"I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure pluck .... and they shall hang upon Him .... all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons." — Isa. 22:23, 24.
To great and small things love alike can reach,
And cares for each as all, and all as each.
Jesus only can truly satisfy and rejoice the heart. All the difficulties of earth are nothing when He is present; but heaven itself would be for us solitary and joyless, if He were wanting there. (Present Testimony 15:19).
If a man has not Christ at the bottom, he is no Christian at all; but even where Christ is in a man, you may find him walking blamelessly, yet, if you speak to him of Christ, there is not an echo in his heart, though his life goes on smoothly. Christ at the bottom, and a fair Christian walk at the top, and, between these two, a hundred and fifty things that Christ has nothing to do with at all. His life is practically passed without Christ. This will not do. It is the terrible levity of the heart that goes on without Christ, until it becomes the highway of whatever the world pours into it.
(J. N. D. Coll. Writings 27:289).
There is no answer to infidelity like the life of Christ displayed by the Christian. Nothing puts the madness of the infidel, and the folly of the superstitious, more to shame and silence than the humble, quiet, devoted walk of a thorough-going, heavenly-minded, divinely-taught Christian. It may be in the unlearned and poor and despised; but, like the scent of the lowly violet, it gives its perfume abroad, and both God and man take notice of it. (Present Testimony 14:412).
Nine-tenths of the temptations that beset and hinder would not exist if Christ had His place. Things would not tempt and beset us, as gold, and silver, and pretty things, if "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus" had its place in the heart; that kind of conflict would be gone.
(J. N. D. Coll. Writings, 27:289).
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Prov. 25:11 .
Dig deep in this precious golden mine,
Toil and its richest ore is thine,
Search and the Saviour will lend His aid
To draw its wealth from its mystic shade
Strive and His Spirit will give thee light
To work in this heavenly mine aright
Pray without ceasing: in Him confide,
Into all truth His light will guide.
(Found in the Bible of Dr Barlee's mother)
What screened the Israelites was not their seeing the blood but God seeing it. Many souls are saying, I do not know whether I have accepted it aright. But what gives peace is knowing that God has accepted it. They think they must look into their hearts to see if they have accepted it aright: but a simple soul would not think of such a thing, but would only be too happy to rest in God's value of Christ's blood. J. N. D. (Vol. 19:477).
On visiting this land 70 years ago, Dr Dollinger was struck with the presence of a Bible in every household as a distinguishing feature of English life. That is far from being true to-day!
Scripture is never hackneyed in expression nor threadbare in texture! We do well to pay attention to the subtle niceties of Scriptural expression lest we miss the still more subtle niceties of Scriptural thought! T. O.
. . . . . . The spiritual life keeps one young in spirit, for not only in this life have we hope: we have an intimate link with the Lord of life and glory. These exercises are rejuvenating for the old who have true faith. . . . . (Extract from a recent letter).
"We are His (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph. 2:10.
One thing we must never forget — that if we are to have practical guidance from God, it must be in a path which is itself according to His mind and will. Much of the uncertainty felt by Christians as to the details of their path arises from the fact that they look for guidance as to details when their entire position is such as God cannot own. (Present Testimony 7:277-1855).
O Lord and Saviour, we recline
On that eternal love of Thine,
Thou art our rest, and Thou alone
Remainest when all else is gone. (G. Helyar).
Tyndale, who gave us our first New Testament from the Greek was strangled; Coverdale, who gave us our first printed Bible, narrowly escaped the stake by exile; Rogers, to whom we owe the multiform basis of the A.V., was the first victim of the Marian persecution; Cranmer, who left us the Psalter, was at last blessed with a death of triumphant agony. Such men were "of whom the world was not worthy" (Heb. 11:38). Although the persecution nowadays in this country may be less evident, we have to guard against a no less real opposition of the world in spite of its being expressed more politely!
Let them ever shout for joy because Thou defendest them (i.e., covers or protects them), (Ps. 5:11). It is very encouraging to hear of obscure people here and there who practise what we preach, just as recorded in Malachi 3, and they will receive the same recognition: an unfading order of merit. T. O.
