Handfuls on Purpose Book B By James Smith
Handfuls on Purpose
Christian Workers and Bible Students
Outlines, Readings, Studies, Thoughts,
Book B.INDEX OF SUBJECTS.
N OTES ON THE T A B E R N A C L E. Pact
The Setting Up, . . 9 Request, The Divine:’ 10
Pattern, The, . . 10 Materials, The, 11 Principal Workman, T%e, 11 Foundation, The, . . 12 Boards, The, . . . . 12 Bars, The, Setting Up, T&i, . . 13 . . 14 Purpose, The, . . 14 Coverings, The, . . 15 Pillar of Cloud, The, Pins and Cords, The,’ a 4: Gate, The, Brazen Altar, The, . . 24 . . 26 Ashes, The, . . . . 29 Blood, The, . . . . 30 Fire, The, . . . . 31 Laver, The, . . . . 32 Door, The, . . . . 38 Creation, . . 43 Sabbath, Tde’ Crea%‘ s, . . 45 Garden of Eden, The, . . 47 Marriage, The First, . . 49 Fall of Man, The, . . . . 50 Cain and Abel, Noah Saved from Wrath, : : 52 54 Altar and the Bow, The, . . 56 Babel, The Tower of, . . 58 Abraham, Call of, 60 . . in Canaan. :: 61 . . ,,
in Egypt,. 64 the Separated dde, 66 the Man of Faith, 67
,# Encouraged, . . 69
., Walking before God, . . . . 71
#. Receiving and Serving, . . Lot, *. Sodom: a Soikmn l&5ection,
Hagar, Abraham, S&i& of, : : Isaac, Submission of, Rebekah; or, The Bridz Search, Rehoboth; or, ’ Victo;; through Yielding, . .
Old Testament-G& PDga
Jacob’ s Vision, . . . . 90 Jacob Wrestling, . . . . 93 Jacob’ s Call to Bethel, . . 96 Joseph, the Patient Sufferer, 98
the Heart-Searcher, 101
the Revealed Kins-man,
the Ruling’ &me:
Typvs of Christians, ii$ . . 109
Moses-Birth and F&lure.,’ ::5” Egypt, Life in,
,, Callof, . . 117
,# Excuses of: ’ . . 120
Temptation, The, . . . . 123 Christians, Characteristics
of, Christian Ink;ence: ’ . . 125
. . 127 Ways, The Two, . . . . 129 Faith, Great, Evil-its Nature ’ irid . . 135
Remedy. Call of the Publica;: . . 136 . . 138 Come, Take, Learn, . . 140 Character of Christ, The,. . 141 Sower. The, . . . . 143
Tares ; The ;
Mustard Seed, The:.
. . 146
. . 149 Leaven, The,. ;. . . 150
FeLur~heThe, . . . . 152
Net, The, ‘ .. 1: . . 153 . . 154 Appearance, Unexpected, 155
Walk, Supernatural, . . 158 Woman of Canaan, The, : : ilt Physician, The Great, Transtlguration, The, . . 165 Servant, The Unforgiving: itf Labourers, The, . . Blind Men, The, . . . . I73 Sons, The Two, 176 Husbandman, The’ Wickepi ‘ 1:: Marriage Feast, The, Last Days, The, Foolish Virgins, Th;?, . . 184 . . 186 Talents, The, . . . . 189.Vi INDEX OF SUBJECTS-Continued.
’ BIBLE READINGS. Page
192 193 195
SEED THOUGHTS. Page
Fruitfulness Bible ChrisGan, A:’ : : Visited and Redeemed, Ezekiel’ s Call and Coi mission, Image of God, The:’ . .
. . Church, The, Attitudes towards’* God : * Seven, . . . . . . Progressive Experience, . . Christians as Sent Ones, . . Promise of the Father, . . Faith, The Trial of, . . Jesus as King, Pleasure of the Lori, The,’ Christ, The Mind of, . .
196 199 201
208 210 211 212 215 252
Attitudes of Jesus, . . at C.1addnn.s. _. –. Grace thi_ ________, One Thing, A Search for, : ; Enduring Sight, The, . . Success, The Secret of, . . Tp;rzg Side, The, . . -‘ –matron, . . >r “Z.&-P Which ?
133 134 218 219 221 221 221
Back G; Z-1. . . . ..-_. . . Salvation. The Ark of. . . . . 225 Waiting for the Dead,.
Poor Man’ s Marke;,‘ The.” nbmjt vnnrae1ve.s to God.
!?i Reject&‘ p&-Light: -_ -:. Repent and Believe, . .
226 226 227 228 230
z: 232 232 232 233 234 235
But we see Jes- For or Again51 , Come to the Rew&der, : : Look and Live! Trust and Testrmon;. : : xv__._ .
Great %vork, n.‘
. . . .
Mission of Chri,., ___, iat ThP . . Gospel of Christ, The, Salvation Imoossible with . . Men, . . , . . . uickened from Death, . . Btraight Question, A, . . Love of God, The,. . . . Love of Christ, The, . . Transforming Grace, . . Forgiveness, . . . .
237 238 240 241 242 244 245
Prove Your Own Selves, . . Great Questions, Two, . . Cure for the Unclean, . . Repentance, . . . . Seek and Find, Long-suffering Lor;1: . . . . Saved to Service, . . . . Redemption, I am the Light of the Worl& Complaint, A Divine, . . ThisisourGod, . . . . How;:;; Man be just with
Mighty Savib;r, . . . .
Provision, A Threefold, : : Peace which Rules, . . Salvation, The Great, . . Christ Passing Angels, . . Christian’ s Reward, . . All Men seek Thee, . . Jesus Saves, Enmity against Go;, : : All my Springs in Thee, . .
2:: 246 246 247 247 247 248 248
249 250 250 250 251 251 251 251 251 252 252
Purity, Gospel, The: * : : . . 253
. . 253
Testimony and Affliction, 253 . . 253
. . 254 . . 25.1
Jesus, The Name of, The Word of God, Watch, Blood of Jesus, The: Commission, The Great, Unity of the Spirit, Redeeming the Time, The Holy Spirit, . . Compromising, . . Gospel of Christ, . . Prejudice, . . . . Secret Sins,. , Indifference, Bear&l. Forgetfulness, Divine, Sins Forgotten, . . Divine Life, Fear, Fetters of, : : Testimony, Promises, Supporting, Bread, The Living, Instability, . . Treasure in Heaven,
. . 254 . . 254 . . 255 . . 255 . . 255 . . 255 . . 256 . . 256 . . 256 . . 256 . . 257 . . 257 . . 257 . . 257 . . 258 . . 258 . . 258 . . 258 . . 259.INDEX OF SUBJECTS-Continued. V ii
Devotedness, . . . . 259 Cowardliness, In Christ’ s Stead, 1: :: E Word, Never-withering, . . 260
Holy Fire, . . . . .* 261 Hypocrisy, . . Choose the Best, : : . . 201 . . 261 Power Needed, . . Pleasures of Sin, . . :: iti Cleansed by Fire, . . . . 262 Rooted in Christ, . . . . 263 Sin and Guilt, Secret Christians, : : . . 283 263 Rest and Progress, :: 263 MySheep, . . . . . . 264 Spiritual Breathlessness, . . 264 Poisonous Self, . . Churoh, The, . . Life Insurance, , . Pride, Beautiful Name, , . . 252
COLOSSIINS 3. 10, . . 200
3. 15, . . 250
, . . . . 204
3.4-6, . . 32
*EzBYws 2: 9:
. . 251 . . 231
l? 6 ** 11: 2i,
. . 219
4.6-7, . . 227
2 PETER 3.9, . . 247
1 JOHN 4.4, . . 221
RT!YIYT1oN 3: 8, ’
. . 251
. . 226..
Notes on the Tabernacle
THE SETTING UP
Exodus 25. 1-9; 30. 11-16; Hebrews 9.
I N seeking to give an exposition of the Tabernacle
we do not wish to dogmatise, but humbly to follow
the method of Paul as seen in his letter to the Hebrews.
In referring there to the Tabernacle and the Priesthood he
reveals his method of interpretation by such keynote
sentences as the .following : “The shadow of heavenly
things” (Heb. 8. 5), “The patterns of things in the
heavens” (Heb. 9. 23)) “The figures of the true” (Heb.
9. 24)) “A shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10. 1).
Seeing that these things were shadows, patterns, and
figures of heavenly or spiritual things yet to come, I
think we have sufficient warrant for taking all the spiritual
teaching out of them we possibly can. The question is
not, Does the Tabernacle teaJ this or that New Testament
truth? but, Do you not see this or that spiritual truth
prefigured in it ?
All have not the same eye, because all. have not the
same light and experience. The deeper our Christian
B Vol. 1 9.10 Handfuls on Purpose.
experience is the more deeply will our eyes penetrate
into these dim shadows, and the more shall we praise the
God who showed Moses the pattern on the Mount.
Let us come to these types, then, as Simeon came to
the Temple “seeking Jesus .” And unless our eyes are
holden, as were_ those of the disciples on the way
to Emmaus, we shall surely see Him, and our heart
I. T h e Divine 9eguwt “Let them make Me a
sanctuary, tnat 1 may dweif among them” (Exod. 25.8).
Who ? Those who had been redeemed from bondage and
sefiarated for Himself. God ca.n d~)~?ll onlv with a separated
people. But notice that this proposal origmated with
God Himself. He so loves those whom He hath saved
that He desires to dwell among them. This is but a
fresh manifestation of a long-standing purpose in the
heart of God. The great craving of the divine heart is
to get an abode with man. He dwelt with man in the
Garden, then in the Tabernacle: then in the Temple, then
in the Person of His Son, now in believers. “Know ye
not that ye are the Temple of God, and that God dwelleth
in you?” (1 Cor. 3. 16).
II. The Pattern. “Look that thou make them after
the pattern which was showed thee on the Mount” (Exod.
25. 40). It was because these things had a spiritual
meaning that they were to be made according to a heavenly
pattern. The plan of the Tabernacle, like the plan of
salvation, was all of God. Man’ s opinions and reasonings
were entirely excluded by the “Thus saith the Lord.”
’ The whole thing was a Revelation. Rationalism could
add nothing to what was revealed on the Mount. The
scheme of redemption has been showed us on the Mount of
Calvary. There you and I may see Him, who is the Pattern
for our lives.
..Spiritual Patterns. 11
III. The Materials. Where did these pilgrims dwelling
in a desert get all the rich and rare materials necessary for
such a costly structure? “The Lord knew that they would
need these things, so He gave them all they required
before they left Egypt” (Exod. 12. 36). When the Lord’s
people are put into the possession of riches it is because
the Lord hath need of them. They “offered willingly.”
Love is always liberal. If every redeemed one was offering
to God what they have there would be no lack, no need
of Church bazaars, or such questionable make-shifts
(Acts 4. 34). Their liberality was so great that Moses
had to restrain them (Exod. 36. 6). Instead of the
people of God being restrained in these days, every
art and dodge is being used to constrain them even to
give a little.
IV. The Principal Workman. “See, I have called
Bezaleel, and have filled him with the Spirit of God”
(Exod. 31. 1,2). Bezaleel means “In the shadow of God. ”
How suggestive his character-in the shadow of God.
His work-in the Spirit of God-filled with wisdom and
understanding in all manner of wovkmanshi$, that is, all
the workmanship needed to accomplish the mind and will
of God. What a beautiful type of the Holy Spirit, the
great Overseer, in this present dispensation during the
building of the greater spiritual Temple, “an habitation of
God” (Eph. 2. 22). Bezaleel, like the Holy Spirit, gave
to “every man his work, ” and not only that, but also im-parted
to each workman the wisdom needed. to make his
work accentable to C-nd On14 that which wecioiinder the
guidance of God’s Spirit ‘w-e d%%in5 unto am, and
hi for a nlace in +hF~%%Ter@le. –Galeel alone had the
right to devise (Exod. 35. 32). The Holy Spirit of God
is sovereign in His work. We cannot limit the Holy One
to old ruts and forms. “The wind bloweth where it
listeth” (John 3. 8). The work of the Tabernacle, like.12 Handfuls on Purpose.
Christian work, had many different phases, but was all
done for the glory of God under one guiding Spirit.
V. The Foundation. Seeing that this house was to be
typical of heavenly and eternal things, we may be sure
that something very special will be seen about the founda-tiolz
In Exodus 30 we see that every man had to give half a
shekel as an atonement for his soul. In Exodus 38 we find
that this “atonement money,” the price of souls, was to
be made into sockets, in which the boards of the Taber-nacle
were to rest. The sockets formed the foundation, so
that the Tabernacle literally stood upon “Atonement .”
Peter perhaps had this fact in view when he said, “Ye were
not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,. .
but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1. 18-19).
The Tabernacle had no standing apart from the atoning
price of souls ; neither has the Church of Christ, the House
of God, any foundation at all apart from the atoning,
precious blood, To deny the redeeming power of Christ’s
death is to deny the only foundation laid by God upon
which it is possible to build true worship and acceptable
service. “ Other foundation can no man lay” (1 Cor.
3.11). “All other ground is sinking sand.”
VI. The Boards. As we have seen the foundation re-presents
the atoning work of Christ. The boards resting
on and fixed in the foundation we may take to typify the c
believer’s relationship to Christ and to one another. Each
board was fifteen feet long and twenty-seven inches broad,
furnished with a tenon by which it laid hold of the silver
socket (Hebrew for tenon means hand). The history of
these boards may serve to illustrate the experience of many
a soul. See them-1.
CUT DOWN. Saul had this experience while on his
way to Damascus, severed from his old ways and works,.Spiritual Patterns. 13
2. DRIED UP. The old_sap__of selfishness and carnality
must be dried up betore much good work can be wrought
on us or in us. David knew about this when he cried,
“Thy hand was heavy upon me. My moisture is turned
into the drought of summer” (Psa. 32. 4).
3. CLEANSED. It is not enough to be cut off from the
old life, everything about us that would hinder us from
filling a place in the House of God.
4. CLOTHED. These boards were not only cleansed, but
covered with gold. A new beauty was put upon them ; so
when the sinner has been cleansed he is clothed upon with
the beauty of the Lord. “The righteousness of God, which
is unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3. 22).
5. FITLY F RAMED T OGETHER . When planted in the
foundation they were closely joined one to another, On
the foundation alone could they be united together. True
spiritual union can only come through our being joined
together in Christ. There is a great cry for union in these
days. Many of the boards want the union without the
foundation. “All one -IN CHRIST. ” Every board resting
on the sockets of atonement had a point of contact and
fellowship one with the other. Why should it not be so
with every believer in Christ ?
VII. The Bars. These strong bars encircled the golden
boards like the arms of the Almighty, keeping them
straight on the foundation and close to one another. What
a picture of God’s care over those who rest upon the atoning
work of Christ I Kept by the power of God ! Every board
had three rings, through which the bars ran. Each be-liever
has a threefold connection with the keeping power
of God: Faith, Hope, Love-three golden rings clasping
the threefold sufficiency of the three-one God, viz., “The
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the
commwtion of the Holy Ghost ” (2 Cor . 13. 14)..14 Handfuls on Purpose.
VIII. The Setting Up. “On the first day of the first
month thou shalt set up the Tabernacle” (Exod. 46. 2).
So you see the Tabernacle was set up on “New Year’ s
Day.” It was a new beginning for them, because there
was now to be a new order of things. Everything had to
be set up and put in order before the God of Glory could
come and make His abode with them. So is it still. All
we are and have must be set up before God if we would
have the mighty filling of His Holy Spirit. One vessel
unconsecrated would hinder the divine indwelling.
But when all was given up to God, and everything set
in order before Him, He did fulfil His Word and manifest
His sanctifying presence. It is always a new start when
God comes by His Spirit and ansesses the Tamale of our
body. When the glory of His presence filled the Taber-nacle
every vessel, curtain, board, and pin were sanctified
and made holy. His Holy Spirit irt us sanctifies and makes
holy every gift, faculty ;and member we possess.
The ten days’ experience of the disciples in the upper
room also correspond to the setting up of the Tabernacle,
in that there followed the powerful purifying presence of
God. A new beginning was then made, a new order of
things established, of which all believers have been made
IX. The Purpose. The Tabernacle was not set up as an
ornament nor as an exhibition of human skill, but as a
sanctuary, a holy place for God. It was “God’ s House.”
Every Christian is to be “God’ s House.” “Ye are the
Temple of God” (1 Cor .3.16). We have been set up upon
the sure foundation, not that we might ha caved only, but
that we might become the ha6itation. of God. The Taber-nacle
had three courts-the outer, the holy, and the most
holy. There are three parts in man-the body, soul, and
spirit. It is in the inmost court that the Spirit of God
dwells. If He has possession of our spirit, then all else.Spiritual Patterns. I5
will be yielded up to Him. But this tent in the wilderness
was also to be a witness. It is called “ The Tabernacle
of Witness ” Like the Church of God, it was a wit-e=
m the wilderness to the re~litv. power, mercy, and hzliness
of God. But what constituted it a witness? The – presence of God. rmzi God Dwx?ssed~& it was no witness
for Him. Here we have the secret of true witness-btaring .
We can only be witnesses for God in proportion as we are
filled with God. It is not you the world needs, it is the
God that ‘s in you. “Greater is He that is in you than he
that is in the world” (1 John 4. 4). If the Holy Ghost is
not filling us our testimony is but empty prattle. “Ye (not
your tongues) are My witnesses” (Isa. 43. 10). “Ye are
the lieht of the world” (M2++ 5. 141
Exodus 25. l-5; 26. l-14.
THE coverings of the Tabernacle were four in number,
each one different from the other, and may represent four
different views or aspects of the character and work of
Him whose name is Wonderful, just as we have in the
Gospels four independent records of the one Person, Christ.
Each Gospel, like eac,h curtain, is complete in itself, but
all are needed to give us a full-toned testimony of Himself.
In the “badger’s skin” covering we see in Matthew’s Gospel
Christ as a King in disguise; in the covering of “rams’
skins ” dyed red we have in Mark’s Gospel Christ as the
suffering Servant. In the third covering of “goats’ hair”
(white) we may see in the Gospel of Luke Christ as the Son
of Man, pure and holy, obedient and pleasing to God. In
the innermost covering of “fine-twined linen” we recognise
in the Gospel of John Christ the Son of God, and the image
of the Invisible One. Let us look at these separately, and
as we look may the Holy Spirit take the things which are
Christ’s, and show them to us..16 Handfuls on Purpose.
. I. The Covering of Fine-twined Linen. This gor-geous
covering of blue, scarlet, and purple, with its
cherubim interwoven, was in ten pieces, perhaps having
reference to the ten commandments, and was laid over the
golden boards and formed the roof of the house, or, as it . is called, the “covering of the Tabernacle.” Christ is here
exhibited in all the perfection of His glorious character.
Note the colours-1.
IT WAS BLUE. This points our eyes to the heavens.
How calm and impressive is the deep blue of Heaven.
Clouds may obscure it, but nothing can pollute it. It is
high above all. No human eye can pierce it. It is illim-itable,
unchangeable, and eternal. How like the divine
nature of the Son of Man, how like Him who was with the
Father before the world was! In Christ we see this un-created
yet visible glory, the deep blue of unfathomable
2. IT WAS SCARLET. This colour constrains us to look
downward and think of the “red earth” from which man
at first was made. If the blue tells of Christ’s divinity,
then the scarlet proclaims Him human. The one points
to Him as the Son of God, the other as the Son of Man.
The hunger, weariness, and tears of our blessed Lord tell
how truly human He was.
3. IT WAS PURPLE. Where shall we look for this ? This
is a new colour formed by mixing together the blue and the
scarlet. The union of these two colours forms a third and
distinct one. How beautiful ! Christ is divine, Christ is
human, and Christ is both in one distinct Person ! In the
purple, then, we behold our Lord in His mediatorial glory,
the Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
4. IT WAS INWROUGHT WITH CHERUBIM. Perhaps this
may signify that He is Lord also over the angels, or, as.16 Handfuls on Purpose.
I. The Cove& of Fine-twined Linen. This gor-geous
covering of blue, scarlet, and purple, with its
cherubim interwoven, was in ten pieces, perhaps having
reference to the ten commandments, and was laid over the
golden boards and formed the roof of the house, or, as it
is called, the “covering of the Tabernacle. ” Christ is here
exhibited in all the perfection of His glorious character.
Note the colours-1.
IT WAS BLUE. This points our eyes to the heavens.
How calm and impressive is the deep blue of Heaven.
Clouds may obscure it, but nothing can pollute it. It is
high above all. No human eye can pierce it. It is illim-itable,
unchangeable, and eternal. How like the divine
nature of the Son of Man, how like Him who was with the
Father before the world was! In Christ we see this un-created
yet visible glory, the deep blue of unfathomable
2. IT WAS SCARLET. This colour constrains us to look
downward and think of the “red earth” from which man
at first was made. If the blue tells of Christ’s divinity,
then the scarlet proclaims Him human. The one points
to Him as the Son of God, the other as the Son of Man.
The hunger, weariness, and tears of our blessed Lord tell
how truly human He was.
3. IT WAS PURPLE. Where shall we look for this? This
is a new colour formed by mixing together the blue and the
scarlet. The union of these two colours forms a third and
distinct one. How beautiful I Christ is divine, Christ is
human, and Christ is both in one distinct Person I In the
purple, then, we behold our Lord in His mediatorial glory,
the Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
4. IT WAS INWROUGHT WITH CHERUBIM. Perhaps this
may signify that He is Lord also over the angels, or, as.Spiritual Psrtterns. 17
1 am more inclined to think, they represent His own re-deemed
people, so closely united to Him that they become
part of Himself, “bone of His bone” (Gen. 2. 23). The
Church was interwoven with the character of Christ in the
purpose of God before the world was, “He was the Lamb
slain from before the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13.8).
Wonderful thought I Oh, the unsearchable riches of His
grace, “Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world”
(Eph. 1. 4).
II : The Covering of Goats’ Hair. This covering was
pure white, and was laid over and rested on the first one
of fine-twined linen.
May we not see here the spotless holiness of the Man
Christ Jesus, one fit to come into contact with and even to
rest on the awful holin’ess and righteousness of God. But
. this curtain may also suggest to us the character and
privilege of the believer. Made white through the blood
of the Lamb, and resting in fellowship with Him, who is
both God and Man in one Person for ever, in heavenly
places with Christ Jesus, even now beholding His glory.
Purity only can have communion with divinity; the pure
in heart shall see God. Who shall ascend into this holy
hill of privilege? Who shall stand in this holy place?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart (Psa. 24.3,4).
The divinity of Christ is a holy, devouring fire. Who shall
dwell with it? These are they which have washed their
robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore are they before the throne of God (Rev. 7.14,15).
III. The Covering of Rams’ Skins. Pine linen or
goats’ hair does not imply suffering, but skins cannot be
got without sacrifice. “Rams’ skins dyed red” suggest
both death and transformation. Jesus is before us here as
the “ Man of Sorrows, ”with dyed garments, as the Lamb of
God which taketh away the sin of the world. Let us put.18 Handfuls on Purpose.
the shoes off our feet as we enter Gethsemane, and see
there the skin of the Sacrifice being dyed red with the
blood of agony. In this covering we have Christ on the
Cross ; in the “goats’ hair,” Christ in the Resurrection ; in
the “fine linen ,” Christ in the Glory.
But these “rams’ skins dyed red” speak to US as Chris-tians.
We are indebted to the transforming power of the
atoning blood for our fitness to dwell in His holy presence.
The white curtain was under the red one. Purity in the
sight of God can only be enjoyed “under the blpod.”
We must be crucified with Christ before we can enter into
resurrection life. Are we willing to die to self that we
might be made alive unto God ? As the white covering
was kept clean by the crimson covering, so may we be kept
clean by a constant trust in the ever-cleansing blood.
IV, The Covering of Badger Skins. Some think
that for “badgers’ skins” we should read seal skins. It
was evidently meant for a waterproof, not for beauty,
but for protection. .
This covering may typify Christ in His rejection, “When
we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire
Him” (Isa. 53. 2) without comeliness. It had to bear
the heat of the day, and was exposed to the storm and the
tempest. Think of our loving, gracious Lord, how He was
misunderstood while being made a curse for us. He was
strong to bear. Thank God, He was proof against it all.
He answered not a word. The Devil came, but found
nothing in Him. If to the world there was no beauty in
Him, to the Father He was all-glorious. “I delight to do
Thy will, 0 My God ” (Psa. 40. 8). “This is My be-loved
Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3. 17).
Those who only saw the “badger skins” saw nothing of the
hidden glory within. Christ may still be to the world “a
root out of a dry ground” (Isa. 53. 2) , but to the. Christian.Spiritual Patterns. 19
who has access within the veil He is the altogether lovely.
Oh, that our hearts may be like the heart of the Tabernacle,
the habitation of God, or like the King’s daughter, “all
glorious within .” Although our faces may have the
uncomely badger’s skin appearance, yet in heart we may
have the beauty of the Lord our God upon us.
These four coverings may also represent the different
divisions in connection with the Tabernacle.
1. The Holy of Holies, by the “fine-twined linen.”
2. The Holy Place, by the pure goats’ hair.
3. The Court of Sacrifice, by the rams’ skins DYED RED.
4. The wilderness without, by the “badgers’ skins .”
They also teach us, as we may have already noticed,
a fourfold experience the Christian has of Jesus Christ
as Saviour and Lord.
1. In our natural state we could only see the blessed
Redeemer as the “badger skin” covering-no beauty, no
attractiveness, because we had no sense of our guilt or need.
2. In the “rams‘ skins dyed red” we have been cleansed
and changed by the power of His atoning blood through
3. In the “goats’ hair” covering we experience what it
is to be made clean, delivered from the power of sin, hid in
God, and kept by His almighty, overshadowing power.
4. In the innermost curtain of “fine-twined linen” we
are walking in the light, as He is in the light, beholding
His glory, and filled with all the fulness of God. Is this
our experience? Do you know what it is to live within the
Holy of Holies, in sweet, unbroken fellowship with the
Holy One? This is your privilege in Christ Jesus.
THE PILLAR OF CLOUD.
Numbers 9. 15-21; Exodus 40. 33-38.
I. What it Signified. The origin and formation of the
pillar of Cloud is a mystery. It is a type of the incarnation.20 Handfuls on Purpose.
of the Son of God. God was in the pillar; God was in
Christ (2 Cor. 5. 19). In both we see the union of weakness
and power, as weak as a “cloud, ” as strong as a “pillar. ”
The Man Christ Jesus. Great is the mystery of godliness.
God manifest in the flesh. To those outside the pillar may
seem only a column of smoke, bu,t to those who through
the atoning blood had witnessed the glory within, it was
the visible presence of the Eternal God. To some Christ
was “without form or comeliness;” to others He was “the
Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16. 16).
God in the pillar may also be a foreshadowing of Christ
in the Scriptures. “They are they which testify of Me”
(John 5. 39). Sceptics may sneer at the cloudy pillar, and
say, “The first desert storm will tear it to pieces, and melt
it in the air. ” But they know not that God is in the pillar.
All the storms of criticism cannot hinder the steady and
stately march of the Scriptures of Truth. There is a living
divine personality abiding and breathing through this holy
pillar- “His Name is called THE WORD OF GOD” (Rev.
19. 13). May we with holy reverence bow before it, and’
with obedient hearts follow on.
II. What it was to’ the Israelite. It was to them
the evidence of-1.
A PERSONAL GOD. ‘The cloudy pillar was the visible
evidence of the invisible God. “God is in the midst of
her; she shall not be moved” (Psa. 46. 5). Jesus Christ is
to us what the pillar was to Israel, the visible expression
of the invisible God (Heb. 1. 3). “I and My Father are
one” (John 10, 30). The glory was hid until the veil was
rent-the veil of His flesh-then the glory shone forth in
the coming of the Holy Ghost.
2. ‘OF DIVINE FELLOWSHIP. “God spoke to them out
of the cloud” (Deut .5.22). He was a sojourner with them.
Wonderful condenscension 1 “Lo, I am with you alway”.Spiritual Patterns. 21
(Matt. 28. 20). Out of the pillar of His Word God still
speaks to His people. The Holy Spirit is now the “Urim
and Thummim” of every individual believer. He takes
the things of Christ, and shows them to us. Our fellowship
is with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy Ghost.
3. THE PILLAR WAS ALSO THE GUARANTEE OF ABUNDANT
SUPPLY. While abiding with the pillar all their wants
were met. Here the manna fell daily from Heaven. The
waters also from the smitten rock followed the guiding
pillar. “They drank of the rock that followed them, and
that rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10. 4). All the promises of
God are in Him. Abide in Him, and the fulness of God
will abide in you. Oh, follow Him, for lameness will bring
4. THE PRESENCE OF THE PILLAR ALSO MEANT PRO-TECTION.
At the Red Sea the pillar came between the
Israelites and the Egyptians (Exod. 14), delivering the
one and destroying the other. How significant are the
words, “The Lord looked through the fiillar, and troubled
the host of the Egyptians” (Exod. 14. 24). The Lord
looked through Christ, and saved us. He still looks through
Him to protect and keep us. He will also one day look
through Him in judgment upon the ungodly. “He will
judge the world by that Man whom He hath ordained”
(Acts 17. 31). The coming of Christ to the Cross was the
coming of the pillar between us and our great enemy sin.
He came between that He might overcome the foe, and
save all them that believe.
5. THE PILLAR WAS A SHELTER TO ISRAEL. It was, in
fact, a huge umbrella overshadowing the whole camp,
with its shaft resting in the midst, upon the mercy-seat.
They could truly sing, “The Lord thy shade” (Psa. 121.5).
The presence of Christ with the believer has a wonderful
shading and comforting effect when the hot, fierce rays.22 Handfuls on Purpose.
of adversity are falling upon us, “In the day of adversity
consider” (Eccles. 7. 14)) consider that the Lord thee
keeps. The Lord is thy shade. I:e shelters from sin and
wrath by His blood, from sadness and sorrow by His
comforting Spirit. Abide under His shadow and you will
have great delight.
6. THE PILLAR WAS THEIR SOURCE OF LIGHT. It was a
pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fiYe by night. They
had no light of their own. Apart from the indwelt cloud,
they had no light to lighten their darkness. Christ is the,
Light of the world. He that followeth Me, He says, shall
not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. What
is this light? The light of the pillar was the life in the
pillar. “The LIFE was the light” (John 1. 4). To be
filled ‘with life is to be filled with light. There is no
spiritual light but from the personal life-giving One. If
we are the light of the world it is because we have the life
of God abiding in us. If we would shine for God, then we
must live for Him.
7. THE PILLAR WAS THEIR GUIDE (Num .9. 18). When
it moved they moved; when it rested they rested, whether
it was for a day, or a month, or a year. To go without the
pillar was to go without God. That meant without light,
shelter, protection, or provision-without a promise.
Let us ponder this. Without Christ we are out of touch
with the person, the preciousness, and fulness of God.
There is as much danger of losing His fellowship through
lagging behind as running before. If we do not grow in
grace, grace will not grow from us. Many Christians have
ceased to be glad and useful because they have allowed
the pillar to go out of their sight. Christ does not now fill
the vision of their soul. To walk in the light is to keep
in personal touch with the living God. This guide was
infallible, because it was God i?z the pillar who guided,.Spiritual Patterns. 23
The Word of God is a guiding “lamp to our feet ,” “a sure
word,” wherein we do well to take heed: In this “sure
word” there is the “still, small voice” of the infallible
God. The books that move men as they ought to be moved
are the books of the Bible. The truth here taught move
men ought of darkness into light, out of death into life.
Oh, thou life-giving t soul-leading pillar of power move on !
Before we speak of the court itself, let us take a look at
the “pins and cords” which kept the coverings in their
place, binding them to the Tabernacle and to the earth.
These pins were of brass, speaking of that which is able to
endure (Exod. 27. 16-19). The earth symbolises the place
of death. The pins were partly in the earth and partly out.
The cords were fastened, of course, to that part which was
above the earth, but the ability of the pin to bear the
weight of the house depended on its connection with the
earth. You see the parable. It signifies death and resur-rection.
On the resurrection of Christ hangs all the glory
of the Church as the habitation of God. But what would
have been the value of His life if He had not been driven
into the place of death. He died for our sins, and rose
again for our justification. The risen Christ is mighty, but
because of His connection with the earth and its curse is
He mighty to SAVE.
The cords were supposed to be of the same material as
the veil, and the innermost covering of glory and beauty,
blue, purple, and scarlet. This would represent the power
of Christ in His mediatorial office to preserve His own
House, or Church, on the earth. Men talk of preserving
the earthly Zion, they forget that it takes the power of a
glorified Christ to do that. The Tabernacle, like the
Church of God, was in the world, but not of it. Its strength
to resist lay not in itself, but in the threefold cord of
Jehovah’s love and grace and power. A threefold cord
is not easily broken. How safe the blood-washed ones are I.24 Handfuls on Purpose. ’
“Kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1. 5). “I will fear
no evil, for THOU art with me” (Psa. 23.4).
The Court of the Tabernacle was a hundred and fifty
feet long, seventy-five feet broad, and was enclosed by a
wall, or hangings of “fine-twined linen,” seven and a half
feet high. At the east end was the gate through which the
worshippers entered to the altar of burntoffering. From
the gate we may learn many precious lessons. Let us give
thanks to God that-1.
THERE IS A GA TE. What a dark world this would
have been had there been no way of entrance into the
knowledge of and into fellowship with God I “Behold, I
set before you an open door” (Rev. 3.8). But note that-2.
THERE WAS BUT ONE GATE. The Gate said, “I am the
Way” (John 14. 6). The wall of curtains said, “There is
none other name under Heaven whereby ye must be saved”
(Acts 4. 12). These hangings were suspended from “rods
of silver” made from “redemption money”-“ hanging
on atonement .” How suggestive. They seem to occupy
the place and do the work of the evangelist. They were
made of “fine linen”-t h is means the righteousness of
sajnts. They depended entirely upon the @ice of souls
(rods of silver) for their support (Exod. 30. 12-16). They
bore a united testimony that the only way to God was by
the altar of sacrifice, the Cross of Christ.
3. THIS WAS A WIDE GATE. It was the same size cubi-cally
as the door or the veil. What it lacked in height it
had in’ width. Height means greater or a more enlarged
spiritual experience; breadth indicates great liberty of
access. Wt%osoever will may come. The gate of atone-ment
is as wide as the world (I John 2. 2). The way of
substitution is as straight as the new birth, If few find it,
it is because few there be that seek it (Matt. 7. 7). The.Spiritual Patterns. 25
way into life is straight in this sense, that it is the only
way, and that all who enter must have only one purpose
in their heart, and that fs to trust all to Him who died for
sin-open for all, yet only for those who seek atonement at
4. THIS WAS A STRONGLY-SUPPORTED GATE. – It hung
on four pillars. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. is supported
by four infallible pillars. Each holds up a different
aspect of Him who is “The Way, the Truth, and the
Life” (John 14. 6). Their names are Matthew, Mark,
Luke, John. ,
5. THIS GATE WAS OF THE SAME MATERIAL AS THE VAIL.
“Fine-twined linen, blue, purple, and scarlet.” The
Son of God, the sinless Man, in one Person meets us at
the gate of life. A whole Christ to begin with is God’s
provision. All was needed to open up the way. All is
needed to meet the need of man.
6. THIS GATE WAS THE WAY INTO LIFE. Immediately
in front of the gate stood the altar of sacrifice. It was
impossible to pass in without coming within sight of God’s
provision for the sinner. Passing through the gate. meant
the acceptance of God’s way of salvation. What do we
learn from this? This one thing certainly, that the
moment the sinner trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as the way
to the Father, that moment he comes into personal contact
with the atoning blood of the Lamb, and may read his
title clear in the light of the Cross. Although two steps
, may be indicated here between the gate and the altar, yet
in Christ there is but one. He is both Gate and
Altar. Experimentally we decide at the gate ; we are
justified at the altar. The one act is ours, the other
is God’s. “All that believe are justified from all
things” (Acts 13. 39). Precious faith I Precious blood I
Precious promise 1
c Vol. 1.26 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE BRAZEN ALTAR.
Exodus 26. 1-8; 28, l-5; Leviticus 6. 7-13.
THE word“‘altar” means simply “high place,” or that
which lifts u#. The altar, with its sacrifice, is profoundly
significant of Christ on the Cross (John 3. 14). Through
the altar Israel was lifted q+ into fellowship with God.
The Cross of Christ is a ladder reaching unto Heaven.
Like the ladder Jacob saw, it is the way of God-to God-set
up on the earth. It lifts us up into communion with
the Father. To come into contact with the altar was to
come into touch with the claims and character of a
Holy God through sacrifice. At the Cross the sinner
comes into contact with the goodness and the severity of
God-condemnation of the sin, but mercy for the sinner.
This altar of burntoffering lifted u$ all that was laid
upon it. The sacrifice was lifted up in the form of smoke
by the consuming fire that burned continually thereon.
Heart-searching truth1 Are we willing that our bodies
should be turned into smoke for the glory 01 God? Have
I been lifted up, crucified with Christ? Is the fire of the
Holy Ghost feeding upon my life? Am I wholly yielded
up to Him ? and is He causing my whole being to ascend
as a sweet savour unto God ? The sacrifice, being dead,
was unconscious of its own virtue. Moses wist not that his
face shone. Oh, for such a blessed state of unconscious-ness!
As He prayed, the fashion of His countenance
But let us note further-I.
The Purpose of It. This brazen altar, standing
at the gate of entrance, represented the claims oj God.
As a holy and righteous God He has claims that must be
satisfied before He can, in mercy, meet with man and bless
him. The altar must be filled before man can approach
God in peace. The altar was filled, and all the demands.Spiritud Patterns. 27
of a holy God fully met when Christ cried on the Cross,
“lt is finished” (John 19. 30). The great purpose of the
altar was to burn sacrifices. Here the sin-offering was
slain, then carried without the camp, but its blood was
poured out at the “bottom of the altar.” The value of
the sin-offering lay in the blood. “The blood is the life,”
or, “The life is in the blood.” This was left at the foot
of the altar, laid down before God. Here we see Christ
as the sinner’s Substitute, pouring out His soul unto
death. “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb”
(Rev. 12. 11).
The burntoffering, representing Christ as the wholly-devoted
Opre, was entirely consumed upon the altar. Only
the skinwas saved ; this was given to the priest for a covering
-covered through sacrifice. Adam and Eve were naked,
though clothed with leaves, till God made for them coats
of skin. We are all naked till covered with the righteous-ness
of God, which is unto all and upon all that believe.
II. The Position of It. It stood right in front of the
gate. This reminds us that atonement is the first necessity
in our approach to God. The first blessing our gracious
God desires to give us is the forgiveness of our sins, but
“without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9. 22).
When the sense of sin is brought home to the heart, how
eagerly, like Job, we long for a “daysman” to come be-tween
us and lay his hand upon both. Those who refuse
“Christ and Him crucified” as their sin-atoning Substitute
have no liberty of access to God. To approach God dis-regarding
the altar meant death. Cain tried it ; he ignored
the blood, and brought the curse of God upon himself.
“A sin-offering Zieth at the door” (Gen. 4. 7). God hath
laid it there ; it is there for us. It has a voice, “Look unto
Me, and be ye saved, . . . for I am God” (Isa. 45. 22).
Do not trample on it..2% Handfuls on Purpose.
III. The Materials of It. Singularly enough, it was
composed of two different materials, “Shittim wood and
brass,” two distinct elements in one altar. Man would
never have thought of putting wood in an altar had it not
been revealed to Moses on the mount. The altar, like
Christ, the Son of Man, must have a twofold nature. The
type is perfect; the wood speaks of the truly human sym-pathy
of Jesus, while the brass reveals the strong, enduring
character of the D&W One-these two elements in One,
and that for the salvation of man. That the human
nature of Christ was not consumed in coming into such
close relationship with the divine is a mystery as great,
perhaps, as that the wood in the altar was not consumed.
The divine fire was in the human bush, yet the bush was
not consumed. Although the altar was partly wood, it
was never called the wooden altar, but the brazelz altar,
one that was strong and mighty, so that when the sacrifice
was laid upon it, it was indeed “help laid on One that was
IV. The Size of It. It would seem that by comparing
the measurements given of the other vessels with that of
the altar it had capacity enough to contain them all.
This is very suggestive. All spiritual blessings flow out
of the atoning death of Christ. “Delivered Him up for
us all, how shall He not wz% Hz% also freely give us all
things” (Rom. 8. 32). All the other vessels were sprinkled
with the blood of sacrifice, and so connected with the
altar (Heb. 9. 21, 22). It is a precious .truth that when
we trust in Christ as a Sacrifice for us we may enter into all
the blessings of His resurrection and life. This we can
only do as we by faith are able to apprehend and appro-priate.
“Lord, increase our faith” (Luke 17. 5).
V. The Horns. This altar was four-square; it stood
solid and stable. At each corner was a horn. The horn
..Spiritual Patterns. 29
is the symbol of power. They pointed in every direction,
and spoke of power sufficient for the whole world. The
sacrifices were bound to the horns of the altar before being
slain (Psa. 118. 27). ,What bound our Great Sacrifice to
the altar of the Cross? Not the nails, but the cords of a
love that was stronger than death. “No man taketh it
from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay
it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10.18).
These are His own words. As the horns of the altar looked
every way, so the power of the Cross of Christ looks over
this whole sin-benighted, sin-smitten world. The value
of this Sacrifice is sufficient to meet the dying need of
VI. The Grate, Right in the middle of the altar was
a grate, on which the fuel and the offerings were laid.
The ashes fell through the grate into pans underneath.
It is most significant to notice that the grate, although half-way
down in the altar, was still as high as the mercy-seat
(one and a half cubits). Who would have thought of
this? Yet how could we think of an atoning scarifice
below the lever of the mercy-seat of a Holy God. The
mercy-seat was the throne of God, the sacrifice must be
equal to it. Glorious truth ! Marvellous grace ! The Cross
of the crucified Son of God is on a level with the righteous
throne of God. The life and death of Jesus Christ are
equal to the demands of the holy law, and of the just
claims of a righteous God; and all this on our behalf as
sinners before Him. Oh, self-righteous one, except your
righteousness is equal to and on a level with the righteous-ness
of God you have no hope ! To offend, or come short in
one point, is to be guilty of all. In the death of Jesus there
is enough to satisfyGod. Is therenot enough tosatisfyyou ?
VII. The Ashes. What about them 1 Cast them
outside, anywhere, and let the winds scatter them abroad..30 Handfuls on Purpose.
Yes, if human wisdom is to decide. But everything is
sacred here; nothing is to be lightly esteemed. The ashes
are a precious morsel in the priest’s eyes, because of the
value attached to them by Jehovah. The ashes speak of
a sacrifice made, and more especially of a sacrifice accepted
by God through the consuming fire. The ashes were the
evidence that “It Was finished,” that the offering Was
accepted in the sinner’s stead. It was the last thing they
saw of the sacrifice. The last word heard from Christ on
the Cross was, “It is finished ; ” the work of suffering and
death was done; atonement was accomplished. The dead
body of the Son of God (the ashes) declared that all was
done that could be done.
But what was to be done with the ashes? They were to
be “ carried out ” and laid in a “ clean place. ” The carrying
forth of the ashes Was in the sight of Israel a solemn funeral.
They were precious, because they were to be used for the
“sprinkling of the unclean.” In them lay the nzerit of the
sacrifice. This was applied to the cleansing of the leprous.
How suggestive I The body of Jesus was carried forth and
laid in a clean place, “a new tomb, wherein never man
before was laid” (Luke 23. 53). Now the merit of His
death and resurrection is for the sprinkling of the unclean,
the cleansing away of sin. The sprinkling process was a
very personal one. The value of the ashes does not lie in
what we think of them, but in the high estimate set upon
them by God Himself. Let us ponder this and praise Him.
VIII. The Blood. The blood of the offering was poured
out at the bottom of the altar. “The life is in the blood”
(Lev. 17. 11) ; thus the life of the devoted one was sym-bolically
poured out before God. “All that a man hath
will he give for his life” (Job 2. 4). But when a man gives
his life he gives all that he hath. Our blessed Lord gave
His life, poured it out before God, and in giving His life.Spiritual Patterns. 31
He gave all that He had. How much was that ? “Though
He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye
through His poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8. 9). Oh,
how poor He became ! Oh, how rich we may become !
The blood, the life of the sacrifice, was for God ; the ashes,
the fruit of the sacrifice, were for man. The death of Christ
had a double aspect ; it had to make atonement to a Holy
God and cleanse a guilty man. The Hebrew word for
“atonement” is used in three different. aspects : (1) To
cleanse (Lev. 16) ; (2) 20 cover (Gen. 6. 14) ; (3) to u@ease
(Gen. 32. 20). It has an appeasing power towards the
righteous Jehovah. “This is My beloved Son, in whom
I am well pleased” (Matt. 3. 17). As a holy and just
God no man can come before Him em$ty-handed. As
sinners we must have our hands filled with His offering
and our hearts cleansed by His blood. The atoning death
not only appeases ‘God, but also cleanses and covers the
believing man. “Blessed is he whose transgression is
forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psa. 32. 1). Think much
of the blood, the precious blood; the mercy of God is only
through the blood.
IX. The Fire. The fire on the altar was to “bum con-2imbally
; ” it “was never to go out .“. Where did this eternal
fire come from ? From Leviticus 9.24 we may believe that
it came directly from God Himself, from the Shekinah
Glory, or visible presence, which rested upon the mercy-seat
within the vail. It came from God; it was the symbol
of the holiness of God, and the visible token on the altar of
His presence with them. “Ouy God is a consuming fire”
(Heb. 12. 29). This fire is an awful element in an awful
place. Let those who deny that God demands atonement
for sin meditate upon it. Abraham went up the mount
to offer a sacrifice with the knife and the five in his hand
(Gen. 22. 6). Every burntoffering had to come into con-.32 Handfuls on Purpose.
tact with the knife of the priest and the fire of God. Here
the sinner’s Substitute must face, not the mercy or love,
but the FIRE of God. The fire must be satisfied on the
offering before the “ashes of sprinkling” could be taken or
used. The justice of God must first be fully met before
the mercy of God can freely flow.
The colztilzual fire on the altar taught the Israelite that
God was always ready to receive them through sacrifice.
There was no other way. Christ, our Sacrifice, has been
offered once for all. Through Him God is always ready
to accept and forgive all who come (Heb. 7. 25). The fire
that was never to go out also proclaimed emphatically that
the demands of God, as the Holy One, would never be
lowered or changed. The continual burning demanded a
continual sacrifice. Let us give thanks unto God that this
incessant and inexorable claim has been, and is now, being
fully met in Jesus Christ, who died, and is now in Heaven
with the marks of the altar (the Cross) in His hands and
feet ; whose blood constantly speaks, and who maketh
cortt&al intercession for us. The fire of God’s holiness is
receiving eternal satisfaction through the glorified Son of
Man at His own right hand.
There was no other altar for Israel. Private altars were
of no value, there was no God-given fire on them. “There
is none other name ‘under Heaven given among men,
whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4. 12).
THE LAVER .
Exodus 30. 17-21; 38. 8; Titus 3. 4-6, R.V., margin.
THE laver stood between the altar and the door of the
Tabernacle, and right in line with the mercy-seat and the
altar of incense, signifying that the privileges and blessing
connected with it lay in the way of our approach to God.
In the altar we have Christ dying for our sins; in the.Spiritual Patterns. 33
laver the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The laver comes
after the altar. “The Holy Ghost was not yet given,
because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7. 30).
First the Cross, then Pentecost; first justified by His grace,
then sanctified through the truth. The laver was filled
with water, the water is a type of the Word; the laver, of
the Spirit. The great truth here is the ministry of the
Word in the power of the Holy Ghost. This, of course,
can only come after we have been justified from all things
through the blood of His Cross. If you do not know your
sins forgiven at the altar, the truth taught here will not
IikeIy profit you. Trust Jesus Christ now, and enter with
us into the inheritance revealed in type by the laver. We
shall notice first-I.
Its Origin. In Exodus 38. 8 we learn that the laver
was to be made of brazen “looking-glasses, ” which be-longed
to the women who assembled at the door of the
Tabernacle. There are two ways in which we might see
ourselves-in the light of our own polished mirror, or in
the light of the Lord as we stand before Him.
When, like these women, we stand at the door of the
Tabernacle, and see ourselves in the light of the presence
of a holy and sin-hating God, we get so disgusted with
ourselves that we don’t wish to look at our own proud per-sons,
and so willingly part with our looking-glasses that
we might get that which will give us inward beauty and
adorning. The choice has still to be made, even by re-deemed
ones, as to whether they will walk in the light of
their own eyes or in the truth as revealed and applied by
the Holy Spirit. These who live according to their own
standard are simply seeing themselves in their own looking-glass.
All the light such have comes from the sparks of
their own kindling.
The law of God is a lookine-glass to show us our need of.34 Handfuls on Purpose.
the laver of regeneration. When Nicodemus, a man
familiar with the looking-glass, came to Jesus He pointed
him at once to the laver of an inward change to be wrought
by the Holy Ghost. “Born of water and of the S@‘it”
(John 3. 5).
II. Its Purpose. The chief end of the laver was,
of course, “to cleanse ,” “to wash withal.” Judicial
righteousness was to be followed with personal
righteousness. Inward cleansing was to accompany the
act of justification.
Perhaps the polished brass of the laver helped to reveal
the uncleanness, while the water would cleanse it away.
This is, at least, the work of the Spirit, to convince of sin,
and to apply the cleansing Word. The water of the laver
was only for redeemed ones. “Tarry ye in the city of
Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high”
(Luke 24. 49). The ministry of the Spirit gives fitness for
service. The priests must wash here lest they die. Unless
we are kept in constant touch with the Holy Laver OUT
testimony for God will die; we will become as withered
branches. Instead of having power with God and men, we
shall be trodden under foot of men, like savourless salt.
The fact that these two vessels (laver and altar) were
separated the one from the other, may also teach us that
the receiving of the Holy Spirit is to be a definite and per-sonal
experience (Acts 19. 2).
The blessings of the laver could only be enjoyed by
those who wished to serve in the holy place. Alas, is it
not true of many that they take the blessing of salvation
at the altar, and then turn away satisfied? They don’t
press on to holy service in the presence of God, SO they
know nothing of the special ministry of the laver, and little
of the joy of fellowship with God, Christ was crucified to
save us. He was glorified to sanctify us (John 7. 39). If.Spiritual Patterns. 35
we have been saved by His blood, so may we be taught by
and filled with His Spirit.
III. Its Form. When Moses received instructions to
make “the laver and its foot ,” no mention at all is made
of size or shape. At first sight one wonders at this. Is it
an overlook ? God can make no mistake. Every omission
with Him is as emphatic as a declaration. It is surely
significant that the vessel which represents the work of the
Holy Spirit should not be limited to any particular form
or size. “The wind (Spirit) bloweth where it listeth;
thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence
it cometh and whither it goeth” (John 3.8). Why was the
laver not made of wood and brass like the altar? The
answer seems clear and unmistakable. Christ had two
natures-divine and human. The Holy Spirit is one
Person. Let us adore the wisdom of God. Those who
study and understand the types have no difficulty about
the inspiration of the Scriptures.
