From the time that God delivered and brought forth the people of Israel out of Egypt He told them that it was His purpose to have them for Himself, and to keep them separate from all the nations around. Moses fully understood this, as we may see from the following verses: "If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? Is it not in that Thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth" (Ex. 33:15-16). "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth" (Deut. 7:6).

After Joshua had brought the people into the promised land, and the greater part of the inhabitants had been destroyed, an exact description of the land was brought to him, and he divided it by lot among the tribes. Now the express command of God had been that every living soul of the old inhabitants was to be destroyed, but instead of obeying, they put them to tribute, and allowed them to live. As soon as Joshua was dead, the people turned to the idolatry of these old inhabitants, and forsook Jehovah. He sent them many warnings; there were temporary revivals, but failure is the prevailing note of the book of Judges. Then the people asked for a king, that they might be like the surrounding nations; Samuel was deeply distressed, but God said to him: "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me that I should not reign over them." Yet God, in His boundless grace, did not cast them off, but after the death of the man of their choice, gave them another, David, a man after His own heart. Solomon, his son, who succeeded him, presents us with a pitiable spectacle of what man is. He who had built Jehovah an house, and had received such wonderful promises, deliberately disobeyed many commandments of the Lord. His life is a picture of man in his highest glory, but with no thought of separation to God. Under his son the kingdom is divided, only two tribes cleave to the Lord, the remaining ones turning definitely to idolatry, from which there was no recovery. In the long list of kings of Judah we find some seeking to follow the Lord, while others do worse than the heathen. One of them, Jehoshaphat, a good king, is said to have walked in the ways of David, and to have prepared his heart to seek God, yet failed grievously because he desired to be on intimate terms with Ahab, one of the most wicked kings of Israel. We are told that he joined affinity with Ahab, even declaring that "I am as thou art, and my people as thy people." God in mercy preserved him in battle, but on his return home sent him a prophet with these solemn words of rebuke: "Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate God?"

"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor. 10:11). The church of God stands alone in God's sight, for the Holy Spirit speaks of the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32). In that wonderful chapter, John 17 we listen to our Blessed Lord speaking to the Father about His beloved disciples, and His desire over and over again expressed is "That they may be one." But alas, even in the days of the apostle Paul, we find that divisions had started up among the saints. During the first three centuries persecutions kept Christians well apart from the world; but in the beginning of the fourth century persecution ceased, Church and State amalgamated, and we might say that Christendom was born. The offence of the cross ceased, and Satan's imitation of Christianity took its place. But all through the following dark Ages little groups of saints are seen, hated and persecuted by the so-called Christians, but gladly sharing the reproach of Christ even unto death. But what about our own day, when the coming of Christ is so near? Sad to say the chief characteristic is indifference. Saints and worldly Christians, and even godless people go hand in hand. But the real question seems to me to be this, At what price do we value heart communion with the blessed Lord Jesus? Is His love a real thing in our lives? We cannot experience the joy of His love, and at the same time enjoy the friendship of worldly Christians, or as is frequently seen, the friendship of utterly godless people. Does not the message of Jehoshaphat speak to our hearts? But what does our blessed God offer us in the place of the friendship and fellowship of the world? The answer to this question is found in the wonderful revelation given us in John 14:23. "If a man love me, he will keep My words, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him." What a deep reality these words express! Is it the great object of our hearts to live in the constant realisation of such heavenly joy? — But it cannot be had for the wishing; the price for it has to be paid. What is the Apostle Paul's estimate? Listen. "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ." "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The only way down here of showing real love to our blessed Lord is by wholehearted obedience; and the effect will be as described in 2 Cor. 3:18. — "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ both rouse and bless each saint who reads these words.
G. F. Barlee.

Entering into God's Love.

It is the delight and, if we may say so, the desire of God, that those who are His should enter into the greatness of His love. For no glory, nor sense of it, nor confidence in it, nor waiting for it, ought to be enough even for such hearts as ours. It is a wonderful thing to think that we are to share the glory of Christ: but more so that we have the same love. The same God Who gives us the glory of Christ, will have our souls enter even now by the Holy, Ghost into the community of the same love; and such is the grand central thought of this prayer: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
W. Kelly.