By G.V. Wigram
The life we make so much of has death in it; death is necessarily connected with the body, but I get rid of it -- Christ left a savour in the grave quite different from the savour of God's wrath. He has made death to a believer to be nothing save being absent from the body to be present with Himself.
The church never really dies; the people of God pass off the scene, but do not taste death. If there must be a people down here, saying, "Come Lord," until He come, how is it that Stephen and those who leave this scene worn out in service, or those taken away, like Lot out of Sodom, have been removed above? Ah! they are there not only still to wait with us in anticipation of His coming, but to experience in a new way what blessedness the Lord gives. I am not speaking of glory, but of the experience they have meantime of the preciousness of His love. Will not it be everything to be with Him? No kingdom, no glory, can be compared to that.
Oh! let the love of this Lord who has given His people the privilege of knowing that they are vessels He pours His love into, and that He will not take a bit of glory without them -- oh! I ask you to let that love of His fill your heart.
The Lord Jesus Christ is not the Head of humanity, because then the whole human race would be saved, but the Head of a poor people to whom eternal life has flowed from Him, the smitten Rock. "The sanctified ones and He who sanctifieth are all of one." We know our unity with the Lord, unity which none can divide, and the Lord acts upon that, "For which cause he is not ashamed to call us brethren."
As an insect is seen when entombed in amber, so God sees His people only through the medium of that Christ at His right hand in heaven.
"Let him that is athirst come;" Living Water is for ever streaming from that Rock. In the ten commandments it is, "Thou shalt not;" but to whom was it ever said by God, "Thou shalt not touch the waters which I have caused to flow from the Smitten Rock?" No! but He says, "Whosoever will, let him take of the waters of life freely." God has found a living stream in Christ for poor sinners, and whilst the world lasts living waters will still be gushing forth. As long as the Spirit and the bride say, "Come," those life-giving waters will be flowing.
At the present time there is a great want among the children of God of the consciousness of their feebleness, and of being faithful to the deposit made by God. They do not see that one great object in giving it, is to make us remember in our scenes of trial, that God is to us what He was to Israel. carrying them through the wilderness: that we may have the consciousness of all the fulness there is in Christ, and in God for us. He means us to see our weakness, but to know in the midst of it that He has stores in Jesus whose fulness is to fill us.
One of the first elements of obedience is a perfect repose of soul in God; you would not be easily startled by events if you saw all that you have in Christ to enable you to meet everything calmly. Oh! it is simple. Where do you begin? With the heart of Christ? If you have got that, let what will come, you are hidden in a secure place in Him. He is always thinking of you, while you are only occupied with self.
"Let not your heart be troubled" -- there is rest. Outside, there is trouble, trouble, nothing but trouble all round; but if the heart is kept happy outside, experiences do not signify at all. Outside darkness only makes the light within shine brighter.
It is very sweet the Lord's saying, "Let not your heart be troubled;" sorrows of the wilderness and pilgrim fare there may be, but no need to let the billows of outside circumstances break into your heart. Christ does look upon my heart and yours.
When the martyr is at the stake, the faggots flaming round him, his joy is secure because Christ knows how to make his heart happy.
"I go to prepare a place for you;" what a thought that Christ should be, as it were, jealous of the service of preparing a place for us! He alone making it ready. Could any one prepare it save Himself? Is that thought of Christ in the Father's house a vital reality to your heart?
How little we find hearts under all circumstances untroubled, saying, "I believe in God and in Christ, and my heart is kept happy."
Am I individually identified with the energy of God's hand? The God who took me clean out of the world -- like a root transplanted and made to grow -- and who is going on meaning to present me without spot. The God whose hand, if I will seek my own way, will not let me go. I may get hard rubs, and the cutting word, "all seek their own," but it is my blessing to know that I am identified with God's work, and God's plans in connection with Christ: God saying, "I have arranged all for the day of His bridal," and that I am to be in my own special place there, His hand moving me on to it. Am I moving with Him? Is the bright and Morning Star fixing my eye and guiding me, or some circumstance down here? God is working to make me give up all that comes into collision with His Spirit -- nay, striking with the rod all that is not going with Him. The God who formed in our hearts the desire to be with Christ, is the God who is leading us on. God with us and for us, the certainty of success. Are you tasting in your souls the joy of association, with God?
