Going Out and Going In.

(Notes of an address by Wm. Huggings, at Hawick, 1898).

It is well to be reminded of the importance of the Old Testament. There is immense blessing for us in the private reading and study thereof. We go back to the Old Testament to learn details of the divine principles of the New Testament by way of illustration. Referring to the history in Genesis of Abraham, he is more briefly recorded in Hebrews 11:8, as the man who went out; while in Joshua 14:10 on the other hand, Caleb is referred to as the man who went in. May these two examples be taken to heart so that we may be moved thereby to go out and go in relative to the two thoughts presented! Just in the measure that we go out we shall be able to go in. Abraham was responsive to the call of God to go out from his own country to a land he knew nothing about, but he did so relying on God. Lot followed in the steps of Abraham, but he had no faith of his own. We are very liable to imitate a brother or a sister who is a little more advanced in divine things than we are! Whenever we give up anything of the truth we are in the process of going back in the history of the soul. When Abraham's father died, and later when Lot left him, Abraham got rid of two great encumbrances and afterwards he made much greater progress. Lot undoubtedly had a work of God in his soul, nevertheless he was a real hindrance to Abraham. So in the early chapters of his history, Abraham was very slow in progress; but in contrast to his earlier dilatoriness, it is shown in Gen. 22:3, how he acted promptly. He got up early in the morning! The Hebrews' record goes on to say that he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country. Moreover he looked for a city whose builder and maker was God. That was a further view than Canaan presented. If we are to get on spiritually we must go out. In his responsible life in the world every Christian is a stranger and pilgrim, and our being true to that character is according as we are affected by the revelation of God in our souls, and that brings in what is set forth in Caleb. From the day that he saw the character and extent of the pleasant land when he had the privilege of being sent as a spy, he ever had it before him as the Lord's inheritance. He had gone on with vigour unimpaired. He was strong and had confidence in God. He brought a good report when the spy majority reported ill. As a reward, he got Hebron, the place of fellowship. He knew the Lord's mercy and he confessed that it was the Lord who had kept him alive through all the trials of the intervening 45 years. Response in our souls is what God wants; no mere novel thoughts. There is no such thing as standing still. Let me encourage young Christians to go on with the Lord. It is well to observe that Caleb's action did not spring from mere mental assent. He was not merely a fund of information about God's things. (Knowledge puffs up; love edifies. 1 Cor. 13). We grow in the divine nature, our spiritual stature is increased by the work of the Holy Ghost who is Christ's vicar here. Realising that we shall not be inflated as the Corinthians were. The great point in the Hebrews epistle is the person of the Son of God; but the Apostle was hindered in speaking to them of that glorious Person on account of their state and dull hearing. He devoted over a chapter (5-6) to open their dull ears and hearts. If we had better spiritual hearing we would hear more of Christ. We need not blame the ministry for any backwardness in evidence. We need to be drawn up in our affections. The truth does not put us in bondage under legal enactments. So that we need not be afraid to go in like Caleb and take possession thereof. Make it our own! On the other hand that will entail our going out from the world that cast out Christ by way of the Cross! That world still casts out His name. Our being associated with Him in the outside place will involve our losing our own place, prestige or position in the eyes of the world!