By G.V. Wigram
God will not be in the second place, He takes the first place, proclaiming life to the poor sinner through that Son raised from the dead. I am in a scene where God is everything, and I must get out of the way. Ah! how blessed when the soul can say. "Let God have His proper place as God, let Him act, and I will put myself out of the way." Does He say there is forgiveness by the blood of His Son? Let Him have His own way. Has He given the light? Let it shine. The effect of light shining in the heart of a sinner is beautiful -- it gladdens the heart. Let there be no putting a curtain over my ways to prevent the inshining of the light. If walking in the light I shall see failure and confess it at once. I shall love the light that discovers it and shall judge it; and the blood cleanses from all sin.
In early days there was an extraordinary power of communion amongst Christians, they seemed to be of one spirit and mind simply because they walked in the light. If I want to get the power of fellowship, I must have the full light shining down and walk in it.
The religion of a country does not deal with the question that the heart of an individual wants life. You hear of persons belonging to churches, without life: but that will not for God -- it is not the incorruptible seed. Adam in the garden of Eden was corruptible, but if a man is born again he is born of incorruptible seed. Like a little seed dropt into the ground, there it is in me, something formed within me, that cannot be corrupted, cannot see death. If called to be absent from the body. the body must go down to the grave. but the life God gives can never die. I dwelt for nineteen years in the things of the world, dead in sin, never alive then. And then I found Christ as my living Saviour in heaven, and I got a life that could only be occupied by Him. I found too that I had got a Father up there -- not only an incorruptible seed, but I dwell in God, and not only that, God dwells in me. He makes our bodies to be temples of the Holy Ghost; and in Ephesians 3: 19, we remark a larger expression: "Filled with all the fulness of God." What love! God thus dwelling in me and I in Him now, and heaven opened for me to dwell eternally with Him.
It is not "The church, the church are we," but it is "Am I a Christian through knowing Christ as my Life-giver, as the propitiation for my sins, and as my living Saviour on high?" And if so, I have to build on Him. It is this Christ, and this Christ only, that will do for me, a poor sinner.
The faith that God gives His people is an energetic principle by which the soul learns how to act with God -- they who, by faith, receive the word of God's grace. Faith always supposes that man has been in solitude with God. Man has to learn God's plan -- His projects. See what liberty a person has, like Rahab, like the Syro-phenician woman; Christ had His thoughts about Israel, she had hers about Him; deep need gave her a wonderful sort of liberty in the presence of the grace which she knew would meet it. Is there not the same liberty for faith now to be before God in simple confidence? If I have to do with God, I can certainly calculate on finding in this God a blessing, whatever my circumstances may be.
Is it nothing that God wants your heart and mine to be comforted? saying, "I want you to be partakers of my prospects; I put before you that my prospect, after caring for my people awhile in the wilderness, is to rise up and show that they are not under the power of darkness; that because I died for them the waters of death which have risen up and swept off all Adam's race, have no power over them: I mean to show out before the universe, that I have a people who are waiting for Me to appear without sin unto salvation."
When it comes to the question of what Christ suffered as my substitute, I must leave it to God. Never could I, in the measure of my little mind, conceive in the smallest degree what He suffered when that cry broke from Him, "My God! why hast thou forsaken me?" No! there I must bow my head and adore.
"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." God's gift of His Son is the setting forth of His glory throughout eternity. When He is seen on the throne we shall never lose the thought, that because God used the personal glory of His Son to give weight to the sacrifice, we enter into glory. Most important it is ever to remember that we are saved sinners. I could not be in heaven, if I forgot when there that I am a saved sinner, forgot the power of the precious blood to wash away every spot of sin. It would not be the heaven of scripture, if I could not there speak about the love and mercy that had cleansed me.
If Christ is at the right hand of God to make intercession for me, I see Him there as the anchor of my soul within the veil: and if the effect of tearing open all in my soul, and showing me my wretchedness, be to show me that He who does it is there for me, conforming me to Himself to make me like Himself; is it not most precious?
I only know what a poor thing I am, when I got inside he veil; but there, I can be talking to God about Christ saying, "Is He not my Saviour? Is He not my Life-giver? Is not all to be found in Him? Is He not the portion of all who believe in Him?" If you can talk to God of what Christ is to you, and God is looking at that Christ as the answer to all your difficulties, can you go away unsatisfied? Impossible!
