By G.V. Wigram
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The contrast here between the death of the body, and the life, is very beautiful: the death ending the union of the believer's body and soul, this being the dissolution. "Be faithful till I take your quickened soul home."
John could say of Christ, "He was a Man down here whom we looked upon and our hands handled, but I never think of Him under any other character than that of the only-begotten Son of God." (God manifest in flesh.)
"I beseech you, abide in him, that when he appears, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed;" that is, He has set us to work, to preach and to build you up in Him, and we want to see you all so walking that we may have gladness of heart when He appears, because of not having laboured in vain. This thought of John's in connection with the appearing is touching, but not the same as Paul's joy at standing in the presence of Jesus with his dearly beloved Thessalonians round him. The fruit of his ministry will be his crown of rejoicing in the Lord's presence with all the blessedness that belongs to it -- the grace of Christ being sufficiently large to admit of Paul's joy at that crown. People say, "What, shall we think of any other in the glory save the Lord?" Surely of none like Him. (I shall worship Christ but never Paul.) But while giving Christ the place which He only can have in every heart up there, my soul would exceedingly miss it if the Lord would not allow my affections to be there in connection with those dear to me down here; and so Paul says, "What is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing, is it not even ye? who are the fruit of our labour for him in whose presence ye will be with us, at his coming?" A great many things will rejoice us in the glory, and you are one of them, a crown of rejoicing. Paul expected every groan in the wilderness to shine in the glory, and it may well be so, for it is life down here, the life of Christ in the soul, and it will not be another life when in glory. It will be the same life that was displayed in different circumstances down here, that will be displayed there.
Every vessel will be filled up to the brim in the glory, but there will be the difference between big and little vessels. If I saw Paul walking in the glory, I should understand the difference between large and little vessels; and should I not delight to see him honoured of Christ, who wrote many and many a blessed sentence in my soul? delight to see him there within with Christ, enjoying the reward of his much suffering here, up there where will be the full manifestation of everything.
If you cannot see Christ with you in the furnace, you can be quite sure He is there. What though I were in the deep three days and three nights, if I have Christ with me there! Whatever the place I am brought into, I shall find sweetness if He is with me. O do not let Christ have the second place! It is to be nothing else than Christ and you, and you and Christ, all the way through the wilderness. Let Him always be the only object before your mind. Refuse to see anything save with Him. Having Him you will find strength for everything.
The very taste of weakness should link the heart with strength in another -- with that One whose strength is made perfect in the creature's weakness.
Wherever the flesh appears, there is something that Satan can touch, and unless we judge ourselves, can turn to grief of heart in us and dishonour to God.
If you have not a thorn in the flesh now, it will be sure to be given you one day, to make you realize your weakness. The pitiful beggarliness of the flesh makes you ashamed to speak about what you are passing through, to any but the Lord. There will be different thorns for each.
We are washed as clean as God could wash us, but we have to walk down here where we find difficulties of every sort. If you say "I cannot get over that," Christ says "I am there to help, you have got my hand to deliver you. Poor crippled thing that you are, you cannot jump over that river, but lean on me, and so get over."
"He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." I had no ear to hear till God opened it; and now that it is opened, I shall not take in any voice but the Shepherd's. He, the eternal lover of my soul, the One who laid me as a lost sheep on His shoulder, He alone has a right to be heard; and what does He say? Ah, it is very searching when He who knows the heart tells me what He would have me do. Blessed Lover of my soul! dost thou say, "Stoop down and pick up that poor thing?" Dost thou say, "Come up hither?" Hast thou called me to give up life or health? Could I say if God were to bring the Turks over this country, "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight?"
"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" Faith in Him as Son of God on high is the power to overcome. As a child of the Father I must be an overcomer. That which as a "young man in Christ" I overcame, I must now overcome if I am a father in Christ. I have to be daily overcoming the world, self, and Satan. I have as an overcomer to realize my connection with the One who completely overcame everything, and is seated up there as the proof of it We cannot run up the bright shining way, save as overcomers, and He who overcame will help you to press on because He has overcome It is exceedingly blessed. God giving the revelation of a reserved portion for the overcomers. (Rev. 2: 3.)
