“That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:27
Neither others nor we ourselves now see what the Church one day will be, and what she ever was in the eyes of Jesus. He could look through all this time-state, through all the sins and sorrows of this intermediate period, and fix his eye upon the bridal day, the day when before assembled angels, in the courts of heaven, in the realms of eternal bliss, he should present her to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy, and without blemish. O what a day will that be, when the Son of God shall openly wed his espoused bride; when there shall be heard in heaven, “as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth! Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). How cleansed, how sanctified, how washed, how clothed must the Church be in that day when the very eyes of omniscience, which can read the slightest departure, even a wrinkle, from infinite purity, will find in her neither spot nor blemish, so that God himself in all the blaze of his holiness may say of the Church, “I have viewed her with an omniscient eye; I have looked at every member of the mystical body of my dear Son; I have examined each with all the eyes of Godhead; but there is no spot, there is no wrinkle, no blemish in any one of them; all are complete in him; all stand accepted in the Beloved.” But you may ask, and this is an inquiry well worth pressing upon your conscience, “How am I to know that I shall stand at that day without spot or wrinkle?” To answer that inquiry, what do you know, I ask, of the cleansing, sanctifying influences of regenerating grace, of the word of truth laying hold of your conscience, of the word of power coming into your heart, of the blood of Christ being applied, and the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost? If not now, yet before you are called away from these lower scenes, you are blessed with a living faith in the Son of God, with the application of his love and blood to your conscience, when time ends with you, it will open to you a glorious eternity, and for ever delivered from all your present sins and sorrows, fears and anxieties, you will be presented at the great day amongst that glorious Church, which has neither spot nor wrinkle nor any such thing. But if you live and die without any interest in these heavenly blessings, should I be faithful to my commission and to my conscience, if I were to say it will be all well with you?—that you have only on your deathbed to send for a minister to pray by your bedside, give you the sacrament, and speak a few comfortable words, and it will be all right with your soul? Should I be faithful to my commission to encourage such a delusion as this, a delusion by which thousands are continually deceived? I dare not do it. Yea, I would lift up my voice and cry aloud, “There is no salvation past, present, or future, but what flows through the precious blood of the Lamb, and is made experimentally known to the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869
By: Michael Hobbis
CW Committee Member
All in a matter of a few weeks, a virulent virus spreads over the globe. The pandemic Coronavirus – Covid 19 – has caused widespread disruption in every nation it has visited, many are calling these ‘unprecedented times’, times when the medical services have been stretched, often beyond capacity, in terms of hospital beds, staff and equipment. The price of oil, man’s liquid gold, has for the first time in its history reached negative territory. To add to these calamities the world’s economies are in danger of a great, possibly the greatest, recession ever.
When the Bible, the Word of the Living God, in the book of Amos speaks of the “lion roaring”; what does this mean? It means that God by The Lord Jesus Christ who is also called in Scripture “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”, has roared out a warning to the inhabitants of the earth. How? By His acts of Providence in temporal judgements, we may say chastisements. Amos which speaks much of these Divine acts declares: “the lion has roared, who will not fear?”
It should be remembered that Almighty God who has sent out this warning holds in the hollow of His Hand all His creation and all events be they great or small. Lest any should ascribe these things to chance or the ‘natural way of things’, He asks by Amos: “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” The Puritans in the time of the black death had no doubt as to who had sent such a plague!
By PETER SIMPSON
Many, including the Prime Minister, have likened the current coronavirus pandemic to the crisis faced by the nation in World War 2.
There is certainly one key area where at the present time we would do well to emulate what happened during the wartime years, and that is in respect of a corporate turning to God by means of national days of prayer.
In WW2, as various crises and turning points came into being, some 12 national days of prayer were held. This was reflecting an historic and long established tradition in which between 1535 and 1939 this country had conducted no less than 536 such occasions of public prayer and ‘humiliation’ in respect of national calamities, including outbreaks of plague and cholera and poor harvests.
During the course of the Second World War Britain was very dependent upon the importation of food by sea in order to feed the population. It was more than ever vital that the nation grew as much of its own food as possible. Christians were therefore praying that He would mightily bless the produce of the fields. The harvest in 1942 in fact brought forth one of the most abundant yields on record, so much so that the then Minister of Agriculture, R. S. Hudson, on the BBC News of October 10th, openly attributed the harvest to the intervention of the Trinitarian God in answering the people’s prayers.
