Brethren Archive

A Regenerated Earth

by Henry Varley


THE very first petition ever uttered by the Lord is, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." It had reference, not to the times in which we live, nor to the times of the regeneration when the Son of God shall be King, but to eternity, when Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father. "Thy kingdom come" is distinguished from the kingdom of the Son of God. The will of God will not be done, in the Millennial age, on earth as it is in heaven. The will of God will be absolute on earth as it is absolute in heaven. When eternity proper is reached, there will be on earth, no deflection from the one supreme will of God, as in heaven, to-night there is one will, entire harmony, not one single being there out of accord with the will of the Holy Father. Our Lord’s mind was thrown upon that which was the ultimate purpose of sending Jesus Christ into the world. His eye was not fixed upon His own glory. It was the prayer of faith. Faith and the will of God run in parallel lines. At the very outset, the first word of our Lord in prayer has reference to that time when all in the earth shall be in complete harmony with the will of His Father. You may know that it is the Father’s kingdom by what follows: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Jesus Christ never would have uttered that prayer if it is not to be fulfilled. That is the prayer of faith, whether exercised by Jesus Christ or exercised by us. True faith and the will of God join----they are essentially equal.
I was carefully studying the Epistle to Titus the other day—-I have often done it; but I find the more you study the Bible, the more it repays you. It is like a gold mine—-you need to get into it and work very hard, to turn up your sleeves, take your mattock (a hand tool), go to work, and get out the precious gold for yourself. Be assured you will find many precious things in the Word of our Father in heaven. Read Titus ii. 11, 12, 13, and iii. 4, 5. "Regeneration" there stands for redemption, cleansing and partnership in the divine nature, which result to us from the power of the grace of God. The word "regeneration" is only twice used in the New Testament. The result of regeneration, practically, is not a condition of absolute sinlessness in the subject, but it teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, and leads us to look for the appearing of the blessed Lord. The other use of the word is in Matt. xix. 28, where it has relation, not to a change effected in the individual, but it is predicated of the great and fundamental changes which are to be effected by the Lord Jesus Christ in relation to the earth. Is it not obvious that the very thoughts which belong to the use of this word in Titus, have a very similar application here, when used by our Lord Jesus Christ? Indeed, the word was first used by our Lord and, afterward, by the Apostle. The Lord is distinctly and obviously referring to His kingdom, which shall exist on the earth----the Millennial age. He has to appear in order to the inauguration of that age, as the grace of God appeared in order to the preparation of the blessed ones for that age. Thus, while the grace of God is fitting us, by regeneration, for the times of the glory when He comes, His power to regenerate shall fit this earth as the scene for the glorified ones. I do not say that the saints of God will dwell here. It is clear enough that we shall be incorruptible in the Millennial age; and though we shall reign with our Lord, over the earth, I doubt not the incorruptible home will be the dwelling place of those who, having the incorruptible life, will have the incorruptible body then. I do not understand an incorruptible life in a corruptible body. We have the incorruptible life; we are waiting for the incorruptible body. The incorruptible inheritance is that of which Christ said: "I go to prepare a place for you." The chief characteristics of our times are the opposite of the three words, soberly, righteously, godly—-intemperately in dress, drink, pleasure, desire for gain, in everything comprehended in that word; unrighteously, comprehending all manner of wickedness; ungodly, to a frightful extent.
Since we last met, I have been in America; I have not come back enamoured of American democracy. I think the conditions there are very terrible. Spiritual life is a very superficial thing. The churches are not healthy. You will perhaps be appalled when I tell you that in the year 1884, no less than 3,377 murders were committed in the United States. There are about 700 persons here to-night. You would have to fill this building five nights with different persons every night, before you get the total of one year’s slaughter by murder in the United States. In England, there are thirty-seven millions of population, and I suppose that in 1884, there were not 150 murders. I have preached in a prison in the States, and, walking down a corridor, I found twenty-three murderers, one after another, in the cells. Another terrible collateral fact is that only 111 of the year's murderers were brought to capital punishment; the law was practically ignored, or lapsed; or the men got off by money; or there was failure through miscarriage of justice. There is not a city in the United States where the Sunday issue of the newspaper is not by far the largest edition.