It is very blessed when passing through all the trials and difficulties of work down here, to look at Him who came down to battle with Satan; all the sorrow in the world not equal to His sorrow; and the One who was obedient even to the death of the cross, drinking the cup of wrath. Most blessed, I repeat, to see Him set down on the throne of God because He overcame, and calling on His people to overcome even as He did.
Soon He will leave the Father's throne and take a throne in which we can sit with Him, and He with us. Is it a fact that you and I, individually, shall sit down with Christ in His throne? Yes, it is; and when He has taken up and presented the church, without spot or wrinkle, to Himself, He will seat her with Himself in glory. (Rev. 3: 21.) Often one hardly knows how to get through the trials down here; but the fruit of them remains, for which the overcomer will bless God for over.
How we see the Lord dealing in different ways with souls in the wilderness, to bring home to their hearts that all flesh is grass! Whether it be by the agony of sorrow or by a taste of the glory, what a withering sense we again and again have that all flesh is grass! and with it, that all the sympathies of a Father are for us,
The flesh must be broken. The Lord can use us then, not while it is unbroken. While Paul was writhing under Satan's thorn, he could get some estimate, though not a full one, of what the flesh is as God sees it. When it was broken, and Paul did not know what to do, the Lord came to pour sympathy into the writhing heart of Paul.
Ah, what a marvellous display of love comes out to fill the soul with joy at the very time that the Lord is teaching us our own nothingness and misery When one sees the thought of God and of Christ, in the breaking down of the flesh in us, how one should joy in Him and rejoice! Better, saith Christ, be a poor weak creature in utter weakness, than have any amount of power without "my strength."
In Paul we see "a man in Christ" in the third heavens, losing -- in what he was in Christ -- all sense of the weakness of the flesh, and then coming down to the full experience of utter weakness, and having all Christ's sympathy at the bottom of the will. These blessed tastes the Lord gives us of our portion in Himself. But we shall never know, in anything of its fulness, what that portion is, save as we realize Paul's blessed experience as "a man in Christ." As men whose feet touch the earth, we must have the experience of utter weakness. As a man in Christ, Paul does not speak of the flesh, but whilst we are in the body, there must be discipline to hinder the flesh showing itself out.
When people fail, we are inclined to find fault with them, but if you look more closely, you will find that God had some particular truth for them to learn, which the trouble they are in is to teach them.
I would press two things: the difference between life in the soul, and the light always streaming down from Christ. If Paul deviated from his course, that cast no shadow on the heart of Christ, but Paul must be corrected for it.
The action of faith in the believer's soul is very simple, it is the realization in the soul of the nearness of Christ -- a groan caught up by Him in a moment, every fear, every sigh, marked by Him. When the sun is shining on you, you do not measure its distance from you; but walking in its beams, you can look up and see how bright the light that is shining down upon you. And so if your eye be single, light comes right down from Christ and guides you -- there is no care, no anxiety of yours which is not a care and anxiety of His. Why should I have any burden on my heart to trouble me, when I may take it all to Christ?
Believe me, you can only plead with God as you know Christ. He alone is the channel by which God can bless.
No one can get above circumstances unless he knows that he has the ear of God. The power of intercession is a great thing to the servant of God.
"The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us! Do you know this One? Who is He? Ah, the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And we beheld His glory. No veil concealed it, there was the full revelation of a higher glory than the lower glory of creation work. The glory of the Only-begotten of the Father. In God's own eternity, the only One who could reveal God. If any one were to say, "Where shall I see the glory of that God who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto," a saint would answer, "Do not you know that there is One who came out of that glory to show God to us?" God manifesting Himself in flesh. When I see Him, I see all the beauty, the glory, the character of God in Him. And He is just the One to suit an undone sinner. Man's ruin and rebellion, and all that Satan has done for us, was just as a background for the showing out of all the bright glory and beauty of this One, in whose face we see all the glory of God and the Father.
