"The Spirit of God," and "The Baptism of the Holy Ghost."

1877 278 In order to understand these subjects of divine revelation, and yet to distinguish them in dispensational action, it is necessary to learn from the word of God the present standing and relations of a believer in Christ to the Father and to the Son, as compared with the previous calling of Israel into a place of blessing on the earth. It will be seen that" the Spirit of God" is connected with each, as likewise with the nation and the church, but in different ways; whilst "the baptism of the Holy Ghost" (at Pentecost) brings out from the world into a present portion with Christ glorified in heaven. Indeed it is this, and the blessings which flow from union with Christ, our new Head of life, founded on eternal redemption through His blood, and opened out by His resurrection and departure to the right hand of God in power and glory, which characterise Christianity and Christians, and distinguish them from the economy of Moses, and the position of Israel in the Old Testament, as a "people under law and in the flesh."

In bringing these observations to bear on the subjects proposed, I would say, in the first place, that "the Spirit of God" could not bear witness to Judaism as an economy, or to its ritualistic and sacerdotal observances, except to say, that "the law made nothing perfect," and to add further, "that the way into the holiest was not made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standing."

"The Spirit of God" declined to witness to man under the law, and to its ordinances, by Moses and Aaron, for the simple reason, that "in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin God had no pleasure," inasmuch as there was a remembrance of sins. "The Spirit of God, which moved upon the face of the waters" in the chaos of creation, could and did act likewise upon the creature — man — at every time, and under any circumstances, in this ruined world. Judaism, though an institution from God, started with nothing perfect; it did not possess in itself a perfect sacrifice, or a perfect priest, or a worshipper made perfect; and therefore the Holy Ghost waited on the person of the Son of God, and tarried in His testimony for the coming in of Jesus as the Saviour, "the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." This refusal on the part of the Spirit to witness to the polity of Moses "and the worldly sanctuary" is stated in Hebrews ix. 8, and that He waited for the "time of reformation." His readiness to bear testimony "to the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot unto God," is unhesitatingly declared, as well as to the purged worshipper, and to the new and living way which was opened into the holiest "through the rent veil." This is the basis of our communion.

Hebrews x. 14 affirms this to be the glorious truth of Christianity and of the perfections of Christ, throughout the length and breadth of its revelations, namely, "This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God." For by one offering "he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us."

"The Spirit of God" thus tarried for Christ, and then rested upon Him, when He took His place as "the sent One from the Father," and entered on His ministry and work, for the glorification of God, in the midst of men below.

Indeed one peculiarity of John the Baptist's testimony was this — "upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." We have further before us from this scripture the two great parts of Christ's ministry: one, as "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world;" and the other, "he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." The first was accomplished by His death on the cross below, and the last by His ascension into the heavens as the glorified Son of man. Our redemption by His blood, and our acceptance in the risen Christ, was a pre-requisite to any witness of the Spirit of God to men. He did wait upon Christ, and rest upon Him, as we have seen; but the work of redemption could be the only basis of our intimacy with God, and by which "he could shed his love abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost." It is, then, as believers in Christ "we joy in God," by whom we have received the reconciliation. "The men whom thou gavest me out of the world," as Jesus said to the Father, must first be born again of the Spirit, and become partakers of eternal life and of the divine nature, before the Holy Ghost could bear record to them as new creatures, or come and dwell in them as "the Spirit of adoption, and witness to us that we are the sons of God." The descent of the Holy Ghost is consequent also upon the departure of Christ out of this world, and His exaltation at the right hand of the Father. "If I depart, I will send him." Moreover, the Holy Ghost tarried for the glorification "of the Son of man in heaven," even as He had waited upon Him at His incarnation, and rested upon Him, when on the earth. This is the first and prime object of the Spirit, namely, "He shall glorify me, for he shall take of mine, and show it unto you." United as we are with Christ, by the power of the quickening Spirit, He can then witness in His turn to us, "that as Christ is, so are we in this world," and "make our bodies the temples of the Holy Ghost." "Ye have an unction from the Holy One," etc.

It will be easily perceived that all which has been stated, and which distinguishes us as Christians, flows from the grace of God into which we are called by the Son of His love, and from the perfection of Christ's work on His cross below, as well as from the glory into which He has been raised above.

