By G.V. Wigram
If a spring has not been opened in a soul, a spring of living water from God's own Son, no waters can flow and there is no life in you.
If you were to put all the good works of every believer all together, do you suppose that would give a title to go on the cloud of glory with Christ into the Father's house? No; it is not their worthiness, but His, and He bestows it on His people, saying, "If you come to the Father in my name you will be heartily welcome." Why does God always smile upon me? Because He sees me in Christ, and loves me as He loves Christ. Are we really welcomed there? It is because we belong to such a Master; and as it is for no goodness of ours, the feeblest little one is as welcome as the oldest apostle, because of coming in the name of Christ.
Christians have not learnt the double bearing of death and resurrection in themselves, if they do not see that being dead with Christ is the entire putting away of the old man. As a believer I am a crucified, dead, and buried man, my old self put aside. God looks on me as identified with the life of Christ, and tells me all the things which this life has made mine -- "blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ;" "one spirit with the Lord."
If you say, How can we stand fast? God will give you the power, just as surely as when He said, "Lazarus, come forth!" and His word gave life and the power of life, and Lazarus came forth.
God calls us to joy. Joy not sustained in the soul by anything of our own, but God having given His Son to bear all that He had against us, He would have us to joy and rejoice in Himself; and never can we get to the end of that joy. The want of joy in Christians comes from the want of practically understanding that its spring must be all found in Christ. Let Christ be your portion, and you cannot but joy and rejoice in Him. What! is all that God sees in Him, mine? Let nothing then come in to disturb me in the enjoyment of my portion. When a saint is really enjoying Christ, a thousand little things are quietly set aside: having food and raiment, he is therewith content. If my spirit is always occupied with the Lord as my portion, I shall be satisfied.
If the only thing I am looking for is the coming of the Lord, feeling how soon I shall be with Him, I shall feel that I have not time for a thousand things that might otherwise occupy me.
I never had my heart occupied with a living Christ in heaven, without finding that His love drew my affections after Him. I never grew careless without there being cold chills. If occupied with Him, you will not be thinking of yourself, your walk, your beauty, or anything except the love which draws your heart after Him.
I can give no reason why my heart was wrapped round Christ, save that the grace of God drew me to Him, and has kept me these forty years, because He loved me, and will love me unto the end. Peter cursed and swore, and denied the Lord, but the Lord had bound Peter to Himself, and He would keep him to the end.
To the disciples it was not only that the Lord was their shelter, but it was HIMSELF they loved.
I cannot have to do with Christ without having His life communicated to my soul. I have to do with the Son of man as a Life-giver. Where is eternal life? In the Son. Nothing in me can change the intrinsic value of what I have in Christ. Is there anything of nature in it? No. The waters of the well have no connection with the rock in which the well is dug. The spring is below, and if the waters flow out, no thanks to the rock. Christ fills the soul with living water, refreshing not the rocky nature but the new nature that we have in Him.
There is something very sweet in being able, as a saint of God, to recognize the entire stripping off of everything connected with the old nature, and so getting rest of heart, perfectly undisturbed. If I knew nothing but my own failure as a creature, I could not have that rest, but in the presence of God there is the One whose blood has cleansed me. The Quickener, who gave me eternal life has so connected me with Himself, that God sees me in Him.
How many look at death (believers, I mean) as something solemn, the thought of which is to be avoided; instead of being able to say with Paul, "To die is gain." True, death came from the entrance of sin, but, if it should overtake me, I shall be borne upon the crest of the wave, right, into the presence of the Lord, one leap into the bosom of Christ.
In the death of a believer, I only see the expression of the love of Christ opening the way to a place where the soul can be present with Himself.
Ought we not to be able to say of a believer, that the way he lives to God, delights the heart of Christ; and the way he lives to Christ, delights the heart of God?
