The Believer Established -by CA Coates
Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
There is one thing about the epistle to the Romans which makes it differ from other epistles of Paul, and that is, the fact that, in this unfolding of the truth, he takes nothing for granted, but begins at the very foundation. When writing to the Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, or Thessalonians, he was writing to people among whom he had labored, and we find references to what he had taught them before; and though he had not seen the Colossians, yet Epaphras had told him so much about them that he could assume they were established up to a certain point.
But in writing to the Romans he merely alludes to the fact that it was notorious in all the world that there was a company of believers at Rome. They were Gentile converts, but Paul had never seen them, and having to write a letter of commendation for Phoebe who was about to visit the imperial city, he takes the opportunity of unfolding to them “the gospel of God. . . concerning his Son” from the very foundation.
He will not “build upon another man’s foundation”; he prefers to lay it himself, conscious of the special grace that was given to him of God: and in unfolding these foundation truths his desire was that the believers at Rome might be established according to that which he calls “my gospel.” See chapter 1:11; 16:25.
You will notice that the verse I have read in chapter 15:13, comes at the end of the doctrinal and practical part of the epistle. Many interesting personal remarks and salutations follow, but the apostle ends his teaching at this verse, and it appears to me that this is the goal to which he is aiming to conduct us through this epistle. I want to point out to you this evening the course by which this goal may be reached, but before doing so I would like you to settle it in your heart that it is the will of God that you should be filled “with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” I believe if you get nothing else in this meeting but a sense in your soul, by the Spirit, that it is the will of God you should be in the condition here described, it would be an immense blessing to you, for you would go away with an exercised and longing heart, and if you hungered for them God would fill you with these good things.
Have you reached this goal? Are you filled with all joy and peace in believing? Are you abounding in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit? Or have you stopped short of this blessing, into which God designs to bring you now by His Spirit? If you have not reached it I trust that the Lord will give you a word direct from Himself, that will point out the hindrance and help you over it into this wonderful blessing!
Now let us look at the course by which this goal is reached! It seems to me it is like a steeplechase or a hurdle race; that is, there are fences or barriers which have to be got over, and it is at these fences that so many are stopped in their progress and fail to reach the goal. This epistle shows us the fences, and how to get over them.
To begin with, let us suppose that a sinner—an ordinary man of the world—gets a distant view of this wonderful goal. “Filled with all joy and peace!” he says to himself, ‘That must be perfect happiness! Nothing in the world has ever filled me with joy and peace. And though I do not quite understand what abounding in hope means, it sounds very nice. I must go in for these things.’ He sets out to run toward the goal, but very soon he is brought to a dead stand by a fence so thick and high that he may well despair of ever getting over it by his own efforts. If you want to know what it is you must read Romans 3: 9–20.
In the first two chapters of this epistle we find three men. In chapter 1 there is an awful portrait of a corrupt heathen who has thrown off all the restraints of natural conscience, and, turning even from the revelation of God in nature, has abandoned himself to the license of his own lusts. In the early part of chapter 2 we have a moralist, who can tell everybody what is right and wrong without being any better than others himself. In the latter part of the same chapter we have a religious man with a Bible, and a knowledge of the true God and of His will. So that we have
(1) an open profligate sinner;
(2) a moralist;
(3) a religious man
—three men representative of every class of the unsaved—and all brought to a stand by the fence in chapter 3. No. 2 might have said to No. 1, “I’m a much better man than you”: and so he was in many respects outwardly. No. 3 might have said to No. 2, “You do not know the true God, and you have not got His word, but I worship Him in His temple and I have His word”; and it would have been true. But all three are stopped by this terrible fence—“all have sinned.”
Have you ever come to this fence and found your sins standing as a terrible barrier between you and blessing? How is this awful barrier to be surmounted or removed out of the way? Will repentance do? Or reformation? or prayers? or good works? or sacraments? Nay; for none of these things, nor all of them together, can atone for sins. They cannot reduce the height, or the thickness, of this dark barrier by one hair-breadth. We are utterly powerless to put away sins, therefore help must arise from another quarter or we are for ever undone. The God against whom we have sinned is the only One who can remove this great obstacle to our blessing.
“Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 3:24.
