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Choice Quotes, Part 4

By G.V. Wigram

      Oh, how the Spirit is straitened by us as He goes through the wilderness with us and finds so little answer in our hearts, and cannot get the waters to flow! Do not speak of self, failure, or circumstances, though we have deeply to humble ourselves: Satan would always try to put these between us and Christ; but we may set everything round the cross, in the light of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and if there were but one believer alone in the world, the Spirit in the bride is sufficient to enable that one to say "Come!" It is not the bride only, but the Spirit, knowing all the affections ill the heart of Christ, says, "Come!" How sweet to have Christ wanting you to say "Come." Have you known the sweetness when in solitude, when none have been near, of that thought in your heart, hardly breathed in words, "Come, Lord, come"? Shall the thought "I may be caught up tonight," alarm my heart? No! I am as sure of being His, as Rebecca was of being Isaac's, and surer: and so are all believers who can say "Come."

      We are in the wilderness now, and we count by weeks and days, and the time seems long; but One up there looks upon you, and says to you, "Surely I come quickly." To you it may seem long, but to Him it is but a little while.

      "Having loved His own, He loved them to the end," is a truth not only known by faith to every believer in Him, but also from their own experience of that love. And oh, how sweet this experience of Christ's love in this cold world! When the heart is chilled, and yearning for a little warmth, how sweet to turn to the Lord Jesus and feel this warmth of His love! All! looking up to Him, the heart is always warmed. And what is it that feeds His love to His Church? From what source flowed the springs of that love? In the Epistle to the Ephesians we have the setting forth of that which would feed the love of the Lord Jesus in regard to His Church. In the first chapter, we have the scene laid before time was: verse 4. When the Lord Jesus looks at me, He looks as at one who was chosen by the Father before time was, to show forth the glory of that grace which could accept me in the Beloved. He sees the chosen of the Father in me, the Father having bound me up with the Son before the foundation of the world. Not only the poor sheep and prodigal brought into the Father's house, but more -- a secret purpose, He and the Father one in that purpose, and the poor sinner chosen and accepted in Him before the foundation of the world. And can God have aught against you when He has thus sat in council about you? Must not the Son love you, seeing your association with the Father, in Himself, before the world was? Oh, this feeds His love again, His love is fed by the complete association with Himself of the Church; not only as one with Him, but as that for whom He left all, and has done all. He gave Himself for me; at the cross bearing our own sins in His own body on the tree: God laying on Him your iniquity and mine: we dying with Him, buried with Him by baptism into death, and raised up in Him. Can we look up there and not feel the exceeding riches of the grace of that God, who, in raising Him up from among the dead, raised us up in Him, and seated us in heavenly places in Him? Impossible! When the Lord Jesus looks in the face of a believer, He says, "I do and must love thee, but I love thee for my Father's sake. I loved thee before the foundation of the world, because He chose thee in me, and I must love thee to the end for His sake."

      As a child of God, wandering in the world's wilderness, it is very sweet to have comfort poured down to me from the heart of God, but it is still sweeter the thought that I have sympathy with the heart of the Father as to His thoughts about His only begotten Son, and His affections towards Him. Oh! there is nothing like the entering thus into the revelation of God, the Father's affection for the Son of His love.

      "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." If you are a believer, He has sent the spirit of His Son into your heart, whereby you cry Abba, Father. The heart gets its blessed rest in sonship simply by believing in Christ Jesus. The spirit of His Son in the heart enables its happy throbbings to be expressed, crying this wondrous new name, unknown to the Jews, of Abba, Father. God has set me in His presence as a son, and life flows down to me, so that I can look up and contemplate there the delight which the Father has in His Son; I can have communion and sympathy with the joy of the Father's heart in that Son: and it is this which gives the Church its highest point of glory.

      Does the thought ever steal over your heart, Well, there the Father's heart is fully satisfied -- there the Son is -- and there I have my portion, for I can say My Father; and in that sense alone the Lord calls us brethren, thus alone can we be in association with Himself on the throne of the Father?

      The Spirit feeds and administers to our hearts all the thoughts of the Father and Son. Blessed truth! that Son -- the Lord Jesus -- having been a man and wearing man's form up there, and we as men with Him for ever. Does it ever strike you -- let us say it reverently -- how happy God must be to have such a Son, and how happy Christ must be?

      As man, that Son brought out the character of the Father, so that I, as man, can understand it. Oh how one ought to admire and adore the way Christ brought out the character of God on earth as love, in the poor prodigal!

      God could look upon the anointed 'man' and say, "I can have Him up here, for He is God as well as man." And we can look up and realize the Lord's joy, who could say, "If ye loved Me ye would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father."

