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in the path of obedience, and draw every moment out of His fulness.
Jesus said, “He hath not left Me alone.” Because I am His Son? No. Because I made the world? No. Because I can raise the dead ? No; but because “I do always the things that please Him.” We too ought to please God, to enjoy rest of soul and peace of mind like Christ. associations we make, in any companionships we form, we ought never to rest unless we have the Spirit witnessing with our spirits that we are, in so doing, pleasing the Father.
The 16th chapter of Judges shows how we may lose the power that we have had. Samson had power. By the Spirit of the Lord he rent the lion as he would have rent a kid. He carried away the gates of Gaza, bar and all. He snapped the strong cords that bound him, like a thread. No one could touch him until he placed himself in Delilah's lap and told her all his heart. What does Delilah represent ? The world, whose prince is the devil, and who sets his baits most skilfully to attract and beguile the church of God. Beware of Delilal's lap. The young believer is in danger, but the oldest believer is in no less danger. Samson played with her, and then told her all his heart. She began to afflict him. How? She did not pierce his heart, she did not put out his eyes. No; she sent him to sleep, and shaved off the seven locks of his separation. So long as he retained them he was invincible. As soon as they were cut off, he was weak as any other
The secret of his power was given up to Delilah, through her wiles.
God cannot give His fellowship to the world. If we in our spirit, in our ways, in our thoughts and speech are conformed to the world, we must lose the joy and blessedness of fellowship with God, and with that our power.
The Lord had departed from Samson. Does this mean that He had given him up? Oh, no. Samson's name comes where Lot's does not, in the record of God's faithful servants given in Heb. xi.
The Philistines put out Samson's eyes, and he became their sport. What an awful thing it is when a Christian becomes the world's sport! How solemn to hear the world speak of a Christian as the men of Sodom spoke of Lot, “This fellow !” But before Abraham, the man who retained his Nazarite heart, the men of the place rose up and said, “ Thou art a mighty prince among us;” for he was separate from Sodom and dwelt on the hill with God. Let us remember that there is power, unlimited power with God; and let us not forget the way in which that power is to be experienced, even by obedience; nor forget the way in which that power may be lost—by sleeping on the world's lap.
LETTERS OF THE LATE MR. J. L. HARRIS.
Second letter to a young man. “I feel very thankful that your desire for going abroad has been overruled for the present. It requires some little experience to judge between the hasty zeal of nature and the leading of the Spirit. Power to wait on the Lord is perhaps rarely acquired till we have had a fall or two from our over-great hastiness.
The life communicated from the risen and ascended Jesus recognizes that the law is holy, and just, and good,' and owns its spirituality and extent; but Jesus Himself, and not the law, is the rule of life. • Learn of Me,' says He, ‘for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Jesus is the great teacher as well as the great doctrine of God. He is onr example and our guide, and our never-failing fulness
He is our study now, and will be throughout eternity. And never will there be deeper subjects than His own glorious Person, finished work, and perfect righteousness, True, we are learning this now, though slow of heart and dull of understanding, but when heart and understanding shall in glory be occupied without imperfection, it will still be to know and delight in Him.
of all grace.
“ You have unconsciously run into the mistake of young converts, to make the mode and measure of God's dealing with your own soul the only way of His dealing with any soul. It is only another form of self. You can see the odiousness of self-righteousness in another, but you do not perceive that in your writing, A—B—- is quite as prominent as
Jesus Christ. If you tell me what great things God has done for your soul, I do and can rejoice with you, but the experience of your self-condemning conscience is not Christ. God is sovereign. The Holy Ghost, who is God, acts according to His own will and pleasure. He gently opens the heart of a Lydia to attend to the things spoken by Paul; she believes, and is baptized, and receives Paul and his companions into her house. An earthquake alarms the conscience of the jailor ; he hears the word too, believes and is baptized, and shows kindness to his prisoners.
