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surmounted when the remnant would rise up to God's calling. In every conflict it is of all importance, after we are assured of our resources, to know where the enemy is in his strongest position and greatest force. The seven nations are Satanic, so are the Philistines Satanic; but their opposition is of a later date. They rose into power as Israel declined. They were the power of the enemy in a new form, an opposition to Israel after they had settled in the land. When we come to apply this to our own time, I trust we shall see more definitely the nature of the power which the Philistines express. At all events, we see from this chapter (1 Sam. vii.), that this power must be overcome in order that they might return to the substance of the original. Samuel first exhorts them to be separate
.“ Put away the strange gods from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only." This is the first great step. There is no hope unless this step is fully and honestly taken. The grace, which
enables us to separate from corrupting associations, is the pledge to us, that being personally set free from the idols of our own hearts, we shall, through the same grace, be delivered from the power of evil which would overwhelm us from without. I do not dilate on the instructive process by which the Philistine power was broken. It is enough for my present purpose, that this power was thoroughly broken, and that “Eben-ezer" is the monument to record the glorious fact.
Let us now try to apply the principle we have learned from 1 Samuel vii. to our own time.
A divine principle must get its place in every divine teaching. We may note in passing, that the remnant who came up from Babylon were not primarily opposed by those who had carried them captive, but by enemies who had arisen after they had begun to build the temple : a new form of opposition from their very neighbours. We learn from the Book of Haggai, that the captives who had endured so much in order, as the true remnant, to restore the temple-were so overpowered and leavened by this new opposition, that for sixteen years they had ceased to rebuild it, and on that account had forfeited their own blessing. The principle we have learned in 1 Samuel vii., is corroborated here-namely, that it is not the ordinary foe we have to contend with, but with a new form of adversary, concurrent with the purpose of heart to be faithful to our calling
In our Lord's time we find that the greatest opposition to Him, who surely was “The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in," was from the Pharisees; those who assumed to stand most for God, were the greatest opponents to “God manifest in the flesh.”
Now, when we come to the church period, we shall find that the enemies who opposed the Christians at the first, are not the same, as to appearance or character, as those who oppose and hinder the testimony in this day; that is, that the opposition to the remnant is of a different character to the opposition which was waged against the church when first presented here on the earth. The Jews, or in a word, the world, the form in which the enemy assailed and persecuted the church in its first or original beauty, is not the form in which the remnant is assailed
The apostle Paul had warned the elders of Ephesus, that “from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” We find, that subsequent to this, in 1 Timothy iv., the apostle warns Timothy of the spurious sanctity which would be advocated; and this, while he was at Ephesus, where the assembly was instructed in the highest truth. Also in chapter vi., the apostle denounces those who consider that gain, or advancement here is godliness. Thus a new form of opposition would spring from a corrupt use of Christianity, in a way that would supply to the natural man a weapon for its own destruction. This is a very serious form of opposition;
consequently we find afterwards, that the church in Ephesus is censured for losing its first love, while still proof against the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. I gather from this that there is always declension personally, before there is a break-down corporately.
Let us now learn from scripture, definitely, the form in which we are being assailed at this time, in order that we may at least know what we have to resist. The Second Epistle to Timothy furnishes us with the varied forms of opposition arrayed against any who would in any measure maintain the calling of God. There is always, as I might say, some cardinal truth in every original. For instance, the land was the prominent thing until the building of the temple ; and the temple from Haggai's_time down to the descent of the Holy Ghost, embracing our Lord's presence here as the real temple. Since then, the church as the house of God, His assembly, the body of Christ, is the cardinal truth, and nothing could be the remnant of the