If you have a thought of God being against you the answer is, "Why is He who bore our sins now upon the throne? If He is there because of having done a work upon the cross which perfectly satisfied God, and if God sees every one who believes in Him as dead, buried, and risen in Him, how can, there be any question about that person's acceptance?" This is what I call His death being brought into the soul; and if you do not thus count yourself to be dead in His death, you will find the old nature working in an extraordinary way; and your heart will go out after everything of the old man, if you have not so taken in this truth as to have it become a part of your very being that you are crucified with Him -- dead, buried, and risen with Christ.
I beseech you, carry about in your body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in you, as you pass through the world: not having a word to say for self, not coming with I, -- I; not wishing and hoping to become more worthy -- not I at all, but reckon yourself to be dead. Had not Paul thoroughly done with self, when he could say, "Not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God?"
The prophet Habakkuk gets up into his watchtower and strikes the key-note of the gospel "The just shall live by faith." He gets into the presence of God, and only watches for what He will say. He had not a single thing besides and he says, "If you want to be justified it must be by faith." This did not alter Habakkuk's circumstances, but his soul being occupied with the secret of God was kept at rest.
One who has faith takes God's estimate -- does. not look for the evidence of his own senses, but says, Let me hear what God says, He must be true. What God says will come into constant collision with what is in myself, but I have to say, "Let God be true and every man a liar."
If any one says, "I have faith in the blood, and I am sure I shall be in heaven at last," and that person is mixed up in all the rubbish of this world, does God take no count of it? Yes, and most surely God will bring, will drag His people out of Sodom, perhaps just as the whole thing is about to be destroyed. He knows how to pull them out, and I delight to see Him doing it, forcing them out, and making them go up hill into glory, whether they like it or not.
The Lord makes His people act, not by their feelings, but by the reality of the place they are in; makes them act as those who are in His presence.
If the world offers a Christian any advantage, he should look at it and say, "It will not become me to accept it -- I am one seated in heavenly places, I have but one object in life." Whatever the world could offer him he should turn from it, because a man cannot have two objects, if he be a heavenly-minded saint. The savour and root of everything, to such an one, is Christ up there, and he does not want to be a prosperous man down here, where Christ had no place.
What a thought! to be so one with Christ, so living Christ, that we have to put as a test to everything, "Would my Lord like this or that?" The Christ of God, who has made me one with Himself, what does He think of it?
Happy the person who has an empty vessel and God ever ready to fill. Unhappy they who have no empty vessel. The oil flowed still, when the woman lacked vessels. The Lord sees plenty of empty channels to be filled, and oh, it is a blessed thing to take up all our needs to God, and go before Him as those who know. His character as a giver.
I doubt whether many know the sweetness of going into the presence of God as a channel or pipe to be filled in order to bring out what is wanted for others -- saying, "I have got the ear and heart of Christ." He let the apostle Paul pour out all his thoughts and met them with His grace, far above all that He was asked. Blessing is not measured merely by the wants of the individual, but by all that is in the heart of God towards those who are in Christ.
You may not think there is much brightness in the furnace whilst in it, but when come out of it, its light will be in your soul. Something put there by the Son of God who walked with you through it, which will shine out to His praise and glory when He shall appear.
Suppose the Lord were to say in the case of two of His children, "I shall shelter and take home that one; but as for the other, I shall make him go through all the closing days, carrying the testimony which would certainly be the last;" such an one will find perilous times and plenty of sorrow, but which will look brightest up there?
The extent of Christ's love for those given Him by the Father, the Father alone can understand. Look at the prodigal -- what a pitiable object! and yet there he is in the father's arms, all the expression of the father's love put on him, all the joy of the house flowing out in response to the gladness of the father's heart. What did the prodigal bring? Nothing save the marks of misery. Starvation and rags. The angels did not understand God's mercy till then. They could not know it till Christ became man. When they saw the Babe lying in the manger, they knew that Babe to be the eternal God from off the throne. And it was only by the church that they learnt the manifold wisdom of God.
