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for me has been much spoken against. Although thy spirit and thy conduct were nearest my mind, still thou hast been much despised; thy very name which I gave thee, and by which thou wert known among the churches, was expressive of the trial of thy faith. I know thy patience. Thy faith has not failed thee; thou hast endured unto the end the fiery trial through which I brought thee, that thou mightest be purified and made white and tried. Thou shalt not lose thy reward, but let patience have her perfect work. I know thy present works. Thou art now spirit and life; thou art waiting as one expecting the master; thou hast done much, thou art doing more, and thou art still pressing forward towards the mark of the prize of the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus your Lord. Thy last works are more than thy first works; thou art a fruitful branch united to me the true vine; thou wert bearing fruit, and my Father the husbandman purged thee that thou mightest bring forth more fruit; thy career has been a noiseless one; thy brethren know not the good thou hast done; thou didst it in the way I desire all my churches to act; thou didst not cry, nor lift up, nor cause thy voice to be heard in the street; still thou wert in me, and I was in thee; and although the world could not discern thy heavenly beauty because it is spiritually discerned, I know it, and I have blessed thee, and I will bless thee more and more, and thou shalt be unto me a peculiar treasure. I know thee well.
To the church nearest perfection the Lord makes Himself known as the Son of God. We are here taught a very important truth. We approach the consideration of a mystery great and marvellous; and let those to whom spiritual discernment is not fully given, beware of contending against the truth. The times of men's ignorance God has winked at, but He now commandeth all men, every where, to repent. “ Whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded : and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Phil. iii. 15, 16.) Who is the Son of God? The apostle Paul answers the question. It is He by whom God “hath in these last days spoken unto us, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when He had by Himself purged our sins sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. i. 2, 3.) “ Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” (Phil. ii. 6.) Our Redeemer, the Eternal Son of God, the only-begotten Son of God, the first-born of every creature, the Word of God, is Jehovah of Hosts, the great and Almighty Lord, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. The nature of the one living and true God, even our own God, and His eternal purpose, are revealed and declared in the two first verses of Scripture. “ In the beginning," that is, in Christ His Son, “God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen. i. 1, 2.) There is here revealed the glorious trinity of persons, in the one nature of Jehovah—God, the Son, and the Spirit. The Life, the Word, and the Will of Jehovah. The Life of Jehovah is not, cannot, never was, and never will be separate or distinct from the Word and the Will of Jehovah. The Word of Jehovah is not, cannot, never was, and never will be separate or distinct from the Life and the Will of Jehovah. The Word is the express image of God; in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily: but He sayeth nothing of Himself, what He hath seen with God, for the Word was with God; that He declareth. He doeth nothing of Himself; but the Word being God, worketh the works of God, according to the Will of God; therefore, the Son saith, “ If I, with the finger of God, with the power of God, with the Spirit of God, cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come unto you.?' The Spirit or the Will of God is not, cannot, never was, and never will be separate from the Life of God and the Word of God. The Life and the Word are one. “I and my Father are one,” saith the Lord. The Spirit is sent by the Life in the name of the Word; for “ He is the Comforter whom the Father will send in my name.” (John xiv. 26.) He is also sent by the Word, from the Life; and He is the Spirit or Will of the Word proceeding from the Life, and is a Witness of the Word. “ When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me,” saith the Son. (John xv. 26.) There is then but one God, and it is not strictly proper to say that there are three persons; for the word person implies a separate and distinct nature: whereas, there is but one person, one nature, and one God, from everlasting to everlasting, immutably one and the same. Still, speaking after the manner of men, no other word conveys a more accurate idea of the glorious and holy One, who is fearful in praises, doing wonders. In the counsel of God, the eternal purpose was to create the heaven and the earth. In that
purpose they were created before they actually had a being; for God calleth those things that be not as though they
The material heaven and the material earth are but figures of the true heaven and the true earth, both which are states of intelligent being; the heaven representing the angelic world, and the earth the human family. Be it observed, that in Christ God created both these. “ But the earth was without form, and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” This material chaos, confusion, and darkness, is a figure of the state of being of those who are carnal, sold under sin, whose god is their belly, whose end is destruction, and who mind earthly things. “ The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep.” Whither can we flee from the presence of the Spirit of the Lord ? If we make our bed in hell, He is there. Thus then is the nature and purpose of Jehovah revealed and declared in the two first verses of Scripture. Hear what is written by the prophet Isaiah, “ Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from the ancient times the things which are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I also will bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isa. xlvi. 9-11.) Let it be observed, it is said, God created the heaven and the earth; but it is only said, the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. This a very important distinction: the
two former are the work of God, called into being by His creative Word. The latter was, that is, resulted from the execution of His purpose, but was not part of His creation. The creation of angels, and the fall of a third portion of them, has already been spoken of. Then it was that the ravenous bird—the great destroyerappeared in the east, and has continued from the east, that is, from the time the Sun of Righteousness arose in the angelic world, when God bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, and saith, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” He has continued, and was to continue unto the west-the time of the end. Nevertheless, the man to execute God's counsel was called from the land that was then afar off. God called both the destroyer and the man.
“ And God said, let us make man after our own image, and in our own likeness.” (Gen. i. 26.) This is a declaration of the purpose of God, concerning the creation and destiny of man. God's purpose was, and is, to make man like Himself, after His own image, and in His own likeness. God's purpose is, that all whom He created become partakers of the divine nature. God's purpose is, to make all whom He has created gods; every man and every woman a god: without father and without mother, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God by the power of an endless life. Therefore it is written,-“Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.” (Rom. viii. 29.) We know that the Son of God is the brightness of glory, and the express image of God's person. He is the brightness of glory; that is, He is God, the only God living and true,