Have not your hearts known the pleasure of having something to lean on as a sort of Rock? How little we think that we have GOD to lean on -- a God in heaven!
What a volume of love in those words of the. Lord to poor Peter, "Feed my lambs!" as if He would say, "I am going to make a channel of you for love to flow through and I am breaking you down that you may be able to feed my lambs. You thought to be a strong disciple, I am making you see your weakness, giving you a broken heart, that you may be strong. Ah! there is nothing like a broken heart for a shepherd, there will be room in it for the lambs when he has got to the end of self. The Lord must always be breaking down a shepherd to enable him to feed His lambs.
"Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood." That was just what John's heart wanted in that scene at Patmos; as a man he could not find comfort for his heart, save as a sinner whom Jesus had loved and washed in His own blood. In that very touch John put the brightest diadem on the brow of Christ, he could touch something in the heart of Jesus. There are all kinds of glories on the head of Christ, but John saw the brightest of any to be "He washed me in His own blood."
I would have you see the completeness of the statement. Child of God, where are your sins? Are they all gone from before God? Yes, there is not a stain, not a spot left behind; Christ has washed us. As having to do with the living God who is not mocked, is the power of that truth felt in our hearts, that we are poor sinners, but that Christ has washed us in His own blood.
Do you "look above, and see no cloud within and see no spot?" Do you say," down here I have no rest, but up there I am a kingly priest?" Let my manners of life show that I am connected with the true tabernacle, as one of God's kingly priests.
We are not a common people, we have no right to be scraping earth together, we are citizens of a city which gives us a positive right to the Son of God. I am connected with Him as one loved by Him, and washed in His own blood.
What hinders our walking in the practical power and joy of His presence, as we walk through the wilderness, each one with his own chapter of trial and trouble? In all the troubles of the past year, which did you find most -- the trial, or Christ? You may have gone through deep waters, and many a furrow grief may have left on your forehead, but as you passed through the trouble, which did you find most -- the trial, or Christ who passed through it with you?
The most consistent and closest walker with God will know the joy of God's presence the most; not that the inconsistent believer will have less of God, but there is all difference in the state of the two souls. The one will have one sorrow after another to learn his failure and weakness; the other may have sorrow after sorrow, and songs of joy in the midst, because God has been so present.
Mark that word: "The church of the Thessalonians, which is in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thess. 1: 1.) From all eternity the Church was hid with Christ in God. God is our Father in Him. Have I a connection of blessing with Him -- not merely filling my little cup down here, but in heaven, in the name of the Father, and in relationship with His own beloved Son, through whom I am connected with that Father in blessing? Can you say, "Yes, I have a hiding place that none can touch, I am hid with Christ in God?" I do not believe any soul has one correct thought of what belongs to a believer, if his heart has not seen Christ in God as a hiding place.
Oh! if one is in God, how it puts out every thought of human merit! What amount of work can you pile up so as to justify the thought of deserving mercy from God on account of it? No! the whole thing is so divine, so entirely of God: God, the hiding place -- Christ, the vessel in which we are hid in God -- the Son resting in His bosom from all eternity; and if we are resting in Christ there, what sort of glory have we got! What sort of settlement of all questions about acceptance do we get there?
God is as a wall of fire round about the church as she walks through the wilderness. She will have a wilderness portion, but it is a portion connecting her with God Himself. There was no path in the wilderness -- God must come out of heaven to walk with His people.