In this range of blessedness which pertains to the new creation, and of which the Son of man, as second Adam, takes the Headship, our prayers can have no part in the way of means, either as to "sending the Holy Spirit, or receiving His baptism." We are introduced by sovereign grace into this circle by the Father's love, and the prayer of His beloved Son, "Father, I will that those also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." In an earlier chapter of John's Gospel, Jesus had spoken of this further witness and presence of the Holy Ghost in the midst "of his own who were in the world," as the result of His own prayer entirely. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." In John xvi. also, the coming of the Spirit depended upon the Lord's absence from His disciples: "It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send him." Once more, in John xiv., which is very precious, because out of the range or need of our prayers, as touching the Holy Ghost and any of His relations (which prayers some suppose to be necessary to bring Him), Jesus says, "but the Comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name," etc. The presence of the Spirit of God on earth depended thus on the departure of our Lord — upon the Son of man being glorified — and on the double action of the Father and the Son, as further stated in the following verse, "but when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me," etc.

It is evident that our Lord's own prayer to the Father, and not ours in any way, whether past or present, have to do with the descent of the Holy Ghost, or with any of the relations which He undertakes and carries into effect, for the accomplishment of the Father's purpose, and the Son's glory. Indeed this is the only ground taken by the Lord when He actually leaves the disciples in Acts 1, and is carried up in a cloud into heaven; "being assembled together, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which," saith He, "ye have heard of me." "The baptism of the Holy Ghost" was thus a future thing, though proximate, yet not connected with His resurrection from amongst the dead so much as with His departure and place in heaven, as "Head over all things;" therefore He said to them, "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."

This descent of the Spirit of God was in effect the fruit of Christ's own request to the Father, and not an object of prayer on the part of others. It was a promise of the Father's, and further, a promise of the Son, for He adds, "which, saith he, ye have heard of me." Moreover, His prayer, and this promise to send, coupled the fact of their "receiving power" with the descent of the Spirit, "but ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to me, both in Jerusalem . . . . and to the uttermost parts of the earth."

Here it is of all importance to acknowledge a further peculiarity of this dispensation, namely, that another and a new sample of men was left behind at Christ's ascension, and bidden to tarry for "the promise of the Father," and "the baptism of the Holy Ghost." This new company waiting below were connected with Christ, "the first-fruits," who had gone up as the wave-sheaf before God, and as associated with whom James writes, "Of his own will begat he us, with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures."

Before the Lord had ascended, and taken His own place as Head of the new creation, the Holy Ghost could only witness and abide with one person on the earth, and that One "the Word made flesh." The Spirit of God could not witness to the perfection of Israel, even when under Solomon in all his glory, for they were a nation in the flesh, and separated to God by external ordinances, and were a responsible people to Jehovah their King, both by covenant, and as under His government. It may be proper to notice here, that the Holy Spirit could, and did, bear testimony to all that the God of Israel was and did amongst them by His words and ways, and could likewise act on any individual — for Jehovah was sovereign.

The prophet Isaiah records this historically in Isaiah lxiii.: "As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of Jehovah caused him to rest; so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name." So in their journeyings, "the angel of his presence saved them, in his love and in his pity he redeemed them," etc. The presence of the Spirit was likewise amongst them from the onset, for the prophet says, "Then he remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he that put his Holy Spirit within him?" And, lastly, "but they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit; therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them."

Besides this recognition of the Holy Spirit in the general history of Israel, and the ways of God towards them in government, we may as well introduce here the cry of David, "the anointed of the God of Jacob," when he prayed, "Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me." This penitential cry is often quoted to prove a coming and a going away of the Holy Spirit in Christianity as in former days (so little is the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost realised); but the dispensational difference which has been already described is a sufficient answer to any such difficulty. In whatever ways the Holy Spirit was with Moses, as the leader and commander of God's people Israel, and in whatever way the Holy Spirit was with the sweet psalmist as the spirit of prophecy — or with the long line of the prophets in Old Testament history — yet the Holy Ghost, as such, was never a witness to an economy which consisted in types, and shadows, and patterns of the heavenly things to come, and stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

The Holy Ghost waited for the heavenly things themselves ere He could become the indwelling Spirit of a believer in Christ, and the witness to the second Man, as Head over all things, or as the earnest of the inheritance, and as the anointing and seal from God the Father to His many sons. He could not be this till that "which was perfect was come."

