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Choice Quotes, Part 6

By G.V. Wigram

      What will it be to be in heaven, clothed in white, not a spot, the whole of me fit for Christ's own presence; all so pure, so transparent, as to be fit only for heaven! There is rest and refreshment in the thought.

      Think of a soul being there, and Christ saying to the Father, "This is one whose name I can confess as an overcomer." Ah, one feels, if Christ said that of me or of you, we must say, "It was not of us, Lord, it was through the faith thou gavest us in thyself that we overcame; it was thou who didst it, thyself who gavest the power to get the victory." How the difference between Christ and ourselves comes out; He loves to praise us, and not to gather praise for Himself. How unlike us! We love to gather up a good report, to get praise for ourselves. Christ will give it all to the overcomers, although it is entirely His. He is the One who helped them and set their feet right on the Rock, and over and over again restored their souls. Do you believe in Him? Then you must be an overcomer, "for this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

      Take today: How many thoughts of Christ have you found in your soul? I shall never walk apart from the world save as Christ is in my soul. Has your walk today flowed out of your consciousness of Christ as a living Person in heaven?

      If the God of heaven is occupied with us, how many thoughts ought not we to have of that God? It is only as occupied with God and with Christ that we can be unworldly.

      When Christ went up to heaven, was He not competent not only to claim, but to keep a people separate from the world down here, in spite of all that Satan would do? How are they kept?. By what is earthly? No, but by the Spirit of God using truth connected with Christ in heaven. It is heavenly truth that keeps a people up.

      Has God a right to speak? Does He know how to use human language, and drive it right home to souls? To be sure He does, and He says, "whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."

      The Lord Jesus declares about His sheep, that they have eternal life, and that no one can pluck them out of His hand or out of the Father's hand; but human nature says, "How can I know that to be true?" How can you know it? a pretty word for a creature to put forth! Far better for the creature to say, "Let God be true and every man a liar."

      Have you over thought of God dealing with you not as to what you are in yourself, but as to where, He has set you in Christ? Have you ever thought that it is the affections of the Father's heart which flow down to us where we are, seeing us in Christ, not in our poor wretched selves? What we are in self is not the thing to scan, but what we are, and where we are, in Christ; and what there is in the living affections of the God of glory, who has raised us up together with His Son, and has given us all heavenly blessings in Him.

      It is not the Father's house, nor the millennial glory, but it is Christ that I want. Where I find the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, it is something for me to rest upon. Everything connected with the One we love, interests and touches the heart; but the more we love, the more we long for the presence of that One. Whenever I find the Lord in Person present, I find something beyond the scene: in the sermon on the mount, I do not see the Jews, the time or the dispensation -- to me there is but the presence of the Lord.

      When I get into the Father's house, what thought will be sweeter to my heart than the Lord washing the disciples' feet? What a thing to be in glory with such a Lord.

      Many saints find it a great effort to get the heart into occupation with God and the Lord Jesus Christ in that exalted place; but it is much more a question of relationship than of place. When the heart rises up there, what is its thought? Is there nothing there to strike the chord of its deepest affections? Is there no answer? Yes! the Son of man is on the Father's throne, not ashamed to call us "brethren."

      Whenever faith goes up, what does it find realized there? The thought of One once in all my circumstances of sorrow down here, now at home with the Father. "If ye loved me ye would rejoice, because I said I go to the Father."

      I suppose the great blessing in connection with the glory we shall have there with Christ, is not that our glory is greater. but our nearness to Him, enabling us to taste that which man on earth will never taste.

      We were in Christ before the foundation of the world, and shall be in Him when the heavens and earth shall have passed away; what can touch this eternal union? "The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one."

      "If any man serve me, him will my Father honour." If anyone serves Christ, he will be specially under the eye and notice of the Father; when He sees any following Christ, the preciousness of that Son of His love casts its light upon them.

