"A Candlestick of Pure Gold: of Beaten Work" Exodus 25:31

"The Testimony of Jesus"
Revelation 1:9

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July -- August, 1969 Vol. 47, No. 4



AMONG the games that used to be played at parties there was one like this. A large circle was formed by the company present, and then someone began by whispering something to the next person. This was passed on right round the circle. The last person of the ring then had to say aloud what he or she had received, or thought they had received. It was then compared with the original statement, and it was both amusing and amazing how the thing had developed, lost its character, both by addition, subtraction, or distortion. Often the original could only with difficulty be recognised.

While Christianity is not a game, it has greatly suffered in this way as it has passed down the generations through the minds and lips of its vast circle of sponsors and adherents. So much so that it is very difficult to recognise the origin in what has emerged in course of time. It therefore becomes necessary and of very great importance to both ask and seek to answer the question: What is it that we have come into in Christianity? The object of these messages will be just to do that as ability may be given by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

We shall begin on a wide basis and work from the circumference to the centre. We know that the Bible is divided into two main parts, or sections, the Old and the New Testaments. That is not just a literary division. It is truly a historical division, but it is much -- very much -- more than that. Upon the difference represented by that division hangs everything that God has said, and wants us to know as to His eternal intention. It is just there between the two Testaments, or halves, of the Bible that the immense significance of our above title stands -- the Great Divide and the Great Transition. As we proceed, we shall shortly come to point out that in that gap between the Testaments stands nothing less than the Cross of Jesus Christ.

The first section of the New Testament is that which comprises the four "Gospels". Whatever differences in likeness, context, presence and absences there may be in the four, they all certainly have this in common: they all lead up to the one climax, the Cross of Christ. All that each has contained is shown to be steadily and inexorably moving toward the Cross. From what we learn later we understand that the Cross was fixed in the counsels of God according to His foreknowledge from the foundation of the world. What, then, do we conclude from this climax of the Gospels, the very first section of the New Testament? The Gospels introduce the great Person of Jesus Christ. [73/74] They proceed with His works and His teaching, substantiated by His life or character. All this comprises His mission, which mission is to reveal God and God's purpose for man. The place of the Cross as the inevitable and fixed climax to the Gospels says one tremendous thing: it is that all that revelation of God, in life, work, and teaching, can only be made good for, and be entered into by man through, the Cross of Jesus Christ, God's beloved Son. We ought to place many marks of emphasis and exclamation at the end of that statement. Read it again!

That, then, clearly and surely says that the Cross stands right at the beginning of the New Testament, and that again means that it stands between the two. If we just put the figure of a cross there we shall see that its arms stretch backward and forward. Then we should draw a strong line right down the centre of the Cross. By this figure we are enabled to understand the whole teaching of the New Testament, or, in other words,


That arm with the backward aspect -- up to the central line -- says FINISH, AN END. The arm with the forward aspect says ALL THINGS NEW (i.e. different). On one side the Cross is the closing of a door upon one whole historic system related to God. On the other side the Cross -- in the resurrection of Christ -- proclaims an open door to an entirely new Divine economy. One side says 'No! positively No!' The other side says 'Yes! definitely Yes!'

Of course, what remains is for us to understand what it is to which the No and the Yes apply. That will follow. For the present we have to come to realise the inclusive and emphatic fact that there is a point in the history of God's order at which there is an immense dispensational divide and transition. We do not hesitate to say that the confusion, weakness, frustration, and failure which so much characterises Christendom is very largely due to failure to realise, be really alive and understanding as to this divide and transition! There is a very real and true sense in which the New Testament is entirely occupied with the business of making this divide and transition clear. This will become evident as we proceed. It can be rightly said that the New Testament is built on two aspects expressed in two words, the occurrence of which demands a lot of close study or tracing. Both by actual use and by clear implication these two words and aspects are numerous. These two words -- set over against each other -- are "Not" and "But". They respectively cover and embody two comprehensive and entirely different systems in the Divine economy, that is, in God's methods with man, and the means employed by Him. They divide the two main dispensations. All the main works of God are included in those affords. As to his works and ways up to the Cross the great "Not" applies. It says: 'Not so any longer.'

We shall at once proceed to note some of the main points upon which the great divide and the great transition rest. The first of these is:


The fundamental statement is in John 1:12-13: "Children of God ... born, Not ... but of God." This is enlarged upon in chapter 3:3-12, and it runs in close connection with all that is in this Gospel. It is pursued along many lines, as we shall see. But before we follow this, may we be reminded of one helpful matter. When John wrote this Gospel he was an old man, probably very old. At the end -- or near the end -- of his life he had been exiled and imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos; for exactly how long we do not know, but the point is that, with all of his personal, intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus, His teaching, works, character, death, resurrection, ascension, and the advent of the Holy Spirit, he had much time for quiet detached meditation and thought. His Gospel is the product of this, therefore every word and statement is heavily loaded with much consideration and communion with the Lord. We take it all as just written statements, but we really should give something of the same meditation to even the words employed by John; for, as we have said, they are laden with eternal meaning.

Having said that, we return to the point at which we put in that parenthesis. The "not" and the "but" in its first application to mankind is pursued along various lines. Those lines are:

(a) The title of the Son of God which is foundational to all that follows in this connection.

(b) The words which most conspicuously characterise this Gospel.

(c) The "signs" which John selected, or was led to select, to illustrate and demonstrate the particular object in view.

We begin with


"In the beginning was the WORD."

"The WORD was with God."

"The WORD was God."

"The WORD became flesh." (John 1:1, 14) [74/75]

It is not at all necessary to enter the tortuous jungle of Greek philosophical and mystical thought which is associated with this word "Logos". Whatever help there may be in its elucidation, let the scholars dig that out. The simple facts are that it just means this in the Bible. A word is the means of expressing something that is in the mind, a thought expressed. Then (in this connection) it is the mind or thought of God. The next element in the word is that it is not abstract, but an act. God's word in the Old Testament is God's act, it is a fiat. "In the beginning God said ... and it was ." "He spake, and it was done", etc., etc.

The next thing here is that the mind, the thought, the expression thereof took Personal form: "Became flesh." The result -- and note how this connects with our present application of the divide and transition -- is that we have in Christ the personal expression of the mind of God as to humanity; a kind of manhood! A new kind of humanity; not only a better, but a different from all other. This is the great significance of the Incarnation, a fundamental difference. Humanity, yes; but different. Not in bodily or physical appearance. Not in all human soul-sensibilities and endowments; but deeper than body and soul, a spirit begotten of God. "The (or an) only begotten of the Father" (John 1:14). The "only" is unique. This is an unique humanity, not only an improved specimen. The difference is in what follows, as we shall see.

So, the first meaning of the "Not" and the "But" relates to the title given to the Son of God who became "Son of Man"; that is, a different and unique human emanation and expression of God's mind; an act of God. From there we proceed along the line of


They are quite a cluster, but for our immediate purpose we note these: "Father", "Son", "Life", "Light", "Truth", "To know", "Believe", "Love".

"Father" occurs 116 times in this Gospel, more than any other word . It is therefore the background of all that is here. The very term implies begetting; emanation of those of like nature.

John was particularly dominated by this conception of God. In his Letters as well as here he says much about being begotten of God. The children of God are God's act and their existence is the projecting of His will ! While they are the children of His love, they are not of impulse, but calculated and preconsidered. The whole conception of humanity was in the mind of God before creation, humanity that now is. The Word -- "God manifest in the flesh" is the "But" over against the "Not" in this respect. If Christ's mission was -- in the first place -- to reveal the Father, as it certainly was, then the Father is revealed in human form in His children; initially, progressively, and ultimately in all likeness, as John says in his Letter. It is a nature that we refer to, not His deity. We do not partake of that! It will be of great value to the reader if he will trace this word "Father" through John, and stop to think in each case.

From the "Father" we proceed to the "Children" (John 1:12).

First, the fact is stated that Jesus gave it to some to be children of God, and that He did this precisely on the basis of receiving Him. Weigh that carefully!

Then it says that this relationship to God is a given "right", prerogative, authority: "He gave (them) the authority to become the children of God." The word is 'exousia' and it has a legal meaning. It is the rightful, legal, legitimate, authoritative status of true children. These children inherit rights and claims by their birth. (See all the New Testament teaching on "heirs of God, jointheirs with Jesus Christ"; the "Inheritance", etc.)

From there we are led on to the nature of this humanity, these "children". It is here that the first categorical "Not" "But" connects. The great divide, the great contrast is so emphasised. "Which were born (begotten)": Not --

(a) "Of bloods" (plural),

(b) "The will of the flesh,"

(c) "The will of man."

"Bloods" in the plural seems to mean the mingling of sexes, and there may very well be a hidden reference to the birth of Jesus which was not the mingling of the blood of Joseph and Mary, but "of God". "The will of the flesh", according to later New Testament teaching (e.g. Romans 8:4-8, etc.) is the choice, the decision, the energy of the natural man. So, "not of the will [volition] of man".

This is a tremendous and categorical sweeping away of everything but God's act in new birth. What an 'everything' that is in Christianity! "But of [out from] God." Every true child of God can say: 'I am God's act in the deepest reality of my being.' Not by natural birth from earthly (even Christian) parents. Not by the force or strength of any man's will, but God did it! "Not" "But". There is a divide in the race, a difference in the humanities.

(Not to overload this chapter we must leave the further features of this "But" side until the next issue.) [75/76]


[Harry Foster]

"As thou didst send me into the World, even so sent I them into the world" (John 17:18).

