« ForrigeFortsett »
do with the business of this life, and I have met some Christians who talk a great deal about communion, but I could not trust to their speaking the truth when I had transactions with them. I have known some Christians who can speak a great deal about advanced experience and many things of that sort, and who thought they had acquired wondrous knowledge of God, but their transactions would not bear inspection, and their testimony to the world was anything but worthy.
What is communion, then ? Doing everything so that we may have fellowship with God about it, so that we may take Him into partnership, into consultation ; fellowship in business, of course, so that all the transactions of daily life may be such as He can inspect, and look upon with approval ; fellowship in all the surroundings of life. Amusements if you will; recreation if you will, in so far as you can ask His blessing, and seek to secure His smile. Fellowship in Christian work, so that there shall be no tricks, nothing that is not straightforward and honourable, or that will not bear inspection; all open before Him so that we may take Him into partnership: that is communion. Remember our Saviour's words to His disciples, in John xv. 9, 10 : “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you : continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love ; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." There is no way to communion but the way of obedience for the child of God. I am not speaking of salvation through works, I believe in salvation through grace as thoroughly as any man here; but I believe for the child of God the only way to communion is through obedience, and if there is a child of God here this evening, who has brought to his or her mind now by the Spirit of God, that there is something in which he does not obey, or does not fully obey, or promptly obey, well
, you will get a great blessing, and increase mightily in the knowledge of God if through the prompting of the Spirit in this meeting you immediately cast aside this disobedience and do what the Lord commands you to do. Are there any here who are not quite sure about their position, or practice, or associations, but who say, “I cannot take this step; I do not see my way to give that up?” Brother, are you sure you are in the way of the Lord's teaching? Have you
Thus saith the Lord” for it! Can you put your finger upon God's Word—I do not say upon a special passage, but upon the general tenor and testi
mony of God's Word-and say, “I am not walking contrary to that; I am walking clearly in obedience to the teaching of my Lord ?" Oh, what a wondrous work would be wroughtwhat a change would be effected—what a marvellous increase in the knowledge of the Lord would follow, if every brother and sister were brought this night to search as to where there is disobedience, and were led to prompt, unhesitating, and unswerving obedience to everything that is taught in the Word of God!
It is twenty years since I was at a Mildmay Conference, but my recollection goes to old times at Barnet, and I remember our dear brother Mr. Charles Hargrove holding up his Bible, and it was a mighty lesson to me. He said, "You will never find yourself in any position in life in which you have not a principle in God's Word to give direction—I do not say a text, buta principle;" and if you read the whole Bible so as to know its fulness and learn its principles, you will never be in any position where you cannot find something to guide and direct you to the honour and glory of God. Brethren, it is better to be a beggar upon a dunghill, confident that you are walking in the light, according to the teaching of God's Word, than to have all the wealth in the world, and make a compromise (the curse of the present day is compromise) about doctrine, about sin : compromise about almost everything. Oh! let us be clear before God. When we stand before Him we shall have to answer for all these things: we must have done with compromise, and say, “No! if I say I know Him, and do not keep His commandments, I am a liar! He has told me so, and therefore I must see my way clear about this matter. What is the teaching of God's Word about that? I have been a little in doubt about certain things. There is no doubt now—there is the principle in God's Word.” If we honestly deal with matters in this way we shall increase mightily in the knowledge of God.
Mr. H. GRATTAN GUINNESS having offered prayer,
Mr. J. E. Mathieson read a number of requests for prayer, while the congregation assembled bowed their heads in silent devotion. Prayer was requested for a Conference at Oxford, for Mr. Christopher's work there, for work in Paris, in France, Germany, Austria, and Russia, for Zenana work, and for Missionary efforts throughout the world. Hymn No. 23 was sung:
“ Behold, what love, what boundless love
The Father hath bestowed."
The following address was delivered by the
REV. C. A. FOX, M.A. I am to speak this night on the Holy Ghost imparting the knowledge of God; but, children of God, are you ready for this great knowledge of God to be imparted to you? This is really the first and most important question of all. Are you ready to know this God? Are you ready to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings ? Are you willing to be conformed to His death ? Is this the tone of every heart in this room? You remember that Abraham had a revelation of God very clear and distinct, and it was revealed to him what a great people he should be father of. Well, that very same night a horror of great darkness fell upon Abraham, even in the midst of the very promises of God; and he seemed to see in this great darkness of his spirit a burning lamp passing through the severed portions of the sacrifice. And it is so, brethren, when God gives us any great gift or promise, there is always the burning lamp of the Holy Ghost passing between the inmost portions of our beings, searching out, discovering, humbling, and consuming. Are we ready ? Are we ready for that which Job found to be indeed the blessed goal towards which God was leading him? “I have 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." Are you willing for that ?