Picture to yourself any one with these two thoughts. In Christ hid in God, and grace and peace flowing to that one from God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Say, two believers are together -- one always talking about himself and the sorrows of the wilderness, and the other about God and a stream flowing from Him which all the sand of the desert can never sop up. Oh! if one oftener found the latter!
Think -- if these two thoughts had, by the Holy Ghost, got hold of your souls; "I am in God, hidden in Christ," and, "All the springs of grace and peace are in God for me." God causing the river of His grace to flow through all your circumstances. It is a deep subject of confession that it is not so. If we find the least failure in the supply, if we do not find the water gushing out for ever, it is because we have forsaken the living fountain for broken cisterns.
What is the force of those two words to your heart "Jesus," and the "Resurrection?" He, the One in whom is life, has risen and is before God, a living Branch, into which the soul of the believer is grafted and therefore able to say, "Here is resurrection, not only for Christ but for me." There is a remarkable contrast between association and fellowship. Every man will arise from the dead, because Jesus is associated with man and He is risen, but what comfort would that be to me if I were to come up a wicked sinner from the grave? But as a believer I am risen with Him, and sitting in heavenly places in Him -- this is fellowship with Him.
It is very very important to know our fellowship with the Lord Jesus as a living Person. "If we are planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be in the likeness of his resurrection." (Rom. 6: 5.) This goes a great deal deeper than the resurrection of the body; though we shall indeed be like Christ in glorious bodies, as the fruit of identification with His life.
It is to Jesus the heart says," Come." And he that heareth saith "Come," to others. I cannot get to the Fatherly love in the bosom of the Father without longing for another to enjoy it also, without looking round for another heart to breathe "Abba Father," with me. I cannot think of Jesus without wanting others to join with me in saying "Come." I cannot help feeling thus, it is a drawing of the heart towards Him, and John felt the Spirit constraining Him to bid whosoever would, to come.
Can we all say, "Come Lord Jesus, come quickly?" It is a sort of plumb-line, a sort of touchstone to test our state of soul by: and by it inconsistent believers often find out what it is that hinders their desire to see Christ.
Paul said, Christ was crucified thirty years ago, and I was crucified with Him. A Jew hearing this might have said, "Show me the marks;" but if Paul had answered, "My old man was crucified with Him," a new light would break in. This death of Christ on the cross gives me its full value when I can say that I was crucified with Him, and so crucified that my body of sin is dead. Not the body of flesh, but the body of guilt was all put to death on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a strange thing that the first principles of religion are so forgotten in these days. Do you know what you imply when you say that you are a Christian? It is that you are as guiltless in God's sight as Christ Himself.
I know no greater sinner than myself. I deserve to be utterly forsaken of God. All that Christ bore was justly due to me.
Eighteen years of my life I was without Him, I would not have Him; but said, "Let me have my lusts and passions, let me enjoy all the delights of this world." I thought that when I was sixty or seventy years old I would think of religion. God came and knocked at the door of my heart again and again, but I put Him off and tried to drive Him away till He broke it open and brought the light of life to the very bottom of the well.
My soul is quickened and united by the Spirit to the second Adam, but I am still in the body of the old Adam. I have still the wretchedness of the fleshy in which dwelleth no good thing to combat against; and this causes that unceasing conflict described as "the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." I have all this, but I so know that the penalty of all this was borne by the Lord Jesus that I can say God has nothing against me. The whole value of the death of Christ is on my side, and accepting it, I can say that I am perfectly clear from all guilt.
In the solitude of a prison we see thanksgiving bursting forth from Paul at the remembrance of blessed inward things in the Thessalonians -- their work of faith, labour of love, patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, all marked them in the sight of God. Is it marvellous, knowing for what I am called, that others should see whether my heart is taken up with the hope of it? What a difference between God having given me a call, and being able to thank Him for its evidence in His sight! Oh, it is not only the question of God bringing people to Himself, but whether Christ is in them the hope of glory, and whether that glory is continually bursting on the heart to produce faith-work, love-labour, and hope-patience. There is a difference between the patience in 2 Peter 1: 6, and hope -- patience. The one consists in enduring much for Christ, as a soldier counts on enduring hardships, not expecting to get softly to glory, but through much tribulation. But in the other -- hope-patience -- when your heart is bowed down, how troubles drop off as soon as you turn your eye to Christ and say, He is coming. Has He whispered to your heart, "Behold, I come quickly?" That thought should come like oil on the troubled waters, or ointment that refreshes the weary body.