Grace is the source and spring of a full and free discharge from the burden and guilt of sins. If you ask, What is Grace? I answer, it is the boundless love of the heart of God going out to sinners, and acting for their blessing though they deserve nothing but judgment. But divine love must be a righteous and holy love, and God would not clear away our sins in an unrighteous way. He could not make light of the guilt in which we were found, hence His grace could only reach us “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” A stupendous work has been done by Jesus on the cross to glorify God about sins, and believers stand before God on the ground of that work clear of every charge. It may be asked, How do we get the good of that work? Two short sentences from verses 25, 26 supply the answer—“through faith in his blood.” “him which believeth in Jesus.” God justifies from every charge of guilt the one who has faith in the Person and work of Jesus.
In chapter 4 Abraham and David are brought in as illustrating the principles on which God can justify a sinner faith in one case and repentance in the other. Psalm 32 shows that when the sinner uncovers his sins God covers them. “Hid ” in verse 5 is the same word as “ covered ” in verse 1. The repenting sinner acknowledges his sin to God, and does not cover his iniquity, but confesses his transgressions unto the Lord. He makes a clean breast of everything; in his spirit there is no guile. He condemns himself but God justifies him, and he tastes the blessedness of having his transgression forgiven, his sins covered, and righteousness imputed to him without works.
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Works have no place in connection with this matter, and boasting is excluded when. we see that “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” chapter 3: 28. It is evident that if justification is by grace it must be of faith, “otherwise grace is no more grace,” chapter 11:6. Then you will observe how the Holy Spirit brings in the thought of God known as the God of resurrection.
God was He “ who quickened the dead,” verse 17, and was known as such, at least in figure, by Abraham, so that “he considered not his own body, now dead . . . neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” This leads on to the declaration that righteousness shall be imputed to us if we believe—not now in Jesus, but— “on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” The One who bore all our sins, and glorified God in enduring and exhausting the penalty attached to them, is clear of them all. They are entirely gone, to the perfect satisfaction of God, and the One who bore them is raised from the dead. He is in a condition where He cannot bear sins or be charged with them anymore, and the believer counted righteous by God is as clear of sins as Jesus is. It is thus that “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And while we rejoice in this, let us not forget what goes along with it. The One who bore all our sins is now as the Risen One in unclouded favor with God. He ever was, as to His own Person, the peerless Object of God’s favor; but as the Risen One—the Accomplisher of redemption—He now stands in God’s favor with a perfect title to set us in it also, and “by whom also we have access by faith into this grace (favor) wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” The one who has entered upon this by faith has passed the first great barrier, and has made a good start towards the goal.
I remember when I got past the first fence I thought the course would be clear right away to the goal. But it was not long before I came to another difficulty which, for two or three years, seemed to be more insurmountable than the first. It was this. I found that evil was present with me, even when I had the strongest desires to do good; and, though I longed to be holy, and devoted to Christ, I often found myself carried away captive in the grasp of sin. I made many efforts to get over this by reading the Scriptures, by prayer, by self-examination, and by resolutions and determinations. But all was in vain. There was a terrible evil within that would harass and hinder me, and throw me down in the mire in spite of all my efforts to go on to the goal. How could one be “filled with all joy and peace” while he was tormented and held in bondage by an evil power that was continually too strong for him?
From chapter 5:12 to the beginning of chapter 8 this epistle is occupied with the second fence. It is not a question of sins, but of sin. The matter to be considered is not our guilty actions and the way to be cleared from them, but our sinful self and deliverance from the law of sin in our members. A certain man clings to us; go where we will he follows us; and he is continually tripping us up. If we could only run away and leave him, what a relief it would be! I have heard of a man who made up his mind to go out of the way of temptation that he might lead a perfectly holy life. So he built a hut in the middle of a wood, took a supply of bread and a large jug of water, and sought to shut himself up where no evil could follow him. He shut the door with great delight, rejoicing to think that he had left the world and sin outside, and he was so happy that he fell on his knees to thank God that he was delivered at last. Alas! in the act of kneeling down he kicked his water jug over, and something came out of his lips which was neither thanksgiving nor prayer! With a sad and disappointed heart he got up and went home, having made the discovery that his greatest enemy was a man from whom he could not run away.
I see that many of you quite understand an experience like that. We have to learn that as children of Adam we belong to a bad stock, and this is a very different thing from being convicted of the guilt of our sins. It is of vital importance that each young believer should learn this lesson. I do not mean as a doctrine. A theological student went to an old professor of divinity and said, ‘Mr. So-and-so, I have found original sin in the Bible.’ ‘Have you found it in your own heart?’ was the old man’s reply. It is one thing to believe that the Bible says the children of Adam are a bad race; it is another to learn by our own experience that we belong to that race.