We may now return to the Acts, to witness, as a matter of fact, the descent of the Holy Ghost, which "filled all the house" where the men who tarried were sitting. His coming was not what they had to pray for then or now (as some affirm), when all were waiting in confident expectation of the gift. Nay, all depended upon the Father and the Son, as touching "the promise, which ye have heard of me!" Cloven tongues as of fire, which sat upon each of them, were the result of Christ's "prayer" to the Father, and of His own faithful love to those whom He had left behind; and so "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

The baptism of the Holy Ghost, which was promised "not many days hence," was come, and they were under its grace and power. For the first time on earth there were "men in Christ," united to Him who had gone up to heaven by the presence and power of the Holy Ghost who had come down. He further claimed them in Christ's name, and possessed them for Himself as His temple, being one with the glorified Head on high; "and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." What had been promised was thus accomplished, and the Holy Ghost was present on earth as the other Comforter sent by the Father, "to abide with us for ever." He takes His place likewise as the formative power here, in uniting the members of Christ together, "for by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body," whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have "been all made to drink into one Spirit." His power and presence, as we have said, is formative of the present dispensation, and therefore necessary for the carrying out of the Father's counsels as to Christ and the church, "which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." The presence of the Holy Ghost upon earth in divine power is requisite, therefore, for the counsels of God, and for the glory of Christ, in gathering the members of His body into this unity; and in fashioning the bride, as the Lamb's wife, in expectation of the day when the marriage of the Lamb shall have come, and the bride have made herself ready.

The Holy Ghost, and His presence and actings on the earth, as sent by the Father and the Son, "this other Comforter," is, further, a constituent part of our faith, because essential to Christianity itself, which is dispensationally in the power of the Spirit. "The baptism of the Holy Ghost" is thus indispensable to "the church of the living God;" nor could there be "the body of Christ on earth," till His descent at Pentecost had witnessed afresh to the Lord as Head above, and made known to us the presence and power by which "Christ and his members" were to be formed, and united as one body. "So also is Christ." There was no such work or operation as this till the Head was seated in the heavenlies; on the contrary, up to the cross, and the crucifixion of Jesus, there was a doctrine of baptisms and "laying on of hands," with a crowd of ordinances, which only "served for the purifying of the flesh," before that Christ arose, as may be seen abundantly in the Old Testament, and the synoptical gospels.

A baptism by water, in Jordan and elsewhere, was connected with John's ministry, as the forerunner of the Messiah; but this was for repentance and remission of sins, and recognized man as still under the law. The disciples also of Jesus baptized with water; but there could be no "baptism of the Holy Ghost," even in connection with the Lord's ministry, before His death and crucifixion; for there was nothing on earth with which God was "well pleased," or in which He "could rest with pleasure," except the Son of His own love, and He was buried.

Our eternal redemption by the cross of Christ has put us on the other side of the flesh and the world and the devil's power and dominion; and our union with Christ by resurrection has associated us with Him in life, and "as new creatures in the Father's counsels and love," which were pre-determined before the foundation of the world. It is this "mystery, which was hid in God," but is now brought to light, and manifested in the glorified Son of man, that the Holy Ghost witnesses to, and declares to us by the apostles, under the anointing of the Spirit, in the epistles. This opens out the place, as well as the objects and ministry of the Holy Ghost, in this present dispensation, and which required His descent to carry out. He had, moreover, to form upon the earth that glorious church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, which Christ will finally present to Himself when He comes to fetch her.

"The baptism of the Holy Ghost," having relation to the members of Christ, is therefore more corporate than individual, seeing that it is by it we are brought into the unity of this body with all our fellow-members, and in which we are respectively set as" it hath pleased God." His bestowment and presence cannot therefore be the subject or object of our prayer and supplication, seeing that the day of Pentecost is the record of His descent; and not only this, but that those who waited the few days as representative men received this baptism, and "were all filled with the Holy Ghost," and united to Christ as the Head with ourselves. On our part His presence is to be acknowledged as abiding with us for ever, and this forms our new responsibility as "men in Christ;" for example (and individually), "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption;" and again (as in the assembly of God), "Quench not the Spirit," despise not prophesyings.

