ASCRIBE YE GREATNESS UNTO OUR GOD

Written by Steven Black on 14/07/2016. Posted in Articles

Deuteronomy 32: 1-4

By: Michael Hobbis
CW Committee Member

These Scripture verses are part of the song of Moses. It is said that this song of Moses will be sung in Heaven and are the directly inspired words given to him by the Holy Ghost; that is from the very lips of Jehovah. As David also said: “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and His word was in my tongue.”

These opening verses give us a sense of the awe with which we should approach this Scripture. Words which are meant to bring the very fear of God into our hearts and minds. Words which speak of God’s majesty and power. These words are spoken by THE WORD – even Christ the great I AM.

Give ear, O ye Heaven, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of My mouth. Who is to listen? All the inhabitants of Heaven and earth which He created; “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” Psalm 33: 8.

These words of instruction, for that is what they are, will have differing effects (see 2 Timothy 3: 16). The manifestations of God’s communication to men are often compared to rain in its many forms. The Hebrew here, it seems, implies the gentle rain of the still small voice of God; to the sweeping rain of tempestuous gales. From the almost imperceptible dew of the applied doctrine, the Holy Ghost silently works in the hearts of men; sometimes sealing their instruction even as they sleep: to the drops of the angry voice of God’s wrath, heavy storm drops multiplied beyond calculation. Such is the living and powerful Word spoken by God; dividing asunder the very soul and spirit of man. Hebrews 4: 12.

Christ our Rock
In the following song, the word ‘Rock’ is mentioned many times. Who is that Rock but Christ? – “For who is God, save Jehovah? and who is a rock save our God?” 2 Samuel 22: 32. That same Rock is the One who followed the children of Israel as they journeyed. The following words of the song of Moses, the man of God, speak of the goodness of God to His people in His leading, protecting and feeding them and their sinful returns to Him by their turning aside and ingratitude. The ‘rock’ of the heathen is compared to their Rock, the True God. Finally, as an epilogue to this song, and in demonstration that the very best of men are but men after all, Moses is told to ascend mount Nebo, where he is to behold the land with his eyes, but tragically will never set foot upon it because of his transgression at Meribah.

Giving to God the Glory
All this sad, but awesome and glorious song, accentuates the holiness, mercy and justice of God, set against the blackness of man’s rebellious course. Now we are commanded here in verse 3 to “ascribe greatness to God”; we must ask what this truly means. To ascribe is to attribute or assign something to a person. Firstly, in spiritual terms, it is to give unto God the glory due to His name. Moses says here: Because I will publish the name of Jehovah: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

This act of ascribing greatness unto Jehovah God is to be undertaken here on earth and it will be the theme of Heaven – we might say it will be the very atmosphere of Heaven. Revelation 7: 9-12. Natural man would never be happy in Heaven, having no capacity to see God as reconciled to him: but rather as a consuming fire. Having no delight in his Creator he will not, let’s say cannot, delight in glorifying God.

We know of men, men of earthly power and renown, who have been destroyed for not ascribing greatness to God. Herod, who after making a vain oration to the people, was destroyed by Divine visitation; because when those same people attributed divinity to him, he did not return the glory to God Who gave him breath. In a like manner was Nebuchadnezzar humbled for a season for his pride – and yet finally and happily ascribed to Jehovah the glory due to His name. Acts 12: 20-23; Daniel 4:34.

It was Belshazzar before whom God’s hand wrote out his doom upon the wall in the midst of his sacrilege and idolatry; although he had known of the humbling of his father Nebuchadnezzar for his pride. Daniel interpreted God’s message to Belshazzar telling him – “and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.” This same Belshazzar was deposed and killed, according to the writing, in the same night. Daniel 5:30. Each time you and I display pride and self–sufficiency, we are in effect stealing the glory which alone belongs to God. “I am Jehovah: that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42: 8.

Our Joy in Earth and Heaven
Since our eternal delight in Heavenly places will be to attribute to God greatness, power and glory, then we should surely be much engaged in that pleasurable work now; remembering that all things in Heaven and earth were created for His holy pleasure, and we especially, as the Redeemed, are saved to the praise of His glory and grace for all His love, mercy and kindness to us.

In the paraphrased words of Psalm 92: Sweet is the work my God and King, To praise Thy Name give thanks and sing… We sing Psalms and hymns to His glory; we perhaps are apt to forget that the Psalms which we love so well and by the operation of the Holy Spirit give us so much guidance and comfort, are, if they are anything, essentially songs which sound out the glory and greatness of God

What is it to Ascribe Greatness to God?
As Moses says in our Scripture here, it is to publish the Name of The LORD/JEHOVAH, THE GREAT I AM, the Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (see also Exodus 3:13-15; and 34:6-7)

To ascribe greatness to God and publish His Name, is to willingly and joyfully show what and who God is, and what He has done, and what He is doing now. His Name is in all His works and ways and His attributes seen in them – His Perfection of Mercy, Goodness, Truth, Holiness, Power, Justice, Love and Everlasting kindness. Some of those are mentioned here in verse 4. It is never possible to engage in hyperbole when speaking of the greatness of our God. We may exaggerate the qualities of mere men; but never God Himself. It is not possible to exaggerate the infinite; it cannot be done; we may never fear outdoing our praise and worship of our Triune God. As Charles Wesley’s hymn sweetly says:

Through all eternity, to thee
A grateful song I’ll raise;
But O eternity’s too short
To utter all Thy praise!

The Works of the LORD are Great – Psalm 111
All the world may see, if their eyes were opened, the eternal power and Godhead of their Creator in the works of creation and providence. As David by the Holy Ghost exclaimed in Psalm 8: “When I consider the Heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained: What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” It was Job, overcome by the majesty and power of God in His works, who laid his hand upon his mouth and exclaimed: “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

It is chiefly by Christ as Jehovah the Creator that God’s wonderful works are seen. In truth, in Revelation 5: 13, it is to God the Father on the throne – and the Lamb of God Jehovah Jesus at His right hand – that greatness, power and glory are ascribed.