There were some of whom the Apostle could say, "I remember without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." I am sure that my eye is not so keen as was Paul's, I may entertain happy thoughts of those around, but should you be surprised if you heard me say of any individual, "Oh, that is a man or woman, in whom I see the work of faith, the labour of love, and the patience of hope?" Those three things Paul saw had wrought thoroughly in certain individuals, before men and in the sight of God. Does Christ see this in you, as He counts over His sheep individually? Does He look down and see your heart true to Himself in the presence of the Father? Does He see not only the work of faith and the labour of love, but the patience of hope? Is His coining known as that which you have to steady yourself by? If there are breakers ahead, are you able to say, "Ah, He is coming -- I can endure, I can steady myself because He is coming?" Does He see love producing such fellowship with Himself that it moves you to work with all the energy of your heart? Is love an energetic thing constraining your working? Does He see it working because the light of God has shined in your heart and you are continually gathering from God, standing in communion with God?
The moment we are "in Christ" we should be laying hold of everything that is connected with faith, love, and hope.
What a joyous thing if I can say that my eye is on Christ, and that that Christ is the vessel in which I am hid in God, and in which all the fulness of God is to be poured into me. And if so, is it not a little thing to have to give up all little things to that Christ, to let all I do be in the light of His presence?
There is a difference between looking for Christ, and living in the light of His coming, as the point to look up to, referring everything to it. We are set between two things -- the cross and the coming. Hope, when really in power in the heart, looks straight on, right up to that point. Our life should be given up to the Lord in the light of His coming. Oh, to do all, and to give up all, in the light of this coming Lord! What a blessed thing to the heart that loves Him! Oh that one might be found occupied and busied in doing everything as to this coming Lord!
What strange beings we are! professing to be occupied about the coming of Christ, and yet refusing to do things, or be occupied about things only in the light of His coming.
It is the question of the object of life -- what is it that I am living to? That is a life of the Spirit where Christ is the only object. It signifies little who it may be, whether a Timothy or an elect lady -- it just comes to the simple question, Are you living to Christ? A bed-ridden saint may live to Christ; another there may be whose object in life is the looking for the coming of Christ, and who is doing everything in reference to that.
"We look for a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." Ah! there will not be scenes there in which man in failure will meet the eye of God. It will be the Lord's earth then, no Serpent there, no temptation, but everything that meets the mind of God. Not man as a creature in Eden, but man where all in man meets the mind of God; the whole a scene becoming His Son. That One -- both God and man -- able to introduce God in everything. God thinks it meet that His Son should be in a place every part of which has the savour of redeeming love, that He should have His people there in glory with Himself.
When we come to the glory, it will not be the golden city, not what we are, but Christ Himself that will be the absorbing object of our hearts, the being with Him, and the being able to appreciate what He is, all the deluge of glory nothing, compared with being where He is fully and completely appreciated, and He being the alone object to each individual heart. Even when down here in humiliation, do not we see that directly He appeared on the scene, no other could stand, He the alone One to open His mouth, to be listened to; and as they failed to see Him as the One, the All, in the scene, so they failed to get blessing.
What are the people who are one with Christ? Ah! they have treasure in earthen vessels. Do not we know it? Do not our feet stick in the clay? Do not we know what is the burden of these bodies we are in? We do, and we ought to know it, and when the Lord comes He will say, "I claim that house, and He will make it fit for His own presence. But as it is now, it is a poor tumble-down thing. We ought to know the character of the vessel and of the treasure set forth in it. Up there in the glory Christ is thinking of poor vessels down here, to fill them with all His own moral glory. He can say, "When I went up, I sent down the Holy Ghost to make you one with myself; and now I can mingle all that I have with all that you are, not you to shine but I who am to shine in you."
Has the poverty of the creature been tasted, so that my only resource is the knowledge of having got the heart of the living Christ in heaven, who wants to use me as a vessel down here in which to pour forth His grace, and perfect His strength in my weakness?
Even as a man caught up into glory, the old "I" of Paul was there. I do not know anything more humbling to the soul than this specimen of what was the effect of the vision of glory on Paul, or anything more blessed than the specimen it gives of the grace of the Lord in dealing with Paul about it.
All the glory he was in belonged to another and not to himself at all; but the I of Paul's old nature could turn even that into corruption. Paul prays three times, and gets no answer till the third time, and then it is a point-blank refusal. Have you ever considered what this must have been to Paul? Like a child lifting up the foot to step a little higher, saying, "Now I know I shall get it." So he did, but what was it? "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Christ not speaking of Paul's ability to meet the trial, but of His own heart with him in it, to brighten everything, saying, "You want the removal of the thorn, but I shall leave it, because it will be something to make you lean on my arm. Do not you know that I went to the cross and went into the glory, for you? and I am coming again to take you there; but whilst you are down in the wilderness, I must be continually giving you something to guide and help you; my grace, my strength, are for you. I want you to see what a living grace mine is which you have to rest your heart upon. I shall leave the thorn just to make you feel what you have got in. me, you will learn it as did poor Jacob every time the shrunken sinew told him that he was lame."
When the waves were let roll in on Paul, he not only found himself to be a broken thing, but he found out that a broken thing was one which the Lord could get glory from. "My grace -- my strength." There is a blending here of two things very sweet to one's heart, the blending of the sympathy of Christ and the thought of the Father getting glory for Christ out of poor broken things down here. And that thought changes all, to a resurrection man down here.
When God's searching eye comes into everything connected with me, how shall I have perfect rest under it? Ah! it is a solemn thing, God going through all our thoughts and affections with the ray of perfect light, and yet to be in perfect rest. "Yes, my God, I have perfect rest in Thy presence, and why? Because the Christ in whom Thou hast brought me to rest, is the One in whom Thou restest with perfect delight, and I have perfect rest in Him."
If the Lord came and looked into my soul tonight, seeing everything that starts up there as evil, if I had not Christ dwelling there by faith, I must cry out, "Woe is me!" If I have the eye of God on me discovering all these evil things, and could only think it will not be just in Him to let it all pass (which I should if Christ were not in my heart by faith) I should give up all in despair, and come to the conclusion that I never had part nor lot in Him.
There is in the very centre of the throne of God a Lamb slain. Can you say, "That Lamb knows me and I know Him, He has been the channel of communication between the Father and me; and all the Father's secrets are opened out to the people connected with Him through that slain Lamb."
I remember the time when I thought nothing of Him, now, if I think of dying, my soul is as quiet as possible, because I have only to think of that Lamb up there, slain for me. Oh! what a blessed comfort to a poor sinner to be where he can have the same thoughts that God has, that there is none worthy save that One, and that His rest is in that One who really met God's mind. If I were to ask you about rest, could you say that you rest in nothing save Him? It will not prevent failure coming out, but that will not touch my rest. The need of rest is never so much realized as when God is humbling us, turning over everything that is inconsistent in us with life in Christ. Ah! it is a very solemn hour when God is pulling to pieces and breaking down in us what is not of Christ; but never does rest in Him come out so blessedly as then, so that we do not want to have a single thing covered over, nor to have a patched garment. No! I want nothing save for the Holy Ghost to discover it all in the light of God's presence where the Lamb is; and there is my rest before God.
What would a mind in nature do in a place where the whole mind must be occupied with Christ and nothing else? As to all you come in contact with now, could you say, "I have something to tell about the Lamb?" I remember there was once space in my mind for everything save the Lord Jesus Christ.
Can I bring anything into God's presence where none but Christ is precious? Will my work shine there? No, none but Christ can shine there.
There is no saint who does not know that whether he has to live forty years or three days, he is as much dependent on the present grace of God for the three days as for the forty years. Grace must be a fresh thing flowing to me today from God; not as the humanly religious man, who moves on and plans his own way.
You get up in the morning to go forth as sheep crossing the wilderness, doing there for Christ whatever there may be to be done. Do not let your shortcomings be unjudged, but remember the worthiness of the Lamb. I may put my head on my pillow at night, saying, "I have done nought today for Christ," but thinking, "If Christ had told me He had put power in the vessel to enable me to do anything, I should have done it." Ah, if I cannot recognize the fulness of the everlasting springs in Christ, it will always be, "My leanness, my leanness" -- always occupied with the empty vessel, and not with Christ pouring into the cup.
