Chapter 5. Submission.

"Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ." Ephesians 5:21.

Here is a difference between submission and obedience, and it is well, before entering upon the subject of our chapter, to be clear about it.

Submitting myself to another, means, my accepting and taking a subordinate place under another person's lawful authority over me. Obedience means my behaving and acting according to that place, no matter, whether I am in it by my own choice, or through necessity (by birth, etc.,) by submitting my will to the will of the one, who is in the place of authority over me Submission and obedience, in a natural sense, are not necessarily identical. There may be an outward submission without real obedience. In the Christian sense, both are a matter of the heart as being done to the Lord. "The principle of submission and of obedience," as another has said, "is the healing principle of humanity; only God must be brought into it, in order that the will of man may not be the guide after all. But the principle that governs the heart of man in good, is always and everywhere obedience."

Now, before proceeding, we may just notice, that although the words that head this chapter, refer to all those who are in a subordinate relationship, i.e., wives, children and servants, yet the word "submitting," in our chapter, as well in the other passages of the New Testament, is only applied to wives, but not to children nor servants. The reason is clear. Children, as being born in the subordinate place, and servants, or rather slaves (for in those times, hired servants were unknown) being in the same place either by birth, or purchase, or as prisoners of war, could not be enjoined to accept or take that place, in submitting themselves to their superiors — parents or masters, — because they were already in that place, independently of their own consent. Therefore they are in our chapter exhorted to obey their superiors. It is not so with wives. They have become so by their own free consent; and knowing beforehand the character and relative duties of their place. Therefore they are told to "submit" themselves to their own husbands, and reverence them, according to the place, upon which they have entered with their own full and free consent, as before the Lord, and according to His will, Who has thus united them. Children and servants (or slaves), therefore, are told to obey, whilst submission — and submissiveness — is enjoined upon the wives.

But, as I have said before, the divine injunction: "Submitting yourselves one to another," applies, in a general sense, to all the three classes of subordinate relationships in our chapter. For if children and servants are not enjoined to submit themselves, from the reason stated above, yet they as well as the wives are to behave to their superiors in the spirit of submission, i.e., submissiveness, which characterises true Christian obedience. Thus the exhortation in chap. 5:21, in this sense, applies not only to children, but also to the servants of our days. Therefore, as under grace, and in the spirit of grace, the injunction is general.

But though in our chapter as well as in Col. 3, the word "obedience" is not used with reference to "wives," because in both these epistles the exhortations to the "wives," are in close connection with the relationship of the Church to Christ, which is a relationship of subjection (v. 24) of the body to the Head, rather than of obedience (which is applied to Christians individually), we find, on the other hand, in the epistle of the apostle Peter (which deals with Christians individually as pilgrims and strangers on earth), both expressions, i.e., "submission" and "obedience" applied to "wives." There the Spirit of God points back to Sarah, as a pattern of submission and obedience for all her spiritual "daughters," just as in the epistle to the Romans we are exhorted to walk in the steps of that faith of Abraham, "Who is the father of us all." Therefore in that beautiful passage (1 Peter 3:1-6), both expressions are applied to Christian "wives." But I shall enter more closely upon that portion in the next chapter, when speaking on the relationship of "wives."

I now would direct the reader's attention to the second part of our verse, which tells us that such submission of one to another is to be "in the fear of Christ," For such is the correct reading, and not "In the fear of God," as the common version has it. For all-important as is the fear of God, as not only characterizing the beginning of the work of God in a soul, as in the case of the thief upon the cross, but also as to the Christian's walk in holiness of life (2 Cor. 7:1), it is evident, that in our portion of the Ephesians, as well as in Col. 3 (where we find a similar mistake, viz., the "Peace of God," whereas it ought to read "the peace of Christ") it is the second Person of the Godhead, Christ, the Father's well-beloved, Whom the Spirit of God delights to set in full relief before the eye of faith, as Head of the Church.

