Biography of Charles Andrew Coates (1862-1945)

Charles Coates

Charles Andrew Coates (affectionately known by his initials CAC) was born in Bradford, England, on the 7th. Dec. 1862. He died in Teignmouth, Devon, on 7th. Oct. 1945. For many years he broke bread in Rebecca St. Hall, Bradford.   C A Coates never enjoyed robust health and the many occasions when he was laid aside through illness were put to good use in prayerful meditation and the study of Holy Scripture. One of the many books that CAC wrote, “The Believer Established,” was a great help to the writer of these notes [and also to myself – Sosthenes].

A story told about C A Coates is well worth repeating. Some brethren were gathered together to consider the sad case of a brother who had been declared bankrupt. They all expressed how sorry they were for the brother’s plight. Coates placed a £10 note on the table and said, “Dear brethren I am £10 sorry. How sorry are you?” A good practical example and it is to be hoped that it was readily adopted.

Early in life  C A Coates showed that he had poetical ability. When he was 16 years old he composed this poem on his conversion:

Henceforth my lips and pen
Shall seek to spread His fame:
My hands and feet shall swiftly move
To glorify His Name.

I seek no earthly place;
My joy is all in Him;
My thirsty soul shall drink no more
From fountains stained with sin.

And when He takes me home
To gaze upon His face,
More loud, more sweet my soul shall sing
The riches of His grace.

Charles Coates has three hymns in ‘Spiritual Songs (1978)‘ – SS78 below.

In the 1962 and 1973 Little Flock hymn books there are

161 Son of God, with joy we view Thee (No 310 in SS78)
293 Thy grace, O Lord, that measured once the deep  (7 in SS78)
431 No act of power could e’er atone, (359 in SS78)

Source

I have excluded the opinions of the writer of STEM pubblishing.  The link will point to the original text.

For more information and notes refer to the biography section of ‘My Brethren’ – again any opinion is that of the late author of that site and not necessarily shared by the owner of this site.

J B Stoney Condensed – Acceptance and Deliverance

In the eye of God the man under judgment has gone in judgment. But you are not in liberty until you are delivered from the body of this death. ‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’

Am I enjoying Acceptance and Deliverance?

Romans 5 and Romans 8

Based on the First of Eight Readings in Edinburgh in 1895. See Ministry of J B Stoney New Series Vol 6 page 297 (Published by Kingston Bible Trust)

 

When the prodigal’s father covered him with kisses, he could not doubt his reception.  He did not make his intended proposition: ‘Make me as one of thy hired servants’ (Luke 15:19).    You are justified when you believe that God has raised Christ from the dead.  In the eye of God the man under judgment has gone in judgment.  But you are not in liberty until you are delivered from the body of this death. ‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:2).

Romans 5 is acceptance, and the Holy Spirit given: Romans 8 is deliverance.  The Holy Spirit tells me that God loves me, also tells me that I have life in Christ (see  Romans 8:2) Before then I could not be truly happy.   I was happy when I looked up to God, but mererable when I looked at myself, conscious of my unfitness.  I saw that ‘that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing’ (Romans 7:18), then I cried, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ (v.24).

We see it with Israel.  They were out of Egypt, but it was only near the end when they looked to Spirit  (Numbers 21).  That was after they had learned their wretchedness.  It took 39 years before they saw the brazen serpent.

  1. The blood – you are sheltered from judgment.
  2. The Red Sea – you see a way through by the death of Christ
  3. The brazen serpent – you know that you are in Christ, and live
  4. The Jordan – you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world.

The Father’s House with the Best Robe

Then you can enjoy the Father’s house with the best robe.  It is joy unspeakable!

In answer to a question ‘Do you say that peace is not enjoyed till we know that the old man is crucified?’, Stoney took a more positive response.  Instead of concentrating on the old man, he looked to enjoying of the great supper, and making merry which you can do only if you are in liberty [*].  A sailor said he did not mind any weather so long as he could see the sun.  You must keep your eye on Christ.

If our old man has gone on the cross we would not be occupied by ‘holiness by faith’ teaching.   If the old man has gone in the eye of God in the cross, then it should be gone from my own eye.  I change my man: ‘not I, but Christ liveth in me’ (Galatians 2:20).   There are two sides; one, that you are cleared in the eye of God in the cross; the other that you know you are in Christ.  Then you are free: ‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:2) .  The flesh is set aside as you walk in the Spirit.  You must accept the fact that you have died with Christ.  To this you are committed in baptism.  The mark of a man walking in the Spirit is that his body is a living sacrifice (See Romans 12:1).

[*] My take on this is that we should be occupied with what the Lord has done, and not whether we are crucified with Him.  Enjoying the merriment in the Father’s house stops us being occupied with what we are naturally.  Occupation with whether we are crucified with Him, is occupation with self.

Two Short Biographies of James Butler Stoney

Glory is my impression

 

1. By our late brother Gavin Simpson

 

James Butler Stoney

James Butler Stoney was born in Portland, County Tipperary, on May 13, 1814, and when only 15, he entered Trinity College Dublin to study for the Bar. In 1831 during an outbreak of cholera, he was taken ill, and his first thought was “How can I meet a holy God?” Alone, he threw himself on his face and cried to the God he had heard of as a boy, who alone could receive the chief of sinners because the “Crucified One” was at His right hand. A long sleep restored him but he had been “born again.” “No more law for me,” he said, “I’ll be a witness to grace”—the grace that could only be revealed from glory for sinners. He joined the Divinity Class at the same College and completed his studies but was not ordained. During this period he spent time studying the Scriptures. 

