The Mind in Divine Things.

It is well for us, as also it is essential for the glory of God in us, that in the acquisition of truth, a bar should be set upon the energy and pride of the mind of man. God has Himself directly to do with us: it is He "with Whom we have to do;" and the heart that knows Him at all and knows itself, could not wish it otherwise. Satan can make sport of the flesh, in whatever way it may present itself: he has a certain title over it as is seen in the case of Peter, in his "demand" that he might have him that he might sift him as wheat (Luke 22:31-34). The intercession of the Saviour supported his faith, for that was there, but the disaster of the denial was not averted, or meant to be by the faithful Lord.

It is not difficult for an active mind to acquire the doctrines of deliverance and even to speak of them to others, but this alone is not enough for the acquiring of the separated "mind:" ("I with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh sin's law;") and for liberty from the "law of sin and of death." The "bar" is wretchedness "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of this body of death?" GOD meets the soul in its wretchedness, its impossible struggle after what is right its hopelessness, so that it says not How? but "Who? —" Who shall deliver me out of this body of death? The wretchedness is the fruit of the new nature and of sincerity in the man; but the point to be observed is that it is wretchedness; and turned by Him Who "turneth the shadow of death into the morning" (Amos 5:8). He thanks God for deliverance: "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:25). Life in liberty and power is now enjoyed. The man is in Christ and Christ is in the man: "There is then now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death" (Rom. 8:1-2).

Further, take the crossing of the Jordan in the antitype. It is not difficult for the mind to disport itself in the doctrines of Colossians. Nor would one seek to hinder it, for the truth lays hold of the heart even in spite of the mere mind. But the "mind:" — "set your mind on things above, not on the things on the earth" (Col. 3:2), is not acquired by such a process. Is there not a divine road, experimentally, which is a check to mere mentality, imagination — religious flesh if it presume so high? Does not the prayer in Colossians 1 open that road to our hearts? What is its order? Paul says that he does "not cease praying for you, to the end that ye may be filled with the full knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so as to walk worthily of the Lord unto all well-pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing by the true knowledge of God; strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory unto all endurance and longsuffering with joy." Now I am not seeking to unfold this prayer, but noting the order of its requests for the saints. Why is this stated first? What does it mean? What is it to be filled with the full knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding? Is it not to have our lives formed and regulated by our heavenly hope, "the hope that is laid up for us in heaven; of which ye heard before in the word of the truth of the glad tidings, etc." (Col. 1:5, preceding)? And this is a very practical thing; but it is easily possible for the mind to be occupied in the doctrines, while the path is anything but being determined and regulated by the heavenly hope. Indeed, the active mind that is looking well after itself in the affairs of this lower world, could be the very one that disported itself mentally, if not sentimentally in the doctrines. How are we shaping our lives here below? Is it in the immediateness of the hope that is laid up for us in the heavens? Well, in the order that Scripture presents things for us, this is what is first secured before the soul rises to the next part of the prayer, "Giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us fit for sharing the portion of the saints in light" and into the range of the glories of the Son of His love, He who is the centre of the mystery of God (Col. 2:2); in Whom is all the fulness of the Godhead (Theotes not Theiotes — Godhead in the absolute sense, not merely divine in character — J.N.D.); and into that fulness which is for us, for our place (Col. 2:9-10). It is a wilderness cry in Moses when he said to Jehovah, "Show me now Thy way that I may know Thee" (Ex. 33:13). Where did God's way lead? Was it not to that fair land of promise? But all is of grace: the "hope" came to them in the Gospel, was inherent in it. And at conversion often the hope of glory is bright indeed. So Israel on the banks of the Red Sea sang, were truly, for the moment, circumcised to God. And God does not forget this, but on the contrary recalls it through Jeremiah: "I remember for thee the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holiness to the Lord, the first-fruits of His increase: all that devour him are guilty: evil shall come upon them, saith Jehovah" (Jeremiah 2:2-3). How long did the song last at the Red Sea? What was Israel's condition when Jeremiah thus spoke? Are not these lessons which each heart of us must learn? Jehovah will bring Israel to His end and the good He has for them according to their hope, as He is leading us NOW to the realisation of our heavenly one; for deliverance is not under the law, but from it; and crossing Jordan is not "dying and going to Heaven" according to the popular idea; but entering NOW, as dead and risen with Christ, where we can "seek the things that are above, where the Christ is sitting at the right hand of God," and to have our mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth; for ye have died and your life is hid with the Christ in God. But in what is experimental, the lessons of the wilderness must also be learned.

Well, God's grace alone produces these things and we learn both the power and the wisdom of the Word of God in the path that He outlines for faith. There is no royal road to these things. We learn ourselves therein and that is not flattering; but we learn GOD, so indeed the prayer says in Colossians 1:10 — "Growing by the true knowledge of God," as also Moses in the passage quoted, "Show me now, THY way, that I may know THEE."

All this is necessarily a principle of the ways of God with us, as given throughout Scripture. In perfect harmony with it, is that one of the most remarkable prophecies is uttered by one who prefaces it with, "Truly I am more stupid than any one; and I have not a man's intelligence. I have neither learned wisdom, nor have I the knowledge of the Holy" (Proverbs 30:1-4).
C. N. Snow.