Epitome of Readings

Given at Edinburgh in August, 1923.

With James McBroom.
Scripture Reading 1. Romans 1:1-7; Romans 5:1-11.
Scripture Reading 2. Romans 8:1-4; 12:1-5.
Scripture Reading 3. 1 Corinthians 10:15-21; 11:17-27.
Scripture Reading 4. 2 Corinthians 3:1-6; 17-18; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.
Scripture Reading 5. Hebrews 1 and 2:1-4.
Scripture Reading 6. Hebrews vii 25; 8:2; 10:19-25.
Scripture Reading 7. Colossians 1:18-29; 3:12-17.
Scripture Reading 8. Ephesians 1:1-23; 3:14-21.

Foreword

These pages present the salient features of eight Readings at Edinburgh in the month of August, 1923.

They closely follow the line taken by our brother, James McBroom, and others, and have since been carefully revised.

Though some amendments have been found necessary they have only been made in order that the report might accurately represent what was in the mind of the speakers — their condensed and disjointed character being preserved.

All who have had experience of Readings such as these were, will know how difficult it is to preserve continuity of thought under the conditions that prevail at such times.

Still, if they prove under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, now that they are issued in a permanent form, to be as valuable as they were when they were originally spoken, they will surely be a mine of wealth, to the student of the word; food, that will satisfy the hungry; material, that will build up that which is divine in the soul; and above all, cause for thanksgiving to Him whose fame and worth were the principal theme of the gatherings.

S. Scott. Sturton-by-Stow, Lincs.

1. Scriptures read, Romans 1:1-7; Romans 5:1-11.

This is God's gospel. His heart is its source rather than heaven. Hence Christ is its theme, for it is concerning His Son, and salvation for men is its aim. It is the power of God unto salvation. It is the expression of God and must therefore be worthy of Him, and if it is concerning His Son it must also be worthy of Him. It is the full blessedness of what God has shown Himslf to be towards man in Christ Jesus.

Righteousness is also a prominent subject of the epistle, for if God has to deal with men it must necessarily be on that basis. There can be no other way of dealing with sin except in righteousness. There can be no mercy for sin, so that righteousness is the backbone of the gospel. This must be so on account of what God is in His own being.

The gospel is as it were, a great mirror, wherein the grandeur of the blessed God is set before us, so that He might be known both in His nature and attributes.

In Psalm 40 five great characteristics of God are set before us when He says, "I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart, I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation, I have not concealed Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth from the great congregation." There we see the telling out by the Son, the heart of God as it were in detail, but now all the details are gathered up and presented to men in the gospel, by the Holy Ghost.

There is now but one testimony to God, though we do read in 1 Cor. 2 of "the testimony of God," and in 1 Cor. 1 of "the testimony of Christ." By sin coming into the world, God's glory had been set at nought, and Christ (who is God) became man to settle the sin question so that God might be glorified.

The first eight chapters of Romans shows how this has been worked out. God is therefore, the great objective set forth, and it is to these chapters that we turn for the testimony of God. On the other hand, when we think of the testimony of Christ, it is the place which Man, the Man Christ Jesus has in the scheme of divine mercy. The same blessed Person who has gone down the whole way to the deepest depths on account of sin, is now in the centre of the glory, and supreme in the administration of all the bounty of God. "His glory is great in Thy salvation."

Note the force of the words in verses 3 and 4. "The gospel is concerning His Son." This sets forth what He is to God; but "Come of David's seed," sets for His relation as a Man to the favoured nation. Then He is marked out Son of God by resurrection from amongst the dead, and then later He is Jesus Christ OUR Lord. So that first of all we get what He is to God, which is beyond all our comprehension, then what He is to His people, Jesus Christ our Lord, whilst in between the two statements, there are presented the two sides, the human and the divine, of His glorious Person.

Question. — Why is the resurrection introduced here?

Because it is the demonstration of His own mighty power. That power over death was seen in the days of His earthly ministry, for example, in the raising of Lazarus where He says, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby." In these cases we must remember that those raised were actually brought back to a life of flesh and blood on which death would eventually come. In His case, resurrection was the opening up of a new creation into which death would never intrude. The glory of His Person is thus unfolded before the gospel itself is announced, just as the sin offering was pronounced most holy ere it was consumed on the altar.

The first seven verses of the chapter form one sentence, which is addressed to the saints, showing that the epistle is really instruction in the scope of the gospel. It is the same as in Matthew 13, when the Lord took His disciples aside to instruct them in the mysteries of the kingdom, so the saint has to be instructed in the true meaning of the gospel, and to know what is involved in it.

The preaching of the gospel is to the unconverted, and there is no man on earth more highly favoured than he who proclaims it, and he can only be adequately fitted to give a true report to the unconverted, by being introduced to a place of nearness to God so that there he may learn how the gospel is in itself a display of God.

In the course of the epistle it is said to be Paul's gospel, and at the end it is linked up with the mystery that had been kept secret since the world began.

No other epistle elaborates the work of Christ like this one, yet it both begins and ends with the exaltation of His blessed Person, for of necessity, the value of His work hangs upon what He is in Himself.

Question — Will you say something of what the gospel is?

It is good news, and as we have been saying, it is the full moral display of God. It is God's answer to all the rebellion of man which culminated at the cross, and it is such an answer as He alone could give. We live in a day when God has shone out in all His splendour as a triune Being, and the counsels of eternity made known.

In Christianity there is a perfect revelation of the purposes and of the heart of God made known by the Holy Ghost. When man had done his worst in putting Christ to death, there was nothing left as far as we could see, but that God should clear the whole earth in judgment. But instead of that, Christ comes forth in resurrection and in the full power of the glory of redemption as a Saviour. It is perfectly amazing to see the resources of love, how God uses man's worst to bring out His best, and present it freely to those who were guilty of the death of His Son. Depend upon it, there is an infinity of lessons to be learnt in the cross!

The two main ideas of righteousness must be kept clear in our minds, first, that God is perfectly consistent with Himself in all He says and does (Romans 2:5 and 3:5), and then that man was tried under the law to prove to himself that he had no righteousness of his own, and that he could not stand before God on the ground of responsibility (Romans 1:17 and 3:21, 22). These two thoughts are blended in Romans 3:26; "That He might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus."

In the gospel, God has revealed the fact that He has provided a righteousness for man, and that it is unto all and upon all that believe! It is very touching to read in Ezekiel 18, His pleadings with His people when He says, "Are not My ways equal, and are not your ways unequal." Now that man's trial in responsibility is at an end, and God is free to act according to His own thoughts of love, nothing is kept back. He is good, gracious, tender, and kind, and He delights to make Himself known to us as He does in the gospel.

Question — Will you say a little more of how God sets Himself before us in the gospel?

Everything that God is for man came out in the life and death of His Son. We have seen what was spoken of in Psalm 40 — His righteousness, faithfulness, and salvation — so in the first chapter of this epistle we get the power, the righteousness and the salvation of God; then in chapter three there are the oracles of God, the faithfulness of God, the righteousness, the truth and the glory of God.

These are intended not merely to instruct us ill doctrine, but in the knowledge of what God is morally, and therefore, we see ho w He delights to set Himself forth in this blessed scheme. He brings heavenly blessings out of His resources for those who have besmirched His name, and in so doing, He glorifies Himself. We should connect the great thought of God's righteousness with Christ's present place, from which righteousness is ministered by the Spirit.

At the cross righteousness is accomplished for God; in the resurrection it is declared; it is celebrated in His exaltation, and now by the Holy Spirit it is continued in the Assembly.

We are very defective in the apprehension of the awful distance there is between God and the sinner, but as we do learn something of it, the magnitude of the work that has removed the distance and brought us into the nearness becomes apparent.

The scapegoat spoke of the removal of sins, while the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, shows how the state of man is dealt with. In the burnt offering, all the unseen parts were for God, whilst the outward beauty and characteristics (the skin) were for the priest, showing how the believing sinner can be in the presence of God, clothed in the beauty of Christ. Adam and Eve were clothed in the skins of the sacrifice that God had Himself provided. The best robe was for the the eye of the Father. But the fruits of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ have become available for us in His resurrection.

Question. — Will you please say a little more on the three thoughts connected with righteousness? You said it was first accomplished, then declared and afterwards celebrated.

The whole scheme of the gospel seems to revolve around these three thoughts. We have spoken of the first and seen how the character of God was perfectly vindicated in the death of Christ. The second is the declaration of righteousness by resurrection, because that is the answer of God to what His Son had done. It suggests those precious words in John 13, "If God be glorified in Him, He shall also glorify Him in Himself and shall straightway glorify Him." The third thought, that of celebration, shows Christ exalted in the glory of redemption, and all heaven vocal with His praise. The Holy Ghost has come down to bring those that are Christ's into the joy of the celebration of righteousness.

Righteousness is for us, in virtue of the blood (Romans 5:9), by virtue of His resurrection (4:25), whilst it is said to be from heaven in (2 Cor. Salvation, redemption, and righteousness are all shown by the apostle Paul to be "in Christ," and the first time that we have these words in this epistle is "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," that is, God can come as a Saviour to man, in the man Christ Jesus. He has found in Him a centre where every blessing of His heart for His creature, can be located. Thus, blessed be His name, He who has become blessings for evermore is also the Administrator of them, and like Joseph in Egypt who dealt out the bounty of Pharaoh, He lavishes on His redeemed ones the fulness of heaven.

But this is not all, for not only is He the Representative of God to man, but He has taken up a place on man's behalf before God. These two thoughts are seen in the first and last verses of the eighth chapter of this epistle; in the first verse the believer is free from condemnation by being in Christ, while in verse 39, the love of God is presented as in Christ Jesus.

When God's salvation is set forth "in Christ" it is for every man, for God says, "whosoever will," but when we are considering the question of drawing near to God, only those who have already received the gospel are said to be "in Christ."

Righteousness marks every stage of the gospel, and is in itself marked by beauty and order. A universe marked by beauty and order will spring from Christ, and the law of it will be the perfect will of God, and every one in it will be so constituted as to delight to be in perfect obedience to it.

Now look for a moment at the divine triumph in the celebration of righteousness. Behold our Lord Jesus Christ, the centre of glory, heaven fail of joy, and the Holy Ghost come down to link the hearts of His own with the joy of that scene, while with all reverence one can, as it were, hear God Himself saying, "It was meet that we should be merry and be glad!" God is the happy God. and everything that He has in view must work towards joy and gladness. The Holy Ghost came down at Pentecost to form the House of God, and that house is the gate of heaven, distance is gone and the joys of heaven are ours, so that the Godhead is united in making the redeemed happy.

The feast of grace is proposed in Luke 14, and it is enjoyed in chapter 15, where we may witness the universality of the joy. The fatted calf suggests the Peace Offering which is he communion offering. And so in Leviticus 8, God gets His portion first, Moses next, and then Aaron and his sons, thus the whole scene rings with the joys of redemption. All heaven is changed because of the presence of Christ in resurrection glory; righteousness is celebrated; Man in the glory of God is the centre for every eye.

Nor must we overlook Christ's own joy in His work, it was for this that He suffered, enduring the cross and despising the shame — the joy that was set before Him; and beyond this again, it is our privilege to share it now in the Spirit.

Question. — Is that what you meant when you said that righteousness was continued in the Assembly?

Yes, and when it is, everything not of God is excluded on the one hand, while the hearts of the saints are attracted on the other. It is as Christ is written on the heart by the Spirit that we are brought into conformity with the glory of God, and what is accomplished by His ministry will endure.

Stephen beheld Christ as the centre of that radiant scene at the moment of his departure to be with the One whom he saw there. Paul, who took up the testimony as it was being laid down by Stephen, saw Chris in glory too, but it was in view of his pathway here. It is the same with us, we behold the glory of the Lord and are changed. The subjective operations of the Spirit spoken of at the beginning of the chapter (that is, Christ written on the heart) is that which produces the moral transformation that results from the upward and outward gaze on the glory of the Lord as shown at the end of the chapter.

The fifth chapter of Romans is divided into two parts, the first part from verse one to verse eleven; the second from verse twelve to the end. The first part answers to Israel's singing on the banks of the Red Sea. There they sang Jehovah's praise, what He had done and the place in the land into which they would be brought "Thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance." So that death is behind, and glory before them. We boast in hope of the glory of God. In Egypt they were redeemed by blood, but at the Red Sea it was by power, and in the joy of that, a saint can look forward to the consummation in glory.

Up to this point we have had a good deal about righteousness, bull it is in these verses that we meet with love for the first time in this epistle, and it is mentioned in a subjective way. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." Here we see the positive work of the Spirit in our souls. In Galatians 5:17, the Spirit is said to be greater than the flesh, so that ye should not do the things that ye desire, that is, the power of the Spirit within us is resisting the tendencies of that which would turn us from Christ. In 1 John 4, we read, "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world," showing that it is the power of God's Spirit that meets that which is outside of us; but in Romans 5, we have the normal work of the Holy Ghost in us, diffusing the holy love of God through and through our hearts.

Saints get discouraged and disheartened by the power of Satan, but it is well to know that the power of the gospel is greater than every, other power.

Verse 8 is the great objective presentation of God's love, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." This must be the groundwork of everything, because it is what God in His nature is. Righteousness and holiness are attributes, and connect themselves with the character of God, but love is His nature. When we apprehend this, we have a sense that certain things must be because of what He is. Verse 8 is therefore, the great presentation of God's love in the death of Christ, and it was for sinners, but while that is so, we must bear in mind that it is on this planet that the heart of God has been declared, and yet it stands good for the whole creation.

There is here a four-fold description of what we were, ungodly, without strength, enemies, and sinners. Two negative and two positive. This brings out the greatness of the grace of God. It speaks, too, of a righteous man and of a good man, to show that we were neither, it was when we were enemies that He died for us so that we might be reconciled to Himself.

Note, too, the three great facts of verses 10 and 11: reconciliation, salvation by His life, joying in God, by those who were enemies. The word rendered joy would be better expressed by the word boast, which is found three times in this part of the chapter. We boast (or exult) in hope of the glory of God (verse 2) — we boast in tribulation (verse 3); and we boast, in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (verse 11).

