Scripture Notes.

p. 81.


1 Samuel 25:31; Luke 23:42-43.

A very striking parallel may be drawn between Abigail and the malefactor. Abigail's prayer is, "When the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord" - that is, when David should sit upon the throne of Israel "then remember thine handmaid." The malefactor prayed, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." David answered the petition of Abigail at once, and accepted her person, and, immediately on the death of Nabal, espoused her as his wife; thus making her his companion in rejection, while waiting for the kingdom. In like manner the Lord went far beyond the expectation of the crucified thief, and said, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." Hereafter he should share in the glory of the kingdom, would be, indeed, one of the countless multitude who will be displayed in glory with our blessed Lord at His appearing and kingdom; but meanwhile the Lord would have him with Himself in Paradise, where he would wait with Christ for the time which his soul had desired. In both cases, therefore, the response to the prayer went far beyond the requests. And such is grace - divine grace - which loves to go beyond our desires, and to bless according to the heart of the Giver rather than according to the expressed need. As an illustration of the way in which Paul had comprehended this truth, it may be noticed that he prayed that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ would grant to the Ephesian saints, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, etc. What an encouragement to open our mouths wide in prayer!

*Daniel means "God's judge"; Hananiah, "whom Jehovah graciously gave"; Mishael, "who (is) as God"; and Azariah, "whom Jehovah aids."


John 15:5.

It is, of course, true that we can do nothing "without" Christ; but taking the sentence in this way by itself it scarcely conveys the force of the Lord's words. The context makes all plain: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." So in the previous verse: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." If a branch, therefore, is severed from the tree, it is necessarily fruitless; and, in like manner, if a believer does not abide in Christ, is spiritually disconnected from Him, he will bear no fruit. No doubt the Lord here distinguishes absolutely two classes; those who abide in Him, as those who are really in vital connection with Himself; and those who abide not in Him, as in verse 6, as those who, without life, are only connected with Him by profession. Still it is permissible to point out that even a really converted soul will be fruitless unless found abiding in Christ. What abiding in Him signifies may be gathered from the comparison He employs. A branch is absolutely dependent on the vine, and lives of the vine's life. It is the sap that flows out from the vine into the branch that causes it to bear fruit. So also a believer is fruitful when he is in the maintenance of entire dependence upon Christ, and when He is living of His life, when Christ in him, as his life, flows out through him in his daily walk and ways in service and testimony. If, therefore, anything comes between Christ and his soul, interrupts his dependence, and he is thus "without"* Christ, he can do nothing.

*In his French version, J. N. D. translates, "Séparés de moi."


1 Peter 2:4-5.

The question as to whether "coming" to Christ, in verse 4, refers to our first coming to Him as the Saviour, can be best answered by a consideration of the context, and of the character of the truth presented in the passage. The words, "to whom coming," follow, "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious," and this connection supposes, we judge, that those who "come" already know the Lord. And then it is to be observed that the "coming" is not to Him as Saviour, or as Lord, but to Him as a foundation, a Living Stone, as the foundation of the spiritual house which is composed of those who have become "living stones" through faith in Him, the Son of the living God, who, as risen out of death in the power of resurrection, is the rock on which, according to His word to Peter, He builds His church. (Matthew 16:16-18.) In support of this interpretation, the meaning of the word "coming" may be remarked. It is the word often used in the Hebrews (see, for example, Heb. 4:18; Heb. 7:25, etc.), and signifies "approach." It is quite true that it is only by contact with Him who is a living stone, that believers become living stones; only it must be remembered that the apostle is presenting to those, who had once been Jews what is now God's house, and who are now God's priests, in contrast with the temple and the priests of a dispensation which had for Christians for ever passed away. This explains the reason of Peter's solitary allusion to the church in the aspect of the house; and it shows, at the same time, the vast importance of understanding the truth of our being living stones, and what it is to be built up on Him who is the Living Stone, "a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

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The night of this world is the absence of the Sun of Righteousness.

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The waking soul sees in the horizon the Morning Star, the dawn along its edge, and waits for day.