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Choice Quotes, Part 2

By G.V. Wigram

      Faith should be energetic, active: I am not to be merely musing about the glory; but the certainty of Christ's having apprehended me for it, is to set me looking right forward, pressing onward to the goal. What is feeling for Christ, if it does not separate the heart from the world? It is a different thing, saying, "I know the cross," and saying, "I have found the thing which I can go round and round the world glorying in, filled with astonishment and delight."

      God saw in the cross of His Son the only door by which he could enter to give blessing to sinners.

      It is very blessed to see the different thoughts the mind of Christ has, in different epistles, in connection with His coming. First, in Ephesians, He presents to Himself a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle, as the bride. Second, in Philippians, poor things groaning in vile bodies -- He will work in them, and change the body of humiliation into a glorious body. Third, in Colossians, life hid in Him, to be manifested with Him in glory. In a little while, He who is your life shall come forth, and you with Him. Fourth, in 1 John 3, the relationship, formed by Christ, of sons to the Father, and He will treat them as sons, they shall behold Him and be like Him, He will show Himself to them as He is.

      Departed saints have not yet got full blessing, but an immense step onward. The position of believers is not changed by death. They were waiting when down here -- they are waiting still in the separate state of glory with the Lord. There never was such a thought in connection with the first Adam, as the soul being in one place and the body in another. In the case of Stephen, we see how the Lord takes the soul at once to be with Himself; and all beloved departed ones (if they died in Jesus) are in the experience of that state. This meets the heart when sorrowing under bereavement, and tasting the bitterness which there is in the removal of such from earth. It is a bitter thing, and death is humiliating, having all plans broken up, and all natural affections rent in twain by it; but there is something deeper, which saints could not have experienced if they had not passed from earth into the presence of the Lord -- and that is the feeling all the sympathy of the Lord, when death came and carried them off.

      The Lord Himself shall come to take His people up to Himself. There is something inexpressibly sweet in the Lord Himself being thus brought forward; this Jesus who left the grave putting Himself in connection with the dead in Christ; the Lord Himself, the Son of man, rising up from that place of glory in which He was before as Son of God. The glory is all infolded in Him now, but soon to be revealed. The Lord Himself shall descend with a shout; the Lord's own voice, a blessed thrilling sound, heard by all His own, whether their bodies are in the dust or in life down here.

      The dead in Christ shall rise first. I would not let the word "first" be erased for worlds, because it is just what I always observe in the Lord, that is, His love specially going forth where there is the expression of weakness. I want that special love, my heart wants it in my weakness; but that is what my Lord is, that is just where His love flows forth.

      What a thought, that that Lord Jesus knows where to look for, and to gather up, every one of His own from the dust of death! Making the dust give up that which was laid in it, to make each one a body of glory, fashioned like His own, and to set each heart in His own presence and glory. The very highest point you can turn to, is the Son of man in the glory of the Father. Turn from that to the other utter extreme point, this Son of man rising up and coming down from that height, down to the dust, where Satan has been allowed to separate the component parts of the bodies of those that sleep in Him; each one of whom is to stand up as a witness of the truth that He is the Resurrection and the Life; each one starting up from the dust of death at the first word of Him, the First-born from the dead, the Firstborn of many brethren, and so shall we be ever with the Lord; that to my soul is so unutterably sweet, so divinely and perfectly gracious. What if God had made his Son head over everything, if He had not formed the hearts of His people for that Lord Himself! If He had once thrown the gates of heaven open, all that is in there would not be the volumes to my soul which I find in this word "For ever with the Lord." The thought that I have to meet the Lord Himself to be for ever with Him, touches the very quick of my heart. Ah! does that Lord who has loved me with so patient a love; and kept me with so holy a care, from the time He first gave me life, does He say," You shall meet Me"? And more than that, that He is coming down to meet me in the air? These eyes of mine shall see Him, these ears shall hear Him (the one who loved and gave Himself for me, putting forth this last expression of His love for those whom His Father gave Him before the foundation of the world). And this no transient meeting, but caught up to dwell for ever with Him. What did the dying thief know about Paradise? but he did know it was to be with Him on whom he had heaved his soul for eternity. I don't care where I am if with Him; everything is in that "with Him;" and it is just what we get in the intermediate state: absent from the body and present with the Lord. If I left the body, it would be to be with Him who is the teeming fountain of all the blessing now flowing down to my soul. If in the new Jerusalem, it would be a poor place without Him. What without Him would be all the brightness of heavenly glory? To me there is only that one thing -- I shall be for ever with Him.

      Am I happy? It is because Christ loves me and He is happy. Who, that is made one with the Lord, shall say, I am not blest, if Christ is?

      Ah! if we knew how to use Christ's experience, it would have a marvellous effect upon us. If in sorrow, we should not like to speak of it in the presence of Christ's sorrow; and so of joy too. And He has a large heart, and knows how to be the Giver of joy.

      The people of God may have to taste a little of the waters of death's dark river, but Christ went to the very bottom of it, and rose again, and is alive for evermore.

      If Christ is ours, he is a living Christ, and He sends messages and special ones by us. He may put it into the heart to go with the word of truth to some heavily burdened sinner, and the person may do it without a thought of having any power, until he finds from the effect that Christ has been using him as a connecting link between Himself and a people on earth. And so He also passes some word of comfort or truth, out of the lips of a saint, to the one who is needing it.