And here may be the place for an observation, which in these latter days of religious profession, constantly obtrudes itself on our notice. It is the Christless character of all human religion. The mention of that ever blessed and glorious Name of Jesus, indeed, is not lacking in the religious books and phraseology of our days, (though even then in a familiar way, most offensive to every spiritual christian, and generally without His proper title — "Lord"). But of Christ very little is seen or heard. The reason is natural enough.

Christendom having degenerated and relapsed into, and returned to the religious "husks," or, as Paul, the once so zealous religionist, called it "dung" of Jewish (though Christianised) legal ordinances and attainments, with earthly blessings and promises, without any real sense of what it is, to a believer, to have risen with Christ, and to be linked through His Spirit, with the risen, ascended, and glorified Head there above on the right hand of God, and of being seated in Him in the heavenly places — no wonder, that Christ, i.e. Jesus glorified, is, as such, scarcely known in the religious books and language of our days. Their gospel does not go beyond the Cross (and even this, as to its effects, is only partly known,) blessed foundation, as that is of our salvation; but as to the heavenly position into which the believer has been brought by the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, very little, if anything, is known and realised. Resurrection and Resurrection-ground, is scarcely mentioned in their "gospel," such as it is, leave alone the Believer's Union with Christ, and his position above as identified with Christ, accepted in the Beloved, and his heavenly calling and hope. Therefore Jesus, i.e. Christ in His humiliation here on earth, as the despised Jesus of Nazareth, as presented in the gospels (where He is called "Christ" only in His earthly relationship as Israel's Messiah, comp. John 1:42,) is only known as an individual Saviour, whilst the exalted Jesus, i.e. Christ, as the Head of the Church, His body, is a thing unknown, or if known, hardly mentioned, though the whole New Testament, from the Acts of the Apostles, till the book of Revelation, (where the Lamb is the prominent feature,) is full of it. The first Name in the first gospel at Pentecost (after Peter's few introductory words), is that ever blessed Name of Jesus. And how does the Apostle finish? — "Therefore let all the house of Israel know, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (as to His exaltation at the right hand of God). Consequently in our chapter, and so in Col. 3, where we have Christ as the glorified Head of the Church, it is all "Christ," except when His ever-blessed Name is mentioned, when we find Jesus, as in verse 20, of our chapter, (Eph. 5) and in Col. 3:17. Now this is exactly the point of weakness, that lies at the root of the evil of all human religion. Having subsided, or relapsed, into an earthly Jewish position, Jesus, i.e. Christ in His humiliation on earth, is known only as their individual Saviour from judgment. Blessed Name above every Name, I repeat. "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." "And thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest," says the angel to Mary. But, beloved, it is one thing, to know Jesus as my Saviour, as the manna, the bread come down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die; and another thing to know that blessed Jesus as Lord and Christ, as the Head of the Church at the right hand of God, and to have the consciousness of being one with Him, as our risen and ascended Lord, and of our life being hid with Him in God, and thus feeding on Him, as the old corn of the land, Canaan above, in the sense of Col. 3, and of having the living consciousness, of being a member of His Body, the Church, of which He is the glorified Head. How little is it known and understood, what is written, not only in the epistles of Paul, but even in the gospel of John: that Jesus died "not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one, the children of God that were scattered abroad." (John 11:52.) Jesus died not only to save individuals, i.e. to have a certain number of saved units, but in order that each individually saved child of God might be gathered in one, i.e. baptized by one Spirit into one body, "whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free" (1 Cor. 12:13), of which each believer forms a member; Christ, i.e. the Risen, Ascended, and Glorified Jesus, being the Head of them all, i.e. of the Church, His Body.

This is the reason why, in the epistle to the Ephesians, the Spirit of God exhorts the Christians, to submit themselves one to another "in the fear of Christ," in His supreme authority as Head of the Church. It is in their character as being members of Christ, that the members of the Christian family are exhorted to submit one to another. For although family-relationships are of on earthly character (individual, in a certain sense), yet we see, how closely the Spirit of God in His teaching in both the Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, connects them and the relative duties of the Christians in them, with, and as flowing from their relationship as members of the Church, which is the body of Christ, its Head.

