The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 4 - The Assembly as the Anointed Vessel

Reading: 1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Chronicles 5:1, 9,13,14; Exodus 30:22, 23,26; Luke 4:10-18; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14.

Continuing our occupation with the matter of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we are now turning to that aspect of this great truth which brings the assembly of God into view; and what we have before us is

The Assembly as the anointed vessel.

By linking together passages as we have done above we are only bringing counterparts into view. We first of all saw David anointed personally. Then we were seeing the great inclusive, all embracing purpose of David's life, and his anointing in relation to the whole testimony. In the passage in 2 Chronicles we see that purpose realised and that anointing which was upon him personally now manifested upon the temple; shall we say a collective thing: out of the personal anointing has come the collective anointing. The one leads to the other, the second is the justification of the first. The glory of the Lord filling the temple, the cloud taking up residence in the whole comprehensive order of things in the temple is the explanation of its full intent as to that individual or personal anointing which was upon David at the beginning. Then we have brought another two things together. The Lord Jesus anointed personally, separately; declaring the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him; that is Christ Personal; and alongside of that 1 Corinthians 12:12,13, the one Body and the one anointing definitely mentioned, with its tremendously striking and impressive statement that: "as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is (the) Christ" - the definite article there: "the Christ."

It is no new thing perhaps to most of us, but it has to be brought again before us in this particular connection; for what is clearly said there is this, that this anointing upon the Lord Jesus is a collective and corporate anointing, and that for present and future universal purposes Christ is so vitally one with all His members that the members, joined to the Head, have the effect of being one Christ. Not meaning that Christ ceases to have a personal and separate existence, but now, for the manifestation and expression of Himself, and for the full realisation of Himself, He is no longer just a separate individual entity, He is the Head of a Body, and He is Head and Body by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has made the Head and the members one entity, which is called "the Christ." "For in one Spirit were we all baptised into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit," the Spirit of the anointing, the Spirit of the Anointed, the Christ, one Christ, the Christos, the Anointed - a tremendous statement! Thus the assembly becomes the anointed vessel, the Body of Christ, anointed in union with Him: "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." Now to give a single emphasis to that I read the passage from Exodus 30 in connection with the making of the holy anointing oil and underline the clause: "thou shalt anoint the tent of meeting." Everything else in it and about it was to be anointed likewise, but I select the inclusive and comprehensive thing: "thou shalt anoint the tent of meeting," that is the assembly. It is the tent of meeting, the tent of the congregation, the tent of the assembly, and it is to be anointed.

Corporate Anointing

Now let me just say a few words on the matter of corporate anointing.

This matter of corporate anointing with which many of us are so familiar has to be brought into view as the Lord leads. Let me say the simplest thing about this, that the New Testament knows nothing of merely separate, individualistic anointings. I did not say individual anointing, I said individualistic anointings. Of course, you will have to understand the usage of words to appreciate that distinction. The anointing does come upon us individually as members. We are not all one member, but many, and every member is anointed, but there is a difference between an individual anointing and an individualistic anointing. That which is individualistic would mean that the member is a separate thing, something apart, detached. That is what we mean by individualism, which is one of the isms that is not recognised by the Lord. It goes into the category of false teaching; individualism. That is, that which makes any man or woman something in themselves apart, a law unto themselves, a separate entity; one by themselves doing their own work, thinking their own thoughts, even religiously and spiritually. There is no such thing in the eyes of the New Testament as individualistic anointing.

Let me put that in another way. There are not so many anointings as there are individual members of the Body of Christ. While every member will receive the anointing, it will always be the anointing and not his anointing or her anointing; it will always be the one anointing. You do not receive one anointing and I another. I can put that more plainly. You do not receive one Holy Spirit and I receive another Holy Spirit. There are not so many Holy Spirits as there are believers. There is one Holy Spirit.