      What a Christ He is! How he watches to bless us! Is there something which is the one care of your heart, and is that one care to you half as much as you are the one care of Christ? You are not to think that His eye has not been on each one of us today. We little know how He looks on us as those given Him of the Father, a people for whom He has so well done what He has done, a people so identified with His own heart's affections. Ah! this Christ loves to hear His people speak of Him and for Him. He cares that a people down here should have something to say for Him, that they should be practical witnesses for Him down here. He has an acting as to this, which He distinctly will reveal if any are practically His servants. John had it, and it is the same with us now. You may have been dwelling on a passage of Scripture, speaking a word for Him, and did not Christ come in? You knew not how, but it was Christ. Christ willing to stoop down to the lowest extremity of His servant's weakness, to give that servant power to testify for Him.

      It is very blessed to see littleness like that of an infant in saints like John and Paul, to see them upheld by Christ every step of the way. To see Christ taking occasion of our littleness to show the exquisite graciousness that is connected with His Divine glory. We think of His glory, and not of His grace in that glory; every thing characterising the Lord is grace.

      All hangs on Himself, whether to sustain faith or to lead forth praise.

      We can turn to a man in heaven, and say, "There is Jehovah, the Saviour-God." What a height of glory in that salvation connected with God manifest in flesh! He at the right hand of God is the receiver from God of all that His people want. Not only when down here as the Man of Sorrows, was He a servant but in glory He is one, in all the offices which He is set there to fulfil. It is not only for me to know that I am a weak one and have no wisdom, but that there is a Man set there in responsibility to the Father, to care for weak ones. There was no question of Paul or John going on in their own strength.

      Christ has a special service for each saint. We often want to arrange things beforehand; but that is never Christ's plan, He expects us to look to Him to get the word which He wants us to speak, showing by that, that we believe He is a living person. We cannot see the hearts of those to whom we speak, but He can; He knows every thought of every heart, and we must look to Him for guidance what to say. If you are walking with Christ as a living Lord, you will find that He guides you in everything. He has all the feelings of a man, and is entering into all ours.

      How little our hearts love things according to their nearness to Christ! How little thought, we have of the preciousness of Christians because they are dear to Christ! We ought to love good things for Christ's sake, and not only for the dew that distils from them for our refreshment.

      Not till Christ had taken the place of the smitten rock, could we speak of the Fountain as being opened in heaven. Not only is He the Fountain of living waters, but He could say, "I and my Father are one; he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." He did not take the place of a fountain whence the waters flowed until seated at the right hand of the Father. And He is not only that, but in Him is the light of life. He is the light of men. The life I have, comes to me through the Son of man. He associates us with Himself in things that belong to Him as Son of man. As Son of God, He sits on the throne of God. I cannot do that. He has a throne given Him as Son of man. I can be there with Him. He cannot give me the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity, but He can say: "The glory which Thou gavest me, I have given them." Christ can put His people into that glory, but not into the glory of God, in which He is the object of worship.

      In the addresses to the seven churches, we find Christ laying hold of their hearts, as He does of ours now, by revealing some particular truth. And so in first quickening the soul. He revealed a particular truth and gave life to my soul.

      Christ never says that my flesh can overcome the world, but what He says is, that if I have faith, it will lay hold of what He presents, and I shall be a conqueror. It is faith in the word which Christ reveals to us that gives us the victory, and nothing else can do it. In remedying anything, He always proposes to give something: "I will give you to eat of the tree of life;" "I will give thee a crown of life," etc.

      In connection with His Divine glory as Son of God, He is a giver, and nothing is too great for Him to give. One of the most beautiful traits of the Lord's character is in connection with God as a giver, and all is given on the most magnificent scale, worthy of the Divine glory, blended with the most exquisite grace. He is in His own eternity; He knows the secrets of God, and He turns to me, a poor thing labouring in a very quagmire of difficulties, and says, "Look at that tree of life in the midst of God's paradise: if you overcome you shall have it." Can I slip away from that magnificent promise? Then again: "You are suffering, and called to pass through tribulation; but be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life."

      Who is this Crowner who can give a crown of life, and throw all its effulgence around them, just in contrast with the shadow of death? Ah! what is the death of the body, set in contrast with that crown of life, and with the not being touched by the second death? If I lay my head on my pillow and go up to glory, or, if like Stephen, I go up by having stones thrown on me; well, what death is that? Not the second death; and Christ is holding out the crown of life to me, and sheltering me from the second death. "I will give him a white stone;" Christ gives him a new name, whose meaning no one knows but Himself and he who receives it. There will be a secret between Christ and myself in glory, with which none shall intermeddle.

