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Thus have we examined the sacred writings of the New Testament, from St. Matthew's Gospel to St. John's epistle; and their unanimous testimony is, that “no man
say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” This is passage
omitted to quote while 1 Corinthians was passing under review; and it may well find a place here as the summing up of the whole matter. It is, of course, the saying so, in truth, that the passage speaks of. Hypocrites may say so in pretence; and we know that certain will say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works? to whom he will profess, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” It is, of course, the saying truly, from the heart, that Jesus is the Lord, that is here spoken of. And most absolute is the declaration, that no man can thus truly own Jesus as the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Blessed assurance for those who are conscious of thus owning from the heart, the Lordship of Jesus. Such will joyfully acknowledge by whom they have been taught to own Him thus. Fearful, alas! is the delusion of any who suppose that His all-quickening power
is not needed. The Lord grant to any such who may read these pages, repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. And may brethren everywhere be fortified against this, and every other delusion of the enemy! May our loins be girt about with truth! Yea, may we take to us the whole armour of God, and strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might, may we be enabled to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, stand!
John xiv. 20. The leading thoughts developed in the three epistles to Ephesus, Philippi, and Colosse, seem distinctive and marked.
That to the Ephesians gives the moral picture of the shooting of the corn of wheat-God's corn of wheat (which fell into the ground, and died, that it might not abide alone),--the church seen in Christ in heaven. That to the Philippians is a specimen of what fellowship with the Father and the Son is, as found displayed in the Apostle while in the wilderness; Christ's Spirit in the believer. The third gives us God and the Father's estimate of Christ. Thus these three letters contain a sort of Divine paraphrase on the promise (John xiv. 20):
* At that day (that is now] ye shall know that I am in my Father (see for the opening of this, Colossians], and ye in me Isee Ephesians], and I in you (see Philippians].”
TIIE OFFERINGS VIEWED IN CONNEXION
WITH LUKE XV.
The evil effect of unbelief in the heart of a saint, will often appear in the being satisfied with a small measure where God offers a large one, or rather where He offers fulness of blessing without any measure at all.
Unbelief will even assume the language of humility, and protesting that a very little is " enough,” will readily and confidently disavow any longing for more. But the very word « enough” is ambiguous. In one sense, any,
the least, measure is “enough” for sinners, because if they were rewarded according to their iniquities and demerits, destruction itself would be a sufficient portion. But we are not to confound what is enough according to man's deservings, with what is enough according to the grace of God and the fulness of His promises. This would be to confound the merits, or rather the demerits of man with the merits of Christ. Humility will claim nothing as due to itself: faith will reject nothing that God has promised.
I have been led into this train of thought, from observing how low and unworthy are the views which sometimes even true Christians entertain of the Gospel
. Gospel-redemption with them is little better than a mere rescue, the plucking of a brand from the burning, which is then, as it were, tossed aside as of no value, as worthless, and as inapplicable to any work as the branches of the vine (Ezek. xv), of which men would not even “ take a pin to hang any vessel thereon.” But such are not God's thoughts. “Let my people go" (not because Egypt is an iron furnace, or a house of bondage, or a place of suffering, but) " that they may serve me."* This people have I formed for myself, that they may show forth my praise.”. Speaking according to the
" language of the Book of Leviticus, we might describe Euch persons as I have alluded to thus--they are satisfied
with the sin-offering, knowing, and caring to know, little of the burnt-offering, and scarcely anything at all of the peace-offering
Let it be distinctly understood, that this is not the same thing as being unduly or prematurely satisfied with the antitype of the sin-offering. That would be impossible.
These offerings have only one antitype. And he that hath the Son hath life. • All things are yours.” I speak of an unhappy tendency to separate in imagination, and so to lose the comfort of those things which God in reality has for ever joined together. Let us now trace something of the distinction I speak of in the parable of the prodigal son; not that the several offerings are distinctly specified there only; the blessings corresponding to the sin-offering, burnt-offering, and peace-offerings are easily traced. I omit here all reference to the trespass-offering and meat-offering. Of course, if there is reconciliation at all between the father and the son, especially if the father is reconciled to the son, there is the virtue of the sin-offering; i.e. atonement (reconciliation has been made; not that atonement, in the sense of expiation, is mentioned in Luke xv.; only as the father of the prodigal is clearly designed to represent God, we may assume the reconciliation was not unholy; and the holiness of God requires, that without shedding of blood there should be no remission. Here, then, it would seem many stop. They need forgiveness, the Gospel gives it - what lack they yet? (If they said, they have forgiveness, therefore they will not lack anything, the Lord being the shepherd of all whom He forgives, the case would be widely different.) I would now, then, by the Lord's help, notice three blessings, where many seem to see only one; in other words, specify two remaining ones, so powerfully set forth in this interesting chapter. The prodigal, then, has been pardoned- the brand has been plucked from the burning--the blood has put away sin. But this alone, if we could conceive of the sin-offering apart from the burnt-offering (and we may only disjoin them in thought for the purpose of illustration), would be merely a negative advantage. He would not be condemned. Imagine an accused
VOL II. PT.III.