It is His supreme authority as such, which the Holy Ghost delights in setting forth throughout these two epistles, that deal in an especial way with our earthly relationships too, as the place, where, according to God's intentions, church truth is to be practised, and our heavenly relationships to be reflected in our daily walk. And we may be sure, that if our light does not shine in our houses and families, it will certainly not shine much in the world around us in the sense of Phil. 2:15.

The Lordship of Christ, in His supreme authority, is stated by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven by Him, at the close of the very first gospel, as referred to above. God had made that same Jesus, Whom the Jews had seen daily going in and out among them, "both Lord and Christ."

But what was, at Pentecost, in a general, partly Jewish sense, only the first simple statement of the fact, that God had thus honoured and invested with the highest authority His well-beloved Son, the once rejected and despised Jesus of Nazareth, we find, at the end of the first chapter of that grand Epistle, which unfolds God's wondrous counsels, as to Christ and His Church, set forth in divinely magnificent language, as if the Spirit, whilst pointing upwards to the Man in glory, Whom Stephen, when filled with the Holy Ghost, saw there at the right hand of God, had been taking pains, to speak with reverence, to depict in those magnificent terms, that all Glorious and all Beauteous One in His position of Honour and Dignity, as the Head of the Church, "the first begotten from among the dead," and "the Firstborn of many brethren," whom God had raised from the dead, and

"Set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"

"Far above" (mark the word "far") Christian reader! The Holy Spirit, who "glorifies Christ," cannot point high enough upwards in glory to point out, as it were, to the eye of faith, the glorified Person of Christ as Head over all other authorities.

"Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."

What a position, truly glorious, truly lordly! And yet nothing more than the due place for Him, Who once bore the cross, and gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, and Who did not hide His face from shame and spitting

What was the power and dominion over the lower creation, entrusted to the first Adam, compared to that of the last!

Now, may I ask my Christian reader and myself: has the fear of Christ, the One, Who holds such a place there above in glory at the right hand of God, its due sway over our consciences? I need not say, that I am not speaking of legal or slavish fear. I mean that reverential fear, which is produced by authority, when recognized, felt, and willingly bowed to. A man, when in the presence of his betters in authority, feels very different from what he does, when among his equals. And the higher the rank or lawful authority of the one in the superior place, the greater would be the sense of reverential fear on the part of his subordinate before his presence. A common soldier, however submissive, if he be a good soldier, his behaviour may be before his superiors, if only a degree or two above him in rank, will feel and behave very differently, when standing before his Commander-in-chief. And in the presence of the highest authority, of a mighty King or Emperor, will not that feeling of reverential fear, produced by such a presence, pervade every one before him, from the commander-in-chief or his Prime minister down to the lowest servant?

I hope, my Christian readers will pardon me for adducing such common-place illustrations, but as the writer of these lines prays and desires, that he may write them as in the sight of God and in Christ, he feels, from his own humbling experience, how little we have learnt in these days of boasted independence, where, nevertheless, the fear of men holds greater sway then ever, to realise the meaning of those words "In the fear of Christ." And why? Because we have understood so little, what it means, in the power of faith and of an ungrieved Spirit, to be really in His Presence, where we discover our nothingness, aye, and our own good-for-nothingness too. We have been too much in the presence of each other, or of the world and daily circumstances, permitting all kinds of things, such as testimony, the church, service (leave alone other things) to step in between Christ and our souls, instead of keeping Christ between us and circumstances. Thus it is that the "fear of Christ," which is produced by being in His Presence, is so feebly known amongst and within us. It is all right and well, talking of the constraining love of Christ, but let us not forget that His great apostle Paul knew also what "the terror of the Lord" means. Not, I repeat, as if that terror made him tremble in slavish fear, but it had impressed his conscience with its awful solemnity for others, so that he was able to "persuade" men, i.e., to appeal to their consciences first with the power of a preacher, whose own heart had been solemnized by the thought of the terror of the Lord, in His judgment — for others, of course, not for himself, and then feeling in his heart the constraining power of the love of Christ, he was enabled to "beseech poor sinners and enemies to be reconciled to God." — With a conscience, perfect and at ease in the Presence of God, but his heart solemnly impressed with what "the terror of the Lord" meant for His rejectors, i.e., for every unbeliever he could, in the power of that solemn impression, appeal to their consciences, and on the other hand, with the "small voice" of God's grace in his ministry of reconciliation, apply the balm of the gospel to brokenhearted and troubled ones.

