 addresses itself to the great fundamental principle and way of blessing; verse 7 to the connected means by which it is practically available. "If ye abide in me" remains always the ground — dependence, confidence, and intimacy, dependent connection with Christ in thought and will, the being attached to Christ and dwelling in Him as one from whom we draw all; but in practical realization of this there are two means — the words of Christ and prayer. This verse tells us the measure and way of blessing through these, assuming the fundamental ground of abiding in Him. If Christ's words abide in us — if the mind, and thoughts, and will be always directed by, and have their motive and spring in, the words of Christ, then we are met in everything we ask. All that is needed to make good that will, we ask as we see it to be so needed. We dispose of divine action in that case for asking. We are vessels of His will in dependence. His words forming our will and mind, whatever we ask is done. It is not merely that He meets us by His power Himself, but He would have us have intimate confidence in exercise; and, if we are dependent on Him, know that every request is met. I can, being set in the way of His will by His holy and perfect words, dispose of circumstances in that path, get the strength needed, difficulties removed — in a word, what I will. This last is very striking; for while it is indeed as formed by His words, yet as so formed, having His mind, I am in that liberty of action which thinks of all that suits the case and gets it. We are called by this phrase to a place of wonderful free power in service, though the will in that freedom be formed by Christ's words: but we are active agents under God as to all agencies and circumstances. Hence this is for the purpose of bearing much fruit. So are we His disciples, for He bore much fruit.

380 From verse 11 (indeed 9, 10, form a preface to this), the disciples are looked at in another point of view — not as abiding in Christ as branches in the vine, but as individual persons whom He has loved and was laying down His life for as His friends, whom He had chosen and sent forth. They were to be left, and, when He was gone, to love one another as He had loved them (that is, when amongst them and in dying for them). He has now chosen them and appointed them that they should go forth and bring forth fruit, and their fruit abide, as indeed it does to this day. In this position of fruit-bearing and service as His chosen ones, they would ask of the Father — being thus placed now where Christ had been in relationship with the Father whose name He had revealed and with whom He was now placing them in direct relationship — and He would give it. This relationship with the Father, when He left them, is the groundwork of this part of the chapter. Hence He says not "my words," but whatsoever I have heard of my Father — so what they ask of the Father. Hence also it has the character of gift to the children; not a work being done and circumstances disposed of. Verses 17-20 fully shew that, in the mind of the Spirit, there is the taking of Christ's place in service by the disciples here below; hence a putting them in direct relationship with the Father as He was, and so they would have His joy.

381 But the first thing was before even they were thus left, their connection with Christ Himself as the branches in the vine, His mind guiding them, and then all done that they asked for. Hence the person asked is not spoken of in verses 1-7. As abiding in Christ, and His words abiding in them, they disposed of all active agencies. It is this great fact which is before us. They might have asked Christ on earth; they might ask Him now, as having all power in heaven and earth, to act in the exercise of His lordship, and as Son over His own house for the good of that house. But in verse 16 they have to do with the Father, and look to a Father to give. The "that whatsoever" depends on "I have chosen you and established you that," etc. But the "that ye should go . . . that your fruit should remain" is an integral and essential part of the ground on which the privilege is founded. I have chosen you for this and that and this, that whatever ye ask. Having this place by My desire, such will be your relationship and privilege with the Father. The Father being now introduced, and they placed in relationship with Him, Christ being gone, their requests were necessarily in Christ's name or they were nothing. During His life, they had never done this. "Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name" — "Ask and ye shall receive that your joy may be full." So here verse 11. (Compare John 11:22.) The name of Christ was their whole title, and an effectual one.

<13048E> MARK 11:24

Mark 11:24 gives the principle on which we are to pray in all cases. Had the disciples asked God then, and we Christ in His lordship and power, or the Father now, all prayer should be with faith. Praying in the Holy Ghost is now connected, in our present state, with Christ's words abiding in us, though there be the distinct element of the energy of the Holy Ghost in us, not merely the words of Christ forming our desires and mind. But, then, as a general principle, the Holy Ghost will, if our hearts be right, keep these words in our mind.

<13049E> 382 JOHN 6:51, AND 2 CORINTHIANS 3:18

By feeding on Christ in His humiliation the soul's affections enter into the preciousness of His path and death, His human path down here. We are touched, moved, softened: Christ has a place in the heart. We abide in Him according to this love, in the delight of this lowliness, and He in us.

In being changed, on the other hand, into the same image by contemplating God's glory in His face, we are drawn out energetically to that which is glorious, to God's glory as set before us; but in One who is a man, who has loved us and died for us, so that we are associated with this glory. The Holy Ghost, who reveals it, interests us in the glory of God, but this in man, and lifts above what is below it and everything connected with life in flesh. The result is that we are formed into the image of what Christ Himself was when on earth. Christ was the display of it practically on earth. Compare Acts 7:56-60, where all this is brightly realized.