The other vessels of the Tabernacle had staves or shafts
by which they were to be carried. The laver had none.
This may also confirm the inference that we have here not
only a work represented, but a Divine Person. We are
saved by the work of Jesus Christ for us; we are sanctified
by the presence of the Holy Ghost within us.
IV. Its Connection with the Altar. Like all the
other vessels, there was a blood connection between it and
the altar of burntoffering. It was sprinkled with the
blood of atonement. The laver could not be used till
after the blood had been shed. The Spirit did not come
till after the work on the Cross had been finished. The
sprinkling of the laver with the blood was symbolically
the consecrating and imparting of divine authority for its
work. When Christ entered into Heaven by His own
blood, He sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost received
..36 Handfuls on Purpose.
His authority from the Son of God on the ground of His own
atoning death. There is a very vital connection between
Calvary and Pentecost. Would that it were so in the ex-perience
of every Christian.
The laver was to be filled with water-water, doubtless,
from the smitten rock. Is this not wonderful ? “That
Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10. 4). The laver could be
filled, and men could be cleansed, because the rock had
been smitten. At the altar we see the blood of atonement;
at the laver we see the water of cleansing. Both are needed.
Both come to us through our Divine Redeemer. You re-member
that when they had pierced His.side, “forthwith
came there out blood and water” (John 19.34)-the blood
first, then the water.
The water, or ministry of the Spirit, always comes by
way of the altar (Ezek. 47.1-12). “He shall take the things
of Christ, and show them unto you” (John 16. 13-15).
Ye believe in the forgiveness of sin; believe also in the in-dwelling
Spirit. Trust Him to apply the cleansing Word,
and to impart fitness for service.
The water was in the laver. The two were very closely
connected, but not more closely than the Spirit and the
Word. If we would be mighty in the Spirit we must be
mighty in the Word. It was when Ezekiel had eaten
the book that the Spirit lifted him up and took him
away (Ezek. 3. 1-14). The Spirit always lifts up
and takes away those in whom the Word of Christ dwells
V. Other Important Lessons. From the teaching
of this vessel we further learn-1
. T HAT THEY MUST BE C L E A N WHO WOULD STAND
BEFORE G OD. Every time the priest entered into the holy
place he must wash. Purity of heart is a necessity for
seeim God. Without holiness no man shall see tha Tard..Spiritual Patterns. 37
It is not so much a change of place we need to see God as a
change of state. Believe, and thou shalt see.
2. THAT THERE WAS BUT ONE MEANS OF CLEANSING .
There was but one laver; no other was needed. This
was God’s provision. They might wash themselves else-where,
but that would not make them “clean before the
Lord. ” Hear Job’s testimony, “If I wash myself, . . .
and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt Thou plunge
me in the ditch” (Job 9. 30, 31). The snow-waters of
earth and self-will never avail while the “ Fountain
opened for sin and uncleanness” (Zech. 13. 1) is neglected
3. THAT ONE LITTLE ACT MAY UNFIT FOR SERVICE. If
the priest should refuse but once to wash at the laver,
this one act of disobedience would unfit him for his priestly
’ work. Our secret sins may not affect our lives before men
for a while, but our relationship to God is affected at once.
The flickering light tells of a crack in the lantern. An
unsteady testimony speaks of failure somewhere. One
fly will spoil the ointment. “If I regard iniquity in my
heart, the Lord will not hear” (Isa. 52. 11). They must
be clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.
4. THAT TO WASH WAS A MATTER OF NECESSITY, NOT
OF OPINION. The priest, guided by his own carnal wisdom,
might say, “Oh, I washed in the morning. I don’t see the
need of washing again in the evening. Besides, as far as
I can judge, there is no uncleanness to wash.” You see it
was not “What saith the priest ?” but “What saith the
Lord ? ” “Wash, that ye die not.” “If we say that we
have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John l-8). While we
are “clean through the Word,” yet the feet need washing,
and that continually. The feet represent our relationship
as Christians to the world. It is most frequently in our
connection with the ungodly and the things of this pre-.38 Handfuls on Purpose.
sent world that the defilement comes. It may come in
the form of hard, unkind thoughts about the unsaved, lack
of compassion, failing to embrace the opportunity of
witnessing for Christ, impatience, covetousness. “Cleanse
Thou me from secret faults” (Psa. 19.12).
Exodus.26. 36, 37; John 10.9.
WHY should there be a door between the ministry of the
laver and the service and fellowship of the holy place?
Perhaps to teach us that the work of the one was just to
fit us for the enjoyment and privilege of the other. To
grow in grace means receiving to the full the blessings
offered us in Christ Jesus, Those who walk in the light
they have shall receive more light “The path of the
just is as the shining light that shineth more and more”
(Prov. 4. 18). In the experience of the Christian there
is always more to follow.
The hangings which formed the door, like the gate
outside and the vail inside, were made of “fine linen-blue,
purple, and scarlet. ” Here, again, we have Jesus
as the Son of God, the Son of Man, and the Mediator be-tween
God and men. It must be Jesus in His threefold
character all the way with the believer. We live by faith
on the Son of God. The door had five pillars, made of
shittim wood overlaid with gold, the wood and gold again
pointing to the human and divine nature of Christ. He
Himself said, “I am the Door” (John 10. 9). The five
pillars may represent His fivefold name as given in Isaiah
9. 6, “Thou shalt call His Name JESUS.” He is the (1)
King, (2) Eternal, (3) Immortal, (4) Invisible, (5) the
only wise God (1 Tim. 1. 17). If at the altar we have to
do with the work of Jesus Christ, here it is Himself in all
the riches of His glorious character that is presented.Spiritual Patterns. 39
before us. The truth about the “fuller” or “higher Chris-tian
life” so freely taught in these days is here in type
before us at the door. It is a definite acceptance of or
entering into all the fulness of Jesus Christ, purchased for
us by His atoning blood, offered to us in His Word, and
accomplished in us by faith through the Holy Spirit.
Having come under the power of the laver cleansing, we
may now behold and enjoy the unsearchable riches of
Christ. The Door was-1,
THE WAY INTO ACCEPTABLE PRAYER. Through the
door, right in front, stood the golden altar of incense, the
type of intercession. When Christ Himself becomes the
chiefest among ten thousand to our hearts, then prayer
will become a delight. Being now filled with His love
and Word, we ask and receive (John 15. 7). The ministry
of the Holy Ghost (laver) is needed to fit us for this holy
and blessed privilege (Rom. 8. 26, 27). This is also-2.
THE WAY INTO CONTINUAL LIGHT. Within the door
was the ever-burning candlestick, the light that was
“never to go out .” When the door is entered, or when
Christ is received in all the fulness of His grace and power,
then the soul enters into the sweet experience of walking
in the “ light of the Lord .” Many Christians know nothing
of this continual shining. Christ is seen by them only at
the altar of atonement. They know their sins forgiven,
but they don’t know what it is to be “filled with all the
fulness of God” (Eph. 3. 16-20). The teaching of the
laver is neglected. 0 that men would believe in the
Holy Spirit and submit to His power and teaching, then
would Christ be glorified in them, then would they walk
in newness of life.
3. THE WAY INTO ABIDING FELLOWSHIP. When the
priest went through the door he also came into the presence.40 Handfuls on Purpose:
of the “table of shewbread.” The table speaks of “fellow-ship.
” Here we have fellowship with God in His Son, who
is the “Bread of Life.” This fellowship with Christ at
the table of bread is a fellowship which strengthens and
satisfies. This precious blessing, too, comes after the
sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, represented in the
laver . Every unclean thing must be put away if we
would abide in the soul-satisfying friendship of the holy
Son of God. How can two walk together except they be
agreed. This privilege does not come to us every now and
then like the ordinance of the “Supper.” There is no
necessity why we should ever go down from this holy
mount. ABIDE IN ME.
4. THE WAY INTO NEARNESS TO GOD. In passing through
the door the priest must have been conscious that he had
approached nearer to God. Now there was only the vail
between him and the glory which rested on the mercy-seat
This is the solemn experience of those who, through
the power of the Holy Ghost, walk in the light of the
fellowship of Christ. Only the vail between, only this
vail of flesh between us and the immediate vision of the
glory of God, “Absent from the body, . . . present with
the Lord” (2 Cor. 5. 8). When we think of ‘our own sin-fulness,
well may we, like Ahab, “walk softly” (1 Kings
21.27). When we think of the grace of God by which we
have been brought into this privilege, well may we rejoice
and adore. Let us fall down and worship.
5. THE WAY INTO THE CALM OF DIVJNE SAFETY. No
matter how stormy the day might be, within the door there
was always calm and quiet. Here the worshipper had the
conscious assurance that he was specially sheltered under
the wings of Jehovah’s presence. General protection was
promised to all who abode under the cloudy pillar. This.Spiritual Patterns. 41
was a special blessing enjoyed only by the priests, the
hidden ones ; those only who had to do continually with the
work of the laver, the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The
importance of this truth is the only excuse for repeating
it so frequently. We may be Christians living under the
pillar of promise, and enjoying pardon through the altar
of His Cross, yet all the while utter strangers to the calm
and quiet of those who live and serve in the holy place.
Here we are “hidden,” hidden from the strife of tongues
(Psa. 31. 20), from trouble (Psa. 27. 5). Here we are
strengthened with “hidden manna,” taught with “hidden
wisdom ” (I Cor. 2. ‘7), and satisfied with “hidden
riches” (Isa. 45. 3). Your life is hid with Christ in
God. How calm, how quiet, how safe, how full, how
holy, how happy, how thankful, how praiseful we
should be ! Through the door was also-6.
THE WAY INTO THE SPHERE OF HOLY SERVICE. Here,
by priestly hands, the incense was put upon the coals of the
altar, the lamps were trimmed, and the bread renewed.
Holy work indeed-praying, testifying, teaching. Praying
unto God; offering up, not cold, formal petitions, but
desires, like incense from the burning cods of a holy, self-consuming
zeal. The incense sent up no sweet perfume
till it came into contact with the burning coals. The
coals of our affection must be burning if our prayers are
to ascend. Here the lamp of our spiritual life is kept
regularly replenished and constantly shining, so that a
steady, God-pleasing testimony is borne. Here the bread
of His presence, ever fresh, is given and received. If we
would minister to others in holy things, we must know
what it is to minister “before God.” This fitness for holy
service, let me repeat it, comes through personally par-ticipating
in the power and grace of the Holy Ghost.
Yield yourselves unto God.
D Vol. I.42 Handfuls on Purpose. .
There was no floor in the holy place. The bare feet of
the priest still walked on the sandy desert. He was re-minded
that, although he was in the place of holiness
enjoying heavenly things, he was still on the earth. The
lesson here is obvious. These great spiritual blessings and
privileges are for us now in our present earthly state.
Many Christians relegate their possessions to Heaven in-stead
of entering into the enjoyment of them now. “I am
the Door ; by Me if any man enter, he shall be SAVED, and
shall go in and out, and find pasture”-strength for SERVICE
(John 10. 9). “Behold, I have set before thee an open
Door” (Rev. 3. 8).
Th.ese Studies are continued in Series II.
PROVE YOUR OWN SELVES.
2 Cor. 13.5.
THIS is a needful work. Beware of the deceitfulness of
the heart. This self -proving should be done-1.
Instantly. The secret of our failure should be
searched out at once.
2. Wfllingly. Are you prepared to know yourself ?–
ready to have a sight of hidden sin ?
3. Carefully. Let no beloved sin deceive you. Judge
each by their fruits. Don’t label things harmless that
4. Fearlessly. With the lamp of God’s searching
Word (Heb. 4. 12).
5. Mercilessly. Spare no Agag. Make confession.
AcknowIedge the sin (Psa. 51. 3).
6. Honestly. Be severe on the sin, but approve what
is good. Distinguish between sins and infirmities.
7. Prayerfully. Remember, the Lord alone can
search the heart. “Search me, 0 God ; try my heart.”.Old Testament Studies
“IN the beginning GOD.” Regeneration, like the work
of creation, has its beginning in God (John 3. 5). The
new creation, like. the old, begins with the „Wooed of
God” and the movie of the Spirit. Compare the order
here with the experience of a soul passing from death into
The State of Disorder (v. 2). The threefold con-dition
of man’s state by nature is here very forcibly
1. CONFUSION. “The earth was without form.” No
order; nothing in harmony with the ultimate purpose of
God. No perfect thing. The carnal mind is enmity
against God. Spiritual things foolishness.
2. EMPTINESS . “Void. ” Utterly unable of itself to
produce any good. Life and fruitfulness are the gifts of
God. “In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good
thing” (Rom. 7. 18). Man is utterly void apart from the
moving Spirit. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an
unclean?” (Job 14. 4).
3. DARKNESS. “Darkness was upon the face of the
deep. ” There can be nothing but darkness till the light
is sent forth. We would have been in darkness until now
had not God commarcded the light to shine forth (2 Cor.
4.6). To be under sin is to be under the power of darkness.
Satan is the Prince of Darkness.
II. The Work of the Spirit. “The Spirit moved,”
The earth may move, but its own motion could not mend
43.44 Handfuls on Purpose.
it. It must be moved upolz. Regeneration is not the out-come
of the movements of the natural heart. Not evolu-tion,
but creation (2 Cor. 5. 17). Born, not of the will of
man, but of God; born from above (John 6.63).
III. The Power of God’ s Word. “God said, and there
was. ” He spake, and it was done. The Word of God is
quick and powerful. This Word, this mighty, moving,
re-creating energy is in the Gospel of Christ. It is the
power of God unto salvation. “Lazarus, come forth”
(John Il. 43). His Word was with power.
IV. The Divine Separation. “God divided the light
from the darkness” (vv . 4, 5). The Word of God, by the
power of the Holy Spirit working in the “new man,”
divides between soul and spirit, and separates the spiritual
and the carnal. “What communion hath light with
darkness?” (2 Cor. 6. 14-18).
V. The Manner of Fruitbearing. “Yielding fruit
after ,ll& k&d, whose seed is in itself” (v. 11). Fruit-bearing
is the outcome of the light and the moving Spirit.
The result of a conditio+a , not an effort ; of what we are, not
of what we do. The fruit of Christ in us will be Christ-likeness-
fruit after His kind, and with the seed in itself.
VI. The Position of the Lights. “In the firmament
to give light upon the earth” (v. 15). The light must be
above the earth if they are to shine on it. “Ye are the light
of the world.” Not of it-lifted above it. Seated in the
heavenlies to shine Upon it” (John 17).
VII. The Image of God. “God created man in His
own image. ” The climax of His creative power results in
His own likeness. It is so in the new creation, “After the
image of Him that created him” (Col. 3. 10). The great.Old Testament Studies. 45
work of the Holy Spirit is to renew the soul after the image
of God. Both God and man will be satisfied when we are
perfected in His likeness.
VIII, The Crown of Honour. “God gave him
. dominion. ” Power and authority come when we have
been made like Him. In the Kingdom we shall reign with
Him (Rev. 20. 6).
THE CREATOR% SABBATH.
ONLY when God had f+nislzed the heavens and the earth
did He rest. He found no rest until He had ended all His
work. The Sabbath, or rest of God, means perfect satis-faction
in that which has been accomplished. He alone
was the worker. His alone was the rest. Let us notice:
I. The Sabbath Ordained. The seventh day was
fixed and settled by God to be a time of rest and joy to
Himself and to all creation.
1, IT IS A D AY OF R E ST. No more work to be done.
He rested, not because He was weary, but because every
good thing had been done that could be done.
2. IT WAS A DAY OF BLESSING. “God blessed it .” The
special favour and delight of God was in it-truthfulness
’ and satisfaction.
3. IT WAS A S EPARATED D AY. “God sanctified it. ”
Set it apart as His own possession and inheritance because
it manifested the results of His own wisdom, power, and
goodness. But note more particularly that-4.
IT WAS THE DAY OF GRACE FOR MAN. God made man
on the sixth day, so that the first day that dawned upon
Adam was the Sabbath of God, that is, man immediately
entered into the enjoyment of the rest of his Creator. God
finished the work; man enters with Him into the rest and.46 Handfuls on Purpose.
enjoyment of all that God had made. 0 the grace of God,
to delight in bringing man into such a possession I
II. The Sabbath Destroyed. It would seem that man
did not long enjoy the rest of God. The tempter came,
man failed, the rest was broken, Adam fled from God.
Sin ruined man for the enjoyment of God’s rest. In the
ages that follow man seems to have forgotten that the
Sabbath was “made for man,” so when the law was given
(Exod. 22) the word “Remember” was significantly pre-fixed
to the Second Commandment. The Sabbath of
divine rest, which was a gift to man, now comes back to
him in the form of law; but still it reminds him of God’s
rest. “No manna fell” on the Sabbath day. To enjoy
rest now they have to gather double on the sixth day-not
of grace now, but of works.
III. The Sabbath Restored. Through Jesus Christ
man can be brought back to the enjoyment of God’s rest.
1. THROUGH HIM ANOTEIER WORK HAS BEEN FINISHED.
“I have finished the work” (John 17.4). He put away sin,
the work of atonement is ended, and God has pronounced
all very good.
2. ANOTHER REST IS ENJOYED. As God rested upon the
mercy-seat on the Holy of Holies, so doth He now rest
satisfied in the work of His beloved Son.
3. ANOTHER DAY OF GRACE IS PROCLAIMED. “Come
unto Me, and I will give you rest” (Matt, 11. 28). AS
Adam entered into God’s rest, so may we now through
faith in Jesus. “There remained a rest (Sabbath) for the
people of God” (Heb. 4. l-9) ; “Enter into HIS rest. ”
This rest means to us all that it meant to Adam: 1, A
ceasing from works; 2, continual fellowship with God; 3,
to bear His holy image; 4, to find our all in His possession;
5, to rejoice in God. “They could not enter in because of
unbelief” (Heb. 3. 19)..Old Testament Studies. 47
THE GARDEN OF EDEN.
Genesis 2. 8-19.
THE garden in Eden speaks of grace upon grace. The
man God made was invited to enter into and enjoy all the
fulness of God. The garden may be regarded as a type of
the provision God has made for man in Christ Jesus.
I. God’s Gracious Provision. There is something
in the fact that-1.
IT WAS A GARDEN. This suggests a sfecial enclosure,
a place prepared for a prepared man. We are reminded of
the Covenant made with Christ before the world was. He
was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world
2. ITWASPLANTEDBYTHELORD. Manhadnohandin
the making of this inheritance. This, like the scheme of
salvation, was the work of God: “Salvation is of the
’ Lord” (Jonah 2.9). Both the “plant” and the planting
were His alone (John 3. 16).
3. IT WAS PLANTED FOR MAN. God had the good of
man before Him in the planting of every tree. He con-sidered
all man’s need, and made ample provision for his
complete satisfaction. All the eternal forethought of God
in our behalf is seen in the julness that dwells in Christ.
In Christ is God’s provision for needy man. Look at some
of these tree blessings:
(1) The Tree of Lije . This stood in the midst of the
garden (v. 9). LIFE is man’s first need : “I am come that
ye might have life” (John 10. 10). This was the tree of
eternal life to Adam. The Cross of Christ in the midst is
the tree of life for fallen man. Before Adam could die he
had to be driven from the tree of life. To be without Christ
is to be without hope..48 Handfuls on Purpose.
(2) Every Tree that was Pleasant. Here also Adam ,
found his pleasure. In God’s provision for us in Christ
there is life and every pleasant thing, every pleasure worth
having-“ Wisdom’s ways. ”
(3) Every Tree that was Good for Food. There are many
pleasures which don’t satisfy; these are good for food.
They build up and strengthen. Every promise of God is a
fruit tree; the garden of the Lord is full of them.
(4) There was the ” Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil .”
Would it have been better without this? Here is a deep
truth. We cannot know good and evil, in a real sense, till
. we have been planted into Christ. Sin and grace are well
(5) There was a River of Water (v. 10). A river watered
the garden. “There is a river, the streams whereof shall
make glad the city of God” (Psa. 46. 4). The blessings in
Christ are all made fruitful by the power of the Holy
Ghost. Surely in Christ we have a goodly heritage.
II, Man ‘8 Wondrous Privilege,
1, HE WAS PUT IN BY GOD. “The Lord put the man
into the garden” (v. 15). Adam was not made in the
garden. Our engrafting into Christ is a divine act. The
provision is much, but that is not enough. The soul of
man, by the Holy Ghost, must be brought into touch with
2. HE WAS PUT IN TO ENJOY THE WORK OF GOD. What
grace I We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ
3. HE WAS PUT IN TO WORK AND WATcH-dress it and
keep it (v. 15).. The Christian life, though a life of faith,
is not a life of idleness..Old Testament Studies. 49
4. HE WAS PUT IN WITH A DIVINE LIBERTY AND WARNING
(w. 16, 17). Shall we sin that grace may abound. God
forbid! Sin may not cut off sonship, but it will destroy
THE FIRST MARRIAGE.
Genesis 2. 18; 21-25.
GOD said, “Let Us make man in Our image. ” This first
man we may regard as a type of the Second Man, the Lord
from Heaven, who is the image of the Invisible God. Eve
may represent the relationship of the redeemed to Christ :
“This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and
the Church” (Eph. 5. 32).
I. The Declaration. God said, “It is not good that
man should be alone” (v. IS). God considers this man’s
highest need, and thinks that lofielzess is not for his greatest
good. Think of God away back in eternity saying this
regarding the Son of His love I Not good for Him to be
alone, the only Son, bearing the image and reflecting the
glory of the Father ! He will bring many sons into glory.
II. The New Creation. “I will make him an help
meet for him” (v. 18). Eve was the workmanship of God,
and His gift to the man in His own image. We are His
workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus. The Church
is an help meet for Christ, is made by Him, and is the gift
of the Father to the Son. “All that the Father hath given
Me shall come to Me” (John 6. 37). “Them which Thou
hast given Me” (John 17. 9) .
III. The Operation. “The Lord caused a deep sleep
to fall upon Adam” (v. 21). Sleep is the figure of death.
While Adam was in this state the wonder-working hands
of the Divine Operator brought forth a helper after His own
likeness. It was a deep sleep the Lord God caused to fall
upon the Second Adam when He bowed His head and gave up.50 Handfuls on Purpose.
theghost. “It pleased the Lord to bruise”(Isa.53.10). God
took a rib from thefirst man, but nothing less than the blood
of the Second Man would suffice if a helpmate is to be given
Him. His Church had to be bought with His own blood.
IV. The Presentation. “The Lord brought her to the
man” (v. 23). Every Go&ke man may have his wife
from the Lord. “The Lord brought her to the man.”
What for? To share his love, to enjoy his fellowship, to
be a partaker of the blessings freely given him by God,
and to be a joy and a comfort and a help to him. Thus the
Holy Spirit brings us to Christ, that we may receive of
His, and be workers together with Him. Every Christian
is to be a helpmate to Christ.
V. The Acceptance. “Adam said, This is now bone of
my bones” (v. 23). He acknowledged Eve, the gift of
God, as a part of himself. “They shall be ooze flesh.” He
never thought of refusing her. “Him that cometh unto
Me I will in no wise cast out ” (John 6.37). How close the
union ! We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of
His bones. Yes, “He will receive you unto Himself .”
VI. The Result. “Therefore shall a man leave his
father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife”
(v. 24). Every relationship that would hinder us from
cleaving to Christ and serving Him must be broken, The
whole heart and life are to be yielded if we would be faith-ful.
Christ left His Father when He came to earth. He
left His mother when He died on the Cross. He cleaves
to His wife and His redeemed people. Leave all, and cleave
to Him (Matt . 16.24).
THE FALL OF MAN.
THE first sin was like Elijah’s cloud, it was little at the
beginning, but it blackened the whole heavens. By one.Old Testament Studies. 51
man sin entered, and death came upon all. By Man
(Christ) came also resurrection and life (1 Cor. 15. 21,22).
We have here the revelation of some root principles. There
I. Satanic Teaching, “Ye shall not surely die. ”
The personality of the devil is clearly implied. He does
not say “There is no God,” but suggests that God does
not mean what He says, or if He does He is not a God of
mercy. His great purpose is ever to mar the design of God
toward man. Wiles of the devil.
II. Carnal Reasoning (v. 6). She saw, because she
looked, and, judging by appearance, she desired, and when
the desire was nourished it grew into a deliberate act, she
took. Then, not satisfied with taking for herself, she gave.
The process may have been something like this: 1,
Giving heed to the tempter; 2, forgetting God’s mercies;
3, looking at the forbidden thing ; 4, wishing God had not
forbidden it ; 5, doubting the Word of God ; 6, believing
Satan’s lie; 7, yielding to taste.
III. Presumptuous Working. “They sewed fig leaves
together and made themselves aprons” (v. 7). Their eves
were opened. Sin opens the eyes of the saints to see their
own weakness, while it blinds the eyes of the ungodly.
This is a vain attempt to cover sinful self. “He that
covereth his sins shall not prosper” (Prov. 28. 13). Why
not confess and receive forgiveness (1 John 1.9).
IV. Guilty Concealing. “T h e y h i d t h e m s e l v e s” .
(v. 8) . Hid among the trees of the garden, among the very
blessings God had given them. Many still hide behind the
gifts of God while they live in sin. The “voice of the
Lord” is always a terror to evil-doers. It is in vain for
man to hide anywhere away from God. “I tlee to Thee to
hide me.” Sin always separates from God..52 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. Divine Seeking. “Where art thou?” (v. 9). This
is the call of Grace. God is always the first seeker. When
would Adam have sought God 3 This divine question (1)
Reveals great compassion ; this is the Good Shepherd
seeking the lost sheep. (2) It awakens conviction by
leading to deep heart-searching. (3) It demands COW
fessioN; yield, and unburden all to God. (4) It suggests
jzdgmed, “Where art thou ?” There is no escape from Him.
VI. Vain Excusing. “The woman Thoz.4 gavest, she
gave me” (v. 12). His mouth has not yet been stopped
(Rom. 3. 19). God justifies the believer, not the boaster.
If men don’t now lay the blame of sin on God, they go as
near as possible when they blame circumstances. There is
no excuse for doubting God.
VII. Merciful Covering. “God made coats of skin
and clothed them” (v. 21). Man’s best will never cover
his nakedness in the sight of God. These coats of skin
suggest sacrifice. It is significant to remember that atone-ment
means covering. Adam’s covering was the covering
of another, substitution. It was of God’s making and
giv&zg, the righteousness of God, which is unto all and
tipon all them that believe.
CAIN AND ABEL.
Genesis 4. l-16.
OF Cain and Abel it may be said: “Two men went up to
worship, the one was a Pharisee, the other was a publican”
(Luke 18. 10). Although both enjoyed the same privileges
and opportunities, they were far from being alike. Chris-tian
privileges will not in themselves make a Christian.
We have here-I.
Self-will Rejected. “Unto Cain and his offering”
God had not respect (v. 5). Cain must be acceptable first.Old Testament Studies. 53
himself before his offering can be. His offering was re-jected,
because he himself was guilty. Christ was without
spot when He offered Himself. The way of Cain was Ais
own way (Jude 11). Man’s own way is to seek acceptance
with God without confessing guilt. There is no road this
way; both the offerer and the offering are rejected.
II. Faith Accepted. “The Lord hath respect unto
Abel and his offering” (v. 4). “Byjaith Abel offered up a
more acceptable sacrifice than Cain” (Heb. 11. 4). The
offering and the offerer stand or fall together. When by
faith we lay hold upon Christ there is no possibility of
rejection, for this offering has been accepted by God,
and every believing offerer is accepted in Him. All
that believe are justified from all things, Faith in Christ
is always acceptable faith.
III. Enmity Manifested. “Cain was wroth” (v. 5).
He was religious in appearance, but in heart he was at
enmity with God. He had the form of godliness, but he was
a stranger to its power. Many there are in these days who
have gone the way of Cain, content with the mere ceremony,
while the living substance has never been touched or
IV. Mercy Revealed. “God said, Why art thou
wroth ? a sin-offering lieth at thy door” (vv. 6, 7). God
in mercy points out to Cain that the only way of acceptance
as a sinner is through a sin-offering. Christ bore our sins
in His own body on the tree. This sin-offering lies at the
door of every sinner. What a mercy that the atoning price
is so near I
V. Righteousness Hated. “Cain slew his brother”
(v. 8). And wherefore slew he him ? (see 1 John 3. 12).
He hated the righteousness of God as seen in his brother.
The carnal mind of man would rather quench the divine.54 Handfuls on Purpose.
light in bloodshed than acknowledge sin. Christ was the
Righteousness of God, and men cried, “Away with this
Man” (Luke 23. 18). They loved darkness rather than the
light, because their deeds were evil.
VI. Wickedness Judged. “Now art thou cursed”
(v. 11). The counsel of God with regard to the sin-offering
was rejected; now the curse comes. What a striking ful-filment
of John 3. 18. Rejecting Christ as the sin-offering
means no escape from the wrath and curse of God. What
think ye of Christ ?
VII. Justice Vindicated. “Cain said, Mine iniquity
is greater than that it may be forgiven” (v. 13, margin).
He acknowledges the justice of his condemnation, yet so
hardened is he that he begs not for mercy. “There is mercy
at the eleventh hour,” say many; but what if your heart
becomes so hard that you will not even yield to seek mercy.
The heart is desperately wicked; don’t trust it. False
worshippers, remember the doom of Cain.
NOAH SAVED FROM WRATH.
Genesis 6. 7.
IN these chapters we have a dark, dismal picture of man.
After about two thousand years’ trial he is here only as a
total failure. When man has altogether failed God comes
in sovereign grace and manifests His saving power. It is
always so. Grace comes when man is utterly l&t and help-less.
The coming forth of Noah and his family from the
ark may be a foreshadowing of the coming of Christ and His
saints to bless a new earth, purged by the judgment of
God. Look at the
I. Divine Verdict. “God said, The end of all flesh is
come before ME” (chap. 6. 13). What a poor end this was !
“Evil, only evil, continually.” Mark, this is the end of.Old Testament Studies. 55
all fZesh. Evolutionists predict a different end, but the
divine verdict has already gone forth-“Only evil.”
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3. 6).
“They that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8.8).
Unregenerate man, this is the end of YOU SUPPOSES good
life, as seen by a righteous and holy God.
II. Divine Plan. “God said to Noah, Make an ark. ”
Noah and his family could never have escaped the flood
had not God been pleased to reveal this way of deliverance.
It is not in man (1 Cor. 2. 10, 11). Salvation is of the
Lord. What a revelation of grace has come to us through
Jesus Christ I God laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
III. Divine Warning. “Behold, I, even I, will bring
a flood” (v. 17). How gracious our God is in providing
a Refuge for us in Christ, and in so plainly warning us of
the coming wrath (Luke 3.7). There is no escape for those
who neglect His merciful provision (Heb. 2.3). “ Remember
Lot’s wife” (Luke 17. 32).
IV. Divine Invitation. “Come thou, and all thy
house, into the ark” (chap. 7. 1). He who made the pro=
vision sends forth the invitation (Matt. 22. 2, 3). He
who gave His Son up to the death for us invites us to
“hear Him.” The pleading of Jesus is the pleading of
God in Him (Matt . 9. 28). God’s gracious purpose is to
save both you and your household (Acts 16.31).
V. Divine Security. “The Lord shut him in” (v. 16).
They are safely kept whom God shuts up. When He shuts,
no man can open. If any man elzter in he shall be saved
(John 10.9), kept (1 Peter 1.5), and comforted (John 14.
16). To be shut in by God is to be shut out from
the world-from its pleasures, its sins, and its doom.
If your life is ha’d with Christ in God, seek those things
which are above..56 Handfuls on Purpose.
VI, Divine Carefulness. “God remembered Noah.”
Those who hide know where to seek. Those hidden by
God are ever remembered by Him. All who are shut up
in Jesus Christ, like Noah, are shut up to faith. It is a
blessed privilege to be where we cannot be touched by
judgment, and cannot be forgotten of God.
VII. Divine Commission. “God said unto Noah,
Go forth” (chap. 8. 16). We go 2% for salvation, and go
fort/z for testimony. We are first taken out of the world
before we are sent into it (John 17) . Those who go in and
out will find pasture. To the unsaved God’s word is,
” Come in ; ” to the saved His word is, “Go forth.” Blessed
coming and going!
THE ALTAR AND THE BOW; OR,
DEATH AND RESURRECTION GLORY.
Genesis 8. 20-21; 9. 12-16.
THERE is a very close connection between the altar and the
bow. The same connection exists between,the death and
resurrection of Christ. The altar speaks of sacrifice, the
bow of promise and assurance. Christ died for our sins, and
rose again for our justification.
I. The Altar. It was an altar builded unto the Lord.
It was both a witness and. a confession that God had holy
and righteous claims that must be acknowledged and met.
The first thing that Noah did in coming forth was to
recognise that God‘s place was the first place. “In the be-ginning
1. THE NEED OF AN OFFERING. A new beginning was
now to be made. If the life is to be a blessed and fruitful
one the favour of God must be secured. In the fulness of
time the Son of God stepped forth. A new order of things.Old Testament Studies. 57
was about to begin. He made peace by the blood of His
Cross. By His offering we are reconciled to God. This is
a good start.
2. T HE N ATURE OF THE O F F E R I NG. “ Every clean
beast. ” Every clean beast means the combination of every
creature excellency. A perfect offering. When Christ
offered Himself a sacrifice unto God it was an offering
without spot or blemish. Although the first man failed,
God found in the second every heart-satisfying virtue.
3. THE RESULT OF THE OFFERING. God found in it : 1,
A savor of rest (v. 21, margin). Precious thought ! Every
desire of God’s heart fully met in the sweet savour of
Christ’s offering (Eph. 5. 2). 2, Ati assurance of safety.
No more curse. There is, therefore, now no judgment.
Never come into condemnation. 3, The firomise of unceas-ing
bless@ (v . 22) . Every spiritual blessing is ours in
Christ Jesus (Eph. 1.3).
II. The Bow. The bow of promise comes after the altar
of sacrifice. As all the colours of nature are in the bow,
so all the promises of God are in Christ. Every divine
perfection is manifested in the resurrection glory of Jesus.
. Christ as our Sacrifice is seen on the altar of the Cross ;
Christ as our Intercessor is seen in the bow of His media-torial
glory. The bow is-1.
A TOKEN OF GOD’S GOODNESS. How kind of God to
give such a visible expression of His love and favour , such
an assurance of heart. If Christ is not risen we are of all
men most miserable. But now is Christ risen (1 Cor.
2. A TOKEN OF GOD’s FULNESS. There is fulness of
colour and beauty in the bow, a fulness that is in sweetest
harmony. Think of the fulness of the Godhead in Jesus
E Vol. 1 ..58 Handfuls on Purpose.
Christ, in Him for us, and all in perfect harmony with a
just and holy God. 0 the riches of His glorious grace I
3. A TOKEN OF GOD’s FAITHFULNESS. “I do set My
bow for a covenant” (chap. 9. 13). The setting of Christ
at God’s right hand is to us who believe a token of eternal
security. He is faithful who hath promised. “Dost thou
believe on the Son of God I ” (John 9. 35).
THE TOWER OF BABEL.
Genesis 11. l-9..
THERE are seven interesting points of contrast between
this scene and the one recorded in Acts 1. The gift of new
tongues by the Holy Spirit is the divine remedy for the
pride that results in the strife of tongues. We have here-I.
A Revelation of Human Ambition. “Out of the
heart are the issues of life” (Prov. 4. 23). A straw may
indicate which way the wind blows. Observe-1.
THE OBJECT IN VI EW. “Let us make us a tzame. ”
The natural man seeks a name for himself, and one of his
own making. Name-making is a very common and
popular business, although it never pays well in the end.
See the failure of three name-makers in Numbers 16. It
is possible to be doing Christian work with the same end
2. THE METHOD EMPLOYED,. “Let us build a city and a
tower. ” This purpose of theirs betrays a felt need of pro-tection,
abiding fellowship, and future prospect. Every
man needs a city of safety and a tower of hope. The self-righteous
seek to build them for themselves. “Going
about to establish their own righteousness” (Rom. 10. 3).
Thank God, Jesus Christ has built such a city and tower,
where all may have salvation and hope..Old Testament Studies. 59
3. THE MEANS USED. “Let us make brick.” Those
who would save themselves by their own works have much
to do. They have not only the building, but the very
bricks to make. Not only to do good works, but they have
the very desires to manufacture (a hard task), and, after
all is done, it is only brick at the best. In Luke 18. 11, 12
we see one of these brick-makers busy at work.
II. A Manifestation of Divine Displeasure. What
will all our building do for us if it does not please God?
It is only wood, hay, stubble-fit for the fire.
1. THE DIVINE INSPECTION. “The Lord came down to
see what they had built. ” Every man’s work will be
tried. This is a very solemn truth. The eyes of Jehovah
will scan every brick or jewel. Every motive and act
alike must be tested. “Without $.&it it is impossible to
please God” (Heb. 11. 6).
2. THE SUDDEN CONFUSION. “The Lord did there con-found,
so they left off to build.” What a change when
God comes! When the Spirit of God comes upon the self-righteous
He makes them leave off their vain and pre-sumptuous
works. Think of it. The presence of God
means confusion to the religious self-seeker. What may
be very pleasing in the eyes of men may be suddenly
turned into Babel at the approach of God. “He that
BELIEVETH on Him shall not be confounded” (1 Peter 2.6).
3. COMPLETE DISPERSION. “From thence did the Lord
scatter them abroad .” The very thing they were labouring
to prevent was the thing that came upon them. Proud
men labour to save themselves from being cast out by
God at last, and their faithless works are securing for them
the doom they strive to avoid. The city of God, seek ye
it (Heb. 11. 10). The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
flee unto it (Prov. 18. 10)..60 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE CALL OF ABRAHAM.
Genesis 12. 1-4.
THE life of Abraham, like the course of a river, had many
windings, but it seemed to deepen aml gather in strength
as it went on. No Old Testament saint figures more
prominently in the New Testament. A life of faith in
God will always be fragrant for good.
I. When the Call Came. It came while he was living
in ignorance and idolatry (Rom. 4. 10). He was not
called because he was better than his countrymen. The
grace of God seeks for no worthiness. Christ came not to
call the righteous, but sinners. While we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
II. How the Call Came. Whether he heard an audible
voice, or whether the Spirit of God whispered the message
into his heart by working in him an irresistible desire we
know not. At anyrate, the call ‘was very persoltal. He
alone could answer it. The calling of God brings individual
responsibility. God calls US not that we may be better
than our neighbours, but better than ourselves. God’s
saving call comes to us through the Gospel.
III. What this Call Involves.
1. AN ENTIRE SEPARATION .. “Get thee out.” His
country, kindred, or father’s house must not hinder.
Every connection and friendship that stood between him
and the divine call must be broken and left behind. If
a man is not willing to forsake his sins he is not willing
to be saved (Isa. 55. 7).
2. A NEW LIFE. This life is a life of faith in God and
fellowship with God-a blessed life. All who obey God
live by faith. It is the transplanting by the Spirit out of
the barren soil of self into the fat, fruitful soil of infinite
grace..Old Testament Studies. 61
IV. What Accompanies this Call.
1. THE PROMISE OF A POSSESSION. “A land that I will
show thee.” Many linger when God calls, thinking of
what might have to be given up, forgetful of what God
offers. The Prodigal had, of course, to give up his rags
when he got the best robe. \
2. THE PROMISE OF BEING MADE A BLESSING. “I will
bless thee, and thou shalt be a blessing.” All the families
of the earth are being and will yet be blessed through
Abraham’s seed (Christ). We can only be a blessing for
God after we have been blessed by God. This is God’s
order. We are saved to serve. It is out of those who come
to Jesus and drink that the living water flows (John 7.
V. How the Call was Received. It would seem from
chapter 11. 31 that Abraharn was led by his father instead
of the command of God. Under his leadership he only got
to Haran. After his father’s death Abram fully obeyed
(v. 4). Worldly wisdom will never help us in the life of
faith. There is no rest or blessing for those who stop short
of Christ, no matter how far they may have gone. Not
far from the kingdom is still outside. Almost saved
means lost. “God is calling yet. 0 hear Him ! ”
ABRAHAM IN CANAAN.
Genesis 12. 4-9.
PERHAPS Terah, the father of Abraham, was seeking only
his own comfort when he called a halt at Haran. In such
a spirit the Land of Promise can never be possessed. There
must be a crossing of the river (Euphrates) and a passing
into the desert if Canaan is to be enjoyed. Half-and-half
Christians who abide on the border never inherit the
fulness of the land (Joshua 1. 3)..62 Handfuls on Purpose.
I. A Prosperous Journey. “They went forth to 9
to Canaan, and into Canaan they came.” The life of faith
is always a life of goingfurth. “A going on still” (v. 9)’
1. THE START. “They went forth.” Wzut from?
From all the past sins and failures, from worldly pleasures,
from self-ease, and self-seeking. What olt ? On the sure
word of God’s unfailing promise, not leaning on their own
feelings, wisdom, or understanding. “He went out, not
knowing whither he went .”
2. THE JOURNEY. The way lay through the Syrian
desert. The passage into the place of blessing may be
extremely trying to flesh and blood, the way to the Cross
may be sorrowful, but the burden rolls off when there.
The entrance into the fultiess of the blessing is always
through the barren desert of self-despair.
3. THE END. “Into Canaan they came.” Those who
gq out in the expectation of faith will not stick in the
mud of disappointment. There are two great and common
causes of failure in the Christian life. First, stoppirtg short of the purpose and promise of God; second, going without the divine promise, Going forth in the energy of the flesh, having no special call of God to lean on. So when the
heat of temptation comes they wither, having no root.
II. A Continual Difficulty. “The Canaanite was then
in the land” (v. 6). Canaan is not a type of Heaven, for
there will be no enemy there. It is typical of the new
relationships into which believers enter after having trusted
God, and gone forth in His Name. Here we have trial and
warfare, and as pilgrims and strangers have need of con-tinual
faith. Being in the place of warfare, we are in the
place where God has promised to bless. Abraham got no
blessing while among his ows kindred (v. 1). It is in the
high places of promise that we wrestle against principalities
and powers (Eph. 6. 121..Old Testament Studies. 63
III. An Unfailing Assurance. “The Lord appeared
unto Abram, and said, “Unto thy seed will I give this land”
(v. 7). The assuring promise was given when Abram had
got right into the ce&e of the land. When by faith we
take our stand right upon His Word, then shall we find it
sweetly fulfilled in our experience. The cede of God‘s
promises is in Christ. We shall come short untii we are
found in Him. “All the promises of, God are in Him”
(2 Cor. 1. 20). Go forth, believer, into the heart and
centre of all God’s purposes in Christ. You will find grace
sufficient there. The anxious soul must get to this centre
before the assurame of salvation will be given. The
sealing comes upon believing (Eph. 1. 13).
IV. A Powerful Testimony. “He pitched his tent,
and builded an altar unto the Lord” (v. 8). Abram’s
great mission in Canaan was that of a witness for God.
His altar was a public testimony. To this end is every
Christian called. “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me” (Acts
1. 8). By his tent he declared himself a pilgrim and
a stranger, looking for a city; by His altar he testified to
1. HIS FAITH IN THE REALITY OF GOD. While the
Canaanite looked on he must have been convinced that
Abram believed in a living, personal, prayer-hearing God.
2. HIS BELIEF IN THE HOLINESS OF GOD. The altar
speaks of sacrifice. God is holy, and can only be
approached through atoning blood. Does OZC~ lives bear
this much-needed testimony ? Do we by our acts condemn
the world ? (Heb. 11.7).
3. HIS CONFIDENCE IN THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD,
He was not ashamed to lift up his altar in the presence of
the heathen, declaring thereby his expectation of the ful-filment
of the divine promise. How often are we afraid
to venture much for God, lest He should fail and our con-fidence
stagger..64 Handfuls on Purpose.
4. HIS SURRENDER TO THE CLAIMS OF GOD. All who
really know the need and meaning of the altar will gladly
yield up all to Him. May our lives be lived in the light
of that awful altar and sacrifice lifted up on Calvary.
Yield yourselves unto God.
ABRAHAM IN EGYPT.
Genesis 20. 10-20; 13. l-4.
IN the spiritual world of our Christian experience, as well
as in the natural world, changes may come very suddenly.
Who would have thought that a man with Abraham’s
faith would turn aside at the first temptation. At our
best and strongest moment we are in danger of falling, if
not kept by the power of God through faith.
I. The Trial. “There was a famine in the land.” It
is always a great trial to experience drought and lack of
pasture in the Lad of Promise. But if faith is to triumph
and grow it must be tested. “The trial of your faith is
precious” (1 Peter 1. 7). Well-watered plains please the
eye. Faith must lay hold on the things which are unseen.
It is often in the place of blessing where the keenest pangs
of thirst are felt. Trials make the promise sweet ; there is
no discipline of soul without them.
II. The Failure. “He went down into Egypt ” (v. 10).
Why ? Had GOD failed ? Ah, no ! But it seems to have
happened to Abraham as it often turns out in our own ex-perience.
He had been trusting more to the land than to
the God of promise; looking more to the blessing than the
Blesser . This God will not permit. Our faith must not
rest on His gifts, but on Himself. Note what this down-ward
step led to.
1. IT LED TO FEAR (v. 12). He was now afraid they
would take his life. His courage for God is gone. None.Old Testament Studies. 65
are so weak and silly as Christians when turned aside from
the life of faith.
2. IT LED TO SELFISHNESS (w . 11 and 12). He is more
concerned about his own safety than the honour and
chastity of his wife. When a man turns away from God
his interest is sure to become centred in himself.
3. IT LED TO HYPOCRISY (v. 13). He pretended to be
what he was not, only the brother of Sarai. This was a
deliberate misrepresentation. This is the next step of the
backslider, pretending not to be what he really is.
4. IT LED TO OPEN REBUKE. Pharaoh said to him,
“What is this that thou hast done ? ” (v. 18). It is sad
when the child of God has to be warned and corrected by
the man of the world.
5. IT LED TO TROUBLE UPON OTHERS. “The Lord
plagued Pharaoh because of Abraham’ s wife” (v. 17).
The plague of divine judgment will doubtless need to fall
upon many because of the unfaithfulness of many of God’ s
believing people. May our light so shine that they will
be led to glorify our Father in Heaven.
III. The Restoration. “Abraham went up out of
Egypt, and came unto the place of the altar which he had
made at the first” (chap. 13. 1-4). It has been said that
“the man of God makes but a poor worldling. ” Abraham
built no altar in Egypt. There is no fellowship with God
while we walk by sight and not by faith. The only remedy
for backsliding is to come again to the place of the altar,
the Cross of Christ. This is the place of sacrifice, forgive-ness
communion, and consecration. There was no happi-ness
nor restoration for the prodigal until he came back to
the place from whence he had wandered away (Luke 15).
“Ye have forsaken ME,” saith the Lord. “Return unto
ME, and I will heal your back&dings. ”.66 Handfuls on Purpose.
ABRAHAM, THE SEPARATED ONE.
Genesis 13. 5-18.
ABRAHAM and Lot are types of two classes of Christians.
Lot was a righteous man, but, living by sight and sense,
he sought only his own pleasure and profit. He is the
type of an unconsecrated Christian. Abraham lives by
faith on the promise of God. He may fail, but not like
Lot, who never could do anything to help Abraham. Lot
builded no altar. The unconsecrated life can live without
worship. The well-watered plains have more attraction
for the worldly believer. The “higher Christian life” just
means higher motives in living.
I. The Impossible Relationship. “The land was not
able to bear them” (v. 6). The conditions of the country
would not permit of Abram and Lot dwelling Qetlzer.
Even the Land of Promise is not able to sustain such an
unequal yoke as the life of faith in God and the life of sense
and worldly wisdom. This is a strife that often takes
place in the heart of the believer, a conflict between the
fleshly life and the spiritual. As long as the strife goes on
the Land of Promise seems to yield no blessing (see
Rom. 7). Worldly Christians, like Lot, set no value
on the promises of God.
II. The Generosity of Faith. “Abram said to Lot,
The whole land is before thee ; separate thyself” (vv. 8 and
9). The friend of God can easily afford to let others have
the first choice. Either hand will do for the man of God.
The servant of God must not strive. We can show our
trust in God by standing back from the strife of tongues,
and by allowing others to occupy the chief seats. Let us
stand up for God, and God will stand up for our rights.
All our rights are in Him.
III. The Selfishness of the Worldly-Minded. “Lot.Old Testament Studies. 67
lifted up his eyes” (w. 10-13). He looked for the best,
and chose it, and never said “Thank you. ” He separated
himself from the man of faith with a light heart. Worldly
Christians do not set much value on the fellowship of a
holy man. His mind was set on earthly prosperity, not
on heavenly things. How much did he gain by it ? He
pitched his tent (no altar) toward Sodom, and was burned
out of it himself, saved as by fire.
IV. The Privilege of the Separated. “The Lord
said unto Abram, after Lot was separated from him, Lift
up now thine eyes” (v. 14). After the separation comes the
message of comfort, “Come out from among them, . . .
and I will receive you” (2 Cor. 6.17). Greed and c0vetous-ness
constrained Lot to lift up his eyes. Abram lifted up
his eyes at the invitation of the Lord. Herein lies the
great distinction between the worldly Christian and the
faithful one. The one is moved by self-interest, the other
by the Word of God. “Looking up” is the abiding attitude
of every separated one. Lot goes leaning on his own under-standing.
Abram goes leaning on the promise of God
(see Gal. 2. 20).
V. The Altar of Testimony. “Abram came to the
plain of Mamre and built there an altar unto the Lord”
(v. 18). Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom; Abram
pitched his toward God. The self-seeking Christian bears
no testimony for God. When he does attempt it, it looks
Iike mockery (Gen. 19. 14). The just shaIl live by faith.
Live to the will of God (1 Peter 4. 1,2).
ABRAHAM, THE MAN OF FAITH.
Genesis 14. 18-24.
GOD called Abram, and he went out, not knowing whither
he went. Lot went with him. Lot followed Abram, and.68 Handfuls on Purpose.
Abram followed God. Lot is soon found dwellilzg in
Sodom. Now we see him as a captive. Worldliness is
sure to lead to spiritual bondage. Abram’s character
shines out here as-I.
A Man of Sympathy. “They came and told Abram
that his brother was taken captive” (vv. 13 and 14).
Think of what he might have said: “He has himself to
blame. Serve him right; he should not have gone into
Sodom. ” Just the wages of worldliness. But not so.
He at once bestirs himself to seek his deliverance. Those
who walk in fellowship with God cannot remain indifferent
to the sui‘ferings and sorrows of their brethren.
II. A Man of Courage (vv. 14 and 15). With his
handful of servants he goes forth against the four kings.
‘The man of faith attempts great things. He knows
that God can use weak things to confound the mighty.
Abram’s faith worked by love. He loved his brother Lot,
and dared to do this great deed. Great faith constrains to
attempt what seems impossible. Think of Nehemiah, of
Moses, and of Paul (Phil. 4. 13).