"There is one body, and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all." The anointing is one anointing and that anointing is not, in the first place, given to the members. That anointing is made to reside on and within the Lord Jesus as Head of the Body. It is the Head which receives the anointing always. The rest of the Body gets this benefit by reason of its relation to the Head and comes into the good of the anointing by being organically united with the Head. And the anointing is upon the Lord Jesus as Head of the Body the Church. Our receiving of the anointing is as we come into the Body of Christ and under the sovereign Headship of the Lord Jesus as anointed. This one anointing is for all members, but only by reason of corporate and organic union with Christ as Head. So that the anointing is one anointing and not many anointings. All the members share in the anointing, but never do get a separate anointing from the rest, in the thought of God. Now that has a very wide range of meaning.

God is against Division

That, in the first place, means that God recognises no independence, spiritual independence on the part of His people. God never goes with a spirit of independence. God never goes with a spirit of separation. God never goes with a spirit of detachment. Now I am afraid I must come back and be very elementary in explaining that. I am saying "a spirit of detachment," "a spirit of separation." There are times when by reason of denial of foundational verities of the faith there has to be withdrawing, but that is not a spirit of separation in the sense in which I am using the term. I mean that disposition to be exclusive, to be separate, to be detached, to work apart, to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, to work and act independently of other believers with whom the Lord has joined us in Himself; the spirit of separation. The Lord is not with that, and never goes with that.

The direction of the Holy Spirit is always toward fellowship and oneness; for this reason: that the Holy Spirit has come in relation to the testimony of Jesus. That which He did in His Cross is a very vital part of the testimony of Jesus, that which He did to destroy the disintegrating effect of sin and the Devil's interference with God's creation. The whole direction of Satanic activity is to divide, to split up and cause friction, warfare, conflict. That has been the effect of sin and Satan. God's one unity of a universe was broken to fragments by Satanic interference, and the whole universe was shot through with discord, with schism. Calvary sees that work of the Devil dealt with, and that is why the Lord Jesus right on the threshold, the verge of His cross, just as - as it were - He was stepping on to the altar, prayed the prayer of John 17: " ...that they may all be one even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us." That is the prayer with which He goes to Calvary, and that prayer was answered in Calvary. That prayer has been wholly and fully answered in the Cross.

Beloved, you and I in Christ will never be more one than we are. You say that is a poor look-out! In ourselves the oneness may be weak and lacking but in Christ you and I are organically one, sharing one life. In the Christ Who is at the right hand of God there is the unity of the born anew ones which can never be improved upon. That is a testimony in heaven. The Body is one, says the Word; it is one in Him, in the Head. The Holy Spirit's presence in all the members of the Body constitutes a oneness deeper than consciousness, reason, feeling, recognition; a very life basis, a oneness is constituted deep down in every child of God like the oneness which exists between the Father and the Son, and when we get to heaven, although then we shall enjoy that oneness to the full without interference of this old-man-element which divides and limits the fellowship now, when we get to heaven and enjoy it we will not be more one then in reality than we are now. It will be manifested.

We are never commanded to make the unity of the Spirit, we are exhorted to keep it, to guard it. That means that first of all we must take it as existing. The body is one, so also is the Christ. He prayed that prayer as He went to the cross, and in the Cross that prayer was answered. The testimony of Jesus includes that great truth that by His Cross He has conquered the Enemy, and destroyed that part of the Enemy's work which brought disruption into God's creation. And in the new creation that spiritual, organic oneness is not only recovered, but established beyond the reach of again being destroyed. We shall come to the enjoyment of it only as we come to heaven, as we leave earth. I am not speaking literally, I am speaking spiritually. As we are linked with anything on this earth which is of a dividing character, then we miss the glory of the oneness of the Body and the oneness of Christ. The more earth-bound we are religiously, ecclesiastically, the more we fail of that heavenly reality of the oneness of the Body. Or to put it the other way, the more we come to our heavenly position the more we find it impossible to allow man-made systems, which divide believers into groups, to operate and govern our lives. We are out of it, set free, because the unity is in the Head in heaven and as we come to the heavenlies we come to Ephesians where the Body is seen in its oneness. Now the Holy Spirit has come as the Spirit of that testimony and, therefore, one Spirit making one Body, and the Body becomes one by the Spirit.