      No person can be of the bride save a child of the Father. The bride will be shown out before the world, that the world may see the glory He has given her. The Father gave this glory to the Son, but he cannot keep it for Himself, He wills to share it with those dear to Him. The world will be forced to admire the Church in glory; and she ought to be admired, for the Father's delight is in the Son who bought His bride with His own blood. The Church will be where the sense of being loved by the Father, even as the Son is loved, will surpass all understanding. That One in whom all the fulness of the Godhead dwells, causing all the love of the Father to flow forth to us; and the consciousness of that love will give our hearts all their joy in glory. There He is -- claiming all glory and giving it to the bride; but I do not find my deepest joy in this. Above and beyond all the Church's glory, I have deep in my heart the thought that I know the Lamb under another title. His blessed self is deep hidden in my heart; I can say, "I know thee as the Son who hast revealed the Father to me. All, all, would be nothing to me, if I did not know Thee in this other name, the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. That name of Son has brought me near to the Father; He bore it deep down here, He bears it high up above. He may be the Son of man, and is, but merely as having taken our flesh. If He were to enter this place now as Son of man -- why should we fall down at His feet to worship Him, but because we know Him as the only begotten Son of God: -- before all creation -- in the beginning -- there was the Son in the bosom of the Father.

      The Father's house, the Father's bosom, was to be the resting-place of the Church: nothing could satisfy that Son, but her being there where He had rested from all eternity. But we have this place of rest now -- we shall never be more sons than we are now; else, where were the force of that word: "now are we the sons of God." I have got the best part now, He has made me a son, has given me to see and enter into the communion of the Father and the Son, to taste the delight of the Father over His Son. as a fresh taste of heavenly joy in my soul every day. If I am in trial down here, I know the Father is in perfect rest up there, and my fellowship is with Him and with His Son.

      Very little is said in Scripture about the Father's house, save what we find in John 14. One is never weary of those verses, because they tell of the personal love of the Lord Jesus to His Church; but locality is not defined, nor the thought of heaven introduced as meaning any particular locality. Jesus lifts up His eyes to heaven. Many found their ideas of heaven on some early association in their mind of a place of glory beyond the clouds, and connect it with all that the word of God has made familiar to them. Breaking down all this, would leave them with this blessed thought of the Son upon the Father's throne, and the Father setting them there together with Him.

      Whenever my faith goes up there, what does it find realized? The thought of One there who was once in all my circumstances of sorrow down here; the thought of home up there with Him. Oh, what a warm happy feeling the heart experiences at that thought -- not the circumstances of that home, but the being there with Him. A man's heart is in his home, not because of its circumstances, but because the object of his affection is there. The same with regard to heaven; I find uncommonly little of detail as to circumstances there, but I find unfading reality in one or two simple verses: for instance this, "If ye loved me ye would rejoice, because I go to my Father." What a volume in that! Christ wanting us to enter into the joy of His heart at the thought of the Father's home, saying, "I want to share with you this thought of my joy; I want you to rejoice with me, because in a little while I shall be with my Father; and not only that, but you also shall soon be there with me." If we could see all the glory of heaven, it would he poor in comparison with the thought of seeing that Son sitting on the throne of His Father, and ourselves seated together with Him in those heavenly places. What perfect rest of heart there is in that expression, "made us to sit together in the heavenly places," thus bringing us into the blessed taste of the glory He has got!

      The character of our rest, and our power to walk as risen men, is laid down in Col. 3. When God's eye looks upon you, what does He see? Why, that you are one who has a place up there; and when His eye rests on Christ, it rests as not expecting to find a blot. How impossible, as the eye of God turns on us, that He should find anything but imperfection! But he turns round to see us hid in Christ, and to meet in those who are hid in Christ, Christ's perfection.

      The strayed sheep would not let itself be caught by the shepherd who would lift it into his bosom. And here we get what I call the aggressive character of God's love. I won't have Him; but He says, "I will and must have you, struggle as you may to escape from My arms. I have prepared a place for you up there, and I must have you there with Me for ever."

      It is the heart God wants. He has done all that love could do in the cross of Christ to lead the heart of poor sinners to Himself. He has thrown Himself open to your hearts to draw you into joy and blessing, -- the whole door wide opened to receive you.

      Oh, the rich unfolding of grace in John 14! Grace laying open in prospect the rich glories of the Father's house, for those who were ready to forsake Him. What a contrast we are to Him! and yet He is ever occupied in caring for us, preparing joy for us. His eye ever following us -- those eyes ever resting on us. He sees every beat of my heart -- every thought of my mind. And His sympathy is unfailing. Can I dare to say that Christ seems more sympathising today, because I appreciate it today, and yesterday I did not? Is not the sympathy of Christ like lifting one stone and water flows, and lifting another and water flows still? And that is the way it is for ever flowing.

      Ought I to mind being left down here in the wilderness, in the midst of all that tries me in every way, when I can taste His love here equally in it all? It would certainly be a much happier thing to be present with Him and absent from this poor body; but if it is the will of Him who loves me with a love that wills I should stay down here, the sweetness of doing His will is enough.