This object of hope, this blessed Person and His coming, should ever be near the heart, but, as patient hope that would not wish Christ to have an uncompleted body. A hope that can wait on in the calm quietness of faith, knowing that if put off, it is that others may be called; and that when the last is called, then He will come; but not till then.
His first impression of power will be to rifle the grave of the bodies of His saints. Is that distinct in your minds with regard to all the friends you have lost, whom you loved in the Lord? Have any lost a brother? Is it the stay and solace of your hearts, that he is not only present now with the Lord, but that the dead shall rise first?
When He Himself as Conqueror over death and hades, is manifested to all His people, the dead shall be raised by His mighty power. How utterly powerless man is in face of death! But that Son of man will come forth, knowing how every one of His own are sleeping in the dust, to call them out. Death has been conquered -- its sting is gone -- what then of the dust of believers? That word is just as true as ever, "The wages of sin is death." When we believe, our bodies are not glorified; the body in the dust of death is the mark of sin.
The dead first. Surely none but God could have had the thought of making that known to us! Christ is sitting at God's right hand, the centre of all God's plans, and when God says to Him, "Now rise up," His thought will be, "If I rise it will be to remember first among all those given me of my Father, the weakest, those who are in the grave, that I may bring them out of it. Think of this being all purposed by God! and who could do it save the One who knows all the counsels of God? What a position it brings us into! not only a ray of light shining in me now, but a bright ray on my future. God has told us that the coming of Christ is the next great step in the ways of God. How gracious to let that light shine in now, making the church the confidant of His counsels in Christ! Whether absent or present, seeing Christ in my hope and it lives beyond the grave.
I ask, has the restorative power of the Lord's coming got possession of your hearts? A glass of wine offered to one when fainting, would have no effect unless taken.
The world that crucified Christ is no place for me. I see there what man is. Ah! there is only one Man worth thinking of -- that One at the right hand of God, the Lord Jesus. I can say, "A certain Man up there heard the cry of a poor sinner like me -- a certain heart was so interested in me as to say I will save you."
Is the blessed gospel all that God has given me? No! there is something more. I must see every knee bow before Christ, hear every tongue confess Christ's name, as Lord of all, to all, to the glory of God the Father -- that is what my soul must have. Should I be content to have Him for ever up there and the devil possessing the earth? No! He is in my heart as Lord of all and King of kings, and I long to see Him glorified as such.
But He has not only a title for earth that every knee shall bow to, but a title belonging to the heavenlies, the peculiar glory of "the bright and Morning Star." A glory in Himself, to be seen and admired by His saints. This was something to meet John's heart when he looked and saw failure within and without, the church scattered, communion of saints broken. He was waiting in the night for that bright Star -- that Lord who loved Him and gave Himself for him.
Why should I be looking into myself to see what measure of faith I can bring out? Do I not know the grace of Christ and can I not leave myself in the hand of Christ without reference to what I am? If I can, I say, "Come, Lord Jesus," but if I think that I have a quantity of things to do before I can say it. I shall know nothing of the blessedness of waiting and watching for that bright and morning Star. Looking at this Lord, the poor sinner washed in His blood, can say, "Come, Lord!" It is the Christ he loves, who has been sympathising with him in all his trials, He is the One that is to come.
When the heart has got to that point, it is the Spirit and the bride saying, "Come." Many hardly know why they say, "Come, Lord;" but it is the Spirit of God forming the desire in their heart. The Spirit says, "Come," As soon as He puts the Lord in Person before the soul, the next utterance is directly, "Come, Lord."