Organic Oneness

I have often illustrated these spiritual things by the human body and its double system of control. This body of ours physically is a unity. While it has many members, organs and functions, yet it is a unity, and it is made an organic unity, one thing, by a double system of control. One is the blood system, the other is the nerve system. The blood system makes the body a whole as an organic living thing. Strangle any one member, stop the circulation, and before long that member ceases to be an active part of that organism. The whole blood system makes the body a single active living unity. The other is the nerve system. We know that every needle point of this entire physical body is governed and controlled by the nerve system. Now this whole nerve system has its base in the head, so that we cannot touch the most minute point with the finest needle without touching the head and registering that touch by reason of the head. The head it is that registers all that. We know it by reason of the base of the nervous system in our heads. We have said that if you take a needle and you understand the brain, and with a fine needle go from point to point in the brain you can put out of action any member of the body. You can put the right hand completely out of action by just touching with a needlepoint in the brain. You can put out the whole of that side by touching a point in the brain. Now the Body of Christ is a counterpart of that spiritually.

Oneness in Life

The blood system which makes our physical bodies one organically while in action, has its counterpart in the Divine Life that is given to us in new birth. We receive Life in Christ and that Life in the whole body is one Life. The great circulation of Divine Life through the Body is the basis of, not only the oneness, but active oneness in relation to Christ. If the Life is strangled, if that circulation is interrupted, then the wholeness of the Body is spoiled. If two members only, brought into relationship in the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, indwelt by the Divine Life, should come to a place where one of them has violated the spiritual laws of Divine Life and thus arrested the circulation, those two will no longer be able to work together, they will no longer be able to co-operate and help one another. There has come about an arrest upon the active principle of corporate Life in the Body. So that an Achan can arrest the progress of all Israel on the principle that Israel is a corporate whole governed by one Life; and when one member violates the laws of that Life all the Body is brought under arrest. To put it the other way round; when all the members have a full tide of Divine Life flowing uninterrupted and unhindered, then you get a mighty corporate movement. That is how it was at the beginning.

Now Ananias and Sapphira represent the Enemy's effort to interfere with that corporate Life and to check the movement of the whole Body, and it was said to be a sin against the Holy Ghost, and the seriousness of that thing is just this, that Satan had interfered and they, in complicity with Satan, had threatened the entire movement of the Church in those days. Now you have in Ananias and Sapphira a literal outworking of that passage in 1 Cor. 3:16: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." 1 Cor. 6:19: "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you?" What I want you to notice is that those two passages do not refer to the same thing, they are not to be put in the marginal reference as synonymous. This passage in chapter 6:18 refers to our human physical body, as you notice the context: "Flee fornication but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you." Clearly the physical body is there in view.

Well, sin against the physical body as a temple of the Holy Ghost is a very grievous thing, but this is an even more solemn thing in chapter three. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." That is collective, corporate; that is the assembly. That is not the physical body. That is the plural, not the singular; the "ye are" there is the House of God. Now note what God says: "if any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy." See how jealous God is for the Body of Christ, the House of God, the Assembly. Saul of Tarsus came very near destruction on the Damascus Road. Ananias and Sapphira came to judgment in death because in truth the Devil had captured them to arrest and destroy the corporate testimony in the House of God as it was launched on its way in the beginning. It was a blow against the oneness of the Body under the one anointing, and that met this word: "him shall God destroy."

Beloved, it is a terrible thing to put our hand upon the assembly, it is a terrible thing to touch the Body of Christ. Psalm 105 puts that very plainly: "yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." Now the assembly is the anointed vessel and we see that the Enemy is out to thwart the mighty effect of that one anointing, to interrupt the progress of it. The one Life is seen there corresponding to the blood system. This is the one Life by which we move, which is our energy; Divine Life given to us.

