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tents in which to rest: but she found employment too. "Go and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents." There were "kids" dependent on her care, part doubtless of the flock of her Lord -hers not in title of possession, but as being the subjects of her care. They who through God's grace show faithfulness and energy in cleaving to the Truth, are ever made channels of blessing to others weaker or less instructed than themselves. To receive, and also to communicate, are the characteristic blessings of all, who seek to abide near the footsteps of the great Shepherd of the sheep. Such was the place of her who is the subject of this Song. She stood, herself a shepherdess, among the shepherds' tents; there finding herself the object not only of the love, but of the approval of her Lord, who communed with her, and spoke to her of another, and far different, scene, where the lowly garb of the shepherdess should be exchanged for the stateliness and majesty of royalty and glory.

"I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver." Such were the words with which this lowly shepherdess was suddenly addressed by her Lord. What could be more contrasted, than the royal pomp and pageantry of the proud King of Egypt, and the condition of this wanderer in the wilderness, surrounded by her kids, few and feeble. "Every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians." There scarcely can be a contrast more marked and more vivid, than that which subsists between the service of the sheepfold, and all that Egypt honours. Yet which will be found the place of honour when the day of man ends, and the day of God comes? Already we have had many a typical intimation of the greatness of the change to be wrought in that coming day of visitation—as when Moses was summoned from tending his flock in the wilderness, and set in that place of wondrous power before which Egypt quailed and fell: or as when David was chosen and "taken from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes great with young, he brought him to feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance." Yet not so sudden or so marvellous, in either of these cases, was the change, as will be that coming operation of God's power, whereby they, who have been hitherto outcasts from Egypt, and strangers often to their mother's children, will suddenly be surrounded by a glory and a majesty which the pageantry of earth may symbolize, but cannot express. As truly as the proud ones of earth-the

mighty monarchs of this Egyptian world, have lavished their riches in adorning the ministers and instruments of their triumphs, so truly, soon and suddenly, shall the King of kings and Lord of lords from the resources of His own heavenly glory, clothe with brightness and majesty greater than eye hath seen, or ear heard, those, who, at present, strangers in a world that knows them not, shall then be manifested as being what they are, "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ," and be known as ministers to His majesty, and fall into the train of His glory, and constitute the adornment of His triumph. The despised shepherdess was reminded of this her destined glory reminded of it by her Lord, in order that she might be comforted and encouraged during the hour of her endurance and sorrow. But would she have been thus reminded if she had been as one that had turned aside from "the flocks of his companions"? There were afterwards occasions when we read of her in the Cityapart from her Lord- her hands and her fingers dropping with sweet smelling myrrh, in the rest and shelter of a palace, whilst His unsheltered head was "filled with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night"; but we read of no remembrances of glory then. So much has right position to do, not indeed with the possession of the Lord's love (that is secured to us on the ground of His own sovereign grace), but with the present manifestations of that love-such manifestations, I mean, as show His sanction of our ways and His fellowship with us in them-a fellowship which, through His grace, is made dependent neither on the degree of our strength nor on the extent of our progress; for, where there is straight-forward honesty of purpose in the right way, He is not "extreme to mark what is done amiss"; nor does He "despise the day of small things."

Such, then, as I believe, is the general character of the instruction which this interesting passage is intended to convey. May we have grace to receive it in simplicity, and not seek to turn aside the edge of its truth for the sake of vindicating our own consistency. If a path be honourable, let us pronounce it honourable, whether we have grace to walk in it or not. On the other hand, we must beware of imaginative notions, and not deceive ourselves by ideal pictures of pilgrim life. Imagination, when uncontrolled by fact and by the clear testimonies of revealed Truth, has often been a grievous snare to God's people. A day of weakness like the present-one of which the Lord Himself said, that because of the abounding of iniquity "the love of the greater part" (Twv Tоλλwv) even of His own people