      What are the mistakes and failures of the Church, all put together, if they give occasion for the bringing out the sweetness of Christ's love? That Christ at God's right hand, now the Man of patience, once the Man of sorrows, and hereafter to be the Man of joy: three very different displays of Christ. In Christ down here -- the Babe in the manger -- despised, and rejected, and acquainted with grief, we see the Man of sorrows; and yet nowhere do we get such Divine glory as at the cross. And, as a sinner, what was I taken out of, and whither am I brought, by that cross? The next thought, where is the Christ now, whose death did it all? The answer is, "At the right hand of God; where, as the Man of patience, He has been waiting nearly 2000 years for the glory and the people -- His, as the meed of such service." And what is He doing? Why, turning to us, and saying, "I am occupied with you in the glory, I have an entrance into all your sorrows; turn your eyes up here, open your hearts to Me, let Me see everything; as a shepherd, I am occupied with each sheep, binding up each wound, making right each rent and tear in the fleece." But hereafter most blessed is the thought of seeing the One who was emphatically the Man of sorrows down here, as the Man of joy, "anointed with the oil of joy above His fellows!" But it is well often to think of Him as the Man of sorrows, in connection with what we are passing through. Heap, pile up, all your sorrows, till you can heap no more; then turn to Him whose heart brake in woe, and talk of your sorrows, and of all that has worn you down if you can, in the presence of that One who says to you, "Was there ever any sorrow like unto My sorrow?" Yet shall He be the Man of joy; and ah! is the thought of Christ's joy sweet to our hearts? Do You love to think that there will be no face so beautiful, no heart so bright and perfect in its joy as His? Nothing like His beauty! all the glory there will be but as the setting of that gem. And that new name of His shall be written on you; surely that ought to give a little patience as you pass along the wilderness, tried by the roughness of the way, as though He said, "Cheer up; only a little while more, and I will write on you my name of joy." Christ's heart is not fed with the externals of glory, but with the joy of serving God; it will be the joy of all the children being brought home whom God has given Him, -- the new name written on them, that will be Christ's joy.

      Do you want comfort? Nothing can give it so much as the thought of His coming. There may be sorrow in the night, but joy enough -- fulness of joy -- in that morning when we shall see Him as He is: fulness of joy in being like Him and with Him for evermore.

      As God, all glory is His; but as the God-man, there is something else, which nothing can satisfy save the having an answer to the perfect affections of His perfect human heart. "I will declare Thy name unto my brethren."

      It is a blessed thing for people to be brought into living connection with Christ Himself; if they sleep, He never does; if they fail, He never fails. He will be as tender and gracious as possible; but whatever He sees that the Divine glory requires, He will give an ear to hear on that point.

      You could never tell what Christ would have you to be about, but if you go with Him in everything, there will be consistency with the ways of Christ. If you go with self, you will find a stop.

      Nothing so enables the soul to separate between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the Spirit, as having the eye single for Christ. And if occupied with Him, it will be, "Lo, I come to do Thy will."

      When all smiles upon you, you may think there is no need to talk of such a thing as separation from the love of Christ; but if persecution were to come, and you were to be led forth to the fire, you would feel that that love of Christ is a VERY PRECIOUS thing.

      "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1). Who is this Lamb which takes away the sin of the world? Who is He, that Man of sorrows, coming into the world, and saying that He is able to take up the question of sin and settle it? No mere man could do that. Who then is this One? If we turn to the beginning of the chapter we shall find a whole string of glories as the answer, connected with that Lamb -- the Lord Jesus Christ. One has often seen persons carrying a string of beads, having so many prayers to go through in connection with each bead; and one has thought, Ah! if the glories of the Lord Jesus were seen by His people as a string of pearls, so that they knew how to count over those glories, what far happier hearts and faces the people of God would have! One cannot turn from titles of highest glory to titles of humiliation without seeing a depth of moral glory coming out, God having to stoop very low because going to touch this question of sin; He alone being competent to do it: "Behold the Lamb!" The words were like a living touch to the hearts of those who turned and followed Him. Their hearts were laid hold of by this Christ, this Lamb of God, who was drawing them to Himself. He is at work just in the same way now; people cannot tell how it is, but they are drawn and constrained to go seeking this Lord. They find Him melting their hard hearts, and they are drawn on to follow Him; still a man, though now in glory instead of being down here. He has left the door of heaven open, that the glory may be seen, and we can enter in through the rent veil. We can enter by a new and living way into the place where He is -- can follow Him into heaven itself.

      Unless the heart is on fire from having seen Jesus, how any little thing turns it aside from the glory of that Lord! How that little word "Nazareth" came between Nathanael and the Son of God! But when he sees Jesus, he finds that Philip has not said half enough, and falls down in worship at once. How one simple word from this Christ could unravel the deeper glory which Nathanael saw and owned!

      "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." Think of poor things like you and me sitting down before Christ as an open fountain, saying, "I am athirst;" and then your heart gets full of happy thoughts. You see another coming in, a poor, weary old saint, -- well, he gets happy too, Christ letting happy thoughts into his mind, and he begins to talk of those thoughts to a neighbour coming in. Such thoughts are a river of living water flowing out; and it is Christ in heaven who gives the water to thirsty souls. Is it not enough to make the heart leap for joy to hear Christ saying, "Come to me and drink; I am come for thirsty people"? Let your first thought be to drink in before giving out; not occupied with brethren, not about gifts, nor of having a place in the body, but of living waters flowing out.