      "If persecution lighted its fires again, the power of the flesh might make some desire to escape by martyrdom to the Lord; but there is no selfishness mixed with the cry, 'Come, Lord, come!'" Do you never say, Come, Lord Jesus? Have you never felt that nothing could satisfy you save seeing Him, and being with Him? Why not always rejoicing in this hope? Why cast down? Why standing still, gazing up with tearful eyes, instead of pressing forwards full of joy? It is because this world sways the heart, -- the thoughts are taken up with this care or that trouble.

      A fixed time is coming -- we cannot say how soon -- when the Father will say to the Son, "Rise up, and bring the Bride up hither." Is your heart full as you think of it? Only friends are to be in the Father's house, and it is Jesus who will lead us there. If He were to rise up and come tonight, would He find many waiting for Him? I believe He would, and bless God for it. It is distinctly manifest that God is moving. He never came of old without giving a testimony beforehand.

      The Lord Jesus, amid all the glory of God, has a heart large enough to think of coming to meet even me. "There is a poor thing, stumbling through his duties, often going wrong. I shall go and fetch him, and make him partaker of all I have." It is His love, not mine. Having loved us before the foundation of the world, His love changes not because of what we are. He; the same yesterday, today, and for ever.

      "For we are His workmanship, created of God in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Does God set a value on these works? It is because they are prepared by Himself. Are they only as things done down here in the wilderness? No; they are to be carried on into glory. Things wrought in the soul, the will subdued, the affections set right. God is dealing with us now, and He would have us go forward with Him; but this is only the beginning, -- not what we shall be when we shall see the Lord Jesus, and be fashioned like unto His glorious body -- every limb made glorious.

      Is it nothing to have God working in us now, to will and to do of His good pleasure? Nothing that He should want to see the expression of the life of Christ in us, so as to have fellowship with the life of Christ down here? Think what it will be to have the life of Christ filling the body, in a scene where the whole will harmonize! We begin it in the wilderness, to end in glory.

      The energy of God given to the soul enables us to walk in works which are the expression of that energy, and of our vital union with Christ God sets each one ill his course, and there is a speciality of Providence in connection with every individual. God is great enough to number the hairs of our head; you and I are too little. God is so great that he can count cups of cold water; we are too little, too tiny, to do so; we can only lay hold of general features. I must be holy, -- that is quite true; but who marked out the path for a Daniel or a Paul in their day, and for the early Christians in theirs? Who fixed the time of your birth, all your path in life, your trials, your sicknesses? It was God, the living God! God comes in everywhere, in every thought, and step, and act of life -- even in turning to speak to any one in the street.

      The thought that there are works prepared of God, that we should walk in them, will give importance to many a thing little in itself; it will give sweetness to many a bitter cross, and stop many an act where self-will would have come in. If you look back, you will see much failure and going alter your own will, but God was there to turn the page, and to mark out your walk with Him in the path prepared for you.

      What a difference whether we look at ourselves as separate individuals or as a part of the temple builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit! As part of this temple, we are precious stones, God's own workmanship in Christ Jesus, and lain as living stones on that foundation, there to rest, shining in all the beauty of another, even of His own Son, the Lord Jesus, -- all the weight of the building resting on Him the eternal foundation.

      Can you, say, "I am a called one -- one with Christ?" And what is the hope of such? Nothing less than reaching the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? It is a real thing that Christ is sitting at the right hand of God in all His beauty and glory, and our expectation is the seeing Him as He is, and being like Him. The Father of glory, who looked at you in all your weakness and failure, will not cease working till, one by one, millions of vases shall be made like that pattern vase at His right hand. He is moulding all to the likeness of that One, and when we shall see Him as he is, these bodies of humiliation shall be like unto His glorious body. What a thought each believer being a vase full of glory; thousands of thousands of vases all to be filled with His glory. God will make you -- will make me -- to be one of them.

      There are two things: the first, God dealing with every individual heart; the other, His taking you as part of a building, a city, where every stone is bright and polished, and each one reflecting the glory of Christ. There every saint will show forth to the eye of God, the Lord Jesus, because they will all reflect His glory.

      Shall we find that we have experienced all Christ's love here, when we meet Him in heaven?

      Must I carry the world in my heart because I am down here in a body of sin and death? No; blessed be His name! I have got the river of life flowing down from Christ above, and filling my heart, helping my soul to bear fruit unto Him from whom it flows.

      The old Christian can say to a young Christian, "You may try, but you cannot satisfy your heart with the world, for I have never found a thing in it to satisfy mine." But he could not say, "I have walked so far down the hill of life, and I cannot fail." Yet we can say, "Let all that can be brought against me, yet God will be faithful to His word, and Christ will present me faultless and without spot or blemish before Him at His appearing."

      If I could say I am a better man than when I began life in Christ, it would be only because I see more of my own vileness now than I did years ago.