 

He married Mary Frances Elwood in Dublin in 1838. She was a daughter of Robert Elwood of Knockadoo County Roscommon in the West of Ireland. They spent their early married life in County Tipperary and County Mayo in Ireland and at Gooding Lodge, Pembrey (near Llanelli) Carmarthenshire. They had one daughter and four or five sons.  The daughter, Anna, was the eldest child (1839 – 1932). By 1871 they had settled in London living at 23 Lonsdale Square, Islington. In 1901 they were at 106 Falsgrave Road, Scarborough. 

 

Mr Stoney did not go abroad to serve God, as far as is known, as did J N Darby and others, such service being limited to Great Britain and Ireland, but for almost 60 years he served God actively and faithfully. Besides his oral ministry, he “contributed to a number of Christian periodicals”.  For many years he edited and contributed to one called ‘A Voice to the Faithful.’ 

 

He served in a series of bible readings in Edinburgh in October 1895, and following these meetings he had a fall. He was indisposed until his death on 1st May 1897. His daughter wrote a diary of his closing days which is entitled “From Glory to Glory”.  It covers the period of his life from his return from Edinburgh until his death.  At one point she read to him the notes of the Bible reading at Edinburgh on the Priesthood of Christ, then contained in ‘A Voice to the Faithful’ (see JBS vol 6 p. 315.) and she was deeply touched to see how his own words, almost his last words in public, are being made true to himself now. He said at the end of the same reading “It is the time you spend with the Lord that is everything to you” (vol. 6.] p. 324.) 

 

Mr Stoney continued to serve the Lord and his people even while indisposed. There is a section in Volume 3 of his letters giving details of his communications whether written, dictated or spoken during this period.  He did so until two days before the day of his death. Details of his burial are not available except that he was buried in Manor Road Cemetery, Scarborough. His widow and Anna continued to live at Falsgrave Road until Mrs Stoney died on 30th April 1902. 

 

In reading his ministry you feel that he had a distinct impression of the Lord’s greatness and that he was in the gain of what he ministered. On one occasion his daughter said to him that persons were saying servants have a special line or impression given by God.  She asked him “What is yours?” he replied “Oh, I think Glory is my impression”. 

 

Mr. Stoney said “I did not know Mr. Darby until after he was in Plymouth in 1833. After leaving the University, I went to stay with him at a brother’s house at Cork, where I was his constant companion; and just to give an idea of the truth that came out, I mention an attempt of mine to compose a hymn, entirely a new idea to me, as a divinity student, raw from the University, and before I was twenty. You may see from this how very clearly was brought out the fact that our place is heaven, and that Christ is our Head there.” The verse is quoted below so that those who read this may share the impress which prompted him to compose it. 

 

HARK! happy saints! loud lift your voice, 

Tell to the world how we rejoice –

Yon heaven is our home.

There lives our Head with glory crowned;

And we as for His kingdom bound,

All cry – Lord Jesus, come!

J.B. Stoney (1814-1897)

In 1865 he composed a poem entitled ‘REST’ . . . which shows how near he was to God.

See http://adayofsmallthings.com/j-b-stoney-rest/

 

Extracted from the preface to ‘Encouraging Words – Extracts from the Ministry of J B Stoney’, by Gavin Simpson, published 2006 by Stone Publishing Trust, Sevnoaks, Kent http://www.stonepublishingtrust.org.uk/index.html

 

2. From ‘Chief Men Among the Brethren’

JBS Grave – New stone in 1970’s

JAMES BUTLER STONEY was born at Portland, Co. Tipperary, on 13th May, 1814. His father was a strict Puritan and his mother (nee Butler) equally strict from a different point of view. Her four sons remarkably answered to her culture in mind, in address, and in manner of life. They had private tutors, and lived in a country home, with only country pursuits and pleasures

 

J.B.S. entered Trinity College, Dublin, at fifteen, taking his place at 70 out of 92. At nineteen he was Senior Freshman and well up in Classics and Law. His first religious impression was as a boy, when the Rev. Baker Stoney, Rector of Castlebar, the friend and fellow-worker with Mr. Nagle of Achill, came to Portland.  At family prayers he read Acts 9, and dwelt on the fact that God’s salvation was so great that He could send a “light out of Heaven” to arrest one soul, and in that light was seen a Saviour in the glory of God for a man on earth who was stamping out His Name from the earth. He saw that just One and heard the voice of His mouth (Acts 22 and 26).

 

The youthful mind is “wax to receive and marble to retain, ” and he never lost the sense of the revelation in Christ of the “kindness and love to man (philanthropy) of our Saviour God” (Titus 3. 4). But the ambitions and joys of youth left little room for serious thought. He was eagerly following his studies for the Bar; all his prospects in life depended on his success at the Bar.

 

In 1831 men were dying of cholera all around in Dublin. He was suddenly taken ill, and his first thought was, “How can I meet a holy God ?” The agony of his soul was worse than that of the body. He rang for his servant to go for the doctor. “Thomas, I am afraid I am dying. ” “Surely you are, sir, ” said Thomas. Alone he threw himself on his face, and cried to the God he had heard of as a boy, who could receive the chief of sinners because the “Crucified One” was at His right hand. When the doctor came he was exhausted and appeared dying, but quite calm he said: “Jesus will have me. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

 

A long sleep restored him, and he was soon able to return to his studies. But he had been “born again,” born for a new world, new hopes, new life. “No more law for me,” he said. “I’ll be a witness to grace, ” the grace that could only be revealed from glory for sinners.