      Have you no truth? Whatever little bit you have, tell it out -- "speaking the truth in love, that we may grow up into Christ in all things." This is quite apart from gifts. If you have got Christ, you have to tell out what He bestows to every saint as a member of the one body; there is positive responsibility to do so. The smallest bit of truth tasted from Christ is not for yourself only, but to be handed out for others. Suppose there is a poor bedridden saint, and he were to say, "Don't pity me, I am Christ's, and He is the very gate of heaven to my soul;" would you not like to go and talk to that poor saint, and so make your soul happy?

      Leaky vessels hold no water. If in Christ, you will be full of water. A vessel with no bottom to it can be kept full of water if in a fountain. Out of Christ, we are broken vessels holding none. There is nothing in the vessel apart from Christ.

      How wonderful, to have seen the One whom we are called to worship at the right hand of God, as man going down and down, till He had taken the cup of wrath; and then raised up because He went so low: just there God saying He was to be crowned with honour and glory.

      Paul had seen this Christ in glory. By faith in Him he was brought into God's presence, and could stand there in the righteousness of God. God saying, "I will show you the sort of favour with which I grace the people I love. Look at that Lord Jesus: He went down to the bottom to meet My righteousness, and now He is crowned with honour and glory at My right hand; see if I do not bless the people that are in Him, in just the same way." They are "graced in the Beloved."

      What a difference between a man walking in darkness, and a man standing in the broad daylight of God's presence, having been given Christ for righteousness, and being a part of the heavenly Bride. Those who know Christ see such a fulness and freshness in His love that the very thought of Him sets all the affections in movement. And when it is the question of what there is in Him, I find the tenth part has not been told me.

      If you do not keep your eyes very simply fixed on Christ in Heaven, your ways will not be like the ways of a people who have a heavenly portion. When that portion gets a place in the heart, oh, it is very bright and attractive, not because of the glory, but because of Christ being there. If you are occupied with this Christ, you will find blessing dropping from Him into your souls that will make heaven your home, heaven not far off, but near. Christ is there, your citizenship there. Has Christ been set before you, an open door, a fountain unsealed? Can you look at Him and say, "All that this Christ is, and all that He has is mine," and not rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory? Oh, if you loose your heart from things of earth, and get apart with Christ, you will find such a volume not only about Him but in Him! Is it joy to you when you think that Christ has apprehended you? That there is something personal towards you in His heart which He has apprehended you for? The early Christians had this joy unspeakable and full of glory. Have you it? Have I it? Does God see my heart going round and round Christ as the one object of my life? To me to live is Christ."

      What a thought for me, a poor vessel carrying the incorruptible seed, that Christ is watching to lift me over every difficulty, to enable me to overcome. The only way to be an overcomer is just to have faith in that Christ of God. God can trust Christ to get us over all difficulties and extremities. God is using the wilderness as the place where every step leaves traces of His mercies. The whole place recalls to God the way He led each believer on to His paradise; the very difficulties being an occasion of nearer association with His Christ.

      All the beauty and loveliness that could be seen in man as God created him, is seen in Christ. We learn why such loveliness was in Him when we ask, "Who is this Man?" and the answer is given, "Before He was a babe here, Emmanuel, God with us, He was in the glory of God, He was with God, He was God." There is not a single thing a saint can have, save in connection with this Christ Jesus. Where is my life now? It is in Him. When Christ rose, He took the place of Life-giver; a fountain of living waters was unsealed, and the waters flowed; life came down to men like the Jerusalem sinners who had dipped their hands in the blood of the life-giver. Life in Christ comes in between us and everything of the flesh. It has power to separate the heart from every indulgence of the flesh. Who could have thought of God getting glory by the very falls of a believer? How does He act in regard to the Prodigal? Ah! He says, He is My child after all! What wisdom in the Father; He knows how to take care of His own glory. If Satan has done what be could in mischief, God can go beyond: He can open a way, so that the very chiefest of sinners can draw near, fitted for the Father's house. Who but God could have thought of such a thing! -- What will it be when His blessed Son comes, and countless multitudes stand up to meet Him, made like unto Him in glory! What manner of person will you be in that day, when freed from your present body of pain and humiliation, and clothed with a body of glory -- a human body (flesh and bones) like His!

      Christ will search all the corners of the earth to gather out the dust of His saints, to raise them up in perfection and beauty, to take them home to the Father's house. How it changes one's thoughts and feelings about the sorrows and distresses of the present scene, when one thinks of the power and glory of the Life-giver that is soon to be put forth to make all new and bright! What a marvellous thought! Christ coming to wipe out every mark of Satan from the earth, and to make all beautiful.

      And is this Christ the one most precious to our hearts, the fountain filling all with rivers of living waters? He is the central point in heaven, if not so in our hearts. Can we not rejoice that He is there? rejoice that He is out of this wilderness? Can we not as members of His body enter into His blessedness up there? Can we not be unselfishly glad that He is in the Father's house? But there is another thought, the people whom He has called have connection with all His doings. I am in a world where not a ray of light comes save from the face of Jesus Christ, and I am one whose citizenship is with Him in heaven; I am even now risen with Him who shall change this vile body and make it like His own; that is the perfecting of this thought of citizenship. First then, I am to rejoice because Christ is happy, and then because He is the charter of my citizenship; my name is written in His bosom, and He is the charter of all my blessing, -- but He has not changed my vile body yet. When He leaves the right hand of God, He puts forth His power to change this vile body. Is there no sweetness in the thought of seeing a further manifestation of power, which has not yet been seen? A scene yet to be unfolded, in which the power of Christ has not hitherto been manifested; and the unfoldings of His power are always so blessed.

