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original that did not set forth and maintain this great cardinal truth, however imperfectly its beautiful arpendages might be restored.
Now, in 2 Timothy, there are four forms of opposition; not one of them similar to the opposition which the church encountered when it was first set up. The first is the turning away of all that are in Asia. The chief scene of the apostle's labours has become the place (like Bethel of old, which becamo Bethaven) where there is the greatest alienation from him. Secondly, "profane and vain babblings .... their word will eat, as doth a canker.” Thirdly, “as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth : men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” Fourthly, “they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Now two of these are the ordinary forms of opposition; and the two latter, the forms which obtain in “difficult times.”
The Lord grant that we may lay it to heart that unless we can overcome the present form of Satanic opposition, which has sprung up side by side with us, and which we are in a measure answerable for, because springing up from within, we shall not be able to be, in any degree, true to the calling of God; that is, we shall not be among those who have "a little strength, and have “kept my word,” and “not denied my name.”
May our hearts be awakened to see how much we should gain, like Israel of old, by being sensible that the Lord is on our side, and though His support would not be as ostensible the thunder in their day, yet it would not be less sure or efficacious. May we know the great blessedness of being succoured by Him, the sense of what Paul enjoyed when he could say, “the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” Blessed indeed to know Him so near, and to have our hearts assured that we are maintaining with unrelaxing vigour, what His own heart is set for.
THE CHARACTER AND
ATTITUDE OF THOSE WHO KNOW THE WORD OF THE
ZECHARIAH XI. 11.
It is with the moral teaching of the passage rather than with its dispensational and primary application, I am now dealing. With regard to the latter, it may be well to say that the subject evidently is the history of Israel in connection with Christ. Jehovah takes up the case of His desolate people and flock. There was no compassion in their own shepherds towards them ; it is very blessed to see that while the nation is handed over to reap the fruit of its own ways and sins, Jehovah, in the infinite compassion of His heart, cares for the poor and oppressed of His people, but the nation as such are left to themselves, Jehovah gives up for the time being the inheritance of the Gentiles, it is in His earthly people He is to possess it. Then it is we find that the poor of the flock are they who recognise the fulfilment of the prophetic word in those ways of Jehovah. So much for the literal application of the passage. Now the moral bearing of this is of the deepest moment for our souls in these days, for there are now morally as then in the history of Israel, “the poor of the flock.” How blessed to think of this divine characteristic! it carries one's thoughts at once to Matthew V.; the very first mark of that which meets the mind of God in a world where all has departed from Him, is poverty of spirit--that which is in no sense indigenous to man or the earth, that which so far from being promoted, is suppressed and hindered by all that obtains amongst men and in the age. Poverty of spirit is only found in those who are broken, those who are down in the dust before the Lord, as their rightful place. Alas! how little of it is to be seen, how much of the opposite; self-elevation and self-assertion, a determination to maintain self at all costs; lowliness of mind and humility of mind, are not virtues of the present moment or age; on the contrary, high-mindedness and pride, alas! prevail to a sad extent. How blessed to dwell upon that which is kindred to the thoughts of God, that which He takes pleasure in, and that which has ever met His mind from the very first. But further, this spirit has, as it were, its own surroundings and atmosphere; it grows and flourishes far away from that which is found amongst men. It is impossible to maintain poverty of spirit if men and the world are mingled with. “ All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world "--these are the principles and objects governing in the world, and none else beside. It is a solemn question for conscience and heart, how far apart from such a sphere do we walk? May the Lord exercise each of us before Himself as to this.