 

He joined the Divinity Class at Trinity College, Dublin, where there were really good men at that time, but he had to wait nearly four years. He could not be ordained until he was twenty-four years of age. His family were very angry; his uncle would have nothing more to do with him; as his fine talents and opportunities were being thrown away for a curate’s pay.

 

But during those four years he was studying the Scriptures with all the earnestness of a soul that had learned that unseen things are for eternity, the seen things of this life passing away. As he studied the Epistles he found that the “gifts” for ministry in the Church of God were given directly from the Ascended Man to each one, so that by Christ’s own appointment one became an evangelist or a teacher, etc. (Eph. 4). *He would not wait for a curacy; he would go out at once into the highways and hedges and invite sinners to come to God’s great salvation: “Come, for all things are ready. “

He wrote a little book called “Discipline in the School of God,” dealing with the Old Testament characters, and contributed to several periodicals. He spoke somewhere every day and travelled much. A fervent, impressive speaker, he anxiously avoided anything like eloquence, feeling that the Spirit of God was the only power for holy things.

 

J.B.S. died on 1st May, 1897, just before his eighty-second birthday. God was his exceeding joy to the end—while telling of Him he gently fell asleep. He rejoiced to say:

‘Tis the treasure I found in His love
That has made me a pilgrim below
.”

                       From J N Darby – A Song for the Wilderness

See the original article at:

https://www.brethrenarchive.org/people/james-butler-stoney/

 

When I look at this place, He is not here; and when I look at myself naturally I am not fit for Him. How happy then to know that I belong to the place where He is; and that through grace I have been made suited to Him in that new position; so that I set my mind and affection there, as the place where my deepest joys are realised.”– J.B. Stoney
.

 

Rest, J B Stoney

Rest J B Stoney

God finds, Thou Spotless One, in Thee
Where all perfections dwell,
All that His heart could wish for me,
More than my tongue could tell.
He finds me ransomed, righteous, fair,
Where all His joys transcendent are –
He finds me perfect for His praise,
His glory through eternal days.

Oh, strange that I should ever leave
Such place of rest in Thee;
That I should e’er Thy Spirit grieve,
Or from Thy presence flee.
To turn to creature joys for rest
Is but to wander from Thy breast;
Yielding to sin’s enticing snare
But robs my sweet abiding there.

Oh, keep me then, most blessed Lord,
Abiding in Thee still,
In deep communion, through Thy Word,
Thy life in me fulfil.
Dark shadows here are all around;
I’m only safe as in Thee found;
Soon, and for ever on Thy breast,
Shall be my sweet, eternal rest.

James Butler Stoney 1865.

A Personal Message: What shall I do?

How should I continue with ‘A Day of Small Things’.

Recently we had some dear friends to stay with us.  On the Saturday evening, one young lady was not her normal ebullient self.   She was coming up for her secondary school graduation exams (‘A’ levels), and was asking the question, ‘What shall I do?‘.  She had so many options – subjects and places at university, or would an apprenticeship be better?  Of course, we encouraged her to seek help from the Lord.

This gave our friend the subject for his preaching on the Lord’s Day.  Many in scripture – even God Himself – asked the question: ‘What shall I do?’ (Luke 20:12).  Also, we have a young rich man who wants salvation through his own works (Mark 10:17), a fool who relied on worldly wealth (Luke 12:17) and Pilate asking a frenzied crowd (Matthew 27:22).   Then there was a servant of the Lord recalling his conversion asking the Lord for the first time.  He was to find an answer amongst the Lord’s people (Acts 22:6).

That brings me to my question, ‘What shall I do?

I have been working on ‘A Day of Small Things’ for about six years.  The site has some 500 articles including over 80 summaries of the works of John Nelson Darby.  I could go on producing summaries and have a couple in my in-tray.  But largely I am repeating what has already been covered. I have limited time and strength, and of course, do not know how long I have remaining, but I desire to use my writing skills to God’s glory.

I edit some ministry for publication under the series ‘Today if ye will hear His Voice’, but my question is: How should I continue with ‘A Day of Small Things’.  I am therefore asking you, my dear Christian readers, for guidance.

  1. I can continue with JND articles, but as I say that is repeating.
  2. I could work similarly on other servants’ works, such as that of the oft-maligned Frederick Raven, or that servant with an outlook to heaven James Butler Stoney.
  3. I am also conscious that there are many dear believers dissatisfied with the institutional structures of sectarian Christendom and desire to find a living ministry – what belongs to the Lord’s assembly, what sees the Christian calling as a heavenly one and who are looking for the Lord’s return to rapture His saints. reaching them without retorting to the world’s methods is a challenge. But I would like to reach more.

After some prayer I have felt that our eyes need to be lifted up – so for the next few weeks, I hope to work on some of the ministry of J B Stoney – Steps in Light, Acquaintance with Christ, Acceptance and Deliverance etc.  I trust that this will also be of encouragement to my younger readers. I believe JBS was only about 20 when he wrote:

Hark! happy saints! loud lift your voice,
Tell to the world how we rejoice –
Yon heaven is our home.
There lives our Head with glory crowned;
And we as for His kingdom bound,
All cry – Lord Jesus, come!

Little Flock (1962, 1973) Hymn No 7

J B Stoney was the author of ‘‘Discipline in the School of God’

A good selection of extracts from his ministry was compiled by our late brother Gavin Simpson: ‘Encouraging Words’ published by Stone Publishing Trust

I welcome your suggestions.

In grace and in the service of our blessed Lord

Daniel Roberts

–    This time I’m using my real name – not ‘Sosthenes’!

