"The light shineth in darkness."

He came, the Son of God,
Into a cruel, heartless world,
To tell the story, then untold,
Of God's unfathomed love.

He came, and men stood by
To hurl upon Him dire contempt,
To spurn the truth that God had sent,
And listen to a lie.

He came, the Christ of God,
And shouting multitudes reviled;
He heeded not their tumults wild,
His feet with peace were shod.

He came, and walked apart
Midst scenes of wickedness and woe,
To teach some empty hearts to know
The fulness of God's heart.

He came, and in the light
Of God's own face, He trod this scene,
To leave behind, where He had been,
A line of heavenly light.

Oh, wondrous tale of love!
For us He bore the wrath of God,
For us He passed through death's dark flood -
The deepest proof of love.

And, risen from the dead,
He made a home for us on high;
Unveiled the glory to our eye,
Which lights the path we tread.

And still He waits up there,
To gather in the vile, the lost;
To bring them home, though tempest-tossed,
Where love casts out all fear.

He lives, and so we live,
To find His joy fulfilled in us;
To learn His path of shame and loss,
Which He alone can give.

But, oh, what untold joy,
That He, whom men despise and scorn,
Will usher in an endless morn
With glory on His brow!

The bright and morning star
Which gilds with light our pathway here,
Will be outshone by daylight there,
Which clouds can never mar.

And walking in the light
Of God's own face for evermore,
We'll praise, and worship, and adore
The Son of God's delight. C. A. W.


Exodus 25:31-40; Numbers 10:1-3, 33.

I want to say a little, as the Lord may help me, on Light, Testimony, and Rest. The candlestick - light; the trumpet - testimony; the ark - rest.

One of the first proofs that a person is really saved, and consciously set for God in the world, is his knowledge of the fact that God has left him down here to be for Himself. After we were converted, why did not God at once take us home to heaven? One object was, that we might be a reproduction of Christ. In Phil. 2:5 we read: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus;" and, chap. 1:21, "To me to live is Christ." Do I get up in the morning with the thought, There is one thing that I am left here for, that God may see in me Christ lived over again?

Perhaps a person may say, as to being a light-bearer, I have no desire to be one. If so, it would prove one of three things; either that the person was not converted at all; else, was quickened but not delivered; or in a very bad condition of soul, really away from God. Well, I take it for granted that none of us are in either of these three conditions; but that we are all longing to be, in our little measure, light-bearers for God. If we are in a right condition of soul, we shall desire to be light-bearers; and if we are to be light-bearers, we must be put upon the wheel. You never saw a potter make a vessel without putting the clay on the wheel. If you are a vessel of honour, you must have been put on the wheel. I do not know your wheel, and you do not know mine; but we each know our own.

The candlestick was, first, of pure gold; for this the crucible was needed. Secondly, of beaten work - beaten into the shape of a lampstand with the hammer. The crucible is some severe, sharp, short, trial - separative. The object of the crucible is to make a vessel of pure gold. It does not add to or take from it. If a pound of pure gold be put into a red-hot furnace, it comes out two hours afterwards a pound of pure gold; it loses nothing. It is put into the crucible that what is not pure gold may be taken from it. We are gold, and are put into the crucible to separate us from the dross. The nearer we get to God, the more glad we shall be to be nothing but what is suited to God and to Christ; to be separated from everything, personally, domestically, commercially, and ecclesiastically, that would dim the gold; from anything that hinders our growth, advancement, and testimony for God and Christ in this world. The crucible is sharp, short, and separative. The object of the crucible is to separate and purify. The hammer is slow, sure, and formative. We find it in the history of the saints in the Old and New Testament, and in our own. When Abraham offered up Isaac, it was the crucible for him - sharp, short, and separative. Just before, we read, Abraham planted a grove; but after he offered Isaac we never hear of the grove again. The taking away of Joseph from Jacob was the crucible for him, but it acted in a different manner; he needed the successive strokes of the hammer as well. The crucible did not do the work when Joseph went because Benjamin was slipped into his place; all the rest of his life Jacob had the successive strokes of the hammer, but who would have thought that his life would have had such a magnificent sunset! How splendidly he was formed by the successive strokes of the hammer!

