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unto them. I have also established my covenant with them," etc. God reveals Himself to Moses as the Covenant God, and we shall find that by adhering to this revelation depended Moses' success and testimony: In his greatest extremity he could say, “ The Lord shall fight for you.” And his first altar he called “Jehovahnissi," "The Lord my Banner,” in remembrance of the deliverance of which he was the channel. The truth which was involved in this revelation was ever a ground of confidence and stability to Moses in moments of perplexity, and difficulty, and sin. To maintain the terms of it is the only path to restoration, though it be by only one man! Thus, when Israel sinned in the matter of the golden calf, the intercession of Moses for them is on the ground of God's covenant. Still more significantly in their sin at Kadesh-barnea (Num. xiv.), he pleads with the Lord as to how the testimony would suffer if He did not realize His covenant, or in other words be true to the revelation of Himself. And what was the result of one man fully maintaining the revelation and pleading it before God? Israel found mercy, and God was vindicated on earth.
Again, I repeat, that no former revelation, however comprehensive, would have suited the exigence, and that in failing to maintain it the most valued servant would be set aside. Moses, after having endured for so many years, failed on the very borders of the land, and is thus disqualified for entering the covenanted land, the land promised by Jehovah. Moses alone, not once or twice, faithful to the revelation, saved Israel, but failing himself he alone is the loser.
To Joshua, the revelation was, that as surely as the waters of Jordan were to afford a passage to the people, 80 would the Lord without fail drive out from before them the seven nations of Canaan. 6. The ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.". If Joshua adhere to the terms of this revelation, all will be smooth and triumphant for Israel, • and honouring to the Lord. All Israel's deficiency in blessing in the land, sprung from disregard to these terms, now first communicated to them. They forgot or disbelieved that God was among them and would, without fail, drive out the nations from before them. Joshua just before his death called for all Israel, their elders, their heads, etc., in order to revive and fix in their souls the terms of the revelation which he had dispensed. And again, in Shechem when they presented themselves before the Lord, he renews his exhortation; he labours energetically to rally the people to maintain the truth as it had been revealed, showing them the blessing consequent on their doing so; and the irreparable loss they must suffer by departing from it; and then sums up, by evincing such an appreciation for the truth of God that, assuming all and each will fail in maintaining it, he sets up a stone as a witness against them, lest they should deny their God: “Behold this stone shall be a witness unto us, for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which He spake unto us; it shall therefore be a witness unto you lest ye deny your God."
This stone, the antitype of which was the Lord Jesus Christ, was more to be trusted than any man in Israel; and is the only resource as an effectual and imperishable witness amid the failure of the people. Just as we shall see in the appeal to Laodicea, the church being then in a corresponding condition of failure and ruin, Christ is presented as the faithful and true witness, that being the aspect of Him which the times and condition of things required, and He being alone worthy of the appellation. The anxiety of every faithful servant must be to maintain the truth, and nothing short of it; and here Joshua seeks to vindicate the name of God on earth, not by falling back upon any past measure of revelation, but by maintaining intact that which was committed to himself and suited for his times. To this day, the terms of the tenure of the moral Canaan are identical; and dereliction with regard to them entails the same sorrows morally as it did afore time, physically. Now, as then, the faithful servant may singly and alone vindicate God. Christ, as the Faithful Witness can always be reckoned on, and God and His truth must not be denied, though the whole congregation be recusant and Demas-like.