If looking away from Christ, we directly find that we have lost the power which forms the heart to live unto Him down here. We get it while we look at Him and it gives at the same time the deepest humiliation. If there is one thing that shows the power of God acting in the soul, it is the experience one has when in communion with Christ, of how one loathes everything in oneself, whilst occupied with Him, there is the deepest self-loathing, and the deepest, calmest, rest of soul before God.
"And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints." (Rev. 4: 8.) That latter clause is very peculiar as connected with the grace of God in His own proper eternity. There are things His people suffer from, and that He never forgets. All their prayers are treasured up before God -- their tears are put in His bottle and treasured up. What! the sorrow I have forgotten, has God put that down? Is that one of the things that will shine? He can use all for His glory, but can the prayers and groans of a saint be kept and have a special place, be an odour of a sweet savour to God? The sinner does not know this, but a poor broken one can say, "Not only does God remember my prayer, but He puts it by on His own throne, like the pot of manna which He liked to be laid up, to be remembered as a trophy of the way He carried His people through the wilderness." And so will their prayers tell there what their special need of His presence was here. "Golden vials." Gold marks the divine character of that by which they are kept; the odour, a fragrant incense going up; the fragrance ever the same. Is that said of the prayers of saints? Yes, not one of them lost. The Lord Jesus knew them all, they were ever before God.
Are you living in the power of life in Christ? One has heard of many who have lived long in a damp prison, and when brought out into sunshine, have found themselves not able to walk, they could not go through the varied functions of life. You want more than the mere pulsation of life -- you want the power of life, life not only to make a start, but to, press on. Christ not only gave me life, but I have to. show the power of it -- to show what the persons are who have that life. I have to walk with feet unsoiled, where there is a great deal to soil them, and by every act to develop the great fact of my life being a life hid with Christ in God.
Would it not be very blessed if you who are in Christ walked so as to be in practical Nazariteship with Christ? Not only going forward because He did, but going with Him as an overcomer -- Satan, doing all he can to hinder. Ah, but if you go with Christ, Satan himself becomes a minister of joy to your souls, while you can say, "Ah, my Master was down here as an overcomer, and I have got Him with me to make good my being an overcomer too." Satan cannot stand against this, and it gives a sweetness to being an overcomer, that to my own soul surpasses everything. It is Satan and the world that have to be overcome. What a blessed company there was of Jerusalem overcomers, what a still more brilliant band in Ephesus! In the world a band of soldiers have often been called the Invincibles. Overcomers are just that, in the thought of the Lord who gives them that power of victory, because of our being connected with Him in whom we believe, and of our being in a position where God is not ashamed to say of us "There are my overcomers."
We find no scene anywhere in which the personal glory of the Lord Jesus shines out so much as on the cross, when the hottest furnace of the wrath of God for sin came on Him. Was there any murmuring from that perfect Son of His love? Oh, no! When He came to the cross He was the perfect Servant, and in that hour of suffering, a poor thief could touch His heart. And another thing mark in Him: when a believer seems to get no more the bright light he used to have, he says, "I cannot praise without the light;" but this perfect One, when without one ray of light, could vindicate God. You will find that the power to praise is given by God, and praise can never flow save as He gives power; but in this One was the eternal spring whence it flows; for He was God, and the divine glory shines out there. I do think that Christians of the present day have but few thoughts of all the divine glory connected with the cross. But when we reach the glory, in the view of all that wide-spread glory as we shall behold it in all its parts, its heights and depths, there will be the understanding of its connection with Him who hung upon the cross, and there opened our way into that glory.
Is the cross between you and the world? What does the cross say to your soul about your connection with the world? What are the armorial bearings of the world? Not the cross of Christ, and when we see that the world is running on, doing everything to magnify man, what are we to be doing? Ah, glorying in the cross, we have to, bear the cross, and to follow Him who died on it.
Can I say that I have known that cross of Christ, not only as to what Christ did for me in bearing my sins on it, but that It have seen my connection through that cross with the glory, and am separated to God by the power of it?
You could not say that the Father was the God of the Lord Jesus Christ before the incarnation.
When I view the eternal Son as Man, I get the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, not as with us, sons by adoption, but the Father's only-begotten Son. I was brought into the family by adoption before time was.
