"Father, glorify thy son, that thy son also may glorify thee."

John 17:1.

A sequel to "God, and the Witnesses Chosen of Him," which appeared in the April number.

There are two great subjects in the gospel of John, distinct, if not separate, and yet blessedly connected in the unity of Godhead counsel, and in the oneness of divine operation. The first is the mission of the Son as "the Word made flesh," come down into the world as "the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father," to declare Him, and make Him known. In this perfect manifestation of the Father, veiled in the mystery of the incarnation, the Son could not be hid to the anointed eyes around Him. "And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." And again, as to communicated blessing, "Of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace."

Beyond this personal glory He was the pre-appointed "Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world;" and, moreover, marked out by the abiding Spirit as "He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," and sealed by the testimony of John the Baptist - "I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God." To this must be added the confession of Nathanael, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel;" which became the occasion to Jesus for saying, "Henceforth ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." This precious chapter has thus given in outline the circle of the divine and human glories of "the Word made flesh," who was with God, and was God.

The second great subject in this gospel of John is the mission of the Holy Ghost - when the hour was come that Jesus should depart out of this world unto the Father. As He had said, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter" (or Paraclete) "will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." In fact, Christianity embraces these two divine missions of the Son of God, and of the Holy Ghost, and a new economy is formed on these wonderful changes of place; viz., the departure from this world to the Father by the Son, and from the heavens to this earth by the Holy Ghost, to abide with us for ever.

Besides this, the mighty power of God was waiting to display itself anew, in "raising up Christ from the dead," and setting Him far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come, as the centre of another system.

The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, has thus laid new foundations by redemption, and fastened the corner-stones in resurrection for another creation, "according to the good pleasure of His will, which He had purposed in Himself, to the praise of His glory." By this exaltation of the Son to His right hand in the heavens, He has "put all things under His feet" as the Son of man; and by ascension given Him to be "the head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all."

Moreover, God has made known to us the mystery of His will, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.

The righteous centre of this new system of eternal glory is the second man, God's beloved Son, in whom we are accepted, and in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace. We are introduced and welcomed into this divine circle of blessing as the faithful in Christ Jesus, and are established in love, so that the Spirit's benediction flows from above according to this new order: "Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." This is our unalterable portion, and these are our unchanging relations by grace and glory, as new creatures, till we are caught up to meet the Lord. The good pleasure of God purposed in Himself, the counsel of His own will, the wisdom and prudence in which He has abounded toward us, have all found their centre in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, "that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." The exceeding might of God's sovereign power has made these purposes and counsels matters of fact to us, by the incarnation, the death, and the resurrection of the exalted and glorified Son of man; and in the conscious enjoyment of our adoption as children by Jesus Christ to Himself, we worship and say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Purposed and planned in Godhead counsel before ever the world was, this great mystery, hidden in God, tarried "till the fulness of the time was come for God to send forth His Son." Waited yet further, till "the Man in glory" had, in righteous title, been exalted into those headships, and installed by the Father of glory as the new centre and beginning of the creation of God.

The mission of the Holy Ghost could not be till the Son of man was glorified, and it is in anticipation of His session at the right hand of the Majesty on high that Jesus said to His disciples, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, 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." The invisible presence of the Holy Ghost on the earth in contrast with a visible Jesus, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, is characteristic of this epoch of Christ's rejection by the world, and of His departure from us to be with the Father. Beyond the fact of the Spirit's presence and dwelling with us, we learn that the Paraclete, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, "shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

Again, Jesus said, "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: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning." Such are some of the objects of this glorious mission of the Paraclete, sent down by the Father and the Son; but besides these ministries and their ministrations to "His own which are in the world" till Jesus comes to receive us to Himself, there are yet others. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth … if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."

The great fact of His presence is proof of the Lord's rejection by the world, and of their sin in crucifying Him "because they believed not on Me." The righteous One is gone to be with the Father in righteousness, and "ye see Me no more," and hence the crisis which hangs over this world - "for judgment" from the Judge of the whole earth. For if sin and blood-guiltiness be below, where Jesus was slain, and God has exalted Him to His right hand in righteousness, what an issue remains to be settled! This will be the next great public action of God, and how can this be manifested but by judgment upon Satan, because "the prince of this world"? The usurper, the liar, the murderer from the beginning, is judged. As Convicter of the world, the Holy Ghost is come down from God, on behalf of the rejected Christ, as evidence against it, and by the testimony of His actings: at and after Pentecost by Peter and John, the sin of blood-guiltiness was brought home to them, and of righteousness and of judgment too. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

Stephen, a man "full of the Holy Ghost," yet more completely convicted the men of Israel of sin and righteousness and judgment to come, and they were cut to the heart when he wrote the sentence of death on them - "As your fathers did, so do ye." They gnashed upon him with their teeth, as the betrayers and murderers of Christ, and filled up the measure of Israel's iniquity. "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God," and sealed this testimony with the first martyr's blood.

