The Pathway of Faith.

Heb. 11.

1904 205 The path of faith, from beginning to end, from its earliest manifestation in the soul to its final triumph, is before us in this chapter. It is illustrated by many examples of such as through grace found acceptance with God, and were enabled to honour Him, to maintain in this world the testimony He required of them. In many cases also blessing was thus ministered to man. For that divine principle brings light into the soul (however dense the darkness of the world), and the power of God, whatever may be our own weakness. Indeed the more conscious we are of this, the more simply and readily shall we embrace that which brings about complete moral deliverance from all that which is in the world, and in saints also (sad to say), which is not of God.

"This is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith." Of course every child of God proves this, and is in that sense an overcomer. Receiving God's testimony about His beloved Son, we escape the judgment of the world and are in favour and acceptance before God. "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 5:5)? But something more is required of the saint than this. The Lord in His addresses to the seven assemblies of Asia (Rev. 2, 3) gives His own judgment of their moral condition, their fitness or otherwise to be light-bearers for Him. In each case He defines the evil, and He promises rewards to the overcomer. The question for each child of God today is, Do I care for what the Lord Jesus thinks of me? Do I desire His approval? Is the prize which He holds out worth having? Of course every Christian would answer "yes" to each question; and he would perhaps say, Why do you ask? Because our professions are to be tested by the Lord Himself.

In 1 Tim. 3:15 the church, viewed in accordance with God's counsels, and as the result of divine workmanship, in described as "pillar and ground of the truth." But its failure as a responsible wit ness is before us in 2 Tim. 2:20, 3:1-3. And what is the resource for the "man of God" then? I can no longer find support and encouragement where failure has come in it ceases then to be a prop or a safeguard. Hence I am drawn closer to God in an individual walk with Him and service for Him, with His word for my guide (2 Tim. 3:14-17).

As to Laodicea, no doubt applicable to our own day, although Philadelphia (like the two before it) remains, the Lord is seen outside, yet they have not missed Him. But here in grace He challenges "any one," and whoever responds will enjoy His presence and communion. Things around go from bad to worse; but he who hears and obeys the voice of Christ is an overcomer.

One has felt it necessary to make these few remarks at the commencement because of a too usual readiness to be satisfied with being in our right place ecclesiastically. Is God satisfied? We know that in these last days much has been recovered for the children of God. There has been an open door for communion and service, and much light has been drawn from the word of God. Faithful ministry of the word, and not a few faithful men were raised up and long continued in the field of testimony and conflict. What has been the result? Can you, dear child of God, be satisfied? Has not spiritual pride (for knowledge puffeth up), and self-satisfaction blinded many eyes to the need of all that Christ is in Himself and would impart to us (Rev. 3:17, 18)?

Coming back to our chapter, we find the names of two men and only two approved of God in the old world. No doubt there were others, but these alone are presented as examples of that faith which satisfies God, because it is His gift; for Noah rather connects the old with the new world. Abel was one born in sins and shapen in iniquity, who coming to God by the sacrifice (as every sinner does now who obeys the gospel) obtains the witness of God that he was righteous. Under the sentence of death, he bows to it, and brings a gift of which God testifies. The divine testimony is ever to His beloved Son.

Enoch, in the power of life's victory over death in a judged world, walks with God three hundred years, and escapes entirely that which is the common lot of mankind. But before his translation (and notice this, dear reader), before he quits this world, he had the testimony that he pleased God,

There is really no one else to study; although surely His children will be our care, but God Himself in Christ is our object. "Study to show thyself approved unto God." This personal witness of God to our hearts we need now and here day by day, before the Lord comes for whom we wait. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him."

The character of Enoch's life and testimony should be before the heart of every believer in Christ today. It is not only to walk with God, inestimable privilege indeed as this is, but to have fellowship with the Father and the Son. For we are permitted to share in the divine affections, as being personally and intimately interested in them. Not even Enoch could have entered into this wondrous fellowship; for the Father had not then been revealed in and by the Son, nor glorified by Him here below in His life and death.

Nevertheless by faith he had the mind of God, and was taught that the Lord would come amidst His holy myriads in judgment of all the ungodly. Such a revelation was essential to him for the enjoyment of God's presence in those days of quite unparalleled iniquity. It imparted dignity, strength, and peace to his spirit.

The fuller revelation to us should the more separate us from subtler evil, whether in the world or the church, while making us faithful witnesses of the grace that is in our Lord Jesus Christ, and not only for the saint in his place but for the vilest — for all that come unto God by Him. The witness of the love of Christ must be in our hearts, with a consciousness of having His approbation, in order that we may declare to others the gospel of His abounding grace toward a ruined world.