2. Scriptures read, Romans 8:1-4; 12:1-5.

This morning we spoke of the greatness of God's gospel. That gospel sprang from Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ is its great theme, and its aim is the salvation of all. We behold in a risen Christ the accomplishment of the will of God in righteousness, that we might be justified and brought into association with Him, so that all His moral traits might be continued in the Church here.

Romans 8 gives the place into which we are brought in the power of God and in divine righteousness, but before we can know this, there must be the recognition of the teaching of the seventh chapter.

In the second part of chapter 5, the subject is righteousness and life, together with the fact that the second Man has displaced the first. This has been done for God by the Lord Jesus on the cross, and it is wrought in us by the operation of the Spirit.

Question. — What is the link between the eighth chapter and what precedes?

The section begins with chapter 5:12. From that verse to the end of the chapter, we see the change from Adam to Christ, the new Head. It is this that connects us with the first verse of the eighth chapter. It has often been said that the former section is what God is for us in Christ Jesus, and the latter, what we are for God in Him. Besides this link between the eighth and the fifth chapters, verse two is connected with the sixth, verse three with the seventh, and verse four presents the teaching of the eighth itself.

Then note also that the first verse is an abstract statement of truth, verse two is experimental, verse three is doctrinal, and the fourth is practical. This presents a wide range of truth.

Verse 1 just touches upon the truth of new creation, but it is not enlarged upon. The apostle does not speak of himself in the first verse, but merely makes the abstract statement, that if any man be in Christ a certain effect will follow. In chapter 5, we see that sin and death are connected with the first head of the race, but life and righteousness with our new Head, Christ Jesus. It is essential that each of us should have a strong sense of the clearance from all our antecedents that has been effected by the death of Christ,.

The fifth chapter does not unfold the doctrine of original sin, but assuming it as a fact, passes on to the resources of grace in making a way out of the morass in which we were. In the sixth we learn that our old man has been crucified, that is, all that is obnoxious to God has gone under His judgment at the cross, and we should fully realize that this is so, in order that we may know how fully we are cleared from all condemnation. We are completely delivered from one headship and brought under another. In this transfer there is nothing whatever in the nature of a compromise, or a patching up, but we are placed completely outside the judgment that ends in condemnation.

Condemnation is the result of judgment, for if God enter into judgment with a man it must result in his being condemned. But those who are in Christ are completely cleared from it and there is a full salvation. It is much the same as the answer that Balaam gives in Numbers 23. "How can I curse whom God hath not cursed"; or again when he declares that God. "had not found iniquity in Jacob nor seen perverseness in Israel. He hath blessed and I cannot reverse it." There is nothing to curse or condemn in those who are in Christ, for, blessed be His name, He has borne all the judgment, and now He must be condemned before those that are in Him could be

There are four reigns spoken of in these verses; the reign of death, "Death reigned from Adam to Moses" (verse 14); the reign of sin and the reign of grace (verse 21); and the reign of life which goes on to eternity (verse 17). They which receive abundance of grace shall reign in life by One Jesus Christ. Such is the outcome of the transference from Adam to Christ.

Question. — In what sense is the word Law used in verse 2?

It is a fixed and uniform action that lies deep in the nature of things. The law of a fallen life is to gravitate downwards, and is characterised by sin and death. The life of the Lord Jesus ever gravitated towards God.

Question. — Is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit?

Yes, I think so.It is an experimental thought, for the apostle is speaking of himself, "Hath made me free." The life is in Christ Jesus, it is objective, but the power of the Spirit working in the apostle sets him free from the power of sin and death. It is the same line of thought as the well of water springing up into everlasting life, but it does not go so far.

Question — Why?

Because here, the reference is to the liberation from the oppression of the law of sin and death, but in speaking of the well of water, there is the positive action of the Spirit rising up to all the blessedness of eternal life with the Father and the Son.

This law is the rule of a different life, the life which is in Christ Jesus, sustained. by the power of the Spirit, and when that is in operation, the law of his former life, which is sin and death, is nullified. In that way, the life that is in Christ Jesus is worked out here, and like Him who delighted in the law of the Lord, the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled. The life is in Christ Jesus, and it is there for man just like righteousness and salvation. He is made blessings for ever, and all are available for faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question. — In what light do you view chapter 7?

It is connected with the third verse of chapter 8. It is a soul under law. In the early part of chapter 7, we come to the new husband in order that we might serve in the newness of spirit. In chapter 6:4, we walk in newness of life, and in chapter 7:6, we serve in newness of spirit, for in the former, the service is that of a bond-slave, and in the latter as a wife.

There is a change of masters in the sixth, we were the bondslaves of sin, but have now become bondmen unto righteousness. In the seventh it is a new husband, not a new master,. "Ye have been made dead to the law by the body of Christ to be to another." The second half of chapter 6 begins with the question, "What then shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?" Not being under law is dealt with in the remainder of the chapter, while being under law is the subject of chapter 7:14-25: and being under grace is considered in chapter 8.

We often see, and especially in the Psalms, that a certain position is described in the first few verses, while the remaining part goes on to show how that position is reached. This is so in Romans 7.

Bringing forth fruit to God is the result of passing through the conflict of soul described at the end of the chapter. You get the application of the law which brings out the awful state of the flesh, and yet you cannot get people to believe they are sinners! As we all know, a work of God in the soul is necessary to bring this to pass, but we have here a description of one in these conditions. Having a work of grace in his soul, but not having learnt how God has made a way out for him, he attempts to find one by the law, with the results that are so well known.

The law was given by God as embodying His rightful claims upon His creature, and we know that there were none that could meet them, owing to the ruin of the race. The best man in the Old Testament, Job, and the best man in the New, Paul, are both made to know how hopeless the flesh is. But every one must learn it, and also the solemn fact that deliverance from the law or from the flesh is by death and in no other way.

In the Old Testament we find One who, speaking by the prophetic Spirit, says, "Thy law have I hid in My heart." We are now brought into relationship with that Man and we delight to fulfil the law, not as children of Adam, but as having a new nature and a new power, which is the Spirit of that Man. Thus it can be said, there is a new generation who love the Lord with all their heart.

Question. — Is this new generation in any, way represented by those who beheld the brazen serpent as alluded to by the Lord in the third of John?

There is no way out of death but by death itself, but in the figure the chief thing is life. He that beheld the serpent of brass lived, and it is they who form the new generation that enter the land. The brazen serpent is treated of in the third chapter of John — the springing well is in the fourth, this is connected with the truth that we are considering in Romans 8, and shows where Paul and John approximate in the types.

Paul, however, goes back to Egypt in the earlier chapters of the epistle. He shows the righteousness of God met by the blood (chapter 3); the salvation by power, at the Red Sea (chapter 4); the song of Exodus 15 having its counterpart in the rejoicings of the fifth the bitter waters being made sweet by the cross (chapter 6); and the giving of the law bringing out the incorrigibility of the flesh in the seventh. Thus there is a correspondence between the experiences of the people in the wilderness and the teachings of Romans from the third to the seventh chapters. But in the eighth the ground is common to both Paul and John, for as we have seen, the latter presents the truth both of the brazen serpent and the springing well which corresponds with the teaching of Paul in the eighth.

Question. — What are we to understand by the fact that only two of the grown men that left Egypt entered the land?

They show the connecting link between responsibility and purpose, for they left Egypt in the life of responsibility, and entered the land in the light of God's purpose.

Question. — Will you please make that statement clearer?

The display of the majesty and the splendour of God at Sinai should have once and for ever convinced Israel that they were under the special care and guidance of Jehovah, and that He was as good as His word. But at Kadesh, they were so dissatisfied with the way that they were being taken, that they sent out spies to spy the land, and yet would not go up and possess it. This was an act of unbelief and is described as "despising the pleasant land." The immediate consequence of this was that that generation perished in the wilderness). It is not till the fortieth year that we hear of them again. By that time Aaron and Miriam had died, and Moses was left alone with the people who show clearly that they were no better than their forefathers — they were murmurers still.

Up to this point God had dealt with them on the ground of their ability to meet His demands, but when these murmurings culminated in their loathing the manna, fiery serpents were sent amongst them so that much people of Israel died.

Here, God as it were, says the state is so incurably bad that nothing but death can meet it. Hence, at the brazen serpent, there is the declaration that all is over on the ground of responsibility and that it is only in the power of the new life, given by beholding the uplifted serpent, that they can enter the land. Joshua and Caleb had parted company as it were with the first generation and are reckoned as belonging to the new one, they are in the light of the new life that will take them on to the realization of that which God intended to bring His people into.

This also shows us how it was that Balaam could not curse the people, for he came after the evil state to which the curse attached had been typically removed in death, and after the song of the springing well had been sung, this latter speaking of the Spirit. So here in Romans the challenge is raised, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect," for there can be no condemnation (verse 1), no accusation (verse 33), and no separation (verse 39) to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Sin was condemned in the righteous One, and the open enmity which characterised human nature cannot be reconciled to God, hence, death is the only way in which it can be dealt with. If a sinner die he is irrecoverably lost, but Christ having suffered for sin, and entered into death on account of it, came back in a new order of life in which there is no possibility of breakdown, and into that life He introduces every Saint of God, so that each might know what it is to be before God in the divine nature — in the life of Christ. Each should be able to say, "I am not in the flesh but in the Spirit." We must all come to recognize the fact that the flesh has no place before God.

In the case of Ishmael we see how it was displaced. "Cast out the bond woman and her son," and later on we see that it was not only Ishmael, but Isaac has no place after the flesh. He had to be offered up in death on Mount Moriah. This surely foreshadows our ever adorable Lord, in whom everything was absolutely perfect in His life here, laying aside that condition, but in speaking thus, one must be careful to make it clear that it was not His manhood that came to an end, but that He laid down the flesh and blood condition and took up a new order of life in resurrection which will abide for ever.

Question. — But you do not mean to say that there was anything in Him which needed to be brought to an end?

Oh, certainly not! We cannot be too clear about His perfect and spotless manhood, for as far as He was concerned, He might have been in that condition still. But you see that that would leave out the divine intention in the Son becoming incarnate. When the Lord Jesus took flesh and blood, He had death in view so that He might bring to an end the condition in which man had brought dishonour to God. It was our state that directly necessitated the closing up of the history of the flesh from a moral point of view. But on His side, you must remember that He was marked out in the counsels of God to be the Head of a vast system of glory, all of which must take character from Himself.

Now how could this be in the days of His flesh when He stood alone. Even His own could not be united to Him till after His death and resurrection. That is the reason it was necessary that He should lay down flesh and blood, however perfect they were in Him, and come forth again in that new order of life into which He brings His own, and associate them with Himself in that life before His God and Father.

All our relationships and associations are linked up with Him in a world of glory, on the other side of death. This was clearly intimated to Mary in His resurrection message, "I ascend to My Father and your Father." He had become Man and had shared all that is common to human life, sin apart; but that was now put away by death, and a new life which will abide for ever entered upon. He remains Man, blessed be His name, the same blessed Person that He was before the cross, but in another condition, and His own are being formed morally into His likeness by the Holy Ghost, and presently, when He rises up to call them to be with Himself, they shall be changed in body like unto His glorious body, and to be for ever with Himself.

The truth of new creation is just glanced at in Romans 8, but in the Scriptures where it is elaborated, the saints are seen before God in Christ distinct from the flesh and blood condition altogether, for how could it be otherwise, since that condition is coming to an end either by death or by the coming of the Lord?: Nothing that we have or are can be connected with the new place that has been established in resurrection, and that place can never come to an end.

"Presenting our bodies a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1), is an act of the mind and done once and cannot be repeated. When a soul once realizes the mercy of God in freeing it from sin and death, the body is placed on the altar as a living sacrifice. It, is quite voluntary and is in the nature of the burnt-offering — holy and acceptable to God. It may not be always maintained for the lack of spiritual energy, but it is done once and for all.

The intervening chapters 9—11, are the answer to the question, "How can God be faithful to His promise and yet set Israel aside?" They show the security of Israel's earthly blessing on account of the fathers, and also the way for them to enter into the far richer blessings of the gospel, which is to the Jew first.

When a saint goes on with the Lord in the joy of deliverance, the exhortations of this twelfth chapter will be carried out; they are all involved in presenting the body to the Lord. The transformation that will be effected by the renewing of the mind will be seen in all our ways, not merely in dress, but in our homes and in our speech. It is a great thing to have clean speaking in the Christian.

Question. — What is the force of the word transformed?

It is the same word as is used in the gospels for transfiguration, and shows the complete change effected by the renewing of the mind. God works in us so that all our parts are brought under His control. He works in the soul of men and not merely on the intellect.

In Romans 3, all the members are in the service of Satan, in chapter 6 they are said to become servants of righteousness, in chapter 8, the body in its relation to sin is considered dead, and in chapter xii„ it is considered alive in the will of God, and it is the saints rational or intelligent privilege to present it a living sacrifice wholly acceptable to Him.

By the removal of the flesh and the giving of the Holy Ghost, the way is clear for the presentation of the truth of the saints being one body in Christ.

Question. — Do you think that the expression in this chapter, "One body in Christ," gives the thought of the body of Christ as we have it in the other Scriptures, as in Ephesians for example?

Yes, it is the body of Christ as that which is in the life of the Head but viewed on its earthward side and being here in the scene of the ways of God.

3. Scriptures read, 1 Corinthians 10:15-21; 11:17-27.

We had before us yesterday, the completeness of the clearance which is ours in Christ and which has been wrought for us in perfect righteousness on the part of God. This must ever be kept before us when considering the question of fellowship.

The fellowship of His death is presented in chapter It is a fellowship that has been established here. and the deepest and sweetest expression of it is in the Lord's supper, that which reminds us of the darkest of all dark hours, and we can only dwell on these things with minds under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Our right to have any part in these things is that a faithful God has called us into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and chapter 10 is mainly directed to the solemnity of having to do with the things of God without the suited condition. It was for this that Israel came under the judgment of God in the wilderness.

The Corinthians were in danger of following man, and making him, instead of the Son of God, the centre of their thoughts.