From the twelfth verse of Romans 5 the subject considered is that of two heads, and two races connected with those two heads. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. . . Therefore as by the offence of one (or, by one offence) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (or, by one righteousness) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” It is very solemn to consider that before Adam became the head of a race he was a fallen man; he had committed an act of disobedience, the consequences of which extend to every member of his race. We are involved in the results of that act, and we learn the reality of this, as I have said, by our own experience. But over against this solemn fact is the blessed fact that God has brought in another Head.
This new Head is Jesus Christ, who before He became Head accomplished a certain great act, the effect and benefit of which extends to all His spiritual race. He accomplished one great act of righteousness when He died upon the cross. We have already seen how God dealt in righteousness with our sins, but when Jesus went to the cross He was there for sin as well as for sins. See Romans 8:3. That is, He represented before God the sinful condition into which the whole race of Adam had been plunged by the fall. The only way in which God could righteously deal with that corrupt and fallen race was by closing its history in death. The race—that order of man— will not do for God, and the death of Christ is the great act of righteousness in which it has been judicially brought to an end before God, that we might be brought into blessed life and liberty in connection with another Head—Jesus Christ, the risen and exalted One.
But we should have a poor and shallow idea of the meaning of this great transfer from Adam to Christ if we only learned it as a doctrine; hence it is necessary that we should learn its importance and blessedness from our own experience. Therefore we may be sure that no person has really understood what it is to be “in Christ,” or known the liberty which “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” confers, if he has not passed in some way through the exercises which are detailed for us in Romans 7:7–24. As soon as one is born again there is a desire to be holy and to live to God, and there are more or less earnest efforts to live up to our light. It may be that the soul sets itself to keep the ten commandments; or tries to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and walk as He walked; or attempts to carry out the divine instructions given in the Christian epistles. The more intelligence of divine things that one has, the higher the standard will be to which he will seek to attain.
But however sincere the desire, and however perfect and exalted the standard, the result is a total failure. The soul has to learn three things:
1. “ The law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.” verse 14.
2. “If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law, that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me,” verses 16, 17.
3. “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing,” verse 18.
With a perfect standard, and an earnest desire to be up to it, he finds himself in fleshly bondage. He discovers that, in spite of all his good desires, he is so under the power of sin that he cannot be what he is honestly attempting to be. Then, further, he realizes that the sin which holds him in bondage dwells in him; and lastly he comes to the conclusion that not only does sin dwell in him, but that as a man in the flesh there is in him nothing but sin. At the same time you will notice that he learns to make a very important distinction. He finds that there is a new moral being in him which he calls “the inward man,” according to which he delights in the law of God, consents to the law that it is good, and has the will to do good present with him. He identifies himself with this new moral being, and reaches the conclusion that “If then I do that which I would not . . . it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” He makes a distinction between himself as born again, and sin that dwells in him. This is an important point in the soul’s experience.
The next thing after learning the nature of the disease is to discover a remedy, and this the exercised one diligently attempts. He makes strenuous efforts to subjugate and restrain the evil and to promote the good, but without success. He finds a law that, when he would do good, evil is present with him; and though he delights in the law of God after the inward man, he sees another law in his members, warring against the law of his mind and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members (ver. 21–23). He knows the evil that is in him; he is most anxious to subdue it, but finds that he has no power.
This reduced him to a state in which he can only cry, “O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” He ceases to attempt, or to look for, self-improvement. He gives himself up—that is, as a man in the flesh—as being a “ body of death,” and he looks for a complete deliverance out of that order of life in which he finds himself as a child of Adam.
Chapter 8 supplies us with a perfect answer to all these painful, but most necessary, exercises. If we have passed through the different stages of dissatisfaction, disappointment, disgust, and despair as to ourselves, we are ready to welcome the infinite grace that gives us title to take our place on the new ground that we are “in Christ Jesus.”
We see a great deliverance effected for us by God through Jesus Christ our Lord. We now understand the meaning and value of the statements in chapters 6 and 7, that “our old man has been crucified with him,” and that we have become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that we should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. We are thankful to see that the death of Christ is the judicial end of our history as children of Adam; and to know that we are now entitled, and have power by the Holy Spirit, to reckon ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
In chapter 8, verse I gives us the new position; verse 3 shows us the righteous ground on which God could set us in it ; and verse 2 indicates the power by which alone we can take, or hold, it. It is not the power of a firm resolve, or even of a fervent prayer, but the power of the Holy Spirit. You will observe that in verse 9 it is said of believers, “ ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” The presence of the Holy Spirit is that which gives character to our new state as Christians, and when we get on to the lines on which He would lead and keep us we are in power and liberty.