Looking at ourselves in service, there would be nothing but despair, but the moment Christ Himself is manifested to the soul, there comes a joy that neither my light nor my darkness can dim. I see the One whom I love up there, and no wave of man's wickedness can wash up to His throne. There He is, claiming all the promises of David to be fulfilled in Him: there He is claiming the hearers also: and He is coming, and a bride surely kept by the Spirit will meet Him. Lift up your eyes amidst all your failure, He is coming!
If we knew Christ's love as having its springs in Him who chose and accepted us in that Son of His love before all time! and the end is not come out yet, the bride not yet brought into the Father's house; and only One, the beloved of that house could do that. Only One could re-arrange every thing to bring home poor sinners to heaven. No one but the Son, as Man, could bring poor sinners there. The mind can not only go forward to the coming ages, but can look back before the world's foundation, and see the church of God, His own, chosen of the Father, the manifestation of the love in that Father's heart. In meditating on that blessed portion, Ephesians 2: 4-7, we ought to see and understand a little what feeds the love of Jesus for His church. It is His connection with God, He, the alone One who could give expression to the love of God, the alone One who could fill heaven with poor prodigals. It is only as we feel the force of this, that we shall have the proper savour of Christ's love to our souls.
The Lord's first object seems to link our souls with the Father and with the enjoyment of His love.
In Eden we find man standing in innocency, but the act of sin, listening to Satan, brought in moral death. Moral death was in Satan, before the creation of man, but it came then into Eden together with the natural death of the body. Just think -- what a scene, in that once fair and beautiful creation! man standing there identified with Satan, no harmony in that scene for God, no chord in creation answering to the creator's heart. But oh! the wonderfulness of the ways of God! If sin reigned unto death, He could turn even that to His own praise, and bring out a greater glory than creatorial glory. He could look forward to that new Adam, and to the time when His tabernacle shall be with man, the earth purged and made new and all shall serve Him. See what a flood of glory comes in then. If Satan got man in Eden, God shall get man in glory.
God's thought was to give an inheritance to those who had lost one by Adam's transgression; not by putting man again into Eden, but by bringing him into a paradise of glory, an habitation of God. The Son sitting there with Him as One who has yet to bring many sons to glory. But we cannot look at it apart from atonement. These sons must all be brought to glory from amongst a sinner-race; they are unclean and vile -- therefore, if there were not the cleansing blood, they could never see God. "Behold I and the children God has given me." None can come except the Father draw them.
How little our hearts are occupied with the thought of God looking all through time, that we His enemies should be brought in one by one and be housed away up there, to tell forth His manifold wisdom in ages to come!
It is a solemn thought that it is one thing to leave Egypt, and another thing not to fall in the wilderness. One must expect a false professor to fall, and the discovery to be made of his hypocrisy. I may have a fall, but as a believer, there could not be the thought of my not getting to Canaan.
God always looked on Israel in a peculiar aspect, as those over whom His Son was to reign. That thought was always as "salt" in the mind of God. That being ever the thought of God, all in them was to proclaim God. Their land was of God in all its circumstances, whether He made it a land of judgment, a land of blessing, or a land of glory, all was to speak for God on the earth. The question was not what they would be for heaven, but they were to be a praise of God on the earth.
When they rejected and put to death the One He sent them, He did not cast them off for over. That nation should, through His grace, be brought back, and that same Jesus whom they would not have then, should come in, in their extremity saying, "Here I am, going to be your King."
Paul had to say, "I have no man like-minded who will care for your state, for all seek their own and not the things which are Jesus Christ's;" not withstanding this Paul recognised that he was in a scene where God was at work, and he took heart, because of that. If we look round, we see a strange contrast between what Christians are now and what they once were -- but still, God is evidently at work; seen too, if Christians will but look up above all circumstances to the love of Christ's heart. Nothing could take us out of Christ's heart. Paul was able to be in deaths oft, able to face the boldest adversaries; the love of Christ came out in this way -- and it makes us more than conquerors; things that distract us do not distract Him, and nothing shall be able to separate us from Him and His face.