III. A Man of Power. “He brought back all” (v. 16).
Abram, as a separated man, dwelt in the presence of God.
He went to battle as one who had come otlt from the holy,
soul-inspiring presence. The victory is complete. Lot
mingled with the ungodly, and he could not even save
himself. It is the separated ooze alone who is able to save
others. 1 Abram’s power lay in his life of faith. If we
would have victory for God, then we must be separated
unto God. Remember where and how Samson failed
(Judges 16). The fruitful branch must abide in the vine.
IV. A Man of Independence. “I will not take any-thing
that is thine” (v. 23). Abram took all he could get.Old Testament Studies. 69
from the King of Salem, because he was the priest of the
Most High God; but he would take nothing from the King
of Sodom, lest he should say, “I have made Abram rich. ”
GOD had enriched him, and he would take nothing likely
to hinder Him from having all the honour. This is not
the independence of pride and self-sufficiency, but that
of a holy jealousy for the Name and character of God. It
is the independence of entire dependence upon God alone.
May our hearts be stirred up to the exercise of it. “The
LORD is the portion of His people” (De&. 32.9).
V. A Man Approved of God. “Melchizedek met him
and blessed him ” (vv. 18 and 19). He also refreshed him
with “bread and wine.” Jesus Christ, the Priest of the
Most High God, will so bless and refresh all who, like
Abram, go forth in His Ngme to walk, to work, and to
WZU. What a privilege to meet the Blessittg Priest when
returning faint and weary from the struggle of faith !
Many a battle the separated man of God will need to fight
on behalf of others, but Jesus, the succouring King of
’ Peace, will meet him with His help and blessing, and at
last with His “Well done,” which brings eternal bene-diction.
Genesis 15. 1-6.
A WORD in season ; how good it is ! God’s words are
always in season. I-Ie knows how to speak a word to them
that are weary. His consolations are neither few nor small.
I. The Time. “After these things the Word of the
Lord came to Abram. ” After the battle and rescue of
Lot from the hands of the four kings. It is no unusual
experience for the man of God to tremble, even after a
great victory has been gained. The achievements of faith
never bring self-confictence. Abram may have feared the.70 Handfuls on Purpose.
return of the kings with renewed force; he may have been
vexing his soul at refusing the gifts of the King of Sodom ;
but God’s “Fear not ; I am thy reward, ” would be a word
full of consolation and comfort. Let us look at-II.
The Message. This message contains-1.
A REVELATION OF GOD’s LOVE. “Fear not. ” This
is the language of One who, in love and grace, had con-sidered
all his need. Jesus said, “Give ye them to eat,”
for “He Himself knew what He would do” (Luke 6. 6).
This message reminds us of the fulness of the blessing of
the Gospel of Christ. Fear not ; He who gave His Son for
us, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all
2. A REVELATION OF GOD’s POWER. “I am thy shield. ”
The Omnipotent, Personal God declares Himself as the
protection of the man who walks by faith. GOD is our
refuge. Your life is hid with Christ in God. I am thy
shield. Christ shelters from sin by the shield of His
Blood (Exodus 12. 13). Christ shelters the weak and ’
faltering with the shield of His intercession (Luke 22. 32).
3. A REVELATION OF GOD’S FULNESS. “I am thy
exceeding great reward. ” It is still the desire and delight
of God that His people should be satisfied with HIMSELF.
The great ultimate purpose of the incarnation is that the
believing soul should be rewarded with the revelation of
God. These unsearchable riches are in Christ for us now.
In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead. The
greatest reward God can bestow upon us is a fuller and
better acquaintance with Himself. For this the Holy
Ghost has been given, that He might take the things of
Christ and show them to us. This precious promise was .
given to Abram after he had refused the unhallowed gifts.Old Testament Studies. 71
of the King of Sodom (Gen. 14. 23). Every sacrifice for
Christ’s sake will bring exceeding great reward.
III. The Result. “He believed in the Lord” (v. 6).
This is very beautiful. He accepted God’s gracious mes-sage,
and rested calmly on His Word, and we read, “And
God counted it to Him for righteousness.” His was the
righteousness, not of works, but of faith (Rom. 4. 3).
Faith in God has alwasy a transforming power. God
justifies the believer in Jesus. He counts, or reckons,
them righteous. Who shall condemn whom God counts
righteous ? This believing in the Lord implies the entire
surrender of ourselves unto God, that He may work in us
both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
ABRAHAM WALKING BEFORE
Genesis 17. l-5.
ABRAM was ninety-and-nine years old when the Lord
appeared unto him. Not too old to have fellowship with
Him. Age may shut us out from the joys and companion-ships
of youth, but through grace it may ripen our friend-ship
I. The Revelation. “I am the Almighty. I am God
all-sufficient.” This is a divine plaster large enough to
cover any human sore. A son had been promised Abram ;
he was now old, and no son had yet been given to him ;
but in this promise he had enough to brighten faith and
trim afresh the flickering lamp of hope. This revelation
of God, as our all-sufficiency, is made known to us in
Jesus Christ. There is enough in Him to meet all our need,
both as sinners and as servants. Weary, downcast Chris-tian
toilers, hear Him say, “Look unto Me; I am God all-sufficient.
” To brighten thy little dwelling there is plenty.72 Handfuls on Purposa.
of light in this sun ; to float thy little vessel there is plenty
of water in this ocean.
II. The Commission. “Walk before Me, and be thou
perfect. ” Perhaps Abram had been walking too much
before Sarah. Seeking to please her, guided by her counsel,
he had already turned aside from the life of faith in God
(chap. 16. l-4). This was a call-1.
THAT AFFECTED HIS LIFE. “Walk before Me. ” In
all things he was to act as one who lived in the immediate
presence of God Almighty. This is not a life of dread and
awkward restraint, but a holy, joyful, divinely-satisfied
life. It is, in fact, the life of faith. This is the high
privilege of every Heaven-born son of God.
2. IT AFFECTED HIS CHARACTER. “Be thou perfect .”
That is, be whole-hearted. Not having a double heart (Psa.
12.2), seeking to please both God and man. All perfection
comes from Him who alone is perfect. The highest human
perfection lies in a whole-hearted life before God.
III. The Submission. “And Abram fell 09s his face”
(v. 3). The best answer to God’ s high calling is a humble
and broken spirit. Abram did not say boastingly, like
some of’ his descendants, “All that thou sayest will we do”
(Ruth 3. 5). He bowed his face to the dust, and “God
talked with him. ” A deep, conscious sense of ignorance and
weakness brings us into the right attitude to be taught of
God. God always talks to the heart of the self-abased.
When John fell at His feet he felt the touch of His gracious
hand, and heard His comforting “Fear not” (Rev. 1. 17).
May He give us that humbleness of heart, that calmness
of spirit that bears the faintest whisper from the lips of the
IV. The Transformation. “Neither shall thy name
any more be called Abram ; but thy name shall be called.Old Testament Studies. 73
Abraham. ” Abram, the exalted, is changed into Abraham,
the fruitful. He has bowed with his whole heart unto the
will of God, and his character is transformed. It is not
always so ? Complete surrender brings a complete change
of nature. Jacob became a prince, and prevaikd when he
yielded’entirely to the heavenly wrestler. It is when we
are crucified with Christ that Christ liveth in us (Gal. 2.20).
It is by yielding to the Spirit of Christ that we are trans-formed
into His holy and heavenly image.
ABRAHAM RECEIVING AND SERVING.
Genesis 18. 1-17.
EVERY OId Testament incident yields some New Testament
truth. Let us read this portion in the light of the New
I. A Gracious Visit. “The Lord appeared unto
him ; . . . and he lift up his eyes, and, lo, three men stood
by him” (vv. 1 and 2). This is striking language, that
Jehovah should manifest Himself in the form of three.
Does this not suggest the Trinity of the Godhead ? The
whole Trinity is interested and exercised in seeking to
bless and save man. The Father loved, and sent His Son ;
the Son loved, and gave Himself up to the death to redeem ;
the Sfiirit loved, and came to make His abode in the be-lieving
heart. This threefold salvation is summed up in
the benediction, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and
the love of God, and the commzllaion of the Holy Ghost”
(2Cor. 13. 14).
II. A Hearty Reception. The manner in which
Abraham received the visitors, and his various acts to-ward
them, may serve us as an illustration of how a weary,
longing soul may receive Jesus, and be drawn out in eager-ness
F Vol. 1.74 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. THERE WAS A LONGING DESIRE. “He lift up his eyes
and looked” (v. 2). A good work has been wrought in US
before we will even lift qb our eyes. The Lord is sure to
appear in grace to the looking ones. They looked, and were
2. THERE WAS A READY MIND. “He ran to meet them. ”
He was in haste to receive the visitors. When the heart
is really hzlrtgerilzg for the living bread it will receive it
gladly. The soul that is sighing for Christ will hasten to
3. THERE WAS A HUMBLE SPIRIT. “He bowed himself
toward the ground. ” The more closely we come to Jesus,
the heavenly Visitor, the more unworthy do we see our-selves
to be. The way to God is a self-humbling way. The
nearer we come to His light the more unseemly doth the
garments of our own righteousness appear.
4. THERE WAS A WILLING CONFESSION . Abraham said,
“My Lord. ” When a soul has found its way into the
presence of Jesus Christ we expect to hear the language
of confession and testimony. “My Lord ! ” These two little
words imply two great thoughts-(l) appropriation; (2)
entire subjectiom. He is mine and I am His.
5. THERE WAS A LOVE FOR FELLOWSHIP. “If I have
found favour in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee,
from Thy servamt” (v. 3). What could be more natural?
The soul that has found the Lord yearns to abide in His
presence. In His presence is fulness of joy. The lonely
heart finds its home in the bosom of His love.
6. THERE WAS A DESIRE FOR THEIR REFRESHING . “Rest
yourselves, . . . and comfort your hearts” (vv. 4 and 5),
In our selfishness we are apt to be satisfied with gettimg His
favour and blessing, and stopping short of seeking rest for.Old Testament Studies. 75
His soul and comfort for His heart. Christ gave us rest and
comfort by giving Himself for us ; let us give Him rest and
comfort by giving ourselves to Him.
7. THERE WAS A READINESS TO SERVE. “Abraham ran
and fetcht and gave” (vv. 6 and 7). Love lends swiftness
to the willing feat. “The Lord loveth a cheerfid giver”
(a Cor. 9.7). “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto
the Lord ” (Col. 3. 23). “The love of Christ constraineth
us” (2 Cor. 5. 14).
III. A Blessed Reward. “The Lord said, Shall I
hide from Abraham that thing which I do ? ” (v. 17). The
devotion of Abraham is rewarded with a revelation of the
sscret purpose of the Lord. The secret of the Lord is with
them that fear Him. The way into the deeper things of
God often lies through self-sacrifice and active service.
If we would know the hidden wisdom of God, and feed on
the finest of the wheat, we must lay ourselves and all that
we have at the feet of our Lord. Open your heart to Him,
and His heart will be open to you.
THE HISTORY OF LOT.
THE history of Lot is the history of a backslider. When
he turned away from Abraham he turned aside from faith.
When he sought the well-watered plains he was seeking
his own glory. While seeking his own interest his testimony
as a believer in the Lord was despised. Then came failure
and flight, but being the Lord’s he himself was saved as
by fire, though all his works were burnt (1 Cor. 3. 14, 1.5).
Look at the-I.
Choice He Made. “He chose the plain of Jordan,
and pitched toward Sodom” (Gen. 13. 10-12). Those who.76 Handfuls on Purpose.
walk by sight and not by faith will always be influenced
by appearances. The choice of Moses was the choice of
faith (Heb. 11. 24, 25). If we follow the dictates of our
own hearts we will be sure to pitch toward Sodom.
II, Position He Occupied. “Lot sat in the gate of
Sodom. ” Having become a companion of the Sodomites,
he now becomes a partner with them. When a Christian
can find pleasure in the fellowship of the ungodly he will
soon become a sharer of their iniquity. Worldly advance-ment
is no evidence of growth in grace. Mixing with the
world often means helping the ungodly (2 Chron. 19. 12).
III. Message He Received. “The Lord hath sent us
. to destroy this place” (v. 13). Wicked places and wicked
things must all be destroyed. If all your wicked things
were destroyed would you lose anything ? How would it
affect your plalzs and @rposes I If our heart interests are
entangled with the wickedness of this world we will suffer
loss. Set your affections on things above, then, when every
wicked place is destroyed your inheritance will remain
IV. Testimony He Bore. “Lot went out and spake
unto his sons-in-law ;. . . but he seemed as one that mocked”
(v. 14). Our testimony for God will always be a mockery
if we are living the selfish life. Who will believe that sin
is bitter if we roll it under our tongue as a sweet morsel ?
Neither earnestness nor eloquence will make up for incon-sistency.
It is the life that is the light.
V. Reluctance He Showed. “While he lingered the
men laid hold upon his hand” (v. 16). We are always
slow to obey the call of God when our lives are entangled
with the affairs of the world. The young man went away
sorrowful, for he had great possessions (Matt . 19. 22)…
Old Testament Studies. 77
Many perish in the full light of knowledge for lack ob
decision. Escape for thy life-tarry not.
VI. Request He Offered. “Behold this city is war;
let me escape hither” (v. 20). He thought the a$$eifited
mountain of refuge too far away. Why should he wish to
be saved as near the city of doom as possible ? Why should
we wish to be saved, and nothing more ? Is there not a
lurking unwillingness in the minds of many of God’s
people to flee to the distant mountain of entire separatiolz ?
Lot was saved, but he was still near enough the place of
death to fill him with fear (v. 30).
VII. Favour He Enjoyed. “I cannot do anything till
tlzozc be come thither” (v. 22). How precious even a poor
backslider is to God! Judgment cannot fall on Sodom till
he is outside. But think further how the presence of this
worldly-minded believer among the ungodly was %ndering
God from carrying out His own purposes. Until he came
out from among them the work of God was at a standstill.
A SOLEMN REFLECTION.
Genesis 19. 27, 28.
“ABRAHAM gat up early in the morning to the place where he
stood before the Lord; and he looked toward Sodom ; . . . and,
lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a
furnace.” This was a sacred spot to him. Here the Lord
met him, and here he made intercession for the righteous
in Sodom. Now from this holy place he beholds the judg-ment
of God. Those flame-girt columns of smoke declare
the fulfilment of His word, and reveal His awful character
when dealing in riglzteousness with sin and guilt. “Our
God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12. 29). It is when we
stand like Abraham in these high and heavenly places,
walking by faith in fellowship with the Lord, and in the.78 Handfuls on Purpose.
spirit of intercession, that we see and understand what a
holy, sin-hating God we worship. As we in imagination
stand with Abraham gazing on the fiery doom of Sodom,
let us reflect on the-I.
Awfulness of Sin. It constrained the Lord to come
down from Heaven to deal with it (chap. 18. 20,Zl). The
cry of Israel in Egypt brought the Lord down to d+&er.
The cry of Sodom brought Him down to destroy. The cry
of the world’s need brought Jesus our Lord from Heaven
that He might deal with it. When God comes in grace He
deals with silz, putting it away by the sacrifice of Himself.
When He comes in judgment He deals with the sirtner,
putting him away. “The wages of sin is death” (Rbm.
II. Certainty of Judgment. “We will destroy this
place;. . . the smoke went up” (vv. 13-28). A man might
as well hope to escape from his own shadow as from guilt
and punishment so long as his sins are unforgiven. The
judgment of God may slumber, and guilt may lift up its
haughty and defiant head ; but (1) it is certairt ; (2) ib may
be suddelz ; (3) it will be complete.
III. Sovereignty of Grace. As Abraham looked with
tear-filled eyes upon the smoke of perishing Sodom he
might have asked himself, “Why am I not there ? How
have I been saved from it ? Why was I called out of Ur ?
What better was I than many left in their sins ? ” The
answer is, “ By grace are ye saved” (Eph . 11.8).
IV. Security of Believers. “I can do nothing till thou
be come hither.” “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.”
God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked. All
who belong to Him are under a see&al providence. God
said to Moses, “Separate yourselves from among this con-.Old Testament Studies. 79
grgation, that I may consume them” (Num. 16. 21).
Before the flood came the righteous were shut up in the ark.
Before the judgments are poured out on the earth the
Church will be translated to Heaven. “Neither shall any
man pluck them out of My hand” (John 10.28).
V. Importance of Witness-Bearing. The Sodomites,
like the men of this world, were under condemnation, but
believed it not. God has not left us in ignorance of our
doom if we reject His Son. “He that believeth not is con-demned
already” (John 3. 18).
VI. Value of Present Opportunity. Soon our day of
testimony will be over. Soon those among whom we live
will be clothed in white robes before God, or rapt up in
the smoke of torment. Lot’s twenty years in Sodom were
fruitless to God. Now the day of his privilege is gone, and
his very companions perish in their sins. Behold, now is
the accepted time both for salvation and service (see Jude
HAGAR THE HELPLESS.
Genesis 21. 14-19.
“WHAT aileth thee, Hagar I” Human ailments are very
many, and may overtake us, as they did Hagar, in a very
unexpected way. Who could be happier than she while
nursing the son of Abraham ? But the birth of Isaac (type
of that which is born of the Spirit) brings trouble and
separation to Ishmael (that which is born of the flesh).
Poor Hagar, crushed in spirit, wanders forth into the
wilderness, where, like the weary dove outside the ark,
she is ready to perish, but the merciful hand of God is
stretched out, and she is received into the favour of Him
who seeks to save the lost. Notice-I.
Divine Question. God called, and said, “What
aileth thee, Hagar ?” (v. 17). How timely and tender is.80 Handfuls on Purpose.
the symfiathy of God ! This is no formal question of
curiosity, but the loving inquiry of One whose heart yearns
to help the needy. When Jesus said, “What will thou
that I shall do unto thee ? ” (Luke 18. 41) He was opening
the door into His own divine fulness. Hagar’s ailment,
in a typical sense, is a very common one.
1. SHE WAS AN OUTCAST. “Cast out this bondwoman”
(v. 10). “Abraham sent her away” (v. 14). She was shut
out from the Master’ s house and presence. Why ? Be-cause
her son mocked at Isaac-the gift of God. Those who
were found sneering at the Word of Christ were all put
outside, “And He put them all out, and took her by the
hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise ” (Luke 8. 54).
Sin always separates and leads from the house of blessing
to the desert of sorrow and misery.
2. SHE WAS DESTITUTE. “The water was spent in the
bottle” (v. 15). The resources of an outcast are speedily
exhausted. The prodigal’ s fortune was soon spent (Luke
15). When the sinner gets to an end of himself he has nothing left but prayer. His wit’s elzd is often his best end.
It is when all self-created streams are dried that the longing eye seeks the Living Fountain.
3. SHE WAS HELPLESS AND HOPELESS. “She went a
good way off, and said, Let‘ me not see the death of the
child” (v. 16). She now sees nothing but the grim face
of death before her. Her parting with the lad must have
been like wringing the last drop of blood out of her agonis-ing
heart. It is possible to see and feel the greatness of
our needs, so that we are afraid to listen to their voice. Stifling their cry does not improve our condition. She is a
true and painful picture of one who is ’ ‘ without strength. ”
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time
Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5. 6)..Old Testament Studies. 81
II. Divine Word of Comfort. “The angel of God
said, Fear not, for God hath heard. ” What a beautiful
fulfilment of “He knows how to speak a word in seasolz to
them that are weary” (Isa. 50. 4). Man’s extremity is
God’s opportunity. It was “while we were yet sinners
Christ died for us” (Rom. 5. 8). The divine “Fear not”
is always accompanied with the divine fulness (Isa. 41. IO).
1. THE PROVISION. “She saw a well of water” (v. 19).
She was sitting perishing in an agony of thirst while a
well of salvation was close at hand. Spiritually this is
the state and condition of many perishing for lack of
knowledge while the Word of Truth is lying at their side,
and even ringing in their ears.
2. THE PREPARATION . ‘ I God opened her eyes. ” It was
not enough that the well was there; her eyes must be
opened to see it. The great provision of the Gospel is two-fold
: 1, The outward work of Christ on the Cross ; 2, the
inward work of the Holy Spirit in the heart. The well of
atonement cannot satisfy without the eye-opening power
of the Spirit of God. “Open Thou mine eyes” (Psa.
3. THE ACCEPTANCE. “She went and filled the bottle
with water. ” She could not make the well, but she could
take the water freely offered to her. We are not asked to
make salvation, but to take it (Rev. 22. 17). What a
revelation this was to Hagar : 1, Of her OWN blin&zess. It
was only when her eyes were opened that she discovered
how blind she had been. 2, Of the goodness of God. He
made the provision, and imparted to the needy one the
very capacity to apprehend it. God opened her eyes, but
she must fill the bottle. It is an awful responsibility to
have the opened eye and yet to refuse the blessings revealed.
In the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness there is
enough to fill every bottle to satisfy every heart..82 Handfuls on Purpose.
4, THE RESULT. “She gave the lad drink. ” In accept -ing
the divine provision she saved both herself and her
son. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thozc shalt
be saved, and tlzy house” (Acts 16. 31).
THE SACRIFICE OF ABRAHAM.
Genesis 22. l-14.
HE who is to be the father of the faithful has to face the
father of all the trials of faith. We see the workings of
great faith in the actions of Abraham.
(1) lie reasolzed not; he consulted no one.
(2) He staggered not under the crushing weight of such
(3) He was prompt ; he rose up early in the morning.
(4) He was deliberate ; preparing the wood beforehand.
(5) He was fully determined; bade the young men keep
back that they might not hinder him. This is a very
fruitful portion. Look at the-I.
Father’s Sacrifice. “Take now thy son. ” Think
of the preciousness of this son. All the hopes and desires
and affections of the father are centred in him. In offering
up his son Abraham was giving up his all. He had
absolutely nothing left but his God. Yet this is enough for
faith. God gave up His Son, although all His affections
and purposes were centred in Him. We can never under-stand
the greatness of His sacrifice until we can understand
the greatness of His love for His beloved Son. Like
Abraham, in giving His Son He gave HIS ALL.
II. Son’s Submission. It is significantly stated that
“they went both of them together. ” In a deep and real.Old Testament Studies. 83
sense this was true of Jesus Christ and His Father. In
making an atonement for sin “they went both of them to-gether.”
“I delight to do Thy will, 0 my God” (Psa.
40.8). The purpose of the Father and of the Son was one.
Like the Lord Jesus Christ, Isaac submitted-1.
To BE BURDENED. “Abraham took the wood and
laid it upon Isaac, his son. ” What a burden in the eyes of
the father! It was the cross of sacrifice, the symbol of
death. What a picture of the only-begotten Son of God,
with the burden of .our iniquity laid upon Him, and laid
on Him, too, by a loving Father ! “The Lord hath laid 0%
Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53.6). He also submitted-2.
To BE BOUND. “He bound Isaac his son, and laid
him on the altar.” As a young man, twenty-five years of
age, he might have resisted ; but he, like our Isaac, was led
as a lamb, he opened not his mouth. Love and devotion
were the cords that bound the Son of God to the altar of
III. Sacrificial Requisites. Isaac carried the wood,
while he himself was to be the burnt-offering ; but let us
not fail to observe what was in the father’s hands.
I. THE F I RE. “Abraham took the fire ifa his had.”
There is something awfully solemn about this. “Our God
is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12. 29). “Who shall dwell
with devouring fire ? ” (Isa. 33. 14). Does not this suggest
the holy, testing, consuming character of God when
approaching the altar of expiation ?
2. THE KNIFE. “He took the fire and a knife.” If the
fire represents the holiness of God, then the knife may well
symbolise the sword of justice. “Awake, CJ sword,
against the man that is my fellow” (Zech. 13. 7). The.84 Handfuls on Purpose.
knife was quivering in the air when Jesus cried, “My God,
my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ? ” (Psa. 22. 1). In
these days men are ready to forget that every sacrifice to
God must have to do with the divine knife and fire.
3. THE ALTAR. “Abraham built an altar.” Isaac did
not make the altar; it was prepared by the father. My
soul, tread softly here. This was solemn work for Abra-ham.
In eternity God in His own heart and mind pre-pared
the altar for Christ. He was the Lamb slain from
the foundation of the world.
4. THE CORDS with which Isaac was bound to the altar,
typical of the nails which bound Christ to the Cross. Not
the nails, but love bound the Saviour. It was the love
of the Father to the Son, the love of the Son to the Father,
and the love of both to man-a threefold cord that is not
IV. Doctrine of Substitution. “He took the ram and
offered him in 21~ stead of his son” (v. 13). The scene on
Mount Moriah, as typical of the greater scene on Mount
Calvary, could scarcely have been perfect without the
thought of szcbstitutio# being made prominent. The figure
now changes. The ram becomes the bwnt-offeering, and the
wbmissive one goes free. You observe this sacrifice was
provided by God. We have still Jesus before us, not as
the Son now, but as the Substitute of one condemned to die.
Man found a Cross for Christ, but it was God who found
THE RANsofiI-“Jehovah- Jireh. ” “He spared not His own
Son (like Abraham’s), but delivered Him up for us all”
(Rom. 8. 32). ‘.‘ Christ our Passover is sacrificed for 21s ”
(1 Cor. 5.7). Ask Isaac, as he gazes on the ram burning
in his stead, if he believes in substitution. “Behold the
Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world”
(John 1. 29)..Old Testament Studies. 85
THE BRIDAL SEARCH.
THIS is one of the most wonderful seed-plots in the whole
field of Revelation. It is an epitome of the scheme of
salvation, and an outline history of the Church of God.
May our eyes be opened to behold these wondrous things.
Here we may see-I.
Abraham : or, The Father’s Purpose. “Thou
shalt go and take a wife unto my son Isaac” (v. 4). The
thought of a bride for Isaac originated with the father.
It was the outcome of his love for his son, and a desire to
bring into great blessing one who was as yet a great way
off. What a picture of Christ and the Church (Eph. 5.32).
God the Father saw that it would be good for His Son to
have a Bride with Him in the glory of His Father’s pre-sence.
This purpose was declared, and the covenant made
before the world was formed. The Church, as His Bride,
was chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
0 the unsearchable riches of His GRACE I 0 the unfathom-able
depths of His kindness toward us I
II. Isaac; or, The Son and Heir. “Unto him hath
he given all that /ze hat/z” (v. 36). Isaac, like Jesus, came
into possession of his inheritance after passing through the
bitterness of death (Gen. 22.9, 10). In the experience of
both father and son Isaac virtually died and rose again.
Now he becomes heir to all. Jesus Christ “humbled Him-self,
and became obedient unto death; . . . wherefore God
also hath highly exalted Him” (Phil. 2.6,9). Now it hath
“pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell”
(Cal. 1. 19). “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the God-,
head” (Col. 2. 9). Unto Him hath the Father given all
that He bath, that all the wants of His happy Bride may
be fully satisfied . “Though He ~),a.~ ricZt , yet for your sakes.at? Handfuls on Purpose.
He became poor, that ye UWN& His $owerty might be
riclz” (2 Cor. 8. 9). He emptied Himself that He might
get into touch with the poverty of His Bride. Ye are corn-plete
III. Eliezer ; or, The Spirit’ s Mission (Gen. 24. 2).
This old steward of the house of Abraham is a perfect type
of the Holy Spirit.
1. HE HAD AUTHORITY IN THE HOUSE. He looked
after the domestic affairs of Abraham. The Spirit is One
with the Father and the Son. He attended to the home
affairs of this world (Gen. 1. 2).
2. HE WAS SENT BY THE FATHER. “The Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send” (John 14. 26).
3. HE WAS SENT IN THE NAME OF THE SON (John 14.26).
4. HE DID NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF (v .33).
5. HE REVEALED THE THINGS OF ISAAC (v. 53 ; John
6. HE WITNESSES FOR HIS MASTER (v. 35).
7. HE GUIDES ALL THE WAY HOME (v. 61). “The
Comforter may abide with you for ever” (John 14. 16).
Every act of this servant seems instinct with deep
spiritual teaching. He would not eat bread until he had
made known his errand (v. 33). The Holy Spirit cannot
have fellowship with us until He has revealed to us the
character of the Father and of the Son. He said, “Hinder
me not ” (v, 56). If the presence of Jesus Christ is to be
enjoyed we must be obedient to this Holy Messenger.
IV. Kebekah ; or, The Bride of Christ. “Wilt thou
go with this man? She said, I will go” (v. 58). While
Rebekah is a type of the Church-called out by the Spirit
..Old Testament Studies. 87
of God, and separated unto the Name of Jesus–yet we
must not lose sight of our iltdividzcal responsibility. The
heavenly Eliezer is still calling out a people for His
Name. In the Gospel we still hear the divine entreaty,
“Wilt thou go with this Man 7 ” This call-I
. Is GRACIOUS, It is not a question of character.
2. IT IS PERSONAL. “Wilt t,%ou 1” She alone could
3. IT IS URGENT. “Hinder me not .” He may pass on
4. IT IS A QUESTION OF THE WILL. “Will thou ? ” It
is not a question of moral fitness. “Whosoever will.”
Unwi2liBgrzess is the only unfitness.
5. IT IMPLIES SEPARATION. “Wilt thou go ? ” Count
the cost (Ruth 1. 16). Are you prepared to leave all and
follow Him ?
V. Following ; or, The Present Life. “Rebekah
arose and followed the mas.” She believed, and so she
obeyed. She knew wltom she was following-the messenger
who had come forth from the father to guide her into the
presence of the son. What attractions would the country
through which they passed have for her while her guide
talked to her of the goodness and glories of Isaac, and while
her heart burned within for a sight of him whom, having not
seen, yet she loved, and rejoiced in the hope of his fellow-ship
! Such is our present privilege-guided by the Spirit,
taught of Him by the way, and looking for the appearing
of our coming Lord. Are we as intent pressing on for the
prize of this high calling as Rebekah was 1
VI. Canaan ; or, The Future Home. “Isaac took
Rebekah, and she became his wife” (v. 67), All the.88 Handful8 on Purpose.
troubIes of her weary journey are’ forgotten now. One
sight of our glorified Lord will heal all the wounds and
scars received by the way. She now rests in his love, and
becomes a joint-heir of his riches. She endured, as seeing
him who was invisible; now she is satisfied in his presence
and likeness. It is a precious thought that at the end of
our journey Jesus will be as real to us as Isaac was to
Rebekah; that this union is a personal one, and that the
joy will be for ever. If we follow the Spirit now we shall
follow the Lamb then.
REHOBOTH; OR, VICTORY THROUGH
Genesis 26. 17-28.
To own a well in Palestine was to possess a fortune. To
be in possession of the Well of Salvation is to own the good
fortune of everlasting, refreshing and delight. Observe
Trial of Faith. “Isaac’s servants digged, and found
a well ; and the herdmen of Gerar did strive, saying, The
water is ours.“’ Well-digging-seeking to open up for
ourselves sources of blessing-is a very common occupation.
Not every well we dig will yield contentment. This one
had to be named “Contention” (v. 20). They digged
another; it also brought strife with increased force, and
was called “Hatred.” It was a severe trial to Isaac to
spend so much labour on these wells and to let others
claim the water. Isaac strove not, but meekly journeyed
farther back into the valley. This is one of the hardest
lessons we as Christians have to learn, to resist not the evil
done against our own personal interests. It is so natural
for us to “stand up for our rights.” Fall back, and make
room for God. “Not rendering railing for railing, but
contrariwise” (1 Peter 3. 9)..Old Testament Studies. 89
II. Compensation of God, “They digged another
well, and called it Rehoboth, for the Lord hath made
room for us.” By calmly yielding and trusting they
1. PROVISION OF THE LO RD. “The Lord hath m a de room for us. ” The Lord alone can make room for US. He
knows when, and where, and what room we do need.
When the Lord does make room for us He makes room for
every gift and talent we have, room for every holy desire
and every pure affect ion. It takes room of His making to
meet all the needs of man as an immortal spirit. He has
made room for us-(
1) In the Atolzirtg Death of Christ.
(2) In.the Glorious Gospel.
(3) Room in His Lovi+ag Heart.
(4) Room ilt His Heavenly Home. The Lord hath made
room for us; let us enter in and take possession of His
fulness in Jesus Christ.
2. PROMISE OF THE LORD. “The Lord appeared unto
him, and said, I will bless thee.” Isaac sought not his
own, and the blessing’ of the meek came upon him. The
herdmen of Gerar took the wells from him, but they could
not rob him of the blesssing of God. Our afflictions and
trials often drive us back to the place of blessing prepared
for us by the Lord. The meek shall inherit-3.
PRESENCE OF THE LORD. “The Lord said, Fear not,
I am with thee.” Let us not strive nor cry when the men
of the world seek to rob us of some of the wells of our
earthly comforts. The bulls of Bashan often pitch the
meek believer into fatter pastures. Abiding in His presence
we shall bk hid from the strife of tongues, and kept as the G Vol. 1.90 Handfuls on Purpose.
apple of His eye, Take no thought for your life. “Seek
ye first the kingdom of God, . . . and all these things shall
be added” (Matt. 6.33). The Lord will make room for us.
4. POWEROFTHELORD. “They said, We saw certainly
that the Lord was with thee.” When Christians are found
seeking not their own, but the good of others, others will
see certainly that the Lord is with them. Isaac showed his
faith in God by refusing to strive for the wells he himself
had dug. “My God shall supply all your need” (Phil.
4. 19). When shall this selfish, spiritcgrieving hunt after
worldly honours and preferments come to an end on the
part of Christians? Has it come to an end with you?
The Lord will make room for us;.let us cast all our care
upon Him. As a servant of Jesus Christ have you found
your Rehoboth-room made for you by the Lord ?
JACOB’ S VISION.
Genesis 23. 10-22.
IT is now a proverb among men that “Man’s extremity is
God’s opportunity.” When in the midst of the fire and
the lions God delivered His Hebrew children. It was
while Stephen was being stoned that God opened the
heavens before him. It was when John was an exile in
Patmos that the ReveIation came. It was after the sun
had set on Jacob’s path that he saw the ladder. The
valley of Achor often becomes the door of hope. Observe-I.
The Benighted Wanderer; or, The Sinner’s
Condition. “He tarried there all night, because the sun
was set.” Jacob’s plight was a sad one. As a terrified
fugitive he was running for his life (vv. 27-41). Night
overtook him in a “certain place. ” Ah, these certain
places-places and experiences into which we often run.Old Testament Studies.
unawares, but places appointed by God where we shall
meet with Him. It may be a Chrsitian friend, a meeting-house,
or a season of deep affliction. Jacob, like every
other self -righteous sinner, was seeking to have a success
by a life of deceit and unreality. Such a life is a life of
misery through constant dread of discovery. Is the sun
of thy hope setting? Is the night of dread and despair
gathering around? Rest and look up I
II. The Wonderful Ladder; or, The Way of Sal-vation.
“Behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the
top of it reached to Heaven. ” This new and heavenly
way was revealed to Jacob by God Himself. It is a lovely
type of Him who 1s * “the Way” (John 14. 6). This ladder,
like the salvation of Jesus Christ, was “set up on the
earth, ” indicating that it was a way of access for man.
Its “top reached to Heaven. ” The ladder of Christ ‘s Cross
did not come short of the very Throne of God’s Holiness.
All men’s ladders fail to reach Heaven (Rom. 10. 3).
Jesus Christ, like Jacob’s ladder, links earth to Heaven.
“I am the Way” (John 14. 6). “There is none other
Name” (Acts 4. 12).
III. The Angelic Climbers ; or, The Ministry of
Angels. “Behold the angels of God ascending and de-scending
on it. ” The angels, “Are they not all minis-tering
spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be
heirs of salvation ? ” (Heb. 1. 14). As soon as the ladder is
set up the angels are on it. How quick they are to take
advantage of any opportunity of service ! The angels have
no way from earth to Heaven but this one way: they
ascend and descend @on the Son of Man (John 1.50).
Iv. The Gracious Promise: or, The Gospel
Message. “Behold, the Lord stood above it. ”
God by the way of the ladder revealed Himself and His.92 Handfuls on Purpose.
will to Jacob. What a foreshadowing of God in Christ-the
New Way-reconciling us unto Himself. The Lord
stood above it, assuring us that Christ is the Way to God.
The Gospel of God, preached to Jacob, offered a threefold
A POSSESSION. “The land whereon thou liest, to
thee will I give it .” Those who trust Christ, the Living
Ladder, will receive an inheritance among the saints in
2. PROTECTION. “I am with thee, and will keep thee.”
At Jesus’ feet this sweet promise is ours also, “The Lord,
thy keeper” (2 Kings 2. 2).
3. HIS ABIDING PRESENCE. “I will not leave thee.”
Fear not. At the foot of the Cross there is the promise of
grace sufficient (Heb. 13. 5, 6). “I will not leave thee
until I have done that which I have spoken, ”
V. The Solemn Discovery; or, The Testimony of
the Awakened. “Jacob awaked, and said, Surely the
Lord is in this place. ” To those still asleep the Cross of
Christ is but as a confused dream; to those awake it is a
“dreadful place”-dreadful both to God and man; aye,
and to the devil also. The experience of Jacob at the foot
of the ladder has been the experience of many at the foot
of the Cross, and very much after the same moral order.
1, The Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. God in
Christ, on the Cross, and I knew it not. What a solemn
discovery ! 2, This is a dreadful place-dreadful, because
it is the place where the awful question of sin has been
settled; where the wrath of God fell upon the head of His
Holy Son. 3, This is the House of God. Here God dwells,
in Christ, as a Refuge and a Hiding-place for sinful man.
4, This is the Gate of Heave-the door of access into eternal.Old Testament Studies. 93
life and unfading glory. “If any man enter in he shall be
saved” (John 10.9).
VI. The Anointed Pillar; or, The Sacrifice of
Praise. Gratitude and thankfulness constrained the
privileged wanderer to lift up the pillars of praise to the
Name of Him who had so graciously blessed Him. Only
the presence of God can make a Bethel ; only those to whom
this presence has been revealed can really raise the anointed pillars of song. Where are the pillars that the goodness
of God has constrained us to set up? Are they within
sight of those who pass by ? Every act of kindness done to
others, for Jesus’ sake, is a memorial pillar. The oil of
grace makes every such deed holy and acceptable before
VII. The Willing Vow; or, The Covenant of Con-secration
, “Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be
with me, . . then shall the LORD be my God. ” Let us
make this covenant without the “ifs,” for the promises
of grace are unconditional. Jacob on condition of
prosperity was willing to give God a tenth part of his
possession. This is good, but very Jacob-like. Any worldly
mari would gladly make such a bargain. Consecration goes deeper down than the tenth; it embraces all. “Ye
are not your own; ye are bought with a price: glorify God
in your body and in your spirit, which are God’ s” (1 Core
6. 19, 20). Therefore “present your body a living sacrifice
unto God” (Rom. 12. 1). In so doing we shall “prove
what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”
(Rom. 12. 2).
THE MYSTERIOUS WRESTLER.
Genesis 32. 24-31.
[ IT is now twenty years since Jacob made his covenant at
Bethel with the God of all grace. Had God been faithful.94 Handfuls on Purpose.
to His promise ? Let Jacob testify, “With my staff I
passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands”
(v. 10). The blessing of God is not a passing emotion, but
the abiding favour of His presence and power, therefore
something that cannot fail (Gen. 28. 15). The blessing of
God, it maketh rich. The various attitudes of Jacob as
brought before us here are suggestive.
I. See Him Fearing. “He was greatly afraid and
distressed” (v, 7). “And he sent them over the brook, and
Jacob was left alone” (w . 23,24). He feared his brother,
and tarried behind alone. The fear of man bringcth a
snare, but by the infinite mercy of God Jacob fell into
the arms of almighty grace and love. He was,alone ; now
was God’s opportunity to get into close contact with him.
Lone souls are fit subjects for the fellowship of Heaven.
Come ye yourselves apart that the Lord may have a better
chance of dealing with the innermost thoughts of the heart.
II. See Him Resisting. “There wrestled a man with
him.” When Jacob was alone the Divine Overcomer
draws near. All at once Jacob finds himself struggling
against Him. This is so natural. In the pride of our
heart our self-will refuses to bow submissively at the first
manifestation of the divine will, when that will is to
deliver us by yielding rather than by self-effort and carnal
wisdom. The Jacob nature always strives to supplant
the will of God by its own. Let us thank God that He
contrives to wrestle with us till the day break. He knows
that our only hope of success, as His servants, lies in our
entire submission to Him.
III. See Him Crippled. “When He saw that He pre-vailed
not, He touched the hollow of his thigh, and the
hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint .” The heavenly
One wishes to prevail over our whole character and life.Old Testament Studies. 95
that a11 may be filled with His power and blessing. The
source of our strength must be touched, and broken, and
withered, that His strength might be perfected in our
weakness. Think of it! Our strength is just so much
power of resistance. Peter’s wisdom was a wrestling
against his Lord (Mark 8. 32). Hath not the potter power
over the clay ? Submit yourselves to God.
IV. See Him Clinging. “I will not let Thee go except
Thou bless me. ” Now that his strength is broken the
resister becomes the clinger. This is the true attitude
of blessing, clinging to the Overcomer. A broken and a
contrite heart, 0 God, Thou wilt not despise. This sub-missive
and helpless cry of entire dependence is always
sure to bring forth such an answer as will for ever change
our character and revolutionise our whole life. Clinging
to the pleading Christ is the all-conquering attitude of a
conquering soul. “By faith we cling to Thee. ”
V. See Him Changed. “Thy name shall no more be
called Jacob, but Israel, for as a prince hast thou pre-vailed.
” The new name indicates the new nature; the
new nature came not by struggling, but by yielding. The
measure of our submission to Christ will be the measure
of our victory for Him. Jacob has now gained his degree
in the divine school, “P.G.M.” (Power with God and with
Men). Covet earnestly the best gifts. The way to prevail
with men is to prevail with God; the way to prevail with
God is to cling to Him with a stubborn trust.
VI. See Him Testifying. “I have seen God face to
face. ” This is a great testimony. “I have seen God. ”
No man can remain the same as before after he has seen
God. The glory of such a vision is sure to blind the eyes
to the sinful pleasures of the world by transforming the
inner life. To see Jesus is to see God. “He that hath seen.96 Handfuls on Purpose.
Me hath seen the Father” (John 14.9). “This is the true
God” (1 John 5. 20). Have you got into such close touch
with Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, that you can truth-fully
say, “ I have seen God ? ”
VII. See Him Halting. “As he passed he halted upon
his thigh.” His walk evidenced the fact that he was a
God-conquered man. Does our walk and conversation prove
that we are princes with God by bearing the mark of a life
wholly surrendered to God I All God’s conquered ones are
princes. It is surely significant that “As he passed the
sun rose upon him. ” The sun of God’s light and power
will immediately rise upon US when we have yielded our-selves
entirely up to the holy will of God. “His ways are
ways of pleasantness” (Prov. 3. 17). Thy will be done.
“Lift Thou up upon me the light of Thy countenance”
(Psa. 4. 6).
THE CALL TO BETHEL.
Genesis 35. l-7.
TERROR laid hold on Jacob because of the bloody deeds
of his sons Simeon and Levi at Shechem. “I shall be
destroyed, and my house, ” he said. Is this the language
of “a prince with God ?” why this change ? The God of
Bethel has been forgotten. If Jacob has forgotten his
covenant with God, God has not forgotten His promise to
Jacob. God said unto Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel. ”
Although we believe not, our gracious God still remains
faithful, and reminds US of the place of refuge for our
troubled souls. Look at the-I.
Place Appointed. “GO to Bethel. ” The very
mention of Bethel would be enough to arouse the drowsy
faith and slumbering thoughts of Jacob. Bethel was to
him both “a dreadful place” and “the gate of Heaven.”
The gate of Heaven becomes the House of God, His place of.Old Testament Studies. 97
refuge and succour . It is beautiful to observe how the grace
of God brings salvation to His thoughtless servant. Troubled
Christian, go to Calvary. Go to the Throne of Grace, the
House of God, the Gate of Heaven.
II. Command Given. “Arise, go to Bethel, and dwell
there. ” Abiding at Bethel under the shadow of the
Almighty he will be safe from the vengeance of the angry
Shechemites. Bethel (House of God) is typical of the place
or condition of fellowship with God. This we may always
have by resting in Christ, who is the way to Heaven and
the abode of God. God is in Christ, therefore abiding in
Him we abide in the fellowship of the Father. It is God’s
will that we should dwell there, Let us dwell in this house
III. Preparation Made. “Jacob said unto his house-hold,
Put away the strange gods, and be clean and change
your garments. ” Some of Jacob’s household had brought
the gods of strangers with them from the land of Meso-potamia.
A separation must be made. If we would dwell
in unbroken companionship with the God of Bethel there
must be no other God among us, no usurping thought or
thing. We must be cIean, cleansed from all sin, and clothed
in change of garments. Holiness becometh the House of
IV. Reason Urged. “I will make an altar unto God,
who answered me in the day of my distress. ” God’s call
to Jacob reminds him of His former kindness to him in
the time of trouble. The kindness of God showed us in the
gift of His Son, and at the time of our spiritual distress
should surely constrain us in the time of weakness and fears
to arise and go to Him. “Lord, to whom can we go ? ”
(John 6. 68). “He that spared not His own Son, .,.
how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things ? ”
(Rom. 8.32). Mot one hath failed of all His Promises..98 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. Effect Produced. “They journeyed; and the terror
of God came upon the cities.” When the people of God
set their faces to seek Him, and to be obedient to Him at
any cost, it is impossible but the ungodly will feel the
power of it, When God is sanctified in His people He Will
be exalted among the heathen. The reason why the un-godly
are so brazen-faced in these days is because the people
of God are so worldly-minded. Bethel is forgotten, and
other gods have dominion in the camp.
VI. Place of Blessing. “Jacob came to Bethel, and
built an altar; and God appeared unto Jacob again”
(v. 9). When he came to the appointed place he inherited
the promised blessing. God’ s Word will be fulfilled in US
when by faith we take our stand upon it, It is impossible
to dwell at Bethel and be a stranger to God, or to remain
unchanged. God said unto Jacob, “Thy name shall not be
called any more Jacob, but Israel.” This ,was Jacob’ s
second blessing. It was the breaking up of that self -seeking
spirit which characterised him all along the past. Have we
had such a vision of God that every idol has been buried,
the altar of complete consecration erected, and our char-acters
so entirely transformed that we have become dead to
self-serving and alive unto God? If not, “Arise, go up
to Bethel, and dwell there. “
JOSEPH, THE PATIENT SUFFERER.
JOSEPH is a well-known and fruitful type of Jesus Christ.
He was indeed despised and rejected ; a man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief. Like our blessed Lord, when cast
out by man, He was exalted by God to be a Prince and a
Saviour . It is instructive and comforting to observe that in all His afflictions there were some compensating.Old Testament Studies. 99
elements. If demons tempted Christ, angels strengthened
Him. God has always some way of escape for His suffering
ones (1 Cor. 10. 13). Every trial endured for Christ will
bring in some way fresh supplies of grace and blessing.
I. He was Despised by his Brethren, but Beloved
by his Father (vv .3,4). Like Christ, he came to his own,
but his own received him not; but although his brethren
despised him, he was acknowledged by the father as his
beloved son, in whom he was well pleased. What a con-solation
to the timid Christians, persecuted it may be in
their own home by their own kith and kin. “Beloved of
the Father” (Gen. 38. 3). Let this sweeten every bitter
trial. Remember it was the experience of our Lord and
Master. “Neither did His brethren believe in Him. ”
II. He was Hated for his Words, but Honoured
with Visions (vv. 8,9). His words of wisdom and revela-tion
were as goads in their hearts; they wounded their
pride while they manifested the purpose of God. “They
hated him the more ; and he dreamed yet another dream. ”
Stephen was hated and stoned by men ; but God opened the
heavens to his vision. We might be hated more for our
words if we were like Joseph and Jesus, faithfully telling
out the whole truth as revealed to us by God’s Holy Spirit.
If the Word is not preached the visions will cease, and that
which we have learned will become stale and formal.
III. He was Cast into a Pit, but there was no Water
in it (v. 24). The ungodly can have no power at all over
us except it be given them of our Father in Heaven. The
fire had no power over the three Hebrews, because their
time of testimony had not yet come to an end. They cast
Paul and Silas into prison, but there was nothing in it to
damp the joy of their heart or hinder their fellowship with
God. “They prayed and sang praises.” They cast Christ.100 Handfuls on Purpose.
into the pit of death, but it was to Him the place of eternal
. victory. Fear not.
IV. He was Sold as a Slave, but he was a Pros-perous
Man (v. 28 ; chap. 39. 2). Like our heavenly
Joseph, he became of no reputation, being bartered for
the price of a common slave. “But he was a prosperous
man. ” “I have finished the work Thou gavest Me to do”
(John 17.4). The man is always prosperous who succeeds
in doing the will of God. Sold for thirty pieces of silver,
yet the pleasure of the Lord prospered in His hand. It
does not matter what low value the world may set upon
the servant of God, he will be a prosperous man in God’s ,
sight if he pleases Him.
V. He was Falsely Blamed, but the Lord was with
Him (Gen. 39-7-23) . Many unrighteous and blasphemous
charges were brought against the Holy Son of God. No
Joseph beloved by the Father shall escape. The pure b
heart not only see God, but suffer for His sake. If your
heart be hot with zeal for God, men will charge you, if not
with wrath and malice, at least with uncharitableness.
But if they say all manner of evil against you falsely,
rejoice and be exceeding glad (Matt . 5. 11, 12).
VI. He was Neglected by the Butler, but Remem-bered
by his Master. If his companions in tribulation
forgot.him, the Lord whom he served remembered him,
and made all things to work together for his good. We
need not be discouraged, although those whom we may have
helped, and from whom we might expect a word spoken in
our favour, forget all about us in their eagerness to secure
favour for themselves. The Lord knows where His faithful
ones are. He needs no letter of commendation; He can
easily create the circumstances which will make it neces-sary
to call forth the hidden one. As Christian workers.Old Testament Studies. 101
let us be faithful where we are, although it should be in
some seemingly forgotten dungeon. It is possible for US
SO to live that we may become even indispensable to God.
God’s great ones are often prepared in pits and prisons.
He knows what we are good for, and when and how to lift
us up. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall
direct thy paths” (Prov. 3. 6).
JOSEPH, THE EXALTED HEART-SEARCHER.
JOSEPH came out of great tribulation to inherit the king-dom
of privilege and honour. Like Jesus, he who was
despised by his brethren was exalted by the King to His
own right hand. As long as Joseph was in his state of
humiliation he was rejected by his own. As long as Christ
was in weakness He was despised by His own nation.
While Joseph remained unknown to his brethren his
dealings with them were perfectly mysterious. Is it not
so still with our exalted Kinsman-Redeemer? Until we
know Him His dealings with us by His Spirit seem
strange and puzzling. Notice the
I. Attitude He Assumed. “He spake unto them by an
interpreter” (chap. 42. 23). They were not yet reconciled
to him, so he could not talk to them as a friend face to
face. The Holy Ghost is the great Interpreter of our
heavenly Joseph’s words. He speaks to us while in our
sins by His convicting Spirit. While we are strangers to
Him He can only deal with us as a ruler, not as our brother.
