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years, and not one could He find that sought God, and then He brought in the second Man, the One who said, "A body hast thou prepared me-Lo, I come to do thy will, o God.” That blessed Man is now before God in all the value of that one act of accomplished subsisting righteousness-His obedience unto death; and the abounding of grace has placed the believer in that same righteousness before God, so that he has become the righteousness of God in Him. Can we look up to heaven and say, as those having thus received abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, “I am before God in Christ in all the value of that one accomplished righteousness in which He is there” ? and ought we not further to say,
" The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all then were all dead, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again” | Has not the Lord bound us up with Himself, not on the untenable ground of a people whose status was fleshly, but as righteously alive to God on the ground of that one act of right eousness in which the flesh was condemned and set aside ?
Is the Lord less jealous in His love towards us than He was towards Israel of old, in that having bound us up with Himself, “whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, we should do all to the glory of God”? The Corinthians had to be reminded, even as to holy things, that“the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ?" The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ? But if the Lord has brought us to himself, not according to the measure of grace which each may possess, but according to the grace of God which is by One Man, Jesus Christ, is it allowable that we should make a wide distinction between religious and secular things, as is the common practice of Christendom; or should not Christ be the Object, not only in the communion of the secret of His tabernacle, but also in every act of daily life, so that it should partake of the character of the communion of the peace-offering? “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Col. iii. 17.)
T. H. R.
THOUGHTS FOR THIS DAY.
POWER OR DECLENSION.
POWER is moral superiority over evil as it presents itself. Declension is when I retreat, because of present influence, from any principle or position which I had accepted. If I walk in the Spirit, I shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. This is power. The work of faith with power is the ability to rise above the temptation or hindrance as it occurs. It is not 'merely like a strong man exulting in his known strength, but it is, as it were, occult, until an occasion for its manifestation
Thus faith is always power,
In declension God is not before the soul, and there is generally an impression that one is attaining to something much to be desired for oneself. It was plainly declension with Eve, when she ate of the forbidden fruit, but at the moment she was lured and captivated with the gain which she thought she was securing
Adam was in power when he called her name Eve. When in any strait I rise to God, and act for Him, it is power.
There may be declension, though I do not leave the ground I have taken with God. There is declension in Lot when, departing from Abram, he chooses the well-watered plain ; he does not leave Canaan, but he seeks what would suit himself. God is not before him. This is a very deceptive form of declension, because, while there is no apparent departure from the true ground, there is the attempt to acquire a position of advantage for oneself. If Ananias was true in joining the disciples, declension had set in when he sought to gain credit for a devotedness which was not true. Power, on the other hand, advances ; it is a race, as it were ; and, as difficulties arise, they are surmounted. Abram returns to the land. It is a signal act of power to retrace one's steps. It is like ascending a steep one has fallen down. He came back to the spot from which he had departed; where faith ceased, faith or power resumes its course.
It is of deep importance to note, how readily one acting in great power may decline. The fact that declension is so near, and so easy, constrains us to say, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” We see in Jacob the history of many. Restored, by divine favour, to the land, and blessed in a very special way there, when he is in great prosperity, declension marks him ; he settles at Shalem. He did not think there was any declension in his doing
This is one of the worst forms of it. He was still in the land, and he was true to the blessing he had received ; he had an altar, El-elohe-Israel ; there was nothing outwardly to mark declen