Oneness in Intelligence

But then the nervous system in our physical body has its parallel in the corporate Body of Christ in the Holy Spirit; He is the Spirit of Life. These two things cannot be separated, but there is a difference. The Holy Spirit is the intelligence of this oneness; the nerve system by which we are made aware of things. We have the intelligence of the whole Body by the nerve system because that is registered in the Head; and the Holy Spirit, the one Spirit makes the Body one in action by a registration of the Divine mind. How important it is to have spiritual intelligence in order to have the Body perfectly functioning. These two things go together. The eyes of the heart had to be enlightened by a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in order to see the full meaning of the Body of Christ. That is the Ephesian position. The Apostle is praying "that that that." Notice the successive "thats" governing his petitions, and all those petitions are in relation to the Body's union with Christ. The basic thing is: "having the eyes of your heart enlightened" there being given "a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him."

We shall blunder on and make all kinds of messes and confusions if the Lord does not give us spiritual intelligence; if we do not recognise that the anointing is meant to bring to us intelligence as to the Lord's mind. 1 John 2:20,27 comes in again to our help. "And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things," and of that is said, "and is true and is no lie." That chapter, 1 John 2, is a chapter of antichrist and Christ, Christ and antichrist. Many antichrists shall come and declare themselves to be Christ, assume the garb of Christ, the language of Christ, the phraseology of Christ, the doctrine of Christ, many of the ways of Christ; but still antichrist, so subtle, so impossible of recognition by the ordinary intelligence even at its best. Over against the antichrists - with their well nigh perfect counterfeiting of Christ - is Christ the Anointed; but the antichrist is the christ without the anointing. How are you to know where the anointing is, that is, where the Christ is? The anointing in you tells you whether the anointing is there or if the anointing is not there. The anointing is one anointing and recognises His own expression, and where He is and where He is not. Have you got that? The anointing is one.

Someone or some system comes and poses as Christ the Anointed, but is not the Anointed. How are you going to know that the anointing is not there? By the anointing which is in you which is one anointing, which does not have any fellowship with that. But when that which is of the anointing is present, the anointing in you flows out to that. That is something only the anointed ones have, something we cannot define, and is not something mental. You are not able to sit down and put it on paper, where the antichrists are wrong; it is the anointing in you that tells you before you can reason or analyse. That is not misjudging, but you know because the anointing in you teacheth you. "How do you know?" "I cannot tell you, but I know." That is, the Lord in me does not let go to that, does not flow out to that, does not give liberty and sanction to that; and I must wait until the Lord does; sooner or later I will have the explanation of this. There is all the difference between that and our natural suspicions and prejudices.

Oh, that the Lord's people would know the Holy Ghost and be delivered from all that bondage which comes along the line of eternally suspecting everything with which they come into contact. Beloved, if in your heart the Holy Spirit witnesses to the fact that I also am a child of God, that is all you want as a basis of fellowship and we ought to flow together; and to refuse that is to violate the principle of the oneness of the Spirit. Well now this intelligence which corresponds to the nerve system is all linked up in the Head and that is what Paul means when he says: "We have the mind of Christ." How do we have the mind of Christ? The anointing! It does not mean that any one of us has reached the place where we immediately know the Lord's will about every detail in our lives. The anointing does not work out in that way immediately.

There are many things about which you and I are not sure as to the will of God, but we do know this, that if we are walking in the Spirit and the anointing is free within us that if we take or assay to take a step out of line or out of time with the Lord, the Spirit does not go with us and we know that we go on our own to do it. This is simple but it is true. We have to get on with it. The Spirit of Jesus suffers us not. It may only be a matter of time; it may be a matter of finality, that that is not the Lord's will for our lives. The intelligence of the anointing is the Holy Spirit Who would give to all the members the one mind of Christ. I cannot conceive of an organic unity having half-a-dozen contradictory and conflicting minds.