We should be thankful that He is pleased to speak to us in
II. Manner of His Speech. “He spake roughly unto
them ” (chap. 42.7). “ He spake kard things. ” The Lord.102 Handfuls on Purpose.
has to speak sharp things to us that we may be awakened
to a sense of our sinfulness, His brethren had never yet
confessed their sin. They must be made to feel the bitter
pangs of guilt ere they can know the depths of His forgiving
love. If Jesus by His Spirit speaks hard things to us, it is
that we might be prepared for His exceeding great kindness.
III. Results that Followed. “They said one to an-other,
We are verily guilty concerning our brother” (chap.
42. 21). When He is come, the Interpreter, He shall
convince of sin. The work is now done ; their sin has been
brought to remembrance, and made exceeding sinful in the
presence of him whom they sinned against. “We are surely
gocilty . )’ This is the opening of the door of the heart for
the entrance of the saving Word of Him who is alive from
the dead. Have you made this confession ?
IV. Privilege they Enjoyed. “Joseph said, Bring
these men home, for they shall dine with me” (chap. 43.
16). They have acknowledged their sin. Now they re-ceive
his favour . What grace to be brought into the house
of Joseph the prince, and to dine with him! The Lord
Jesus Christ leads the penitent soul into His banqueting
house of love that all their needs may be fully met. But
as yet they know him not. It is possible to be feasting on
His mercies and yet be strangers to Himself.
V. Compassion He Showed. Three times do we see
Joseph weeping (chap. 42. 24 ; 43. 30; 45. 2). Oh, what
tenderness was in his heart, even when he spoke roughly.
How Christlike was all this ! What a lesson for those who
deal .with souls in His Name ! If the tongue must speak
sharp, piercing words, let them come from a loving,
weeping heart. Think of Paul when he said, “I tell you,
even weeping” (Phil. 3. 18). “Jesus wept” (John 11.35).
Our words are many, but our tears are few..Old Testament Studies. 103
VI. The Victory He Gained. The one who sold him
now says, “Let thy servant abide instead of the lad, a
bondman to my lord” (chap. 44.33). What a change has
been wrought! He who persecuted his brother is now
willing to be a bondslave in his brother’s stead. What
has brought about this moral transformation? The words
and actions of him whom God hath highly exalted. Has
the influence of Christ wrought such a good work in us?
Are we prepared to give ourselves for the good of
VII. The Revelation He Gave. “Joseph said, Come
near, I am Joseph, your brother” (chap. 45. 4). They
have confessed that “God hath found out their iniquity”
(chap. 44. 16). Thus enmity is slain, and now the full
revelation is given them. Joseph was not satisfied until
he manifested himself. Jesus Christ, like Joseph, offers
us His gifts and tender invitations to come near that He
might reveal Himself to us. This blessing, in all its
mighty, melting fulness, can only be enjoyed by those
who come near to Him. Such a revelation is needed to
keep us low and trustful at His feet. He still says, “Come
near, and I will manifest Myself. ” “ Come unto Me,
and I will give you rest ” (Mat t . 11. ‘26).
VIII. The Comfort He Administered. “Now there-fore
be not grieved ; . . . for God did send me before you to
preserve life” (chap. 45. 5). “Moreover, he kissed all his
brethren; after that his brethren talked with him” (v. 15).
How sublimely suggestive is all this! When the Lord
makes Himself known to us then comes the sweet assur-ance
of forgiveness through His own blessed Word. After
that we are in a condition to talk with Him. Oh, how
sweet and precious is this fellowship ! How much we shall
have to talk about when we see Him in the glory of His
power, and are ‘ for ever with the Lord. ”.104 Handfuls on Purpose.
JOSEPH, THE REVEALED KINSMAN.
THIS is a most thrilling chapter, read in the light of
Christ’s second appearing. Joseph’s brethren sold him
and cast him out. They would not have this man to reign
over them ; now he appears before them in the character
as a ruler. They look upon him *horn they have
pierced with many a sorrow (Zech. 12. lo), and wail
because of him. Confessing their sin, they receive him
as their kinsman, and own him as their lord. Afterwards
they go forth to proclaim the glad tidings of his resurrec-tion
and glory. “Joseph is alive, and is governor over all
the land I” Although Christ was despised and rejected by
His brethren He shall appear in great power and glory, and
Shall be King over all the earth. Then His brethren
(Jews) will acknowledge Him as the One “sold and re-jected,
” and become the heralds of His power and glory,
preaching the Gospel of the kingdom. Here notice-I.
The Revelation. “Joseph made himself known
unto his brethren” (v. 1). No one could reveal Joseph to
them but himself. Christ manifests Himself unto us.
He shall be revealed from Heaven. The revelation of
Christ to us is very much what the revelation of Joseph
was to his brethren.
1, IT IS THE R EVELATION OF O NE WHOM WE HAVE
REJECTED. How often have we heard His pleadings
through the preaching of His Word (chap. 42.21). “Be-hold,
I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3.20).
2. IT IS THE REVELATION OF A GUILTY PAST. “They
were troubled at his presence” (v. 3). When Christ is
revealed to the soul our sins are sure to stand out before
us. They are realised that they might be blotted out;
uncovered that they might be buried for ever..Old Testament Studies. 105
3. IT IS THE REVELATION OF REAL KINSHIP. “I am
Joseph, your brother” (v. 4). Members of His flesh and of
His bones. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh
that we might be partakers of His divine nature. What
fulness of consolation wells up out of these simple words,
“I am your brother 1” My Father and your Father.
4. IT IS THE REVELATION OF GREAT GRACE. “Joseph
said, Now therefore be not grieved” (v. 5). He is willing
to forget the past. “Their sins and iniquities will I re-member
no more” (Heb. 10. 17). The revelation of Christ
is the revelation of the infinite grace of God.
II. The Commission. Now that they have been
reconciled to their exalted and kingly brother they
receive a grand commission from him. “Haste ye, and go
up and say. ” Does every revelation of Christ not imply
a commission ? “Let him that heareth say, Come” (Rev.
22.17). ‘rGo ye into all the world” (Mark 16.15).
1. PROCLAIM THAT HE IS ALIVE. “They went and told,
saying, Joseph is alive.” He who passed into the pit and
the prison is now lifted up to the throne. “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain” (1 Cor. 15. 14).
“The Lord is risen indeed ” (Luke 24.34).
2. PROCLAIM THAT HE IS EXALTED. “God hath made
me lord of all. ” The keys of the treasure-houses of
Egypt hang on the girdle of Joseph. Our exalted Kins-man
is the possessor of all. The keys of hell and of death
are in His hands, and all the fulness of the Godhead dwells
in Him. “All things are yours ; for ye are Christ ‘s, and
Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3. 23).
3. PROCLAIM HIS WILLINGNESS TO RECEIVE. “Go and
say, Come unto me” (v. 9). Now that he is exalted he
desires others to behold his glory and share his blessing. Ii Vol. 1.106 Handfuls on Purpose.
What an invitation is this, “Come unto Me, and ‘ I will
give you rest ” (Matt . 1 I. 28). It comes from One who is
mighty to save.
4. PROCLAIM HIS POWER TO SUPPLY ALL NEED. “I will nourish thee. ” Come, and abide with Him. “My God
shall supply all your need” (Phil, 4. 19). Is not this a
glorious Gospel ? “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of
Christ ” (Rom .I, 16). He saves the sinner and He nourishm
III. The Reception. How did Jacob receive the great
and glad tidings sent by his long-lost son? Just in the
same way that many ,receive the tidings of salvation
through a once crucified but now risen Redeemer.
1. HE DOUBTED. “Jacob believed them not. ” To
those who know not the character and purpose of God it
seems too good news to be true (Acts 17.32).
2. HE BELIEVED. laWhen ,he saw the wagons Joseph
had sent to carry him, he said, It is enough. ” Ah, yes !
when the eyes are opened to see the suitable provision
made for us by our exalted Lord, and realise our own need,
we can no longer doubt His message of love and mercy.
3. HE DECIDED. He said, “Joseph is alive; I will go. ”
Faith leads to action. It is not easy to move people for
God until their heart finds rest in His Word.
4. HE POSSESSED. “Joseph gave them a possession in
the best of the land” (Gen. 47. 11). To receive Christ’ s
invitation is to become the heir of an eternal inheritance
(1 Peter 1. 4, 5). Our kingly Master always gives the
best. “In Thy presence is fulness of joy ; at His right hand
are pleasures for evermore” (Psa. 16. 1 I),.Old Testament Studies.
JOSEPH, THE RULING PRINCE.
THERE was a famine in the land, but there was enough and
to spare in the hands of him whom God had exalted, and
who carried the royal seal. All the needy ones must “go
to Joseph. ” The time of dire necessity only helped to
show forth the unsearchable riches of the Great Deliverer.
There is enough in Jesus Christ to satisfy every famishing
soul. “Lord, to whom can we go? Thou only hast the
words of eternal life” (John 6.68). It is not without deep
meaning that the famine came to an end only when the
people had no more to give. When they came to an end
of themselves then God stepped in and delivered them,
Many are still struggling through a time of spiritual
famine in their souls, because they have not yet ceased
bartering with God for blessing. In this chapter we have
Joseph honoured and served by those who once denied and
persecuted him. We may see here in type our relationship
to Jesus Christ as servants. There is-I.
Great Privfle@. “He gave them a possession in
the best of the land” (v. 11). In being brought into the
land of Egypt they were brought under Joseph’s rule; into
the kingdom ‘of Joseph. We as Christians have been
brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, within the
sphere of His gracious rule. This is our Goshen, the
frontier of Heaven. This blessed Land of Promise is the
best of all lands, for here the Prince Himself exercises His
Personal care over US. “He nourished them with bread.”
II. Honest Confession. “And they said, Thou hast
saved our lives” (v. 25). He saved their lives by making
provision for them long before the famine came. Jesus
made provision for us many years ago. He still keeps
mercy for thousands ; He only can save our lives. Have.108 Handfuls on Purpose.
we honoured Him by such a testimony ? Thou hast saved
my life; saved by grace alone. Unto Him be the glory
III. Willing Service. “Let us find grace in thy
sight, and we will be servants” (v. 25). If the grace of
Joseph constrained them to consecrate themselves to the
service of Pharaoh, how much more should the grace of
the Lord Jesus Christ constrain us to yield ourselves unto
God. “The love of Christ constrain&h us” (2 Cor . 5, 14).
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . unto God,
which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12. 1).
IV. Ample Provision. “Joseph said, I have bought
you ; lo, here is corn for you, sow the land ” (v. 23) . Joseph
not only bought them, but filled their hands with good
seed that they may now become fruitful labourers. The
parable is plain. Redeemed by His blood and filled with
the seed of the Word we go forth as sowers that fruit may
abound to the glory and praise of His Name. Let us never
forget that He supplies the seed. In our emptiness let us
come to Him who gladly fills the hands of those whom He
hath bought, This is the consecrated life-filled with His
V. Special Reward. “Look out men of activity, and
make them rulers” (v. 6). The diligent shall stand before
kings. Men of activity for the cause of Christ will receive
their reward in the day of His appearing. Our Joseph
will look them out. Not a cup of cold water given in His
Name will be forgotten. How many Christians are losing
this honour by trifling away their precious time ! The day
will declare it. Let us not be weary in well-doing ; re-member
the due season.
VI. Royal Honour. “Joseph took his brethren and
presented them before Pharaoh ” (v. 2). Our Kinsman,.Old Testament Studies. 109
Redeemer, and Prince is able also to present us faultless
before the presence of His Father with exceeding joy. If
He should ask you on that day, “What was your occupa-t
ion ? ” As a Christian what would you answer? Could
YOU say, “Thy servants were shepherds, ” men who fed the
flock of Christ. Let us praise Him for the all-atoning
blood, and for the almighty, indwelling Spirit by which
we may be able to stand before the throne without fault.
Be active for Him if you would be blameless before Him
at His coming.
TYPES OF CHRISTIANS.
THIS is Jacob’ s dying and prophetic benediction, “I will
tell you what shall befall you in the last days. ” Taught
by the Holy Spirit, he is able to declare the consequences
that will surely follow certain well-defined characteristics
that had already appeared among his own family. The
features of Jacob’ s sons, with their results, are still being
manifested among the children of God. We have with us
Unstable Reubens. Reuben had many excellencies,
“excellency of dignity and of power, ” the first-born, and
the child of great hope, but being “unstable as water” he
did not excel. Reuben is a type of those Christians who
have many excellent gifts, but who have one besetting sin
that acts like a fly in the ointment. Reuben’ s sin cost him
his birthright (1 Chron. 5. 1). Sin always engenders in-stability,
and leads to the loss of our birthright, of spiritual
power, and progress. Stand fast.
II. Self-Willed Simeons and Levis. “In their anger
they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a
wall. ” Jacob had to say of them, “Ye have troubled me”.110 Handfuls on Purpose.
(chap. 34.30). How much of the trouble that comes upon
ourselves, and others, has ,its root and cause in the same
evil sorrce, SELF-WILL. No wonder Jacob said, “0 my
soul, come thou not into their secret. ” The conduct of
these sons led to division and scattering (v. 7). There are
always the fruits of a self-seeking spirit. Let the cursed
self-will go to the Cross. “I delight to do Thy will, 0 my
God” (Psa. 40.8).
III. Praising and Courageous Judahs. Judah
means the “praise of Jehovah. ” Judah is a lion’s whelp.
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.” The praising
and courageous Christian will always possess the sceptre
of power. Like Judah, we shall be able to put the foot of
victory on the neck of the enemy when we have more of the
nature of the lion of the tribe of Judah in our lives and the
praise of Jehovah on our lips. The sceptre of spiritual
power has departed from many a once Judah-Christian
because of cowardliness and unfaithfulness to God. The
true Judahs are always leaders (Num. 10.14).
IV. Comforting and Consoling Zebuluns . “Zebulun
shall be for a haven. ” The words means “dwelling, ” or a
place of refuge for the distressed. “Zebulun’s border went
up toward the sea. ” This son of Jacob may be taken as a
type of the modem sons of consolation-ready to offer a
hand of help or a word of comfort to souls who, like ships,
are seeking refuge from the crushing tempest. Zebuluns
are always in great demand. The ministry of kindness is
always acceptable. “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people,
saith your God” (Isa.40.1). “Blessed are the peacemakers”
V. Timid and Self-Oppressed Issachars. “He saw
that rest was good, and that the land was pleasant, ” and,
being afraid to offend the enemy, “he bowed and became a.Old Testament Studies. 111
servant to tribute.” And so the dying father characterises
him as a “strong ass.” Strong, but stupid ; one who
possesses the power, but, through the fear of man, gets
ensnared and enslaved. Issachar is typical of those who,
though they have all the strength of Christ at their dis-posal,
yet remain timid and weak and helpless, bowing to
the yoke of every passion, the bond-slaves of the world,
VI. Cunning and Sharp-Dealing Dana. “Dan shall
judge, and shall be a serpent that biteth the horse heels,
so that the rider shall ‘ fall. ” This is close, personal
dealing. Dan may repres’ ent those Christians who have the
wisdom of the serpent, or rather the cunning way of the
adder, in knowing how to bring down the pride of the enemy.
The spiritual Danites can discern and judge. They know how to apply the truth, so that the enemies of God are
brought low. Such can serve God best through personal
VII. Overcoming Gads. Gad shall be overcome,
“but he shall overcome at last. ” Every Christian who
would be an overcoming Gad must first himself be over- come. We must be vanquished if we would be victors in
the cause of God. Those who overcome by the blood of
the Lamb have been overcome by the blood of the Lamb.
Lives conquered by the grace of God become conquerors
VIII. Blissful Ashers. Asher means “blessed. ” “His
bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. ” He
is a type of those blessed ones, so few in number, who are
themselves satisfied with good things, and who are able to
bring out of their treasures rich dainties for others. They have received the unsearchable riches of Christ; they are
filled with the fulness of God, and so can minister kindly.112 Handfuls on Purpose.
portions to others. Those who do not eat fat things will
groan in their leanness.
IX. Joyful Naphtalis . “He is a hind let loose ; he
giveth goodly words. ” The happy, skipping hind escaped
from bondage, and now, growing goodly antlers, is a fit
figure of those bright, joyful Christians who always delight
in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free. They
continue to revel in their first love; their words are goodly,
and their appearance attractive.
X. Fruitful Josephs , “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
whose branches run over the wall. “’ Here we have the
type of an ideal Christian. As a branch he abode by the
well, kept within touch of the source of supply. He was
fruitful, an evidence that as a bough he was fully satisfied.
He was shot at, persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Those
fruitful for God are sure to be hated by the ungodly. His
branches ran over the wall. The fruitful life is a blessing
to others, even to those outside the wall of salvation, His
bough abides in strength. Power for service remains as
long as we abide by the well.
XI. Discontented Benjamins. “Benjamin shall ravin
as a wolf : he shall devour and divide.” Alas ! that he
should have so many successors in the camp of Christ ; they
are known by their fault-finding spirit. They are the tittle-tattle
tale-bearers, always dividing the spoil, delighting to
pass round the faults and failings of their brethren. From
such, good Lord, save us !
LIFE IN EGYPT.
Exodus 1 and 2.
EGYPT, after the death of Joseph, is the type of a world
lying in wickedness. Pharaoh, who knew not Joseph,
represents the god of this world. The experiences of the
children of Israel in Egypt give us a plain, though painful,.Old Testament Studies. 113
picture of the experiences of backsliding Christians in the
wor Id. It becomes to them the “house of bondage.”
What a difference from the land of Canaan! “A land
which the Lord thy God careth for; the eyes of the Lord
thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the
year even unto the end of the year” (Deut. 11. 12).
Sorrowful Position. They were-1.
FRIENDLESS. “Joseph died, and all his brethren,
and all that generation” (chap. 1.6). Those Christians who
abide in the Egypt of this present evil world must sooner or
later part with the fellowship of Jesus and the company of
His brethren. The arm of flesh failed them when Moses
fled (chap. 3. 15).
2. FAITHLESS. The tidings of deliverance had been sent,
but they believed not (chap. 5. 21). It is with great diffi-culty
that backsliders are awakened to a sense of God’ s
forgiving and restoring love. They are slow of heart to
3. HOPELESS. “They hearkened not for anguish of spirit ” (chap, 6. 9). How true all this is of those in the
world without Christ (Eph. 2.12). Without faith they are
without the Friend; without Him they are without hope;
so taken up with the miseries of their condition that they
will not hearken to the voice of God’ s mercy in the Gospel,
II. Bitter Service. They-1.
SERVED AN ENEMY. “They built for Pharaoh”
(chap. 1. 11) . They served one who sought their destruc-tion.
All their work went to strengthen the hands of their
great oppressor, helping the ungodly. That is all we can
do as long as we are outside the kingdom of God’ s dear Son
(Matt. 12. 30)..I14 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. SERVED WITH SEVERITY. “The taskmasters hated
them” (chap. 5.13). Theirs was a joyless, thankless work.
What a cruel master is the god of this world ! What a task
to please those who are under his authority ! Child of the
world, you have a hard taskmaster ! All work and no pay.
3. SERVED IN M I S E RY. “The taskmasters afflicted
them” (chap. 1. 11). Constrained to Iabour, not by love,
but by fear of the oppressor’s lash. Poor sinners, struggling
to supply your tale of good works, to earn a little peace of
mind, you are under a law that cannot reward you with
mercy (Rom. 7. 13-24).
III. Despairing Cry. It was-1.
EARNEST. “Their cry came up unto God” (chap.
2. 23). Their very misery helped to work out for them a
great deliverance. Grace has gained a victory when the
devil’s bondslaves have realised that there is no help for
them but in God (Psa. 32. 3-5).
2. HEARD. *‘God heard their groanings” (chap. 2. 24).
The eye and the ear of God are quick to see and to hear the
movings of the hearts of the oppressed. He is faithful to
His promise, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will
deliver you” (Psa. 50. 15). The father saw the returning
prodigal while yet a great way off (Rom. 10.9-13).
3. ANSWERED. “God looked upon them and knew them ”
(chap. 2.25, margin). His tender look of love implies His
full knowledge of our need. God looked down from
Heaven and knew man’s real need, so in love He sent His
Son. The cry of perishing Israel was fully met with, “I
am come down to deliver them ” (chap. 3. 8). “The Son
of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”
(Luke 19.10)..Old Testament Studies. 115
MOSES’ BIRTH AND FAILURE.
Exodus 2. 1-15.
BIBLE characters, like old manuscripts, need close and
patient study if the deep and precious teaching of their lives
would be understood. Every Old and New Testament saint
is the embodiment of some special feature of character
which is to be an example or pattern for us (1 Tim. 1. 16).
I. His Birth. He was born a “goodly child.” He was
“exceeding fair” (Acts 7. 20). Miriam and Aaron, his
sister and brother, were doubtless very comely in the eyes
of their parents ; but Moses, the man drawn out for God,
was the fairest of all. All God’s fair ones are drawn-out
ones-out from the hiding-place of darkness and fear, out
from the river of death and doom. He was hid by faith and
saved by God (Heb. 11.23).
II. His Upbringing. “Pharaoh’s daughter said,
Take this child and nurse it for me.” In the providence of
God his mother was chosen for his nurse. The goodly
children of God are always well looked after. “All things
work together for their good” (Rom. 8. 28). By and by
he is taken up to the palace; is learned in all the wisdom
of the Egyptians, and likely engages in military pursuits.
Moses is like the cIay in the hands of the potter, a vessel
on the wheel of God’s unerring providence being prepared
and made meet for the Master’s use. May we be willing
to take on any shape or fashion His love and wisdom may
care to impress. Thy will be done on the earth of this poor
III. His Sympathy. “When Moses was grown he went
out unto his br;ethren, and looked on their burdens. ”
What a sorrowful sight Would meet his eyes! They were
digging, kneading, moulding, carrying, building, while
they sighed, and groaned, and wept. A man will not be.116 Handfuls on Purpose.
much use for God as long as he refuses to go out and look
upon the sufferings of the sin-burdened. Nehemiah
viewed the walls before the work was began. If the power
of the Gospel is to be valued, the awfulness of sin and the
helplessness of the sinner must be seen.
IV. His Choice. “He refused to be called the son of
Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction
with the people of God” (Heb. 11. 24-26). Having seen
his own relationship, and the miseries of his brethren, he
takes this bold and decided step for God and His people.
It may have cost him many a sleepless night. There was
much to be given up, but faith gained the victory. Our
sympathy for the oppressed and the perishing is not very
deep if it has not led us to a more definite consecration of
ourselves to God and His work.
V. His Failure. “He looked this way and that way,
and slew the Egyptian. Who made thee a prince and a
judge over us?” (vv. 12 and 14). When a man has to look
this way and that way before he acts it is clear that he is
not yet fit to be used of God. The fear of man stiI1
ensnares him. Moses knew that he was called of God to
deliver his brethren. “For he supposed his brethren would
have understood how that God by his hand would deliver
them, but they understood not” (Acts 7. 25). The time
was not yet come, the vessel was not yet prepared. He
had given himself to God, but this effort was only the energy
of the flesh, the impatience of self-will. We have not only
to yield to God, but also to wait on Him. God’s clock has .
two hands-His promise and providence. Both are moved
by the same will-they always act in harmony.
VI. His Flight. “Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh. ”
How deep and bitter must have been his disappointment
after all his agony of soul and decision of purpose1 Only.Old Testament Studies. 117
God is left. All the wisdom of the Egyptians is not
enough ; he must be taught of God. The withering up of
our own self-sufficiency is needful if we would be strong
in His might. “Looking this way and that way” is sure
to end in fleeing from the face of man. “If any man would
serve Me, let him take up his cross and follow Me”
THE CALL’ OF MOSES.
Exodus 3. l-10.
IN the first chapter we see a picture of he&less bondage;
in the second, failtire and despair; in the third, the
Almighty Deliverer appears. The king had died, and the
darkness of sorrow and oppression was fast thickening over
Israel; but God knew where to find a man suited for His
gracious purpose of deliverance. Moses is now eighty
years old, but he is not too old for God ; he is more fit for
His work now that he has been bleached in the wilderness
for forty years. It takes a good deal to dry up the old,
sinful sap of self that is within us. Moses had attempted
to save his brethren, but failed. Now he receives the CALL
OF GOD for the work. He went unsent ; now God sends him.
In this portion we have-I.
A Startling Manifestation. “The angel of the
Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst
of a bush. ” “This great light. ” The flame of fire was the
symbol of God’s presence.
1. IT S IGNIFIED P U R I TY. “Our God is a consuming
fire” (Heb. 12. 29). “Who shall dwell with devouring
fire? Who shall abide with everlasting burnings?” (Isa.
33. 14). Only the pure in heart. The presence of God in
the soul devours the unclean desire of the heart. “Be ye
holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1. 16).
2. IT SIGNIFIED POWER. “The bush burned with fire. ”
When the Holy Ghost came down to empower the disciples.118 Handfuls on Purpose.
He came in the likeness of tongues of fire. If we are made
partakers of the divine nature we are made partakers of
an Almighty power.
3. IT SIGNIFIED MYSTERY. “And the bush was not
consumed. ” The holy, consuming presence was there,
yet the bush was preserved. What a symbol of God in
Christ I Great is the mystery of godliness-God manifest
in the flesh, What a picture of the believer ! We have this
treasure in earthen vessels. God dwelleth in you.
II, A Timely Resolution. “Moses said, I will now
turn aside and see this great sight .”
1. THIS TURNING ASIDE WAS NEEDED. Think of what
he would have missed if he had heedlessly passed on. To
meet with God, and be taught of Him, man has often to
turn aside, even from his lawful occupatiorr, but especially
from the pleasures of sin and the reasonings of a carnal
mind. When you see a new light burning in the bush of
God’s providence, or in a text of His Word, turn aside and
seek to know the full meaning of it.
2. HE TURNED ASIDE WITH A PURPOSE. “I will now
turn aside and see why the bush is not burned. ” Perhaps
he stood for a time wondering if he would turn aside, but
now his mind is made up, “I will seek it out .” “Ye shall
find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart ,”
“My people doth not consider.”
3. IN TURNING ASIDE HE HEARD GOD’ S VOICE. “When
the LORD saw that he turned aside, He called unto him. ”
A man soon finds God when he leaves all to seek Him.
The voice of God is soon heard in the soul when we have
yielded to His invitation. God saw that he turned, and
immediately He manifested His presence. God sees every
turn we take, whether it is to Him or from Him, and He
acts accordingly..Old Testament Studies. 119
III. A Gracious Revelation. In turning aside
Moses was turning to God; in turning to God he received-1.
A REVELATION OF HIS CHARACTER. “I am the God
of thy fathers.” This was a declaration of the eternity of
His Name.. When a sinner turns aside to see that great
sight on Calvary’s Cross what a revelation of God is made
known to him I
2. A REVELATION OF HIS SYMPATHETIC INTEREST.
“I have surely seen the affliction, abd have heard their
cry, for I know their sorrows.” God knew the sorrows, and
heard the cry of a groaning world. In answer, out of His
own bosom He sent His Son. Herein is love. Christ is the
revelation of the love of God.
2. A REVELATION OF HIS SAVING PURPOSE, “ I am come
down to deliver. ” God came down into the bush to save
His people through His servant Moses. God has come down
in Christ to save through the Gospel. This was a twofold
deliverance : 1, To bring them out ; 2, To bring them in.
Out of Egypt into Canaan ; out of the kingdom of darkness
into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. To accomplish this
great salvation our gracious God had to humble Himself;
He had to come down. “Obedient unto death” (Phil.
1 1 .8 ).
IV. A Definite Commission. “Come now, and I will
send thee. ” The revelation of God always precedes a
commission by God. The coming of the Holy Spirit at
Pentecost meant not only power to the disciples, but also a
fuller revelation of the glory of Jesus. Then they went forth.
1. THE TIME. “Come now. ” Now that ye have failed in
your own strength ; now that ye have been brought very low
during these forty years, waiting in the wilderness; now
that ye have had a new and fuller vision of Myself; now
that ye know the desire of My heart concerning the people..120 Handfuls on Purpose
2. THE PURPOSE. “Bring forth My people.” “They are
in bondage and misery, but they are Mine. Bring them
forth by declaring My will and Word to them. ” “Preach
the Gospel *to every creature” (Mark 16. 15). He willeth
not the death of any. He is to-day, through His sent ones,
calling out a people for His Name.
3. THE A U T H O R I TY. “I will send thee.” In chapter
2. 12 we see him going in his own name ; now he has the
authority and the power of God. Moses got his Pentecost
at the burning bush-his power for service. Have you
received this authority? There must be a yielding to His
call before He sends forth in His Name. “Come, and I will
send thee. ”
THE EXCUSES OF MOSES.
Exodus 3. 11-14; 4. l-16.
AT the burning bush the call of God came to Moses clear
and distinct, but often all is not done, even when the will
of God is known and the way of action plainly indicated.
We are so apt to look to ourselves for the proper feelings
and fitness for the accomplishing of the good-will of God.
Our Lord’s greatest difficulty with His servants is to get
them to believe that He is able to work in them both to
will and to do of His good pleasure. Moses offered several
excuses for not obeying.
I. His Own Personal Unworthiness. “Moses said
unto God, Who am I that 1 should go ? ” (chap. 3.11).
This language reveals a very great change in the character
of Moses since he left Egypt (chap. 2. 12). It is good to
know our own unworthiness, as we must know it when,
like Moses, we are brought face to face with God and His
great work, but it is bad to make that an excuse for re-ceiving
the grace and honour He is offering us. If we as
Christian workers valued the full importance of the work
given us to do we would be more sensible of our own un-.Old Testament Studies. 121
fitness for it and more ready to confess it. B,ut notice how
God in His great grace meets this objection. “Certainly
I will be with you.” Just as if God was saying to him,
“You say, ‘who am I,’ but it is not ‘who you are, ’ but
‘VFto I am.’ I am with you, let that suffice.” “All power
is given unto Me. Go ye” (Matt. 28.18,19). When Moses
opened his mouth wide, saying, “What shall I say unto
them ? ” God filled it with, “ I am that I am. ” Herein
lies the secret of successful testimony for God: (1) He hath
sent me; (2) His Word is in me; (3) His presence is with
me ; (4) He is A Imighty.
II. The Incredulity of the PeopIe. “Moses answered,
But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto
my voice” (chap. 4. 1). He seems to have forgotten what
we so often forget, that God had taken into account all the
natural reluctance and hardness of the human heart. They
will not hearken unto you; but if you are filled with the
Holy Ghost they will be compelled to hearken to the God
who is in you. It is not you this dark, ungodly age needs;
it is the light that is in you. “Ye are the salt of the earth;
but if the salt lose its savour (power of the Spirit), it is
good for nothing” (Matt . 5. 13).
How did the Lord meet this second excuse of Moses ?
As He met the first, with a further manifestation of His
own fuhmss. He gave him a threefold assurance in the rod,
the hand, and the water (chap. 4.2-9). The-1.
ROD TURNED INTO A SERPENT. The sign of His over-coming
power, by bringing terrible judgments upon those
who oppose His will.
2. LEPROUS HAND HEALED. The sign of His restoring
power. He was able to heal withered and leprous Israel,
and to restore them to liberty and rest,
3, WATER TURNED INTO B.LOOD . The sign of His trans-forming
power, able to change the hearts and characters of I Vol. 1.122 Handfuls on Purpose.
those to whom He was sent. What voice has all this to us ?
Does it not remind us of the power that still belongs to the
Gospel of the blessed God-power to overcome by con-viction,
power to heal diseases, power to transform lives.
The Gospel is the power of God to every one that believeth.
III. The Infirmities of His Body. “0 my Lord, I
am not eloquent. I am slow of speech, and of a slow
tongue” (Exod. 4. 10). Rapid and eloquent speech may
have much influence with natural men, but the still, small
voice was not heard in the storm or the earthquake. The
power of God is something different from mere fluency of
speech (1 Cor. 4. 19). Note how the Lord answered this
objection, “Who made man’s mouth ? Have not I, the
Lord ? ” God knew all about his physical infirmity, and
was willing and able to make His strength perfect in weak-ness.
It is not our infirmities but our unbelief that hinder
us in the service of God. God has chosen the weak things.
He suggests further-IV.
The Unwillingness of His Mind. “He said, 0
my Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand; Thou wilt send”
(v. 13). As much as to say, “Send any one else, only don’t
ask me to do the speaking.” This reads like a timid re-fusal
to do everything God was asking him to do, The
divine reply to this last denial was sharp and final. His
anger was kindled, and He said, “Here is Aaron, thy
brother. I know that he can speak well; he shall be thy
spokesman. ” The unwillingness of Moses does not turn
God aside from His purpose. If one instrument proves
unfit He selects another ; but Moses has lost the honour that
would have been his if he had not been so slow of heart to
believe. Is there any sphere of service in which you or I
have become a cast-away for the same reason ? Would we
rather have a spokesman than be a mouthpiece ? Let us
walk worthy of God..New Testament Studies
Matthew 4. I-11.
THE word “tempt” has two different meanings, which
come from two different sources: (1) To try, as God
tempted Abraham ; (2) to entice, as Satan tempted Christ.
God’s trials are all for good, Satan’s always for evil. Con-cerning
the Temptat ion, notice-I.
The Time. It was after the heavens had opened,
and the Holy Spirit had come (chap. 3. 16, 17). It was
after Paul had been caught up to the third heavens that the
messenger of Satan was sent to buffet and try him. Note
the order: (1) Owned by the Father, “This is My Son.”
(2) Anointed by the Spirit. (3) Tempted by the devil. Some
know little of the tempting because they know little of the
II. The Place, The wilderness. Adam was tempted
in the garden, surrounded by every outward comfort. *
Christ in the lonely desert, among the wild beasts. All
Christ’s battles had to be fought alone-alone in the
wilderness with the devil; alone in the garden with the cup
of death ; alone on the Cross, “ My God, My God, why hast
Thou forsaken Me ? ” (Matt . 27. 46). Soul battles are all
IH, rhe Tempted One. Jesus, the Son of God. This
shows how truly human Jesus was. God cannot be tempted.
He was tempted in “all points, like as we are” (Heb. 4.
15). But just as highly musical ears feel more keenly
painful discords, so much more must He, the pure and un-defiled,
have felt the force of this trial. The more intense
our devotion to God the more intense will we feel the
approach of sin. 123.124 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. The Nature. It could only be from without, be-cause
Satan could find nothing in Him. It was threefold :
1. Tb SELF-SATISFACTION . “Command these stones to
be made bread.” The answer of the hungry Christ shows
that there is something more precious than bread-the
Word of God. Eternal life is in it.
2. To SELF-DESTRUCTION. “Cast Thyself down. ” The
devil’ s elevations are all with the view of self-destruction.
Pride goeth before a fall. Satan seeks to destroy in every
Christian their sense of divine sons/@.
3. To SELF-GLORIFICATION. “Worship me. ” I will
give you all. He suggests an easy way whereby He might
possess the kingdom of this world without dying for it.
An unredeemed world Christ would not take. Beware of
the devil’ s easy paths.
V. The Tempter. The devil. He is a person, a
person of great power. Was the whole world his to give?
Why did Christ call him “the prince of this world ? ”
(John 12.31). Is he not the god of this worId ? Does the
whole world not lie in the lap of the wicked one? The
world will be Christ ‘ s when He comes again.
VI. The Fight of Faith. The means of Christ’ s war-fare,
the Word of God. “It is written.” He trusted in
God. As a tempted man He fell back on the divine promise.
Where else can we go I What else need we do ? Fight the
good fight of faith.
VII. The Victory. “The devil leaveth Him, and
angels came and ministered unto Him. ” His faith is
.rewarded with strength from Heaven. The Christian’ s
position, like Christ’ s, is between the love of God and the
hate of the deviI. Greater is He that is for us..New Testament Studies. 125
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRISTIANS.
Matthew 5. 1-12.
HE who spoke in times past by the prophets now opened
His mouth. These first words of the Great Teacher, come
from God, reveal the way of happiness-not through ~o&Y,
but being. Happiness is found not in what we have, but in
what we are. This blessedness belongs to every Christ-like
I. The Christian’ s Character,
1. HE IS POOR IN SPIRIT (v. 3). Not spiritually poor,
because that through the poverty of Christ he is made rich..
The humble spirit is indwelt by the God of grace and glory
(Isa. 57. 15).
2. HE MOURNS (v. 4). Not for fear of missing the king-dom,
but over everything that hinders his greater growth
into the image of Christ ; over the sins of others ; over the
enemies of the Cross,
3. HE IS MEEK (v. 5). He would not be like his Master
if he was not meek and lowly (Matt. Il. 29). Not rendering
railing for railing, but corttrariwise (see v. 39). A pecdiar people.
4. HE HUNGERS AND THIRSTS (v. 6). Not after the
pleasures of sin and worldliness, but after righteousness-righteousness
unto God. These cravings are the natural
desires of the new man.
5. HE IS MERCIFUL (v. 7). He delights to show mercy
because he himself has had great mercy showed him.
Christ prayed for His enemies, so does he.
6. HE IS PURE IN HEART (v. 8). His heart is right with
God. Wholly yielded up to His holy will. Delighting in
all that is pleasing to Him. Cleansed by the blood, and
open to the light..126 Handfuls on Purpose.
7. HE MAKES PEACE (v. 9). He loves peace because he
has the peace of God ruling in his heart. He seeks to make
peace by beseeching men to be reconciled to God.
8. HE SUFFERS PERSECUTION (v. 10, 11). If any man
will live godly he must suffer persecution. “They per-secuted
Me; they will persecute you.” Notice that these
characteristics present us with a true portrait of the life
of Jesus Christ. Are we like Him ?
II. The Christian ‘ 8 Prospects. Each Christ -like
characteristic, you observe, has its own sfiecial reward -It
is always so.
1. HE SHALL BE COMFORTED (v, 4). This is the hour and
power of darkness. Being poor in spirit the kingdom is
sure, and all the comforts of the kingdom will yet be given.
2. HE SHALL INHERIT (v. 5). The saints have not much
of the earth just now, but when He comes they shall in-herit
it (Rev. 20. 6). There is a good time coming (Dan.
3. HE SHALL BE FILLED (v. 6). “They shall hunger
no more, ” We shall be satisfied when we awake in His
likeness. Filled with all the fulness of God. Present
hunger is the evidence of future filling. There is satis-faction
for every holy longing.
4. HE SHALL OBTAIN MERCY (v .7). The mercy of God,
which covered his sin, can cover every fault and failing.
5. HE SHALL SEE GOD (v. 8). Because his heart is pure
he is an holy one (Heb. 12. 14). Holy eyes see holy things ;
a holy heart shall see a holy God. Holiness is capacity
6. HE SHALL BE CALLED A CHILD OF GOD (v. 9). The
world says, “pestilent fellows.” Christ says, “Sons of
God.” Every one like the children of a king (Judges 8.18)..New Testament Studies. 127
7. HE SHALL BE REWARDED (v. 12). “Great is your
reward in Heaven. ” Reviled on earth; rewarded in
Heaven with an eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4. 17).
Led not the fear of man rob you of your reward.
Matthew 5. 13-16.
SALT and light represent what every Christian should b&
a pen&rating and illuminatilzg influence, something both
to be seen and felt, a power to attract and transform.
1. THE EARTH. “Ye are the salt of the earth. ” The
earth is the place of the curse, and may represent the heart
of man as the seat of *his affections and the sotirce of his
desires. “Thy will be done in earth” (Matt .6. lo)-in the
heart of man as in Heaven. Purify the spring (2 Kings
2. THE WORLD. “Ye are the light of the world. ” The
world here may mean the sphere of man’ s mind and thought.
Apart from the light of revelation, this is a world of spiritual
darkness. “No light in them. ”
II. ‘ Twofold Action.
1, IT PERMEATES LIKE SALT. Invisible, but effectual
in its working. Must first get into touch with the corrup-tions
of ungodliness before it can heal. It represents
2. IT ILLUMINATES LIKE LIGHT. This is something to
be seen. The light is not something put on. It is the out-come
of a flame kindled. The Christian’ s life is the light.
The life is the light of men. If there is abundance of life
there will be a brightness of light. A living Christ within
will make a steady light without..128 Handfuls on Purpose.
III. Twofold Nature.
1, The salt must have savow. Salt is good, but savor-less
salt is good for nothing. The mere name and form
without this is powerless. The savo%r is an emblem of
the Holy Spirit. We may bear the name Christian and
have the form of godliness, but without the Holy Ghost
we are savourless salt, “good for nothing.” “Have salt
in yourselves” (Mark 9. 50). Salted with the fire of the
Holy Spirit. It is the savozcr that is precious and powerful.
“Be filled with the Spirit ” (Eph. 5. 18).
2. The candle must have light. Here again the mere
name and form are useless without the living flame. A
candle must be lighted; it cannot light itself. God hath
shirted into our hearts, giving us the light. “THOU hast
lighted my lamp, 0 Lord.”
IV. Twofold Purpose.
1. To SALT THE EARTH. If Christians lose their savour,
wherewith shall it be salted ? If the world does not see
Christ in the Christian, where will it see Him ? If the
ungodly don’t feel the power of Christ’s presence in the
actions of His people, how will they feel it ?
2. To GLORIFY THE FATHER (v. 16). The Iight is to
shine, not that men may praise the light, but that they
may be led to trust and glorify the Father. Let your light
V . Twofold Hindrance.
1. IN LOSING THE SAVOUR. “If the salt lose its savour,
it is themeforth good for nothing, ” trodden under foot of
men. Sad picture of a powerless Christian ! A withered
branch. Samson was savourless salt when the Spirit
departed from him (Judges 16.20), Quench not the Spirit..New Testament Studies.
2. IN HIDING THE LIGHT. If God hath shined kn our
hearts, it is togive t/~ Zig,% (2 Cor. 4.6). Let it shine forth
in a bold, steady testimony for Christ. The fear of man is
often the bushel that hides the light, or the bed of selfish
ease. Remember that a covered light may be suffocated.
THE TWO WAYS.
Matthew 7. 13, 14.
THERE are only two religions in the world-that which
has emanated from the heart of man, and that which has
come out of the heart of God. The one is only an imagina-tion,
the other is a revelation, In these verses we notice
two gates, two ways, two companies, and two ends.
Specially observe two ways-I.
The Way into Life. What does this life mean ?
“The gate” suggests the idea of a city, a place of safety,
fellowship, and plenty. The life which is in Christ is a
life of-(l) Safety from sin and wrath; (2) of fellowship
with God; (3) of satisfaction in the fulness of God. There
must be a pas&g from death into life.
1. IT IS AN OPEN WAY. It may be strait, but, thank
God, it is not shut. “Behold, I have set before thee an
open door” (Rev. 3. 8). This way was closed up by sin,
and fenced up by the law. Christ opened it through
bearing our sins and becoming obedient unto death. It
is a new and living way consecrated (set apart) for US.
There are no back doors into the kingdom of God (John
2. IT IS A NARROW WAY. “Strait is the gate, and
narrow is the way. ” Perhaps the gate on the side-walk
may be referred to, where even camels were sometimes
dragged through after stripping them of everything.
Men needs a stripping to enter here. Self-righteousness is.130 Handfuls on Purpose.
not admitted. This gate is as narrow as the new birth.
The straitness is not with God, but in man’s utter Unfit-ness.
If the way be narrow it leads to a large place.
3. I T IS THE W AY OF THE F EW. “Few there be that
find it ,” because few there be that seek it, “Seek, and ye
shall find. ” There are few on it, because many shun it,
preferring the darkness to the light, because their deeds
are evil. Some put off, others hope to stumble into it by
chance. This is no chance work. “Strive to enter. ”
“Ye shall find Me when ye shall seek Me with all your
heart” (Matt. 6. 33).
II. The Way of Destruction. The word “destruc-tion
” here means “loss, ” and is awfully significant. It is
the loss of that which alone can save and satisfy. Like a
watch losing its mainspring, like a plant losing the earth
from its roots, a man Iosing all his privileges and hopes.
This way is:
1. A BROAD WAY. It suits the carnal mind. There is
plenty of room in it for all the sinner’s likes and pleasures.
The world, the flesh, and the devil have full scope here.
It is broad enough for the staggering drunkard, for the dis-honest
and the unclean, for the scoffer and the proud and
haughty religious formalist,
2. A CROWDED W AY. “Many go in thereat .” It’ is
easy going downhil1. Generally man’s first choice is the
“broad way. ” The heart of man is deceitful and wicked,
and naturally prefers the pleasures of sin to the fellowship
of God. Some are being pushed along in the crowd without
any serious thought. All are without God and without
3. A FATAL WAY. There is but one only possible end
to this way-“Destruction.” As sure as a stone sinks
in the sea will the man perish who loves and follows sin..New Testament Studies. 131
“The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6.23). “Turn ye, turn
ye, for why will ye die?” (Ezek. 31. 11). “Behold, I
set before you the way of life and the way of death” (Jer.
21. 8). Choose life.
THE TWO BUILDERS.
Matthew 7. 24-27.
THE sermon on the mount begins with the blessedness of
the poor in spirit, and ends with the ruin of the proud,
self-confident professor. The end of this sermon is the
end of all Christian teaching. Life and death, righteous-ness
to those who believe and obey, ruin to those who
do not obey.
I. A Suggestive Comparison. He that heareth and
doeth is likened to a wise man. The connection between
hearing and doing is very vital. Those who have the
blood-sprinkled ear must also have the blood-sprinkled
foot (Lev. 8.24). These sayings of Christ are for the doilzgs
of His people. The hearer only is a fool. He is like a
man taking shelter in the filalts of a building instead of in
the house. The hearer only is like a cake unturned ; like
a man rowing with one oar. If the hearing does not affect
the fingers and the feet it profits nothing.
II. A Common Need. A house. A house is one of
the common necessities of man. “A wise man built his
house. ” There is responsibility resting upon every man
with regard to his own house. A house is :
1. A PLACE OF SHELTER. Man needs a hiding-place
from the storm and the tempest of Jehovah’s wrath against
sin. The wrath of God abideth upon every unbeliever
(John 3. 36).
2. A PLACE OF REST. A resting-place is needed frdm the
busy, bustling, bothering cares and sorrows of this present.132 Handfuls on Purpose.
life. A man might as soon find heat in an iceberg as rest
in disobedience to the sayings of the Son of God.
3. A PLACE OF FELLOWSHIP . Man’s needs will never
be fully met until he is brought into fellowship with the
Father and the Son.
III. An Indispensable Prerequisite. A Rock. Be-fore
a house of safety can be got the Rock must be found.
“That Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10.4). The Rock is within
the reach of all if men would only dig deep enough (Luke
6. 48). This Rock is strong enough to bear all. None
doubt their foundation who build on Christ. Until He
is found all building is vain and ruinous.
IV. A Threefold Trial. Rain, floods, winds beat
upon the house. The rain tries the roof, the floods the
foundations, the winds the whole structure. Every stone
built on this Rock, that is, every deed done for Christ’s
sake, every act of trust in Him will be tried by the three-fold
enemy of the soul-the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The foundation holds.
V. A Presumptuous Effort. Building on the sand.
This man is wise enough to know that he needs a place of
shelter, but fool enough to believe that he can have it
without getting into touch with the great, eternal Rock.
He has no faith in what is out of sight. His whole work is
a matter of appearance. What a sad picture of all those
who trust their works without having a grip of the invisible
Christ (Heb. 11.27). The life may be right and beautiful
in the sight of others, yet have no connection with Christ
VI. An Irreparable Mistake. It fell, and great was
the ruin of it (see Luke 6. 49). It fell in the time of his
greatest need. He hoped it would save him, but hoping,
without Christ, is vain and ruinous. The more beautiful.New Testament Studies. 133
the life and works are, without Christ the foundation, the
more dangerous and fatal. The greater the house the
greater the ruin. Take heed z&ere ye build (1 Cor .3. 11) .
THREE SUGGESTIVE ATTITUDES
I. Toward the Wilful Impenitent.
thee” (v. 2l),
I. THINK OF THEIR PRIVILEGES. What mighty works
were done among them1 How many miracles had they
witnessed I And Christ Himself had lived among them.
What are your privileges ? Have you not seen His mighty
works in others ? Christ only knows the awful consequences
2. THINK OF THEIR DO OM. “Woe unto you.” Our
responsibility will be according to our privileges.
II. Toward the Purpose of God. “I thank Thee”
(v. 25). He thanks the Father for two things:
1. FOR HIDING THESE THINGS FROM THE WISE. Much
divine wisdom is this. What would unrenewed men do
with these holy things? Pearls before swine.
2. FOR REVEALING THEM UNTO BABES, To those willing
to receive, to trust, and be thankful (Matt . 18. 3).
III. Toward the Heavy-laden Sinner. “Come unto
Me.” The sovereignty of God is no excuse for the sinner’ s
1. THE INVITED. (1) Labouvers-those trying to earn
rest by their works, a poor-paying business. (2 ) Bwdened *
oozes-those staggering, helplessly and hopelessly, under
the weight of sin and guilt. ..134 Handfuls on Purpose.
2, THE PROMISE. “I will give you rest .” He gives the
labourer rest by doing the work for him. “It is finished”
(John 19.30). He gives the burdened ones rest by carrying
their load. He bore our sins in His own body.
THE GRACE THAT GLADDENS.
2 Corinthians 12.9.
NOTICE Paul’s testimony. He has had a revelation from
the Lord and a messenger from Satan. Revelations and
btiffetings, visions and thorns, make up much of the
Christ ian’s experience.
I. The Promiser. He said, “My grace:” He who
cannot lie, He into whose lips grace has been poured, He
will give grace and glory-HE, the God Man, Mediator,
in whom all fulness dwells.
II. The Promise. “Grace sufficient. ” Sufficient.
1. To SAVE. It is made perfect in weakness. It de-lights
to forgive, to deliver, and keep.
2. To S U P P LY. To meet all need (Phil. 4. 19). It is
a stream sufficient to turn every mill, to satisfy every
longing of the trustful heart.
3. To SUPPORT. It bears up in midst of all trials and
temptations, all the thorns and thistles in life; enables
also to bear the unspeakable revelation without pride.
4. To OVERCOME. It slays the power of sdrz within,
resists the devil without, and turns the dark shadows of
death into forerunners of glory.
III. The Result.
. I. GLADNESS. Most gladly will I glory. Glad because
everything needed is promised by such a loving and faithful
one (Rom. 8. 32).
8.New Testament Studies. 135
2. POWER. Power of Christ resting upon him, because
he rejoiced in his weakness, the weakness that enabled
him to lean all the more on His mighty promise.
Matthew 8. 5-10. *
ALL men have not faith ; some have no faith (Mark 4.40) ;
some have little faith (Matt. 6. 30). This Centurion was
one who had great faith. Those who have faith are rich.
Faith will buy anything from God. This man’s faith was-I.
Great when you think of who he was. He was a
Roman Celafuvion-not a Jew, familiar with the Scrip-tures.
How would his faith grow so great if he had not
believed all that he heard of the truth concerning Jesus?
