Scripture Notes.


Micah 7:6; Matthew 10:35-36.

The connection of these two scriptures is very interesting. The prophet Micah, in depicting the moral corruption that prevailed in his day (vv. 2-4), declares that all confidence between friends, and even between husband and wife, had utterly vanished, and that in this state of things the most sacred ties of relationship were openly violated, so that a man's enemies were the men of his own house. It is a dark though true picture of the dominance of the power of evil in the prophet's day. In the gospel of Matthew the same state of things is seen, but as a consequence of the presentation of Christ. "Think not," says our blessed Lord, "that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." When Christ is presented to men, He is either received or rejected, and He thus brings, not peace, but a sword; for it draws forth from those who refuse Him all the enmity, all the latent corruption, of the human heart, both against Christ and against His followers. He thus warned His disciples that the time would come when those who killed them would think they were doing God service. In such circumstances sons have betrayed their fathers, daughters their mother, and parents their children, and in this way the Lord's words have often been fulfilled in the history of the Church - that "a man's foes shall be they of his own household." The solemn thing is, that Satan triumphs just as much in the animosity of the heart against Christ and against His people as in the godlessness of moral licentiousness. Truly the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and none can know it.


2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Having referred to this scripture a few months back, it becomes necessary, through a misconception, to add a few words. Our former remarks were confined to the expression - "all them also that love His appearing," which we regarded, and still regard, as characteristic of all believers. Together with this, it is undoubtedly true that the passage treats of reward for labour, for fidelity in service. This is evident from the context, and hence it is not to be inferred that all who love the Lord's appearing will receive the same crown of righteousness. Such a thought is forbidden by the words, "The righteous Judge." He will discriminate between one and another, and will decide upon the service of each with unerring accuracy, and will, in His grace, assign to each a crown of righteousness according to His righteous estimate of the work of each - work produced by grace, and then by grace rewarded. As another has written, "The work of the Spirit through us is rewarded by the crown of righteousness, and every one will have a reward according to his labour. Christ brings us all, according to the grace of God, into the enjoyment of His own glory, to be with Him and like Him. This is our common portion according to the eternal counsels of God; but a place is prepared by the Father, and given by the Son, according to the work wrought by the power of the Spirit in each believer in his particular position. It is not Paul only who will receive this crown from the righteous Judge; all who love the Lord's appearing will appear with Him in the glory that is personally destined to each, and that is adjudged to him when the Lord appears." It will thus be seen that to maintain that "all who love His appearing" applies to all believers is in no way inconsistent with the teaching of the doctrine of rewards in this scripture.


2 John 10, 11.

The application of this scripture is primarily to teachers, to all such who did not bring "the doctrine of Christ;" i.e., the truth concerning His person, if not also concerning His work. It was the former rather than the latter that was in question in the apostles' days. (See v. 7; 1 John 4:3, etc.) It is, however, sometimes asked whether those who hold erroneous doctrines on this subject should in like manner be refused. Other scriptures deal with this point, but here the apostle is evidently concerned with those who move about from place to place in order to teach. But then, "if there come any to you," and take the place of teachers in seeking to propagate their errors, they are to be treated as the apostle enjoins. As faithful to Christ, it is the responsibility of every head of a household to maintain the truth, and thus to exclude from his house that which would really undermine the foundations of Christianity. Christ must be first; and it would be impossible to maintain fellowship with Him and at the same time to be a "partaker of the evil deeds" of those who denied the full truth of His person and work.


Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 7:37-50; John 12:1-8.

That there are certain correspondencies in the above narratives lies on the surface; but the differences between that in Matthew, Mark, and John, from the incident recorded by Luke, are of such a character as to forbid the identification of the woman "who was a sinner" with the Mary the sister of Lazarus. The object the woman in Luke had in view in approaching the Lord is essentially different from that of Mary. Attracted by the grace of Christ, she found in His heart, and in His heart alone, that which met the deep need of her soul in all her sense of guiltiness before God. Her action therefore, in washing and anointing the feet of Jesus, was the expression of her gratitude to, and love for, the One whose heart had become her resting-place amid all the weariness of her sins; for though she was ignorant of it, she had really found the heart of the God of all grace in the heart of Jesus. Hence it was that the Lord sheltered and justified her, as well as spoke peace to her soul. The object of Mary was wholly different. She alone, as it would seem, had entered into the truth of the death of Christ, and thus came aforehand, as the Lord said, to anoint His body for the burying. She was thus in communion with the mind of her Lord; and (may we not add?) that, as a consequence, she is not found at the sepulchre on the morning of the resurrection. She did not seek the living One among the dead. Her action therefore in anointing the Lord (she did not wash His feet with her tears, remark) was the expression of the homage, the worship of her heart. It was adoration. As we read in the Song of Solomon, "While the King sitteth at His table, my [Mary's] spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof." (Cant. 1:12.) There are differences, moreover, between the narratives in Matthew and Mark and that of John. In the two former the head of Christ is anointed, in the latter it is His feet. This will be seen to be in accordance with the character of the presentation of Christ in the several gospels. In Matthew, exhibited as the Messiah, He is anointed as such on the head, and so in Mark as the Servant Prophet, but in John, where He is presented as the Eternal Son, the feet are anointed - the only suitable place for the worshipper. It is the feet also in Luke, because there it is the action of a penitent sinner. As a final remark it may be said, that the mind of the Spirit of God in the gospels is to be discovered rather in noting characteristic distinctions than in seeking to harmonize their differences. E. D.

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If the God of heaven be occupied with us, how many thoughts ought not we to have of that God! It is only as occupied with God and with Christ that we can be unworldly.