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giving, however, two precious words to faith; first, concerning the sick—

"This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby ,

and, secondly, concerning the departed— "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth."

Bereaved ones! be comforted. They must sleep, in order that the Lord may have the special glory of awakening them. How glorified, indeed, will He be, when He shall descend from heaven with a shout, and that same "loud voice," which called Lazarus forth, shall call us into His presence, (not, as in his case, "bound about with grave-clothes, and a napkin about his head," showing that the trammels of Death were still about him, and he must fall asleep again,) but we shall come forth as the Lord did, leaving the grave-clothes in the sepulchre, death having no more dominion over us. Glory for ever to the Lord!

When the Lord Jesus arrived, he did not enter the town of Bethany; and we know, from 1 Thess. iv., that when the Lord comes for his Church, he will not come down to the ground, but descend into the air, and we shall be caught up, "to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Lazarus had been actually dead "four days;" this may indicate the four thousand years that Death had already reigned from Adam; and his coming forth "bound about with grave-clothes," as we have said, indicates that all the power of Death was not then actually abolished.

The family at Bethany may well represent the Church of Christ on earth. The members of it are spoken of in John xi. 5 thus—" Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus." The Lord Jesus is emphatically said to have "loved his Church." The three loved ones are all of them believers, and they constitute a family. The Church is the "household of faith," and believers are called his brethren. They lived in Bethany (the House of Figs); where his Beloved are is a place of sweet fruit to the Lord. The three represent the Church as—by nature —dead, depraved, and "numbered" with trifles; but—by grace—as alive again and feasting with Him, as pouring the precious ointment of worship upon Him, and as accepted servants. This is beautifully shown forth in the supper at Bethany, John xii. 2, 3.

But in the meanwhilo, these three of Bethany vividly represent the characteristics of the Church at the Lord's coming. Lazarus prefigures those who have fallen asleep in the Lord: Mary represents Christians who long for His arrival, who know that "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry," and are patiently waiting till He calls them. Martha seems to be a type of those Christians who do not realize themselves as already in resurrection-life, and who are putting off the resurrection of those who are asleep to an indefinitely distant day. It is pleasant to see Martha's faith in Christ as the Son of God, nnd how free she is to confess it, but the Lord div<-iU8 that she is as much in want of teaching as sympathy, and

accordingly proceeds to test her faith and knowledge, and to show that her statement "I know that he shall rise again at the resurrection of the last day," was a figment of tradition, and not founded on His own blessed teaching. This is exactly the position of many dear Christians now; they place the resurrection of the saved and the unsaved at one and the last day! The Lord does not test Mary; she fell at his feet, as a worshipping one and a listener, to quietly await what He would do. Oh, that this may be our attitude of spirit. With such Jesus weeps; and though "our light affliction is but for a moment," as with Mary, yet during that moment the Lord Jesus "weeps with them that weep," for He is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." But Martha's is a most instructive case :—

"Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had not died. But I know that, even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give thee.

"Thy brother shall rise again.

"I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at tho last day.

"I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

"Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should como into the world."

Many Christians think that Christ is indeed the "Resurrection and the Life" because He will raise the dead at His Coming. But the fact is, He is the Resurrection and Life now, becauso "we are new creatures in Christ Jesus." He was judged in our stead, died for us, and when He rose, we, virtually, rose with Him—our Life, our Head—and are, in the Divine view, sitting "together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. ii. 6.)

"Your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, our Life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what wo shall be ; but wo know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

Those who have got no further in the faith than Martha cannot grasp this blessed fact; such Christians are looking at death as an inevitable necessity, and are continuing " all their lifetime subject to bondage"—the bondage of a shadow! the fear of something that has been abolished! for the Scripture saith, He "hath abolished Death!" The believer may fall "asleep in Jesus," and the Lord may descend from heaven at any moment, and call us all, both those asleep and those awako, to himself. This rapturous event we should be looking for and patiently awaiting.

If the Scriptures which teach the blessed fact that we are "passed from death unto life" are quoted and pressed upon many dear Christians, they will give an assent, because the passages referred to are from tho Bible; but it will not, through the bad teaching they have received, be an intelligent assent. It will be like Martha's answer; the Lord had said, "Believest thou this?" She answers "Yea," and proceeds to say she believes in Him as the Christ ! But that, though a blessed fact, was not in question; the Lord knew she believed in Him. We, therefore, repeat the question to the Christian reader—" Believest thou this?" — that you, living and believing in Jesus, can never die?