Thus the Holy Ghost, by Peter and John, convicted the nation by evidence from below, where they still were; whilst Stephen convicted and wrote the sentence of guilt and condemnation upon them from the opened heavens, and by the Son of man in the glory of God above.

Moreover, Satan, the prince of this world, was judged (before the time) in the person of Ananias and Sapphira, whom he tempted to lie unto the Holy Ghost, and for which they were carried out dead. Their condemnation and punishment were his, though delayed till the day appointed, when the angel from heaven, and the key of the bottomless pit, and the great chain shall do their preparatory work, and he be finally cast into the lake of fire.

But the Holy Ghost, as Convicter of the world, has a larger and more dispensational character than to the men of Israel; for even to this day, "if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

But we pass on, and follow the Holy Ghost, in His blessed mission, and ministry, and ministrations, as the Paraclete and Instructor of the saints of God, the children of the Father, and the faithful in Christ Jesus. "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shew it unto you." This great mission of the Holy Ghost, as "the glorifier of the Son," could not take its place, as we have seen, until that greater mission of the Son, as "the glorifier of the Father," had reached its consummation in His perfect obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, followed by His exaltation at the right hand of God.

The devil had done his worst, as the liar and murderer, against God in creation, when Adam fell a prey to his temptations; but man was to become Satan's agent in a far worse outrage than that, now that the Son of God had come down from heaven as the Saviour of the world; for Jesus had showed unto His disciples that He must suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Moreover, Jesus had said, "One of you shall betray Me," and marked out the traitor by giving the sop, when He had dipped it, to Judas. He then, having received the sop, "went immediately out, and it was night." But the darkest hour on earth, and the blackest in the history of man towards God, only led the thoughts of Jesus beyond the treachery of Judas (into whom Satan had entered), that He might interpret the betrayal according to the predeterminate counsel of God. Therefore, when he was gone out, "Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him."

In such a world as this is, a world which lieth in the wicked one, all has to be reversed, and sin must be overcome by death; and death, the death of Christ, become the basis, and His resurrection the glorious power, in the hand of God, out of which "all things are made new." The last Adam must needs put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and make good that word of prophecy, "O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction," before He could quit the lower parts of the earth, and ascend up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. He had overcome the world before He lifted up His eyes to heaven, saying, "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee," founded upon this precious fact, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gayest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with thine own self with the glory which 1 had with thee before the world was." The empty sepulchre below was the witness of His triumph over sin by death, and finally over death by resurrection, having obtained eternal redemption for us through His blood. The first day of the week, and the two angels in white, are a further seal from God of His own glory, and that "old things were passed away" with Adam the sinner in the crucified Christ, and that all things were become new, in life and righteousness, in a risen Lord.

Before leaving this earth for the right hand of God, He formed other and new associations, between Himself as the second man in resurrection life, and those whom He had made "His own," by redemption through His precious blood. A new beginning and another history was thus commenced upon this earth, between Jesus risen and the company of His disciples, amongst whom He again takes His place, but on the footing of His glorious victory and accomplished redemption before God, by His substitution and death. Nor is this all, important and blessed as it is to acknowledge Christ as our "wave-sheaf," and that all things are "of God," who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ; but other relations are to be made known (for the heavenly) with the Father above, as well as (for the earthly) with the Jehovah-Jesus below hereafter. He "saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni … Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her."

There is little more for Jesus to do below in the world that He made, now that He has taken His new place and title upon the earth, by right of its redemption, and, in the power of His resurrection, standing upon it and taking possession as "the Lord." As such He gave forth His commandments, by the Holy Ghost, unto the apostles whom He had chosen, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things "pertaining to the kingdom of God." All is over for which He came down into this ruined and groaning creation as its Redeemer, and He has won every promised blessing back for Himself and for God, as the obedient servant and Son, which had been lost by the fall of Adam, and forfeited by the children of men. Having now made all earthly blessing secure, even to the "sure mercies of David," He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of the sight of those who looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up to the right hand of God.