would "wax cold"-in such a period we find ourselves exposed to two opposite dangers. We are in danger either of becoming so deadened and apathetic in conscience as to become tolerant of evil, or else, if aroused, to be so hasty and proudly impetuous in action, as to fail both in duly estimating the circumstances and in waiting upon God. True faith is not impetuous nor unduly censorious. It weighs well and considers the difficulties, and is only confident because it waits upon God. So was it with David when he dwelt in the cave of Adullam: so was it with Gideon when he tried the fleece, wet and dry whilst Peter, on the other hand, neither considering his own powerlessness, nor what walking on the waters meant, was ready enough to meet the difficulty, and as ready to cry out in confusion and dismay. To walk steadily in the path of faith requires, that the conscience, and the affections, and the understanding, should be alike in healthful exercise: but if the conscience or the affections be active, and the understanding feeble or undirected by the Word of God, there must be failure. Yet I say not these things to discourage. It is well neither to be behind our conscience, nor beyond our faith; only we have to seek that our conscience be not morbid, but under the light of Truth; and that our faith should be reflective, and not be marked in its developments by hastiness or presumption. When Israel once were commanded to go onward they refused, and said they would go back into Egypt. Afterwards, when they were commanded not to go forward, they would go forward-and they disastrously failed. Again I repeat, that I say not these things to discourage. God forbid. Only let us be duly conscious of our weakness, and then cast ourselves on the graciousness and strength of Him "who resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble":"who giveth liberally and upbraideth not." The love and graciousness of the character of God, as well as the grace of the everlasting covenant, is often a sweet and needed thought in the hour of weakness and depression.

On Ephesians III. 15.

"The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom THE WHOLE FAMILY in heaven and earth is named."

THIS text speaks of one of the chief, and most distinctive, of the blessings of the redeemed. On all of them, but on them alone, the name of the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is named. To exclude from this one family, any of the redeemed; or to ascribe its distinctive blessings to any except those whom grace has brought, through faith, into the fold of Christ, would alike be subversive of the Truth of God.

The family of faith, although thus essentially one, may, by circumstances, be for a season separated. It is separated now. Part are in heaven: part militant on earth. The spirits of the saints who sleep, are at present with Christ in the Paradise of God, not as yet perfected in resurrection glory (for their bodies are not yet restored to them) but perfect as respects sinlessness, and waiting expectantly, until we who are brought into the fold of faith during the present dispensation, shall join them at the time of the FIRST Resurrection. Then, together perfected in glory, we shall form, not indeed the whole Church, but "the church of the first-born ones," (EKKλNσTAV TOWTоTоKOV) and be with Christ in unearthly glory-having for our home the Heavenly Places, (ra Eπovpavia). The circumstantial separation, however, of the one family will not cease even at the time of the first resurrection. The very expression "Church of the firstborn ones," marks a contrast of circumstantial condition between those so denominated, and others, who, during the millennial dispensation, are to be brought into the fold of faith, and who will succeed into that place of militancy in the earth which the Church of the first-born will have quitted for ever. I say, "militancy," for although joy and triumph will attend their militancy, and not as in our case rejection and sorrow, yet it will be militancy still. The last enemy, Death, will not be destroyed; and although Satan will be bound, yet

every millennial saint will have to say-" in me, that is, in my flesh there dwelleth no good thing: " and where "sin in the flesh" continues to exist, there will be found, not merely its strugglings, but, more or less, its manifestations. The millennial saints, therefore, will, circumstantially, be in a condition very different from that of their brethren who have risen before them into glory: for they, being "the children of the resurrection," will be beyond the power of death, and will know no sin, and will bear the heavenly likeness of their Lord: whereas the millennial saints, although no longer surrounded by a groaning creation, will still be waiting for their perfected "condition of sonship," (violɛota) to wit, "the redemption of the body." Great, therefore, will be the contrast of circumstantial condition, between the heavenly branch and the earthly branch of the one family, yet they will be essentially one-one, because united with the same risen Head, and quickened also by the power of the same one Spirit. Their separation will be only temporary. Finally, in "the dispensation of the fulness of times," when the new Heavens and new Earth shall be created, after the millennial Heavens and Earth have passed away, "THE WHOLE FAMILY" shall all be gathered together in perfect unity of blessing, in like nearness to Christ and to the Father, in equal conformity to His risen likeness, to form one glorified Church for ever, under Him as their Melchisedek Priest and King. The bearing alike the heavenly likeness of Christ, is, in 1 Cor. xv., ascribed to all, of every dispensation, who share in the resurrection of life.

This oneness of the redeemed, is, by a numerous class of modern writers, denied. They contend that the name " Church," belongs not to all the redeemed, but to a part only. There are according to this doctrine, multitudes, washed from their sins in the blood of the Lamb, and precious in the sight of God according to its preciousness, who yet belong not to the Church, and will never inherit its distinctive blessings. Abraham and Job, Moses, David, and Daniel-in a word, all the saints of the Old Testament, and all who shall believe during the millennial age, are, by this system, excluded for ever from the Church and the Church's distinctive heritage. "The Church" is supposed to include those believers only, who live between Pentecost, or, as others say, the mission of St. Paul, and a secret (as is imagined) coming of the Lord, when He will secretly remove His saints. This verse however, in the Ephesians, is a hindrance in the way of this new doctrine; for to speak of "THE WHOLE FAMILY in Heaven


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