When Christ was here it did not signify what He went through, so that His Father's name was glorified; when His life took hold of Saul of Tarsus, Saul learnt to feel that it did not signify what he went through, so that Christ was magnified in his body whether by life or by death. He was altogether for Christ! If Christ up there be wholly for me, cannot He make me to be entirely for Him down here? I would not shut out the thought of Christ being magnified through everything. The bitterest things need the sweetness most! ("The Voice" 9:377).
If the children of God make alliance with the world and pursue a line of conduct opposed to their true character they must find disappointment. We always carry a little of the world with us when we have mingled with it.
Believing in Jesus is safety; seeing the work done to the satisfaction of God is deliverance; walking in conscious association with a glorified Christ is power!
A danger for Christians is the desire for stimulants in teaching. This also characterised Israel (Amos 2. 11 ). Stimulants are not food and in the end they create a distaste for it. They serve only to excite the imagination or nature and never reach the conscience or heart. The evidence of this desire is the itching ear (2 Tim. 4:3). Christ alone is the food of His people!
The Book of Judges is mainly the history of the failure of Israel to put out the evil!
Scripture is perfect in type and in doctrine, but spiritual discernment is always needed to appreciate its significance! T. O.
The early Christians presented the Nazarite character in a beautiful way. They walked as those whose hearts Christ had taken away with Him to heaven. (G. V. WIGRAM, 1877)
"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt. 6:21).
Vain indeed is the attempt to have our treasures below and our hearts above. (Present Testimony, V. 66).
It is a constant sorrow to the elder ones at least as to how little of what God so richly gave and has preserved to us is followed by the younger generation who seem far more occupied with good men than with the truth of God. This agitation for bringing together the parties into which so many of those once gathered in the unity of the Church of God are now broken up through the will of the leaders goes on, and is evidence, I fear, of very serious decline.
"There are two ways of reading Scripture — devotional and systematic. In the former I listen to what the Lord communicates and look to Him to produce in me the suited effect of His truth by the working of His Spirit. Thus I become formed by the truth; worship and holiness of life result. In the latter I search and examine to discover His mind, and what is taught on any given subject. I look to Him to give me understanding by the Spirit; to preserve me from error and to enable me to form His own judgment — to discover and to hold the truth in a divine way. Dependence is, therefore, of all importance, combined with an ungrieved Spirit."
(Written in the 19th century).
If we do not digest what we hear we shall have light without power. To be wholly for the Lord in the power of the Holy Ghost should be our aim; we should constantly look to the Lord to keep this before our souls. Christ and the knowledge of Himself are beyond all else! To enjoy hearing the truth is very different from living it. The former often brings into favour, the latter entails the cross.
Here it will be still toil and labour in the midst of opposition, till He come who shall take us up to be with Him in God's rest. If we can glorify Him meanwhile, all is well. What else have we to do?
The Great High Priest enters into every sorrow we pass through. On account of His having tasted the sufferings of the pathway He is able thus to be touched by the very feeling of our infirmities! As we gaze on Him where He is, we can in spirit enter into every relationship which is ours in Him. We see in Him what Sonship and acceptance are. The beloved Apostle John unfolds to us the deep secrets of the love the Father has brought us into. May we know these things better!(Written recently)
The world is a great snare to the believer who is liable to sink into it. Satan uses it strongly so as never to let the Christian be satisfied with food and raiment. The Lord alone can keep the feet and hearts of His saints. (Written from Cork, May, 1843).
The Apostle Paul corresponds to the man bearing the pitcher of water in Luke 22:10. He guides us unerringly as to how and where the Lord's supper should be taken.
R. K Wilson at Galashiels, 30-6-1917.
Two lovers built two cities. The love of God built Jerusalem and the love of the world built Babylon. Let every man enquire of himself what he loves and he shall resolve himself of whence he is a citizen!- St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.).
Inheritance is title to possession. Justification is the antecedent to the reception of the Holy Ghost as the earnest of the inheritance. In justifying anyone God approves him for heavenly blessing. Possession is effected at the day of redemption!
Either Christ's atoning sacrifice is sufficient or it is not. If it is, why those doubts and fears? Our lips profess that the work is finished, but the doubts of the heart declare that it is not. Everyone who doubts his full and everlasting forgiveness denies the completeness of the sacrifice of Christ.