Question — What is the remedy for that?

The cross! This seems to be the remedy in this epistle for every difficulty, for although in the first three chapters we get the cross, the new creation, and the temple, yet in each recurring difficulty the cross is brought in as the corrective. In 1 Cor. 1, 2, it is introduced on account of the factions among these saints; in chapter 5:7, 8, with reference to the purity of fellowship, "Purge out therefore the old leaven . . . for even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us "; in chapters 8 — 10 with reference to their liberty of action the Spirit by the apostle saying, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ," and finally the truth as to the supper in. chapter 11 is brought from heaven to correct their conduct in God's house. Judaism, philosophy and all man's wisdom had to be brought to nought by the preaching of the cross. The seeds of all the ecclesiastical evil that we see to-day were in evidence at Corinth.

The epistle to the Corinthians gives the groundwork both for the church as the house of God and as the body of Christ, for in the beginning of the first chapter, believers are addressed as sanctified in Christ Jesus, which is connected with the truth of the body, and in the same verse they are spoken of as calling on the name of Jesus Christ our LORD, which involves the truth of the house of God. The testimony is presented in Romans, but here it is the vessel formed of God, i.e., His house to contain that testimony; this is maintained here by the power of the Spirit and the gates of Hades cannot prevail against it.

The apostle addresses wise men, and so he can and does speak of the deep things of God; the cross and new creation, the temple and the body, these, though but slightly touched upon, are solid food.

Question. — Is there not a thought of progress at the supper?

When we come together to break bread, nothing puts the affections of the saints in motion like the thoughts that the emblems of the body and blood of the Lord on the table, suggest. We begin, therefore, with Him and the love which gave Himself for us. This produces worship, and presently we find ourselves in the company of the Son praising the Father.

Question — But we do not get worship spoken of here?

The whole tenor of the epistle is corrective, because of their low state. After the supper has been spoken of, the Lord is seen asserting His authority in chastening and discipline, and not leading them on to worship; and again in chapter 12, the ministry is manward and not Godward, as it should be, if the real significance of the death of Christ had been before them.

If we would learn what is proper to worship, we must turn either to the epistle to the Hebrews, for there you get the truth of the sanctuary, or to the Colossians, where the body is seen in the life of the Head. Neither in the Hebrews nor in the Colossians do we get the truth of the supper, which shows that worship is not confined to the time when we come together to break bread. The heart may run over at all times and it is a good thing when it is so. But the worship of the company is of a higher order than that of the individual, inasmuch as praise in our circumstances is less than that which ascends to Him in His own circle and in His company as Leader of the worship of the assembly worshipping the Father.

We are called into the fellowship of God's Son, that is, a definite circle of communion has been established here by the Son of God which is the broad platform of the whole church of God; in chapter 10 we read of the fellowship of His death, because there the body and blood are separated as seen in the cup and the loaf. The fellowship itself seems to view the saints here standing shoulder to shoulder for Christ in the scene of His refusal, while the expression of it is the breaking of the loaf and the drinking of the cup.

Question. — Will you say a little more about the principal features of the fellowship.

First of all, it has been established by God's Son, and we have been called into it by a faithful God. The Son established it by His death and in His blood, for it is called the fellowship of the blood of Christ. We must also learn why it has been set up, what is its duration, its characteristics, and the necessity for maintaining them unsullied.

We are called out to maintain this testimony and to learn the privileges associated with it.

The cup suggests His sacrifice, — the shedding of His precious blood. When He drank the cup of divine wrath there was no ingredient that could bring sorrow and distress that was Tacking, but it has secured for us a cup of infinite blessing, not any specific blessing, but fulness of blessing. This is learnt in the supper through the fellowship of the Lord's table, and every moral characteristic should be expressed by those who partake.

The first object that God had in view in establishing this fellowship was that there might be a company wherein would be found the truth of God, that is, a vessel here to maintain the testimony, or in other words, the assembly, the temple of God, the body of Christ, the place where God might dwell and His testimony be found:. The principles of the testimony may be found in other epistles at which we may look later, but the vessel itself is found in those we are now considering.

Where there is a healthy spiritual state in the saints — where the flock of Christ is fed, and whore they can retire from the chilling influences of this world, and be in the enjoyment of heavenly things, there the graces, feelings, and tastes of the Lord Jesus are in activity, and there is mutual support and a godly character amongst the saints. No Christian can stand alone, the opposition is too strong, the devil's system is all around, and the workings of the flesh easily carry one away, hence the great importance of meeting together.

Question. — Is there not a difference between fellowship here and in 1 John 1 where we get fellowship with the Father and the Son.

Yes! In that chapter the communion is with the Father and the Son, but in Corinthians it is the fellowship of the Son of God, that is, we are standing here for Him in His absence. The words communion and fellowship are from the same root word, in the original; communion seems the more suitable word in the 1 John, while in 1 Cor. 10, fellowship would be better.

1 Corinthians 10 corresponds in one way with Luke 22, where the saints are regarded as being in the outside place; "Ye are they who have continued with Me in My temptation," for in Luke He is teaching at the supper table what is connected with His pathway here. 1 Cor. 11 is the actual supper which should put us into the inside place with Him as is seen in John 13. The supper, though not named in John's gospel, puts them inside with the Father and the Son. We may thus enter into the deepest and richest thoughts of heaven and so be brought outside the world.

In Luke 22, the man with the pitcher of water shows where the Lord would have them go. In John 13, in the inside place, the water is put into the basin to put their feet right, i.e., communion with Himself.

" How sweet and sacred is the place with Christ within those doors

Where everlasting love displays the choicest of her stores."

Question. — Is communion similar to "Part with Me"?

Not exactly! "Part with Me," embraces the thought of association with Christ in all that upon which He was entering in virtue of His death and resurrection, and reaches on to the full thought of association with Him when He comes out in glory. It also involves the outside place that we have with Him now.

The supper is not the command of Sinai, but the request of love. It puts the soul in motion towards the Lord Himself, bringing us inside to the Father and the Son and outside from the world. There is nothing that can move the hearts of the saints like the sufferings of Christ, and, therefore, we rightly begin with Him, — the Lord Jesus our precious Saviour. There is progress in the supper, however, for in the actual celebration of it, the soul passes into His risen life and in His company meditates on the Father and the Son. We begin with Him as Lord and later we worship the Father

It is precious to begin with the Lord in His wondrous love, giving Himself for us, and this induces us to follow Him, but this can only be done in the life of Christ Himself. One must guard against being too sentimental when dwelling exclusively on the sufferings of Christ. Hence the importance of proceeding to God's thought of the assembly, reaching the scene of divine counsel, and worshipping the Father in company with the Son.

Question. — Why is the blood in chapter 10 put in contrast with the cup in the eleventh, and the body of Christ in chapter 10, with the body of the Lord in the eleventh?

We have to remember that the tenth chapter is not the actual meeting of the assembly, while the next is, and also that the whole moral condition of the Corinthians was at fault both inside and out.

The Spirit has the moral features of the fellowship in view in the former, but in the latter, the Lord asserts Himself in relation to their individual condition. The love that has taken us up will never let us down, but that same love may have different ways of dealing with us, and He may have to remove us altogether if He think fit.

We are identified with Christ, and as a consequence, the Spirit of God would have us in a condition to take up holy things. In order to get that moral condition we have to accept the meaning of the blood, which involves self-judgment. The death of Christ involves the refusal of all that we are actually.

Question. — What is the difference between the discipline exercised in the eleventh chapter and that in the fifth?

That in 1 Corinthians 5, is parallel to verse 2 of the fifth of Numbers. In the former, the discipline is committed to the assembly, but in the eleventh the discipline is in the Lord's own hands. The epistle seems to answer to the trial of jealousy in the fifth of Numbers. The apostle takes the place of the priest, leading them through the trial, and they come out morally cleansed in 2 Corinthians 7 — 11.

The tenth chapter is full of warnings: "With many of them God was not well pleased," and things have now become far worse in the church than are here described, and that too, in the light of the revelation of God Himself.

The supper was given from heaven through Paul, in connection with the truth of the mystery, and the one loaf seems to follow the fact that we are one body. In 1 Corinthians 10:16, the fellowship is that of the body and blood of the Lord, as is also the sense in the next chapter; but in 1 Corinthians 10:17, the one loaf is expressive of "all saints." God once had the twelve tribes before Him, but now He has but one company. The twelve loaves on the table were His food. After seven days they were taken away to be eaten by the priest and twelve fresh loaves were put in their places. This is indicative of priestly communion with God, and His interests in His people.

All are priests, and in the supper the consideration of the sufferings of Christ should put each in priestly trim and in normal conditions, would put the company in movement towards God and Christ. His death is before us, and we thus recall One that was here, but is not now. He is risen and is in His new life in the midst of His assembly as the glorified One. As the One who died He has left the world, and in that connexion gone for ever. He is therefore recalled by the Spirit; but as the risen One He is known in the midst and we, as brought into association with Him in that life being at home, can worship.

Question. — Whether there is priestly condition or not, all partake of the supper?

Certainly. But that is another side of the question — the actual state of things. So much has been said of these things, that we may have been idealistic without being conscious of it. It is well to speak frankly and freely in the light of actual existing circumstances, always remembering that God's standard remains, and that we should not make excuses about our state.

Question. — Have saints different degrees of apprehension according to their different spiritual capacities?

Certainly! When we come together none know what the actual order of the meeting will be. This shows the great need of all coming together with the heart full of Christ. The Head would put us in touch one with another, and deliver us from a riot of radicalism on the one hand, and the assumptions of clericalism on the other.

Question. — Do you not think that the more you know the Lord, and are in His hands, the simpler you become?

Yes, for you do not try to work up a State that you deem suited to the occasion. You are perfectly at home in His presence and are thus freed from every other influence.

Remark. — You spoke of three leading thoughts in connection with the fellowship, and you have given us but one.

The fact that the testimony of God rests here, suggests an out-of-the-world place where the saints can be together for mutual support. Its duration is during the time of His absence, the supper which is the expression of the fellowship goes on till the Lord comes. Every saint is morally responsible to see that his behaviour is suitable to the Lord, or He may have to deal with him Himself, as in the eleventh chapter, or in the fifth of the Acts; or he may come under the discipline of the assembly as in the fifth of this epistle, i.e., the holy government of God's house. Though that house is the gate of heaven, where we enter into heaven's blessedness, we have to see to it that we do not in any way compromise that fellowship and come under its discipline. In 1 Corinthians 11, the supper continues to be celebrated till He comes. When the Lord was going away and led His own into the upper room, He took up an ancient custom in Israel which would recall their thoughts to Himself (see Jeremiah 16:7 in the margin) till all would be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. This was not exactly the supper as is known to us. That was given from the glory and continues till He comes.

Remark. — In eating of the loaf and drinking of the cup, we express the fact that we are in fellowship with the death that we celebrate, we proclaim the fact that we accept, each for himself, the significance of that death.

Yes! It is like Ruth who said, "Where thou diest will I die." There are many hearts in this world who are truly drawn to Him. He is so great a Saviour and such a wonderful Person, that ten of thousands of people all over the world, gather together with nothing but Himself before their hearts, in adoration of Himself.

Surely it is then that His blessed heart is rejoiced to lead their praises and to conduct them into the Father's presence in worship and thanksgiving. Here we learn Him, not merely as the One who ministers to us, but we see Him in His own glory as Son of the Father's bosom, and the centre of the Father's counsels, and the order of things connected with that place.
Glory supreme is there,
   Glory that shines through all,
 More precious still that love to share
   As those that love did call.
I do wish that each saint knew more of that side of things.

We tell the Lord much of the place from which He has brought us, but how little we know of the place into which He would bring us. God will have His praise, and if we do not give it to Him He will produce it in others, but it cannot be produced artificially, it must be the spontaneous outflow of adoration from hearts that are perfectly satisfied, and are perfectly at home with Him in His own sphere. We are brought to the place where Christ is all and in all, and where all things are of God, who has reconciled us unto Himself by Jesus Christ.

There the Sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one; there the Son declares the Father's name; and there He leads His brethren's praise, an offering of a sweet smell wholly acceptable to God by Jesus Christ for "it is of necessity that this Man should have something to offer."

4. Scriptures read, 2 Corinthians 3:1-6; 17-18; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.

In these passages we get the unfolding of the gospel of the glory; that which could not be revealed till the Lord had gone back to heaven in the glory of redemption. It was with that, however, that the ministry of the apostle Paul began. The expression "The gospel of the glory of the blessed God" in 1 Timothy 1, suggests that all the glory of the blessed God is bound up with it. It is, too, all set forth in a Man.

These are the two characteristics of the gospel:
1. The full revelation of God in His Son.
2. The answer to it in Christ as Man at God's right hand.

He is the only One that could tell out the heart of God, and He is the answer to all that has been told out.

The more we know of the magnitude of the revelation that has been made to us in the person of the Lord Jesus, the greater does He, the Revealer, become to us. He must be God to reveal God and at the same time, He must be Man to represent man in heaven. He must necessarily be glorified before the gospel of God could be set forth.

There is a Man in the very centre of the glory of God, and His glory is great in God's salvation. All that God has to say to man is found in that blessed One. In Him God puts Himself in touch with the creation. In the gospels we see a new Man, but in the epistles we see a new Man in a new place, and He is presented there for our appreciation.

Question. — What is the difference between the gospel of the grace of God and the gospel of the glory of God?

There is no difference to-day. You can think of the grace of God being preached before the cross. Peter, too, preached the gospel of the grace of God between the day of Pentecost and the death of Stephen. 1 Corinthians 15, also sets it forth, "How that Christ died for our sins . . . and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." The "gospel of the glory" is a fuller expression, for it carries with it all the grace, but starts from a Man in the glory of God. We shall see in this chapter, that in a previous dispensation, glory was connected with government, the giving of the law setting forth both, but that has passed away to make room for a divine system where glory is accompanied by grace.

No more beautiful type of the gospel of the glory can be seen than in Joseph in Egypt where he is seen supreme in the administration of the corn of Egypt under the hand of Pharaoh. It is a precious figure of the administrative glory of our Lord Jesus at God's right hand. God delights in the Son who sets Him forth.