Carrying the analogy a step further, we see that the raising of Lazarus leads many of the Jews to believe on Jesus, and so, we think, the calling of the Church out of the world will be one of those signs which will lead to faith in the elect-remnant of Israel in the latter days. And then follows, in beautiful harmony with our previous analogy, First, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, after the raising of Lazarus, and secondly, as we know, the Lord's triumphal return to earth, as King in Zion, after he has raised the Church.

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent," (Johnvi. l>N-:!9.)

Again Jesus said—

"If any in.m will do his will, he shall know of the <1' trine whether it be of God." (John vii. 17.)

You must begin with roniithiicf in the only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; <//'<./»v//w, theW/. txr learns the ways of God experimentally, under the teaching of that Saviour,the gracious Master in whom he trusts.

DO ACCEPT FACTS.
(a Dialogue.)

Sceptic.—It appears to me altogether unreasonable that people should be saved by what you call faith.

Evangelist.—Let me explain to you that it is a living person, Jesus Christ, who saves. Faith, as a mere abstract principle, exists in many a soul without bringing salvation. Many believe in God, as Creator, yet die in their sins.

Sceptic.—But have I not heard you say that sinners are saved by faith'?

Evangelist.—Yes. But it must be faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners.

Sceptic.—I cannot see how that can save men's souls.

Evangelist.—God does not demand of you that you should see how. But He declares the Pact, and calls upon you to believe it. Though even belief of that fact will not snvejoa. You must have faith in the Person.

Sceptic.—Your argument is then, if I understand you, that unless I have faith (as you call it) in Jesus Christ, I cannot be saved.

Evangelist-—That is not my argument, but it is the plain declaration of God.

"The Father loveth the Son, (Jesus Christ) and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not Bee life; but the wrath of God obideth on him." John iii. 35-36.

Sceptic.—I cannot believe that God will deal with his creatures in that way.

Evangelist.—Say rather, you will not believe. Tho word cannot, as you use it, simply means will not. May I ask you a question?

Sceptic.—I am pretty well tired of the subject; but. go on.

Evangelist.—What trade do you follow 1

Sceptic.—That of a watch-finisher. I served my time to it.

Evangelist.—Did you know how men made watches before you were apprenticed to the business?

Sceptic—No. How should I 1

Evangelist.—Yet you believed that watches were made by men, and you had faith in the master who undertook to teach you the trade.

Semitic.—Yes, to all that.

Evangelist.—You believed and trusted first, and learned all the why and wherefore of the facts afterwards. So God has ordained, that if you would be saved, you must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ first, and he will give you the knowledge and understanding afterwards. The Jews enquired of Jesus—

"What shall we do, that wo might work the works of God?

"YE ARE DEAD.-'

Of all the wonderful and glorious declarations of God, few, if any, are so little understo >d practically, as that in Col. iii. 6:

"Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

This is said to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, though they be yet moving about in corruptible bodies, like other men. Unbelievers have yet to die; and unless they turn, and put their trust in Jesus, tho only Saviour, they will die in their sins.

The true christian is, however, dead already, i.e. as respects the death pronounced upon him in consequence of sin. He died by substitute before he was born into the world.

"Our old man is crucified with Christ that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Rom. vi. 6.)

What a paradox, cries Reason! Amazing truth, most precious to realise, exclaims Faith! But, alas '. many christians persistinclingingto that old tradition, namely, that in death they have yet to pass through the waters of Jordan. If christians with such ideas are called to lay down their earthly tabernacle, they lose half the joy they would otherwise find in looking only at their glorified Redeemer, because they will turn their thoughts to tho river of death, on the banks of which they have been taught to stand and shiver. But were the Israelites called upon to swim over the Jordan? Nay. The same Almighty power which brought them dryshod through the Red Sea into the wilderness, also opened a pathway through the River which separated the chosen people from the Promised Land.

The truth is, many believers are but superficially acquainted with the work of the Cross. Happily, most of God's children know that in those hours of awful darkness, during which the "Holy One of God" was suspended on the accursed tree, the blood of Jesus became the shelter of all Christians from the judgment of our righteous God. Just as the angel of judgment-paved over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt—so we, who believe, are passed over, are safe, for ever safe, through the precious blood of Jesus. "Christ, our Passover is slain." "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."