You say, well how do you account for so many godly, consecrated people being entirely different in their attitude towards certain vital things? I do not know that I am called upon to account for that, and certainly I am not called upon to judge any man, but I do venture to say this, that it can easily be accounted for by the measure in which the Cross of the Lord Jesus has been wrought into those lives. Which means this, that still there may be a clinging to something of good which is not the Lord's best, and that means that the Holy Spirit is not free to lead out of the one into the other; and there you get the difference. We are not saying who may be right or who may be wrong, but that there are differences, and it may be accounted for usually by the Cross not having been wrought sufficiently in one or the other. I am certain of this, that the deeper we are baptised into the death of Christ the more we shall know of the oneness of the Spirit, because that is the ground upon which the Spirit operates, the death of Christ. Well now, that covers some ground as to the corporate nature of the anointing. It is only perhaps by way of illustration, but I think it is useful in bringing to us the fact with which we are dealing, that the anointing is one, the Spirit is one, the Body is one.

Anointing and the Divine Order

Now there is a further aspect. That means that by the one anointing we are brought into a Divine order. If you like another word, which is not as good a word in some senses and yet conveys its own meaning, we are brought into a Divine system. Some people do not like that word system, and it is always used by them in a bad sense, but I want to redeem the word from that realm and I want to say that there is a Divine system, there is a heavenly system, there is an order of the heavens. The tabernacle was a pattern of things in the heavens, which means, as "Hebrews" tells us, there are the other things themselves which are a heavenly system and order; a system comprehensive, detailed, minute; and the tabernacle is only a reflection, a type of the heavenly system beyond which must be the heavenly order and system.

Now note, Christ and His Body are not only a "One new Man," they are an order, if you like - a system. Christ is represented by the tabernacle. Christ is represented by the temple, and there you have a very detailed exhaustive system put into operation, but both the tabernacle and the temple are figures not only of Christ separate, but Christ and His people; one people, one Body. So that the tabernacle and the temple clearly represent the Church as a heavenly system. Not man-made, not man-conceived. Remember that in the tabernacle and the temple not one fragment was left for human ideas. All human ideas about that system were ruled out. Man's thoughts and judgments about this thing had no place whatever. When it says that the Lord filled Bezaleel with the Holy Spirit unto all manner of workmanship, that means that the anointing ruled man out and left no room for man's judgment in this; that every detail to a thread was by government of the Spirit; what was to be used, how the thing was to be used, how the thing was to be made, the thing to be made, every thing by government of the Spirit. It is a heavenly system in which man has no place for his judgment. Christ is that. The Church which is His Body is that. And what you and I have to look for, beloved, is the spiritual principle back of everything in the Scriptures, a heavenly principle. If we simply take the Scriptures as they are written and begin to put them into operation, what shall we have? We shall have an Old Testament temple system with priests, vestments, rites, and all that sort of thing. If we put the New Testament as it stands in the letter into operation we shall have an earthly system.

Sisters in the Assembly

Supposing we simply take hold of certain injunctions in the New Testament and give them out as such to be obeyed. Women must wear their hats in the assembly; that is in the Word of God. But supposing that is as an injunction made a law for meetings? I venture to say you will not get very much spiritual value out of it, probably you will kick about it. You can have Christian legalism just as much as you can have Jewish legalism. When the Apostle talks about having the head covered and uncovered in the case of the woman and the man, and when he talks about women not teaching or usurping authority over the man, and all those things, if you put those into operation as merely cold injunctions, you will have a formal system with very little Life and profit in it. There will certainly be no unction, it will be "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not." And you will apply that with the rigidity of Romanism and it will resolve itself again to a matter of priestcraft and man domination. Get back of those things and get the spiritual principle.