Question. — What is glory?

The answer will depend on what you have in your mind. God is spoken of as the God of glory in Acts 7, the Father of glory in Ephesians and the Lord Jesus is called the Lord of glory. God in delighting to give a full display of Himself in the person of His Son manifests His glory, and He, who went down into the lowest place and is now in the highest, showed forth His glory in doing so.

Solomon adumbrates the glory of the Messiah, and Joseph the universal glory of the Son of Man. Though the Lord Jesus is now in heaven in all the radiance of the glory of God, He has rights of glory in Himself which must be distinguished from the glory of God.

The glory of God in Acts 7, is the perfect reconciliation of His character with His nature in so far as man and sin are concerned, but the Man who is the centre of that glory has personal as well as official rights, for example, He is the Son of God, Son of Man, and Son of David.

Now the One who is all this, and far more, went to the cross, the lowest place, and is now in the highest, actively engaged in ministering righteousness from the glory on the principle of grace, so that men who once were sinners might be fitted to stand in the presence of that glory.

Question. — What is meant by the conciliation of God's character with His nature?

Ever since the fall, God's nature — love — has been towards His creature man, but the righteousness and holiness of God, that is His character, have been constantly outraged by him in his sin and iniquity, so that while God's love was for His creature, His attributes were against him.

But the cross has changed all that. The work of Christ met the character of God at the same time as it expressed His love; God's answer to man's worst is the fulness of blessing. So that while there is no mitigation of the wrath and the judgment of God against sin, there is no reserve or hindrance to blessing.

Question. — Is that why we can stand in the presence of the glory?

Yes! This was an impossibility in the Old Testament days as we see in Isaiah 6, but the work of Christ having vindicated the character and majesty of God, Man in the person of Christ, has entered into all the blessedness of what has been counselled, and man on earth, associated with Him in resurrection life, is now a partaker of the glory of God.

This must be constantly insisted on, for whatever growth there is in the soul it must be after the new order, for nothing else can be in affinity with God: and whatever honours God gives to His Son all are in answer to His work, and are bestowed on the saints as sharers in His triumphs.

Question. — Is that the New Covenant ministry?

There are two sides to that ministry, one positive and the other negative. The first is "Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more." The second is, "I will put MY laws into their minds and write them in their hearts." It is put in that way in writing to the Hebrews, but in writing to the Corinthians who were Gentiles, he says, "Ye are Christ's epistle, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God on the fleshy tables of the heart." The new covenant is connected with the Lord's supper in the first epistle, and with the gospel in the second.

That recalls what we were saying about the testimony. The epistle to the Romans presents the testimony itself. 1 Corinthians the vessel in which it is contained, and 2 Corinthians something of the leading principles of it.

Question. — What are the leading principles of the testimony?

The first is Resurrection as given at the end of the first epistle. This connects us with another world, and it is only on the principle of faith that it can be known to-day. That is why it is a testimony. When faith ceases testimony will be replaced by display. There are three leading thoughts connected with the three periods of time. These are revelation, or one might say, yesterday; then testimony, that is, to-day; and display, that is, to-morrow.

The second feature is the ministration of Righteousness from the glory, and the third is the ministry of Reconciliation, which is connected with new creation.

The first principle Resurrection is connected` with Romans, and while that epistle treats of the second principle too, it is on a different basis from what is treated of in 2 Corinthians, where it is associated with the place that Christ has taken in heaven. Righteousness is ministered from heaven by the Spirit. The third is also mentioned in Romans, but is not developed there, but is fully discussed in 2 Corinthians.

The Spirit has a very prominent place in the epistles to the Corinthians; He searches, knows all things; chooses His own words to bring the revelation of God before us, and acts according to His sovereign will in the assembly. There is also the anointing and the sealing of the Spirit, as is stated in the closing verses of 2 Corinthians Everything is by the Spirit. In Christianity we only know divine Persons by the power of the Spirit, He brings before us the things that belong to the Father and the Son.

This passage (2 Corinthians 1), shows three things which are ours by virtue of the Holy Ghost, viz., anointing, sealing, and earnest.

The anointing is in view of relationships which are eternal, it therefore must be for eternity, while the earnest is given in connection with the inheritance. The anointing is the power to appreciate and understand what has been declared. In John's epistles the affections are moved, and the earnest is the pledge of all that there is in store for us.

The passage shows that Christ Himself is the guarantee of the stability of the whole moral creation, for whatever promises of God there are, in Him is the Yea, and in Him the Amen to the glory of God by us; but this can only be available for us as we are firmly attached to Him.

The apprehension of Christ as the One who is able to fill and sustain the whole moral creation according to God; to bring in blessing and satisfaction for man; to uphold society and solve every problem, and hold everything in perfect equilibrium for the delight of the heart of God, should settle every difficulty for the child of God.

That of course, leads us beyond what we have here — to Ephesians — where the assembly is seen as the complement of Christ. She is now being fitted for the full and adequate expression of Christ in all that He is as the risen Man into whose hands God has committed everything.

Question. — What is the difference between the reference to the new covenant in the first epistle and what is before us now?

In the first epistle it says, "The cup is the new covenant in My blood," while in Hebrews xiii,, it says, "Through the blood of the everlasting covenant." In the first, covenant there were two parties and the blessing was conditional. In the new covenant there is only one party, and the blessing is secured for us unconditionally by the blood of Christ. But we are now speaking of the ministry and not the cup of that covenant. His precious blood is the ratification of the new covenant.

Remark. — Then the cup on the table does speak of the covenant.

That recalls the difference between Israel's blessing and ours. There is no covenant with the church as such, hence both the covenant and the cup belong to Israel. Of old, before the declaration of God's counsels, all His ways revolved around His ancient people, but now, as the fruit of the death of His Son, the church has the leading place in His counsels, and even at present, takes the place of Israel as the centre of His ways, too, on the earth. All the principles of those ways are found in the assembly to-day; for you find the true circumcision, as well as the cup and the covenant. When the assembly passes out of the scene of God's ways to her own heavenly sphere, then Israel will come into the new covenant blessing, and the cup belonging to it will revert to them once more.

Question. — If the loaf expresses the one body, the cup also speaks of the love of God, both in purpose and in His ways?

Yes, it is a cup of blessing both to them and to us, and in each case both are infinite and eternal; but in the case of the assembly it is of a much higher order.

Though the covenant is linked up with the gospel in the second epistle, the new birth is taken for granted, for apart from a work of grace in a man, he is incapable of taking in anything of God. In Ezekiel 36, the first step is the removal of the stony heart which is replaced by a heart of flesh. • It is that that is impressionable and upon which the Spirit of God writes.

The first step is the new birth, and when the gospel is received the Spirit is given as the seal until the day of redemption; and the work of the Spirit is to form Christ in the soul. As has often been said, as it is seen in the types, first the water, then the blood, and then the oil.

The writing on the fleshy tables of the heart is in contrast with the writing on the tables of stone. Scripture often speaks of writing, and there are four notable instances of it, each with its own special significance. That on the tables of stone, speaking of government; that on the wall at Belshazzar's feast — judgment — the Lord's writing on the ground in grace, and that on the fleshy tables of the heart in righteousness.

God must begin His work in our souls ere we can avail ourselves of what He has done for us outside ourselves., So in this chapter, the subjective work of the Spirit precedes the objective. Our power to behold the glory of the Lord is connected with the writing of the Spirit on the fleshy tables of the heart.

In the parenthesis verses 7-16, the second giving of the law is contrasted with the ministry of righteousness; the law, as first given, never came into the camp, for Moses finding the people dancing round the golden calf broke the tables, so that Israel was never under the full and holy law of the Lord. All was lost, for the relations between God and His people were broken, but in virtue of the intercession of Moses, God fell back on His own sovereignty and gave them a fresh covenant in which law was mixed with grace: It is this which is called in this chapter a "Ministration of condemnation and death."

In Exodus the glory was connected with the law and man's obedience, which was bound to fail, and hence, spoken of here as being annulled. But then note that if that which is annulled was introduced with glory much more then that which abides subsists in glory.

But that blaze of glory was not seen when the fresh generation was first called into being, for that was at the cross in the darkness and throes of His death when He suffered at the hands of God. This was indeed glory, but it was not of that order that was seen at Sinai. If God in sovereign mercy came out and met the people with a modification of His claims on account of their frailty, mark well, that when He dealt with His beloved Son on the cross on the question of sin, there was not the slightest modification then. "All Thy waves and Thy billows rolled over Me," and again, "But Thou art holy, Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Those holy claims were met without any mitigation, and in such a way, that all the wealth of blessing that was in God's heart for us might flow forth.

If our souls are in the joy of all this we can well afford to be transparent. "Seeing then that we have such hope we use great plainness of speech, and not as Moses, which put a vail over his facet" In this incident it is necessary to distinguish between what Moses was morally and what he prefigures. His moral greatness is seen in the way he refused personal distinction in insisting that the people were Jehovah's and not his own. He also prefigures the present dispensation.

There are two systems seen in this chapter, the one is set forth in Moses and the other in the people. When he went in he stood in the presence of the glory, which is a clear figure of the Christian to-day, but when he came out he put a vail on his face, indicating the place of comparative distance in which the nation stood.

Verses 17 and 18 are connected with verse 6, those in between being parenthetic. Glory is connected with grace, and the One who is in the highest place of the glory has gone there from the very lowest point. He is active on our behalf in that scene and He ministers righteousness to us by the Spirit, which produces likeness to Himself, and puts us into perfect harmony with the glory, so that like Stephen, we can stand and behold the glory of His blessed face.

Question. — What does the expression "The Lord is that Spirit" mean?

It is connected with verse 6, "The Spirit quickeneth," and indicates that the Lord Jesus Christ is the spirit of all Scripture. He is essentially the underlying spirit of all that is positively set forth in the Old Testament, If it be law, He is the end of it for righteousness to every one that believeth; if it be the Scriptures they concern Him; if it be the Tabernacle and its vessels they all spoke of Him. The Lord is that Spirit.

Question. — Is there any likeness in this passage to what we get in Hebrews 10, "Boldness to enter into the holiest"?

There it is the same line of truth but is suited to those who knew the Scriptures. The Covenant and the Sanctuary are brought together in 2 Corinthians 3 and in Hebrews 10 Christ is the Mediator of the Covenant and also Minister of the Sanctuary, i.e., both the Covenant and the sanctuary are linked in Him.

Chapters 3 and 5, present the ministry, and chapter 4 the ministers, who have the treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power might be of God. The power of the ministry of chapter 3, produces a life on earth that is in conformity to Christ, the Christian bearing about in His body the dying of Jesus.

In the verses that were read in 2 Cor. 5, the theme is reconciliation as connected with the great truth of new creation. There all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.

Question. — Is there any connection between this chapter and what you said of the testimony?

Reconciliation is the third great factor in the testimony and involves the presentation of the saints holy and unblamable and unreprovable in His sight. We are invested with all the beauty of Christ, which is indicated by the best robe in the parable of the fifteenth of Luke, and are brought into His life before the eye of God for His own good pleasure. If the moral illumination of chapter 3 produces transformation, the fifth places us in all the blessedness of divine complacency.

Question. — Is that where new creation comes in?

Yes, since God's finding His pleasure in His people is the fruit of His own grace, grace, "It was meet that we should be merry and glad." Where there was distance there is now nearness, and we are brought into the complacency of divine love. This is precisely on the lines of the first of Ephesians, but Luke puts it into parable form.

The Headship of Christ is closely associated with the thought of reconciliation, for He is the One in whom all things will be reconciled, and the fact that He is now seated in the glory of redemption is the pledge of it all. As we apprehend the great fact that reconciliation is in Christ, the more are we freed in the spirit of our minds from the first man and his world, and rejoice in knowing that all abides for us iii Him in the resurrection world.

God over had before Him the fulfilment of His counsels, this was indeed His first thought, and it was in view of their fulfilment that the first creation was brought into being. In that creation, the last work of His hand was the creation of man to be its head, but in the new creation, Man is the first in order of time as well as in precedence. Actually there is but one Man — Christ — in the new creation, and this of necessity involves a new sphere where all is sinless and deathless and abiding purity, the pervading influence of which is the holy love of God. It is into this domain that the Christian, while living in a body which is of the old creation, is introduced on the principle of faith and by the power of the Holy Ghost.

The ministry of reconciliation is secured in the person of the Lord Jesus, as we read that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, but the word of reconciliation is the effect of the redemption that has been accomplished for us. Everything is made to hang on the fact that "Christ was made sin for us."

But these great things are not to be enjoyed without exercise for those who through mercy know and delight in them, are in their outward lives troubled on every side. This must be so in a fallen world. When the true King reigns all will be all right. Meanwhile, He is the guarantee of Stability for faith (chapter 1). He is the Conqueror who leads the conquered ones in His train, and their delight is to spread abroad the fragrance of His name (2:15-16).

Though we await a glorified body we are already fitted for it, for He that hath wrought us for this self same thing is God who hath also given us the earnest of His Spirit.

5. Scriptures read, Hebrews 1 and 2:1-4.

We are now coming to to the depth and fulness of the person and work the Lord Jesus Christ, both of which are presented in this epistle in a very complete was. We might speak of the epistle as showing the great structure of the world to come, and the two pillars upon which it rests are set forth in chapters 1 and 2, the first presenting the Son of God and the glories of His name, and the second, those of tile Son of Man. All these meet in the person of our Lord; not that the first chapter leaves out His manhood, or the second His personal glories, for both bring His person conspicuously before us, but the divine side is prominent in the first and the human in the second chapters.

We can make no progress in the study of this epistle unless these two leading thoughts are very clearly established in our minds.

Remark. — There are three first chapters in the New Testament which present the glories of His person, the first of the gospel of John, the first of Colossians, and the first of the Hebrews. Will you say what is the difference between them?

The Spirit of God foresaw much that has now passed into history. He knew that the glorious person of our Lord would be open to the enemy's attack, not only in the last days but in the earliest too. He thus made provision against this, by setting forth God's estimate of Him in no unmistakable way.