Jesus said that in His work on earth He came to declare the Father and this is a part of Jesus’ glory that God is seen in Jesus Christ, the very image of the Father. As our Saviour said to the disciples: “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father”, and that all men should give equal glory to the Son, to the Holy Ghost and to the Father; all three persons of the Godhead being, as the shorter catechism Q. 6 declares: the same in substance, and equal in power and glory. The redeeming and the declaring work of God in Christ Jesus is surely the central aspect in which the wonderful attributes of God are seen and supply the major motivation for the praises and worship of the glorified saints – John 15.
In the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ is seen who God is. Here He is described as The Rock and the pleasurable work of the saints on earth is to praise and glorify God through and by that same Jesus. Yet not all Christ’s redeemed are possessed of the same strength of faith as others; as faith and experience grow, so does praise. Again, the Psalmist says: “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.” It is the knowledge and sense of His favour which opens our mouths in worship and adoration. The more we know God in Christ Jesus; so the more will we love Him and ascribe greatness to the King of Glory. Psalm 71:14.

The Testimony of our Fathers
We may also consider God’s works of old and what our fathers have told us. Whether it be the deluge of Noah’s age; the parting of the seas and rivers for the children of Israel with the destruction of Pharaoh and all their enemies; or, closer to our time, the power of Jehovah in the conversion of thousands in the Early Church; and, more recently still, the wonderful revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In our text in verse 4, Moses ascribes to God the greatness of His work of Judgment, Truth, Holiness – the perfection of all His ways and works. It was the Holy Spirit who also spoke by Paul, too, when he said in Romans 11: 33; O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!

The Ways of God
By the ways of God is meant His providential dealings in the world. God’s works of providence are His controlling and ordering all events in the world; past, present and future. It is said by some that a butterfly flapping its wings in South America can have an influence upon the weather conditions in the Northern Hemisphere; but whatever the truth of this theory, it is our God Who controls even the movement of the butterfly’s wings: such is the Omnipotent power of our Lord and Saviour. We may well lay our hands upon our mouths in amazement as we consider the providential dealings of Jehovah God in this world. The Book of Esther displays but a small part of the wonderful ways of God in providence and the greatness of Christ our God who upholds all things by the Word of His power. What wonders we have seen in our own nation’s deliverances from the Armada, Gunpowder Plot and two World Wars! Some today still among us have seen it with their own eyes. We have our own Purim to celebrate in praise of our God.

But, surely, when we see in the cross of Christ Jesus and by the determinate counsel of God, mercy and truth meeting together; and righteousness and peace kissing each other in our eternal salvation; and with no diminution of God’s holiness, justice and truth, but rather in the greater and clearer display of them, then in the words of Sheba the Queen of the South – there is no more breath in us!

In our ascribing greatness to God, we are in effect saying that nothing is impossible to Him and none can stay His hand. The same God who turns the heart of Kings whithersoever He will and says of Cyrus: “He is my shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure…”

If this be so, then is it not irrational, and even sinful, to be uncertain, afraid, or timid, in the service of such a Captain? And yet how sadly we seem to deny the power of our LORD to defend and keep us. We praise and worship our God for His omnipotent power, His controlling all events: yet become very concerned when we are suddenly visited with losses and afflictions.

His Truth is inviolable, yet we often fail to believe Him. How grievous a thing is this!

It is to our shame that our unbelief detracts from our praises, but even in this we see the need for the greatness of Divine mercy and grace to forgive, restore and strengthen us. And we worship God for His faithfulness.

Christ and Our Salvation from Sin
It is the motive for our love, praise and service now that the greatness of God is displayed in our complete and perfect salvation from sin, death and destruction; and as we trace the wonderful workings of God in our lives, in bringing about our reconciliation to Him with the gift of life eternal, we are quite overcome at times, and we are like them that dream when we see that our captivity has been so turned again. Every attribute of God is displayed in our redemption.
But, however wonderful the sight by faith, O the open view in glory of all that belongs to our salvation. It will be the new song in Heaven that we are the redeemed Church saved from all our sins. That the Lord Jesus Christ against Whom we committed innumerable crimes and rejected and despised for a time, loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. These are things which we often reflect on, yet know so little now of the full extent of the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. There, when we shall know, even as we are known, and when the full light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines in our sanctified hearts then – as Murray McCheyne so aptly says:

“When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ on high,
Looking o’er life’s history;
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.”

– and so praise shall be perfected in ascribing to God greatness and power and glory for ever and ever.

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GOD ALL-SUFFICIENT

Written by Steven Black on 13/07/2016. Posted in Articles

By Dr. D.A. Doudney

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by
Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

What a rich and exceedingly full promise is this! Just like the Almighty God, and so suitable to the creature; for who could supply all our need, both for body and soul, but He to whom all things belong, whose also is the power, the riches, and the glory? Should not the children of God take encouragement from such a sweet word as this, and believe that all their real need will be supplied? Yes, sure we ought; and no doubt this promise has been precious to many, while others, perhaps, fear to claim it as theirs, or as spoken to them, because of its greatness, or because they think their need to be so different from others. But that which is impossible with men is possible with God, for the need of all nations cannot exceed the fullness there is in Christ.

But what is our need – our present pressing trial? Is it the want of strength, bodily strength, to fill our position in life? Then the Lord graciously says, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deut 33:25). Looking to Him each morning for the help and strength needed through the day, we shall realise that He will supply this need; though, perhaps, like our dear Master, we may only have strength enough, and none to spare. Is it guidance we need? Are we perplexed, and know not which way to take? Let us then wait upon the Lord in prayer, and watch His hand towards us. He has said, “I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go.” (Psalm 32:8); and if, like Gideon, we are fearful of taking a wrong step, He will in mercy condescend to our low estate, and confirm us in the right way, in answer to prayer; although it is more God-glorifying, perhaps, if we can, when first assured of the Lord’s will, go forward, relying on His word, as Peter did (Acts 10:20).

Some time ago, I noticed a little girl playing at her garden gate, when all of a sudden she opened it and ran out, afterwards returning with her father. The words came into my mind, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him;”
(Psa103:13) and I longed thus to run and meet my heavenly Father, at the sound of His voice or footstep. “Draw me; we will run after Thee”(Song 1:4). But how far superior is the one to the other! “That little girl,” I thought, “may lose her father by death, and perhaps very suddenly; but not so the child of God. He is the Everlasting Father, Husband, Brother, Friend, and death will be the very means of bringing us more fully to know and love Him.”