We are gathered around the Lord's table to remember that the One who is Jehovah's fellow gave His body to be broken, and His blood to be shed for us. As for all false worship, it is the denial of the Lordship of Christ. God uses the people whom He has given to Christ as a proof of His Lordship. He can claim the hearts of a company. He says, "If I have sent down the Holy Ghost, where could my power stop? They are to be filled with the Holy Ghost, and they are to be the manifestation of me at the present time." Weak and few perhaps, yet God being able to look down, saying, "They are gathered together as the expression of what my Christ is up there."
Ah! but how much more there is to challenge all our hearts in that word, "Do this in remembrance of me," than in the Lordship of Christ! I might be gathered as a proof of the glory of that Christ, but I can say, it is this heart of mine with all its feebleness, whose affections He cares to possess. What! has He now, in all that glory on high, a heart to think of us individually? And does He challenge us to think of Him, to remember Him as often as we eat this bread and drink this wine? The early Christians did that when they met together, because it was Himself they loved. Then, again, we are eating this bread and drinking this wine because we are overcomers. Ah! it is a very blessed and searching thing to be in the place where we are to be overcomers, where we are to be overcomers to the end. If riding on the top of a billow, it is blessed; and if not, why it is equally blessed to be in the place of an overcomer.
I could say to some aged saint, "If you are laid on a sick bed, and laid there to find out the right bearing of things, depend upon it, you will not find any comfort save in the word of the living God. It may be but a scrap of the old book, but with one word of the living God you will be more than a match for Satan, for all that is against you, because you are connected with a truth of the God who cannot lie."
If there have ever been hours of depression in any of you, the reason has been that you have forgotten the word, and are not bearing in your soul the touch of truth connected with the character of the God who cannot lie -- forgotten that all His glory is concerned in His word.
It is quite contrary to nature to say that if God expects anything from me, He must first put it in me, and then He will have to tend and watch over it; and if I do bring him any fruit, it is only from His being able to create a second time: if not, there will be no fruit. If you talk of "good ground," what is the ground good for? It is good for the seed of the sower. Every seed He sows supposes that he finds nothing; it teaches the lesson of the entire ruin inside more strongly than all that tells of it outside. Do not make a mistake with regard to the good ground, as though God thought to get anything good out of the flesh. He has weighed you up on the cross; if you know that, you have surely learned there the end of your flesh.
Every saint knows that the good ground fitted for a Saviour is a soul dead in trespasses and sins, where Satan has had the mastery. He that had to do with me as a sower, had a seed not to be found down here -- a new seed that gave a new nature. There is only that one Sower -- not two -- only that One who can drop seed into the heart, and cause it to quicken and produce fruit.
If I am to be part of a kingdom, I as a creature, can do nothing to bring myself there. How can you find your way into the Father's house? Are you fit for such a place? No! you need some one to fit you and make you meet for it.
God would have you absolutely without a will the moment you are in subjection you have the consciousness of being just where God would have you.
Ah! do let us see how far the anointing which made the soul of Paul in prison so full of joy, (whether cast there for life or death) has made us fellow workers with Paul; how far that anointing is enabling us to maintain our Nazariteship -- enabling us to live out Christ.
If faith in Christ has brought you into the light of heaven, and you know a risen Man on the throne, and that risen Man has sent a letter, not to Paul only, but to yourself, in which He specifically tells you that he wants you to carry in your heart, and to show forth in your life down here, His death till he comes; what answer are you giving? He, at leisure in the Father's presence to think of poor feeble things in the fog down here, occupied about them, and they being made to know that all through the time between His death and His coming again, He has not once forgotten them, telling them to show forth His death till He comes in the full manifestation of love to take them up to the Father's house.
Unless the full grace of God has its place in the souls of Christians, they never can walk with God in the powers of that grace. If the least thing of self comes in, it is all over with the joy and liberty in which free grace enables a believer to walk. If grace be the groundwork, it does not give way; if I have failed (whatever may be the character of my failure) the light in which it comes out to be judged, gives my soul a fresh start to go on again with God. It is a solemn question whether am holding fast to free grace.