In the apostle's day, the saints at Colosse were in danger of being drawn aside by the wild imaginations of the Gnostics, so the Holy Ghost brought to their especial notice the eternal glories of Him who is Head of the church. John's gospel, coming much later, was directed against the same character of evil, but that to the Hebrews was written to revive the waning affections of the Jewish Christians to Christ, by bringing before them the glories of their Messiah, who had now taken, a new place in the glory of God.

The co-existence and co-equality of the Son with the Father, which involves all that is proper to deity is insisted upon in each of these epistles, and while each of those different companies get a different presentation of Him, it is reserved for us to have them all.

God could not have spoken in a greater way than in the Son. It is God who speaks.. Previously He had spoken by men, and in many and various ways, but now Godhead is voiced in the Son. It is not exactly the Son who speaks, it is God, and that not as Father, nor as Son, nor as Spirit, but in the Son, so that now there is a full revelation of the Godhead.

The Holy Ghost dwells upon the glory and the greatness of the Son before a word of His message is delivered. He is shown to be Heir of all things, and the Creator of them, and that He too will, as a Man, rule all things; but between the creation of all, and His ruling over all a foreign element — sin — was introduced, which necessitated incarnation and atonement, and in consequence of which, everything had to be put on a new footing so that the Creator in Manhood might sway all, in His double rights of Creator and Redeemer.

Question. — Has the inheritance in verse 4 anything to do with the heirship of verse 2?

Yes, they are closely connected; His being Heir of all things hangs upon His eternal glory as the Son. The glory and the renown of the angels are great, but "the more excellent name" shows Him as far beyond those great and holy beings as the Creator is beyond the creature. We start with the fact that God has appointed Him heir. The eternal silence, if we may so speak, was broken in the far back ages when the Son uttered His creatorial fiats, thus expressing His own omnipotence. Now at the end, though He had been speaking in many ways down the ages, so that His character was known, the Son voices Him, making bare His heart and declaring all His counsel.

In this chapter His name is said to be inherited, but in the epistle to the Philippians it is said to be an acquired name. He must stand alone on account of who He is, but on the other hand, all His acquired glory is shared with the church as seen in Ephesians 1. His eternal glory is quite distinct from His acquired glory, the latter He shares, while the former is displayed alone in Him as a Man.

There was ever a moral effulgence shining from Him during His earthly career, as for example, when the soldiers, who went to take Him., fell back to the ground, or when He commanded the storm it became a calm. As we are permitted. to witness such outshining our hearts are bowed before Him in adoration and praise.

Question. — Is there any connection between His being Heir of all things and our being heirs of God?

Our capacity for the enjoyment of the place that we have in Him is being developed to-day, and it is a joy to Him to display His glories to His own. The heart of God found expression in His becoming a Man, to restore man who had fallen from his first estate, for not only was almighty power shown forth in Him, but there was also the moral fulness of God displayed in a Man.

In the third verse, the "brightness of His glory" refers to the outshining of that glory, while the words, "expression of His substance," is much deeper, the first being the outshining, the second, the essential being; He is the expression of the divine substance.

We are here on the most profound of all themes, and it reflects the infinite favour that God has put upon us to allow us to get even a glimpse of these things, but that glimpse produces everlasting praise. And yet how amazing it is to think that there are those who see no beauty in Him!

Remark. — "Out of Zion. the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."

Question. — Is the "outshining of His glory" all that God is?

I think it is His moral excellencies coming out in a man, the Man Christ Jesus. His almighty power is seen in the calming of the storm, while in the transfiguration there is a display of His official glory, but the manifestation of grace, compassion, longsuffering, righteousness, holiness, is the setting forth of His moral glory. in all His words and ways He expressed God because He was God, and the cross is the moral display of the heart of God.

He made man and set him up as head, but the man fell, and now the Son of God has become Man to accomplish redemption to recover him. His power was demonstrated in the way of grace and love. He binds up the broken heart and preaches deliverance to the captives. This is seen in the raising of Lazarus, for though Jesus wept at the grave, the power of God shone out in resurrection.

"Upholding all things by the word of His power," indicates that the whole of creation, with its laws that pervade it, and all the rolling orbs that spangle the sky, are upheld in their positions by the word of the Son of God.

Question. — Does the phrase "expression of His substance" refer to His essential deity?

I think it is one of the things that you cannot say much about. The words of Scripture are our only safeguard. It is essential deity and passes the creature's power to apprehend, in the least degree.

Question. — Why is purification of sins spoken of at the beginning of the epistle?

You first of all get His eternal greatness as Creator, and then we are told that this great One is the Redeemer. It is on similar lines in the first of John, but there you have His glory as the Word, what He has done, and the revelation or the Father's heart after which come the memorable words, "Behold the Lamb of God that beareth away the sin of the world," for not only is He the Creator and Redeemer, but He is the expression of God in both characters.

Question. — Was it not necessary that before God could approach man and reveal His purposes, the question of sins must be dealt with?

Yes, the requirements of God must be met. In chapter 10 He says, "Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more." Thus God comes out for our relief and clearance from liabilities.

In the ninth and tenth chapters the work is spoken of as giving approach to Him, but here, the Person who did the work and the place He has taken are being considered — He has sat down.

It is interesting to note that all through Scripture there are three official glories of the Lord continually shining out, Prophet, Priest, and King. The Prophet voices God — He is His mouthpiece. The Priest makes purgation of sins, while the King is the appointed heir of all things. The apostle is the one who has come out, the priest is the one who has gone in.

Question. — What is involved in the words, "Purification of sins"?

It signifies the whole effect of the work of the cross, not that it was the sins of any one person, but that all sins were by His work removed from the eye of a holy God. Purification was never effected through the sacrifices or under the law. He is the last speaker. Nobody can speak after Him and His work is done.

While purgation is set forth typically in the sacrifices, one must keep in mind to whom the types pointed, and also that in this epistle everything is in contrast to the past dispensation. Purification of sins indicates that sin will for ever be swept out from every part of the creation of God (see Hebrews 9:23). The only value that the sacrificial system had was in its pointing to Christ. Had there been a possibility of cleansing under the old system it would have been a calamity for us.

The beginning of verse 4 is connected with the end of verse 3. The emphasis is to be placed on the place that He has taken, in being made so much better than the angels He has been placed at the highest point of glory. No mere creature could take a place at the right hand of God. When He comes into the world that He had created, He must take the highest place in it. In becoming Man He passed by the angels. He took the lowest place and "a bondsman's form," but such a Person becoming a Man must necessarily exalt manhood above all other parts of creation. He who had a more excellent name takes a place higher than the angels, and sits at the right hand of God.

Remark — It is not the place that has been given to Him that is here spoken of, it is the place that He has taken. Four times in Hebrews He is said to have taken this place.

Question. — How does Philippians 2:8, 9, apply here?

These verses show the great stoop to the depths from which God exalted Him, but here it is presented as His own doing, He sits down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

The epistle to the Hebrews was evidently written to show that what the Jew had lost after the flesh, was secured for these believers in Christ by the Spirit. The adoption and the glory and the covenants had all been lost, but everything was recovered to them in the Spirit.

It is important to note that there is no name attached to this epistle, for the speaker is God. He speaks by His Apostle and none other could express Him.

The Son is here contrasted with angels who were the highest order of being known to the Jew. They are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. Unto the Son He saith, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom." God the Father addresses Him as Son, He speaks to Him, but of the angels. God the Father addresses Him as God the Son. While He abides Man for ever, and while we prove and know Him as our Lord to all eternity, He still remains God in the immutability of His being, infinitely above us, and above all creation for ever.

All through the Scriptures the Holy Ghost has taken pains to guard the glory of His person. "Great is the mystery of godliness." The Spirit of God has said stronger things of the Son than either of the Father or of Himself, as though God had seen that His great stoop would be taken advantage of to tarnish His glory. "He loved righteousness and hated lawlessness," He has effected the solution of good and evil; here love and hatred are seen in perfection. What He did in life and in death demonstrates His ability to fill the place that God has given Him in creation; this is brought out in the parenthetic verses 23-28 of 1 Corinthians 15, for though this is seen as in God's purpose, it has to be worked out in every detail later. In the thousand year's reign it will be fully displayed, for He must reign till He has put every enemy under His feet.

The first work of His mighty power will be to change our bodies of humiliation into conformity to His body of glory; His last to destroy death. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. He will subdue all things to Himself.

Question. — What is the idea of the throne?

Supremacy. The idea here is righteousness in perpetuity. The will of God must be law to creation. In chapter 4 the throne is said to be one of grace, because the One who accomplished the will of God is upon it — the One who loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. It is also a throne that will never be superseded, and what it was at the beginning, it shall be at the end, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever."

Question. — Who are the companions and the fellows?

It is the same word for both and has the thought of sonship and association. To us this relationship is a new one, but with Him it was eternal. Brought into manhood by His incarnation, it becomes ours by redemption.

Question — What is the oil of gladness?

Is it not the joy of the Lord Jesus in the place given to Him as the result of His work and which is shared with His companions? Only one Man could fill that place, and while we all feel that He is infinitely beyond us on the divine side, we have to realize the fact of His unique glory and supremacy as Man. "He that is high priest among His brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head nor rend his clothes" (Lev. 21:10).

Sonship and priesthood are linked together in the person of our Lord, and in this epistle the same is true of the saints. In chapter 5, the writer quotes from Psalm 2 and 110. He that said unto Him, "Thou art My Son," saith also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever." His position determines ours. We have the blessing of sonship in the second chapter, "Leading many sons to glory," and in the tenth we are seen as priests. Sonship is the relationship, and priesthood the privilege to approach, and both are linked up with the Lord in chapter 5 We are of His generation. Kinship, too, is seen in this epistle. Both He that sanctifies and they that are sanctified are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren

Question. — Is the passage in John 20, "ascend to My Father and your Father," the same thought?

There you see sonship and association, for though John does not use the word sonship, it is clearly involved there. The bride must be the same kinship as Christ as is seen in Gen. 24. According to that figure, being of his kindred must precede union. "Bring not my son thither again." The saints have to be brought up to Him.

The epistle to the Romans lays the basis for this in the complete clearance of the one that is dead with Christ. He is said to be the fulness of the Godhead in Col. 2:9, and in Ephesians the assembly is spoken of as the fulness or the complement of Christ. He is seen there as the risen Man. It would seem as if this was leading us to the blessedness of our position with Christ in order that we might take up our functions as priests.

Our being priests supposes some intelligence of the way in which the glory of God is secured by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. We must distinguish between what He is as Son of Man, and what He is as Son with the Father. In the typical system we do not get the thought of the Father and the Son. What is there prefigured is the removal out of the creation of every mark of sin and the establishment of the glory of God by the Son of Man. As sons we are brought into relationship and association with the Son before the Father, in an order of life and affection which belongs to divine Persons and into which it was the purpose of God before the world was, to bring us.

In John 13 — 17, we have the full revelation of the Father by the Son, and also our place in infinite grace in that revelation. In Ephesians we get both lines of thought. The prayer in the third chapter is to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. No one but God would have taken up such as we were, and yet He has put us in His Son, the Man Christ Jesus.

When the apostle uses the word sonship he has the thought of adoption in his mind. That word supposes a past history and also suggests a transference from the lowest to the highest place. In using the word "children," the thought is one of a new order, having no past history. In that He is not ashamed to call us His brethren there lies a declaration of His perfect and infinitely blessed work.

Question. — What is the scope of the "great salvation" in the second chapter?

It indicates the whole range of blessing, and covers all the relationships in which we stand in the presence of God. The death of Christ was the end of the world as far as God's dealings with it are concerned. When men put His Son to death there appeared nothing left for God to do but sweep the whole scene in judgment; but instead of doing this, He began to fulfil His eternal counsels in Christ by calling out His assembly.

The prophet Hosea speaks of the period of estrangement as two days (chapter 6:2). "After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up." The two days may speak of the whole church period. The world's history closed at the cross. Now is the judgment of this world," but the execution of the sentence is delayed until the expiration of the two days, in other words, till after the calling out and the glorifying of the church.

At the end of chapter 1 He says, "They shall perish but Thou remainest." God being what He is, He must have a moral basis for all His activities. The material basis has been serviceable simply to afford a platform upon which the counsels of God could be worked out, and when the first creation has served its purpose it will pass away. That which is moral must ever be the first with God, and it is the great delight of His heart to express His love.

Being who He is, He must be His own Object; and all that He does being for His own glory, the consummation of all things will find Him manifesting Himself in the midst of a redeemed and satisfied creation, every part of which will vibrate with His praise for evermore.

Yet deeper if a calmer joy
   The Father's love shall raise;
 And every heart find sweet employ
   In His eternal praise.

6. Scriptures read, Hebrews vii 25; 8:2; 10:19-25.

May we now touch on the greatness of the Priest and on our association with Him as priests? Iii the seventh chapter a new Priest is presented, and afterwards we get our place with Him who is the chief Priest. In the eighth chapter, as has often been said, the new covenant is introduced, in the ninth the new sanctuary, and in the tenth the new company. The superstructure of the "World to come" is thus reared and is based upon what comes out in chapters 1 and 2. These two chapters show that the Lord Jesus Christ is the guarantee for the security of the whole creation, and for the maintenance of the character of God.

The priesthood was instituted when the Lord said to Moses, "Separate unto Me Aaron and his sons, that they may minister unto Me in the priest's office." Thus priesthood is first of all for God. It is God's provision for the people in the wilderness, though it was exercised when they got into the land. In it all, however, approach to God is in view. It must ever be borne in mind that the priest is taken out of the life of flesh, to minister to the Lord in sacred things.

In chapter 4 we are exhorted to come boldly to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for seasonable help, and in chapter 10 there is the same thought of boldness. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness for entering into the holiest." In the fourth we come to get our tiny vessels filled, but in the tenth the question of need is not raised, we come to give and to pour out our praises before Him.