C. H. Mackintosh in "Christian Friend," 1879.
When I read Gen. 1-2:3, in the English Bible, I am as one listening to a narration, but when I read the same in Hebrew I am as one in the presence of God, the Living God in action! — (G.V. Wigram).
God has told us all of grace for us; but He has not yet told us everything with relation to His government, that will come out fully at the Judgment Seat of Christ!
The angels know the blessedness of strength; the saints know the blessedness of weakness.
(H. M. Hooke, 1885).
If you take the world you must take the enmity against God along with it, for the friendship of the world is enmity against Him. Are you going to have this world from Satan, or to have the other from Christ? (extracts from "Words of Truth," 1871, edited by F. G. Patterson).
There is no giving in the "far country," not even of husks. Satan sells all and dearly — our souls are the price. The world's principle is "nothing for nothing." Would you find a giver? You must come to God. (J. N. D.).
There is no equality in an alliance between truth and error, since thereby truth ceases to be truth, and error does not become truth, but what is lost is the authority of the truth.... To be soundly instructed in the heavenly origin, position and destiny of the church is the most effectual safeguard against worldliness in the present path and against false teaching in reference to future hopes.
(J. N. D. in "Words of Truth," 1866).
Innocence is ignorance of evil; holiness is separation therefrom.... The presence of God without a veil and of sinners without sins prove the efficacy of the sufferings of Christ. If we felt it more in the journey of faith we should be more unceasing in seeking for the Word as the trellis work on which our faith might climb. Faith learns Christ and walks by what it learns!
The book of Kings gives God's government of Israel, and the book of Chronicles gives His ways in grace. All is told in Kings, while in Chronicles only those sins which exalt the God of all grace. But in type the book of Kings surpasses Chronicles as pointing to heavenly, as Chronicles to earthly things!
(D. T. Grimston in "Words of Truth," 1871.
E. L. Bevir, when a young man, once asked G. V. Wigram's advice as to a secular project. The latter answered in his laconic way : — No one, but the Spirit of God, has a right to say to me "go near and join thyself to this chariot." That cast the young man back on God with the result that he did not join and shortly afterwards the project failed!
Doctrine is more serious than practice: Paul was more afraid of the Galatians than of the Corinthians. Discipline is setting things right in the Church; separation is setting myself right when I cannot set the assembly right! (W. Kelly before 1874).
Even if we do not cling to the world, how it clings to us! If Christ had His place it could not. If last night, the Lord Jesus had been put to death by the world, would any be "hail fellow well met" with it. Some insist on belonging to this world and to Christ too. Christ could not! (J.N.D.).
In prayer we say "yes" to God; in fasting we say "no" to ourselves. (The late C. E. H. Warren).
Unrighteousness allowed, or righteousness evaded, either individually or collectively, except it be repented of and judged, destroys the power of the name of the Lord: those continuing in any unrighteousness cannot have the power of the Name, nor the joy of the unclouded presence of the Lord. (J. N. D.).
"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle "Ps. 32:8, 9. Providence does not guide us — it guides things, and thereby controls us: very precious as regards the hand of God over us; but this is not the guidance of the Spirit. (Pres. Test. 5:57).
Is it not appalling to think of Christians accepting truth in terms without intention of carrying it out practically? On the contrary, they press the world and its ways into it. Adopting the terms without submission to what it involves is a fearful aspect of the times! (W. T. Turpin, 1889).
We do not think there is harm in a thing we like: the front of it is pleasure, but the back of it is sin!
Believers are bound to have fellowship with everything, according to God; but they are equally bound to refuse fellowship with all that is not. True fellowship with one another can only be in the light (1 John 1:7).
Our life is like the dial of a clock. The short hand is God's hand in discipline which passes slowly and surely as God speaks at each stroke. The long hand is God's hand in mercy passing over the dial twelve times for each circuit of discipline; and for each stroke of trial there are 60-fold ticks of blessing. Both hands are securely fastened to one central pivot, the great unchanging heart of a God of love. (Modified from a wall text in the possession of the late Mrs Fox of Wigton in 1913).
