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CHAPTER 10
 

The LIGHT that SCATTERS DARKNESS
but remains WHOLE ITSELF




In our last Chapter, we began to see and review, with past references added, from earlier files, the vast downward movement by Britain. Similarly and repeatedly, in this or that aspect, we have often watched Europe more generally develop since World War II, and before (e.g. Joyful Jottings  514 and SMR pp. 904ff., 823ff., 950ff.).
 
 

TRANSFERENCE AND RECIPROCITIES,
AS A PRELIMINARY PREPARATION

There is a certain reciprocity in these two developments, Britain and Europe. (Do you notice, perhaps a slight pause as you read that ? is not Britain PART of Europe, you may have wondered ... showing how fast is the change since World War II when it had to invade the place!).

As Europe declares herself more and more an operative utility in numerous fields, and Romanism makes its noises with increasing assurance, so far from the days when the Jesuits, those papal paladins, were expelled from numerous nations in Europe, because of their political intrigue, and indeed not so in Europe alone: there is a vast transference  both of power and of purpose, in the disposition and direction of the whole region.

With events as noted in the last Chapter (cf. Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ...Ch.3,
A Question of Gifts, pp. 65ff.), more and more nearly closing the book on a Protestant Britain, we have reached even to the point where a Presbytery in the Outer Isles of Scotland has to remind the Queen ('Head' of the Church of England on earth - but there is only one head on earth or in heaven - Jesus Christ the living - Revelation 1:18-20, Matthew 23:8-10, in fact) of the follies of Rome, though she is ostensibly defender of the faith, and that Protestant!

We are seeing, meanwhile, Irish Protestantism increasingly quelled, politically,  with British aid, as we approach a new world. It is not so very new, really, but does have comparative novelties in store, in this, that a UNIVERSAL abuse of power will fill the power vacuum left by the British Empire. What contributions this in some residual state, or the Russian Empire or the Chinese Empire, all still alive, will make is a matter of conjecture. The nature of the result is NOT. It is clear. The Russian contribution could relate very readily to the Northern surge into Israel, and certainly some of the USSR would appear to be involved in the stormy clusters of menace and discontent, Islam oriented, in the all but indescribable mismatch of words, now found in the phrase 'holy war'. The divine judgments on man are now no more via one nation, but met in one Person, Jesus the Christ, and what is commanded is repentance, not territorial acquisitions.

This invasion from the "North" to be visited on Israel, however appears a preliminary to the European surge of power to come, one which is not immediately dispersed, as in the former case of predicted, massive assault on Israel. (Cf. SMR pp. 502-515, 750Bff..) In the contemporary world, NOT to assault among the nations, seems almost the exception rather than the rule, if not in fact, then in threats and confrontations, set in a flood of blood where it goes further, whether in the Khmer Rouge, apparently all too well re-established in governmental positions of power in the still suffering Cambodia, in the endless surges of spleen in Africa, as in the Moslem atrocities in the Sudan, in Chechnya, Afghanistan in its incredible intolerances towards women and rages, in Sri Lanka, in Burma, or in the heartless seeming oppressions in Tibet, an addition to the Chinese Empire. The "wars and rumours of wars" are a program magnificently fulfilled from the Biblical prediction for this Age, incorporating the return of Jerusalem to the Jews, for the first time in almost two millenia (Luke 21:24, Matthew 24).

Whichever precise formation of nations and empires shall come to be ground to the powdery homogeneity eventually required (Rev. 13, 17), however, this will be balance enough for a "little horn", a fourth or other party, to come alive and make the fatal impressions (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 2).

This is European, as in Daniel 7's prophecy, and it is fascinating to see the little Island Nation of Britain first encompassed in the first century B.C., not without considerable difficulty, by Rome, then left in her adversities, then arising, divorcing from Rome and achieving genuine greatness, despite her inadequacies amid a receding tide of persecutions, until she became perhaps the largest governing body ever in the history of nations, in terms of AREA covered, and certainly EXTENT of dominions.

Then, harrowed with two vast outlets of power in two World Wars, and long eroded in the faith as expressed in the unfaithfulness of her national church to its Biblical moorings, and Protestant ground warranted from this, she recedes greatly, and aspiring to European commitment, she moves towards becoming an outpost of Europe once more, the Treaty of Rome backing a different way for her, which she is rather obediently following. So the world prepares to divest itself of the glories of freedom, the love of liberty, and sell itself off, so that no place shall remain where it persists. It is too inconvenient when spiritual lust is loose, for it enables truth freely to be presented, which so abuts into and crushes error, since it is of the Lord, that the arrogant aspirations of flesh manifestly are seen to have no basis but in the fictitious realm of disordered spirits.

Our thrust is this: Britain both in power and commitment, is far from the Protestant Nation, governing an Empire she once held. Europe is arising. Britain is in fact becoming a participant WITHIN that Europe! The words of Prince Charles about the Moslem heresy are indicative enough, and the royal visits to the Pope are likewise, in their setting, not without a flag to mark them. Insensibly, gradually, the things are coming into a new focus. The international lusts of the WCC and the UN are becoming a part of life, or more accurately for many nations involved, death. The death is becoming a sort of mortality play, to replace the former morality ones. But let us return to the more particular, with respect to Britain.
 
 

SHAKE WELL, AND DISSOLVE

Just as the Arabs want more and more of the tiny land of Israel, so the Irish, with their comfortable site for Romanism in the South, far the greater part of the place, want also the North. They want Britain out, an end to the rule of the one who has already compromised the Protestant North.
The intention therefore is palpably extreme. Whatever any given set of men understand about the direction and resultant of such things, the diabolical design is clear enough. Its movement is in one direction.

There is agitation from the IRA, both official and unofficial, as ONE NATION is sought; and as to the latter group, they advise the world that their plans for terrorism are to increase, that they are going to strike more and more at the butt of things, and that they are perfectly unashamed! Such is the religion of force. They do not speak ostensibly of actual armies, but of arms, and legs, and hands and feet... if the past is any guide, perhaps blown off. As to these, they might as well belong to infants, in the domestic violence folly and passion. It appears indiscriminate.

This is not to state or imply that, in Ireland,  the North has in no way responded in force to the provocations of decades; but it is to say that this is a fatal undercurrent by which the powers that are to be, and soon will be the powers that have been, to be no more, are moving to remove Protestant policies, freedoms and opportunities, till the screws may be applied on the surrounded hands ... This is the case in theory, as before for hundreds of years, in practice, now here, now there, in terms of Unam Sanctam, which is as far from sanctified as ever any power lust could be.

In fact of course, the Roman pontiff will be dumped as has been shown previously by the beast (cf. Divine Agenda Ch. 3): that is, the politically active, social dynamic which includes worship and direction of mankind, or part of it . This is after the plan of Hitler, or Stalin, so well displayed for so long last century; but in more pronounced and obvious form, it is presaged and indeed predicted internationally. In this, the implicits and directions of flow are assailing the eyes, but the type of action taken, now here, now there, now in this manner, now in that form, are not so important to spiritual paranoia, as the ... result! This does nothing to lessen the significance of the FLOW, and the INTENTION, and the UNIVERSAL mood and movement of things, to the elimination of ALL Protestant rule per se. The compromise of ALL freedom of speech comes by the use of sibilant subtleties to accomplish this, or in the Australian case noted, something not so subtle, but still sibilant (cf. News 145, Galloping Events, Ch. 7, End-note 2).

The Moslem mood is becoming increasingly intolerant, people, as in India, being able to be impugned if not impaled, on the mere report of their having compromised Muhammad in some way.  As the facts are the worst compromise to a false prophet, truth lies fallen in the street (Isaiah 59). Communism continues her graceless assaults on truth and liberty, by devious means, in China, where one things is done by the left hand in the dark, though often reported, and another by the right hand among the nations.

With Rome, Mecca and Beijing in such modes, the thrust and lust of compulsion is not sated; for the new modes, do not dare to bring discomfort to a human being by mere truth, for this godlet, as he appears to be conceived, man,  is to be pampered into illusion, and comforted in pretence, lest it prove inconvenient. This is the apparent direction of flow in the "West". The sheer madness of this last phase matches well the sheer violence and deception of the other, so that the world is careering into illusion, in preparation for the delusion which enables, in the end, the "man of sin" to declare, showing himself, that he is God (II Thess. 2).