Promises and covenants, patterns and types, prophecies and songs, had marked the golden pathway of "Elohim Jehovah" in this fallen creation. As the Almighty, He walked with Abraham His friend, and the patriarchs; and again, as the "I am," with the nation and its mediator and high priest and the royal line of their kings. All and every one of these are now embodied in Christ, and made "for Him Yea, and in Him Amen," for their full millennial glory. These are the things which are yet to have their accomplishment in time, and under the sun, for Israel and all the inhabitants of the world; and wait their manifestation when Christ comes a second time to take to Himself His great power, and reign over all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, and to fill the whole earth with the glory of God.

Ascension to the right hand of the majesty in the heavens has carried our Lord another way for as who are united to a rejected Christ above, where higher glories awaited Him, connected with, and necessary to, the hidden purposes and counsels of God from everlasting, and before ever the world was; and to these we again turn, as introduced in an earlier part of these meditations. The Holy Ghost is the testifier of the exalted Son of man, in whom every thought and purpose of the Father has found its suited centre, and will as surely reach its vast and boundless accomplishment. In truth, a revelation of who and what God is has come out from God, as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been declared worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing, and is gone into heaven, angels and principalities and powers being made subject unto Him. This revelation of the Father and the Son is the grand subject of the Holy Ghost's testimony, embracing as it does "the mystery of God's will, which He hath purposed in Himself,” and "the mystery of Christ," according to this revelation of "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all."

The opening out of these mysteries in the Father and the Son, and by the mission of the Holy Ghost, had another object; viz., "to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence, by the faith of Him," and hence the prayer of Eph. 3:14.

The time was come for these mysteries, which had been hid in God, to be revealed as centred in Christ, because He had been exalted into the seat of glory, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence; and further, to make all men see "what is the dispensation of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things." All this and more was embraced in the mission of the Holy Ghost; for, as the Spirit of truth, Jesus said, "He shall guide you into al/ truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come." None but He could be the competent witness of the glory into which Christ had entered; but He came forth therefrom as God's witness, and the evidence to us from above. "He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you," were the words of our Lord, adding this, "All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, he shall take of mine, and shew it unto you." What a portion is ours, through the grace of Christ, and by the Father's love!

The Holy Ghost is not only the Paraclete to the saints (as He was the convicter to the world) by His presence here upon the earth, but manifested as such by His actings through the apostles, in their various epistles of comfort and encouragement to the Church of the living God. For example, "Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus." Nor can we omit to notice again in proof the value and character of the salutation from this boundless love of God, "Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ," as our blessed and unchanging position.

Of all the epistles by the apostles, perhaps that to the Ephesians is where the Holy Ghost is most seen glorifying Christ as Christ, and Christ as the head of his body, the Church, and according to the mystery, for "to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making; peace," and "that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross." For now in Christ Jesus, the Son of God passed through the heavens, "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." By this mission of the Holy Ghost, and from the Son of man in glory, we learn how this unity, and other glories connected therewith, were effected in chaps. 3, by God taking out, from the two antagonistic races of Jews and Gentiles below, an elect company as believers in Christ where Christ now is (of whom He says), "that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ." And then as to the elect Gentiles, "in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." The differences, and distance, and the enmity which existed under the sun between Jews and Gentiles is gone; for Christ has abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances. "For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;" "so that now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off" (Gentiles in the flesh), "are made nigh by the blood of Christ." He came and preached peace to you which were far off and to them that were nigh (Jews); for through Him "we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."

It will be observed by the scriptures quoted, that this union between these two elect companies, out of Jews and Gentiles, and their oneness in Christ, "was made by the gift and sealing of that holy Spirit of promise, which was also the earnest of the inheritance," collectively as the heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; and corporately, with Christ, as head over all things, to the Church, which is His body. This sealing of the Spirit, and this earnest of the Spirit may be individual to faith and in a saint's experience likewise; but we are occupied in this scripture with the mystery of "the two made one" in the mighty power of God, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and which displays itself to usward who believe. These new formations for the glory of the Father, and the glory of the Son, and for the glory of the Holy Ghost, are those into which we are brought, and into this unity likewise, as created anew in and through Christ Jesus. Historically, and as regards the formation of the Church, by the presence and actings of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and as respects the ways and means appointed by God, the apostles preached to the house of Israel at Jerusalem: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation."