THE world, in the sense in which the Word so often describes it, is not only a sphere where men live, but it is also a sphere which governs men. Their behaviour, their bodies and their very souls are ruled, tyrannized over, by the world. That was the world to which the Lord Jesus did not belong, and that is the world from which, by His wonderful work upon the Cross, He has delivered us, so that in a sense, just as before He entered upon His humanity He stood right apart from the world order, so in a very real sense the moment we are men and women in Christ, we too stand right apart from that world order.

And yet, though it was true of the Lord Jesus that He did not belong to this world, He came as one sent into the world: "As thou didst send me into the world ..." We know that; we know the life that the Lord Jesus lived here in the world and we know -- we notice as we read the Gospels -- that all the time the comfort and the strength in His heart was the knowledge that He was not here by chance, He was not the victim of circumstances or of men, but He was here because the Father had sent Him.

Now He makes this most remarkable comparison. As the Father sent Him into the world, so are we sent into the world. You will believe that those who have been sent by the Lord into other lands as His missionary servants have, in times when things seemed difficult and full of problems and, indeed, of suffering and danger, been fortified in their hearts by this knowledge that, however bad things were, at least they had been sent there by the Lord. But I want to suggest to you that such servants of the Lord have no monopoly of that comfort and that it is available for every one of us; for I take it that our Lord Jesus was not speaking merely of the apostolic ministry of these whom He had sent, but of the position that every child of God holds in this world. We do not belong to the world, and are not of it. Well, then, why are we in it? Not because the Lord just suspended the full working of His redemption for us and left us here for a while. It is as though, in a flash when we were saved, we were taken out of it, and then were brought back into it again, not as belonging to it, but as sent here by the Lord.

I want to bring this as a word of comfort, perhaps, to some who may be tempted to feel that their lives are governed by men, or by the ways and circumstances of this present time, or by their own private conditions of life. So long as we, even for one moment, accept that mentality that makes us the victim either of circumstances or of men or of ourselves, so long do we lack the comfort and the strength that the Lord has for us. So long as we are able, even in the most uncongenial or difficult or apparently unfruitful circumstances, to say: 'The Lord sent me here!' so have we all the comfort and strength that Christ had in being in this world.

And let us remember this: even the Lord Jesus did not move about just as freely as He pleased, in spite of the specific guidance which He received from heaven. It would seem to be so much easier a life if we could go here, or move out of certain circumstances, or take a course that was just something between us and the Lord. I suggest to you that the life of Christ was not like that. Christ the babe went down to Egypt under the drive of a force of danger, as it seemed. Christ the boy had to leave the temple and go back with His parents subjecting Himself to their will rather than to that which seemed to Him to be the opening of a ministry. On certain occasions Christ sought solitude, and the crowds thronged Him and robbed Him of what He sought. At other times He could not go into the cities, but had to withdraw Himself because one whom He told to be quiet published abroad what ought to have been kept secret, or because the people would have taken hold of Him by force to make Him a king. Then there were the last phases of the life of the Lord, when He was taken by cruel and wicked men and led away to the Cross. So, you see, there was something even in the life of the Lord Jesus which was akin to that which comes to us of making us apparently the victim of circumstances or of the ways of men. If for one moment the Lord Jesus had accepted what was apparent, He would have lost His joy and His strength; but He never accepted that, and the position He took, not merely when He was on His own initiative taking some step as between Himself and the Father, but even when He was being moved about, hunted, driven, taken prisoner, crucified, was all the time: 'I am in this world as sent by God!'

Now, can you and I take hold of that just where we are? It is more difficult for us to see the purpose of our being sent, perhaps, than it was for the Lord, but we have His Word on which to rely. For you, [76/77] just you, this verse is true: "As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world." 'As the Father sent Me into the world', says the Lord, 'so have I sent you into the world!'

And when the Father sent the Son into the world, did He just leave Him? Did He not give Himself with all the interest and strength of His love to stand behind that Son, to carry Him through? Of course He did, and the inference of all this chapter is that the Lord is saying concerning those whom He has sent into the world: 'I stand behind you! I pray for you!' Well, it means a great deal when the Lord does not just say: 'I will mention them in My prayer', but: 'I pray for them! I give Myself to that! Because I sent them into the world they are My responsibility!' We are His responsibility just where we are, and even though at times our lives seem to be ordered by circumstances beyond our power where it is hard to see one trace of the hand of God, let us hold fast to His Word. We are where we are because He sent us there, and if He sent us there, He will pray for us and see us through. Always providing that ours is a prayerful life of dependence upon the Lord, as was His. - H.F.



"Whose l am, and whom I serve" (Acts 27:23).

THIS dramatic story of the voyage of the Apostle Paul to Rome has many things in it which form profitable instruction. From among these we are just lifting out one of particular value. It is that contained in our title: the wisdom and value of being pronouncedly the Lord's.

You know that the Apostle was a prisoner on his way to be tried before Caesar. Perhaps it would both help you and make unnecessary the lengthening of this message if you refreshed your memory with the whole chapter and what led up to it. The focal point of the message is that Paul did not leave anyone in any doubt as to where he stood, and because of that God eventually put everything into his hands. Paul could have kept quiet. There were several things that might have made him decide to do so. He was Caesar's prisoner. He was under the authority of both the Roman centurion and the captain of the ship. He had a very great deal to think about, for things had taken a strange and unexpected course in his life, and now he might be going to a quick execution. But, no, he looked beyond Caesar, Rome, ship, sea and circumstances to the Lord, and, in the hour of trouble he declared himself boldly and openly, not as the prisoner of men or circumstances, but as the prisoner and servant of the Lord. This openness and courage became


It constituted a link with Divine sovereignty. That Divine sovereignty had been very real in his recent history leading up to this situation. There were not lacking those things which could have provided plenty of ground for misgivings, and for the devil's paralysing accusations. This whole threatening disaster could have been looked at as the result of Paul's own mistakes and faults. He had gone to Jerusalem in spite of

(a) The Lord's earlier command that he (Paul) should depart from that city and be sent "far hence" because they would not receive his testimony (Acts 22:21).

(b) The fact that his brethren had besought him not to go, and warned him of what would happen.

But his concern for his own people in that city was so strong that he would not be dissuaded, and he went against all appeals and pleadings. When he got to Jerusalem he was caught in a trap, resulting in imprisonment, near death, and the several trials, issuing ultimately in his appeal to Caesar. One of the rulers said that if only Paul had not appealed to Caesar he might have been set at liberty. That 'if only' could have been a forceful point of satanic and self condemnation. 'If only I had not made that mistake!'

The Apostle had much to reflect upon, and when things go wrong and trouble overtakes, the devil is not slow to jump in and say: 'This is God's judgment upon your wrongdoing.' The appearances are that God has left us to our fate, and we see no way out. But this man was no introvert, but one who still believed God; for, whatever strange and seemingly contradictory features arose in the process, God had said to him that he 'must testify of Him in Rome' as he had done in Jerusalem. This confidence in the sovereign rule and overruling [77/78] of God had these two initial effects: it made him bold before men, and linked him with that sovereign rule and grace. There was an underlying factor that gave God a clear way for His sovereignty. Paul had absolutely no personal interests to serve. He knew that in going up to Jerusalem he took his life in his hands. He was not going there for anything for himself. He was not actuated by some worldly ambition. There were no prizes for him in this life along that course. It was all a way of cost and suffering and sacrifice. Such a spiritual position is always a way which God will take to overrule our mistakes, and even use adversity to His own end.

Apostles were not perfect and infallible men. God has never had an infallible servant apart from His Son. His best men have made mistakes, and these mistakes have never been kept out of the records of their lives. But be it Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, or Paul, their utterness of heart for God, and the absence of personal interests have made those records a story, pre-eminently, of sovereign grace and power.

So it was in the occasion under consideration. Utter abandonment to God gave God that wonderful opportunity of exercising His sovereignty, so that this seeming disaster turned out to be a Divine strategy.

If the heart is wholly set upon God's purpose our human faults and defaults will be covered by sovereign grace. We are not now thinking of the definite sins of rebellion and self-will. They may arrest or retard the goings of God, so far as we are concerned. But the weaknesses of our humanity can be no hindrance to God if only there is no dominating self-interest.

The next thing which is noted in our chapter is that this pronounced out-and-outness for the Lord is


For a time the ship's master flouted Paul's advice. Paul was less than a passenger: he was one of a number of prisoners. His opinion could be dispensed with; and so they silenced him and made it necessary for him to be quiet. In any conference which they had, Paul was in the rejected minority. But the hour of crisis came. The day and the hour came when that majority was in sore straits, and now the one man upon whom their only hope depends is the man who had been refused a place; the man who had been keeping a silent vigil with God, and to whom God had been speaking. You know the rest of the story. The man of utterness for God whom men rejected is God's key to the situation when everything is going to pieces. The lesson is quite evident, and this principle has had many occasions in history. "Be still, and know that I am God."

There is one more very wonderful feature of this sovereign government of God. It is


In the narrative we come on the statement by God to Paul: "God hath given thee all those that sail with thee". Does this mean, as it well might do, that God had the eternal salvation of the ship's master, the centurion, and the company in mind when He put Paul on that ship? Would we be going too far in imagination if we thought that some of those later referred to by Paul as "those of Caesar's household" (evidently saved believers) came to the Lord on that voyage, and that even the centurion may have been one of "the praetorian guard"? (See Philippians 1:13, 4:22.) Such a surmise can be supported by another occasion when Paul was "in much fear and trembling". The Lord spoke to him with the same words as those used here: "Fear not, Paul", and then, as to the desperate situation in Corinth: "I have much people in this city." Note: "I have". Not: 'I am going to have.' The Lord foreknows those who will believe and has a messenger on hand. Before the voyage came to its climax in the loss of the ship, and before any listening to Paul took place, God had said, "I have given thee". It was a sovereign act out of sovereign foreknowledge. I venture to say that if Paul had never let anyone suspect that he was a Christian, the great co-operation with God would not have followed.