You may be saying, "Ah! I shall never get through this week without a fall or a spot on my garments;" but rather say, "Let me not talk of my difficulties; there is One up there going before them all, One who sees Satan, the world, and myself, and meets all for me. He can bring me through to the end of this week, as He did through the last. He ever lives, is He not competent to give me a fresh start onwards and fresh strength? And if I am not able to walk, He goes before to move difficulties out of the way. Yes! He is just the one for me to lean on through this week."
"He that believeth hath everlasting life." There is eternal duration of existence for all men, but those who believe have got present fellowship with God, they have now the life which will be unfolded in heaven, as the power of present joy to the soul.
If I meet a man in the street, I know by his very looks whether he has found peace or not, whether he can say, "Christ looked at me and gave me life, and I know Him as the One, who by going into death for me, put His blood between my sins and the wrath of God.
Is it as being one Spirit with Himself as members of His body that Christ looks upon you? Does He see the church as the pearl of peculiar value which He sought for the Father's house, and as a bride adorned for her husband? Is the thought that Christ is thus looking on you, the object and motive of your lives down here?
What we want is a rope let down from above -- the strength of Him up there, let down into our souls.
On whom am I, as a creature, dependent? On Him who upholds the sun and all created things; on Him, now a Man at God's right hand, by whom all creatorial glory was displayed, who created the whole universe. That One, the chiefest among ten thousand, the altogether lovely, He is my Lord.
Ah! the eye of that Lord is on all His people before they know Him -- an eye passing up and down, reading everything about and in them.
Three distinct things the soul has to recognise; the Son of Man who bore the judgment of God for sin -- the Son of God who rose from the dead, a life-giving Spirit -- and the Son of the Father, all things put under Him, all made over into His hand.
It is an amazing thing the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory, saying, "I have put forth a Man, and what I claim of you is to see in Him all that is true of me, you could not know me without Him. He is up there as your Security, and now you are to be filled with all My fulness in Him." A vessel floating in the sea, gives the meaning of being filled with all fulness of Christ, being filled like a vessel let into water. How the feeblest saint gets to be connected with the immeasurable glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The love of God is not satisfied merely to bless. He wants to have my heart happy in the blessing; He is not satisfied merely to heap up blessing, but wants to have all the inward feelings of my heart in unison with those of the Son of His love, and so in communion with His own heart.
You often say, "I have to serve God today." Is there nothing else? The very effort to maintain such a character is affliction, God letting you know the poverty in self, bringing in the deep sense of weakness and the prostration of self.
There was an immense deal whilst the people of Israel still abode in Egypt to minister to the flesh; they had something to give up. In the wilderness nothing but seas of sand to go through: it was something to try the heart as to whether they had gone forward in faith, with the land of Canaan before them. It could not be a question of returning to Egypt when they were clean outside it. I could not go back to Egypt; why? Because the death and resurrection of Christ have come in between. My feet may be tired by the sand of the wilderness, but the same mind that was in Him is to be in me. I am a son of the Father, I have the same eternal spring to gladden my heart.
God may take up bad clay and grit, and have to pass it through every sort of process, but the skilful Master-hand will form of it a vessel fit for His own use. If God means to place me up there as a vessel to display, His glory, is it not separation of a very peculiar character that He looks for now?
In connection with the names written on the breastplate . . . . every time the high priest breathed, the breastplate moved; and I am not on the breast-plate, but in the heart of Christ. I am connected with every throb of that living heart of Christ. I can see Him as my justification before, God, and God reckoning to me all that He is. God looks upon the blood of His Son sprinkled on me. That Son of His love is seated as Man on His right hand, with every capacity to feel as man, and to enter into things that affect us down here. Yes, He has the feelings of a man, and is entering into ours.
To meet the Lord in the air -- what a volume in those words! Nothing can give cheerfulness in the thought of treading a path never trod before, but the Lord Himself being there -- meeting Him there.
