from MS Notes by E C Pressland* of Harrow, 1886
* Mr Pressland was the author of Foreshadows, an excellent treatise on the Tabernacle and Levitical offerings on which he often lectured. It is still in print and available from the publishers and their distributors.
During the last 50 years much long-neglected teaching of the Word has been confessed and taught by earnest saints. Some chief items of it are:
- The known possession and enjoyment of eternal life, 1 John 5:13.
- The present indwelling of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 6:19.
- The church of God as God's spiritual house, 1 Pet. 2:5.
- The relationship of Christ to His saints, as Head of His body, the church; and they members one of another, Eph. 4:15, 25.
- The heavenly calling, Phil. 3:20.
- The presence of the Lord with His gathered saints, Matt. 18:20.
- The Lord's second coming at any moment, 1 Cor. 15:51, 52.
These truths so separated saints from much current religion, that they were charged with bigotry and exclusiveness. But their enjoyment of the Lord kept them steady, though, not without trial or inconsistency. Declension. however. set in, until many seemed to have lost the power of these truths if not the form. It may profit as a warning to note the possible causes of this. Some may be:
- 'lusts of other things'
- mystical holiness
- heavenly pretensions
- undue personal influence
- pride of intelligence
- authority assumed by gift and then allowed, followed by 'I am of Paul and I am of Apollos', etc.
While the adversary, as an angel of light, has deceived by misrepresenting circumstances and falsehood, there were many whom he could not seduce by worldliness or by spiritual pride. His successes on a small scale first, showed how many leading brothers despite remonstrance, would give up principles for expediency, and this paved the way for a bold stroke, which should if possible, destroy the testimony to the Spirit's unity.
Satan has so far succeeded in his attack on keeping the unity of the Spirit. What shame, what humiliation marks the solemn and painful story. Then what remains for faith today? As ever there is a path for individual fidelity. It is the plain course of the old confession, only to be held with more rigid guard, lest further declension come in. The love and care of the Lord have kept the feet of a few, and have given escape and success to faith. To His name alone is all the praise. It is theirs now to go on more lowly and dependently. lest a new snare deceive them, and they be 'spoiled.'
v 'Narrow is the way' - the Lord has given no word to widen it.
v 'Let no man therefore judge you' } each soul for himself must get more
v 'Beware of deceitful workers' } closely to the Word and own ministry
v 'Shall a man bring you into bondage' } only as it leads him to it.
v 'not forsaking the assembling of - the fewer they are, the more value is each
v ourselves together' joint of supply.
The claims of the truths at the head of this paper have grown, not diminished, in importance by present testing. They flow out of the fullness of Christ for us: and as we link them up with Himself, our joy in Him will grow too. and fie will make them effective in us. They belong to 'the apostles doctrine'.
'But they make you so narrow' - they are the Lord's will.
'But you assume too much to yourselves by all that' - Our only assumption is counting on Him for power to obey
'But that is too high a standard for the present time' - until the Lord lowers the standard, faith will not.
'But difficulties are vastly greater than 50 years ago' - were they 100 fold more so 'greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world'.
Nehemiah's path on his mule was blocked by ruins. Did he therefore give up Jerusalem? Nay, but his words are: 'see the distress ... come, let us build.' etc.. and presently despite the despised remnant with him, kept there the Feast of Tabernacles better than Solomon in all his glory.
[Do not these considerations of yesteryear have a voice to us today?]