Or, perhaps, our pressing trial may be straitened circumstances, for many of the Lord’s people, who are not really poor, may feel this; but the Lord says He will supply all our need. Will He take care of the sparrows, and neglect His own dear children, when He says the very hairs of your head are all numbered? Never! Never! He loves them too well. He may try them, but never forget them. And oh, with what gratitude do they partake of a meal which seems to have come direct from heaven, and in answer to prayer! We may safely conclude their asking a blessing at such a time is no form, though, perhaps –

“Their lips will only tremble
With the thanks they cannot speak.”

Thus the Lord gets glory to His dear Name by the gratitude of His tried people.
Is it wisdom we want? The Lord can supply this need, as He says in James 1:5, He will deign to listen to us if we ask His gracious Majesty about the most trifling things. As the poet says –

“Our life’s minutest circumstance
Is subject to His eye.”

His exalted state in glory does not make Him less willing to aid His people than when He was on earth.

Is it sorrow that presses us down – perhaps heavy family trials? The Lord says, “I know their sorrows” (Exod. 3:7); and, if He knows them, He also feels them, and will deliver, as He did in the case of Israel of old, though perhaps not so quickly as we should like. But we may pour out our hearts before Him, and sometimes even the very act of doing this brings relief.

Or, it may be, we are misunderstood. David knew this (2 Sam.10), and also David’s Lord; therefore He can sympathise with His dear people. How exceedingly painful this must have been to our dear Lord the three-and-thirty years He was on earth; for not only was He misunderstood by the world, but it seems also by His disciples (Matt. 16: 21 – 23); and if sometimes we tread the same path, may we prove it is in sympathy with our once suffering Head; and, if this trial should quicken us in prayer, bringing us more often to the throne of grace, it will be amongst the “all things” that are working for our good.

If we feel to need a broken heart, or tender conscience, or meekness, love, gratitude, and humility, the Lord can supply us with these things. “Ask, and ye shall receive.” He gives a new heart and a new spirit (Ezek. 36:26); and oh, how blessed are those who have the Holy Spirit within, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is a holy-making Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23).

And, if the Lord supplies all our need in body and soul, through life, we must surely believe He will be with us at death, for that must be included in the “all”. Oh, yes, the Lord will help His dear children then, and give strength when it is needed: “The thing of a day in his day, as the matter shall require” (1 Kings 8:59, margin). Now we require grace to live with; at death we shall require grace to die with, and the Lord has promised both. The Apostle says, “But my God shall supply all your need,” not according to what I may wish for you, or you may wish for yourselves, for the Lord often gives exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, but “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”(Phil 4:19), and His riches are “unsearchable” (Eph. 3:8).

GOD ALL-SUFFICIENT

VOTE ‘LEAVE’ – 23RD JUNE

Written by Steven Black on 01/06/2016. Posted in Articles

by Ian R. Henderson
(Vice-Chairman – Christian Watch)

The people of Britain have been given a referendum on whether or not we should remain in membership of the European Union. In over 40 years, we have never been asked if we wanted to be part of this undemocratic institution.
The rules of this undemocratic institution are made by unelected bureaucrats in the European Commission; they write the laws – get them passed by the almost entirely pro-EU European Parliament – and then impose them on the member States.

The whole plan is for the EU to do away with all the member countries and form just one country – Europe – to disband the Parliaments of the EU member States and let Brussels take total charge.
UK MEPs (of all Parties) are powerless to block legislation that is harmful to British interests and they cannot even initiate legislation. Only the unelected European Commission can do that.
Two fundamental principles have been destroyed by our membership of the EU.

    1. The hard-won right to elect and dismiss those who make our laws. This right has gone because we no longer elect the people who make the laws. The British political Parties have to dance to the EU’s tune.
    2. We have given the UK Parliament – and ONLY that Parliament – the right to make our laws. But this right has been given by the UK Parliament to a foreign power, without our permission, and we, in Britain, are simply powerless to change any EU law.

A Junior Government Minister was heard to say recently – “I am coming round to the Euro-sceptic point of view about the EU. Whenever I go to Brussels to negotiate the British position, I am allowed 3 minutes to make a prepared statement. It makes not a blind bit of difference. What is decided is what the Commission has already decreed long before the national Ministers turn up. There is no debate. No negotiation. It’s all a ‘stitch-up’”. So there we have it – straight from the horse’s mouth!
The EU has imposed upon us over 100,000 rules and over 70% of our national laws already come from Brussels. It costs us about £55 million every working day – money that could be better spent on schools, hospitals and the police. And remember – the money the EU doles out to us is not them being generous. It was our money in the first place and they are simply giving us some of our own money back.

Regionalisation
The EU wants to run this country by means of 12 regional authorities – all reporting directly to Brussels. If regionalisation develops as the EU wants, England will not even have the consolation of still being the name of a region! It will have disappeared. England will be split up into regions; Scotland and Wales will cease to be countries – simply regions – and the EU wants all national identities abolished – suggesting, for example, that the South of England should be merged with the North of France to form a new super region called the Trans Manche region; the western parts of England, Wales and Ireland to be joined with Portugal and Spain and eastern England joined with Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and parts of Germany.

Anti-Christian
The EU is fundamentally anti-Christian. The EU’s school diary marks all the religious festivals for Hindus, Sikhs, Mohammedans, Jews and Chinese – but NOT for Christians. Neither Christmas nor Easter is mentioned. It is no longer politically correct to use the word ‘Christian’.
It should also be noted that the move to legalise so-called ‘gay marriage’ emanated from the EU.

A single country called Europe
A European army – a single country called Europe – a European President – an unelected European Foreign Minister (called the High Representative for Foreign Affairs) – the EUs Foreign Service – 137 Embassies (plus diplomats) – the European Central Bank – two Parliament buildings (one in Brussels and one in Strasbourg) – the European Library (in Luxembourg) – the European Court of Justice – the European flag – all evidence that the European Union regards itself as a country, which is not needed, because it is simply duplicating what is already being done by member States.