Great faith is often fostered in the midst of the greatest
difficulties. Poor circumstances are not specially favourable
for poor faith. If your faith would grow exceedingly it
must be exercised abundantly .
II. Great when you think of the occasion of it.
His slave was sick. He believed that Christ’s compassion
was deep enough and broad enough to reach the poor and
the ignorant. Not like the Pharisee (Matt . 9. 11). Great
faith always brings the little and the disputed things to
Jesus. Little faith never carries little troubles to God.
It takes great faith to bring the trifling details of life to
Him in prayer. Beware of the little foxes.
111, Great when you’ think of the need mentioned.
“His servant was sick of the Palsy, grievously torment&.”
Afflicted both in body and soul, a helpless incurable, as
far as human skill and power were concerned. But his
faith in Jesus surmounted all. Nothing is too hard for
Him. Great faith lays hold on the greatness of Christ.
The power of Christ is sufficient for all the emergencies oi:
a believer..136 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. Great when you think of the request made.
“Sfieak the word only.” No visit asked ; no means
trusted. All his desire will be met with His word only.
It is always so. Great faith asks for no signs, but is
satisfied with the promise alone, knowing that He is
V. Great when you think of the argument used,
“I am nod worthy; I am a man under authority. ” Great
faith is always humbIe, for it sees so much grace and good-ness
in Jesus that proud, boastful self is ashamed. “Speak
the word only, and the demon and disease will go as
quickly as my servant obey me.” Great faith is the most
childlike of all. “Lord, increase our faith. ”
VI. Great when you think of the results that
followed. “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto
thee” (v. 13). His simple but large-hearted faith was
answered at once, and answered to the full. There was
nothing left to be desired. So wonderfully gracious is our
loving Lord He never sends the hungry empty away.
VII. Great when you think of the commendation
given. “I have not found so great fuith. ” Jesus knows
exactly the measure of our faith. What a precious thing it is in His sight I He does love to be trusted. He is so
pleased with it that He saves all who believe (Acts 13.39).
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb.
1 I. 6). Give Him this pleasure.
EVIL: ITS NATURE AND REMEDY.
Matthew 8. 23-33.
THIS incident has been sneeringly called “The pig affair. ”
But in these two demon-possessed men we have some of
the most terrible and heart-humbling revelations that we
have in all the Bible. Look at evil as personified in these
wholly-possessed ones..New Testament Studies. 137
I. Evil may be Closely Connected with Man. These
men were “possessed” (v. 28). Evil takes possession of
the sinner, controls his actions and thoughts, and com-pletely
masters his whole life. Sin is an awful tyrant, a
perfect despot; it claims and affects every power and
faculty of the being.
II. Evil is Allied with Death. “They dwelt among
the tombs” (v. 28). They preferred the company of the
dead to that of the living. They loved darkness rather
than the light. Such is the effect of an evil heart. The
things that holy men dread are loved. The company of
those who are dead in sin is chosen rather than the com-pany
of those who are alive unto God. They love death ;
separation from God.
III. Evil is the Enemy of Liberty. “No man could
pass that way” (v. 28). Sin always hinders true liberty.
There are many still who are afraid to pass the tomb
(grave) because of evil. As long as there is unforgiven sin
in the heart there will be fear. Perfect love casteth out
IV: Evil Shuns the Presence of Christ. “What have
we to do with Thee ? ” (v. 29). All living in sin, and
satisfied with it, hate the holiness of God. They will have
nothing to do with Christ, yet they are afraid of being
tormented by Him. They can see no hope in the Holy
One of God.
V. Its Influence is only Toward Destruction. When
the demons entered the swine they did with them what they
were trying to do with the men-drove them quickly into
destruction. Evil always chooses the shortest and steepest
way to ruin. It is easy running downhill.
VI. Its Power is too Great for Man. Those pos-sessed
ones had no Dower of resistance whatever; they
K Vol. 1.138 Handfuls on Purpose.
could do nothing to save themselves. No more can ye.
Sin, like a poison, becomes an integral part of the being i
it cannot be shaken off like a viper.
VII. Its only Cure is to be Cast Out. It cannot be
tamed or reformed. Christ said to the demons, “Go.”
The mighty, never-failing, cleansing Word of the Son of
God alone can change the heart and separate the sin from
the soul, as the demons were separated from the men-He
speaks, and it is done.
VIII. Its Conqueror is often Unwelcomed. “They
besought Him to depart out of their coasts” (v. 34).
Those who don’t want victory over their sins don’t want
the Lord Jesus. If you want sin put away, receive the
Lord Jesus. If you want to die in your sins, let Him
depart, and He will go. Welcome the sin-separating
Saviour . _
THE CALL OF THE PUBLICAN.
GREAT multitudes followed Jesus (chap. 8. 1)) but He knew
the worthlessness of mere popularity. This river of public
favour would soon dry up. “He came not to be ministered
unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for
many” (Matt. 20. 28). Let us see here the-I.
Call of Grace. “Jesus said unto him, Follow Me”
(v. 9). If Christ had been seeking popularity among men
He never would have called a hated tax-gatherer as a
personal friend. He cannot but be true to Himself. Grace
came by Jesus Christ. As water seeks the lowest place, so
grace seeks the neediest soul. He saves, not because we
are rich, or righteous, but because we are sinners. All
men are at liberty to follow Him, but He caZZ.s sinners to
repentance..New Testament Studies. 139
II. Obedience of Faith. “He arose and followed
Him” (v. 9). Matthew may have known and heard much
about Jesus before this. Now the call comes for instant
decision for Christ. It is possible to believe much about
Him, and yet in heart not to be one with Him. “He left
all and followed Jesus.” Fol&wing is the evidence of
faith. Discipleship may often mean “a leaving all.” It
was so with Abraham. He beIieved God and went out.
III. Proof of Love. “He made Him a great feast”
(Luke 5. ‘29). “Jesus sat at meat in his house. ” Feasting
and following Christ have a wonderful heart-opening
effect. It is a blessed experience-Jesus resting with us in
the home of the heart. “If nlzy malz open the door I will
come in.” Jonathan loved David, and stripped himself
(1 Sam. 18. 4). Let us lay all at His feet-this gives re-freshing
to His soul.
IV. Place of Hope. “Many came and sat down witA
Him” (v. IO). The place of hope for sinners is at the feet
of Jesus. There is room and welcome for all here. There
is mercy with Him. Sit down with Him in His rejection,
and you will sit with Him in His resurrection glory,
V. Manifestatidn of Pride. “The Pharisees said,
Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners ?”
(v. 11). Why did they not ask the Master Himself? The
self-righteous never like to plead their own cause before
God. Pride blinds the eyes from seeing the great depths
of divine grace. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.
Are you a seeker or a faultfinder?
\*I. Condition of Need. “The whole need not a
physician, but they that are sick” (Mark 2. 17). The
Pharisees, like thousands still, were not sin-sick, but self-satisfied.
Such have no room for Jesus. Like the
Laodiceans, they have need of nothing ; or, if they do want.140 Handfuls on Purpose.
Christ, it is as a teacher, not as a SAVIOUR. Christ’s work
is a great remedy which can only have effect where there is
VII. Purpose of Christ. “ I will have mercy, and not
sacrifice” (v. 13). He will have mercy on sick sinners.
He will not have the sacrifice of the self-righteous. Take
the place of the guilty, then you come in for His mercy.
Ye who would be saved by your works “Go and learn what
COME, TAKE, LEARN.
Matthew 11. 28-30.
THIS invitation of Christ implies His deep, conscious
fitness to bless all men in all ages. He knows every need
of man, and He knows, as none else can, the great and
holy claims of God. Put these two sayings together, “All
things are delivered unto Me of My Father” (v. 27).
“Come unto Me” (v. 28).
I. We are Invited to Rest. What an opportunity for
a sin-burdened heart! Jesus gives rest from guilt, from
the fear of death, and the dread of judgment. He gives it ;
He does not sell it. He does not give it as a prescription,
but as an actual, conscious possession. This rest is for
heavy-laden ones, whether they be saints or sinners.
Weary workers, disappointed and downcast because of
fruitlessness, hear Him say unto thee, “Come unto Me. ”
Everything that is a burden to us should bring us to Christ
for rest and relief. Are you feeling your task heavy upon
your heart and strength ? Take ,advantage of this loving
II. We are Invited to Serve. “Take My yoke upon
you. ” There are different yokes. Yokes we put upon
ourselves, and Satan’s yoke. What is Christ’s yoke ?
It is the yoke He Himself willingly took on, the yoke of
His Father‘s will. “I delight to do Thy will, 0 My God”.New Testament Studies. 141
(Psa. 11. 8). To take on this yoke means a life of entire
submission to the work and will of God. Paul had this
yoke on when he prayed men, ilz Christ’ s stead, to be
reconciled to God. The yoke of Christ means yoked with
Christ, co-workers together with Him. We take it upon
us when we come to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
.Every soul who has received rest from Him may find a life
of restful activity in His yoke. His yoke is easy to the
wiZ&zg mind ; His burden is light to the loving heart. The
yoke of service is not thrust upon us ; we are invited to
take it. It will be to our eternal loss if we do not.
III. We are Invited to Learn. “Learn of Me. ” To
learn of Christ we must get close to Him. To get close to
Him we must needs be yoked with Him. The yoke of
service comes before spiritual wisdom. We learn best
while in the yoke. Paul had to cry out, “Lord, what wilt
Thou have me to do ? ” (Acts 9. 6) before he received his
divine commission. In the school of suffering and testi-mony
for Christ the deeper things of God are learned. The
reason why many Christians make no progress in grace and
heavenly-mindedness is because they are ashamed of
Christ’s yoke ; and not keeping company with Him, they
cannot be taught by Him. We enter the school of Christ
when we enter the yoke of Christ. There are many branches
of learning here. With Him welearn to be patient in suffer-ing,
to walk humbly, to trust implicitly, to love intensely,
and to rejoice exceedingly (Eph. 4. 20-23).
THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST.
Matthew 12. 18-21.
TN these verses we have a beautiful and correct photograph
of our Divine Lord. Taught by the Spirit of God, their
clear eyes saw Him distinctly, although afar off. Sirs,
if ye would see Jesus, look at Him standing before you
here as-.142 Handfuls on Purpose.
I. The Chosen One. “My Servant whom I have
chosen. ” This choice was made before the foundation of
the world (Eph. 1. 4). It was a choice constrained by in-finite
grace-chosen as the Lamb to be slain. Although
men disallowed Him, He is still the chosen of God, and
precious. Let us fall in with God’s choice.
II. The Obedient One. “Behold My Servant .” This
is the Servant who could neither fail nor be discouraged
(Isa. 42. 4). He delighted to do His Father’s will. He
said at the beginning of His service, “I must be about My
Father’s business” (Luke 11. 49) ; and at the cIose, “I
have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do”
(John 17.4). “He was obedient unto death” (Phil. 2.8),
because His love was stronger than death.
III. The Beloved One. “My Beloved, in whom My
soul is well pleased.” There is strong consolation for US
here; in that Christ was, as the Servant of God and in the
&kel~ess of mm, well-pleasing to the soul of Jehovah. It
opens wide the door whereby we may be accepted in the
IV. The Anointed One. “I will put My Spirit upon
Him.” At Jordan this Scripture was fulfilled when the
Spirit as a dove came upon Him. There and then He was
sealed by God the Father (John 6. 27), owned and fitted . for the great work He had to do. This every Christian
V. The Revealing One. “He shall show judgment .”
The truth is made known through Him, because He is the
Truth. To come into contact with Christ is to come inta
the judgment (truth) of God, both concerning ourselves
and Himself. Christ as the wisdom of God speaketh the
words of God (John 3. 34)..New Testament Studies. 143
VI. The Lowly One. “He shall not strive nor cry.”
How could He, when He had committed Himself unto
Him who was able to keep. He never sought the favour of
men for His own sake. “I am meek and lowly in heart”
(Matt . 11. 29). When a Christian strives and cries it is an
evidence of weakness and unbelief. “The servant of the
the Lord must not strive” (2 Tim. 2. 24).
VII. The Sympathising One. “A bruised reed shall
He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench.”
He will not break the bruised reed of a weak, feeble,
musicless Christian life. In tenderness and patience He
will bind up. He will not quench the smoking flax of a ’
flickering, powerless, Christian testimotzy, but will pour in
a fresh supply of the Spirit of Grace. The lack of oil
(Spirit) makes a smoky testimony.
VIII. The Conquering One. “He shall send forth
judgment with victory.” His truth shall triumph. “He
shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied”
(Isa. 53. 11).
IX. The Trustworthy One. “In His Name shall the ,
Gentiles trust ,” His Name is as a nail in a sure place; it
bears all that is hung upon it. Not like the rotten pegs
men make and fix for themselves (Acts 4. 12).,
Matthew 13. 1-8; 18-23.
THE Sower is the Son of Man ; the seed is the Word; the
soil is the human heart. The SOWER ! What a beautiful
name for the Preacher I He went forth to sow; not to
criticise, or make a display. All who are burdened with
precious seed long to scatter it. The prophets of old knew
what the burden of the Lord meant. May His message
so burden us that we shall go forth weeping I The four.144 Handfuls on Purpose.
different kinds of ground represent four distinct ways in
which the Word of Life is treated by those who hear it.
I. The Wayside, or Indifferent Hearer. The “way.
A HARD PLACE. The indifferent hearer may be a
regular hearer, but his heart is like a public footpath, open
to every passer-by, and beaten hard with the feet of selfish
thoughts. The heart that is open for the pleasures of sin
will be hard for the Word of God.
2. A DANGEROUS PLACE. Exposed to the “fowls of the
’ air” and the feet of every passer-by. No matter how
precious the seed, it can only fall on it; it cannot fall into
it. The seed is always in danger of being lost until it is
hia (Psa. 119, 11). Fowls have quick eyes. The wicked
one detects the precious Word lying on the thoughtless
heart and “catcheth it away.” The loss is never felt,
because its worth has never been enjoyed.
3. A HOPELESS PLACE. Here the living seed can find no
sheller. Although it may remain for a time, it has had no
entrance, and so can show no life, Indifferent hearers can
II. The Stony Ground, or Emotional Hearer.
Here the word is-1.
JOYFULLY RECEIVED (v. 20). There being no de$th
of earth it is easily moved. The shallow-hearted hearer
is often very emotional. Their thin layer of feeling is
easily wrought upon. Tears are quickly shed, and as
quickly dried up. They hear the Word gladly ; but, alas!
their heart seems to be in their eyes.
2. QUICKLY STARVED. There is “no root. ” It soon
sprang up, but its life was all on the outside. No down-ward
growth, because there was no deepness of earth..New Testament Studies.
Beneath the thin covering of emotional feeling there lies
the hard, unyielding rock of a stubborn will. No room for
the root of the matter.
3. COMPLETELY SCORCHED. “It was scorched and
withered away” (v. 6). There being no &ward nourish-ment
it is soon overcome by outward circumstances.
Unless the heart is filled with love to God the Word will
not root and grow, and stand “rooted in love. ” Persecu-tion
soon withers the pretentious. But what withers the
rootless strengthens the rooted.
III. The Thorny Ground, or Double-Minded
Hearer. Here we have-1.
Sort ABUNDANT. Where there is plenty of depth for
thorns there is depth enough for seed. In the heart of the
double-minded the plough of the convicting Spirit may
have been, for there is readiness to receive the Word of the
kingdom, but only to give it a place with the thorn of
2. SOIL PREOCCUPIED. “Thorny ground. ” That which
is first is natural. The thorns and the briers usually have
the first place in the heart of man. But that which is first
must be taken away if that which is second and spiritual
is to possess and prosper. “Ye cannot serve God and
mammon” (Matt. 6. 24).
3. SOIL UNFRUITFUL. The seed will not choke the thorns,
but the thorns the seed. The sins that are allowed to har-bour
in the heart will surely manifest themselves, although
they may be out of sight for a time, like the thorns covered
by the passing plough. “Cares, ” which choke the hopeful
Word, are deadly enemies, although often excused. Cast
out these murderers if you would be fruitful in every good
work..146 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. The Good .Ground, or Honest Hearer. This is–
1. A PREPARED HEART. “Good ground. ” Ground that
has been the object of special care. A heart that has been
ploughed and torn by the Spirit of God. Here the weeds
and thorns have been cut up at the roots and gathered out.
The heart that is truly anxious for spiritual things has
no room for the “cares” and “riches” that hinder the one
2. AN UNDERSTANDING HEART (v. 23). If the seed of
the Word is to be fruitful it must have full liberty in the
soil of the heart. It must have soil congenial to its nature.
Without meditation the Word will get pot-bound (Psa.
1. 2). The understanding of the Word is the germinating
of the seed.
3. A FRUITFUL .HEART. “Some an hundredfold; some
sixty, some thirty.” There are degrees of fruitfulness even
in good ground. The individual seeds of special truth will
be better conditioned in some hearts than others. The
same truth in one man’s life may bring forth an hundred-fold,
while in another only thirty. The measure of under-standing
has much to do with the measure of fruitfulness.
The character of the fruit betrays the nature of the soil.
The great object of the Sower is fruit. All is loss and
failure that is not fruitful. Let us abide in Christ, and our
lives shall not be barren (John 15.7,8).
Matthew 13. 24-30; 37-43.
IN the parable of the tares we have a revelation of the
kingdom of Heaven in the field of the world. Christ’s
own interpretation of it is beautifully clear and simple.
The kingdom represents the dispensation of the grace of.New Testament Studies. 147
God. It came with Christ Jesus, and continues till the
end of the age.
I. The Sower, or Planter of the Kingdom, is the
Son of Man (v. 37). All the affairs of this kingdom are
in the hands of Jesus Christ. As precious seed it was
brought forth as a burden in His bosom. It is not of this
world, but from Heaven. It is righteousness, and peace,
and joy in the Holy Ghost. It is the ministration that
exceeds in glory (2 Cor . 3. 9).
II. The Field, or Place of the Kingdom, is the
World (v. 35). The world is called “His field” (v, 24).
The field is great, but He has seed enough for every corner
of it. His large, compassionate heart and eye take in the
whole (John 3. 16). Much of the field is still in waste.
May the world of our inner being be possessed by it !
III. The Seed, or Subjects, are the Children of the
Kingdom (v. 35). The seed with which He sows the field
has cost Him much-redeemed with His own precious
blood, Every seed is a living one, and as closely con-nected
with the Sower as children are to a parent. Each
seed is sent forth into the soil of the world to grow and
manifest His own hidden life and beauty. To this end it
must die. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground
and die, it abideth alone” (John 12. 24). We must die
unto sin before we can live unto God.
IV. The Tares, or Hinderers, are the Children of
the Wicked (v. 35). Where did the tares come from ?
“An enemy hath done this” (v. 28). There is everlasting
enmity between the tares and good seed (Gen. 3. 15).
The title “children” reveals their very close connection
with the devil (Eph. 2. 2). While growing together in
the field there may be a seeming likeness; but their origin
and character are entirely different. Regeneration is the
only remedy for the tares (John 3. 5)..148 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. The Enemy, or Usurper, is the Devil (v. 39).
It was while men slept he sowed the tares. He loved the
darkness rather than the light, because his deeds were
evil. It is when Christians cease to watch that the devil
comes, and his awful work is silently and quickly done.
When the tares spring up many say, “There’s your
Christians . ” No I An enemy hath done this. Every seed
sown by the Son of Man is good.
VI. The Harvest, or Separation, is the End of the
World or Age (v. 39). “Let both grow together until the
harvest” (v. 30). So the grace of the Master spares the
tares for a time ; but sparing grace is not saving grace.
While abiding among the wheat their privileges are the
same, but the nature of the tares unfits them for the
heavenly garner. The end will come as sure as the seed-time,
when all that off end shall be gathered out.
VII. The Reapers, or Servants, are the Angels
(v. 39). They said, “Wilt Thou that we gather them up ? ”
He said, “Nay I the reapers are the angels. ” These
impartial servants will in no wise be hindered in their
mission. Their first work is to put away all scandals and
them which do iniquity.
1. THEY ARE GATHERED. The offensive and the worth-less
are brought together. No comfort, no hope, because
they are many.
2. THEY ARE BOUND INTO BUNDLES. As straw binds
straw, so both doth evil and evil-doer. No more liberty
or fellowship with the wheat.
3. THEY ARE CAST INTO THE FIRE. A fearful plunge :
eternal separation; awful doom I The tares are not made
for the fire, but the fire for the tares. The Lord knoweth
them that are His..New Testament Studies. 149
THE MUSTARD SEED.
WHERE there is life there is growth. The kingdom of
Heaven, as represented in the Person of the Lord Jesus, is
a living thing. Notice its-I.
Outward Appearance. “The least of all seeds.”
The kingdom of Heaven is like to a grain of mustard
seed, The Lord Jesus Christ Himself was the living grain.
His kingdom was the least of all kingdoms. It began with
a handful of illiterate men. He was despised and rejected
of men. No beauty in Him for the carnal eye,
II. Inward Vitality. It is a seed, not a stone. There
is within it a vital principle capable of wonderful mani-festat
ions. A seed needs to be planted under favourable
conditions before its hidden power and fruitfulness can be
seen. The living seed of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ
must fall into the soil of a broken and believing heart
before its life-giving power will be realised. In the life
of Jesus we see the blade; in His resurrection the ear; and
on the day of Pentecost the ftdl com in the ear. The
atmosphere of worldliness is not favourable for the
development of this tender plant. The power of this seed
lies in the presence of the quickening Spirit.
III. Manifest Progress. “It became a tree.” Its
vitality is apparent to all now. The corn of wheat has
fallen unto the ground and died. Much fruit has appeared.
Every soul quickened from the dlad is a branch. The
fowls of the air lodge in the branches. But the fowls are
IZO part of the tree ; they are onIy Lodgers. The tree is
perfect without them. The tree of the kingdom has many
lodgers-those who identify themselves with it only for
their ow1z convenience. Are you a BRANCH or a lodger 7.Handfuls on Purpose.
Matthew 13. 33.
Two different methods of interpretation have been applied
to this parable. Much depends on how we view these
seven parables, whether separately or dispensationally.
I. The General Interpretation. Looked at separately,
it is said-1.
That the MEAL IS THE WORLD-something bad, and
all alike bad, needing a new and transforming principle
put into it.
2. THE LEVER IS THE GOSPEL, and must be hid within
before it can effect any change.
3. THE WOMAN IS THE PREACHER, the one who hides
the Gospel in the hearts of men.
4. THE RESULT-“the whole is leavened. ” The world
becomes permeated with the Spirit of Christ. As an
exhibition of Gospel truth all this is beautiful, and may be
much blessed. But as an exposition of the parable it may
be very faulty.
II. The Difficulties in the Way of Accepting this
1. It changes the SCRIPTURAL USE of meal and leaven.
It makes the meal bad and the leaven good. Everywhere
else meal is good and leaven is bad.
2. The meal is VERY FAVOURABLE to leaven, whereas
the world is for ever opposed to the Spirit of the Gospel of
3. The HIDING of it suggests secrecy and craft, a thought
never associated with the prenchilzg of the Word, but
closely connected with the work of Satan, who sowed the
tares “while men slept .”.New Testament Studies. 151
4. The MANNER in which leaven works is more sug-gestive
of sin than grace. It mixes with the meal, and
gradually operates by the law of co&z&on. We do not
see sinners converted in this way. Grace does not run in
the blood. We do not see whole streets, and towns, and
cities being leavened with the Spirit of Jesus.
5. The PURPOSE OF LEAVENING also suggests the idea
of making the meal, or bread, more palatable to man.
The great purpose of the Gospel is to make men more
favourable to God.
III. The Other Interpretation views the kingdom in
this parable as in a state of further development in the
course of time, and may represent things as they are pretty
much in our own day. Those who look at it in this way
The LEAVEN, as a good thing that has become polluted ;
as the truth of God, perverted by the carnal wisdom of men.
2. The MEAL, as a good thing that has been corrufited
by the leaven of false teaching. As the meal is very sus-ceptible
to the leaven it may represent professing Christen
dom being corrupted by doctrines that are not of God.
This corrupting process does work like leaven.
3. The WOMAN who hid the leaven in the meal, as typical
of those .who are acknowledged as religious teachers. It
was the woman’s work to hide leaven in meal. Their
business is to hide, to promulgate things contrary to
Christ while acting as the servants of Christ.
4. The RESULT. “The whole was leavened. ” They see
here the universal corruption of Christendom as such-a
Church that has become unfaithful, and so unfit for the
Lord’s use ; a Church saying that it has need of nothing,
while Jesus Christ stands without (Rev. 3. 17-20)..152 Handfuls on Purpose.
Matthew 13. 44.
SOME seem to see in this parable: (1) The FIELD, as the
Scriptures, that must be searched; (2) The TREASURE, as
salvation that must be found ; (3) The SELLING ALL, as the
condition on which salvation is possessed. We much
prefer to put it thus-I.
The Field is the World. It is expressly called so
in verse 38. It is a large field, loved by God (John 3, 16))
and claimed by Jesus Christ (John 1. 10). He is the pro-pitiation
for the sins of the whole world. He bought the
field. Satan offered it to him on the cheap, but He would
not have it on such conditions (Matt .4.8,9).
II. The Treasure is the Church. The people of God
are called His own “peculiar treasure” (Exod. 19. 4-6).
The Lord’s treasure is His people. This treasure was hid
in the field of the world, but promised to Christ before the
world was. “All that the Father hath given me shall
come to Me.” Those which Thou hast given Me ‘IO& oj
the world” (John 17. 6).
III. The Price was Himself. “He selleth all that He
hath, and buyeth the field.” Salvation cannot be bought
by anything the sinner can sell. “The gift of God is
eternal life” (Rom. 6. 23). Jesus did sell “all that He
had” to purchase the treasure of His believing people.
“He who was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that
ye through His poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8. 9).
“Christ loved the Church, and gave Himsel/ FOR IT” (Eph.
5.25). He purchased it with His own blood (Acts 20.28).
The hiding of the treasure may suggest the mystical char-acter
of His body-the Church known to Him, but not yet
manifested to the world..New Testament Studies. 153
THE scope of this parable is very much the same as the
last; but there is this marked and beautiful difference,
that while the “treasure” is His possession, the “pearl”
is for fiersonal adodng. The Church here is not only a
“purchased possession, ” but a pearl of great price and
beauty to adorn His person and reflect the glory of His
character. If CHRIST is the pearl, then the sinner, as the
merchantman, has to buy Christ by selling all that he has.
It is quite clear that this is not the teaching of the Scrip-ture.
The price is paid by Jesus Christ as the Redeemer,
not by man, the already bankrupt sinner (1 Peter 1.18,19).
I. The Merchantman is Christ. He is a merchant -man,
a man well up in the business of carrying on heavenly
trade. He has a great business on hand. “ Wist ye not
that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 11.
49)-seeking goodly pearls.
II. The Pearl is the Church. The Church is the
Lamb’s wife, and has been purchased with a great price.
As Boaz found Ruth, and redeemed her to himself, the
Bride of Christ is a priceless pearl to Him. She will be to
Him as diadem of glory through all the coming ages.
“Come, and I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb’s wife”
(Rev. 21.9-27). “A purchased possession” (Eph. 1. 14).
III. The Price was His Own Life. “He sold all that
He had” (2 Cor . 8. 9). He died for us. “Ye are bought
with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in
your spirit, which are God’ s” (1 Cor. 6. 20). “Ye are
bought with a price; be lzot ye the servants of meN” (1 Cor.
7. 23). Christ may truly say of His Church :
“I’ ve found the pearl of greatest price, My heart doth sing for joy.”
L Vol. 1.154 Handfuls on Purpose.
Matthew 13. 47-50.
THE key to this parable has been laid beneath the door
(v. 49). It is the last of a series of seven parables, bring-ing
us up to the close of the period of the kingdom;
to the end of the age, when the whole system will be
tested and judged.
I. The Net. The net is something prepared and fitted
for a special purpose-to catch fish. It is emblematic of
the Gospel of the grace of God. The net itself makes no
distinction of the fish, for it receives all who come. The
invitation of the Gospel is universal; it is to every creature.
Whosoever will may come. Like the sunshine and the
rain, it comes to both bad and good.
II. The Sea. The net was cast into the sea. The sea
represents the sphere in which men live and move, and
corresponds with the “earth” and the “field” in the other
parables. It indicates a state of changeableness, rest-lessness,
and danger. Into this sea the net of the Gospel,
prepared by the grace of God, has been cast. The pur-pose
is to gather out a people unto His Name.
III. The Gathering. “And gathered of every kind”
(v. 47). Was this the intention of the great Fisherman?
Was the net made for both “good and bad ?” Does it not
seem that the net is put to a wrong use when used, as here,
for a drag-net ? When the Lord told His disciples to cast
their net on the right side of the ship they did not get one
bad fish. The Gospel is put to a wrong use when it gives
an equal place to both good and bad. In these days
qtiantity , not qzcality , is the aim of the net -spreaders.
But the sifting-time is coming.
IV. The Time of Drawing. “When it was full they
drew it” (v. 48). The net of God’s saving grace will not.New Testament Studies. 155
always be in the sea of this world. There is a time-it may
be near at hand-when it will be full. This time will be
the end of this age, when the fulness of the Gentiles be come
in (Rom. 11. 25). When the Gospel net is drawn, then
present privilege and opportunity of salvation will be gone.
V. The Place of Sifting. “They drew to Ihe shore”
(v. 48). The bad and the good could sport together while
in the sea, but it will be different on the shore. The
wheat and the tares were allowed together until the end
came. As they came near the shore the more did the bad
and the good crowd together. There is a great cry for a&on
in the present time. Let us take care it is not the crushing
together caused by the net being drawn out.
VI. The Separation. “They gathered the good, and
cast the bad away” (v. 48). So shall it be at the end of the
age. They shall sever the wicked from among the just
(v. 49). Their character determines their destiny-good
OY bad. The Lord knoweth them that are His. The bad
may boast, while in the sea, that they are just as good as
their neighbours, but they shall not escape.
VII. The Final Destiny.
1. THE GOOD are put into vessels. These vessels were
prepared for them before the net was drawn. “In My
Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a
place for you” (John 14. 2).
2. THE BAD were cast into the fire (v. 50). “Cast the
bad away. ” Oh, think of it I Away from what ? Away
to what i’ “Ye must be born again ” (John 3. 7).
THE UNEXPECTED APPEARANCE.
Matthew 14. 22-27.
THE hungry multitude had just been fed and sent away.
His own soul now hungers for secret communion with His.156 Handfuls on Purpose.
Father. “ Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matt .4.4).
He constrains His disciples to go before Him to the other
side, and when the evening is come we see Him alone on
the mountain. Here is a picture of Christ’s present
position and of His Coming again. Jesus is now on the
mount of intercession before the Father. His disciples
are still being tossed with tempest on the sea of this
troublous world. But one day He will appear again and
deliver His Church out of all its troubles. As Peter went
to meet Him on the waters, so shall we meet Him in the
air (1 Thess. 4. 17). When Jesus came back to the boat He
brought Peter with Him. When He shall appear then we
also shall appear with Him in glory. Then those who see
Him will also confess, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of
God” (v. 33). This is a very fruitful theme. Let us gather
some practical lessons-I.
The Obedient will be Tried. “Jesus cofisdruined
them to go before Him unto the other side” (v. 22). Per-haps
it was with reluctance that they went, but they
obeyed, and while doing His will they were severely tested.
The trial of your faith is precious, more precious than tried
gold. Observe the nature of their trials-1.
THAT IN WHICH THEY TRUSTED WAS LIKELY TO FAIL
THEM. “The ship was tossed with waves” (v. 24). Every
object of the believer’s confidence will have a tossing.
Jesus Himself had it. The little ships of our own making
are too slim to bear the stress of strong temptation. In
\ following Jesus let us beware of trusting anything apart
from Himself. The arm of flesh, our own understanding or
past experience, if trusted, can only bring the soul into
dread and danger.
2. THAT WHICH MIGHT HAVE HELPED WAS AN ACTUAL
HINDRANCE. “The wind was contrary” (v. 24). We, too,.New Testament Studies. 157
while seeking to do the will of our Lord may expect to
meet with many a storm of opposition. The wind which
wafted them across the lake now hinders their progress.
The favour of men, which may have helped us at one time,
may press against us at another. It is as fickle as the wind.
But there is a deep need for every contrary wind in the
experience of God’s people. It only hindered these
disciples from getting beyond the sphere of His own
wonder-working power. It made them tarry till He came.
Blessed detention I
3. THAT THEIR MOST STRENUOUS EFFORTS WERE OF
LITTLE 4VAIL. “He saw them toiling irt rowing” (Mark
6. 48). Ignorant of the Master’s purpose to bless them
among the billows, they toiled and struggled as earnest,
honest men to save themselves. But they spent their
strength in vain, as every one will do who seeks deliverance
by their own works (Rom. 3. 20).
II. The Obedient will be Helped. “Jesus saw them
toiling in rowing, ” and made haste to their help. Com-forting
thought ! He sees every stroke of the oar. He hears
every groan of the heart, every half-choked sigh, and is an
eye-witness to every bitter tear. Our fruitless efforts may
prove a blessing by bringing Jesus Christ into closer touch
with us. He came-l.
AT AN UNEXPECTED TIME. “In the fourth watch.”
As in nature, so may it be in our spiritual experience-the
darkest hour is the hour before daybreak. He came in the
hour of their greatest need-when their strength was ex-hausted,
when all hope was gone. In perplexity cast the
anchor of faith, and wait for the day.
2. IN AN UNEXPECTED WAY. “Walking on the sea. ”
The great, surging billows, the source of the disciples’
fear and dread, were now under His feet. He comes as the.158 Handfuls on Purpose.
OVERCOMER to their help. They found their salvation
where you and I will always find it, not in toiling, but in
t7usti?zg. “My ways are not yours. ”
3. WITH AN UNEXPECTED BLESSING. “Be of good
cheer.. It is I ; be not afraid.” He does not at once re-move
the cause of their trouble (wind and waves), but He
gives them rest in the midst of the storm. He may not take
away the thorn, but He makes His grace sufficient (2 Car.
12). He did not save from the fiery furnace, but He walked
with them ise it. This is the greatest blessing.
A SUPERNATURAL WALK.
Matthew 14. 28-34.
JESUS appeared to His storm-tossed disciples walking on
the sea. To this purpose of His followers the wind was con-trary,
but the contrary wind was an opportune time for’the
Lord. They saw His wonders in the great deep of their
I. A Bold Request. “Peter said, Lord, if it be Thou,
bid me come unto Thee on tite water” (v. 28). This was a
great petition, but not too great. “If it be THOU.” He is
able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask. Should
our love toChrist not constrain us to walkeven as He walked?
What although other disciples shrink from such a prayer ;
let US seek the privilege of walking with Him, even where
human wisdom and fleshly feelings cannot find a footing.
II. A Gracious Invitation. “He said, Come” (v. 28).
The door is now open for the faith of Peter. He is invited
to walk where none but the feet of faith dare go. The
Christian’s walk is a supernatural one, He walks by faith.
This, in the eyes of the wise men of the world, is like
walking on the sea, They cannot understand it. Every
believer is invited by Christ to walk with Him on the deep
as He walked..New Testament Studies. 159
III. A Successful Venture. “Peter went out of the
ship, and walked on the water” (v. 29). The seemingly
impossible can be accomplished through simple faith in
the Word of Christ. There must be a going out if there is
to be a going on. The life of faith implies the complete
abandonment of every other source of confidence-out of
the ship of self on to the Word of Christ. Jesus is not fully
trusted until both hands are off every earthly prop.
IV. A Momentary Failure. “When he saw the wind
boisterous he was afraid” (v. 30). Perhaps he expected
the storm would cease when he stepped out on the invita-tion
of the Lord Jesus. Our troubles don’t all cease the
moment we trust Christ. Our faith will be tried. Peter
was afraid, and began to sink, because he, was getting more
concerned about himself than the Word of his Master.
Even walking in Christ’s ways will become a terror and a
labour when our eyes are off Christ Himself.
V. An Earnest Prayer. “Lord, save me” (v. 30).
“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he
fall. ” Let him who is falling not hesitate to cry out for
salvation. Out on the depths of the life of faith, where no
unbeliever ever stood, Jesus will make us realise that, apart
from His continual help, we can do nothing but tremble and
sink. Peter was wise in crying as soon as he began to sink.
Many wait until they are up to the neck.
VI. A Speedy Deliverance. “Immediately Jesus
caught him” (v. 31). Instant confession brought instant
salvat ion. He leaps to the help of His needy ones (S. of
s .2.8). Peter was not sent back to the ship. There is no
help for the troubled and tempted believer in the old life.
Jesus caught Peter, so he found refuge in the “arms of
Jesus. ” These strong and willing arms are still out-stretched
(Psa. 138. 7)..160 Handfuls on Purpose.
VII. A Gentle Rebuke. “0 thou of little faith, where-fore
didst thou doubt ? ” (v. 31). The tenderness of Jesus
is very manifest. He will not break the bruised reed. We
might think Peter’s faith was anything but little when he
boldly stepped out on the swelling waves. Oh, how precious
a thing faith is I If we have trusted Christ let us trust Him
wholly. None perish that Him trust. Abraham staggered
not, but was strong in faith.
VIII. A Blessed *Result. “When they were come to the
ship the wind ceased” (v. 32). Peter now walks with
Jesus-saved from fear, where before he had feared and
sank. His walking to Jesus was a testing time, but his
walking with Him is calm and peaceful. The wind is still
as boisterous as ever, but he fears no evil, for the Lord is
with him. The near presence of Christ is the secret of a
restful and triumphant Christian life. When Jesus came
into the ship the wind ceased. Let Him into the heart;
He maketh the storm a calm.
THE WOMAN OF CANAAN.
Matthew 15. 22-28.
JESUS had said, “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no
wise cast out” (Matt . Il. 28) ; but difficulties have often
to be faced and surmounted in the coming.
I. Her Character. With regard to her nationality,
A WOMAN OF CANAAN. A representative of a class
that were without hope, having no promise, and without
God in the world (Eph .2. 12). Such were some of us.
2. A WOMAN IN DEEP ANXIETY, “Her daughter was
vexed with a devil” (v. 22). Her own soul was thereby
grievously vexed. Her great need and conscious helpless-.New Testament Studies. 161
ness drove her to Jesus. Blessed thirst that draws us to
such a fountain. Our poverty, like the prodigal’s, is often
the means of driving us home to the house of plenty.
II. Her Request. Such soul-agony must cry out.
A CRY FOR MERCY. “Have mercy on me” (v. 22).
The prayer will always be short when mercy is felt to be
the first need. Secure His mercy and you have lifted the
sluice for the outflowing of infinite blessing. If mercy is
your first plea it will not be your last.
2. A CRY TO THE LORD. “Have mercy on me, 0 Lord”
(v. 22). “TO whom can we go but unto Thee? Thou hast
the words of eternal life. ” Mother Nature is deaf to the
cry of the needy.
III. Her Difficulties. The first trial she met with was-1.
THE SILENCE OF JESUS. “He answered her not a
word” (v. 23). Does it not seem alarmingly strange that
Jesus should hold His peace at such a time ? There is a
needs be. We must not deal with Jesus as one would do in
tryilzg an experiment. The silence of the Saviour may lead
to deeper searchings of heart. Although He gives no word
we may still hope in His character. Other difficulties were-2.
THE CONDUCT OF THE DISCIPLES . “They said, Send
her away” (v. 23). Between the silence of Jesus and the
surliness of His followers her faith would be severely
tested. The conduct of many of Christ’s disciples is more
likely to drive away than attract to the Master; their
words and actions are sad representations of His gracious
character. Are we commending Him by showing love
for the perishing ?
3. HER OWN UNWORTHINESS . “Jesus said, I am not
sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (v. 24)..162 Handfuls on Purpose.
She did not belong to the house of Israel; therefore as a
heathen Gentile she had no cl&a on Him as the Son of
David. She was knocking at a closed door. If as sinners
we would buy from Hitn, we must buy witlzozct money.
“Nothing in my hand I bring. ”
4. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. “It is not meet to take
the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs” (v .26). Deep
ploughing this; yes, but the shafts are in the hands of
Infinite Love. The promises given only to saints will not
be cast to sinners. God cannot be unrighteous, even in
saving a soul. She was not a Jewish child; therefore by
birth she had no hope. In Christ we meet with a jut God
and a Saviour .
IV. Her Argument. “Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat
of the crumbs which fall” (v. 27). As much as to say,
“That’s the truth, but as LORD Thou canst give me also
what I need. ” This was a powerful plea, because it was-I.
THE ARGUMENT OF FAITH. “0 woman, great is thy
faith” (v. 28). She laid fast hold upon His character, not
as Son of David, but as the Son of God-as Lord over all,
blessed for ever. It was also-2.
THE ARGUMENT OF A BROKEN SPIRIT. She humbly
took her place among the undeserving dogs, that the grace
of the Lord might reach even to her. Grace delights to
flow down and fill the needy. A broken and a contrite
spirit He will not despise.
V. Her Success. Hers was the triumph of faith.
1. SHE GAINED THE NEEDED BLESSING. “Be it unto
thee even as thou wilt” (v. 28). Her “Lord help me”
is answered by His offer of Omnipotent fulness. Faith
may be tested, but it will not be disappointed. Though
He tarry, wait. She knew His Name, and trusted in Him,
and He did not forsake her (Psa. 9. 10)..New Testament Studies. 163
2. SIB EYBRACED A PASSING PRIVILEGE. While Jesus
was passing by she “came out and cried” (v. 22). This
was her only opportunity, and she made the most of it.
Take heed lest you are letting yours slip. “Behold-, now
is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”
(2 Cor. 6. 2). –
THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.
Matthew 15. 29-31.
CHRIST’S public ministry began with the baptism of the
Holy Spirit. Does not every real ministry begin with
this? His first recorded utterance is, “The Sfiirit of the
Lord is upon me. Hc hath sent me to heal, to recover the
sight of the blind, and to set at liberty the bruised” (Luke
4. 18). This is His diploma.
I. The Position of the Healer. “He wmt up into a
mountain and sat dow,n” (v. 29). The actions as well as
the words of Christ were prophetic. While He sat upon
the mountain great multitudes came unto Him, and He
healed them all. What a picture of Christ’s position and
power I He has gorte up into the mount of Heaven, and is
sat dowlz at the right hand of God to give gifts unto men,
Whosoever will may come. None are cast out. He heals
them all. He now sits as He did on that mount by the Sea
of Galilee, waiting to be gracious. No question asked, no
fee required, no prescription given, but instant help and
healing imparted. Before God Jesus sits as the only hope
and health for a perishing world. “Look unto Me and be
ye saved, for I am God” (Isa. 45: 22).
II. The Character of the Healed. *
1. THE LAME. Those whose legs are unequal, and whose
walk is very unsteady, who have many an up and down.
There are many lame Christians vainly trying to walk like
those whose legs are equal. It is no use trying to conceal.164 Handfuls on Purpose.
the limp. If there are failure and weakness bring them to
Jesus. He maketh the lame to walk.
2. THE BLIND. Those who walk in darkness, Their
outward life may be without a limp, but their minds are
darkened. They have no assurance; they know not where
they are going. They depend on human hands to guide
them ; they have not the eye-salve of the Holy Spirit. He
can make the blind to see for themselves.
3. THE DUMB. This is a type of those who can both sde
and walk, but whose lips are sealed. They know the truth,
and their actions may be faultless, but their tongues are
dumb for God-moral beauties, but spiritual dummies.
This great Physician can also make the dumb to speak.
4. THE MAIMED, This is a very plentiful class, and very
pitiful. They once had hands and feet and tongues for
God, but sin has maimed and marred their members, so
that they are now useless in the service of Christ. They
once had power, but the Holy Ghost is grieved, and their
testimony is maimed (see Judges 16. 20). “I will heal
your backsliding” (Jer .3.22).
5. THE NONDESCRIPT. “And many others.” Among
this lot there would likely be found “all sorts”-the sick,
the sad, the fevered, and the broken-hearted. Christ can
heal every ailment. Everything that hinders our joy in
God and our testimony for Him may be confessed as a
disease. Is it care, anxiety, temper, fear, despondency ?
He healeth all thy diseases.
III. The Place of He+@. “They cast them down at
Jesus’ feet”. (v. 30). The place of blessing is at the feet
of Him who is able to tread upon the surging waves of
humanity’s sorrows (Matt . 14. 25). Those bleeding feet
on Calvary’s cross proclaim victory through His blood
over every sin to all who believe. The way into this place
of perfect healing is to gel down, down to Jesus’ feet..New Testament Studies.
IV. The Results that Followed-
1. THE HEALED BORE TESTIMONY. They saw the dumb
speaking, the lame walk&g, the blind see@?, the maimed
to be whole. Every one used the gift received to the glory
of the Great Healer. What a change ! The power of Christ
could not be hid in the lives of the healed ones.
2. THE MULTITUDE GLORIFIED GOD (v. 31). Why has
the multitude ceased to wonder and glorify God now?
Have we not the same all-sufficient Saviour to-day waiting
to make us perfectly whole, that our lives might be worthy
of His Almighty grace and healing power. “Let your light
so shine before men, that tltey may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in Heaven” (Matt . 5. 16).
THE TRANSFIGURATION AND ITS LESSONS.
Matthew 17. 1-9.
JESUS had just begun to show unto His disciples how He
must suffer many things, and be killed (Matt. 16. 21);
but before the awful darkness gathers over the Cross He
here gives them a passing glimpse of His great glory. We
need such manifestations to support us in the hour of sor-row
and trial. When we come to this mount we are apt to be
so blinded with the “glory of the light ” that we cannot see
the helpful lessons we might learn. We might learn that-I.
To be Alone with the Lord is a Glorious Privilege.
“Jesus takcth Peter, James, and John, and was trans-figured
&fore them” (vv. 1, 2) ; “They went apart with
Him to pray” (Luke 9. 28); and, while alone with Him,
fhey beheld His glory, and were eye-witnesses of His
malesty. This was a premature outburst of the hidden
glory of the Man whose face was more marred than any.Handfuls on Purpose.
man%. If we would know Jesus Christ in all His glorious
fulness, let us be much alone with Him on the quiet mount
of prayer. We hope to be alone with Him in eternity;
why not seek much of His presence now ?
II. The Lord is Infinitely more Glorious than
Men see Him to be. “While He prayed His face did
shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light”
iv. 2). There was a double glory-that which shone out
of Heaven from the Father, and that which shone out of
Himself as the image of the Father. The carnal eye saw
no beauty in Him, but He was glorious within all the same.
The hidden glory of Christ and the hidden glory of the
Christian will both in one day yet be manifested. The same
“Lord the Spirit ” who hath transfigured our souls will also
transfigure our bodies (2 Cor. 3. 18; 1 John 3. 1, 2).
III. The Death of Christ is the Most Important
Subject under Heaven. “Moses and Elias talked with
Him” (v. 3) ; and Luke says, “They talked about the
decease to be accomplished at Jerusalem.” The death of
Christ had a wonderful significance-to Heaven, earth, and
hell. Think of the contrast between the subject of their
talk and the appearame of the One appointed to die on a
cross. What would Moses and Elias think of our present-day
religious talkers who deny the atoning death of Jesus?
IV. The Glory of the Lord can be but Little Appre-ciated
in our Present State. “The voice that must
accompany the glory terrified them. They fell on their
face, and were sore afraid. ” Moses had to be hid in a cleft
of the rock to see the back parts of the divine glory; Paul,
caught up into Paradise, heard and saw what was felt-speakable.
The High Priest never attempted to explain
the “Shekinah glory. ” Enough for us that God graciousiy
gives us as we are able to bear..New Testament Studies.
V. The Lord only is Sufficient to Comfort the
Troubled heart. “He to&cd them, and said, Be not
afraid . . .They lifted up their eyes, and saw Jesus only”
(v .8). When the living Word of God touches the sorrowful
or terrified soul it is enough. Although all else should fail,
and every comfortable feeling flee, “If I’ve Jesus, Jesus
only, then my sky will have a gem.” The tout/a and the
word of Jesus are sufficient to bind up every wound.
VI. The Resurrection of the Lord is the Foundation of the Gospel. “Tell the vision to no man until the Son
of Man be risen from the dead” (v. 9). The Gospel of the
glory must come after the Gospel of the Cross. “If Christ
be not risen, then is our preaching vain” (1 Cor. 15. 14).
But Christ is Y~SC~E; therefore teI1 out the vision of His
‘glory. He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour .
VII. To Hear the Word of the Lord is a Divine Com-mand
. “This is My beloved Son, Lear ye Him” (v. 5).
We should hear Him because the Father is “well pleased”
with everything He says. Hear-1.
THE VOICE OF HIS WORD. He is a great Teacher come
from God, with God’s message to sinful men.
2. THE VOICE OF HIS WORKS. “The works that I do bear
witness of Me” (John 5.36). Works of miracle and mercy.
“Believe Me for the very works’ sake” (John 14. 11) ,
3. THE VOICE OF HIS BLOOD. The blood that speak&z
better things than that of Abel. Jesus’ blood speaks of
satisfaction to God and peace to man.
4. T~IE VOICE OF HIS SPIRIT. That Spirit who maketh
intercession for us with groa&zgs which cannot be uttered.
and who seeks to transform us into the image of Chrlsr.
Hear ye Him, and be made like Him..108 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT.
Matthew 18. 23-35.
PETER had just been asking, “How often shall I forgive?”
and even hinted that he was willing to go the length of
seven times . But Christ’s seventy times seven would
teach us to exercise the love that was after His own heart-the
“charity that never faileth.” In this parable two great
truths are brought out : (1) The need of being forgiven ;
(2) the need of forgiving others.
I. His Deplorable Condition. His true state was only
discovered when he began to reckon with his Lord. A
day of reckoning will come when every hidden thing will be
revealed. See him-1.
As A G REAT D E B T OR. “He owed ten thousand
talents” (v. 24)) about three million pounds. Our debt
to one another may be measured by one hundred pence,
but our debt to God is infinite. How much owest thou my
Lord ? Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thyheart,
soul, mind, and strength. How much of His goods have
we squandered ?
2. As A HELPLESS BANKRUPT. “He had not wherewith
to pay” (v. 25). In the eyes of his fellowmen he is rich and
honourable; in the presence of his Lord he is a wretched
insolvent. He has sinned, and has come short, far short.
To meet all the demands of a holy Lord God by our own
selfish efforts is a miserable and hopeless task. “By the
deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His
sight” (Rom. 3. 20). Without strength.
3. As ONE UNDER CONDEMNATION . “His lord com-manded
him to be sold” (v. 25). All his past service only
merrted his condemnation. This is a sharp rebuke to the
self -righteous. This is the revelation that comes to us.New Testament Studies. 169
when by the Holy Spirit the soul is brought face to face
wrth the righteous claims of God, “By the law is the
knowiedge of sin ” (Rom .3.20).
