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condition of the Jewish nation, as under the Gentile yoke; but not yet given up to the unrestrained will of their enemies under the full weight of the judgment of God. This condition they were in when the Lord was upon earth, had they but felt and owned it.
2ndly. The smoking flax is an emblem of the internal or moral condition of the Jews, full of that envy and hatred to the Lord which betrayed itself so early and so constantly, which led to His crucifixion, and which is still leading onward to the reception of the Antichrist; under whose hand as the instrument of God, the bruised reed will be emphatically broken, and the smoking flax quenched (i.e.), the Lord shall visit His judgment upon the full-blown enmity of His people; but, in the midst of judgment remembering mercy, He shall save them from utter destruction, making them willing in the day of His power, and leading them to say, “ Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord !" so that the judgment shall end in victory, “and in His name shall the Gentiles trust." In Is. vii. 4, Rezin and the son of Remaliah are called, because of their " fierce anger," "smoking fire brands." And ver. 8, in three score and five years Ephraim was to be “ broken, that it be not a people;" passages almost suggestive of the view here taken. In Luke xii. 49, 50, the Lord said, “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished.” There were many tokens of this kindling, and Matthew quotes the passage from Is. xlii,, as illustrative of the Lord's charging them not to make Him known; but in connection with the fact that He withdrew Himself from thence, etc., upon learning that the Pharisees had gone out and held a council against Him, how they might de stroy Him." Here was a tuft of the smoking flax; but the time of its judgment and quenching had not yet come. It must smoulder and increase, till it should compass His death-that baptism by which the flood-gates of divine love should be opened, and He, who was the expression of that love being glorified, should be the unfettered Dispenser of eternal life to as many as the Father hath given to Him.
THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF THE GLORY.
What is the practical effect of "looking on the glory of the Lord with unveiled face" (2 Cor. iii. 18).
Paul is here contrasting the ministration of death with the ministration of righteousness. Though the glory in the former consumed, because it only appeared with a claim on man who was unable to meet it (for Righteousness was not fully established); yet, Moses bore in his face marks of its transforming power. Because of man's condition, it was fearful in its bearing on him; yet, as we see in Moses, no one could be in it without partaking of its excellency ; Moses' face therefore bore distinct traces of it. Israel refused even to gaze on the effects of it on Moses' face. Man, when seeking to maintain his own righteousness before God shrinks from admiration of the transforming power of God; Israel, therefore, in asking Moses to place a veil on his face, only declared the moral distance of their own hearts from God. Hence the veil is transferred to their hearts.
But now, says Paul, there is a wonderful contrast. It is now the ministration of righteousness, and that from the same glory. So was it announced (in Luke i.) when the glory of the Lord shone round about the shepherds. The Son of God was come to establish righteousness from the same glory from which had come the claim of righteousness. And, herefore, if the glory had the power to produce such effects in the face of Moses, when man in his then condition could not look at it, how much more now, when it is a ministration of righteousness! Hence the “ apostle declares that we use nuch boldness, and, looking on the Lord with unveiled face,” tre transformed according to the same image from glory to Flory. It effects a moral transformation into its own likeness. Jumbling though it be to admit it, any association with that vhich is morally superior to us must have this effect on us. f we decline to inferior associations, we deprave our better endencies; but if we are occupied with moral superiority, ve always adopt rather than improve. We adopt a new habit of action instead of only improving any existing one, and as the glory of God is unique and morally supreme, if we are conversant with it, we naturally and almost unconsciously adopt its characteristics and qualities, so that we are really in the process of transformation, and not merely of improvement.
I turn now to the traces of these effects, and how we may notice them. It is remarkable how differently we view the same things at different times. This may be even when we feel them most, but then we are in the spirit of our mind most above them. The same painful question occupied the mind of the Psalmist when outside the sanctuary and whes inside; but it is evident, that he was a totally different man as to feeling, when in one and when in the other. The light of the glory had so transformed Stephen, that he was practically superior to the violence levelled against him, but he was all the more affected for those who perpetrated it; 53 that I should say, tbat the chief traces of the moral effect of the glory are a greater sensitiveness to the evil afflicting me but a marked and sensible elevation above it.