<13050E> EXODUS 20

We must distinguish between the outward public effect of the law, and the intention of God in giving it. There may be a general providential effect of light being sent into the world, while the divine purpose of that light in its spiritual and everlasting bearing may be quite distinct. No one can doubt that the introduction of Christianity has largely modified the general state of society. Men do not do in the light what they do in the dark. Natural conscience, operating in the way of shame, will hinder them, without the least inward moral change. Public opinion is elevated, and it is a great providential mercy. Men are more or less governed by that opinion, and an outward effect is produced. There is, I think, something more — When the word of God is received, the natural conscience is brought into immediate relationship with God. This itself elevates morally. Hence in protestant countries there is a most undeniably higher moral tone than in papal countries. Conscience has to answer for itself to God. Wretched man is not between conscience and God; his being so always morally degrades. Man is in his place, though he may fail in it. He is at least consciously responsible in it. Further, when men are not exercised in direct responsibility to one true revealed God, but have men between them and God (in which case, wherever it is fully developed, the true God is lost in a multitude of intermediate powers, be they called demons or saints); that is, wherever there is a priesthood, a direct power or influence of Satan can and does come in; not merely in the way of acting by temptation on evil lusts, but in the way of religious or spiritual influence and power. But this is the rule of the darkness of this world. When the word of God has direct authority, this is not the case. Men may be more culpable individually for neglecting the light, but there is not the same influence and power of Satan.

383 Now all this connects itself with the public moral government of this world. When the authority of the word of God is over man's conscience, that of Satan is not; where it is not, the god of this world exercises his sway. But the proper and eternal purpose of God in the gift of the word goes farther. Men are quickened to eternal life by it.

So in its measure is it with the law. It gives a true measure of what men ought to do, and, in its highest character, what they ought to feel, and claims direct authority for God over the conscience, and puts man, as far as claim on his conscience goes, under immediate responsibility to God and the consciousness of it. Hence it elevated the position of man immensely above the heathen who worshipped demons, and as helps to their passions, not God as a holy one for their conscience. Conscience could not be destroyed: God had put it in man by the fall, but it was buried as much as possible among the heathen, and religion helped through Satanic influence to do so.

This the law did away, and so far tended to present blessing; but if I be asked, What is the divine intention in the law, its spiritual purpose as judged of by the perfect light of the New Testament, in which man was looked at as an already lost sinner, and heavenly and eternal blessings are revealed? then I say that God's intention in the law was not and could not be temporal welfare of man by restraining evil. I may look at the whole law given to Israel in this light as a civil code incomparably beyond all that was known among heathens; but it has no such place, now Christianity is come. Farther, the law besides this contained a deeper element — its nucleus was the divine judgment of right and wrong in the creature. The ten commandments forbad the evils which destroyed the relationship between man and God and man and his neighbour. What the Lord drew out of the law is the essential element of blessedness even in heaven as far as the creature element of that happiness goes — loving God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves. Next, in Israel's case, to whom the law was given, there was by the law no revelation at all of another world or its blessings; and so far as Israel was concerned, the law was given for temporal blessings — blessings in basket and in store, in the field and in the winepress; and these as signs of divine favour shewing its governmental approval of righteousness and obedience.

384 But if it be asked, what was the intention of law by the light — the true light which now shines, the whole aspect is changed, because the truth, grace and truth, are come. In the first law has no place at all. The second gives to law (not the law merely) the necessary and inevitable character of condemnation and death; because men have to say to God, not in governmental relationship in the earth, but as personally responsible to God according to the requirements of His revealed nature. As viewed thus in the light of Christianity then it takes a double character. First, as the law dispensationally given to Israel, it was after an unconditional promise which it could not disannul and was the schoolmaster until the Seed came to whom the promise was made. This ceased when faith came. As law spiritually known, it aggravated sin and brought death and condemnation on the sinner. The welfare of man it has nothing to do with, for man is lost and a sinner; and the law was never given to men in general dispensationally. If I argue religiously on law (not the law,) the scripture affords an immediate and very clear answer: "Law entered that the offence might abound" — not that sin might, but that offence might. Its effect is "sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good, that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." "The motions of sin were by the law." "The strength of sin is the law." It is so doubly. It condemns the sinner and brings in death. Sin is provoked by it. So perverse are we, that prohibitions set will and lusts in activity.

A passage I have not yet quoted requires to be noticed. "The law was added, because of transgressions." This is constantly cited as if it meant to restrain them. But it really means, I have not the least doubt, to introduce them — thus convincing man of his perverse and wicked will. The law could not be added to restrain them, because there were none until it came; for where no law is, there is no transgression. It was added to turn evil in man's heart into transgression by positive commandment, and give the knowledge of sin to the easy conscience of man. It is important to distinguish between the law as a dispensed government of a single people, and law, the effect of law, on the human heart. The English Authorized Version will help us little as to this, though the great body of the Apostle's argument is founded on the nature and effect of law on the human heart.

385 God's intention then in law was as to spiritual things to bring in transgression and convict of sin — man being already and hopelessly lost. As an outward dispensation for the Jews, it doubtless tended as a civil system to repress grosser evils: but then God was king of the country and people, and the people governed by it, and that in early times, emerging out of heathenism, before Christ came and was rejected. The Gentiles have nothing to say to it in this sense. It was a schoolmaster up to the time of Christ; then faith came and Judaism ceased. The only way a Gentile can be under law is as a principle of personal responsibility, in which he has to answer for himself, and on which ground it is a ministry of death and condemnation (2 Cor. 3), the strength of sin, and useful only to bring guilt on his conscience, and the sense that he has no power to free himself, or any possibility of his being freed from the power of sin while on this ground.