Daniel’s vision
In the vision translated by Daniel, he saw the last world empire which would be destroyed at the Lord’s coming (Daniel 2 v 42–44). After Constantine adopted Christianity as a State religion in the 3rd century AD, Church and State became one, the Holy Roman Empire. But 700 years later, with the division between Rome and Constantinople, this religious Empire divided into two – Roman Catholic in the West and Orthodox in the East. Ultimately, out of this came the European Union, brought into being by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. This Empire is a mixture of iron and clay – and cannot hold together and will be destroyed by the coming of Christ. The EU is literally a mixture of the strong nations, such as Germany and France, controlling the weaker ones.

In 2007, the European Council (an UNELECTED and UN-DEMOCRATIC controlling body of the EU) met in Lisbon to set in motion a new Constitution for Europe. This – known as the Lisbon Treaty – was to modify and replace the 1957 Treaty of Rome and the subsequent 1992 Maastricht Treaty. All member States were obliged to ratify this new Constitution – some held referendums, others did not. We, in Britain, were not consulted.

Vote Leave
However, there is an Authority, higher than any political Party or Government, who can and does intervene in the affairs of men – and answers our petitions and our prayers. Ephesians 6 v 12 – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Pray that God will intervene and bring about, not only a victory for the ‘LEAVE’ campaign, but also a strong consciousness of God throughout these islands of Great Britain.

“The force of their united cries
No power can long withstand;
For Jesus helps them from the skies,
By His almighty hand.”

(John Newton)

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VOTE ‘LEAVE’ – 23RD JUNE

A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word

Written by Steven Black on 01/06/2016. Posted in Articles

By Thomas Watson

“Oh, how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”

Psalm 119:97

A Godly man shows his love to the written Word by diligently reading it. The noble Bereans ‘searched the Scriptures daily’ (Acts 17:11). The Word shows what is truth and what is error. It is the field where the pearl of price is hidden. How we should dig for this pearl!

He shows his love by frequently meditating on it. He has not only a few transient thoughts, but he leaves his mind steeping in the Scriptures. He delights in the Word. ‘Thy Words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart’ (Jer.15:16). Never did a man take such delight in a dish that he loved as the prophet did in the Word.

The Godly man prefers the Word above things most precious: food, riches and worldly honour. King Edward VI, on the day of his coronation when presented with three swords signifying that he was Monarch of three Kingdoms, said, ‘There is still one sword missing.’ On being asked what that was, he answered, ‘The Holy Bible, which is the “Sword of the Spirit” and is to be preferred before these ensigns of royalty.’

Do we love the written Word? What sums of money the martyrs gave for a few leaves of the Bible! But alas, how can they who are seldom conversant with the Scriptures say they love them?

The Godly Man’s Picture

A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word

UPON WHICH ROAD ARE YOU TRAVELLING?

Written by Steven Black on 11/05/2016. Posted in Articles

By Augustus Toplady

(1740 – 1778)
Taken from an address on Genesis 12:5

The readers of this address – and indeed the whole world at large – may be distributed into two kinds of people: those who are travelling to Canaan, and those who are going the direct contrary way. There are but two roads: the broad, which leadeth to destruction and the narrow, which opens into life.

All mankind are ‘travellers’: and ‘travellers’ at a very swift rate. The grand point is – where are you travelling to? Are you desirous of knowing whither your footsteps tend and toward what country thy face is set? If so, have recourse to the Scriptures of truth, but study them on your knees; that is, in a spirit of prayer and with the simplicity of a little child.

Suppose, for instance, that we look at John 16:8, where Christ thus describes the office of the Holy Ghost and the effects which His converting influences have on the human mind: “When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment”; that is, He shall, first, feelingly demonstrate to them their absolute sinnership and their total helplessness, working in them a deep sense and real hatred of self and sin; and He will, secondly lead them to rest on Christ and on His righteousness alone for justification.

Now, has God the Spirit done these things for you? Has He wrought, or begun to work these convictions in your soul? If He has not, nor so much as kindled a growing desire after Christ and His salvation in your breast, I dare not give you the right hand of fellowship. I dare not salute you as one of my fellow-travellers to the kingdom of God. No, you are yet in Egypt and you will quickly be in Hell, except the Holy Ghost take you in hand and give you a new heart and lead you to Christ.

But if you have ground to hope that this work of grace is experienced by you in some degree; if, on looking at your soul in the gospel-glass, you can discern the traces of faith, love, repentance and sanctification there, you are of the number of those who have been enabled, through grace, to set forth to go into the land of Canaan – and into the land of Canaan you shall come.

Two things are particularly needful for you to observe:

    1. That the world will endeavour to turn your feet out of the narrow way. If the wicked are so muzzled by providence that they cannot bite, they will snarl at least. If they cannot do you real injury, they will probably pelt you with scandal and sneer at you for being, in their opinion, righteous over-much. But let not this discourage you; but imitate the blind man in the Gospel, who the more he was exhorted by the multitude to hold his peace, cried out so much the more, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”
    2. Beware of sin. May you be enabled to shun the remotest appearance of evil. Though a truly converted person cannot fall so as to turn back finally and perish everlastingly; yet, if he is not kept watching unto prayer, he may lose his peace and joy in believing and that inward testimony of the Holy Spirit, that felt fellowship with God and that sweet tranquillity of conscience, without which living scarcely deserves the name of life. It is a sad thing when a saint is overturned on the road. Though he cannot lose his soul, yet a fall may break the neck of his comforts and make him go halting to his journey’s end. “The Devil,” as one justly remarked, “is never better pleased than when he can roll a child of God in the dirt.” Beg of the Lord, therefore, to hold up your goings in His paths, that your footsteps slip not.

Yet if you should fall, be humbled, but do not despair. May you be led to pray afresh to God, who is able to raise you up and to set you on your feet again and helped to look to the blood of the covenant and say to the Lord from the depth of your heart,

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee,
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.”

It has been justly observed that “it is one thing to fall into the mire and another thing to lie in it.” When the Lord has graciously restored you, you will look upon sin as the bitterest calamity that can befall you and consider those who would entice you to it as the very worst enemies you have.

Soon shall we arrive where not only sin, but every temptation to it and every propensity toward it will cease for ever. As a good man once said on his deathbed, “Hold out, faith and patience! Yet a little while and I shall need you no longer.” When faith and patience have done and suffered their appointed work, the disciples of Christ shall ascend from the wilderness to paradise. Then will they be able to say, “Called by the Lord’s effectual grace, we went forth into the land of Canaan; and, clothed with His righteousness and preserved by His power, into the land of Canaan we are come.” Even so, Amen.