      What is my place and my power to walk? God has raised me up together with His Son, and given me the Spirit, and because of that I go on, and everything that is not of Him I have to judge. The walk of the Spirit is one of separation from all that is not of the Father. Believers ought to walk as being dead, buried, and risen with Christ, as those that are espoused to their Heavenly Bridegroom, saying, "We cannot do what He would not like." Nature may say, I should like that, or wish this; but the answer is, "No; you belong to Christ: and if Christ's wish is contrary to yours, you, are not to have yours." by His blood He has brought you into the place where He is now, and you can say, "I will give it up; I will count that dead for which He died. It has death upon it; I give it up."

      You are in a place of power, -- the power of the communicator of life; and wherever life has been communicated, that power works to change those who have it into His image, from glory to glory.

      What has a believer to do with getting eternal life? No man ever would have had the thought of God saying, "There is a living man up here, like you, outwardly. That One who was despised and put to death, is now at My right hand, -- the One to whom I have given everything in the wide universe, and through a boundless eternity, and in token of it I give life to you." It is God who is the Giver. What have I done to get it? I know that I have it; faith gives me the certainty of it far beyond feelings that say it is not true. God says it was; and it is so entirely a substance in God's mind, that I can resign everything as to eternity, saying, "I don't want to speak for myself; Thou hast spoken for me. The life I have is a life of communion with the Father and Son. I know and realize it with certainty and vividness, so that when flesh and heart fail I eau rest there.

      Often I can only comfort myself with the thought, "Thou God seest Christ as He is, and as Thou comprehendest Him. Not I, but Thou knowest what that Son of Thy love meant when He said, 'I go to My God and your God, to My Father and your Father.' I cannot take it in; the Divine mind alone can trace the perfect comprehension of it."

      What was the mind of those few gathered round their Lord down here? They were quickened men, and they knew by the instinct of that given life, how precious He who had given it was to their hearts. It is the secret of love to lead the heart captive; the affections lay hold of an object, and just go where that object goes. Devotedness has more to do with the affections than with the intelligence. They saw Him go up to Heaven, and He did not come back. Did they love Him? Where then were their hearts? Heaven became a new place to them; that living Man who loved them was there. That One who had stolen their hearts and carried them off to heaven. This is the first element of the heavenly calling, namely, attachment to a Divine person, the lover of our souls, and there He is in heaven, and we look for Him there where He is. The want of understanding this explains the low estate of many Christians: they are not heavenly Christians. as the early Christians were the whole way. But they are responsible to be so. Christ has a right to have a heavenly people; to have, as Lord of all, a people who walk in the same steps that He did. Yes; He has a right to look for heavenly minds in a people whose hearts He has led captive and carried off into heaven. Do your first thoughts in everything turn intuitively to the heart of Christ in heaven, saying "He has a right to be first in this."

      Are you one of those who are practically saying "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" Does He say of you: "There is one in whom I have so crippled the flesh and all the delights of the old Adam, that he can only think of that one thing, i.e., that I am coming?" Is there such a thing as a people so waiting as that no thought of rest ever comes to the heart save with Him in heaven? Are hearts seeing Him and saying "I am living to Him"?

      In connection with the stoning of Stephen, Christ said "I am in the glory watching the whole scene." He is presented standing up in the place of glory where He is, letting the glory down into the soul of a man. As knowing Christ in heaven, my life should, as it were, wrap itself round Him, but in this scene I learn how His affections are wrapt round me; how, up there, His thoughts are occupied about me, not merely blessing me, but all His sympathy flowing down to me, as it did to the man who was being stoned.

      If you take your place with a rejected Christ, you will have bright light on your path, and all that sympathy that flowed down to Stephen. Are you walking according to the vision of Christ in the glory up there, and as the reflector of Christ down here? Stephen passed through all the circumstances men and Satan brought him into, in the power of the vision of this glory of God. Why cannot I pass through all mine in the power of that glory? Is my mind, are my heart's affections, up there? Is it markedly seen that I am walking here in the light of heaven? If so, whatever my place of service may be, I shall find myself just where the light is streaming down. As a rule I know that I shall find a strong current against me; a crowd may be going their way, and if impeded by it, I must cross over. If conscious that the light of heaven is streaming down, it puts us in contrast with the whole scene here.

      Every page in our heart is laid open under His eye. Does He read you, and occupy Himself with every thought and intent of your heart? Does He see all in you that is of the flesh judged? or does He see things germinating for self and for time? Ah! if He does read in us what is contrary to His mind, will He turn from us? No; but He will have us know what sort of a people we are; He knows all our weakness, and we must know it too. If John is lying at His feet, it is indeed that He may say, "I shall touch you, and make you feel what My strength is; but you must feel your own weakness." All who know Christ, have a deeper and deeper sense of that as they go on. But all the way through the wilderness we have Him for us, saying "You cannot take a step without me, and I am going before you."

