The days are ever more difficult and the wisdom that is from above is a desirable possession. If Proverbs is the book of sonship and family relationships, then we do well to note that wisdom and understanding are characteristics of that sphere of activity....
I have found S.Q. very helpful. We need writings in the power of the Holy Spirit. The tendency of things in the world is to draw us down. We need more than ever to be kept fresh in love to Christ and His Word dwelling richly in our hearts by faith. Also we have the great privileges of remembering the Lord in His death, and ministering the Word to saints and sinners, even if few in number.
[We are apt to hold "the two or three" as a theory; nevertheless it is a real test of faith.-Editor.]
Every religious thought of man confesses that he wishes to get to God by prayers or ordinances. Man is told he must do this or that. The Law confirmed the injunction, but the Gospel says, "you have done this and that and yet come short of the glory of God." Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus Whom God has set forth a propitiation through faith in His blood, so a man comes in for eternal blessing.
Friends of the Christ, our earnest expectation,
Here to Hold Fast and magnify His Name,
In this poor scene of woe and degradation,
Rising superior to our former shame.
Little in strength and weak our best endeavour,
Even to maintain His Word and Name and Cross,
This be our joy, mid sorrow, trial and pressure,
Waiting in patience for His well-known Voice.
It is only as the heart is fresh in communion with the Father and with the Lord Jesus Christ that there is real love to the brethren. The children of a family are not found together because of one father and mother. If the tender mother or the beloved father be gone, the power that kept them together is gone from among them. So with regard to fellowship with the Father and the Son, if that be not maintained with all freshness, love to the brethren fails. G. V. Wigram.
(1) It is a great joy when we come together to realize the preciousness of the company of Christ and to pour out our hearts relative to all that He is, what He has done and the place into which He has brought us. If the joy of His realized presence affects us so greatly here; what will it be when we shall be with Him for evermore? "There only to adore" .... God, by the Holy Spirit is reproducing in His own the features of His beloved Son....
(2) I learned that if there was division in the house (Luke 12:52; John 14:21), Christ came into the heart in sweetest sympathy and comfort. I recognised the seeking to drive me from the ground of witness for the truth as Satan's efforts permitted of God to sift and humble me that my will might be broken and thus Christ might be magnified in my body. I learned to praise that One through all. I learned, too, that nearness to the Lord (in the House of God) involves Satan's rage, our Father's discipline and, that we should not go to the world for shelter. Our resource is in God! (Written over 50 years ago-as viewed from 1942).
(3) The articles in S.Q. impress me as being timely for our day. May our adorable Lord guide you in this labour of love! (From U.S.A.)
(4) "It would be a real loss if we have to forego this refreshing ministry." (By some mishap, the last issue of S.Q. had not reached this isolated Christian).
Exxtracts from Letters.
I conclude you have two readings weekly, and feel sure you find them profitable. It makes such a difference when one remembers that we go not to meet man but the Lord, and though there may not be always the same body of truth brought out, yet it is good that all should be led to search for themselves and contribute their share to the general profit. The presence of prominent gift is so far a disadvantage that it may produce laziness in searching the Word for oneself! In its absence each must bestir himself to contribute to the general benefit and thus individual communion with the Lord, seeking Him to give light, is produced. The result is positive blessing! It has often been remarked that in X-where teachers are constantly present the saints are much less in dependence on the Lord than in other gatherings, where through weakness, they are necessarily cast on Him. (From a letter written in 1874).
The Lord has been much with me since we parted and His presence is everything. How often we are like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who, though the Lord was with them all the way, did not know it was He until the end of their journey. But when once they had the sense of His presence they thought no more of their fatigue, but went back the whole eight miles to tell the others of the One who had revealed Himself to them as the Firstborn from the dead. What we need is to cultivate the sense of His presence all the day long, then the wilderness would be no longer weary. It has often struck me what a distance the wise men from the East came to worship the Lord and how richly they were rewarded! How the One who was weary with His journey of 25 miles can perfectly sympathise with those who like Paul know the meaning of "weariness and painfulness" and "journeyings often" (2 Cor. 11.). May you have the constant sense of the Lord's presence as your daily hourly portion! (From a letter of 70 years ago).
We live in a day which calls for much dependence on the Lord and a deep consciousness that we are loved with a love that knows no let! (Written recently).
By nature, man cannot meet God's requirements. Indeed God has dealt with that man who was an offence to Him. Religious or irreligious, mental or sentimental, rude or cultured, man of that order cannot please God. As a contrast, while Enoch was still here he received the testimony that he pleased God. (Extract from the late WM. Huggins).