But this, unspeakably joyful though it be, is not all—far from it. In those solemn moments when Jesus endured, for us, the wrath of God—he became, for us also, the conqueror of Death and Hades. The Jordan overflowed his banks indeed—but our mighty deliverer and Lord, whom all the types and shadows, given of old, are unable to pourtray, stopped into tho rushing tide; himself endured, but, for us, rolled back, the waters of death, that we might follow him unscathed into the holy land. The deliverance wrought for us (believers) by our blessed Lord, includes the passage of the Red Sea, as well as that of the Jordan. As we have said—Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, does bring the efficacy of His atonement to the christian as a perfect protection against judgment. The youngest believer who apprehends this, knows also, in measure, that it brings him into separation from the world, as the Israelites, were separated from Egypt. The world is, however, loth to give up its former votary, and pursues after the escaped one, fain to overwhelm, or bring him back again. Many a timorous child of God has found himself in like case with that of the Israelites who marched out of Egypt—hemmed in with dangers. The surging billows before, relentless foes behind, and no way of escape on the right hand or the left. And what has he done in such a case? He has cried to the Lord. Then the answer has been given, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord," (Exod. xiv. 13.) Afterwards some servant of God has spoken the word of encouragement, "Go forward," (Exod. xiv. 15 ;) and the child of faith has gone forward and has found all that which seemeddark and fearful before him, like the waters of the Red Sea, "as a wall on the right hand and on the left"— and all through that work of grace, wrought by the Son of God on Calvary. The death of the cross has, in the purpose of God, cut us off from the world for ever.

Much of this is understood, though perhaps but dimly, by the followers of Jesus. Then comes the journey across the wilderness, and the heavenly country. The joys of the heavenly Canaan may be entered upon as soon as seen, by faith. There are, however, many enemies in "the land," great and mighty ones. [See Numbers xiii.] Yet there it is—and God offers it to the children of faith. It is a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, a fruitful land. Those who have tested it show you the fruits of it; they display before you the Grapes of Eshcol (Num. xiii. 24.) But then there are enemies there, even giants. Have you faith to go forward? Have you faith to overcome? Caleb and Joshua, having full trust in the Lord, are ready to take possession as soon as they behold the land. Caleb says:

"Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are woll able to overcome it," (Numbers xiii. 30.)

"If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it us ; a land which floweth with milk and honey," (Numbers xiv. 8.)

But the multitudo who came up out of Egypt, who had witnessed the mighty power of God, and had experienced many a deliverance at His hand, though they came in sight of Canaan, "could not enter in, because of unbelief," (Heb. iii. 19.) The Jordan offered no impediment; for the succeeding generation found, by faith, a passage through it waters, as on dry land.

Christian ! Jesus has passed through death for you. The finish of Calvary's work was death. The Jordan offers no obstacle now—will you enter the promised land? The Lord Jesus is your leader, He is the true Joshua.

When the Israelites were driven back, to waste their carcases in the wilderness—the Jordan was not their hindrance, but unbelief was. The unfaithful christian has a like portion on earth, see Romans viii. 6.

How is" it with you? In the consciousness of death passed, and in the power of the new life, which is Christ in you, you may experience now, much of the happiness of the heavenly country. Yet our spiritual enemies are still in the land ;—

"For we wrestle [or contend] 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." (Eph. vi. 12.)

This same scripture, however, furnishes us with the whole armour of God. Fear not, then, the spiritual foe; neither in heart go back to the world, (Egypt). These were the snares of the Israelites. Be a Caleb. Have entire trust in God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. Then shall you know, indeed, that the Jordan is not before you, but behind.

"Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."—2 Tim. i. 10.)

It may be, that the coming of the Lord is so near, you will be translated, as was Enoch. Otherwise, you will sleep in Jesus until the resurrection morn. Whichever way you may be called from this world the fact remains, that death is passed already.

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." THE ANGELS OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES.

W. C, Ashburton, writes,—

"Sin,—May I beg tho favour of your giving an explanation of the latter part of Rev. i. 20,—' Tho seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.' I am aware that there is an extensively prevailing thought that the clergy or' ministry' are the angels, but I do not think the passage is confined to that, as there are numerous assemblies of Christians which meet for breaking bread and edification without a ' minister.' In such cases, where can the angel be with them':"

We need to ponder prayerfully the entire verse. Our Lord's expression is—

"The Mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks."