Not only do we see the dignity of the priest, but also that of the priestly company. The characteristics of the Priest that becomes us are holiness, harmlessness, and separation from sinners, and in chapter 2:10, we see what becomes God, "It became Him for whom are all things . . . in bringing many sons to glory to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." In neither of these cases in the question of need raised, though even there our Lord Jesus is altogether indispensable, as always and everywhere. We shall find Him as indispensable in glory as we have found Him here. "Because I live, ye shall live also," shows that we shall live by Him throughout eternity.

Question. — Do you mean that the priesthood of Christ goes on for ever?

Not exactly. When the kingdom is given up by our Lord, there will be no need for official glories, so there will be no mediatorial or official functions to exercise. But in the very nature of things we shall ever be dependent, and our Lord Jesus Christ will in some sense over be the One through whom we shall be sustained in life and blessing.

Chapter 7:25, speaking of saving to the uttermost those that come unto God by Him, must necessarily refer to the wilderness, and not to the holiest, since it involves the question of need. There are three thoughts in connection with the wilderness priest. He succours, as is seen in the third chapter: He sympathises in the fourth, and saves to the uttermost in the seventh. It must be remembered that whilst we may be in the holiest, we have not left the wilderness as to our actual presence, as being there is a spiritual condition and in no sense material.

There are two sides of the priesthood involved here. In the fifth chapter he is chosen from among men, that he might be able to succour and sympathise, so also Christ, who is called of God a High Priest after another order, has to pass through a course of suffering with strong crying and tears in view of the qualifications belonging to that office, so that He can compassionate the needy and succour the tempted. But in the eighth He is spoken of as a Minister of the sanctuary having charge of the golden vessels, as Chief Priest over God's house. There are also two ways in which the saints may be regarded: one as being needy and encompassed about with infirmities, and the other as viewed by God as being a priestly company, the first is seen in their every day life, as the common people; and the other as an inside company, i.e., the priestly family, identified with the tabernacle and its ordinances.

Question. — Do the fourth and sixth chapters suggest the carrying the names of the children of Israel on the shoulders and the breast of the priest?

Is not that seen better in chapter 9:24, "He has gone into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us? That is to say, He has gone there in garments of glory and beauty. Appearing in the presence of God for us suggests representation, which is prefigured in the ephod with its names. This again would indicate that while He was inside for them they are outside, but in the tenth chapter they are inside with Him, at least they are invited to go where He is. Since we learn everything in Christ, we should ponder well His glories as Priest.

In the seventh chapter He comes before us as King of Righteousness and King of Salem which is King of Peace. These titles carry us on to the world to come, where righteousness and peace kiss each other (Psalm 85), and in the seventy-second Psalm, where the reign of the Son of David is celebrated, these two marks are closely associated. Not only is He King, He is Priest, after an order differing from that of Aaron, that is to say, after the order of Melchisedec.

In chapter 7, His official and His moral glories are distinguished from each other, and yet are combined in one whole, and still both hang on what He is in His own Person. The early part of the chapter shows the King in His official dignity, the latter, He that is harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, that is to say, His moral beauties and glories are found there. Both these again are found combined in verse 2, for His name Melchisedec means King of Righteousness, and the name of the city, Salem, means peace.

Question. — But are there not personal glories too?

Yes. They are found in verse 3, where Melchisedec is said to have neither beginning of days nor end of life, but assimilated to the Son of God. There you have the eternal Son; this takes you back to the first chapter to the One who made purgation.

The royalty is set forth in the purple and scarlet of Aaron's robes, which is a further indication that the kingly priest was the order of priesthood that was before the mind of God from the start, but these glories come may into view in the place that He has taken, consequent upon His resurrection. He could not be a priest before His death because He was not of the priestly tribe — Levi — but even in His life the moral characteristics of a priest were seen in Him, as is so charmingly narrated in the gospels. All that He now is, He was when on earth, but neither His headship nor His priesthood could be declared or known till the circumstances were propitious, and that was not till after His death and resurrection, though their power and glory were vested in Him during His earthly sojourn.

In chapters 6 and 7, God is seen to confirm His word by an oath first to us (6:17), and then to the Son (7:21 and 7:28).

It was not till after the slaughter of the kings that Melchisedec, who received tithes from Abraham, is introduced. He thus learns the sufficiency and the blessedness of his ministrations before he has to encounter the wiles of the king of Sodom.

In speaking of verse 26. Such an High Priest became us," we must be careful to maintain the balance of truth, and it is clear from this chapter, that all that the saints are, hang upon what He is and what He has done, "For the priesthood being changed there is of necessity a change also of law," for it would be an impossibility to tack a legal system on to a risen Christ.

Everything must be in accordance with the One who has been here and is the centre of the new system that Tie has introduced — priesthood, liberty, access, and a better hope.

The introduction of a better hope speaks of an entirely new thing which involves a change of order. By it, too, the priestly company has access into the Holy of Holies.

Question. — Are not the priests also sons, and have they not a right of entrance by virtue of their consecration?

Sonship and priesthood are prominent thoughts in this epistle. Observe how the Spirit of God culls from Psalm 2 and from Psalm 110, and links the two quotations together in the person of Christ, one indicating relationship and the other service. We also are spoken of as sons in the second, and as priests in the tenth chapters; but in our case, sonship is the calling of God and priesthood service. Christ on high, in His own Person, maintains the calling in its true dignity, but as Priest, He is able to maintain us in conformity to it.

Question. — Is there a difference between Son over God's house and High Priest over the house of God?

Yes. Son over God's house is supremacy in divine administration, and is quoted in contrast with Moses who is seen in Hebrews 3, at the height of his dignity, faithful in all God's house. High Priest over the house of God is in contrast with Aaron and refers to his service in the sanctuary. The latter is a special service whilst the other is more general.

Returning for a moment to the garments of the high priest, I would like to say that Aaron could enter the holiest only when he had on the holy linen garments, and then only once a year on the day of Atonement. It is never said that he went in adorned in the garments of beauty,. This brings the greatness of our Priest into strong relief with the one whom He superseded, for every thought expressed in the garments of glory and beauty is now amply expressed in our blessed Lord. All the rich complexity of glory and magnificence which was there prefigured, shines forth in the great Melchisedec Priest.

Question. — What do the golden bells on the hem of the priestly robe suggest?

To my mind, they bring the idea of His glory and OUT blessings. The bells rang without effort while the priest was otherwise engaged. They spoke of life. Our Priest is one after the power of an endless life, and has gone into the presence of God for us, and while He is there, His people are here, and the bells ring in the gracious activities of His love.

Question — How is the ringing of the bells heard to-day?

The blessed Spirit of God has come from a glorified Christ to bring to our souls the greatness of His glory. I connect this with the feast of Luke 14, and the descent of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The bells, too, speak of testimony, not our testimony, nor indeed any testimony, but the testimony of the Holy Ghost to the saints as seen in John 16 and in 1 John 5.

Question. — What difference is there between the teaching of the beauteous garments and the teaching of the holy linen garments?

In the latter you have the presentation of the cross, for until all the glory of God has been established there could not be any display of beauty, Never was the Son more precious to the Father than when He laid down His life, though externally, all was suffering and death. The twelfth verse of the ninth chapter is connected with the linen garments, and the twenty-fourth with those of glory and beauty. In the former, Christ has gone into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption, in the latter, He has gone into heaven itself there to appear in the presence of God for us. His people are seen waiting, but in the meantime they are well represented there, but while waiting, they may with all holy boldness, enter into the Holiest of all.

Question. — You do not mean that we can go into heaven now?

Oh, no. We cannot go there till we are taken (John 14), besides, this forms no part of Christian exercise. Meanwhile, we are exhorted to join Him in the place that He has taken in resurrection, that is in the Holiest of all. This we do by the Spirit.

Question. — Is the Holiest a place or a state?

It is a state undoubtedly. "Heaven" suggests the thought of a place. We shall be taken there, but may now have the consciousness of being before God in the revelation of Himself in Christ for His pleasure, to praise and worship with adoring hearts. This is being in the Holiest! The word, "The vail that is to say His flesh," is surely meant to guard us against materializing these holy things.

Question. — Do you connect all this with the meeting to remember the Lord in His death?

Surely. If there is a time in our life on earth when these things are entered upon it would be then.

Christ is always in the midst of His assembly. It is His own circle.

Remark. — There is no mention of the coming together of the saints in this epistle.

No, but though we get such in 1 Corinthians 11, the proper privileges and worship of the assembly are not found as they are here. Individual worship, however meet and precious and acceptable to God, is scarcely that which meets His rights; it is only in the company of the saints that we get the activities of sonship. This is the true anticipation of the time when the universe shall ring with His praise.
"When God shall shine in light divine
 In glory never fading."
Christ is the One who leads the praises, offering them to God, as it is necessary "that this Man shall have somewhat also to offer," for everything that ascends to God from His people does so in the fragrance of our blessed Lord. Thus there is a link formed between the singing of the praises in the midst of His own (Heb. 2:12), and entrance into the Holiest (Heb. 10:19), where the soul gets an apprehension of what Christ is to God. In our wilderness circumstances we may learn what He can be to us, but it is far more precious to learn what Christ is to God. We behold the glory of the Lord and are fitted to be witnesses here, of what we have seen in His presence there. A two-fold ministry is seen in Hebrews 2:12.

He declares the Father's name to us, and He leads His brethren's praises to the Father. It is the declaration of the Father's name that produces worship in the hearts of His brethren, this He presents to the Father as an offering to Him, fulfilling the word that "This Man must have something to offer."

Question. — How does man become a reflex of God?

What a Christian is to others, should be the result of his being in the presence of God. When inside with Him we are brought into perfect accord with the glory of the Lord, which cannot fail to be expressed when we are outside in the world; for God who spoke that out of darkness light should shine, has shone into our hearts for the shining forth of the glory of God. Here is the true reflex of God in the saint. This outshining is the result of the ministry of the new covenant — that of the Spirit and not of the letter.

This also fits the saint for entrance into the Holiest and illustrates how these things act and re-act the one on the other. When the law is written on man's heart, he cannot but do the will of God, and he becomes in measure what Christ was here — the reflex of God.

Question. — Does the new covenant, then, prepare for the Holiest?

The Holiest fits one to be the reflection of God, just as the new covenant does.

Everything in Christianity is by the Spirit. In the fourth of John the Lord said to the woman, "The hour cometh and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth." The same thought is found in Ephesians 2:18, where you get the nearest approach to worship in that epistle, "Through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit."

As Moses in Leviticus 8, consecrated Aaron and his sons for the worship of the sanctuary, so the Lord Jesus prepares a company for the Father's pleasure. It should be our most treasured privilege to enter the presence of God as worshippers, expressing the spontaneous overflow of the heart with praise to the blessed God in the company of His own. There can be no artificiality in such a delightful occupation.

Chapter 10:9, seems to be the climax of this epistle. It is well to observe that "Outside the camp" comes after that.

In chapter 12 we get the thought of the race. We are to run with patience the race set before us, that has been called the flat race, while entrance into the Holiest has been designated the upward course, and being bound with those who are bound (13:3), may be described as the downward one.

In the inside place we are formed in the character of Christ. This will necessarily affect our conduct outside, and we should then be like the apostle Paul, who could say, "For me to live is Christ."

Question. — Are the saints viewed here as a consecrated company in relation to Christ, as Aaron's sons were related to their father?

Yes, that is the inside company. That will mark them in the coming age and for eternity. The church will always be the inside company.

Question — Do you judge this to be so from precise Scripture or only from the general tenor of the epistle?

The general character of the epistle is on that line, but it is clearly seen in the verse "Let us approach with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, sprinkled as to our hearts from an evil conscience and washed as to our bodies with pure water." These two statements refer definitely to what was done by Moses in Leviticus 8. They are applied here to the company of the priests who enter the Holiest, having access by the better hope, and join Christ who is the true Aaron, the Great (i.e. Chief) Priest over the house of God.

7. Scriptures read, Colossians 1:18-29; 3:12-17.

This epistle begins with the glory and greatness of our adorable Lord, and then leads on to the truth of the Head and the body, and the love of Christ expressed therein. We have to admit brokenness and confusion, but it is a great thing to have the thoughts of God notwithstanding it all.

What could help us in the state of things like that with which we are surrounded, more than the favour of having the truth of the greatness of Christ in His eternal glory, the greatness of His place as the Head of the body, and the greatness of the church's place in relation to Him, committed to us, and the feelings, tastes, and sentiments of the Head coming out in His members here?

Question. — Will you give us a summary of the glories Of His Person?

That is more than anyone could do. The Spirit in the chapter presents a very rich and full declaration of His glory that is well calculated to make us independent of the world and its resources. The Lord is presented as Firstborn of all creation, and His glory is stamped upon everything throughout the vast creation of God. All that He is, and all that which is proper to Him, is introduced in its relation to the body. The Creator and Upholder of all is the Head of the body, the assembly. All the power and glory of which creation speaks is carried over into new creation, and seen to centre in Him who is the Head of the body.

Remark. — Prior to that, do you not get the "Son of His love," as if that was something more intimate? There is the bond between the Father and the Son which must be infinitely more precious than even the outshining of His glory.

That is very precious and seems to fit in with John's line of teaching, which consists of the revelation of the Father by the Son, and the system of divine affections brought here by the Son in manhood. But Paul considers the solution of the question of good and evil by a Man, the Man Christ Jesus, for the glory of God. These are the salient features, for we well know, that each touches on the theme of the other.

Question. — Is there any difference between the inheritance and the kingdom?

I think that the kingdom as here presented, looks at a sphere where everything is put into subjection to the Son. But it is the rule of love. You are made meet for "the portion of the saints in light," for you are brought into divine affections proper to the Father and the Son.

He must be pre-eminent in every sphere. The "First-born of all creation" does not refer to generation or to time, it is rank, not time, that is in view. The idea is the same as is seen in Psalm 89:27, where the Psalmist speaking of Solomon says, "I will make him my firstborn higher than the kings of the earth."

In the first chapter there are two Headships, two reconciliations and two ministries. He is the Head of the body and Head of creation? He reconciles the saints now, and all things in the time to come. There is the ministry of the gospel and of the assembly.

Question. — What is the meaning of the word Head?