“Watch Ye, Stand Fast in the Faith,
Quit You Like Men, Be Strong”

Written by Steven Black on 10/05/2016. Posted in Articles

(1 Cor. 16:13)

by John Gill

We ought to be watchful. This concerns not only Ministers of the Word, whose special business it is to watch over themselves and others, to take heed to themselves, and to their doctrine, and to take care of the flock, over which they are placed as overseers, and see to it, that they are fed with wholesome food and are not infected with false doctrine; but this is incumbent on members of Churches also; what is here exhorted to belongs to them, as our Lord said to His disciples; what I say unto you I say unto all, watch (Mark 13:37); against sin and the prevailing vices of the age, Satan and his temptations, false teachers and their pernicious doctrines. We live in ensnaring times, and therefore ought to be on our watch and guard; times of great profaneness and immorality, in which not only the men of the world, but professors of religion, give themselves great liberties and indulge to a vain conversation; and the more wicked the times are, the more cautious should we be, that we are not drawn aside by ill examples; and the more so, as they are set by such that profess the same name we do. Satan is very busy in laying snares in the way of a professing people, in using all devices, and wiles, and stratagems, to decoy them from the paths of truth and righteousness; wherefore we ought to watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation (Matt. 26:41): false teachers are everywhere lying in wait to deceive, and therefore we ought to guard against them, and be careful that our minds are not corrupted by them, from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3); and that we are not carried away with the error of the wicked (2 Pet. 3:17).

Stand fast in the faith; in the grace of faith, and in the doctrine of it, and in the profession of both: do not depart from the faith of the Gospel, though you live in times that others do; and have lived to see the times foretold, that some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits (1 Tim. 4:1); but in these departing times let it be your honour to stand fast without wavering; be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel (Col. 1:23); from the Gospel itself, and that hope which it gives of salvation by Jesus Christ, and eternal life through Him; stand fast in one spirit: let your whole soul and spirit be in the Gospel, and be zealously affected to it, and be united in your endeavours to promote it; striving together for the faith of it against the common enemy; earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Phil. 1:27; Jude v.3); which is attempted to be wrested out of your hands and is in great danger of being so. Let none of those things move you from your close adherence to it, which are objected to it, or you meet with on account of your profession of it. Abide by it, though the greater number of men is against it, and those the rich, the wise, and learned; and though it may be charged with novelty and licentiousness and attended with reproach and persecution.

Quit you like men; play the man; behave like men of courage and valour; be valiant for the truth upon the earth (Jer. 9:3); do as the guard about Solomon’s bed did; let every man have his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night (Song. 3:8): it is a night-season with you already and it will be darker still; you will hear the noise of the enemy, be not terrified at it; guard against the fears that may seize and surprise you; fight the Lord’s battles manfully; if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11: 3). What indeed will they have to work or build upon, or even stand on, when the foundation of all faith, hope, peace, and joy is removed? But then they should not look on as idle and unconcerned spectators of these things; what can the righteous do? They should build up as fast as the others pull down; do as Nehemiah and his people did, work with one hand and hold a weapon with the other (Neh. 4:17); a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.

Be strong; not in yourselves, but in the Lord, and in the power of His might, in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; go to Him for strength under every trial and exercise, to carry you through every service and suffering for His Name’s sake; and to oppose every enemy, and to maintain your ground against them. Go not forth in your own strength, but depend on Him, and His grace, which is sufficient for you; encourage yourselves in the Lord your God; let not your spirits sink, your hearts fail, and be discouraged; but take heart, be of good courage; consider you are engaged in a good cause, fight under the great Captain of your salvation: you may be sure of victory in the end and that the issue will be a crown of life and righteousness: wait on the Lord; in the way of His appointments, which is your duty, with patient submission to His will, until the time of your deliverance and salvation comes, and He will strengthen thine heart (Psalm 27:14); fortify your minds against fear and danger.

Excerpt from Sermons and Tracts, Vol. 1, pgs. 78-9,82-4, by John Gill.
Old Paths Gospel Press, Choteau, Montana, USA.
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FRUITFULNESS

Written by Steven Black on 20/04/2016. Posted in Articles

By: J. C. Philpot

And what fruit?   Why, fruit of three kinds: fruit in the heart, fruit in the lip and fruit in the life. 

I  Let us see what these fruits are that he brings forth in the heart, or rather, that the Lord brings forth in him.

    1. There is, first, the fruit of faith. This is the only man who really believes in Jesus; who believes the Gospel to be glad tidings to perishing sinners; and who believes in and accepts the doctrines of grace as sweet and suitable to his soul. This is the only man who really believes in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, in His blood, in His glorious righteousness, in His dying love, as sweet and suitable. And why does he believe it? Because it has been revealed in a measure to his soul. Another may have heard it and received it gladly; but there has been no special discovery or manifestation of the gospel to his heart with Divine power. His head may be stuffed with doctrines; but there is no faith in his heart; no real coming unto, trusting in, or hanging upon the Lord Jesus Christ. There may be abundance of false confidence and presumption, but no real looking unto the Lord Jesus Christ out of the depths of a broken heart; no calling upon His Name; no seeing Him by the eye of faith; nor casting all his soul upon Him as able to save to the uttermost.
    2. Again, He will bring forth the fruit of hope; or rather, God will bring it forth in him. The light shining into his soul making his evidences clear, bringing sweet manifestations of the love of God into his heart, applying His precious promises, and shedding abroad His favour – all these things, experimentally felt within, give him Gospel hope, “an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast, and entering into that within the veil.” Others have no such hope. Their hope is the hope of the hypocrite that shall perish, the spider’s web spun out of his own fleshly bowels and vain hope; not a good hope through grace, anchoring in the blood, love and obedience of Jesus.
    3. And he brings forth the fruits of love. There are times and seasons when he can say, “Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.” He loves the Lord Jesus Christ; he loves the truth as it is in Jesus; he loves the people of God; he loves the work of grace wherever he sees that work manifest; and he feels a sweet union with the tried and tempted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    4. He brings forth also true humility. He has had a sight of himself; he knows what is in man and abhors himself. His heart is humbled by and before God.
    5. He brings forth, or rather the Lord brings forth in him, the fruit of repentance. He sees what he is as a sinner and truly repents. He brings forth the fruit of godly sorrow; for seeing what his sins have cost the Lord Jesus Christ, he mourns over them with a repentance not to be repented of.
    6. He brings forth spiritual-mindedness. In the place of a carnal embracing of mere doctrines, his affections are fixed upon the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and simplicity of heart. And this produces that spiritual-mindedness which is life and peace and delights in Heavenly things.