The one who is “in the Spirit” can say, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” We must be on the line, and in the current, of the Spirit in order to stand fast in liberty. If He has brought us to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus He would certainly ever maintain us in that reckoning. He would lead us ever to yield ourselves to God as alive from among the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness to God. By Him we should be enabled to put to death the deeds of the body, which are only sin if it acts in virtue of its own life; and we should thus present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. This is the way of deliverance and liberty, and we are maintained in the power and joy of it as we walk in the Spirit. If we allow Him to control and lead us, we may be quite sure it will be on these lines. Hence these things become a practical test as to whether we are walking in the Spirit, or after the flesh. May God awaken our hearts to the immense importance and blessedness of being thus on the line of the Spirit’s leading and power!
Now we must pass for a few moments to the consideration of another difficulty, which often proves a great hindrance to being filled “with all joy and peace.” You will find it spoken of in chapter 8:18, as “the sufferings of this present time.”
I have known believers who got on very happily as long as there was not a cloud in the sky, or a ripple on the wave, and to hear them talk you would suppose them to be above everything that could come to them down here. But when a touch of domestic or personal affliction comes, their confidence seems to fail. The moment squalls come they are ready to hoist a signal of distress, and sometimes wonder why God has laid such a heavy hand on them, and why they are so hardly dealt with.
Many believers are not filled with all joy and peace in believing, and are not abounding in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit, because they have not yet surmounted this third great obstacle. And depend upon it, young Christians, sooner or later you will find out that this is a time of sufferings. You may have yours in one way, and I may have mine in another, but I do not believe there is one in this company who has been quite untouched by “the sufferings of this present time.” We all have them to face, but God would have us to go through them in such superiority that they should not hinder us from being “filled with all joy and peace.” How can this be accomplished? I think Romans 8:16–39, supplies the answer.
1. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
We are not dependent upon what people call Providence for the assurance of God’s favor. It is not our happy circumstances and surroundings that bear witness with our spirits that we are God’s children, but the Holy Spirit; and His witness cannot be disproved by any amount of “sufferings of this present time.” Then, if we are children and heirs of God we are brought in, through infinite grace, to share the portion of Christ—“joint heirs with Christ.”
There are two sides to this wonderful partnership with Christ—suffering with Him, and being also glorified together. Could you expect to have a better time of it in this world than Christ had? Think of what it was to Him to pass through a scene where sin had defiled and desolated everything!—where every sight and sound that met His holy eye, and fell upon His ear, told of the wreck of that fair creation over which Adam had been set as head! All! That blessed One tasted, as none else could taste, all “the sufferings of this present time.” He knew what it was to hunger, to thirst, to spend His strength in vain and for nought, to look for comforters, and find none, to feel the bitter scorn and hatred of enemies, the more cutting treachery of His “familiar friend” in whom He trusted and the denial and desertion of those whom He loved so well; not to speak of the unutterable burdens that pressed continually upon His heart as He “took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses”—feeling in His Holy spirit the full weight of every disease and infirmity that He removed by His power. He was indeed, as the prophet so touchingly says, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
He felt everything that sin had brought into the world, and you have to feel something of it too. You are called to “suffer with Him.” Does not that put a wonderful aspect upon all the sufferings?
2. “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.” God has set before us a glory which so outweighs all the sufferings that no comparison can be instituted between them. He will presently bring us into a scene where everything is according to Himself; and in the meantime, while we are still linked by our mortal bodies with a creation which groans and travails in pain, He has given us the Spirit as the Firstfruits and Earnest of that glory. And though we may often be encompassed with circumstances and afflictions in the midst of which we can only groan, because we know not what we should pray for as we ought, the Spirit helps our infirmities and makes intercession for us, according to God, with groanings that cannot be uttered. God has taken care that in the midst of the sufferings, and in relation to them, there should be something in our hearts by His Spirit that is perfectly according to Himself.