Thus began the heavenly testimony, and thus was manifested the elect company out of Israel, who should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. When the time was come for God to take out from the Gentiles a people for Himself, and He would send Peter to Caesarea, to open "the door of faith" to Cornelius and his house, we all know how he insisted upon the existence of the middle wall of partition, and the enmity in the flesh, as an insuperable objection (saying, "Not so, Lord ") till the opened heaven and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet, and the voice that said, "Rise, Peter, kill and eat," silenced him. Yea, "the Spirit," true to His mission of glorifying Christ, and taking of His things, and showing them unto us, said likewise to Peter, "Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them." It was eight years after the elect, out of the untoward generation, had received the gift of the Holy Ghost at Jerusalem, that Peter was sent to the uncircumcision at Caesarea, and as he delivered his message to Cornelius, the centurion, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the Word, in this way plainly marking out the "first trusters in Christ;" and as plainly who those were on whom, "after they had heard the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation," the Holy Ghost fell. "In whom also, after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is also the earnest of our inheritance, till the redemption," etc. Two elect companies, out of these two antagonistic races of Jews and Gentiles, were thus made manifest; and the sheet from God out of heaven, and the Spirit's directions on earth, were Peter's warrant for accompanying the three men from Joppa. But the instruction by the sheet, or by the Spirit, at that time to Peter did not reveal the further mystery of how these two companies could be made one "by Christ making in himself of twain, one new man." Such an irregular action by Peter, astonished the circumcision which believed, and when the apostles and brethren which were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God they contended with Peter, and compelled him to fall back for his authority on the sovereignty of God and "the mystery of His will" for what had been done. "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us" (the pre-trusters in Christ) "at the beginning. … Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; who was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard this, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God granted to the Gentiles repentance unto life."

By the sheet from heaven and the leading of the Spirit, Peter was put in precedence of James and the other apostles and brethren, who clung to Jerusalem as God's centre of blessing, and to Israel as His elect people; but Peter, to whom had been given previously by Jesus the keys of the kingdom of heaven, had opened the door to the Gentiles, and "loosed them" from their disqualifications upon the earth by faith.

Remarkable as Peter's mission and ministry were, yet was he to be exceeded by Paul, to whom was revealed the secret by which these two elect companies could be made one in a risen and glorified Christ, no longer known as after the flesh, as we have already noticed in Eph. 1, 2. How very blessed it is to see all these antagonisms and enmities slain by the cross, and this middle wall of partition broken down, and the law of commandments contained in ordinances abolished, in order that in the dispensation of the fulness of times God might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him. Oneness, and union, and unity; in life, and righteousness, and eternal glory, in the Son of God's love, were comprehended in "the good pleasure of His will, which God had purposed in Himself; from before the foundation of the world." We may remind each other in passing, that even all His paths drop fatness; and thus in His ways and acts among the children of men, He made at the beginning "a planted garden in Eden, with its great mystery of Christ and the Church," before sin, and death, and Satan had found an entrance, or brought about that fall of falls, the fall of Adam. Again, oneness and union, though not unity, were set forth in the worship of Israel, whether in the tabernacle or the temple, and especially by "the golden table with its twelve loaves of showbread," and by their blessing, which was summed up in the great high priest, with his garments of glory and beauty, and that divine but mysterious Urim and Thummim, where lay the connecting-link with the light and glory of Jehovah, in the holiest of all.

On the other hand, what can a ruined world, and a groaning creation, and the fall of man show us, with the usurper, the god of this world as its governing power, busied with the hearts and minds of the generations of mankind that pass in and out of it, by life and death - what can all this show us and perpetuate? What but the violation of oneness, and union, and unity, in life, and righteousness, and glory too; so that the deluge could not cleanse or clear the world that was from its corruption, and the world that is must finally be burned up, and no place found for it any more. What could the living God do for His glory but what He has done and is doing, in order to bring out of confusion and violence into oneness and union, and out of confederations and hatred into unity and love? This revelation of Himself, and the counsels and purposes which were hidden in God, are the great answer, and are the grand subject of the Holy Ghost's mission; and in testimony moreover to a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, in which God will surround Himself with all that corresponds with what He is through the ages of ages.

