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2.-LIGHT AND LOVE. It is very important to have this one thing ever before the mind, that the Holy Ghost is working steadily towards the separation of the Bride not only from what would defile, but from all that would enfeeble attachment,—to Him who is worthy. Christ cannot be satisfied with divided affections. And if His own personal place is not paramount, no matter who come in between, they are seducers, and corruption is the fruit. If Satan puts saints between, it is all the more dangerous. What ties, for example, are more holy than those which bind to father and mother? And yet the Lord Jesus demands to be followed even to the hating of father and mother (Mat. x.). For if mere nature is the link, it never leads to God, but is the strongest bond Satan has through sin to draw from God. True, I am to love father and mother, and it is a joy and delight to do it, but it is in God; I am not to have affections to any which have not their source in God, and not their source only but their strength and the sphere of their activity. In His presence I am to enjoy and live in all my relationships.
Suppose a relative--a Christian-suffering his spirit to be defiled by fellowship with evil. Am I, therefore, to love Him less? No; but more if possible. But would it be love to admit into my bosom the defilement he has admitted into his? Or would it be love, to start with horror from the contact and entreat its rejection, and, if this is refused, keep separate from it? What blessing can there be if I am away from God? All unrighteousness is sin. And all sin separates from God as to communion. What communion hath light with darkness? The opposition is absolute. We cannot suppose it to be modified without degrading and ruining everything. Well, I, as an individual, must for myself be near God, and on no consideration go away, no matter who or what entices. All contact with sin, except in the way of fleeing from it defiles; all palliation of it defiles. Only in absolute separation from it in will and purpose can I be near God so as to be a vessel of His precious grace. God is love, but God is light. And if love gave the Son, it was light that required the gift. If love
gathers, it is out of the darkness, it is to be with itself. There only can love unfold itself.
Of course the affections which cannot run out where Christ is dishonoured can turn to Him to restore. And when Christ simply is the object, with the firmness of separation there will be patient grace, and tenderness, and longing for the restoration of the erring one as precious to Christ, for whom He shed His blood.
3.-NEW LIFE. My relationships with God are entirely on the footing of Christ, the Second Adam. I can have none of my old life, or extraction, or doings,-have anything at all to say to it. Flesh cannot be in relationship with God. As a natural man I am only flesh; and not only is flesh enmity against God, and so incapable of relationship, but it is under judgment. The judgment of God rests on it. Now, it is plain, that if this whole condition is not met, I can only suffer the desert of my sins away from God, and that for ever; for how can I escape? Well, when God came to undertake our case, it was no partial deliverance that He accomplished. The whole entire condition I was in He took up, and met in the cross AND ENDED. As to relationship 1 begin a-fresh entirely out of the old life and condition altogether. I get a new life from God consequent on the ending of the old in judgment on Christ; and this new is the very delight and joy of God; for it is Christ. See Galatians i. I have no existence before God now, except in Christ. There is an everlasting break between the two conditions. I was in my sins; I am made the righteousness of God in Him. Í was alienated, I am reconciled. All in Christ. Thus we make our boast in Christ. Thus we joy in God; for all is grace, free grace and love.
The great point is that I cannot be before God at all, except on the footing of Christ; and on that I am before Him in perfect acceptance.
FRAGMENT. "The longer I live, the more deeply do I feel the value and importance of those mottoes :— The Regions beyond'—and, Let u go again.'"
JOHN, CHAP. I.
In none of the gospels is the glory of the Son of God so fully presented to us as in that of John. The blessed name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, has indeed the very basis of its truth brought out to light in this gospel. Who could have understood that new name, that fresh revelation of Divine glory in that new name, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, without some new, some fresh uncovering of the glories divine. This was done by the presentation to us, in this gospel, of the Son of the Father, as sent to open the way for the Holy Ghost.
He, thus sent of the Father, had a work to do ere the Spirit could come down according to the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and much truth to communicate with regard to the new position and its new relationships, which were about to be established, -but Himself was revealed :-and the new name, Divine, the new position, the new privileges and the coming glories, were all inseparable from Himself in that name of Son of the Father.