The Lord did not command Moses to make a mould of a seven-branched candlestick, and to run the gold into it. No, it was to be hammered out of a solid block of pure gold; it was to be made of beaten work, and the character of the metal unmixed pure gold - "beaten work," not moulded, "of pure gold." Ah, beloved, we are not fit to be light-bearers for God if we shrink from the crucible and hammer! If we really want to be light-bearers for Him we shall welcome the crucible because it separates, and the hammer because it forms. If we saw that, we should see how wonderfully all the trials and difficulties that come on us are sent by God. In this day of trial, when there are difficulties around, when we dread the post coming in lest it should bring bad news, when we do not know what sorrow may come next, how wonderful to be able to say, "As for God, His way is perfect." We do not attain to this in a moment; there are four distinct stages to it. After all the exercises and discipline God has passed you through, can you say, "As for God, His way is perfect"? I do not mean in a stoical way. I abhor stoicism from the depths of my heart. "Jesus wept." He was no stoic. Paul wept. I wish I could weep like Jesus and Paul. It would be a good thing if there were a few more tears shed in this hard day. Tenderness is what we want. Jesus set His face as a flint, yet was there ever such tenderness as His? It is not just stoically saying, "Oh, yes; as for God, His way is perfect!" that is human schooling. Can you really say, "As for God, His way is perfect"? People say they wish to be resigned, and talk about dying and being resigned. Is that the highest condition of soul a saint of God can reach to? There are four stages:

1. Resignation. That is the lowest.
2. Acquiescence. That is not the highest, but it is one above.
3. Justification. Being able to justify God.
4. To adore Him for all His dealings. That is the highest. One of the Latin Fathers wrote on the wall of his cell

"I bow me to Thy will, my God,
And all Thy ways adore."

That was not resignation, acquiescence, or justification; it was adoration. Can you say, "I know my Father is doing the best thing for me"? He is doing the best for His own glory, and for my richest blessing. "As for God, His way is perfect." I may be crushed, bowed down, yet will I adore and worship Him.

Look at those poor men, with the blood clotted on their backs, in a damp, dirty, dingy prison cell, yet not a murmur, so above self that they can pray and then praise. "As for God, His way is perfect." (Ps. 18:30-32.) God says, "Now that you adore me for all my ways, I will come in for you." "It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect." My way is in exact correspondence with His way, and He goes on until the poor weak fingers are so strong that they can break the bow of steel. There is not a difficulty but I am superior to it. In the first epistle of Peter we find -

1. Trial from God.
2. Trial for unrighteousness.
3. Trial for righteousness.
4. Trial for Christ.
5. Trial from the devil.

And all to make me a more efficient light-bearer for God in this world. It is exceedingly precious to know that God has the metal in His own hand. We see people putting heavy strokes where they should be light, and light where they should be heavy; few where there should be many, and many where there should be few. We are in divine hands, not in one another's. When God offered David three things, he said, "Let me fall into the hand of the Lord." He would rather be in the hands of God than of the devil or his enemies. We are in the Father's hands. "The Father Himself loveth you." He knows how long to keep His bit of gold in the crucible, and when to put it under the hammer. God knows how to touch us so that we welcome the crucible and the hammer, and adore God for both. "As for God, His way is perfect." That is God's way of making light-bearers.

"Make the two trumpets of silver." (Num. 10) The candlestick was of gold. None of the exercises God passes us through are to make us gold. We are gold (we are "the righteousness of God in Christ"), but it is because He loves us. It is remarkable that the candle-stick was not only to be beaten-work of gold, but there were to be seven lamps, the perfect number. Here it is two - adequate testimony - the trumpets of silver. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." No one is fit to bear testimony unless conscious of redemption, that is why the trumpets were made of silver - the redemption money. A man does not know what it is to be resting in the benefits of redemption if he is groaning for deliverance. If he were delivered he would be rejoicing, standing on accomplished redemption. Do we know what it is to be "blessed with all spiritual blessings," the ceaseless objects of the Father's heart, to be in relation to the Father, to be at leisure from ourselves, light-bearers and testimony-givers for God in this world?