–    daniel@roberts.at

 

JB Stoney Condensed  – Steps in Light – No1.  Salvation

‘Salvation’ is often misused, for it is looked at generally as only what I am saved from, while in Scripture it is also what I am saved to.

 

Condensed from a series of addresses by James Butler Stoney given in 1887.  See Ministry of J B Stoney New Series Vol 1 page 1[i]

 

The word ‘Salvation’ is often misused, for it is looked at generally as only what I am saved from, while in Scripture it is also what I am saved to.

There is a significant difference between the two: If I am occupied only with what I am saved from, all I enjoy is relief from misery and judgment.  However, if I am occupied only with I am saved to, I have the hope of the gospel and the full joy of the Father’s house.

 

The Thief on the Cross

In 1 Thessalonians 5:10 it says of the Lord, ‘Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him’. Salvation places me in glory with Him. We see this from the thief on the cross. His eyes were opened, and he saw the just One suffering for the unjust.   He saw Jesus as King and said, ‘Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom’, but the Lord said to him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise(Luke 23:42-43).

Christ’s work transferred the thief from the lowest, deepest, darkest place of misery ever known to man – crucifixion for crimes for which he was condemned, into the brightest, holiest, most blessed place of unimaginable happiness with the Lord. His death did not entitle him to enter Paradise; Christ’s death obtained it for him.  That is the completeness of transition – and Christ has done it!

 

God’s Presence and Heaven Experienced Now

Two great spheres of blessing are shown in type in Exodus.  They are:

  1. The Tabernacle
  2. Canaan

We can say that hat the death of Christ procured them both, and they converge in the Father’s house.   In the tabernacle we have a travelling companion (the presence of God) in the wilderness.  This means that and we can approach Him now, accepted in Christ.   This is the true tabernacle in Hebrews 9:24 – the Lord Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, has passed into ‘heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us’.  I have entrance into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus, and I get there in all the perfection of the One who brought me there.

The other sphere of blessing is Canaan – heaven: that is the very brightest place.  I am ‘seated in the heavenlies in Christ’, ‘accepted in the beloved’(Ephesians 2:6 and 1:6 ).

Approach to God Now

Every Christian expects to go to heaven when they die, but many Christians do not understand that they have the right to God’s presence now[iii].   I can enter the holiest of all, where all is suited to the holiness and righteousness of God, a scene of spotless purity and light.  I can enjoy all this blessedness while on the way to heaven because I am among those seated in the heavenlies in Christ (see Ephesians 2:6).

There are four aspects of the death of Christ from Egypt to Canaan.

  1. The Blood on the lintel – shelter from judgement.
  2. The Red Sea – the death and resurrection of Christ.
  3. The Brazen Serpent – freedom from the law of sin and death
  4. The Jordan – our death and resurrection with Christ

The death of Christ secured all of these at the same time.  However, like the Children of Israel who learned them over a period of 40 years, I do not learn them together.  The Holy Spirit makes my heart know what Christ has done one step at a time.

Paul’s Reception

The thief on the cross entered into Paradise, and his own death had divested him of the encumbrance of the old man in a moment: he was free because he died that day.  We may have years to live, so are not free of the encumbrance as the thief was.

It is not necessary to have died though, to be free from such an encumbrance.  Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 12:2 of a ‘man in Christ’.  The Holy Spirit led him to the third heaven to show him what the work of Christ had accomplished.  It was in a greater place than Paradise, and he was received there.

A man dreamed that he went to a great palace and was received well at the door; then he went in, and at each successive room he was better received. At last he entered the presence-chamber, and there he was admitted with acclamation.  It is more than that with the man in Christ!  The apostle Paul was taken at once into the very highest place, received in the most amazing way, and treated most intimately.  However, could not tell anybody about it, because words could not describe it, they were forbidden to utter.  Here was a man walking about this world with the secrets of God in his heart which he could not disclose to anyone.

The progress through these rooms is like ‘the light of the glorious gospel of Christ’( 2 Corinthians 4:4 ).  The light shines from the place I am going to, though I see it from where I am: it leads me to the finish.  My income for the journey comes from there; the Holy Spirit comes from there.

In this life we are outside of death, and while passing through this evil world, we are superior to it through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit has been sent down from our glorified Saviour, making us superior to the power of evil, and filling our hearts with joy, the joys of heaven to which we belong.

 

The Prodigal’s Reception

The prodigal son would have been content with being a hired servant.  Covered by the blood of Christ, but without the full appreciation of the Father’s heart and the Father’s house I become satisfied with human joys and relationships – an earthly Christianity.  But this often disappoints.   However, the Father’s thoughts were far greater.  From the way he was received, I learn the full nature of my salvation:  my presence in the Father’s house is not simply for my own benefit.   It is to satisfy God’s desire: His delight is in having me there.    We see the Father’s pleasure in the reception of the prodigal: ‘It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.’ (Luke 15:32).   As the One who loves delights to have the one who is loved in His company, so the Father delights to have me, and His love is divine.

This salvation has been secured in the death of Christ. I have heaven even if I am not there yet.   Christ’s work has placed me in two great blessings: the presence of God, heavenly joys. ‘They began to be merry’, (Luke 15:24)) – they began but did not cease[iv].

That is why the reception of the man in Christ was so cordial and so full. If it was the characteristic of the apostle Paul and the prodigal, it could be true of every believer. Every believer now has a home in the Father’s house[v].

 

The Christian’s Hope

Luke’s gospel shows me that I am not saved for earth but for heaven. The natural man connects joy with temporal things; even Christians are often disappointed because they look for joys in the wrong place: they are trying to derive their happiness from the earth. However, I am to derive everything from the place where joy never ends: I get my joy from heaven!  I am not alone: we live together with Him (see 1 Thessalonians 5:10), as Peter says, ‘Joy unspeakable, and full of glory’. (1 Peter 1:8).