But it is not only the "terror of the Lord," (as to the judgments that will come upon this world, when the "great day of the wrath of the Lamb" will have come, and finally at the judgment of the dead, small and great, before the great white throne,) that the apostle speaks of in 2 Cor. 5, for this would have less bearing on the Christian's family life, (except as to unbelieving members of his family). In the same chapter, we find the "Judgment seat of Christ," in its solemnity as to ourselves, and not only for others:

"For we" (mark well, Christian reader, we) "must all appear before the judgment of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

It is not a question of others only, but of ourselves too. But as many, especially such who have no settled peace, have been perplexed and troubled by this well known passage of scripture, it will be well to give a few remarks, which, under the Lord's blessing, may help to remove those difficulties, or, at least, to simplify them; for the word of God is simple enough, and explains itself, if read and taken in its true connection.

First of all, then, we must remember, that this passage has the character of a general divine principle, with all its force intended for the conscience of the Christian. Neither the time, nor the place of the judgment is mentioned. It has the force and meaning of a general principle of truth. It refers neither to the judgment of the quick, in Matthew's gospel (Matt. 25:31), "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him," when "he shall sit upon the throne of his glory;* and before him shall be gathered all nations;" that is, at at the beginning of His millennial reign; nor to the second resurrection, that is, at the end of the thousand years, when He, as the Judge of the dead, shall sit on the great white throne. But "we all,'' i.e., His saints too, "must appear before His tribunal. When? or Where? is not said. Of course, it is not before the great white throne; that is for the unbelievers. But whether as to saints, it is to be during the time of our being with Him in the Father's house (before Christ's public appearing), as some think, or at His public appearing, as others suppose, is no matter here. Enough, that that solemn, yet blessed and happy moment will appear. I say, solemn, yet blessed and happy: For whilst one would fear to utter one word that might lead to weaken in the least the solemn effect upon our consciences,which the Spirit of God intended by such words at these, yet at the same time, for a heart that knows what grace and peace with God mean; those words, notwithstanding their solemn weight for every honest Christian's conscience, afford the best assurance and comfort to his heart.

{*God has not merely glorified His once rejected Son, outside the scene of His rejection (as in Eph. 1, and Col. 3); but He will, and justly so, glorify Him one day, on this very earth, the scene of His cross.}

In order to explain myself more fully, it is necessary to remember, that this passage does not speak of personal judgment in the sense of condemnation, or even of correction and chastisement. As to the former, it has nothing to say to the believer. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." God is not unrighteous, that he should pardon us and give us eternal life, and then condemn us after all. The very thought would be blasphemous. And as to correction or chastisement, they belong to this earth, whilst we are in these poor frail bodies, where flesh, and self, and sin are in us, though we are not in the flesh even now, but in the spirit before God. It cannot, of course, apply to our glorified bodies, when we shall be with Christ.

What, then, do the words: "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ," mean? First, it is necessary to remember that the word in the original, which, in our common version, is translated: "appear" means, "being made manifest" before Him, either in spirit, in our consciences now, or in our resurrection bodies. The word "appear," expresses rather the latter kind of manifestation. There is, therefore, a double way of being made manifest before the Lord: now, by faith, in our consciences; and, as to the future, in our resurrection bodies. Therefore the apostle says (v. 11): "But we are made manifest to God." (The word in v. 11 is, in the Greek, the same as in v. 10.)