The indissoluble oneness, and union, and unity of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and of that mystery of mysteries, the Godhead and manhood united for ever in Christ, pervade this glorious and eternal future; and this very Christ is ours by grace, and we are one with Him. By calling and adoption we have now a oneness and unity in heavenly places in Christ, that flows from Christ, as the appointed centre, and formed by the Holy Ghost, as children of the Father, "of whom every family in the heavens and on earth is named." (Eph. 3) Besides this, there will be another oneness and union in earthly places, that flows from Christ, as the Messiah of Israel, when His redeemed people shall be willing in the day of His power. As the King of kings and Lord of lords, He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet; and when all things shall he subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, "that God may be all in all."

Actually, and in this present time, there is a oneness, and union, and unity in the heavenly places that is formed with Christ, who has made both one; and He sits there as head of His body, the Church, by the wisdom and greatness of God's power, and which is to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. By counsel and power God has quickened us together with Christ (as the two elect companies of Jews and Gentiles), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. This oneness, and union, and unity which exist in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and which was revealed to us first in the mission of the Son, by the mystery of the Word made flesh (so that as Jesus said to Philip, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father … and believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? "), has been opened out afresh in the person of the Son, exalted at the right hand of God in glory. Moreover, and according to these new formations, we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.

By this hidden wisdom, and through the might of His power, God has raised up His Son Jesus, as the beginning of the creation of God, to make in Himself of twain one new man, and seated Him where man never was before, "a glorious Christ," "in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek," etc. This unity being formed and established in Christ, as God's eternal centre and object, all things are being brought into their new relations around Him, and according to these divine rules and patterns for "the temple of the Lord" and "the habitation of God." Sealed with that holy Spirit of promise in this unity with Christ, as the earnest too of our inheritance with Him in the purchased possession, and having access by one Spirit unto the Father, it follows that the new charter of our calling and portion in the house and habitation of God will be opened out to us. "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;" for the new rule and order of oneness is after the pattern of another genealogy than by flesh and blood; viz., "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." We may add in passing that the teaching of the Spirit, in the epistle to the Galatians, was to insist upon this heavenly "rule" with the family of God as "the household of faith," and classing them as "the Israel of God," We all know how these elders, and patriarchs, and prophets (of whom, the Holy Ghost tells us, the world was not worthy) get their bright records in another epistle (Heb. 11), and take rank under "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom every family is named," as in God's household of faith, and our "cloud of witnesses." We may add, moreover, respecting whom "as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever." Being Christ's, we (who were Gentiles) are "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to promise," and are distinguished in our turn among this family, to which else we never could have gained a title. But now who can challenge our birthrights, "if ye be Christ's"? for we take them from Him.

We have thus this oneness with the saints and this union with "the household of God," and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone, as in Eph. 2, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto "an holy temple in the Lord;" "in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Thus we, Gentiles in the flesh, are bidden to remember that in time past "we were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus … are made nigh by the blood of Christ;" for He is our peace who hath made both one. And having made in Himself of twain one new man, it is in this oneness, and union, and unity with Christ that we are now fellow-citizens with the saints. The middle wall of partition, and ordinances, and commandments were all condemned by God, and reckoned as out of date by Peter when he understood the lesson of the sheet let down from heaven, and the voice which said, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." God has still His household of faith, and we are fellows with the saints; for that we and they are Christ's, and hold our title to the promises, because grace has widened its circle of blessing "to those who are of the faith of Abraham," who is the father of us all, and we are made at home in their company.

This oneness with "every family" and with the household of God, and this union in the temple of the Lord, and this unity in the habitation of God through the Spirit, are the formations which He who built all things has come forth to create and maintain. "As God and Father of all," whether in the families around Him, or in His house; as the Lord in His temple; and as dwelling in His habitation, by the Spirit, at this present time in the earthly places - how truly could Jesus say, in anticipation of this divine building and this master work, "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth … and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I," etc.

