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this last to leave his glorious state, and become as one of us,* and in that lowly estate being as a servant rather than a prince among us, he paid our ransom and set us free, and thus we are his possession, first by right, and next by conquest, and anon we shall be his in his visible presence, by a union as close as that of the members of one body to the head. I Nevertheless, for the trial of our faith and patience, and that we may all by experience know what the thraldom is from which he has redeemed us, he has judged it right in his great wisdom to leave us for a time under the visible government of the prince, his enemy; for, as he has said, My people have made to themselves another Lord ; let them bear his yoke awhile, and bend to his dominion-let them bend till their shoulders are galled-let them wear his livery till it fall in rags from their backs; and then perhaps they will hearken unto my call, for “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.'
“ But," added my uncle, “I should tell you that although the government in this place is not carried on according to the Lord's principles, and though the rule is not in the hands of his servants, yet since the coming of the Lord to redeem the people, there has been always in this house a sort of imperium in imperio, or kingdom within kingdom; or I should say, a party which, although seldom having any of its members placed in a seat of government, has always exercised so strong an influence that the adverse party are obliged more or less to accommodate themselves to what they call their prejudices; hence this castle is always called by the name of the Lord, and all the public deeds and papers are made out in that name. The steward, as yet, has never dared to do other than call him Master, and make some sort of reference to his authority, even when doing the things which he knows to be most contrary to his will. Formerly, that is before the Lord
**For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John iii. 16.
+“Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high-priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” John ii. 17.
1“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Ephes. v. 30
paid the price of our redemption, this was not the case with us, for then the enemy was more openly acknowledged; but since that time, the followers of the Master have always had more or less influence in the house ; though as to making a head and obtaining any thing like rule or power in this place, we have not attempted it, or if we have attempted it, we have always failed, * -and for this reason, that it is not the time for the revelation of the Master's kingdom. It is to be a hidden and a secret one for the present, and we are commanded in the letters to be patient and submissive to the powers that be ;f being content with that we have, and waiting quietly for the glory and happiness which is promised to us when the Master comes, I for we know that our Master lives and reigns, and that we shall see him and stand before him even in these our servants' garbs. And you, my nephew," he added, “you will then be among the number of those blessed ones, since you have been called to the service of the Lord, and have been set down in the Master's roll of his servants; hence I fear not but that you will be helped to do that which is pleasing in his sight."|||
My uncle then proceeded to inform me, that although the Lord's party had no visible head in the house, yet they were not without a friend who secretly comforted and directed them in all cases of trial. “This person," said he, “whom we call the interpreter, is one of whom I dare not lightly speak, inasmuch as his power, his glory, and his honour are equal with those of the King of kings. He knows all things belonging to the Lord, and is ready to explain the written will of the Master, to all who are willing to be instructed. But,” con
* “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-holds.” 2 Cor. x. 4.
+“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Rom. xiii. 1.
I“ And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter v. 4.
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” Job xix. 25.
II“ According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Eph. i. 4.
q“If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide
tinued my worthy relation, “inasmuch as this holy per son is spoken of in my Lord's letters, I refer you to these for a further account of him, lest by using my own words I should darken counsel without knowledge. Nevertheless, I wish to tell you that this sacred interpreter is shy of the pomp or assemblies of men, and seldom mingles his counsels where there is a display of human wisdom."
My uncle then proceeded to speak of the manner in which the Lord had been treated, when he had last appeared among the people, telling me they abused him, and covered hini with injuries ;* and having dwelled on this subject till the tears had gushed from his eyes, he suddenly, as it were, changed his strain, and spoke of that which was his hope and consolation, viz. the return of the blessed Lord in the latter days; "and these,” continued he, “are the latter days which are come upon us; and these are the signs which are given to the faithful by which they may know them: for, whereas in old age the natural body gives evidence of speedy dissolution, the various members refusing to perform their offices ; so in the old age of the body politic, the signs of dissolution are equally apparent, and the members no longer holding to the head, the whole body begins to fall to pieces, and to dissolve into distinct and separate atoms; then is corruption engendered, and the political death is completed: and see we not all these things at hand? men begin with denying the Lord that bought them, and next they rebel against delegated authorities, and these things being come, we see the signs of the end of the present dispensation.”+
" Then,” replied I, “it is to be understood, that the Lord has in some sort resigned his authority in this place to his enemy for a while, in order that his own
with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth ; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John xiv. 15–17.
*“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John. i. 10, 11, 12
+“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1 Tim. iv. 1. .
servants may learn to know the difference between his dominion, which is that of love and kindness; and that of the enemy, which is the reverse.”
“ Understand," replied my uncle," that it was the deliberate act and deed of the vassals to sell themselves to another master; and that it was also by the free will and pleasure of the Lord that the means were provided for their salvation from the final and terrible consequences of their rebellion; but, inasmuch as if he that is the Lord had chosen immediately to remove every inconvenience consequent upon our rebellion, for we have all been partakers therein, we should not only not have known by experience the nature of the slavery from which we have been rescued, but should also have wanted that exercise of faith and patience which is one means used by superior wisdom to prepare us for the glory and happiness which is to come.”
“ But,” said 1, “I do not understand wherefore I, who have been called to the service of the Master in these latter days, am to suffer for offences committed before I was born.”
“ Because,” replied my uncle, "you are a descendant of those who rejected the Lord; you are of that rebellious race, and when you know yourself, you will understand, that if it depended on you only, you would be as forgetful of the Lord, and as prone to all evil from henceforward even unto the end, as you have been from the period of your birth until the moment in which you received the call to his service.”
" This is what I cannot understand," I replied. “ Which proves," returned ny uncle, “ that those exercises of faith and patience to which you will be called in this house are necessary, in order to bring you to a knowledge of yourself, and to a proper sense of what the Lord has done for you. Moreover, I tell you that the Lord will not return to take things into his own hands, until every individual who shall be called into his service has endured such exercise under the present state of things as shall be thought right by the Master; and until then, that is, until the last of these is brought into a state of preparation for the glorious appearance which we are admonished to expect, we must remain in a sort of bondage under our present rulers ;* and then, and not till then, will the Master come. Though the day and the hour are not known to any one, * yet we are assured, that whenever it does come, it will be a day of rejoicing to all those among us who have been brought to place our trust in him, and in him only. We know that we are his, and that our redemption has been paid, and that we shall be accepted through him; and therefore we wait in hope, and trouble ourselves no further with the concerns of this household than as they retard or promote, as far as we can see, the advancement of his kingdom in the hearts of his servants.”+
* “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." Romans viii. 22.
I was not in a state of mind to receive all these things at that time. I was chafed and angry, because I was not to have my good things immediately, and I replied with irritation, “And so, while the Lord delayeth his coming, we are to submit to those who are his enemies, who have usurped an authority not their own, and whom we cannot respect because they are usurpers.” “Those, replied my uncle,“ viz. the intendantf and the housekeeper, with others whom you will know by-and-by, originally ruled with an authority usurped ; but inasmuch as the Master does not choose to exercise his power to displace them, but permits them to keep their seats of authority, we may understand that those among us who really love our Lord and look for his coming
+ “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matt. xxv. 13.
† “ But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night ; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." i Thess. v. 1-11.
I “ Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world : if my king. dom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John xviii. 36.