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Showers on the Grass: Chapter 12 - Divine Intimacy

By J.G. Bellet

      The intimacy which the Lord has sought with His creature man is in a very blessed way evidenced throughout Scripture. It may have had different expressions or forms, but still it was intimacy. In patriarchal days, it was personal. The Lord God walked in the midst of the human family, appearing personally to His elect, not so much employing prophets or angels, but mixing Himself in the action as it proceeded. (See Genesis.) In the times of Israel He was not so much in the human guise as before, but in mystic dress. Still however He was near them. The glory in the cloud, the Lord in the burning bush, the armed Captain under Jericho, and then the glory filling the temple, or seating itself between the cherubim--all tell this nearness of God to elect man. The God of Israel seen by them on the sapphire throne, and the promise of His own lips to the house built in the midst of Israel, "Mine eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually;" all this, in like manner, witness this desired and proposed intimacy.

      Then, in the progress of His wisdom and counsels, the actual assumption of manhood, this is the witness of witnesses to this precious truth. I need not dwell on it. As we say, it speaks for itself.

      But what at this time has the more strongly drawn my mind is, the intimacy that He so wondrously and graciously seeks and has provided for and secured in this our present age or dispensation. He has given the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of truth is in us. The Comforter abides with us for ever. Our bodies are nothing less than His temples or dwelling places. And the Son has borne Himself to heaven as our head and representative, and we are there in Him and with Him. No form of intimacy so wonderful as this. And none more true or real. If personally the Lord God would take a kid or a cake as pledges of hospitality to a travelling man, from the hand of Abraham; if in the sight of the congregation, He would let the glory swell itself out and fill the temple courts to show His joy in His new-found dwelling with Israel; if in the manhood of Jesus of Nazareth, He would sit at a well with an elect sinner, or let another press His bosom at supper and ask Him about the secrets that were lodged there. In this our very hour He has us, in the thoughts and purposes of His own heart, up in heaven with Himself, and the Holy Ghost is here in the midst of all the thoughts and purposes of our hearts.

      Is this intimacy of a feebler nature? Is this a retracing of His steps and going back again into his own perfections and glories, or amid the principalities and dominions of angels? No. It is pursuing His former purpose of intimacy only in a further stage till He perfect it in the kingdom. For this indwelling of the Spirit tells us that in every pulse of affection that beats, in every duty or service that is fulfilled or performed, the thought of the Lord should mix itself; as in the details of precepts in the Epistle we find it, the Lord, in love to Him and respect to His authority being brought in as the animating and ruling principle.

      Is this reserve? Is this withdrawal of Himself? This seeing Him and owning of Him in all human relations and social duties, is this the symptom of a God in thick darkness, a God afar off? Blessed thought! it is the very reverse. It is only a richer pursuit of that same desire for intimacy with us which broke forth in its infant form in the Book of Genesis, and which is to bloom in its perfection in the kingdom. It has been sweetly described by another, that the divine intimacy was preserved by Jesus risen as well as by Jesus in the flesh. This appears from his preparing the dinner on the sea-shore Himself, eating in company with His disciples. (John 21) For He would with Himself now invest or clothe our spirits. He would relieve our conscience with a peace which He has made and wrought out for us Himself to perfection. He would satisfy our hearts with attractions that are divine and ineffable and fitted to teach us that the half could not be told, because they are the attractions which nothing less than He Himself puts forth. And He would, as I have already said, bring Himself in amid all our occupations and relationships, that the recollection of Him and His authority and His grace may sanctify as well as bless the whole. It is faith that enters into this purpose of God and enjoys it. Faith apprehends a peace made by Himself and therefore perfect, and clothes the conscience with it. Faith apprehends the love and the other blessed attractions that are in Him and gives the heart as a dwelling-place, an unspeakably happy dwelling place in Him. Faith knows Him to be no stranger to the smallest action, and therefore invests the whole course of human life with the sense of His authority and His sufficiency and His gracious and desired fellowship with it all, with all the joys and sorrows and doings and circumstances of His people, as He says, "I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is," taking knowledge, thus, of the place and character of our abode. "Send men to Joppa and call for one Simon whose surname is Peter, he lodges with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea-side."

      And here, I might just ask, in closing, does this intimacy appear at the end? In the Apocalypse, redeemed man takes the place of cherubim nearness to the throne--the tabernacle of God is with man, and the Lamb's bride becomes the habitation of the glory while the nations that are saved walk in the light of it.

      LETTER 23.

      28, Downshire Hill, Hampstead, 1846.


      I am not able now to communicate with you on some little portion of the precious word, as we have often and happily done in other days; for my mind has had other occupation provided for it for several months past. I can only tell you a simple tale of sorrow, and of joy, personal, and within doors, as you know already, beloved, the serious illness and yet assured conversion of our dear, dear Johnny. His poor arm has been now removed and remains as yet unhealed. But though we calculate on this relieving him from much distressful pain, yet we do not tell ourselves that it gives any good hope of length of days with us. Nor would I know, my loved sister, how to ask for that exactly. The renewal of the warfare for him and the danger of soiled garments and of fiery trials in the advance of the present generation, give check to desires and prayers. But he is pleasant to us, and the case would fain hold its desire before it. You know what pain is and sore confinement, sore to flesh and blood; but you know what it is to have the trial come with its best and most blessed relief.