There are times when we wonder why we are found in certain most difficult and perplexing situations. Everything in our expectation has broken down. It is far from rare that, eventually, it is found that God had something of considerable importance to Himself in that situation. Hell has raged like a sea tempest, and, humanly, the way seemed to have come to an end. But, again, if the heart is not divided in its interests, and no other concern than those of the Lord is keeping us from being pronouncedly the Lord's, the issue may be the eternal good of others. Remember, the Lord would not, on the two occasions mentioned, have said to Paul, "Fear not, Paul", if Paul had been above fear, and incapable of it; a superman, utterly without fear. Paul's moral ascendency was due to God's grace; and that is not for giants in themselves, but for those who are wholly committed to Him. [78/79]

A closer look at the story will reveal some characteristics needed in anyone whose ways are supported by the Lord. One of these is true humility. There was no proud or arrogant fighting for his own conviction on the part of Paul. However strongly he knew of the mistaken course, and repudiation of his advice, he stood back and evidently left the situation in the Lord's hands, keeping his own hands off. This is vital to the Lord's undertaking. Humility is the evidence that we have no personal or private interests to safeguard. It is also a mark of our not "thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think". It is not our vindication that matters, but only the Lord's honour.

Then patience is so very important. Paul had given his advice. It was flouted. Then it seemed that he had been wrong and the others right. Things went in their favour and they seemed justified. "The south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose ..." (Acts 27:13). This is a very trying element in God's sovereign ways -- the way by which alone He can come into His own place, and also brings souls to Himself by way of self-devastation. Sometimes it does appear that God is favouring those who have refused His authority and better judgment. They really do seem to be prospered and blessed! This is set in much wider context than Paul's voyage to Rome. In the whole range of God's goings from of old He has so often allowed wrong, and His own authority to be set aside and seemingly given rein to man's independence.

"History's pages but record

One death grapple in the darkness,

'Twixt old systems and the Word.

Truth for ever on the scaffold;

Wrong for ever on the throne:

Yet that scaffold sways the future;

And amidst the dim unknown

Standeth God, keeping watch above His own."

The phrase "the patience of Jesus" (Revelation 1:9) was used by John in a time when that 'scaffold' of Rome's persecutions did seem to be the triumphant 'throne' of intense opposition to all that was of the Lord Jesus. But history has shown otherwise, in that phase, and in many others. Patience is Divine power.

So we conclude this message, with its deep eternal principles of God's sovereign rule, and its showing of the wisdom and value of being pronouncedly the Lord's.

"Whose I am" -- absolute proprietorship.

"Whom I serve" -- absolute obedience.




[Harry Foster]

THE Queen could not get in! One would imagine that even if lesser people were kept out, there would be no difficulty in arranging for her to pass the barrier. But no! The rules could not be changed even for the Queen of England. Her sixpence was underweight and so she had to stand outside with her group of attendants while it seemed for a moment as if she would be forced to return to her palace without every enjoying the experience which lay the other side of that barrier.

Perhaps I should explain. Here in London we have recently had a new underground railway put into operation. It is called the Victoria Line and is the most up to date in the world. Queen Elizabeth II was asked to open this line, and as she had only once ever been on a Tube train, and that when she was still a girl, she was no doubt pleased to undertake this task.

Among the many electric devices used on this line is one which makes it unnecessary to have ticket-collectors in attendance. A slot machine issues special tickets which are made to cause the barrier to open to those who present them. The gate opens automatically and the ticket holder is allowed to pass.

Consequently when the London Transport officer took the Queen to enter the gate he expected her to put her sixpence in the machine like everybody else. He not only expected it but knew that it was essential, for even he, important though he was, could not get the gate open without the suitable ticket.

Now queens do not carry money about with them -- they do not need to -- but their helpers do. So Her Majesty turned to her Equerry to ask him for the necessary sixpence. Fortunately he had one, but unfortunately it was an old, worn sixpence which was underweight. The machine rejected it. He tried again. Once more the thing slipped straight through the machine and dropped out at [79/80] the bottom. The poor Queen still had no ticket. There was no prejudice against the royal family in that machine, there was simply a demand that everyone who wished to travel in the train should provide herself with a coin which weighed the correct amount. The sixpence which Queen Elizabeth had provided was weighed in its delicate balances and found wanting. So she was not allowed in.

The whole situation might have been very awkward if the London Transport officer had not intervened. It was not a question of waiving the demand. He could not do that. He could not excuse the Queen, however much he might have wished to do so. Even she had to accept the laws. He could not excuse her, but he could provide the very coin which his Company demanded as the price of admission. So the official put his hand in his own pocket and drew out a sixpence which he had there. This was placed in the slot of the machine, and it worked perfectly. The Queen withdrew her ticket, presented it at the barrier and was allowed on to the platform and so into the train.

We can only hope that she enjoyed her journey. I think that we can be quite certain that the donor of the sixpence was pleased and proud to have been able to make it possible for her. He it was who paid the price. Did the Queen order her Treasurer to repay him the money? Probably not. He would not have wished for that. What must have caused him a pleasure which money cannot buy was to receive the Queen's gracious thanks for what he had done.

What God most desires from us, too, is that we should thank Him for paying the price for us. For we too have been "weighed in the balances and found wanting" (Daniel 5:27). However good we may feel ourselves to be, or however important we may be in this world, God has to deny us entrance into His eternal kingdom of life if we come short of the perfection which is the condition laid down by His law.

He cannot excuse us. He cannot accept anything less even from the Queen of England. We would all be shut out for ever but for the fact that He has acted in the same way as that London Transport officer. He demands the price, but He Himself has paid the price. God Himself has provided the necessary perfection to enable us to enter in to His kingdom.

Jesus Christ was also "weighed in the balances". But He was never found wanting. He is the perfect fulfiller of all God's holy law. When He died on the Cross He undertook to pay for you and me, and by that sacrifice He has provided righteousness enough for all who will accept it.

I have said that I doubt if the Queen ever offered to repay that sixpence. In our case we never could repay God even if He asked us to try. But He does not. He only asks us to give Him the pleasure of seeing us accept Christ as our Saviour and then live lives which truly say 'Thank You' to Him who paid the price for us.

"There was no other good enough

To pay the price of sin;

He only could unlock the gate

Of heaven, and let us in." - H. F.




IN order to arrive at the message of John there are two things to be noted. The first: that his Gospel is the last of the New Testament writings; and the second: the times and conditions in which he wrote.


It is very important for us to note that John's Gospel was the last of the New Testament writings. If the New Testament were put together chronologically, the Gospel by John would come after the book of the Revelation, but the Holy Spirit did not arrange that. He arranged that it should come in the place where we have it, and I think we shall see His wisdom as we go along. When the Apostle John wrote his Gospel he was a very old man, with long and deep experience.

Perhaps there is a little word of warning to young people there. Young people today are inclined to despise the old people, and to say: 'Well, they have had their time. Now it is our day. They belong to [80/81] yesterday; we belong to today.' Now, young people, if that is your position, you must cut out the Gospel by John from your Bible, and I am quite sure you are not prepared to do that! When we have finished this message I hope you will be less prepared to do so.


When John wrote his Gospel all the other Apostles had gone to be with the Lord. All the New Testament epistles had been written, all the Roman Empire had been evangelised, and all the New Testament churches had come into being. The great storms of persecution by Nero and other emperors were fading away. Even John was now released from his exile in Patmos. He was not writing the Revelation to the church which was in Ephesus, but he was writing his Gospel in Ephesus. Jerusalem had been destroyed and the Jews had been scattered all over the world. That was the time in which John wrote his Gospel.

If we ask about the spiritual conditions of that time, we have only to read the first three chapters of the book of the Revelation. We are familiar with the letters to the seven churches in Asia, and in the majority of cases there was a state of serious spiritual decline. The Lord had to send through John messages of very serious warning. A very tragic state of spiritual declension had come about, and Christianity was very largely in a state of confusion. You only have to read John's first letter to realise that! John felt that he had to write for end times, and that the conditions which existed then would be the conditions at end times.

I do not think that we today, if we believe that we are in the end times, fail to recognise very similar conditions. There was not only a historic feature in John's writings; there was also a prophetic.

Now John was evidently very troubled about the spiritual situations, and out of that troubled heart he wrote his Gospel. The question was, and is: What is the answer to such a situation? What is the answer to the problem of spiritual declension? What is the answer to the problem of spiritual confusion? John's Gospel is the answer. In this Gospel he gives what he is convinced is the need. When you read the Gospel by John always bear these things that we have said in mind.

One of the early Christian fathers, Clement of Rome, said, "John's Gospel is the spiritual Gospel", and that definition has stuck to this Gospel all through the centuries. John set himself to write not a new book on Church order, not a book on Church traditions, nor on new ideas and ways. That is what is being done now to try to solve the problem. Many books are being published on New Testament church order, and many new ideas are being introduced into Christianity. Some of them are the most extraordinary things! You cannot even find them in the New Testament! But what did John write as the answer? He wrote on two fundamental demands, two things which do not deal with the externals, but go right to the root. To use a medical term, he wrote not to deal with symptoms but to deal with causes. The two things with which John deals in his writings are:

1. The Person and place of Jesus Christ.

2. The meaning of Jesus Christ in God's universe, the meaning of Christ in the Divine economy, or order.

If we get clear on these two things we have the answer to all spiritual problems.