The hope of the Lord's coming is a divine hope, centred in Himself; not only rejoicing in hope of the glory of God -- more than that, waiting for Christ Himself, who, being now in the very highest point of glory as Son of man in the glory which He had with God before the world was, will come forth from that glory to take us up. How are your hearts affected in regard to the thought of this Christ of God not only coming to throw open the Father's house, but coming Himself to be our joy? Can you say that the longing of your hearts is flowing forth in the invitation continually ascending "Come Lord Jesus?" That Nazarene has it in His heart to come, and if He speaks and says, "Surely I come quickly," have such words, dropping from His lips, the continual answer in your heart, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"
There is such a thing as walking with God. The invisible God is not hidden to the soul. Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Enoch walked with God, the God of heaven, his heart was above, and he had the testimony that he pleased God. What else ought men of faith be doing, save walking with God! Faith says, "Ah, there is a man in heaven, and all the divine glory of God in Him, and connected with Him, I can walk with Him. I do not see Him with my bodily eye, but his eye is upon me; I hear His voice behind me."
There is the law of sin and death in the members, and what would it be if God did not keep up a constant process -- obliged to send things to prevent the flesh in us from working, and to show us the necessity of our judging it? He can use Satan to bring out, not sin, but - the utter and entire worthlessness of what we are. He can use the adversary to teach and make you know what the flesh in you is; and thus comes in, to use the very writhing -- the lowness -- to show forth His almighty sufficiency.
It was not the question of the measure of light they had who followed the Lord; it was Himself they thought of and loved. They felt it, no doubt, a wonderful thing to walk about with Him who had all power to heal the sick and raise the dead: but ah! They loved Himself. Can we not only say, "the Son of man made all things," but is this Lord Jesus Himself the one object before whom our heart is bowed?
I cannot merely accredit that which is bad in me as being the effect of a bad education; it is there because I am a sinner, it is connected with the whole system of sin and death. If this were shown to a babe in Christ, it would be scared; but it is nothing in comparison with what God shows a believer when He teaches him to measure his sin by the cross of Christ; as though He said, "How much more you will think of your sin when I tell you that My Son bore it for you in His own body. I had therefore to hide My face from Him, and the heart of that blessed One broke in woe that yours might throb with joy."
If failure comes in, you must not give up all for lost, but thank God that you have a connection with Christ in God, which your failure cannot touch. Satan cannot check the living water that flows forth to me in spite of all in myself, enabling me to be "up and on."
In Noah's experience we get what are God's thoughts of the things around. Noah was to be separated from the old earth. If we look around now -- take London for instance, is it a city in which God's children are to find rest of heart? No! but a place they have to separate themselves from. Believers have to go through the world, but to keep themselves unspotted by it. By our very relations we often find ourselves hindered and interrupted, and cannot act separate for want of faith. We need the energy of faith. Noah's energy all flowed from faith following the line traced out by God; and when the judgment came it found Noah in the ark, laid to rest there with his family; and God saw in it the expression of his faith, as a person separated by that faith to God.
If we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him. Suffering comes in as the consequence of our adoption into the family of God. It was quite different from sorrow, as a man connected with the first Adam. Paul desiring to be spent in filling up sufferings for Christ, was suffering on quite another ground from Adam -- suffering.
There never was a higher life, there never were higher motives, nor higher hopes, than those in the apostle Paul! And all came out practically in the life of a man like this; his whole practice was correspondent with his heavenly position. His thought was, "God has given me as a sort of bell-bearer to His flock." God bethought Himself of His people, and gave Paul for a pattern to guide and, help them on, and they were to follow him as he followed Christ.
It becomes a very solemn question in a day like this, in which the name of Christ is taken up very easily, whether we are following after Christ, whether the cross is before the mind as that which crucifies the world to us. A very solemn question in connection with what the throbbing of the pulse of the inward life is, in those who are Christ's -- do they know the cross? or do they show forth the spirit of the world? Is it in their hearts? Take any one passing through the street -- the world is all about him, but is it in his heart, or is he living out of it? It is a blessed thing to say, We have nought to think of or to seek but heavenly things. "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" that is our profession.
If there is a place strange to me, it ought to be this place where my Lord was crucified; and if it is not so, what is it but a place where I have been walking in the flesh -- satisfied to have passed through the Red Sea, and that is all.
We know what it means to have fellowship with any one in the things of this world, namely, having things in common. What have you in common with a risen Christ? With Him to whom power is given to call the dead out from the grave -- with such an One who, unless He can deny Himself, must raise you up with all believers from among the dead, and make you a partaker of all His glory, a joint heir with Himself! What a strong expression!