What is the effect of "being manifest" to God, and of having been fully exposed to the all-searching light of his His Holy Presence? Do you dread the thought, and tremble at it, and shrink from it? If you do, reader, whoever you may be, it is a sure sign, either that you have no settled peace with God, and thus are under the spirit of bondage; or, what is worse, that your conscience is practically bad, because your heart is not upright before God, and you keep some portion of it shut up from Him, and do not want the light of God's Presence to enter into that dark chamber of your heart, because it is a secret idol-shrine, and you do not want the idol to be exposed to the light of a justly jealous God, Who says: "I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have none other Gods before me." And remember, an "idol" is anything that is preferred to Christ, and permitted to slip in between Him and the soul.* Vain attempt of hiding one corner of your heart from God's searching light, and keeping the other part lit up! The darkness will soon spread from that dark idol closet, over the whole heart, and, alas! the conscience too, and thus, the eye not being single, the whole body will be full of darkness. You are, perhaps, not so bold and hardened, as those men of the house of Israel, of whom the prophet speaks (Ezek. 14), who had set up their idols in their hearts, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces, and yet were bold enough, to come to a prophet, to enquire of him concerning the Lord, whether He would be with them and prosper them, as king Ahab did. You do not seek, but you shun the light of His Word and of His Presence, where that word takes you (comp. Heb. 4:12 and 13). But are you more honest than they, on that account? No, you are as dishonest as they, only in a different way. Awake! awake, poor half-hearted one! Flee to Jesus Christ, and Satan will flee from you. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from among the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (lit.; "Shine upon thee.") He says: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Listen to His touching appeal, lest He "set his face against" you, and make you "a sign and a proverb," and cut you off from the midst of His people, that you may know that He is the Lord. (Ezek. 14:8) Throw open your whole heart to Him; make a clean breast of it all, as in the light of His judgment seat, and in the morning light of His forgiving and restoring grace, and returning sense of His favour, Dagon's stump will be cast out, and no part of your heart and body, which is "the temple of God," be dark any longer.

{*"Little children, beware of idols:" the apostle John writes to Christians. He was the Lord's bosom-disciple, and whilst resting upon the bosom of Jesus, no idol could slip in.}

How different the effect of that solemn passage upon a Christian, who has settled peace with God, and walks uprightly before Him, though conscious of his many failures! Instead of dreading the light, he loves it, because he knows God's perfect grace in Christ Jesus; he wishes the light to shine into every corner of his heart, and into every crevice of his soul, and says, though in a far higher, deeper, and fuller sense, with the Psalmist: "Search me, O God, and know my heart, and see if there be any wicked way, (or, as the margin has it; "way of pain" or "grief"*) in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." He says so, not merely because he has been searched by the Lord and His word, and found how vain is the attempt of fleeing from His Presence, or of concealing or covering anything before Him; but knowing that perfect grace which makes the heart true (Heb. 10:22), he seeks, yea, courts the light, instead of fleeing from it.

{*Lit. "way of troubles," i.e. "idols." (See new German translation.)}

But, let not the Christian reader forget, that it is not only now, that we are to be in the light of His Presence, there to judge everything that is not consistent with it, but that we all must (as a future thing) "appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive (mark the words — "may receive") the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." There is the thought of retribution, — I do not say condemnation, or judgment on persons, in the passage. As to the latter, Christ has borne that. But there is retribution, as has been justly pointed out by another, i.e. as to the reward, for those that have done good, and as to loss, for the evil that has been done in the body.

I know we are treading on tender ground, and have therefore to take care, not to go beyond the terra firma of Holy Writ, lest we should get into swamps. Therefore, I would remind my Christian reader, that our so much debated passage, instead of weakening the sense and assurance of the believer's relationship in settled peace through and in Christ, only serves to consolidate that sense of our relationship, and, indeed, can be only valued and fully realised by those who have settled peace. But as the words: "that every one may receive the things done in the body" have been a difficulty to many, and may be so still to some of my readers; it will be well to ascertain, what is the meaning of the Greek words, used in the original. For we must always remember, that the Spirit of God, Who has written the Word of God, whilst condescending to use the language of poor mankind, to convey to us the "wondrous thoughts and counsels of God to us-ward," could never write contrary to the common rules, either of the Hebrew language in the Old, or of the Greek in the New Testament. It would be worse than absurd, to suppose such a thing, else the word of God, as being His oracles, would defeat its own end. Translators will therefore always do well to remember this.