There is a spiritual principle behind a woman wearing a hat in the assembly. One of the most glorious principles, which will lift out of rebellion on to a level of being willing to wear a hundred hats! What is the principle? Christ is set forth as Head of the Church which is His Body, everything is subject to Christ and by reason of being subject to Christ derives all its good. There can be no gain to anybody by not being subject to Christ. All  good comes that way, all blessing comes that way; the absolute sovereignty of the Lord Jesus over us and we completely surrendering to that is the way of blessing. He is the Head of the man. "The head of every man is Christ" "...and the head of the woman is the man."

Man is the head of the woman as Christ is the Head of the man. "Now wives be in subjection to your own husbands." "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it." What is the principle? That by not usurping authority over the man and assuming the office of teacher, that is, taking the place of sovereignty over the man, there is the upholding of a heavenly principle. There is given to sisters in the assembly the tremendous honour of representing the heavenly principle that all profit comes by subjection to Christ, and that is illustrated in the assembly by their taking that place. It really elevates them to being literally personal representations of the principle of the Church's subjection to Christ. There must be here some practical illustration and outworking of a heavenly order. That is why the Lord has given us these various means of expressing a heavenly order. It is a matter of the Lord's way of fullest blessing, and not one of law or comparative value.

Baptism and the Lord's Table

We have baptism. I have often been argued with on this wise, "Well what is the need of the water, of the baptistry? It is a spiritual thing after all; our death with Christ, our burial with Christ is a spiritual thing, water can make no difference to that, and in spirit we enter into it; the water is not necessary." Does the New Testament teach that? The New Testament teaches that that way is the Lord's way, and that that water, while it has no virtue in itself, while in itself it makes no difference, that is, the water does not put us away forever, that instant we disappear under the waters does not mean that we go out of sight forever; nevertheless, it is the means of a testimony, that we, as a part of that old organism, that old creation, have disappeared with it from the eyes of God.

I am not holding a brief for a mere method, I am simply saying this is a figure, and the Lord has given it to us as a way of testifying to a great spiritual reality; but He asks for that testimony. It is a part of the universality of this work of the Lord Jesus. We have the Lord's Table. None of us believes that the loaf literally is Christ, and that at a given moment Christ actually enters into that piece of bread, and that when we take that bread we literally take Christ. Or that the wine is changed into the blood of Jesus Christ, which we drink; we do not believe that. We might argue, as many do, that we receive Life from Christ spiritually and that it is all unnecessary. Is it? The Word is: "Till He come." The Lord is asking for a representation of a heavenly order, of a heavenly thing. It is not the thing in itself, but it is the spirit that is in the testimony. It is not an ordinance, it is a testimony.

Now you come to the testimony which has to do with the corporate nature of the anointing, spiritually. In the baptism we have disappeared as a part of the old creation from the sight of God. After that God never looks upon a truly baptised one as a part of the old creation. He does not look at you or me as a bit of the old creation, however much there may be of the old man remaining. In the death of Christ we disappeared as a part of the old creation. In my baptism I took that position. I have come to understand more about it since I was baptised, but on the basis of my amount of intelligence then the Lord accepted the whole and undertook to lead me into it, and therefore it is not necessary to be baptised every time new light is given. In that we passed out of the old creation. In coming up we are typically raised together with Christ as a part of a new creation. But what is the new creation? The new creation organism is not like the old creation organism which was an organism all upset; every joint in that great body was dislocated; every function was operating in the wrong direction, it was a reversed peristalsis, all working the wrong way.

The Laying on of Hands

Now in the new creation, in resurrection union with Christ it is an organism, not an organisation, which is the Body of Christ. When you have testified to the fact that you have passed out of the old in the death of Christ, and passed into the new in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, you find you come to the place where there is a testimony to the corporate nature of that organism as under the One Spirit, the one anointing. Ananias is sent to Saul of Tarsus and the two things go together. Saul's baptism was a testimony, and Ananias laid his hands upon him as a testimony. Later, two or three years, when Paul was going out on his life-work for which he has received the anointing, they at Antioch laid their hands upon him. Why? Was that a mere form, just a kind of courtesy? No, that is a Divine principle. And we find these hands stretched out again and again - not always by apostles, but by representative members of the Body of Christ, acting only in a representative - not an official, or ecclesiastical capacity - but in a representative capacity; that is, acting for the Body; reaching out their hands and laying them upon this one and that one. A testimony to what? The one Body! This is an act of identification.