person in our own country, recently a prisoner at the bar, only not found guilty by law-his moral character known to have been positively bad—would the judge or the prince honour such a one? Would he ask him to dine? But God's ways are not man's ways. The prodigal, then, is not only forgiven and reconciled, he is accepted. And here comes in the sweet savour of the burnt-offering. Mere forgiveness is negative, acceptance is positive. The father delights in the prodigal. The father will have the servants bring forth, not an apron to cover the beggar's nakedness — not even a coat of skin (token of the sin-offering)—not a robe according to the mere need of the half-starved swine-herd, but the best robe in his own wardrobe--something, not to make the poor prodigal glorious in his own eyes, but something to render him glorious according to the father's thoughts. Whatever “ enough” may signify according to man's dictionary of unbelief, according to God it must be that which will satisfy God Himself. The father knows and chooses the robe
— the son is to be honourably appareled -is to have the ring on his hand, and the shoes on his feet, not for the sake of the son's eyes, but the father's. Here, then, we have the privileges of the burnt-offering
-acceptance-sweet savour-perfection; not that we are to be offered up wholly (though it may be well to learn that lesson also by the way; the Lord grant we may learn it more and more!), but that the full acceptance of Jesus, the fire of God having searched Him through and through, and brought out nothing but a sweet savour, should rest on us. And here it might be said, Surely this is all. Nay, but the two blessings already noticed are but steps to a third, the crown (in one sense) of all the offerings, just as the killing of beasts, and the mingling of wine, and the furnishing of the table, are but the preliminaries to the feast—and a feast, as the Preacher tells us (Eccl. x. 19), is made for laughter, of joy. Hitherto it might be supposed that mere compassion dictated the dealings of the father with the son, though indeed not according to our view of the burntoffering, which we have just stated. And it might have been supposed that compassion, and the natural yearn
ings of the parent's heart, would lead him to see that his son should be filled as well as warmed, and thus that he should order the servants to provide meat for the hungry one, and strong drink for the lost one who was ready to perish, and wine for the relief of his heavy heart. But
this would be to deny desire in the father, or only to allow it as naturally stirred up by compassion, at the sight of unsatisfied desire in another. But this is not according to God's account of Himself. God has his desire and his joy, of which our poor desires after Him, and our joy in Him, are but the faint reflection. Redemption was not a makeshift, as men say, the last resource of a foiled contriver, but the grand and perfect counterpart of the original design of the mind of God. But to return to the parable:" And bring hither the
“ fatted calf, and kill it, and” (mark what follows)“ let us eat and be merry”—not “Let the prodigal be kept from merely starving”, but “ Spread the feast, for I will dine with him, and he with me,” many others rejoicing at the same time. Surely there is meaning in that expression in Leviticus," the food of the Lord's offering ;" the Lord Himself enjoys communion with His recovered people. I would add, that the longing of God for communion with His own is expressed in various parts of the Word, especially Cant. ii. 4. How often do Christians dwell with comfort (and rightly, if they do not exclusively) on the Bridegroom's assurance of the spotlessness and beauty of the bride, and on the bride's desire for the Bridegroom, who, it is to be feared, think little of the Bridegroom's desire for the presence of the bride. I would just remark, in conclusion, that the names of the offerings in our English version are easily misunderstood, especially those of the meat-offerings and the peace-offering. The words“ meat-offering," convey to modern ears the very opposite of the real meaning, i.e. it is almost the only offering in which meat, in the usual sense of the word, that is, animal food, or as we say, flesh, was absent. A
a See again Cant. viii. 13, where the sex of the dweller in the gardens, and consequently the force of the passage, is lost in our English version. It is the Bridegroom longing to hear the bride's voice (see Heb.)