Now the Greek word employed by the Holy Spirit in this passage, and rendered in our common version by "receive," means: to carry off for my own use, something which has become mine, either by promise, present, reward, or under any other lawful title.* This is the original meaning of the word in Greek. Then, in a general sense, it is used for to receive, or to obtain something. Thus, the word evidently conveys to us the idea of one, who receives praise and reward or suffers loss, as the case may be, for the way in which he has accomplished his work.

{*Comp. Schleusner and Rost Dictionaries.}

Although every good thing that a Christian may have done, whilst in his body here below, is only through the gift and grace of God and His Spirit, yet it will, through divine grace, be accounted to him, as if it were all his own work. He will hear the "Well done!" from the blessed lips of his Master. But he will not only receive the mark of approbation from the Lord, but also the corresponding reward, in the place that will be assigned to him in the millennial glory, during the kingdom — not on the earth — but when we shall reign with Christ over the earth. For there are different rewards. Whilst in the gospel of Matthew 25 it is a question of being faithful, during the Master's absence, as to the talents He may have committed to us, without speaking of the degree of faithfulness,* and thus each of the faithful servants receives the same reward, viz., that of being ruler over many things and entering into the joy of his Lord; in Luke (19) each of the ten servants receives the same amount, but not the same reward. The difference there is as to the degree of the faithfulness of each servant; consequently their reward is different, according to the different degree of faithfulness. The one who has gained ten pounds, receives authority over ten cities, and the one who has gained five pounds, over five cities. The reward corresponds exactly with their faithfulness. — So there will be evidently a difference of reward. One star will differ from another star in glory, not as to the degree of glory in our resurrection-bodies, I think, but as to the places that we shall receive during the millennial kingdom, when reigning with Christ over the earth. So that there will be not only the approbation, but also the reward, or else the loss. A solemn thought for you and me, Christian reader!

{*The difference in Matthew is in the number of talents given to each, not in the different degree of their faithfulness.}

In the light of the judgment-seat of Christ, "Who will make manifest the counsels of the hearts," everything inconsistent with that light, that has been permitted in us, whilst in our bodies, will be fully exposed and judged by ourselves, because being then in glory and in glorious bodies like Christ, it is not only the light of His Presence, that will manifest everything, but flesh and self no longer being there to deceive or to blind, we, as having the mind of Christ (which we have now, only impeded, so often, alas! by self and flesh) and in the perfect light of His Presence, and as having bodies like His own glorious body; there will be nothing to hinder the perfect judgment, on our own part, of everything that has prevented the intended fruits of Light, and of His Spirit to appear in us, when in our earthly bodies. His judgment of approval, as to anything good, done in the body, we shall receive under the deep and perfect sense of that divine grace, to which we owe everything that is good in us, as being "saved by grace, through faith, which is the gift of God," and as being "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should wall in them."

And as to the evil, done when in our bodies, we shall judge it ourselves, as God judges it. For there can be no question of personal judgment by Christ, at that time, for the evil done in our bodies. As to condemnation, it is, blessed be God! a thing of the past; for Christ has borne the judgment due to us; and as to judgment in the sense of chastisement, (where this was necessary, because we did not judge ourselves by His Spirit and under His Word) this process of God's love to us, in correction, will then be also a thing of the past; for chastisement has to do with our present state, whilst we are on earth in these frail bodies of ours. So that there cannot be any question of personal judgment of the saints by Christ at that time, because then we shall be with Him in glorious bodies, in which there will be nothing to be judged. Thus no sin can reappear and arise against us there as to judgment, may it be condemnation, or chastisement.

But if so, some reader might say, what does the apostle mean by saying, "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ!" It does not mean that the "judgment-seat of Christ" would or could have anything to say, in the way of judgment, to His saints personally, from the reasons mentioned above. It does not say, "We shall all be judged," but we shall all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ, because the Saints are included.