3. Another thing which has great power to establish our hearts as to “the sufferings of this present time” is the knowledge of the purpose of God. Read verses 28–32. If we do not know what to pray for as we ought, we do “know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Look at this marvelous chain of divine grace! Foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, glorified! A golden chain reaching from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, and between the two dipping down into every sorrow and every bit of suffering, turning all to good, and using all as means to the end of an eternal result in glory! So that in presence of all the sufferings we can say, “If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
4. From verse 35 to the end of the chapter, every kind of trial and suffering is marshalled before us—everything that the power of evil could bring upon us is brought forward, only to establish the glorious truth that none of these things, nor all of them together, can separate the believer from the love of Christ, or from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. So that in the face of every possible trial he can triumphantly exclaim, “In all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.” If Paul and Silas had endured all their sufferings at Philippi without murmuring they would have been conquerors. But they did more than this. They could sing in the midst of it all; they were “more than conquerors.” They had learned that, in spite of the sufferings of this present time, they could be “filled with all joy and peace in believing,” and they abounded in hope “through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
There is one more great hindrance that often accounts for the fact that believers are not in this fulness of blessing; indeed, it is perhaps the most solemn and dangerous of all the hindrances that we have considered; and that is conformity to the world “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable and perfect will of God,” Rom. 12:1, 2.
Here we have the natural and proper effect of all that has gone before in this wonderful epistle coming out in practical result. These two verses are descriptive of a man who is “alive unto God.” He intelligently presents his body a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God. Do you not think that every effort of Satan would be put forth to hinder such a result as that? And how does he go to work? By the subtle, and generally unperceived, introduction of principles and motives that are not of God at all. The elements and principles of the world, craftily disguised and often hidden under Christian names, are brought in, and by a slow, but certain, process the believer becomes conformed to the world upon which he professes to have turned his back.
Conformity to the world is the most terrible and fatal hindrance to the people of God, and has proved through long centuries the blight and ruin of the church. Did you say in your heart, I am not much in danger of being conformed to this world? My brother, if you say so, I am afraid you are very much conformed to it already. Remember it is not so much the outside world that the Holy Spirit has here in view as the inside world—that world which a man carries in his own heart. You may wear the plainest dress, and shun everything which is outwardly known as worldliness, and yet be thoroughly conformed to this world.
Allow me to suggest for your consideration that from chapters 12: 1 to 15: 7 we may learn what it is not to be conformed to this world. At present I will content myself with the indication of seven particulars, which will suffice to show you that the exhortation against conformity to this world has a far deeper and more searching application than is sometimes supposed.
1. “I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith,” Rom. 12: 3.
2. “ Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate,” Rom. 12:16.
3. “Be not wise in your own conceits,” Rom. 12:16.
4. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves. . . Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,” Rom. 12:19–21.
5. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers,” Rom. 13: 1.
6. “It is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand,” Rom. 13:11, 12.
7. We ought “not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself,” Rom. 15:1–3.
I commend these seven particulars, and the whole of the chapters from which they are taken, to your prayerful consideration, as I believe it is only so far as these lovely traits are found in us that we are “not conformed to this world.” You will observe that all the points have to do with the state and condition of our mind, rather than with anything that is outward.
Hence the exhortation is, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Depend upon it, if there is this inward renewing, it will bring a great change over our whole appearance and deportment, but the transformation must begin within. One thing I am sure of, that you will neither be filled with all joy and peace through believing, nor will you abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit, if you are conformed to this world.
Now we come to what I have called the goal of the epistle. The believer who has peace and deliverance, who is more than conqueror in all the sufferings of this present time, and who is not conformed to this world, must and will be filled “with all joy and peace in believing.” Then you cannot help noticing that all through the epistle the result of God’s grace is to put the believer in a condition of Hope. When he is justified and has peace with God he rejoices “in hope of the glory of God.” Then in chapter 8, when he is in spiritual liberty, he still has a body connected with the old creation, and he looks for the moment when God will quicken that mortal body by His Spirit; he waits for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body; he is saved in hope; his salvation is nearer day by day than when he believed. In a world of God’s enemies, and in a creation which is blighted by sin, the believer must be in a condition of HOPE. He cannot make himself at home in such circumstances. But in this condition of hope he finds himself thoroughly at one with God, who reveals Himself as “the God of hope.” God puts Himself alongside us in this condition of hope into which His grace has brought us, for He is hoping too. He is looking forward to that day of glory which will display in full splendor the counsels of His grace, and He would have us in communion with the expectancy of His own heart.
He would fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we might abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is, He would give us now, by faith and in the Spirit’s power, such a full portion of heavenly joy and peace in our hearts that every link with the present order of things would be broken, and our souls would be filled with bright anticipation of that glory, in which our surroundings and our bodily condition will be in perfect harmony with the joy and peace that fill our hearts We should thus “abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” This would be the effect of Paul’s gospel, if we were established in it, and there is One who is of power to establish us according to that gospel. May this full blessing be the enjoyed portion of each one in this company! May God bless and establish each one of us, to the glory of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord!