The Gospels

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J. N. Darby.

(Notes and Comments Vol. 4.)

I see not how we can doubt that Holy Scripture containeth the certain revelation of all things necessary to our salvation, because it is by their revelation alone that their necessity is shown. None can be the author of truth but God. There can therefore be no truth but as coming from Him, and all that He says must be true as it is written, 'Every word of God is pure. He is a Shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words lest He reprove thee and thou be found a liar.' The whole authority therefore of any man consists simply in the proof that he speaks the words of God, and it is merely that by Him we believe in God, from whose life we were alienated by the ignorance that was in us through the blindness of our hearts. And therefore of the Son of God Himself, as appearing in the flesh as 'the Apostle of our profession,' it is said, 'He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true, for He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God.' To Him indeed 'the Spirit was not given by measure' 'in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,' who is the Object of faith as well as the Messenger of it - the Fulness of truth in Himself, so as that the Spirit given to us does but take of His, whose is all that the Father hath, and show it to us according to the measure of the gift of God. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!

When a man therefore comes to me proposing anything of faith, I seek the evidence that he speaks to me the words of God, according to revelation from Him, as Paul says: 'What shall I profit you except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine' - diverse methods of communicating the will of God concerning us.

There is one other case we may suppose, where a man, not of God, speaks a truth which comes with conviction to the mind of another, as being a truth of God. But this supposes that other to be enlightened by God already, either as to the truth - as Caiaphas's assertion of the necessity and fitness of our Lord's death, as stated and adopted by John - or where a person, enlightened by conviction as to his own state, receives by providential means, not ordinary but such as have, when enquired into, a warrant for his faith in the truth, a statement of the grace of God applicable to his case. This is by the overruling mercy of Providence. Accordingly the Scripture, being complete (of which I shall mention evidence just now, not for proof's sake, for 'he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself,' but for instruction to myself, and those to whom it may come) miracles are not to be looked for - they are the authentication of a testimony given by or committed to a person who bears not, in appearance to others, or has not in fact (which must always be the case where it is a revelation in the way of truth to be revealed, and not of the Supreme Glory itself which needs, and can have, no testimony afforded it) the authority to speak in his own name. So He has desired us, in what He has revealed, to try any proposal, of which signs are given as the confirmation, by the truth of His glory, which, in His excellent mercy, He has made known to us. The Lord Himself hath given us a sign - a virgin hath conceived, and borne a Son - God Himself hath been manifested in the flesh in the Person of Immanuel. He hath created a new thing in the earth. Nay! By the energy of His divine Spirit He doth still, by creation, adopt into the number of His sons those that are made new creatures in Christ Jesus, and who have therefore the witness in themselves - the Spirit also itself helping their infirmities, while it witnesseth with their spirit while, in the earthly house of this tabernacle, they groan being burthened, waiting for that building of God which is eternal in the heavens, not made with hands.

235 In writing this there was a tendency of my mind to feel as a giver and not as a receiver, which is practically atheism. Yet, if it may assist myself or others as being true, I leave it. All we have we have received to the glory of God the Father, by His Son Jesus Christ, through the intervention of the Holy Ghost. If I use it not accordingly to all this, I sin against the divine glory, and this even, in humblest acknowledgment of our responsibility of seeking by the means with every diligence and the freedom of the divine gift, in comparing the testimony of our Lord with other divine testimony, we must, while it remains true, ever bear in mind this difference, that while of old, so also after the outpouring of the Spirit, as it was, so it is, 'I have believed, and therefore I speak, we also believe and therefore speak.' Our Lord spake that He knew, and testified that He had seen, and as believers, in their testimony as in their person, manifest that which by the Spirit they have derived from His fulness - He, on the other hand, in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead, bodily in testimony and person, appeared as the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, speaking the Father's words, doing the Father's works, and manifesting and revealing Him in His Person.

236 Note in the consideration or execution of the most terrible judgments, and to our mind on the largest scale, the Lord never fails to see the smallest proof and fruit of grace. In the midst of the change of the whole scene, and the establishment of the heavenly place and glory of the Son of Man, and the judgment of all that was Jewish, He takes notice, in grace, of the two mites of the poor widow's simple-hearted and devoted offering to her God. It is a blessed consideration!