4. As ANEARNESTPETITIONER. “Hefelldown,saying,
lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all”
(v. 26). He is in downright earnest, but it is a self-righteous
and presumptuous prayer. He is not able to
pay, yet he only pleads for patience. He makes confession
of his failure, and promises to do better in the future. It
is the old trick of the carnal and unbelieving heart, which
refuses to ask forgiveness. He still hopes to be justified
by his works. But when will an imprisoned man be able
to pay his debt 7 Not of works.
II. His Merciful Lord.
1. HAD COMPASSION ON HIM. “His lord was moved
with compassion” (v. 27). It was good for him that he
met his lord in a day of grace. Poor debtor, in his reckon-ing
he left no place for the love of his lord. “Behold, now
is the accepted time” (2 Cor. 6. 2). Let us bless God that
we have seen and felt His infinite compassion through the
grace of His Son.
2. PARDONED HIM. “He forgave him the debt ” (v. 27).
This was much more than he expected. This was the only
remedy, and it was a gracious one. Not a word of rebuke,
not a word about cant inued patience. Ah ! He knows what
we need, as poor, penniless paupers in His sight, “He
forgiveth all thine iniquities” (Psa. 103. 3). “Your sins
and iniquities will be remembered no more” (Heb. 10.
17). “Who is a God like our God, who pardoneth iniquity,
transgression, and sin ? ” (Micah 7. 18). He is now
saved by grace.
3. DELIVERED HIM. “He loosed him” (v. 27). He not
only got his debt cancelled, but he was, as a matter of
M Vol.1.170 Handfuls on Purpose.
course, loosed from the sentence of condemnation passed
upon him. Being forgiven, he is now free from the law.
Blessed change I Not under the law, but under grace.
Salvation is twofold : (1) He forgiveth all their iniquities;
(2) He redeemeth thy life.
III. His Selfish Behaviour. “He took his fellow-servant
by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest .”
He had mercy shown him, but he shows no mercy. The
spirit of his lord had not possession of him, and not being
filled with his spirit he soon has to forfeit the fellowship
and favour of his master. As those who have received
mercy, let us take heed lest we frustrate the grace of God,
and as a servant become a castaway. We may learn
MANNER OF BROTHERLY FORGIVENESS. “Shouldst
not thou have had compassion; . . . from your hearts for-give.”
If the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts we
will have compassion on the erring, and be willing to for-give
them from the heart. Freely ye have received, freely
2. EXAMPLE OF BROTHERLY FORGIVENESS. “Even as
I had pity on thee.” May the pity of the Lord Jesus
Christ toward us fill up the measure of our pity for others.
“As the Father loved Me, so have I loved you, so ought ye
also to love one another. By this shall all know that ye
are My disciples, if ye love one another ” (John 13.34,35) .
3. MISERY OF THE UNFORGIVING. “The lord was wroth,
and delivered him to the tormentors.” The unforgiving
servant cannot abide in the fellowship of his Lord. One
hard, unkindly thought toward a fellow-Christian worker
is enough to bring the soul into the hands of the tormentors,
and to rob us of the smile of the Master’s face. Sin always
betrays us into the hands of the tormentors. The torments.New Testament Studies. 171
of an evil conscience and a proud, covetous heart are
neither few nor small. “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted,
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ ‘ S
sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4.32).
OR, LESSONS FOR CHRISTIAN WORKERS.
Matthew 20. 1-16.
THOSE who leave all /or Jesus will find their all in Jesus
(chap. 19. 27). Peter said, “What shall we have there-fore
? Seeing we have left so much, how much shall we
get ? ” This savours too much of the language of the mere
hireling. To labour only for reward is a mean motive for
serving Christ. To correct this grovelling spirit, and to
enlighten the darkness that fosters it, this parable seems
to have been given. Notice-I.
Some Things about the Labourers. The-1.
PLACE OF LABOUR. “His vineyard” (v. 1). This is
the place where much patient labour is urgently needed,
or much fruit will be lost. Those who labour among the
trailing vines must be careful about their walk. The
tender grapes must be gently handled. To gather fruit for
Christ the gentleness of Jesus is needed. Note, further,
that every labourer in the vineyard must have the Master’s
2. HIRING OF THE LABOURERS. This was done at five
different times. Look at it dispensationally, “early in
the morning” (v. 1) may represent from Adam to Noah, the
third hour from Noah to Moses, the sixth hour from Moses
to David, the ninth hour from David to Christ, the eleventh
the present, till He comes again. Or it may suggest the
various stages of life from youth to old age. How few
are found at the eleventh hour, but even then the full
reward of eternal life is given to all who believe and obey..172 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. REWARDING OF THE LABOURERS. “Call and qive
them their hire. ” Every one called to labour shall be called
to their reward, “beginning at the last. ” The most hope-less
at the eleventh hour becomes the most hopeful in the
evening. Here grace reigns. Labour on. Idlers in the
market-place are less responsible than idlers in the vine-yard.
4. DISSATISFACTION OF THE LABOURERS. “The first
supposed that they should have received more. ” These
find their counterpart in the “elder brother” mentioned in
Luke 15 ; those hired at the eleventh hour in the prodigal
son. We cannot anticipate disappointment in Heaven ;
but are there not many on earth who grudge the chief of
sinners an equal share of the grace of God with themselves?
II. Some Things about the Master. Here observe _
JUSTICE. “Friend, I do thee no wrong” (v. 13).
The selfish servant cannot understand the grace of Christ.
Those who labour only for wages cannot enjoy the favour
of God. If we knew Him better, we would murmur less
at His doings. “I have not the gifts of So-and-so.”
“Friend, I do thee no wrong.”
2. FAITHFULNESS. “Didst thou not agree with me for a
penny ? Take that is thine” (v. 14). He gave all that He
promised. The penny seems to have been their own
terms; the others went on His terms, “Whatsoever is
right I will give you,” and had no desire to grumble.
Trust His grace, and you will have good cause to praise
3. SOVEREIGNTY. “IS it not lawful for me to do what 1
will with my own ? ” (v.15). What unhallowed feelings
arise in our hearts when we see a brother or a sister, with
scarcely any experience-just an hour in the vineyard-.New Testament Studies. 173
being more honoured of the Master than we are, who have
borne the burden and heat of the scorching drought. So it seemeth good in Thy sight.
4. JUDGMENT. “Is thine eye evil, because I am good ? ”
(v. 15). The evil eye can see but little good in the grace
of Christ. “An evil eye makes a darkened body” (Matt.
6. 23). It contrasts badly with the unmerited goodness
of the Master. Our thoughts at the best come far short of
the exceeding riches of His grace. Lord, give us the single
eye to Thy glory.
THE TWO BLIND MEN.
“BEHOLD two blind men.” There are many important
lessons for us in this short narrative. Here we see-I.
A Sorrowful Picture. “Two blind men. ” They
POOR. They sat by the wayside, evidently begging.
They were men who had no promise to live on, no prospect
to cheer them. Such were all of us, at that time having no
promise, and without hope. All who are without Christ
are poor indeed.
2. BLIND. They had no eyes even to look on the passing
Saviour . Picture of those who are destitute of spiritual
vision, walking in darkness, and having no light.
3. HELPLESS . Although there were two of them, the one
could in no wise help the other. All are alike guilty and
impotent before the Lord. Help must come from above.
II. A Passing Opportunity. “Jesus passed by. ”
IQ the coming near of the Son of God lies man’s only chance
of getting deliverance from the power of darkness. These
men embraced their opportunity by putting themselves.174 Handfuls on Purpose.
“in the way.” Jesus has come near by the light of
His Word. Flee not from Him by preferring the darkness
(Hosea 7. 13).
III. An Earnest Prayer. “They cried out, saying,
Have mercy on us, 0 Lord. ” See their-1.
BOLDNESS. “They cried out. ” It was nothing to
them who heard their voice. They were poor men, crying
out of the depths of their dire and conscious need.
2. FAITH. “They cried, saying, Lord.” They acknow-ledge
Him as Messiah and Master. Dost thou believe on
the Son of God ? Hast thou confessed Him ?
3. PETITION. “Have mercy on us. ” They confess
their helplessness and need by begging for mercy. The
prayer of the self-righteous is, “I am not as other men”
(Luke 18. ll), or, “Have patience with me, and I
will pay thee” (Matt . 18. 26). “God be merciful to me. ”
(Luke 18. 23).
4. WISDOM. “When they heard, they cried.” They
did not wait for a more convenient season. “Faith cometh .
by hearing” (Ram, 10. 17). “Hear and your soul shall
live” (Isa. 55. 3).
IV. A Rebuking Crowd. “The multitude rebuked
them. ” Anxious and inquiring sinners are often rebuked
by a multitude of false fears and feelings, but perhaps a
greater obstacle lies in the multitude of inconsistent dis-ciples-
those who outwardly follow Christ, but who have
no sympathy with Him in His great work of saving sinners.
Do with the hindrances that arise through the failings of
some professing Christians what these blind men did with
the rebuking multitude, “Cry the more. ”
V. A Willing Saviour . “He willeth not the death bf
a n y .” He-.New Testament Studies. 175
1. STOOD. The cry of need has a magical power to arrest
the passing Saviour, and draw out the living waters of
divine compassion. He stood. What a privilege ! “Be-hold,
I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3. 20).
2. CALLED. Liberty of access is now given. Nearness
invited, He seeks the fellowship of those whom He blesses.
He that stands at the do& and knocks still calls, “If any
man hear My voice, and open the door” (Rev. 3. 20). He
has made room for you ; make room for Him.
VI. A Gracious Offer. “What will ye that I should
do unto you ? ” (v. 32). He invited them. Now He throws
the door of infinite fulness open before them, that all their
needs may be fully met. Oh, what a wonderful Saviour is
Jesus! The rebuking multitude cannot hinder Him from
pouring out the treasures of His love and grace upon all who
come., “Come unto Me, and I will give ye-. U What will ye ?
VII. A Perfect Cure. God’s remedy for needy man is
a wonderful compound of infinite love and precious blood,
The order here is very beautiful-1.
HE HAD COMPASSION . The need of the blind men
touched the very depths of His heart, and His whole soul
mdved out in migh’ty, misery-melting mercy.
2. HE TOUCH& THEIR EYES. The presence of Jesus is
always a conscious presence. To be blessed we must come
within His touch. Here the dead live, and sin is blotted
out. His gentle yet almighty hand is laid on the cause and
source of their misery. He opened Lydia’s heart.
3. THEY RECEIVED SIGHT. What a change I Old things
have passed away, all things became new. Salvation is a
very great and conscious blessing we know.
4. THEY FOLLOWED HIM. He touched them. N ow
they keep in touch with Him. Blessed life f “Follow Me I ”
“Wilt thou go with this Man ? ” (Gen .24.58)..176 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE TWO SONS.
Matthew 21. 28-32.
THIS parable begins with Christ’ s “What llzivtk ye ? ” and
is eminently fitted to make us tlzinR. Some perish for want
of thought, and many more for wrong thinking. The
. priests and elders had been asking Him, “By what
authority doest Thou these things ? ” Christ answers their
question by holding up this parable as a mirror before their
eyes that they might be convinced of their sins. The way
to understand the authority of Christ is to discover our real
state before Him. Those who pride themselves in their
own supposed goodness will always remain in ignorance
of Christ’ s authority and saving power.
I. What the Father Commanded. “Son, go work
to-day in My vineyard” (v. 28). The Father’ s vineyard
needs workers ; who should be more interested than the
Son ? Observe the-1.
GROUND OF THE FATHER’ s CLAIM. “Son, ” (v. 28).
Plenty of hirelings may be got for wages, but love ought to
constrain a son. “The love of Christ constraineth us”
(2 Cor .5. 14). If we are the sons of God, surely our Father
has the first claim upon our time and strength and
substance. Our Father may kire strangers to serve Him
(Isa. 7. 20)) but sons are commanded.
2. DESIRE OF THE FATHER’ S HEART. “Work” (v. 28).
What a grief it must be to our God to see so much work to
be done and so many of His sons idle I Work is pleasing to
the Father, good for the vineyard, and profitable for the
Son. The idle soul shall suffer hunger (Prov. 19. 15).
Our Father has a multitude of talkative sons, but the
labourers are few.
3. URGENCY OF THE FATHER’ s REQUEST. “To-day. ”
The time for serving the Lord is always NOW. Some of the.New Testament Studies. 177
younger sons say, “Wait till I get a little more experience. ”
Some of the older sons say, “It is not worth my while
beginning now ; ” or they are thinking about retiring from
the vineyard. Go, work to-day, this present day of sal-vation,
for “the night cometh when no man can work”
(John 9.4). “Wherefore the Holy Ghost saith, TO-DAY”
II. What the Sons Said. In the caseof thefirst wehave-1.
A DECIDED REFUSAL. “I will not” (v. 29). This
language reveals the spirit of selfish indifference to the
Father’s desire. In plain words it is this: “I have some-thing
else of my own to look after, and have not time to
work in your vineyard.” What cares the selfish Christian
for the perishing millions, or the grieving of the Father’s
heart, if their own little plans and purposes can only be
attended to. This language also betrays a heart in open
rebellion. “I will not. ” A life opposed to the Father’s
will and out of sympathy with the Father’s purpose.
The other son answered with-2.
A READY CONSENT. “I go” (v. 30). He speaks with
marked respect, “I go, sir.” Judging from his talk he
has a great reverence for his father and a great zeal for his
work. His words are smoother than butter. The descen-dants
of this oily-lipped professor have not yet ceased from
among us. Yet his instant decision and prompt reply to
the father’s urgent command should be copied by every son.
“If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14. 15).
III. What the Sons Did. There is often a vast differ-ence
between a man % profession and his actions. “Whither
of them twain did the father’s will ? ” It is not which
of them talked the best or made the loudest profession?
By their deeds are they justified or condemned. His Word
is fulfilled in our doing of it, not in our talking about it,.178 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. THE ONE REPENTED AND OBEYED. Repentance
always precedes the doing of the will of God. The bold,
self-willed rebel is the first to yield and obey. Don’ t
despair of the restoration of the loud -mouthed, disobedient
backslider, or of the conversion of the defiant sceptic.
“Afterward, he repented and went. ” Those who go
willingly into the vineyard of God’ s service will find grace
sufficient and a holy joy in pleasing Him.
2. THE OTHER PROMISED AND FAILED. “He said, I go,
sir, and went not .” All who go not at God’ s bidding into
the field of service for Him are disobedient and rebellious
children, no matter how nicely they may talk about “the
Lord’ s work.” Talking about ministers, churches, and
religion is not working for God any more than warming
your hands at the fire is gathering grapes. Not every one
that saith, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter into the kingdom,
but he that doeth the will of My Father. “Whatsoever
He saith unto you, do it” (John 2. 5).
THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN.
Matthew 21. 33-41.
IN this parable Christ rebukes the unfruitful profession of
the rulers of His people. They had rejected the Comer-stone,
as builders, and their work had come to naught.
So the vail of their temple was rent in twain from the top
to the bottom, and the kingdom of God was taken from them
and given to another nation (the Gentiles, v. 43). Re-ligious
knowledge, enthusiasm, and scrupulous obser-&
rices are all empty and lifeless when Jesus Christ is
rejected or denied His proper place-a lamp without a
light, a body without a spirit. We observe here-I.
Labour Expended. The householder himself was
at all the expense of the “planting, ” “hedging, ” “digging,”
and “building” (v 33). Think of what God had done for.New Testament Studies. I79
Israel as a nation. He dug them out of Egypt, planted
them in a good land, and hedged them about with pro-mises
and privileges, yet it proved an empty vine. God,
as the Householder, wrought all this work-there were
none to help Him. Think of the labour expended by our
Lord Jesus Christ, that we might bring forth fruit to the
praise of His Name. Oh, what praying, suffering, groaning,
sweating, dying, He gave Himself.
II. Privilege Enjoyed. “He let it out to husbandmen,
and went into a far country” (v. 33). These husbandmen
did not purchase the vineyard ; through the grace of God
it was let out to them. Israel was honoured, as being the
tenant of divine wisdom and knowledge, but because of
unfaithfulness they have been expelled. This privilege
now belongs to all who are in Christ Jesus. While the
Master is in the far country these priceless blessings are let
out to us by the grace of God. We have not bought them ;
we do not deserve them ; they are the gifts of God-the
tokens of His infinite love.
III. Fruit Expected. “He sent his servants, that they
might receive the fruits” (v. 34). Although the Master is
in the far country (Heaven) He is still mindful of His
vineyard. In asking the fruits He is only asking His own.
The vineyard was His. “Ye are not your own, for ye are
bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in,your body and
your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor .6.19 t 20). The much
labour of Christ for us should produce much fruit through
IV. Selfishness Exhibited. “The husbandmen took
his servants, and beat, and killled, and stoned them”
(v.35). There is here no sign of gratitude for great privi-&
es bestowed; no concern about the Master’s interests.
The grace of God has been in vain to them. It is sad to.180 Handfuls on Purpose.
find this same selfish spirit among those who profess to be
the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are ready to
take every earthly blessing and advantage God may give
them, but they will yield Him nothing. They will even
wear the Name of Christ for their own personal interests.
V. Forbearance Manifested. “He sent other ser-vants,
and last of all He sent His Son” (v .36). What long-suffering,
what patience with insult and cruelty, what
willingness to forgive, what reluctance to punish! What
a hideous contrast between the selfish greed of man and the
lovingkindness of God ! “They will reverence My Son. ”
The appearance of His Son brought out the awful enmity
of the human heart against God. Such is GRACE-giving
His best gift to the least deserving.
VI. Rebellion Declared. “When they saw the Son
they said, This is the Heir; come, let us kill Him, and let
us seize on His inheritance” (v. 38). “We willnot have this
Man to reign to reign over us. ” “We have no king but
Caesar” (John 19. 15). So Jesus, as the Son of Sovereign
Grace, is cast out, and the Father, as the Householder, is
defied. We will reign as gods without Him is still the
language of many a highly-favoured but God-hating sinner.
Yet, 0 the depth of the mystery, that through the death of
the Son we may indeed seize on His inheritance. Heirs
VII. Destruction Assured. “He will miserably
destroy those wicked men ” (v .41) . Privilege may exalt to
the gate of Heaven, but if neglected and abused will crush
into the depths of hell. These 1880 years’ wanderings of
the Jews on the face of the earth, without a king and with-out
a country, is a divine and solemn witness and warning
that God will judge sm. When the Lord Himself appears
to reckon with the husbandmen it will be atime of dread-.New Testament Studies. 181
ful awakening to those who have been in the vineyard only
for their own selfish ends. Carefully note that the House-holder
asked for the fruits before He came. His coming
was the time of judgment for His servants. “We must all
appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one
may receive the things done in His body, according to that
he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5. 10).
THE MARRIAGE FEAST.
Matthew 22. 1-14.
Trrwpe of this parable is very wide ; it seems to embrace
the whole of this present dispensation. The “certain
King” is God the Father; the “Son,” Jesus Christ ; the
“marriage,” the new relationship into which the Son was
about to enter; the “servants,” the apostles of Christ;
“those that were bidden, ” the Jews, who, as a nation, had
received notice long before; the “other servants,” perhaps
those who went forth after Pentecost ; the “dinner,” the
provision made by God in the death of His Son for
hungry, perishing souls ; they “made light of it ,” the re-jection
of Christ by the Jews, His called ones; the “city
burned,” destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans thirty
years later; “Go into the highways,” the universal invita-tion
of the Gospel; the “wedding furnished,” the calling
out and completion of the Church; “the King came in to
see the guests, ” the second Coming of Christ ; “Bind him,
and cast him into outer darkneSs,” the separation of the
chaff from the wheat; He shall thoroughly purge His
floor. The Gospel of the grace of God is here beautifully
set forth. Observe the-I.
Provision. “Behold, I have prepared My dinner;
all things are ready ; come” (v. 4). The provision was
wholly His own. f‘My oxen, my fatlings are killed.”
He spared not His own Son, but freely gave Him up to.182 Handfuls on Purpose.
the death for us all. “Behold the Lamb of God.” The pro-vision
was very great ; it included “all things.” All
things are yours if ye are Christ ‘ s. Those who came to
this feast found what sinners find on coming to Christ-1.
REST on a Princely couch.
2. SHELTER under a Princely roof.
3. SATISFACTION at a Princely table.
4. FELLOWSHIP with Princely friends.
II. Invitation. “Come unto the marriage” (v 4).
This invitation is for all. Whosoever will may c me ; d
both bad and good were called. The Gospel invitation
‘ takes no notice of our character; the vilest as well as the
most virtuous must accept the invitation on equal terms.
None deserve it. It is the goodness of God freely offered
to all. The pompous prince and the poverty-stricken
beggar are both alike indebted to the mercy and grace of
God for salvation. Because of this many “make light of
it .” To make light of the invitation is to make light of the
God who gives it. That is no light matter.
III. Inspection. “The King came in to see the guests”
(v. 11). – All who accept the invitation expect to see the
King; with joy they wait for His Coming. Those who are
living in rebellion against His will, despising His grace,
may well dread His appearing. He comes to see and to
welcome all those who have believed His Word through
His servants. Jesus Christ manifests Himself to those who
yield to His call, and accept His offered mercy. Believe.
and thou shalt see the glory of God.
IV. Detection. “He saw a man which had not on a
wedding garment ” (v . 11) . Only one, but the quick eye
of the King soon found him out. The man was conspicuous,
not for what he had, but for what he had not. “A wedding.New Testament Studies. 183
garment. ” The garment was part of the King’s provision,
bat he refused it. It is not enough that we merely believe
the invitation of the Gospel; we must lay hold of the
righteousness of God, which is offered us in Christ Jesus, and
upon all them that believe. Remember that mingling
among the people of God does not fit us for meeting the
King. You may escape the detection of the servants, but
the Searcher of hearts will fmd you out.
V. Interrogation. “Friend, how camest thou in
hither, not having a wedding garment ? ” (v. 12). He does
not take him by the throat. This is the language of tenderest
compassion, but he is faithful and just. It was not
the King’s fault, but perhaps he was priding himself in his
own good-looking garments, prepared for the occasion,
and all duly paid for. He belongs to the family of those
“who go about to establish their own righteousness” (Rom .
10.3). “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4. 12).
VI. Conviction. “He was speechless” (v. 12). He
was self-condemned before a court from which there was no
appeal. He may have been making fine speeches before
the King came in, but now his mouth is stopped. There is
no one to plead his cause,. in his behalf all his friends are
speechless. Oh, friend, boast of nothing now that you will
not rejoice in when the King comes. This man does not
even ask for mercy, so utterly hopeless is his case now.
It is a solemn moment when all the refuges of lies are swept
away by the power of His presence. “What wilt thou say
when He shall punish thee?” (Jer. 13.21).
VII. Expulsion. “Then said the King, Bind him, and
take him away, and cast him into outer darkness” (v. 13).
The man who despises the King’s garment will never taste
His feast. Think of what he was taken away from. Away
from all his opportunities and companions, into the outer.184 Handfuls on Purpose.
darkness, the darkness of hopeless despair, that is, out-side
the kingdom of God’s dear Son. What a change !
What a disappointment ! Out from the presence of a feast
into the place of weeping. There will be great and sudden
changes when He shall appear. Put on the Lord Jesus
THE LAST DAYS.
Matthew 24. 37-39.
“BUT as the days of Noah were, so shall also the Coming of
the Son of Man be.” Then, according to the teaching of
Jesus Christ, Noah was a real person, the flood was a great
fact, and the second Coming of Christ as the Son of Man will
be an unfailing certainty. What the state and conditions
of the world will be when He comes is here clearly revealed,
“As the days of Noah were, so shall the Coming of the Son
of Man be.” Nothing could be more simple than this.
I. As there was great and growing wickedness in
the days of Noah, so shall also the Coming of the Son
of Man be. The world did not go on growing better and
better up till the days of Noah. No, but it grew worse and
worse, till God saw that the wickedness of man was great
in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts
of his heart was only evil continually (Gen .6.5). So shall
it be when the Son of Man comes. “As in the days of
Sodom” (Luke 17. 29, 30). In the last days, “Perilous
times” (2 Tim. 3.1) ; “Not endure sound doctrine” (2 Tim.
4. 3); “Damnable heresies” (2 Peter 2. 1); “Strong
delusion” (2 Thess. 2. 11) ; “Scoffers, walking after their
own lusts” (2 Peter 3. 3); “Many departing from the
II. As there was faithful warning in the days of
Noah, so shall also the Coming of the Son of Man be.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2. 5). For
ahundred and twenty years, while the Ark was a preparing,.New Testament Studies. 185
“he condemned the world” (Heb. Il. 7). Every board put
in the Ark was a note of warning that judgment was coming.
So shall also the Coming of the Son of Man be. There never
was a time in the history of the Church when the “Coming
of Christ ” was so generally believed and so clearly preached
as now. The cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh I”
(Matt. 25. 6) is being heard by the waiting virgins.
III. As they were overtaken with sudden and uni-versal
surprise in the days of Noah, so shall also the
Coming of the Son of Man be. “They knew not until the
flood came and took them all away” (v. 39). They were
marrying and giving in marriage until Noah entered the
Ark and the Lord had shut the door. They believed not
the testimony of Noah. The habits and sins of society’
remained unchanged and uurepented. So shall also the
coming of the Son of Man be. When He comes shall He
find faith in the earth ? He shall come suddenly. “For as
the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto
the west, so shall also the Coming of the Son of Man be”
(Matt . 24. 27). Who shall stand when He appeareth ?
IV. As all who entered the Ark in thedays of Noah
were saved, so shall also the Coming of the Son of
Man be. The Lord said, “Come thou and all thy house
into the Ark”(Gen.7.1). Noah and his family obeyed the
call ; then “the Lord shut him in”-“kept by the power of
God through faith unto salvation ” (1 Peter 1. 5). So shall
it be when the Son of Man cometh. “Caught up.. . to meet
the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the
Lord” (1 Thess. 4. 17). All who are now in the kingdom
of God’s dear Son shall be taken away before the judgment
of God falls upon the disobedient and the unbelieving.
“They that are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15. 23).
Just as Lot was taken out of Sodom before the deluge of
fire came.’ He that hath this hope purifieth himself.
N Vol. 1.186 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. As all outside the Ark were visited with judg-ment
in the days of Noah, so shall also the Coming of
the Son of Man be. “The flood came and swept them all
away” (v. 39). The Ark, as a means of salvation, was
beyond their reach whenever the door was shut. Their day
of opportunity was now gone. So shall also the Coming of
the Son of Man be. Selah-pause and think. “Tribulation
and anguish” (Rom. 2. 9) ; “Weeping and wailing and
gnashing of teeth” will be the portion of every Christ
rejecter when He comes. Those who have not on the
wedding garment when the King comes will be cast forth
into outer darkness. “Be not deceived ; God is not
mocked. ” “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be
.when the Son of Man cometh.”
Matthew 25. 1-12.
FROM the closing verses of the preceding chapter we learn
that the purpose of this parable is to teach the servants of
God the necessity of being always ready for their Master’ s
appearing, and that readiness consists not in idly staring
into Heaven, but in actively doing those things that are
pleasing unto Him. They are always ready who are always
doing His will: “Blessed is that servant whom when his
Lord cometh shall find so doing” (Matt .24.46). The good
wife may watch for her husband because she longs to see
him, but if he, when he comes, finds the house untidy and
the supper unprepared, would he be satisfied with her
watching ? These foolish virgins represent those who have
the appearance of being ready, but who will be found
unprepared. Notice their-I.
Blameless Character. They were “virgins, ” their
characters were without reproach, blameless in the sight
of men ; they are typical of a large class of professing.New Testament Studies. 187
Christians whose outward life and conduct are unstained
with iniquity. They are found in every sphere of Christian
work; their motives are never for a moment questioned.
They love the company of the virtuous and the wise,
and even the truly wise love to have their help and
fellowship; they are very courteous, congenial, and
II. Noble Intention. “They went forth to meet the
Bridegroom” (v. 1). The others are going, so they go too.
They would like to see the Bridegroom, and to share the
marriage feast. They make some little sacrifice for the
hope that is in them ; they never question their fitness.
The counterpart of these is still to be found among us;
religious people whose moral lives are beautiful, who have
been good all their days, who never question their con-dition
before God, nor imagine that they must be “born
again. ” Their intentions are good, but they are blind to
their own real need.
III. Thoughtless Neglect. “They took no oil with
them ” (v. 3). All their hope was in their lamps of pro-fession.
This could only last for a very brief season.
They would not go without their lamps-lamps could be
seen, but the invisible oil was unheeded. Type of those
satisfied with an outward resemblance to the real while
strangers to the Holy Spirit of promise. Oil in the vessel
is suggestive of the Spirit of God in the heart, which is the
true witness that we are the children of God. This will
stand when all outward evidences faint and fail.
IV. Helpless Indifference. “They all slumbered and
slept” (v. 5). The Bridegroom tarried, and they grew
tired, and sank into a state of insensibility. The waiting
time is a testing time for all. The time the Bridegroom
tarried was a time of grace and opportunity for the foolish
virgins ; now was their time to go and buy the oil they.188 Handfuls on Purpose.
needed, but they slept. Even a little lawful indulgence
ith self -satisfaction may prove ruinous. Our Lord has
t ried now for more than 1900 years; what a long
opportunity for lamp-trimming I when the wise sleep, it
is no wonder that the foolish become unconscious of
their danger. “What meanest thou, 0 sleeper I ”
V. Anxious Request. “Give us of your oil, for OUT
lamps are gone out” (v. 8). The midnight cry is an
awakening cry. There will be many alarming discoveries
made when Jesus comes. The midnight cry of warning is
followed with the cry of alarm, “Give us of your oil. ” No
oil, and the Bridegroom at hand. No fitness to go in, and the
door of Mercy about to close. This oil cannot be borrowed;
it must be bought of Him who alone can sell it (Luke 11.13).
No mortal can give to another that which will fit him for
the appearing of the Lord. “Buy of Me” (Rev. 3. 18),
saith He. “One thing thou lackest” (Mark 10.21).
VI. Earnest Endeavour . “They went to buy” (v. 10).
They are indeed in dead earnest as they run to the nearest
village, wiping the sweat from their faces, but their eamest-ness
does not save them, for “while they went to buy the
Bridegroom came. ” They were busy seeking when they
should have been rejoicing. Men may use the right means
at the wrong time. Those that were ready went in ; those
who were getting ready were shut out. Hoping to be ready
is no fitness for His coming. “Behold, now is the
accepted time” (2 Cor . 6. 2). “Be ye also READY”
(Matt . 24. 441.
VII. Fearful Disappointment. “Afterward came the
other virgins, but the door was shut” (v . 11). The only
answer that came to their urgent appeal, “Lord, Lord, open
to us,” was, “I know ye not .” Notice, a personal acquain-tance
with Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost is
the prime necessity for future fellowship with Him. The.New Testament Studies. 189
foolish virgins hoped to get in, but they were shut out.
Out among the scoffing and the unclean, who never ex-pected
to be in, their virgin names did not save them.
Only those who had met the Bridegroom entered with Him.
“Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace”
(Job22.21). “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he
is none of His” (Roman 8.9).
Matthew 25. 14-30.
IN the parable of the “virgins” we are taught the great
necessity of individual readiness when Christ comes. This
parable teaches the need of trading with His gifts till He
comes. In both we are shown the twofold attitude of
waiting and working. The man who hid his talent in the
earth was also waiting, and may have been longing for his
Lord’ s coming, but, like the foolish virgins, found himself
unprepared. In gathering up the truth taught here,
Calling of the Servants. “He called his own ser-vants
, and delivered unto them his goods” (v. 14). Those called to this more honoured service were His own servants
-those who had previously given themselves to Him.
They were the disciples of Jesus Christ, whom He called
and delivered unto them His goods ere He took His journey
into the far country of the Father’ s presence. His servants
are not sent a warfare on their own charges. In John 17
we see what these goods were, the “words, ” the “ joy, ” and
the “glory .” With these they were to occupy His place
on the earth till Hecame. “As My Father hath sent Me,
even so send I you” (John 20. 21). The power to trade
with His goods was given at Pentecost.
II. Measure of the Gifts. “To every man according
to his several ability.” All have not the same ability,.190 Handfuls on Purpose.
because all have not the same faith. Great faith is great
ability. If the man who got only one talent had got the
ten he doubtless would have misused them all. It is the
Lord Himself who divides to every man. He knows how
much our faith is able to receive and use for His own glory’ .
“Unto him that hath shall be given .” Even one talent is a
great gift. Every gift of God is precious. ‘*According
to your faith, so shall it be unto you. ”
III. Using of the Talents. All who receive the gift of
/God are compelled to do something with it-either to trade
with it or bury it. He that received the five and he that
received the two used them, and in the using they were
doubled. Think of the two great talents God hath given
us–His Son and His Spirit. What spiritual wealth and
power are here1 The more we use them in our life and
testimony the more will their preciousness and blessing be
multiplied in our personal experience. But one “hid his
Lord ‘s money. ” Was it pride or shame that made him
bury it in the earth? Are there not many still who
bury the gift of the Spirit in the earth of a worldly
life-those who deliberately hide their spiritual gift from
the eyes of men. who trade with their own natural talents,
and SO cover up their Lord’s money.
IV. Coming of the Lord. “After a long time the Lord
of these servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.”
The Lord will come again. Nineteen hundred years may
seem a long time, but it is a time of grace and opportunity.
The Lord’s money is enough for His servants to trade with
till He does come. When He comes it is first to reckon with
His servants, not to judge the ungodly (2 Cor . 5. IO).
Those who are always trading with the Master’s gifts are
always ready for His appearing. If we would succeed in
the Master’s business we must see that we trade with the
Master’s money. His grace is sufficient..New Testament Studies. 191
V. Rewarding of the Diligent. “Well done, good and
faithful servant .” Eternal life is the gift of God to all who
believe, but rewards are only for the servants who have
been “good and faithful.” The promise is not to the
successful, but the good and faithful servant will in God’ s
sight always be successful. This reward was threefold-1.
COMMENDATION. “Well done.” An abundant entrance, ,
2. E,XALTATION . “I will make thee ruler.” A place of
distinct ion and honour .
3. COMMUNION. “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
A condition of fulness of blessing. Happy fellowship.
VI. Doom of the Unprofitable. “Cast the unprofit-able
servant into outer darkness.” He was a servant, but
as such his life and work were failures, because he used not
the gift bestowed upon him by his gracious Lord. This is
the secret of every servant’ s unprofitableness to God-neglecting
the gift of the Spirit. There are seven steps in
the downward career of this man. Look at the privilege
he enjoyed. Numbered with His servants, and the pos
sessor of a special gift from his Lord. The steps are-1.
WILFUL NEGLECT. He hid his Lord’ s money.
2. HARD THOUGHTS ABOUT HIS LORD. “I know thee an
hard man. ”
3. SLAVISH FEAR. “I was afraid. ”
6. HIS TALENT TAKEN FROM HIM.
7. CAST OUT. As a fruitless branch he was cut off. Like
the foolishvirgins, he did not enter into the joy of his Loid.
We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you
also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain..Bible Readings
I. Before Fruit there must be Life. “Severed from
Me, ” says Christ, “ye can do nothing” (John 15. 5). He
is the Living One, and is come that we might have life.
We never look for fruit from a dead tree. A soul dead
in sin (Eph. 2. 1) can never bring forth the fruits of
righteousness. There must first be a pZam%sg into
Christ (Rom. 4. 5). “He that hath the Son hath life”
(1 John 5. 12).
II. There must be Entire Surrender to the New
Conditions. If the roots of the tree do not strike out into
the new soil in which it has been transplanted it will not
prosper. In Philippians 3. 9, 10 Paul speaks of being
found in Him, the source of life, then he says: “That I
may know Him”-a growing acquaintance with Him.
The branch must be entirely passive to the power of the
vine. Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive
from the dead (Rom. 6. 13). The fruit of the self-life is
corrupt. Crucify the flesh with its lusts; grow in the know-ledge
of God. This whole-hearted surrender to the grace
and power of the Spirit of God opens the way into the heart
and life so that God can enter in and work mightily (Eph.
III. Fulness must come before Fruitfulness. The
branch will not bear fruit until it has been fiZZed to over-flowing
with the sustaining sap. The cup will not run over
u&l it has been filled. If rivers of water are to flow out
of us the unfailing spring must rise up and fill all within
(John 7.38,39). A dissatisfied heart will bear but a poor,
192.Biblo Readings. 193
dissatisfying testimony for Christ. If the roots of our being
are spread out by the river, by the way of the Holy Spirit,
then we shall not cease from yielding fruit (Jer. 17. 8).
IV. The Character of the Fruit.
1. It will be NEW fruit (Ezek. 47. 12). It does not be-long
to the unregenerate man. It is not the fruit of the
flesh; not the outcome of an energetic self-life. The cor-rupt
tree has been made good by being created anew by the
Spirit of God. It is fruit unto holiness (John 1. 13).
2. It will be fruit ACCORDING To THE NATURE OF THE
TREE. You cannot gather figs from thorns, or grapes from
thistles. The fruit of the SPIRIT is love, joy, peace, etc.
(Gal. 5.22), not the fruit of the Chvistian . The fruit of the
Spirit, you observe, is just the likeness of Christ. Ye are
partakers of the divine nature. As fruit is the result of
the living, moving sap within, so the image and charac-teristics
of Christ are wrought in the believer by the living,
moving Spirit within. From Me is thy fruit found. It is
the work of God, and the evia’ ertce of a soul being fully
possessed by Him. Where there is the fulness of the in-dwelling
Spirit there must be the manifestation of the
Christ-likeness. Death is the way to life and fruitfulness.
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it
abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit”
(J o h n 1 2 .2 4 ).
A BIBLE CHRISTIAN.
A SECT called “Bible Christians” had their origin in
England in the year 1515. They took this name because
they professed to stick fast to the Bible. Every Christian
is a “Bible Christian,” holding fast to Christ and His
Word of truth. Every other Christian is a sham. A
“Bible Christian” is a Christian after the order of the
Bible. He is-.194 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. ONE WHO TRUSTS IN CHRIST (Eph, 1. 12). One who
has been convicted by the Spirit, made to feel his need of
Christ, and who has, by a deliberate act of His own will,
transferred all his confidence to Him. He has a settled
faith in Him as the almighty and infallible Son of God.
2. ONE WHO HAS LIFE THROUGH CHRIST (John 6. 37).
He was alienated from the life of God, but now he is by
faith engrafted into it. Through receiving Him who is the
“Living Bread” life has been imparted, a new creature
formed-born of God-partaker of the divine nature.
This is life eternal.
3. ONE WHO HAS LOVE TO CHRIST (1 John 4. 19). Love
is the first evidence of a regenerated heart. When the love
of God is shed abroad in the heart it will rise up in all its
strength and fulness to Him from whence it came. It is a
love that now believes and rejoices with joy unspeakable
(1 Peter 1. 8).
4. ONE WHO HAS FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST (1 John
1. 3). This fellowship is sweet because there is intense
love on both sides. “Lord, to whom can we go?” (John 6.
69). There is none on earth .the new-born soul desires
besides Him. “If Thy presence go not with us, carry us not
hence” (Exodus 33.15). “Abide in Me” (John 15.4).
5. ONE WHO WORKS FOR CHRIST (2 Cor. 6. 1). “Whose
I am, and whom I serve” (Acts 27.23). Belonging to Him
and living for Him it is his privilege not onIy to work JOY
Christ but to work with Him. This is the more excellent
way : God working in us both to will and to do of His good
pleasure. Delivered to serve.
6. ONE WHOSE RESOURCES ARE IN CHRIST (Col. 2.9, 10).
All the fuhress of the Godhead is in Him, and ye are in
Him. Abiding in Christ he receives, as a branch in the.Bible Readings. 195
vine, all the fulness of Him who is his life, his strength, his
power, his all. The unsearchable riches of Christ I What
are they ? All is yours, for ye are Christ ‘ s.
7. ONE WHO WILL BE REWARDED BY CHRIST (2 Cor . 5.
10). Every Christian will be saved, but every Christian
will not be rewarded. Rewards are only given for works
done in His Name and for His glory (I Cor. 3. 13-15).
Salvation is a gift. Rewards must be earned. Christ
Himself will fix the value of every deed done (Matt. 25.
8. ONE WHO WILL SPEND ETERNITY WITH CHRIST (John
17. 24). This great privilege is promised in John 14. 3,
prayed for in John 17.24, and realised in Revelation 5.9.
A little girl said she lived where mamma lives. Our
fitness to be with Him will be our likeness to Him (1 John
3.2). For ever with the Lord.
VISITED AND REDEEMED,
Lulce 1. 46.
A PROPHETIC SONG.
I. The Visitor. The Lord God. (1) The med of a
visitor .-Man’ s lost and helpless condition. (2) The
Promise .-” I will surely visit you”, (Exod. 3. 16). (3)
The Wonder .-“ What is man that Thou visitest him 1”
(Psa. 8, 4). (4) The manner.-“God was ilt Christ recon-ciling
the world” (2 Cor. 5. 19).
II. The Visited. His People. (1) They knew Him
not (John 1.11). (2) They knew not their time of visitation
(Luke 19.44). (3) They rejected Him (John 19.14).
III. The Purpose. To Redeem. (1) Who ? Thy
Maker is thy Redeemer (Isa. 54. 5). (2) How? By giving
Himself a ransom (Matt . 20. 28). (3) What from 1 (Titus
2. 14). (4) What to ? To God, to holiness, and to service
(Luke 1. 74, 75)..196 Handfuls on Purpose.
EZEKIEL’ S CALL AND COMMISSION.
THERE are four distinct positions in which we find
Ezekiel that seem to characterise the state and privilege
of the Christian in a very striking way.
I. We see Him as an Exile. “I was among the cap-tives”
(chap. 1. 1). He had his place among those who
were helplessly shut out. This is a humbling position,
but we must take our place among sinners and rebels if we
would see the salvation of God. No good can come by
denying that we are captives. It is no use boasting of
liberty when we know that our lives are enslaved by lust
and sin, by the pleasures and fashions of the world. While
among the captives he said, “The heavens were opened,
and I saw visions of God” (chap. 1. 1). The heavens will
always open and visions of God be given to those who
acknowledge their true state before God and look up.
The sum of the likeness was “the likeness of a man” (v. 5).
All satisfying vision is in the revelation of Him who is
the Man Christ Jesus. In Him weget avision of God. He
is the image of the invisible God. “He that hath seen Me
hsth seen the Father” (John 14. 9). What a vision
this isl It is the opening up before our eyes of the love,
mercy, power, and glory that dwell in the great and
gracious heart of God. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God” (Matt. 5. 8).
II. We see Him as an Ambassador. Having seen
God, he is now to be prepared as a messenger for God,
We testify what we kave seen.
1. HE IS CALLED. “Stand upon thy feet, and I will
speak unto thee” (chap. 2. I). He is now face to face with
God, and must have to do with His Word. God speaks to
us before we are sent to speak for Him..Bible Readings. 197
2. HE IS HELPED, “The Spidt entered into me when
He spake unto me” (v. 2). The Spirit always enters when
God speaks. His Word is with power. The result of both
is a setting up. We are never properly set up till we have
heard the Word of God in the power of the Holy Ghost.
After this we are in the right attitude to hear (v. 2).
3. HE IS COMMISSIONED. “And He said, Son of man, I
will send thee” (vv. 3, 4). The commission comes after
being taught of God by the entering of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Ghost-the great Teacher come from God-rested
upon the early disciples before they became wit-nesses
FOR HIM. The secret of authority and power for
service lie in these words, “ I send thee, ”
4. HE IS FILLED WITH HIS MESSAGE. “Son of man, eat
this roll, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee”
(chap. 3. l-3). Even the Word of God will not have
much power at our lips if we have not eaten it for ourselves.
The truth as it is in Jesus must be in us as the strength and
satisfaction of our own hearts if it is to influence others.
5. HE IS ENCOURAGED . “Son of man, be not afraid of
them, neither of their words” (chap. 2.6). It is so needful
that the servant of God should find all hissuccourinHimself,
because the words and faces of those to whom He is sent are
often very stout. He is to “speak My words, whether they
will hear, or whether they will forbear” (v. 7).
6. HE IS LED AND EMPOWERED. “The Spirit lifted me
up, and I went in bitterness, but the hand of the Lord was
strong upon me” (chap. 3. 12-14). Filled with the Word
of God, and led by the Spirit of God in bitterness and sor-row.
How Christlike is this experience before us here.
Ezekiel was obedient to the guiding Spirit, and the hand
oi almighty power was upon Him. The tilling servant
will have his reward (1 Cor .9. 16)..198 Handfuls on Purpose.
111. We see Him as awatchman. In chapter 3.17we
hear God saying to him, “Son of man, I have made thee a
watchman. ” To be a watchman for God we must have the
eye-opening, soul-transforming vision of God (Acts 9.
I-15). We must be lifted high up by the Holy Spirit, far
above all principalities and powers. Those in the valley
cannot see afar off. We need to be raised and seated with
Christ in the heavenlies before we can seee men and things
as they really are in the sight of God. The work of the
A WORK OF WARNING. “To warn the wicked of his
wicked way” (v. 18), and also to warn the backsliding
righteous man (v. 20). Sinners are to be warned to flee
from the wrath to come, and Christians to beware of be-coming
a skmbling-block by an un-Christlike life. It
A WORK OF GREAT RESPONSIBILI~. “His blood will
I require at thy hand” (v. 20). Are our hands and garments
IV. We see Him as a Sign. “I have set thee for a
sign” (chap. 12. l-7). In these verses the words “in their
sight” occur seven times. Ezekiel was to live before the
people as a sign for God. Ye are epistles of Christ, known
and read of all men. Every Christian is to be a sign to the
world of the grace and power of God. The life is the light.
A sign is a silent testimony. It may be the look of love,
or the sigh of sympathy. A tear has often melted the
hardened heart. God commanded the prophet, saying,
“Sigh, therefore, thou son of man ; sigh before their eyes”
(chap. 21. 6). It is easier to be a watchman than a sign ;
easier telling men what they ought to do than sighing over
their sins and wickedness. Paul was a true sign when he
wrote, “I tell you, even weeping” (Phil. 3. 18). The.Bible Readings. 199
men who sigh and cry are marked men (chap. 9. 4).
“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”
(Matt . 5. 4). May God by His Holy Spirit lift us up into
the compassion and tenderness of Him who wept over
THE IMAGE OF GOD.
IT is interesting to notice how the image of God is connected
with four prominent men in the Scriptures. Observe-t
I. The Image of God Created in the First Man.
“The first man Adam was made a living soul” (1 Cor. 15.
45). “God created man in His own image” (Gen. 1. 26).
He did not rest satisfied until His own likeness was mani-fested.
This was the great end of creation, to reproduce the
image of Him who created. The first man was to save all
who believe (1 Tim. 4.10) ; He came like God-1.
IN BEING A SPIRIT. His life was a separate thing from
the mere animal creation. God created the beasts, but He
did not breat/ze into them the breath of Hisown life, as He
did to man. Adam only was capable of knowing God.
2. IN BEING IMMORTAL. The deeper and more real life
of Adam was independent of outward and material things.
In receiving the breath of God he was a partaker of the
3. IN BEING HO LY. He was, as yet, an utter stranger
to anything unlike or displeasing to God.
4. IN BEING SATISFIED . Between the Holy Creator and
the new created likeness there was perfect harmony and
mutual delight. God saw Himself in man, and man saw
himself in God. In each other’s image there was complete
satisfaction..200 Handfuls on Purpose.
5. IN HAVING DOMINION. Adam was the crown of
creation, exalted high over all, ruling in the power and
authority of the Almighty Maker of all.
II. The Image of God Destroyed in the Old Man.
In Ephesians 4. 22 we are told, “Put off the old man,
which is corrupt.” Compare the first new man Adam with
this old man. What a change I Where is the holiness, the
happiness, and the harmony ? Sin has poisoned and pol-luted
all. Nothing left but an immortal spirit at war with
God. This old man is so utterly ruined that there is no
hope for him. We are to put him off with his deeds (Col.
3. 9). Where are we to put him ? The only place fit for
him is the cross. “Your old man is crucified with Him”
(Rom . 6. 6). The absence of the image of God means cor-ruption
III. The Image of God Manifested in the Second
Man. “The Secolzd Man is the Lord from Heaven” (1 Cor .
15.47). As if all who came between were unworthy of the
Name, In Jesus Christ the image of God reappears in
perfect beauty. He is the brightness of the Father’ s glory,
and the express image of His Person (Heb. 1.3). He is the
image of the invisible God (Col. 1. 15). Man lost the holy
likeness ; God alone could restore it. When we see Jesus
we see the Father, and see what man should have been and
what man should be, walking in holiness and in humble,
joyful, unbroken fellowship with God. Christ came to
seek and to save that which was lost, By His death,
resurrection, and holy Spirit He renews, restores, and
r e j o i c e s.
IV. The Image of God restored in the New Man.
“And have put on the New Man, which is renewed in know-ledge
after the image of Him that created him” (Col. 3. 10)
We put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13. 14)) and are.Bible Readings. 201
created in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2. 10). “If any man be in
Christ he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5. 17).
Take note that this restoration work can only be done by
the God whose image is to be created, and that it is a
creation rather than a reformation. Those who go about
to establish their own righteousness will never establish
themselves in the likeness of God. This is not a matter of
so many deeds or actions, but a renewing of the’ spirit of the
mind by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, “Ye
must be borti again” (John 3. 7). Let your prayer be, ’
“Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a right @it ’
within me” (Psa. 51. 10).
THERE are two great wonders in the world-the Jew and
the Church. The first is a witness to the Christ rejected ; the
second to the Christ risen.
I. Its Marvellous Character.
1. IT IS A DISTINCT BODY. There is the Jew, the
Gentile, and the Church of God (1 Cor. 10. 32). The
Church is neither Jew nor Gentile, although both may be
in it. The Jew looks for a coming Messiah; the Church for
a Bridegroom. The Gentile cares for none of these things,
2. IT IS HIS OWN MAKING. “Upon this Rock I wiZZ
build My Church” (Matt. 16. 18). He Himself, as the
Christ, the Son of the Living God, is the foundation laid
in Zion-a stone tried, precious, and sure (Isa. 28. 16).
He also does the buildirtg by His Holy Spirit, planting be-lieving
souls into Himself, as liviltg stones into the
3. IT IS CALLED
visit the Gentiles,
0 Vol. 1
It is God that worketh in you.
OUT FOR HIS OWN NAME. “God did
to take out of them a people for His.202 Handfuls on Purpose.
Name” (Acts 15. 14). The Church of God, like His people
of old, have been forma for Himself to show forth His
praise (Isa. 43.21). This work of out calling has been com-mitted
to the Holy Ghost, is going on just now, and will
continue until the fulness of the Gentiles be come m.
Make your calling sure.