We have thus looked at the Holy Ghost, not only as a Person revealed to us in Christianity, as one with the Father and the Son, but chiefly as taking His place of co-operation on earth, in this dispensation, and consequent upon the departure of the Son to the Father. He is also the energizing power in quickening, and gathering, and uniting the members of Christ to their Head in heaven, by "the baptism" of the Holy Ghost. This, as we have said, is a more corporate action of the descended Paraclete at Pentecost, than as a proper personal expectation, and not, therefore, to .be understood or restricted to us individually, like the indwelling of the Spirit, or as the Spirit of adoption.

Besides this formative power of the Holy Ghost, between the Head in heaven and the members of Christ on earth, and this baptism, by which the body is gathered out and completed, and the "unity of the Spirit" maintained and kept, there remains yet to be considered what this new order of man is, and what this new company of men are, who come out of "the upper chamber" in Acts i. — for this is individual. Personally they are new creatures, born of God, and one with their departed Lord in the Fathers love and counsels, in the many-mansioned house.

As to their description and nature, they are "men in Christ," and correspondingly "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost," and tongues as of fire sat upon each of them. Thus are they distinguished from all the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, and from mankind at large. Their characteristics are, first, that they are individually united to Christ in life and righteousness, who is gone up; and filled with the Holy Ghost, who has come down. There are thus men upon the earth who are "not of the world, even as Jesus was not of the world" — men who are one with the Second Adam above, and are to represent Christ below as heavenly men, and to "walk as sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation," etc. Moreover, while this was their peculiarity, as gathered out from the children of men, it was also their normal state and description, as seen in "the Holy Ghost's actings" throughout the Acts. Perhaps one of the most convincing and remarkable proofs of this is supplied in chapter vi.: "Wherefore look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom," etc. Another may yet be added: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with 'boldness." Proofs of an opposite kind may also be stated, which sprang from the enmity produced in those who were of the wicked one, against those who were one with their Lord, and the consequent persecution "against the church" which was at Jerusalem, so that the disciples "were all scattered abroad."

"As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women, committed them to prison;" they that were after the flesh persecuted them who were after the Spirit. Another proof of the contrariety which thus originally existed may be gathered from the declension and growing apostasy of these last and closing days, when the difference has been so completely lost that the world cannot find anything like enough to Christ, or sufficiently unlike itself, against which to stir up its enmity, or to call out its persecution. This fact, however, ought only to give more earnest desire "to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called," in the true confession of what has been let go and departed from, through the craft of men, and by the subtle wiles of Satan. Our responsibility is in the acknowledgment of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the distinctive relations in which by grace we have been set, and in the confession that our sufficiency is of God. The rights of Christ, and the privileges of His own, and the mystery of the church, are inalienable and indestructible, and it is only adding to the confusion and declension to say, "who shall ascend into heaven to bring Christ down from above; or who shall descend into the deep, that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead." Nor is it different in principle to pray for the descent of the Spirit, or the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which were promised by the Lord, and sent from the Father and the Son at Pentecost, and which characterize Christianity itself as the only adequate power on earth, whether for the formation of the church of God, the body of Christ, or for making ready the bride of the Lamb.

The recognition of this "baptism of the Holy Ghost" is the church's responsibility, and should, in these days of departure from the truth, be acknowledged and carried out, by a withdrawment from all the sects of Christendom, the existence of which violates this "unity of the Spirit," and by a refusal to co-operate with any, and all, who accept and build upon this general declension which we see around. To make this condition a common ground of alliance in confederated action is the sin of the day, and to use it as a platform for united prayer and supplication to God, as is, alas! so usual amongst the sects, is sad. Thus to turn round what is our shame, and reproach, and default, into an occasion (not of repentance and confession), but of combined effort by prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit, and for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, is a very grave artifice of the enemy.

The one grand distinguishing mark of Christianity was the promise of the Father, which was fulfilled by the descent of the Holy Ghost, as "the other Comforter," and "He was to abide with us for ever." The outward manifestation of His power, in the way of miracles, gift of tongues, raising the dead, and recovering of sight, may have been withdrawn judicially from the church, because the presence of the Holy Ghost has been forgotten, and treated as a thing of the past, and almost out of mind. Even in these last days, just on the eve of the Lord's own coming and the church's rapture, it is made the absorbing object of united supplication by the sects that the Spirit may be poured out, or that the Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Ghost may be received.