My fellowship with the Father is my taste of the delight He has in the Only-begotten.
That Son came into the world as the perfect presentation of all that the Father is; and the Son is presented to me, and all the fulness of God is poured into my heart through Him.
The Father would not allow anything to come into existence but in some way to be associated with the Son of His love. Everything gets its mould from the Father's thought about the Son -- everything ran into it, like a pattern.
The moral glory -- the beauty of the ways of God -- is what I understand "the riches of His glory" to be. He finds His whole delight in the Son of His love, and you are to bear the stamp of, and to have your heart full of, that Son -- seeing the riches of His glory now in the exquisite beauty of a Father with such a Son, and of His having brought children into such a place.
In "the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," we look forward and see the heavens as they will be in the millennium; see not only one heavenly Man there, but heaven filled with heavenly men; and when the Lord takes possession of the heavens, He has them all as His "staff" around Him. The time is coming when God will use the heavenly saints as His dwelling-place, and possess the heavens.
If I turn my mind to that with which Ephesians 3 closes; that is, the breadth and length, and depth and height of love in connection with the infinitude of the divine Being, my mind cannot grasp it; but when I see the central object is Christ -- Christ loving me -- love presented in a human heart, and He Himself mine; He in the very infinitude of God, able as a Man there to fill me with all the fulness of God, I can lay hold of it; and it is the only way a creature could have to do with the divine infinitude. I am brought by the Father to the Lord Jesus Christ, blessed in Him, and the love in His heart made to bear on my heart. He has a people down here, and He is filling them with all the divine infinitude, "all the fulness of God." How He has to empty me, to get my heart filled with Himself! Wondrous! to be able to look up there and say, "There is He, my eternal Lover." I cannot grasp the infinitude of God, but I can say, "He does love me." There is peculiar sweetness in being able to say, "Our Lord." He of whom God says, "That is my only-begotten Son;" He, the One in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead; and to think that He can love a poor thing like me, and that I can love Him!
A sheep of the slaughter down here perhaps, but Christ my portion up there; and He saying, "I am the only-begotten Son of the Father; I who have been in His bosom from all eternity, know that Father's heart of love, and the infinite fulness of it, and I want you to have the full idea of the blessedness of believing in my name, because His heart's delight is to fill you up with blessings in me." All the people who believe in Jesus can look up and feel the affections of the Father flowing through the bosom of Christ to them.
For forty-two years His hand has moulded me out, for forty-two years, in all the struggles and pressure down here, the thought of that Man up there on the throne as my accepted sacrifice, has brought me through, and kept me up, and made me resolve each day to thread my life on that truth of substitution up there. If God made Him to be the Sin-bearer for me, the whole question is settled. I am become the righteousness of God in Him.
Christians say, "I feel that my works will not bear the being spread out in the light." Ah, but they will, because God has taken you up for the glory of His Son; and everything in you, and everything you do, from the greatest to the least, is continually coming out in the light before Him. Your heavenly Father will not take His eye off you for a moment, and all through your course you have been under His eye; and blessed that it is so, in order that the walk of His children may be becoming the place they are in, and that their consciences may be always brought before Him.
One, who had been, a few days before her death, full of peace, told me that for days the Lord seemed to pass a review before her, the whole course of her life since she had known Christ -- what she had been as a wife and a mother, and how in everything she had failed; the light showing it out. "Why," she said, "is He at such a time showing me where my life has been inconsistent?" Ah, but she could look at it all with Him who had borne her judgment, and she had to reckon herself dead because of sin, and alive because of righteousness.
I am sure that saints are never established in peace, until all has been seen in the light and judged there; so as ever to be in fellowship with God's Son -- able to say, "To me to live is Christ."
"And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives." Sweet thought! The Lord's voice will yet be heard singing His song again amongst His brethren, singing the song of praise to God, as it was sung so often here below.
When one thinks of the wondrous glory of Christ, how astonishing that He can join with us! But more, when one thinks of His bringing many sons to glory at such a cost, one is lost in adoring amazement.
