Notes of an address on 2 Peter 1:1-11.

Peter's second epistle, addressed to those who had received precious faith, is written with the judgment of the world in view. Before he closes the letter, he presents the dissolution of all down here, but also in God's final triumph, the introduction of new heavens and a new earth wherein righteousness dwells. Already he sees the saints as having escaped the corruption of the world, while he speaks of the swift destruction that shall fall upon those marked by evil teachings and dissolute ways. How solemn the world's condition: how dreadful its impending doom; but how blessed the light that has come to us to direct our steps through the darkness of the present scene.

If we have received precious faith, it is the same faith that Simon Peter had, the bondman and apostle of Jesus Christ: the same faith that belonged to the most gifted servant and to the humblest saint. Faith is not the reward of meritorious service, or the result of any natural process in the soul; it is received from God, a gift in sovereign love (Eph. 2). And how precious faith is! What in man can compare with it? It lifts the soul to heights beyond all man's loftiest thoughts into the very presence of God, where Christ is, to lay hold of what is really life, to touch the richest of heavenly blessings, to perceive the glories of the land into which the saints soon shall enter, and to behold what is of God in the world to come and in the eternal scene. This faith is through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. In giving this precious faith to us God has acted in perfect consistency with all His attributes: it was right that He should do it, but it is the fruit of His grace.

But faith is given that it might lay hold of the wondrous legacy that God has given to us in His divine power; the things that relate to life and godliness. We have been called into things that are in marked contrast to the things of the world from which we have drawn apart. These are the things connected with the knowledge of God, Who has called us by glory and virtue. In this wondrous calling God has given to us exceeding great and precious promises. Truly He is a giving God: giving us faith, giving us what pertains to life and godliness, and giving us these great and precious promises. Thus we come into the practical enjoyment of the things of God, for through these precious promises we have a nature that is divine, which enables us to enter into the things of God's world, as having escaped the corruption that is in man's world.

To have the present good of what God has given us in His great grace there must be diligence to have virtue in our faith. Peter well knew the need for virtue, the courage that enables the Christian to stand firm against the opposition of the enemy, and the seductions of the world; that moral excellence in keeping with the virtue by which we have been called, so that we might be here with divine character, enjoying God's bounty and manifesting the features of Christ.

In virtue we are to have knowledge, not a knowledge that puffs up, but the knowledge held in love that gives us the reality in the heart of those things pertaining to life and godliness. Ignorance in divine things exposes the saint of God to many dangers, but true knowledge, that procured through the Spirit of God in communion with Christ, not only preserves, but brings the soul into the enjoyment of the life that is ours in faith, and enables us to maintain the godliness belonging to the called of God. Temperance is then to be in our knowledge. This would keep us from being inflated with the knowledge God has given us, and would permit us to take a sober view of all things, whether the place that God has given us in His love, the matters that arise in the house of God, or what we meet with in passing through this world. How many have been so absorbed with their natural interests that God's interests have been forgotten, with consequent damage to their own souls and to others also.

The path tests us all, so that we must needs have patience, or endurance in our temperance. To the Hebrews Paul wrote, "Ye have need of patience, that having done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." We see endurance in its perfection in the Lord, in Him Who endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, and Who endured the cross with all its judgment. The cross was His own, we cannot have any part in that, saving that our sins were there; but what a blessed example for us in the endurance manifested in His path through this world. And godliness is to be in our endurance, piety that graces every circumstance of the Christian's life, that rises as the savour of Christ for the pleasure of God.

Brotherly love in our piety will bring rich benefits to the saints of God. Godliness is surely for the pleasure of God, and brotherly love will refresh, comfort, and help the people of God. But brotherly love will not lead us away from the path of godliness, although it may lead us to remain apart from brethren who are walking inconsistently with the path of God's will. This danger is safeguarded by having love in brotherly love, for the love of the divine nature rises above all the weaknesses of nature to maintain God's honour and the true blessing of His own. Love cannot tolerate anything inconsistent with itself, anything unholy or unrighteous.

This then is the way to bring forth fruit for the pleasure of God, for without these lovely features, found in their fulness and perfection in Jesus, we cannot come out in the grace of His life. As these things exist and abound in us, we shall not be idle or unfruitful regarding the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the knowledge of Him lies in these precious traits. Moreover, as being here manifesting Christ's blessed features, we make our calling and election sure, for these things are the evidence that we are called of God; and thus too are we assured of our entrance into the happy portion awaiting us, in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
J. Muckle.

The Dwelling Place of the Truth.

The soul is the dwelling place of the truth of God. The ear and the mind are but the gate and the avenue: the soul is its home or dwelling place. The beauty and joy of the truth may have unduly occupied the outposts, filled the avenues, and crowded the gates — but it is only in the soul that its reality can be known. And it is by MEDITATION that the truth takes its journey from the gate along the avenue to its proper dwelling place.
J. G. Bellett.