      Oh, if the whole way, in all our circumstances down here, you, and I were ever turning up to heaven, knowing that we might have all the sympathy of the heart of that living Christ there! He, a living man there, with a heart and mind that lead Him to go into all His people's circumstances. Each individual believer, each in his own circumstances, commands all His thoughts. He is able to be occupied with Stephen, Saul, Peter, and James, all at the same moment. Can you say, "I do know the sympathy of the heart of Christ. I know how He picked me up, and has floated me ever since"?

      The only thing to keep in us the sense of our own entire failure, is to have the light of the eye of this Blessed One shining into the heart, and showing out all that is contrary to His mind.

      Never does the peace He gives so shine out as amid the tempestuous waters down here. He, as my Peace, comes in between me and all that gives me trouble, saying "Soon you shall come with Me to another place; you are not for earth, but for Me." He will call me by name, and take me into glory.

      Has God said of your flesh, "Let it wither"? What matters that if He has brought you, to the place where you can glory in your infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon you?

      People often talk of the heavenly calling as if it were a piece of knowledge or a theory. Was it such to Enoch when He walked with God, or with Moses when he endured as seeing Him who is invisible? Don't let our minds take it up as a piece of knowledge, instead of realizing a living Christ in heaven. It is that living Man on the throne of God who has distinctly called me by name, and not only that, but He bears my name before God, as one for whom He has done a great deal, and for whom He means to do a great deal more. Why does my soul go up and find its anchorage up there? Why? Oh, that living Man who has stolen my heart is up there! He who, as Son of God, thought it worth while to come off the throne to go to the cross as my substitute, to take the cup of wrath due to me. And God has put His Amen upon this love which is stronger than death. And is it not a reasonable thing for me to say that if the Son of God loved me and gave His life for me, I must love Him in the place where he is? How blessed, as God's eye rests on Him and then comes down to look on me, to have the certainty that, weak and foolish though I be, I shall never find Him against me; that I am so one with that risen Head, that God can say, What is true of the Head is true of the members! How unutterably blessed to be able to say that that One crowned with glory and honour on the throne of God, is the One round whom my heart's affections should centre more and more! And that this risen Son of Man up there, is occupied with a suffering people down here, in all the circumstances they may have to pass through.

      Looking at past failure, you, will constantly find that it arose from settling things according to circumstances. I cannot settle anything myself; if I am in His presence, I get my guidance from the Lord in His circumstances -- from the Son of God up there. It is a blessed fact that there is a Man in heaven, in the highest possible glory on the throne of God; and that Man has a heart to enter into everything, where His people would not be able to move for themselves. Is His heart. less occupied, His eye less fixed on me than it was on Stephen? No; the curtain was drawn back for him, and I never expect that, but it is equally true to faith.

      What would it have been for me if the Shepherd had carried up scores of other sheep, but not me? It would not have satisfied me. No; I am taken up as an individual, to be a teller forth of that wonder of all wonders, the Eternal God, the Almighty God, crucified through weakness! This Eternal God having chosen to go down into the place of weakness.

      The Lord Jesus was the reader of all hearts when down here, and He is doing the same in Heaven. He does it in connection with His own people, and often they shrink from it. He is the searcher-out of all things in us, but if it makes us know what we are, it is only to make us cling more to Him. He brings us into the light, makes it shine into us, in order to show out and make us see the things that are wanting in us: and we never learn what there is in Him, contrasted with self, without its making us loathe our vessel.

      Paul was caught up into the third heaven, and Christ took up what He saw was in him, and a thorn in the flesh discovered it to Paul.

      In the bright light of the transfiguration, it was not the glory but Jesus who was the chief object. There was a Person on the mount -- one who was altogether beautiful, chief among ten thousand; and that Person put on robes of glory for a moment, to show what the glory of His Kingdom would be. What was that in comparison with the Person?

      There are two things, as to believers, connected together: the earthen vessel, and the eternal life. The result of the earthen vessel being connected with the eternal life, is the consciousness of weakness inside and of difficulty outside. We see both brought out in Paul's experience, 2 Cor. 12: 7-12. The Lord was anticipating certain evils -- results connected with the earthen vessel which would impede the work of the treasure, the eternal life, contained in it; and what was the thorn in the end to Paul? How was he (a potsherd of the earth, picked up by Christ to be a servant) to know what he was to do? Was he to be driven hither and thither like a slave? No; but to be a vessel in the hand of the Potter, saying; "I want the God who gave me life to direct me in everything; not only do I want to find stepping-stones to show me where to walk, but I want the spirit of obedience to fulfil His word, to take it up in obedience." The Lord would have Paul as His servant to have the same mind that He had; and the way He took to make this man a follower in His own footsteps was by bringing this cripplement inside and out. The Lord could say, "My mind and will never went forwards but by My Father's will, but yours does; and if I take away that thorn; you will go forward without perfect and realized dependence on Me." Not that Christ was in anything the same as Paul -- He who was God incarnate, Son of the Highest.

      Was there ever a will so perfect in strength as the will in Christ? but what was so remarkable in it was that it was never exercised on any object but the will of God: "Lo I come to do Thy will, O God." His will was ever in perfect intelligent subjection to the will of God -- a life of communion with the Father. Paul could not say he was perfect as regarded the vessel. No; Paul had a will of his own which did not like entire dependence on God. Christ used the thorn to make him know fully that the eternal life He had given him could be guided by Himself alone, and He had to hinder anything in the earthen vessel that would impede it. Before Paul takes his place as a heavenly man, the Lord gives him what would bring his own energy to a close.

      There is something exceedingly, beautiful in Christ's first putting the life into the vessel, and then taking care of it; saying, "That eternal life is a thing you cannot keep yourself. I must give power to spend it and guide it in a way to make you feel that the eternal life you have is as dependent on Christ as your life was dependent on God." This new life cannot make a day's journey without the sense of the two things -- "My strength made perfect in weakness." The eternal life flowing into the vessel is one thing, and power to let it flow out of the vessel is another thing. Life flows from us only as it is under the guardianship of Christ The believer has it sentiently because it takes in every thought and feeling to be occupied with Him who gave it. Paul might say, "Was there ever such a cripplement! ah, but the hand of Christ is under me." The earthen vessel was carrying the life which Christ had put into it, and Christ said, "I must carry the vessel in My hand. to give right guidance to the life."

      You and I do not like the wilderness: there are so many troubles -- so much deep sand to get through -- such pitfalls, and the hearts of people getting so tired. Oh, but it is with a God of resurrection you have to do, in a place where He lets you stay to give you the opportunity of learning what self is. It is not by taking the natural side, where sharp flints cut the feet, but by taking the side where God is, that pilgrims carry a happy heart all through the wilderness. He never means you to get through a single day without being able to say "Ah, I found His strength more perfected in my weakness than I ever did before." (Not His strength stronger, but my sense of weakness stronger.)

      "This do in remembrance of Me." Think of all the variety of glories attached to Him who brings a people to Himself thus! Who do I do it in remembrance of? Who? What human mind could frame an answer? Who could speak of a glory so all-surpassing, when it comes to who and to all that He was and is! First, Eternal life in Himself before all worlds, He the only-begotten in the bosom of the Father; and then turn to look at what He was down here. In the gospel of John, the glory of His person is first spoken of, then all the different offices blending in His person, and then of eternal life brought by Him to bear on a thankless world. But that which carries to our souls the earnest of the living affections of the Lord Jesus towards His people is not the thought only of who and what He is -- unspeakably blessed as that is in itself; but a fount was unsealed and flowing forth from His heart, showing the fulness and the Divine unselfishness of His love. See Him, just before going into the depths of His own sufferings, turning to them and saying, "Now My love can flow out." He knew that His people needed to have what would enable them to carry constantly in their hearts the thought of His love; therefore "Do this in remembrance of me." And now, above in the glory, He is looking upon us, caring for our love; thinking of poor things down here and caring to be remembered by them, all these eighteen hundred years here past; and in all freshness at God's right hand, He cares for our love today. The real living affection in Him is not satisfied without the thought of His people being occupied with Himself.

      Does Christ find your thoughts in unison with the word put forth by "the Spirit and the Bride," because you really want Him to come? Not only, as like Stephen, wanting to get away from the stoning into His presence; but the Bride wanting the Bridegroom -- passing through a dark night, keeping her affections fixed on Him; not by saying, "When Thou comest there will be no more sorrow, no dark shades of night; Thou wilt come to take us home to the Father's house: it is true, but it is Thyself I want: I am the Bride and Thou the Bridegroom."

      Are you wanting Him to come according to that character of love, -- not from mere selfishness, but as having such a taste of His glory as the bright and morning star, and because of being the complement of His joy in the Father's house?

      Do you ever yearn for ability to enter into His fuller glory? Is He saying, "I cannot take My glory without you to sit down with Me"? Ah! am I saying, "It is not the crown, not the glory, it is Thyself, Lord, whom I want"?

      The bright and morning Star is an entirely new glory. There were hearts bound to Him when down here, which traced Him up into heaven; and ever since then a people's eyes have looked up, and their hearts have been expecting Him. It is a title of glory connected with the hearts of His people. How blessed for any to say "I have watched through the night to get the first glimpse of Him; my heart is so attached to that Lord, and all my blessedness so connected with Him, that I cannot help being constantly on the look out for the first glimpse of Him as He descends from heaven into the air."

      If there are people down here waiting, knowing that Christ is coming to take up the Church, they must be longing for Him to come, otherwise they don't know the position of the Bride and the Spirit saying "Come!" The Bride is the vessel in which the closest relationship of the Lord Jesus is formed. The child of God has the affections of Christ in his soul, and can only turn from being occupied with Christ in heaven to be occupied with whatever the Lord is occupied with down here. We get our rest amid all things in knowing that He is coming. The Spirit reveals Christ, and speaks of the glory to come. He is the great power for everything in the assembly.