Wicked spirits in heavenly places, with their leader, that old serpent, the devil, have found a fresh occasion for their enmity against God and His anointed One by the revelation of these mysteries of His will and these creations in Christ Jesus; and the saints have found out, in seeking to walk worthy of their vocation, that they wrestle not against flesh and blood, while endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, but "against wicked spirits in the heavenlies." The wiles of the devil very soon broke in upon the Pentecostal garden and the plants of the right-hand planting, and a new sin cast its blight upon God's enclosure. A unity was violated by an outrage even against the glorifier of Christ, who was upon the earth, and when in divine operation too. Peter said, "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie unto the Holy Ghost? and hearing these words he fell down, and gave up the ghost." Another unity was violated even by this very Peter, whom Paul withstood to the face: "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, lie separated himself," and did violence to the "sheet from heaven" and to the mystery of Christ, who had made "in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace." There is danger still (if it be not too late to say so) of our limiting "the unity of the Spirit" to something we are endeavouring to keep; and thus reducing oneness, and union, and unity as of God, according to the revelation of His will, which He hath purposed in Himself, down to the littleness of "our" unity in the nineteenth century, of a divided Christendom. The truth of the gospel was also violated, and the unity of "the truth as it is in Jesus" invaded, when certain who believed rose up and said what they did in Acts 15: "Except ye be circumcised, and keep the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved;" and the apostles and elders came together in Jerusalem to consider of this matter. The oneness between Jew and Gentile, and their union in Christ, as well as their unity before God in the Spirit, was largely attacked by Satan in other places, and successfully too; so that Paul demanded of some, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Deceived ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" In the Jerusalem council, Peter had boldly declared that God made choice among those who surrounded him, that the Gentiles by his mouth should hear the Word of the gospel and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto Its, and put no difference between us and them. Or, as Paul said of the Gentiles afterward, "In whom, ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest," etc.

Their oneness with each other in Christ as Jews and Gentiles was denied; and the newly-developed mystery that Christ had made in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace, was violated on every hand; so that no wonder "the prisoner of the Lord" beseeches the Ephesians to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all long-suffering and lowliness and meekness, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." In Christ Jesus, the Head of the new creation, the man in glory, no longer known after the flesh, "the mystic man above," there is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, male nor female, bond nor free. All the contrarieties are abolished which existed under the sun, and a blessed unity is opened out according to the wisdom and power of God upon a new centre and on another basis, where "Christ is all and in all." And this is maintained in the power and unity of the Spirit in all the other circles and relations which are connected with "the good pleasure of His will" in Christ Jesus throughout the everlasting ages.

If we come down into our own ecclesiastical times, and consider the altered forms of our own difficulties in these last and closing days, and the dangers and snares of the devil which surround us in our path of service for God and for Christ, they are most assuredly of a very different character; and it is on this account that so many parts of the epistles, which contain practical directions as to circumcision and the law of Moses, and meats and drinks, and days and weeks, or holy days, new moons, and sabbath days, are misunderstood by many and copied by others. A huge Christendom has come into place, and has been formed upon this hand-writing of ordinances with its eastern and western churches as by law established, which had no existence in Pentecostal time, when Christianity was formed by the ascent of our Lord Jesus Christ to the right hand of God as Head of His body the Church, and by the descent of the Holy Ghost to gather the members of Christ together into this unity, in hope of the nuptial-day when the marriage of the Lamb shall have come, and His Bride have made herself ready. Other and more serious violations and corruptions and outrages upon the oneness and unions and unities in the revelation of the mind of God overspread what is now called "the Christian world," and the Jews are personally nowhere to be seen, as converted men, like the three thousand who were added at Jerusalem, or the many thousands of Jews of whom the apostle James afterward spoke to Paul. Nevertheless these twain were the constituent and component parts of the Church of God, as in Eph.1, and such were made one in Christ and builded together. Nor can other parts of the epistles in the apostles' days be understood, which insist upon the blessed fact that through Him "we both have access by one Spirit to the Father," unless the middle wall be recognised, which once divided and shut us out. The law of Moses has since come in by the craft of Satan in a counterfeit way, and almost frustrated the gospel of the grace of God; and confidence in the flesh, without actual circumcision it is true, is everywhere, and the world, yes, a Christian world, is in the ascendant by the denial of the separating power of the cross, so that the wrong man is the outcome and rampant.

Moreover, the prince of this world has set up in imitation a oneness for mankind under the assumed fatherhood of God, and an open union of churches and states under the sun, and a widespread unity by a spurious confederacy which aims at "an Eirenicon," or a united Christendom. The epistle to the Galatians was written to expose the violation of this "unity of the Spirit," and comes more and more to the front every day, and is as applicable in this century as it was eighteen hundred years ago; for wherever the law is introduced as a schoolmaster it must have man in the flesh for a scholar, and the world for its college, with its high class too. In proof of the departure from Christ crucified at that time, and from union in life by the Spirit, Paul wrote to them, "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." The pope, the patriarch, and the newly-enthroned primate of Great Britain are the three great ecclesiastical heads out of heaven, to say nothing of the prophet of Mecca; and it is enough to call attention to their power and activity in proof of the varied but combined denial and apostacy from the revelation which God has made of Himself, and His Son Jesus Christ as the only and exalted Head over all things to the Church which is His body, "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all."