John begins on this matter right outside of history: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). You cannot put any date to that! Luke went right back to Adam, but John leaps back behind Adam and speaks of Jesus Christ, God's Son, in His eternal existence, before all time and before creation. Before John has finished this Gospel he will tell us that Jesus is praying to His Father, and in His prayer Jesus says: "O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5). That was before the creation -- a tremendous thing to remember!

If you were to read all that men have written and said about John you would certainly find yourself in great confusion. Some do not even believe that it was John who wrote this Gospel! Man in creation has brought his wonderful head over against the eternal Christ. There was a great preacher in London some years ago who preached a wonderful sermon on the greatness of God. He set forth the magnificence and glory of God, and all the people were holding their breath. They could hardly breathe for the wonder of God that was being set forth, and then the preacher pulled his gown up round him and said: 'There comes down the aisle there a little man, about the size of an umbrella, and he says: "Dr. Parker, I don't believe that there is a God!"' Yes, little man and the great God!

Now, you see, John set himself to show how great is the Son of God: greater than man, greater [81/82] than history, greater than time, and greater than all things.

Having introduced us to the Person, John proceeds to tell us that this One of whom he is writing created all things: "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made" (John 1:3). He was the creator of all things, and then John brings this One into time: the great God of eternity, the great God of creation, is now present in human form: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).

Then John says that this One was the creator of light. He is the very source and embodiment of light. He is the light, and the generator of light: "... the true light, which lighteth every man" (John 1:5). Later John records that Jesus said: "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).

Further, John says that He was the source of life: "In him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4).


Now what is it that we are coming to? John always goes beyond things to the Person, and he had one purpose in his mind when he wrote this Gospel. That purpose was to transfer everything to Christ, so that the Gospel of John is the Gospel of the great transition.

Here we see the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in putting this Gospel where it is. Matthew is the Gospel of the absolute lordship of Jesus Christ, showing that all authority is vested in Jesus Christ. Mark is the message of ministry under the authority of Christ. Luke is the message concerning God's new humanity. Leap over from Luke to the book of the Acts, which takes all those three up on new resurrection ground. John comes between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts. He is the link between the two, the bridge over which they pass to the new dispensation. So John is the Gospel of the great transition. What is this transition? It has four aspects.

First, it is the transition from all the parts to one complete whole. Now, I want a whole conference on that alone! If you read the Gospel by John carefully you will find there, in the background, the history of the people of Israel. I dare not stay with all the details of that; but were Israel in the wilderness, needing bread? He said to the Jews: "Your father did eat the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die" (John 6:49-50). All the way through this Gospel John has in the back of his mind something in the history of Israel. I beg of you to read it in that light! These are all the parts of the Old Testament, and now John gathers them together and makes them complete in the one Person. Jesus is the completeness of all the parts of history.

Secondly, it is the transition from the historical to the eternal. John is showing an eternal significance to the historical. He is showing us a spiritual meaning in all these things in history.

Then it is the transition from the temporal, material, to the spiritual.

And fourthly, it is the transition from the earthly to the heavenly.

You remember the repeated phrase of the Lord Jesus in John's Gospel: 'Verily, verily, I say unto you ...' How often the Lord Jesus uses that phrase! Most truly, emphatically, I say unto you ...' And what was the connection of that double exclamation? "Verily, verily, ... I am ." "I am the true vine" (John 15:1). Israel was called 'God's vine', but failed to give Him the fruit that He sought. Israel was a false vine, but Jesus takes that over to Himself and says, most emphatically: "I am the true vine." Israel was God's flock of sheep, and He was their shepherd. Jesus says: 'Verily, verily ... I am the true shepherd'. The manna in the wilderness did not keep Israel alive for ever. "Verily, verily, ... I am the bread of life ... this is the bread which cometh down out of heaven" (John 6:47-50). Everything in John's Gospel is a transfer to Jesus Christ.


Now we must come close to the real message. All this that John wrote was an argument for one thing: he was making it perfectly clear that the new dispensation which had come is a spiritual spiritual dispensation. Jerusalem had been the centre of government for the old Israel. Now Jerusalem has gone, but have men been left without a centre of government? Have we no seat of government? Why is John continually recording that Jesus was saying: 'I return unto the Father'? For this very thing! The seat, and the centre, of government for the Lord's people is now in heaven. It is neither in Jerusalem nor in Rome. The Church has no headquarters on this earth. You may do what you can to have a government for the Church on this earth, but you are contradicting this fundamental truth. Paul says that Jerusalem is above, and we are to get all our direction from above. That is how it was in the book of the Acts -- the headquarters had gone from Jerusalem. Where was the headquarters of the New [82/83] Testament Church? Some people have said 'Antioch', but I cannot agree. Even at Antioch they were going to their headquarters in heaven. It was there that the Holy Spirit said: "Separate me Barnabas and Saul" (Acts 13:2). John is transferring the city from the earth to heaven, and is showing that all that Jerusalem had been in the old dispensation was true of the Lord Jesus in the new.

I ask you: If it were like that now, would it not solve a lot of the problems? Would it not get rid of a lot of the confusion in Christianity? The prayer meeting, not the board room, is the way of the Church's government. Have the churches declined, as they did in the time of John? What is John going to say about this? He will teach us that the Church and the churches are no more than the measure of Christ in people. Quite early in his Gospel the Lord Jesus will say to the woman of Samaria: 'The hour cometh, and now is, when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall ye worship the Father. Not in the great temple at Jerusalem, nor in the great Samaritan temple in Samaria, but God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit' (John 4:21-24).

What, then, is the Church? It is not a place, nor a building, nor a congregation, nor so many men and women gathered together. It is just the measure of Christ that is there in those people. If it is only two or three 'in Christ', that is the representation of the Church. Christ is the Church, and it is only the measure of Christ in people that makes the Church. The Church is more or less represented according to the measure of Christ. Confusion, yes, spiritual decline, yes; but bring Christ in and all that is dealt with. If we will remain on the ground of Christ most of our problems will be solved. Has Jesus gone to the Father? Yes, He has, but the Holy Spirit has come in His place. You see, we are keeping very close to John's Gospel.

Now, that is the nature of this dispensation. It is wholly a spiritual dispensation. But John does not only tell us that as to the nature, but he tells us that this dispensation is superior to all other dispensations. How superior this dispensation is to the one when Jesus was here on this earth! I wonder if you believe that. We have a little children's hymn, and, of course, we like to sing it with the children:

"I think when I read that sweet story of old,

When Jesus was here among men,

How He called little children as lambs to His fold:

I should like to have been with them then."

Now that is very sentimental! And it is very lovely. And lots of people still go to Palestine to see the places where Jesus was. While they are there they are living twenty centuries ago! Would you prefer to be back there with Jesus on earth rather than to be here today? Now think about that! You have missed the message of John if that is what you think. John is telling us that we are in a far superior time to the time when Jesus was on earth.

There was one word that Jesus was very fond of using: 'Greater.' You remember Jacob and his ladder -- his dream when he saw a ladder from earth to heaven, with angels of God ascending and descending, and the Lord above it. Well, that was very wonderful, and out of that dream came the twelve tribes of Israel. But to Nathanael He said: "Thou shalt see greater things than these." 'You will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, and this will produce a far greater Israel than the earthly Israel.'


But the word that I really want to get to at the end is in chapter 14:12. Jesus has been speaking about the works that He has been doing, and then He says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father." In the dispensation that follows the earthly life of the Lord Jesus greater works are going to be done than those He did when He was here. What were the works that He did?

At the Pool of Bethesda He raised a poor, impotent man and made him walk. That man was thirty-eight years old. They did not live so long in those days, and I wonder if you realise that even the Apostle Paul was only a little over sixty when he died. This poor man at the Pool of Bethesda only had, at most, a few more years to live, and then he died and went into his grave. 'Greater works than these shall ye do.' What are the greater works? In this context it is a far greater thing to put a man or woman on their spiritual feet than on their physical feet! It is a wonderful thing to see how we are kept by the power of God, for in the course of the Christian life there are many times when we might easily collapse. How often Be have felt: 'I cannot go on any longer!', and yet, after many, many such times, we are still going on. Oh, the miracle of lives we have known which seem many times to be going to give up, but they are still going on. The spiritual is the greater work than the Physical. Oh, the miracle of the walking power of the Holy Spirit! The same thing is true of all these other works of [83/84] Jesus. Did He open the eyes of the blind? It is a far greater thing to have your spiritual eyes opened! Spiritual knowledge and spiritual intelligence are far superior to the natural. Did He work a miracle of feeding the thousands in the wilderness? Well, friends, would you not sooner have spiritual food than your breakfast this morning? We go on in this wilderness of a world, and the world can provide us with no food. It is a far greater work to provide spiritual food than to provide natural bread. What was the greatest work that Jesus did? After all these works, He crowns them with the raising of Lazarus. I suppose it would be thought to be very wonderful if we could raise the dead physically, but is it not a far greater work to raise the spiritually dead? 'Greater works than these shall ye do.' This is a greater dispensation than when Jesus was on the earth.

This is the message of John: the transition from the earthly to the heavenly, from the natural to the spiritual, and this will solve the problems and will answer the questions.


But when we have said all that: John knew one thing when he wrote his Gospel. He called all these works of Jesus 'signs', and he implied that the great need of this dispensation is spiritual understanding. Any ordinary person can see the thing that is done. The Jews saw the things that Jesus did, but they were not saved because they did not have the spiritual intelligence to understand the deeper meaning. The great need is spiritual intelligence. The Holy Spirit has come to be spiritual intelligence. May He give us spiritual intelligence so that we understand the true nature of the dispensation in which we live!


Reading: Philippians 3:1-16.

"I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5).

THIS verse sums up the whole book of Job, for it is the deep explanation underlying Job's life. This book takes a patriarchal character and shows us, in a wonderful way, God's dealings with that man in relation to Christ. Christ takes a very large place in the book of Job; indeed, He is the object in view in all that is happening here.