In John 7:37-38 I learn, not what I am saved from, but what I am saved to. ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water’.  I have something in His life that is beyond death even though I am still in this scene of death.   We have these joys in the power of the Holy Spirit, who has come down from the glorified Christ to acquaint us with the joys of the place from which He came.

There were for Israel three feasts in the year:

  1. The Passover – for us this represents the death of Christ
  2. The feast of Pentecost – the descent of the Holy Spirit, and
  3. The feast of Tabernacles – the millennium (not yet fulfilled).

What we have is even more than what the saints will have in the millennium.   The presence and power of the Holy Spirit make us rejoice more than the earthly feast of Tabernacles.  He enriches our hearts with Christ, causing us to know all the joys of the Father’s house. That is the great supper: I am not there yet, but I get my joys from there.  I get jyy67home comforts before I get home; my income comes from there.  God does not have an earthly people now[vi]; we are a heavenly people, with heavenly joys.

Christ has accomplished our salvation. He has obtained great blessedness for us, and we know it now.

 

Sosthenes

March 2019

 

[i]Obtainable from Kingston Bible Trust, Lancing, England or from Bibles etc. Wheaton IL, USA. Downloadable from Ministry Search Engine

 

[ii]Commentators have tried to put the comma after ‘today’, to make out that the blessing was future; but he received the blessing that day.

 

[iii]Not just by prayer

 

[iv]It is not simply for my benefit that I am there, but God has a delight in having me there. The Lord here was working out the will of the Father; He says after his conversation with the woman in John 4, ‘I have meat to eat that ye know not of’, and ‘My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work’. (John 4:32-34)

 

[v]We have a great supper in Luke 14:16-24. That was in the Father’s house (as in chapter 15), not in the land of Israel.  The feast is Wisdom’s feast, and that is in the Father’s house. How wonderful the present enjoyment that I derive from that which has been obtained for me by the death of Christ!

 

[vi]Jewish believers are in the assembly and are amongst the heavenly people.

Changes to ‘A day of Small Things’. – What do you Think?

February 2018 – A Day of Small Things has been going almost five years.  It is time to take stock, see what the Lord has prospered and what He has not, see what Christians have shown interest in.  It is also time to brighten things up.  I hope you like the changes.  Please email me, sosthenes@adayofsmallthings.com , to suggest improvements.

    1. I’ve changed the template. I hope the new one is cleaner, brighter and easier to follow.
    2. I’ve added a drop down menu at the top, like many other similar sites.
    3. I’ve made some changes to improve ‘SEO’ so more find the site. However the best way of increasing is introduction.  I’ve made it easier to do this.  Here it is.
    4. I’ve switched from Bible Hub to Ministry Search Engine for the scriptures. This shows the KJV and Darby versions in columns, like the 1890 Parallel Edition.  I will still use Bible Hub for the Greek original etc.  I will also use Ministry Search Engine for the ministry of JND and others.
    5. Instead of ‘For Christians in Perilous (or Dangerous) Times, I’ve added, ‘Who are waiting for Jesus’ Call at the Rapture.’ This reflects a change of outlook – from the negative side (still necessary) of judging the errors of ‘systematised Christianity’ to the positive enjoyment of gathering simply, as at the start of the dispensation, as they turned ‘to serve the living and true God; and to await his Son from the heavens, whom he raised from among the dead, Jesus, our deliverer from the coming wrath’ (1 Thess 1:9-10).   Those who moved out of ‘system’ in the early 1800’s, experienced the same.  What gripped them was the Head in heaven (Eph 1:22) and His body here (Eph 5:30), and the imminence of His coming to rapture His own (1 Thess 4:16), shortly thereafter to return to reign with us, His saints (1 Thess 3:13).  His coming is much nearer now!
    6. Whilst I will continue with simplified summaries, I have embarked on a new approach – J N Darby by Subject – looking at a subject, finding everything he had to say about it, then selecting portions, grouped in a logical way. The first subject was ‘The Passover’; the second ‘The Red Sea’.  With each subject I plan, with the Lord’s help, to write a single document covering Darby’s teaching on it.  I trust readers will find these useful and helpful

This process will take time – you will see the changes.

You will remember my letter last month: ‘The Lord’s Coming – Is that REALLY our Expectation?’  This was following an address in December on the Lord’s return.  How much better it is to be occupied with this, than with all the problems which beset Christians.

As J N Darby, who had his share of battles for the Lord, wrote in his poem ‘Fulness of Joy’

 

1.     O, bright and blessed hope!
When shall it be
That we His face, long loved,
Revealed shall see?2.     Oh! when, without a cloud,
His features trace,
Whose faithful love so long
We’ve known in grace;3.     That love itself enjoy,
Which, ever true,
Did in our feeble path
Its work pursue?

4.     O Jesus, not unknown,
Thy love shall fill
The heart in which Thou dwell’st,
And shalt dwell still.

5.     Still, Lord, to see Thy face,
Thy voice to hear;
To know Thy present love
For ever near;

6.     To gaze upon Thyself,
So faithful known,
Long proved in secret help
With Thee alone;7.     To see that love, content,
On me flow forth,
For ever Thy delight,
Clothed with Thy worth!8.     O Lord, ’twas sweet the thought
That Thou wast mine;
But brighter still the joy
That I am Thine!

9.     Thine own, O Lord, the fruit,
The cherished fruit,
Of Thine all perfect love!
No passing root

10.   Of evil e’er will dim
Thy cloudless rays;
But a full heart pour forth
Thine endless praise!

11.   Nor what is next Thy heart
Can we forget –
Thy saints, O Lord, with Thee
In glory met,12.   (Perfect in comeliness
Before Thy face –
Th’eternal witness all
Of Thine own grace),13.   Together then their songs
Of endless praise,
With one harmonious voice,
In joy shall raise!

14.   O joy supreme and full,
Where sunless day
Sheds forth, with light divine,
Its cloudless ray!

John Nelson Darby (1800-82)

Written 1879. Most of the above are in Hymns for the Little Flock 1962 and 1973 – No 160. Meter  6.4.6.4. usually sung as 6.4.6.4.D.

 

May you be blessed

Your brother in Christ

Sosthenes

 

PS We heard today of the home-going of the renowned evangelist Billy Graham.  Some may have criticised his methods, but we can be thankful for the thousands who have come to know the Lord through his ministry.  Let’s not forget to do the work of an evangelist.

 

Easy Darby

Easy Darby Synopsis, the 34 Volume Collected Writings, Notes & Comments, Notes and Jottings and his Letters simplified – J N Darby Simplified, Easy J N Darby

 JN Darby made easy?  Easy JND?

John Nelson Darby

Are you like me until recently (I have more time now I am retired).  You value the teaching of John Nelson Darby, but would like ‘Easy J N Darby’

The imminent coming of our Lord at the Rapture (See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), prior to the tribulation and His millennial appearing with His saints (‘pre-trib’ as they say).

The heavenly character of the Church or Assembly – ‘raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:6)

The recognition of the ruin of the church publicly, with national and sectarian divisions, clergy, human organisation, and much faulty teaching, and the call for a true Christian to ‘depart from iniquity . . . but follow righteousness, faith, charity [love], peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart‘ (2 Timothy 2:19-22)

You have seen (not necessarily read) his Synopsis, the 34 Volume Collected Writings, Notes & Comments, Notes and Jottings and his Letters.  Indeed you find it heavy going.  Darby wrote so much, so fast that he admitted he did not try to make it readable – unlike C H Mackintosh for example,

 

Easy Darby

So to help you – and it has been a help to me too – I’ve taken a lot of Darby’s writings and produced ‘Easy Darby or Darby Simplified’ – a more concise, and I trust, easier-to-read versions of some of them. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I have sought to be faithful to the original, omitting nothing salient, and conveying what that dear servant wanted.

So please:

  1. Delve into this site more by clicking here.
  2. Let us keep in touch with us by leaving your email address with us here

 

First to the Lord, and to us – Have we had it the Wrong Way Round?

Reading 2 Cor 8:5. ‘And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God’. , I ventured to suggest we have in the past put things the wrong way round. It came to me that we have been relying on all that good teaching, the meetings and our relationships with our brethren – and then we have attached the Lord to what we have set up. He has been gracious and supported us, but is He saying.

Dear Friends

 

First to the Lord, and to us

– Have we had it the Wrong Way Round?

If we desire to walk in the light of the assembly, we must always be mindful as to the One whose assembly it is.  I look over some of the things I have written over the past few years, even on ADOSS, and see how much I have been governed by a mind-set, structured in accordance with right scriptural teaching, but without the Lord Himself as my prime object.  What the Lord is looking for?  Soundness of teaching is important, but it is not the most important thing.  Being close to our Lord Jesus, and being true to Him, surely is.  Many true believers without the teaching have a much closer relationship with our Lord and Saviour than I do.

Paul teaching

A couple of weeks ago, I was writing to a brother, and the scripture came to mind in 2 Cor 8:5. ‘And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God’.   Interesting: ‘not as we hoped’.  Paul commended them for putting the Lord before them.  Paul would not have wanted them to be in a subservient position, so ‘to us’, I take to mean Paul’s teaching and the practical fellowship and service to the Lord.  That Saturday afternoon, a nearby gathering arranged a meeting for prayer to seek the Lord’s guidance, and I gave a short word, reading this scripture, and ventured to suggest we have in the past put things the wrong way round.  It came to me that we have been relying on all that good teaching, the meetings and our relationships with our brethren – and then we have attached the Lord to what we have set up.  He has been gracious and supported us, but is He saying ‘Put me first’

 

The Lord has given us an Opportunity.

It has been a very turbulent year amongst the Christians with whom we have been gathering.   I do not want to go into details, other than to say we concluded that the ground of their gathering was sectarian.  Many readers will be fully aware of what I am referring to.  Whereas we had been in an average-sized company my wife and I are now breaking bread with just one elderly sister.  Sadly, we felt we had to leave the gathering where we had been for 42 years and the brethren that we still love.  Having been found in the situation, we broke bread simply, in answer to our Lord’s request, based on two-or-three gathered together to the Lord’s Name, and seeking to call on the Lord out of a pure heart (Matthew 18:20 and 2 Timothy 2:22).

Next, were there others with whom we could share full Christian fellowship?  There are many gatherings nearby with sincere devoted lovers of the Lord Jesus, but are they gather on a sectarian basis, or are they run by human clerical organisation, or are they follow an open or independent path, not recognising the unity of the body.  We can share experiences with individuals there, but cannot have part with them collectively.   Thank God, we found three other gatherings, within an hour’s drive, with whom we can share full fellowship.  They may be small, and we are having to travel more, but we are learning to work things out in love, above all putting our Lord Jesus first.