      When the light of a returning Lord breaks in upon the soul, how many a want is felt that the heart never knew before! If you could know that the Lord were coming tomorrow, would there not be a thousand thoughts of need in your mind; a looking to see also if there were withal to meet the need of the thirsty. "He that is athirst let him come." This word brings before the soul the thought of need, of parchedness, before that need is felt. It tells thirsty ones that they can come to this Rock which was smitten that the waters might flow for ever in order to meet every need. This gushing stream tells of the readiness of Him from whom it flows to fill the thirsting soul.

      "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" There is exquisite beauty in His word, "Surely I come quickly," being thus immediately taken up by the Spirit and the Bride, and answered in language known to faith (See Rev. 22: 17). Often the very duties of the servant may be allowed to interfere with the bright burning of this hope in a heart where yet it is burning. It ever burns brightly in the heart of Christ: and as soon as the last members of His body are gathered in, that promise will be fulfilled. If the light only burns with a flickering gleam in my heart, there is ever, in all brightness, in His, the thought of coming quickly. The heart of the individual believer gets its power in the hope of His coming being ever present. We have to judge our ways, our whole course, in the light of it. This (Rev. 22: 17) is the only passage in which the Spirit is presented with the Bride -- very touching it is, connected with wilderness circumstances; the Spirit in that character speaking thus: saying, "Come!" What has the Bride to do with the wilderness, save as Rebecca passing through it?

      It will be a marvellous scene when Christ presents the Church to Himself -- when the Last Adam takes that Bride of His to share His glory. Ah! not only that; but it is oneness with Himself that characterizes us. What the heart feels is the being looked at as belonging to Himself; formed out of Himself, as Eve out of Adam. That the Father sees us not only in a relationship that links us up with the Son of His love in the glory, but in such a relationship that the Lord Jesus could not do without us. The Bridegroom must have the Bride up there.

      If you follow Him in His course down here, from the babe in the manger to the cross, and see Him in resurrection on the throne of God, the circumstances are very different, but ah! it is the same Lord Jesus. It is Himself, He Himself, is the object of love, and we know that we are for His own self in the glory. What is the distinctest thing on which the heart rests? It may be the earth-side now which one may see, but when we behold Christ Himself, it will be the heaven-side in the full unhindered energy of the Holy Ghost; having hearts responsive to that blessed grace which brought us there.

      Ought He not to be jealous if He is not the only object before our souls? He not only says, "I am the bright and morning star," but, "Surely I come quickly;" presenting Himself with all the savour, all the attractiveness, of what He is. Have none of us known Him for years, and have we not found the attractiveness, of His beauty deepening in us? What is all we have learnt of Him here compared with what it will be to behold Himself, to look on His face -- the One who died for us, the One who loved and watched over us from our infancy -- oh, with what tender gentleness watched over us? Is there not the consciousness in each of our hearts, how often He has given the grace we felt we were standing in need of? But besides that we are to have with His mind in all that meets us in the wilderness, there is another sort of communion -- communion with the desire of His heart going forth in "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" At times our hearts are drooping, we are hardly bestead; but what is all we can pass through here, if we are consciously able to respond to Him, "Even so come!" basing really communion with that heart of His, whose every thought is the Father's will, and who has been waiting eighteen hundred years to come and take up the people given Him by the Father: He the bridegroom, they the bride. How blessed to be able to enter into the desire of His heart to the utmost, responding in communion with it, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

      The Lord, in all His dealings now, is forming vessel in which His glory is to be displayed hereafter. Is He able to turn a Saul of Tarsus into a vessel to display His glory? Do I know Him as the One who has picked up me also to mould and fashion me, not for the scene I am now in, but for that scene to which all is now leading us on; for that time when all the saints will be gathered up to form part of that scene in which the glory of God and of the Lamb will be displayed: gathered up there by Christ Himself and put into full association with God? If asked, what am I wanted for in that scene of glory? the answer is, to be a medium through which that glory is to be displayed.

      Will there be any fitness for it in you or me? Yes, surely, but all of Him, who if leading a people there, is leading them as overcomers.

      When Christ had gone into heaven, the way of approach for us was made through the rent veil. of His flesh, and He made His throne a throne of mercy. If free to approach boldly, is it anything in self that gives you liberty? No; it comes forth from Him, through the blood sprinkled there. You could not have the right to say even, "God be merciful to me a sinner," unless you knew the blood to be there. In no other way could you have got into a place where the light is never eclipsed, having always boldness there, in virtue of the rent veil.