II       He not only brings forth these things in his heart, or rather, God brings them forth in him; but he brings them forth in his lip. When he speaks of the things of God, he speaks of them with real feeling, with real love in his soul and real grace in his breast; his heart teaching his mouth. If he be a Minister, he will speak with power; he will not deliver truth in a hardened, presumptuous, unfeeling manner; but having life and feeling in his soul, and an inward experience of the things of God, what he speaks will be uttered with unction, dew, savour and power. It will reach the heart, melt the spirit and bring forth life and feeling in the hearers.

And if he be a hearer, a private character, he will also bring forth fruit with his lips. His speech will be seasoned with salt. There will be a life and power in his conversation when he comes into the company of the people of God; the hearts of others will unite and melt as it were into his and find sweet union and mutual communion.

III       Nay more, he brings forth fruit in his life. He is not a drunkard nor an adulterer. When hidden and covered by darkness, he knows that when no human eye sees him, God sees him. He will not be a slave to sin; God will deliver him. Sin shall not have dominion over him; he may be entangled from time to time in secret lusts that work in him, but he will beseech God to subdue them and bring him out of every snare.

He will sigh and cry to be delivered from sin in all its shapes and forms. He will not be a covetous, a proud, a worldly-minded, an oppressive man. If a master, he will not oppress his servant; if a servant, he will be sincere and upright towards his master. He will not be an unkind, cruel husband at home. Before his friends, his wife, his children, he will be the same – a Christian at home, as well as a Christian abroad. Thus he will bring forth fruit in his life as well as in his lip.

If there be no fruit in his life, depend upon it, there is no fruit in his heart; if there be no fruit in his heart, depend upon it, there will be no fruit in his life. Very few professors will bear following home; very few whose lives and conversation will bear looking into; very few who are not slaves, more or less, to some sin – drunkenness, pride, uncleanness, covetousness, worldly-mindedness, tricks in business, or some deceitful practices. The children of God will indeed be tempted, entangled and hampered, yea, fearfully hampered by sin in their soul’s feelings.

But He, who has made their hearts inwardly honest, will make their lives outwardly honest. God, who has implanted His precious grace in their soul, causes the Word to take root in the heart and makes them to bring forth fruit, some a hundred fold (these indeed are rare), some sixty fold and some thirty fold. But if they bring forth no fruit whatever; if there be no fruit in their heart, lip or life, where shall we place them? If the preacher stand in God’s counsel, he will be as God’s mouth. I might have amused, entertained or deceived you and said, “If you believe the doctrines of grace you are Christians.” But I dare not say so; I should not be standing up in God’s name, nor be doing the work of a Minister uprightly, if I were to do so; my conscience, I hope, would not let me thus flatter and deceive you.

Then, where are the fruits? We profess to be Christians, profess to be children of God; but where are the fruits? Where are the fruits inwardly? Where are the fruits outwardly? If we have no fruits inwardly, no fruits outwardly, we may call ourselves what we please, but we shall not be what the Lord calls fruitful children, “trees of His right hand planting.”
                                                                  

From: Sin and Salvation – Selections from J. C. Philpot
Edited by B. A. Ramsbottom

FRUITFULNESS

TRUST

Written by Steven Black on 16/04/2016. Posted in Articles

How do we trust in the Lord? We cannot trust in Him till we know Him. Do I trust a man I do not know? It would not do in this metropolis. I must know a man to trust him. So it is spiritually. We must know the Lord deserves our trust before we can put our trust in Him; we must have proved His faithfulness before we can fully rest in Him. In a word, trust implies this: though we cannot see the object of our trust, yet we rely on him from the knowledge we have of his faithfulness. It is like the wife, who has implicit confidence in her husband: he is away from her, but her confidence in his faithfulness fails not. It is the confidence of the child in his parent, at school and separated by many miles. It is the trust of friends divided by distance. Trust does not require sight; it relies upon the object trusted in, from what we knew of him, though present sight and present experience be denied.

The nature of faith is to trust in the dark, when all appearances are against it, to trust that a calm will come, though a storm be overhead; to trust that God will appear, though nothing but evil be felt. There is something filial in this, something heavenly, spiritual. Not the bold presumption of the daring or the despairing fears of the desponding, but something beyond both the one and the other, equally remote from the rashness of presumption and the horror of despair. There is a mingling of holy affection connected with this trust, springing out of a reception of past favours, insuring favours to come and all linked with a simple hanging upon the Lord, because He is what He is. There is a looking to and relying upon the Lord, because we have felt Him to be the Lord, and because we have no other refuge.

J.Irons

TRUST

TAKING AND MAKING TIME FOR GOD

Written by Steven Black on 28/03/2016. Posted in Articles

By: Greg Hinnant

From a tract published by: Evangelical Tract Distributors, P.O. Box 146, Edmonton,
AB,Canada T5J 2G9 – www.evangelicaltract.com

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts
unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Time is a very precious and perishable commodity. With mercy toward none and impatience toward all, it steadily slips away, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Even while we take the time to consider this subject, our lives, like a mist, are gradually vanishing from the earthly scene. “…for what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14

The psalmist had this truth in mind when he prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12. To “number our days” is to highly value and wisely use the time God has allotted us.

If we want our lives to count for God, we must get to know Him. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” John 17:3. To know God, we must seek Him. “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6. To seek Him, we must spend time with Him. “And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him…” (Mark 3:14, 13-15, 19b; cf. Exodus 24:12-13, 18). And to spend time with God, we must take time from other interests – and now. Life is extremely short. There is simply no time to waste.