      I do not know if any of you ever groan; there is much to make you do so, much to knock at the door of your heart, if Christ is not there. There is the sand of the wilderness, and Christ alone can keep it out. Yes, there is much to make the people of God groan, much to show them, as things pass on, what a worthless thing human nature is (Peter could curse and deny his Lord); and what is the Lord's answer to it all? "Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me."

      God reads everything in us; sees the flesh and the Spirit both striving for the mastery in our hearts; but God's way is to cripple the flesh, yet with the most amazing gentleness; cutting off a limb, yet full of love. God's thought is not to nourish and cheer the flesh, but to deliver us from it. He is dealing with you to deliver you from the flesh and to build you up in the Spirit. You cannot say to God "Thou hast given me life, leave me alone;" He will not do so. No father would leave his children without chastening if needed for their profit. How He cripples the flesh, as we see in Paul!

      If Christ were always in the heart, we should not let the sand of the wilderness in, not that we should never have any, but if we have the oil of His presence, the sand cannot stick and clog our feet.

      I have gone through a bit of the wilderness, and many have more, and what is the answer to that which is before us? There may be the bitterness of sorrow and trial to taste on to the end; but what is the answer to everything? "Let not your heart be troubled -- believe in me." As much as too say "Let me be the answer to it all." He had been telling them that He was going away, and it was to stay away two thousand years, but He says "If I go away I shall come back again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." He could not forget to come, He never forgets His promise, it is ever fresh in His mind.

      How many are there in trial and difficulty, who, in contrast to it any find great brightness in the thought that all will soon end in the presence of the Lord! Others there are, vexed with self and trying to carry the cross, seeing such failures that they hardly like to give a testimony, yet who in the midst of it are looking up with the thought that when with Christ, all will be unbroken light.

      As one looks at Christ in the glory, and then at ourselves, one thinks, "there will not be beautiful garments found for God after such a course; but there will be the discovery that all through it He was showing His love."

      It is true that that living Christ is where He is, in the Father's house; it is true that He will have us there as witnesses of His faithfulness, And we shall find there everything in contrast with what we have passed through down here. Not only there the all-pervading power of the Spirit working everywhere; not only the brightness of unsullied glory and of everything that the heart could desire in the presence of the Lord, being like Christ and the reflectors of His glory. But besides all this, we shall have the sweet consciousness of ever learning in Him the love of the Father that brought us there. The little realization there is of that love is a mark of the low state of believers in the present time.

      That which puts before the heart the manner of the love of Christ is, to see Him up there wanting to share with us what is dear to Himself, desiring to have us partakers with Him in the brightness of that glory given Him by the Father. Seeing a guilty conscience, having washed and cleansed it in His own blood, He must have the poor sinner with Himself. Oh, this Christ does love! and of His love alone could it be said "there is a love which passes knowledge." Which is most worthy to occupy our thoughts, the littleness of out love, or the fulness of that love which passes knowledge?

      Death is not the king of terrors to believers. He that had the power of death is nullified new to those who believe in Jesus. Through carelessness of walk some may say that they do fear death; they accredit the power of the enemy so as to sanction in themselves a certain degree of fear of it. If I look back before I was converted it was not the thought of death but of the great white throne, the judgment after death, that I shrank from. There is such a thing as a physical fear of death. It may be given of God for the protection of the body, to make people take care of themselves; but believers on their death-bed have no fear; the Lord has been with them, and they have desired earnestly to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. I have never known anyone who, walked closely with the Lord Jesus who feared death. I have known some who have said "If I were to meet death in my present strength I am not able to bear it." But will not Christ be faithful to His promise, "when thou passest through the valley of the shadow of death, I will be with thee, my rod and my staff they shall comfort thee?"

      I do not know what others think of heavenly-mindedness, but I groan at finding so little of it in myself. At the end of a day or week, am I conscious of having been walking as a heavenly-minded man? I do not mean in regard to anything outward; it is of little consequence whether! stand or fall in the sight of others, of fellow saints. The solemn thought is, What am I in God's sight? What passes in my soul? Have I the mind of heaven? In all trials and troubles, is it the thought of my heart "I am up there with the Son of God?" His life is my life; am I letting it flow forth?