      I hope dear Mrs. P . . . . is well, you will give our christian love to her, accepting it from us all yourself, my loved sister. Just as we were leaving Dublin, I received a note from dear . . . . in his own simple and affectionate style, sending me some help for the poor starving Irish. O how we should desire that fervency of spirit that blessedly anticipates and hinders brotherly contention. And I have long judged that our history as a gathering of saints would have been different from what, alas, it has been, had we cherished a more glowing state of the affections, and followed the culture of knowledge a little more continuously. If the staff "Beauty" be broken, the staff "Bands" will soon go also.

      My kind christian love to Dr . . . . .

      The Lord be with thy spirit, beloved, and believe me, ever your affectionate brother,

      J. G. B.

      LETTER 24.

      March 3, 1847.

      I had not heard of the sorrow of my loved sister, till I got dear E. K. . . . 's note. The Lord by His Spirit be abundantly with you, let His hand deal with you as it may. My heart never knew a sorrow so tender as the same to this. The loss of our darling Louisa, now nearly five years ago, gave me one of the deepest touches of grief I ever experienced. But, beloved, it is well. It is increasingly, I may say, the joy and boast of the soul to see or to hear of the dear children of God ending their course in peace and joy, for surely it is temptation and conflict, and a scene of growing, threatening evil. May your heart be greatly comforted, my dear sister. To hear of this was a great surprise, saving, that we learn the uncertainty of life and health so continually. Witness after witness comes forth to keep this ever in remembrance. But we must talk of life and not of death; as a dear one once said to me, it is not in the midst of life we are in death; but, in the midst of death we are in life.

      My love in the Lord to your dear mother. Happy to have her dear child safe in the love of her heavenly Father; and His own house delights to make room for all who have taken Jesus for their Jesus.

      The Lord be with my dear, dear sister.

      Ever your affectionate,

      J. G. B.

      Accept my dear Mary's love. Our sisters are still at Bath.

      Hope must enter within the veil

      LETTER 25.



      I have long been feeling as though it was some time since a little remembrance passed between us; but this has arisen I think from the recollection that our dear Mrs. W. . . . . was forming a kind of constant link between us, and through her we heard of each other. It has pleased the Lord to visit you all again. Many a time in your little history, as well as in your own person, dear sister, has this been. But you are abundantly entitled to regard all these dealings of His hands as the visits of a friend, or of one who loves you and would bring Himself near you. They are sore to nature indeed. And He would have them felt to be so. But no interruption of them is to be allowed for a moment, that would leave a speck behind it on the character of His perfect and everlasting grace. The labourers in the vineyard thought that they had the character of their employer at their mercy. He had dealt with them in a way that seemed to defy all vindication. But the next moment was sufficient to give them their answer, and the Lord of the vineyard shows them abundant ground for suspecting, that the error and evil were altogether rather with themselves and not a bit of them with Him.

      How sweet a light that is in which to read the way and dealings of the Lord at times. We think that some of His doings are beyond vindication, so unaccountable, so contrary to all the natural sense we might have of righteousness and goodness--like the paying of a labourer the same wages for one hour's work as was paid to another for eleven! For what could appear more monstrous! But it is only to wait, and He will be His own interpreter, as He is in that parable. (See Matt. 20.) He will prove that He has done no wrong, and acted graciously, and will give reason to know that if His way be objected to, the objection must come from a tainted moral spring in the heart of the accuser himself, as He does there. Very comforting, darling, this hint from the parable is. And though the soul may not need it, through simplicity and faith of its exercises, yet it is well to have the thoughts strengthened by such a witness.

      Give my love in the Lord to your dear mother, and tell her I desire grace to feel for her in this last bereavement. My love also to dear Dr. T. . . We are not welcoming the thought of dear Mrs. W. . . .'s removal from us. Her activity among us has been valuable to the poor, and her spirit, in the liberty and light of it, a comfort and encouragement to the saints.

      I am sending this through dear Mrs. B. . . . . She is diffident, and would not at once let another know her foibles, but I have been witness to some precious exercises of her soul--and in a cold and formal day, beloved sister, like the present, that is sweet to one.

      The Lord bless you, sustain, and lead you daily! And believe me in the dear love of Jesus,

      Ever yours,

      J. G. B.

Back to J.G. Bellet index.

See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Law and the Gospel
   Chapter 2 - Romans 8:19-22
   Chapter 3 - 1 Samuel 1 - 7
   Chapter 4 - Genesis 49, and Deut. 33
   Chapter 5 - John 3
   Chapter 6 - Jacob at Peniel
   Chapter 7 - The Case Of Job
   Chapter 8 - Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Deuteronomy 11:10-12
   Chapter 9 - 1 Corinthians 11:3-16
   Chapter 10 - The Woman in the Crowd, Mark 5
   Chapter 11 - Patronage
   Chapter 12 - Divine Intimacy
   Chapter 13 - Election
   Chapter 14 - Redemption
   Chapter 15 - Genesis 1 - 47


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