We understand that mercy in the heart of God, because we have tasted it.
It is a secret between my soul and God. God looked upon me and picked me up, and brought to my soul individually the taste of pardoning love through the Son of His love washing me in His own blood. Oh! the sweetness of the thought of this Son of God having given Himself for me, and having occupied Himself with me in all my misery. The most precious thought in connection with redemption is that of being a poor prodigal in the Father's house. The bringing in of the prodigal was to prove the delight of God in showing out all the riches of His love to poor ruined sinners,
Does any scene on earth now tell of the power of God without a mark of Satan? As we pass along, we have to see the marks of feebleness and sin in one another; and we stand out as witnesses of some strange thing having come in through Satan.
What is the rest of my soul for eternity? The fact that He, the Just One, took my place, the unjust one, on the cross. And then another thing comes out -- the essential glory of Him who died there. We see in Him the power of One whose springs are in Himself. The way in which He bears the wrath of God, tells, if there were nothing else, of divine glory; there is one there whose springs are in Himself.
When I come to the cross, it is impossible for me ever to understand what He suffered there. He had a heart full of affection -- the volume of it, no heart of ours can understand. He had a mind that grasped everything; we can only say of ours how very little they can hold, like a shelf that can hold a certain number of things, and if we try to put any more, they will roll off.
As a creature, I can get no idea of what the mind of Christ was, because it was the mind of God. When I see what the cross presents, it is not possible for me to form to myself the full idea either of the sufferings or the glory of the One who was put there to open shame.
Not a single spring of gladness in the heart of God, but was found in this perfect One, entirely God as well as man. Oh the thought of God having sent this Son down from His own eternal glory, this Son of His love, all His bosom's ineffable delight, sent down to the cross for me! It puts me in the dust. What am I that He should not only have brought me salvation, but have sent that Son of His love to bear all for me -- as man essentially perfect, divine in every way, yet made sin for us. I believe that in the present day, it is a matter of deep moment for the Christian to look again and again into the place of the Son of God on the cross, and to study all the divine attributes of that divine One who hung there
"Smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered "The Lord did not quote the latter part of this verse nor the beginning of it. "Awake O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." That is God's estimate of Him whom man valued at thirty pieces of silver. (Zech. 13: 7.) The last part of the verse is exceedingly sweet: "And I will turn mine hand upon the little ones." What a sweet thought must that have been to the Lord's heart, that if He was smitten, God would turn His hand upon the little ones. If wrath came on Him and the sheep were scattered, there was that drop of sweetness in the bottom of the cup. Oh! I cannot tell you what that word has been to me, in hours of trial and difficulty. God's hand being turned on the little ones -- not one of them ever lost. Where were Mary, John, Peter? God knew they were where they would all turn up, unharmed; they were given by God to this Shepherd, and God kept them for Him, and no one could pluck them out of God's hand.
The blessed Lord's heart could enter into all human feelings -- there lies in that fact the very thing that gave such a poignancy to His sufferings. Our minds are so little, they cannot hold more than a certain measure of great sorrow or joy. If in great sorrow we cannot feel little things. The Lord had all great things in connection with suffering, and yet the shooting out of a lip, the shaking of a head, all was felt by Him in detail at the same moment.
You cannot see the breast-wave roll over you, and let it come up, and up, till the last moment, giving up your life in obedience. He did this. We walked on calmly through His whole course of obedience.
The cross showed out what was man's hatred of God, but there was in it a woe such as man and Satan could not give: He was forsaken by God.
When we shall see Him with all the brightness of God's glory about Him, we shall say, "But He became Son of man, and He came down to die; He became a man of sorrows in the midst of His brethren. None ever went so low, or tasted sorrow as He tasted it." When we come to the Father's house, that home of joy and glory, what a thought it will be for our hearts, that He should have left it, and come down here to be initiated in the way of sorrow.