What are we waiting for? Only for the Bridegroom. What do we desire to be? Clear light-bearers and efficient testimony-givers for Christ. We often think of being gainers, but what a wonderful thing it is for Christ to be a gainer. If I live, He gains; if I die, I gain. It would be far better for me to get away from this surging scene of suffering and of sorrow, but if I stay Christ gains. The two trumpets were adequate testimony given on the ground of accomplished redemption. They were not to be moulded any more than the lampstand. It is of no use to think we can be distinct light-bearers or testimony-givers if we reject the crucible. I daresay you have heard how the silversmith refines his silver; he puts his beautiful piece of silver into the crucible, and sits watching it till he sees his own face reflected in it, and then he takes it off the fire; another moment would spoil it. Then it cools down, and he puts it under the hammer. The two trumpets were for calling and setting forward. We find the twofold testimony in Col, 1:23, the trumpet of the gospel of the grace of God, the calling one; and, verse 24, not only the testimony of the gospel of the grace of God, but the gospel of the Church, the body of Christ. The moment a person can say, "I believe that Jesus died for me," you can blow another trumpet, and say, "Do you know that He is there in the glory for you?" It is a wonderful thing to be saved by Christ, but far more wonderful to be united to Him in heaven. We are not only saved from a depth which could not be deeper unless we had been in hell itself, but raised to a place which could not be higher without being higher than Christ. He not only died to save me, but He has gone on high, and sent the Holy Ghost down to unite me to Himself, so that I can say, what even the archangel cannot say, "I am one with Christ." How does He get testimony-givers? By passing us through the crucible, and putting us under the hammer. We all have our work to do; there is work for all, a mission for each. I cannot fill your place, nor you mine. His word to each one of us is, "Occupy till I come;" and He desires that we should be decided, distinct, habitual light-bearers and testimony-givers for Himself down here. If I see His object in separating and forming, I shall welcome both the crucible and the hammer.

"We cannot always trace the way
Where Thou, our gracious Lord, dost move,
Yet we can always surely say,
That God is love."

We may be laid low, made nothing of; we shall be willing to be nothing that He may be produced and expressed, that He alone may be the gainer in this scene. Whether it is the crucible or the hammer, "all things work together for good." It is beautiful to see in Gideon's case how there was light and testimony. In Phil. 2:14-15, we have the lamp-stand and trumpet, and in other Scriptures we see how God connects the two things - all in love. "Love in all I see."

Numbers 10:33. Seven, marks perfection; two, adequate testimony; three, the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. God owes His brightest glory to the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He furnished God with a fresh motive for loving Him by laying down His life. "Never man spake like this man" was once said; we can say, Never man loved like this man.

How little do we enter into all God owes, and all we owe to Christ's death. Are you looking for Him tonight? Death, the world's conversion, the revelation of antichrist, the restoration of the Jews, are never our hope - our only hope is the return of the Bridegroom. Did you get up this morning expecting Him? If you are allowed to retire tonight will you be expecting Him? Then there will be rest, and neither adversary nor enemy occurrent. No need of the crucible then, we shall be just like Him. No need of the hammer there. There will be no discipline, no exercise then, for the former things are passed away - that is what we wait for. We never could have had rest of conscience, rest of heart, or the rest of God but for the ark going the three days' journey. We are very near the last rest now. If we have the first rest, and have taken His yoke, and thus found the second, we shall be sure when Christ comes to get the third. God grant that on our way to the rest which we are so shortly to enter into for ever we may be better light-bearers for the Lord Jesus Christ. H. M. H.