When the Head of the body is spoken of, there is an organic connection between the Head and the members, but as Head of creation Be stands infinitely above it all. The distance between Him and it must be infinite. It is no part of Him, nor is He any part of it. In the body the members are in the life of the head.

Question. — As Head of all principality and power is He entirely apart from it?

Yes, but that is quite another thought, and must be viewed distinct from His creation glory. The epistle speaks of Him as Head of the body, and Head of all principality and power, but in Ephesians He is Head over all things. Thus three thoughts of Headship are beautifully joined in Him. Head of every man, of the body, and of all things; and, although there is no correspondence between them, there are three ways in which the body may be viewed. First Corinthians presents the body in its local expression, "Ye are the body of Christ "; in Colossians it includes every saint on the earth at any given moment; and in the Ephesian epistle it includes every saint from Pentecost till the Lord comes. The aspect named in Corinthians is seen in operation in chapter 5, where one getting away from the Lord, affects the whole company.

His headship of creation is quite different from that of every principality and power. He created long before He became incarnate. Creation is His by right, and includes everything natural and physical. When we speak of principality and power it is a moral order, and Christ is over that by virtue of redemption. It is the risen Man who is made Head over all things (Ephesians 1).

Question. — But is not Satan head of principalities?

He is certainly the leader of a vast host of wicked spirits spoken of as principalities and authorities in Ephesians 6:12, but we know little of them. We do know, however, that all these vast and inconceivable powers were created by and for Him who is our Lord. Principalities and powers are spoken of as good and evil.

Question. — Would it take in the kings of the earth?

It must take in everything. In the Revelation we read of the Prince of the Kings of the earth.

We must draw an important distinction here. All that come into blessing are brought into the sphere of reconciliation and are identified with Christ. This sphere covers heaven and earth, "To head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth even in Him." But when you come to Philippians 2, the sphere is enlarged because His subduing power is in question; then heavenly, earthly, and infernal beings are compelled to bow and own Him Lord by divine decree.

The domain of Headship is co-extensive with that of reconciliation and of course with that of Lordship, too. Those who will not have the Lord Jesus and His great salvation will have to bow and own that same Saviour as Lord, to the glory of God, though to their everlasting sorrow. God has decreed that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Question. — And that is not only in this world?

At the close of the first of Ephesians we see the vast universe of bliss with Christ the Centre and His bride, the assembly, with Him. It is co-extensive with verses 9 and 10 of the same chapter, which is the widest expression of the Kingdom in Scripture.

Question. — What do you understand by the verse, "Not only in this age, but also in that which is to come"?

It is the authority of Christ over all, for all time; the millennial reign of Christ is in view, when His supremacy will be enforced, when there will be one Lord and His name One, but of course, His supremacy will be eternal.

Question. — What are the two reconciliations that you spoke of?

One is the reconciliation of all things (verse 20), and the other that of persons in the next verse, "You hath He reconciled." The words, "All things," in verse 16, are used of creation, but in verse 20 they refer to reconciliation. The believer is now reconciled through the death of Christ, but creation waits for it. Creation is groaning now.

Question. — In what way do we now realize the reconciliation into which we are brought?

You, as brought to God, have new feelings, new tastes, and new desires. These have been introduced by the presence and the power of the Holy Ghost, who delights to lead us into the new creation joys. It is the privilege of every believer to dwell in that sphere. The fifteenth of Luke gives us a complete representation of reconciliation seen in parable form, the joy of the blessed God, the place of delight before Him and the fruit of His sovereign will. One would never tire of dwelling on that parable. We can never be acceptable to God except we are clothed in what is of and from Himself. Now we are made suitable for the delight of God, whose presence is our home.

God is now reconciling persons. We beseech in Christ's stead be ye reconciled to God. Reconciliation is preached in the gospel, while in 2 Corinthians 5, the ministry of it is presented. The work is accomplished whereby the ministry can be sent forth. In 2 Corinthians 5:20, the word "you" should not be there. It is better read, "We entreat for Christ, be reconciled to God." It is the burden of the servant and his message. The Corinthians had already been reconciled to God.

Reconciliation and new creation subsist in Christ personally, in His exalted place in heaven. Redemption is complete and the gospel comes out from Christ where He is. The One who went to the most distant point from God, is now in all the nearness, and we are accepted in Him. Christ Himself is the full expression of reconciliation, and we are graced in Him for the good pleasure of the heart of God.

In Luke 15, we get what the Father gets, for by feeding on the fatted calf we share the Father's joy in the sacrificial glory of Christ. The Son came here to make known the heart of God, but before the gospel could be announced, there must be the answer to that revelation in His being accepted by the Father, and the glory of His person underlies that.

We get the present benefit of being brought into harmony with God. We are "reconciled in the body of His flesh through death," which plainly declares that nothing but death would do. Active, open enmity cannot be reconciled, it can only be ended.

Question. — May we not now enjoy reconciliation?

Surely, if one is at the table partaking of the fatted calf the enjoyment is complete. There is a difference between communion and relationship. Sonship and eternal life are given to us of God, but the enjoyment of them is another matter. Every blessing depends on the gift of the Spirit; this cannot be lost, but communion with God may.

The presentation of this is a very great incentive to every saint to walk in the power of these things. We have to bow our heads that we know so little of them. They involve an apprehension of what God is both in His nature and character. His nature (love), was as much towards man in Old Testament times as in those of the New. He is unchangeable in love; but when we think of His attributes this is not so. God's holiness and righteousness must necessarily be against man for he is a sinner. Hence, at the cross, not only does His love find expression, but His righteousness and holy character are met too.

In Eden the sword of the cherubim was turned every way to guard the Tree of Life, but there was no sword in the hand of the cherubim that overshadowed the mercy seat, for redemption in type is there, and they look upon a blood-sprinkled mercy seat and all is peace. God did not need to be reconciled to man, He loved him, but the Fall put man in such a position that God's attributes stood out against him, and therefore they had to be met.

This has, in grace, secured a position for man far beyond that in which he stood before the Fall. Had he remained in innocence, he could not have had the privilege of entrance into the presence of God as he has now. Man has been brought to God by God coming to him, and that could not have been accomplished in any other way. The prodigal son was reconciled when the Father came out to meet him.

Remark — The father ordered the best robe to be brought out, he covered him with kisses, but the servants had to invest him with his new covering.

Remark — That is what we are having to-day.

Like 2 Corinthians 5, it is the ministry of reconciliation, and though truly the work of the Spirit, it is in connection with the ministry of the word by His servants.

Question. — In verse 18 it says, "In Him all the fulness was pleased to dwell," was that really true before the cross?

He was pre-eminent before the cross, and now He is pre-eminent as First-born from the dead.

We have to remember that what is said there and in chapter 2:9, "for in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," was said of Him after Ho had gone back to the glory. It was true in pre-incarnate times; it was true when He was here, and it is true now where He is, for in Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

The Spirit has the reconciliation of all things in view in this passage, and in that connection it must be remembered that the blood of Christ was shed for "men on the earth." Higher unfallen beings do not need it as they had been kept in their original and uncorrupted state, as is seen in the song of Revelation 5. As reconciliation predicates being brought from distance it could not apply to them.

Remark — But the heavens are not clean in His sight.

That is the creation, and we know that the cross is that by which the whole inheritance will be cleansed. We know, too, that all things are to be reconciled, and so come under the Man Christ Jesus. That involves a change of order for those glorious hosts of unfallen beings above us, Hitherto, they had been servants of God and relatively above man, but now that Christ has all things under Him their position is necessarily changed, for God having become Man to recover all, and His being appointed Heir over all, they consequently take a place under a Man.

Question. — Do you think that "all things" refers to those glorious beings and intelligences that have not fallen, but have in some way become affected by the presence of sin?

I do not know. The all things would take in thrones, dominions, etc., as in verse 16, showing that whatever has been put wrong will be put right, and that when recovery comes in, angels take a different place because their Creator has become a Man. When the Lamb that had been slain takes the book, angels take their places as servants because the earth has become His inheritance. As He is supreme in the world to come, the angelic) beings must be subservient to Him. "Thou hast put all things under His feet." In the eighth of Romans the apostle says, "the whole creation groans": but the change of administrative order is seen when He takes the book in Revelation 5.

Everything has been secured for God by reconciliation, and all that has in any way been affected by sin Will be brought into complete harmony with the will of God by the blood of the cross.

Question. — Is it only that which was at enmity that is reconciled?

That is true of the saints, but there is evidently a large part of the fallen creation which is not reconciled. That which is not reconciled will be subjugated, for Christ will be owned as Lord, even by those that are for ever lost.

Question. — Did you not speak of the celebration of righteousness?

Yes! It has begun now. They began to be merry. The parable shows that the blessing is enjoyed now. We are said to be "holy and unblameable in His sight," but the presentation of the church to Himself will be in glorified bodies, when we are perfectly like Him. Suitability to His nature will be our eternal condition.

Question. — What is the idea in the expression "Having made peace by the blood of His cross"?

Sin has brought in confusion and disorder. The cross has removed the element of discord, and peace will spread till it fills the creation. Meantime, He is our Peace.

Question — Would you say that He thus restores that which He took not away?

Yes! That is connected with the trespass offering in which a fifth part of what had been taken away had to be added. If man has robbed God of His glory, Christ has restored it. But if that was all that He had done, man would have been reinstated in the position that he had lost by his sin. But in the addition of the fifth part, there is a revenue of glory for God that gives a basis for His eternal counsel and puts man into a new place in heavenly blessing.

Reconciliation means far more than recovery. It is new creation. Sin brought in discord, but the work of the Lord Jesus brings about a re-adjustment which embraces the whole creation. The cross puts all on a new footing. The Creator is Redeemer and is the appointed Heir of all things.

Chapter 1 unfolds the range of His glory. Chapter 2, the greatness of His work, which has cleared the ground and so made room for the assembly which is His body (chapter 3) I think we might be helped if we considered that side of things a little.

The first part of chapter 3 puts us in touch with heaven and at the same time, fits us for the earth. Chapter 2:12 is a key verse for the saints.

There are three distinct exhortations based on verse 12: The first, which is negative in character, is chapter 2:16-19. The second, also negative, is found in verses 20-23, and the third is in chapter 3:1-4. This is positive. Each of these forms a little paragraph by itself and shows the things with which a person risen with Christ can have nothing to do and what, on the other marks the movements of his life.

We are said to be buried with Him, risen with Him, and quickened together with Him. Risen with Him implies that we are viewed as being on the earth, but in relation to the system of glory of which He is the Head.

Question. — What is the difference between being quickened and raised?

Being raised associates you with the new order of things which is permeated by life and love, as seen in chapter 3:1-4.

Question. — Is not resurrection, victory over death, and quickening, the positive side of association with Christ in life?

Precisely so! Resurrection is anticipated here and ascension in Ephesians. We are regarded as being on the earth, not having left our flesh and blood condition, but linked up with a new Man on resurrection ground, with the joys and feelings of another world. In the first creation, man was the last of God's works, but in the new creation He comes first. Resurrection is the assurance of the breaking of the power of death, and the removal of the man in the flesh. The assembly is essential to the love of Christ, while Christ Himself is its life. If you are risen with Christ, you are in His circle and identified with His interests.

That has a practical and living effect on our lives. You are brought to the place where there is unlimited joy and into that which death cannot touch, outside the life of flesh and blood which will end in death. Hence, you walk through this world a stranger, blessedly supported because filled with delight. All this is divinely certain, more certain than any earthly thing, but yet it is on the principle of faith. We have to put on the clothes. "Put on, therefore, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness," etc.

Remark. — In the end of this chapter you have the dress for the home, but in the sixth of Ephesians it is the military equipment, "Put on the whole armour of God."

When thus addressed in the graces of Christ you set Him forth in all your ways. The saints are what Christ is. They are called holy and beloved. These are the marks of Christ in those who are called of God. As God called the Man and the woman Adam (Genesis 5:20), so in 1 Cor. 12:12, the church is called Christ.

We being risen with Christ are left here to represent Him. God speaks of His saints as the elect of God, holy and beloved, and exhorts them to put on what are really the graces of Christ, and which spring from having the heart in tune with Him.

The subjective operations of the Spirit which are spoken of here, produce no less than seven embellishments in the Christian. These are really the feelings and the sentiments of Christ. It is one thing to be a Christian and quite another to be formed in the tastes, feelings, and sentiments of Christ. These come out in the very smallest details, in visiting, in deportment, or in the daily duties of life. It is the fruit of the Spirit in our souls. He makes us true gentlemen, you take on, so to speak, the refinements of Christ.

We are in the place of suffering, but suffering is not growth. It should bring us to God and it is well when it is so, and it is there that we growl. We may suffer a great deal, and gain little spiritually by it; doubtless, this is the case with most of us. We may take a lesson in the meekness and gentleness of Christ from the well known story of the two goats who met on a narrow ridge, too narrow to turn round on, or even turn aside. One lay down and allowed the other to walk over his prostrate body. Such is true humility, and needs much grace to carry it out. May we all seek to do so!

But we have also to learn to resist. He resisted unto blood.

Question. — When would you refuse to yield?

When the claims of God are at stake. There, as a matter of fact, you have no choice, but even then, if one is under the influence of the grace of Christ, it is done in a becoming way.

God's word and His claims are being set aside on every hand, and the word for each of us is to "Stand, and having done all to stand." This demands discernment as well as faithfulness, but you yield in no divine principle. Abram yielded in Genesis 13, when Lot chose the well watered plains, but in the following chapter when Lot was taken prisoner, he fought.

The seven excellencies named here (Colossians 3:12) have been likened to the rainbow which sets forth the colours that are found in the sun, and we, walking in the light of the Son of God, reflect His moral glories — bowels of mercies, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, etc.

Question. — Would you say that everything that is found here was perfectly blended in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Everything was perfectly measured and balanced in Him, all He said and did was said and done at the right moment, and in the most excellent way, whether it was for man's good or for God's glory. Every man has the faults of his virtues, but in Him everything was perfectly co-ordinated. We should seek to walk thus with God, and then no matter what our circumstances may be, we shall be kept in perfect accord with His will.