The door of Eden was shut against man, but the Lord opens a way, the whole way up, for a people to share the glory connected with Himself.
Christ was not only the repository of all the affections of the Father's heart, but He made Him to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. Is it the perfection of what Christ is in Himself that we have as the ground-work to rest on before God? No! more was needed, but it was that divine perfection that fitted Him for the work He came to do. None but a Being absolutely and altogether perfect could be a Sin-bearer; the least thing God could find fault with in Him would have spoilt it all. The beauty of Christ is precious to the heart as showing forth that perfection. God can say of Him, "I let all My billows go over Him, and He only came forth the more bright;" and He was made the Substitute for sinners, and it is on the truth of that that I am standing before God and rejoicing in it. It is that that connects a soul with Christ. It is the only way my soul can get any power whatever to walk in joy. I remember how the great white throne used to stare me in the face; I could never get any rest of soul connected with what I was as a young man dead in sin. How, thought I, shall I be able to bear the light of it? What is the effect of it now when I think of it? Ah! I say, I shall see Him there who bore the whole wrath due to me. The whole power of that wrath came into His soul, and when He had borne my sins in His own body on the cross, and put them away for ever, God raised Him to His own right hand, soon to come again and take His people there too; and in the interval God sent me the message that He had been my Substitute. I have been very feeble in confessing Him as my Substitute, but it enables me to say I have done with the first Adam, God sees me in the last Adam. He could not set aside my guilt save by giving the curse due to me to the last Adam on the cross. It is only by closing with His offer that I can say I have set my seal to the truth of that work on the cross having saved me.
A believer is looked upon by God as dead, buried, and raised up together with Christ. Not merely Christ a Rock in the desert to which I flee and find refuge, but I get in Him a vivifying power by which to walk in newness of life. "He that is dead is freed from sin," not that the law of sin and death is out of his members, and that we have not still to watch against it, but the Spirit of God comes as the seal on my heart of the truth, that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. 8: 2.) It is still there, but which is strongest, Christ in heaven, or that which remains in me? Which is strongest to overcome, the Holy Ghost sent down as a well of water springing up, or the weakness in man? Paul was a man of strong passions, and what is the testimony of the Spirit in connection with him? "To me to live in Christ." Is Christ my Life? What is the effect of that Life on my life? Ah! it is a most blessed thing to be able to say that that Christ at God's right hand is my Life, and that God looks at me only in Him, and I can be talking to God about Him; and the consciousness of being brought where I can have that communion, puts perfect peace into my soul down here.
Till changed and made like unto Christ's glorious body, I must have this body of sin and death; but I have power given me to reckon it dead. I am in a place of power, the power of the Communicator of life; and wherever life has been communicated, that power works to change those who have it into His image from glory to glory. The divine nature is communicated to enable me to walk with God and live unto God. Could I do that in nature? Could nature bring down the energy of a man like Paul, and make him wish to be nothing at all? No! only the power of Christ could do that.
I may close my door and say, "Now I am going to have happy communication with God," and soon I fall asleep; and why? Because I was going to set myself to do it, it was my own energy that shut to the door, and my energy was to be disappointed.
We may be often not in right circumstances, but Christ ever knows how to speak to us in them.
If God dwells in me I am a new man -- and a new man knows how to peel off the things that are contrary to the Spirit.
If you and I love the world, it is incompatible with love to the Father. (1 John 2: 15.) The Father's love cannot beam on a heart where the things have a place. Many would make, as it were, an inventory of certain things answering in their minds to worldliness; but that is not what God does; He does not say, "Fine houses, costly furniture," etc., but, "The lust of the flesh and of the eye," and the child of God cannot detect this lust save when he is in the presence of God, and with the savour of the full acceptance in the Beloved. Out of His presence there is entire inability to form an idea of what lust really is; it is not in circumstances, but lies down in the depths of the heart alike in poor and in rich.
Ah! let not those passing things which Satan has in his hands, and whereby he keeps souls at a distance from the Father, be allowed a place in your heart.
If I had seen myself fifty years ago, a ruined creature in God's presence on the ground of grace only, satisfied to be there in all my ruin, drawing all from the springs of God's mercy in Christ Jesus, which could turn all my misery and ruin into an occasion of showing forth that mercy, I should have been saved years of anguish.