      We have to make the discovery that the Lord of heaven and earth looks down and sees every believer as identified with Himself. Saul felt this when the Lord said, "Why persecutest thou me?" Yes, the Lord Christ looks down on His people as being vitally united to Himself. What is sweeter than the name of Jesus to the Father! and that Jesus was with the Father in heaven when Paul heard the words "Why persecutest thou me?"

      Think of the delight of angels at seeing that One who had humbled Himself, that Nazarene, that rejected Man, take His place on the throne of God! And is it true that if we are accepted in Him, "in the Beloved, the Father loves us as He loves Him, and that because we are one with Him, in Him, and He in us? Yes, you are beheld of God as a member of that Christ at His right hand; and what is there in you that can interfere with the delight of God in His own Son?

      Ephesians 3. No wonder if Paul felt burdened by the difficulty of putting simply and clearly before believers such a wondrous subject as that secret thought of God, hid from all eternity! When men said, "We will not have this man to reign over us," God was saying "I will bring out a secret thing wrapped up in my heart; I will have that One, whom you have put to death, with me on my throne, and I will gather out a people to whom He shall be the Head and they the members, joined to Him by living faith and sitting with Him in heavenly places." No wonder that Paul's heart laboured to bring it out in simplicity. Fellow-heirs! Fellow-heirs with whom Who was heir to the inheritance? Who could point up to it and say, "In my Father's house are many mansions?" Only One could. That One who could rearrange the whole heaven if He would. Only Christ the Beloved of the Father's bosom. The lot had fallen to Him. All belongs to Him, and He shares it with His body -- co-heirs with Him.

      Where is my comfort, think you, when I look at the people of God? Is it in anything I see in you or about you? No. I think not of what you. are, but of the purpose of Christ concerning you. He has to break down many a thing in us, and it may be very painful to us; but what a difference between a person tasting all he can of ease down here, with eternal woo hereafter, and one with the name of Christ on his forehead in the, midst of sorrow and pain, Christ dealing with him, and making thoroughly manifest what. His purpose is concerning him.

      He says to His own, "I have separated you to bear my name in the wilderness, let all around, you see it." The deeper the trouble, the higher the service; the nearer to God, the greater the prostration of the flesh. Paul could say, "Examine my life:" was there ever such a long list of sorrows, and yet such a spring of joy in the heart that nothing could bow it down? Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; in deep poverty, yet making many rich.

      No Christian should be standing for himself; in every company and in every place, we must make manifest another -- even Christ. The saints are to be an epistle of Christ, read by all; to be the living expression of what was in the mind of Christ. "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." Take this word and apply it to yourself in its power. Are you leaving the savour of Christ behind you in every place? as perfume is left behind by those who carry it -- so sweet as to be unmistakable wherever left. If you are doing this, it is because you are bearing about in your body the death of Jesus, so that His life is manifested in your life. We cannot begin to live with Jesus until we have died with Him.

      In the present time things viewed morally and spiritually are like things after an earthquake; all is out of order and disjointed. We cannot now turn round and view the church as it once was -- a body of heavenly-minded men keeping themselves unspotted from the world manifesting the presence of Christ by their holy walk, shining as lights in the world's thick darkness. We must each one feel his own individual weakness and failure.

      The heart is very apt to take counsel of self, and droop under the circumstances around, but instead of being cast down, the question should come in, "What is the spring, what the source, of the sustaining strength on which we lean?" It is in Christ Himself and in His power. If two or three desire now to meet in His name, and to walk unspotted in the midst of evil and failure, it is in the mighty power that never yet failed and never will, that they can do so. The church is loved and cherished by Him who is to present it to Himself. Nothing in earthen vessels can do this. Christ's own living power alone can sustain, nourish, and at the end present it to Himself without spot or wrinkle. How precious to be able to turn from our weakness and failure, and see this power up there in the living Person of that One who is "the same yesterday, today, and for ever," to see Him sustaining and nourishing me because I am bone of His bones, and flesh of His flesh, risen with Him, one with Him.

