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spiritual temple. All the hammering is done now; as the flesh is broken down, and set aside by the growth of grace, we are accordingly a fit material for His temple. It is plain that no one practically gets rid of the flesh as a whole here; but as it is set aside, and grace in the power of Christ's life supersedes it, we are accordingly of that measure and size ; and thus one stone differs from another stone : but the preparation goes on now. That alone will remain which is of Christ.
The other reason for leaving us here is that we may serve Him. He has been rejected here ; we are the members of His body, and we are never truly happy in divine joy, but as we are true to this most intimate relationship to Him. The more I am through the Spirit in this relationship, the better I do everything, and the better I fulfil every duty and relationship here. The nearer I am to the Lord (see Eph.), the better do I behave myself in every ordinance of God, because it is of God. Once the heart is convinced of the great reality of this relationship, there is a growing readiness to part company with everything which would interfere with it. Though “no infant's changing pleasure is like my wandering mind, God's Spirit in my heart keeps it assured of the blessedness of my great relationship to Him, to whom I owe everything; and thus the two reasons for my remaining in this world mutually help one another. One's christian life here, is therefore most interesting, and incomparably beautiful, for it is all of God, in the midst of the greatest incongruities.
The Lord keep us more simply subject to Him in everything, and thus we shall find that the ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness and peace.
THOUGHTS FOR THIS DAY.
THE PRESENT OPPOSITION. IN 2 Timothy we are given the varied influences which hinder and mar the truth. The first is, that “all who are in Asia . ... have turned
have turned away from me." (Paul.) The fact that those among whom the apostle had laboured chiefly should turn away from him, necessarily had a very injurious effect on souls. Those who had not known him, and who had heard of his teaching, must be shaken in their minds as to the validity of it, when those who had heard him first and most turned away
from him. If I turn away from a teacher when I have only first heard him, it may be alleged that I have not understood him ; but when those who had known him well turned away from him, after having received from him the deepest truth, they must have been perverted by direct Satanic agency.
It is a different thing to be slow or unwilling to receive a truth, and to renounce and abandon it after having received it. In the one case I have not as yet felt in my conscience the divine verity of it; in the other, after having received it as the truth of God, I have deliberately abandoned it. There cannot be any growth until this retrogression has been confessed and relinquished; whereas, if I have never received it, there is still hope that the word may be effectual. The former case is of the character of the sow that was washed, and hence it is better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." A truth may be refused, without a surrender of conscience, but when truth once accepted has been given up, then the conscience has been corrupted and over-ridden.
We can hardly conceive anything more damaging to one earnest about the truth, than to find that those ho had long received it, and from the best teacher, should now, quite openly and avowedly give up the teacher, for with the teacher, all that was identified with him is surrendered and abandoned. The impression, which such a surrender would leave on the mind is, that the truth with which Paul was identified, was, after all, only of high pretension
and little moral weight, and without a divine hold on the heart. It is a great success to the enemy when any renounce the truth which they had accepted, because it gives the impression that it was not morally true; that it was found to be chimerical. This is like the ten spies who commended the land, but said that to possess it was untenable and impracticable-a depreciation which weighs with those who seek excuse to escape from their responsibility.
To "the man of God” at such a juncture, the word is, “Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me, his prisoner.” It is a most critical time w there is defection all around; as in the days of Shammah, when the people fled from the Philistines, but he stood in the midst of the ground and defended it, and slew the Philistines.” (2 Sam. xxiii. 11, 12.) Like a tree that has blossomed well, has made a great show, but a blight has fallen on it; the power of the tree is tested, and the result is that