      We shall not wait till Christ comes down to the earth, but go up to meet Him in the air; and afterwards we shall come down with Him. He will come and make this world the place of His power; then we shall get another sphere for the manifestation of the mightiness of His power down here. Do we realize how much our joy depends on looking for the coming of the Lord? If I am not making Him my one object, as He is God's one object, is my eye single? Surely not! surely not! If my eye is ever on the manifestation of His Lordship, it is single.

      As soon as the Holy Ghost was sent down, there was one desire stirring all hearts, i.e., to see the Lord himself -- the one thought was to wait for God's Son from heaven. But how that fervent desire and occupation about it is lost! What torpor has crept in, in contrast with that bright hope, as generation after generation has intervened! But is not God turning hearts round again to that point? God knows none but a glorified Christ, He sees us only in that One sitting there, Head of His body, the Church; and God is dealing with us now in connection with this Christ. To think of being greeted in heaven as part of that Christ, and inseparable from Him! Nothing to glory of in self -- only in Him. But what a blessing to know that it is only in and through Christ that God can bless me!

      God would have us live as a heavenly people, who can be so where we are now, because He sees us in the Christ at His right hand, in an inseparable union, raised up with Him. Oh! are we witnesses in this way? Are we a heavenly people whose souls are tasting what it is to be living above things down here? We cannot lower God's behests; while we deplore our shortcomings do we crave for power, for grace, to walk as witnesses for Him, as a heavenly people? There may be dark experiences -- and no doubt God brings His people round in this way, and back again and again where He began with them, as "dead, buried, and risen with Christ." He will bring the heart back, and back again. He will have true worshippers as a witness for Himself on earth. Oh! if there were but more intercourse between our souls and that Christ in heaven, for the greater letting down of our souls before God, in the consciousness of what we are here in the body, and what we are as members of Christ's body. Not as to the question of acceptance -- if that comes in, the process of humiliation stops in us, because there is then another question to be settled. If I know Christ, I am before God as perfectly guiltless, as certainly accepted, as Christ Himself is.

      The believer is passing through the wilderness into glory, his soul in communion with Christ in the light, he has got the key to all blessing in Christ; but when it comes to the question of Satan or the world, the word is, "fret not thyself." May God enable us to see why He is using the furnace, and that it is to show us what we are. It is very humbling -- but if God is using the flesh (because we have been walking in the flesh) to humble us, and to discover to us what we are, shall we not say with Job, "I am vile, and I abhor myself"? But, oh God! continue to make me feel it, let me see what I am, but let it be with Thee, in Thy presence.

      Do you think we shall want to talk about self when we get to heaven? I am sure that when the glory shines into our hearts, we can talk of nothing but Christ. If in sorrow, and any one comes in and talks about the world, does it cheer the heart? No: but if he talks of Christ and all His glory, the heart gets comfort directly. Why talk so much about self now? Why so vexed about self, so troubled in spirit? And why is there so little to be heard of this Christ, who has brought us where we get all the mind of God and of heaven? I should like to get the thought of the living Christ in heaven to be the only object before the soul, so that when we meet one another we may be occupied only with Christ -- perfectly satisfied with Him. Can there be any lack of joy? Oh no; Christ died for me. Any lack of glory? Oh no; I am one with Him at the right hand of God.

      But often, even when a large place is given to Christ, people forget that it must be only Christ, and not self. If occupied with Christ, where are my own thoughts, my own plannings? We may give a large place to Christ and to God's plan, but forget that energies of our own run counter to Christ. If you are quickened, you must expect to die daily, to let all your own plans and energies die. What has my energy to do with Christ? Human energy connects me with things round me down here, but never drives me to Christ.

      Directly you know Christ you must follow Him. He traces out a path for us that does not allow of retreat in any way; He gets people directly, through faith, into present association with Himself. If You and I were to go forth this week full of faith in the power of the Holy Ghost, occupied with Christ, really as seeing Him, what single thing of our own would stand? Following Him as a little vessel towed along by a large one; and not only that, but our fellowship, joy, and glory, being all in Him, because we are His blest people. Oh! for grace now to serve and follow Him. Oh! for grace openly to confess Him, who has enabled us to say that we are accepted in Him, that all His glory is our glory. Oh! to walk down here according to the place of blessing we are in.

      There is nothing in man that can ever get to the truth of what the Anointed Man is, until death and resurrection are known; the first draws men to Him, the last gathers them in association with Himself.

      Matt. 11: 27. Christ had the perfect consciousness of His solitariness, in connection with Divine glory. "No one knows Me but the Father." "I know who I am." A certain solitude belongs to Him, and most blessed that it is so. There is only one Messiah, only one Son, and He knew it. He never forgets who He is, nor ever acts short of what He is, as the Only-begotten of the Father. Again He says, "Neither knoweth any one the Father, save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him." Who could reveal the Father save the Son? Part of the glory of Christ is seen in the use He would make of this power, and the blessedness of His knowledge which gives Him the exclusive power and right to reveal the Father. He would teach whom He would, to know Him; that is His prerogative.