      Looking at the divine side of the gospel, I get in it God's direct appeal to my mind and heart God says, "My Son is at my right hand, and if you are a believer in Him I see you according to what He is." The One who took the place of being my life, is the One who, before He took that place, had borne on the cross everything that God ad against me.

      It is a most marvellously blessed thing the relationship I am in with God, and marvellously blessed to be conscious of it by having received the truth that He looks on me and the Son of His love as one. What! I? a poor pitiful thing down here getting my feet soiled and entangled -- what! am I looked upon by God as being one with Christ up there, with that One to whom you could not add a thing to make a ray of His glory shine out more, brightly? What! one with Him!

      Angels cannot say, "Abba, Father;" it marks to the Father's mind our association with the Son of His love.

      What an immeasurable blessing that ours is a life with Christ in God! I often ask myself whether I really believe it On the other hand I know it to be an indisputable fact, and yet I ask, "How is it, if I have it, that I can live so below it, as though my life were down here?" And again, "If I have a natural life bringing me down to things so low, how can I be occupied with things so high?" Really to believe that I am one with Christ would make a thousand cares drop off. In the morning one wakes up in astonishment -- realizing it, but why cannot one act all day on the reality of it before God? One rises saying, It is a fact that He is my life, and I will act it out, letting it be seen in all I do that Christ's life is my life; and yet perhaps before one leaves the room something comes in between, so that one ceases to substantiate the fact of it in the soul.

      Ah! that thought, "I am one with Christ," is the great power in the mind, giving to the heart a living warmth. The realization of having one life with that One up there -- the Nazarene -- would turn a London fog into the bright light of the glory He is in above.

      If the life of Christ is flowing through us, the water from the Rock turning the wheel, as it flows into the heart, it will fill us with joy; and if so, we cannot contain it, it must flow out.

      If taken up with my broken, aching body, I am forgetting that I am one with Christ above. This body does beautifully for a light-house, but we are, not to be looking at little trials down here. You can say to everything this world can offer, "I have this which you have not; I am in Christ, and everything He has, belongs to me." As soon as you get to this side of life with Christ, the death of Christ closes over everything here.

      We are brought out of the scene in which everything circles round man, into that in which everything is the expression of God.

      It is Christ Himself who is our life -- we are related to the Christ of God in the most vital way, having one life with Him; when He appears, we shall appear with Him, and all that characterises His manifestation in glory, will characterise us.

      What a volume there is in that expression, "The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!" A man sitting at the right hand of God with God's glory in His face, and no covering over it. Ah! the fact of His being a man and such a man, up there, is the discovery of everything one's heart dreads to bring into the presence of God. I may have been carried away by my heart and so got out of communion, but when my soul comes in contact with that One seated there as the accepted sacrifice, I know that before God it is all right for me. If I ask, Who is that Lamb upon the throne? the answer comes, "It is the Nazarene," the One who came down to be my substitute, the One who washed me in His blood; and that One is the man in whose face God sees all His glory.

      Have you living intercourse with that Christ? He who looks down and reads your heart, sees everything in you, any leaven not yet purged. He looks down as the One who as Son of man bore all the curse for you; and you may look up and say, "Oh Lord, Thou didst take the lust of this world out of my heart, Thou didst find me a wandering sheep and didst bring me nigh by Thy blood; and is there not affection now and thought in Thy heart for the poor thing Thou didst pick up? Thou didst care enough for me to bear the curse due to me, and now shall I say I cannot be sure whether Thou lovest me?" What! shall this heart entertain such a thought of treason against Him? Shall I be calling out against Him because things do not go as I like, and things are not made smooth? Where is my soul if I do not know that the person who has spoken to me loves me? Oh if you knew how the watchers in heaven have seen thousands of the proofs of His love in His dealings with you! Do you think they could have had a doubt of His love to the poor woman at the well of Samaria? Can the watchers doubt His love to poor things down here now? You may, because of our evil heart of unbelief, but they do not.

