THE REV. THOMAS CONNELLAN, - The Gospel Magazine

THE REV. THOMAS CONNELLAN, - The Gospel Magazine

564 The Gospel M agazzne.

" We went through fire and through water; but Thou broughtest us

out into a wealthy place." (Ps. lxvi. 12). Do you observe, the Lord

passes them through the fire; but what is it ~ It is a refining fire; a

fire over which the refiner sits as he watches the e:f:Iects of the flames.

"The Lord trieth the righteous" (Ps. xi. 5). The refiner sits over

the furnace as he passes the ore through the furnace, and when he

sees his own image in the metal in that fire, he withdraws it. So

God tries the righteous in order to bring about increasing conformity

to His own character; but He pours the fire of His wrath in destruction

on His enemies.

So we have the fire expressive of the wrath of God in regard to the

Atoning Surety, the Sin Offering, in Lev. xvi. In Lev. i. we have

the fire that consumed the Burnt Offering, and symbolized God's

delight in the perfect all-sufficient sacrifice of His Son. We have the

fire of God's wrath poured on His enemies, judgment against them

for their sin in Ps. xi., which wrath is yet to be executed, for God

will not destroy the universe again with water, but with fire. And

then fire is the symbol which brings out the disciplining action of

our blessed God and Father in fashioning us and transforming us,

and gradually assimilating us spiritually more to His own character.

Now, keeping these various instances before us, we find that this

fire in Ex. iii. is the last, showing out the disciplining action of God

toward His people.

And now, let me remind you, Israel is in the fire of discipline, and

has been ever since they killed the Prince of Life, and rejected the

true Messiah. They are in the fire to-day; scattered among the

nations, still outcast and persecuted; but instead of being consumed,

they multiply. To-day they are increasing in numbers, in intellectual

power,and in influence in the world. Yet they are perfectly distinct;

they do not mingle with the nations among whom they dwell; you

can tell a Jew instantly. God has separated them, and made them

a permanent nation. Babylon, Media, and other nations pass away,

but Israel lasts, and will yet be the head and not the tail, and will

yet be God's governmental nation in the earth; for His promise that

cannot be broken involves it. But now they are in the fire; it is

the burning bush over again.

Now notice one fact in this, " The angel of the Lord appeared unto

him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush," and as long as He

was in the midst of the fire, the bush was not consumed. That brings

out a beautiful truth regarding the disciplining act of our Heavenly

Father. The spiritual Israel have to pass in their experience through

the testing of this fire; not the fire of wrath, but the fire of the Father's

discipline. But what is true of it ~ The Father Himself is in the

flame, and that ensures there will be no consumption of His children ;

they are as indestructible as the bush in which dwelt the Angel of

the Lord. We are the bush, and some of us are verylittle feeble tendrils

in the bush, but God does not consume one of us; He only tries us,

in order to consume the dross out of the metal-to change the figure

to that of the refiner-'-He does not destroy the metal. Let us take

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