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tion of His interest for man, the heart of Him whose compassions fail not, was brought near to man. Every human infirmity was relieved, unbelief was rebuked. God was made known.' The Lord could say, - He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” In death He responded to the love of God. Grace and truth came by Him, He bore the judgment of sin, His words cup which
my Father hath given me shall I not drink He was once offered to bear the sin of many; still further disclosing to us the true God and His interest in man. The disciples could appreciate the revelation of God, as they walked with Him on earth; but the thief on the cross knew it, as unfolded in His death and nothing short of this could have suited his own necessity, or supplied the right testimony.
But not only did Christ walk as a man, and die for man on earth, but He rose again, testifying that He was the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness; and herein is still further the Revealer of the Father.
Delivered for our offences, but raised again for our justification, His death is our ransom and His resurrection our ground of peace. Mary Magdalene, and the disciples going to Emmaus, both knew a measure of the revelation. They knew what He was on earth, and that He had died; but they did not know that He had “risen and become the first fruits of them that slept,” and therefore they neither had the blessing of the fuller truth nor were able to express the testimony suited and necessary for the moment, until they are instructed therein by Himself in His own gracious way, and then with what blessing to themselves, and what effectual testimony!
Still further was the ascension of Christ to the righthand of God, the occasion of a fuller revelation of Him who had revealed God, because consequent on that was the descent of the Holy Ghost, whose peculiar mission was, and is, to " testify of me.”
What this testimony is, comprises the fullest revelation committed to the church; and necessarily includes what the Apostle Paul terms “the counsel of God.” “I
have not shunned (he says) to declare unto you the whole counsel of God.” The first great truth of which the Holy Ghost testifies is the perfectness of our acceptance in the presence of God. Christ Himself is the pattern of our acceptance; the Holy Ghost is the seal of it. He testifies that though we were dead in trespasses and sins, we are raised up together with Christ and made to sit together with Him. How wretched and unhappy are souls, and how unable to testify of God's grace, if they are not assured that God so met His own mind and the desires of His heart in Christ, that He can be just and yet the justifier of every one who believeth in Him. The Holy Ghost declares this. He does not work assurance, but He testifies of the risen Christ with the Father to the regenerated soul; and this is a sealing or confirming of the fact, that when He had purged our sins, He sat down on the right-hand of the Majesty on high. The Father's love is satisfied the more I appreciate the more I respond to it, the more I honour Him. The self-same Spirit is to us the earnest of the inheritance which as joint-heirs with Christ we shall enjoy, and therefore the one and the selfsame Spirit seals my acceptance and pledges my future glory with Christ; so that while I am happy in my nearness to God, as a saved sinner, I am also by the self-same Spirit introduced confidently into heirship with Christ; and, therefore, necessarily waiting for His coming and glory-seeing they are indissolubly connected. It is plain, that no previous measure of revelation could by any means confer the blessing, or supply the power for testimony commensurate to or of a quality like this.
Again-the Holy Ghost, in a world which rejected the Son of God, is building an habitation for God; the body of Christ, the fulness of Himself. This truth, kept secret until now, is the one most personal and most glorious to Christ. First, that the Holy Ghost, as the fruits of Christ's work, should build souls together as a habitation for God in a world that had rejected Him; and still further, that this building, these monuments of His grace, though composed of many members, should be baptised by the self-same Spirit into one body as the fulness of Him who filleth all in all. What could be more important or blessed than the revelation that the Body—the fulness of Christ—now in heaven, should be formed by the Holy Ghost ?
It is the greatest—the most perfect of all revelationsthe most honouring to Christ, the most glorious to us. It is the real full scope of the Holy Ghost's inission down here. All His other work is only a means to an end, to this end. Thus truly does He fulfil the saying, " He shall testify of me;" and thus does He testify, by moulding and fashioning souls into one body, and baptising them thereto, to be Christ's body and the fulness of Him.