      If love and affection were not in the heart of the Lord, how could He come forth to gather His people up to be with Himself for ever in glory? When He comes to call His people, He will not leave one behind. His faithfulness comes out there, as well as His love.

      "The light of the glory of God" where? In the face of Jesus Christ. God, pointing to that fate, says, "If you want to know all my glory, there it is." Unsearchable glory -- glory past finding out -- there it is in the person of my Son!

      What a blessed thing it is to get the light so connected with our souls that nothing we find in ourselves can take us by surprise! No light can shine into my heart save what is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; if I do not know it there, I do not know God. Can you say not only that you know Christ is light, but that the light is shining into your heart? It is the probe by which God shows us what self is. There has been little but failure ever since the day of Pentecost, and the failure is greater now than it ever was before. Ah but when that light shines in, it shows out everything, and nips every budding of the flesh, everything that cannot stand in the presence of God.

      When Christ began to attract you to Himself, "Now I want to draw you after a new did you after a new Master," did you not know it? And do you not know it now, as Christians? Did He not know all your condition and all your circumstances when He picked you up as poor sheep, torn and weary? And, I ask, did He not act in a Lordly way when He picked you up?

      When God calls a soul, the first feeling is, "I must be up and after the God who has called me." All who were called by the Lord when on earth followed the Lord, attracted and drawn by Him.

      When Christ shined into my soul, did I look up into heaven first? or did Christ first look down upon me? Did I find Christ out by my own wisdom? I am sure that I did not. And if God had not caused His glory in the face of Christ to shine into my soul (some forty years ago), I should never have known the God who revealed Himself to me and not to others of my kindred. In the case of Saul, God revealed His Christ in glory to him, that He might lead him captive. God caused the light to shine round about him, to reveal Christ. He has shined into our hearts, and we are running after Christ because He drew us to Himself.

      What is the stay of heart to an aged pilgrim? Can one find any comfort in thinking that for forty years one has tried to follow the Lord? Oh no! but it is that the Lord -- that my Master, in His perfect beauty, has been down here; and it is that He who let His beauty shine draws me after Him. It was like a hook put into my heart, it might have been in the form of terror or of grace, but it was something that like a hook drew me after Him. Ah! it was the call of that Lord which linked me to Him, it was the effectual power of that Lord, used for drawing me after Him; and He did not mean me to follow as a servant only, but as a fellow-worker with Him: it is the privilege, in one way or other, of every believer.

      How marvellous! being in a body of sin and death, with the consciousness of all sorts of different evils, to be exhorted to let the same mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 2: 5.) Yes, and the Lord says, "Be ye perfect, as my Father in heaven is perfect." Nothing short of that will do -- nothing to rule my life but the same principles the Lord Jesus acted on -- to be a display down here of the very same mind, the very same principles of action, as Christ the Son of God had. The complete and entire surrender of everything to God the Father marked Him who in obedience came from the very height of glory down to the very lowest depths of humiliation; and in us there is to be the same principle.

      It is not the fragments of obedience which we can render to God, that give peace to the soul; but it is the thought of Christ exalted as a Saviour; and that God has joy in seeing Him there as a Saviour, and commands us to believe in Him for salvation to our souls. And what is the masterfeeling of my soul in thinking of it? Ah! I say, What a Father! what a Son! How unutterably blessed that the presence of Christ as Son of man up there, is real joy of heart to God! heaven being made a place that witnesses the delight of God in the mercy provided by this Son of man who is seated at His right hand.