Ludicrous things require ludicrous means, and what better than to dissolve freedom, in the normal lusts of iniquity, so dear to the heart of the devil, to dispense with God and have it ... some other way. It is of course theft; for they did not make themselves (Psalm 100), being dependent for life and death on their Maker (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 1);
and thieves will give an answer. But what more is on the agenda ?
 
 

DEVICES OF THE DEVIL IN DEALING WITH PROBLEM AREAS

The United States, for her own part, is far from the mood and mode of its former specifically Protestant beginnings, the force and the freedom of which have vastly released energies and helped productivities as in Britain, so that these two nations had an overwhelming world place, when together, especially with such distant and fruitful arms, as Australia and Canada.
 


NOT Protestant; NOT unique; NOT individual; NOT apart - but ONE in ONE WORLD with ONE WAY, this is the trend and call from many. WHY ONE WORLD in its own strength and wisdom, has such appeal, when the parts of it have so violated so much for so long, is part of the illusion of unity, as if it were a purgative.

As to that UNITY however, so long sought in so much, as by the ancient Greek philosophers in trying to have it ALL from water, or fire, or atoms, ignoring the other ingredients of liberty and shame and guilt and error, or space, or all a matter of change, or NONE of it so, all permanent; or the more recent ones, seeking it ALL from some sort of material particle, which never seems willing to be found, and in some kind of theoretical aggregation, which never manages to show itself, or at least in a religious homogenisation, it is all one. GOD being rejected, the ludicrous endeavours to manage to make everything FROM everything, when nothing is more obvious than this, that it is discrete, diverse, and yet shows the power of one ingenious mind over all, in its various parts, united by His hand and creation, not by some goo from which specificities and magnificences of thought 'arise' as if by oversight of logic: these are now more and more in evidence.

From the first, this madness seized man, even before the Greek follies of thought, in the lust and thrust in Eden (Genesis 3:5 cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 7); to the last, it abases him, in ever-revolving follies of irrationality, so precisely punctured by so many logical and evidential considerations, that one must marvel at this false form of worship, its lust the drug that dulls the mind and dooms the spirit. (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri, A and F Schools, Ch. 4, Ch. 7, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 7, Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 13, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, SMR Ch. 3).

But amidst all the international spyings out of residual liberty for man, there are more mundane methods of doing the job practically.

As to the U.S.A., in particular, in much a residual bastion of liberty, if increasingly using it for licence, not that reconciliation in redemption, that the Maker of all is offering: spying and theft of powerful means of defence are compromising her more and more, and have done since the early post-war period. There is a tendency, sometimes commented on, for a materialism almost as bad as that of Communism, though less directive, suppressive and enveloping, to be sure, to make more and more of her people, all but immune to truth: spiritually deadened them to an increasing extent and in larger numbers, as if to add these also as prey to the eager antics of bestial powers to be. After all, if it is to be international in scope, none escape at the national level. It is at the individual level that the "escape" occurs, sometimes in death, often in speech, by the power of God (as in Revelation 12:11, Luke 21:15).

The protection of Biblical missions and freedom of speech, substantial if not perfect, that grew into such strength in Protestant Britain, and in its day was both a restraint and an opportunity for impressive world missions, is now passing for many reasons, of which two are here cited. The heart is changing, and palaver with Rome is like a triple bypass of the truth in the eminently diseased organ.

Again, worldwide, the power to protest is, from a political and social viewpoint,  substantially gone. The mood is aggregation, integration and synthesis. In Britain and increasingly elsewhere, the perilous charm of an evil advocacy is contrary to particularity, Protestantism and purity of truth. Cynicism seems to be settling into the once starry eyes of comparative innocence, and the assurance of knowing nothing is becoming one of the standing contradictions, the certitude of the deprivation, on the one hand, and the certainty that nothing is certain, on the other. So does blasphemy ridicule itself, and knowledgeability, expose its ignorance.

As the UN with input from Communism, and the papacy, with input from power, the WCC with export, but not manifestly for missionary purposes, of the Bible: as these proceed to direct increasingly the affairs of men, repressive regimes multiply, corpses mount as in mounds towards the skies, and vast multitudes of murderous heartless and persecutory acts proceed against Christians world-wide, as in the horrendous Moslem raids against Christians household in the South of the Sudan, for slavery or worse. Contrition seems to be viewed to a vaunting degree, as a resiling from the 'advance' of self-fulfilment, self-importance and self-esteem, and indeed did not the crystal palace religion in the U.S., find it necessary to demote the whole concept of SINNER, since it was ... so injurious.

This ? it was in the name of a church called ... "Christian"! Business is brisk in the realms of confusion, delusion and profusion. Advertisement is a profitable enterprise: there is much to be gained by those whose business is human real estate, in the souls of men.

China multiplies deceits, speaking of conformist churches and smashing house churches, assaulting and imprisoning pastors, Russia the while, toying with Orthodoxy, which is in much, like Romanism, minus the pope. Repressive actions against liberty of expression mount even in Australia and means of living without God become more and more mandatory, by political folly, which since truth is lacking at the very level of planning, require more and more intimidation.
First, of course, it is a propaganda matter, talking of social unity, community and the like. Then it is repression for social unity and pleasantness; then assault on truth more directly and removal of its proponents.

So does man continue to glory in himself, till the inglorious ingratitude of his unrealism and lust, leave the world unlivable, a fitting rebuke to his folly of heart and confusion of mind (cf. Matthew 24:21).

Not a bad job of housekeeping when you cannot even LIVE in the house!

Certainly, to live without God, and hence without the supernatural basis of natural unity, as also without that capacity to withstand error, and stand in the truth and power of God, Biblically revealed, in Christ: this leaves no actual solution. The other alternative ? Dissolution. Hence impossible, dehumanising means are increasingly in vogue, to stop the cart from rolling over - too quickly! What is it like ? It is like a student, anxious and determined to pass a mathematics test, furrowing his brow, torturing the paper with endless sallies and thrusts, feverish, desperate, never still ... never right, because he has rejected in some fit of dissidence, the only answer and method that works.

The great 21st century accordingly is looking, amidst its vulgarity and carnage, more like twilight in an alligator-infested swamp, than a new dawn amidst beauty; and power moves to the antagonistic -isms, as the British Empire, over the dissolution of which Churchill did, after all, significantly preside, leaves the scene to the extremist political and philosophical pollutants.

Indeed, Britain herself dies into a new 'life' in significantly Roman Europe, the new aggregate waiting its Biblically appointed time when, with Rome cast aside as unacceptable in its dominance as earlier in its domination, being too antique and undesirable, a new unbelief, the next idol arises to die into a judgment likewise prepared (cf. Biblical Blessing Ch. 2, Revelation 17-19).
 
 

HEAVENLY THINGS

Meanwhile, as we witness the clear Biblical fulfilments, we may yearn to see something fine, splendid, and to use Biblical language, noble, of good report, virtuous, faithful, something of godly ideals, actual effectiveness for good in the presence of the Almighty, to view things unentangled and purified, serving God with a pure heart, and following His word with diligence, dying daily and bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus (II Corinthians 4:10). We may wish to find Biblical ideals, and look steadfastly at them, in practical format.

We may well wish to see, to rest the eyes of the spirit, the thoughts of the mind, the dispositions of the soul on exemplifications of good, here brightly, there brilliantly, on the beauty of actual holiness, not ceremonial substitution, or serendipitous illusion: on the courage of faith in the living God, and life abundant in Christ.

For this, we turn therefore from Biblical perspective,  to actual Biblical examples in King Josiah, Hezekiah, David, the prophet Daniel, Samuel, with Joseph, Stephen, as to Ruth, Esther and Mary Magdalene. At the last example , the reader may be aghast, but it is deliberately chosen as an example of heart and soul in Christ, in transmutation from a disastrous past by a potency for regeneration, like that of the atomic bomb, only greater, vastly more significant ... and constructive, not destructive. Mary Magdalene has a contribution here to make!