4. IT IS FILLED WITH HIS FULNESS (Eph. 1. 22, 23).
Each individual member of His body is brought intocon-tact
with the power and wisdom of the Great Head. Grow
up into Him in all things @ph. 4. 15). All fulness dwells
in Him. Abide in Him. The world cannot see the in-visible
head, but it does look upon His visible body. HOW
needful that it should be true to Him I
II. Its Present Privileges.
1. IT OCCUPIES TILL HE COMES (Luke 19.12-15). It has
been left in the place of service, entrusted with gifts, to be
used during the Lord’ s absence, and to be accounted for
when He comes. Its true position is “ Iti Christ’ s stead”
(2 Cor. 5. 20)) occupying Christ’ s place till He come. IS
the mind and purpose of our absent Lord being fulfilled
in us now? Are we occupying for Him, or for ourselves?
2. IT SUFFERS FOR HIM. Suffering is part of the heritage of the Christian. “Even hereunto were ye called” (1 Peter
2.20,21). If any man will live godly he must suffer.
The members of the body are so closely connected with the
rejected head that they must suffer. Blessed fellowship.
“If ye be reproached for the Name of Christ, happy are ye,
for the Spirit of Glory and of God resteth upon you. There-fore
glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4. 14-16).
3 IT IS A C O-WORKER WITH H IM (2 Cor. 6. 1 ).
“Labourers together with God” (1 Cor. 3. 9). Surely the
members of the body ought to labour together with the.Bible Readings. 203
head. What if they should not ? If the service of the hand or
foot is not controlled by and in harmony with the will of
the head, what is it worth 1 As Eve was to be an helpmeet
to Adam, so the Church is to be to Christ. His will is to be
done in us and through us. The head has no other means
of working but by the use of the members of the body.
III. It8 Future PrOSpeCtS.
1. IT LOOKS FOR HIM. He has said, “I will come again .”
“This same Jesus shall so come ilz like malrnerasyehave
seen Him go” (Acts 1. 11). They wait for His Son from
Heaven (1 Thess. 1. 10). The Bride longs for the Bride-groom.
Love yearns for fellowship.
2. IT EXPECTS TO BE CAUGHT UP BY HIM. The Lord
Himself shall descend, and we shall be caught up together
to meet the Lord (1 Thess. 4.16). In olden times powerful
men would steal away their brides, It will be a rapturous
experience to be caught up in the arms of our Beloved and
borne to the home of eternal rest.
3. IT EXPECTS TO BE MADE LIKE HIM. “We look for
the Saviour, who shall change our vile body that it may be
fashioned like unto His glorious body” (Phil. 3. 20, 21).
We are to be like Him now in the inward spirit, fashioned
by the Holy Spirit. Like Him then in outward form, when
the sons of God are manifested (1 John 3. l-3).
4. IT EXPECTS TO BE MARRIED TO HIM. “The marriage
of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself
ready” (Rev. 19.7). Just now the Church, like Rebekah,
is on her way through the desert to meet and marry the
Father’ s beloved Son, into whose hands all things have
been committed (Gen. 24).
5. IT EXPECTS TO REIGN WITH HIM. “They shall reign
with Him” (Rev. 20. 6). “Know ye not that the saints.204 Handfuls on Purpose.
shall judge the world” (1 Cor. 6. 2). “Thou hast made
us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the
earth” (Rev. 5. 10). What a high calling this is I He that
hath this hope in him purifieth Himself, as He is pure, a
hope that maketh not ashamed.
SEVEN ATTITUDES TOWARDS GOD.
IN this epistle we observe seven things the Thessalonians
did. Seven different attitudes, or relationships, which
should characterise every Heaven-born son of God. We
read of them-I.
Receiving the Word of God (chap. 2. 13). This is
the first great necessity. “ Receiving the Word of God, not
as the word of men, but as it is in truth the Word of God. ”
It is by the Word of Truth that He by His own will begets
us (James 1. 18). The Word is often received in much
affliction (chap. 1. 6). This is the result of the ploughing
of the Holy Spirit-preparing the soil of the heart for the
incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1. 23).
II. Turning to God. “They turned to God from idols”
(chap. 1.9). These idols of their own making represent the
desires of their own carnal minds. They turnedfvom them
to God. The living God now takes the place of sinful
self. If the heart would be satisfied with God it must be
turned entirely to Him. When the stream of God’s truth
is tasted it constrains to turn to the fountain. We shall
never know the depth of the love of our God until we
plunge into it.
III. Dwelling in God. “The Church which is ilz God
the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ” (chap. 1. 1).
Having received the Word of Truth, and turned to God,
they find their abode and resting-place in God. Those who.Bible Readings. 205
turn to God with all their heart will never seek to turn
away from Him. In Him we find our life and strength, as
the branch in the vine. In Him we are planted by rivers of
water, so that the roots of our desires are abundantly
satisfied (Jer. 17. 8).
IV. Serving God. They “turned to God from idols to
serve the living and true God” (chap. 1.9). Their service
is a noble pattern for us. Notice the character of it: (1)
It was the work of faith. (2) It was a Eabour of love. (3)
It was in patience of hope. (4) It was in the Lord Jeszls
Christ. (5) It was im the sight of God (see chap. I .3). This
was no mere eye service. One is your master, even Christ.
V. Waiting for the Son of God. “They turned to
serve, . . . and to wait for His Son from Heaven” (chap.
1. 10). Jesus had said He would come again, and they
believed Him, and looked for the glorious appearing of
‘ their great God and Saviour (Titus 2. 13), Active service
is most consistent with patient waiting. They serve in
waiting. Those whose expectation is only from the Lord
will wait on Him and for Him. Blessed are all they that
VI. Learning of God. “Ye yourselves are taught of
God” (chap. 4. 9). They never leave the high school who
sit at Jesus’ feet. They are wise who are taught by the
great teacher come from God. Those who have the Holy
Ghost have the holy anointing, and need not that any man
teach them (1 John 2.27). The chief lesson taught by our
Divine Master is to love Mze aflotker (chap. 4.9). “By this
shall all men know that ye are My disciples” (John 13.35).
“Learn of Me” (Matt . Il. !29).
VII, Walking Worthy of God (chap. 2. 12). To this
holy occupation are we called. “Walk worthy of the Lord ,..206 Handfuls on Purpose.
unto, all pleasing” (Col. 1. 10). Are we walking as
becometh the sons of God-worthy of His love, of His
fuhress, of His holiness, of His power? If our lives are
dissatisfied, powerless, and fruitless, they arenot wortizy of
God. All wor&zess comes from Himself. It is by His
mighty indwelling Spirit alone that we are made to walk
worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called (Eph.
4. I). Walk as He walked.
AS SEEN IN THE “I AM‘ S” OF PAUL IN HIS EPISTLE TO
THE ROMANS .
THESE “I am’ s” are glimpses given us of the inner workings
of the apostle’ s soul. They are, as it were, a spiritual
I. I am Carnal (chap. 7. 14). Being carnal he is sold
under sin. He realises that the law is spiritual, and deals
with his spirit rather than with his actions. His spirit being
carnal he cannot fulfil a spiritual law. So he is sold. He
finds himself enslaved by sin, a helpless enemy to the
righteous will of God. Such is our state by nature, There
is no lrzlth in the inward part (Psa. 51.6).
II. I am Wretched (chap. 7. 24). When by the light
of God’ s Word we discover our true state in His sight it is
enough to make us the most wretched creatures on earth.
It is only when we do become wretched that we cry out,
“Who shall deliver me ? ” Job’ s cry, “0 for a daysman ! ”
came also out of the depths of his wretchedness.
III. I am not Ashamed (chap. I. 16). This is the lan-guage
of one who has now experienced the saving power of
God as revealed in the Gospel of Christ. “Thanks be unto
God who giveth us the victory” (1 Cor. 15. 57). The.Bible Readings. 207
salvation of God in Christ is both a uicfory and a tram-formation
(chap. 12. 2). It is a deliverance from the
power of Satan and from the love of sin.
IV. I am Debtor (chap. 1. 14). Now that he has re-ceived
salvation through the grace of God he becomes a
debtor to the unsaved, whether they be Greeks or bar-barians,
wise or unwise. Every Christian is a steward of
the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4. 10). Have we paid
our debt to those who know not Christ by giving them the
Gospel ? or, like unfaithful stewards, are we selfishly
using our Master’s goods ?
V. I am Ready (chap. 1. 15). Paul was prepared to
pay this debt, even to the Romans, and that at any cost.
This ought to be the constant attitude of the heart toward
the God of our salvation. “Ready I ” Ready for whatever
the King may appoint. Like soldiers, we should be always
and entirely at the disposal of Him who hath chosen us.
The way to get ready for great things is to be always
ready for the little things.
VI. I am Persuaded (chap, 8. 38). Here the apostle
unveils to us his deep, unalterable conviction concerning
the unchanging love of God which is in Christ Jesus. This is a prime necessity for the joy and comfort of a Christian
worker. Be always ready to please God, and you will all
the more readily be persuaded of the abiding and in-separable
love of God.
VII. I am the Apostle (chap. 11. 13). Ask Paul what
he is, as regards his mission, and his answer is ready,
“I am the apostle of the Gentiles.” He received his work
from the Lord, and he knew it. All are not apostles. No.
What are you 1 What definite work has the Lord com- mitted to you? Many a Christian life is frittered aimlessly
away for the lack of this deep consciousness of having some.208 Handfuls on Purpose.
defmite, special work given by God. Ask Him, “Lord,
what wilt Thou have me to do ? ” (Acts 9.6).
VIII. I am Sure (chap. 15. 29). It is a great blessing
to be assured that when we go in God’s Name we go in
God’s power, and in the fulness of the Gospel of Christ.
Although Paul went to Rome in chains he nevertheless
went in the fulness of the blessing. Nothing can hinder our
usefulness as Christians but sin. This blessed assurance
ought to characterise every preacher of the Gospel.
IX. I am Glad (chap. 16. 19). This gladness sprang
up in the heart of the apostle because of the obedience of
others to the truth of God. The closeness of our fellowship
with Jesus Christ may be tested by the depth and intensity
of our sadness, or gladness, at the disobedience, or
obedience of others to the call of God. Do you feel the evil
treatment of Christ as keenly as you would that of your
nearest earthly friend ? Jesus said, “I am glad for your
sakes” (John 11. 15). Are you .sad or glad for His sake?
CHRISTIANS AS SENT ONES.
„As Thou has sent Me into the world. even so have I sent
them into the world” (John 17. 18).
“As My Father hath sent Me, even so I send you” (John 20.21).
HAVE we ever realised that as Christians we take the place
of Christ in the world 3 We are to occupy in His stead till
He come (2 Cor .5.20). As the Father sent the Son, so has
the Son sent you-after the same manner, and for the same
purpose. If we would see our true relationship to the world
as sent ones, let us see how the Father sent the Son.
I. He was Sent as One who did not belong to the
World. He made the world, but the world knew Him not.
He came as the Son of God. “That holy thing which shall.Bible Readings. 209
be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. ” “This is
My beloved Son. ” “AS My Father sent Me, even so send I
you. ” “Now are we the sons of God, ” Therefore doth the
world hate you. Having been saved out of the world,
separated from it by a new and divine life, imparted to us
by the Holy Spirit, we are now sent into it as witnesses
against it and as ambassadors for God.
II. He was Sent in Love to the World. “God so loved
the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3.
16). Love for the perishing constrained the Father to send
His Son. “As My Father sent Me, even so send I you.”
The love of the Father still burns in the heart of His Son.
“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every
creature” (Mark 16. 15). Does this love constrain us? Is
the love of God shed abroad in our hearts ? Have we the
same motives for serving God that Christ had? Would
we be equally zealous in our Christian work if we received
no wages nor any favour from man ?
III. He was Sent to Reveal the Character of God
(John 17. 6). “He that hath seen Me hath seen the
Father. ” “I and My Father are One”-One in nature,
likeness, and purpose. “As My Father sent Me, even so
send I you. ” Does the world see Christ in us? Can we
say, “He that hath seen me hath seen Christ Jesus ? ” Did
Paul not mean this when he wrote, “To me to live is
Christ 3 ” “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of
Christ” (1Cor. 11. 1). “ I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth
in me” (Gal. 2. 20).
IV. He was Sent to Declare the Word of God (John
17.614). “I have given them the words which Thou hast
given Me.” Oh, how faithfully did Jesus deliver the words
which the Father gave Him to speak I “As My Father sent
Me, even so send I you. ” Are we declaring the whole.210 Handfuls on Purposa.
counsel of God as Jesus Christ did ? See how like their
Lord in this respect Peter and John were : “We cannot but
speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts
V. He was Sent to Give His Life a Ransom (Mark
IO. 45). “He came not to be ministered unto, but to give
His life. ” “As My Father sent Me, even so send I you. ”
Are we willing and ready, as He was, to yield up our lives
wholly for the glory of God the Father? Our Lord and
Master girt Himself with the towel of lowly service, and
was obedient unto death. Have we girt ourselves with
that lowly mind which was in Him? What a privilege is
ours to give our lives that we might minister the things of
God to weary, perishing souls around us !
VI. He was Sent Equipped with Power from on
High (Matt. 3. 16). The Lord anointed Him with the
Holy Ghost that He might preach, heal, deliver, and re-cover
(Luke 4. 19). He was empowered by Him who sent
Him for the work given Him to do. “As My Father sent
Me, even so send I you. ” Ye shall receive power by the
Holy Ghost coming upon you. If the sinless Saviour,
Jesus, could not accomplish all the will of God concerning
us without this endowment, no more can ye. Are you
sowing to the flesh or to the Spirit ? Christ’s way of service
must be ours-through the eternal Spirit.
THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER.
Acts 1. 4.
JESUS CHRIST is the gift of God to the world; the Holy
Spirit is the gift of Father and of Son to the Church. Both
gifts should be thankfully accepted and equallyenjoyed.
I. What this Promise is. It is the promise-1.
OF AN INDWELLER (John 14. 16)..Bible Readings. 211
2. OF A COMFORTER (John 16.7).
3. OF A WITNESS (John 15. 16).
II. The Conditions of Receiving the Promise. This
promise was not made to the world-only to those who had
obeyed Him, and were desirous of following Him.
I . BELIEVING.
2. WAITING (Luke 24.49).
3. THIRSTING (Isa. 44.3).
III. The Results which follow-1.
POWER TO WILL ACCORDING TO GOD’ S MIND (Phil.
2. POWER TO WALK ACCORDING TO GOD’S WAY (Ezek.
3. POWER TO WITNESS ACCORDING TO GOD’S WO RD
THE TRIAL OF FAITH.
Genesis 22. 1-14.
FAITH is precious (2 Peter 1. 1). See what it has done
(Heb. 11). The trial of it is more precious than gold
(1 Peter 1. 7). Here we might notice-I.
The Sacrifice of Faith. “His only loved son”
(v .2). This simply meant his all. ALL must be given up
to&d (Matt. 19.21; Rom. 12.1,2; 15.3).
II. The Obedience of Faith. “He rose up early ” (v. 3).
By faith he obeyed (Heb. 11. 7). Love makes swift
the feet of faith. He reasoned not (John 2. 5).
III. The Expectation of Faith. “I and the lad will
come again ” (v. 5) ; accounting that God was able to raise
him up (Heb. 11. 19). His promise could not fail (Gen.
21.12)..212 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. The Work of Faith. “He laid the burden (wood)
on the offering” (v. 6). Solemn work to faith. “He bore
our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2.24).
V. The Assurance of Faith. “God will provide”
(v. 8). On the path of obedience many a question will
arise (v , 7) which only faith can answer (Acts 27. 25).
VI. The Persistence of Faith. “He bound Isaac, and
took the knife” (v. 9). The faith that fails in the hour of
trial is no faith (Mark 4.40).
VII. The Victory of Faith, “Now I know, ” says
God, and the lad is saved ; yet an offering made (v. 12),
and faith abundantly rewarded (Rom. 9. 33 ; Mark 9. 25 ;
1 John 5. 4).
JESUS AS KING.
WHILE our Lord was on earth He taught as a prophet;
while He tarries in Heaven He intercedes as a priest;
when He comes again it will be as a King in power and
great glory. “In His times He will show who is the
blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord
of lords” (1 Tim. 6, 15). These are not His times with
regard to this weary, wicked earth; this is the “hour and
power of darkness” (Luke 22. 53). The whole world
lieth in the wicked one. During this day of salvation God
is by the Holy Ghost, through the atoning death of His
Son, rescuing all who believe from out of the kingdom of
Satan and the guilt of sin. That Jesus will yet be King
over all the earth is clearly taught in the infallible Scrip-tures
I. Look at the Prophecies. In Psalm 72.6-Q we read :
“He shall come down; in His days shall the righteous
flourish. He shall have dominion from sea to sea.” If
He rules on earth now, where is His authority ? Again,.Bible Readings. 213
in Isaiah 9.6,7, “Unto us a Child is born, and the govem-ment
shall be upon His shoulder; . . . upon the throneof
David, ” In His times the “wolf shall dwell with the lamb”
(Isa. 11. l-6) “Thou, Bethlehem, out of thee shall come
a Governor that shall rule My people” (Matt . 2. 6). This
Governor came, but they would not have Him to reign
over them ; they put the Prince of Peace to death, and so
put an end to His government meanwhile, Christ was born
a King. “Where is He that is born King of the Jews”
(Matt . 2. 2), and was crucified as such. Pilate wrote
the truth when he put over the cross, “This is the King of
the Jews” (Matt . 27. 37).
II. Look at the Angelic Announcement. “Glory to
God in the Highest, on earth peace, goodwill toward
men I” (Luke 2. 14). This was sung at the birth of the
King, and in prospect of a universal kingdom of peace.
But that it has not yet come we are not ill to convince.
The God of Glory does not get the highest place in the
world’s business ; there is not peace on the earth ; the good-will
of God is not being manifested among men. Wars,
and rumours of wars, labour conflicts, social strifes, and
restlessness all bear evidence that God’s appointed Ruler
has been rejected by man.
III. Look at the Prayer Christ Taught His Disciples.
“When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in Heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will
be done in earth, as it is in Heaven” (Luke 11. 2)-all
this before one request was offered. It is the purpose of
God that His kingdom and rule should come among men,
and that His will should be done on earth as it is done in
Heaven. The will of God is perfectly done in Heaven,
because the perfect Ruler is there. It will be done on earth
as it is done in Heaven when the Divine Governor-the.214 Handfuls on Purpose.
King of kings-has His throne here over the earth; then
every knee shall bow to Him, confessing Him Lord. “He
shall sit upon the throne of His father David. ”
IV. Look at His Parables. Several of the parables.
make mention of the “Coming of the King,” notably that
one of the “nobleman” (Luke 19). Jesus Christ is the
Nobleman. He goes into the far country to receive a king-dom,
and to return. In Daniel 7. 13, 14 the Son of Man
is seen receiving the kingdom, that “all people, nations,
and languages shall serve Him.” When He returns He
reckons with His servants, rewarding them with earthly
privileges-“rulers over cities,” they shall inherit the
earth. And punishing His enemies-those who would not
that He should reign over them.
V. Look at His Answer to Pilate. “Art Thou a
King then ? ” (John 18. 37). If ever there was a
moment when Christ might desire to deny His Kingship it
is now, as He stands a prisoner. Mocked and helpless,
crowned with thorns before Pilate, when this question was
put what is His answer ? “To this end was I born, and for
this cause came I into the world” (John 18.37). In giving
this answer our Lord looks right into the future, and for the
joy that is set before Him He endures the cross. Just now
His kingdom is not of this world (this present state of
things) ; it is within you. But He shall yet put down all
authority, and reign from sea to sea. “He shall see of the
travail of His soul, and be satisfied” (Isa. 53. 11). He
was “born a Saviour ” but He was also “born King of the
Jews. ” He had not ‘where to lay His head ; but He shall
yet be King of kings. He appears as a “wayfaring man”
to put away sin ; when He comes again it will be the
glorious appearing of our Great God and Saviour . He shall
come whose right it is to reign. “Even so, come, Lord
Jesus” (Rev. 22. 20)..Bible Readings. 215
THE PLEASURE OF THE LORD.
THERE is a difference between the “will of the Lord” and
the “pleasure of the Lord.” He may permit a thing, and
yet take no pleasure therein. We ought to be exceedingly
interested in whatever our Lord takes pleasure in; and if
He has no pleasure in a thing neither should His people.
We shall notice the pleasure of the Lord-I.
In Regard to the Wicked. “As I live, saith the
Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked”
(Ezek. 33. 11). That the wicked will die is certain if they
repent not; but that God has no pleasure in their death is
just as certain. Then why will they die? Because they
choose death rather than life. By preferring the pleasures
of sin they incur its wages. No sinner will find pleasure
in hating God because God hates him. The knell of the
sinner’ s doom affords no pleasure to the Lord.
II. With Regard to Christ. Here we see the pleasure
of the Lord in a threefold aspect-I.
IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST. “This is My beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3. 17). Here we
have the Lamb that was to take away the sin of the world
brought before the holy eye of God for examination. Not
only is He without spot and blemish, but with all
that He did God was well pleased. There seems to be
more here than bare satisfaction. There is a filling
of the heart of God with pleasure.
2. IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST. “Yet it pleased the
Lord to bruise Him. . . . And the pleasure of the Lord
shall prosper in His (Christ’ s) hand” (Isa. 53. 10). In
bruising Him (His beloved Son) He was bruised Himself.
It is the pleasure of the Lord to bruise Him instead of us,
to save man through Him, and this pleasure shall prosper.216 Handfuls on Purpose.
in the hand of the bruised One. “He is able to save to the
uttermost ” (Heb. 7. 25).
3. IN THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST. “It pleased the
Father that in Him should all fulness dwell” (Col. 1. 19).
He is the Mediator between God and men, and the Father
hath pleasure in committing all into His hands, that we
might receive of His fulness, and be filled with all the ful-ness
III. With Regard to His Word. “My Word shall
accomplish that which I please” (Isa. 55. 11) , His Word
went forth over the void creation in the beginning, and
turned emptiness into fruitfulness. He says it shall not,
even now, return unto Me void. We cannot tell what His
Word is accomplishing when it is spoken, but we are
assured that it will accomplish that which is pleasing unto
IV. With Regard to a Preached Gospel. “It pleased
God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe” (1 Cor. 1. 21). So that God takes pleasure in
saving them that believe through the foolishness of preach-ing.
Not certainly through foolish preaching. There is
much preaching in which God can have no pleasure, be-cause
man is lifted up and Christ hidden. Comforting
thought, God is pleased to save them that believe, not
them that work. So if you have nothing but faith it will
please God to save you.
V . With Regard to Fitness for Service. “ It pleased
God to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him”
(Gal. 1. 15, 16). What a revelation this is I Christ in us,
in all His love and grace, in all His wisdom and power.
When this is seen it is impossiblenot to preach Him. Oh,
that every preacher had this revelation, then Christ would
be preached. And why not have it I It pleases God to.Bible Readings. 217
reveal Him in you, He is in you if you are His, and if
you have not seen Him in you in all His fulness, to give
you all your fitness, it is because sin is blinding your eyes.
VI. With Regard to the Believer’ s Privilege. “The
Lord will not forsake His people for His great Name’s
sake, because it hath pleased the Lord to make you His
people” (1 Sam. 12. 22). We are His people because it
hath pleased the Lord to make us so, and having made US
His people it is His pleasure not to forsake us for His
great Name’s sake. ‘<He hath said, I will never leave thee
nor forsake thee, so that we may boldly say, The Lord is
my Helper, and I will not fear” (Heb. 13. 5). This is the
only answer we can give as to how the Lord hath made US
His people ; and being His, we can count on His guidance,
protection, presence, and help.
VII. With Regard to the Believer’ s Prospect.
“Fear not, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you
the kingdom” (Luke 12. 32). Then it must be His good
pleasure to take us there and fit us for it, “My kingdom is
. not of this world,” said Christ (John 18. 36). “In the
world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16. 33). The
fashion of this world passeth away, but the kingdom we
are to receive “cannot be moved” (Heb. 12. 28). And our
title to it cannot be disputed, for He hath made us kings
unto God (Rev. 1. 6). And the promise is, “They shall
reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22.5).
P Vol. 1.Gospel Outlines
A SEARCH FOR ONE THING
ALL men are seekers. What seekest thou ?
I. What this One Thing Was. Not any earthly object.
It was fellowship with God. He sought this-1.
Because he was reconciled to God.
2. Because he loved the company of God.
3. Because he had a resemblance to God.
II. Why He Sought This. For two reasons.
1. To SEE HIS BEAUTY. He is altogether lovely. There
is great beauty in His Person-divine and human ; in His
&aracter-holy , pitiful, mighty ; in His work as Prophet,
Priest, King. This is a beauty that never fades. Human
forms, pleasures, and possessions will wither. Thou re-mainest
. Seek His beauty ; He can put it on thee.
2. TO INQUIRE IN HIS TEMPLE. He was an anxious
inquirer, seeking the truth of God from God’s own lips.
Christ is the great Teacher come from God. He says,
‘gLeam of Me” (Matt. Il. 29). They shall be all taught
of God. His teaching gives rest-rest above all the pro-blems
of life-soul satisfaction.
III. How He Sought this One Thing.
1. HE SOUGHT IT EARNESTLY. All his desire centred
in this ooze thing. He had the single eye.
2. HE SOUGHT IT DETERMINATELY. “That will I seek
after. ” He will not cease till he finds.
218.Gospel Outlines. 219
3. HE SOUGHT IT SUCCESSFULLY . This we may be as-sured
of, because he sought it from the Lord. “Seek and ye
shall find” (Matt . 7. 7).
THE ENDURING SIGHT.
*‘By faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king,
for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11. 27) .
THERE may be much sight-seeing and yet few enduring
sights. Peter, James, and John never forgot the sight
of their transfigured Lord. Saul never forgot the sight he
saw on the way to Damascus. A saving look at Jesus is
always a memorable and enduring sight.
I. This is a Glorious Sight-seeing HIM. Moses saw
this wondrous sight at the burning bush when the “God
of glory appeared unto Him” (Exod. 3. 2), and said,
“I am come down to deliver” (Exod. 3. 8). In the flame
he beheld the King immortal and invisible. This is what
we see in Jesus Christ. God came down to deliver, God in
Christ seeking to save the lost. It is a glorious sight,
though humbling and awful.
II. This is a Transforming Sight.
When Moses turned aside to see this great sight (Exocl..
3, 3-10) it was the turning-point in his life. The purpose
and attitude of his life toward God were now for ever
changed. It is impossible to look upon God in Christ
without being transformed. No man can see Jesus and re-main
the same as before. When Saul saw Him he fell to
III. This is a Separating Sight.
“He forsook Egypt ” (Heb. Il. 27). It was after Isaiah had
seen the Lord that he was made willing to cry, “Here am
I, send me” (Isa, 6. 8). A sight of the glorified Jesus isa
soul-blinding sight, as far as the world and the pleasures.220 Handfuls on Purpose.
of sin are concerned. “Who is blind as My servant, or
deaf as the messenger that I send ? ” (Isa. 42. 19).
IV. This is an Inspiring Sight.
“Not fearing the wrath of the king” (Heb. 11.27). Moses
hadnot yet seen God when he “fled from the face of Pharaoh”
(Exod. 2. 15). Seeing God saves from the fear of man.
Look at the faithful Micaiah (1 Kings 22. 14). Elijah,
while standing before God, was above the fear of Ahab
(1 Kings 17. 1). A sight of Jesus Christ saves not only
from the fear of man, but also from the fear of death and
V. This is a Sustaining Sight.
“He endured as seeing Him” (Heb. 11.27). Think of how
muchMoses hadto endureat the handsof his wife, of Pharaoh,
and his unbelieving brethren. In this life there will be
much to suffer. The secret of the Christian’s enduring
strength lies in looking unto Jesus. They looked unto
Him and were lightened.
VI. This is a Satisfying Sight.
“He esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than
the treasures in Egypt” (Heb. Il. 26). Paul gladly
suffered the 10~s of all things seeing Him who is invisible.
A Christian can suffer no real loss while in touch with the
unsearchable riches of Christ. How much value do we set
upon the riches of the reproach of Christ?
VII. This is a Spiritual Sight.
“By faith.. . he endured” (Heb. Il. 27). It needs faith to
see the Itaoisible, whom having not seen ye love. Moses
believed the promise of God at the bush, “I came down to
deliver” (Exod. 3. 8), and “Certainly I will be with
you” (Exod. 3. 12). The promise of God must be trusted
if the soul is to see Him and endure and conquer. Is it not
mitten, “Believe, and thou shalt see ? ”.Gospel Outlines. 221
HEZEKIAH, or the Secret of Success.
2 Kings 18. 5, 6.
I. His Confidence in God. (1) He trusted. (2) He
clave . (3) He kept.
II. What God did for Him. (1) Was with him. (2!
III. What He did for God, (1) Called things by their
right names (v. 4). (2) Separated from the ungodly (v.
7). (3) Conquered His enemies (v. 8).
THE WINNING’ SIDE.
“Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world”
(1 John 4. 4).
I. Who is He that is in the World ? The spirit of
antichrist (no Christ) manifested in those who: (1) Despise
His Name. (2) Neglect His Word. (3) Avoid’ His people.
(4) Delight in worldliness. (5) Make light of sin.
II. Who is He that is in Us I The Holy Spirit of God
(vv. 12, 13). God dwelleth in us. (1) The Spirit of wis-dom.
(2) The Spirit of truth. (3) The Spirit of power.
(4) The Spirit of holiness.
III. How is He Greater? (1) As light is greater than
darkness. (2) As truth is greater than falsehood. (3) As
the king is greater than the subject. (4) As the Creator is
greater than the created.
I. A Happy Condition. “In Christ Jesus.” This
BEING IN HIS FAVOUR. Enjoying His grace.
2. BEING IN HIS NAME. Sharing His honour ..222 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. BEING IN HIS HEART. Filled with His love.
In Him by faith. As Noah entered the ark (John 6. 37).
In Him for fruitfulness. As the branch is in the vine
In Him for fellowshifi. As the members in the body
II. A Blessed Privilege. “No condemnation. ” This
does not mean no affliction or temptation. These may all
work together for good.
1. No CONDEMNATION BY THE LAW. “Ye are dead”
(Cal. 3. 3). The law is done with a dead man.
“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to those who
believe” (Rom. 10. 4). . 2. No CONDEMNATION BY GOD. He who justifies will
not condemn. “It is God who justifieth” (Ram. 8.33) w
3. No CONDEMNATION BY CONSCIENCE. The conscience
being purged from sin is void of offence.
III. A Solemn Reflection. If there is no condemna-tion
to them which are ilz Christ, what is the condition and
prospect of those who are out of Christ ? A man may be in
much that is good and yet be without hope before God.
He that is without Christ is without hope (Eph. 2. 12).
“He that believeth on Him is not condemned” (John
THE BACK OR THE FACE-WHICH?
“THEY have turned their back unto Me, and not their
face; but in the time of trouble they will say, Arise, and
save us” (Jer. 2. 27).
Man has both a back and face. He has power to frown
or to favour, to accept or to reject. Israel had forsaken.Gospel Outlines. 223
God, the fountain of living water (v. 13). Yet in distress
they would cry to Him for salvation. Common conduct.
I. What is the Attitude of God toward Men ? His
face, and not His back, is tumed-1.
IN PITY AND COMPASSION (John 3. 16).
2. IN GRACE AND ENTREATY. “God in Christ recon-ciling
the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5. 19). “All day
long have I stretched out my hands” (Isa. 1. 18).
II. What is the Attitude of Man toward God ?
Either our face or our back is turned to Him. Some have
their faces turned to God, and are-I.
SEEKING HIM. “Thy face, Lord, will I seek. ” “Sir,
we would see Jesus” (John 12.21).
2. TRUSTING HIM. “Lord, I believe. ”
3. SERVING HIM. Looking unto Jesus, and following
on to know the Lord.
Some have the back turned. Turning the back to a
friend is the attitude- ’
1. OF INDIFFERENCE. Heeding not the loving message.
2, OF WORLDLY PREFERENCE. Rebellion. “Turn ye,
turn ye ; why will ye die ? ” (Ezek. 8.16).
III. The Cry of the Craven. They turn their back on
God in prosperity and health, then cry, “Arise, and save ,”
in the day of trouble. Serving the world, the flesh, and the
devil, then seeking help from God (see Judges 10. 13, 14).
THE ARK OF SALVATION.
Genesis 7. l-7.
SINCE Cain and Abel there have always been two classes in
the world. The Cain posterity are mighty in their own eyes,.224 Handfuls on Purpose.
while in the eyes of God they are only evil, and that con-tinually.
The Abel line, like Noah, find grace in the eyes
of the Lord. The only hope for man is that he “finds
grace. ” Christ, the Divine Ark, is God’ s open door of
mercy for all who will enter.
I. The Place of Refuge. “Arkl” This was God’ s
appointed way of salvation. The ark was-1.
A PLACE OF SAFETY. No condemnation here. God
is our refuge. Hid with Christ in God.
2. A PLACE OF SEPARATION. Saved ones are always set
apart for God (Psa. 4. 3). Separated from sin and judg-ment
to be witnesses for Him.
3. A PLACE OF SAFETY. Noah’ s wants were all met in
his hiding-place (Isa. 32. 2; Phil. 4. 19).
II. The Divine Invitation. God said, “Come unto. ”
It is with God’ s own invitation that men have to do (Matt .
11. 28). Instead of obeying and entering in-1.
SOME LOOK AT IT. Their interest only constrains
them to take a passing glance at the great provision.
2. SOME TALK ABOUT IT. Their curiosity is awakened.
3. SOME SNEER AT IT. .Laughing at those who accept.
III. The Acceptance of the Offer. (v . 7).
1. NOAH WENT IN. He believed for himself, and took
the decided step.
2. HIS WIFE WENT IN. Sad when a house is divided
on this momentous subject. What if the husband had not
3. HIS SONS WENT IN. The promise is to yozc, and to
your children..Gospel Outlines. 2%
4. HIS SONS’ WIVES WENT IN. “Believe, . , . and
thou shalt be saved, and t@ kozcse” (Acts 16.31).
WAITING FOR THE DEAD.
Judges 5. 28.
IT is a very sad picture that we have before us here. Sisera’ s
mother sitting wearily watching at the window for the
coming of one who was already lying cold in death in the
tent of Heber’ s wife. She was waiting for one who would,
never come. Vain waiting-waiting for the dead. The
cause of her vain waiting is the cause why so many still
wait in vain-want of a knowledge of tke tmth. You are
waiting for the dead-1.
IF YOU ARE WAITING TO GET PEACE WITH GOD WITHOUT
THE BLOOD OF JESUS (Col. 1, 20).
2. IF YOU ARE WAITING, FOR SALVATION WITHOUT BE-LIEVING
ON THE SON (John 3.36 ; Eph .2.8).
3. IF YOU ARE WAITING TO FEEL SAVED BEFORE YOU
COME TO CIIRIST. The woman touched Him before she felt
healed (Mark 5.27).
4. IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR POWER WITHOUT RECEIV-ING
THE FULNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 1. 8). All
power is in Him. He doeth the work.
5. IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR PROMOTION WITHOUT BEING
FAITHFUL WHERE YOU ARE (1 Sam. 16.12).
6. IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE
WORLD BEFORE THE COMING OF THE KING (Luke 19, 12 ;
Isa. 2.2; Zech. 2. 10).
7. You ARE NOT WAITING FOR THE DEAD IF YOU ARE
WAITING FOR THE SON FROM HEAVEN (1 Thess. 1. 10 ; Acts
1, 11) . Though He tarry, wait..226 Handfuls on Purpose.
“THOU hast kept My Word, and hast not denied My
Name” (Rev. 3. 8).
I. The Word to be Kept. Word of Jesus, Word of
God (John 17. 8).
II. HOW to Keep It. Hide it in the heart (Psa. 119.11).
III. The Name. The Name above every name.
1. WHAT IT MEANS. Saviour (Matt. 1. 21). Em-manuel,
God with us.
2. How IT MAY BE DENIED. (1) By faithless silence.
(2) By practical unbelief. (3) By a hasty temper. (4)
By a grumbling disposition. (5) By a worldly life. (6)
By a fruitless testimony. Those who keep His Word will
not deny His Name. _.
THE POOR MAN’ S MARKET.
Isaiah 55. 1, 2.
1. A COMMON NEED. “Bread. ” There is much we have
that we might do without, but we cannot live without
bread. Christ is the Bread of Life. Except we eat of this
bread we shall die (John 6. 50).
2. A FOOLISH LIFE. “Spending for that which is not
bread” (v. 2). You are spending needlessly when you are
trying to save yourself; when you are hewing out cisterns
that can hold no water; when trying to live without
3. A POINTED QUESTION. “Wherefore do ye spend ? ”
Will you answer this question, and tell God why you go on
working and giving to get satisfaction, and yet never
attaining it?.Gocpcl Outlines. 227
4. A GOOD ADVICE. “Hearken unto Me.” Hear Him.
Take His way, and you will find what you need. “If any
man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. ” Salvat ion is
of the Lord. He only can reveal and impart eternal life.
Hear what God the Lord will speak.
5. A GRACIOUS INVITATION. “Ho, every one that
thirsteth , come. ” A fountain has been opened. Christ
has finished the work. Those who hearken unto Him will
surely get an invitation, Whosoever will, let him take
the water of life freely.
6. A SIMPLE CONDITION. “Without money. ” Your
emptiness and need is your best and only plea. I counsel
thee to buy gold. Your paltry pence is no use for this. “By
grace are ye saved through faith” (Eph .2.8).
7. A HAPPY PROSPECT. “Your soul shall delight itself
in fatness. ” This delightful satisfaction comes when you
drink of the river of His pleasures (Psa. 36. 8). The world
cannot give it. “Incline your ear, and come unto Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live” (v. 3).
SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO GOD.
James 4. 6, 7.
MAN, away from God, is represented as an enemy and a
I. What is not Submission. A man has not sub-mitted
to God as long as he is-1.
IN A STATE OF INDIFFERENCE. Like Gallio, caring
for none of these things (Acts 18. 17).
2. LIVING ONLY FOR SELF. Desiring his own praise
and honour .
3. SEEKING TO PLEASE MEN. Satisfied with an outward
appearance..228 Handfuls on Purpose.
4. LOVING THE WORLD. If the world is in the heart,
it is still an enemy to God.
II. To Whom we Should Submit. To God.
1. Because Ue hatb made US. Our Creator.
2. Because He hath setit His Son to save us (John 3. 16).
3. Because He hath given His Spirit to picken and com-f
o r t u s.
4. Because He hath given His Word to guide and assure us.
III. What is to be Submitted. “Yourselves.” This
1) Your will and affections. (2) Your time and talents.
(3) Your plans and purposes. (4) Your pleasures and pos-sessions.
(5) Your cares and anxieties.
IV. Why you Ought to Submit. “Submit therefore”
Because God resisteth the proud-setteth Himself
against those who rebel against Him. It is vain to hope to
succeed in the face of a resisting God.
2. Because God giveth grace to the humble. Those who
submit will receive grace su6icient to pardon, to reconcile,
to keep, to satisfy, and to bring into the presence of His
glory (Psa. 138. 6). _
REJECTING THE LIGHT.
*‘This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light, because their
deeds were evil” (John 3. 19).
As the Light of the world Jesus Christ was a great Teacher
come from God.
I. A Joyful Announcement. “Light is come into the
world, ” a light brighter than the sun..Gospel Outlines. 229
1. WHAT THIS LIGHT IS. It is the Light of Life (chap.
1. 4). This is no mere cold, shining moonlight. It is the
warm, living, compassionate light of the life of Jews
(2 Tim. 1. 10).
2. WHERE THIS LIGHT HAS COME. “Into the world.”
“In Him was life, ” and He was in t/ze world (chap. 1. 10).
Into the place of darkness and death, to shed abroad the
light of life (John 3. 16).
3. WHAT THIS LIGHT REVEALS. The revelation is two-fold.
The life of Christ, like the light of the sun, reveals
His own hidden glory and power. The wisdom and love
of the Father shine out in the Son. He is the image of the
invisible God. It reveals, also, the true condition and .
destiny of man as an unclean and guilty sinner in His
sight. The holiness of God and the awfulness of sin appear
in eye-blinding brightness.
II. A Lamentable Condition. “Men love darkness
rather than the light .“ What is the darklzess ? Just that
place, or condition, where Christ is not. A Christless life;
THE DARKNESS OF IGNORANCE rather than the light
of the klzowlcdge of God as seen in the face of Jesus
(2 Cor. 4.6).
2. THE DARKNESS OF SINFUL PLEASURE rather than the
light of the glorious Gospel of Christ (2 Car. 4. 4).
3. THE DARKNESS OF DEATH rather than the light of
life. This miserable choice reveals the depravity and per-versity
of man-a mind bliltdcd by the god of this world.
III. A Sorrowful Reason. “Because their deeds were
evil.” Evil deeds lead to shame and confusion when
suddenly brought into the light. The Holy Spirit has
..230 Handfuls on Purpose.
come to reprove the world of sin. At the shining of the
light some confess their sin and forsake it. Others hug to
their hearts their evil deeds, and deliberately hide their
face from Heaven’s merciful light. The L&Q has come ;
the responsibility is SOW with those who reject it (1 Kings
IV. A Solemn Conclusion. “This is the condemna-tion.”
The condemnation will be just, because they loved
the darkness. It is the wilful sinning for which there re-maineth
no more sacrifice (Heb. 10. 26). If a man turn
away from the sun, and refuse its light, then he can never
see any light more convincing. If the deep ocean of God’s
mercy is reckoned too shallow to cover a man’s sins, then
they can never be covered. The preszcmptuoacs soul shall be
cut off (Num. 15. 30). While ye have the Light, believe
in the Light. Yet a little while is the light with you.
Has not Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world ; he that
followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have
the Light of life” (John 8. 12).
REPENT AND BELIEVE.
“The kingdom of God is at hand : repent ye, and believe the
Gospel” (Mark 1. 15).
I. What is the Gospel ? It is the good news of-1.
THE LOVE OF GOD (John 3. 16). In giving His Son.
2. THE D EATH AND R ESURRECTION OF C H R I ST. His
atonement for sin, and acceptance by God.
3. THE G IFT OF THE H OLY S P I R IT. The witness and
4. THE COMING KINGDOM OF GLORY. He shall reign.
II. What is Repentance ? It implies a change of
mind-.Gospel Outlines. 231
1. TOWARD GOD. Love, instead of slavish fear.
2. TOWARD CHRIST. Faith, instead of doubt.
3. TOWARD SIN. Hate, instead of delight.
4. TOWARD SELF. Loathing, instead of pride.
III. Why Should we Repent ?
I. Because it is a great necessity (Luke 13.3).
2. Because Christ commands it.
3. Because the kingdom of God is at hand.
4. Because He is exalted to give it (Acts 5. 31).
BUT WE SEE JESUS.
Hebrews 2. 9.
(1) SEE Him as God’s equal (John 1. 3; Heb. 1. 3). (2)
See Him in great poverty (2 Cor. 8. 9). (3) See Him in
deep ~0r70w (Isa. 53). (4) See Him in self-sacrificing love
(Matt. 20. 28). (5) See Him in His tinfailing obedieflce
(John 6.38). (6) See Him in His mighty $ower (Eph . 1.20,
21 ; Phil. 2.9, 10). (7) See Him in His infinite compassion
(Heb. 4. 15). (8) See Him in great glory (1 John 3.2).
FOR OR AGAINST.
Luke 2. 23.
IN this chapter you may observe that (1) A dumb spirit
makes a dumb man (v. 14). (2) An unclealz spirit makes an
unclean man (v. 24). (3) The Holy Spirit makes a icoZy
man (v. 13).
I. What is Meant by being for Christ. This implies-(
1) Decision for Him. (2) Reconciliation to Him. (3)
Companying with Him. (4) Working for Him.
II. What is Meant by being against Christ, We are
against Him when we (1) Reject His claim. (2) Neglect.232 Handfuls on Purpose.
His grace. (3) Refuse His company. (4) Despise His
cause. (5) Persecute His people.
There is no neutral ground. FOR OR AGAINST.
COME TO THE REWARDER.
“He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a
rewarder of them that.diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11. 6).
I. To Whom. “To God.” (1) To God irt Christ (1 Cor
5. 19). (2) To God Almighty. (3) To God as a Father.
II. How to Come. “Must believe. ” Must believe (1
That He is-His existence. (2) That He is a rewaider-His
grace. (3) That He rewards them that seek Him-His
III. What are His Rewards? He rewards (1) The
seeking sinner with salvation. (2) The fighting saint with
ammunition. (3) The suffering servant with glorification
(Rom. 8. 17, 18).
LOOK AND LIVE.
Isaiah 45. 22.
(1) A GREAT NEED-“ Salvation. ” (2) AN EASY WAY-“
Look.” (3) A PERSONAL C L A IM-“Unto Me. ” (4) A
WIDE INVITATION -“All the ends of the earth.”
TRUST AND TESTIMONY.
Psalm 13. 5, 6.
I. Mercy Accepted. “I have trusted in Thy mercy.”
(1) God is mere@&?. (2) God requires trust.
11. Salvation Enjoyed. This salvation is : (1) Great-Thy
salvation. (2) Joyful-“Rejoice.” (3) Satisfying-<(
My heart. ”.Gospel Qutlincs. 233
III. Praise Rendered. “I will sing.” (1) He only is
worthy. (2) Praise becometh the saved.
IV. Testimony Given. “He hath dealt bountifully
with me. ” This testimony is-(l) Needed. (2) Happy.
A GREAT WORK.
“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good
works” (Eph. 2. 10).
I. The Work. “We are His workmanship, created. ”
In saving man God has to do what He did at the beginning
-create out of nothing. There is nothing good in man to
begin with. “In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth 120
good U&g” (Rom .7.18). “If any man be in Christ He is a
12~20 creation. ”
II. The Worker. “HIS workmanship. ” The worker
is God. Like a skilful artist He selects His own material
and implements. He asks no counsel. He doeth His own
will. He speaks, and it is done ; commands, and it stands
fast, It is God that worketh in you. None can stay His
hand from working.
III. The Workmanship. “Gve are.” The character
of the workman is seen in the workmanship. The beautiful
sculpture or painting manifests the skill of the artist.
We are the exhibitions of God’s gracious handiwork.
Every Christian is a monument of God’s mercifulness, love,
patience, and holiness. Are we a credit to Him who hath
made and fashioned us after the image of His beloved Son ?
We are created ultto good works. Fear not, He that hath
begun a good work in you will carry it on (Phil. 1.6; Rom .
IV. The Workshop. “Created in Christ Jesus. ”
This article may be made in Germany, or anywhere else
Q Vol. 1.234 Handfuls on Purpose.
wherever there is a soul abiding irz Christ. In Christ Jesus
we are fashioned after the divine pattern. Abide in Him,
and you will abide in the workshop of Almighty grace.
“Ye are God’s building” (1 Cor. 3. 9). Sinner, if you
want to be made a new creature, come into God’s work-shop.
Come to Jesus, and He will work on you and in you
that which is pleasing in His sight.
THE MISSION OF CHRIST.
“Even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20. 28).
EVERY twig on this golden branch is laden with the fruit
of Heaven. It is a great cluster of ripe grapes, full of the
new wine of the kingdom. Let us pluck them carefully
one by one.
1. HE CAME. Then He must have existed &fore He
came. Then He was not drivelt out of Heaven, but left
of His own good will. His pre-existence and infinite love
are herein revealed.
2. HE CAME AS THE SON OF MAN. He was the Son of
God, divine and eternal, but He appeared as the Son of
Humanity. He was in closest touch with God. He came
into closest touch with man, taking upon Him the likeness
of sinful flesh.
3. HE CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO. He could
have had plenty of ministers had He desired them. All the
angels of Heaven, and all the laws and resources of Nature,
were at His call, but He came not to be served as a king.
4. HE CAME TO MINISTER. Man had nothing to give
Him. He had all the riches of the Godhead. He came to
minister to the need of poor, sinful humanity. Who else
could undertake such a mighty task? To this end He girt
Himself about with the towel of lowly service..Gospel Outlines. 235
5. HE CAME TO GIVE HIS LIFE. Mark the words, HIS
LIFE. Man had no life worth giving; in fact, no life to
give. As a sinner against God all was already forfeited.
Condemned already. What a life His was-pure, full,
powerful I He yielded up all.
6. HE CAME TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM. Then a
ransom was needed. Christ’s death was substitutionary.
He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. To whom
was the ransom paid? Not to Satan, not to man, not to
death, not to angels, but in answer to the inexorable holi-ness
and justice of God. “It pleased the Lord to bruise
Him. He hath put Him to grief” (Isa. 53. 10). “Behold
the goodness and the severity of God” (Rom. 11. 22).
7. HE CAWZ TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY.
His death was “i% Uze place of many.” This ransom is
sufficient for the whole world (1 John 2. 2). It is a door
as high as the throne of God, as low as man’s deepest need,
and as wide as “Whosoever will. ” Have you entered in ?
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
“1 am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (liom. 1, 16).
THIS was Paul’s bold and fearless testimony. The Gospel
Christ preached to him on the way to Damascus revolu-tionised
his whole life. Now he was neither ashamed of
Him nor His words (Mark 8. 38). Those who are ashamed
of the Gospel are utter strangers ‘to its power.
I. What Paul was not Ashamed of. “The Gospel of
Christ. ” There are some gospels that are not of Christ.
“By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7. 16).
The gospels of carnal reasoning and mere human effort
cm only lead to shame and confusion. The Gospel of
Christ is the God-spell-binding news of-.236 Handfuls on Purpose,
1. DIVINE COMPASSION . The manifestation of infinite
love toward guilty and perishing men–a love stronger
2. ALMIGHTY REDEMPTION. The Redemption that is in
Christ Jesus possesses infinite power, to satisfy all the holy
demands of God’s righteous character, and so to cover and
cleanse every stain and sin of all who believe.
3. GLORIOUS RESURRECTION . Not only salvation from
sin comes to us through Christ, but the sure hope of a
glorified body-a body like unto Nis own-incorruptible.
4. ETERNAL SATISFACTION . “I shall be satisfied when
I awake in His likeness” (Psa. 17. 15). The deeper
yearnings of the inmost heart shall be fully met when we
are made fit for His everlasting fellowship in the presence
of the Father’s glory. What a glorious Gospel this is I
II. Why he was not Ashamed of It.
1. BECAUSE IT IS THE POWER OF GOD. Oh, what a
power seems pent up in the Gospel of Christ I There is
in it the dynamic force of Almighty love, mercy, and
y&hteousness-a love that melts the hkart of stone; mercy in
ocean fulness to cover every sin ; righteousness, as pure as
light, into which the trusting soul is brought ; a threefold
cord that is not easily broken.
2. BECAUSE IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION .
The Gospel of Christ means the great strength of God con-centrated
and directed toward the saving of men. It takes
the same power to save a soul as to create a world. Vain is
the help of man. This salvation is twofold: The soul is
saved from sin and wrath by being reconciled to God ; the
life is saved from fruitlessness and failure by being yielded
up to Him. When a branch has been engrafted into a better
stock, it is not only saved from its old life, but possessed
and filled and used by the new life. It is a full salvation..Gospel Outlines, 237
3. BECAUSE IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATIO~J
TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH . Why is this salvation for
believers ? Because it is for the heart. “With the heart
man believeth” (Rom. 10. 10). Sin has smitten man with
heart disease ; God, in mercy, has provided a heart cure.