      A young Christian thinks that he has fully tasted at first that which is in himself and that which is in Christ; but an old Christian can say, "Every day I see more of my own evil and of Christ's love; but in spite of all my waywardness, He never changes. If I am where I am, it is because the Lord Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. I look not at my own experience, but my faith is in God whose Son, at His right hand, never changes." Yes, clouds may roll around us down here, but we ought to have a happy face and a bright heart, always able to rejoice in the Lord.

      I may slip out of my body, but what of that? I shall find Christ on the throne, the same yesterday, today, and for ever. If it comes to the thought that He is up in heaven and I down here; well! there can be no separation. I am one spirit with Him, one life with Him. I might give Him up, but He will not let me go; because He is there, I must be there, for He has made me obedient to faith.

      When Peter cursed and denied his Lord, there was not a waver in the affection of Christ, not a cloud on that brow as he turned round and looked on Peter, and Peter went out with a heart broken under the power of it.

      How can that God of love be ever satisfied unless we walk like Christ? unless, in everything we do, the same principle is in us which was in the One who, being the highest, went down to the lowest, and took upon Him the form of a servant? Let the light of that principle displayed in Him. come right into your soul, so as to shine out in the world. You may have need of patience, there may be pressure and heaviness of spirit, but if God has shown you the very delight of His heart, Christ in heaven, it is in order that you may forget your sorrows down here, saying, "Ah, there He is! and if the waves are breaking over me, none can break into the port where He is!" His people forget to look up, and get looking down and around at everything that is coming against them. Instead of looking for Him who is coming, you sink into the sand of the desert, and get your mouths and eyes full of it.

      How blessed is the word, "Yet a little while (how little a while!), and he that shall come will come and will not tarry." It is sweet to be able to single out any face that tells out "In a little while He will come." In, early times any that had houses and lands sold them, looking up full of joy because the Lord was coming. The question now is whether the thought of Christ's coming is strong enough to make our hearts bright under every trial.

      I fear that there are very few of God's people of whom it can be said, "There is one whose whole heart is full of Christ -- a man with this one thought ruling him, 'whether I live, I live unto the Lord, and whether I die, I die unto the Lord; living or lying, I am the Lord's.'"

      The crown of which the Apostle speaks is not to be given for being a Christian, but for a faithful walk. Poor Lot will not have it, nor Demas. It ought to be a solemn thought to hearts, that the Lord means to notice how people have stood as witnesses for Him, and what sort of walk theirs was. All are to be in glory on the ground of free grace; but Christ watches to see if we run well, and will bestow a reward if there has been faithfulness, and a crown of righteousness if we have loved His appearing.

      If there were no difficulties, you could not say that you know what it is to have Christ with you in them. You would not experience the tenderness of this Shepherd all the way that He carries the poor sheep from the far-off common where He picked it up, right into heaven. Oh will you not try -- not in nature, but in the power of divine life -- to realize the love of this Lord? and that if He has got His hand strongly upon you, it is to bear you up, that you may be looking for His appearing. I want bearing up until the time when He comes to take me to Himself; I want His strength made perfect in my weakness, the whole way through the wilderness.

      We find sonship so blessedly brought out in John's Gospel. I find the Father's heart so near mine: as one lately departed said, "Not only has He given me eternal life, but the Father enters into all my smallest wants; the least things about me are remembered, the Father's love and grace streaming round me."

      Sonship is relationship. The Only-begotten came out of the divine glory, and every one who received Him became a son. If I am a son, then God is my Father, I can say, "Abba, Father." I get my rest there.

      While in the Apocalypse, the church is represented as the vessel through which the glory of God and the Lamb will be displayed, yet there is a nearer place in the Father's house, and our being associated with Christ as sons will be our right and title to be there. All the saved will be in glory, but for the children given by the Father to the Son, it is the Father's house.

      God takes all the blessing Christ won, and shares it all with us. There is a spring in the heart of God, flowing forth for us as sons, individually, for you and for me, for His name's sake. Not only the new and living way opened, but beloved in Him as sons. Not merely light streaming down, but a relationship established between us and God the Father.