This verse, then, sums up the whole book of Job and shows us a tremendous transaction which is taking place in the life of this man. Concerning his past life Job said: "I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear", so that his relationship to God had only been by the hearing of the ear. Then came these tremendous experiences that he went through. He went down into the depth of sorrow, and this resulted in an altogether different relationship to God: "But now mine eye seeth thee." From hearing he went to seeing, and that is no small thing. It marks a revolution in a life.

Where do we begin with Job? First there are three marks which we must consider:

(a) Fulness

At the beginning of his life we find Job in a state of fulness. He was a wealthy man. He had a large estate, with every kind of comfort, and a prosperous, happy family. He was highly esteemed, a man who was taken account of and who held a position of influence. His life was marked by fulness.

(b) Goodness

Job was a good man. God Himself challenged Satan as to Job, saying: "Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth, perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and turneth away from evil." So we see that Job was a good man; but the statement is made with certain reservations, and is not absolute. However, as amongst men, Job was a good man; that is, he was not wicked and God had a high estimate of him.

(c) Complacency

We see clearly that Job was quite satisfied with himself. He knew no trouble in his relationship to God, neither did his spiritual state cause him anxiety.

That is where we begin with Job, but what comes out later?

As to goodness, we have to look more intently and we find that it was an outward and legal goodness, not inward and spiritual. His knowledge of God was more an objective knowledge. There was no question for him as to the reality of the existence of God, but to him God was something outward, someone up in His heaven while he was on this earth. He had just heard about God, and he adjusted his life according to the light he had, but it was all [84/85] outward. Job's righteousness was based upon his works. He argued with his friends about that. When they said to him that his sin was the cause of his suffering, he gave a whole catalogue of all his good works. So his righteousness was rather of works than of faith.

Thus we see in Job fulness, outward goodness and self-satisfaction.


Now let us turn to the beginning of Job's transition:

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth."

But Satan challenges God, and says:

"Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath, on every side?" In effect, Satan is saying that Job does it because it is for his own benefit. It is easy to be good when you are protected from suffering! "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will renounce thee to thy face."

God accepts Satan's challenge and gives him permission to touch Job, except that he may not touch his life. And Satan goes, and does his work. All Job's outward wealth falls under Satan's power: his home, his children, his herds, everything is destroyed. Then Job is touched in his body, and finally his wife and his friends turn against him. And at last he suffers from the stroke of Satan. (We will touch that later.)

Gathering all these difficulties and needs of Job together, we have the spectacle of a man whose life had been very full on this earth. He had had friends, earthly means, a home, a family, a standing amongst men, influence, and a sphere of usefulness. He was not a bad man. But now he is broken and utterly emptied, until he reaches the very bottom of himself. He is emptied of all he possessed, he is broken in spirit, broken in soul, broken in body, and brought down to the very bottom -- and at the bottom he meets God on a basis of pure grace. He has learned the lesson of his own nothingness. It often takes a tremendous amount to bring people to that place of recognising their nothingness! Job's knowledge of God had not been an inward knowledge, a knowing Him in his own heart, but something from the outside, and therefore, as there was no true knowledge of God, there was a corresponding ignorance of his own heart. This is always so! So Job did not, at the beginning, know his own heart.

"I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

This is the transition stage! But what was it all unto? On the one hand, fulness and goodness, a great measure of self-righteousness, and on the other hand, brokenness, emptiness, everything gone -- and all that by God's permission!

We must remember that Satan was God's instrument and he was not doing this independently of God. After the first blow, when Job's possessions and family were destroyed, Satan went back to God and challenged Him a second time. Again God asked him: "Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth ... and he still holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him." God did it through Satan, but why did He do all this? We can never say when some trouble comes into our life: 'This is absolutely from the devil!' It may be from the devil, but there is the Lord's meaning behind it. What was all this unto?

We have the all-inclusive answer in this verse: "... but now mine eye seeth thee." What does that mean? It is Christ who comes into view again and again. Job is in quest of God in a new way. He knew Him -- "I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear" -- but now he cries: "O that I knew where I might find him!" Job is crying out to find God, for God is not in him. He is crying for a personal inward knowledge of God, and why does he seek after a personal, inward and spiritual union with God? Because this is the only thing which can save him now. One of his friends says to him: "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace," but Job says: 'It is easy to say: "Acquaint now thyself with God!", but that is just my difficulty. I cannot find Him, so how can I get to know Him? Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even to His seat!' That personal, inward knowledge of God has been the quest of men throughout the ages, and Christ is the answer to that cry.

"Oh, that I knew where I might find him!" "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father"; "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"; "If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." God is found in Christ, and in Christ the Holy Spirit becomes an inward reality. But first all our own righteousness [85/86] and fulness and self-satisfaction have to go and Christ has to be our righteousness our fulness and our satisfaction.


Then we see another thing in Job's life, and that is the matter of victory over death. Job came face to face with death. This had not caused him any difficulty before, because the sin question had not been dealt with, but now he had questions about himself. He was shaken and his soul was torn through fear of death. He was not sure about himself and his relationship to God, and he asks: "If a man die shall he live again?" There must be an explanation, or is life only a dream? Is there no answer, no vindication? He had lost all, yet he had believed in God. Is that all now? Is God a myth and life a tragedy? If a man die, is that all, or shall he live again?

Let us turn to the Gospel of John to find the answer to this acute question: "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live.'

Job wanted the resurrection and the life, and Christ is the answer to his need. Christ governs everything. Job came to see that there is life beyond, a life triumphant over death, and now he is at rest. In the forty-second chapter we find Job as a man who has come through the storms. His heart is at rest and his problems are solved: "Now mine eye seeth thee."


Then there is another point. Job's friends were accusing him of sin; Satan, through those friends, was acting as the accuser. In himself Job was not sure and he longed for assurance. On the other hand, it looked as if God had a controversy with him, as if something had gone wrong. His friends could not help him, and Job cried for a daysman to stand between the opposing sides, for such a man who could come in between to see that both sides had fair play and that all got their rights: a man who had no personal interests, neither on one side nor on the other.

We know our New Testament well enough to see that Jesus Christ has become that great Daysman. He is the great mediator. In 1 Timothy 2:5 we read: "For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus." Christ answers Job's need and is the One who will see that there is fair play on both sides.


Just one thing more for now. Job needed a redeemer. He needed to be redeemed from sin, redeemed from Satan, redeemed from the power of death, and redeemed from the corruption of his own flesh . He cried for this redemption; then, towards the end of God's dealings with him, there came a flash into his heart -- only a flash -- but in that flash he saw some One and he cried: "I know that my Redeemer liveth!" And then darkness returned.

"He is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). That is what we need -- redemption to the uttermost! Here Job saw his Redeemer for a moment and knew that HE lives. And because He lives -- "He ever liveth" -- He can save to the uttermost.

What we want to emphasise is that the great transition of Job was a transition from himself to Christ. God thought it worth while to lead him through the depths, to empty him and to break him completely in order to bring him to an inward knowledge of Christ. God finds it far more important that we should know Him in a deep personal way than to do a great many good works.

Perhaps God has led us that way of taking certain things away from us -- our reputation, or the estimation of our friends. Perhaps those who are near to us have lost their confidence in us. We may have known a certain sphere of fulness, many a door has been open to us and we had many friends -- and then God has laid His hand upon that and it has all gone. Perhaps we are increasingly conscious of our own nothingness, and we are coming to the place where we do not think we are as good as we thought we were. Our heart, perhaps, is not quite sure about our spiritual state, and it maybe that our relationship to God is not quite what it should be. Perhaps friends say to us that we are going wrong and are mistaken. But that through which we are now going may be the way into something much larger, and we may get to know the Lord in a much deeper way. In Philippians 3 Paul speaks of himself and of the law. He possessed much by birth, through education and teaching, and was much esteemed by others. But then Christ came into his life, and all these things had to go in order that he might win Christ; yet the knowledge of Christ was far more to him than what he had possessed before.

We are speaking of the momentousness, the tremendous significance of Christ, but it is only [86/87] through experience that we enter into these things -- not through hearing about them, nor by studying the Bible, nor by going to church. Those are not the ways which will bring us there. Only by being emptied and broken do we come into the fulness of Christ. But the end justifies all: the great place which Christ has in us. It is worth everything to know Christ in fulness! A good man is broken and loses everything in order to find more of Christ. The floodtide of God is Christ. May we be filled unto all His fulness!


[C. J. B. Harrison]

"These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand" (Revelation 2:1).

"Nevertheless that which ye have, hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations" (Revelation 2:25-26).

"Because thou didst keep the work of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. I come quickly; hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown" (Revelation 3:10-11).

"And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, that keep the commandments of God, and hold the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 12:17).

IN those closing chapters of Revelation the Lord Himself is speaking very solemnly to His people, and His speaking is in relation to things coming to an end. He is speaking in relation to the consummation, the heading up of things. Again and again we find that on His heart in this speaking is the imminence of the end, the nearness of its coming. Does not the book of the Revelation begin in that atmosphere? "Things which must shortly come to pass." The Lord is moving on to the end, and He who holds the seven stars in His hand is saying this: "That which thou hast, hold fast till I come!"

What have we that needs to be held? Well everything that we have really discovered of Christ meets a challenge. Satan wastes no time on challenging our mere theories, but only if any child of God really has something. God would not say, 'what you have' if it were not something which He knows is worth having. He says, 'Hold on to that which you have!' There are some things we have that we have received of Him; they are holy things, they are precious things, for they are discoveries of the Lord Himself. If we have nothing of Him that we have discovered, then we have nothing at all. But I do not think many who read this would say: "I have not found anything in the Lord!' I think we have all found something, and from the moment we discover Him to be anything to us, the adversary appears and challenges every bit of that possession; he assails every bit that we possess that really is livingly of Christ.