What was the first Adam, when set in his little territory in the garden of Eden, to the eye of God, compared with the second Adam? -- that One, the Giver of eternal life, the smitten Rock, who in a moment could fill ten thousand souls with streams of living water. What a contrast! he whose days in the garden of Eden were but a span; whose beginning -- a little handful of dust -- God breathing into his nostrils the breath of life; and that One, the eternal life in the bosom of the Father before all worlds; He who could speak the word and give life to corruption; He, the One in whom God could accept those taken out of the pit where they had fallen, having chosen them in Him before the foundation of the world, to fill them with all spiritual blessings in Him.
In the wilderness it was the Lord trying the heart, to see if He Himself was enough, and whether they were a people who, as "strangers and pilgrims with God," had their hearts so packed up that when they found no water they could say, "But we have God with us and Canaan before us." Whether they found such a measure of joy in the wilderness as to show that their hearts were packed up to go forward.
We are in a system where everything turns on fallen man as the main object. That which separates me from it, is the thought that I am Christ's in heaven, chosen in Him before this system I am in had a beginning. This thought gives a great steadiness to the mind in all that we lay 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 too; the dead raised, the living changed, and made like Himself. All to stand round Him -- He the centre, and they covered with all His beauty.
If you are not walking in practical holiness, you will be made to find it out in chastening. He cannot separate between the Head and the members; but He looks at our ways. The Lord is sanctifying us, body, soul, and spirit. What! is this corruptible body to be put apart for God? Yes! whether I eat or drink, or whatever I do, all is to be for the glory of Christ. Are all the affections of my heart, all the thoughts of my mind, to be put apart? Yes I as a member of Christ I have to walk in childlike faith; most watchful not to commit Christ to anything unlike Himself, because of being in vital union with Him. I may be but a hair of the head, the tiniest member, but God has blessed me with all spiritual blessings in Him, and being so blest, ought I not to walk accordingly -- holy and without blame before Him in love?
Ah, it required faith in the poor widow who could bring her farthing to cast into the coffer, with the gold and silver of those ostentatious givers; but it alone was of value in the Lord's eyes. All the rest was nothing at all. I would mention another poor widow who, when asked if she had any particular want, anything pressing on her, replied, "Yes, I have: I have never been accustomed to pass the box, and it cuts me to the heart that I cannot put in something for Christ." She had not even the two mites which the other poor woman had to cast in, but, ah, there was the heart for Christ; and the desire of the heart was accepted by the Lord of the other poor widow.
It is my Master who has given me eternal life in Himself. He is the eternal Lover of my soul, and I want to be like Him. Not one will ever taste what the Son of man tasted down here, and the billows which reached Him can never touch me, but He is the model of my life. He would take nothing here below, and I will take nothing either. He is the touchstone of everything down here, as to the connection of everything with the Father. If any down here were connected with Him, they made a home for that One whom He had sent. If not, they knew Him not.
It comes to my having the mind of God, do I want to be like Christ in everything? If born of God, I have power to overcome all that is not of God, and to walk according to God.
There is nothing we less expect a recompense for than the "patience of hope," but nothing is more precious to God, and nothing more marks a believer's life in the light. If I have got Christ as the spring of my heart, I must expect nothing but conflict down here; but what is there for me up there? "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them." He says, "I make over to you the glory which my Father has given me, I share it with you, I keep back nothing from you." Have I got it yet? No, I have to wait for it.
There was to be a space between His going up there, and our getting up there. We have got His heart all the way, but the interim is to be a time of suffering, a time of patience. Are you girded up for it? You know you are in the Father; has He not shown a Father's bosom, and love flowing out of it to you? Not saved only, but the greatness of the Father's love bringing me into fellowship with Himself; so that I can say, "I mind heavenly things, my fellowship is with the Father, and the Son in heaven."
Everything comes by permission to search the believer, but if God says, "I have shed my love abroad in your hearts!" can Satan take out of a man's heart that love? The character of love is abiding. Some, alas, do turn aside, but what single thing down here can you covet, if looking up in the patience of hope, waiting for Christ's coming?
Paul went down full of zeal and energy against the Nazarene, and directly that Nazarene looked on him, directly he turned full of zeal for Him.