Am I only to see Him as the man of sorrows? No, I can go on to the Solomon glory, and rejoice in His joy whom God hath anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows. Never was sorrow like to His sorrow, but there is nothing there of the man of sorrow. Has any human heart ever felt what the Lord Jesus now feels? The oil of gladness poured over Him above His fellows.
I do not know what you feel, but joy opens the heart, and it is joy to see every poor sinner rejoicing. Soon we shall see His face radiant with joy, be rejoicing for ever in His joy.
He is heir of all things: and he that overcometh shall inherit all things. If I go forward to the thought of association with Him, it is not only in heavenly places, but I find a new heaven and earth, where I am to be with Him, the heavenly man. A scene where the eye may search in vain for anything unworthy of God. A spotless place all filled up with the glory of God.
If God were to deal with me as a creature I must stand before Him until every one of my sins can be counted up, for each one to receive a just recompense of reward. How perfectly simple it is! If God from Sinai gave certain laws for the government of His people Israel, and not one of those laws could be infringed without a certain penalty, it must needs be the same still to any who take that ground. If you are standing on that ground before God, take care! He will not pass by one single transgression without a just recompense of reward, and you must receive it. If I go before Him to prove my own righteousness, He must weigh me in His scales, must weigh every thought and imagination of my heart.
But if I come before God on the ground of being a poor lost sinner, what are His thoughts? He says, "I am not going to put you on. doing this, or not doing that, I have a purchased right to come in and pick you up as lost, and if you are lost, there is a Saviour for you."
Have I ever turned my thoughts upon this great salvation in heaven, in the Son of God? Oh how blessed to be a poor sinner brought into all the glory, bound up in one lot with Him! Everything sweeps round Him, as waves sweep round a rock, round Him who made all things. When we contemplate the glory of Him who is the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His person in connection with the great salvation that He wrought when He by Himself purged our sins, what added glory flows to Him from that great salvation!
After He had purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. The very last place where man in nature would go to look for one who had been crucified between two thieves. This gives a very special character to salvation. The religion of human nature kept man at the foot of Sinai; the religion of Christ Jesus brings him to the right hand of God. A ruined sinner, and this great salvation, those extreme points, meeting there.
I cannot draw any limit to this great salvation. Drop following drop is not the expression of the fountain's fulness. We may see all these drops, but that is not enough. It is the fountain itself, Himself in person who purged sin, that I want -- not salvation only, but a living Saviour. The affections of the heart can never flow, unless fixed on Christ in person. When I look at Christ Himself I know it. Christ who has washed me and is ever making intercession for me in heaven. When I get individually a living Saviour, one with me and I with Him, instead of salvation as measured out to all the saved, it is the bright light shining into my heart from His living presence.
Oh! if I can get with all my trials and sorrows into the light where Christ is sitting, at God's right hand I get there fresh life and joy. What a difference it makes in the practical power of walk if you can say, I have not only been washed from my sins, but I have got a Saviour at God's right hand, and He Himself is the One I am to live unto; drawing spiritual strength and nourishment from union with Him, as a sucker out of a root.
What can harm me if I am upon Christ's heart? A ruined one like me. and a Saviour like Himself go together; my name is upon His breast.
I was a child of Satan once, under the curse of a broken law, and nothing would do but for some one to come in and say, "That Saviour is given to this sinner, and this chief of sinners is given to that Saviour, belongs to Him." Yes, blessed be His name, we can say that we do know this, that the one resting place of our souls is Jesus.
I cannot keep my salvation -- God keeps it, and He has turned my eyes to it, where it is at His own right hand in heaven. We cannot get away from the blessedness of saying, "That great salvation, that Saviour, belongs to us, and we belong to Him."
The world is going on at the foot of Sinai. Content to stay there, under the full blaze of the light of salvation by faith, and in the sight of a great Saviour at the right hand of God in heaven. What effect does the thought of Christ up there produce in the hearts of professing Christians? Are not many of them equally saying, "Who is Lord over us? our lips are our own." But whether they think of it or not, that Nazarene is sitting up there, and nothing escapes His notice, not a word, not a thought. When careless walkers think of Him there, what effect has it on them? not peace.