In this way, we can see something of stereoscopic depth, as well as of spiritual height. There is a CHANGE of perspective and a comparison to be made.

As the world comes to its 21st century twilight, then, we look not at its horrendous descent, but at the steadfast faces of the past, the changeless face of Christ, and in the midst of His perfected prophecies, see what changes not, in the midst of the desperate delirium which passes, for many, as 'progress'. As to that, it is a matter of which direction!

These examples, which we cite,  are not perfected on earth; but much of the desire, delight and vigour of truth has coursed through them, in word and deed, in spirit and in constancy which, if not always without blemish, like some old master's painting, yet has a quality so profound as to distinguish it to the waiting eye, as a thing of wonder. In life, it is time to look.

Moreover, these principles, divinely declared virtues, this way of life, it is a testimony to be
verified in the laboratory of life, for however many Judases disadorn the church, there are the more unsung devoted hearts, whose testimonials are often matters of the left hand not knowing what the right hand does. However, some from their very position and the circumstances of history, come to mind readily.

Let us consider:

Daniel, in his intimate fidelity to the word and will of God
Joseph in his purity of heart and delight in dealing kindly with his persecutors,
Ruth with her unyielding love, reaching to the very God of heaven from her mother-in-law,
Esther with her sacrificial integrity,
Mary Magdalene with her undivertible devotion, a model to many,
Josiah with his acute, astute obedience and tender-heartedness,
SAMUEL for his tenderness of heart, fearlessness of obedience and consistency of grace,
Hezekiah with his embracive mercy,
DAVID in his inspirational devotion and robust practicality,
Stephen with his flaming understanding and impenitent piety in Christ the key, king and basis.

We may add some more modern examples in passing.

More you may find in Poverty of Spirit, in Questions and Answers 12.
 
 

MORAL MOUNTAINS

First let us consider one of the prophets.
 

then, could readily, as drafted from Israel, among the Jewish captives taken by Babylon, have resented the arrogance of the actions, and divorced himself entirely from ANY Babylonian system of education. He could well have taken the luxuries to be his as a cadet for the bureaucracies of Babylon, collapsed into egotism, when he became famous through the LORD's deliverance of him from the notorious lion's den, to which he was consigned through a trick wrought by adversaries,  cleverly manipulating the impermeable laws of the Medes and Persians, who conquered Babylon while he was still there. He could have resented and resisted being a consignee.

Later, he could have looked well to his position of eminence thus gained, as earlier through the Lord's granting to him of the correct knowledge of just WHAT Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed, and what it meant. He could have failed to relay the meaning of that dream, out of fear, hatred or contempt. He could have attempted to alter at least the message, which the King did not know! Why ? He could have attempted to so so, since that divine message to the King was highly adverse to the dignity of that majestic potentate!

Daniel did nothing of all this, but instead, when his dream interpretation was received with the vastness of the king's adulation (Daniel 2:48), he "petitioned" him to set his three friends into high places of honour and administrative power. His own elevation was opportunity to honour his godly associates, who deserved paths to show their devotion and integrity, and not to distinguish himself, as if this were the program for life!

In his own trial, which provides a type of Christ*1, when he had to CEASE for a period of days, to petition anyone except the King, no "god" being permitted, he not only continued resolutely to pray three times a day openly in his upper apartment, but despite the trap of his envious colleagues in the King's city, one which bound even the King to the law which he himself had made about the punishment for those who refused so to honour him as to pray to him alone, he simply did right, took the punishment and was delivered.

Daniel replied, "O King live for ever, My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O King, I have done no wrong before you."

Darius thereupon made a far-reaching public testimony concerning the power of God (Daniel 6:26ff.).

Those who know their living God, in Christ Jesus His authenticated and authorised, only-begotten Son, incarnate from His everlasting companionship with God the Father, know that this is not the sort of thing to marvel at unduly. In fact, God has His own ways, and while, as we see often in Hebrews 11, He may allow His servants to suffer in the exposure of His love, He is equally able to deliver and rescue them from so many evils that it like the hairs on one's head. His miracles do not cease, nor does our mission.

In this department of suffering and love, a good illustration is the death or massacre of the 5 missionaries to the Auca Indians, fine educated men, followed by Elizabeth Elliot's return to the site herself, to show the love of God. It appears that so awed at the immensity of such concern for their welfare, and disregard of her own suffering, such sincerity of commitment were those who were among the tribe that did the slaughter, that they numbers were converted.
 

Here this lad, joy of his father's heart, was enviously disposed of by his brothers, who sold him to a slave trader, who took him internationally to Egypt, where eventually, being employed by an officer of the armed forces, he was framed by the man's wife, who lusted for his attentions. She being believed (for she kept his coat in her hands, from which he had fled, as if evidence of his involvement with her), this led to his imprisonment in a foreign land, where indeed, in irons his feet were hurt (Psalm 105:18).

He could have allowed gastric or duodenal ulcers to attest his anxiety or other diseases, his discomfort; but instead, he made himself so useful as to gain a preferred place as a functionary , despite his confinement, and eventually had an opportunity to tell the meaning of the dreams of two new captives, at the hand of the King, butler and baker. His predictions came true, and they were to tell the King of his position, and seek his deliverance, but forgot... at least the one who lived, did so! Then when, much later,  the Pharaoh had a dream, the man remembered Joseph, who being summoned, amazingly interpreted the dream by the hand of God, and was given power to administer the situation which was taken to be correct, one involving a vast famine to succeed years of plenty. The earlier years, then, demanded the Pharaoh, must be utilised to the full, and who better to command, than Joseph! Yet he had been sold, had lost not only his father, but his family, and as to them, they had compromised themselves so far as to be grievous; and with that, his land and the beauties of living with the God-called patriarch in peace.

In all this, neither bitterness nor revenge, neither hardness of heart nor inflexibility of soul for his emotional fulfilment, took possession of him; but when his brothers had to come, years later in his eminent position, driven by famine and reluctantly authorised by their father, he received them and eventually forgave them with such rapture of emotion that the Egyptians, though apart, heard. One might have thought they were his best friends! who yet in fact, had betrayed him. Such was his enduring love.

This led to the whole family's being brought to the now well established land of Egypt, awash with grain in the midst of drought, through his administration, for it was clearly seen that God was in this thing. What, he declared, you meant for evil, God has turned to good.

Thus he subordinated his feelings and 'fate' to the desire to bring a blessing to those who had persecuted him, being overwhelmed with affection and joy in their presence, as he brought happiness and security to those who had so fatefully attacked his own.
 

But let us look further.
 


This Moabitess who became a progenitor, through Mary, of Christ Himself, was married by one of the sons of Naomi, thus her mother-in-law; and such was her love for the latter, that when her husband, the  son of the Jewess, was dead, and another daughter-in-law stayed in her own homeland, though with much concern for Naomi, Ruth acted differently. With Naomi bent on return to Israel, Ruth would not be dissuaded from following here, and such was her affection and devotion, commitment and resolve that she has become famous for her statement.

Instead of bidding a fond farewell to her mother-in-law, from the foreign land, she all that was left to her, if you will, of her now deceased husband, she declared:

Literature has few more glorious passages of unyielding love between in-laws, than this, and indeed, it has a purity of tone, a tenderness of heart and a burning fidelity, rather like that of a CD-writer, turned human, that in loyalty it is scarcely to be outdone, in perception and in commitment. Far must we look for a higher devotion of this kind!

In practice, Ruth accompanied her mother-in-law back to what was for her, the strange new land of Israel, and before long, in the Lord's intervention and the workings of providence, she was married to a relative of Naomi, and so went on, with this sort of solicitude, to become the mother of one who in due course, in the generations, would lead on to the mother of the Messiah. So was what seemed far, brought near; and what was distant made intimate; what was alien made integral, as if to declare to all, this: that it is NOT your blood, but your heart, not your position but your allegiance, not your appearance but your reality that matters. With God all things are possible. Circumstances may be a challenge; God is able to subdue them. God is love: and while it is not the same as saying love is God, which ignores His very being, when you know Him, you learn that this is so, and that His tenderness is like no other, His power and His mercy, His purity and His teaching, without comparison.