The First Chapter contains, as an introduction to the whole book, a list of the titles and glories connected with the work He came to do, not indeed unconnectedly following one another, as a paper drawn up by man, to describe one of the great ones of the earth would have done, but beautifully, and in an orderly way flowing forth, quietly and naturally, as a river fresh from God. 'Tis a string of priceless pearls; glorious beads of matchless beauty! Would that the saints knew how the power of their own calling consists in the aptitude, habit, and skill, of counting over such treasures. For truly the strength of a saint is not in the telling forth of my weak
ness, my leanness, my poverty, but in the treasuring up, delighting in, reviewing and declaring, the riches of the Lord in His grace.
I turn now to these titles of glory in the Lord. 1. “In the beginning was the Word.”—The words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," (Gen. i. 1) evidently respect a time posterior to, or after, the time referred to by the words, “in the beginning was the Word.” For the Word was before anything which Tras a result of its power. Indeed, the account given to us, in the first book of our Bible, is only of the generation of our heavens and of our earth. It declares their creation, in the simple yet majestic words: “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” But it gives us no account of what had been previously created as of those angelic sons of God who shouted for joy (Job xxxviii. 7), when the foundations of the earth were laid. It gives us no account of the creation of him who kept not his first estate, etc.
In the beginning was the Word. The word, was, here marks existence in our retrospect. We look back, and in thought we can do so before any thing that now exists as a creature, in heaven or in earth, or under the
• The Word-ó aoro. The natural extent of the meaning of the word soros is larger than that of the WORD, in ordinary Greek-Thus we find in the dictionary : "Moyos—the scord or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known : Also, the inward thought or reason itself"; in N.T. " the word and reason ;"
I find an immense difference as a creature, when I try to realize eternity as a future, and eternity in the past. As to the future, I can easily, naturally, suppose the life which I have received from the Lord Jesus, with all its instincts, ways, thoughts, feelinga, affections, and circumstances (so contrasted as they are with those of the natural life which I derived from Adam) to be without end. Indeed, while continuity of existence is almost an instinct of mere human nature, the human mind, in its fallen state and circumstances, will oft raise questions about it;-for fallen man cannot solve the enigma of sin and judgment to come. But, on the other hand, -- the quickened soul has all these questions already solved for it, and finds itself in connection with the Prince and Lord of Life-Himself the fountain of eternal life - and itself a well of water springing up to everlasting life,
earth, did exist: the Word then was. This Word is the whole mind-the very intelligence of God Himself.
2. “ And the Word was with God.” A little consideration will show, that this marks the personality of the Word. If the Word had been a faculty, then we should have had, the Word was in God'; if the word had been an expression of mind only, then we should have had, • the Word was of God.' Both of these expressions may be found in other connections than that which is now before us. But, here, speaking of a person—the Son the proper expression is found: And the Word was with God.' And this is again guarded by the expression
3. And the word was God."
As to His existence-eternal. As to His persondistinct. As to His abode with God. As to His nature-God. Such was the Word. Not a mere faculty or attribute; not a mere power or expression of Deitybut the Word was eternal, divine, had individual personality (as man speaks), and was with God.
4. It is added, as giving emphasis and distinctness to the previous statement. “This same was in the begining with God.” (v. 2), When there was no creation of any kind, or sort, existing, ere ever any commencement
with rivers of refreshing flowing from within it, and what shall stop the flow of that which begins from the Son of Man, past death in resurrection and glory in heaven?
I may be feeble in apprehending what will be ; but, as a saint, I can look upward and onward for ever. There is there an eternity for man in a glory given by the Father to His Son, as son of man. 'Tis a home scene, in all its various parts. Would that it were more familiar to our souls ! But, when I look back, 'tis God's eternity; His existence before all things, and the unspeakable blessedness, of the who and the what He was,-surely connected with the person of Him who makes the future eternity-yet apart from His presentation in a way addressed to me as a man. This makes the difference to be immense.
There is Life divine-uncreated and underived: that is what meets my thought in retrospect, meets and stops it. There is Life natural and communicated, such as I have by nature as a man, And there is Life derived such as a saint has from the second Adam : the divine nature, (as Peter expresses it). Communicated to us by the quickening power of Him in whom is Eternal Life.