The Spirit of God always points up now because of the rejection of Christ. All is failure and judgment here; yet it is not merely as a servant I look up, but as one united to Him who is there.
It is one thing to be occupied with the glory and another with the Person of Christ. He is the One that fills the heart and the One that fills heaven. He is the centre of all!
The hand of God never deals but in concert with His heart of infinite love .... Even if He sees good to allow a sorrow to arise, it is from a hand which never mistakes, nor fails in answering to a heart whose love is perfect. (J.N.D.).
"Now the God of peace . . . make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight" — Heb. 13:20, 21.
Be assured that God does more in us than we for Him; and that what we do for Him is only in proportion as it is Himself who works it in us. — j.n.d.
An artist goes over his work again and again, retouching and obliterating, until his ideal is reached. We cannot do thus with our lives, since we paint on a rolling canvas which is rolled up on a cylinder as fast as our work is done, not to be unrolled till the Judgment Seat of Christ!
"This is not your rest" (Mic. 2:10). We have neither the earth, on which we are, nor heaven to which we are going." — J. N. D.
"Lo, I come to do thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:7). His Father's will was His motive for doing everything. If you never thought of doing a thing except because it was God's positive will that you should do it, how three-quarters of your life would at once disappear. — J. N. D.
The beginning of all declension is letting slip the guidance of the word of God. When obedience thereto ceases, there must be declension. There is no other counsel for me. The first temptation was to divert man from it. Christ keeps my heart and conscience under the light and control of His word, so that I may walk in company with Him!
In divorcing a part of Scripture from its context, we can cause it to bear any construction which the subtle mind of man cares to put thereon. Similarly, it is not uncommon to see isolated passages from the great writers of the nineteenth century adduced to justify courses which are foreign to the general trend of the life works of these writers. As having been engaged largely in the presentation of such extracts, we have endeavoured to lay under contribution only such passages as may be considered representative of the general outlook of the writer in question. — Editor.
Separation from evil is the refusal of everything in association, life, habit or practice unsuited to Christ! (E. Dennett, 1878).
My fellowship with the Father is my taste of the delight He has in the only-begotten! (G. V.Wigram).
In times of difficulty, faith does not show in the magnificence of the result, but in love for God's work, however little it may be, and in the perseverance with which it is carried on through all the difficulties belonging to this state of weakness!
Many serve who are not following. Oh, for more distinct going forth to follow a rejected Lord and to esteem our holiest joy to tread the path He trod!
(Abridged from W. T. Turpin in "Christian Friend," 1878).
Neither go before your faith nor lag behind your conscience. (J.N.D.)
If I cannot trust God to make me happy by doing His will, I will try and make myself happy by doing my own will.
Looking at past failure you will constantly find that it arose from settling things according to circumstances. I cannot settle anything myself, if I am in His presence I get guidance from the Lord in His circumstances. There is a Man in heaven in the highest glory! He can enter into everything where His people would not be able to move for themselves. Is His heart less occupied, His eye less fixed,on me than it was on Stephen? The curtain was drawn back for him. It is equally true to faith now! G.V.W.
Law: Prohibition, requirement, curse. Gospel: gift, grace and blessing. Salvation is deliverance by divine power out of one condition to another. The world is not now under probation, but the gospel comes to the lost. "The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." (Extracts from "Words of Truth," Vol. 1: 1866).
"This do in remembrance of Me," Who is the Me? What mind can frame an answer? Who could describe His glory in its surpassing grandeur? The eternal life before the foundation of the world, the only begotten in the bosom of the Father. Then when He was here what a display of the character of God! The gospel of John first speaks of His person then of the different offices blending in His person, then of the eternal life brought into this world. But what carries to our souls the earnest of the living affections of the Lord Jesus towards His own, is the fount unsealed and flowing from His heart. He knew His people needed to be reminded of His undying love! (Extract from G. V. Wigram).
In Moses, self-first crops up in confidence in itself, then after 40 years it appears in fear.
Joshua is a type of the heavenly Christ in staying in the tent of the congregation, but in Moses, we have a type of the gracious Christ going into the camp.
Having the soul fixed on Christ will enable us to resist temptation and sin. It is not so much by thinking of the object that may be a temptation to us, that we shall get strength; it is not in letting our minds dwell on it, even though it be with the effort to resist it. Our privilege is to be occupied with Christ, and thus obtain the victory.