This account of Ruth reminds one a little of the justly famed, Robert Murray McCheyne, who, dying at 29, was so cordially concerned for his Dundee congregation, although often in severe heart restrictions, and in much fatigue, that he often wrote and encouraged, with great effect, while he travelled in exacting circumstances. Authorised by his church's Presbyterian commission, to make a survey in various lands, of the state of the Jews, he travelled in the Middle East, Turkey, Italy, Germany, France, to Jerusalem, Israel and Syria, always ready to seek to win souls for Christ, writing back home in words sharp with perception, his brilliant student's mind constantly finding matter for edification from the comparison of Biblical prophecy and events observed as he travelled. His official program was this, as Bonar puts it in the introduction to Part I, his Letters and Message, in the Memoirs of McCheyne: to look at what might be found of the Jews in Europe and Asia, and to "inquire into their condition, and to report on the prospects and best means of calling their attention to the character and claims of the Lord Jesus Christ" (p.22).

Despite his sickness in this arduous journey, we find McCheyne doing what he could, like another renowned living sacrifice, David Brainherd - for his part on commission to the Indians:
he prayed  ...


However at other times he did write, and some piquant and valuable epistles of deep and enduring value, flowed freely from his pen. In due course, moreover, under the ministry of W.C. Burns, who had taken the pastoral work of McCheyne's Dundee congregation during his missionary absence, there came such a revival and growth in grace in that parish as to be astonishing. Many were saved, and when McCheyne returned, he found that many, unknown to him, converted under his ministry of the word of God before he left, were now freely acknowledging their earlier conversion. Frankness and freedom grew and at one episode, while he was still abroad, some 100 souls remained to seek the Lord, after service, so that "after the conclusion of a solemn address to these anxious souls, suddenly the power of God seemed to descend, and all were in tears.

"Onward from that evening meetings were held every day for many weeks; and the extraordinary nature of the work justified and called for extraordinary services" (op.cit. p. 24).

As one wrote after McCheyne's so early death: "... we have a clearer conception of what is
meant by a hidden life, and a 'living sacrifice', and can better understand the sort of life Enoch lived, since we made the acquaintance of Robert McCheyne."
 

Godly devotion, in love and kindness, mercy and truth, peace and self-sacrifice, to one's calling and people, while not lingering in the praise of men, but following the testimony of truth, this is one of the features of living in the truth.

It is time to look further in our survey.

It did not in the least matter that she might die, if she took the initiative in a time of acute peril, and sought the intervention of the King in the affairs of the Jewish people, still far from home after Babylon's assault on their land, and that of the Medes and Persians on Babylon. Nor was she inflamed with a haunted holiness, which would like death as a way out. She sought that there be fasting, and there was a huge preparation of many, before she would risk, in a few days, the death that threatened for asking the King, unasked, and coming into his presence, unsummoned.

The King however, who had not seen her for many days,  loved her so tenderly, the Lord having prepared the way, that he not only gave her what she desired, but continued to do so. Thus this Jewess, taken as a wife by the King, but without his knowing her racial background UNTIL this hour, was used to expose the efforts of his paranoid seeming first minister, who had been offended by the Jewish independence and especially that of Mordecai, Esther's uncle whose ward she had been. The plan of Haman, the persecutor, was not to deign to correct any one Jew, but to extinguish the whole race in the kingdom, since it was evidently not adjusted to servility of spirit, or to the sort of Statism which was so sacred to the indulged spirit and the lusting mind of many then, as now. (Cf. SMR pp. 1191ff..)

This precipitated a crisis which Mordecai brought to Esther's attention. IF YOU do not act, God can use another, but do not think you will escape if you fail! came the stern words. Many would not like this: asserting self and independence, they might tell their psychiatrist about it, and be relieved to find he cared for their autonomy. But Esther cared for her people.

Using patience and care, the Queen, exalted in fragility and strong in weakness,  proceeded to two banquets, and in the second, Haman the antagonist being present once more, she exposed him.

Was it the King's desire, she asked,  that HER people, that of the QUEEN should be exterminated! She did not need to state the implication concerning herself! It was her people who were her focus, and on these she dwelt. The King was furious. Twice she secured the overthrowing of those about to practice racial extermination, making a swathe of their vicious intention, in their demise, as the Jews were given a peculiar right. And this ?

The King had already signed a decree that they were to be attacked; so now, in the unalterable legislative situation which prevailed,  he signed another decree, without withdrawing the first, and this added ruling allowed the Jews to defend themselves. Awe at the obvious trend of his majesty's thought, no doubt helped, and the Jews were thus established rather than annihilated,  in the kingdom which was so close to becoming their Auschwitz, before its time.

It was in this process, a second time, that Esther risked her life by approaching the king (Esther 8:1-3), so that these enactments could be made. It was one thing to have the matter exposed and the antagonist dealt with; there were the people themselves, there was the practical situation, there was time, there was the strange legal situation: and to all this Esther placed herself on the altar, if need be, by again using her initiative to arrest the attention of the King, while there was yet time.

One is reminded of John Knox. Converted from the idolatries of Rome, which he denounced with great brio, won to Christ possibly through the beloved preacher, and friend, George Wishart, he was for many months a galley slave. The regimen and rigour attaching to this capture, wrought by the downfall of a castle in Scotland to naval marauders was intense. It may have injured his health, it appears; but it did not in any obvious way injure his capacity for courage, his determination, his turning his back on the (comparative) safety of Geneva where he was so very welcome, for the good of his native land, Scotland.

Galvanising the people, who had received some interest in the reformation, he led movements of reform, until in 1560 the great Confession arose and was passed. French domination, obviously at that time, as with Spain a little later - another name for Romanistic suppression in his land, was a peril, with Mary of Lorraine the regent, and Mary Queen of Scots the coming ruler. WIth the Queen, Knox was unyielding and relentless, and passes into the history of Scotland as one of the fearless, faithful donors of the freedom which is now in such imminent, and eminent peril of being lost, step by step. This is occurring as England loses the identity increasingly of her native Church, which in turn is more and more capitulating to Rome, as the whole grows more and more a consignment within 'Europe'.

Presbyterianism in Scotland has had many challenges, there have been separations as in 1843, and as in other lands, it is in as much danger of being shunted into the city sites of dereliction, as the other major denominations. Its Parliament of course does not yet have full powers in any case, and the fall of England in its own approaches, would certainly influence Scotland! It is only in Christ, whatever the past of any denomination, in the present, in His word the Bible and in His power that His work may be done in any generation. But let us revert to that of Knox.

As this liberty so wisely gained, is being cast away, the eminent courage and leadership, fidelity and fearlessness in writing and witness, of John Knox reminds one of Queen Esther. BOTH confronted a sovereign; BOTH secured a victory. They did it very differently; but in each case life was imperilled by conscience, and liberty by determination and desire for the people of God to be free - and it was not extinguished. It remains not only an example, but an illustration of what is required: living faith in the living God, by His living way, Jesus Christ.

Of such a thing,

may seem a strange choice, but for undivertible devotion, fidelity of focus on Christ, she is remarkable. Saved from disgrace and disgusting follies, she became so determined to have no one but Christ for her salvation, that she appeared neither by angel nor by other, to be reassured UNTIL SHE FOUND HIM, and until she heard His so familiar voice, proceeding from one near the tomb, now evacuated, "Mary!" How wise would they be who, inflamed with pride or delusion by angelic visions, presume to intimate the mind of God by such means, if they followed in this, Mary Magdalene (cf. Colossians 2:18). UNLESS she found the Christ, the one she knew, the very same, she would not, could not rest.

"Master!" she responded, and clung to His feet, as later did the other women (Matthew 28:10, with Mary, implied in the form of the verb, in 'Cease clinging to Me!'). That He should impart such a time for a personal meeting is no mean triumph for the victory of faith in HIM ONLY over all obstacles, and shows the wonder in the flesh, direct in history, which in spirit is seen in John 14:21-23.

