Scripture Notes.


Hebrews 3:1.

According to the truth of this epistle believers are seen as a company of pilgrims - Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of their profession, being on high - journeying on through the wilderness to the rest - God's rest - which had been promised, and which remained for the people of God. (4:9.) It is to this, in fact, they were "called." This calling is "heavenly," because it comes from heaven and leads to heaven. This is strikingly set forth by the apostle Peter, who says, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by [in] Christ Jesus," etc. (1 Peter 5:10.) No doubt there is at the same tine a contrast implied. The Jews had an earthly calling, a calling to an earthly inheritance; but the Christian calling, as these Hebrew believers are reminded, is of a heavenly character - one connected with heavenly blessings, a heavenly inheritance and heavenly hopes. Hence it was that, looking for nothing here, their hearts and expectations being outside of this scene, that some of these faithful saints could take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves that they had "in heaven a better and an enduring substance." (Heb. 10:34.) In 1 Corinthians 15 we learn that believers themselves are heavenly. (1 Cor. 15:48.) The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy: the second Man (Christ) "out of heaven." (See New Translation.) All who belong to Adam follow his order; and all who belong to Christ are after His order. And so completely is this the case, that not only are believers heavenly in character, but they will also "bear the image of the heavenly;" that is, their resurrection bodies will be of the same kind and order as the glorified body of our blessed Lord. (See Philippians 3:21.) Nothing short of the recognition of this is Christianity. The inference is evident, that heavenly ways should distinguish a heavenly people; and this will be in proportion as we seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and our minds are on things above, and not on things on the earth.

Extracts from Letters.

W. K. (P.)

Christian Friend vol. 17, 1890, p. 213.

"How true it is 'we have nothing but the glory before us,' with Christ and His love as a present object. I do not allow myself, therefore, to think otherwise than that as each day comes there will be grace and sufficiency if we turn to the Lord. Nothing can shut Him out, and eternal things are all the sweeter. It is real to be in the path, and to know Christ as sufficient. This is different to saying so when not in it; but then we each have our path, and it is for us to learn Christ in it. We could not walk in another, however smooth, without Christ's grace. I have known it for many years, that if I did not serve the Lord in the path where I was, I would not in another; and I have ever found that the difficult path was the easiest and safest, for I was more with the Lord in my soul. But if I look back, what a chequered path it has been' but how faithful the Lord!"

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"Christianity is an intense reality; and to live as a Christian needs grace at every turn of the way. For my own part I feel how easy it is to settle down satisfied with being able to state clearly what we believe, and thus to turn the truth into a creed, instead of being and living what is believed. I will not go into details here, but the blessedness of it bows the heart in humbleness. I have always felt nothing humbled me like the knowledge of the truth, and I feel we cannot know it without this effect. The mind may be active about doctrines, but this has a tendency to puff up, but where we learn the truth it humbles. For instance, if I have the truth in my heart, that I am fit for sharing the portion of the saints in light, or that Christ died for me, the fact that I am such an one humbles me; for there is such little correspondence to it practically; so that if called upon to state it, it must be with humbleness of mind. I think it is J. N. D. who says something like this: 'Some receive the truth merely as a communication reaching them down here, while others are conducted in heart and spirit up to the place whence it is communicated; and the difference is great.' For years it has been a great comfort to me, when I heard the truth stated, to say, 'I am that through grace.' And as our hearts deepen in the knowledge of God as revealed in Christ, what a blessed character we see attaching to everything revealed! I am afraid I am not stating very clearly what is before me. When we see that God only is good and doeth good, and none has the power to bless but God, what a favour to be allowed to come into His presence in prayer, and to come in the consciousness of what His grace has made us. I say it is an immense privilege to be allowed to speak to the only Blesser about myself or others; and then to rest in the sense that He ever acts in grace, because of what He is, and to allow Him to do what He pleases."

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"In seeking to answer your question on guidance, I feel how little able I am to fully set forth what I see in it, and what I desire to follow out. Isaiah 58:11 is a blessed encouragement for us, as showing how pleased the Lord is to guide, if we are only in a state to be guided. In whatever way you look at guidance there is one thing prominent, and that is, the practical setting aside of self. What we need at the outset is a single eye, a desire to do His will (John 7:17); and, as a general thing, we need to be in Colossians 1:9. It is not merely when certain important events arise in our path that we need guidance, but it should be the habit of our souls to be continually waiting on the Lord, and to be guided by Him. For this, however, we need to learn practically the lesson of Romans 7, that there is no goodness in me, and that I have no strength; then we must look out to Another, and the Lord becomes the joy of our hearts. Here we find goodness and power; and He says to us in the midst of weakness, 'My grace, my power.' Connected with this is the joy of the Lord, our hearts learning what He delights in. In all this self is set aside, and the Lord's will becomes ours - not our will subject to His - but having no will of our own His becomes our guide. We are thus yielded up to the Lord, and He leads us in His way. Matthew 11:29 is very important in connection with this subject: 'Take my yoke upon you.' I believe His yoke to be the Father's will. As a Man down here He had no will of His own, we are to take this upon us; i.e., He gives us His place here in this world, and He says, 'Learn from me.' I 'look upon Him as He walked.' His confidence is in the Father, He is dependent, He is obedient, He is meek and lowly, and we see how He did things; this and much more is contained in 'learn from me.' 'My yoke is easy'; He had no contrary will. 'My burden light'; all He met with in His path He received from the Father's hand. It is here we find rest; and as we are near the Lord we learn how to do things according to His will. When you turn to the Lord in special cases, having a knowledge of His will in general, you get the sense that the Lord will be with you, and if so you go forth in faith. The Lord is your strength, and it strengthens your heart to know what He delights in, and thus you are guided. It is very easy to see self has no place in this; yea, more, that it is set aside practically and completely. This must be so; for joy in the Lord, to know the Lord's joy, to delight in His will, and learn from Him, all is outside of self, and must be learnt practically by us as the habit of our souls. There is much more than this, I need not say, involved in guidance; but this is a little of the soul's condition that looks for guidance, and is guided by the Lord. Prayer has a large place in it, together with praise and thanksgiving. And the very difficulties of the path only lead us to feel more distinctly our weakness and dependence on the Lord, and to turn to Him who will never fail us nor forsake us. W. K. (P.)