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so explicit, they did not believe that He meant exactly what He said; they treated His words as they treated the prophecies of His humiliation, and as so many Christians now treat the prophecies of His kingdom and glory-they spiritualized them; that is, they explained them away. They took them as only figures of great conflicts out of which He would come victorious, and occupy that throne of which He had recently spoken, around which their thrones should be placed. (Matt. xix. 28.) What an intimation is given to us in all this of the absolute loneliness of the Lord Jesus ! The great burden on His heart was shared by none of His disciples. Their eyes were upon the kingdom and the throne; His were upon the cross, with all its attendant sorrows, by which alone the kingdom could be reached and the throne established. But what He lacked in them He found in God; for He could always say, “He that sent Me is with Me; the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him." (John viii. 29.) This blessed path of obedience, sympathy, and fellowship is open to us also through His rich grace.

An illustration of the ignorance and ambition of the disciples, though not unattended with the spirit of faith, is given in the narrative concerning James and John, which follows the Lord's prediction of His sufferings and death. (Matt. xx. 20-28; Mark x. 35-45.) Confident that the kingdom must come, whatever troubles might intervene, these two brethren approach the Lord, and, by the lips of their mother, make request that the two chief seats in that kingdom may be theirs. But Jesus answered and said, “Ye know not what ye ask.

ask. Ara able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with ?” It is quite possible that they understood Him to refer to

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the sufferings He had just spoken of, but when they readily replied, “ We are able,” it might surely have been said again, “ Ye know not what ye undertake.” But the Lord knew that if they were ignorant, they were true, that they were willing to endure for His sake, and He accepted their willing mind, and promised them a share in His endurance.

There was, indeed, a cup of which they could not drink, and a baptism which no creature could have endured. That cup He drank, and that baptism He passed through on behalf of His people. But in addition to His sin-bearing agony at the cross, He suffered constantly from the hand of man as God's righteous servant and witness in the earth. And of these sufferings, which culminated at Calvary, it is the privilege of His people to know the fellowship. This privilege He promises to the favoured two, and we are told how it was granted unto them. James was the first of the twelve to seal his testimony with his blood (Acts xii.)—a fact which implies that he was one of the most prominent witnesses of the Lord at that time in Jerusalem, Peter being the other; and John had the honour of serving the Lord longer (apparently) than any of his fellow-apostles, and of suffering much for His sake. When he sent to the Churches the Book of the Revelation, he described himself as their "brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus.” (Rev. i. 9.) We thus learn that a life of faithful service to the Lord may be as true a drinking of His cup and a partaking in His baptism as the actual laying down of the life for His sake. And it will be no matter of surprise if these two brethren are seen very near to the Lord in His kingdom, yea, in the very seats they coveted, though, whatever place may be theirs, they will occupy it with a mind far different from that which

prompted the request. The Lord does not disclaim power to give these seats, but simply declares that in the awards of His kingdom He will still act in subjection to, and in fellowship with, the Father, who in His perfect foreknowledge has prepared each place for its occupant.*

This action on the part of the two stirred the indignation of the ten, but their anger only sprang from the same source as the request of the former, and equally needed correction. They appear to have given vent to their feelings at some distance from the Lord, and therefore He called them to Him that He might instruct them as to the difference between the principles of His kingdom and those that govern the nations of the world. In earthly kingdoms greatness is supposed to be displayed in the exercise of dominion and authority ; in His kingdom it shows itself in lowly service : “ Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant; and whosoever will be chief [or first] among you, let him be your slave.” In the kingdom of God greatness is shown in lowliness; he is the highest who is most ready to serve. Not only by precept does the Lord inculcate this humble spirit; He is Himself the great exemplar of it. He who must be for ever pre-eminent in the eternal kingdom stooped to a greater depth of humiliation than can possibly be measured by any one who shall, through grace, find a place therein. But it was to render a service that none but He could have rendered.

How grand in their very simplicity are the words, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many!" He“ came" from the bosom of the Father, and from the

* The correct rendering appears to be, “ To sit on My right hand and on My left, is not Mine to give, except (to them) for whom it is prepared of my Father.”

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uncreated glory of the Most High, where He had indeed been ministered unto, being surrounded by myriads of holy and mighty angels who had ever delighted to do His bidding, and instantly to fulfil His every command. But, coming to a sinful world, He left all the glory and service that had been His, and Himself appeared in the lowly form and guise of a servant. His whole life was one great service. He always did the will of the Father, and the records of His earthly path show how He was ever ministering unto others. But the greatest act of service

. came at the close, when He gave

His life a ransom for many."

On this great statement we will not now attempt to dwell, but it should be remarked that so full was the Lord's mind of the peculiar character of His death that even in presenting Himself as an example He gave expression to it. The whole Bible does not afford a more explicit refutation of the Socinian theory, that the Lord both lived and died simply as an example, than these few pregnant words from His own lips. He had often spoken of saving the lost; He now tells His disciples that the great salvation was to be the fruit of redemption, the paying of a price, and that price nothing less than His own life. He had, indeed, announced the same truth in the temple, as recorded in John X., but it is here even more explicitly stated. In the words, “a ransom for many,' the preposition rendered “for," properly signifies in the room of, or in the place of, and intimates how truly the Lord, in His infinite grace, became the substitute of all those who, by the teaching of the Spirit of God, ever have trusted, or ever shall trust in Him, and who, through personal appropriation of Himself and His wondrous work, are able to say, He “ loved me and gave Himself for me."

W. H. B.


“ To the strangers scattered abroad” the apostle Peter addressed his first Epistle; and if we as Christians were better acquainted with this character of our calling, our hearts would be more effectually preserved from the “cares of this life" and the “deceitfulness of riches."

That the believer is a stranger on the earth is accepted as a truth by all Christians, but to live in the power of it is another thing altogether. What means the anxiety to accumulate wealth, the adding of house to house and field to field, so manifest among many who confess the name of Christ? Is not the explanation simply this—that they are not living out their profession of being “strangers and pilgrims on the earth ?” (See Heb. xi. 13.)

No one whose mind is set on things earthly can carry out the truth of the first Epistle of Peter. With all his efforts to secure happiness here, such an one will fail to reach it, just because he is settling down in that upon which God has pronounced judgment. (See 2 Peter, iii. 10-12.) It is not God's purpose that the Christian should have his treasure and rest here. Moth and rust still corrupt, and thieves break through and steal, and God has frequently to permit His children to experience this corruption and loss in order to free their souls from the deadly influence and power of those earthly things on which their hearts are set. The Christian's treasure is in heaven, and God would teach us so to appreciate His treasure that the heart may be where the chief treasure is.

There are, however, treasures on earth on which our love may rest. It is not our loving them that is wrong, but

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