There is in all these cases,  a remorselessness, a security, a determination and resolve, a desire for the honour of the Lord and His deliverances for His people, His Church, by the manifestation of His power, presence or impetus, that has a pure drive, a personal devotion and a sanctity of regard which is back of all Christian endeavour. If without faith you CANNOT please God (Hebrews 11:6), then BY IT, you may move mountains (Mark 11). Changing the geological configuration of things by spiritual means is one of the testimonies of the religion of power, though it is by no means,  one without suffering. Founded on Christ, in His sacrificial and substitutionary sufferings for all who believe, it gives no flower garden of labour to His servants; but it DOES allow the expression of the beauty of holiness and the resolution of character, with faith in HIM WHO ACTS FOR THE ONE WHO WAITS FOR HIM, as Isaiah 64:4 has it.

How graciously He acts is known by those who follow Him, secure in the grace that is theirs (Romans 5:1-11); but its testimonies appear in history, like those of purer waters, in former days, as before Lake Baikal was a matter almost for weeping, in its carelessly Communist pollution.
This history continues, as pure waters continue; but it is to be prized. It cannot be prized from the Christian, any more than the stars from heaven, but it is a matter of a select brilliance, for as to God, He is one, found in One, Jesus Christ, and giving one life, His own through Him. It is personal and intimate; but its attestation, amidst all the fraud, remains like the fragrance of daphne, available in deep richness, when you pause to inhale.

But what should be said of

JOSIAH,

his acute, astute obedience and tender-heartedness ? This was the king who started to seek the Lord in his tender years, and broke into such a resolve, such a teaching dynamic for his people, such a humbling before God at the sins of omission, of disregarding His exalted designs to the point of temporary loss of some of the scripture, such a lack of pomp, pride and self-assertion and such a desire to fulfil whatever God had said, that he even burned on the altar, bones of false prophets who of course had the standing death penalty of the Law for their abuse of authority (II Kings 23:14-20), in the theocracy given up to God (Deuteronomy 13:6-9).

Characteristic of the zeal and knowledge of the king, is his "spying" of the historic burial site of the man of God who had warned Samaria long before, of the destruction which would result from their lying pretences in the field of religion, in marked contravention to their commitment to God (Joshua 24). Josiah honoured that prophet, despite the latter's untimely end. Not his was the dishonour to which fraud attached, even if he had been misled after his so dramatic denunciation (I Kings 13).
The king was sensitive to the spirit of things, and gracious in his construction.

Here was a king who could do all this, and yet throw his whole resources into a revival of zeal in the prodigious passover arrangements (II Kings 23:21ff., II Chronicles 35, esp. 35:18). Indeed, after the most massive destructions of spiritual emblems and invasion of spiritual truth by Manasseh, with his follies of intrusion even into the Temple, his heartless offering of children for sacrifice, that following King, this select and special King Josiah became the very emblem of rectitude, fortitude, precision and prophetic care, watching over his people, and bringing them after so great a decline, to the Lord, in a solemn commitment:

"Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the LORD, to follow the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statues with all his heart and all his soul to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. And he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand."
The depth and height of his vigorous restorations, and seeking of the Lord, are all the more highlighted by the fact that in a few years, the nation was taken over by Babylon, her Temple - for so long successively disregarded, abused in heart, in spirit in all its symbols of salvation - destroyed, her wonders smashed, so that only the Lord could deliver them from this massive displacement. This is however that security and stability in the word of the Lord, in His decisions, who by Jeremiah had foretold all this so precisely, and attached a note, if you will, that after 70 years they would be returned from their exile.

The cost of obedience is often stressed by those who do not KNOW God; but the penalty of disregard is that of life itself. There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it, is that of death, declares the Proverb. Josiah in his zealous integrity and keenness of devotion, delayed the day of ruin, and was remembered with joy of heart, and grief at his death (for God decided to spare him the sight of the ruin to come, as a specific blessing - cf. Isaiah 57:1). This sad memory is found in Jeremiah,  in the book of Lamentations, as he surveyed the colossal grief which came to the land (Lamentations 4:20). The loss of such a one as Josiah, long prior to these events, was eminent in the devastation; not in his day would any such thing occur:

"The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was caught in their pits, of whom we said, 'Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.' "
There is no solace in destruction, even of the most perverse, but rather as Jeremiah showed throughout in his eminent compassion (cf. Jeremiah 9:1), reality and holiness are not to be dispersed by mere ineffectual desire. God is merciful, but His holiness is not for sale. He is patient, but not a buffoon. He is gracious, but grace is not to make sin abound, but to confound its lascivious desire to occupy the heart, the mind and the spirit with things contrary to life, as if it owned it.

Faithfulness amid fecklessness, purity amidst folly, zeal that was steady, amidst fluctuation, these were some of the spiritual characteristics of this delightful young man, Josiah, who died before much age afflicted him, after a royal display of grace, humility and conscientiousness hard to parallel in the books of Kings and Chronicles.

He cannot but remind us of Jeremiah, whose intensity of grief after the desolations which came despite his unheeded warnings, was not unlike the expostulations and tears before it; whose devotion to his people did not let him accept deliverance from Babylon, which in its victory would have honoured him, who continued his ministry even amongst the most scornful, so long as they sought advice (Jeremiah 44), only to receive the puerile abruptness of their self-love, untaught in the midst of ruin, seeking in perversity of spirit, yet more:


If one seeks a parallel to such as these, one might imagine it hard to find. Nevertheless, one must acknowledge that

springs to mind, with his solicitude and fearless faithfulness,
and nearness to the Lord. There is a prophet, who in stature almost resembled a king, but not at all in hauteur, who starting in tender boyhood years, was called by God to transmit to the priest, Eli, the judgment of God on his house.

What a trial for a youngster! How this speaks to boyhood and adolescence of the scope for spirituality, for knowing your God, following His lead, being exuberant and active in His service, growing in wisdom as in stature, the sheer delight of becoming what you were designed to be, in the very process of becoming the design more fully, at the physical level. What a symphony for youth lies there, and what Samuel teaches us, who all his life, seemed such a beautiful combination of sanctity, kindliness, concern, practicality and strength in the dimensions of need.
If someone failed, could not he, if the God so led, do it for him! (I Samuel 15:32). This by no means led to his own disobedience in all the record provided, and indeed he could rebuke roundly if it became really necessary (I Samuel 15:23), yet not without compassion remaining (I Samuel 16:1). He could indicate categorically the necessities of being Godís man, not your own man with Godís help (I Samuel 15:26):

yet his solicitude for sinning Saul, slow to remove him from office, wishing, oh so much, that he might resume spirituality, rather than constitute a passing cloud of mercy that dissipated, is one of the measures of his earnest pastoral love. His anointing of David, notwithstanding and in due course, attests his obedience, and his careful waiting on the Lord for HIS attestation of which of the sons of Jesse was to be anointed as coming King, is an illustration of close communion with God. For durable reliability, sensitive apprehension of the mind of the Lord and faithful goodness of character, integrity of mind, devotion of spirit, Samuel remains a delight.

But what of the anointed King, the one Samuel was chosen to select, ? What of

In his inspirational devotion and robust practicality, his was a life of peculiar loveliness. It was neither godless, nor unmanly, neither crass nor dreamy, but fitted with a vigour of heart, a tenderness of disposition, an acuity of spiritual reality in seeking the Lord, a nearly constant drive for dedication to the Lord, first, and to his charge, the nation, second, without his own welfare coming in between, as if it were a third force. His office in life was to serve God, and God would take care of him: nor was he presumptuous or bumptious, but in Psalm 51, following his own vast lapse, short but terrible in his long life of wonderful spiritual acumen and grace, you see a hatred of sin, his or anyone elseís, which is devastating.
 
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness:
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.

"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight:
that You might be justified when You speak, and be clear when You judge.

"Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part, you shall make me to know wisdomÖ

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
 

He goes on to be practical about the future: He cannot act without the glorious presence of God in his yielded heart, nor does he pretend such a capacity. Since God is ruler of all, creator of all, sin is ultimately and alone to be dealt with by Him, and in Him is all compassion and just capacity to show mercy. To God only therefore has he sought. Not in sacrifices is the repentance necessary to be found, for they avail only AFTER the reception committee of the heart is ready to receive them, and repentance has cleared the cloying character of sin from the penitent spirit, so that the hand of faith is enabled to grasp the fruit of mercy. WHEN the soul casts itself without addition on the mercy of God, for Christ's sake alone, then the sacrifice pays.