By Peter Simpson
ADOLF Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945. On May 4, at Luneberg Heath in Lower Saxony, representatives of the armed forces of the Third Reich went to General Montgomery’s headquarters and signed a paper accepting the Allies’ terms of unconditional surrender. The German delegation was led by Generaladmiral von Friedeburg, Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy.
On May 8, Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed the Speaker of the House of Commons and requested that the House adjourn in order to cross the road to St Margaret’s Church to give thanks to God for the rescuing of the nation. Later that day King George VI went out on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace and again offered thanks to the Lord, as he addressed the crowds in front of him.
That same evening the King further addressed the nation, and concluded his speech stating, ‘In the hour of danger we humbly committed our cause into the hand of God and He has been our strength and shield. Let us thank Him for His mercies and in this hour of victory commit ourselves and our new task to the guidance of that same strong hand.’
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:25, 26
View the Church without the sanctifying operations and influences of regenerating grace. She is far from Christ; she has no desire towards him, no manifest union, no communion with him; no faith in his blood, no hope in his mercy, no love to his name. Were she left always thus, where would be her meetness for heaven? But when the word of truth comes with power, and is accompanied by the influences of the Holy Ghost to the heart, then there is not only a cleansing of the conscience from the guilt and filth of sin, but the communication of a new heart and a new spirit. How plainly is this spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel, where, after the promise, “From all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you,” it is added, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” We have not only therefore to be washed from our sins in the blood of the Lamb, not only to be pardoned and forgiven and thus have a title to heaven, but we want a meetness for heaven; we want a new heart and a new spirit given to us, whereby we may taste, handle, feel, and enjoy the love of Christ as shed abroad in the heart, and experience the flowings forth of love to him in return. As then the blood cleanses, so the Spirit sanctifies. John therefore says, “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood” (1 John 5:6). The blood is the blood of the atonement; the water is the sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost.
Observe the order in which these blessings come. First, is the love of Christ in eternity; secondly, the gift of himself in time; thirdly, the cleansing by blood; fourthly, the sanctifying by the Spirit. Now look at these things for yourselves. Are your sins pardoned? Have you any evidence that you are washed in the blood of the Lamb? Do you believe that you are going to heaven? What does your belief of this, or your hope in it, rest upon? Where are your evidences? Surely not from merely seeing these truths in the Scripture as the bare revelation of God, or believing them from my statements. Such a faith and such a hope, if you have no better, will prove delusive, and will leave you in the hands of him who is a consuming fire. If your hope of eternal life is well grounded, it is because the word of life has come into your soul, and you have been not only cleansed by the application of the blood of sprinkling to your conscience, but sanctified and renewed by the power of the word, through the Holy Spirit, upon your heart.,
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17
When the gospel comes “not in word only, but also in power,” it comes “in the Holy Ghost,” that is, in and with the teaching and testimony of the Holy Ghost. It is this coming “in the Holy Ghost” which gives truth in its power such a sanctifying influence on the heart. But you will ask, perhaps, What is a sanctifying influence? It is the communication of holy feelings, heavenly desires, and gracious affections; in a word, it is the breathing into the soul of that sweet spirituality of mind which is life and peace. If we are among the people of God, he chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” If he chasten us in this time-state, it is “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Heb. 12:10). It is this holiness of heart, this heavenly-mindedness which I mean when I speak of the sanctifying influence of truth in its power. Now did truth ever come into your soul with any measure of this sanctifying influence? Did you ever long to get away from the chapel, go home to your room, fall upon your knees, and have blessed fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ? And were you ever so favoured when you did get home? Or sometimes when alone, in reading, or meditation, or secret prayer, did the word of God ever come into your soul with that sweet unction, savour, and dew that it seemed to make the very room in which you were holy ground? I remember when God was pleased to reveal his dear Son to my soul in my sick room many years ago, I was afraid almost to go out of my room lest I should lose the sweet, holy feelings and blessed spirituality of mind which I then and there enjoyed. Depend upon it, there is a holiness of heart and affection, an inward holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; and depend upon it, whenever truth comes into a believer’s soul, it comes with that sanctifying influence, which not only gives him a meetness for, but is a blessed foretaste of the inheritance of the saints in light.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869
“Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16
We are, most of us, so fettered down by the chains of time and sense, the cares of life and daily business, the weakness of our earthly frame, the distracting claims of a family, and the miserable carnality and sensuality of our fallen nature, that we live at best a poor, dragging, dying life. We can take no pleasure in the world, nor mix with a good conscience in its pursuits and amusements; we are many of us poor, moping, dejected creatures, from a variety of trials and afflictions; we have a daily cross and the continual plague of an evil heart; get little consolation from the family of God or the outward means of grace; know enough of ourselves to know that in self there is neither help nor hope, and never expect a smoother path, a better, wiser, holier heart, or to be able to do to-morrow what we cannot do to-day. As then the weary man seeks rest, the hungry food, the thirsty drink, and the sick health, so do we stretch forth our hearts and arms that we may embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and sensibly realise union and communion with him. From him come both prayer and answer, both hunger and food, both desire and the tree of life. He discovers the evil and misery of sin that we may seek pardon in his bleeding wounds and pierced side; makes known to us our nakedness and shame, and, as such, our exposure to God’s wrath, that we may hide ourselves under his justifying robe; puts gall and wormwood into the world’s choicest draughts, that we may have no sweetness but in and from him; keeps us long fasting to endear a crumb, and long waiting to make a word precious. He wants the whole heart, and will take no less; and as this we cannot give, he takes it to himself by ravishing it with one of his eyes, with one chain of his neck. If we love him, it is because he first loved us; and if we seek communion with him, it is because he will manifest himself to us as he doth not unto the world.
Would we see what the Holy Ghost has revealed of the nature of this communion, we shall find it most clearly and experimentally unfolded in the Song of Solomon. From the first verse of that book, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,” to the last expressed desire of the loving bride, “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices,” all is a “song of loves,” all a divine revelation of the communion that is carried on upon earth between Christ and the Church. She “comes up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved,” whilst “his left hand is under her head, and his right hand doth embrace her.” She says, “Look not upon me, because I am black;” but he answers, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” At one moment she says, By night, on my bed, I sought him whom my soul loveth; I sought him, but I found him not;” and then again she cries, “It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him, and would no let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house and into the chamber of her that conceived me.” Comings and goings; sighs and songs; vain excuses and cutting self reflections; complaints of self, and praises of him; the breathings of love, and the flames of jealousy; the tender affections of a virgin heart, and the condescending embraces of a royal spouse;—such is the experience of the Church in seeking or enjoying communion with Christ as described in this divine book.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869
“Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 45:24
Have you yet learnt that you are a sinner in the sight of God? Have you ever felt the length, breadth, and spirituality of his holy law? Do you feel in your very soul that without Christ’s righteousness being imputed to you, and his blood being sprinkled upon your conscience, you must die in your sins and never reach the heavenly shore? Has this ever been, or is it still a matter of anxious solicitude to you? Has it ever caused sighs and groans to come out of your heart? Has the spirit of prayer ever been given, to make you plead with the Lord for the forgiveness of your sins, through the merits of a crucified Saviour? And have you any hope but in his blood, righteousness, and finished work? Now if the Lord has been pleased to exercise your soul in this way, if he has not yet granted the longing desire of your heart, he certainly will in due time reveal his dear Son in you as the God-man who has saved you from death and hell; he will apply his atoning blood to your conscience, bring near his glorious righteousness, shed abroad his dying love, give and strengthen faith, and draw it forth into a blessed assurance of your interest in the Son of his love. Or if your manifestations should not be very bright and conspicuous, he will give you a good hope through grace, as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast; and will draw up your affections to that blessed Lord who sits at the right hand of the Father in power, majesty, and glory. And as he does this, he enables the believer thus favoured and blessed to take these words into his lips, “In the Lord have I righteousness.” He cannot say it before. He may know that there is no righteousness but in the Lord; he may have utterly renounced his own; he may have sunk very deep into guilt and bondage; but until the Lord the Spirit is pleased to liberate him, he cannot come forth into liberty; until he has the witness of the Spirit he cannot cry, “Abba, Father.” But when the Lord is pleased to bring near his righteousness, to reveal his dying love, and to shed it abroad in his heart by divine power, then he can say, “In the Lord have I righteousness.” And when he has this, he wants no other; it is complete, which no other can be. It is acceptable to God; it is available in the courts of heaven; it will bear him up through all the storms of time; it will smooth a dying pillow, and land him safely in a glorious eternity.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” Luke 1:74, 75