The vocation wherewith we are called of God in Christ, "who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places" with Him, is outraged by these counterfeits and assumptions, and the unity of the Spirit violated on this giant scale. God's declared purposes and counsels for His own glory, and the glory of His Son, and the Church's glory now and hereafter, and the blessing of every creature in heaven or on earth, are sought to be supplanted. No doubt in Scripture "the unity of the Spirit" may in application come down into other relations in which we stand one with another; for "He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you," though the primary object in the mission of the Holy Ghost be, as we have been considering, to glorify Christ, and to take of His things, and show them unto us.

Nor can the two comprehensive prayers in Ephesians, or that in the Colossians (to which I only now allude) be omitted either in the truth of the Spirit or as regards the Spirit's unity. In Ephesians 1 the apostle prays that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," etc. In the prayer of chap. 3 it is to the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom every family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints," etc. The unity itself and our vocation are surely embraced in these two prayers, and the vast proportions and objects declared; and moreover the spirit of wisdom, and strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, are seen to be our necessary qualifications for entering into this unity of the Spirit, and with this blessed purpose "that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith," or as in Col. 1, which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." And these actings of the Spirit are essential to the unity itself, and equally so to our fellowship in this oneness and union and unity of the Spirit with the Father and the Son.

We may turn now to the lower ground of our own individual and collective and corporate relations as being likewise included in this unity of the Spirit, but where each of us views himself as a unit, and yet in this unity of life and love and glory with Christ, and through Him with the Father. It is written of us as individuals, "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;" and again individually, "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us;" and further to us collectively, as in the comprehensiveness of this unity in life, and these relationships in love, and in the hope of glory too, The Spirit itself beareth witness, that we are the children of God: and "if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." Possibly the epistle to the Romans, from which these quotations are made, opens out our individual relations with Christ from another point of view as beginning with "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which hath made us free from the law of sin and death." As a consequence of this power of life out of death, it is written, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." As respects life by the indwelling Spirit, and our individual relationship in love with the Father as children, it is said, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;" nor can anything separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This epistle to the Romans (as we know) does not treat of the Church or its Head, nor of our corporate relations to Christ as the Head of His body; but the Holy Ghost is equally true to His mission as the glorifier of Christ, by setting us in these individual relationships with Christ and the Father in life, and love, and glory as the adopted family, and brought into this unity of the Spirit by the Spirit of life, and the Spirit of adoption.

The epistle to the Philippians is likewise occupied with our individual and practical relations as having "the mind of Christ," and with believers as united to Christ, who has made in Himself of twain one new Man, so making peace; and they are diligently endeavouring to keep this unity, and in the uniting bond of peace, when they say with Paul, "We are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." It is not here or in the Romans that we read, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many, are one body; so also is Christ." Nor, "by one Spirit are we 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." Such relations as these are corporate, and are found in the Corinthian and Ephesian epistles. Perhaps it is not important to distinguish our collective relations, as they so run together in the Romans and Philippians and elsewhere, with our individual ones; though the epistle to the Hebrews addresses us distinctly as "holy brethren, and as partakers of the heavenly calling," and bids us consider the apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. Indeed this may be the reason why it is collective and congregational, as Jesus is presented in His personal and official glories in the midst of a professing people, though as Christ He is "a Son over His own house, whose house are we," and ourselves as having "an High Priest over the house of God." Such relations would be out of place between Christ as the Head of His body, and ourselves as His members, of His flesh and of His bones; for He could not be High Priest, to that of which He is the Head, without becoming so to Himself.

The popular idea that every body may worship God as he likes, has moreover violated the holy order and the unity of "the sanctuary, which the Lord pitched, and not man," and is the bold refusal, if not the denial, of the veil which God has rent from the top to the bottom, and by which we now draw nigh as worshippers into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. It falsifies also the truth of worship, and the qualifications of a real worshipper; viz., "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth;" and it vitiates the essential fact for unity in worship that there is one God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Finally, this will-worship set up in Christendom is an outrage upon the prerogatives of our great High Priest passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God; for this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us" as the testifier of Jesus come clown to maintain His glory in the sanctuary as the great High Priest, 'the Father seeking such to worship Him, as worship Him in spirit and in truth.' In all these relations of ours with Christ, and with God in the holiest, whether individual or collective, we see the power of the Holy Ghost in bringing souls into union, and fellowship with the revelation of God's will, and in the unity of the Spirit, and our responsibility to keep it in its large dimensions.