This requires no effort if one is walking in communion with the Lord. Great vigilance is required to do this as it has so many opportunities to show itself either in the domestic, the business or the Christian circle.

Remark — It needs not a little energy to forbear and forgive.

Yes, but we have to set about- it heartily and readily, keeping ourselves in the love of God. It must be the fruit of spiritual exercise and not merely an effort of the will.

It may sometimes depend on the measure of confidence that one has in the other, for sometimes we may graciously accept from one what we would not think of doing from another. If, indeed, we are to be our brother's keeper, we must walk very humbly before the Lord. If you are in a proper degree of intimacy with the blessed Master, you can truly act for Him in the midst of departure from Him, "Above all things put on love." Someone has likened this to an overcoat. Apart from the love of God these things are apt to degenerate into mere human sentiment. If love be there you have the state that is suitable to God and the state He can use among His people. Love has been likened to the hoops around a cask, binding them all together.

Question. — Should this be the attitude towards every member of the body of Christ?

Undoubtedly. The fact that the saints are the body of Christ is the great outstanding feature of the present revelation. In the past we have made too much of the doctrine and too little of the practice of this membership. These things cannot be put on, they must come from within. It has been said that the feathers are not put on to a bird, they must grow upon it. They characterise the bird and it is known by them. It is a fact that we are linked up with Him, and if we are one with Him we are one with each other.

In this list of virtues that we have to put on, love is named the last of all, but when they are named as the fruit of the Spirit as in Galatians 5, it is at the head of the list.

Drawn together as we now are, love is seen in living reality. When we have true Christian fellowship as members of His body we are in full accord with the heart of our adorable Lord.

Question. — What is the peace of Christ?

Peace must be the presiding principle in the heart of the Christian. In the body the members do not vie with one another, there is peace in the body.

The Lord speaks of two kinds of peace in John 14. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. The first is what He made, the second is what is spoken of iii this verse. The peace that ever filled His blessed heart is ours now. There is no peace in the world except in the body of Christ.

Question. — How would you compare "Blessed are the peace makers" with this Scripture?

Thank God, that there are such in spite of all the failure. If we are holding the Head these things will come out and we shall be peace-makers. How could we lend our ears to tittle-tattle and gossip if we knew this peace? If the peace of Christ preside in your heart you will carry it wherever you go.

Oh! may God give us to desire to be peacemakers, for such shall be called the sons of God.

8. Scriptures read, Ephesians 1:1-23; 3:14-21.

I think this Scripture brings us back to what we began with, the grandeur and the glory of the gospel.

The gospel has God for its source and Christ for its theme. You get here the full height of the gospel of God, i.e., the truth of sonship, and that is the highest of all our blessings. As it has often been said that the individual blessing is higher than the corporate.

In the prayer of chapter 1, we have presented to us the fruit of His eternal purpose, which connects us with God, and the body which is our link with Christ.

The beginning of the chapter connects us with God as sons, and the end with Christ, thus our position with divine Persons is set forth, while the expression, "Members of Christ's body," expresses our link with the risen Man.

Question. — What are we to learn from the fact that the first prayer is addressed to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the second to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

There is a strong connection with John 20, where the Lord says, "I ascend to My Father and your Father; and to My God and your God." These two statements may be said to relate to what we are in the line of sonship and in the line of priesthood. In John "My Father" comes first.

God made Himself known in the past in connection with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, men on the earth, but now He does this by the Lord Jesus Christ, and He is going to bring up everything to the level of Him, the new Man.

The past dealings of God display to us much of His character so that His ways are known and they afford much instruction for us. The patriarchs passed through similar circumstances to what we do, but when we come to the revelation of the purposes of God we are on quite new ground. These could be alone revealed by the Son: He is their Centre and is the standard for man now.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was associated with earthly blessing, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is connected with heavenly blessings. There is an implied contrast to Deuteronomy 6, which was spoken in view of the people entering the land, "And it shall be when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which He sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not . . . and wells digged which thou diggest not, vineyards and olive trees which thou plantest not, when thou shalt have eaten and be full; then, beware lest thou forget the Lord."

You could not have sonship in the Old Testament, our blessings are all in Christ, and are made available for us by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Their blessings depended on themselves, ours depend on Christ.

Remark. — God is also the Father of glory.

The glory and the rights of God are made good by Christ.

There are three things in the first prayer. First, "The eyes of your heart being enlightened that ye may know what is the hope of His calling," that is to say, the calling of sonship as named in the fifth verse. The second, "The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," which are seen in verses 8-10; and third, "What is the working of His mighty power." This began in the resurrection of Christ. All this is the good pleasure of His will.

The call of sonship is to heaven and it comes from heaven. It is called elsewhere a holy calling, and the hope of it is the present consummation of the work of God in the soul. It is the full joy of the Father's house, the realization of all that He has purposed for us from a past eternity in His Son.

Question. — What is the difference between children and sons?

Children is a sweeter and more endearing term, and suggests our origin. Nature and origin are of course connected with both terms, but the thought of children contemplates a new generation in which the nature of God is displayed. What you are is greater that what you have.

Question. — Is not the hope of His calling connected with the consummation and knowledge of the assurance of it in our souls now?

Yes! but it is not so much the carrying out of the purposes of God, as the counsel itself before the world that we are considering.

The first time that "Christ" is named in the chapter is after the world, in one sense, had run its course. It is necessary that a distinction should be drawn between the counsels of God in the past and their being carried out in time. God began to fulfil His counsels in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

All the previous dealings of God with men were on the basis of responsibility and came to an end in the cross. There the history of the first man came to an end morally and there the judgment of the world took place. The life and the ministry of the Lord is on that account passed by and the Spirit begins with Him in death. The chapter has eternal things in view, and so the Lord Jesus is brought in as being raised from the dead.

When the word "children" is used there is no suggestion of any previous history, but not so with the word "sons," for the word adoption at once implies previous associations. Sonship gives the new position for eternity.

Question. — Is priesthood consequent on sonship?

I think so. They come together in one individual. Priestly service entails a rich appreciation of the excellencies of the sacrifices and this corresponds in itself with the privilege of sonship in the New Testament. It is this that gives the place of importance to the priest and when we recall what has already been said in the epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 2 and 10, we see the wealth of favour that has been showered upon us in bringing us to God as sons. The only part of the burnt offering that did not go up in the sacrifice to God was the skin, and this was given to the priest, those who brought the offering stood by and looked on and saw that it was accepted of God. God, who ever had the death of His Son before Him in the burnt offering, tells out to us all its blessed details so that we might have a fuller insight into the preciousness of what His Son was to Him.

Question. — Are we sons by adoption and children by birth?

Yes, that is a very clear way to express the. thought. Seven times over in the epistle of John we are said to be born of God. This presents the new generation who walk in righteousness and love, which are the marks of eternal life. This last is a great thing in that epistle.

Question. — Are not we "sons" to set forth the character of God in this world?

It is in the sight of God that we are said to be sons here, and are called children as seen in this world. "Be ye, therefore, followers of God as dear children and walk in love as Christ also has loved us."

Remark. — Sons are taken into a position to which they have no right by births.

Question. — What does the inheritance in the saints mean?

It is that which He takes possession of, in or through, the saints. It is the vast inheritance that He takes up in the day of glory.

Remark. — The truth of the body in the epistle to the Corinthians seems to be that it is the vessel in which Christ is expressed. He is the Spirit of it, and it is there the local expression of the body. In Ephesians the church is regarded as taking in every saint from the second of the Acts to the fourth of first Thessalonians, nor could it be otherwise, for the purpose of God could not be limited in any;way whatever, for everything is on a grand scale here.

Remark. — The fulness of the Head is spoken of in the Colossians, but here it is the fulness of the body.

All the fulness dwells in Him as God, but in Ephesians, Christ is looked at as the risen Man and as such, the body is considered His complement, "The church which is His fulness," the complement of Him that filleth all in all. This is a thought of surpassing wonder, and hangs upon the character of Christ Himself. It is the same thought as Eve giving expression to Adam. The assembly is taken from Christ to be His help-meet in spreading His glory throughout the whole creation in the coming day of glory.

Remark. — Before Eve was the bride she was the body; she was part of himself, built in to a woman and presented to Him.

The thought of the body and the bride are closely connected, that which is presented to Christ must be morally at His level, therefore, she has to be taken from Him to be presented to Him.

Christ's name and character will be stamped on every part of the universe, and the bride is the means by which it will be done. That there should be a vessel formed for the adequate display of Christ is a very overpowering thought.

If it were a question of merely going to heaven, He could have taken us there when we were converted, but He has a definite object in leaving us here. When we consider the frailty of those that He has taken up, and what He has in view for them, we cease to wonder at His ways with us in present discipline. Saints are being trained now for what they are to be capable of to-morrow.

Question. — Shall we go on developing in that day?

This is the day for development, you should never be off duty, but if you are, both the Lord. and yourself will suffer loss.

Question. — Is the capacity that is being formed to-day for the enjoyment of divine things limited to the millennium or will it abide for ever?

I think it will abide for ever. You could not think of one filling a place in the millennium which would have to be given up at the end of it. The beginning of the kingdom glory is the beginning of the eternal state, as far as the heavenly saints are concerned.

The second chapter shows what we are taken out of. Remember the pit from whence ye were digged — a solemn injunction to bear in mind. And to such, God has chosen to reveal Himself!

Remark. — The greatness of the power available for us is measured by Christ being raised from the dead.

All His enemies are under His feet now. The resurrection of Christ has drawn more upon the resources of God than the creation of the universe. Paul desired to "Know Him and the power of His resurrection," i.e., a power outside of nature, the power of new creation. God has raised Him and given Him the highest place over all creation, and His bride is to be with Him.

As individuals, we are under Christ as Lord, and needless to say that we delight to be under such a, Lord. Having tasted that the Lord is gracious we gladly own His supremacy, but the body is not under Him in that sense, but is associated with Him in all that vast dominion of glory over which He rules. All that Eve was or had was centred in Adam, so that we should have to be careful when speaking of the church hem All that she is, or has, is because of her links with Christ.

Remark. — He set Him at His own right hand. He sits there alone.

Every heart should bow to that and say, "That is His place and His alone." From thence He administers all things for the benefit of the church, A distinction, however, must be made between the church's place in the day of glory, and the place of all the rest. Eve was distinct from the rest of all creation over which Adam reigned.

Question. — Does it not say that He is Head over the church?

No! It says He is Head of the body, not over the body. Every movement of my hand comes from my head, i.e., there is perfect harmony in my body. God intends that all the members of the body should work in perfect agreement with each other so that amid diversity there should be unity.

In chapter 9 you come to the building. This chapter supplies the link between the two prayers which we have read.

Question. — Is the holy temple in the Lord looked at as complete now?

No! it is growing. The chapter is in two parts. The first part down to verse 10 shows the whole extent of the work of God, transferring us to heaven, and anticipating in a spiritual way the truth of 1 Thessalonians 4. Verse 11 begins the second part, and after the warnings of verses 11 and 12, there is opened out the fulness of what has been set up here by the presence of the Holy Ghost.

The assembly is the;house of God now and here, and it behoves is to consider the whole extent of what is connected with that house. Oh! that we might apprehend that we who were afar off are now brought near, where there is a new Man, one body by reconciliation, access to the Father, and instead of being strangers and foreigners, are made fellow citizens of the saints. In fact, we are brought to the blessedness of the city and the house.

Question. — It began with the apostles?

Yes, they are the foundation, but we must not fail to see that the machinery a what is set up here is consequent on Christ glorified; The parenthesis of chapter 3 springs out of that as well as all the practical part of the epistle covering that last three chapters. I fear that there is a danger of our becoming so accustomed to these expressions that they lose their power over us. The immensity of the revelations and their far-reaching effects deeply humbled the apostle, so that he felt his true position before such majestic communications and spoke of himself as the least of all saints.

Coming to actualities, does not the poverty of our prayer meetings speak of a great lack of closet prayer? Do not the demands of business swallow up too much of our time? We must remember that the devil is the organizer of the world's system to-day. He will see to it that we have little time for prayer, readings, for the meetings or the things of God in general. If we could only have a little determination to redeem the time, Satan would be defeated.

Remark. — You do not mean to find fault -with being in business

Oh, no! I would not do that, but the Lord must have His place, and if we do not give it to Him we shall be losers in some way or other,

Remark. — Nehemiah prayed while he was at his business.

In the first prayer of Ephesians the power is outside of us, it is the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, but in the second prayer, the power is within us, "Strengthened by the Spirit in the inner man." The "inner man" is the outcome of the work of the Spirit in the affections of the saints. "I delight in the law of God after the inner man."

Remark — The outer man has reference to the body, "the outer man perishes."

Yes! but it is more than that. It is what is true of the saints. Scripture does not speak of the worldling as having an inner man, and therefore, it would be foolish to speak of his having an outer man.

Question. — But every man has an outer man as contrasted with his inner self?

If you speak of a man in that way he is a moral being in a physical body. In that sense you may speak of an inner and an outer man, but that is not what is spoken of here. A Christian has an inner man in the sense of a new moral being. It is in it that he has to say to God and the whole faith system, but besides that, he has to do with the things of sight and sense. These latter, are the things of the outer man. The outer man is a great deal more than a merely material thought.

In chapter 6, the power is working out from us, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."

Question. — Is not the body the temple of the Holy Ghost?

Oh, yes! but there is more than that, for the Holy Ghost dwells in you, that is, He dwells not merely in the body, but in the man who lives in the body.

These two prayers open up the deepest thoughts of God in a most astonishing way. Each rises step by step to a beautiful but different; climax, the first having its issue in the kingdom glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the other in eternity itself.

The first prayer begins with GOD and ends with the glorious reign of Christ over all things, having His church associated with Him; the second has the FATHER of the Lord Jesus at the beginning and ends with he assembly as the vessel in which the glory of God shines throughout eternity. What a culmination of the sorrows and throes of the cross! What a theme for endless praise from the reconciled ones!
  Blest Lord! what heavenly wonders dwell
  In Thine atoning blood.