When it does not, there is no more sacrifice. It is Christ's sacrifice, not that of a church, a nation, a people, a culture or any  king of this world (Isaiah 9:6-7, 41:26-42:6); nor is it one's own. If one loses much in salvation, to the sated strengths of sin, one loses but a viral disease of the heart, which, encouraged as by alcohol in its follies, mourns its lost pathogen. That! it is no sacrifice, any more than sobriety is a sacrifice of drunkenness. It is ONLY Christ's sacrifice which avails, hence when that blood is trodden under foot, there very explicitly "REMAINS NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR SIN" (Hebrews 10:26).

It is one of the many mercies of God that the verb in Hebrews 10:26 (relating to "sin wilfully"), concerning sin, is in the present tense, in participial form, so that the meaning is something of SIN AS SOVEREIGN, SIN AS A WAY OF LIFE, SIN AS CONTINUAL, not just some episode.

If it were otherwise, even David would be in hell; and all men being sinners, none but the perfect, who do not exist on this earth (Philippians 3:12, I John 1:7-2:2), would be able to arrive at their domain in light (Revelation 22), and hence, to sinners from earth, it would be mere vacancy, a thing for spirits alone, who never tasted the trials of this earth's clothing. The mercy of God is otherwise: not at all prone to impurity as a substitute for Himself, nor yet without the compassion that purges and the discipline that refines.

The love which restores those who come in repentance, despairing of any alternative including any state or condition of their own nature, so that the gift may be received, those appealing in contrition so that the conferment might be made, it does not vary or waver (cf. Romans 8:29ff., 34ff., 38ff.). And who are these who come, but those who are His, the work (Ephesians 2:10-12) of Him who "has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:9), since indeed "He died for us that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him." And who are these but those who entered that door of salvation which is Christ, receiving His authority by faith, to do so, and entering "shall be saved" (John 10:9,27-28).

Such is the mercy of God; and David fell in the amplitude of his successes. Sin is an outcast ? But of course. He was stricken in heart, smitten in conscience, and anything of goodness of his own nature, he despaired of... and he  sought in desolation of spirit.

But repentance has been ministered to his waiting heart, and through the mercy of God, he is abundant in it.

Thus, he declares, himself inspired,

It is not at all that this is to dispense with sacrifice, but to remove any ex opere operatum concept, such as in Rome: it is ONLY AFTER all this, that sacrifice has efficacy, for "Then will You be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offeringÖ" It is the heart of man tied to the heart of God by the work of God, in Christ, which matters, and it is David who eminent from the first in his prophecies of the Messiah, was given this place of abundant testimony concerning this paragon predicted performer who would NOT, in any point, in spirit or in action, deflect by one iota from the divine specifications of life. Hence in delight and love, He would be available (Psalm 40), alike in human perfection and divine eternity, the same (Hebrews 7:25ff.): God incarnate, thus and therefore He could and would provide in one, the sacrifice and the purity needed, as man for man, for as many as received Him.

Small wonder David so delighted in describing Him who was then to come, now has come, and soon is to return, for as we have repeatedly shown incontrovertibly from the Bible, His return is now "near" (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).  Small wonder we who know him also delight in knowing of that return, and our hearts soar like an eagle at this, for such a performance on earth as Christís is the essence of all spirituality, the criterion of all mercy, the testimony of all truth: the King of grace, and the Lord of lovingkindness, He is the warrior who never fell. Even David fell till hell seemed to open its mouth lovingly, in a falsetto tenderness, to entrap him; but in this Christ only was his hope, and in Him, his faith, even s perfection, the necessary condition for acceptance before God.

Hence in Psalm 16, we see David assured that his very FLESH could "rest in hope", since Christís body would never be corrupted; and in Psalm 17, we see his assurance that "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Your likeness", and indeed, "I shall behold Your face in righteousness." As I John 3 puts it, "when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is. And every man who has this hope in him, purifies himself, even as he is pure." (For more on the Messianic Psalms, see Joyful Jottings 21-25.) And what does David declare with this Messiah in view ? This: "I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."

Hence, as he declares in Psalm 16,  his heart is glad and his flesh shall rest in hope, for as to the Holy One of God, He will not be allowed to have His body rot, nor will corruption claim Him!

There is but one Payment by one Payor, one Prince, one Gospel, one God, one Plan of Salvation, one Target, Christ for sin then (Isaiah 53:6), in His time in flesh, and Christ for sinners now, in their time of need. It has budded, flowered and flourished; it has been predicted, performed and perfected. It has the songs of courage, the choirs of delight, the light of glory and the testimony of the ages, kept in that still, immovable word, the Bible, breathed into the hearts of millions, equipped spiritually by His grace and in His New Covenant in His blood. It worked for David, when the vision was for Christ to come; it works for man now, when the victory is won; and it will work in the millenium when the demonstration lesson to all is to accrue; it will work in eternity, when the Lamb is the Temple, as Revelation declares.

God worked to create; worked to redeem; works to keep what is committed to Him, and retains what He has paid for (Romans 5:1-11).

David, at once nearly a model both of mercy shown and received, when he slipped so perilously, did not plead his other works, for what are they but the duty of his heart and the grace of God in its performance! He did not plead his good intentions, nor was the singularity of his offence an issue.

Instead, he repented, he sought, he looked to the place where alone, without ANY human help, grace and mercy is replete, and he got it. It was not the work of a God manipulator, which we can see, but of one who knowing God, pleads only what God has provided for the case, and seeing that the repentance of spirit is the issue (II Corinthians 7:9-10), focuses on this, knowing that mere conformity is no place for grace, but conviction of heart and the open arms of acceptance of the mercy which the heart of God is willing to provide, when there is no tampering and no pretence: and then ONLY in the sacrifice, epitomised, made effective and consummated in Christ alone.

It is a matter of heart and soul, mind and strength, but NOT as a price for salvation, but the way of it! And even that, it is a gift by grace (Ephesians 2). Yet if you lack this, ask for it; and if you do not believe, do not pretend that you do. Faith answers by deeds. When your faith is in Him, you ask Him, and so obtain. It is not a work which has to be done; but a work done, which is to be received.

Christ did it, and did it with all His heart; we receive it: its reception is dramatic with power, since in this, more than any destruction in short compass in any atomic bomb, is all that is needed. Eternity lies within when this is paid! Not a blast but a beauty, this is no package but a Person, and this is no mere man, but God as man, and this is no passing payment, but the script for ever. David saw it and knew it, in advance, in the coming Messiah; but now, He is available with all His beauty of life expressed.

It is thrilling that throughout the millenia, there is one, such a one, and that Christ is that One (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, That Magnificent Rock Chs.  2 and 3). He informs, conforms to necessity for our sake, and works in transforming us who believe, to His likeness by His pastoral graces and as His Spirit moulds us (II Cor. 3:18). When it is GOD who does, there is liberty (II Cor. 3:17), for in the works of man, whether political or domestic, family or racial, philosophic or moral, there is no help at all, nor in any part or degree from oneís own works, self or nature (Romans 7:18).

Despite Davidís one exceedingly brief, but prodigious episode of sin, his life was filled a thoughtfulness and compassion, allied to performance of his royal task, in the midst of persecution as little more than a youth, by a king with thousands of soldiers on his trail. He learned to love the rough and difficult, to groom them, and in his alliance of feeling with their needs, is famed for the episode of the water, drawn from his memoryís desire, a special well known to him. Here his expression of desire for it, led to the loyal work of some of his men, who at risk to their own lives, secured it from the enemy area, and returned to the king, to sate his thirst for more than water, with their devotion.

The amazing king poured it out on the ground, unwilling to participate in anything which endangered their lives, merely for his own! That, it is love.