It is a mystery still, notwithstanding the enlightenment given in the succeeding sentence, which you' have quoted. We may say, however, that it seems to us a very poor and unwarranted thought to suppose any individual minister is intended by tho expression Angel. It is altogether contrary to the tenor of the various epistles given to the churches, to recognise a paramount position in any one person, in any christian assembly. We cannot find an instance of a christian, however gifted, (not even the Apostle Paul,) being recognised as The minister (exclusively) of any particular place or church. The Head of the

Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ, gives as many ministers to any one assembly as he will; (i. e. where christians meet in faith, and in subjection to the mind ot the Lord.) Clergymen, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, have no Scriptural existence. We believe that whenever a few believers meet in the name of the Lord Jesus, though none among them may have special gifts for ministry, yet there will be an angel, in the sense in which each of the Seven Churches of Asia had one.

What we have to suggest is, that the angel of a church is the Spirituality of that church. The Lord holds that (mysteriously) in his right hand, he is not said to hold seven men in his hand—nor is it the seven spirits. In the address to Sardis, He presents himself as "Ho that hath the seven spirits of God, And the seven stars." Completely distinct, though beautifully brought together.

Are not the stars frequently used to typify heavenly things, and does not our blessed Lord hold in his hand All That Is heavenly in his churches'{ Do not we find these thoughts furthered by the repeated words of each of the seven epistles? "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches!" Wherever there is a heavenly minded christian, all the Lord's words aro for him or her, though such an one may not enjoy any recognised ministry from men.

Again, we find that the addresses are sent to the Angels of the churches, as to those Capable Of ReceivIng Them. But there is no word of instruction to any one as to reading or expounding them to the assemblies. It is not a question of raan-ministry (precious as that is, in its place,) but it is what the Spirit says direct to the churches. None but those who are spiritual, i.e. heavenly, can hear. Of course any may hear THE Words, but only those who are walking in communion with the Head, can receive or understand His remonstrances, reproofs, approvals, and rewards. So he always concludes with "He that hath an ear, let him Hear." It may be the least gifted in the assembly, but if one has a heart for Christ, the Master's words, and all his choice rewards are for such.

Now consider the style of the Lord's messages. He says, "I know thy works," &c, Whose works? Those of a minister? Nay. All the details taken up by the Master show that it is the entire Church whose actions Ho is reviewing. And then the exhortations always turn off to individuals—" To him that overcometh," &c. In short, ministry is not contemplated at all, save the ministry of the Spirit, He gives the written words to all the churches. But the question is, Who can receive them spiritually? Who can enter into the mind of the Lord? The answer is evident—he or they who are spiritual, heavenly, angelic.

One thought more. We think it will be found that wherever, in "the word," Christian ministry is spoken of, gift, or conferred authority, is alluded to in connection therewith. In our Lord's addresses to the Seven Churches (emphatically, to the angels thereof,) there is no question of gift, but of faithfulness.

It may be asked, "Why then should not the word bo angels (plural) of each church, seeing there may be many spiritually-minded christians in any one place r" This difficulty is easily answered. Our Lord ever presents to us the thought of perfect unity. Those who are heavenly-mindi-d are "to the extent of their spirituality.) of one mind. All the members being united by One Spirit, those who are led of the Spirit are in unison of mind, as well as in uniuii. Tliey have "the mind of Christ." Therefore, it is one spirit"ality, one angel.

Wo do not offer, however, the foregoing dogmatically. We pray, rather, that our thoughts may lead some, who are desirous of knowing the mind of the Lord, to search for themselves into this revealed truth, under the Holy Spirit's guidance. It is a "mystery," very wonderful, far above the range of the carnal mind.

TO COBHESPONDENTS.

It. h. 11.—We were much struck with your plan for discetuinatui,' I our little paper, and on lending your letter had the thought ti printing it here, in order that, if your plan commended itself to others, some might be led to adopt it. But on prayerful consideration, we tear our motive might be so generally misunderstood, that | we (are compelled to refrain, remembering that we are to avoid even I the appearance of evil. May we commend to your notice our new "Precious Truth Tracts and Leaflets"? Wo trust these mav Uwidely used to effect the object you have in view, in common with I ourselves. Accept our Christian sympathy and thanks.

W. G., Ueuefokd.—We take the liberty of printing an extract from your letter, containing, as it does, strong testimony to fact, that the Word of God is " sharper than any two-edged sword, and

is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." "I aiu

sorry to say that the reason I have not increased the sale of your little work is that some subscribers have fallen off, and I have been obliged to get others to fill their places. I am afraid (perhaps I should say glad) that those which have discontinued to take your paper have found the truth too powerful and too full of light, which they were afraid to admit into dark consciences; but, thanks be k> the Lord, he must have glory out of all things. I have not the slightest doubt but that your paper has awakened the sleeper to a sense of their own deadness, and I hope will result in their gaining more light, if not from the little paper called " Precious truth, ' from the Word itself. The Lord's blessing is on those who strive lawfully (that is, in accordance with God's word]."