Extracts from Letters.
(1) I have been struck with J.N.D.'s remarks that at the end of Rom. 5 and 6 the point is that it is not in Adam. He also dwells on the fact that in Romans we only get the Christian privileges brought out in ch.5:1-11 and in ch. 8; also that nowhere in Romans does the Apostle attempt to develop the thought of "In Christ Jesus." There is only the reference in Rom. 8:1 which he connects with Rom. 7. rather than with Rom. 8. "In Christ" in Eph. seems to be connected with the purpose of God.
(2) We learn from our day to day condition that "our outward man perishes," but also (praise the Lord!) "the inward man is renewed (also) day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16). How precious it is to be learning more of our adorable Lord by walking intimately with Himself! How blessedly true that He fills our souls now and that all we learn of Himself we enjoy now and also take it with us to glory; i.e., in spite of our poor pupilage and slow learning. (Recent).
I see in my late affliction no defeat from Satan. Contrary to that, I had been asking the Lord for more practical separateness to Christ for myself and His people. In taking from me to Himself her who, He had given me as a companion and an ensample of unearthliness, I can see a lesson quite in harmony with the Father's love and ways. So far as I walk in heaven, I am not bereaved; it is only when walking apart from the glory of Christ or when the weakness of the earthen vessel is in question, that there is a void for me to bring Christ in to fill. But He guides me afresh and will lead me Himself whither He wills. G.V.Wigram.
The old letter on p.111, vol. 2, was as you surmised abridged from two letters written by J.N.D. I trust you are being encouraged in the distribution of publications. May they deepen the sense of the Lord's glory and increase desire to be in His presence! (Recent extract).
The peace of God passes all understanding, the peace of Christ I have in my heart. There is nothing more dangerous than for the soul to speak of truth when not living therein. It is the road to a fall! It is by maintaining the positive that we help souls, but we must not make our light the measure of the conscience of others. Here is where divine grace comes in, to lead on the soul into the truth of the Assembly, so as to judge as unrighteousness any form of independency! The difference between ecclesiastical evil and that which any true conscience can take cognisance of, is that the former only becomes such to the conscience when enlightened with the truth of the Assembly of God.
The abstract is sometimes difficult to meet as compared with any given case when it arises, but for this we may count on the Lord to guide us how to deal with it, where it is not contravening some principle of Scripture, expressly laid down for our direction. (J. A. Trench, 1917).
Extracts from Letters. (Vol. 3 No. 9, Jan, 1943)
(1) While around the Lord what wonderful times we have calling to mind the deep suffering He passed through that God might be glorified and the way of approach might be opened that we might reach Him in Spirit where He is. He transfers our affections from earth to heaven so that we may enjoy Him in the new place He has entered as man and to taste of the Father's delight in His well-beloved. In Him, He has graced us in His favour that we may enjoy with Him the moral perfections shining forth in Him as man before His face. What encouragement and joy there is in meditation on the fact that the Son has come into manhood, remains a man for ever, and of necessity takes everything now from the Father's hand. (Recent).
(2) We live in a day of small things, but it is good to encourage each other in the Lord's interests and to seek to be for Him where He is rejected. (Recent).
(3) A correspondent in Australia says "The Quarterly has come safely over the oceans and I am thankful that we have not missed one so far by the Lord's goodness. We look forward to the cheer it brings and some parts always seem to meet our special needs. We should be well grounded in these troublous days!"
Extract from a letter by J. A. Trench to Mirza Saeed (Teheran), 1919.
The terrible war goes on but how well it is to have our dependence not upon armies, navies or alliances but upon the Living God. The only thing that gives me any doubt as to the issue is that He may have to say to this privileged and responsible nation that seems so far from recognising His hand upon it and the other professing Christian nations. Meanwhile His mercy to us is great in the way this country has been preserved from being the actual battleground of contending forces for so many centuries.
(J. A. Trench, 1917)
In 1908, E. L. Bevir publishing "Meditations by J.B.Stoney." in "Helps," said that they had not been printed previously, and thus were not as a correspondent had averred "on the shelves of the Brethren." As we have been subjected to similar criticism, we feel that history repeats itself and that we are thus in good company! However, we may add that Brethren are apt to leave the literature on the shelves and not being acquainted with their wealth, do not invest it in dealings with their fellowmen. Thus their spiritual income will be low in the assessment of the Lord. We should not "shelve" the Truth! Editor.