Surely it is a marvellous position the child of God professes to hold! not a citizen of earth, but walking in the path that leads to heaven. A son of God -- sealed with the Holy Ghost -- left in the world to have the opportunity of identifying himself with the earth -- rejected One sitting at God's right hand.
It is not merely the glory of the Father's house, but the affections of the Father's heart which are ours. You cannot separate the love of God's heart from one to whom He has been pleased to turn and call a son. Oh! that we were more filled with the thought of it. Look at the people of God -- what a poor wretched flock it is; what heavy hearts, what feeble strength; ever so occupied with our earthly work and our thoughts of heaven forgotten. Oh, turn to the freshness of the love in God's heart, that God who has called you with a heavenly calling, and made you the expression of the love which has brought you into the place of His affection for Christ, making you sons. Not ashamed to confess as sons such poor contemptible things -- His love set upon us!
He appoints us our burden, and we must bear it, but He is looking on us as children passing through the wilderness, loved children. We may not like our wilderness burden, but we have the best portion now as sons. I shall never be more a son than I am now, never be more beloved than now. All the affections of God's heart are flowing to us now, we shall have His love more truly when we come to glory.
I may see a saint shining in every way, and say, "I will go and imitate Him;" but that will not do; you cannot carry any of the energy of nature into what is heavenly. If anyone can truly say, "I am more like Christ than I was," I am sure that result can never flow from the energy of human nature.
What false views we take of one another, if we look only at the exterior. The faces of many bear a look of peace and quiet repose, but how little we know all that passes within! The heart of Him who knows it all, the heart of the Son of man in heaven is changeless, and He has made Himself responsible for every lamb in the flock.
Whilst the sea of Satan's wickedness washes over the earth, Christ says, "I have servants on that earth, and I can make good in them works that I can recognise." Is it possible for you to be one of them, and fail to render service? Exceptional cases there are -- a Lot dragged out of Sodom -- or wood, hay, and stubble to be burnt up; but such cases are exceptional.
The Holy Ghost has made the church of the living God His dwelling place, and His desire is the coming of Christ. He has the character of servant till Christ comes. He will not be then, as He is now, the Comforter, the One who, in the absence of Christ, does as Christ would have done. He will not then be the Guardian taking care of the church in the wilderness; but ever the power of life and enjoyment -- the power that knits up all to Christ.
To us it is not the great white throne, not the coming of the Lord to take the place of a Judge, but His rising up to come and claim us. and take us up to be with Him. God's first mark of approbation for His work on the cross, was that He should not be alone in glory but should have a people, the bride, the Lamb's wife, with Him there, in the midst of whom He will be; the light of His glory being enshrined in them and reflected by them: He in them. And also, that till He comes He should have a people down here who can look up to Him there, and know the character of His love for them. That is what we want for our, comfort. Who are they that can say, "Christ loves me, and He is going to glorify me, and I am waiting for Him?" Ah! they are those who have passed off the ground of the first Adam. A people, passed clean off that, to the ground where they are not only washed and forgiven, but where they can say they know nothing like Him; that one who, through death, delivered them from him who had the power of death; He, the holy harmless One. having been made sin for them, that they might be entirely free.
How sad that true Christians are not more practically separated to God -- that the world should look at them, and be able to say, "There is this and there is that in you which does not savour of Christ;" why this looking to earth, that fretting care, that troubled forecasting thought, if looking up to the glory and seeing Christ there, and if He has come and opened His heart to you as God?
Think -- if we realised practically that there is no separation between the Head and the body -- that we are one with that Only One, who never had a will, never had likes and dislikes, whose whole course was the bringing out of "Thy will, not mine, be done." He went in obedience to the death of the cross, and was raised up to the Father's own right hand, where we see Him above the range of everything: and He says to us, "You are risen with me, and one with me; and if you walk in the power of that, you also will be above everything."
The blood shed on the cross puts me before God entirely clear as to sin. The worth of that blood is known by none who do not read it as it is read in heaven. If I look at it as read on earth, it calls for vengeance, but in heaven that blood is the expression of God's love in giving Him for us; and not only that, but it is the proof that He who shed it has triumphed over everything: those who know it, say, "Ah! I can never taste death, because of that blood. If I died today, I should not taste death; it is glory, whenever I die. I shall never taste what He bore in bearing my sins.