So too having loved too carelessly his son Absolam, he retired from Jerusalem rather than face the young manís wicked attack, with its likely great devastations there. Moving out with contrition and smallness of heart, accepting shame from such a scorner as chose this, without retaliation; and even then, before the ensuing battle - strategically prepared for in intriguing ways - his heart still checked his hand. DO NOT KILL my son! he told the commander in chief, of the forces about to protect the King from this unnatural assault, that of his son, who had in so doing abused the king, his fatherís mercy, as well his love.

When the young man was nevertheless killed, the king was not so taken in anger at the betrayal, as in grief at the loss:

This stricken lament*2 is like that of David for Saul (II Samuel 1:17ff.), who persecuted him with an evil disregard of appearance, and with the utmost rigour, and for Jonathan, whose comradely courage, faithfulnes and loyalty he so loved. For BOTH he made lament, and for each a word which is amazing in its kindness, whereas only one of these had been good to him.

But now we turn to a king long after the blessed time of David, one preceding Josiah, but quite as famous,

He had something of Davidís amplitude of heart, Josiahís desire for the instruction and deliverance of his people, surrounded by both internal and external foes as with David; but here the decline was arrested, rather than the edifice built. Different tasks are provided for the Lordís people, and no stereotype program of work is present, though the same God with the same mandate, the same truth  and the same mercy is beyond all. Hence is individuality heightened, yet conformity to the one marvel and wonder, the Lord Himself, and His word does not alter.

There is about this royal personage an affability of heart, a pleasantness of bearing, one which indeed misled him in his too ready consent to co-operation with envoys from Babylon (Isaiah 39), which in due course was to sack Jerusalem, which is most endearing. His prayer for some omission of precise requirements in the passover was large-hearted and looked at the meaning of the thing; his entreaty to the Lord for the deliverance of his life from a fatal seeming disease is of an earnestness which reminds one of the mountain moving powers of faith, when it is for a given purpose, accorded (Isaiah 38).

His tenderness of heart, and solace in the Temple from seeking the Lord, as to the provisions He would make when Sennacherib, a Hitler of the day, was threatening the very life of Jerusalem (Isaiah 37), and the close co-operation in all this, with the prophet Isaiah, are a virtual model for righteous rulers, in close co-operation with the Church of Christ, in seeking deliverance from evil, and opportunity to glorify God.

The prophet Isaiah's response to the imperious verbal confrontation set against his people, addressed from Sennacherib, when Hezekiah was  King in Judah, included this buoyancy and beauty of assurance:

"The virgin, the daughter of Zion,
Has despised you, laughed you to scorn;
The daughter of Jerusalem
Has shaken her head behind your back!

"Whom have you reproached and blasphemed ?
Against whom have you raised your voice,
And lifted up your eyes on high ?
Against the Holy One of Israel...

"But I know your dwelling place,
Your going out and your coming in,
And your rage against Me,
Because your rage against Me and your tumult
Have come up to My ears.
 

"Therefore I will put
My hook in your nose
And My bridle in your lips,
And I will turn you back
By the way which you came."
 

Meanwhile, Hezekiah's earnest desire even for those in long apostate Samaria, ruined already by invasion, is most poignantly seen in his sending messengers, before the great revivalist passover, INTO ISRAEL, in the North, seeking that they too should come (II Chronicles 30:6ff.), and depart from the follies of their fathers and the idolatries which, like those of Rome now, were so popular and so entrenched.

Like Samaria, Rome too is to be sacked (cf. SMR pp. 946, 956, Ch. 6 above). It is well, if love at all remains in the heart, to be concerned for those who are in her, better out (Revelation 18:4-5 cf. SMR pp. 946-955).

It is good and beautiful to see the entreaties, as from Hezekiah, for those astray are also people and much to be desired, in all compassion, is their deliverance in ANY Age from idolatry, their rescue (Hebrews 2:1ff.); for what sin in its blindness, here calls presumption, is love.
(Cf. A Question of Gifts pp. 69ff.). The use of force, as so often, as if to quench it, is simply the casting away of - if you will - the only antibiotic for the case. It can be done; much can be done. Those who persist in it are undone. Hezekiah persisting in appeal, and used all his power to seek, beyond convention, with the sure, clear eye of faith and love.

But what may be exposed concerning

With his flaming understanding and impenitent piety in Christ the key, king and basis, he stands like a Niagara among the drains, in the midst of an evil Jerusalem, concerned for its traditions, again just like Rome (Mark 7:7), its authority and its own ways. The fact that the Bible had long predicted the very Messiah whom they so meticulously murdered, seemed to weigh not at all compared with their lust for office, security, pomp, enrichment, importance and such things, which Christ so fearlessly and authentically exposed as seen  in Matthew 23.

When harried and misrepresented, the norm when there is no answer as one has often enough found, Stephen faced the unruly murderers of Jerusalem, out in force in this case, to extinguish so bright a flame, remove so popular and tender-hearted an exponent of the love of God, in his office as deacon, such a man of faith. What came then ?

As the martyr indicted their chronic resistance to the truth, with its long pedigree, his face shining like that of an angel, his logic unanswerable, in the very face of death, he not only bore with their slow murder, a fitting addition to that of his Master, the Redeemer, in the servant, the preacher. It did not last for hours, as His, but the pelting of stones until death came, continued while he expressed his spirit's desire. Indeed, he prayed, modelled on the only Saviour, "Lord do not lay this sin to their charge!" (Acts 7:60) just as Christ entreated, "Father, forgiven them for they do not know what they are doing!" (Luke 23:34).

It is part of the beauty of holiness that vindictiveness is not to be found in it, that the welfare even of persecutors is not forgotten if it may be obtained, as you see too in Corrie ten Boom, when she prayed for her guards in the heinous horrors of her internment, interment, incarceration with such mindless frenzy, that her saintly sister died in continual deprivation, just as her Jew-helping father did, because of his escape route for those persecuted. Likewise, her devotion and dedication to a ministry of reconciliation, including Christian fellowship with one of the guards, whom she later met after a Church service, and the performance of a huge work internationally for many years, this instead of bitterness or revenge, is of the same cast.
 
 

REFLECTION

Thus everything emphatically does NOT go on as since the beginning of Creation (II Peter 3:4). Lives of godliness, virtue, grace and in the beauty of holiness adorn the Cross from which they take their resource (Galatians 6:14 cf. The Kingdom of Heaven, Appendix), with the resurrection (Ephesians 1:19), its counterpart, as sun and moon. Evils mount like giant breakers, while sandstone rocks are eroded as fraud is exposed, bridges fall, like London Bridge near Port Campbell in Victoria, and many things are made manifest (Luke 2;35). Such is the way with Christ: nothing is left in doubt in the end. That was one part, as Simeon here shows, of the plan of God for His Son, the only Saviour, God incarnate via the incarnation.

Accordingly, the courage, character, holiness, power and provisions for the people of God continue in the very midst of a confusion which is surely a diabolical device to act as an anaesthetic to those who want to avoid the perils, but not admit it to the mind! It does not work; but it is, like so much else, tried!

It is the unchanged God, with His word, by His Christ, through His Spirit, who goes on, till the Church is called home, the millenium shows His brilliance and His mercy direct, and the whole world - first  "filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2), is burned up (II Peter 3, Isaiah 51:6).

This our world was never ordered except by design, that multiplied designs; it never ran except for purpose, or turned except by program. THIS program, however (see News 87) includes the pathway of liberty, the agents to the incarnation, the prophets, the authors by inspiration of these words, the immediate prophet, greater than a prophet as Christ declared, John the Baptist, the predictions amplified in history, as expressed in word centuries before. it has included as centrepiece and masterpiece,  the all prevailing Christ Himself, replete with power and fulfilment in word, deed and marvel, compassion, constancy and inveterate victory, followed in His providence and appointment, by the apostolic team, the New Testament scriptures, the orderly fulfilment of the least as of the greatest of its words; and in the midst of all this, there has appeared the presentation from the Lord, empirically blessed, the testimony not only of word, but of love and mercy, life and service.

This is IN TERMS OF IT, not as a substitute. The SPIRIT of the thing is crucial, free, guarded by love, infilled with divine mercy, resting on the LORD HIMSELF ONLY (Luke 14:27ff., Romans 3:23ff., Titus 3:5ff.).