The law does not manifest God's moral perfections, or pretend to do it. Christ does that. The law tells us perfectly what the creature ought to be and feel, not what God is and feels. Hence it is not the adequate direction of a Christian's faith. There were two parts of Christ's life: He was born under law; but He was also the manifestation of God. Now surely He kept the law, and died under its curse for them who were under it, who were thus delivered from the law, which could only condemn them, or lose its authority if it did not. But the manifestation of God is our pattern. "Be ye therefore perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." He acts in grace, sends rain on just and unjust, loves His enemies. This, law cannot admit. "Be ye imitators of God as dear children," as Christ has loved us. He laid down His life for us. "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." In a word Christ, as revealing the Father, is the model for our walk; and the fruits of the Spirit, who refers the heart wholly to Him, are what are looked for in him who has the Spirit. Law is inadequate as a rule; it is unchristian in principle to be under it, for I am not under law but under grace. It is always in connection with man in the flesh and cannot be with redemption, and as many as are of the works of it are accursed. It is not what I can look to as an object, for Christ is that; and I cannot serve two masters, or, to use the figure of Romans 7 on this point, have two husbands at one time — law and Christ risen. Whoever sets himself under law in any way destroys its authority, because he has not kept it, yet hopes not to be under its curse; and he uses Christ, not for redemption and power of deliverance, but to make allowance for failure in us and make void the law which would condemn us. If He has delivered me from it, bearing its curse, He has glorified its authority and delivered me by power from sin in the flesh, that I may bring forth fruit unto God. If I am put under it after redemption, it must either condemn me or its authority be set aside. As a rule of life it is inadequate, because grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, and this is my rule of life — not the law which was given by Moses, and which is not grace. To say that it is a transcript of, or manifests, God's moral perfections is nonsense. Is He, speaking with reverence, to love His neighbour as Himself? A creature ought — doubtless unfallen creatures as angels do; but as to man, he is a fallen one and does not, and when raised with Christ has the activity of grace and forbearing love as his rule, as shewn in God manifest in the flesh; and the Christian led of the Spirit is not under law.

386 The subject is too vast to enter into in answering a question, or it would be important to notice that law is a principle of relationship as well as a rule, and to shew how we are delivered from law, and that this is the only means of sin not having dominion over us. Those who would place the Christian under law do not believe that in us, that is, in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing, nor ever will; or they do not know what they are saying or insisting on. It were well they should weigh the force of this: "when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin which were by the law;" and "sin shall not have dominion over you, because ye are not under law, but under grace." The law was then for Israel connected with God's direct government as its sanction, a means of temporal blessing. But this has ceased. All divine light tends to strengthen and elevate conscience when it rules public opinion; but God's spiritual intention in the law was to make offence abound. It does not manifest God's moral perfections, but in its nature claims, and is the rule of, man's duties. The ten commandments do not give the instruction needed by a redeemed people: a redeemed people cannot now be rightly under the law. Sin has dominion over those that are under it. Christ alone is the rule, pattern, light, and instruction of the redeemed Christian.

<13051E> 387 SANCTIFICATION AND JUSTIFICATION

The main point is met completely by the expression in 1 Peter 1, "Sanctified unto . . . the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." We are born again to have a share in the value of Christ's blood and work. When the things are named together in scripture, sanctification is before justification. Ordinary language is very different. Righteousness is not so put, because it is the foundation of God's dealing in blessing with us, and bringing us, by that regeneration which sets us apart for Him, into the full acceptance of Christ. Grace reigns through righteousness. There is practical progress then in holiness.

The use of John 6 goes somewhat farther and differently into the matter. Chapter 5 had presented the Son of God as quickening whom He would. In the latter, it is sovereign life-giving; in the former, it is appropriation by faith, and this of the Son of man (that is, the Lord come in flesh). Hence He is the bread that cometh down from heaven. But it is not the Christ to the Jews, received as born on earth, but the Son of man (the Word made flesh) giving life to the world. He must be received in this character; and to receive Him in this character, in which alone is life, we cannot stop short of His death. We must eat His flesh and drink His blood. This is His death — the blood separate from the body. Incarnation is of no avail for life unless death comes in: otherwise there is no atonement, sin is not put away. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Eating the flesh comes first, because it is the first prominent point of incarnation — Christ come in flesh for man, for the world. Drinking the blood is added because this is available as a dead Christ — the blood out of the body. Hence the monstrous character of the refusal of the cup in Romanism, as well as the doctrine of concomitancy (that is, that the blood is in the bread or alleged body of Christ). The forbidding of blood in the Old Testament denoted that man in the flesh could not meddle with death. Life belongs to God. Our drinking Christ's blood shews that through His death we come in freed from flesh as dead; and that death thus is life and liberty to us, deliverance from the old man and its guilt too, to us who have received the quickening of John 5.