The hand is given as an act of oneness; being laid upon the head it means that that one has come under another Head, the Headship of Christ; coming into the one Body under the one Head, the one anointing. That laying on of hands is invariably associated with the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit is associated with it: which means that the testimony to the oneness of the Body which is borne by that act of identification, is a testimony to the one anointing, and the Holy Spirit Himself witnesses to that one anointing; so that Paul, great man though he was, an elect vessel as he was, with the commission that he received in such a wonderful way, cannot, with all, commence his life-work without being made by the Lord to recognise that that life-work is the life-work of the Body of Christ; his ministry is the ministry of the Body and not his; and they, representing the Body lay their hands upon him and in effect say: "This means that you are going out to our ministry and we are with you; we shall always be with you in it spiritually in prayer." Never think of yourselves as men who have gone out from the Church to fulfil your own life-work, but as those who go out with the church to fulfil the ministry of the church. There is a great deal of difference, and that truth is to be maintained.

We are often charged with having extraordinary phraseology. There has got to be a good deal of correcting of phraseology, and it is not that the phraseology which we use is wrong phraseology. Again and again we hear people talk about the Chinese Church, the African Church, the American Church, the English Church; that there shall be established a Church in Africa, or a Church in India, or a Church in China. That phraseology is wrong to the root, and absolutely contrary to the New Testament, and Paul never used phraseology like that. The Church, the Body of Christ, is one, and the only right way to speak of it is to say, the Church in Africa, the Church in China, the Church in Egypt; one Church, one Body. You say there may not be much in phraseology? There is a lot in phraseology! If the New Testament principles had been maintained, what a strength there would have been. Supposing every man and woman that had gone forth with the Divine commission had gone forth with the whole Body of Christ behind them, what a different story would have been told. If the Body of saints had committed themselves to stand with those two as they went to different lands, what a different story. There is spiritual value in that. That was the meaning of the laying on of hands as they sent them forth; they said, "We are going with you, this is not your ministry it is ours." It is a Divine order, a heavenly order, and we have to look back of things for spiritual principles; and here is the principle of the oneness of the Body back of all. As we recognise that, and come into line with it, then the anointing is manifested.

Do we want to know the real value of the anointing? We can know it if we come into the heavenly order. If we violate the heavenly order and begin to organise the Lord's work and do things as men do things in the Church, if the Holy Ghost does not choose and appoint, but we do it by ballot, or in any other way, we may miss the anointing. It is the Holy Ghost Who should choose the elders in the House of God. "Separate me" -  different from: "Let us have a committee and ask So and so to do this and that and something else." A heavenly order carries with it the anointing; violation of the heavenly order means we have to take the responsibility ourselves.

These things are important in order that we should know the blessedness and greatness of the anointing. The anointing is power. Now the Old Testament men were anointed with a horn of oil, and the typology of the Old Testament makes a horn always to be the symbol of strength, and the oil a type of the Spirit. "The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward," because Samuel had taken the horn of oil and anointed him. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" but remember the coming of the Spirit carries with it the fact that we have parted with all orders made by man and come into the heavenly order. That is involved. And so the power of the anointing is expressed on the ground of very definite laws, the law of a heavenly order, and Christ represents that heavenly order, for after all it is only learning Christ. It is not so much a study of principles as coming to know the Lord, and to know the Lord is to do things in the way the Lord would do them, and not as man would do them. The more we know the Lord, the more we realise the difference between the way that man does things and the way the Lord would do them.

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