Has not the Lord often found you where you never ought to have been? And yet has not his love even come out just there, and shown you that He loved you above all your thoughts of His love; loved you according to God's thoughts about you, loved you above all your inconsistency, according to the place God had set you in; and yet you have had so little faith in that love that you have said, "Now the Lord is only going to upbraid me." Well, if He did, He never upbraids the worldling, but He does His own children.
If I look round, what is the state of everything now? Churches all ruined, candlesticks all broken; I cannot see one as it was after Pentecost. If the Lord were not the Restorer, where would all testimony be? What would become of His people in these closing times -- the people that are waiting for Him -- the poor weak ones who are saying, "Come"? He has ever been the Restorer of His people; if all has been ruined, yet all is so restored, that we have got everything which they had at Pentecost -- the Holy Ghost ever abiding in and with us, as then, although in some respects acting differently. And I suppose every heart too can say, "I know something of that restoring love, the Lord passing through my circumstances, passed me through my sin to Himself."
Nothing but personal affection for the Lord can ever give the heart boldness before Him, the soul must find that it has been laid hold of by the Lord in His love, and that such a light shines down upon it from His face, that in spite of failure and everything coming against it, there is love in the heart of the Lord towards it.
Do not be afraid of the wilderness; God will always find a bit of its sorrows for you, but while wilderness inconsistency comes out in you, remember that Christ alone is changeless, and do not be afraid to let His boundless love come out in its own way into your circumstances. Remember that there is no path for us smoother or broader than the path of the Son of man while in the world.
We do not like to suffer -- but the world was a wilderness to Him and must be so to us. If you make for yourself some little path where you feel you can serve with comfort, and know where to put your foot so as to avoid every little stone or roughness, He will not let you stay in it, He will change your lot. You may try to get out into another path, but you will find He makes it to be the wilderness. He still means it to be the wilderness all the way.
What Polar star have you to guide you down here? Nothing but the coming of the Lord. The bride has nothing as a future but the coming of Christ. Christians have too much forgotten the widow's place, watching through the night for their absent Lord. He cheers them by saying, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand." Why is it night? Because He is away.
Has the secret been revealed to you that He is the bright and Morning Star, and are you practically waiting for Him? Before the sun rises, before the light of day, He will come and take us up to Himself. There I get my rest in everything because I know He is coming.
There is not yet possession of the purchased inheritance, but the Lord waits. How little the children of God understand how to fortify souls under the sufferings by the way, by leading them to see how the Lord Christ Himself, Paul, John, and all up there, are waiting, not having got the inheritance yet, but waiting for it. I believe souls might find immense strength to sustain them by the thought of that intermediate position, that patient waiting in heaven.
Nature cannot hold the word; there maybe clear views of truth, but a man in nature cannot act on it. Two of the clearest tracts on the heavenly calling were written by a Puseyite before going into Rome -- it was not part of the man.
Satan cannot bear the word, because it nourishes and cherishes the people of God; but whatever he can do, can you and I say, "The Word of the kingdom is mine, and I shall have my place there when Satan's power has come to an end?"
The rapidity with which all is hastening on in a great vortex is as marked as the rapidity of present travelling, compared with that of past times. It is a fearful rapidity, and Satan is working with a fearful rapidity. What is described as thorns, choking the word. in Matthew 13, is at work specially now. If I value the word, it draws me within as narrow a compass as possible. I can have nothing to do with duty connected with the world. A voluntary association with it, will be as thorns that choke the word. You can testify to the distracting effect of it on the soul, and that all the things connected with it have a certain effect on the word. You may have your morning refreshment over it, and the world may come in and drive it all out. Ah! do not tamper with anything that chokes the word. As to the deceitfulness of riches, the least possession the heart is set on, is enough to choke the word. How we see this in persons who make a profession and have lost all freshness! Which was the happy man -- Paul who said "One thing I do," (altogether Christ's and no one else's,) or Demas?
Faith is an individual thing -- it is God and myself. If God has spoken to me, I have received the word, and do it I must, whether men bear or forbear. The one who receives the word has to yield himself to God.