The resource of faith now is in true repentance and confession; not in conferences for the descent or baptism of the Holy Ghost, but by "praying in the Holy Ghost, and building ourselves up on our most holy faith, keeping ourselves in the love of God," etc. The remedy is not by unbelief in a new form, and repeated by Christians towards the Holy Ghost, as it once was by Israel in reference to the Lord, saying, "who shall bring him down from above," but what saith it? "The word is nigh thee," etc. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches."

The relief is to be found in the unfailing grace of God to those who still get into the place of His mind through His word, by the teaching and guidance of the Holy Ghost, which remaineth amongst us, "whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him, but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Confession that He has been sinned against, and dishonoured, and grieved, is the right and true exercise of soul before God in days like these. Dependence on the grace of Christ, and the Lord's unchanging love to His own, are the open doors for the reliance of faith, in any departure from Himself above, or in forgetfulness of the Holy Ghost's presence and operations on the earth. But to refuse humiliation and confession (which would be so proper) because of this sin against the Holy Ghost, and to combine in earnest prayer for His bestowment or outpouring, and baptism, is to overlook the church's responsibility, and to take an antagonistic position to the truth of the dispensation. It is virtually to say His descent at Pentecost has been falsified or forfeited, and that it depended not upon the promise of the Father and the Son "to abide with us for ever," but on the faithfulness of the church to Christ.

Any who at this present time have, on the other hand, taken this ground of confession and humiliation on account of the sin of the professing church, and refused to join in united prayer that God would send down the Spirit afresh, have found by faith and obedience the sufficiency of the Lord's love, and the real presence of the Holy Ghost in their midst. Unbelief and Saul's armour have been by them refused, to make room for dependence and the power of the Spirit.

The twos and threes who thus meet together now throughout this kingdom, and in other lands, have found the faithfulness of Christ in their weakness to be more than enough, and there "am I in the midst of them" has been the rallying-point in many a time of trial. "Thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name," has often cast them in the confidence of dependence upon the grace and sympathy "of him that is holy, and him that is true," who has, in faithful love, "set before them an open door, and no man can shut it." Not by might, nor by power, "but by my Spirit," saith the Lord, has been their refuge: and the encouraging words of Paul to Timothy ("Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus," for patience and endurance, on the one hand; or else, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might," for conflict, on the other) have strengthened the feeble knees in prayer, and nerved the outstretched arm in the hour of danger, Instead of entreaty for the Holy Ghost to be sent (a more unhindered power in the Spirit has ever been their request). And they remember the word of the Lord by Haggai to Israel, in their declension and apostasy, "Yet now be strong . . . . for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts." This recovery and power lay in the fact of Jehovah's presence in their midst, as it is in these perilous times too: for the "foundation of the Lord standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his; and let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity."

After the manner also "in which the Holy Spirit was with Moses and the people," when Jehovah brought them up out of Egypt with His glorious arm, as has been previously referred to, so Haggai says in his prophecy, "according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you, fear ye not." The confidence and assurance of the remnant with Zerubbabel rested upon the word, "for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts," having for its counterpart, "so my Spirit remaineth among you," and they proved by faith and obedience their sufficiency to be in the living God, unbelief, especially in an evil day, may easily turn the path of faith and dependence into a provocation, as did Israel in the wilderness, or as does the professing church now.

Forgetfulness or ignorance of "the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost" on earth, or of "the Lord's faithful love to His own" which are in the world "unto the very end," has caused the prayers and supplications of Christians to be neither in the truth nor in the Spirit. Their persistent maintenance of sectarian systems and church establishments, which not only prove, but are themselves, the departure from scripture, as respects the glorified Head of the church in heaven, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost into one body on the earth, has stopped the way for ages to the manifestation of this "unity of the Spirit." This denial of the one body on earth has, on the other hand, thrown open its flood-gates for union with the world, as seen in the multiplied religious and political associations of today, crowned by "an Evangelical Alliance." As the legitimate fruit of this spiritual fornication, the truth of Christianity, and of the rights of the Son of man on high, have been sacrificed to the world's advancement. The formative power of the Holy Ghost for quickening and gathering men out of the world into oneness with the ascended Lord, as Head over all things to the church, has been in this way surrendered to "the prince of the power of the air," for the advancement of man in the flesh where he is, and the development of his faculties, in order to make the wrong world what it seems to be. Besides this downward road of departure from the glory of God by the responsible church on the earth, and from the glory of Christ in His Headship in heaven, through the wiles of the enemy, there still lies, as we have seen, the unbelief of the Lords own people as to the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost with us for ever — not merely to quicken those who are dead in sins, and to dwell in those who are thus born of God, but to "baptize the members of Christ into one body, and to make them drink into one Spirit."