The very first factor, perhaps, in our knowledge of the Lord is the knowledge of sins forgiven, and some of us remember the joy of knowing that the sin question had really been settled. We gloried, we rejoiced, for we were forgiven people. And then, for many of us, trouble set in. The enemy pounced and insinuated a question: 'Are you quite sure?' Some of us escaped a very bad time because we knew the answer to that, but those who do not know the answer very nearly go out. The answer is: "It is written!" And that carried some of us through that time. We just said: 'The Lord says so!' When we have that answer the enemy does not waste much time on us; and so we have to hold fast that which we have.

And as we move on to know the Lord better in any way we all need fresh discoveries of Him. I think that so many have taken a deep breath of the Lord, perhaps some time ago, and they have been holding their breath ever since, and now they are very nearly out of breath. The Lord wants us to be taking fresh breaths, really receiving abundance of grace, because the abundance is available every day. There are more discoveries of Him awaiting us once we have tasted -- 'to whom keeping on coming' -- and the Lord Jesus wants to satisfy all our needs. You remember those who are spoken of as "blessed and satisfied with the goodness of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 33:23). He wants us to be like that. If ever you are dissatisfied, if ever you are running dry, there is only one explanation -- you have been looking in some other direction than Himself. Our first tendency is to be looking at ourselves to try to find some improvement there. You notice that some people who have had an up and down spiritual life, when you meet them, and perhaps rather foolishly ask them how they are getting on, nearly always say: 'Oh, well, I am [87/88] afraid I am not much good.' Well, that is it. They have not yet learned to transfer their whole direction from themselves to what the Lord Jesus is, to look away unto Him, to not expect to be any better, nor to come to that place where Christ becomes the only hope of existence. I do hope that He is becoming that to some of us! If Paul said that love was the thing to aim at, I think it will be nearer the truth when we say that cleaving to Himself is the secret of everything. We cannot love except as we cleave to Him.

And so our discovery of Christ is the outcome of learning by degrees that in no other direction have we any resource. The Lord is constantly pointing us to Himself; and every time we freshly discover that Christ is sufficient and have proved Him, and we have begun to know the Lord better, the enemy will not leave anything like that alone. Have you noticed that when you have really met the Lord, have appropriated something that the Lord revealed and committed yourself to it, and that has become a fact for you, that fact must be challenged by what you meet afterwards? And during that time the Word is saying: "Hold fast that which thou hast!" It is possible to let slip what we have. We all want to have more of Christ and to manifest more of Him. Why do some people manifest little, perhaps some who have had opportunity for many years? Their growth has been negligible and they register very much the same as they did perhaps ten years ago. There is no river, nothing flowing. May it not just be this: that there never was a real taking hold in faith of what the Lord said? They have never said: 'Lord, that is mine now and I praise You for it. I thank You for it.' Then when the tremendous reaction came and the enemy sought to dislodge them from that position, they failed to hold fast what they had. They failed to say: 'This is a bad time, but what You said at that time is still true.' They let it run out like a leaking vessel, so that when it comes to the next series of meetings, they are starting all over again exactly where they were before. After a time they may even become dull of hearing.

The thing is: how much more of the Lord Jesus has really taken up residence in us? "What thou hast!" Have we got anything? We have got something but we may have more, and God is dealing with us all in order that there may be more of Christ and less of our own strength, by which I mean even our own dogged continuance in what we think. God wants that we should really receive of Himself by faith continually, receive continually what we need morally and what we need of patience and endurance. And the Lord has an end in view.


His end is the Kingdom, the overthrow of the whole regime of the evil one, and His instrument, His very means of doing that, is saints; something done in the Church of which you and I are members that causes the collapse of the whole hierarchy of evil. Now, Satan is trying to prevent our seeing that. He says: 'It may be something to do with some important people, but not you!' I believe that it is to do with each one of us and that your battle lost or won is affecting the whole situation. We are all equal in Christ, and if one member suffers or fails, all the members suffer, and the Lord's end is the overthrow of that terrific stranglehold that is on His universe. We see the forces in their outward display and we think how tremendous they are, but the invisible forces behind them are far more terrible. Millions of men are just playthings! Armies that can stretch for one or two thousand miles are nothing to the powers behind. They can push them along and wipe them out in a night. The powers in the heavens are the powers God is going to shake, and the thing behind is going to tumble to the dust. "He that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations" (Revelation 2:26). The Lord is speaking simply to the saints. What a privilege that we are of that company! This word is to us. He says to us: "Hold fast that which thou hast!" Are you going to say: 'I have not got much!'? He says: 'Hold on to what you have.' It is that wicked one who is saying that it does not matter about you, and you have not got this or that. The Lord's attitude is one of love. Do hold what you have and you will have more. "Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance" (Matthew 25:29). There is plenty more to follow if you will hold on. "Hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown" -- your part in the Throne, your fellowship with Him in the day of His glory.

I think there is another emphasis: that we are not going to win in this battle by trying to be or to do something more. The emphasis of the Lord is: 'Hold what you have.' I do not mean hold some opinion that you have, or hold something that you say is of the Lord. Hold fast to your utter confidence in Himself about every bit of grace that He has shown you. It is grace that we need to grow in, not in some doctrine, or something of opinion, or something of a theory, but grace. There is a measure of Christ in us and that has come through the appropriation of faith, and the Lord is saying to us: 'That is precious to Me. Do not be moved from it!' [88/89]


And when we come to that next word: "Hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown", the words 'hold fast' are simply the verb of the noun 'strength'. Be strong in what you have. It is not the same word as just holding it in your hand, but it is: 'You have got it. Now be strong in Me about it!' In Him we are possessed of everything that we need. As we are together here and see one another, we represent the wealth of Christ. "Ye are in him made full" (Colossians 2:10). And what brings that to pass? The link of faith which says 'I appropriate Christ as fulness for me. I appropriate all that He is to make up all the lacks.' So, having appropriated by faith, the Lord is saying: 'Hold that! Maintain your ground that in Christ you have all that you need.'

Some of you, I know, are being put into very hot places. There are places which some of us may know where there is great pressure and little relief. All of us know something of battle in these days but at any rate there is fellowship and a coming together for many of us. But some, without that opportunity, are meeting even more intense forces in the utterly naked way that perhaps others do not meet it. How is that to be countered? How is there to be a going through so that 'no man take thy crown'? I believe the Lord is saying: 'It is all right. You have everything. You have Me, your sins are forgiven, there is no condemnation, you are joined to Me in the Throne, you are in victory.' Do not get worked up, for it is a fact. Just be strong and inwardly, even without the ability to spend time thinking, retain a confidence of heart that Christ is enough, that He in you is all that you need. That is 'holding fast to what you have' and no one can take your crown while you do that. The Lord Jesus is invulnerable. He is Himself the victor, and He is the victor of every field in the weakest saint. The kingdoms and the nations around us may rage, but the crown is on His head. He stands unmoved when everything else rages, and that is the Lord who is joined to you in your spirit. The Lord is saying: 'Do not move! If you will only hold fast and refuse to be moved, you are through.'

"He that keepeth my works to the end ..." What are His works? Well, just the work that is of faith, the corresponding action to our confidence in Himself. We have confidence in Him and therefore we walk in a certain way. Spontaneously, out of our relationship with Him, there are certain things that cannot be done and certain things that can be done. The certain things we do are the works of faith, and there are extra works which are the fruit of our confidence in Him. You are not trying to help the Lord, but you are just counting on Him, and because of that confidence in Himself you actively do the next thing in the light of that fact. You are doing very ordinary things? Well, they are His works. It is rather comforting to know when you have to do certain very ordinary things that they are His works. "To the pure all things are pure; to the defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure" (Titus 1:15).

Yes, we can be unscathed in the midst of the battle because of His hold upon us, and I want to finish with that.


This is the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand. A little further up it says: "The seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand ... are the angels of the seven churches." The saints to whom He is speaking are in His right hand, so before He begins to say anything to us He says: 'I have you in My hand. Far mightier than your faith-hold on me is My hold on you!' The Lord is holding us through this warfare. If we were to sink altogether, we would find Him picking us out again. There is a mighty hold in His hand, and He will not let go. you may say as you go into battle this week: 'That word was about holding fast, but I feel I have let go!' Here is the accuser again. He is always at it. The answer is: He will hold you fast. You are in the right hand, the authoritative right hand of Him who has the mightiest hand. I think we need that foundation. We need the rest of knowing that He holds us through all the ups and downs. As that hymn says: "Blest when my faith can hold Him fast." We have a better time when we hold Him fast, when we hold on. And He is encouraging us to hold on -- not ordering us to, but encouraging us to hold on. He is saying: 'I will not let you go. If you hold on to Me it is going to make a lot of difference!'

I believe we are all together in this battle of faith just now. The Lord is saying: 'Hold on! Behold. I come quickly, but hold on just a little longer that no man take thy crown.' And there is a crown of glory that fadeth not away which He has prepared for just a little grain of faith. It is all His goodness and His glory, and He is well worthy of our trust. - C. J. B. H. [89/90]


Reading: 1 Corinthians 2.

"We ... are transformed into the same image"
(that is: 'We pass from one form to another')
2 Corinthians 3:18.