We never lose, if God puts us in trial and we need never be afraid if there is faithfulness. If you have only got faith to walk in the path of God, you will find He has a plan through it all. If our hearts have courage to do God's will, all will turn out for blessing. (J.N.D.).
There are many instances in Scripture where God made man's insufficiency superabundantly sufficient for the needs of individuals. We can depend that His wonders have not ceased either in the material or in the spiritual realms! T.O.
The moral glory — the beauty of the ways of God is "the riches of His glory." God finds His whole delight in the Son of His love. You are to have your heart full of Him seeing the riches of His glory now in the exquisite beauty of the Father with such a Son! In "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" we look forward and see the heavens as they will be in the millennium and see not only one heavenly Man there but heaven filled with heavenly men. The Lord has them all as His "staff" around Him. (Extract from G. V. Wigram).
Whilst the eye is gazing with delight on Christ in glory, the Holy Spirit is engraving the Christ in whom we delight on our hearts.
The lack of spiritual perception is the sure sign of spiritual decay. On the failure of the priesthood, the prophet becomes supreme.
You cannot possibly please yourself and bring profit to your brethren! Divine love always seeks such profit.
If I turn my mind to that with which Eph. 3. closes (breadth and length, etc., of love in connection with the infinitude of the divine Being), my mind cannot grasp it; but when I see the central object is Christ loving me and He Himself mine, able to fill me with all the fulness of God, I can lay hold of it. I am brought by the Father to the Lord Jesus Christ blessed in Him and His love bearing on my heart, He has to empty me to get my heart filled with Himself. I cannot grasp the infinitude of God, but I can say "He loves me." (G. V. Wigram).
We are going on to "the brightest and the best" and what may intervene is subsidiary to the unrolling of the scroll of Omnipotent mercy and grace at the judgment seat which will show us the superabundant care the Lord of Glory has over His own! T.O.
If we love each other, we sacrifice ourselves for each other.
Worldliness begins wherever Christ is not the motive, because Christ accompanies as light and grace there. Christ is both the manna and old corn of the land! He bends graciously to my necessities, but He does not cultivate folly. I shall seek what meets my necessity with thankfulness. If I seek to please the world, worldliness begins. If I love vanity, it is not Christ. If I dress or furnish to meet the world's eye, it is worldliness!
In learning Christ, we learn in spirit much more than we think. "Why persecutest thou me, Saul?" contains in germ the whole mystery. How be it Saul knew not what it was all about, nor what wonders the words contained!
The least bit of self obscures the presentation of Christ.
Divine strength cannot be where human strength is!
If we do not know how to be nothing, God must make us nothing. The place of nothingness is that of moral exaltation (Matt. 18:4).
The Cross has come in and closed the history of man as a lost sinner and began the history of the accepted man, i.e., of Christ!
God is light and the Church is the prism through which the light of God is brought out in detail to show all the beauties of His glory.
Faith acts without evidence, but when it acts, there is abundant corroboration!
What is our true course now? More simple faith, seeing Him who is invisible and more thorough separation. "The Nazarite is for the day of weakness!"
The Spirit of God is our only power against evil as also for enjoyment of heavenly things; but to avail ourselves of His power we need to be in dependence and active faith.
There has been frequent allusion to the truth having been recovered to the Christians in the past century. That was a notable fact! But of even greater significance is the news when we hear of Christians being recovered to the truth! Ed.
In Ephesians, "in Christ" has to do with heavenly position, while "Christ in" the believer connects with all the fulness of God! "Ye in Me" tells of deliverance in Romans; satisfaction in Colossians; heavenly position in Ephesians. "I in you" expresses liberty in Romans; hope of glory in Colossians; all the fulness of God in Ephesians. (M. C. Gahan in "Christian Friend," 1896).
We look for the advent of the Lord of Glory; but shortly before the consummation of creation's expectation, we shall go to our proper place with Himself! T.O.
Looking at ourselves in service there would be nothing but despair; but the moment that Christ is manifested, there comes a joy which neither my light nor my darkness can dim. G.V.W.