TO OUR READERS
With this issue this little ship enters the fortieth year of its
voyage. And what a forty years it has been! If storms from every
quarter could have caused this barque to founder, it ought to have
done so long ago. War, with all its features, raging right on to the
very premises where it is printed: paper and all other commodities
in short supply: sickness, and losses of fellow-workers: and almost
bewildering opposition from spiritual and human forces, and much
more, could so easily have resulted in cessation of production. But
through all - a tremendous 'all' - not one issue has failed to go
forth, and that to many countries. Survival alone would have been a
miracle, but to be able to speak of growth, increase, and expansion,
right up to date, does - to those who know best - speak of
the wonderful power and grace of God. The full story will never be
known this side of Heaven, but what is known is something
which rightly provokes this testimony to His praise. We wonder
whether - in the light of all that we know - even Paul had a
monopoly of Divine support when he said: "Having received the help
which cometh from God, we continue unto this day". If the Lord has
needed any help from us, we feel that all that we have ever given
has been a deep sense of dependence upon Him. For the rest, it is
all of His grace.
And yet, we do recognize the faithful and sympathetic fellowship
that we have had, and still do have, from the family of appreciative
readers. If we can speak of the Lord's help, we can truly say that
no small degree of it has come through His faithful
fellow-workers over so wide a range. If you look through the
'Acknowledgment' columns for a single year you will realise that
this is not an exaggerated testimony.
We are not out of the storms yet. The cost and conflict do not
lessen and fresh winds of adversity are constantly blowing. But we
realise that, if our sails of faith are rightly set, even adverse
winds can be made to carry us forward.
But what is it all about? What is the function of this
little and unpretentious paper? There are numerous magazines and
journals in Christianity. Most of them have their own purpose: some
for specialized teaching or doctrine; some for prophetic
interpretation; some - very many - for missionary enterprise,
propaganda and information; some are of a more general character,
and so on.
But what is the function of this one if it is not just one more to
the so many? So often in these pages one phrase from the Apostle
Paul has been employed to indicate the particular purpose and
special nature of this instrument - it is - "Having this ministry" -
"This ministry". And, not detached from the context, but explained
by it, we testify - "God... hath shined into our hearts to give the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
It is the revelation of the significance of Jesus Christ in God's
universe. The context speaks of "God, who said, let light be". Just
as the Sun is the centre of the solar system and the source of all
its light, life, and energy, so Christ is the Divine Centre of the
spiritual universe, governing all things and giving light, life,
power, and purpose to all in that sphere.
Yes, it is the absolute ascendency and victory of Christ, and His
filling of all things which is "This ministry". The implications of
this, and its ministration in the power of the Holy Spirit
constitute a universal challenge and provoke every kind and quarter
of antagonism. It is to "the testimony of Jesus" that God is
committed, and, although the opposition may be very great, the
vindication is with the Lord.
As we move on into another year of "This ministry" we count on your
prayers and loyal standing with us in the battle.
The Lord make it the greatest year ever for you and for us, and, oh,
that it might see 'His appearing'!
Yours in His grace,