“Be assured it is a far happier way, as it is certainly the humbler, to speak for Christ than against evil, whether it be in men or in systems. Severity in judging others is marked by the apostle in Rom. xiv. 1-3, as a mark of weakness in the faith, and in Gal. v. 26, as a mark of a legal tendency. When we are well exercised in judging ourselves, we shall have little heart to judge others. It is before God that we learn truthfully to say,
Sinners, of whom the chief I am.' accept a little tract of mine, whicli I now send, with the words of the apostle in 1 John ii. 20, 21, 27 ? Plymstoch, April 9, 1850.
J. L. HARRIS.”
Will you (1) Was the truth of the “one body” revealed to Paul only? and
(2) Should Christians assemble only on that ground ? (1) Though the truth that the Church is the body of Christ was made known to the apostle Paul by revelation, it does not follow that others alid now know it. In 1 Cor. xi. the apostle tells of having receivel from the Lord the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, but it was previously known to others. The gospel was similarly revealed to him (Gal. i.), but it had for some time been preached by the other apostles. That Jew and Gentile were to form the Church was revealed to Peter ; and Paul says in Eph. iii. 5, 6, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” (2) If it be said that the truth of the one body as revealed to Paul, is the only true ground for assembling, and that the Lord cannot manifest Himself to those who do not meet on that ground, we ask, On what ground were Christians assembled before the revelation given to Paul, and did the Lord reveal Himself to them? The “ truth of the one body” was never given as a ground of meeting, nor was it taught as such until recently. It is
velty and contrary to Scripture. Believers should gather together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. xviii. 20; 1 Cor. v. 4), and the only title mentioned in Scripture, for assembling with them, is the belief of the gospel. When the truth is really understood and believed (Matt. xiii.), Christ is received, and the person believing is washed from his sins. Manifested evil in a professor would show, as in the case of Simon Magus (Acts viii.), that the person was not fit to be received. l'aul says
in 1 Cor. ii. that when he first came to Corinth he preached Christ crucified, and in chapter iii., that he laid the foundation. That was God's foundation. See Gal. i. 8, 9.) Whoever is resting on that foundation, and is evidencing his faith by a consistent life, is entitled to fellowship with Christians. (Of course in primitive times they baptized all believers.) Further, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, being complete in Christ and perfected for ever. His standing before God for acceptance is that he is “ in Christ ;" it matters not how ignorant he
may be of all additional truth, and the church is the place for him to learn that. If any one lays down any superstructure truth as a ground for fellowship, he is plainly setting up a sect, and under the idea of union, it may be, he is rending the one body of Christ by refusing to receive those whom God has received. The Lord has said, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.” “ Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord.” Man's words are heard, man's writings eagerly perused, and often implicitly received. The Bereans were commended by God for testing by the Scriptures what they heard.
ON BREAKING BREAD. For true participation in the Lord's supper a heavenly conscience is deeply needed, * or else the scriptural frequency with which we partake of it, viz., each first day of the week, will degenerate into a habit. It will then simply be a weekly custom, flattering the observers of it with a subtle and hardening sense of self-approval, rather than the holy, happy, yet self-abasing feast that it was meant to be, and which it always is to humble souls.
Observe, first-It is a “ SUPPER,” and a supper means a substantial and satisfying meal. The very Greek word used in the New Testament is derived from one that has reference to the huntsman's hearty meal, which after toil and fasting he so relishes. Such should be the Lord's Supper to us spiritually. It should be to our souls a full and satisfying meal, abundant in quantity, and also exactly suited to our taste; as abundant as were the seven loaves to the five thousand, which left seven large baskets over; and the food supplied so appreciated that the hungry multitude crossed the sea for more of it. Oh, for a similar hunger and like esteem for the diet of redeeming love set forth in the Lord's Supper! Indeed, one may say, God never provides either small suppers or unsuited ones, whether it be the supper for unsaved sinners in the gospel, or His supper for His saints (see Luke xiv. 16, and Rev. iii. 18-20), for He always expects hungry guests, and He fills them with good things."
*On the value of a heavenly conscience (1) towards God; (2) towards fellow-saints ; (3) towards weak saints, see Papers in volume of Golden Lamp for last year, pages 172, 274.