The grand point in all true religion is to be brought by the blessed Spirit into that happy spot where we can serve the living God free from that guilt, bondage, darkness, doubt, and fear which often possess our mind, and are the worst enemies of our soul’s peace. But though they are such enemies to all true peace and happiness, yet are they mercifully overruled for our spiritual good, to convince us from whence our help must come, to strip us thoroughly of all creature help and hope, and bring us to the spot where the Lord meets the soul in mercy, sheds abroad his love, and brings near a precious Christ. We have no reason to thank bondage, guilt and the law, still less sin and Satan, for any work they have done which God has overruled for our good. And yet without some experience of these dead works and the bondage and guilt produced by them, we could not know what it was to have our conscience purged by the blood of sprinkling to serve the living God. There are reasons, therefore, and wise reasons on the part of God, why his children should be thus vexed and plagued. It is true it is not the revealed will of God that his children should spend so many of their days in darkness, doubt, and fear. He has given us a glorious gospel; he has set before us in Jesus everything for our comfort and relief; he has promised to send his Holy Spirit to testify of Christ, and has filled his word with promises and invitations suited to every case. And yet his secret will and purpose are that we should be thus exercised and tried, and walk in this path of darkness and desolation, that we might value more the precious liberty of the gospel, know more of what Christ is, and what he has done to save us from the depths of the fall, be more deeply indebted to the riches of free and sovereign grace, and come more personally into the blessedness of gospel mercies as made known to our soul by a divine power.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869
“I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.” Psalm 119:131
In whatever state or stage of experience you are, it will be your wisdom and your mercy to stick to God’s testimony. Has the Lord just begun a work of grace in your heart? Is he shewing to you what you are by nature, and bringing before your eyes the sins of your youth, and plunging you in deep convictions? It will be your wisdom, and it will be your mercy, to stick to that testimony; not to be driven from your standing into despair, nor pushed forward into fleshly confidence; but to stick to that testimony which God himself has implanted. Has God made you to sigh and cry from the depths of a broken heart—to fall down before his truth? Stick to that testimony; he will not put you to shame. Again, if the Lord has done a little more for you, shewn you the least glimpse of mercy and favour, and given you some little testimony of your interest in the blood of the Lamb, it will be your wisdom, and it will be your mercy, to stick to that testimony too. You will find those who would push you presumptuously forward; you will find those who would drive you despairingly backward; you will find those who would pull you down into those doubts and fears that their own minds are exercised with, and you will find those who would draw you aside into the vain confidence in which they themselves are standing. It will be your wisdom and mercy to abide by the testimony which God himself has revealed; and he can work in your soul that faith whereby you can and will stick to his testimony. But some may say, “How do I know that I am sticking to God’s testimonies?” I would ask, what are the feelings of your hearts towards them? Is there godly fear? Is there holy reverence? Is there trembling awe? Is there any exercise of soul? any pouring out of the heart before God? any realising of his presence? any trembling lest you should offend him? any desire after him? any solemn feelings whereby your soul is exercised upon his perfections? Then there is reason to believe there is some testimony of God in your conscience, and that you are sticking to it. But if your religion be such as leads to vain confidence, to self-righteousness, to presumption, to false security, and to a careless, light, trifling spirit, depend upon it you are not sticking to God’s testimony, or else you have no testimony from God to stick unto. But if the Lord is bringing into your soul some sense of his displeasure; if you have trifled with him, and brought guilt into your soul and trouble into your mind, it will be your wisdom, and it will be your mercy to do, as the Lord speaks in Leviticus 26:41, “accept the punishment of your iniquity;” to put your mouth in the dust, and confess that you are vile; not to turn aside to presumptuous confidence as though you would blunt the edge of God’s sword in your soul, but to receive it in your heart, embrace it in your conscience, and to cleave to it as the testimony of God himself. “I have stuck unto thy testimonies.” To cleave to everything which God makes known in the conscience, be it judgment, be it mercy, be it a smile, be it a frown, be it a testimony for, be it a testimony against, whatever it be that comes with power, and is brought to the soul by the application of the Spirit—to cleave to it, keeps the soul in a safe and blessed spot.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869