THE REV. THOMAS CONNELLAN, - The Gospel Magazine

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THE REV. THOMAS CONNELLAN, - The Gospel Magazine

The Gospel Magazine. 563

, . from heaven;" it is not executed yet, but it is a matter of revelation.

Ps. xcvii. 1-3. "A fire goeth before Him;" again the fire of God's

wrath consuming His enemies.

the fire of wrath burning up the Sin Offering, burning against sin;

and the fire which does not cease, feeding on the Burnt Offering, and

setting forth the infinite delight of God in the Sacrifice of His Son.

Now, in connection with that we must look at a very solemn passage,

Ps. xi. 6. This fire again expresses God's hatred of sin, and also the

necessity of punishing it. Rom. i. 18. " The wrath of God is revealed

Now I want that we should keep before us these contrasted

aspects of the typical meaning of fire, along with Ex. iii., and notice

the difference.

The fire in the bush burned the bush, without consuming a twig

of the bush; and that fire was the fire of affliction or discipline, through

whioh the people ,of God were passing. Does not this help us to understand

that passage in Heb. xii. 28, 29. Some, to harmonize that,

as they think, with other declarations of Scripture, add these words,

" God, out of Christ, is a consuming fire." But it is not so; it is the

God of the reconciled sinner, of those whom He is "not ashamed to

call brethren," the God of those who have been brought nigh.

Now, the fire symbolized by the burning bush did not do any harm

to Israel; it was a terrible experience, but it did not consume them;

on the contrary they" multiplied and grew." And this represents

another use the Holy Ghost makes of fire, to set forth the discipline

of our Heavenly Father. Just as Israel had to pass through that

sore aflliction for centuries, and was ultimately brought out of it,

so the Israel of God, the spiritual Israel of this dispensation, has a

parallel experience. "Ye must, through much tribulation, enter the

kingdom of God." Thepatliway to the heavenly kingdom is never

in the Word of God regarded as a path of roses. " If ye endure chastening,

God dealeth with you as with sons;" and if we are- without

chastisement, we are not true sons at all; we cannot be-in other words

every son passes under the disciplining hand of the Father.

Now, what is the object of this? Is it to consume, to destroy?

Has it to do with wrath? What is it tor? "That we might be

partakers of His holiness." "Shall we not much rather be in subjection

unto the Father of spirits and live? "-not perish. The soul

in subjection will come under the disciplining hand of the Father,

and live by it. Just what Hezekiah said when he had been stricken

with a mortal sickness, and brought up again, "By these things men

live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit." So when we are

tried, and have to pass through the severest trials a believer can pass

through, it is in order that we may live. How live? Spiritually

Jive; that is the only thing worth living; the life of this poor, weak

body is a poor thing compared with the life' of the spirit, and if the

life of the spirit increases by the wasting of the body, it is a good

exchange, for the believer becomes more and more like his Father,

like God, even down here. And one of the Father's ways to bring

us to that position, is to cause us to pass through severe discipline.

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