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CORRESPONDENCE.

41. "B. S.,” Stockton-on-Tees. There is much truth in your remarks. Let us be more thoroughly in earnest in waiting upon our God, that He may deepen His work in all our souls, and lead us to a closer walk with Himself. We long for more reality, more wholeheartedness, more deep-toned devotedness. May all who really mourn over the lack of these things get together on their faces before God, and persevere in prayer till He sends a full wave of blessing into their midst. We have great confidence in united, hearty, believing prayer.

42. “J. E.,” Adelaide. Accept, dear friend, our warmest thanks for your truly kind and encouraging letter. We bless the Lord, with an overflowing heart, for what you can tell us of help and blessing received through our pages. We cannot tell you what joy it is to be allowed to minister to the beloved flock of Christ, in distant regions of the earth where it is not likely we shall ever be in person. May the Lord's richest blessings rest upon you and the beloved friends with whom you are associated. Most gladly would we send you a direct reply; but we trust you will kindly take into your consideration the immense amount of writing which falls to our lot; and that you will take this as an acknowledgment of your most interesting communication.

43. “M. A. L.,” Harrogate. Thanks for the sweet lines. We like them much, and shall be happy to insert them.

44. “D. W.,London. It would be a very grave mistake indeed to say “ that all the trials and sufferings of Christians are punishments for some particular sin.” Very often these things are sent as a preventive, and to draw the heart nearer to Christ. Who would presume to say that the sickness of Epaphroditus, in Philippians ii. was a punishment for some particular

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sin ? The apostle expressly tells us that, “ for the work of Christ, he was nigh unto death." Were Timothy's frequent infirmities sent as a punishment for some particular sin ?

We do not like the term “punishment” as applied to the dealings of our loving Father. There is nothing penal, in the strict sense of the word, even in His wise and faithful correction. Christ our blessed Substitute exhausted, on our behalf, all that was penal. God chastens His children, in order to make them partakers of His holiness, as we learn in Hebrews xii. Moreover, the Father judges His house, as we read in 1 Peter iv. 17. So, in 1 Corinthians xi. we are told that many of the Corinthians were visited with bodily sickness and death, because of their disorderly conduct at the Lord's table. But this we are told was in order that they might not be condemned with the world.” In James v. we read, “ Is any

sick

among you 1 ? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord ; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” The “ if" shews that the sickness might not have been sent on account of any particular sin.

In 1 John v. we read, “If any man see his brother sin a sin not unto death, he shall ask and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death, I do not say that he shall pray for it." For example, "Ananias and Sapphira," and the Corinthians. There may, in any given case, be certain flagrant features attaching to some sin committed causing those who look at things in the light of God's presence to feel instinctively that they could not possibly pray for restoration. We have to do with the government of God which is a very serious matter indeed; and it is one of the enactments of that government that, whatsoever a man-no matter who—" soweth, that shall he also reap.” But it is the Christian's happy

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privilege to view the actings of divine government through the atmosphere of divine grace.

With regard to 2 Timothy i. 10. You are, perhaps, not aware that the word is “incorruptibility,” and refers to the body. The immortality of the soul rests on the authority of Genesis ii. 7, and many other scriptures.

45. “R. J. P."—6 W. B."-"C. S. L."-" J. A. J."-"0. J. P."-"F. M.”_"W. M. W.," Boston, Mass. We desire to tender you all our warmest thanks for your truly kind letters. We feel that this is but a very inadequate acknowledgment of such expressions of brotherly love; but we trust you will accept it, under the circumstances. We bless God for the precious link which His own hand has formed between us a link which can never be snapped. It may be His holy will to permit us to strengthen this link by personal intercourse; but if not, we shall meet in His presence on high, never to be separated. To His most tender love and faithful shepherd care, we earnestly commend each one of you : and all those with whom you are associated. We can assure you we feel deeply touched by your most loving invitation; and we beg you will accept our true and most hearty brotherly love. May the Lord bless and keep you all!

46. “R. B. W.," Portsmouth. It is entirely a question for individual conscience. We dare not attempt to legislate for another in such a case. The Lord will guide, if the eye be single ; but nothing should be done with a doubtful mind.

47. “M. H. R.,” Oswestry. It seems to us there is a little confusion in the lines of our dear departed friend, between our Lord's coming for and coming with His people. Surely, it is not as “the midnight thief,” “ He will come to call for his church.”

Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."

In Revelation iii. the professing church-having sunk to the level of the world, with a name to live, while dead-is threatened with the com

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ing as a thief. But this only proves, all the more forcibly, that the proper hope of the church of God is something quite different. And then we are at a loss to understand the meaning of the last lines,

“And oh! who would not the traitor be,

To rise and let Him in ?" 48. “J. K.,” Stratford, Essex. The word in 1 Corinthians xi. 2, should be rendered “traditions, or “ directions." The apostle does not specify what they were; but thank God, we know that whatever ordinances, traditions, or directions are essential for the church, to the end of time, are clearly laid down in the scriptures of the New Testament. This is quite enough for us. Men have no authority whatever to set up rites and ceremonies in the church of God; their doing so can only be regarded, by every heart loyal to Christ, as a daring usurpation of His authority, which He will, most assuredly, judge ere long. We feel increasingly impressed, dear friend, with a sense of the urgent need of testing everything by the word of God, and of rejecting whatever cannot stand the test. It is not only deeply sorrowful, but most solemn, to mark the way in which the authority of Christ, as laid down in His precious word, is virtually set aside by those who profess to be His people and His servants. It never seems to occur to people that they are really responsible before God to judge, by the light of His word, the various things in which they are engaged. Hence it comes to pass that they go on, from week to week, and year to year, with a whole host of things having not a shadow of foundation in holy scripture. How perfectly appalling to think of the end of all this! We may rest assured it will not be with a scourge of small cords that all these things will be driven out of the temple. May God the Holy Ghost rouse, by His mighty ministry, the whole church to a more profound sense of the supreme authority, and all-sufficiency of the holy scriptures!

CONVERSION : WHAT IS IT ?

PART VII.

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We are now called to consider a deeply practical point in our subject. It is contained in the clause, serve the living and true God." This is full of interest to every truly converted soul-every true Christian. We are called " to serve." Our whole life, from the moment of our conversion to the close of our earthly career, should be characterised by a spirit of true, earnest, intelligent service. This is our high privilege, not to say our hallowed duty. It matters not what our sphere of action may be, what our line of life, or what our calling; when are converted, we have just got one thing to do, namely, to serve God. If there be anything in our calling which is contrary to the revealed will of God-contrary to the direct teaching of His word—then we must at once abandon it, cost what it may.

The

very first step of an obedient servant is to step out of a false position.

Suppose, for example, the proprietor of a publichouse is converted to God. What is he to do? Can he go on with such a business? Can he abide in such a calling with God? Can be continue in the sale of that which entails ruin, misery, degradation, death, and perdition on thousands and hundreds of thousands ? Can he possibly serve the living and true God in the bar of a public-house ?

We cannot believe it. We may be deemed harsh, severe, and narrow, in writing thus. We cannot help that. We must write what we believe to be the truth.

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