I find in Holy Scripture that those men who were nearest to God, those of His own people upon earth who were the holiest of men, were also the humblest, the most utterly broken, and the most abased of men. Take the case of Joshua: there was no fault to be found in that manat least, none is recorded in Scripture—and yet when he went forth to conquer the promised land and take it for God's people he was actually confronted with a mysterious Stranger who declared himself to be the Captain of the Lord's host, and yet if Joshua was anything he was captain of the Lord's people. We must be displaced if we are to do anything for God, and the man who lives nearest to God is the man most willing to be displaced by the very presence of the living God Himself. And it was so with Daniel: while he had those wonderful visions granted to him, yet he was humbled to the dust, and fell upon his face. God had to stretch out His hand and touch him and strengthen him to receive those great visions of the glory of God. Are you willing to be thus broken down completely?
so also with Isaiah. When the great glory of God broke out of the temple, and the prophet beheld His glory and the train which filled the temple, his cry was, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Are you willing for this? Are you willing like St. Paul to know Him and the power of His resurrection ? Yes, you say, I want to know that power, the power of His resurrection, but are you prepared and willing to be conformed to His death, to have fellowship in His death? Are you willing to be like John, and lean upon the bosom of Jesus, and have such intimacy as to be beyond all the other apostles ? And yet when the glorified Christ appeared to meet John face to face, he fell as dead at His feet.
I believe many of us are not aware of what we are doing when we ask that we may know God. Are all in this great company of God's people willing to know God--willing to take the consequence of knowing Him, and willing to pay the price of this knowledge; willing to be wholly given to God, and to be, indeed, abased in the presence of God, and yet to see Him and to know Him?
Now, the first word that God utters in Holy Scripture is this word of command, “Let there be light ;” and it seems to me that this is the very key-note of the whole Bible. It appears to be the great desire of God to impart light—“Let there be light"--and there are just three notes which had to go forth for the whole of creation. The second word was, “Let there be life," and there was teeming life; again, “Let there be love," and man, the image of God, stood forth actually in His own likeness, so that he could respond in love to the loving Father. And now, at the new creation, there has gone forth again the note, “Let there be light," and there was the incarnation of the Lord; again the note went forth, “Let there be love,” and there was the atonement of Jesus, the very body of Christ broken and abased that the love of God might be known. That precious alabaster box of His, which was so perfect, was broken, and the odour of the love of Christ has filled heaven and earth with its sweet savour. But at the resurrection there was the new commandment, “Let there be
liberty." Let there be life,- liberty. “I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore ;” and He went up to Heaven by that liberty God had given, and now there is access to every child of God by Christ Jesus, even into the heavenly places.
But something more is wanted, and God gave a new command, “Let there be power; ” and so the Holy Ghost at Pentecost descended upon the children of God, and the trembling saints, who dared not even pray together as Christians publicly, were able to stand forward and plead with the very murderers of Jesus; and they did plead with such force and power that three thousand were convicted and converted by the very first utterance under the Pentecostal power. Yet one more command shall go forth, “Let there be glory," and the children of God shall rise with Jesus, and shall reign with Him in His own immediate glory for ever.
Now this night the great point for our consideration is, “ Let there be power.”
You remember when the power came down at Pentecost it was the power of fire. God is a consuming fire," and there must be fire, either after this life is over or during our life on earth ; there must be fire to cleanse us now, or fire hereafter to punish us with, and that with destruction from the presence of God. Notice how through Scripture God has so wondrously transformed this most fearful element of fire ; how it has become a means of access to Himself; how at every sacrifice there was access to God through fire; and the food of the Passover was roast with fire, so the food of the child of God must be roast with this holy fire. The people of God were guided through the wilderness by a pillar of fire, and they were defended by a wall of fire that spoke to them of this glorious mission of fire, while the living God was round about them and His glory in their midst.
You know also that Christ · Himself is as a refiner's fire, and as fullers' soap. Do you know this Christ as a refiner's fire ? Do not be afraid of the Lord Jesus. He is the tender, loving Lord, and if He burns you it is the burning of love; if He blames you it is the blame of the loving Jesus who has died to save you. He cannot and He would not hurt you, but He is bound to cleanse you.
So at Pentecost we have the glorious fulfilment of the great