      "All things are delivered unto Me of My Father." What was Christ's thought in connection with this universal power? "I have got the secret of the Father, I have power to reveal Him, I will look out for some to whom the Father can be revealed." That is the thought of Christ's heart -- and does not this tell out a whole volume of His character? What a contrast to ourselves: if we had all things in our power, what should we do with them all? Should we not want some fragment for self? With Christ, it is only "My Father:" all is in connection with Him.

      There was one Man, whom men would not have; that Man was standing as Son of the Father, in the light, with the consciousness of the Father's eye brightly beaming on Him, and that Man said, "Come unto Me, ye weary and heavy laden ones, and I will give you rest." He alone had the secret of rest, and if there was that Divine inexhaustible fulness in Him, all the Divine glory being in Him, and we having it revealed to us (for He says, "he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father"), to whom could He not, and to whom would He not give rest? It is not the question, how much you have to bear, but of the Lord's eye upon individuals. When He looks on any one, even if it be a little child who does not yet feel its burden, He sees it and knows all that is connected with conflict. He sees a burden within each -- sees everything that is against us. I may be like a ship wrecked between two seas; well, He says, "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest." How can you get away from that word? Is anything beyond His power? It is just there that we get the very essence of the gospel. He goes on: "Take My yoke upon you, learn of Me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." How was it that Christ found such perfect rest in the midst of all that was against Him? Ever quiet and at home, in the midst of it all: and He says, "Learn of Me."

      It is one thing to own Christ as the One who can give rest, and another thing to walk with Christ under the yoke, so that we find rest ourselves when all is against us; to walk with Him in everything, saying, "I have got nothing to do, save to please my Master; and I have to walk so that, whatever turns up, I can say, "I thank Thee, O Father." This is not the case with us. We have ways and plans of our own, and we don't like Christ to pass us through them under His yoke. He would have His light so to shine in us so as to bring out all that is in us, and that we should so walk according to the light that the world should reject us even as it rejected Him. The more closely I am bound up with Him, the more I shall feel the contrast between His ways and my own. If I am under His yoke, do you suppose He will allow self-will? "I like, and I don't like"? If Christ has given me rest and yoked me up with Himself, He does not let me go my own way, but His way. Christ set Himself in service, as the perfect servant of God; He could see in every step of the way something that called His heart to the Father. It was sweet to His heart to prove what a perfect Servant He was; His rejection marking His oneness with the Father. It was not only Him they hated, but the Father also. He would not, as a servant, get away from association with God; and He tasted the rest that flowed from that in all its perfection. That which is the most bitter sorrow to us, the breaking of our will, the Lord never got, for He had no will but the Father's. We have a will that must be constantly broken, because it won't bend. It is very solemn to think that we don't know how to bend our will to the will of God. With Christ it was always "not My will, but Thine:" as He passed from one sorrow into another, it was always "God and My Father!"

      The thing which through life has caused the most intense bitterness to the heart has been this self-will thwarted: "I don't want to do that, and I don't like to do this; I must go hither, and I would rather go thither." Ah! I have got to learn what my will is, by this very breaking. If you take a bullock, and bind a weaker animal under the same yoke with it. the weaker must go the same way and pace with the stronger. Elijah, Peter, and Paul, found it of no use trying to avoid the sorrows of the yoke. They were bound up with Christ in it, and must walk where He walked; and Peter was brought up in the end to receive a crown of martyrdom. If we walk willingly where Christ leads, and seek to learn of Him -- seeing in everything that turns up "God and our Father" -- all will be easy. "I am meek and lowly in heart." Where do we learn this meekness and lowliness of Christ more than when under the yoke with Him? Oh, how gentle He has been! He won't turn aside from His purpose, but with what patience has He borne our manners! Cannot you recall times without number when the dearest friend you have would have shaken you off, and have done with you for ever? whilst that Christ in heaven quietly acted out His purposes of love for you? If you were left in the hand of the brightest saint on earth, what a contrast there would be (you can feel it) with this Christ, who could lift up His face to heaven and say, "No one knows Me but the Father," and then could turn to a feeble thing like you or me, and say, "Take My yoke and learn of Me."

      If we could put down self in every way and entirely, we should find rest in all circumstances. If we walked as Christ did, we should see God and our Father in everything. Privations, temptations, difficulties -- God and our Father in all. Subjection to His word in everything -- saying, "It is written," makes the bitterest thing sweet. Christ has pledged Himself that I shall have rest, He reveals the Father to me, that is the blessing He has shut me into. All blessing comes from Christ teaching me every day to find rest by seeing God and my Father in everything.

      Where are our hearts, Oh! where are they? Are they occupied with this world, or are we quietly passing on to Heaven, taken up with that which love cannot lose sight of -- a living Christ in Heaven?

      What wealth have you, if you have not got Christ? If Christ is the object before you, will all the things that fret you take Christ from you? All the things you long for, will they give you more of Christ

      Our springs, all the way from beginning to end, are in Christ you cannot find anything apart from Christ. It won't do to stand on any ground apart from an ascended Christ He who spake as never man spake, is the One whose word is to stand throughout eternity.