AS I have moved about amongst Christians in many parts of this world, and in many situations, one thing has been growing upon me more and more strongly. In the presence of a great deal of confusion amongst Christians and many complications in Christianity, the feeling has become stronger and stronger that the need is for Christians really to know what Christianity is, and to know what it is that they are in as Christians. That sounds, perhaps, rather drastic, but I am quite sure that a very great deal of the trouble -- and I think all agree that there is a good deal of trouble in Christianity generally -- is due to a failure really to understand what Christianity is. It may seem strange that I should speak to you, mostly experienced and mature Christians, about the true nature of Christianity. Well, if you feel that it is presumptuous and hardly called for, be patient, and I think that before we get very far you will feel as I do: that although we know a good deal about Christianity as it is taught in the New Testament, we are very often in difficulty ourselves for the very simple (or profound) reason that we have not really grasped the meaning of what we are in. So often, when distressed as to some situation, and perplexed that it should have come about, I have found that that is just what the Word has said would happen.

May I say to you (and I am sure you will agree after a moment's thought) that the major part of the New Testament, by which I mean all these Letters which make up the larger section of the New Testament, is all bearing upon this one thing: to make Christians understand what Christianity is. If that is true, and all these Letters were to Christians, surely we have to conclude that even New Testament Christians needed Christianity explained to them, and even then there was this necessity of just defining the real nature of that into which they had come.

Begin with the Letter to the Romans. Was that necessary for Christians? It was written to Christians, but what was it written for? To put them right in the matter of Christianity! Apparently those people were not quite clear in their position, in their lives and in their hearts as to the implications of that into which they had come by faith in Jesus Christ.

Proceed, as we are going to do, into the Letters to the Corinthians, and what are they? Set over against a background of real confusion and contradiction in Corinth, those Letters were written really to try to make the Christians understand what Christianity really is. And so on and on through the New Testament that is the object; that we and all who believe in the Lord Jesus should really have a clear understanding of what this is, of the meaning of the name we bear, and the meaning of that which we believe and into which we have come by the grace of God. We can gather it all up in this simple statement: that the whole Christian life is an education as to what Christianity is. Is that true? Do you not sometimes stand in the presence of some situation, some difficulty, some trial, some complication, some perplexity, some experience, and say: 'What does it all mean? I am a Christian. I have put my faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. I am His, but I don't understand what it all means. Why this experience? Why am I going this way? Why has this come my way? Why is my life such as it is? These many things are so full of mystery and perplexity. What is it that I have got into? Is this Christianity? Is this really what I have to expect and accept? If so, I need understanding, and enlightenment, and I need help as a Christian, for this thing is often beyond me altogether.'

Well, that is the setting -- but is that true? If there is anyone who has never been that way, who has never had a moment like that, and whose path has been so nice and smooth, with everything so right and well adjusted and without any kind of trouble, I will excuse you if you like to read no further, for I have nothing to say to you.

Well now, what is the point on which these words in 2 Corinthians 3:18 are focused? "We are transformed ...", and it is the present active tense: 'We are being transformed'; 'We are in a process of transformation, passing from one form to another.' There is a sense in which that fragment, that condensed verse put into those few words, touches the heart of the whole New Testament and explains everything.

Having said that, we come back to this second chapter of the first Letter to the Corinthians. This Letter (as indeed are all the Letters, but this is a very good example) is built around two contrasted words, and they are in this second chapter. Those two contrasted words describe two different types of humanity, two different manhoods, and between the two, firmly and squarely the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is planted. Look at the chapter again in the light of that last statement! "When I came [90/91] unto you ... determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified", and everything after that rests upon that distinction between these two types which the Cross divides and says: 'That belongs to one category of human beings and this belongs to another category of human beings.' There is a cleavage cut by the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ between those two which separates them and makes them two different species of mankind. That truth follows right through this Letter. Read it through with this in your mind. The Apostle here speaks about a foundation and a building. He says: "Let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon. For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ", and then he drives the wedge of the Cross right into the superstructure and speaks of one kind of work or works, which are the product of one type of man, or Christian, and another kind of work, or works, which are the product of another kind. The first will go up in flames and will never be found in eternity. It has gone for ever. The second will abide. It will abide the fire of judgment and the test of time, and be found in the ultimate structure, or building of God.

You see, Paul is applying this principle of the divide between two kinds of Christian people, and to the two kinds of work, or fruits, from each respectively, and the building, he says, as to its eternal value, will be determined by who is producing it, by what kind of man, or manhood, is producing it. Which of the two is producing this building? Think about this! These are not nonChristians. What an immense amount is being built upon Christ that is going up in smoke! Every man's work will be tried by fire, and its real value and its endurance will be determined by and will depend upon where it comes from, that is, from which of these two types of manhood.

Now you are wondering what the two words are which define the two types of manhood. Read the chapter: "the natural man ... he that is spiritual." There are the two words: the natural and the spiritual Christians . They are not unconverted people, not non-Christians. Is it necessary for me to put in all the detail to confirm and ratify what I am saying? May I remind you that the Apostle Paul had been in Corinth for two whole years with these people! I do not know what you think, but if you had the Apostle Paul going in and out for two whole years, you would have plenty of ground for consideration! He was there amongst them for two whole years, going in and out, teaching them probably every day, and then he went away for five years. Then he heard things which were reported to him by the household of Chloe. I wish everyone would do what the Apostle did! He did not take the report without investigating it. He got the report and then immediately despatched a reliable messenger to investigate, either to find that the thing was not true or to find that it was so. The messenger sent and came back, saying: 'It is all true, and worse than the report.' The deterioration in five years!

You are perhaps startled and shocked by that, and will say: 'Can it be?' Well, remember the messages to the seven churches in Asia in the Revelation, and how all those churches began. There were wonderful things in those churches at the beginning. Read the story of the beginning of the church in Ephesus, and what a story it is! Against such tremendous antagonism and hostility those people came out clearly, and they brought all their magic books, of which the price is given (and that represented a tremendous amount in human values!), and piled them up in the open street, or it may have been the market square, or some open place, and set them all aflame. That is a thoroughgoing division! But where is that church in the Revelation? "Thou didst leave thy First love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent" (Revelation 2:4-5). What can have happened? Well, I put that in by way of emphasising this possibility, at least, of declension. Why in Corinth, why in Ephesus, and why in the others that decline? Come back to the two men, the two men instead of one man, the two men instead of each individual. It is not a dividing of a company into this category and that category, but the two things in a person. You know, we are all, if we are the Lord's, in some measure natural and spiritual. Do you agree with that? The question is not whether we are altogether perfect and there is no more of the natural in us. That is not the point. The point is: Who is dominating and governing? Which of the two, the natural or the spiritual? Here in Corinth, as we see by the Letter, the natural man was in control in the men and in the women and had taken ascendancy over the spiritual man.

The two words, then, are 'natural' -- and you do not need that I should tell you that the Greek word is 'soulical' -- and 'spiritual'; the man of soul and the man of spirit always in conflict. Who is going to have the upper hand, the mastery, in every one of us? The two are in each person.


Now what is this natural category, this natural species? Look at the Letter again. First of all, the [91/92] dominance, ascendancy, control of intellectualism, the wisdom of this world. That is the thing that is being marked and underscored as a part of the trouble in Corinth; the control of intellectualism, the natural reason, the natural mind, the idea that you are going to solve the problems of life along intellectual lines. Will you tell me that that is not a peril of Christianity today? Why, it is everywhere! It shouts at you from the religious press. You may not read so much of it, but it is my business to be familiar with what is happening in the Christian theological world, and I tell you, friends, that as I read certain theological magazines I find death. They are wearisome to the spirit. All this terrific effort to solve the problems of Christianity by the human intellect; the research, argument, discussion and debate, theses, etc.; philosophical Christianity trying to solve spiritual problems; what a weariness it is! I have to put these papers down sometimes! I cannot finish them, for they are so dead, so utterly lifeless. And that sort of thing is everywhere. It is thought that if you go to our seats and seminaries of learning with a clever brain, able to put out a convincing argument, you are going to save souls. There never was a greater fallacy!

This Letter to the Corinthians says that. Read this second chapter again and you will find that Paul is saying that. Paul was an educated man, so much so that for two thousand years the best scholars have found him defeating them, and they have not mastered him yet! Come to the religious bookshops and look at the shelves on the exposition of the New Testament, and you will find that Paul predominates. I got a book by one of our leading professors of theology in the universities and it was called A Portrait of Peter . This man, with all his learning, set out to give us a portrait of Peter. I opened the book and found that the first few pages were wholly occupied with Paul! He could not get to Peter because Paul was in the way, and the issue of his attempt was: 'Well, Peter was a great man, but Paul was very much greater!' Yes, this man Paul was an educated man, an intellectual man, a learned man. You cannot discredit Paul along that line at all, for he will beat you every time in that realm -- but listen! 'You Corinthians, when I came to you I came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, but in fear and in much trembling. I had determined that I would know nothing amongst you intellectual Corinthians save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.' What was Paul's conclusion? 'It is no use, however much I may have of the schools, whatever I may know, however I might be able to argue with the Corinthians or the Athenians on Mars Hill, I will get nowhere along that line with a spiritual situation like this. I have made up my mind about that.' It is part of the natural man to think that you are going to be able to build up something by intellectual, scholastic, academic acumen. The fact is that what intellect can build up, intellect can pull down!


Then look at this prominent word: power. It is there in the chapter: wisdom ... power; and at Corinth there was a worshipping of natural power, ability to conquer by natural strength. You can call it 'powerism', for it was an 'ism' there. Crush by your superior strength, impose something forceful, mighty, upon people, and you will win. Only be strong enough and you can solve all the problems and change all the situations. 'Powerism' is the natural man's idea of how it is going to be done.