Letters for the Editor to be addressed to 335, Strand, W.C.

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TO A TRUE-HEARTED CHRISTIAN.

Beloved:—"The darkness is past, and the true fight now shineth."

I closed my last letter in this journal with the earnest desire that you would ' pond'r these few words. They are pregnant with meaning. Until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ there was spiritual darknoss on every hand. It is true that God in ages past spake at sundry timos and in divers manners to the Fathers by the prophets (Heb. i. 1,) thus giving new spiritual light, according to'the needs of his people. He is "the Father of lights" (James i. 17). All that could instruct the soul of man in truth, or heavenly light, came from him. Ho was pleased to reveal it from time to time in earthern vessels. But after many of these had been used, deep spiritual darkness still characterised mankind. So when, in the fulness of time, God sent his only-begotten ^on, Jesus Christ, the true Light, it was proved that men "loved darkness rather than light." His own chosen people deliberately preferred Barabbas to Jesus; unbelief blinded them, so that they could not see light in the Son of God. "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not."

While our Lord was carrying on his personal ministry on earth, (in wondrous patience, meekness, and love,)darknessprevailed. Thepeopledidnotcomprehend him. No, not even his chosen apostles. "Are ye also'yet without understanding," (Matt. xv. 16) were the words of the Master even to them. Indeed, it is wonderful to notice in the evangelist's narratives of our Saviour's walk on earth that the darkness of men's souls deepened as he drew near to the cross: till at length ■' his disciples forsook him and fled." Then the malice of our fallen race was suffered to havo its full course—" and there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour." (Matt, xxviii. 45.)

Buch was the condition of the world when Jesus hung on the cross. Men had involved themselves in the darkness of rebellion and death, and now they were about to consign him, who came from God to enlighten them, to the dark,and silent tomb! But when man had steeped himself in this "horror of great darkness," a crisis had been reached in which God could alone display himself as the mighty deliverer.

"He brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the "sheep." (Heb. xiii. 20.) a

"He was raised up from the dead by tho glory ef the rather* •-JT«''

Henceforth, the Light was to shine in His fulness •ad brightness. Thus—

"As Saul [Paul] journeyed, he came near Damascus, and

suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven." (Acts ix. 3.)

Jesus was that shining light whose brightness was "above the brightness of the sun."

Beloved,—"The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth." We who believe ought therefore to be no longer in darkness—

"For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, Hath shined in our hearty to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in tho faoe of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. iv. 6.)

But we must remember, dear brother, dear sister, ours is a derived light. Jesus Christ is our light; we are reflectors of Him. Is it so with us practically, daily, constantly? He has said to us—

"Let your light so thine beforo men that they may see your' good works, and giorify your Father which is in heaven"

By what good works can we glorify God our Father? The answer is very simple;—just such good works as Jesus himself did. We must imitate Him. In vain do Christians invent good works (so-called). The life of Christ on earth is the test of everything. Let me learn whether He acted thus or thus, and that decides at once whether I should do it or not. Christians, like other men, are prone to imitate one another; but that will not do. We must copy Jesus. God ha< ordained good works that we should walk in them, and He sent his beloved Son to work his works, and thus put his divine stamp upon them. We get perfect light on this, as on all other subjects, in the face of Jesus Christ. He is our Great Exomplar. This is not mere theory, but practical truth. By faith I see Jesus feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and preaching the gospel to the poor. I see Him doing these things Himself; and I accept the inevitable sequence that, as a disciple of that gracious Master, I must do such things myself.

Moreover I not only seek to do the right things, but, because the darkness is past and the true light now shineth, I see how to do them in the right way. When Jesus went about doing good, He was wont to say to those He relieved, "See thou tell no man." Alas! for the many professors of tho name of Christ, who themselves proclaim their works, and say practically, "See thou tell Ail men." ■ ■ ■>«

I have need to ponder this, and think often of my Saviour's words,

"When thou doest aimer, let not thy left nand know what thy right hand doetb; that thine alma may be in secret; and thy Ruber whioh seeta in secret himself shall reward thee openly- m* j . . ...u. - . ., «.». .,

How infinitely better this than the praise of men. But we cannot have both. Of those who crave after applause down here, the Lord has said— "Verily, they have their reward!"

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