In order to remove, as much as possible, the last difficulty from the mind of any of our readers, I will give here the word of an eminent servant of Christ, which will serve the purpose better than anything I could say. And, as the subject is of great importance for the spiritual health of every Christian, and many of my readers, perhaps, are not in possession of the important work I am going to quote from, I have, for their benefit, permitted myself to draw rather largely from it.*

{*J. N. Darby's "Synopsis of the Books of the Bible." Vol. 4. — The italics are mine.}

He says; "However great the happiness of being in the perfect light — and this happiness is complete and divine in its character — it is on the side of conscience that the subject is here presented. God maintains His majesty by the judgment which He executes, as it is written; 'The Lord is known by the judgment that He executes.' … And, for my part, I believe, that it is very profitable for the soul, to have the judgment of God present to our minds, and the sense of the unchangeable majesty of God, maintained in the conscience by this means. If we were not under grace, it would be — it ought to be insupportable; but the maintenance of this sentiment does not contradict grace. It is, indeed, only under grace, that it can be maintained in its truth; for who otherwise could bear the thought for an instant, of receiving that which he had done in the body? None but he who is completely blinded. But the authority, the holy authority of God, which asserts itself in judgment, forms a part of our relationship with Him the maintenance of this sentiment, associated with the full enjoyment of grace, forms a part of our holy spiritual affections. It is the fear of the Lord. It is in this sense, that "Happy is he that feareth always." If this weakens the conviction, that the love of God rests fully, eternally upon us, then we get off the only possible ground of any relationship whatever with God, unless perdition could be so called. But, in the sweet and peaceful atmosphere of grace, conscience maintains its rights and its authority against the subtle encroachments of the flesh, through the sense of God's judgment, in virtue of a holiness which cannot be separated from the character of God, without denying that there is a God; for if there is a God, He is holy.

"This sentiment engages the heart of the accepted believer, to endeavour to please the Lord in every way; and in the sense of how solemn a thing it is for a sinner to appear before God, the love that necessarily accompanies it in a believer's heart, urges him to persuade men with a view to their salvation, while maintaining his own conscience in the light. And he who is now walking in the light, will not fear it on the day when it shall appear in its glory. He must be manifested; but walking in the light, in the sense of the fear of God, we are already manifested to God; nothing hinders the sweet and assured flow of His love.

"Accordingly, the walk of such an one justifies itself in the end to the consciences of others; one is manifested as walking in the light. These are, therefore, the two great practical principles of the ministry; to walk in the light, in the sense of God's solemn judgment for every one; and the conscience being thus pure in the light, the sense of the judgment (which, in this case, cannot trouble the soul for itself, or obscure its view of the love of God,) impels the heart to seek in love those who are in danger of this judgment." …

"This work of manifestation is already true, in so far as we have realized the light. Cannot I, being now in peace, look back at what I was before conversion, and at all my failures since my conversion, humbled, but adoring the grace of God in all He has done for me, but without a thought of fear, or imputation of sin? Does not this awaken a very deep sense of all that God is? Such will be the case perfectly, when we are manifested, when we shall know, as we are known." …

"What we find in this passage, is the perfect manifestation of all that a person is and has been, before a throne characterised by judgment, without judgment as to the person in question being guilty. No doubt, when the wicked receives the things done in the body he is condemned. But it is not said ("for we must all be") 'judged,' because then all must be condemned. But this manifestation is exactly what brings all morally before the heart, where it is capable of judging evil for itself. Were it under judgment, it could not.

"Freed from all fear, and in the perfect light, and with the comfort of perfect love, (for where we have the consciousness* of sin, and of its not being imputed, we have the sense, though in an humbling way, of perfect love,) and at the same time the sense of authority and divine government, fully made good in the soul, all is judged by the soul itself, as God judges it, and communion, with Him entered into. This is exceedingly precious. We have to remember, that at our appearance before the judgment-seat of Christ, we are already glorified. Christ has come Himself, in perfect love, to fetch us; and has changed our vile body, according to the resemblance of His glorious body. We are glorified, and like Christ before the judgment takes place. And mark the effect on Paul. Does the thought of being manifested, awaken anxiety or dread? Not the least. He realizes all the solemnity of such a process. He knows the terror of the Lord; has it before his eyes; and what is the consequence? He sets about to persuade others, who are in need of it." …