If the remedy is to touch the disease it must be received in
the heart. A Chinese convert said, “I came first with my
eyes, then with my ears, then with my heart.” The pro-vision
is co-extensive with the need. “To every one” that
believeth. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the
waters” (Isa. 55. 1).
SALVATION IMPOSSIBLE WITH MEN.
Matthew 19. 25, 26.
I. Salvation is Needed. “Who, then, can be saved ? ”
All have sinned and come short of the glory of’ God, as
seen in His holy law, so all alike need to be saved.
II. Salvation is Impossible with Man. It is im-possible
with man because-1.
HE CANNOT BLOT OUT HIS OWN SINS. They are
written in the memory of God.
2. HE CANNOT ATONE FOR HIS OWN GUILT. The price
is too great for one who is poor, and needy, and without
3. HE CANNOT CHANGE HIS OWN HEART. It is deceitful,
and desperately wicked. He cannot alter it any more than
the Ethiopian can change his skin.
4. HE CANNOT PURCHASE SALVATION WITH HIS OWN
WORKS. By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified
in His sight.
III. Salvation is Possible with God..238 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. BECAUSE THE OFFENCE IS AGAINST HIM.
T’ nee, Thee only, have I sinned” (Psa. 51. 4).
I have sinned against Heaven and before Thee” (Luke
2. BECAUSE HE LOVES THE SINNER. “Herein is love,
not that we loved God, but that He loved us” (1 John4.10). . 3. BECAUSE HE LAID OUR SINS ON JESUS. “It pleased
the Lord to bruise Him” (Isa. 53. 10). “Behold the Lamb
of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John
4. BECAUSE HE IS MIGHTE TO SA+E. The things which
are impossible with men are possible with God. “Look
unto Me and be ye saved,. . FOR I AM GOD ” (Isa. 45. 22).
QUICKENED FROM DEATH.
“You did He quicken when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2. 1, R.v.).
LIVING or dead, which? There is no middle state here.
A man is either quickened or he is not. These two states
I. Their Past Condition. “Ye were dead. ” Only
those alive from the dead can realise that they were dead.
A STATE OF SEPARATION. Every dead one has been
cut off from the cause and power of life. Death separates
a man from the bread and air so necessary for the living.
Spiritual death means severance from the sustaining
presence of God. No fitness to enjoy heavenly things.
2. A STATE OF INSENSIBILITY. The dead are neither
charmed nor alarmed by anything said or done in their
presence. They have neither tears nor fears concerning
their sins or future state. Neither law nor Gospel moves
them..Gospel Outlines. 239
S. A STATE OF HELPLESSNESS. We never expect any-thing
from the dead. Those dead in sins are without
Christ, and so can do so thilzg-nothing by way of imparting
divine life into their hearts. “While we were without
strength, Christ died for us. u
4. A STATE OF ABSOLUTE INCAPACITY . The dead have
nothing in common with the living. They are repulsive,
and altogether unfit for fellowship. While we were i7t
our sins we were out of communion with God, Sin always
has a killing effect. Death by sin !
II. Their Present Enjoyment. “You h a t h He
quickened. ” LIFE is the only remedy for death. Man may
come with his forms and gamishings, but they are worse
than useless. God’s method of saving from sins is QUICK-ENING.
IMPARTATION. It is the imparting of a new life by
the direct energy of the Almighty Spirit of God. “You
hath He quickened.” Born from above. “The gift of
God is eternal life” (Rom. 6. 23).
2. SEPARATION. When Lazarus got life he soon got out
of the place of the dead. No one with Christ’s healing touch
on them will dwell among the tombs. When the light of
life dawns we arise from the dead and come out from
among them. Death separates from God; life separates
from the things of death.
3. RESTORATION. A quickened one is not only restored
to life, but to all the joys and responsibilities of the higher
state-restored to God, to the fellowship of Christ, and the
communion of the Holy Ghost.
4. CONSECRATION. This new life is to be all for God.
“Alive unto God.” Quickened together with Christ, that we
might show the exceeding riches of His grace. Ye are not.240 Handfuls on Purpose.
your own. Your old life was a dead one, “alienated from
the life of God.” This new life is from God, that ye might
glorify Him, “My life I give Thee.”
TWO GREAT QUESTIONS;
1, To THE SINNER. What hast thou done? (Gen. 3.13).
2. To TWE SAVIOUR. What hast Thou done? (John
A STRAIGHT QUESTION.
*‘ How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before Me 7’
(Exod. 10. 3).
PHARAOH, like many more in our own day, has frequently
resisted the call of God.
I. The Pride of Man. Not to humble ourselves be-fore
FOOLISH, It shows awful ignorance of God.
2. PRESUMPTUOUS. A deliberate resisting of His will.
3. VAIN. God will sooner or later break the pride of man. Haughtiness goes before destruction (Prov. 18. 12).
II. The Question of God. “How long wilt thou
refuse?” This searching question is to us a revelation of-1.
THE GRACE OF GOD. Why not smite at once with
judgment ? 0 the forbearance of God I
2. THE GRIEF OF GOD. “How long ?” God asks as if
His heart was pained to its very depths.
3. T HE IMPATIENCE OF GOD. “How long? ” as if His
great patience and longsuffering were nearly exhausted.
“My Spirit willnot always strive with man” (Gen. 6. 3)..Gospel Outlines. 241
III. The Excuses Sometimes Offered. To God’ s
*‘ How long ? ” proud, self -satisfied man has many answers-1.
TILL A MORE CONVENIENT SEASON.
2. TILL I FEEL A LITTLE BETTER.
3. TILL I SE~LE DOWN IN LIFE.
4. TILL I RETIRE FROM BUSINESS.
5. TILL I COME TO DIE.
All this simply means: When my own time comes.
Humble yourself, and God will lift you up (1 Peter 5. 6).
THE LOVE OF GOD.
“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us“ (Rom. 5. 5) .
I. The Character of this Love.
1 IT IS GOD’ s LOVE. It is the nature of love to seek
out the helpless and the needy, and to pour into the lap
of poverty all the wealth of its possession. Love cannot
remain inactive .
2. IT MANIFESTS ITSELF. “God commended His love
toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died
for us” (Rom. 5.8). Love will not hide ; it overleaps every
barrier and shows itself. “Herein is love; not that we
loved God” (1 John 4. 10).
II, The Sphere of its Operation. It is not enough to
see the evidences of God’ s love; His love is not satisfied
with that. It is to be-1,
IN OUR HEARTS. In the citadel of the soul, watering
the roots of our affections and purifying the springs of the
life..242 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. “SHED ABROAD. ” The love of God is to fill and flood
our being, as the light of the sun is shed abroad on the
earth, scattering darkness and turning barrenness into
fruitfulness. If the love of God possesses us we shall take
pleasure, like Him, in loving sinners and making sacrifice
for their salvation. Love is the most practical thing on
earth (see 1 Car, 13).
III. The Divine Operator. This great work is done
THE HOLY GHOST. It is the Spirit’s work to unveil
the love of God to us in Christ Jesus, and to create that love
within us. He sheds it abroad in our hearts by taking the
things of Christ and showing them unto us.
2. THE HOLY GHOST GIVEN UNTO Us. If our hearts are
to be filled with the love of God, the Holy Spirit must
have His abode within the heart. The fruit of the Spirit is
love. “Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit
of His Son into your hearts” (Gal. 4. 6). Beloved,
if God so loved us, then, in the power and after the manner
of that love we ought also to love one another (1 John
THE LOVE OF CHRIST.
Ephesians 5. 1, 2.
I. The Loving One. “Christ loved us. ” “God is love. ”
Christ is the Son of this living, loving God, and the very
image of His Father. He is also the Son of Man made in
the likeness of sinful flesh.
II. The Objects of His Love. “Loved us. ”
1. WHEN 1 While we were yet sinners. When dead
in sin..Gospel Outlines. 243
2. How? With a love that is divine, all-embracing,
and stronger than death. He loved us more than the fallen
angels ; more than we loved ourselves ; more than the
angels of Heaven ; more than He loved HimseIf : Behold,
what love I
III. The Evidence of His Love. “He gave Himself
for us. ” Man’s love opens up gradually, and may manifest
itself in gifts of ever-increasing value. The love of Christ
gives all at the first. All the riches of God are embodied
in “ Himself ” . He gave Himself for us-I.
As A VOLUNTARY OFFERING. The offering of Christ’s
life and work to God was an acceptable gift, well-pleasing
in His sight. He offered Himself without spot. The heart
of God was infinitely satisfied with the life and character
of His beloved Son. He was obedient unto death.
2. As A VICARIOUS SACRIFICE. “He gave Himself for
us, an offering and a sacrifice to God.” Here we have the
thought of substitution. Christ died for us. He bore our
sins in His own body on the tree.
3. As A SWEET-SMELLING SAVOUR. There is a great
difference between the savour of our carnal lives and the
savour of the character of Jesus. “In me, that is, in my
flesh, dwelleth no good.” “In Him dwelleth all the
fulness of God. ” “Ye are complete in Him. ”
IV. The Fruit of this Love in Us.
1. FOLLOWERS OF GOD. The love of Christ is to con-strain
us to be imitators of Him who loved us : imitators of
His love, patience, purity, devotion, and self-constraining
zeal. What poor imitations we are I May the Holy Spirit
work in us His own good will, that we may be conformed
unto the image of His Son 1.244 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. WALKING IN LOVE. Following this new and divine
pattern, our walk will be in a new and heavenly atmos-phere.
Abide in Him, and ye will walk in love.
“This grace wherein we stand’ , (Rom. 5. 2).
THE grace of God, which bringeth salvation, works a
complete transformation in the character and relationship
of all who believe. It changes our relationship-1.
To GOD THE FATHER. No longer enemies, but sons ;
instead of being under the wrath of God, now under His
2. To CHRIST THE SON. We were without Him, and
without hope, but now grace hath made us nigh-united
to Him, cleansed by His blood, and kept by His power.
3. To THE HOLY S PIRIT. Before He had no place in
our hearts, which was like a cage full of unclean birds.
Now He abides within as our Guide and Comforter.
4. To THE LAW. Before grace carne we were under the
law, and, because of sin, under the curse. Now we are not
under the law, but under grace, and the law is being ful-Cllled
in us who walk after the Spirit.
5. To THE POWER OF SIN. Sin used to have dominion
over us ; we were its slaves. Now its guilt has been cleansed
and its power broken. Freed from sin.
6. To THIS PRESENT WORLD. In times past we walked
according to the course of this world. But now we have
been chosen out of it, and sent into it to be witnesses for
God against it (John 17). We used to love the world, but
now we love not the world, and are hated by it..Gospel Outlines. 245
7. To GOOD WORKS. Until grace came we trusted in
our good works for salvation, but being saved by grace
without them, we now become co-workers together with
8. To TRIALS AND AFFLICTIONS. While unsaved all
trials and atllictions were looked upon as enemies to our
good. Now we know that “All things work together for
our good ” (Rom .8. 28).
9. To DEATH. Before the grace of ‘ God was known
death was clothed in robes of dreadful terror; its fear was
ever and anon upon us. Now we know it to be a van-quished
foe, and a gateway into glory. “0 death, where
is thy sting?” (1 Cor. 15. 55).
10. To THE JUDGMENT. When we wandered in the
darkness of doubt and sin the prospect of judgment past
an awful shadow over the soul. Now the judgment -seat
for the faithful Christian means a place of reward.
“Grace, ‘tis a charming sound!”
“To whom gave all the prophets witness that through His Name
whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins .”
(Act 10. 43).
I. Of Whom the Prophets Witnessed. “Him. ”
II. Their General Testimony. “All the prophets.”
III. The Nature of their Testimony-1.
They testified to the forgivertess of sim.
2. That this forgiveness is only through His Name.
3. That this forgiveness is received through faith.
4. That whosoever believeth receiveth remission of sins.Seed Thoughts
A CURE FOR THE UNCLEAN
Matthew 8. l-4.
I. Who He Was. “A leper.” (1) Diseased, not
sound ; (2) Unclean, polluting ; (3) Separated, shut out
from fellowship and privilege ; (4) Incurable, beyond all
human skill and hope.
II. What He Did. (1) He came to Jesus, the fountain
of living waters; (2) he came in the presence of the crowd.
not ashamed ; (3) he came worshipping Him, in deep,
unfeigned reverence ; (4) he came confessing his need,
“Make me clean ; ” he acknowledged his real condition ;
(5) he came believing, “ If Thou wilt, Thou canst . ”
III. What He Received. (1) The touch of Jesus,
identification ; (2) The word of Jesus, illumination ; (3)
The power of Jesus, salvat ion.
THERE is no virtue in our repentance if it does not bring
us to God. Mere sorrow for sin cannot lessen the guilt.
There may be vexation, and yet no repentance. Bible re-pentance
is a great necessity (Acts 17.30). Here it is con-nected-(
l) With turning from all iniquity (Ezek. 18. 30,
31). (2) With turning to God (Acts 26. 20). (3) With
faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20. 21). (4) With forgiveness
of sins (Acts 3. 19). (5) With salvation (2 Cor. 7. 10).
(6) With receiving the Holy Ghost (Acts 2. 38). (7) With
joy in Heaven (Luke 15. 10). This is the repentance that
needs not to be repented of.
246.Seed Thoughts. 247
SEEK AND FIND.
Matthew 7. 7-11.
I. A Threefold Attitude. (1) KltocR at the door. (2)
Seek the Master. (3) Ask what ye will.
II. A Threefold Promise. (1) It shall be opened,
This means acceptance.
2. Ye shall find. This implies fcdlowship,
3. Ye shall receive. This is satisfaction.
III. A Threefold Encouragement-1.
Would a father give his son a stone for bread ?
2. Would he give a serpent for a fish ? Never,
3. Would your heavenly Father refuse to His children
that which they cannot do without-Bread-Holy Spirit ?
A LONGSUFFERING LORD.
2 Peter 3.9.
1. The Character of the Lord-“Longsuffering, not
willing that any should perish” (Isa. 30. 18).
2. The Objects of His Compadion “Usward’‘-“While
we were yet sinners” (1 Tim. 2. 4).
3. The Purpose of His Patience-Salvation (1 Peter
4. The Great Need of Man-“All should come to re-pentance”
(Ezek. 33. 11). .
SAVED TO SERVICE.
Galatians 1. 15, 16.
1. A Divine Call-“Called by His grace,”
2. A Divine Revelation-“Reveal His Son in Me.”
3. A Divine Commission-“That I should preach him, ‘ 8.‘ 248 Handfuls on Purpose.
Ephesians 1. 7.
1. A Great Work Done-“ Redemption through His
2. A Great Blessing Secured-“Forgiveness of sins.”
3. A Great Measure Used-“According to the riches of
His grace. ”
4. A Great Necessity Implied-“ In whom i’ ” “If any
man be in Christ he is a new creation. ”
“ I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.”
John 8. 12.
I. Think of the Nature of this Saying. What a
revelation of Christ’s character 1 What a consciousness of
unlimited f ulness 1
II. Think of the Light the World has had. Light of
science, philosophy, and of experience; yet, apart from
Christ, it is a world rolling in spiritual darkness.
III. Think of the Light Christ has Brought into the
1. Light on the true character of God.
2. Light on the world’s own character and need.
3. Light on the dark problems of human history.
4. Light on man’s future and eternal destiny.
A DIVINE COMPLAINT.
“Hear, 0 heavens, . . my people do not consider” (Isa. 1.2,s) .
THEY do not consider-(l) The cost of their purchase. (2)
The all-sufficiency of their Saviour. (3) The claims of
their Redeemer. (4) The purpose of their redemption.
(5) The responsibility of their position.
their destiny . ‘ -‘ _
(6) The glory of.Seed Thoughts.
THIS IS OUR GOD.
Isaiah 25. 9.
CONNECT this verse with “Behold the Lamb of God”
(John 1. 29). In it there is the language of-1.
RECOGNITION. This is our God ; my God.
2. ASTONISHMENT. “Lo, this is our God.” “Behold
the Maul” (John 19. 5).
3. EXPECTATION. “We have waited for Him.” “Be-hold,
He cometh with clouds” (Rev. 1.7).
4. CONFIDENCE. “He will save us. ” He is the mighty
5. APPROPRIATION. “We will be glad in His salvation. ”
6. EXULTATION. “We will rejoice.”
HOW CAN A MAN BE JUST WITH GOD?
Job 9. 2.
1. THIS IS A COMMON QUESTION. It is being asked in
every age, and belongs to every creature.
2. IT IS AN IMPORTANT Q UESTION. Maq’s eternal
destiny is connected with it.
3. IT IS A DIFFICULT QUESTION. No man, by mere
human wisdom, can answer it. It is difficult (1) because
of the character of God-holy, righteous, just ; (2) because
of the character of man-sinful, guilty, helpless.
4. IT IS A QUESTION MEN TRY TO ANSWER. They say-(
1) God is merciful. (2) Man is not so very bad. (3) All will
come right in the end.
5. IT IS A QUESTION GOD ALONE CAN ANSWER. (1) It
is not of works (Rom. 3. 20). (2) It is by grace (Rom. 3.
24). (3) It is through the blood of Christ (Rom. 5. 9).
(4) It is by faith (Rom. 4. 5).
R Vol. 1.150 Handfuls on Purpose.
A MIGHTY SAVIOUR.
“THEY shall call His Name Jesus, because He shall save
His people”-(l) From sin. (2) From the fear of man.
(3) From the bondage of self-consciousness. (4) From the
burden of discontent. (5) From the tyranny of temper.
(6) From drudgery in service. (7) From seeking the
applause of Christians. (8) From doubting the providence
Is this great salvation yours ?
THE PEACE WHICH RULES.
Colossians 3. 15.
I. A Great Possession. “The Peace of God.” (1)
Peace through faith. (2) Peace that passeth understanding.
(3) Peace the world cannot give.
II. A Gracious Calling. “To the which ye are called. ”
Called of God. 0 hear Him !
III. A Blessed Rule. “Let the peace of God rule in
your hearts. ” His yoke is easy. His burden is light,
Submit to the reign of grace.
IV. A Simple Condition. “Let. ” The sun has
arisen, open the window, let the light come in. Let the
sceptre of His peace rule the heart and life.
V. A Grateful Result. “Be ye thankful. ” Be thank-ful
that He is able, that His grace is sufficient, that He
A THREEFOLD PROVISION.
Psalm 104. 15.
Bread to Strengthen, . . . . Christ.
Oil to Illumine, . . . . . . Spirit.
Wine to Gladden, . . . . Word..Seed Thoughts.
ALL MEN SEEK THEE.
Mark 1. 37.
1. All men tired of sectarianism.
2. All men sick of mere theories.
3. All men who have found out their own helplessness.
4. All men who wish to be saved from sin.
5. All men who desire to have peace with God.
6. All men who want to be kept by Almighty grace.
7. All men who look for a kingdom of glory.
To whom else can they go ?
THE CHRISTIAN’ S REWARD.
Revelation 2. IO.
1. The Condition-“Faithful unto death.”
2. The Reward-“The Crown of Life” (R.v.).
CHRIST PASSED THE ANGELS.
1. When He sank far below them in His humiliation.
2. When He rose far above them in His exaltation. R.c.c.
THE GREAT SALVATION.
Hebrews 2. 3.
1. A Great Certainty, . . . . . . “Salvation.”
2. A Great Possibility, . . . . “Neglect. ”
3. A Great Impossibility, . . . . “Escape.”
Matthew 1. 21.
1, He came to save (Matt. 18. 11); 2, He came to save,
sinners (1 Tim. 1.15); 3, He came to save by putting away
sin (John 1. 29) ; 4, He came to save by His own blood
(Col. 1. 14) ; 5, He came to save from all iniquity (Titus
2. 14); 6, He came to save because no one else can
(Acts 4. 12)..252 Handfuls on Purpose.
ENMITY AGAINST GOD.
THE carnal mind shows its enmity-1.
By Trifling with the Name of God.
2. By Neglecting the Word of God.
3. By Sneering at the Work of God.
4. By Scoffing at the People of God.
5. By Unthankfulness for the Mercies of God,
6. By Resisting the Holy Spirit of God.
7. By Rejecting the Saving Son of God.
ALL MY SPRINGS ARE IN THEE.
1. The Spring of Spiritual Life (Eph. 2.1).
2. The Spring of Spiritual Power (Acts 1. 8).
3. The Spring of Spiritual Nourishment (Luke 4. 4).
4. The Spring of Spiritual Enjoyment (Rom . 5. 11).
5. The Spring of Spiritual Expectation (1 John 3. 2).
THE MIND OF CHRIST.
Philippians 2. 5.
lowly mind (Matt. 11. 29; John 13.4,5).
A pure mind (Luke 22. 61; 1 Peter 2. 22).
Astrongmind (Heb. 12.3; Matt. 4. 10).
A fruitful mind (Matt .4.7 ; John 8.29 ; 1 Peter 2.23) .
A prayerful mind (Luke 6.12; John 17).
A loving mind (Luke 23. 34; Eph. 5. 2).
Let &is m&d be in you.
“Ever gazing, loving, praising,
With the angel hosts above;
One eternal ‘ Hallelujah 1’
One eternal song of love. ”.Illustrations
EVERYBODY knows that certain fabrics, when exposed to
the open air, will be bleached, or made whiter. But to
get this cleansing there must be com+Zete exposzcre to the
purifying elements. So with the Christian life. There
must be the entire surrendering up of all, and the cant inual
and unreserved exposure of the whole sinner’s heart and
life to the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost.
IT is supposed that the flavour of every spice is to be found
in Jamaica pepper. Not only the flavour, but the in-gredient
of every earthly and heavenly blessing is found
in the glorious Gospel. It is a blessed compound of all the
sweet spices of Jehovah’s character. They are rich and
satisfied who possess it. May it perfume all our hearts
and lives I
TESTIMONY AND AFFLICTION.
FROM the inner parts of a certain tree in tropical Asia there
is taken what is called “Aloes-wood.” This wood is most
fragrant when in the tire. There will be no fragrant
testimony for God in the fires of affliction unless the irtrzer
man is kept sweet and thankful in fellowship with Jesus
THE NAME OF JESUS.
THE amulet carried about by the heathen is supposed to
possess a charm against evil. The savour of His precious
Name charms the ,heart from evil. Take the Name of
Jesus with you.
253.254 Handfuls on Purpose.
WORD OF GOD.
THE slender, climbing, woody night-shade, with its red
berries, has been called the “bitter-sweet ,” because when
you chew its root it is first bitter, then sweet to the taste.
The convictircg Word of God may be very bitter to the soul
at first, but afterwards it is sweeter than the honeycomb.
To feel the sweetness of this divine root we must keep
eating at it. “Thy Word was found, and I did eat it. ”
WHEN an army is on a campaign the soldiers have to
“bivouac. ” That is, they spend the night in the open-air,
and every one remains on guard. Ought not this to be the
position of the Church of Christ, now at war against the
world, the flesh, and the devil? The night is setting in.
Let the Church bivouac-every one become a watchman.
“What I say unto you, I say unto all, WatchI”
THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
THERE is a plant called “adder’s wart,” because it is
supposed to cure the bite of the serpent. The divine
adder’s wort is the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses
from all sin-every bite of the old serpent the devil. Wort
means plant, Jesus is the plant of renown. Mighty to
THE GREAT COMMISSION.
WHEN a ship has been commissioned by one Government
to make reprisals on the vessels of another Government it
is said to carry a “letter of m’arque”-the mark of Royal
authority. Every ship or subject belonging to the kingdom
of God carries such a letter, and ought to make reprisals
upon the souls and interests of those who are still the
enemies of God, serving in the kingdom of Satan. Board
them for God..Useful Illustrations. 255
UNITY OF THE SPIRIT.
IN the human body there is a muscle called the “adductor,”
because it draws one part of the body towards another.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit in connection with
the mystical body of Christ. The moving of this great
I6 adductor ” is much needed in these days.
REDEEM THE TIME.
IN the year 1360, on Easter Monday, the army of Edward
III. suffered terribly from the severity of the winter, That
day is now known as “Black Monday.” But is that the
only black Monday? Does not a misspent Sunday always
bring a black Monday ? Bright days of privilege neglected
are sure to bring dark days of remorse, Redeem the time.
THE HOLY SPIRIT.
LONG ago, in Scotland, many people believed in the
“ kelpie , ” that was a spirit which was supposed to give
those who were to be drowned an intimation of it, and
assisted them in the drowning when the time came. There
are many still who believe in the heavenly ke@ie, a Spirit
which intimates to men their need of salvation, and which
assists them in being saved.
IN the North of Scotland, and in the time of Rob Roy,
wealthy farmers used to pay regularly what was known as
“black-mail”-so much corn or money given annually to
powerful robbers for their goodwill and protection. If
Christians are to maintain friendship with the world and
ungodliness, it will only be on the “black-mail” principle,
that is by sacrificing so much of their good for the encourage-ment
of the others’ evil. He that is the friend of the world
is the enemy of God..256 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
THE mistletoe was called by the Druids,“the all-heal,”
because wonderful cures were supposed to be wrought by it.
The Gospel is not only “ tk all-heal” from Heaven, but also
the heal all. It heals all who believe, as well as fierfectly
heals those who do believe.
THE moral disease of prejudice, like the physical disease
of jaundice, is characterised by the colouring of the eyes.
If thine eye be single (pure), then thy whole body shall be
full of light. If thine eye (jaundiced) offend thee, pluck
it out. Prejudice bars the door against many a friend.
It is the opalz face that is transformed into His likeness.
THERE is a terrible disease called marasmus; it is a wasting
of the flesh, without any apparent cause. The withering
goes on, yet no disease is visible. Spiritual marasmus is a
common malady. The life and testimony of the Christian
may be slowly decaying, yet no outward fault or failure
may be visible. There is secret sin, and the Holy Spirit
has been grieved, so that the spiritual life and power is
only the dried skeleton of what it once was. “Cleanse
Thou me from secret faults” (Psa. 19. 12).
WHEN a man is callous and insensible he is said to be
“marble-hearted. ” Yet everybody knows that marble can
take on a most beautiful polish. It is possible to have a
life highly polished, and to wear a great shine, and yet
have a heart as dead and insensibile to the love of God as
a bit of limestone. “With the heart, man believeth unto
righteousness” (Rom. 10. 10)..Useful Illustrations. ., 257
POLITICAL offenders are sometimes granted what is called
“an amnesty”-that means a not rcmcmberilzg. This is
what God grants to all who submit to Him through HIS
Son Jesus, No matter how many the off ences, the God who
is ready to pardon says, “Their sins and iniquities will I
remember no mwe” (Heb. 10.17).
IN Greek mythology we read of a river in hell called Zethe.
Its waters were said to cause forgelfirlness of the past to all
who drank. The rich man in Luke 16 would have been
glad to have drank such water. The river of forgetfulness
is not in hell, but in Heaven. It comes from the very
heart of God. “Their sins and iniquities will I remember
era more” (Heb. 10. 17). Blessed lethel
THE finest variety of asbestos is the “Amianthus.” It is
SO called because it is unpollutable and undestruct ible.
Such is the divine life in the soul. That which is born of
God cannot sin-cannot be touched with evil. It is also
indestructible-it cannot perish.
THE FETTERS OF FEAR.
THE game of blind-man ‘s-buff is a very old one, and,
metaphorically, a very common one. The game was
first to bind the eyes of one, then say, “Catch me.” Of
course it is easy to escape from the hands of one who is
blindfolded. If men can only get the preacher afraid, to
offend them they have succeeded in binding up his eyes, and
can afford to smile at his vain attempt to catch them. It
is sad to see ministers in the pulpit every Sunday playing
at blind-man’+buff. “The fear of man bringeth a snare”
(Prov. 29. 25)..258 Handfuls on Purpose.
THERE is a class of coal called “blind coal,” because it
burns without showing any flame. But although it shows
no flame it may yield a good heat. If it cannot be seelt it
may be felt. Is it not possible to have a flaming liptesti-mony
and yet the life to lack warmth ? There are blind
coal Christians, very useful ones, who are not to be seen
so much as felt. Still it is better to have both flame and
heat, both lip and life testimony.
IN some nurseries there are what are called “leading-strings.
” They are used to support children when beginning
to walk. The children of God in these days have much
need to keep by the divine leading-strings of God’s sure
promises, especially the babes in Christ, if they would
learn to walk worthily. “Pride goeth before a fall”
(Prov. 16. 18).
THE LIVING BREAD.
IN mythology we read of the food of the gods called
“Ambrosia. ” This food was supposed to confer immor-tality
upon all who partook of it. What the heathen so
much felt the need of we have now offered to us in Christ
Jesus. He is the Bread of Life. “He that eateth of this
bread shall live for ever” (John 6. 58).
A FING is said to be amorphous when it is without any
determinate shape or form. Are there no professing Chris-tians
who might be designated so, who seem to be neither
the shape of a true worldling nor the form of a true be-liever
? Characterless; neither cold nor hot; savourless
salt ; good for nothing..Useful Illustrations.
TREASURE IN HEAVEN.
THOSE who fawn and court the wealthy with the object
of gaining a legacy are called “legacy-hunters. ” Those
money-grubs will do anything to please if only they can
get their name secured in the will. The Christian does not
need to hunt for a legacy ; he has got enough left him through
the death of the Son of God. But he may well fawn and
court the continual favour of Christ, doing all to please
Him, and so laying up treasure in Heaven.
D E V O T E D N E S S.
IT is said of the Amazonians-a race of female warriors-that
they cut off their right breast that they might USC their
weapons more efficiently . Why should the soldiers of
Christ not cut off everything that hinders them in their
holy warfare? “If thy right hand offend thee (hinder thee),
cut it off” (Matt. 5. 30). I‘ Lay aside every weight”
(Heb. 12. 1).
THERE is a certain moral disease peculiar to soldiers
called “malingery . ” It means to feign sickness when there
is some fighting to do. There are many malingerers in the
religious camp when the trumpet of battle is sounded.
They have no gifts ; they can do nothing but talk about
IN CXRIST’ S STEAD.
EVERY Christian is, in a most real sense, a‘ lieutenant for
Christ. A lieutenant is one who holds the place of another
in his absence. In the absence of Christ, the great Captain
of Salvation, we are to act in His stead. Paul said, “We
pray you, in Christ’ s stead, be ye reconciled to God”
(2 Car. 5. 20). What a responsibility! We shall need to
give an account of our lieutenantship..266 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE NEVER-WITHERING WORD.
THE richly-coloured amaranth is supposed to be a flower
that never withers. They last long, but by and by they
do fade away. They have a name to live, but they die.
The promises of God are the true amaranths. They are
never-withering flowers. “The words that I speak unto
you they are spirit and life” (John 6. 23).
IN the common acceptance of the term a “busybody” is
one to be shunned, because they are always busy about the
affairs of others. By way of intermeddling with other
people’s affairs be not busybodies. But if we arc to be
followers of Jesus Christ we must, in another sense, be in-deed
“busybodies, ” minding the spiritual affairs and the
temporal interests of others. In the way of looking after
the affairs of Jesus Christ and His cause may we be busy-bodies.
A busyless body is a useless body.
PERHAPS you have seen a man who had just got a snuff of
“nitrousoxide” (laughing gas) ; how it excited his laughter.
He was neither richer nor happier, yet he laughed loud and
long. It was only gas. Covet not the laughter of the un-godly,
nor the mirth of the worldling–it is only gas. The
devil’s bottle may seem to bring gladness, but it is only
the mirth of fools–the hollow mockery of laughing gas.
Judge not by the outward appearance.
WHAT is a “breve 1” In writiq it is a short note ; in music
it is a 10% note. What is your life ? Is it a short, hurried
scrawl ? or is it a long, musical note of sweetness? In any
case it is a breve-a note that, if it is short, may be by the
grace of God made swelet ..USCfd IhStl%ltiOtlS. 261
THE MARKET CROSS.
IN ancient times a cross used to be set up at the place where
the market was to be held. If strangers asked where they
could get such and such things they were told to go to the
cross for them. The Cross of Christ is God’ s market-place
for the world. Stranger, if you want pardon, life, and rest,
go to the Cross. But you must buy without money.
LONG ago certdin wonderful virtues were superstitiously
attached to what was called “need-fire.” This was
generated by friction. By rubbing two sticks together
this wonder-working flame was supposed to come from
God. The Holy Spirit is the “need-fire” of this present
time. He will come into the heart as a living flame, in
answer to the continued pleading of the soul. Then great
and marvellous things will be done.
SOCIETY, so-called, often has its times of masquerade.
They love to disguise themselves that they may participate
in some new pleasure which they could not have without
the mask. In matters of religion how many are only masquerading-putting on the disguise for some selfish
pleasure-deceiving and being deceived. The time is
coming when every mask must be torn off, and every hidden
thing revealed. “Be not deceived ; God is not mocked”
(Gal. 6. 7). CHOOSE THE BEST.
THE ancient Romans doubtless thought themselves wise
in choosing the biggest star in the heavens as their god-Jupiter
(the futhcl of heaven). Let Jesus–the brightest
and best-be our choice. He is “the chiefest among ten
thousand” (S. of S. 5. lo), and the “altogether lovely”
(S. of S. 5.16)-the Star which brightens into eternal day,.262 Handfuls on Purpose.
WHO has not seen the Volunteers at drill? They have
good guns, they aim well, they shoot, you see the fire, and
hear the noise, but it is only a blank cartridge. It is
powerless. Is it not possible for preachers to use the
bulletless cartridge ? We may have a good sermon, mean
well, and have a grand delivery-both loud and fiery-yet
entirely powerless to slay the enmity of the human heart
against God. Without the power of the Holy Ghost the
sermon is only a blank cartridge (1 Car. 4. 19,ZO).
PLEASURES OF SIN.
THIEVES and robbers have what they call their “junkering
times ; ” times when they feast in secret on stolen goods,
banqueting on forbidden fare. Their hardness of heart
is seen in the fact that they really enjoy such devilish de-lights.
What shall we say of those Christians who can
find pleasure in those things which are displeasing to God ?
Delighting at times in a stolen entertainment, it may be
a book, a friendship, or a lust.
CLEANSED BY FIRE.
To bream a ship meant to cleanse off all the seaweed,
shells, stones, etc., by the process of burning. It was
cleansed by tie. Every fiery trial is for the purging of the
soul. There are little things that lodge in our hearts.
,They grow and multiply till they become weights and
hinder our progress in the Christian life. When the tie
of the Holy Ghost comes upon us, or fills us, those habits
or lusts, which are but excrescences on the new life, are soon
‘ * Come as the fire and purge our hearts Like sacrificial flame; Let our whole soul an offering be
To our Redeemer’ s name. ’ ’.Useful Illuotrations. 263
ROOTED IN CHRIST.
A NEOPHYTE is one newly planted. This is the name given
by the Romish Church to one newly admitted to a monas-tery.
They are to be pitied who get planted in such barren
soil. Those planted in Christ have their roots where all the
fulness of the Godhead dwells. “Every plant which My
heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up”
(Matt. 15. 13).
SIN AND GUILT.
THE ancients used to make drinking-cups of the amethyst,
supposing that they prevented drunkenness. But the
blue amethyst could not prevent the blues. The cup of
sinful pleasure, no matter how beautiful, will not save
from guilt and judgment. “Be sure your sin will find you
out” (Numb. 32. 23).
THE microscope has revealed to man an unknown world
of living animals, but God knew that they were there, and
had them all numbered. There may be many Christians
living unseen and unknown to men, although the micro-scoptic
eye of God discerns their living form ; but how very
small they are I “Ye are the light of the world” (Matt.5.14).
REST AND PROGRESS.
REST does not mean inactivity or uselessness. We are
being whirled through space while we rest on the earth.
While we rest in the train or steamboat we are being
rapidly carried along; so while we rest in Christ we grow
in grace, and are being filled with His fulness, as the
branch grows and is fruitful through its absorbing of or
resting in the vine. Of course much depends on where we
rest. “Come unto Me, and I will give your rest. Take
My yoke upon you, and learn of Me” (Matt. 11. 28)..284 Handfuls on Purpose.
SHEEP have no means of defence; they have neither wings
nor swiftness of foot ; they flock together, but their numbers
do not increase their strength. Their only safety lies in
the power and carefulness of the shepherd. We are the
sheep of His pasture, and can be fed and defended by no
one else. “Live by faith on the Son of God” (Gal. 11.20).
“The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psa. 23. 1).
THE rattlesnake is well known and justly dreaded as the
most venomous and deadly of all reptiles. Dr. Bell has
proved that its poison is even secreted after death. Sinful
self is the rattlesnake which every Christian has to fear.
WhiIe we reckon ourselves dead, and have crucified the
flesh with its lusts, even while we are dissect&g self, we
are in danger of being poisoned by it. “Cease from man”
(Isa. 2. 22).
A MAN is said to be breathless when he is out of breath or
much exhausted and unfit for work. What a fuss some
people make when they do a little work for the cause of
Christ. They arc out of breath for a week after it, and can
talk about nothing else. It is wonderful how long-winded
some professing Christians are when talking about the
things of the world, and yet they pant and puff and seem
utterly breathless when spiritual things are being dealt
with. This spiritual asthma is the result of diseased
respiratory organs, brought on by breathing the foul air of
worldliness, and neglecting the fresh and healthful air of
secret prayer and holy fellowship with God. A man not
filled with the Holy Ghost will always be a breathless man.
Breathless men make poor workmen. “Be filled with the
Spirit” (Eph. 5. 18)..Useful Illustrations. 265
THE Church has been called the “Bride of the Lamb”
(Rev. 21. 9). The name bride literally means one owned
or purchased. Christ’s bride is owned by Him, because she
was pSt&ased by His own precious blood. Every believer
in Jesus is a purchased one; every purchased one will be
owned by Him. “The Lord knoweth them that are His”
(2 Tim. 2. 19).
EVERYBODY is familiar with the Life Insurance Society.
But, after all, no society can insure life for a single
moment. It may insure money at death, but that is not
insuring life. The only life insurance for man is in the
Gospel of the grace of God-union with the ever living
Son of God. “He that believeth in ME shall lzever die”
(John 11. 26). Is your life insured ?
A BEAUTIFUL NAME.
IT is said that the “angel fish” is remarkable for its
voraciousness and ugliness, being allied to the shark
family. You would expect a diflerent character from such
a heavenly name. The name does not make it angelic
in nature . We may put on angelic looks, even when we
have a sharky heart. We may have the Name of Christ,
while the heart is at enmity with God.
PRIDE and ambition are twin brothers. The word “am-bition”
had its origin in Rome, from candidates going
about seeking votes. Seeking the honour that comes from
men is an unholy ambition, and betrays a pride of heart
which is opposed to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If God be
for us, then we have the majority, and should not canvass
for the favour of men.
s Vol.1.266 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE PURE WORD.
THE reddish dye of the “anotta tree” (South America) is
largely used in colouring butter and cheese. Some like
them all the better because of the colouring. In any case,
the pure Word of God needs no colouring. Man has
nothing to add to. it to make it any better. But the colour-ing
process does go on. The Word is mixed with human
wisdom to make it more palatable to the unregenerate
mind. So much do men love the colouring that they will
not have the pure milk and butter without it. Some even
seem to swallow the colouring, and nothing else.
THE BREAKWATER PROMISE.
A BARRIER is frequently erected outside the harbour to
break the force of the waves, and so protect the ships
lying in port. “All things work together for good to them
that love God” (Rom. 8. 28). This precious promise
surrounds the Christian in every circumstance, and breaks
the force of every wave of trouble that would dash in and
disturb the ship of peace resting in the harbour of the heart.
WHAT IS MAN?
MAN has been very aptly designated a “microcosm, ” that
is, “a little world”-a little world full of great possi-bilities,
a little world wrapt up in the darkness of sin and
death or rolling in the light of eternal day, a little world
of chaos, confusion, and disorder because of rebellion
against God, or of harmony, fruitfulness, and beauty be-cause
of obedience to God; a world loved by God, and for
which Christ died, and in which the Spirit of God desires
to brood and dwell; a world that may be saved and trans-formed
into a paradise of God, or lost and burned up in the
flames of eternal wrath. “What is man that Thou visitest
him?” (Heb. 2. 6)..Useful Illustrations.
AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST.
SAILOHS have sometimes to use what they call a “jury-mast.
” This is a temporary mast which takes the place
and does the work of the one which has been carried away
with the storm. Christ was carried away with the storm
of human indignation and hate. We as Christians are
now in “Christ’s stead” (2 Cor. 5. 20)-doing His work
in His place. Our work is also like the “jury-mast “-very
temporary, only for a little while.
To temper metals they must be subjected to great heat and
cooled slowly, otherwise they would become brittle .and
easily broken, Paul had been we11 tempered in the furnace
of trial when able to say, “I have leawed in whatsoever
state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4. 11). Those
easily discouraged have not been well tempered. “It was
good for me that I was afflicted” (Psa. 119. 71).
THERE are more Nonconformists than those who refused
to conform to the Established Church at the Restoration
of Charles II. Every Christian is called of God to be con-formed
to the image of His Son (Rom.’ 8. 29). We talk
about the “noble Nonconformist conscience. ” .May it be
noble, indeed, in not conforming to the world. If our lives
are not being conformed to the likeness of Him who hath
called us, then are we Nonconformists indeed.
VOLUNTEERS OR REGULARS.
WHEN a man joins the Volunteers he offers himself for
military training, but only for home service; but when a
man joins the Regulars he offers himself for service any-where.
Are you a volunteer or a regular in the service of
Christ ? Are you willing to go anywhere for Jesus ?.268 Handfuls on Purpose.
LOVING THE DaQRKNESS.
“NYCTALOPIA ” is a peculiar disease causing such a defect
of vision that objects can only be seen by nig&. The
brighter the day the more blind do such become. Are there
not many Christians who seem afflict.ed with a kind of
spiritual nyctalopia? They like just a little light. The
bright sunshine of a wholly consecrated life pains their
weak and diseased eyes. They love the darkness rather
than the light, because there is some hidden evil within.
THE HOLY SPIRIT.
THERE is a certain key called the “master-key,” because
it is so constructed that it can open many locks. The
master-key to the Scriptures is the Holy Spirit. He can
unlock every hidden truth. He has come to guide us into
all truth. He takes the unsearchable riches of Christ and
shows them unto us. They are always getting fresh
visions of secret things who possess this master-key.
Have you got it ?
BUNYAN speaks about Mr. Face-both-ways. He is the
image of indecision, like the arnphipod, whose feet are
directed both ways; as the sand-hoppers, which do not
pledge themselves to go either way, and who can go as
easily backwards as forwards. Such are the double-minded-
unstable in all their ways.
IT is said that the hair of Medusa–one of the Gorgons_
was turned into snakes. What a venomous head he must
have had ! When the thoughts and imaginations of men
are evil, and only evil continually, what a headful of moral
snakes he possesses ! Unclean thoughts are venomous
vipers. Shake them off into the fire..Useful Illustrations. 269
SPIRITUAL LUNG POWER.
WHEN a man is afflicted with asthma it cannot be hid;
every breath he draws is a confession of it. Are there not
many Christians troubled with a breathing difficulty.
Every time they pray they seem more like being choked.
They do not breathe freely in the presence of God. Their
spiritual lung-power is very low. They have need to pray,
“Come, 0 breath!” (Ezek. 37. 9).
SIN IN THE HEART.
THAT little lump in front of the throat has been called
“Adam ‘s apple, ” from the idea that the forbidden fruit
stuck in Adam’s throat. The sin did not stick in his throat ;
it went deeper down into the very springs of his being.
The heart is deceitful. It is still the belief of many that a
man may have a good heart and a bad life. “Out of the
heart are the issues of life” (Prov. 4. 23).
CHRIST, THE MIDDLEMAN.
A MIDDLEMAN in Ireland is one who rents large tracts of
land and lets it out in portions to the peasantry. Jesus
Christ has rented large tracts in the heavenly kingdom.
He portions it out to the peasantry of the skies-to the
poor in this world who are rich in faith. “In My Father’s
house are many mansions ; I go to prepare a place for you”
(John 14.2) .
THE fabled mermaid had the upper part like a woman and
the lower like a fish. Beautiful in the distance, but re-pulsive
when near. The mermaid Christian is no fable.
They put on the form, but deny the power. The visible
part of their character is attractive, but the hidden part is
brutish . “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” before
God (Prov. 23. 7)..270 Handfuls on Purpose.
WE gaze with admiration on the wide-spreading branches
of the great oak which has braved the storms of centuries.
HOW came it there? Who planted it? A little squirrel
dropped a little acorn into that spot hundreds of years ago.
“Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth ! ” (James
3 .5 ). What wilI be the outcome in the ages of eter-nity
of the seeds of Divine Truth and kindness sown now
in the Name of Jesus? Even a cup of cold water shall not
lose its reward, The rewards in the world to come last for
ever. Be fruitful.
RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD.
TEA-BLENDING has become quite an art in these latter days.
The great object is to make it palatable to all. The
flavour is the chief thing. It is aIso quite an art in these
days to mix up the thoughts of men with the Word of God,
and so blend (corrupt) them that itching ears are highly
pleased with it. Law and Gospel, works and faith, are
so artfully blended that unrenewed hearts receive it gladly.
But we are not told to rightly blend the Word, but to
rightly divide it.
FASCINATION OF SIN.
THE rattlesnake is justly dreaded. Mr. Murray says :
“When the piercing eye of the rattlesnake is fixed upon
them (birds), terror and amazement render them incapable
of escaping, and while involuntarily keeping their eyes
fixed on those of the reptile, bir3s have been seen to drop
into its mouth as if paralysed, squirrels descend from the
trees, and leverets run into the jaws of the expecting
devourers. ” Many young men, in like manner, fall help-lessly
into the destructive jaws of sin, because they keep
looking at it until its fascinating eye overcomes them.
“Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?” (Ezek. 33. 11)..Useful Illustrations. 271
OUT AND OUT.
AMPHIBIOUS animals, which have a doible life, and can
live equally well in sea or land, are no use for man. The
amphibious religious professor, who feels equally &t home
in the world or the Church, who finds pleasure both in sins
and sermons, is useless for God. “I would thou wert
cold or hot” (Rev. 3. 15).
PLEASURES OF SIN.
CONNECTED with the lotus tree, in North Africa, is the
fable that if strangers eat of its fruit it will make them
forget their home. The fruit of the lotus tree of sin has
made many forget their heavenly home. As pilgrims
and strangers on the earth, beware of this lotus tree.
Moses refused to eat of its fruit (Heb. 11. 25). Abraham
looked for a city.
ONE THING I DO.
"MONOMANIA" has been defined as “madness to one sub-ject.”
One subject is about enough for any one man who
wishes to fathom and master it. Paul was a monomaniac
when he said, “This one thing I do” (Phil. 3. 13). The
Christian who wishes to know nothing among men, save
Jesus Christ, will be reckoned by the many-sided worldling
as a madman. But such madmen have a blessed asylum
in their Father’s house above.
THE “fishing-frog” has been named the “sea-devil, ”
because it is supposed to allure and catch little fishes by
means of worm-like appendages at its mouth. How many *
delusive appendages has the drink-devil dangling at its
mouth? Burns’ clubs, fishing clubs, free suppers, etc.
Silly men catch at these, and get devoured. The attractions
of sin are but the tempting worms hanging on the lips of the
old serpent the devil. Be not deceived..272 Handfuls on Purpore.
SING OF HIS LOVE.
SOME of the ancient lyric poets of Germany were called
“ love-singers, ” because the subjects of their productions
were generally love and beauty. Is there not room for
more love-singers among the patriots of the heavenly
fatherland? If the love of God is shed abroad in our
hearts, and our eyes feasted on Him who is altogether
lovely, surely we ought to take rank among the royal
“ love-singers. ” Oh, sing of His love !
THERE is a “fear which is the beginning of wisdom” (Psa.
111 . lO)-the filial fear of God-but why should a son of
God be paralysed and stupified at the sight of the enemy,
like a partridge struck with stupor and so overcome with
fear at the sight of a vulture, or sparrow-hawk, that it
loses all power of self-control until its enemy has dis-appeared?
Our enemies are great and deadly, but greater
is He that is with us. The threatening attitude of present-day
evil should in no way hinder the faith and activities
of the servant of Jesus Christ.
PRIVILEGE AND SUPPLY.
A MILITARY officer sometimes receives what is called a
“brevet, ” that is, a commission to take rank above that
for which he receives pay. His place of honour is exalted,
but his &come is not increased. His responsibility is
greater, but the supply is not enlarged. Thank God,
there are no brevets in the Lord’s service, although the
devil has been preaching it for centuries, and many
Christians seem to believe him. For every elzlarged
privilege in the service of Jesus Christ there is given an
increase of supply. According to YOLU day, SO shall your
strength be. “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor.
BEAUTIFUL figures and statuettes are made of a tine species
of unglazed porcelain called “bisque. ” It is so called
because it has twice passed through the furnace. A
double portion of the fiery trial may only be fitting as the
more perfectly to bear the image of Him who is the image
of the invisible God. “Perfect through sufferings”
(Heb. 2. 10).
SPENSER uses the word “misborn” in connection with
those whose lives are full of evil and misfortune. Sooner
or later every life will turn out an evil and a misfortune
that has been born in a wrong direction-born of the flesh.
The only true and effectual remedy is to be “born again”-born
of God. “Ye must be born again” (John 3. 7).
THE GOOSE NATURE.
THE goose has always been a name of reproach. Darwin
says, “This bird deserves some notice, as hardly any other
anciently domesticated bird has varied so little.” It
seems that centuries have not improved the goose. In
this it resembles the “carnal mind”-unchanged, and un-changeable
in midst of all the advances of the ages. The
unrenewed nature of man has proved inflexible-apart
from regeneration-to all the higher influences of the
WORD OF GOD,
THE kaleidoscope is an ingenious optical instrument in
which you may see an endless variety of colours and
. forms. It is to be feared that many use the Bible after
the same fashion and pretty much for the same purpose-they
turn it about merely to gratify their curiosity. The
Word of God is a sword, a hammer, and a fire-something
to be felt more than admired..274 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE Rev. J . G. Wood, in his “Homes without Hands,”
tells of an artificial colony of ants prepared for experi-ment,
that when the ants got languid and ceased to work
for lack of moisture a slight shower of spray would set
them all in activity with renewed energy. Many a Church
is inactive and dormant in aggressive work for God for
lack of the heavenly refreshing. A slzower of blessing
would do more to stir up its drowsy members to work than
miles of barren sermons. “1 will be as the dew unto
Israel” (Hosea 14. 5).
IT is one of the greatest wonders of this inventive age that
two little instruments in tune with each other, although
a thousand miles apart, can respond to each other. The
roaring sea, or towering mountains, cannot interrupt, as
long as the instruments are true to each other. In ‘tune
with the will of God, what can hinder prayer? It is said
that the only danger of disturbance in wireless communica-tion
lies in too mwh sunshine. Let not prosperity disturb
your fellowship with Him. Get right with God.
Printed at the Press of the Publishers