      We can follow and adore the Lord in all His course on earth, but not till He ascends into heaven can our fellowship with the Father and the Son be understood. Christ in heaven, and the Father looking on that Son of His love, and seeing all the people He has given Him as one with that Christ, the Lord quietly waiting till all who are given Him are presented there. Ah I say, what a Christ this is! I can understand seeing Him up there, all the Father's delight in those who believe in Him, and all streams of heavenly blessing flowing down to them, because He is there, But not only is the living water flowing to the children of God, but there is another thing, that is, the wonderful communion of the Father and of that Son of His love, with the people who have received Him down here.

      The power to walk in the eternal life given us is divine. There is not a struggle to give a thing up for Christ, without a power of joy owing into the soul in letting it go for His sake; because you have got into communion with the divine nature. We not expect to find a bag of gold in God's presence, but we look for the appealing and the kingdom, and if meantime we are accounted as the off-scouring of all things, we have the joy of communion with the divine nature. We have strength given us to break through everything: we are brought into an entirely new world by it.

      I want to see saints with that stedfastness of soul, With that power of joy; not like Timothy with tears rolling down because of wilderness sorrow, but like Paul, putting everything right down, in the power of joy.

      It is a solemn thought, as one stands on the earth, that He who, earth-rejected, sat down at the right hand of God in heaven -- He in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily -- He who was the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His person; seeing too our position, seated with Him in the heavenly places, it is, I repeat, a solemn thought that He has to claim the heavenlies, and this earth where Satan has usurped the dominion.

      It is not persecution that the people of God find now, but a slippery day, in which it is difficult to keep the feet. The hot blast of persecution is not so bad as the clear frost which, after a shower of rain, makes the ground slippery as glass; and that is the character of the day we live in. Little snares of Satan are on every side, the feet slip and slide, and you get discouraged -- but why? God says, "Is not eternal life yours? Have I not pledged myself that it is? If you fail, Christ will not fail. If you slip get up again and go on, you have eternal life in Him." What! is your heart drooping when Christ in heaven is yours? Because you are going through the sea and cannot steer, are you drooping? Take hold of that little word (the promise of eternal life) and never let it go and if others are inclined to be discouraged, saying, "We cannot go on, we see no way whatever to turn," do you bring that word and see if they will not be ashamed. It is not only that Christ in heaven is ours, that Christ, the very delight of the Father h ours, but there is in Christ our answer to everything.

      The eternal life pledged to me in Thy Son, my God! that is what I have got; and that eternal life entirely changes death and the grave to me. The life of the body is corruptible, every day tending to corruption. What grace it is on Christ's part to sever the soul from it. But I have a life which is altogether new, a life born of incorruptible seed, which nothing has power to corrupt. It is not only like pure water gushing out of a rock, but water of such purity and brightness, that you can neither colour nor corrupt it. But let us ask ourselves "Has this eternal life been marking the life we are leading?" Today, for instance, have we been passing with it through every duty? A saint has no business to do anything unless he can recognize Christ in it. If today you have been living a life in the body, indulging its lusts, wishing for this thing and that, you have not been walking as one who possesses the eternal life.

      Redemption was no after-thought of God's. Eternal life was promised before the world began. (Titus 1: 4.) Here we are in a system where everything turns on fallen man as the main object, but that which separates me from it is that I am in Christ's system in heaven; chosen in Him before this earthly system had a beginning, "before the foundation of the world." This thought gives great steadiness to the mind in all that we may be passing through. His, and kept by Him in everything, and waiting on Him to see what He will do. If I left my body tonight, I should go straight to Him; and when He leaves the throne to come and take His people home, my body will go there too; the dead raised, the living changed, all made like Himself, all to stand around Him. He the centre, and they covered with all His beauty.