      As Paul walked, the light shone. He was the reflector of his Lord in his walk. There was that cheeriness which is the result of always finding God's side of everything. Whatever the failure or sorrow, his heart just turned up to Christ. What a blessed tone he must have given to any company he was in, just seeing the lack, and bringing what would meet it in the power of enjoyed communion with the Lord; and so making other hearts bright. Don't we see this in some? no cloud over the heart -- ever bright and cheery, because they look simply to Christ, seeking to reflect Christ. Who can look into the face of the Lord Jesus Christ and not find all their heart's desire? Beholding with unveiled face the glory of the Lord -- changed into the same image from glory to glory.

      Do you see by faith that Christ up there? Do you know a Person in heaven with all the feelings and thoughts of a man, with all the glory and beauty of God? And in that beaming forth on you of that face of glory and beauty, is there nothing that addresses itself to your heart? Who can look on the face of that Lord Jesus and not see in Him the Fount of eternal life? Will the beauty of that Person not win your adoring love? Will you ever find that you can look on Him as He is, and not trust Him?

      Are we not only knowing what we have in that ascended Christ as the One who has put away every spot of sin, the One who is going to take us into the Father's house, but are we letting it be seen, as we pass through the wilderness, in all we do, as Paul did? He died for us, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him. Oh what a position! not only what we are saved from and put into, but, even now, eternal life to be shown out; even now, present communion with the mind of Christ to be enjoyed; never as we pass through this world, seeking anything save to show out that mind, even as He never showeth out anything but the Father's mind.

      One thought pressed on me thirty-five years ago, and that was the thought of reality. Let it be a reality -- don't let me follow a meteor! Is it, I asked, a real fact that God's Christ is mine, and that He is now sitting at God's right hand as my accepted Sacrifice, and all God's delight is in Him?

      Your heart may have to, be brought into all sorts of difficulties to find out what it has in Christ -- what it is to be connected with the eternal Lover of the soul. Is He known to you, as the One who is occupied with all your concerns? Do you realize it daily? The thought of His being occupied about us would prevent our being tried with difficulties that spring up. It would make us say, "What! is Christ on the throne of God mine? I, such a poor feeble thing -- is He given to me?" Paul found the love of Christ a personal thing -- it is so. It was a personal love that gave John a place on His bosom; a personal love that drew to Him the poor woman that washed His feet with her tears; and poor things down here understand the power of that love as they go on.

      When we see saints like Peter and Paul failing, we feel what a poor thing man is at his best estate; but oh what an unexpected blessing to have to do with a God who cannot fail! And I know that when I pass from earth, I have a God who means to take me up and make of this poor body, a body of glory like that risen Man at His right hand. Come what may, this God has His everlasting hand underneath us.

      "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." Love is of God, there one comes to the fountain of all the love that supplies the trickling streams of love down here: but what we want is to have our hearts opened to the fountain for more love. It is a very trickling stream now, though very blessed to find ever so little. Yet why are we to be straitened in our ownselves? There is no straitness in the fountain. If God is love, and He fills His Christ with all this love, do not you and I want it to flow as rivers of refreshment through our souls? Oh that we might taste more and more what that love is! Does God's love dwell in us? Yes: because God says so; but the waters are choked up. Is there that eternal fulness flowing into the soul, the fulness of that matchless love that picked up the vilest sinners as channels for it to flow in? love that settles the competency of people by the Holy Ghost in them; to understand what this love is that flows out from God and through Christ to them? Can you, say individually that that love, flowing from God, is filling your soul to all fulness, and is as a river flowing from you?

      Paul had Christ in the power of the eternal life so ruling every desire and thought, that with a chain on his foot and hand, all he thinks of is that Christ should be magnified by it. It was Christ for whom he was suffering, he knew that he was borne on the heart of Christ, he felt His love, he had tasted it; he could say, "Did not He come and tell me that He would go with me to Rome? Did not He give me a word, when all were in despair, to make the people in the ship know that my God was everything to me?"

      Is there in us that singleness of eye, that earnest desire to live Christ saying, "till He comes I want Him to be shining out from me"? Some say it more than others. The Lord will some day have to put many into the furnace to destroy what is of the world in them. How blessed if any were so walking that persons could say, "In looking at the walk of that individual I see more of Christ than I ever before knew." But if conscious of being under the eye of Christ, we know that He is taking notice of everything, Paul knew the eye of One to be upon him whose love would not let a single circumstance pass unnoticed. If I realize that, it becomes the moulding process of His love on me.

      Sorrows and trials are not only like the sand and grit that polish a stone, but I shall be made to taste, through the trouble, what Christ is to me.

      If an angel from heaven were to come to my bedside, and tell me that Christ was occupied with me, as a member of His body, should I be more certain of that love than I am? It is no delusion, but a fact, that Christ loves me, and will love me right on to the end; and He will not cease making me know it till He gets me into the Father's house to be eternally in the full fruition of it.

      What a happy people we should be if we were mirrors reflecting Christ, in the perfect consciousness of our weakness, but looking at Christ in heaven, bearing up amidst all the evil that is coming in like a flood, because He is up there.

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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