{*The English translation from the French says, "conscience of sin," I suppose by misprint.}

"But this view of judgment, and our complete manifestation in that day, has a present effect on the saint, according to its own nature. He realises it by faith. He is manifested. It will unfold all God's past ways towards him, when he is in glory, but he is manifested now to God; his conscience exercised in the light. It has thus a present sanctifying power." …

"Thus we have here (2 Cor. 5) set before us: glory, with the personal certainty of enjoying it; and death, become the means of being present with the Lord the tribunal of Christ, and the necessity of being manifested before it; and the love of Christ in His death, all being already dead. How are such diverse principles as these to be reconciled and arranged in the heart? It is that the apostle was manifested before God. Hence the thought of being manifested before the tribunal, produced, along with present sanctification, no other effect on him than that of solemnity, for he was not to come into judgment, but it became an urgent motive for preaching to others, according to the love which Christ had manifested in His death. The idea of the tribunal did not in the least weaken his certainty of glory. His soul, in the full light of God, reflected what was in that light, namely, the glory of Christ, ascended on high as Man. And the love of this same Jesus was strengthened in its activity, by the sense of the tribunal which awaits all men."

"What a marvellous combination of motives we find in this passage, to form a ministry characterised by the development of all that in which God reveals Himself, and by which he acts on the heart and conscience of man! And it is in a pure conscience that these things can have their force together. If the conscience were not pure, the tribunal would obscure the glory, at least as belonging to oneself, and weaken the sense of His love. At any rate one would be occupied with self in connection with these things, and ought to be so. But when pure before God, it only sees a tribunal which exerts no sense of personal uneasiness, and, therefore has all its true moral effect, as an additional motive for seriousness in our own walk, and a solemn energy in the appeal, which the knowledge of Jesus impels it to address to man.

I have nothing to add, trusting, that after the helpful remarks I have just quoted, the last lingering difficulty in the mind of some readers may have been removed.

I have thought it right to dwell at great length upon the subject of "the fear of Christ," for, so far from making us uneasy, the "fear of Christ," in its restraining and subduing power, as well as the "love of Christ," in its constraining power, form both of them, together with the full enjoyment of grace, a part of our holy spiritual affections, as we have been so blessedly reminded; just as the authority, the holy authority of God which asserts itself in judgment, forms a part of our relationship with Him.

And where this "fear of Christ," in His own supreme authority, has its solemnising and soul-subduing effect upon us, dear Christian reader, it will most certainly teach us, to submit ourselves one to another in our family relationships, where, in the places of obedience and love, the "fear of Christ" and the "love of Christ," find the happy and natural scope for their daily healthy exercise, for the glory of our God and Father and of Him Who is our Blessed Head and Master in heaven.

All crowns will be cast at His feet, all His enemies be made His footstool, and at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in heaven and of those on earth, and those under the earth, and every tongue will have to confess "that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Such is God's just decree, at first announced by His Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and that divine decree will be carried out without fail, as to those who have not confessed and bowed to that Name, under grace. There will be a day of homage of the whole universe before Him, whom Satan and men once derided, when He hung, as the forsaken Sufferer, between heaven and earth, when there was no eye to pity Him, and they cried: "Aha, so would we have it." Thus God will have it, and His will must be done. Even so. Amen. Hallelujah!

And we, beloved, whose tongues and knees have learnt, through, and under grace, to confess and to bow to that ever blessed Name, and who confess now that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father, how far do we, practically, own His Lordship in our daily lives, especially in our houses? We bow our knees before Him every morning in our family worship, and own Him Lord, blessed be His grace, that taught us to do so. But does our daily life impress the members of our family or household with the conviction that the "fear of Christ" sways our conduct, and that He is the Lord of our consciences, and the Master of our affections, and that our thoughts are brought "into captivity to the obedience of Christ"?

With what divine fitness and wisdom, then, does the Spirit of God, before entering upon the duties connected with our divers family relationships, set before us, as the only true moving principle for Christian submission, "the fear of Christ!" May it be true, in our family worship (and life), as well as in our public worship!