The Holy Ghost, ever true to the glory of the Father and the glory of the Son, has not changed in the work which brought Him down at Pentecost, but is carrying it out; and "my Spirit remaineth among you," together with, "I am in your midst," are the rallying assurances for faith and obedience today. No sect on earth, and the refusal of any, and every one of them, clears the way back "to the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace," and opens the heart to the abiding truth and preciousness of the "baptism of the Holy Ghost." It is not by abandoning to the enemy's craft the great fact of our dispensation, namely, the Spirit's presence in power on the earth, "to gather together in one the children of God," or by having recourse to united prayer, and begging that He may be sent in power to baptize, that any who are in the snare will get out of the spider's web, but by the acknowledgment of the truth, that He abideth faithful to the objects which brought Him here, and thus take their places in the one body.

"Be strong," "fear not," are handed down for faith from generation to generation. Moses rehearsed them to Joshua, with the addition from Jehovah Himself, "As I was with Moses, so will I be with thee." Haggai, in the last days of Israel's past history, reassures the remnant of their sufficiency for an evil day (and in the midst of general departure too) by the abiding faithfulness of God, and the presence of His Spirit. "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire," etc., are the encouraging words to "him that hath an ear" to hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. Let all be careful not to reduce the Holy Ghost's presence in formative power in the church of the living God down to our own individual relations to Christ, and the Spirit's operations in us, wonderful and blessed as these are, lest we should be satisfied merely with what He witnesses of to us, and of which He is the earnest and seal, and so overlook the glory of the Head.

May our hearts, in the sense and enjoyment of all that is individual, be the more free to acknowledge what is collective and corporate, by the Spirit's power, and baptism into one body, for the glory of Christ, the Lord, and for the glory of God the Father, in another relation to Himself personally, as "the members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." That the Lord nourishes and cherishes these members now is a present fact, and proof of what the Holy Ghost has come down to gather together in the unity of the Spirit. He abides with us, in the exercise of this divine power which unites the members thus to Christ, and forms the body on the earth, in hope of the approaching nuptial day.

In conclusion, let our corporate relations to Christ and the body, at this present time, be understood, in the love that nourishes and cherishes each one of His members, and be added to our individual ones, that many who desire to know the truth of the church of God, but are still in the sects around, may take their place outside them all, in the true unity of the Spirit, and by this acknowledgment of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, as members of Christ, and of the same body, refuse to be schismatic, and bad builders.

May many be thus practically led into the realisation of their oneness with Christ and the church, that in the enjoyment of an extended communion and fellowship with all saints, they may "endeavour to keep" it with those who do. Beware of surrendering "the church of the living God," and the truth of "the body and bride of Christ," and the necessary "baptism of the Holy Ghost," as present realities, to the enemy of Christ's glory, and to human tradition. The object of Satan is to keep man where he is, and to make him active, benevolent, and philanthropic, in the darkness of this "present evil age," of which he is the ruler. He seeks to get Christians off the ground of their heavenly calling, that they may religiously become citizens and dwellers upon the earth, and so deny their dignity as God's fellow-workmen in another order of things, for the new creation of God, with the second Adam, our glorified Lord and Head.

Satan encourages any use of Christianity or Christ, yea, and of the Holy Ghost, that can be applied for the improvement of the world, and the advancement of mankind in it, and thus triumphs over those who blindly accept the slavery "of sweeping and garnishing the strong man's house," as false to their confession of Christ, in positive separation of life, and walk on earth; as well as untrue in a daily denial of the world, the flesh, and the devil. J. E. Batten.