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But even “when we are judged we chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. xi.)

Job was a real man of faith, and patience too. “Ye have heard of the patience of Job.” God drew the attention of Satan to him as a sincere and upright man. Satan acknowledges that there is "a hedge about him,' which if God will but break down and let him get at him, he will curse God. The permission is given; and immediately Job's property, Job's children, and then Job's person are alltouched by Satan. In the midst of this scene, his wife urges him to curse God, as Satan said he would, but Job says " The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, BLESSED be the name of the Lord.”

And now comes the hottest part of the trial. His friends come to him to comfort him; but instead of doing this they argue that he must have been a hypocrite, or God would never have afflicted him in this way. Conscious of his integrity, he justifies himself to such an extent, that it amounts to self-righteousness, and Job's heart in its faith and failure is fully revealed in this expression (chap. xiii. 15): “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him; but I will maintain, or argue mine own ways before Him." This was the dross which God was purging from him, and when He had tried him “he came forth like gold.” God's ways are

God's ways are “past finding out," whether in nature or grace; we only know what He rereals ; and this is what is taught to Job by the Almighty's address to him. He had heard of God, he now says, by the hearing of the ear, but now that his eye saw Him he abhors himself. This is very different from maintaining his own ways. And this was Job's blessing. So is it ours. May we learn the lesson.

Elihu, the youngest, was the only one of Job's friends who spoke to him according to God.


Job XLII. 5, 6. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear : but now mine eye seeth thee.

Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

4.-GILGAL. “ And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of

the place is called Gilgal unto this day.”—Joshua v. 9. CIRCUMCISION began not with Moses, but with the fathers. 'Twas their mark in their pilgrim course, of separation unto God and of a blessing from Him; a blessing, however, according to promise.

Their descendants observed it while in Egypt; but it seemed to have lost its tone and power on their souls, for they all that came out of Egypt were circumcised, yet they perished in the wilderness, and they neglected to circumcise their children, so verse 9 is introduced.

All the males took upon themselves the marks of separation unto the Lord, each one separately and as an individual. They thus owned their connection with the whole line that had preceded them, up to the fathers. In an especial way they admitted the evil of the Egyptian generations, and of their own wilderness-wanderings, but declared thus that though Satan might have been acting against, and man might have forgotten Jehovah as the God of holiness, they did not; but amid all the evil before and around them, they confessed to it; and confessed too, to all their own disorderliness; but they would give to the Lord honour amid all the failure, commit themselves individually to Him, and receive His mark upon them. And thus the marks of their being one body together were renewed. For the question here, was not that which came out afterwards, viz., the power to trace the pedigree (Ezra ii. 59—63), but whether the people carried the marks of separation to God upon the ground of a hope according to promise given to the fathers.

The Lord was at Gilgal before they were; it was He who ordained Gilgal.

Who gets to Gilgal now? If any has, he has found God there with the sharp knives, that self may be mutilated, if so be that I may be connected with God's house, as set up at Pentecost, and may know how to walk as a pilgrim-conqueror before the Lord until He come.

Later in Israel's history, the “ Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim” (Jud. ii. 1-5). To humble and break down the people came. He thither; and to recall to them their misdeeds, and to warn them of the consequences. Yet was there a door of hope for the weepers. And he who goes to Bochim now cannot forget the coming up out of Egypt (ver. 1), or the ground of the Lord's complaint against them which revived the past and their fellowship with it.

5.-2 SAM. xv. OBSERVE the exceeding grace of David in the whole scene connected with Absalom's rebellion. He would flee to save the people, and to avoid the shedding of blood. He would send back Ittai the Gittite, who will not go, and who is, indeed, the expression of that deep reverent affection which never shews itself more than when its object is in distress. He will not check Shimei, though cursing him and following them all the way with stones. He sends back the ark, too, and Zadoc, even now taking refuge as he was wont in the tender-mercy of his God. If he should find favour in His sight, he would bring David back to see both it and his habitation; but if not, if He were to say I have no delight in thee, -well, there he was, entirely at His disposal. O, the exquisite grace of this man of God, never more manifest than at this moment. It is entire up-giving to His mercy. He owned it was God's hand in displeasure, but whilst owning the hand be takes refuge in His heart.

How different with Ahithophel! When his glory was touched, by Absalom's rejecting his counsel, he went and hanged himself. He could not outlive his reputation. But David' can, for he knew God. Lovely speciinen of " subjection to the Father of Spirits.'

6. “Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things.”

Rom. xi. 35. Nor Satan, nor fallen angel, nor rebellious man, can hinder this word being true. The past, the present, and VOL. XII. PT. V.


the future of all things, also, must each pay tribute of glory to Him. But there is an “of," a "through," and a " to " Him who is here spoken of, which is the indefeasible birthright of each heavenly Christian alone, is already His in principle, and should be his actually in practice.

On principle, I, as a Christian, am of Him, thus: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John xvii. 14–16). My origin as a Christian cannot be of the world (present corrupted state of things upon earth), nor of earth at all. It is of the Eternal Son of God, as Son of Man, glorified in heaven. My life is in Him, and thus I am of him. I-of Him, Himself.

The throughHim, or mode of this being made good, brings in Christ's revealing of Himself to me by faith, and the giving thereby a new nature “ born of the Spirit” (John iii. 6). "Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. ... The word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter i. 23–25).

The “to” Him (conformity to the blessed One's own principle, who was “ obedient unto death, the death of the Cross;" for He came to do God's will), is the secret of all that blessing: “ We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to (His) purpose. For whom He did foreknow, he also did predestinate (to be) conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. viii. 28, 29). A "to" Him which will land us in the glory close to the person of the Beloved.

In practice, alas! how do we come short of Paul's consciously attained measure: “To me to live (is) Christ, to die (is) gain” (Phil. i. 21). As to those that subscribe to this confession, may they do two things: lst. Let them study such words as those in Rev. iii. 15—20; and Rom. xiv. 6 - 12., etc.

But, 2ndly, May they, at once, take up Paul's axiom for well-doing: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing (I do), forgetting those

things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. iii. 13, 14).

When a man works from his own energy, his own plans are sure to come in; and then Will follows—something for himself in the end, which he pursues. It is just this drawing out of human energy, which has been the canker-worm of religious activities in our own generation. It has plunged those that sought to be doers and not hearers only, into worldliness and selfishness; often, I am persuaded, without their knowing how.

On the other hand, our deliverance, and our safety are found in humble seeking of a right object. To seek to do God's will, and that only, will bring light whereby to judge all by-paths, and all false energy. And it must be so; for God is faithful, and those that honour Him, He will honour. Those that seek to do His will, who mistrust themselves, and seek to give themselves to God in Christ, they shall have light and purified ways too.

7.-RESTORING GRACE. As one who has tasted not only saving grace, but preserting grace, and restoring grace—“He restoreth my soal"-I desire to call attention to this last-named subject, as unfolded to us by the Lord in Luke xv. aware that many commentators, and others, look upon this portion of scripture as teaching only saving grace; and that it may be used in that sense when preaching the gospel, I do not deny; for the word of God is a twoedged sword, which cuts both ways; but the plain interpretation of the chapter gives one a perfect picture of restoring grace. And this we shall clearly see, if we remember that man, as a sinner, is born outside Eden, away from God, an enemy to Him; and that in the gospel, God, by His evangelists, beseeches poor sinners to be reconciled, and that on the ground of Christ's accomplished work (see 2 Cor. v. 20, 21). Now, in Luke xv., the prodigal gon had been in the father's house; the wandering sheep had been in or among the flock; and the piece of money had been in the woman's possession. And

I am

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