It is only as the heart is fresh in communion with the Father and with the Lord Jesus Christ, that there is real love to the brethren. The children of a family are not found together because born of one father and mother. If the tender mother, the beloved father be gone, the power that kept them together, is gone from among them. So, with regard to fellowship with the Father and the Son, if that be not maintained with all freshness, love to the brethren fails.
What gave Christ such liberty in a scene of entanglements, a thicket of difficulties, where every thing seemed to say, "There is no God?" It was that He looked up and saw God and the glory of God; and that is what you have to look at -- God -- a God who maintains His own character, and carries out His own plan, come what may. Most comforting to the soul is the effect of this; if death come, there is resurrection from the dead. Nothing can fail.
In Psalm 103: 17, there is a touch that shows how David had got the divine taste of that mercy connected with the character of God from everlasting to everlasting, something belonging to, and of God. When God saw David unlike what His anointed one should be, He would deal with David. His flesh had come out, but God's mercy was from everlasting to everlasting, something apart from creation and above the world, a spring full of water in itself, on which David could wait, something that humbled him, yet give him a sure footing before God.
You cannot stand where God stands with anything of yourself. If it is a question of guilt, nothing but mercy can act. What, save that, can account for my position as a believer? I, who was a child of wrath even as others. As soon as I know that Christ has washed me in His own blood, my conscience is purged: I am made meet to be in God's presence. But why did Christ die that there might be that only blood shed which could cleanse such a vile sinner as I? There is no other answer save "Because of the free grace of God."
Has God translated you out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son; brought you out of this evil world, separated you from the conflict going on all around? But if delivered from it, you will still have conflict, have the discovery that Satan and all that is evil are against you. But we are brought out of it as a people who are not under the power of Satan. Let the world go on as it will, we are out of it in spirit, associated with the "seed of the woman," and the time is soon coming when He will bruise Satan's head. God would never have so spoken of this, if the millennium were to come first, or if His people were to be settled in a nice land of Goshen. No! they are to be pilgrims and strangers here in the place where the conflict is going on, and He is for us who is at God's right hand, meeting the mind of the Father who delivered us from the power of darkness, who is dealing with us not to give us happy feelings only, but to have us a testimony on earth of the conflict going on between Christ and Satan. But we belong to Christ and not to Satan; there we get our rest. If there is the discovery of evil, and I am suffering in measure under its power, I can turn to God and say, "I know Thy pleasure is to destroy the whole power of Satan, and Thou wilt drive him out with all who cleave to him."
Every time God's eye looks upon us He sees some blot, or some blur. "Ah," He says, "but I have made you sons, and you enjoy my love, and stand in relationship with the Son of my love."
In Hebrews 1, I see the Son of God seated at God's right hand, as the One who accomplished the work to put away sins, and settled it for ever. Once I did not see this, nor feel the solemnity of the subject; now I see how I was robbing Christ of His glory. Suppose you say that you want peace, do you mean to call in question what God's eternal Son did when He made peace and sat down at God's right hand?
The martyrdom of Stephen gives the golden key that opens this epistle to the Hebrew Christians. Christ is presented by God as a Man in heaven, the answer to everything for man. There is no allusion in this epistle to oneness of life with Christ, but the curtain is unrolled between us and heaven, showing that there is nothing between Christ and us, as there is nothing between Christ and God.
God must judge all the ways of His people, but as to personal acceptancy (mark that word), "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel." Here the enemy is powerless. Balaam speaks (under the power of the Spirit) of the beauty of the people, not as a Moses or a Joshua would have seen them, but as they were seen in the eyes of God. It was not the question of the delight God took in His people, but that all the hopes of earth were connected with them. There was a star to come out of Jacob, a gleam of blessing, One to come who should set everything right on earth, who should fill with righteousness the whole earth, as a proper dwelling-place for His people.