The chief revelation to David was with regard to Solomon and the Temple; and he winds up his eventful life preparing and ordering everything in relation to this. The permanency of his kingdom and the glory of God depended on his unswerving adherence to the truth communicated to him, and he remained faithful to it. He terminated his labours on earth working to this end; declaring how devoted his heart was to the revelation committed to him, though he should pass out of the scene before his preparation would be appreciated. It is the brightest moment of David's life, for in it he maintains the fullest revelation that had yet been made known to man, and in this light of it he departs, leaving his kingdom to the type of Him who was to come, in expectancy of that glory which to this moment is looked for. To be a revealer of God was all engrossing to him; and to this object his latest strength was devoted with a zeal never equalled until the true David—the only begotten son-appeared, who could say, “ The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up." I do not believe that this revelation committed to David was surpassed by any subsequent one, until He, the fulness of it, came. Every prophet and servant who filled up the interval was distinguished for faithfulness and service in proportion to his accurate maintenance of the terms of it. Be it an Isaiah or an Ezra, or an Ezekiel or a Nehemiah, a Jeremiah or Daniel. Each in his measure and line looked forward for the King of glory and the temple, as the enduring relief from their present trials, as well as the surest and unfailing testimony for God. During this dreary interval, long and humbling trials befell the people of God, but as with Haggai, so with all; the truth which restored and renovated their testimony was this revelation; and the more they maintained it, in all their failure, expatriation and powerlessness, the more they surmounted present obstacles, and were found once more God's witnesses on earth. Every measure of truth is valuable in its appointed place, but it is plain that no other line would have effected this for them, either as the amelioration of their condition, or as to their testimony for God on the earth. And how much this wrought for them in the days of Haggai, where we see them rebuilding the tem
ple, and listening with eager cars to the words of Zecharial touching the King of Glory, and the glorious sanctuary.
At length, in the fulness of time, He came, who was the sum and substance of all previous revelations. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” He, the fulness of all revelations, superseded and surpassed all that had gone before. John the Baptist proclaimed His coming; but when He had come, the revelation was
Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptiseth with the Holy Ghost; and I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God." Every thing now depends on the faithfulness with which this revelation is maintained. 6. He that honoureth the Son honoureth the Father," He is the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and if there be any defect in adhering to Him as the full and perfect revealer of the inind and counsels of the Father, there must be great damage to one's own blessing, and an end to testimony for God, inasmuch as its great feature is annulled. Christ being come, the strictest maintenance of any previous measure of truth cannot be the true testimony; for the more zealous it be, the more does it imply that there is no greater or better, and how can a servant presume to imply this with regard to any previous measure; when the fulness of all has come? Christ, the Son of God. He which baptiseth with the Holy Ghost is the only relief to man in the lowest condition of failure, the only sure and speedy power of restoration. But to the Corinthians, overcome by worldliness, "I determined (says the Apostle) to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” To the Galatians-corrupted by false doctrine—“Of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” When we speak of Christ, let us understand what we mean. Christ, the Son of the living God was down here a man, revealing the Father's heart towards men, and in the end so responding to His love, that He endured on the cross the penalty of death for which man was liable; and having borne it and satisfied every claim of God, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High, maintaining the perfection of His people's acceptance in the presence of the Father. He is the one who expressed and substantiated every desire of the Father's heart toward man; the perfect servant of God; the perfect Saviour of men. This is Christ, the revelation of God; and to present Him as such I must not mutilate Him. I must not present Him as on earth, however glorious and full His services here were. I must also present Him as He is in heaven. I must present Him now as from heaven to earth. And the lower the condition of the church, the more accurately must I (if I would restore it and renew its testimony) maintain the revelation of God, which He is, in all fulness. The fuller the revelation, the better for man; for the better God is declared, the more confidently can man draw near, and the more distinctly can he renounce the prepossessions of nature.
And here let me ask, What is the extent of the revelation now made known to us? Are we acquainted with it? Do we seek to maintain it in its fulness and extent? I do not mean, do we grasp the whole truth contained in it? for that is infinite. But can we trace the outlines of it and aim at nothing short of its full extent? What then are the outlines of the revelation of God unfolded by the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son; The revelation itself may be said to be embodied in those words, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He' bath declared Him;" because, as every previous measure had been but a fore-shadowing of Him, so all that has been declared since His coming is an elucidation of what He is in Hinself. The Son is the centre and core of all revelation; the most that any one can know; a knowledge which we find in 1 John ii. 13, is the attainment of fathers or the most advanced.
But in what manner did the Son thus reveal the Father? We know that the answer is, by His life on earth, death, resurrection, and ascension. The life of the Lord Jesus on earth declared the Father in its manifesta