Then emotionalism has a large place with these Corinthians. Going to capture, captivate and master, and gain your end by force of emotion stirring up people's feelings, playing upon them, working upon them until they make an almost hysterical response. If you do that well and thoroughly you will get some Christians! The Apostle says: 'Not at all!' It is evident that these Corinthians were very emotional people.


What does the Apostle put over against these three aspects of the natural man? Over against wisdom he puts 'foolishness'. In the first chapter he speaks of "the foolishness of the preaching". You find that 'foolishness' was a great thing with the Apostle Paul! "We are fools for Christ's sake" (1 Corinthians 4:10). What did he mean? Well, he did not mean: 'Be simpletons!', which is what we immediately take to be the meaning of being foolish. What Paul meant by foolishness was the denial that intellectualism could find out God. 'The princes of this world, and the wisdom of this world did not find out God', said Paul, 'and they could not find Him out. They could not find out anything to do with God.' "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: and he cannot know them." Foolishness is the denial that all the wisdom and all the philosophy of the Greeks there in Corinth, where they boasted of this thing so much, could get through the barrier to find God; and that all this [92/93] power of mind and will projected and asserted in any way whatever will come up against the barrier and not get through, will not find God, nor the things of God. It is all written off as foolishness when the quest for God is pursued along that line. How foolish it is! And Paul gives a wonderful, almost startling, example of this: "God's wisdom ... which none of the rulers of this world knoweth: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." There is not much sense in that wisdom, is there? Not much logic or philosophy in that!

So Paul puts what he calls 'foolishness' over against their wisdom, meaning a positive denial registered by the Cross of the Lord Jesus that mere intellectualism can find God and the things of God. It cannot, for the natural man cannot!


Over against the powerism of this mentality of the natural man, the Apostle almost glories in using the word 'weakness'. He says even that Christ was crucified through weakness, and he is always speaking about, and glorying in, his own weakness. What does he mean? The denial that this kind of human force, assertiveness, can achieve anything in the spiritual world. What a building we are tearing down!

You know, that has been the test of man right from the beginning. Was it not the test of Abraham to let go even of what God had given him in Isaac? The test of this man's real spirituality was the ability to let go. Was it true of Jacob? Was he not a man of tenacity, of determination, a man who would get what he wanted at any price, at the cost of anyone else's convenience and wellbeing? Was that not the issue of Peniel, or Jabbok? "I will not let thee go!" That is Jacob! He had been like that all his life, holding on tenaciously to what he wanted, what he had or what he wanted to have. But the finger of God touched the hollow of his thigh, and after that you can see that he is a cringing man! See how he meets his brother Esau!

You are not, whether you are Abraham or Jacob or any of the others whom we might mention going to get through with God fully and finally by your own natural determination and tenacity. One of the great lessons of the Christian life is to learn how to let go to God. Oh, all the exhortation to be strong in the Lord, to endure, to acquit you like men and be strong, does not mean with this natural strength. It is another kind of strength, and a very different kind, a strength which is only seen by our ability to let other people sometimes have their way, to get what they are after and set us at nought. They hold, grip, maintain things in their hands to our disadvantage, and our real strength is in our weakness. The Apostle Paul put this into words. Read the second chapter of the Letter to the Philippians: "Christ Jesus, who, being in the form or God, counted it not a prize to be on equality with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant ... becoming obedient, even unto death, yea, the death of the cross." Well, has it proved to be the right thing? 'We are being changed ...' Do you see the point now?


So, over against intellectualism -- foolishness; over against powerism -- weakness; over against emotionalism -- what? The denial that the quest, the craving, the pursuit of sensationalism will get you there. For I believe that was the heart of these Corinthians' lust, their excessive desire, their outreach of soul for spiritual gifts. It is impressive that it is to the Corinthians, far more than to any other church in the New Testament, that so much is said about spiritual gifts. These demonstrations, this display, these things that you can see and glory in because you can see them, are all out of sensationalism. I am quite sure, from what we read, that if you had gone into those gatherings in Corinth you would have seen some hysterical behaviour as they made these spiritual gifts, as they thought, the ground and nature of their spirituality -- and they are the most unspiritual church of all. So over against unbalance, lopsidedness in the Christian Church, there is need of balance.

Do you notice one characteristic of these Christians, one defect which is written so clearly and so largely here in the Letter? There is a lack of the power of spiritual discernment, the spiritual perception, the spiritual intuition which warns us: 'Go steady! Don't be carried away! Don't be thrown off your balance! This thing may be all right in its right place and under proper control, but be careful! There is a snare in every spiritual gift, and if you make the gift the main thing and not the spiritual meaning of the gift, that thing, which in itself may be quite right, will lead you into trouble.' I am covering a lot of history when I say that. Perhaps some of the biggest problems with which some of us have had to deal in people have been the result of this unbalanced quest for the manifestation of the sensational aspects of Christianity.

Well, perhaps some of you are not able to understand all this, but this is the situation here in Corinth, and I am only saying this to show that [93/94] there are these two orders, these two categories of what I have called species of humanity which have their residence within one shell of the human body: soul and spirit. They are there, and the Apostle writes to these same people -- for the second Letter is only a continuation of the first -- 'We are being changed from one form to another.' What is going on? What is the process of the Spirit of God in the believer? What is the meaning of all this that the Lord allows to come our way, this discipline, these adversities, these trials, these sufferings, these difficulties, these 'strange things' (to use Peter's words, for they are strange to us as coming from God, or being allowed by God)? What is the meaning of it all? To bring about the change, the transformation from one species to another, from one kind of humanity to another. There is something in each trial, in each adversity, in the suffering, which, under the sovereignty of God, is intended by Him to make a difference in us. 'We are being transformed.'

It is certainly not wrong to have a soul! It is that which has to be saved. In the course of that salvation, the great lesson is how to keep the soul under the control of the spirit. This is what is meant by being 'spiritual'. This is truly "He that is spiritual".


We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received from 28th March to 31st May 1969:

Aberdare £3; Amstelveen, Holland £5; Auckland New Zealand £1 5s.; Barnehurst 10s.; Barnstaple £1; Beaconsfield, Quebec £1 3s. 1d.; Belfast £5, £20; Benbecula £3; Bristol £1; Bromley £10, £6; Buenos Aires, Argentina £8; Cape Town, South Africa £1; Chadstone, Australia £5; Chesterfield £5; Congleton £4, £3; Constantia South Africa £3; Crewkerne £1 1s.; Cuenca, Spain £2; Dolwyddelen £1; Dublin £3; Gateshead £2; Gawcott £3; Geneva, Switzerland £4 16s. 6d.; Gy, Switzerland £20; Hamilton, New Zealand £1; Hastings £5, £5; Hatch End £10; Heathfield £10; Henley-in-Arden £2; Hildenborough £5; Horley £1; Hove £1; Hull £2; Ipswich £1 10s.; Kaleden, British Columbia £2; Kings Lynn £5; Kleinburg, Ontario £2; Konstanz, Germany £1; Leicester £20; Leigh-on-Sea 10s., 10s.; Letham £1; London S.E.12 £5; S.E.23 5s., £5, £3 10s., £2, £5, 6s.; Lucknow, India £2; MacLeod, Victoria £4 3s. 6d.; Manchester 10s.; Milford-on-Sea £1; Mt. Waverley, Victoria £2 2s.; Newcastle-upon-Tyne £4; Norwich £3; Paris, France £1 10s.; Penrith, New South Wales £2 10s.; St. Leonards-on-Sea £1; Sandown 10s. 6d.; Simla, India £2 2s. 9d.; Sunderland £5, £10; Toronto, Ontario £5; Vancouver, British Columbia £3 16s. 11d.; West Wickham £5, 5s. 9d.; Woodford Bridge 15s.; Zetten, Holland £5 11s. Total: £279 4s. 0d.

Alhambra, Calif. $5; Altoona, Pa. $5; Audubon, N.J. $142; Bennington, Vermont $5; Bergenfield, N.J. $10; Birmingham, Ala. $5, $15, $15, $50; Bowling Green, Ky. $10; Brooklyn, N.Y. $14; Butler, Ga. $10; Canton, Okla. $8; Charlotte, N.C. $5; Clubb, Mo. $10; Costa Mesa, Calif. $50; Covina, Calif. $20; Des Moines, Iowa $10; Fort Worth, Texas $10, $10; High Point, N.C. $6; Indianapolis, Ind. $10; Irving, Texas $20; Kansas City, Mo. $5; La Porte, Ind. $5; Los Angeles, Calif. $5, $10; Manhattan Beach, Calif. $2; Manila, Philippines $200; Martinez, Calif. $15; Medicine Lodge, Kansas $10; Minneapolis, Minn. $10, $5; Nairobi, Kenya $13.50; New York, N.Y. $25, $3; Norbeck, S.D. $100; Oakland, Calif. $10; Old Saybrook, Conn. $10; Orlando, Fla. $1; Osseo, Wisconsin $6.50; Rockford, Ill. $5; Romeo, Mich. $10; Santa Cruz, Calif. $5; Taichung, Taiwan $1; Tulsa, Okla. $10; Vineland, N.J. $5; Whitney, Texas $3; Whittier, Calif. $5. Total: $925.00.

Calgary, Alta. $8.90, Colborne, Ont. $5, Maple, Ont. $10, North Vancouver, B.C. $2; Stouffville, Ont. $1, Willowdale, Ont. $25. Total. C$51.90.

Wolhusen, Switzerland Sw.Fcs. 20.00. [94/95]


The books and booklets listed below can all be ordered by post from the addresses given at the end of the list. More detailed information about the literature is available on application to the Witness and Testimony office in London.

  • Alphabetical
  • Chronological
  • Topical
  • Alphabetical
  • Chronological
  • Topical
  • Alphabetical
  • Chronological
  • Alphabetical
  • Chronological