      Ah! blessed Lord! I have got nothing but Thy love -- a love that takes me right home to the Father's house, to be with Thee where the full expression of that love is to be manifested. Such love is a powerful thing when it gets into the heart, to lead the feet into a walk quite different from that of a man who has not got it. I can turn to that Christ and say, Nothing can disturb me, that glorified Christ in God's presence is the very ground of my peace. I know Him as the One who bore my sins on the cross, as the One who revealed the glory of God to me, and I am in connection with Him as the man of sorrows, with Him who went down to the grave, with Him risen and alive for evermore at God's right hand. And there we find, in Him so presented, our place before God.

      As we go on for years, we find that these things keep their value; but what estimate can a poor sinner form of the. inestimable value of that blood? What will it be when we get home, and find that we have got within, brought by that blood into the fellowship of what God is? And as we walk through the Father's house and enter into the fulness of joy reserved for us, we shall find it all connected with the very same elements wherewith He conferred on us our joy down here, as He carried us through the wilderness.

      What is the first sweet word we shall hear as we enter heaven? The worthiness of the Lamb, and the blood of the Lamb. And we there because cleansed by the blood of that Lamb. What must sin be, to need the blood of God's own Son! Up there, in the presence of God, I learn something of the infinitude of sin, and nothing can fetch out its stain but the blood of God's own Son, and that has done it entirely.

      Strange thought for the heart of man, that none, but the very Highest could go down low enough! None so high as He, but none other could stoop so low. None save that One could measure out what sin is in the creature, bear its penalty and settle our account with God. The believer is brought before God in a way altogether peculiar. A way, the peculiarity of which -- learnt at His hand -- turns out to be the most blessed way that could possibly have been conceived.

      There is something in that word of the Lord's, John 17: 2, that ought to bow the heart in adoring love. Turn to the circumstances in which He was who spake it -- and what is He there thirsting for? A certain position in which He can communicate something to us, in order that the Father might be glorified.

      Does Christ look upon you with the thought, I have glorified the Father in that one, I have communicated to that one eternal life? "

      When He was going down to the cross, did He long to find rest from suffering? No! He wanted to glorify God, to communicate eternal life. And He not only counts it His glory, but the glory of the Father, to give it; and He is the only One who can give it. He prayed the Father that He might glorify Him by giving eternal life to as many as the Father had given Him. What a sweet word! power being given Him over all flesh that He should be the quickener, the giver of eternal life to us; that He might give us a place with Himself.

      God can never forget one particle of what His Son suffered to bring us into that place; and Christ can never forget one of those whom the Father has given Him: not one will be wanting. Our life is in Him, and whatever we may have to pass through down here, that life is incorruptible and unchanged. The vessel may be marred, but the life is preserved, it is eternal. And this eternal life is something that Christ has given you, to be the power of union between yourself and the Father and the Son.

      Think of the angels who witnessed the creation, and the flowing out of the Creator's power in the perfection and beauty of Eden, having the thought that the One putting forth all this beauty and goodness would be the One to be nailed to the cross as a malefactor, and put into a cave in the earth, and nothing too bad for man to say of Him! Again, could there have been such a thought in heaven as that one treated like a malefactor, would not only be raised up and be in heaven, but be seated on the throne of God -- God's delight? No! Never! And it is one of the most difficult things for me to get the thought that according to what I was in nature, it was as unlikely for God to work in me, and out of such materials to fashion a perfect vessel, as for His Son to come down and die.

      There is no light like the cross to show out the real character of human nature; no act man ever did of which God could say, "That is what man is," till His Son was put to death and the light of heaven shone down upon a city of murderers. That cross just showed what we are in nature: but God looked into the pit of nature, and He came there because He is rich in mercy. Who can say anything if God chooses to take up such, and give them a new nature, a new life?

      Adam's life in Eden was not a life beyond the grave -- not that life in which the second Man, the Lord from heaven, ascended up where He was before. As Son of Man, Christ could and did die; but He gave up His life and took His life again; and that is the life which a man taken out of nature gets. The first Adam could not have had such a life unless imparted by the last Adam: He communicates life -- eternal life. There was no living fountain of water flowing down until Christ left the grave and ascended. Eighteen hundred years ago a fountain was opened in heaven.

      What is the great difference between the works of man and Christ's works? Christ's were all connected with the Father. He always looked up to the Father with a heart attuned to the mind of God. The works we want as the people of God are works that take in the mind of God. If you want to know what is not "worthy of God," you should ask, "Would the Son of God, if He were in the world, do it?" Are works connected in your mind with the thought. "I ought to do this because I belong to God"? One who has life in Christ cannot bring forth fruit without its being received by God. It is most important to judge our works -- to see whether they are works that are worthy of Christ; good works, not according to man's thoughts but according to the mind and thoughts of God, of such a character that we can say, "to me to live is Christ."

      What can be more blessed than God's having unveiled the face of Christ to the heart, and the bright light of that face shining down and filling it! The Holy Ghost given to bring it always there. But, bright as it is, the treasure is in an earthen vessel, and we are still in the wilderness.

      God knows nothing so beautiful as Christ: He would have us ever looking on Him, in whose all-perfect beauty the Almighty heart finds all delight. That God has unveiled that face and let all its light shine down into our hearts is indeed most blessed; but from that very thing responsibility comes in doubly. We have to walk as light-bearers. That Christ with uncovered face is a Christ whose light shines down in order to shine out through His people. All the light which they ought to give out is in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you looked at responsibility as connected only with self, you would murmur and be miserable.