It is important to see that it is not the walk of His people, but what they are in Christ before God, which is their personal acceptance. Satan's power is not less true now, but what can he do against you if God has accepted you in the Beloved? Does God speak to us as a people over whom Satan has a right? or as knowing us as a people in the light, who know that His present thought about them is that they belong as a chaste bride to His Son; telling them that that Son of His love has a glory yet to come, and He shall not be robbed of the glory of presenting many sons to glory.
We see the effect when rays of light came on the sins of the poor thief. Light not only searches everything within, but makes discoveries of something quite outside. It showed him the glory of Christ and brought in the fear of God. How entirely he takes his place as a sinner! "Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? but this man hath done nothing amiss." Was there one other to whom he could point and say that? Who could dare to say of any dying man, "there is one who never did anything amiss?" When God makes up His jewels, it is that One only amongst them all, of whom God could say it. If it had been written on a flag for every eye to see it, it would have formed part of His glory. The one who said it, was here in a very peculiar position. There was a spotless One at his side, whilst he himself had not even the thinnest veil by which to cover any evil in him; and he comes to the other with such a word as "Thou hast done nothing amiss!"
Who is this One who could bring poor prodigals right into God's presence and put a song into their lips which no cherub or angel could join with them in singing! Oh! it is this Prince of Peace -- He who has made peace with His own blood.
He is in a place that no creature could have entered, save by that work on the cross, and I am in Him; life flowing to me from a fountain which no power on earth can choke up or stop. It is no, question of what this creature is -- this creature is dead. It is the question of that One in the glory who -- knowing no sin -- was made sin, in order that you and I might become the channels through whom this life should flow.
Is there that eternal fulness flowing into the soul? the fulness of that matchless love which took up the vilest of sinners as channels for it to flow in and through.
When the Lord had gone up, the disciples could not help their hearts being up there with Him. They could say, "Here we all are in this room together as before, but the One we love has gone up into heaven, and we have been told to expect Him to come again in like manner." They saw Him distinctly go up -- and that fact is really at the bottom of the question: How can I become heavenly? Have I got fast hold of the fact that Christ went up to heaven? It is very distinctive, God putting that fact without any other as the great element of heavenly-mindedness.
Get yourselves into the light of the early Christians, and see whether, like Paul seeing all a ruin with regard to things around, you are yet able to look up, knowing the heart of God to be just the same as ever, staying yourselves there.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand; can Christ see that you and I are clean out of all the positive and negative evil round about us, knowing as temples of the Holy Ghost, that there is One within who can keep no terms whatever with anything that He humbled Himself to the death of the cross to put away.
How little the thought of the blessedness of being part of the one Body, dwells in our souls!
What a thought that there is no promise ever given to Christ, that His members will not have their share of!
When it is a question of healing and restoring souls, it is made the occasion for letting flow forth a larger supply of grace than they had before.
I have not to make my boast that I am connected with Abraham, but that I am chosen in Christ, that only-begotten Son of the Father, so moving my affections that I can say Abba Father, being brought by adoption to be a Son with Him. A child would not be thought less of because of being an adopted child; you would try to put it in the place where all the affections which your own children have as their right, could flow to it. The Lord tells us that we are loved as He is loved by the Father, and the world is to know it. The poor dark world will have to say "There is a place in he Father's house that belonged to the only begotten Son, and He has actually taken those poor sinners to that place to be sons with Himself."
Where do I begin in connection with this blessed place of sonship? Who gave me (a greater rebel than anyone else) this new life, this incorruptible seed? It was the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and what I get is the flow of His affection towards me according to the affection flowing to His Son. Oh! are we walking as sons, walking as the only-begotten Son walked when He was down here?
The Lord probed Peter's heart, and the heart of Paul; does He do it for you, or is that a peculiarity which He has ceased to exercise?