If this great and consummate work and action of the Holy Ghost be not apprehended, how can there be the blessing which He is here to confer; or how can there be a testimony at all corresponding to the nature of the counsel of God? Can any previous measure of revealed truth supply the place of this, either as to the effect it has on the soul, or the character of the testimony for God, which it imparts? None surely. This is the fulness of revealed truth. Let us look around, and notice the different measures of life and intelligence among the many believers in Christendom, and ask what truth could bless souls in such a distracted state of things? Could any previous or any partial revelation of Christ? I may be told it is Christ they want, in which I most heartily concur; but, Christ is testified of by the Holy Ghost, first, as to our peace; and secondly, as to our responsibility to Him. If I have not this full and perfect revelation, I cannot know either the one or the other. For, what other revelation could afford me assurance of peace but that which tells me that Christ is at God's right-hand; and of this the Holy Ghost testifies. He alone can make it sure to my perceptions, because He tells me of God's satisfaction, not of my own. AgainWhat other line of truth could unfold to me my responsibilities as does this—that I am a member of Christ's body, baptised into one body—all members contributing to the blessing of one another—not only to be the habitation of God, but the fulness of the rejected Christ? Marvellous grace to grant us such a calling! If walking according to the mind of Christ in the light of this revelation, I could not think only of the awakening of souls, but while rejoicing at their awakening as a mother would at the birth of her first-born, I should provide with all parental anxiety for their future health and nurture. -Discerning life there, I should, if in sympathy with Christ, seek that it may answer its end as a member of His body. I must see that it be up in heaven with Christ, and down on earth for Christ, as the filling up of Himself. Does the Holy Ghost desire to see all 'His members happy in union with Him, and as such united with one another, answering each to his own proper place in the Body? Was the body of Christ personal a inatter of interest and care? Assuredly it was. And is His mystical body to be one of less carc?
But how can we show our interest and care if our eyes are not enlightened by the revelation He has afforded of Himself? If we be engaged with one previous to it, we are behind His mind and cannot be His witnesses. The awakening or quickening of souls, or the healing of souls is the work of the Holy Ghost, but if we stop there, we neither apprehend nor act up to the full revelation of Christ. There is a declaration of His work, and a certain amount of blessing to souls; but the affections of Christ are not acknowledged or responded to. There is no link to Him as bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh; no testimony for Him as the rejected and ascended One. In fact the great intent of the Holy Ghost is overlooked, if not set aside. It is true that conversions are for Christ and cannot be without the power of God-yet they are but means to an end. The Holy Ghost is not more interested in quickening souls, then in making them sit together with Christ in heavenly places. He is not content with merely giving them birth; He seeks to advance them to the measure of the revelation of God, which He has unfolded as the proper testimony of the Church for Christ. I may be told, the Church has failed: most true; but the Holy Ghost is still here to testify of Christ, His work is still the same; His aim can never be lowered, or brought to the level of
surrounding failure; and that aim and work is to form us into a habitation for God as the Body of Christ, as members of one another, because baptised thereto by Himself.
What is failure, but a departure from the revelation communicated? This being the centre, focus and kernel of all blessing, departure from it, is failure; return to it, restoration. By losing sight of it, testimony is marred; by maintaining it, failure corrected and testimony renewed. Every witness that has gone before us has proved this; and a great cloud of witnesses has there been !
One word in conclusion. Every spiritual gift is conferred on the church only. The gifts belong to the church; and that of the Evangelist, as much as that of the teacher. All are from the church, and for the benefit of the church; so that if I am possessor of any spiritual gift, and exercise it without reference to the church, I am denying the true centre of my service; and consequently the church cannot receive help from me; we often see she does not from very gifted men. They are exclusively occupied with their gift and its effects, and not with the mind of the Lord from whom they derive it. True, they may love and serve Him, but they do not seek His mind and counsel with reference to their gift; and therefore while the gift produces effects, and even to a certain point, blessed ones, the church—the special object of the Holy Ghost's care and interestis not edified thereby.
May the Lord enable us, not only to apprehend, but to maintain this full and perfect revelation, which, hidden in all past ages, is now made known, as the unerring chart by which to steer in the darkness that is gathering over this earth.
Christ Himself-personal and mystical-being the centre and scope of it, adherence to it, will render our path right and clear though narrow: for it will put us in company with His mind, His sympathies, His relation to things around; and in the direct line of the Holy Ghost's action—who is here to testify of Him.-S.