It was God's thought to give an inheritance to those who, by Adam's transgression, had lost their heritage; not by putting man again into Eden, but by bringing him into a paradise of glory, an habitation of God. It was His thought to have a Son sitting with Him there as the One who would bring many sons to glory. Let us pause and see the entirely new world which that expression "bringing many sons to glory" opens to the mind. It was no new thought to the Father's mind: He knew what it was, but man knew it not, for it had not entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for these sons, but, saith Paul, "He hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit;" and as soon as we know it, we get the thought of the joy of the Father's house, we enter an entirely new world -- a world unknown until revealed, and the Holy Ghost alone could teach us about it. We cannot look at it apart from atonement: "It became him, through sufferings, to bring many sons to glory." (Heb. 2: 10.) These sons are all brought to glory from amongst a sinner race, therefore if there were not the atoning and cleansing blood, we could never see God.
If I am to be in the Father's house, a redeemed sinner, I want a perfect Man there. And if He is up there as the One who has run the race down here, and won all for us, what can I do? There is nothing to be done but to receive from Him. I suppose that is just the difficulty which the human mind finds the greatest; that is, to receive everything from Him at God's right hand. Not to have a single thing but what comes from the hand of God; and not merely receiving, but showing in every act whether the things of Christ rule in us.
There is but one place of anchorage for the soul, and that is faith in Jesus. But even where there is that faith, there may not be settled peace of conscience, and that is why it is so important to have a right understanding on the question of works. It is not the question only of getting peace on first coming to God, but of abiding in God's presence with unbroken peace ever after; and this cannot be unless God's idea of works be clearly understood.
Are the Jews alone in thinking that they had, as sinners, the same power to keep the word of God as Adam had before sin entered? No. If you look, not only at Rome, but at most protestant churches, you will find that the basis on which they are formed, is the competency of man to keep the law. That is the great master-principle of human nature. Man's thought throughout is that he can do something for God. But the thought of our being able to do anything cannot exist with peace of conscience in God's presence. One only could stand there and say, "All that thou requirest I can and will do. In the volume of the book it is written of me, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God."
Paul had thought by his own resources in works to meet God's demands, but when converted, a new principle broke in upon him, he found that that Nazarene was in heaven telling him of gratuity of grace, and he took salvation, not of works, but by faith.
God does not cause to germinate some little seed already folded up in man, but he implants an altogether new principle of life. God cannot see in man what we can see in examining a seed through the microscope -- the exact form of the future plant all folded up, which when the seed is put into the ground begins to spread forth. When God's eye examines a sinner, what does He see? What did He see in such an one as Saul, the persecutor? Did He see the divine life, afterwards manifested in him, all nicely folded and shut up within his soul? No; but the enmity which made Saul persecute to the death the followers of Jesus. He saw moral death, but no life in him. And how was all this changed? By the communication of a new life, an incorruptible seed. (1 Peter 1: 23.)
Has your mind been occupied with this thought, "He hath quickened us together with Christ?" Let us picture to ourselves the blessed Lord in the grave. He had been crucified, death had followed, then the grave. He had gone down into that new grave wherein man had never lain, but He could not see corruption; not here the question of His coming out of the grave, but of the quickening in the grave. He had power to lay down His life, and power to take it again. He was quickened as He lay in the grave. The movement of life in Him could have been seen, which could not have been seen in Lazarus. The power of another must cause him to move, and the voice that said, "Let there be light, and there was light," must say, "Come forth" to him.
Observe, also, the difference between the life of the Lord and our life in Him. He had given His life for the church, and the first expression of power connected with it was the quickening of His own body, as the Head of His church; and He has so associated her with Himself that we can say we were quickened together with Him. (Eph. 2.)