There is one Christ, one beginning, one end, and one salvation. The world is spilling out of its place, like an aristocrat in the French Revolution, ready for death, being dragged into horror; but in this case, it is not in the grip of necessity, though it is ordained and foreknown: it is not this which now forces sin, for it wilfully remains in that grip of sin which produces necessity.

How refreshing the love of Christ, which stands firm in the midst of the evil stampede of foolish politics, vacuous morals, self-contradictory systems and rancid rebellion against the Maker, as if His wishes were a dead letter, and His works not seen because of a modish macular degeneration of the spiritual eyes! The bridge from the mainland of heaven to this terrestrial orb remains as ever, and the crossing of it, in the faith in Christ and His salvation ONLY, with no addition by church or man or philosophy (Ephesians 2:1-12, Romans 3:23ff., 5:1-12), remains as secure as ever.

The oceans can rage, but as with the new bridge from the Canadian mainland to Prince Edward Island, so convenient, so delightful, instead of ice-breaking ferries in Winter, it is a construction most costly, most expertly enabling the crossing. Christ, unlike this bridge however, had died and dies no more; is risen to operate, and the knowledge of Him is not merely a doctrinal necessity:
it is a living reality, equipped with power for the work which He assigns. To know Him, now as always, and as so well put in I Peter 1:8, remains joy inexpressible. It also involves power adequate (II Peter 1:2-4).

Living persons are like that: if they are a delight, you know it because you find them so.

As to God, He is the author of them all, and in Him is no iniquity, no pretence, no unreliability under ANY circumstances. Able to discipline, He also develops disciples, whose lives have the fragrance that is His, albeit imperfect, yet characteristic (II Cor. 2:15, 3:18).
 
 

        NOTES

*1

In fact, several of our illustrative examples are in this or that feature or focus, what is called

TYPES of CHRIST.

This means simply that their exemplification of this or that feature of His magnificence, His character, or even His provisions, is so intimate to the heart and mind of God, that they are like patterns from that source. It does not mean that they represent redemption to the slightest degree, for as Psalm 49 so trenchantly indicates, NO MAN can redeem his brother, but (Psalm 49:7) the redemption is from GOD.

Nevertheless, there is a subtlety of colour, a textural reminder, and some give in historical circumstances, some notation which speaks of Christ.

Thus Daniel Ö let us be schematic:

1)  was in trouble from envy, as was Christ (Matthew 27:18).

2)  was attacked by those supposed to help in the rule of the King (Daniel 6).

3)  was the object of subtle plotting, plans of moral ignominy and enormity.

4)  was consigned to what seemed an "end" so that others could rule untouched.

5)  was rescued only by a miracle of the first order.

6)  had even a stone placed over the mouth of the place of His incarceration, and

7)  suffered a seal placed on it, as with Christís tomb, by the King.

8)  had an early morning visit by one who cared for him.

9)  faced the question, in all this, WOULD His Father deliver Him ? Just as the mockers at the crucifixion POSED this question, as a taunt, LET HIM deliver him, they lacerated with angry lips, since He delighted in Him! so that King of ancient times asked Daniel expressly, HAS your God whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you ? In each case, the answer was YES, Daniel not touched by the lions, Christ dead, as a vital difference, but resurrected ON TIME, on the third day (cf. SMR Ch.6), just as His death was itself on time, as by the prior prescription BY DANIEL! (Daniel 9, cf. SMR pp. 886ff.). This provides an added feature, arithmetically unique, personally marvellous.

10)  rose to eminence afterwards, and endured long, Daniel through various rules, always esteemed greatly, Christ for ever.

Esther as a type of Christ is similarly delightful, instructive, and again, the ease and facility, fertility and grace of these typings is, like the exquisite artisanship in flowers, just that wonder of the exquisite which is the special function of truth. Like snow crystals in their amazing patterns, or desert flowers in their invisible smallness, requiring magnification, like stars in their abundance, the sheer spectacle of power that knows no rein, these things attest the sublimity of infinity, indeed the One past all counting.

Let us parallel Danielís contribution with her own.
 

1)  She was chosen for a task, being specially fitted for it.

2)  She was able to help ONLY if she were willing to die.

3)  She was willing, but ONLY when all prevailing in prayer (cf. Hebrews 5:7) had been wrought.

4)  She was willing to suffer more than once (Christ suffered as in Luke 11:53-54, often before the payment of ransom by death was made, as in Colossians 1:22).

5)  She did not allow her victory to be merely personal or formal, but used power to prevail in the deliverance of her people thoroughly, just as Christ, rising from the dead, and having all power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 26:19ff.), has for generations and millenia enabled and ennobled His people.

6)  She had to face a LAW which COULD NOT BE ALTERED, just as the justice of the law of God was faced by Christ, not to overthrow it, but, as ransom, to meet vicariously for others, its requirements.

7)  She secured another LAW from the King, one which allowed the first, still inviolate, not to crush here people, but rather delivered them; just as it is written of Christ, in Romans 8:2, that "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death".

8)  She was tenderly brought up by Mordecai, as Christ by His parents, and he was aware of the peril she must face, just as was Mary relative to Christ (Luke 1:34-35).

9)  She had a special grace and appeal, past all, as Christ in spirit, beyond all; and whereas His was sinless perfection, that of the incarnate God, hers yet was an indirect testimonial to the beauty and grace, unadorned, which in another mode and day, relate.

10)  She overthrew a plot against her people, effective for as many as took hold of the deliverance.
 

Others could be considered, but these might here suffice. Yet there are very many, of whom Joseph is most famous. Let us therefore add this one also:

In his case, we shall then add a further but different kind of compilation.

1)  Josephís brothers (for Christ, His people), turned against him,

2)  sold Him to slavery and implicit possible death, and

3)  they turned to Him, being then received MOST graciously, and with great affection and understanding in a pardon which was neither pompous nor forced, but natural and most expressive in depth and devotion. These brothers in this are represented by those who in fact receive Christ, as many as come. In that case, all came.

4)  Joseph meanwhile, like Christ, had a place as plenipotentiary from the King,

5)  not realised by His brothers, till they found Him in it!

6)  His foresight, like that concerning the Christ (cf. Acts 2:23), and that within Him, led to His victory according to plan: for him, in Egypt, and

7)  at last, through him only, for his people.

8)  So too, Christís victory over death (attested so graphically in Hosea 13:14 and Psalm 16, Isaiah 25:8 and Psalm 2, 22) is the only way any who have lost Him through sin (and none is without sin) may find Him.

9)  Yet, finding Him where He is, is a matter of bounty, in which NO contribution is required, but the person coming, in repentance, receiving Him in faith, as Josephís brothers received him (I Peter 1:18-19, Ephesians 2:1-12, Titus 3:5ff.).

10)  This finding by some, and by all who believing, receive Him as He is (for some other named Joseph would profit his brothers not at all, but become a curse through an active delusion cf. II Cor. 11), led to a LAND becoming theirs. While that was temporary, so was Joseph a sinner in a pilgrimage; but in difference due to the infinite in this case, there has to be an expansion! THIS LAND for the Christian is for ever, one in which he/she is citizen of the commonwealth of heaven (Philippians 3:21). ITS times do not end, nor will it, unlike Egypt, be abased (Daniel 7:14, Revelation 22).


Nevertheless, as with Egypt, so on the earth, there is to be famine, yes a devastating time before the end. The difference here is this: there is no famine in the hearts of the children of God, for whom His grace in the intervening trials is abundantly sufficient.
 

*2

The lament intimately reminds us of a point in which David acts as a type of Christ. When, as seen in Luke 19:42ff., Christ weeps over the Jerusalem which He had served, sought to help, in which He had so severely rebuked the main enemies, and for which He had such heart. It would not come so it must go! At that decades were appointed for that time would come, in A.D. 70, at the heartless hand of Rome. The heartless so readily inherit the same, and it is only of the mercies of God that it is ever later rather than sooner. But let us hear this lament, and see how that of David is a type for it, though his was for one, Christ's for all:
 

Thus He spoke to His city.

How many, highhanded, have failed to heed the love and wisdom of God, in their day of visitation, and thus to the servants of God warn them, exhort, and teach, preach and entreat ...