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The most exalted saint is no more a child of God than the weakest and most imperfect believer. The difference between the two is a difference of fellowship, and not a difference of birthright. Our acceptance with God does not lie along a sliding scale of frames and feelings, but is grounded on the unchangeable life and love of Him who is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." Those who savingly believe therefore are the sons of God without condition, and all stand on exactly the same plane of acceptance and privilege in the household of faith. A child may be disobedient, but he does not thereby cease to be his father's son; and a Christian may lose his joy and his assurance, but that does not cancel his birthright and throw him back into spiritual orphanage. But we must add, lest we should seem to lean towards Antinomian license, that there will be a vast difference in the rewards of the children of God, both as to their present joy and their future glory; and this difference will depend upon the fellowship and faithfulness which they maintain in their walk with God.

Let us clearly discern the exact connection of these two facts, therefore, and lay a strenuous emphasis on each. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God."* If sons of God we certainly have the indestructible life of God. And so in spite of the plausibility of the arguments for the contrary view,

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we must still hold fast to the doctrine of "the perseverance of the saints ; or as it might be more justly expressed, of the perseverance of the Saviour. Not because faith has the tenacity to hold fast to the end, but because faith makes us partakers of the eternal life which holds us fast unto the end. For how can the eternal life perish, and if that life has become our life how can we perish? Adoption may be annulled, but birth cannot be; and hence those who have been begotten of God cannot die so long as God lives. Is there such a thing as becoming "I give

unborn for those who have been newborn? unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand," is Christ's promise. And incarnation and regeneration are the two bonds by which He has secured this promise. For through the first He has become partaker of our human nature, and carried it up into heaven; and through the second we have been made partakers of the divine nature, which, could we be lost, we should have to carry down into hell.*

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* Tauler, the mystic, tells of a poor peasant from whom he gained deep instruction in spiritual things. To his searching question, “But what would you say if God should damn you? "If God would damn me?" said the poor man ; "verily if He would use me so hardly, I have two arms to embrace; the one whereof is a deep humility by which I am united to His holy humanity; the other is faith and charity, which joins me to His Divinity, by which I would embrace Him in such sort that He should be constrained to descend with me into hell, and I had rather without comparison be in hell with God, than without Him in Paradise."-Tauler, 1290–1361.

But next to the gift of sonship, which calls out the Apostle's exultant thanksgiving, is that of fellowship. "And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." In sonship we have life; in fellowship we have more abundant life: in the one we get our place as "accepted in the Beloved"; in the other we get our power as anointed with the Holy Ghost: on the one depends our salvation; on the other depends our sanctification. Now communion or fellowship implies a reciprocal intercourse with God. By it we not only abide in Christ, but Christ abides in us; we not only ask, but we receive; we not only give ourselves to God, but God imparts Himself to us. And the Holy Spirit is the medium of this communion. atmosphere stands between us and the sun, the transparent element through which we behold its brightness, and through which its warmth is transmitted to us, so the Holy Ghost mediates between us and Christ. “He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you,' "* says Jesus. Here is one sidethe communication of the life and love and joy of the Lord to us. "The Spirit maketh intercession for us." Here is the other side-the communication of our needs and sorrows, our praises and confessions to the Lord. And both these ideas are involved in full communion with Christ.

As the

To establish this fellowship we make use, first of all, of the Scriptures, which are the inspired organ † Rom. viii. 26.

* John xvi. 15.

of the Holy Ghost. And it is very important for us to see that the most direct and intelligible means of communion is the word of God. Meditation, contemplation, aspiration-these are very vague and unsatisfactory exercises when attempted alone. Thought, like the vine, needs a trellis on which to climb, in order to mount up into the sunlight. We require God's Word as a support and uplift in order that we may think God's thoughts after Him. And we are sure that the most substantial and most satisfactory intercourse which we can have with the Lord is attained in this way.

Rev. William Haslam, the well-known evangelist, in referring to that remarkable crisis in his ministry when he gained the power of the Holy Ghost as he had never known it before, says :

"A book came into my hands which interested me greatly. This I read and re-read, and made an abstract of it. It was the 'Life of Adelaide Newton.' What struck me in it so much was to find that this lady was able to hold spiritual communion with God by means of a Bible only. Is it possible, I thought, to hold such close communion with the Lord apart from the Church and her ministrations? I do not hesitate to say that this was the means under God of stripping off some remains of my grave-clothes, and enabling me to walk in spiritual liberty."

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The lady to whom he refers was one of the excellent of the earth, in whom we may believe the Lord delighted. Her expositions of Hebrews and

*"From Death Unto Life," p. 59.

of the Song of Solomon are among the best specimens of devotional study with which we are acquainted. Here we find affection and meditation climbing up to the Lord along His promises and precepts. And as we read, we learn the true secret of communion. Unsustained contemplation soon tires; but that which mounts up to God along the scala sancta of Scripture renews its strength at every step. It has such secure foothold that it never falters or grows dizzy; and thus it escapes the peril of fanaticism and pious dreaming. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts," saith the Lord. We cannot reach God's thoughts, therefore, by meditation or reflection alone. We may tarry all night in the fields like Jacob, but unless we know the Scriptures we have not the ladder whose top reaches unto heaven, along which our thoughts like angels may ascend and descend.

And next to God's recorded thoughts, the highest aid to communion will be found in the spiritual contemplations of His saints. Each believer needs the help of every other in order to any measure of apprehension of God. "That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge," is the fervent prayer of the Apostle. Each son of God has some

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