      Whenever we look at responsibility, it makes us feel the need of just such sweetness as we find in the thought, that we are left down here as witnesses for the Lord. As soon as He comes, He will fill the whole earth with glory; we must wait for that. Our present position is as a "flock for the slaughter" passing over the earth, letting light shine out. When He comes He will give the higher glory. What sweetness there is in the thought of being used by the Lord down here to give out light -- serving His purpose; for He will have a light on the earth while He is away. When He comes, it will not be only the joys of His kingdom, but you will have the thought, that you have served His turn in the wilderness, letting light (His light) shine out. And when He put you there, did He not know what the earthen vessel was? The weaker, the more feeble a people, the more will be their sense of His power.

      Soon we shall be up there with Christ. God did not mean us to be happy without Him; but God would first have us to be witnesses for Him down here, to hold out as much light as we can.

      Not only have I seen the face of Jesus Christ (see John 14: 21), and, oh, what a sight beyond all sights! but I have a connection with Christ in the light. I have not only to look away from things present and see that bright light up there, but I have to reflect it down here. I may be a very bad reflector; "never mind (Christ says) go on, I give the power; I know you are nothing in yourself, and that you are in the place where it is night; but go on giving out light; soon you will be in God's day." That morning without clouds will usher us into the light where Christ now is. He is the bright and morning Star. For eighteen hundred years He has been dealing with a people down here; the night may be very dark, but the darkness does not reach up to the bright and morning Star. No cloud can cover Him: soon He will shine out. We are only on sufferance here, on our way to what lies farther on. He is our bright and morning Star; we shall see Him. He will take us up and guide us to the Father's house, before the sun shines out. It is that hope which gives one courage to go on in the midst of failure. To be sure, I have failed. Have I been a good light reflector? No! but I am to go on as I can till He comes, till I see Him as the bright and morning Star. It is not the looking for bright light reflectors at His coming (though we ought to be such), nor the expecting to see candlesticks filled with oil; but the Holy Ghost in the Bride wanting Him to come. Does He hear you cry, "Come, Lord Jesus"? Are your hearts so going forth as to be ever saying, "Come, Lord Jesus"? You need not look round and wait for another, you may say it to Him. Ah! cultivate communion with Christ in connection with that word "Come!" I know nothing so fitted to raise one up out of the world as having the soul in communion with Christ about that; looking at ourselves as part of the Bride still on earth, and the Spirit in her saying "Come!"

      There may be failure and ruin of the Church, but there is the fact that I am part of a company which God has given to His Son, and because of that (not because of anything in me) I can be doing nothing but saying the live-long night, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!"

      As soon as we are in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ we have got God; God has introduced Himself as a living person to the soul, and all our associations are connected with God.

      When He separates any one to Himself, He plants the blood of Christ right behind them.

      Christ's beauty will be displayed to us before He comes forth and takes His great power into His hand to smite the things of the world. He will come forth then to perfect victory. He is now sitting in heaven with all power about Him and in Him, but He does not exercise it now.

      He has put us in the place He stood in on the earth -- as sheep for the slaughter. What a place to be in, kept by Him! We have a risen, ascended Lord who has made good His word, so that we can have a place; and He has so kept things on earth that, in spite of men and Satan, He has ever enabled a people to confess His name and to stand a few together in testimony, whilst He directs their service. He took Paul's especially into His own hands. In regard to the candlesticks also, He took all into His own hands. And so now He maintains communion with His people, and sets them moving in service. The limbs cannot move except the head acts in them. Satan himself cannot move a tongue without God's permission -- God, as Ruler of everything If God be for us, who then can be against us? Immense comfort is in that thought. It is no lack of power that keeps Christ back. He can come if He will before Satan is cast down, and set up His kingdom, Israel's not being ready would not prevent His rising up from the Father's throne and coming forth. He is the One for whom God has planned everything, and we ought to connect everything with this blessed One. He is the Adonai. He can say, "The time will come when I shall deal with Satan." But now He waits, and says to one and to another, "I have set you in testimony -- let the waters flow out where all is against you, and I will help you." I can look up and say, "I am one spirit with Him." If He was the Lamb, I must be a sheep. I can look up to Him to shelter me all the way through.

      The One who comes in mighty power with all the angels, comes as One who was a pilgrim and a stranger. He can turn to Israel in the latter days and say, "I went through all that you are going through." And to us he says, "I have a heart to sympathise with all your sorrow." That is just what one knows of Christ as One who looks down, saying, "If you are a member, I am the Head; do not think of your weakness, but of My strength."

Back to G.V. Wigram index.

See Also:
   Choice Quotes, Part 1
   Choice Quotes, Part 2
   Choice Quotes, Part 3
   Choice Quotes, Part 4
   Choice Quotes, Part 5
   Choice Quotes, Part 6
   Choice Quotes, Part 7
   Choice Quotes, Part 8
   Choice Quotes, Part 9
   Choice Quotes, Part 10
   Choice Quotes, Part 11
   Choice Quotes, Part 12
   Choice Quotes, Part 13
   Choice Quotes, Part 14
   Choice Quotes, Part 15


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