What amazing grace! God saying to us, "You have I quickened together with Christ, when you were dead in trespasses and sins." He is here speaking of our new nature which we have first presented to us when Christ woke up in the grave. The place where we first find the life given to us is here.
I cannot but dwell on that expression "quickened together with Christ," it comes so to me in connection with the glad tidings of the gospel. To think of being quickened together with Him who is now upon the Father's throne! All the church, in every separate member, being in Him up there.
I can trace everything connected with my circumstances, and what I am here to the first Adam; but, connected with all my blessing in Christ, I have to go up there where my life is hid with Him in God. How wondrous the grace of God! His mercy does not rest merely in the cleansing blood, vast as that blessing is, but it puts poor sinners into association with the Son, in life above. (Col. 3: 3.) God reckoned to Him our guilt, and if we are freed from guilt and in association with Christ in life, we get power from Him to walk as living men.
Where living faith is in any soul, there has been the communication of the divine nature to that soul. God can look on us with the same delight as on Christ, because we are hidden in Christ. He cannot stop the flow of His love and delight in Christ, and it all flows through us, as being in Him.
The human mind cannot see the glory of Christ in having come off the throne of God to the cross, but the believer has received "the mind of Christ," and can see something of it, and he finds that according to the measure in which he can enter into the humiliation of Christ, in that measure he sees the beauty of it.
Ephesians 1. God says that He chose me from the foundation of the world; and He called me within this present century. Six thousand years ago He chose me, and never has He wavered during all that period for a moment. I could not say that since He called me, and since He has been my choice, that I have never wavered in love, never turned aside from the path of enduring affliction with His people; but if anyone were to say, "How do you know that you are one of God's chosen?" my answer would be, "I know it because God revealed Christ to me and let His glory shine into my heart." The time was when there was no place in my heart for Christ, and as to feeling anything like interest in Him, I had not the slightest; but now He is the central object of my heart, and everything turns upon it. God has let into my heart that there never was so beautiful a Being as He who hung between two thieves. No, nothing ever like Him! And that Person has said to Me, "I took everything that God had against you on myself, I bore all your sins in my own body on the cross." And I believe His word; I stake everything on the truth of it. I have not a thought but that Christ has been revealed by God to me, and He is the connecting link between my soul and God, telling me that I am one of the chosen.
Revelation 2: 17. If it were not for that wondrous unsearchable Person, God manifest in flesh, and for His, sake, He having taken the cup of wrath for us, what would have been our future?
If we look at the glory, we could not do without Him. Ah, and God would have the manna laid up in the golden pot, to show His delight in Christ. Is there nothing that speaks to our hearts in the delight God has in the Son of His love? If I feel that I could not do without the manna; to think that God could not either! Do not talk as if it were only you that cared about the manna -- God does. He had the golden pot of manna laid up before Him, to show His delight in it; and He gives us to feed on that hidden manna.
I have tasted God's delight in Christ, I know He is precious to God, and I too can say, "Precious Jesus!" If anyone asks, "Why do you say Precious Jesus?" I answer, "Can you say it?" If you can, you will know what God thinks of Him. You and God will be of one mind. And if you get the taste of it here, what will it be when you get home? There it will not be the manna hidden in the golden pot, but the open display of God and the Lamb; God leading us inside the glory. Not like sunshine down here, bright one moment, and a storm coming on the next, but the fixed calm shining of the glory for ever.
Not only will all of you, as overcomers, eat of the hidden manna, but each is to receive a new name, a name that none will know but the one who receives it: a secret between Him that gives it and yourself.
Would you not like to know that there is something individual in Christ's heart connected with you? You might have all glory, but a heart that loves Christ would rather have something particular giving it the taste of His love individually. You will find some one with perhaps nothing but a broken text, full of the taste of Christ's love. I had rather be an old woman hardly able to read, who tastes thus the love of Christ, than be a person of the greatest knowledge without tasting it.
Ought it not to be something precious to us that we are called Christians, that the name of the anointed Man should have descended to us?