We pass on now to consider our ecclesiastical and our corporate relations with Christ as Head of His body the Church, to which our vocation, and the unity of the Spirit, and our endeavouring to keep it (as in chap. 4) have been too much limited. Why should we not allow "the unity of the Spirit" to embrace and cover the immensity of the revelation which the Ephesian epistle unfolds, for the glory of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost, according to His divine mission? Besides this we may ask, Is the unity of the Spirit restricted to our corporate and Church relations? What then do the individual relations in the Romans as children of the Father, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, unite us in? What again do our collective and priestly ones in the Hebrews consist of, if not included in "the unity of the Spirit," and in virtue of the anointing, which we have received of Him as worshippers in the holiest where God dwells? Again, if the Spirit, and the unity of the Spirit, are not co-extensive with the original revelation of God and with Christianity, as at Pentecost when the Holy Ghost came down to baptize all into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free, it follows that those who say so will limit the Spirit's action to the period in which they are living, and become Protestants. Or else reduce the unity still lower, and to something they are endeavouring to keep, as the various denominations of this century have done under the generic term of Dissenters. On the other hand, if the comprehensiveness of the Spirit's action and "the unity of the Spirit" be today the same as it ever was, and we endeavour to keep this square with the meaning of "our vocation" as at the first, and to walk worthy of it, we shall most assuredly refuse to act upon points of difference with one another, much less to divide upon them as the sects do. But, on the contrary, "speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

There is a peculiarity "for us Gentiles" in chap. 3 which remains to be noticed - how that by revelation God made known to Paul the mystery of Christ, whereby "the Gentiles should he fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel." He was also to preach among the Gentiles "the unsearchable riches of Christ," who aforetime were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Moreover, "this mystery of Christ" as Christ (who hath made both one) was not in other ages made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. He was also to make all men see "what is the fellowship of the mystery," which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God. These precious records lead one to ask, How could there be any oneness, or union, or unity outside man in the flesh except by this mystery of Christ, and only then by His making in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace? and further, that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, "having slain the enmity thereby." How little this mystery of Christ has been before us Gentiles, as showing us the way, and the only way, by which we could have Christ, and be in Him, who were once without Christ; or have access by one Spirit to the Father, who were once without God in the world, and aliens, strangers, and foreigners, these quotations must plainly tell us. How little "this mystery of Christ" for you Gentiles, and by which we reach "the unsearchable riches of Christ!" or how little this parenthetical chapter (as it is called), which reveals it to us, has stood side by side "with the mystery of God's will" elsewhere, we may well enquire!

In truth, whatever "the mystery of God" may be, or whatever "the mystery of Christ," whether in Colossians or Ephesians or elsewhere, all is revealed by the Spirit, and substantiated by Christ and the Spirit, and kept by us in "the unity of the Spirit." This mission of the Spirit embraces the scope of divine revelation, and these mysteries which were hid in God till Christ had taken His new place on high, and abolished in His flesh the boasted advantages of the Jew, equally with the disqualifications of the Gentile. The Spirit opens out "the mystery of Christ" for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; for in Christ Jesus where He now is there is neither Jew nor Greek; but Christ is all and in all. "Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more;" so if any one be in Christ he is a new creation, whether Jew or Greek.

The fitting counterpart of this mystery of Christ, the new Man at the right hand of God, is shown forth by the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to Paul, and which is to usward who believe. "Ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye have put off concerning the former conversation the old man … and have been renewed in the spirit of your mind; and have put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Consistently with the fact of this new creation in life, and holiness, and truth, and this unity in the mystery of Christ and of God, our apostle says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying," "neither give place to the devil." He closes up this wondrous mystery of unity, and its completeness in us by adding, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption;" and "be ye imitators of God as dear children, and walk in love." Nor must this comprehensive unity maintain or accept any other standard than Christ in any of our relations below, ecclesiastical or otherwise. "Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." So that, in brief, whether as fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, or as in the habitation of God through the Spirit, or as quickened, and raised, and seated in heavenly places in Christ as the head over all things to the Church; which is His body, or as in the hope of God's calling, and of the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, we are in this oneness, and union, and unity by the Holy Ghost as the witness, and power, and seal of our vocation. Nor must we limit this vast unity of the Spirit, and what we are exhorted to keep, down to a given century, whether Luther's or our own, though thankful to God for any past or present action of the Spirit in recovering grace for today. J. E. B.