As to the future, who knows?  God does of course, and it is for us to be with Him, and we are sure that Satan will attack.  In the early 1800’s, many believers in small gatherings were moved to leave the organised denominations, where clericalism and established form has impeded the operations of the Holy Spirit.  They did not know what the Lord was going to do, and that it would lead to a worldwide movement.  It was said at a recent meeting, ‘When we come to practical fellowship, it is not for us to make rules, but to test everything – Is it in accord with the death of Christ?’  It is for us, first individually, and then as we find others, to seek to be faithful to Christ in the power of the Spirit, to walk simply as believers.  Then let us see where the Lord leads.’

It is not an easy path.  We have not been promised it.  But it is a blessed one – and the Lord’s coming is very, very near!

 

‘Today if ye will hear His Voice’

My wife and I with some who had been through similar experiences (and a few others) met in Northern Ireland in October.  I believe the Lord showed clearly in those meetings that there is ‘another way’.   Accordingly, I have taken on the exercise of publishing these and other meetings. Under the title, ‘Today if you will hear His Voice.  if you would like a to receive this by email to you please click on the heading below.   The first issue was distributed last month – on ‘Seven – what is Perfect, and what is Maintained in a Day of Reduction’: seven months, seven bullocks, seven loaves, seven baskets, seven lamps, seven stars, seven assemblies and seven overcomers (Word by Martin Cook).   Two more issues are in the works.

Click here:

An interesting observation

I don’t spend much time on social media, but going for a walk yesterday I sat down and logged into Twitter on my iPhone.  Correspondence between two brothers with whom I correspond came up:

The first sign that Moses did was to turn water into blood – judgment (see Exodus 7:20). The first sign that Jesus did was turn water into wine – grace (see John 2:10-11). ‘For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ’ (John 1:17).

And … 3,000 die at the giving of the law, the first Pentecost (see Exodus 32:28); 3,000 given new life at the giving of the Spirit, the second Pentecost (see Acts 2:41). ‘For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ (2 Cor 3:6).

God’s blessings and greetings in our Lord

Sosthenes

 

What did John Nelson Darby and the Brethren hold?

Darby and the brethren held to all the fundamentals of the Christian faith:

There is one God, eternally blessed – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,.
The Lord Jesus was and is human and divine. He was born of a virgin and was raised from the dead and is now glorified at the right hand of God.
The Holy Spirit, having descended on the day of Pentecost, dwells in believers who are waiting for the promised return of the Lord Jesus.
The Father in His love has sent the Son to accomplish the work of redemption and grace towards men. Jesus, the Son, finished the work on earth which the Father gave Him to do. He made propitiation for our sins, and ascended into heaven. Now He is the great High Priest, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
As to the brethren, nobody would be received into fellowship who denied any of these fundamental truths, and any who undermined them would be excommunicated. They are essential to living faith and salvation, and to the life which all Christians live as born of God.

 

lefrancaisA summary by Sosthenes of a letter entitled ‘ A letter to the Editor of Le Français’ – published in J N D’s letters Volume 2 page 431.

In 1878 the editor of ‘Le Français’, a catholic newspaper wrote to J N Darby asking him about what he and the brethren held.  Although he did not like writing articles for newspapers, believing that they were not compatible with the Christian’s heavenly calling, Darby said, ‘I have given him in all simplicity what he asked for. He avowed himself a Catholic and devoted to Catholicism. His letter was simple and honest: I replied to him as Christian.’

 

A summary of his reply:

Darby and the brethren held to all the fundamentals of the Christian faith:

  1. There is one God, eternally blessed – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,.
  2. The Lord Jesus was and is human and divine. He was born of a virgin and was raised from the dead and is now glorified at the right hand of God.
  3. The Holy Spirit, having descended on the day of Pentecost, dwells in believers who are waiting for the promised return of the Lord Jesus.
  4. The Father in His love has sent the Son to accomplish the work of redemption and grace towards men. Jesus, the Son, finished the work on earth which the Father gave Him to do.  He made propitiation for our sins, and ascended into heaven.  Now He is the great High Priest, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

As to the brethren, nobody would be received into fellowship who denied any of these fundamental truths, and any who undermined them would be excommunicated.  They are essential to living faith and salvation, and to the life which all Christians live as born of God.

 

Darby’s early Christian Days

After John Darby was converted he spent six or seven years under the rod of the law, feeling that although Christ was his Saviour he did not possess Him, or that he was fully saved by Him.  He fasted, prayed and gave alms, but did not have peace.  He felt that if the Son of God had Himself forgiven him, he owed Him his body, soul and means.

At length God gave him to understand that he was in Christ, united to Him by the Holy Spirit.  Though he had always accepted that the word of God was the absolute authority as to faith and practice, God had now implanted in his heart the conviction of it.  Scriptures which bore on that were:

  • At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you’ (John 14:20)
  • He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit’ (1 Cor 6:17)
  • Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost who is in you’ (1 Cor 6:19)
  • There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus’ (Rom 8:1)
  • I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also’ (John 14:3)
  • Having believed, ye have been sealed for the day of redemption’ (Eph 1:13)
  • For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body’ (1 Cor 12:13)
  • Even when we were dead in sins, [he] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)’ ( 2:5)
  • Our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, who shall transform our body of humiliation into conformity to his body of glory’ (Phil 3:20-21)

From the above scriptures he deduced that the Holy Spirit has given us as believers the full assurance of salvation.  We have been set apart from this world, sealed to do God’s will here.  We are citizens of another world, awaiting the return of our Lord and Saviour.