We are waiting then, for the Regenerator, who comes in kindness as well as in wrath. We need to be careful, though we know of the impending darkness, not to give a false view of the condition of things. Whoever sees the time that intervenes ere the coming of the King, will, I believe, see a glorious harvest for Christ. When we rise to meet Him in the air, we are not to be a handful, but a multitude that none can number. I rejoice that my Lord has so distinctly spoken concerning the times of regeneration. The days are coming when the peoples of the world shall live soberly, righteously, and godly. In the Millennial age, it will not be a condition of absolute sinlessness; but we read that, if, in that age, a man dies at one hundred years old, he will be counted to have died as a child, and to have forfeited his life for sin. Under the theocratic sway of the Lord Jesus Christ, hiding of facts will be impossible. There will never be good government so long as there is difficulty in getting at facts; and because Jesus Christ knows the facts, He cannot be put off. I like that Millennial Psalm xciv.—-"He that formed the ear, shall He not hear? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not He correct?" It will be no use for sinners to hide themselves then. Sin will not be popular as it is now. Thank God for the testimony of His word concerning the grand times of "the regeneration."
When Jesus was here before, the handmaid of my Lord was miracle. There are more intelligent, intellectual men in England to-day, giving up faith because it is full of the supernatural, than at any other period of England’s history. They say, "During the past thousand years, we do not hear anything about miracle." We believe that God has been silent—-that is our position. We do not say he has breaches in natural order. God is not dealing now by sudden and miraculous interventions as when Christ was here; but it was the common order of the life of our Lord to have constantly recurring breaches in natural sequence. Here, for example, is a leper. My Master is full of health and purity. He speaks, and leprosy departs. The palsied man is healed by His Word; Peter’s wife's mother, sick of the fever, is healed at once; the blind receive their sight; the lame walk. The first magnificent miracle after our Lord had ascended, praise His Name! is the walking, the leaping, and the praising in the Temple, of the man who had never walked before in his life. Glory! I feel like shouting 'hallelujah!' like Billy Bray, indeed I do! We shall have done with the waste places of the earth.
God is doing the best He can for man as a sinner. He cannot do much with a sinner, who must, in the nature of things, get worse. It is a very bad look-out for the sinners here to-night. You will be worse in six months’ time than you are to-night, as certain as this building is in the position it is. If I hold a diseased potato in my hand, or a tainted joint of meat, and tell you it is going to get better, you will not take that as a fact; yet there are no end of bad sinners in London believing they are going to get better, "believing a lie." Would to God we had the power to wake up the consciences of those bad men and women. If I am speaking to a girl who is giddy and self-willed, she will be worse six months from to-night. I pressed this fact upon a young Jew. He went down to my friend Burns, and said, "Can I have a little private conversation with you?" Mr. Burns took him into the parlour. The young man said, "I have been hearing Varley preach in Islington to-night, and, if what he says is true, it is high time something be done in my case. He said a youth who is bad must get worse, and I have come to ask you, is it true?" "It certainly is so." "What can I do? I am bad enough." Mr. Burns prayed with him, and had the joy of bringing the Gospel before him. I am not sure that he was converted; but I do believe we need to rouse sinners to this fact. When the Lord Jesus Christ has been manifested, as He has, to bring life, healing, health, where disease has hitherto been; life where death is perhaps holding sway to-night, we may well long for Him. It was miracle that took Him up into heaven; it is miracle that He begins with, when His blessed feet shall descend upon the Mount of Olives. Recurring breach of natural sequence marked His life on earth. It shall be so again. Thrice only did He raise the dead when here; but when He comes in the air, His clear lovely voice will say, "Come forth!" and millions, whose bodies are crumbling into dust, shall hear and obey His voice. There will be no room for the sceptic after that. Surely the Spirit of the Lord has wonderfully defensed us against the sayings of these times, "Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." The fathers—who are they? They do not know them. This is a thrust at the integrity of God’s witnesses—-the writers of the Bible. "Who are the fathers? What we want is the certainty of the nineteenth century. We want the latest science, the best educated men." Ah! beloved friends, He is coming, and when He comes, He shall bring by His wrath—-for, remember, He comes in wrath----and by His power and kindness, He shall bring to this disordered earth the power that shall make it to blossom even as the garden of the Lord. May He bless the testimony of this word to all our hearts, and may we get additional power to go forth and serve Him from to-night, and His name shall be glorified.


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