In ‘The Root of the Righteous’, A. W. Tozer writes:

“Probably the most widespread and persistent problem to be found among Christians is the problem of retarded spiritual progress. Why, after years of Christian profession, do so many persons find themselves no farther along than when they first believed?”

He concludes that the most probable cause of this “retarded spiritual progress” is “failure to give time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God.” Then he adds:

“Progress in the Christian life is exactly equal to the growing knowledge we gain of the Triune God in personal experience. And such experience requires a whole life devoted to it and plenty of time spent in the holy task of cultivating God. God can be known satisfactorily only as we devote time to Him… We may as well accept it: there is no short cut to sanctity… A thousand distractions would woo us away from thoughts of God, but if we are wise we will sternly put them from us and make room for the King and take time to entertain Him. Some things may be neglected with but little loss to the spiritual life, but to neglect communion with God is to hurt ourselves where we cannot afford it.”

In this “instant age” we tend to look for shorter, easier ways of doing everything. But there is no way to obtain instant spiritual reality. Christian maturity is available only on a “pay as you go” basis; if we don’t pay the price we don’t go on to know God. We cannot press buttons and have God suddenly created in us a wonderful, well-rounded knowledge of Himself.

Abraham could not. It took him many years of seeking, trusting, waiting, and obeying to fully know the God who called him. And so it was with Joseph, Moses and David. Even Jesus did not mature in a moment. Over a period of thirty years, He spent many long hours in private communion with His Heavenly Father. Then He went forth to minister, “full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. The Heavenly Father is looking for disciples who are as their Lord, who love Him enough to spend time with Him.

Are we being honest with God about how we use our time? In ‘Workman of God’, Oswald Chambers writes:

Peter said to Ananias, ‘Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.’ Acts 5:4. Christian worker, how much time are you giving to prayer, to reading your Bible? ‘Oh, I am giving all the time I can.’ Be careful that you are not lying to the Holy Ghost. Pentecostal lying begins in this way, dragging down the intense holiness of God which keeps a man right with God in every detail of his life. Let us examine ourselves the next time we say, ‘ I have no time,’ or, ‘I give all the time I can to the study of God’s Word, I give all the time I can to praying.’ God grant we may be put on the alert on these lines that we may not be found lying to the Holy Ghost. May these words come with warning and with scrutiny and bring our souls face to face with God.”

Let us consider some simple human facts common to us all. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 1:18. Truly, “there is… a time to every purpose under the Heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1. We take time to eat, sleep and work. We take time for education, entertainment, recreation, and relaxation. We take time to visit with family and friends. We take time to examine, buy and sell the material goods we need to live in this world. We take time for births, deaths and marriages. We take time for special events and national and religious holidays. We take time for church and social activities. But amid all this careful allocation of time, where does God come in? Where is our time for Him? “Come unto Me…” Matthew 11:28-30. How unreasonable it is to take time for everything but God and yet expect to know Him so closely that we possess the faith of Abraham, the wisdom of Joseph, the devotion of David, the insight of Daniel and the love of Paul? God must wonder about us!

“…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (II Corinthians 6:2; cf. Romans 13:11-14). If we are ever going to spend time with God, now is the time to do so. If we are ever going to master the Bible, now is the time to do so. If we are ever going to “Pray without ceasing”, I Thessalonians 5:17, now is the time to do so. If we are ever going to become “approved unto God”, II Timothy 2:15 and “disciples indeed”, John 8:31, now is the time to give ourselves “wholly” to the process of becoming “Till I come… give thyself wholly…” I Timothy 4:13-15. Spiritual procrastination – putting off God’s plans while we pursue our plans – is a great enemy. It hinders our spiritual growth so effectively that the Devil doesn’t even have to oppose us! He rests while we self-destruct by wasting our precious time.

Some believers have plenty of free time, but refuse to take any of it for God. Their spare time is zealously committed to good things, the good things that are ever the enemy of the best. Worldly busywork usurps spiritual activity. Temporal things crowd out eternal interests. Mary “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word,” Luke 10:39, but these distracted saints, as Martha, hustle about encumbering themselves with activities, activities and more activities from dawn to dusk. They have forgotten the exhortation of II Timothy 2:4, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Other saints have very little extra time. The demands of job, family and church consume almost all of their waking moments. Yet, strangely, some of these hear and answer the call to seek the Lord. How do they do it? Where do they find the time to abide with Jesus in the “secret place”? They don’t; they make it. Because they take Matthew 6:33 seriously and literally – “seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness…” – they prayerfully re-arrange their daily schedules to make time for Him.

Jesus taught that the man who makes good use of what he has will be given more. “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance…,” Matthew 25:29, 14-30. And the man who does not use what he has will lose it. “…but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” (Matthew 25:29; cf. Luke 19:24-26).

Apply this to our use of time, we discover a miraculous law of God: God gives time to the man who uses his time for Him. If we use our free time for fellowship with the Lord, He will work providentially in our circumstances to give us more free time… time that we may then use to seek Him further. ”…and he shall have abundance…” When He sees us taking or making time to spend with Him in His Word and prayer, He is so pleased that He moves to create new openings in our schedules. Why? Because He can trust us to use that time to “apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12. But He does not do so for the man who consistently misuses his extra time. Rather, he finds “even that which he hath” is eventually “taken away.”

Are we willing to take, or if need be, make time to seek the Lord? It will mean re-arranging, re-scheduling and re-ordering our days and nights. Our lifestyle will be turned upside-down. New, spiritual priorities will have to be established. As knowing God becomes our new chief interest, many formerly important interests will be permanently relegated to second place. Beloved, we have made God wait too long. Now other things – “all these things… the Gentiles seek,” Matthew 6:32 – must wait.

If you have free time for God, take it. If you don’t make it. And now! Only then can you “follow after” to fully know your Lord and fulfil your spiritual destiny. “That I may know Him… I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:10-12.

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WAITING UPON GOD

Written by Steven Black on 28/03/2016. Posted in Articles

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

(Isaiah 40:31)

The promises of God are all ‘yea’ and ‘amen’ in a precious Jesus; and revealed to the new-born soul by the Spirit of all truth, who takes up His ‘abode’ in that new creature for the very purpose of making manifest Christ formed in that heart, the hope of glory. And the first evidence is a cry unto the Lord for mercy, under the conviction of sin. And, however long or short a time it may be that the soul is in that condition – according to the sovereign pleasure of an all-wise Father – yet, sooner or later, that cry will be answered by the ‘Word which is spirit and life,’ in drawing it to a glorious Mediator, and also opening the sensible sinner’s ears to hear that all is accomplished by that ever-precious Redeemer; and begetting an earnest longing to know if his sins were laid upon Him, who hath blotted out the transgressions of His people with His own most precious blood; having first fulfilled God’s most holy and righteous law; yea, magnified it and made it honourable!

The next work of God the Holy Ghost is to open the eyes to behold glorious things in that ‘law of loving-kindness,’ grace and truth by Jesus Christ. The ‘eyes of the understanding’ being enlightened, this (new) creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God – ‘because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Rom. 8:19, 21). The heart is also opened to receive Him as the whole of salvation; this being the work of faith with power – faith which worketh by love (or Christ), because the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost. Now, then, to come to the gracious declaration: ‘But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength’ (or change, margin). From hearing, by the ear of faith, and seeing, by the eye of faith, they are now enabled to receive (or believe) with their whole (or new) heart, unto righteousness; according to another sweet promise: ‘They shall go from strength to strength.’ And that is not all: ‘everyone shall appear in Zion’; by living faith shall know that they are in the ‘city’ of the living God; and shall come with everlasting songs. One of these is, ‘In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.’ Another, ‘Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength, and my song; He also is become my salvation.’

And the dear Lord, who is so gracious to make known His delight in listening to the voice of His spouse, further strengthens her by saying (and ‘where the word of a King is, there is power’) – ‘Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee” (Isa. 12:6). ‘They shall mount up with wings as eagles.’ Who is there that could frustrate the purpose of God, and say this cannot be? It would be presumption, when the Almighty Jehovah hath declared that they shall do so, under the constraining influence of His omnipotent power! Their faith shall follow Christ at the right hand of the Majesty of Heaven, in His resurrection glory, as the God-man Mediator, and that, as ‘He is, so are we in this present evil world.’ ‘And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places (mark) in Christ Jesus’ (Eph:2:6). ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (Heb. 11:1). ‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts unto which ye are called in one hope of your calling.’ And this hope is ‘as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast, and entereth into that within the vail, whither our Forerunner is for us entered.’ Blessed mounting up this with the strength of eagles’ wings, soaring in the beams of the ‘Sun of Righteousness’!

‘They shall run, and not be weary.’ This enlargement of heart will cause them, as the Psalmist expresseth it, ‘to run in the way of His commandments.’ And what are His commandments? ‘That we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another’ (1 John 3:23). Souls brought into this position are enabled to run from everything pertaining to the old state and standing in Adam into that ‘strong tower,’ the ‘name of the Lord,’ and are safe – because no man-slayer can enter there:

‘Shelter’d in love’s eternal arms
He dreads no threatening foe,
Beyond the reach of sin’s alarms,
The source of mortal woe.’ (Kent)

The last sentence of this most gracious cluster of promises is, ‘They shall walk, and not faint,’ which is, indeed, a crowning point to all. Walking implies continued progression, not running and stopping; no, but they run into Him and then they walk with Him; follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth – walk with God as their reconciled Father in Him. It is related of Enoch that he walked with God; and had this testimony – that he pleased Him, because he walked in faith with a precious Saviour. He saw the day afar off, like Abraham, and rejoiced in it. No fainting here; oh no! ‘The righteous shall hold on his way,’ and he that hath clean hands (of faith) shall wax stronger and stronger. ‘Let the weak say I am strong.’ The weak shall be as David, and the house of David as God. And in this day of Gospel grace, it shall be said to Jerusalem, ‘Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack’ (Zeph. 3:16). Truly all that hath been stated and quoted is all carried on in the New Jerusalem, which is from above, and the mother of us all; and in Mount Zion, where deliverance alone can be – and is – obtained; and a revelation of the mind and will of God in Christ Jesus to all the chosen family, who are quickened into life union with their glorious Head and Husband.

The question may now be put, seeing these things are so, how is it that comparatively few of the Lord’s people live under an abiding sense of these blessed privileges? A passage at this juncture strikes the mind of the writer, ‘Your sins and iniquities have separated between you and your God’ (i.e. in communion). There is so much conformity to the world in all things, which brings the soul into darkness; and then a listening to an evil heart of unbelief, aided by carnal reasoning, and mightily increased by the suggestions of the great enemy to godliness. All these, as a cloud of locust, conceal the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ from view; and then no wonder doubts and fears prevail. But, oh! the tender compassion of our God; though we believe not, yet He abideth faithful. He correcteth in love and infinite wisdom and, when He hath brought down our ‘hearts with labour’ into the dust of self-abasement, He causes us to hear His voice and says: ‘Return unto me, O ye backsliding children, for I am married unto you.’

Also, there are many kept in a state of bondage, through sitting under a ministry that does not tend to lead them out of it. As in the days of the Apostles, so now, there are many instructors, but not many ‘fathers in Christ.’ Yet will the Lord hold up His people by His word; but they lose much of the comfort of being established upon the Rock of Ages, and come short of glorifying a Triune Jehovah by their life, walk and conversation, crucifying the flesh with all its affections and lusts; and nothing doth this so effectually as having an experimental understanding of the love of God in our hearts. The dear Apostle Paul saith, under the power of the Holy Ghost, that this one thing he did, ‘forgetting those things that are behind’ (his state by nature), he reached ‘forth unto those things that are before; pressing toward the mark for the prize’ of his high calling of God in Christ.
‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh (by faith) will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written’ (Rev. 2:17). ‘Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors’ (Prov. 8:34). ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him’ (Psa. 62:5). ‘The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute’ (Prov. 12:24).

May these few lines, in the hand of God the Holy Ghost, be blessed to the stirring up of the pure minds of His own to a greater diligence in suing out by faith their inheritance; and not rest as the two tribes and halt short of the promised land, but enter in by faith, and sing victory through the blood of the Lamb! And, when the spirit returns to God, who gave it, and the body descends to the dust, from thence to be raised in incorruption, then shall both take up the song throughout the countless ages of eternity.

A Brand Plucked out of the Fire