 

The body of Christ is composed of those who are united by the Holy Spirit to the Head – Christ in heaven.  We are seated in the heavenly places in Christ, and are already there in spirit, just waiting to be actually place us up there, our bodies changed.

 

The Public Church

This brings us to the thought of the church and of its unity.

Let us look around we see how far we as Christians have got from what God had set up on the earth.  Where is the church?   Darby said that he gave up Anglicanism as not being it. In his early days he had been attracted to Rome.  But then he realised that the idea of a sacrificing priesthood down here was inconsistent with Heb 10:14-18  ‘For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. . . . Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin’.  As a result of the work of Christ, we have direct access to God in all confidence. ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.’ (Heb. 10:19).  Rome pretended to be the whole, but that excluded half or more of Christendom.  Protestant sects were divided amongst themselves – unity was not possible.  In fact, most of those who call themselves Christians are of the world, just as much as a pagan might be.

 

The Fall of the early Church

 

The church was formed on the earth at the descent of the Holy Spirit.  It ought always to have been clearly identifiable, as something distinct, separate from the world.  Alas this has not been the case.  The Lord foresaw this: ‘The wolf catcheth them and scattereth the sheep’ (John 10:12) but, thank God the same faithful Shepherd also said,  ‘No one shall catch them out of my hand’ (v.28).

The apostle Paul, bidding farewell to the faithful of Asia, said, ‘I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock, and of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.’ (Acts 20:29-30).  Moreover, Jude noted that deceitful men had crept in among the Christians, ‘Certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men’ (Jude v.4).  This would lead to apostasy, those inside the public confession entirely abandoning the Christian faith. ‘There are there many antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last time. hey went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us’ (1 John 2:18-19).

 

What the Faithful should understand

Paul tells us, ‘Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work (2 Tim 2:19-21).

The public church is a great house with vessels of all kinds: a call comes to the faithful man to purify himself from the vessels to dishonour.  In the next chapter he speaks of perilous times.  Men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud etc., but also ‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof’ (2 Tim 3:5).  They were evidently in the professing church, not pagans as in Romans 1.  And it goes on, ‘All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse’ (2 Tim. 3:12, 13); but true believers have assurance through the scriptures, given by inspiration of God, making them wise to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

At the beginning, ‘the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved’ (Acts 2:47)  Soon false brethren crept in, tares were sown, the house was filled with unholy vessels, from which the faithful were to purge themselves, persons with a form of godliness without power, from which the faithful were to turn away.

Evil in the church continued.  ‘The mystery of iniquity doth already work’ (2 Thess 2:7). The wicked would be destroyed by the brightness of His coming.  Elsewhere the Lord speaks of the good grain and the tares growing together until the harvest (See Matt 13:24-30).  We must distinguish between the work of Christ, and what is done by men – heresies and schisms.

However, the gates of hell are not to prevail against that which Christ has built. The enemy will never destroy what Christ has built (the church of God).  That is the house made of living stones, and the holy temple in the Lord (See 1 Peter 2:5 and Eph 2:21.  Alongside all that, the Word declares that where two or three are gathered to the name of Jesus, He would be in their midst. (See Matt 18:20).

 

The early Brethren

This is what Darby recognised.  Initially only four met together, not in a spirit of pride or presumption, but deeply grieved at seeing the state of that which surrounded them, and praying earnestly about it. Darby said they were not thinking of forming a new sect.  Indeed, they did not believe that the thing would have gone any further. They were just satisfying the need of their souls according to the word of God and found the promised presence of the Lord.

Independently following the same road, the work extended in a way they did not expect – in the British Isles, France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and on through the rest of Europe, the British Colonies, the United States, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.  As the gospel was preached, the Spirit of God acted, and produced soul yearnings that the established religious systems could not meet.

Those brethren rested on the authority of the word of God.  They saw our Saviour:

  • first as accomplishing redemption on the cross,
  • then as seated at the Father’s right hand, the Holy Ghost being down here,
  • and finally, as coming back to take His own to be with Himself.

These Christians had the full assurance of their salvation  They had faith in the efficacy of Christ’s redemption, and being sealed with the Holy Spirit, they were waiting for the Son of God to come from heaven without knowing when it would happen.  Bought with a great price, they felt bound to regard themselves as no longer belonging to themselves, but to please the Lord Jesus in everything, and to live only for Him.

 

The Brethren’s Walk

Whilst Darby had to admit that not all the brethren walked at the full height of the heavenly calling, they acknowledged the obligation to do so.  Brethren walked in a morally right way, excluding any who held heresy or engaged in immorality.  They abstained from the pleasures and amusements of the world.   Evening parties would be occasions of encouraging one another and discussing the word.  Brethren did not vote or get involved in politics.  They submitted to the established authorities, whatever they may be, so long as they were not called upon to act contrary to the will of Christ.  They took the Lord’s supper every Sunday, and those who had gift, taught from the scriptures and preached the gospel of salvation to sinners.  Everyone felt bound to seek the salvation or good of his or her neighbour, as they were able. Feeling that Christendom was corrupt, they were not of the church-world.

Asked as to how many such believers followed this course, Darby had no idea.  Brethren did not number themselves, wishing to remain in the littleness which becomes Christians. In any case, they reckoned as a brother or sister in Christ every person who had the Spirit of Christ.

 

Conclusion

What is the advantage of this course?  We acknowledge Christ as the Son of God and  know that we have been saved by Him.  In obeying Him, in spite of our weakness, faults and failures, we have as an indescribable source of joy.  Looking ahead, we have an earnest or advance of eternal happiness, with no failures, where our Lord will be fully glorified in all believers.

Sosthenes

November 2016