      When God displayed His Son in the world it was as the One of whom He could say "He is the resurrection and the life." He abolished death and brought life and immortality to light. It was an eternal life that had light in it. It burst through the grave and made death an entirely different thing to what it was before. By passing through death Christ destroyed death. He bore judgment to destroy judgment. God gave Him to it, and He willingly gave Himself. To nature, death is a dreadful thing; there is corruption, and that is all that remains of those we love best. A curtain across the path, and we, cannot look through it; it is a dreadful thing. But the death of Christ has entirely neutralized death and destroyed its power, that is to say, to a saint. What is it in fact? When your work is done, you lay your head on our pillow, and go into the presence of the Lord, "absent from the, body and present with the Lord."

      You may be called to pass through a stronger trial of principle than any you have yet had. Suppose you were in prison, with none to love you, to comfort you, left all alone. But if so, there is the eternal life. I have to walk on earth as one who possesses it, and if so, have I to care what my circumstances may be? Sorrow, and nothing but sorrow, there may be for a time; but if I have the eternal life, I am soon to be up and above it all.

      Works have their place; fruit has its place, but it is found at the end of the branches, it grows on a living tree. Not one work of ours can help to obtain life. God never says, "Give me anything," to an unconverted person; and there is all the difference in the world between coming to Him as a lost, ruined creature, and coming to Him as bringing something. There was not one work of mine. I am a ruined sinner saved by grace, "not according to works."

      There can be no question of doing till there is life in Christ. But, when converted, not only is the believer "ordained to good works," but to particular works. The Jew was to love God with all heart, and his neighbour as Himself; but in the Epistles, there is that which is far higher, I am not only to love God with all my heart, and my neighbour as myself; but to be willing to lay down my life for the brethren. If God in His grace is pleased to work in me to make me like Christ, I am to be the display of, what Christ Himself was, and all my works are to spring from the root laid down in Christ. So far, from, bringing into bondage, works are the greatest privilege. Is a soul converted? it is the life of Christ given to that soul, and there; is not a single occasion in which that life is not to be, shown forth, even in the giving of a tumbler of cold water. In your house, in every little thing that occurs, the Lord looks for fruit; everything, may be used to express the life of Christ in you; and instead of its being bondage, it enhances our joy in everything down here, because of enjoying all in connection with Christ and with God. A believer is not justified in saying, "What can I do?" knowing that God in His greatness comes into every particular of his life. If it be the question of Christ being everything to a saint, Christ cannot let him off from manifesting it in all the outgoings of his life down here. What will you trade on? What will you put on the loom to weave? if it be not Christ.

      Many may build wood, hay, and stubble on the true foundation, and be saved so as by fire; but how different their power to walk! How beautifully was there displayed in Paul the sense of his fellowship with the life of Christ! He could say "Follow me as I follow Christ." His association with a risen Christ in life, flowed forth in such a way as to preach to all.

      What was there in your soul or mine for Christ to love? Yet He loved us and washed us in His own blood. Did He do the work imperfectly? Did He leave streaks of sin upon us, or are we whiter than snow?

      What magnificence in the thought that when He went into heaven, He went as the one who had made purgation for sin.

      I, as an individual believer, can say "I am quite sure that He loved me And washed me from my sins in His own blood;" but more than that, I can say "I have Christ up there as a living Person ever at hand when I get into trouble."

      I can have no relationship with God, save as being one on whom He sees the blood of His Son sprinkled; and that Son of His love is seated as Man at His right hand, with every capacity to feel as a man, and to mingle Himself with things that affect us down here.

      His eye and His voice guide His people down here when they are near enough to bear and understand. Those who are so, know His mode of guiding, so that they know what He wants them to do. I do not see Him, but His eye is upon me, and I hear His voice behind me saying, "This is the way." Do you turn the thorns and the soil you may pick up by the way into so many the more reasons for walking with Him? Faith says, "There is a Man in heaven, and all the divine glory is connected with Him; I can walk with Him."

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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