The Lord had said of Paul, "I will show him what great things he must suffer for my name's sake." And it was not go much in service as by suffering, that all in Paul which was like the Lord came out. If Paul was nearest in likeness to Him, he would have the most to suffer. He had been brought to the feet of the Man of sorrows.
If all the glory of Christ could shine down upon you from Christ, you would, in nature, see no beauty in it. This is a fact, and it displays in the most awful aspect what the heart of man is. When Christ is revealed to any one, He Himself becomes the object of the soul. I have to do with a living person, it was Christ Himself I beheld when I got rest.
It changes everything directly I get Christ shining in on my soul. There may be the same routine of things without, the same difficulties and trials of the wilderness, but everything is entirely changed, because it is all seen in connection with Christ; and everything has a different value, because Christ is the centre. When the glories of Christ break into the soul, what thought can there be of settling down in the wilderness, or laying up a comfortable provision for old age?
How came testimony to be broken up? From seeking our own and not the things of Christ. What maintained unity at first was simply going after Christ as sheep after the Shepherd, not seeking anything else.
Ah! it is a very good thing to be brought down very low, not only by "Just as I was," a poor lost sinner, but by "Just as I am," a poor tottering Christian, as unlike Christ as possible. But still, He is leading me on, and God is conforming and fashioning me to His image.
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Who is this, coming out with His "Amen," when about to give up the ghost? Who is this whose eye could, before closing in death, turn on a poor sinner and dart a ray of glory into his soul? Ah! it was He who alone could say it, and give to that poor sinner the full consciousness of who He was.
As Nazarites do we feel the humiliation and glory of the cross as our strength of heart, all through our course in the wilderness.
Oh! the sweetness of the closing verses of Ephesians 3! Have we not had to put our Amen, and to say, "Yes, the church is heavenly, divine, soaring up from earth, inseparable from the Lord Jesus in heaven! We do know that love of Christ, we do look for each soul individually to be filled up with that love. Cannot you say you have tasted it as a divine portion, something that hangs altogether on Christ?
Oh, to be able to look up there, saying, "That Lord Jesus did give Himself for the church." How our affections ought to be stirred by seeing what Christ has done! Whose affections are exercised about the church? Christ's! He formed her, and gave Himself for her, that He might present her to Himself, a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
In the closing chapters of Revelation, we have yet more that calls us to see the church's unworldliness and weanedness from earth. "Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." The glory of God and the Lamb are upon her, showing her to be something not of earth, but heavenly and divine. Is that the thing your soul is going forth to?
All the glory of God gathered up will shine out, in, and from Christ, to be reflected by the church of the living God -- this church used as the tabernacle to contain it. If Christ is looking on you and me as vessels to display the glory of God, He must love us. Love is a very real thing, not a flickering thing, but something connecting us with heaven and Christ. If Christ's heart is occupied with caring for the church as something which is to be the curtain round the divine glory in that day, surely we ought to be occupied with it! We shall never get an idea of what an unworldly thing we belong to, if our hearts are not in living communion with Christ in heaven.
Revelation 3: 14. What answer is there in my heart to that title of Christ, "the Amen?" Is my heart set on His glory? God's heart is turned round to seek it, and has my heart never been set to seek it? What! has the glory of God never in my heart had the Amen? Seeing where it is, and saying. "Amen" to it, the heart gets rest at once.
"Buy of me gold tried in the fire." That is a part of divine wealth. Who has got divine wealth? if I am a pensioner of Christ, He is my gold. I let all I got in Egypt drop on the shores of the Red Sea, and now what have I got? I have got my Saviour God. He is my wealth, He is the gold tried in the fire, He is enough.
Are you so living to Christ that you take up all the duties that lie in your path, and do what your hands find to do unto Christ? Satan often blinds the eyes to the omnipotency of Christ, leading one to say, "I cannot expect Christ to come into such a little thing." What! does not Christ fill little things as well as great? All the omnipotency and might of God is found in the heart of that risen man. If not, prayers could not be heard. I get His whole attention when I speak to Him in prayer, as if there were not one more save me. If I say that anything so small cannot occupy Him, it is only pride denying His omnipotency.