Again, how can I distinguish “ looking on the glory of the Lord” from any other spiritual exercise? If this be difficult, it is so, simply because the soul is so slow to enter into the counsel of God in His Grace to us, or to realise that counsel as a manifestation of His own heart, in the person of His only begotten Son, from the very centre of the glory. The Grace which has reached us, has its origin in the glory; it belongs to it, so to speak; and it is not answered, according to its native interest, until it connects us with the glory. If I understand the origin of this Grace and how I am bound up with it, I must understand its associations. Its origin is the centre of the glory; its association is the Person of the glory; and when I find myself in this association, through the Grace of God manifested to me, I am “ looking on the glory of the Lord.” If the light made Paul blind (as a man *), he never lost the remembrance of it in his soul; therefore, he called 16 the mark.”
* Sir Isaac Newton was so affected by looking at the sun with only one eye, that for three weeks, in a darkened chamber, he was haut by a circular glare and image of it. May we be by faith so fall of the glory of the Lord, that it may be ever before us, making us practically like Him, supplying us with power for our difficulties, and with abouai ing praise to Him who has blessed us with such a rich salvation.
REMARKS ON MODERN RATIONALIST
I SEND you a few remarks on modern rationalist views and their bearing on Christianity (just as I penned them down for myself), that Christians may not lightly suffer the taint of such views to approach them; whatever may be their patience with those who may be deceived.
“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words” (John v. 45–47).
Here we have more than one point. First — Moses' writings are attributed to him; next -- it is declared that he wrote of Christ, of Jesus; thirdly - his writings are spoken of, and because they are writings as of authority superior, as far as form goes, to Christ's words. If, therefore, we do not receive his writings, - Christ's words have no authority;-Christ made a mistake as to his writing of Him;— His whole interpretation of Scripture is unfounded; — His estimate of Himself is false as the object of this testimony. Who can guarantee its being wellfounded on any other ground? He supposed God's mind was in the written word ; the modern doctrine makes this a mistake:– He was not the object of Moses' writings, nor did Moses write them!
Who can tell, then, that there was a Christ to come, or if Jesus was not the subject of this testimony, He was, if there was any such testimony, deceived as to Himself. The whole authority of Christ and His words is gone
is to God's mind and as to Himself. Christianity and Christ Himself are without foundation. For if Christ's VOL. XIV. PT. III.
own testimony is unfounded and Moses's too as to Him, or rather if there is none such, as Christ supposed there was, what foundation have I for anything in Christianity as a revelation of the mind of God and of His Son a the truth?
Again He says, on the most solemn occasion as to the repentance or ruin of the Jews: “ They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them.” All this was mis leading — they were not authentic. But further, i they are not heard, Christ declared His resurrection has no force to persuade. If they hear not Moses, and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rose from the dead. But all this was a blunder. There was nů real power in Moses and the Prophets. Christ made s mistake. Whatever His resurrection inight do, Moses writings were a forgery and had no authority whatever: so that there was no adequate ground to be persuaded by the resurrection itself. This was all Christ's solemn attestation was worth. Yet here the Lord was taking thes out of the whole system of Jewish legalism. The even: proved the truth of His words. They did not believe, though one rose from the dead; but, then, it was : mistake of the Lord from that to blame them for nk receiving the testimony of Moses and the Prophets, fi they were of no value at all. It was not Moses at all.
So, when He said: “Search (or ye search) the Scriptures
they are they which testify of me," — the business. He declares, of the Scripture was to testify of Him Jesus, as the Christ. On whose part? Was it Gode testimony, or the wild notions, previsions, or interpretar tions of fanatics that Christ appealed to? What was the person testified to, or who appealed to their worth if they were? But, if of God “The Scriptures” are so. 15 all know what that meant in a Jew's month.
Again in Luke xxiv., and beginning at Moses and the Prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scrip tures the things concerning Himself. What was doing? And here no stupid blasphemous pretext about His having the prejudices of the Jews is of any avail
. He was risen. I suppose He was freed from prejudice by that time. But what shall we say: It was not Moser